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Mott’s CD review
Book Review: Patpong Road
by Lang Reid
week’s book review covers a truly Thai production. A Thailand subject,
written in English by a Thai lawyer and printed and published in Bangkok this
year, Patpong Road (ISBN 974-92367-2-6) was authored by Adul Tinaphong and is
new on the shelves at my local Bookazine.
Patpong Road in Bangkok is, these days, a world-wide icon of
what is meant by hedonism. However, the book immediately caught my interest
because it covers much more than the a-go-go and sex scene, but more of the
history, where it got its name, and why it became notorious. Being written by a
Thai I also felt that there might be something deeper than the obvious and
tawdry side of Patpong.
The road is named after Luang Patpongpanich, a Chinese
immigrant from Yunnan, who at age 12, in the usual Chinese fashion, began his
daily toil. He was a successful businessman, who ended up buying a house and
land where Patpong Road is today for 59,000 baht.
The area was further developed by his sons, who introduced a
new renting system for their shophouses, whereby there was no key-money up
front, making it possible for anyone to set up in business. When a hotel was
built to cater for the American servicemen, other businesses gravitated there
to cater to the demand for entertainment, and so the early seeds of Patpong
Author Adul has done a journeyman’s job in bringing out
all the different aspects and industries in Patpong, even down to
differentiating the different types of bars that are available. He also
mentions the different cuisines available - Thai, Chinese, Lao, Japanese,
Italian, British, American, French and Mexican, and mentions the various
restaurants, including my least favorite, the Tien-Tien, which charged me 900
baht for a fish two years ago, and it still rankles!
Parts of the book deal with the different people working
there, from hostesses to lady-boys, DJ’s, bartenders, bartendees, maids,
cleaners, touts, pimps, photographers, flower sellers, peddlers, beggars and a
very interesting group called the Freelance men. Much use is made of anecdotal
word images, interspersed with some interviews with people still working in
Patpong Road, it being their home as well as work.
Activities in the (in)famous street are covered, including
the more obvious sexual themes, but not limited to those. Beauty contests,
sports, religious ceremonies and even political rallies, where hopefuls
campaign up and down Patpong.
The English does tend to be decidedly ‘quaint’, and
there are numerous spelling errors throughout the book. Author Adul should have
been advised to get a native English sub-editor slash proof reader to go
through the manuscript before publication, but a little late at this stage.
Perhaps if it goes to a second imprint?
At B. 350 it is not an expensive read. I did find it interesting and there
were several insights into the characters of the people who work on Patpong
Road, which otherwise you would be lucky to find. Unfortunately, the very
aspect that allows a Thai to show us something a little deeper also brings with
it the jarring prose and even more annoying typos.
Mott's CD Reviews: Hanoi Rocks - Two Steps From The Move
by Mott the Dog
Re-chewed by Ella Crew
5 Stars *****
Hanoi Rocks should of been huge. At the beginning of the
eighties Motley Crue, Poison, and not even Guns and Roses were hip enough to
look over the top of Hanoi Rocks platform boots.
The band, founded in 1980, consisted of Michael Munroe (real
name Matti Fagenholm), the impossibly good looking, blond lead singer; Andy
McCoy (real name Antti Hulkeho); Nasty Suicide (real name Jans Stenfas),
between this pair of guitar slingers a more raunchy sound has never been
developed; bassist Sam Jaffa (real name Saki Takamki); and drummer Gypsy Casino
(real name Jespo Sparse). Yes, if you haven’t quite figured it out yet, these
young guys were the cream of young musicians from Finland. However, after the
release of their first album ‘Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, and Hanoi
Rocks’ in their native land didn’t coerce much response, it was decided to
cross over the water and move lock, stock, and smokin’ guitar case to
London’s fair city, where they were welcomed with open arms. That is apart
from poor old Gypsy, who was ousted from his drum kit by a certain Nicholas
(Razzle) Dingby. Razzle was so besotted by the band on first sight that he had
to join one way or another. It’s not the first time in rock ‘n’ roll
history that a drummer has been replaced by someone not with more ability, but
more enthusiasm and spirit.
With the line-up complete they soon had a successful 6 date
tour of England with Wishbone Ash in their pocket. What the rather staid Ash
fans must have made of this bunch of ragamuffins I have no idea, but, most
importantly, the British music press was behind them, every man, woman and
child. (Sounds wrote of their new prot้g้es “Born to be
Superstars, Hanoi Rocks will soon be bigger than Coca-Cola and Big Mac’s”.)
The new album ‘Oriental Beat’ (1982) was recorded and
released to fanatical reviews, but only moderate sales recorded in the British
Isles. Although to be fair, things were a little better in the rest of the
world. They had become huge stars in Japan just on their looks alone. Concert
sales were not a problem, though hysterical scenes following the band wherever
Buoyed by the live buzz and critical acclaim, they went back
into the studio to come out with their third album ‘Back to Mystery City’.
One listen was all it took to realize the boys had perhaps been reading too
much of their own hype. It was a flop, peaking at number 87 in the British
charts, and the band was savaged by press and fans alike.
Fortunately the record company did not panic. After a quick
groundbreaking tour of the United States of America, press reports were good
again, although ‘Back to Mystery City’ was hidden from prying American
ears. On arrival back in England the band was put back in the studio, this time
with the guiding hand of producer Bob Ezrin. Moreover, and just to make sure
there were no more slip ups, Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople fame was brought in
to help with the writing and arranging of several songs. The record company
even persuaded our little ‘tearaways’ to record a cover of Credence
Clearwater Revival’s ‘Up Around The Bend’, which was released before the
album came out as a little taster. It was rushing up the charts with a bullet.
‘Two Steps From The Move’ was released in 1983, to mass
critical acclaim and the ‘Back to Mystery City’ debacle was forgiven. The
boys set out to conquer the world, first by flying out to prepare to tour
America. Tragically on 9th November, while the band were partying with Motley
Crue, Razzle accepted a lift from the drunken lead singer of Motley Crue, Vince
Neil, who lost control of the car and the band’s beloved drummer Razzle was
dead. Vince Neil was convicted of vehicular manslaughter and served 30 days in
jail. Hanoi Rocks never recovered. Oh, they pressed on till 1985, but the heart
of the band had gone.
Michael Munroe later did a great solo album called ‘Not
Fakin’ It’ and McCoy, Suicide, and Monroe got together for an album called
‘Demolition 23’ in 1990. That really tore up the rock ‘n’ roll discos.
But one listen to ‘Two Steps From The Move’ will prove what should have
been. R.I.P. Razzle.
Hanoi Rocks were
Michael Munroe - Lead Vocals and Sax
Andy McCoy - Lead Guitar and Vocals
Nasty Suicide - Guitars and Vocals
Sam Yaffa - Bass and Vocals
Razzle - Drums
Up Around The Bend
I Can’t Get It
Don’t You Ever Leave Me
Million Miles way
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
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