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Music CD Reviews
Book Review: Popular History of Thailand
This is the 6th Edition of this book, Popular History of
Thailand (ISBN 974-7390-24-8), written by M.L. Manich Jumsai and revised by
Chamsai Jotisalikorn, and published by Chalermnit in Bangkok.
The author, who studied overseas, noted that Thai history as
learned in Thailand, and as recorded in the West did not quite parallel each
other, so took it upon himself to research the early years. He found that
despite the sacking of Ayutthaya and the burning of Thai historical records,
there were other records kept by Foreign Missions which were still in existence
and available in European libraries. Consequently it was the author’s wish to
present Thailand’s history from both viewpoints, and hopefully add to the
small body of knowledge that existed on this nation’s past.
The book begins with the history of the T’ai speaking
peoples, generally accepted as a major part of the forerunners of present day
Thailand. There was much in these early pages that I had not read before, and
his description of the migration of these peoples, starting in 5000 BC, seems
very plausible. The T’ai speakers in Yunnan are also explained with reference
to Kublai Khan in 1253.
The chapter referring to the Lannathai Kingdom is
interesting with Lamphun (spelled as Lampoon in the book) and the clever
subterfuge that was used by King Mengrai to get the citizens to rise to
insurrection against the Mon King Phya Yeeba, allowing Mengrai’s easy
takeover. In those days and the successive takeovers, being related to the
ruling king was no right of passage, with many executions of brothers and sons
The Ayutthaya period was indeed the commencement of the
internationality of Thailand with King Ekatotsarot in the early 1600’s having
diplomatic relations with the Portuguese, the Dutch and even the Japanese, who
acted as his bodyguards. Unlike today, foreigners were employed in many
positions of authority, with a Japanese and an Englishman made governors,
another Englishman made the harbour master and the famous Greek, Phaulcon,
became prime minister.
The Burmese conflicts are so bewildering, with attacks,
counter attacks, espionage and plain old dirty dealings, that you are left
reeling a little by the end of that chapter. Mind you, the defence forces at
Ayutthaya were also reeling a little by then too.
The book goes right through to the present day (August
2000), though the events post-war (WWII) are not dealt with in as much detail
as the days of absolute Monarchy in this country.
The review copy was made available by Bookazine, and the book should be
available at all major booksellers. The RRP was 290 baht, which makes it a
relatively inexpensive reference book. Type setting is somewhat erratic and
obviously someone had used the “Find and Replace” function to ensure all
lower case “kings” began with an upper case K. This results in the word
“making” for example, becoming “ma King”! Despite this, the subject
matter is fascinating, and the intrigues between the pages are better than any
thriller or TV soap, believe me. Worthwhile getting to try and understand this
country’s history just a little more.
Music CD Reviews: Spinal Tap - Smell The Glove
by Mott the Dog
*********** 11 Stars Rating
“Smell The Glove” is Spinal Tap’s seventeenth album,
and probably their finest to date, but don’t bother buying this newly
digitally remastered, ultimate, gold edition, strictly numbered, black edged CD
unless you have a suitable player which will go to 11 on the volume control, or
you will miss the point of this masterpiece of Big Hair music.
What first attracted me to this music was the fantastic
artwork that had gone into the cover, I mean you cannot get more black than this
(forget parody band Metallica’s Black album, the cover was actually just dark
grey). Mott is the proud owner of an original Vinyl copy of this 1982 release,
signed by the members of the band, although you do have to hold it at a
forty-five degree angle to catch a glimpse of them as the band signed in black
marker pen. Well at least I think it was the band; it was a bit dark at the
But what of the music? Well it’s good, in fact “Very
Good”. But I will not leave you with a two-word review as my competition from
Rolling Stone did when reviewing “Tap’s” tenth album “Shark Sandwich”
which, whilst very succinct, was completely misunderstood by the general public.
What you get from “The Tap” here is full throttle Rock
& Roll, firing on all seven cylinder’s, (not six... seven!) where all five
Taps play as loud as they can, except for the quiet bits.
Co-founder David St. Hubbins (who looks nothing like actor
Michael McKeen) plays the best air guitar ever recorded, and you can hear the
Dandruff fly on Rockers like “America”. Nigel Tufnel (who does actually look
very much like actor Christopher Guest) the band’s lead guitarist excels on
all the solos here, especially whilst playing with his feet, or the breathtaking
solo spot playing his Stradivarius electric guitar with a Renoir violin. Bassist
Derek Smalls (who doesn’t care if he looks like actor Harry Sheoer) made
famous the Gibson flying triple bass, the instrument designed to give real
“Bottom” end to some of Tap’s better known songs. The other two musicians
on the album were Vic Savage, who joined the band on the condition he had so
many keyboards that neither the band nor the audience could actually see him, so
he may still be a member of the band or not, nobody knows.
Drummer I.C.N.O. Evil unfortunately is not with us anymore,
due to a nasty moment involving a horse, a game of water polo, a rubber ring and
an old World War One Torpedo; no suspicious circumstances were found.
These days you can hear “Tap’s” influence on many of
Hard Rock’s top bands, including Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, The Wombles, and
Fat Boy Slim. But none can live up to the true glory of Tap at their best,
losing their way to the stage, the echoes of a dwarf trampling all over
Stonehenge, Derek Smalls caught in a cocoon, or Nigel throwing his back out on
For the purist, a wee hit of trivia for you: the album cover
is not just black but actually a very, very close picture of a ladies black
For those of you that haven’t seen the movie I apologize
(but get out and see it).
Michael St. Hubbins - Air Guitar, & Vocals
Nigel Tufnel - Brother of England Spin Bowler, Lead Guitar,
Pump & Vocals
Derek Smalls - Metal Cucumber, Bass Guitar, Double Bass &
Flying V Treble Bass
Viv Savage - Every Keyboard Imaginable plus assorted
1. Hell Hole
2. Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight
3. Heavy Duty
4. Rock And Roll Creation
6. Cups And Cakes
7. Big Bottom
8. Sex Farm
10. Gimme Some Money
11. (Listen To The) Flower People
To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]
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