This is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Azzy, the Nigerian Lady, was my first wife, and Lynda, a Thai lady from Ubon Ratchathani, was my second.
My marriage to Lynda was the shortest, by far, of all my marriages as the marriage wasn’t even consummated when it fell apart. The break up happened on my wedding day.
I met Lynda in the early 70’S in HP Massage Parlour, on Sukhumvit Road, opposite Soi Five, on land that is now occupied by the Landmark hotel.
If you look in ‘Mobi’s Story’ (Part 2), I recounted the events that led up to Lynda being ‘kidnapped’ on my wedding day and how I had to pay a ‘ransom’ to set her free.
It was a miserable, but mercifully short affair, and I soon put it to the back of my mind when I eventually took up my new job in Jakarta, Indonesia.
So followed a very drunken year in Indonesia, (also recounted in depth in ‘Mobi’s Story’), then a return to Thailand where all my savings disappeared in a matter of months. This resulted in me scratching out a living, teaching English in a suburban, low class technical college to a bunch of unruly students who had little or no desire to learn anything.
When even that meagre work failed to keep the ‘wolf from the door’, I managed to find my way back to England where, after a couple of months, I obtained a job back in the oil industry in Tripoli, Libya.
This lasted almost a year, before I had to flee the country with the cops on my tail for making and selling illegal alcohol.
Back in Bangkok, after a wild couple of weeks in Amsterdam, I ran into my friend, Dave, who I had first met at the Fortuna Hotel some three years earlier, and it was he who indirectly introduced me to the lady who was to become my third wife.
At that time Dave was running a recording studio which had been built in offices in Wireless Road, not far from the American Embassy. He had a Thai-Chinese partner who also had his business offices in the same compound.
I have also written about this in ‘Mobi’s Story’; about how I was persuaded to ‘throw in my lot’ with Dave’s partner. This was the first, but certainly not the last occasion in which Dave introduced me to a ‘trustworthy Thai’ who then did his utmost to relieve me of my hard-earned money.
In any event, Dave’s introduction to this dubious entrepreneur had effectively kick-started my helter- skelter career and my adventures in the pop music/ concerts / radio/TV entertainment business.
Most of Dave’s business during this period was involved with the writing and recording of music jingles for the advertising industry. He had made a few friends in that business and it was through their introductions that he started to get commissions from the advertising agencies, many of which in those days were run and partially staffed by foreigners.
Up to this point, there was virtually no original music or songs used in advertising in Thailand. Every commercial, be it radio, TV or cinema used music and/or songs dubbed or copied from commercial music albums. Copy-write laws were totally ignored, and there was no infrastructure or history of studios in Bangkok producing original music for the advertising industry.
Dave’s arrival on the scene changed all that, although it was a long time before he was able to command reasonable fees for his productions, as the agencies simply did not budget for original music. They only came to Dave when they were unable to find a suitable song or a piece of music to fit their ads.
In those days, The Derby King bar in Patpong was the place to go for all farangs who were in some way engaged in the advertising business in Bangkok.
The place was packed daily with farang advertising executives during their very long lunch ‘hours’. Then, after a brief afternoon respite, the bar would fill up once again after work.
It was inevitable that Dave would take me down to the Derby King, so one evening, shortly after I had returned to Bangkok from Libya, on my very first visit to that bar, that I met the girl who was to become Mrs. Mobi number three.
Nid (Part 1)
Back in 2000, I wrote a series of short stories based in Thailand, entitled, ‘Tales from Thailand’. I was very fortunate to have this humble volume published by a very small internet based, POD publisher. Unfortunately the book sank without trace, but at least I was published.
One of my stories had its origins in Patpong’s Derby King, so I thought it might be an idea to publish on my blog some excerpts from my story which was entitled “Mudita” and was written some 10 years ago.
“It is generally assumed that it was the arrival of American GI’s in Thailand during the Nineteen Sixties that spawned the growth of the Patpong ‘red light’ district of Bangkok. Some students of such fascinating snippets of history may not agree with this conclusion, but it is without doubt that the arrival of huge numbers of American military personnel into Thailand had a major influence, for good or bad, on certain aspects of Thai culture.
The American military command opted to use Thailand as their principal base to bomb the hell out of North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and for obvious reasons, they also used Thailand as one of their main regional drop off points for rest and recuperation, or ‘R. &. R.’
Back in those days, the pro western, authoritarian regime in Thailand, like other non-communist states in South Asia, subscribed to the western propagated ‘domino’ theory. In other words, they believed that each country in turn would be crushed and taken over by the communists, either Chinese or Russian – or possibly even both. This meant that during the period of the Vietnam War, Thailand benefited from having billions of American dollars injected into its economy, to such an extent that the dollar virtually became a dual currency with the Thai Baht. One Dollar was twenty Baht, an American quarter was five Baht and a dime was two Baht, all freely exchanged in the shops and markets of Bangkok and provincial cities.
