- HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:
Mott’s CD review
Book Review: The National Parks of Thailand
The full title for this week’s book is The
National Parks and other Wild Places of Thailand, and is a large, glossy book
(ISBN 1-84537-313-8, New Holland Publishers) and apparently just flying off
the Bookazine shelves, despite the hefty price tag of B. 1,295. Unfortunately,
this book on Thailand’s heritage was not printed in Thailand, but printed in
Singapore which has recently managed to buy some of Thailand’s heritage to
add to its stocks and shares portfolio!
However, the book caught my attention with the magnificent
full bleed front cover of the limestone cliffs at Krabi, while the back cover
has a composite which includes a vertical of the Thi Law Su waterfall, Umphang
The publication is a joint effort, with the words coming
from Stephen Elliott, a wildlife conservation and ecology lecturer at Chiang
Mai University, and the photographs from Gerald Cubitt, a very well known and
renowned wildlife photographer.
The book is divided into four main sections of Thailand
(Central and Southeast, Northern, Northeast and Southern) and covers 36
National Parks, which will afford the avid ecology buff many months of
exploring. Making this a complete information guide, there is also an
introduction with a map of Thailand, and summaries of conservation areas and a
list of suggested further reading.
The introduction does give the visitor a very detailed
overview of the National Parks system, with much information on how to behave,
dress and what can or cannot be done in the parks.
When getting into the descriptions of the individual
National Parks, the attention to detail is still there, with Elliott giving
the readers a local map, plus a side-box covering location, climate, when to
go, access, permits, equipment, facilities, watching wildlife and visitor
Additionally, the spectacular photographs from Cubitt are
enough on their own to make you want to visit these places. His expertise
seems to cover everything from landscapes to close-ups of vegetation, right
the way through to superb color plates of tigers and the amazingly black and
white bisected Malayan tapirs.
The book really is a treasure trove of information on the
National Parks of Thailand, but unless I missed it somewhere, does not mention
the odious practice of double pricing being applied to non-Thais. A recent
item in the Chiangmai Mail quoted a retailer who said that foreign
tourists had dropped to now around one percent of visitors. For example, the
Mae Sa Waterfall entrance fee for Thai people is adults 20 baht and children
10 baht. The admission fee for foreigners is adults 200 baht and children 100
baht. Tour guides and tour agencies have stopped bringing western tourists to
see the falls, because many of their clients have become disgusted at having
to pay so much more than a Thai person for the same product.
However, when we recently visited the Khlong Plu waterfall in the Mu Koh
Chang National Park, my Thai wife protested vigorously at the double pricing,
and I was allowed in at Thai price after showing my Thai driving license to
show that I was a resident. Something to remember.
Mott's CD Reviews: Steve Hillman
Riding The Storm
Mott the Dog
Steve Hillman had released two
critically acclaimed albums, Matrix (1994) and Convergence (1999), on the
highly independent Progressive/Rock label Cyclops run by Malcolm Parker (when I
say highly independent I mean with Cyclops it is Malcolm Parker’s way or no
way; if you do not like Progressive/Rock, have any idea what a mellotrone is,
or like your songs to come in little three minute selections then you are
probably not going to like anything on the Cyclops label. If, on the other
hand, your like your eardrums to be wrapped around music that bristles with
intelligence, versatility, dexterity, musical bravado, and great imagination,
with no fear of letting musical ideas flow in whichever mood the author takes
it to its natural conclusion, whether that be two minutes or twenty-two, then
so be it, then this could just be your musical cup of tea so to speak). It was
decided in-between albums to look back into the musical scrapbook of Steve
Hillman’s career, and put together a compilation of the best bits. The
outcome of this was this marvellous album going under the banner of Riding The
The music for this album has been culled from eight previous
Hillman releases over a period of twelve years spanning from Altair on the 1983
album From Distant Shores, to some new material: Link recorded in 1995 for this
But upon first listening it is hard to believe that the
songs were not written to flow together. Naturally Steve Hillman had the time
to select which pieces he wanted to compile onto this collection, digitally
re-mastering all the music from the original tapes, so it’s perhaps not so
surprising that it all flows along so beautifully.
All of the music presented here are instrumentals, with
Steve Hillman playing all the instruments himself, except for the haunting
flute work played by his wife Linda, which gives many of the songs fine
Many have compared Steve Hillman’s work to Tangerine
Dream, but this reviewer finds that Steve Hillman’s work has far more body
and soul than The Dream. Each piece standing on its own merits with no fear to
the listener of repetition.
As the music slips into your subconscious, Steve Hillman
takes out his musical skills, switching from hypnotic synthesiser to massed
ranks of keyboards, to scintillating guitar work that leaves most of his
contemporaries in his wake.
Riding The Storm starts off as any journey should with
Departure, (and then finishes with Journey Back over an hour later), an
inspired choice as it cleverly shows off all of Steve Hillman’s musical
prowess as he layers melodies one on top of another over a rugged backbeat that
builds to an early climax before leading us off again in search of musical
education and general amusement.
The central piece of this album is the title track Riding
The Storm from the 1990 album Labyrinth, which for our musical enjoyment has
been broken up into two slabs so as not to dominate the flow of the music too
much. The first part comes in as the fourth track, clocking in at eleven
minutes and nine seconds, whist part two is held back till the penultimate
track number fourteen. Riding the Storm is Steve Hillman giving a monumental
display of classic melodious lead guitar, the notes literally bleed out from
the neck of the guitar, something to really get the blood racing through those
Contrastingly there is also Point Of Contact from the album
Arrival (1993) with its surreal keyboard sounds that make the hairs on the back
of your neck stand up, as the music gives you the impression of being buried
deep in some underground cave.
Earthpulse from World’s Beyond (1988) could actually be a
lesson to the previously mentioned Tangerine Dream in how to liven up their
sometimes monosyllable synthesizer work, whilst Pillars of Sand and Chamber Of
The Moon from Ashtar (1985) are left alone with minimal musical backdrop for
Linda Hillman to shine forth on her flute, drifting you away to a desert lunar
setting. Linda Hillman’s artwork on the covers of her husband’s albums are
worth the price themselves.
Clocking in at over seventy-four minutes, Riding The Storm
is a nicely balanced selection of music suiting many moods, and with the
excellent cover artwork from Linda Hillman it is very much a complete musical
To give yourself some musical variation to your music
collection, there is no better way than adding a Steve Hillman album or two.
But How? I hear you ask, as it must be said that it is highly unlikely that
your local record shop will be able to supply you with a selection of Cyclops
albums let alone Steve Hillman, especially here in Thailand. Well the answer is
remarkably simple, log into www.amazon.com or the Cyclops homepage itself
www.gft-cyclops.com and there you are able to browse to your heart’s content,
and select music at your leisure, even being able to sample sound bites for
free before making your selection. I have found that Amazon gets your package
through to you anywhere in the world within five working days of them posting
it to you, and they are very good at letting you know where your purchases are,
too. Well lets face it, they have been doing it for a long time now so should
know what they are doing by now.
Steve Hillman: Keyboards, Guitars, Bass, Synths, Digital Drums
Linda Hillman: Flute and Cover Paintings
Riding the Storm, Parts 1-5
Pillars Of Sand
Point of Contact
Chamber of the Moon
Riding the Storm, Part 6
To contact Mott the Dog
email: [email protected]
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]
Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.