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Book Review

Mott’s CD review

Book Review: Successful Living in Thailand

by Lang Reid

The old adage goes, that to make a small fortune in Thailand, it is best to start with a large one! With that in mind, it is not difficult to be interested in Successful Living in Thailand (ISBN 974-8303-84-5, Asia Books, published 1996 and reprinted 2004).

This book is a companion to Thai Culture and Society (ISBN 974-8303-83-7, Asia Books 2004) in the, The Thai and I series, which was reviewed a couple of months ago.

The book is divided into chapters covering Arriving and Adjusting, Family Life, Becoming Employed, Workplace issues, Domestic help, Healthy Living, Maintaining your mental health, Life in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket, Making the most of life here, Getting around and (sadly) Returning home.

Part of the attraction of this book is Roger Welty’s narrative, as this is how it comes over. You are not reading, you are listening. And it’s easy listening at that. Take for example his advice on renting in Bangkok. “Rents in Bangkok start at about 2,000 baht a month (one light bulb, no running water, no air-conditioning, no private bath and probably no fan). This would be deep in a slum with no security and where your clothes might disappear out of a window were you lucky enough to have one - on a hook at the end of a pole.” You really do not need anything more explicit than that, do you?

One item of advice that is generally ignored by newcomers is that of learning to write Thai. Speaking from his lofty perch of 30 years as an expat, he writes, “(Being able to write Thai) means that you will be able to cope with signs, and you will be able to read the names of places on a road sign, or of companies on office buildings. Take advantage of your early enthusiasm to study and learn.”

The book also has some very healthy advice on some personal issues confronting the newcomers to a foreign culture. Teenagers away from home, the problems of extra-marital sex, which is so readily available, the problems for the non-working spouse, and other psychological pressures. These he covers with a down to earth direct approach and offers some of the most salient advice possible. Even what to do with peripatetic pachyderms! (Generally give them a wide berth.)

The fact that author Welty died in 2003, and the original publication was nine years ago, does not tarnish or date this book in any way. Even the chapters on Pattaya and Chiang Mai, both cities that pride themselves on their growth, are still more than adequately covered. Perhaps the much vaunted growth in these cities is only a matter of degree, rather than that of new substance?

At 795 baht, this hard-cover book is a worthwhile addition to any expat bookshelf, especially those who have recently arrived in the Kingdom. Welty’s experienced voice will keep the tyro out of trouble, very easily. The “Notes about this edition” finishes with “Mr. Welty brought to this book three decades of understandings and misunderstandings and all-round experiences.” The reader can but only learn from them.

Mott's CD Reviews: From “Nutz” To “Rage”

Part 1

By Mott the Dog
Nutzed by Ella Crew

Starting out from the streets of Liverpool (the birthplace of some of England’s finest bands, most notably of course “The Beatles”) talented guitarist/songwriter Mick Devonport sought out the best musicians from the city to form a scouse super group to conquer the world, following in the footsteps of previous Liverpool bands.

First recruit was powerhouse drummer John Mylett. John had his own tight distinctive style of drumming, powering the band along with flexibility using every single space of skin on his mass array of drums whilst adding thunder to the proceedings with his bass drum footwork. The Mylett drum solo mid-set was always a wonder to behold.

There weren’t many bass players who would not be swamped playing alongside this God of Thunder, but one was found in Mr. Keith Mullholand, who always played his bass as if he was a lead guitarist. He used to wear Doc-Marten boots on stage, as he stomped around so hard on the stage often breaking the wooden planking as his feet added another dimension to the rhythm section.

Of course there, leading this trio was the mercurial Mick Devonport, a Jeff Beck admirer, who had practiced so long and hard that he was a match for his mentor, certainly more consistent, with great song writing skills. A flamboyant showman with a wonderful sense of humour.

But a front man still had to be found. Whilst the three of them were sitting in the local pub watching the telly, the Cadbury’s crunchie bar advert came on with a raunchy soundtrack and a terrific vocal over dub. “If only we could find him,” they thought. A quick phone call later and they found out that the young lad was a local Liverpool boy playing in the Cavern the very next day in his own band. That night lead singer David Lloyd was persuaded to break up his band and front this new quartet, aptly christened “Nutz”.

A residency was set up at the Cavern for the night time, and during the day they recorded their debut album. It was released in 1974 and, quite frankly, did not live up to expectations. Apart from two songs “Joke” and “Round & Round” it was not truly representative of their stage show. A re-think was in order.

Back to the studios, and this time they put the edge into the songs. Right from the opening guitar break of 1975’s “Nutz Too” opener “Natured Intended” you know how hard rock is supposed to be played. Seven hard rockin Mick Devonport rockers, including the head bangin “Sinner”, a cover of Pete Pizer’s “Changes Coming” and three David Lloyd Ballads, including the beautiful “The Love That You Lost”, with John “Rabbit” Bundrick (later of Free & The Who) on piano.

“Nutz Too” got to the outer regions of the British Charts. Then a couple of bad decisions put a spanner in the works. A tour of America was a disaster as the albums weren’t even out in the States due to complications with unions over printing rights. This tour losing them impetuous in the U.K., and sinking the band heavily into debt. But record company A & M Records stepped in and put them onto the Black Sabbath European tour of 1976, which gave the band excellent exposure, but was not a happy tour as by now Black Sabbath had turned into warring factions and were about too implode.

Again salvation seemed to be on hand as Nutz were added to the mid-afternoon time slot on Saturday’s Reading Festival, at the time the major rock event of the year. They went on for their forty five minutes set at the peak of their powers. When they came off, the crowd of 95,000 were baying for more. However, the contract said forty five minutes, no more, or they would be fined. Management for A & M records were there and told the boys not to go for an encore. In those circumstances who do you listen too? A suit from the record company or 95,000 screaming fans? They went back on playing 2 encores before the plug was pulled on them.

A & M Records were furious. From that moment on tensions between record company and the band where at breaking point. The band went back into the studio to record a new album, recruiting Kenny Newton on keyboards to fill out the sound. “Hard Nutz” was released in 1977 with very little publicity and the band was sent out on the road with Welsh trio “Budgie”, label mates on A & M, but combining Budgies decline, Nutz blowing the headlines off stage every night, and the advent of the dreaded Punk Rock, it stood no chance.

In 1978 A & M completed their recording contract with Nutz by releasing “Nutz Live Cutz”, an amazing album of pure raw hard rock ‘n’ roll including a great version of the Nutz anthem “Wall Banger” clocking in at 12 minutes, plus tracks spanning all three albums. But with no publicity, A & M holding a contract that would run another 2 years, no financial support to tour, the album, which should have been huge, flopped. The moral of the story: don’t upset the suits. Nutz had to sit out their contract, but this was not the end.

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]