Cleo's Bar: Good luck to Sunderland's new karaoke place - and less of the snobbery please

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A former bookies in Park Lane is about to become a disco and karaoke bar after approval from Sunderland City Council. Good.

An unused building will be working again and its customers will have a good time.

We have read the inevitable sniffy comments on (where else?) social media on the subject of the proposed Cleo’s Bar, from those who perceive such an enterprise to be somehow beneath them.

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Karaoke has always attracted derision, ever since it was imported here from Japan in the late 1980s.

Coming soon. Cleo's Bar in Park Lane with disco and karaoke.Coming soon. Cleo's Bar in Park Lane with disco and karaoke.
Coming soon. Cleo's Bar in Park Lane with disco and karaoke.

Admittedly I’m no aficionado myself. It’s just not for me. But it’s a big world and we don’t all share the same interests. So why the snobbery?

The image of the Sunderland’s city centre concerns many. However, more empty premises would not enhance that image. Furthermore, karaoke is not confined to any section of society or geographical region.

For example, a pub in Windsor called the Acre and a stone throw from the famous castle, has karaoke nights. The late Queen Mother reputedly often belted out Pinball Wizard, further allured to the place by the racing on Sky and the domino handicap.

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The pleasure gleaned from this non-professional entertainment is not contingent on class, education, income or profession; although the same applies to loathing it.

Those who partake in karaoke have what sociologists refer to as “fun”. It’s perfectly possible to enjoy karaoke and Mozart, in equal measure but in different ways.

I know two brothers, one a professor, the other a captain of industry, who have to be prised from the microphone; uniformly poor reviews for their deluded warbling notwithstanding.

Indeed, there is no stark likelihood that you will walk past Cleo’s when a hen night has tornadoed in, catch a few bars of a zestful airing of Something Kinda Ooooh and think: “Hark. A host of angels sings.”

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No matter. The salient point is that the participants giving it the appropriate welly are having a good time, harming no one and investing in Wearside’s night time economy.

So let’s avoid the snobbery and wish good luck to Cleo’s and all our businesses.