Sophia Chauchard-Stuart on clubs

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The Independent Culture
By day, 30-year-old Jackie Clune (right) is a lecturer in Drama and Theatre Studies at London University. By night, she's transformed into a tortured soul, wrapped in man-made fibres, poised on clunky, 1970s heels, singing torch songs about love, loss, pain and more pain as The Voice of Karen Carpenter.

The best place to see Clune is at Indigo. It's the perfect venue. The red plush carpets to sink your stilettos into, a handrail to lean on and moody lighting to hide your tears.

It's uncanny. It's like the soft, small being that was Karen Carpenter never died. Less of an impersonator and more of a camp music-hall star, Clune has taken on the mantle of those Carpenters songs that we all loved so well and put an ironic twist on them, arching her eyebrows through the most heart-rending moments, soaring over the notes as she smiles sadly into the smokey club beyond. .

Clune used to do a one-woman act on the comedy circuit with songs punctuating the gags. "It's a cliche but I had to admit it to myself," she sighs. "The songs were the best bit. And I'm incredibly lazy, so I didn't like making up new material. Someone gave me a Female Hits tape and that was it. I was singing along with Karen's voice and thought, 'I've been in bands, I can do this'. Plus, E Flat is such a great key to sing in."

Be warned, the audience at Indigo all know the words and join in, so mug up on a few song sheets before you arrive. And don't go if you hate Carpenter's work - unless you're a complete sadist who enjoys seeing young adults weep over songs that were written when they were still at infant school. Nostalgia is still the opium of a dispossessed generation. Just remember, we've only just begun. To live.

'The Voice of Karen Carpenter' is at Indigo, Madame Jojo, 8 Brewer Street, London W1 (0171-734 2473)

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