Thais have always had a penchant for assimilating alien ideas and culture and reinventing them in a uniquely Thai way. One only has to look at modern Thai cuisine, which has embraced regional dishes and non-indigenous ingredients to produce an endless array of the most delicious food that can be found anywhere in the world.
And so it was that as the American bars started to surface in the towns which hosted American air bases, and countless Thai women discovered the joys that the Yankee dollars could bring to their impoverished lives. The Thais embraced this latest addition to their ever changing life style and the principal growth area for American-style hostess bars in Bangkok was in the locality of Patpong. The bars were more American than Thai, but retained a unique Thai ambience, that was more oriental than western. By the mid-seventies, western type go-go bars were also starting to appear, but even these had a distinctive Thai ‘flavour’…….
…….‘Some twenty-five odd years ago, the male members of the expatriate community in Bangkok, and in particular the Brits and Aussies, spent much of their leisure time in the ‘Derby King’, a bar in Bangkok’s infamous Patpong red light district. There was nothing particularly special about the ‘Derb’, (as the Aussies in particular would fondly refer to it); standard size, with the bar running along the right hand side of a long rectangular shaped room, liberally furnished with high bar stools. Open sitting booths with small drinks tables were crammed along the left-hand side, leaving barely sufficient space for customers and staff to squeeze along the narrow aisle in between.
In most respects The Derb was no different to the dozens of bars that were located on the main Patpong Road and its nearby environs. Go-Go dancing was in its infancy and most bars offered an assortment of attractive waitresses to serve the drinks and, if required, sit with customers for the price of a ‘lady’s’ drink. Other ‘services’ were also available, but I get ahead of myself.
The Derby King was indeed mainly patronised by expatriates, or ‘farangs’, (as they are called by the Thais), but strangely and somewhat incongruously, there was also a small thriving Thai clientèle who mixed happily with the farangs and helped give the bar its unique atmosphere.
The service was friendly but not pushy. No one felt under any obligation to buy drinks for the ladies. Indeed, although there were usually two or three good looking girls to cater for the occasional farang tourist who may stumble in – most of the female staff had seen better days.
The food was good – especially at lunchtime, and the Derby King had become a good place for a business lunch, the business district being conveniently located within a five-minute walk. It was also a good place to meet friends, or to have a couple a quiet drinks before setting out for an evening of hitting the high spots, or to stagger back to at the end of a night’s debauchery. It also happened to be an excellent place for those who were in a state of depression to quietly drown their sorrows.’
Indeed many of the ladies of the Derby King had certainly had seen better days, but there were one or two who belied that description and were as pretty and beguiling as any that could be found in the environs of Patpong in those far off days.
I hadn’t been in the Derb for more than ten minutes when I spotted one of the most beautiful ladies I had ever seen in my life. There is no doubt that she was a beauty by any standards. She was quite small, almost petite in stature – which is how like my women. She had a truly exquisitely formed face with a flawless, pale olive skin. This was complemented by her breathtaking figure, which she showed off to the full, dressed as she was in a tight blouse which tantalizingly revealed her generous cleavage and the ‘piece de resistance’, a very short, thigh hugging skirt which revealed almost all of her beautifully crafted and so enticing thighs.
In the following 35 years, I have rarely, if ever, found many to match Nid in both beauty and figure. She hailed from Lop Buri, (the invasion of the beauties from Issan had barely begun), spoke fluent, ‘bar girl’ English and was an extremely bubbly, fun-loving girl who was in her element when she was casting her charms and ‘playing’ with the high earning expatriates who were her daily customers.
She had no children; I was later to discover that she never practised any form of contraception but she simply never became pregnant. It must have been a medical issue of unknown origin as she was certainly impregnated often enough by any nyumber number of very fertile males.
I had just been on an eleven month stint in Libya, where female companions were few and far between, so it was inevitable that just one look at Nid and I was completely bowled over.
Nid saw me looking at her and immediately came over to say ‘hello’ and persuade me to buy her a drink. One drink followed another and it wasn’t long before I was asking her to go home with me.
Dave, who was sitting next to me, wasn’t too impressed with this turn of events. He told me that it was OK to have a bit of fun with Nid in the bar, but it was quite another to take her home. I enquired why, but only received a mumbled and confusing reply to the effect that he didn’t think Nid was the right lady for me.
This only served to increase my desire to get Nid into my bed and as she seemed willing enough, I duly paid her bar fine, and off we went in a taxi to the Mobi’s apartment, which in those early days, still flush with money saved in Libya, was a pretty decent affair on Sukhumvit, soi 24.
From that day forward, Nid never went back to work at the Derby King, although she spent plenty of time back there as a ‘paying’ customer. At first, we would go to the bar daily to pay her bar fine, but after a couple of weeks, Nid decided that as she was staying with me on a long term basis she should quit her job and save the money.
I had no problems with this suggestion, and as a consequence Nid became my permanent ‘live-in’.
