Thailand Nightlife Roundup
Welcome to my website. 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 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).
I thought I'd see how our lovely dominatrix hostess looks with a New York Police Department cap on. Just click on the picture to enlarge it. Works for me!
This just in: The owner of Sheba's on Soi Cowboy is having a birthday party on the 26th of this month. Peter promises it will be quite a bang up party possibly involving dance contests, shows, whatever. Mark the date on your calendar.
This just in: The director Paul Spurrier will give a talk to the FCCT (Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand) about the making of the ghost film, P, on the 20th of this month. More details as they come in.
Yes, it's true: Angel Witch is working on opening a branch in Pattaya. As Pattaya is quite a bit more lenient than Bangkok these days, perhaps the show will be even wilder! The new Pattaya Angel Witch will have state-of-the-art design and special features, and will be larger than the one in Bangkok. The bar is being built from scratch on a side soi just off Walking Street, as the older building there wasn’t strong enough so it had to be knocked down. Which means it might well be after the monsoon season before the bar is up and running but once it is I suspect it will be quite a success. Question: As shows will be running simultaneously in two places in Thailand, does this mean Matt will have to fly to Germany to buy more whips? Or will he send his energetic manager, Dave the Rave, to Frankfurt to buy them for him?
Lovely and lithe 19-year-old Cambodian girl from Buriram dancing at Nana Plaza's Carnival Bar. Just thought I'd let you know.
And yet another true story of Bangkok nobody could make up. A guy living at Omni Towers had his bargirl friend move in and gave her 160,000 baht a month. She spent it in two weeks and asked for more. He gave her another 40,000 to last the two remaining weeks of the month. She got pissed off and split his skull with a bottle. He had to go to Bumrungrad Hospital and get lots of stitches; after which he returned and bought her a pickup! As I always say, when these girls got you, they got you.
Remember last column's account of the Thai university's initiation ceremonies in which female students on their knees in uniforms on the lawn simulated oral sex on guys while lots of male and female students stood around laughing? Well, it gets even better. Locals papers say there have been incidents of a "penis tug of war" game in which strings were tied to the genitals of two freshmen who then had to pull against one another. (These games on college campuses could put bars and houses of domination in Thailand out of business.) "In one game a girl student was blindfolded and told to find a coin placed on a male student's body using only her mouth." Some were forced to have sex with prostitutes and some were forced to act out go go dancing. There was burning of pubic hair. Of course, as you might imagine, your Uncle Dean condemns all such practices but, hey, one thing you can say for the students who make up these games: they've got a sense of style and creativity. Shouldn't some of the go go bars like Angel Witch be hiring them as consultants?
Did you see the article about the brothel in East Germany giving a 20 percent discount to the unemployed? Loved it! The Villa Bijou Club in Dresden offers 20 percent off if you're out of a job for two years at least but you must show your unemployment registration papers. I tried that once in New York City on the phone with a woman who wanted a lot of money for an hour. I asked her is she had discounts for people in the arts. Needless to say, she didn't. I wonder if the good ladies working on Soi Cowboy would give me a discount if I mention that I am a poor writer not a wealthy businessman. Maybe. Or maybe they wouldn't go with me at all.
New Rant up on the Rants Page if you're interested: "I Confess: I Don't Like Sports."
There are so many changes in the landscape of Bangkok and Pattaya it is impossible to keep up. Something like 45 per cent of the construction activity is around the Sukhumvit area. For example, the Jade Pavillion Hotel across from the Queen's Park Hotel on soi 22 is being completely refurbished and is now known as the Park Avenue@22 Hotel. It also boasts a glassed-in outside Viva Vino restaurant. The formerly quiet Soi 31 now has more cranes and more constructions crews than you can shake a stick at. Charming site: Lovely construction worker taking off her helmet at the end of the day and putting on lipstick.
Another lovely site is the ceremony you can sometimes catch inside the bars. I was in one of the less frequented bars in Nana Plaza sitting at a table. A lovely dancer suddenly stood near me with her legs open. I wondered if she was trying to turn me on but she was just a bit far away for that and she was facing the door. Then other dancers stood in front of her and soon there was a line of them. All spread their legs. The woman at the front of the line held onto a keek (khik), a large black piece of wood shaped like a phallus. It had pretty ribbons tied to it. She threw it between the girls' legs, retrieved it, banged the tip on the floor three times and dipped the point in special water she carried then "wrote" something out on the floor. She did that also on the stage and a few times they spun the keek the way we used to play spin the bottle. When the keek pointed in the direction of a dancer, the girl whooped for joy.
