Monday, April 23, 2007


I do not know if this is proper to mention, though it FEELS innocuous: I learned from Christopher Hitchens himself (okay, I'm fairly certain he was not addressing me personally) that he enjoys karaoke. The two numbers for which he is celebrated (I hope I'm not giving anything away) are "Like A Rolling Stone" and "Proud Mary." I mention this for a few reasons. First, I think it will be of especial interest to our "blog" correspondent Dr. "M.," whose karaoke rendition of "Baby Got Back" is unrivaled. Also... the night before I learned this dirty, wretched bit of celebrity gossip (am I betraying a trust?), and COMPLETELY UNBEKNOWNST to Christopher Hitchens, I sang an entire BeeGees song, a cappella, to a stunned and bewildered gathering of literature lovers. I was supposed to be, I think, reading one of my short stories, but I pretended to believe that I was supposed to sing. My original intention was to sing one line and stop. But something (the ghost of Andy Kaufman? Poe's imp of the perverse? Three Guinnesses?) goaded me to keep going, and going, and going. And then I did half a verse of "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy. And then I stopped being a smarta** and read some prose. I must now do two things: 1) apologize to the literature lovers; 2) thank Caroline Young, whose karaoke performance of "I Started a Joke" (the BeeGees song) was my first exposure to that little nugget of pop melancholy. They should have heard Caroline do it. But they got me.