Sunday, September 19, 2010

Singing Room Sparkle

Hello, readers.

It's the tenth anniversary month of Strange Horizons. Presently, they're celebrating ten years of speculative non-fiction articles and interviews which have covered a gamut of speculativeness, from interviews with the likes of Kelly Link or Terry Brooks, to articles about elven power chords and rational magic.

They are also collecting donations, so that such and future wonders shall not perish from the earth.

And, if you didn't know, Neil Gaiman has written an episode for next season's Doctor Who. Originally, it was to be for this year, but then they ran out of money, so they scheduled it to run next season. And then they asked him to rewrite it so that it wouldn't cause them to run out of money for next season, since they planned, for some reason, on having other episodes besides his. A table reading has recently occurred, though, of Neil Gaiman's now, possibly finished Dr. Who episode, so maybe it really will exist one day.

In other news, yesterday a group of people, of which I was a person, visited a singing room. In Korea, these rooms are called Noraebang. In Japan, they are called karaoke. I understand, from people experienced as Koreans, that these words mean different things. And, in fact, in Korea I have seen rooms called Karaoke. I do not know what the difference is. I could google it, but sometimes mystery is nice.

What a singing room is, is  a round room with an arc-couch along the back wall and a circular table in the middle. There is a large TV at the front and tamborines on the couch. The room also comes with two very big books of both Korean and English songs, and something like a large, old calculator,  which sits on the table and allows you to punch in the code for the song you want to sing.

Having punched in the code for a song, say Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" or "My Heart Will Go On," the regular room lights dim and then sparklier lights begin to flash. A video plays on the large TV. The words you are to sing will show up on this video. The video itself, from my one night of experience, will almost certainly be a Korean video that more or less doesn't not exactly fit the song. For "My Heart Will Go On", there was a video of a futuristic war involving Koreans, a jungle, and what looked a lot like lasers. In the end, someone did drown, though.

Other things I discovered during this experience are:

1) It's better if the room is less hot.
2) Duets are best if both people know the words, or at least the language, of the song chosen for a duet.
3) Unless said song consists of a lot of La, La, La, or Ha, Ha Ha, Ha, kind of words. Those are universally easy, not to mention awesome, to sing.
4) Tamborines are fun.
5) Calculators are simple.
6) Things that look kind of like calculators but have many more buttons than calculators are usually not.
7) Some of the people I know can sing.

In future news, next week is a holiday in Korea called Chuseok. It is a harvest holiday that Koreans tell me is like Thanksgiving, presumably so that I understand it involves family reunions and generous amounts of food, and not that it involves turkeys, football, awkward historical truths, awkward contemporary truths, and Christmas shopping.

During said holiday week, I will spend some time catching up on writing and reading, and some time visiting a co-teacher and previously mentioned people who live in places south of Seoul.

Hopefully these visits involve the generous amounts of food hinted at. If not, I will settle for an awkward truth or two, historical or contemporary. Either of these can be surprisingly filling.

Happy holidays, readers.


No comments:

Post a Comment