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Mott’s CD review
Book Review: Answers to all your Questions about Thailand
It is not a historic quest, providing
answers to commonly asked questions, but almost epoch-making in the fact that
this book about Thailand has been written and published in Chiang Mai. Bravo!
Three authors (Emmanuel and Ludovic Perve and Adrien Fontanellaz) who
apparently gained their experience in Thailand (and the art of answering
questions) while running guest houses, have put together this book “Answers
to all your Questions about Thailand” (ISBN 974-93777-1-0), and published in
December 2005, so it is current (other than the April 2006 (non)election and
the disarray in the Election Commission)!
It has been a small project of mine, to listen to the authoritarian bar-room
lawyers and armchair experts pontificating at worst, advising at best, on all
subjects Thai. Be that from whether a non-Thai can own a mobile phone, to even
the very origins of the word “farang” used to describe us big-nosed,
round-eyed foreigners. Incidentally, question number 133 in this book gives a
very interesting alternative answer to the usual “francais” origin which
supposedly came after the French envoys to Ayutthya in the 16th century. There
was a descriptive term for Europeans at the time of the crusades, termed
“Frank” and linguistic studies can trace this word as the origin of the
Arab “faranji”, the Persian “farang”, the Cambodian “balang” and
the Vietnamese “pha-lang-xa”, as well as the Siamese “farang”.
The questions are divided into 11 broad sections, covering Practical
Information, Nature, Food, Customs, Society, Buddhism, Arts and Traditions,
History and Politics, Minority Ethnic Groups, Sports and Leisure Activities
and finally, language. In the center of the book there are also several color
plates featuring a map of Thailand and photographic images of some native Thai
items of interest.
The section on Minority Ethnic Groups I found particularly fascinating. For
example, the reason why Hmong women do not divorce their husbands is that if
they do so, they have to refund the bride price. If this were only the case in
the western societies, I hear some of you saying!
There are some answers which will no doubt prompt further bar-room
discussions, for example, the percentage of the Thai prostitution scene which
is devoted to catering to foreigners (if you just said five percent, you agree
with the authors), and another on the origin of Kathoeys, and the fact that
there was not just three genders in Thailand, but four! Turn to question 62 to
get their answer.
The authors do not go into much detail of their own bona fides, and there is
no bibliography at the end, though there are several pages of recommended
reading, so one has to presume that their answers were culled from the
reference books. Despite the leap of faith regarding the answers, I did find
this to be a good reference tool, providing the reader with good information
about Thailand. It is just a pity they did not include more information on
themselves and their sources, and an index.
At B. 745, it is not cheap, but still reasonable value. Well worth looking out
for at the local Bookazine, which supplied my copy.
Mott's CD Reviews: Bill Bruford’s Earthworks
Performing live in Thailand in June
Written by Mott the Dog
Applauded by Meow The Cat
Bill Bruford cut his teeth playing in many British blues boom band’s in the
mid Sixties. But finding that most bands expectations of a drummer were simply
to count them in and keep time, Bill Bruford took a look around to find
something a little more ambitious. This desire was fulfilled when he joined the
formative Yes in 1968 with Peter Banks on lead guitar, Chris Squire on bass,
Jon (then known as John) Anderson, and Tony Kaye on keyboards. Bill Bruford
stayed with Yes through various line-up changes, and five albums, quitting for
the first time during the recording of Yes’s triple live album Yessongs to be
replaced by Alan White.
Bill Bruford had been enticed away from the secure and lucrative drum stool of
Yes to throw his lot in with Robert Fripp who had a desire to kick start King
Crimson again. This was to prove to be the first of a trend where Bill Bruford
would follow musical challenge, instead of financial security. During his time
with Yes the great Buddy Rich had become an admirer of Bill Bruford’s drum
technique, there being no higher accolade in the drumming world.
When King Crimson fell apart Bill Bruford quickly found a place in the line-up
of National Health, a group formed out of the ashes of Canterbury sound band
Hatfield and the North. Bill Bruford also went out on the road with Roy
Harper’s Band which included Chris Spedding on lead guitar. Over the years
Bill Bruford has appeared on too many album sessions to mention in this review.
