Vol. II No. 30 Saturday July 26 - August , 2003
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Book-Movies-Music
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Book Review

Music CD Reviews

Book Review:Thailand Travel Directory

by Lang Reid

The Thailand Travel Directory 2003-2004 (ISBN 974-87834-0-5) is out, published by Info Media and Publication Company. Since Thailand partially exists on tourism, this looked as if it were a book that would be filling an important niche, especially for the incoming tourists.

Apparently, Thailand’s PM Thaksin Shinawatra and the governor of the TAT, Juthamas Siriwan thought so too, with an address from each of them at the front of the book. Unfortunately the list of contents describes these as a “massage” from each. I am sure the PM is a little busy to give every reader a massage and rubdown, and Madam Juthamas likewise. A “message” certainly - a “massage” no!

The book is divided into separate sections covering Accommodation, Restaurants, Shopping, Sports and Recreation, Travel Agencies, Transportation, Medical services and Entertainment.

After you wade through the hotel advertisements, you are then presented with a ‘telephone directory’ of names and telephone numbers of hotels in the various regions. These have no indication of the level of accommodation or room rates.

The restaurant section has some good information on ordering Thai food, how to eat it and some short Thai phrases relevant to dining out. However, it very quickly reverts to the telephone directory format, leaving the reader with no information regarding the cuisine or cost.

The same remarks apply to the section on shopping. After a good introduction, it quickly peters out into a list of shops and phone numbers.

In the section named Travel Agencies, there are some fold out maps, the germ of a good idea. However, the maps do not have any reference to the pages either side. For example, there is a beautiful map of Koh Samui, sandwiched between info pages on Petchaburi and Surat Thani.

The Transportation section warns those visitors who might feel brave enough to board a bus in Bangkok that “Destinations are written in Thai but conductors speak little Engling.” Thank goodness it wasn’t large Engling!

The book finishes with a list of advertisers. I sincerely hope that Sandy Beacty (Beauty) and Slimming Spa, Pink Weve (Wave), Rosmarin (Rosemarin) Spa, Vibharadi (Vibhavadi) 2 Hospital, Japanren (Japaren) car rent, to mention but a few, were given a hefty discount for the spelling errors.

For a publication that has a huge number of advertisers, with page after glossy page of them (including some totally in Thai in a 99% English language publication), the printing costs must have been defrayed. The RRP of B250 for the doubtful honour of being allowed to read all these adverts is somewhat over the top in my book (if you’ll pardon the pun).

What could have been a brilliant advert for Thailand has ended up, in my opinion, as an embarrassment with so many mistakes. A good proofreader could have saved this book. Perhaps it was thought that this would be part of the Unseen in Thailand promotion. Personally, I hope this book remains unseen too. Last word to the PM, “Through the pages of this directory, people throughout the world will be better informed about Thailand.” If nothing else, they’ll know we can’t spell!


Music CD Reviews: Widowmaker Straight Faced Fighters

by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew

5 Stars *****

Widowmaker is the nickname shared by a hurricane wind, a jetfighter plane, and a high-powered drill, all of which are renowned for mayhem, destruction, havoc and literally blowing you away. Well as it happens it is also the name of one of the most devastating rock ‘n’ roll bands to emerge from the musical cauldron that was around in the mid-seventies. Comprised of five of the most inflammable and provocative artists around at the time.

After a year as lead guitarist with Mott the Hoople, Ariel Bender (also known by his real name of Luther Grovesner, when he started out on rock ‘n’ rolls long and winding path with early British progressive rock legends Spooky Tooth, but for the purposes of this review we will stick to the Ariel Bender pseudonym by which he was known at this time) left the band at the height of their commercial successes looking to find his own way rather than on the tailcoats of an already big name act.

