Bangkok When the Leaves Turn, Part VIII

Between Part VII and Part IX

November 8-15, 2001

Thursday, November 8, 2001



The Four Crowned Martyrs
DIED 303

These brothers were famous wood- and stone-carvers who would not take heathen commissions, and in consequence were flogged to death, along with five of their pupils or converts.

They watch over the work of masons and sculptors.

Patpong FoodEven though it has the reputation of being the largest "Red Light" area of Bangkok, the Patpong street scene is also well respected for its food. This is the primary reason why Patpong was chosen to be the site of Bangkok's newest corkscrew club.2

In less than a week the PCC official photographer will arrive in Bangkok to document the opening of the club's world headquarters. Scouting is almost complete ... the 'border collies' have been at work. Please 'click-back' often.

1 Today, God just took and took and took ... regardless of station in life.

2 Working girls, however, remain the chief attraction among non-collectors.

3 Soon, the Patpong Corkscrew Club calling card (along with the Screwy Tusker one, now widely in use) will be another convenient way to keep in touch with the folks back home.

Friday, November 9, 2001



Two days ago the Bangkok Daily News featured a three-picture strip of a 'Mom-o-phile'3 going (frame by frame) from pickup rider to police captive. Tire AdThe woman that he murdered was not his Mom; rather, a kidnap victim who just happened to be at the wrong place. Anyway, subsequent to his arrest a crowd beat him to death.

Today, the Bangkok Daily News has a picture of someone who appears to be dead.4

Moving to the Bangkok Post: This billboard ad for Kuhmo car tires has the slogan "Adjustable to any surface". Appearing in Sarajevo ... and in many places throughout Bosnia ... it has provoked a bitter protest by women's associations. The South Korean tire manufacturer has been asked to sensitize its sense of humor to local conditions.

1 God continues his rampage into the second day. Right and left, plucking composers, kings and poets ... up and down, yanking out Archbishops, historians and art dealers ... all in an apparent century-long raging purge of his little garden of creative life.

2 And ... midway through all of the Lord's land-based 'wetwork' ... jettisoning the decks and the holds of the Emden snuffed out only-HE-knows-how-many lives: Maybe admirals of the fleet, surely captains and an untold number of officers ... and that's even before we get to the little men: those stoking the boilers and the ones responsible to dishing up the ship's 'mess'. If the Emden was a passenger vessel ... well ... there is no telling who drowned clawing at portholes. And, way down in 'steerage'; what hell awaited those wretches as the invading seawater sloshed into the ship's mighty furnaces ... with the scalding superheated steam instantly divorcing meat from soul?

3 This 'philia' was roughly diagnosed on the basis of his "I Love My Mom" T-shirt.

4 Again, I am guessing. It could be just a photograph of a dummy ... with a bunch of people standing around looking at it. But, the black bars over the eyes suggest that the editors don't want to identify the onlookers with something too serious. And, some of them are wearing handcuffs.

Saturday, November 10, 2001

[Office of the Editor ... Bangkok Daily News ... deadline time ... three hands waving for the editor's eye]

"Baby Soup!"


"Blows Brains Out Over Girl Friend's Lesbian Lover!"

[Editor swivels his chair to face his river view, cutting off any more discussion]

"Let's lead with the baby soup. Upper right! A full quarter panel! Make sure the baby's little hand coming out of the broth is sharp and clear; try to show the kid's open eye, the little twisted mouth. And, crop the damn thing as if the baby is being served up as some sort of weird main dish. Next: two of the jumper; a vertical showing the actual plunge ... keep the tower, shows how high the fucker fell; right next to it stick a square shot showing the guys sloshing through the water with the broken body. Last: The suicide over the girl friend's lessie lover ... well, it's not a great picture; let's use it on the fold ... and tell Somachi next time to move in closer, show more skin."

The killing fields take on additional acreage as the Creator whacks more of His best:


Glenway Wescott, today, brings all of us a little closer to God's mysterious ways of rendering dust unto dust:

Andrew Avellino
DIED 1608

A lawyer in the ecclesiastical courts of Naples. Having had to tell a lie in court one day, he was so ashamed that he joined the Society of the Love of God, or Theatines, vowing to resist his own will and to make some progress in virtue every day.

His death was not a martyrdom, but a mistake: he had a seizure of some sort while celebrating mass. His pulse stopped beating; the continued rosiness of his cheeks and brightness of his eyes were regarded as miraculous manifestations rather than signs of life; no one knew any better than to bury him, probably still alive.

Prayers against sudden death are, very suitably, addressed to him.