At this time Peter Gabriel had just left Genesis after their Lamb Lies Down On
Broadway tour. Instead of finding a new singer they simply moved the young
drummer Phil Collins from behind his drum kit to front of stage to sing the
songs. The trouble was, who was going to hit the skins? Phil Collins (no mean
drummer himself) announced that the only drummer in the world he would feel
happy with deputizing for him was Bill Bruford, so from March to November of
1976 Bill Bruford found himself as part of the tour band for Genesis. When
Bruford and Collins found themselves behind their separate drum kits at the
same time, it was a mighty sound.
But this was not a permanent arrangement, so when the suggestion was made to
form a new super group with like minded old pals Allan Holdsworth on guitar,
John Wetton on bass, and multi instrumentalist Eddie Jobson, fresh from his
stints with Frank Zappa and Roxy Music, the idea was put into motion and U.K.
was formed. But after one great self titled album, divisions formed; Allan
Holdsworth and Bill Bruford went off and formed Bruford for a couple of years,
whilst the other two carried on with U.K. replacing Bill Bruford with another
ex Zappa man Terry Bozio.
Then in 1980 the mighty King Crimson raised its mighty head again and Bill
Bruford joined the ranks for another four year successful journey. Then to add
another branch between the two supergroups Yes and King Crimson, Patrick Moraz,
the new Yes keyboard player left, and Bill Bruford left King Crimson to form
Moraz / Bruford from 1984 -1986. After this Bill Bruford formed the first
version of Earthworks with Django Bates and Iain Bellamy, allowing Bill Bruford
to get back to his jazz roots.
In 1986 Bill Bruford was asked to come back to the Yes camp (well sort of) to
record an album with Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe and himself. This
was fine but they were not allowed to use the Yes name, so the album was
released under their own names Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe (1988).
Supplemented by auxiliary members Tony Levin (the bassist from Bruford’s King
Crimson Days!), Milton MacDonald on rhythm guitar and Julian Colberg on
additional keyboards for the supporting tour. They could not use the Yes name
as there was still a band called Yes led by original Yes bass player Chris
When Bill Bruford once again got Earthworks back on the road, he regained his
sanity. Then for the third time, Robert Fripp and his King Crimson came an
asking. Bill Bruford found King Crimson in its double trio format of two
drummers, two bassists and two guitarists on the same stage. This time it
worked and from 1994 to 1997 King Crimson toured the Earth and neighbouring
planets to great critical acclaim, releasing live albums and DVDs.
But then the call of Earthworks became too much again, and Bill Bruford for the
last time left King Crimson to put together a new Earthworks in 1998. There
have been a few comings and goings in the line up as the band found their feet,
but they have now settled on a comfortable stable line up of Tim Garland on sax
and flute, an incredibly talented player and composer who has become Bill
Bruford’s partner in the band and is best known before for his association
with Chick Corea.
The other two in the band are a perfect blend of youth and experience. The
youth is supplied by Gwilym Simcock on keyboards who has already fronted his
own band and was the winner of the BBC Radio Rising Star Award. Completing the
band is the bass playing skills of Laurence Cottie. The music is definitely
jazz based, but there are a lot of elements of Progressive rock in their too.
Certainly the perfect blend to satisfy anybody with an ear for good music.
Now it is time for the Earthworks 20th Anniversary tour, which fortunately for
us includes Thailand. The promoter of the tour is Mark Bolam of Enlightened
Planet, who has already brought another brilliant jazz drummer, Billy Cobham,
to Pattaya on Saturday the 13th May at the Silverlake Vineyard. Billy Cobham
played a storming set to great critical acclaim, and much appreciation from the
Bill Bruford’s Earthworks will perform at Mahison Hall l at SCB Park on June
1st 2006, and then will play a one hour set at the Hua Hin Jazz Festival on
June 2nd 2006. Then on Saturday 3rd June Bill Bruford’s Earthworks will play
at Silverlake Vineyard in Pattaya. The venue has a seating capacity of only 400
so be prepared to be up close and intimate with the artists.
Siverlake Vineyards is run by the charming music enthusiast Dennis Dila who
will of course be there at the show and more than keen to answer any questions
you may have about future events at Silverlake Vineyards, and believe me the
plans are big.
Tickets are available through Thai Ticketmaster or select retail outlets around
Pattaya. If you want more information please look up www.silverla kethai.com or
Recent albums from Bill
2001 The Sound of Surprise
2002 Footloose and Fancy Free
2004 Random Acts of Happiness
2006 Earthworks Underground Orchestra
To contact Mott the Dog
email: [email protected]