Of course, this charming Hindu/animistic/sexy/erotic ceremony is for one purpose only; to draw in crowds of customers. Same purpose as the nang kwat statues with the young lady waving you in (occasionally replaced by a Japanese cat.) Anyway, it worked, because the lady who whooped twice was taken out of the bar by yours truly. I guess there must be something to the power of this ceremony.
A local newspaper report says a woman in Tak province got so fed up with a phone booth in which the phone was not working that she trashed it. (Thailand's Russell Crowe?) She couldn't call her husband to pick her up so "she became infuriated and smashed the phone and the glass walls of the booth with a stick." Her husband was probably happy she couldn't get hold of him. But the report says "Ten police were sent to investigate." Only ten? I hope they called for backup.
Pattaya: true story! A farang got stopped by a police officer and handed over his driver's license and a hundred baht bill. As it turned out, the policeman spoke and read quite good English. He looked at the man's driver's license and read off it. Mr. (John Smith) of Boston, Massachusetts, 32 years of age, six feet tall, etc., etc. And when he got to the end he said: "Mr. Smith, you were driving faster than one hundred baht." Only in Thailand, kids, only in Thailand!
If you're like me, you take motorcycle taxis often. You realize the danger but you also realize you can be somewhere in 15 minutes instead of stuck in a taxi for one hour. I was on the back of one on Sukhumvit the other day and the driver was weaving in and out of traffic, then speeding between cars any of which could at any time have opened a door and killed us both. The only way I deal with this is by telling myself that I am actually inside a giant video game. And if I get smashed, all anyone has to do is to push the reset button and I continue on my journey. Hence, my illusion gives me courage to take motorcycles any time anywhere. Ignorance is bliss.
This is one of the bar scenes from the Thai ghost film P, directed by Paul Spurrier. As I star in the film, I will show you some other scenes from the film next time. Well, OK, maybe inasmuch as my entire time on screen is no more than a minute, "star" might not be quite the right word. The film has been to festivals and won prizes in Europe and was shown in New York. Alas, not released yet in Thailand. Perhaps scenes like that below have something to do with it? (The photo below is high resolution and blows up large, which will take about 20 seconds, or it won't blow up at all.)
A Conversation I overheard in Rainbow 4 at Nana Plaza. Farang guy comes into the bar. Dancer comes over and starts the hello how are you where you stay routine. The guy beats her to the punch. He says: What's your name? Then he says, How old are you? Then he says, Have I been with you before? She says no so he calls the mama-san over and barfines the girl on the spot.
Comments: Well, he is a man who knows what he wants and goes for it, no question about that. But what if she had said yes she had been with him before. Does that mean he wouldn't have taken her? And wasn't it polite on the dancer's part to say "No." She probably wanted to say: "How the hell do I know if I went with you before, you jerk, I go out with ten guys a week. Do you think I remember all of you?"
I mentioned before that I thought Erotica Bar at Nana Plaza is underrated. Sure, they've got pretty girls dancing downstairs in front of you. And they've got pretty girls upstairs on the glass ceiling in very skimpy school uniforms dancing above you, etc., and I can hear you yawning and saying, yeah, so, like, what's new? Well, the interesting thing at this bar is that the upstairs seems to have been rented out. The upstairs girls are with the VIP Club and are definitely not part of Erotica. So you have a situation in which the downstairs girls do NOT want you to go upstairs and if you do go upstairs you have to settle your downstairs bill first. Amazing. But, anyway, you have lovely dancers downstairs doing what they can to keep you downstairs and lovely dancers upstairs doing what they can to seduce you into coming upstairs. Talk about heaven. Except when they have the strange ice/wax show upstairs they spread the tarp over the glass ceiling which kind of misses the point of having a glass ceiling, no? Anyway, an interesting bar. Wacky, of course, but what in Thailand ain't?
Psssst! Would you like to get really angry? I mean really? Well, just take a look at the June issue of The Big Chilli magazine. No, you won’t get angry at The Big Chilli; you’ll get angry about the idiot who lived on soi 4 with his “fierce Scot” wife. (They've apparently moved to a more appropriate area of Bangkok.)
You know the type of journalists referred to as “parachute journalists”? These are the guys who want to make a quick buck and an undeserved name for themselves so they fly out of London or wherever and pop over to Thailand, then after a week or so, fly back to their shabby lives and the shabby newspaper they work for and write screaming headlines about how they purchased a child or a slave in Thailand or actually saw girls dancing topless in Pattaya while being exploited by… blah, blah, blah. These assholes don’t give a damn about the issues; they give a damn about making a name for themselves. Real journalists hate their guts.