1 History very rarely records the death of geologists. To have two of them dying on the same date is quite remarkable by itself; to have their 'passings' noted in NEWNES ... well ...

Sunday, November 11, 2001 (Martinmas)


In 1974 the ICCA (International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts) had its first meeting in London. Since then several other corkscrew clubs have been formed (some to take in 'unwanteds' ... others serving regional needs ... some with parochial interests ... one, perhaps, even fictional). But, sadly, all of them have had a Euro-American twist to them. Longitudinally, they have never met further than 20 degrees east or 125 degrees west. Latitudinally, they have been even more provincial: holding in a tight range between 25 and 60 north.

Patpong is located roughly 100 east, 13 north. Here is where the Patpong Corkscrew Club will have its first meeting: next week. Nana Entertainment PlazaA Bangkok entertainment enclave, Patpong2 is no stranger to meetings of all sorts. The only question is, which of its many host sites deserves the favor of the 2001 AGM of the Patpong Corkscrew Club.

In the case of movies filmed about famous and infamous places, sometimes the camera crews have to make do with alternative, look-a-like sites.3 Readers here are probably thoroughly familiar with the great household names of Patpong: Super Queen, King's, Lipstick, Kangaroo Club ... the list goes on and on, and we have pictures of all these places spread-out through the several years of this journal. Anyway, less than half a dozen Skytrain stops away from Patpong is the Nana Entertainment Plaza (NEP). Seedier and tackier than Patpong, it should not be dismissed as a 'location' for our club's very first get-together.4

My personal choice for the AGM is the TITTY TWISTER. But, there are others that suggest something to do with corkscrew.

Incidentally, this visit coincided with pre-curtain time:

1 Kierkegaard (philosopher), Pattinson (metallurgist) and Tilden (chemist): all killed off by the Lord (1855, 1858 and 1926).

2 "Bangkok's most notorious red-light district is on Patpong 1 and 2 between Silom and Surawong Roads. Once owned by the Patpong family and made popular by American soldiers on leave from Vietnam, this infamous collection of go-go bars, cocktail lounges, live shows, street vendors, pushy touts, and preteen hustlers forms a scene straight from Dante's Inferno." – BANGKOK HANDBOOK, Carl Parkes, Moon Travel Handbooks (2000).

3 For example, many of the scenes from Vietnam era war movies were filmed at locations in Thailand. Likewise, much of the setting in Anna and the King was actually Hollywood magic made in Vietnam.

4 MIRTH-RIGHT Don Bull is expected to join myself, David, Rande, Joy, Candy, Brandy and several other distinguished Patpongettes as charter, founding members.

Monday, November 12, 2001

There are all sorts of rumors about the place1: its builders ran out of money ... it started to tilt ... the lobby floor caved in ... it's haunted by ghosts.

The only thing for certain is that it is empty.

Yesterday I walked around the 'entrance' and the 'lobby' ... or, what would have been ... had the Sofitel Hotel not had a lot of bad luck.

[from the International Herald Tribune]
1901: Swords Impede

NEW YORK – The United States is considering abandoning the sword as an unnecessary military equipment, owing to the experience of British forces in South Africa. The weapon is regarded as an impediment instead of a benefit, as it interferes with marching and is an encumbrance to mounted officers.

1926: Nobel Enigma

LONDON – George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist, novelist and essayist, was surprised and a little mystified today [Nov. 11] when he received word from Oslo that the Swedish Academy had awarded him with the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1925. "The best supposition I can make is that the prize was awarded to me because I wrote nothing at all that year." The author's secretary hazarded a guess that the Academy had mistaken the date of the play "Saint Joan," which was published in 1924. Whatever difficulty Shaw may have had in understanding the award, he appeared immensely pleased, for the prize is the biggest honor in the literary world and will enrich him financially to the extent of $32,500.

1951: Humor Import

NEW YORK – Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen yesterday [Nov. 11] announced three scholarships of $1,000 each to students in Sweden, Denmark and Norway in exchange for a supply of Scandinavian jokes. "After 15 years of radio," Mr. Bergen told an audience of about 200, "American humor is in a groove." He said it needs the freshening influence of humor from other lands.

1 Aside from the Peninsula Hotel, it's the biggest thing that catches the eye from up here on my 14th floor porch: the building that was once going to be the Sofitel Hotel. Over the past 24 months I have seen it: ... as a fleck in the iris of a fisheye picture ... a billboard of concrete through a 560mm lens ... deteriorate from the Sofitel marquee to a nameless construction stoppage ... lose a dozen of its floors with the help of Photoshop ... and even become part of a nuclear devastated Bangkok skyline (again, Photoshop).

