Welcome to my website. And happy new year! In case you're new, you might care to know that the purpose of this site is to offer rants, tirades, opinions and discussion about books on Thailand, give an overview of nightlife in Thailand and, yes, to provide a few news items which might not appear elsewhere. And to have some fun.
Bar, club and restaurant owners who would like to send material on their special events, birthday bashes, anniversary parties, etc., are welcome to do so but please remember men in Thailand are a bit jaded so if you’re just going to offer the usual free gourmet food and free full band entertainment and free beautiful and eager-to-please women, well, the lads have been there, done that. So do try to offer potential patrons something special. ;-)
There is a contest every two weeks when this column appears and the first to answer the question correctly or identify a photograph correctly will receive a free book written by myself and other prizes such as free food and drink from Larry's Dive, The Londoner, The Old Dutch and Bourbon Street Cafe. The prizes will build up in case anyone doesn't win it immediately so the bonanza for the eventual winner could get quite interesting.
I will also add information to a column as I receive it or report on nightlife as I encounter it so check back now and again as there may be much new even within a week or ten days. And please remember a part of all money received from the sale of my books goes to needy Thais (in the form of payment to go go dancers, waitresses and hostesses).
Deep inside the darkest caverns of The Londoner Pub on Sukhumvit 33 there lives or at least works a lovely maiden named Kung. From Buriram. A lovely lass, alas, a bit below my age bracket. Nonetheless, it seems this nymphet is madly in love with me. (My definition of a girl madly in love with me is when she smiles and wais me. A loose definition, to be sure.) Say hello to the lovely Kung, the fairest dishwasher in Thailand, but keep your paws off her. Waving to us is her friend Tae, a vivacious and well liked lady who keeps the drinks coming. Oops, the lovely Kung is off down the street now, working as a waitress. Hard to keep up with them.
I was walking down Soi Cowboy with a go go dancer from the Long Gun. She was about 1/3rd my age and 1/2 my size; or was it 1/2 my age and 1/3rd my size? Anyway, she was saying business was OK, Englishman, Australian, but some young.
Me: How young is young?
Her: 20, 22. Even 18 have. But not like.
Me: Because young man have no money?
Her: Sure. I like man him not young. Like you.
And that has always been my point. A lot of guys say Thai women lie a lot but if anything I have found them brutally honest. I wish somebody would teach them to lie a bit. Perhaps we should found a school to teach go go dancers how to lie to local men.
You need another example? OK, try this. One of the go go dancers I take out has a broken tooth from, of course, a motorcycle accident. So, why I'm not quite sure, I told her I would take her to the dentist and get it fixed for her, the best guy for caps in Thailand, in fact, at Bumrungrad. She accepted my kind offer. She was afraid of hospitals and had never been in one except to visit a friend. Then it turns out she has to have a root canal first. Root canals take at least two sessions. So the first time I had to pay about 6,500 baht. She is sitting there in the waiting room with her Nokia 8800 which I believe costs at least US$750 and a new watch. I have a phone so old there is no number assigned, just Nokia, maybe the first ever made. No watch at all. She laughs at that. OK. The second time we went, the root canal was finished up, and the girl at the cashier's desk said there was no further charge; the first payment was for both sessions. The go go dancer was surprised.
ggdancer: "You don't have to pay?"
Me: "No. I will have to pay a lot for the crown. But I don't have to pay more today."
ggdancer: "Then you can pay me."
Me: "Pay you! What for?"
ggdancer: "For my time."
I mean, come on, you gotta love these chicks. Of course she was laughing when she said it but the fact that such thoughts cross whatever passes for their minds is wild. I'm paying a fortune to get her tooth fixed, and - when she can tear herself away from her Nokia 8800 - she thinks I should pay for her time while she's at the dentist. I really think these girls should negotiate with foreign governments. They could make demands more outrageous than even the North Koreans. In fact, sometimes when dealing with Thai go go dancers I feel as if I am dealing with the North Korean government. Both groups are pretty far out there.
