Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lucky For Some

Readers may recall that last week an unpleasant spat broke out on the poop deck of the mighty Quinquireme, involving myself, Annie Slaminsky and one Ria Campbell, marketing supremo of a New Online Thing.

Ms Campbell had been politely trying to persuade Annie and me (and, as it turns out, also Hannah and Nuttycow) to test-drive the New Online Thing and write about it in our blogs, but we got the wrong end of the stick and thought that Evil Marketers were trying to take away our souls by pointing at the sky and shouting 'look!' and then secretly hacking into our Blogger accounts and replacing all instances of the word 'yummers' with an inline text ad for Head & Shoulders.

(I think that's how it works.)

Anyway, it turned out that this wasn't necessarily the case, so I thought the least I could do would be to try out the New Online Thing and see if it was any good.

It turns out that the New Online Thing is all to do with karaoke, and is an online version of those private karaoke booths that you see in swanky places in London now (at least I assume you do, I've never seen one, but I'm imagining it's just like in Lost in Translation and you get to go in them with Bill Murray in the middle of the night and nothing much happens until the Jesus and Mary Chain come on and you realise it's the end. Only Ria informs me that if you're in a karaoke booth in London rather than Tokyo, you're more likely to encounter Jude Law - although encountering Jude Law anywhere in London is a pretty safe bet, as he seems to hang over the entire city like an early Victorian miasmatic fog, waiting for some earnest physician - or Heat reporter - to estimate his quotient of phlogiston and thereby assess his value or otherwise to society as a whole.)

But I digress.

Yes. This is an online version of those private karaoke booths, which are run by a company called Lucky Voice, which is owned by erstwhile UK dotcom entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox.

Now I've only done karaoke once, and my rendition of 'Never Ever' by All Saints didn't exactly wow the crowd at my friend Becky's birthday party, so I'm not in a great position to judge the merits of Lucky Voice Online. But I can tell you this:

1. It's free, unlike those karaoke games for the Xbox, etc. that you have to pay for.

2. It has 'Love Machine' by Girls Aloud (which is one of Mr BC's favourites, although I couldn't persuade him to sing along with it), and lots of other songs too.

3. It lets you make your own playlists and organise your own karaoke parties.

4. You probably need a microphone, a big monitor and some decent speakers to actually get the full benefit of the experience.

5. It's free.

6. It's in closed beta testing at the moment, but I have FIVE FOUR THREE TWO ONE REMAINING spare invite if anyone wants one. Just leave a comment or send me an email at quadrireme at gmail dot com and I'll have the butler wire one over to you forthwith.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to bake some HEAD & SHOULDERS FOR ALL YOUR ANTIDANDRUFFULAR NEEDS mini-apple and blackberry tarts.


Katherine said...

This is the best idea I've heard in a long time - may I have a logon please?

UrbanVox said...

hey there!
I want one too... well not for me... for my wife... I think she´ll love it lol!!

GreatSheElephant said...

Oh dear God. No wonder I didn't get an email.

Is there any choral music or opera on there?

And more importantly - and this is my one observation from my one karaoke experience - do they show the musical notation along with the words? Because if they don't, how the hell are you supposed to know what the tune or rhythm is? Singing along to something you don't know well with no music to read guarantees that you are going to be at least half a second out of time and will therefore sound even more crap than you (and by you I mean I) usually do.

nibus said...

Hmm, it must have been in beta for *some time* - design agency and serial Helvetica-botherers de-construct have been working on it since 2005...

patroclus said...

Katherine: Your wish is my command.

Urbanvox: Send your email address (or your wife's email address) to quadrireme at gmail dot com, and I will invite you.

GSE: I was going to say at the time that I didn't think it would be your kind of thing. I don't think there's any choral or opera on there (ooh, maybe you could set up a classical karaoke website...). And no, there's only the lyrics, which light up to show you which bit you're supposed to be singing (although you are technically supposed to *know* the song first).

Nibus: 'serial Helvetica-botherers' made me laugh.

Lettuce Hater said...

spat? there was a spat?

missed that

(not-so-secretly-now) i love karaoke...i am a closet exhibitionist (zat possible?)

psssst...shhhh...email me ;-)

on another note: weird, i blogged about head and shoulders today - must be something subliminininininal or summat

patroclus said...

Lettuce: Well, it wasn't much of a spat, just me getting miffed and having a go. I will email you forthwith! And not so subliminal, I don't think, as I'd just read your blog, so Head & Shoulders was the first brand I thought of...

oyebilly said...

I sing like a tyre deflating, and I know because I have recorded it.

For some reason I'm now imagining a karoeke podcast.

llewtrah said...

I missed the spat and I'm pleased I wasn't one of the target invites. I hate karaoke and I'm one of those odd people who almost never switches on the computer speakers!

GreatSheElephant said...

oh well. OK, Ria Campbell, marketing supremo. Here's some feedback. Add the option to display the musical notation. People who don't want it needn't display it. Those who do will appreciate it greatly.

Jayne said...

ooh, got any of those log ons left? My music team would love to have a play!

GreatSheElephant said...

P _ I don't know any songs in their entirety. Anything I can remember usually comes under the classification of irritating earworm that I would like to scrub from my mind. I can remember the odd couple of bars of a few things I like but that's usually enough to stop me liking them in the longterm.

patroclus said...

Billy: You were brave to record it, I would never be able to bring myself to listen to my own singing voice!

Llewtrah: I'm not a huge fan of karaoke either, although this may have something to do with the fact that I gave up drinking eight years ago.

GSE: The more I think about it, the more I think there must be a market for classical karaoke, with sight reading and everything. Perhaps you should get on to the serial Helvetica-botherers and knock up an appropriate website.

Jayne: I have emailed you one to your work address (what James just gave me).

Only one left now!

chuffy! said...

Couldn't you get exactly the same service by using the searchbox on Youtube?

/dragonsden off

patroclus said...

chuffy!: You *could*, but this one plays the tune without the words, and it tells you the lyrics and when to sing them, and so on. Plus it's pink, and bedecked in Helvetica.

Katherine said...

I love it! I wish their thing-to-make-microphones-work-with-it was finished though. Thanks for the logon!

My poor fella is tormented already.
Who needs singstar?

Jayne said...

Ta very much m'dear. I shall torment people at work tomorrow before handing it over to my tame musicians to play with - anything to distract me from having to write sales conference presentations!

Tara said...

great, now I have the stupid All Saints chorus stuck in my head.

Tim Footman said...

Phlogiston. This is why you are the Poly Styrene of Web 2.0.

My sole karaoke experience was 'Pretty Vacant'. I overarticulated, apparently.

Simes said...

Hm, I dunno. Karaoke is one of those things which works best with a group of people, all of whom are in some way inebriated. Or at the least it's better as larks with a few mates - I'm not sure how a web site version is going to evoke the same feeling.

There again, I have crippling performance anxiety and therefore don't like karaoke very much.

cello said...

GSE: I have certainly thought in the past that a 'classical' karaoke would go down well. Also, I think the market is begging for a 'classical' exercise CD. Much more dignified to sweat to a bit of bouncy Baroque than dreary disco beats.

GreatSheElephant said...

cello - Rossini overtures always seem ideal for rushing about in an energetic fashion