Vol. V No. 19 - Saturday May 6, - May 12, 2006
Business News
Dining Out & Entertainment
Academia Nuts
Social Scene
Who's who
Free Classifieds
Back Issues
Updated every Saturday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Book Review

Mott’s CD review

Book Review: Pool and its role in Asian Communism

by Lang Reid

I first came across Colin Cotterill’s work with his first novel, The Night Bastard, which I described as a brilliantly written and deeply disturbing book. When I saw “Pool and its role in Asian Communism” (ISBN 974-8303-76-4, Asia Books 2005) on the Bookazine shelves, I grabbed it with both hands, hoping this would be as good.
It begins in a billiard ball factory, with an aging Waldo, the Negro quality control officer training his replacement, a young Asian girl named Saifon. The opening chapters build up the characters into very believable people, with author Cotterill ‘narrating’ in a “deep south” style which fits the characterizations, and does not appear forced.
During the first half of the book, you are left wondering just where “pool” and “Asian communism” comes in, but this very quickly becomes obvious as the action picks up and Waldo and Saifon come to Thailand and then on to Laos.
Laos, because that was Saifon’s home originally, a country being torn in every direction politically, as the “phony war” (now conveniently forgotten) was held on the Laotian soil. When political ideology is replaced by common sense, the true suffering of the ordinary Laotian can begin to be appreciated. For the children, displaced and abused, political ideology has much to answer for.
The crux of the story comes in Saifon’s dealing with her own psyche, damaged from having been a trafficked child too, when she was eight years old. At first she thinks she is crusading for the groups of children who had also suffered, and were still suffering, but finally at one point, she realizes that getting the traffickers identified was actually her own catharsis.
The identification of one and the resulting Thai trial, marred by corruption (not unknown in Thailand even today) is pure theatre, but the way the truth comes out later brings a smile to the reader.
However, with two main characters, Aldo too had his story and his background that was there to haunt him, and his catharsis come out as he and Saifon discuss their lives. Aldo may not have been trafficked, but he had no less of a psychological scar that needed to be healed.
What starts off as a very “simple” book ends up as one of the deepest and darkest books you can read. Whilst it is a work of fiction, there are real people on whom the book’s characters are based, including one in particular mentioned in the author’s note at the end of the book.
In those notes, Colin Cotterill has written, “War is not a natural last resort of conflict. It is merely the evidence that man is not intelligent enough to solve problems through dialogue and reason.” That phrase should be enshrined and sent to the leaders of every country in the world. Never have truer words been uttered.
For B. 450, this book is worth it, even if just for that last quotation alone. It is a disturbing book that will move you to tears. An excellent read from a highly skilled author, who incidentally now lives in Chiang Mai.

Mott's CD Reviews:  Robert Plant and The Strange Sensation

Mighty Rearranger

Mott the Dog

5 Stars *****

At last after twelve studio albums (including two special collectors editions for fan club members only) since the break up of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, Led Zeppelin, after the tragic death of drummer John Bonham, Robert Plant has released an album that stands up to the work of his illustrious previous band. The Mighty Rearranger is a mighty album which should be included in any record collection of people that like serious rock.
All twelve songs on the album are originals, with thankfully not a cover version in sight. The writing, conceiving and creating of each song is credited equally amongst the band; so is the mixing, recording and producing. So for the first time since his Zeppelin days Robert Plant finds himself in more of a band situation, and if this is the result long may it continue. Not one note is wasted here. The dual guitars of Skin Tyson and Justin Adams weave in and out of each song providing the necessary textures.
For those of you missing the old rock ‘n’ roll thunder of the Zeppelin days you will not be disappointed by the bluster of ‘Tin Pan Valley’ or the title track. In fact any song on this collection could have fit into the Led Zeppelin catalogue.
Clive Deamer has the impossible job of no matter how much time has past, John Bonham left huge footprints to follow in when you are drumming for an ex-Zeppelin man, but instead of avoiding the issue this very talented skinsman meets the problem head on. If a song requires some percussion that resembles the style of the great man, then that is what the song gets. There is no use being coy about it, the job has to be done, and I’m sure the great man himself would have approved of the job done here by Clive Dreamer. Although, of course, for most of the time he just sounds like the very good musician that he is.
John Baggott plays all the keyboards and is the man probably the most responsible for giving this album it’s cohesion, setting up a wall of intricate keyboards and allowing the guitars and Robert Plant’s vocals to sparkle over the top.
The find of the album, though, is the bass playing abilities of a certain Billy Fuller, who is such a unique bass player that I would go as far as to say he has created a completely new way of playing the four string. His work can be heard all the way through the album, but is at it’s most prominent best during second song, and first single off the album, ‘Shine It All Around’ where he achieves a bass sound that can only be described as filthy. He is even allowed enough space for a short solo.
Unfortunately, due to all musicians having such tight schedules these days, well the good ones anyway, since the recording of this album there have been two changes to the Strange Sensations line up: Billy Fuller moving on up the rock ‘n’ roll family tree to be replaced by Robert Plant’s old cohort Charlie Jones, and Skin Tyson being replaced by Porl Thompson, who had played with Page and Plant on their reunion tour. It’s a pretty fair swap in both cases I feel.
This must not of course take the focus of attention away from the main man himself, Mr Robert Plant, aka Percy to his friends (a reference to his affection for gardening and Percy Thrower, the man behind the gardening programmes on the British Broadcasting Television network. Led Zeppelin’s gardening exploits whilst on the road are nearly as well documented as their music). Robert Plant is now in his sixth decade, and although he can still belt out a rocker with the best of them, he uses the new maturity in his voice, that only comes with the accumulation of years, to full effect. He’s not kidding when on ‘Shine It All Around’ he sings “These are the best days of my life/Bright, strong and golden’, or perhaps more tellingly on ‘Tin Pan Valley,’ showing his new re-found confidence and comfort with the past. “I come from Tin Pan Valley, and I’m moving right along/I live in a former glory, so long ago and gone/I’m turning down the talk shows, the humour and the couch /I’m moving onto higher ground, I’ve found a new way out.”
Mighty Rearranger brings out all the best nuances of the Plant vocal chords using all his middle eastern phrasing, other worldly voices, soft blues accents, gorgeous psychedelic swooshes, and the customized heavy rock roar, plus, as an extra bonus, there is some devilish harmonica playing during the title track.
‘Brother Ray’ was a late addition to the album, giving us a genuine heartfelt tribute to the great Ray Charles, starting out with some great barrelhouse piano before leading into the main body of the song. So don’t click your CD off as there is a ten second gap between sections, where the band get into something much more modern.
The Mighty Rearranger does not miss a trick. Not only does it have great impact upon first listening, but it also grows on you more and more after each new listening. If you have been put off the solo work from Led Zeppelin’s old singer with his previous dabbling with such diverse musical styles as doo-wop, synth pop, and even bass and drums, give ‘Mighty Rearranger’ a try. If you enjoy class you will enjoy this.
Robert Plant: Vocals and Harmonica
John Baggott: Keyboards, Electronica, Moog bass
Clive Deamer: Drums, Bendia
Justin Adams: Electric Guitars, Lap Steel, Bendia, Tehardant, Bass
Skin Tyson: Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Lap Steel, Bass
And Introducing Billy Fuller: Electric and Double Bass
Another Tribe
Shine It All Around
Freedom Fries
Tin Pan Valley
All The Kings Horses
The Enchanter
Dancing In Heaven
Somebody Knocking
Let The Four Winds Blow. Mighty Rearranger
Brother Ray

To contact Mott the Dog email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.mott-the-dog.com

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.