Lucky Lukes, the open-air bar on the right as you enter Nana Plaza, if having a party on the 12th of January to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Lucky Lukes is the oldest bar in Nana Plaza so the party, led by its energetic manager P.J., should be a winner.
When I arrived in Bangkok after a 17-hour trip on Thai International, I was exhausted. But when I got to the immigration lines, I saw that there were nearly 70 people in each line! Disaster. Worse to come: The two English chicks in front of me wore armpit-revealing Khao San Road type clothes and yes they did stink. The black guy and white woman behind me, Americans I think, prattled on about gender and race as only Westerners can. Finally, I got within site of the immigration agent and sure enough she was cute as a button. That perked me up. When I got up to her I spoke a bit of Thai and she brightened up and I wanted to put the make on her but some dumb farang returned to the booth waiting to ask her something and there was still a line of people waiting in line, so I had to go away with hooking the fish. But some of these immigration agents are young and cute and don't they look adorable in those too-big-for-them uniforms?
I spent Christmas Eve on Soi Cowboy and had a fine time watching the girls outside and inside the bars. They were having a lot of fun especially when Santa Claus (AKA Rodney Bain in his Santa suit) showed up and started passing out candy. In one of the bars, six lovelies in very skimpy Christmas outfits and red and white hats went up to each customer in the bar and wished him a Merry Christmas while other lovelies in even skimpier costumes danced on stage. Ah, yes, sure wish I was somewhere like Detroit or Manchester shoveling snow. ;-) Click here to see Santa:
Santa Claus does Soi Cowboy
Have you ever heard of "reverse shoplifting?" Probably not if you're not a writer. But for poets and novelists sometimes the situation is so bad that they actually sneak a book or two of theirs into a bookstore, hoping the manager will like it or that it will start selling and more will be ordered, etc. It probably never works but poets are idealists to begin with. I only reverse shoplifted once in my life. It was near the beginning of my career somewhere in the early 80's I guess and I left a copy of Memoirs of a Bangkok Warrior in St. Mark's Place, a well known literary/leftist bookstore in New York City's East Village. The novel was actually selling quite well but I simply wanted my book in that store and they hadn't ordered it. So I left a copy there.
Many months later, the last of the four groups who optioned the novel for film approached me and we discussed possibilities. At the second session one of the people who wanted to option the film said they had recently seen the book at the St. Mark's Place bookstore. They were quite impressed. So, lo and behold, my reverse shoplifting had in some way at least paid off!
Here are some happy young ladies getting their pictures taken on soi Cowboy at Christmas. Now why would anyone want to be anywhere else but on a place like the Cowboy when all this is happening?
A recent Tuesday around 10:30 to midnight on Soi Cowboy: Apache Bar had about ten customers, Dollhouse had about twenty customers, Tilac Bar was pretty full with some stools empty along the stages, Long Gun was jam-packed. I have nothing against the bars which present pretty ladies dancing and shuffling about on stage. But after a few of them, you walk into the Long Gun and it is like entering a different dimension. Obviously some choreography in evidence, very good looking women for the most part, dressed in erotic see-thru outfits or wearing huge butterfly wings or whatever. I feel the dart-into-balloon show is a bit old hat, as is the special way of opening bottles. But other than that, the Long Gun has an exciting atmosphere the others don't. If I were a bar owner, I definitely would be presenting dancing interspersed with a bit of erotica. I wish I could see Thai dancers in a pirate show, for example. You know, with eye patch and flintlock revolver and open pirate shirts and really tight breeches and boots and maybe a parrot or two. And the female crew could revolt and overpower the cruel captain and take revenge. Ah, imagination...
