Karaoke World Tour – Thailand.

We’re off to Thailand for Part Ten of Brian’s Karaoke World Tour and a bit of ‘Speed Karaoke’ in Chiang Mai. I was travelling around Thailand in March this year for my book Tell Them to Get Lost when I dragged my girlfriend Beth into a dimly lit and very empty karaoke bar in a back street of Chiang Mai. There was all of five other patrons in the bar, so the barman was very happy to see us – and sell us a drink (the pic is of all the five guests with me singing in the background). The barman handed us a thick song book then flicked to the very back. That was because there was about fifty pages of Thai songs and only one page of English songs. And even then there were only twenty songs to choose from. Read more

Singapore karaoke

Karaoke World Tour – Singapore

I spent a couple of hours in a karaoke bar in Singapore and didn’t buy a drink. Or sing a song. But that was because one drink cost more than some Air Asia flights and I had to escape from mini-skirt wearing girls trying to pick me up before I got a chance to sing. It’s Chapter Eight of Brian’s Karaoke World Tour and although I was in Singapore doing research for my book Tell Them to Get Lost I couldn’t pass up a chance to add another country to my list. There was a whole line of Karaoke bars near my hotel and I picked the largest one with the biggest crowd – although the room was so dark it took my eyes a while to adjust before I could actually see the crowd. I was escorted to a table and given a drinks menu. It was then that I almost fell off my stool – a small glass of beer was $13! ‘I’ll wait a bit,’ I said to the waiter. Read more

Tell them to get lost launch

Book launch and Key Party.

Okay, I may have looked a little like a pimp, but that’s how the cool dudes dressed in 1974. And that’s how I dressed for the  book launch of Tell Them to Get Lost on Thursday night. I did get a few stares walking to Readings Bookshop in St Kilda, because St Kilda is also hooker central and I looked like a pimp (or a cliched 1970s pimp at least). The launch was fab and a good crowd of cool dudes and groovy chicks turned up to watch my very 1970s slide show followed by a key party. The only things missing were devilled sausages, Harvey Wallbangers and a few tabs of LSD. Here’s some photos from the night (I left out a few because I didn’t think think the orgy photos were appropriate for my younger audience)… Read more

1970s food

Party food for the book launch.

It’s the book launch of Tell Them to Get Lost tomorrow night, so I thought I’d give you a taste of the food we might eat if we were in 1974. Although you probably wouldn’t want to eat it, because those hip cats in 1974 ate some weird shit. I found some recipe cards from 1974 and looking at the things on offer was enough to turn me off my dinner. Even some of the names would make you reach for a bucket. I mean who would eat something called ‘Fluffy Mackerel Pudding’ or ‘Chilled Celery Log’. Here are some of my favourite recipe cards…

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1970s air hostess

Air travel (and mini skirts).

It’s only one month until the launch of Tell Them to Get Lost, so I’ve decided to take a quick flight back to the 70s. When the Wheelers flew to South East Asia to research South east Asia on a Shoestring in 1974 they flew TAA and wore bell-bottom jeans and floral shirts. The non-hippies in the 1970s, however, would often dress up in their Sunday best for a flight – men wore suits with ties and women would don their best dresses (even kids wore suits!). Air travel was still a novelty back then and in 1974, only 207 million well-dressed folks took to the skies. That might sound like a lot, but compare that to today when more than 2.5 billion passengers jump on a plane each year. Back then, there was no point in shopping around for the best deal, either, because governments regulated airfares and all the prices were the same. If a return ticket between Sydney and Singapore was $327 on one airline, it was $327 on all the airlines. Read more