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From the Where2sing.com stories:
The Great Karaoke Escape 2004/05

Day 4

I can't imagine that there's going to be a photo anywhere of last night's venue to accompany my review, so I head back to PJ O'Reillys Irish Pub just near the centre of Canberra in the morning to shoot my own. It's still difficult to find an angle that gives any real idea of what the venue looks like, but there's no traffic around this early, and I drive in strange circles inside the intersection until I have an angle that looks workable. Now, where's Melbourne?

It's an overcast day, but not actually raining, as I head out of Canberra. The roads are good, the traffic is thin, and the kilmometres go by easily. I get a few hours' driving under my belt, and stop for something to eat, for a short walk to stretch my legs, and read the W2S forum from the emails I downloaded before I left the hotel this morning. Then on for another few hours of driving.

The rain has set in, but the destination of Melbourne always says 'rain' to me, and I'm looking forward to some great karaoke in that city - especially as the weeknights appear to have nothing to offer between Canberra and Melbourne. I realise that I'm not going to make it all the way to Melbourne today, so I take a less than direct route there, and enjoy the diversion. Even if there is not karaoke running along the way, I can still have a look at the towns that do have karaoke at weekends, and gain an impression of the area.

Wagga Wagga is one these place, and I drive down the wide main road looking at the agricultural suppliers and machinery repair places appropriate to this type of location. It's hardly surprising that there's no karaoke running tonight, as it looks as though everyone has gone home to sleep (it's mid evening by now) - but just to make sure, I phone the two places that are listed on W2S. No karaoke - so I find somewhere to eat, then drive on. But half an hour later I decide to have a better look through the W2S listings in the hope that somewhere close there may be karaoke running on a Sunday.

I don't find anything in the area for Sundays, but there's a place in Albury for Thursdays, nothing in Wodonga but it looks like a big enough place for something, and nothing in Shepparton but it also looks big enough to be hiding something. I call half a dozen places, but they don't have karaoke on any night. Do they know of anywhere else locally? No they don't, and think the local Chinese Restaurant may have something on some night. The consensus of opinion is that I won't find karaoke out of the main cities on other than Friday or Saturday nights. I try a few more places on my database, though not places that I have as every running karaoke, but to no avail. I also look through my database for karaoke hosts in the area, and find very few.

Why is it that karaoke runs only at weekends? Is it because people work during the week, and don't seek entertainment? Or is it the general opinion that working people won't go out during the week - and I wonder whether this is a self-defeating philosophy on the part of pub owners. I had seen a couple of people in a bar as I passed through Wagga, and wonder whether, if karaoke had been running, more people would have been attracted to leave their video and pizza at home and come out and spend money. If it really is not possible to get people out on Sundays, then how do some city venues make it work? Is it because the city has such a bigger population that there's always someone who will come out and spend money, and if that's the case, then how is it that some city karaoke venues can fail to attract an audience even on a prime weekend night?

Nope, I think it's simply because no one does it. 'No one does it, so that means it can't work'. But if, in one of these small places, an enterprising host took the plunge, ran great karaoke on weeknight, sent flyers out to everyone in the town advertising the fact, would it work? Well, where else would people go? From what I've seen in the city, the ability of karaoke to work has far less to do with the night on which it's held than the quality of the hosting (and, to a lesser degree, the equipment and songlist).

But all this is immaterial - there's no karaoke to be had on a Sunday between Canberra and Melbourne. It's nearly 10pm, and I drive on.

Read more singers' stories, and write your own karaoke story, on Where2sing.com . . .

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