Speaking of which did you know a red-checked or red-checkered shirt was not something to be desired while serving on board a tall ship? When you done a baaad thing, you got strapped up to an upturned grating and you got whipped against your bare back leaving check patterns in your skin from your own blood. So, if your mate says, blimey, how about I get you a red-checkered shirt? Tell him to walk the plank. And, yes, there really were some cruel and famous female pirates in history. I suppose if they were alive today they'd be working at some house of domination somewhere. Speaking of houses of domination, oh, forget it, this is a family website. (Well, Manson Family, maybe) ;-)
So I'm sitting at the Bourbon Street Cafe in Washington Square minding my own business reading the paper, having bacon and eggs, mentally undressing a waitress, a normal morning, when I get an SMS. I open the message. It's from a fellow named Steve in Kalasin. The message is:
"When u see your wife running around in the garden, covered in blood, screaming and disoriented...Don't panic! Calm down, relax...Aim and shoot again!"
What almost shocked me was that somebody I know actually has a garden. But then I guess I've been in Thailand a bit too long to be shocked.
From the mail bag
Great rant, we were treated to an article titled 'Learning the
Trade' over here (England). To be fair I got an e-mail back when I went nuts but the
damage is done. There is currently a character called Daniel McGrory tearing Phuket to
pieces and it infuriates me. The Times have asked me for facts in order to
rebut the article, but again the damage is done.
I think that some people just don't like Thailand, which is fair enough, but
they should not be given a voice in daily papers short of a story (England
and Australia seem to be the biggest sinners). Love your stuff bloke,
Take care. Steve
Steve continued to follow this McGrory character up because he sounded like one of these parachute journalists, the type who visits Thailand briefly, desperately tries to find something sensational to report back in London or wherever, so he can make his name. Here is his follow-up on this:
Daniel McGrory and I were total strangers up until 26th December 2004, then he pitched up in Phuket and started taking journalistic cheap shots at my favourite place in the world. We are still strangers, but he is firmly established on my ‘Bullshitometer.’ At the time of his first article, just after the tsunami, I took great exception to a couple of references, one of which was a club which ‘boasted of the young age of its prostitutes’, the other was a ‘string of sex clubs’.
Well, out came the laptop and I fired off a ‘Dear Sir’ type e-mail and challenged them to backup their facts. Of course they couldn’t, but they sent me a couple of e-mails which culminated in a polite ‘we are assured by Daniel McGrory that his sources are reliable so fuck off’ and there was nothing more to be said.
Quietly reading my paper on the 29th of November 2005 I almost choked on my curry. Guess who has turned up in Phuket again? I read his article, which was a load of unsubstantiated bollox about children being sold in bars, and broke out the laptop again.
Given my ‘fuck off’ experience the last time I was a bit more careful about it. I got on the internet, contacted a couple of people and tracked down one of the Boy Wonder’s sources, guess what? He had been misquoted. To add to my delight, the intrepid Daniel McGrory also got a crucial fact wrong.
The great thing about e-mail is that you have, by default, everything in writing. I have it in writing that the man quoted in the times as doing ‘ …undercover work in a gay bar’ and being aware of ‘both men and women arrested in recent weeks’ had said no such thing.
Daniel McGrory is an award-winning journalist; I am a simple Herbert from Northern England. I am well aware that not too many people will listen to me when I bitch about a journalist of such standing, but my facts are too good for them to ignore me.
All I want is for them to stop printing untruths about Thailand. I’m not naïve enough to believe that they will because I ask them to, but if I can catch them out from time to time they will be forced to listen.
I have no personal axe to grind with Daniel McGrory, actually that’s bollox; I think he is a self-serving, truth-twisting wanker, but I do wish he would take his holidays somewhere else.
I went to Google and typed in "Daniel McGrory Thailand" and the very first article that came up was datelined "Patpong" when of course it should have been Patong. So much for accuracy on somebody's part. McGrory also wrote an article about British volunteers being tricked by fake websites pretending to be charities. It says they pay their own plane fare and then are met in Phuket and then taken to a family to stay with while their new-found Thai friends of the so-called charity take off with their passports, money, etc. So if there is substance to the article it appears innocent do-gooders flying to Thailand had better exercise caution. Or, as we all know, no good deed ever went unpunished.
