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

Day 7

There's one place I absolutely have to go - the Beehive Hotel at Hawthorn. It's one of the first places that I ever heard about in Melbourne, and I have already come into its orbit.

I say 'orbit', because it sits at a cross-roads bearing all the appeal of a cosmic blackhole, but also all the same compulsive attraction. The first time I visited this crossroads I was completely lost, and absolutely delighted to be passing a place the name of which I recognised. The second time I passed by, from another direction and a respectable number of minutes later, I was amused. The third time I was getting bored, and by the next time I was getting desperate. So my choice of the Beehive today was not so much a choice as resignation to the inevitable.

I pointed myself in the general direction, and drove. And it wasn't long before I passed a glamourous looking building called St Arnou Beer Cafe, at Preston, which sported signs saying it had karaoke on Thursdays. It was such an obvious sign, I was surprised that no one on W2S had listed this. Coupled with the lack of information about two of the three places listed for Monday in Melbourne, it seemed to me as though locals were shy of sharing info on karaoke places - especially when an out-of-towner like myself can just drive around and find new karaoke venues. I noted that the St Arnou had a website (www.starnou.com.au), and drove on.

I was just beginning to wonder whether the Beehive had callapsed into its blackhole, when, lo and behold, I passed it from a completely different direction than that which I had expected - but turning round and parking in its small carpark was easy. 'Karaoke' proclaimed some big signs, and I imagined that I would be seeing familar faces and heading familiar names within a couple of minutes. I walked around the front of the building and walked in. Ah, it was obviously early, yet.

Some well-established karaoke pubs seem to have a local, and non-karaoke, audience until the time that karaoke starts, and that appeared to be the case here. The karaoke had already started, but perhaps not yet long enough to drive away the locals, and perhaps too early for the karaoke regulars to have arrived. I looked into the other front bar, but it had a couple of gaming machines and a couple of people obviously there to talk and escape from the noise. Further around, and at the back of the building was another large room, and this looked like a restaurant - but was deserted.

I went back to the karaoke, got a beer, and considered whether any of those in the place would be W2S regulars. It didn't look like it - they seemed more the sort of people who had dropped in for a beer on their way home, and I felt very overdressed in clean clothes. No one really seemed to want to chat, and it wasn't that they were busy chatting with friends, and this also suggested that it wasn't the real karaoke crowd that I was seeing. But the time ticked on, and several of these people turned out to be good, even great, singers. This was strange.

It has since turned out that the bulding was in the process of being sold, and apparently karaoke will not continue here. I can't say that I thought it was a great night, and even the host seemed rather bored of proceedings. However, the sound was really good, and perhaps in another location the host would come alive and run a karaoke show - as disctinct from just 'putting on karaoke'.

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

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