I’m sitting having a quiet drink in a San Telmo cafe (empty) when the waitress turns the sound system up to 10 and “The Final Countdown” blasts across the room. Waiter and waitress start dancing and caterwauling along to this 80s classic and suddenly I’m transported to Karaoke Box, Soho, London. And I realise how amazingly great a karaoke place would be here in Buenos Aires, while at the same time wondering if anyone would ever visit it.
I’m not talking about karaoke bars or karaoke shows or anywhere people nurse a beer, steadfastly putting up with the variable singing qualities of strangers while waiting for their chance to sing. You can sing karaoke practically anywhere they serve drinks in Buenos Aires, so long as you like an audience. But where is the tiny soundproofed box you cram six of your friends in to torture with your rendition of “Eye of the Tiger”?
Private karaoke rooms don’t exist here. That’s karaoke where you pay for a room by the hour, Japanese style, and pick the tracks you sing from the in-room karaoke machine while waiters bring drinks on demand. But is that because people don’t want to sing in a little room to their friends or because they’ve never been given the chance to love it?
I conducted a poll among a cross-section of the population (me, my husband, and the pets): Would you go to a karaoke booth where you could sing in a private room to your friends, drink cheap beer and pick your own tracks?
Yes, private karaoke lets you sing to your heart’s content without fear of being booed off the stage.
Maybe, but I have YouTube, a microphone and cheap beer at home.
Yes, definitely, but I’m a cat and consequently wouldn’t be allowed in.
I still think it’s a good business idea. Even if we’re the only customers.