Dylan Jones: If you ask me

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The Independent Online

If you ask me the Church needs to embrace karaoke. Not in a fancy-dress kind of a way – I think we're beyond the realm of dressing up in cassocks and dog collars – but in a let-me-join-your-neighbourhood-choir kind of a way.

For some time now, like other concerned parishioners, our family has been trying to lend support to our local church (St John's Hyde Park, in case any of you were wondering). We help with the service (greeting, collecting, not nodding off), try and create awareness in the local community, and attend as many events as we can. We're not looking for canonisation, we're not even trying to get our kids into the local school. We're just trying to get involved.

But while I haven't had the courage to suggest this to the vicar yet, I think the church could have a fundraising bonanza on its hands if it initiated Holy Karaoke. The thought occurred to me last Sunday as I was careering my way through "Gloria" at the 10am service (the Glory to God "Gloria", not the Van Morrison classic), thinking to myself that if the vicar could instil the same amount of fervour in his flock as the fervour that is only too visible in places like Lucky Voice (probably London's best karaoke bar), then they might be able to dispense with the collection plates altogether. Imagine being able to belt out "Lamb of God ..." or "Come, ye thankful people come ..." with full-blown beat-box accompaniment, safe in the knowledge that the next person up on stage was going to butcher "Jerusalem". Wouldn't it be fun to stand in front of a microphone, and, instead of imagining yourself at Wembley Arena wrapping yourself around "I Will Survive", picture yourself on some venerable windswept hillside, putting all you've got into "Lift High the Cross" or "Rock of Ages"?

Yes, I realise that most karaoke bars would be empty if they were unlicensed, and yes I fully understand that most of us are far more likely to have had a formative experience involving Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" or Spandau Ballet's "True" rather than "I Vow to Thee My Country", and yes I'm aware that most hymns are sung in daylight, and most rock anthems after dark, and yes I appreciate that Elvis and the Beatles were both once thought to be more popular than Jesus, and yes ...

Hello? Hello? Is anyone still there?

O still small voice of calm ...

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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