OK, so you do know the Siam Paragon shopping complex has opened, right? The developers tore down the beautiful Siam Intercontinental Hotel to make way for just what Bangkok needed: another shopping complex selling Nokia 8800 to go go dancers. I'm so glad it has opened. I mean, like, there was no place to shop, right? Well, except for Central Chitlom, Playground!, All Seasons Place, Siam Center, Seacon Square, MBK Center, The Mall Bangkapi, Central Lardprao, The Emporium, Peninsula Plaza, Erawan Bangkok, Siam Discovery, Big C Ratchadamri, Central World Plaza, Gaysorn, Robinsons, and dozens of others.
So I paid a visit to Siam Paragon the day after it opened. It is well laid out, but a bit too rarified for my taste. MBK is too crowded, but Siam Paragon, upstairs away from the aquarium and food court mobs, it is almost too spacious. The IT stores on the top floor looked OK but I doubt with whatever rent they pay they can match prices at Fortune or Pantip. I still have to try the 15 movie theaters at Siam Paragon, or at least one of them, but when it comes to shopping, I'll stick with the Emporium, thank you very much. Also, I never once saw an information counter or any of those people who are supposed to be walking around providing information. And while the spacious Asia Books did have a few of my titles, I couldn't find any of my titles at the even more spacious Kinokinuya (which might mean Kinokinuya has good taste?). On the other hand, Christopher Moore had a lot of his titles on display at Siam Paragon Kinokinuya. I'll have to ask Chris how he pulled that one off.
The newspapers said two important events happened on the day Siam Paragon opened, the other being the Sondhi revelations of yet more corruption in the Taksin government and the 80,000 people who showed up at Lumpini Park to hear him. But the very same night I read three selections of poetry from my book The Go Go Dancer who Stole My Viagra at the Goethe Institute. Strange they didn't consider that important enough to mention.
This just in from Matt at Angelwitch about Angelwitch Pattaya on Walking Street, soi 15:
I finally gave in to the girl on soi 33 who stands out there asking me to go into the Livingstone complex. I had been there before when Guido and Peder were opening it but not since. It really is something with the hotel, swimming pool, bar full of women, steak house, Thai restaurant, etc. Don't be afraid to wander in and look around. It's quite interesting, nice decor, and kind of hidden from view if you're just walking down soi 33. Or go later at night and pick up a pretty girl from the glassed-in bar. Yep, there is a pool table as well as a pool. And, yes, that is how you spell "Peder" because he's from one of those Scandinavian countries where they speak in the sing-song language that we all like to make fun of, Sweden, I think. Yah, yah, although I think Peder left. Listening to a Swede talk reminds me of that old not too politically correct saying: "Hire the handicapped; they're fun to watch." Well, take a Swede to lunch; they're fun to listen to.
Did you ever wake up in the morning and gradually remember that you rang the bell in a bar somewhere the night before but forgot in which bar you rang the bell? It happened to me the other day but finally I remembered it was in the Shamrock bar on Sukhumvit soi 33. There were five girls there at the time and no other customers. Thank God it wasn't in a bar like Rainbow 4 where there are more girls "than you can handle."
One of the girls in the Shamrock bar (the tiny one who looks like a baby but is actually 31) used to be a massage girl in a place near the Shangrilla Hotel. She had to take a couple months off from massaging because her thumb and wrist developed problems. But she says she makes much more as a masseuse so she hopes to go back in a couple of months. Nice to know these girls have fallback positions when they need them.
George Pipas, the owner of Washington Square's inadvertently retro chic Texas Lone Star Saloon, still holds court every morning and still patiently listens to each girl's excuse for being late or for not showing up the day before. Although there are those who, not used to George's direct ways, might suspect his patience is running out. Anyway, the Lone Star is an institution and I think you'll find most of us who hang out there have indeed seen the inside of institutions. I had the free 3:30 p.m dinner there on the 24th of December and the "free" dinner cost me 1200 baht in ladies drinks. But I'm not complaining. I had a great afternoon of fun and the ladies made a few bucks, all for the price of a stupid "lap dance" in an American go go bar.