Well, there is something even worse than a parachute journalist. It is somebody living here in Bangkok, going to bars, and then, for big bucks, selling some sensational story to the foreign press, in this case the tabloid Daily Mail of London. Alex Renton is his name and he and his “fierce Scot” wife and six-year-old rugrat lived on – wait for it – Sukhumvit, soi 4. The title of his sensationalized piece is “My Life on Shame Street.”
It seems this fellow is a charity worker although he sounds more like a basket case. Apparently, to this couples dismay, thousands of foreign men flock to Thailand for sex and some of the men are quite a few years older than some of the Thai women they are with. Wowsee! Shagadilic! He must have had a Deep Throat source informing him of all this. And we all know how some unattractive Western females feel about Western men enjoying themselves with Thai women of any age (See Rant Section of this website). Here is this loser’s wife speaking: “Sometimes we sit in one of the less seedy bars and watch the extraordinary Beauty and the Beast scenes before us.” (Perhaps she’s looking in the mirror?)
Anyway, she continues to spew forth her hatred: “Elderly men fondle the girls, picking them over while the women try desperately to keep that famous Thai smile fixed on their faces.” (What’s the matter, sweetie, nobody interested in fondling you?)
“I’ve found myself shouting at a man with a Thai girl who looks half his weight and a quarter his age: ‘How old is that one, mate? That’s illegal, you know.’”
Well, Fierce Scot Lady, I won’t ask your weight or your age but here’s the thing. I hate pedophiles as much as you do but the girls in the bars may look 17 to you but are often 25 or 30 with a child of their own. The 30-year-old I took to the States a few years back was mistaken for a student or even a child by everyone who saw her. No, sweetie, what you are seeing isn’t “illegal.” It’s infuriating. To you. That man with that pretty Thai girl doesn’t need to take your BS. And he sure isn’t interested in you. And whereas where you come from, men have to crawl on broken glass for a date, well, here they don’t. But don’t try to pretend you’re upset because of the ages of the girls. You’re upset because foreign men in Thailand are not losers in the Gender Wars as they are in the West. In other words, in the vast majority of cases of foreign men with Thai women, they are consenting adults which means it is – and please pay attention here because I am exercising great restraint in order to retain my reputation as a gentleman – none of your fucking business.
This woman also proudly forces men walking down the street with these girls to make way for her so he has to walk in the gutter. That of course is one of many giveaways as to the real (shudder) personality of these two people. It's also a perfect example of the old feminazi trick: I win you lose whatever you do. Because if the guy does allow her to block the narrow sidewalk and go into the street, she feels she's won. If he doesn't and instead brushes by her or even pushes her aside, she's won because that must mean he is an uncouth, ill-mannered thug. And they claim to have problems getting by because the street is just so crowded with guys and their girlfriends when in truth the street is crowded with vendors.
Also, one thing I learned as a playwright is to write against type. In other words, if a Scotswoman is described as quiet, soft-spoken but persistent and effective, that is interesting. But this guy has a "Fierce Scot" wife and that is a horrible cliche. And having worked with Amnesty International for many years doing volunteer work I know a phony when I see one. People interested in human rights do not sit in bars or accost a handful of older men with younger girls on the street, trying to force them to walk in the gutter. They put their ass on the line like the Frenchman in Cambodia who tried to rescue children from Svay Pak and those who go undercover wherever children are available for sex to take hidden photographs.
According to the Dateline magazine of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, the couple are moving back to England, to Edinburgh, and may indulge in "literary" pursuits. Aiiiyaaah! Does this mean two years from now we will be reading their novel set in Thailand in which bad, baaad foreign men accompany virginal young Thai women through the streets of Bangkok to unspeakable destinations? But it does sound like a case of Let's Dump on Thailand before We Leave and Move on. The Dump & Run. It also sounds like one more case of one more Western female fanatic desperate to mold Thailand to her own values, and when that doesn't happen, she gets upset.
So, Fierce Scot Lady, here’s what you do: You take Mr. Wimpy and the ankle-biter back to the Land of Ferris-wheel-by-the-Thames and be real, real happy. See if you can change things for the better there, where you so obviously belong. As for Mr. Wimpy himself, what can one say? He was paid his 30 ounces of silver and now can proudly look forward to a career as an outstanding journalist – the man who One Night in Bangkok discovered that some older men have sex with Thai women much younger than themselves! Not worthy of a Pulitzer, perhaps, but how about the Wimpy Husband/Wanna-Be Journalist Award? Best 'a me backside to you and yours.
One can only sympathize with the Tourism of Thailand’s London Office: “Every city in the world has its dark side – Just look at Amsterdam, Hamburg and even here in London. And yet they don’t have to face the kind of publicity that Bangkok seems to get so regularly.” Well said. In fact, I think I'll add all this to the Rants Section.
