Atlantis of Lan
This book is the result of research done by Chiang Mai
resident Garry Harbottle-Johnson, who had originally intended making a map of
the ruins of Wieng Kum Kam, but in his foreword he mentions how the work
expanded as the historical details were uncovered. This book Wieng Kum Kam
(ISBN 974-85439-8-6) is the result from that research. It is very much a Lanna
effort, with the publication in Chiang Mai of the text this year and
distribution being handled by Chiang Mai University.
The book begins with an overview of the Kingdom of Lan Na,
the land of a million rice fields, with the reminder that all of the history of
this region dates back 4000 years to the migration of the Tai speaking peoples,
long before the advent of the civilization that now speaks “Thai”.
The author then takes you through the time line immediately
preceding the founding of Wieng Kum Kam, with the meanderings and triumphs of
King Mengrai and his sons. I found the lack of filial trust interesting, with
family ‘back-stabbing’ being a favoured method of advancement, especially
while attending funerals of previously incumbent kings! A parallel to the
governmental coups in the past 50 years could be drawn perhaps?
Following the historical pages there are detailed
descriptions of the 34 archaeological sites, with many maps and photographic
illustrations. These are invaluable for the tourists who can at least find the
major sites and what they contain.
The book finishes with more general history of the regions
and the cities ruled by King Mengrai and then followed by some notes on Wieng
Kum Kam today and a small bibliography.
The review copy was made available by the author and has an
RRP of 225 baht in Thailand. As with all things historical there can be
divergent bodies of opinion on the true “facts” of the case. After all,
there is nobody left who knew King Mengrai personally, so it becomes difficult
to refute or bolster arguments without some of the very latest scientific
techniques now available to archaeologists. Even carbon dating is a somewhat
expensive way to put an age just to ruins so that many people feel it is not
really worth the time or money involved.
This represents an unfortunate state of affairs from many points of view. We
are all the results of our histories and as such we should hold our heritage
dear. From the point of view of tourism, there are visitors from the ‘new
world’ whose society only goes back a couple of hundred years and who thirst
after the experience of standing in a city many hundreds of years older than
the oldest known artefact from their society. The UK has realized this long ago
and actively restores and promotes historical sites, as do many countries in
Europe. Perhaps the time is nigh when this will truly happen in Thailand. Garry
Harbottle-Johnson no doubt hopes so. If this book is a catalyst in bringing
this about, then it will all have been worthwhile. King Mengrai will thank you
for buying this little volume.
Blak Elvis vs The Kings of Electronic Rock And Roll
by Mott the Dog
**** 4 Stars Rating
Way back in 1986 were born a group with wild haircuts,
attitude, claims of world domination, and hyped with slogans as “it’s easier
to teach someone to play drums than to be thin,” and “the music is merely a
soundtrack to the video.” Yes, Sigue Sigue Sputnik wanted it all and did not
care how they got there. Signing for EMI for 4 million pounds, front page
headlines in the Sunday Times even before a song had been released. A roller
coaster that would not stop, or so they thought.
Well, after the much hyped first single “Love Missile
F1-11” shot to No 1 in 15 countries, a Top 10 follow up single, a sell-out
European tour, and Platinum selling album “Flaunt It” (that actually had
adverts in between the tracks), things started to go rather quiet for Sigue
Sigue Sputnik. The press backlash began and for the first time the Sputniks were
no longer in total control of their own destiny and the brave decision to
manage, write all their own songs, and control all their own marketing and press
releases looked liked being the wrong one.
Unrest at EMI and poor marketing of the second album “Dress
For Excess” and subsequent singles in 1989 resulted in Sputnik being kicked
into touch (despite actually selling more than 1 million records) and to be
never seen again.
Wrong! Sputnik just went into hibernation and waited for the
public to catch up. “A band 10 years ahead of their time.”
That time is now. For the last 2 years Sputnik have formed
their own label, toured all over Europe, and released a stunning album “Piratespace”,
and sold merchandise via the Internet. “Something this great will never lay
down and die,” claims Tony James, band leader.
Sigue Sigue Sputnik have proved the critics wrong, they can
actually play, and in fact play very well. “Piratespace”, the comeback
album, was full of hardcore techno Rock ‘n’ Roll that only Sputnik can play.
However, it did see Sputnik moving into new directions with songs like “[email protected]”,
a dreamy classical techno rock ballad that would have fitted perfectly into any
James Bond movie soundtrack. Slave Trade with its Mark Bolan guitar licks and
The Prodigy backing track mixed in dub and littered with movie samples from
movies such as the Matrix, Sputnik always seemed to be playing well below
themselves, claiming that it wasn’t about music for them. But their influences
have always been the greats. Bowie, Bolan, James Williamson, Bryan Gregory, and
now Sputnik are all about music albeit still marketing themselves in ways that
no other band could possibly dream of.
The new album “Blak Elvis vs The Kings of Electronic Rock
And Roll” is an Album of not so much covers of Elvis tracks, but how Sputnik
feel the music should have sounded then and in the future. Sputnik still have a
head full of glam, but with roots firmly in the future dreaming of what Rock
‘n’ Roll will sound like in the year 2050 and trying to create that now.
Bold indeed but fun all the same. This is Sputniks Tribute to Elvis.
The songs have been completely re-hashed even as far as
changing the titles. “Always on my Mind” in the new millennium is now
“Always on my Mindwarp”. Vocals in dub are ripped up with Stun Guitar Movie
samples and Driving Space Bass (A Roland G 707 Synth Bass).
The album also sees a new song entitled “King of Rock n
Roll”, Sputnik’s tribute to the King, which is a glam rock masterpiece.
“I’m the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and I la lalaaa like it”. However, the
two highlights for me are “Hound Dogg” and “Burning Luv”. Maybe Elvis
would have sounded like this in the future or maybe not, but I’m sure Elvis -
if alive - would be shaking his blue suede shoes!
Overall the album is all very much the same, but
entertaining, innovative, and certainly different. Personally I think this album
has been released for the band’s benefit, as I question who the target
audience might be. Elvis fans may buy out of curiosity (and they should).
Although the press release claims that this album is a back to its roots Sputnik
record, I see very few similarities to the Sputnik’s early material with its
driving Giorgio Moroda Donna Summer bass line and therefore it maybe a slight
disappointment for hardcore Sputnik fans. However, it is actually a very good
album and well worthwhile addition to your CD collection.
In conclusion: Sputnik have been through it all, superstar
status and in the gutter and dreams shattered. Maybe those dreams were just
visions of the future and that future is now. Sputnik are back! Welcome back.
It’s what the music industry needs right now, a band totally in control of
their own destiny, not prepared to conform. As the Sputniks preach: “History
will prove us right.” Well, it may just do that Mr James and Co.
Elvis will probably be shaking in his grave! Check out the
Sputnik story at www. sputnikworld.com
Martin Degville - Vocals
Tony James - Space Bass
Neal X - Stun Guitar
SSW 005 released on Sputnikworld records
2. King of Rock and Roll
3. Hound Dogg
4. Heartbreak hotel (Chain saw mix)
5. Always on my Mindwarp
6. Burning LUV
7. Shook Up
8. Double Trouble
9. Mystery Trainz
10.Kan’t Help falling in Love
11.King of Rock and Roll widescreen
To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]