Dear friends, this was the drunken message i sent my friend R after karaoke-ing for the first time ever.
This week the CTO was in town, and since we're only a few weeks shy of Spring Festival the CEO decided to move up the annual party to Friday. Although we had a small Christmas party on December 24, the real "work Christmas party" equivalent in China is the annual party just before everyone breaks for Spring Festival. We all piled into two cars and headed over to a huge KTV in Luohu District.
I've probably mentioned KTV a few times before because they are all over mainland China and (to a lesser degree) Taiwan. They are large karaoke places where people rent out private rooms and sing with their friends. Some of them are thinly disguised fronts for prostitution. Others target corporate execs and party bigwigs who splash out on spectacularly expensive booze and try to drink one another under the table while cutting shady deals. But probably most of them are just places where people go to have birthday parties.
Anyway this KTV was multiple stories of private rooms, plus a sushi and seafood buffet. We all got some trays of goodies and settled into our room in big couches with the lights turned low. The CEO kicked things off with his Shatner-esque takes on the Rolling Stones and Elton John. We have a Korean colleague who sung the obligatory Gangnam Style and several other idol hits. All the Chinese sentimental faves went through too. Westlife. (Apparently big in China!?) Lady Gaga. Celine Dion. Adele. I sat by the screen looking and not picking anything.
An amusing moment happened when the CTO tried to drunkenly explain Stairway to the kids who knew absolutely nothing about Led Zeppelin. Without context i think there's pretty much no way you could capture how iconic that song was across two or three generations of (white) western youth. To be honest, i suspect modern kids in the west probably don't get it either any more.
Anyway, the CEO was trying hard to get me to sing, so he kept pouring me full of beer and declaring "gan bei", i.e. bottoms up. And finally, finally, i caved.
The first song i ever sung in front of people was Simon & Garfunkel's The Boxer. It's not my favorite of theirs, but it was one of the few in there where i really knew all the words and knew i could hit the notes. Plus it wasn't a fucking love song. Dear lord, i never hated love songs as much as i did spending a whole evening listening to them belted out in four different languages.
The second song i ever sung in front of people was Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls. Again. Not my favorite, but one of the few they had where i knew the words.
There was no Soft Cell. No NIN. No Suzanne Vega. No Tracy Chapman. There was very little Bowie. Not much Cat Stevens. There was only one Dead or Alive song and you can imagine which one that was. Ditto for Neil Young. I never really listened to music with words in it, so the pool of options is pretty shallow anyway, but it seems what little i did listen to also isn't popular in China. Fucking love songs.
But then somehow the floodgates opened. The CTO picked a few G'n'R tracks for himself but i drunkenly ended up grabbing the mic and singing them instead. Like with full-on screaming falsetto. Paradise City and Welcome to the Jungle. Granted one of those is amongst their most tedious tracks but eh. The point is. I sang them. In front of people. Eagerly. And probably very badly.
I am not sure why i know all the words of all the songs on Appetite and Lies, backwards and forwards. I don't think i was ever a G'n'R superfan, but ... perhaps i was.
Our time ran out after we had the room for about 5 hours so everyone headed out their own ways, and my drunken ass decided to keep drinking. On the way to whatever next bar i went to, i wiped out really hard again on a share bike. I really need to learn not to get on a bike when i am trashed. I have two massively cut up skin wounds on my left arm, and my whole left side is so bruised and battered i can barely move. Like... it really, really fucking hurts a lot. I don't usually wish i had painkillers but lordy i wish i had painkillers.
Still, i went to another bar anyway and got drunk with some randoms and stumbled home where i was so wrecked i couldn't even open my front door and had to get the security guard to come up and let me in. Oops.
Yeah yesterday i lay in bed, eyes watering with pain from my side and a headache and a huge cloud of shame and self-loathing. Today the pain is the same but the headache is gone and the shame is less. I am still terribly embarrassed that i sang in front of people. And i will feel like an idiot next time i see that security guard. But... life goes on.
I sang in front of people you guys.