Are you like me? Do you sometimes wonder if human beings are really worth anything? I mean, in a recent page of the Bangkok Post there is an article about a Romanian priest who doesn’t regret crucifying a nun because the 23-year-old was possessed by the devil. Before being crucified (murdered) she had been shut up for several days, her hands and feet tied and forbidden to have food or drink. Four nuns had also agreed she should be crucified and she was gagged and chained to the cross. Incredibly, a spokesman for the Orthodox patriarchate in Bucharest refused to condemn it because “I don’t know what this young woman did.” In Pakistan, a boy did something with a girl from a rival village which his village elders didn't like so the leaders of his own village decided to have a gang rape of his sister which was carried out. A South African man killed his wife and after sitting on her body naked and eating flesh from her face by stabbing her face with a knife he choked to death. Ironic justice at least.
But what the hell is humanity really worth when you come right down to it. Sometimes I wish I could just load up a rocket ship with dozens of Thai go go dancers and boxes of great novels and head on out. Problem with that is they would have Issarn food and the somtam would stink up the rocket ship. And to make things worse there might be weightlessness so they wouldn't be able to go go dance in the rocket ship - just float about.
Oh, yeah, Apache Bar on Soi Cowboy. Owned by Peter and the Gang who also owns Suzie Wong, Sheba’s, Playskool, Temptations, Old Dutch Inn and, for all I know, 42nd Street. Anyway, the Apache Bar will be open for a while longer then closed for renovation and then nobody knows. Or rather Peter and the Gang know but they aren’t saying. Relax, because it will be a heterosexual go go bar but the renovations, etc., should be interesting.
Had a good signing at the Texas Lone Star Saloon on the 18th. Lots of folks showed up and I sold quite a few books. As always, I was embarrassed at not remembering names of people I have met before only once. I seem to need to have met someone twice before and only then on the third time do I remember where and who the person is. So apologies to anyone that might have happened to but I've had a lousy memory all my life. (Or at least since the college marijuana days when I obviously overdid it and the neurons no longer jump the synapses.)
OK, I finally decided after a week of trying to cure my flu myself to head to Bumrungrat Hospital. I had been taking aspirin, Aleve and some moldy tetracycline I found in a drawer which probably dates back to the time when I was a GI here in the 1960’s. Anyway, I got into the cab and gave the driver my destination and he looks at me and says in very halting English: “Mister, you sick?” I thought, bloody hell, he’s about to ask me to get out of his taxi. I replied: “Nitnoy.” He motioned toward the air-conditioning and then turned it down for me. Talk about a nice guy and a perfect example of Krieng Jai.
I explained to the doctor how I had visited a seaside resort recently and my friends at the Texas Lone Star Saloon all say my lungs are used to Bangkok’s pollution and it was the fresh air at the seaside resort that caused the problem. He seems not to agree with that diagnosis. I explain my flu-like symptoms and he says I have a temperature and asks if it comes and goes. I say yes, typical flu, huh? He says: “Or Dengue fever.” That makes me feel just great. I assume he’s not talking about Deng Xiao-ping, cause he daid. He asks if I got bit by a mosquito and I reply not that I know of.
As an American, my possible demise does not interest me but thoughts of who I can sue if I have Dengue fever come to mind. I don't know anybody with money except a few bargirls (mostly was my money) and if I sue them they'll send Mok the Motorcycle Man after men. End of suit. Wait! I know! Michael Jackson! Perfect. Repressed memories of being molested by Michael Jackson begin coming back and I remember when I stayed there the household help was in court testifying so nobody was spraying for mosquitoes. Perfect!
So, anyway, the doctor prescribes me lots of medicine which with his bill comes to just under 2,000 baht. Cheap by world standards, I know, but that could have bought me a short time!
When I went to the desk, I gaped at the beauty of one of the women behind it and didn’t pay proper attention to what she said. I went to the right area but sat there with my paper in hand when I was supposed to have given it to the desk near the doctor’s door. After awhile, somebody spotted me and told me what to do. Then again while waiting to pay and wondering if they had changed the system or if I was just an asshole I did it again and the girl called me up and said I was supposed to give the form to the guy at Counter One. So when they called me and I paid and was told to take the paper to the pharmacy counter I remembered the tray we put the papers in and walked up to the counter. No tray. “Sit down and wait, please.” “But there’s supposed to be a tray here and I put this on top and you people take papers in order from the bottom.” She smiles: “Not anymore.” You see, they did change the system.
