MY big tip for Christmas 2008? Karaoke.
I'm telling ya – it's the festive way forward. I discovered this following the YEP newsroom's annual Christmas party which this year seemed to end rather prematurely.
Karaoke wasn't, I have to stress, the obvious means of continuing the fun into the small hours, in fact our only requirement was to continue drinking.
(Anyone who goes out in this '24 hour city' will know that finding somewhere to get a drink after 11pm isn't quite as easy as the marketing people would have us think.)
Someone mentioned All Bar One – one of the few places open till 1am – so we herded up East Parade with the promise of some more alcohol.
It was at this stage I started to feel uneasy. Unlike many of my colleagues I'm not a big drinker, not just because I'm a complete lightweight but because I just don't get it.
I can understand having a few pints in order to lubricate the cogs of social intercourse, but beyond that – i.e. beyond 11pm – it's just a pointless booze-fest.
Ultimately someone always has an argument with their girlfriend, someone flirts outrageously, someone is led on and let down, someone always throws up, someone always ends up in a fight, a normally composed female colleague will burst into irrational tears because the strap on her handbag broke.
The reason for this, in case you hadn't already worked it out, is because people think that drinking is an activity. It isn't. Drinking is like eating and going to the toilet – you just do more of it at Christmas. But you're not actually DOING anything.
You're just standing around pickling your inhibitions into oblivion subconsciously looking for something to do – brawl, seduce, vomit, cry – you know the drill.
It was at this key stage of unease that my saviour appeared on the horizon in the unlikely form of OK Karaoke – a venue directly opposite All Bar One dedicated to the delights of making universally recognisable songs unrecognisable.
Tentatively we stepped inside wondering whether, on a Tuesday night 10 days before Christmas, we might be the only people in there. But, Sweet Caroline!, the place was packed. Outside, the streets of Leeds were empty – and I suspect it was because they were all in here singing American Pie and Abba.
We struck gold.
Carr didn't go too far
WHY should anyone have cause to complain about Alan Carr's recent joke about Karen Matthews as being 'innapropriate'? I'd say it's entirely appropriate to ridicule this despicable woman.
If the joke had been at the direct expense of poor little Shannon that would have been a different matter, but her mother deserves all the derision she gets. And who better to heap it on her than someone as funny as Carr.
All he got for Christmas was his two-tone teeth
SO, has Tony Blair had his teeth done or not?
The image on the front of his official Christmas card seems to indicate he has, sort of. The top set certainly look like they've been whitened, but the bottom set? Well, they look as scraggly and discoloured as ever.
If the former PM has had some dentistry work done and not, as I suspect, merely benefited from flattering photography and/or lighting, he's certainly gone about it in a very peculiar way. Maybe he'll get the other half of his mouth dentally enhanced for next Christmas.
Clubbing together for a good cause
LET'S just take a moment to praise the DJs behind last weekend's Madfest club night at new venue Kerbcrawler.
Their numbers were made up of some of the best talent in the city like Luke Pompey and Marc Leaf and even included none other than the knight of Leeds's clubbing realm Sir Dave Beer.
But most importantly they gave up their time to help raise money for ill children who are cared for by local hospice Martin House – with all door takings going to the specialist centre.
The lads even took the time to check the place out before they organised the event just to ensure they were doing the right thing. And of course they were, and they should be applauded for it. And after hiring a booth for an hour (which will comfortably accommodate around 15 people we discovered) we covered a string of classics, invariably performed by the most unlikely of journalists.
Most notable was the YEP leader writer whose rendition of Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby was eerily good, and the paper’s throat-infected political correspondent whose even huskier version of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart was frighteningly awful.
But after 60 minutes of this royally bad variety performance we were all completely spent – exhausted from laughing and saved from inebriation by the fact we were all too busy singing to waste our mouths on pointlessly necking pints.
And more importantly no one fought, no one threw up, no one had the chance to flirt inappropriately and the realisation dawned on us that this mode of entertainment – once considered too cheesy and crass to contemplate – was now the only way to party.