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Coogee-Randwick RSL karaoke venue review on www.where2sing.com

Coogee-Randwick RSL karaoke

RSL Clubs generally don't excite me, partly because I view their seeming glorification of war with distaste, and because they can have a tired and aged clientele....

But, in some communities where escape to a more vibrant entertainment venue is difficult, the young have been known to invade their local RSL and for the club to respond with some decent entertainment.

Such is Coogee-Randwick RSL, just up the hill from beautiful Coogee Beach, literally just down the road from Bondi, and looking on the outside like any other suburban and well-worn RSL club.

The train from the city went as far as Bondi Junction, and although I had thought about walking or taking a bus from there to the club, I succumbed to middle-aged laziness and hailed a cab. The 'recently-arrived' gentleman at the wheel got off to a questionable start as he headed up a one-way street the wrong way, and then seemed not to be able to easily beat his way out of the bus-station. He drove competently but with the hesitation of one who had only a hazy idea of where Coogee might be, and so it was to my huge surprise that we turned a corner on yet another tiny back street about ten minutes later and popped up in front of the correct building.

Chrissy is a lady who has been a pioneer in promoting the where2sing website, and it is to my shame that all these months later I had not visited her karaoke residency. But now, standing in front of the remarkably drab building, I wondered whether I might have managed to put off the experience just a little longer. In through the front door, signed in by a gentleman who was obviously the original article, up the broad stairs, and suddenly witnessing a Hakka. Scantily clad dark men were menacing a room full of delighted guests, and I stood at the door, fascinated - it was the real thing, thrilling, loud, dangerous. I moved on.

Going against the flow of people running to see what all the noise was about, a few more metres took me into the main hall. Several low round tables with chairs filled much of the room, the karaoke being set up at the far end, and with a long bar at the near end; I chose the bar. Armed with a drink, I went over to the hosts, Chrissy and a gentleman called Rob whom I had met at a different karaoke the night before, and said hello.

Being early, I had my choice of tables, and I selected one closest to the bar and in the exact middle of the room. Karaoke soon started, a typical welcome speech followed by a song from each of the hosts, several admonishments for us to choose songs, followed by a short break requested by the Maoris in the next room who had apparently been frightened by our music.

Five thousand songs make for a great selection, and the really easy-to-read songbook was in both title and artist order; hitherto the songs performed had been of my era, but given that some of the audience was surprisingly young, I chose Robbie Williams' 'Angels', and was very soon called to sing. There is no stage, but rather the singer stands in a small wooden-floored dance area with a column on either side, and with the hosts sitting at a wide console directly behind. I had noticed previously, and to my amusement, that Chrissy sat directly below a large picture of Her Majesty, and with approximately the same stately pose. I did now feel, whilst singing, a little like being secretly watched by royalty, and I hope I acted accordingly. The song . . .(full story on where2sing.com)


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