Then when I get the medicine the pretty little thing explains that during the first two or three days I may have stomach cramps and diarrhea but that that is to be expected and is not a problem. Not a problem! Of course, it’s not a problem, you succulent, curvaceous beauty. For you! Cause you’re not the one taking this shit. I am. And while you and your boyfriend are making whoopee in the rice, I’ll be rushing out of go go bars frantically hailing a motorcycle taxi to go home and sit on the potty. Yeah, I would call that a problem. But, of course, TIT, This is Thailand, so I smile and say: “I see. Thank you.” And I go home. And take my medicine.
Another Great Drunken Conversation at Nana Plaza:
Me: Hey, Steve, did I tell you, I got a great idea for my next novel.
Steve (Stephen Leather): Yeah?
Me: Yeah. It's about a girl in northeast Thailand, maybe a ricefield worker, say, who comes to Bangkok and gets a job as a go go dancer in a bar.
Me: Yeah. And she meets this guy who falls for her really hard. A farang guy, I mean. But, in the end, it doesn't work out that well between them. Not at all. So waddayathink?
Steve: (after staring into his drink for several seconds): Sounds like a really interesting take on the subject, something different. I think you oughtta go for it.
Concluding the Two Part Series on the Thai Scene in Bahrain
I went to Mai Thai again on Friday and the manager/owner was going around introducing himself to everyone. He said he had only been open a couple of months and his Thai wife has a restaurant in a different part of town. I must give it a try. The Thai band moves on to wholly Thai pop music after midnight (close 2.00am), including the Issan style that is often heard in the gogo bars.
I discovered that the hostesses are available for take-out (without bar fine) and the reason they come up and chat for a very brief period (nearly wrote short time, which means something entirely different of course) is to avoid accusations of soliciting, which is illegal. Generally, so I was told, the Thai ladies in the bars will never approach the men for this reason. Of course there are non-verbal means of communication that can be equally effective.
Finally, I can relate one truly new experience. I ended up in a place called "Savage Garden." I sat down at the bar and asked for a Heineken and got a surprising response. "I have been told by management that we must not serve people who obviously have
All in all, while it will never approach the level of Bangkok, I am at least happy to be among Thai women once again!
End of Two Part Series on the Thai Scene in Bahrain
Soi Cowboy bars with shows which go back and forth all the time between cover-up and topless make my head spin. It's difficult to say to a friend that such-and-such bar is showing again because the next night the bar might not be. Be aware though that some bars have brought back their shows. There is a shower show once again in a Nana Plaza bar once known for its shower show (no names, of course, but think of Shakespeare's character saying Out Damn ...and a lesbian act in a Soi Cowboy bar is back (no names, of course, but think Luk Kwok Hotel, Wanchai, if you're old enough to know what I'm talking about). And a Painter Show at Rainbow 4. Just ask the mama-san's before 11 o'clock if they'll be having a show or not. They will usually tell you. Although said shower show was not on last time I asked. They have to be careful. The fact that they brought it back at all may be (according to Dave the Rave) due to the stiff competition they are getting from the rejuvenated Rainbow Bars.
Go Go Dancer in Rainbow 4 hadn't known the bar had been a restaurant and had never heard the name Woodstock. Now that made me feel old.
I do love some of the headlines in the local English language papers: Frequent Sex Prolongs Ant's Life. "Queen ants who are sexually active live longer than those who are not, largely due to a rejuvenating protein in the male sperm." You see, Clementine, honey, it's like ah waz sayin: There's gold in them thar hills and there's protein in that there semen.
THIS COLUMN'S CONTEST BELOW
Do you have a product or service you would like to advertise on this website? You can, you know. In fact, you don’t have to have a product or service at all; you can just send me money. Or perhaps you would like me to plug a product or service that you are involved in? Sure, just send me cash. Be sure, however, to mark the outside envelope:
“Birthday money for Dean Barrett –
Absolutely No Bribe Enclosed”
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 email@example.com.
Like satire on Thailand? Try http://www.farangaffairs.com.
Last column's contest was won by a lucky reader who is now much richer in food and drink. Several got it but came in too late. The correct answer was the novel Candy by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg. Many said Henry Miller which was also a nice try. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking because I'm a writer therefore I want always to ask questions about books. Well, OK, just to show you you're wrong, the first one to answer these two film questions wins 1,500 baht in food and drink and a novel.
1. In one of the original (Sean Connery) James Bond films, Bond is strapped down and in a very bad way indeed. He doesn't die but is tranquillized with a tranquillizer gun. Who is the first person he sees when he wakes up?
2. In the film The Lost Weekend, Ray Milland is writing a novel; or trying to. What is the name of the novel?
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!"
Back to the Welcome Page