First he found Paul Nicholls, a young powerful drummer, who had thumped the tubs in a reformed “Lindisfarne’’, but was looking for something a little more powerful to bend his wrists to rather than the Geordies folk/rock. Next to be pulled into the ranks was talented New Zealander Bob Daisley, who had already built up a solid reputation in such bands as “Chicken Shack” and “Broken Glass” as an excellent bass player, a talented songsmith, with a reputation for enjoying the wild side of the rock ‘n’ roll Lifestyle. After Widowmaker Bob Daisley went on to leave his mark with “Rainbow”, ‘’Ozzy Osbourne”, “ Uriah Heep”, and “Gary Moore” to name but a few.

Obviously a singer had to be found to front this lot, Ariel Bender had always been a great admirer of the singer from “Love Affair” (who had had a massive hit with the fabulous ‘EverLastin’ Love’); that man was Steve Ellis who was lazing around in London after the collapse of his own band” Ellis”. When he was first approached Ellis was not keen to join this venture as he was jaded by the whole rock ‘n’ roll business, but once they persuaded him to come to one rehearsal, magic bonds were formed and the band was complete.

Their debut album, recorded in 1976 and released under the band’s own name, was a classic collection of hard rockers, stadium power ballads, and some remarkable singing, with Ariel Bender living up to his reputation as the greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitarist of his era - now we’re not talking technical ability here, there are probably hundreds of better guitarists, but Ariel Bender brought with him that priceless commodity, excitement.

Album opener ‘Such a Shame’ is very much in the same mould as ‘Black Dog’ that opened up “Led Zeppelin’s” fourth album allowing the band to put their collective wears on show. After which comes the beautiful ‘Pin a Rose on me’ the sort of song that Jon Bon Jovi would kill to write.

Next up was rocker ‘On the Road’ which live used to be held back as the final encore, then the track that this collection is named after, another slower song but not exactly what you would call a ballad.

The next two songs, which closed side one and opened side two when this album was released on vinyl, are rightly the centerpiece of both their debut album and their Stage show. ‘Ain’t telling you Nothing’ starts off as a slow burner before building to a frantic climax where Ariel Bender’s guitar takes the song by the scruff of the neck and rings every ounce of excitement from it. ‘When I met you’ had originally been released on Luther Grovesner’s solo album “Under Open Skies” but was dusted down and given the rock ‘n’ rolls by the band, the album closes with two more rockers and two more ballads including the heart felt ‘Leave the Kids Alone’.

You may now being thinking “But I thought this stupid dog said they were a five piece” well thereby hangs a tale: after recording the album whilst they were rehearsing to take the music to the streets, Ariel Bender liked moving and giving the audience a show so much it was impossible for him to hold down all the guitar parts at the same time, so Huw Lloyd-Langton, the original space daze guitarist from Hawkwind was drafted in to give ‘Widowmaker’ a two pronged lead guitar attack.

Now, twenty-five years after their demise, Castle Music have put out this two CD collection under the title of ‘Straight Faced Fighters’. What you get is, on CD One the whole of their debut album then on CD Two you get a B.B.C. Radio One Live session recorded a couple of weeks after the release of the first album, at the Paris Studios, London introduced by Whisperin’ Bob Harris, which really shows the band at their best with the twin lead guitars really fired up, then the best of the second album, which had been titled ‘Too Late to Cry’ - very apt.

This collection has greatness stamped all the way through it, catch it on the rebound.

Musicians

Ariel Bender / Guitars
Huw Lloyd-Langton / Guitars
Paul Nichols / Drums
Bob Daisley /Bass
Steve Ellis / Vocals on 1st album and the Live set
John Butler / Vocals on Too Late to Cry

Songs

Such a Shame
Pin a Rose on Me
On The Road
Straight Faced Fighter
Ain’t Telling You Nothing
When I Met You
Leave The Kids Alone
Shine a Light on Me
Running Free
Got A Dream
Come On Up’ (live)
Such A Shame (live)
Too Late (live)
El Doomo (live)
Ain’t Telling You Nothing (live)
When I met You (live)
From “Too Late To Cry”:
Too Late To Cry
The Hustler
Here Comes The Queen
Something I Can Do Without
Sign The Papers
Pushin’ And Pulling

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]



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