Karaoke World Tour – Vietnam

Part Two of Brian’s Karaoke World Tour takes you to Vietnam – although it does seem to have much the same storyline as Part One (ie: lots of drinking and singing). I promise that not ALL my Karaoke World Tour stories involve me getting drunk.

I was in Hue in January 2003 as part of the research for the Tet celebrations (Vietnamese New Year) for my book The Naked Man Festival. I was on one my usual aimless wanders down side streets looking for the ‘real’ Hue where I found Tet celebrations in full swing as I peeped into people’s houses and saw lots of card games going on and plenty of drinking. I was squeezing down one impossibly narrow lane when I heard loud music and even louder out-of-tune singing. I peered through a small window into a tiny, dark and smoky room. A bunch of twenty-somethings were crammed into the corner watching a large-screen TV and belting out a bit of karaoke (another favourite Tet activity). Read more


Hemingway can’t sing karaoke.

In 2003 I went to the Ernest Hemingway Festival in Key West, Florida for my book The Naked Man Festival and met a man with a white beard called Tom Grizzard. Tom was one of 150 men with white beards who were all competing in the Hemingway lookalike competition (I took the above photo of him and his colourful fan club). It was Tom’s fourth attempt at winning the coveted prize and yesterday, after nine years of trying, he finally won! When I met him in a karaoke bar in Key West five six ago he was very sloshed indeed. This is what I wrote about him in the book…

 On the way back to the hostel I passed a Karaoke bar. Ernest Hemingway was up on stage singing ‘Chantilly Lace’. I never knew Papa sang. He had quite a good voice, too.  After Papa, another Hemingway got up to sing. Well, when I say sing, I mean howl. He howled his way through ‘Lady’ by Kenny Rodgers. He was so drunk he almost fell off the stage. Read more