It’s time to jump back on Brian’s Karaoke World Tour and for Chapter Eleven we’re off to Kirchberg in Austria. When I worked as a tour leader for Top Deck dragging drunk 18 to 30s around Europe (the stories from that became my book Rule No.5: No Sex on the Bus) the itinerary would often include a couple of nights at Club Habitat, a traditional chalet in the heart of the Austrian Tirol. The quaint old wooden chalet had squeaky floorboards, squeaky beds, squeaky stairs and squeaky doors, but it certainly wasn’t squeaky clean. Club Hab (as it was affectionately known) had possibly the most debauched karaoke night in the world. The bar itself was nothing special. It was tiny with a low ceiling and the walls were covered with framed photos of the bar in full swing. And in full swing it certainly was. Most of the photos showed large groups of girls standing in neat lines at the bar with their breasts out. In fact, just about every photo featured either girl’s breasts, men in their underpants or people skolling ludicrous fluorescent-coloured drinks. Some passengers would say: ‘That’s disgusting!’ By two o’clock in the morning, those same people would be singing loudly to karaoke in their underwear (the girls favoured ‘I will survive’ while the boys preferred ‘ You’ve lost that loving feeling’). I’ve done it myself. I would have planned a reasonably quiet night, only to find myself singing ‘Twist and Shout’ in my jocks at three in the morning.
There were three main culprits that gave the karaoke night a touch of the Jekyll and Hydes. The first one is a fuck. Well five fucks actually. A somewhat dubious Turkish schnapps called Fuck (there may have been some tampering on the original label) was served up in five identical shot glasses set in a neat row along the bar. You then downed each glass one by one until the last one which you picked up with your teeth and simply threw your head back to down the drink. When this remarkable feat was completed, the barman handed you a certificate that read: ‘I had five fucks at Club Hab’.
The second culprit was a Flügel (vodka and Red Bull – and this was before you could find Red Bull in any bar anywhere). The drink was deadly, but more deadly for the barman. The drink was served in a large wine glass with a big chunk of ice in it. After you’d skolled your drink you flicked the large piece of ice at the barman as hard as you could. With ten or so people downing their drinks at once the barman would get a blitzkrieg of ice.
The third culprit was the most bizarre of all. It was called a ‘Nipple Suction’ and if that name conjures up horrible images, well, let me tell you that it was a whole lot worse. An iridescent blue drink was poured into a wine glass, set on fire by the barman and placed carefully on (usually) a man’s chest over his nipple. The oxygen is sucked out of the glass by the flame, the flame goes out and the person is left standing there looking rather silly with a glass of strange blue stuff stuck to their chest. The recipient then jumps up and down and dances around while the glass remains firmly stuck. When it is finally pulled off, making the noise similar to a wet plunger being pulled off a kitchen sink, he would skoll the drink. What stopped me ever trying it was the terrible looking red welts left on the poor guy’s chest – which would often scab up. Seeing girls do it was even more entertaining – the glass would be full of breast. It truly was a weird and wonderful sight to behold. More amusing still, I once saw a guy try out on his testicles. This was not a pretty sight. He ended up with singed, smelly pubes and a rather red face.
Needles to say I can’t quite remember in detail many of those karaoke nights, but the photos on the wall always looked like everyone was having fun.
Sadly Club Hab closed down a few years ago, so I’m not sure where the visiting folk in Kirchberg get their fucks from anymore.