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Hemingway Adventure

Key West, Florida (sixth day)

Key West, Florida, USA 
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Extra large security measures inside Sloppy Joe's. And the winner was local boy, 'Big Rick' Kirvan.
Michael Palin - Hemingway Adventure‘If there were twenty-four contestants, he’d come twenty-fifth.’

When I see his act I’m not really surprised. He skips up on stage to a raucous but generally friendly welcome and, wielding his cigar like George Burns on acid, goes into a suicidal routine, berating Shine - ‘that prick’ - for not having turned up to fight and roundly abusing every one in sight before ending with the observation that now JFK Junior is dead he, Kevin, is the sexiest man in the USA. The packed crowd boo and hiss him like they might a pantomime villain.

He comes off-stage, wild-eyed, hyped up and delighted.

Most of the other acts confine themselves to anodyne statements of admiration and respect, though I quite like the middle-aged man who does a strip-tease, peeling off his safari shirt to reveal a firm if ample belly over which he proudly rubs his hand. ‘A vote for me is a vote for Hemingway in his prime.’

Predictably, Kevin the cop fails to win again. Equally predictably, he is already making plans to come back next year. Devin, doubtless adept by now at consoling his friend, wonders why nearly all the contestants want to look like Hemingway when he shot himself. Which is a fair point. The image of Hemingway sanctioned by the Hemingway Look-Alike Society and Sloppy Joe’s Bar, joint organisers of the event, is the bearded, poloneck-sweatered likeness, complete with tired eyes and thinning hair, captured on camera by Karsh of Ottawa four years before his death.

There is no place here for a young, fit Hemingway, a Hemingway who looks like the way Hemingway did when he lived in Key West.
Key West, Florida, USA 
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Key West, Florida (sixth day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Key West, Florida
  • Book page no: 155

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