PS. Here are a couple of other web sites that offer views and information regarding the Sofitel:

Tuesday, November 13, 2001


Not even in the TOP 100 of anything!

Conde Nast Traveller UKThe Condé Nast Traveller3 2001 Readers' Travel Awards does not mention The Oriental at all. Nope! Not even an aside, not a footnote ... nothing. What happened? I don't know. OK, it's not a proper list, as such ... it's a ranking of 'facilities or services'4 based on 'levels of satisfaction' by readers. But, nowhere does the name of The Oriental pop up. Singapore's Changi Airport is there, so is Avis, the country Cuba, Virgin Atlantic makes it, as does the Mount Nelson Hotel in Capetown. But the only Bangkok hotel on the list, at spot 13, is the Shangri-La Hotel.5

The October 2001 issue of Business Traveller carries its "Simply The Best" awards ... based on the results of its 'reader poll'. Business TravellerIn short, it awards "Singapore" with pretty much "the best" in everything that it was in the running for.


But, it did give The Oriental "Best Business Hotel in Bangkok".

1 A Montana mausoleum (which I believe rests on the Creedish faith) has a display of twentieth-century artists' depictions of the crucified Jesus: the pre-30's shows "Jesus as gaunt and romantic with a woman's huge wet eyes and long eye-lashes." In the 30's "Jesus is a Social Realist with huge superhero muscles. In the forties Jesus becomes an abstract assembly of planes and cubes. The fifties Jesus is polished fruitwood, a Danish Modern skeleton. The sixties Jesus is pegged together out of driftwood." In the 70's and the 80's the mausoleum dropped Jesus altogether. It embraced, as inspirational art, "just the same secular green polished marble and brass you'd find in a department store." – SURVIVOR, Chuck Palahniuk, Anchor Books, 2000.

2 Our Lord's greatest-ever mopping up operation. It started in July of the same year.

3 The U.K. edition.

4 The list has 20 categories, and hotels make up only four of them. Others include islands, cities, airlines, spas, ships, airports, car rental companies and tour operators.

5 I am not an apologist, but the 2000 – 2001 period was a major renovation time for The Oriental. Even the best of construction sites is not going to come off looking well when put up against outfits that don't have to detour everything around jackhammers. And, this, of course, shows how dangerous it is to rely on readers rankings based on history. By the time this particular Conde Nast publication was on the stands The Oriental's total renovation had been finished for months.


Of course, right now we'll just have to imagine what these things will look like when given some 'life'. When our big welcome-banner beams in some weird neon light ... when the girls take off their fuck-numbers and put on their club shirts ... when they look at their membership cards and the corkscrews in their hands and wonder what it's all about. Well, then ... and, I guess, only then ... will we wonder what we should do next.

But, for now ... here is what they look like.

Wednesday, November 14, 2001



Some Cambodians have checked in. Here at The Oriental they blend better than did the Bahrainians, so we really don't 'see' them. But, ominously, five ships from the Royal Thai Navy think otherwise. Actually, we are all in the dark, security-wise, so it's just raw rumor as to what is really afoot.2 But, the Bangkok Post reports that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is here for touchy talks about 'territorial rights over overlapping offshore zones”. Hun Sen will also receive an honorary doctorate in political science from Ramkhamhaeng University before returning to Cambodia.

David, Rande and Kim are in town. Tonight we are going over to Mambo. Remember Mambo? You must! We may invite some of the cast to join our new corkscrew club.

1 I wish Andy Page was around to give us some help on this one. When Lord Roberts died in '14, did he leave an heir? A male one? And, if so, did he inherit the title to Kandahar? And, are his heirs still around? Well, if the answers are all running positive so far, can we dare hope that here lies our answer?

2 One speculation is that bin-Laden, with friends among retired and now aging Khmer Rouge cadres, has left Kandahar for the 'safe' border area between Thailand and Cambodia (the place where Pol Pot kept a kitchen) ... and that bid-Laden's entourage will pass through Bangkok before moving slightly up and to the east. The hotel will neither confirm nor deny that any room reservations have been made in the bin-Laden name.

PS The Bangkok Daily News (breakfast edition) didn't arrive until lunch.

Thursday, November 15, 2001

Do you remember the girl who fell asleep in the back of the limo? When we were driving down to Hua Hin? Sure you do ... it was right after the September 11th events.

Anyway, she’s back again! Last night she went with us to Mambo. She stayed awake.

But, aside from that one picture, all the rest of this day is dedicated to the 'girls' of the Mambo!

Mambo Cabaret Ladyboys

Next: Part IX

Search WWW Search