Thrice every week, some band or a good live act cancels on some place, and to fill the slot, the said place generously organises an Open Mic Event and publicises it like the opportunity of a lifetime. Every mother’s mediocre eye twinkle shows up to display his/her mettle (metal?) by playing Wonderwall or telling a really bad joke or reading out poems with big misplaced words.
Not many moons ago, I had the (dis) pleasure of attending one of these gems. Was it the lack of something good on T.V or the urge to wear something arty farty, I don’t know. But I and the brave and stud-ly VR decided to go undercover to unearth the explanation to just what is the deal with Open mics?! For you my readers, for YOU!
We walked in to people wearing frills, fab India saris, beads and something which looked like loose cloth pieces glued together. Should’ve bolted at that, but no, we’re suckers for depression. Men wore flyaway shirts, chappels and had hair which looked like multiple furry kittens had shat and then swooned on their heads. They were in the process of applauding every bout of flatulence that happened on the mic with such gusto that it would’ve put the damn Wimbledon stadium to shame.
Balancing coffee, by the by the strongest thing on the menu, we put on the appropriate what is life all about and poor India expressions and plopped ourselves uncomfortably behind an overly excited bunch of people who we decided after a while, must have been electrocuted and fed goat droppings by parents when young. There was no other explanation for the extreme peppiness.
And thus began the most dull open mic night of the world. Us, not being drunk enough to fling our dead sucky coffee at the participants, were forced to give painful polite smiles every time a new poet scratched his/her butt and threw crap (meri boond tip tip toop toop girti hai…) at us. There were poets so many, so boring, so bad, that the previously stud-ly VR broke down and started eating his hair while I tried to get him to eat leaves instead. One woman decided to sing to shake things up and oh she sang! She belted everything from the guitar riffs (toong toong tang tang ting) to the melodies (aaaaaa aaa AAAAAEEEE). In the middle of the utter nonsense and the woman’s orgasmic throes, a passable duo with a bongo between them, sang some made up song which sounded like a rip off of a lot of things that made people go crazy and buy them tea and everything. They seemed like a trinity orchestra in between a group of retired circus artists.
We threw the participants into following categories:
Everyone in this category thinks of him/herself as a Poe. Big pretentious words, poetry worse than a two year old and wardrobe which could depress a homeless person, they’re like leaches, sucking the life out every mic.
He/She in a burst of milk induced confidence decides to wing it. The stage shall be used for thoughts (usually meant for dear diary), epiphanies (for on the pot moments), jokes (not meant for anyone), Impromptu poetry (because rhyming is the shiz),
The Funny Men
They’re not funny. Maybe their jokes are so arty that mortals like us can’t understand them. Old people wearing expensive khadi seem to appreciate them. Baby barfs can be better punch lines.
Borrow homeless clothes from the aforementioned poets. The audience laps up whatever junk they happen to throw at them just because it comes with a tune and a rhyme. Girls dig them because of the whole musician badass thing they have going on for them.
The Open Mic Veterans
Everybody knows these old hats, who have spent their lives on the open mics, never landing a record deal or a show. What they have managed to gain, is a whole lot of fans who frequent such events, who cheer, stamp their feet and buy them drinks. The veterans smile, crack lame ass jokes and get off the stage without really doing anything.
Open Mics promote shameless mediocrity. Out of twenty really bad participants, there are usually 2-3 who manage to transcend a teeny bit above the muckiness. Those people, in the midst of a bunch of idiots, come out smelling like roses. Sham? I agree. Think about it. You’ve only had a good time at all the open mic events you’ve been to, because you’ve been with a bunch of friends and were too drunk to care what was really going on. Never because you actually enjoyed the damn thing!
For those blabbering about how it takes confidence to come up on the stage and yada yada, save it for your future five year old kids and your mirror. When you get up on the stage in front of a certain number of people, be sure that whatever you’re doing is worth their time. Also, get a talent man.