From the mail bag
Update at Demonia (fetish bar) at Sukhumvit soi 33. I was there yesterday
since some friends of mine recommended that it was fun. At the door i was
told that the fee was 900 baht and included a drink and shows and participation
was encouraged at no further costs. There was a spanking show and i was
invited so i spanked the girl a little, drank half my drink, bought the spanked
girl a drink for 250 baht. After half my drink i wasn't amused anymore so i went
to the bar and paid entrance and drink.
Then the girl in the show wants 2000 baht of me, i refuse and all hell
breaks loose. The girl tries to wrestle me down, i push her aside and go for the door, she runs in and blocks the door and i decide that it is high time to leave before more people are involved in this mess. I push her aside again and force the door open. The Thai guy outside tries to intimidate me by wanting to fight, but backs off when i place my body in a Thai boxing defensive position and i am 185 cm tall and weigh 85 kilos, no fat and have trained in Thai boxing for many years.
So please give people a hint that this is a ripoff place.
Oh, come on now, Mikael, you got to spank a girl, got involved in a fracas, got to wrestle with a dom (although she sounds more like a switch), got a drink and got to show off your physical prowess - you got all this and you're complaining??
No, just kidding, Mikael, that is too bad about Demonia and I think the girls wanting tips is a fairly new thing. (I'm assuming you were not drunk and disorderly, etc., and I am taking you at your word.) When I have been there I have tipped a girl but that is the one I knew who used to work at the Texas Lone Star Saloon, and I never tipped her that much. The girls (or mamasan) have every right to suggest a tip, but nobody has the right to demand one. It really is a shame because, as you say, your friends have had fun there and so have some of mine. So I guess the word is go if you like, but go with caution. By the way, the guy at the door is a scrawny little guy; if he thought he was tough he might have been watching too many martial arts movies. Also, I hope you remembered to return the little black jacket they make you put on at the door. (What I don't understand is, when she started acting up, why didn't you spank her?)
Spent New Year's Eve by starting in the Londoner Pub, down to Tenderloin's on soi 33, down to Soi Cowboy, finally to Nana Plaza, heading for Playskool a go go for the magic hour. But, alas, a lassie in Rainbow One, all of 21, suggested a better idea might be to take her out. And, being a gentleman who would never wish to disappoint a lady, I did. Some nice sexy dancing in Rainbow One; no nudity but they do what they can to maintain customer interest. As it was packed, they obviously do it well. Well done, mama-san Ann.
Those of you who are sober will note I have added the Bangkok weather report below. And as a New Year resolution, one of these days I will redesign this site to try to make it easier to find things. One of these days...
And the picture of the year award, the best picture of any Bangkok nightlife website during 2005 (if I say so myself) goes to: Spermatic Cellphone Explosion! Yes, you just wouldn't believe what some of these modern cellphones have inside. But you'll notice that doesn't stop the young lady in the picture from immediately calling another customer. Ah, well, as Trink would say, any comment would be superfluous.
Finally, don't forget Peter's next go go dance contest for charity is at Suzie Wong bar, January 15th.
A video of a five-minute walk down Soi Cowboy. Click on preview video.
Like satire on Thailand? Try
Like to know what music is playing where in Bangkok each week? Try http://www.bangkokgigguide.com.
Like to know more in depth about what music is playing where in Bangkok each week? Try this great site:
Bangkok weather report (better than where you came from)
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Got feedback to this column? Got information on Thailand you would like to share? Happy as a dung beetle to be living in Paradise? Been ripped off? Just write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contest: Last column's contest photo was the painting on the wall opposite Bourbon Street in Washington Square. Win 2,500 baht in food and drinks: Be the first to let me know which character in which American play liked the fog but not the foghorn? Hints: submarines, Viagra. Or, if that is too difficult, tell me which character in which play said: "I have loved but one man in my life; and I have lost him twice."
That's all for this fortnightly column. Drop by again. Explore the rest of the website. Meanwhile, as the girls used to tell me during the 1960's: "I no lie you, GI, you number one!"
Dean Barrett can be flamed at: email@example.com
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