Both us would still go regularly to the Derby King of an evening to meet with Dave and other friends that I had made there in the weeks since I had been back in Bangkok. I would invariably end up the worst for wear, and Nid would have to help me into a taxi for the ride back home, where I would immediately fall asleep on the sofa.
Even in those early days, Nid would frequently disappear, both when were in Patpong together, or when I was in my apartment, without ever providing me with satisfactory explanations for her long absences.
I was very naïve in the ways of Thailand and Thai whores in those days, (some would say, I still am!), and although her behaviour was a source of irritation, I never really gave it too much thought.
I was too preoccupied with my new career in the wonderful world of entertainment, with Dave’s Thai partner, an outwardly charming man, who spoke excellent English. He was Ittiput.
Ittiput was a genuine entrepreneur who loved pop music and was determined to make his mark and change the entertainment scene in Thailand forever. In this respect he was a true pioneer, and although now he is long gone and forgotten, it is unlikely that Thailand would have made the breakthrough that it did at that time in so many aspects of western music entertainment if it hadn’t been for his dedication and dreams.
But for Ittiput’s dreams to come true, he needed investment funds, and he was far too canny a Chinese to invest his own money.
Enter Mobi, stage left…
Nid (Part 2)
Ittiput was one of those ‘larger than life’ characters. He was a very charismatic person who spoke excellent English and was full of drive and enthusiasm for his entertainment ‘projects’. In fact the business of entertainment was his life, and it consumed all his thinking – ‘24/7’.
You wouldn’t think he was a ‘hot shot’ in the entertainment business when you first met him.
He looked older than his years – a short, stout, semi-bald man, with a round, Chinese face, upon which he wore large, horn rimmed spectacles. But as soon as he spoke, you tended to forget his outward appearance and immediately became captivated by his enthusiasm for the subject under discussion. He had a wry sense of humour and even if you had some reservations on a deal or a course of action he may have been proposing, in the end, his sheer passion always won you over.
Ittiput was from a very reputable, Thai-Chinese family of influence and most of his forbears had held high positions in the military or the police force. So to that extent, Ittiput was a bit of a ‘black sheep’, but as you will see as my tale continues, he was more greyish- white than black.
When I first knew Ittiput, he and his female partner performed all the DJ duties for his myriad radio programmes. He specialised in playing the very latest hits from the UK and USA, and he had built up a huge following amongst the students and younger generation who lived in greater Bangkok.
He had been successful in attracting an number of influential sponsors to his programmes, including a major soft drink company who also took a share in the company he had recently set up to run and co-ordinate his ever growing business activities.
Before my arrival, he had arranged Thailand’s very first concert involving western artists. It had been a modest affair in a hotel venue but had been surprisingly successful and tickets for all performances had sold out resulting in a small profit for Ittiput’s company. The success was no doubt due to Ittiput’s 24/7 promotion on his radio outlets. This quickly taught Ittiput the value of radio promotion.
In addition to Ittiput’s successful radio business and fledgling concert promotion business, he was also broadcasting on Thai Television and had promoted a number of live concerts in and around the capital involving Thai bands.
My friend Dave had been involved in Ittiput’s concerts as a sound engineer and he had also recorded some of the Thai bands using his own mobile recording equipment. So Dave had decided to form a partnership with Ittiput and set up a proper music recording studio at Ittiput’s offices on Wireless Road.
When I came on the scene, Dave’s studios had just been completed and Ittiput’s business was really starting to take off. In another part of the office complex, Ittiput had built two radio recording studios, as by now he had so much air time that it was not possible for him and his partner to transmit every programme ‘live’. As a result, many hours were spent in these studios, by Ittiput, his girl friend and other recently recruited DJ’s to pre-record programmes that were to be broadcast later that day.
Dave introduced me to Ittiput and almost immediately the wily entrepreneur seemed to take a ‘shine’ to me. I was to learn later that he always exercised maximum charm when mixing with farangs. I think that he considered all farangs ‘marks’ – people who he could manipulate at will and get whatever he wanted out of them. He was a very clever man.
Ittiput suggested that I might like to think about working for him as he was in need of a ‘farang’ who could help in the development of his pop concert promotion business and also become involved in the general management of his business. When he learned that I had an accounting background, he further suggested that I consider take over management of his bookkeeping and accounts. If he was going to employ me, he wanted his pound of flesh.
For Mobi, having barely been back in Thailand a few weeks, and wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life, this sounded like an ‘offer from heaven’ and I told him that his proposal sounded very interesting.
As was his habit, once he caught his ‘fish’, he deliberately left it ‘dangling’; not fully committing himself to a deal but playing on the ‘mark’s good will and desire to work for him in order to obtain his services completely free of charge, for as long as possible.
At the time of my first meetings with Ittiput, he was negotiating with one of Australia’s most popular pop groups to come to Bangkok and perform a New Year’s Eve gig in one of Bangkok’s upmarket hotels.
This promotion was much more ambitious than his only previous promotion involving foreigners, (which he had managed to obtain on the ‘cheap’) and he was planning to hold a concert style performance in the afternoon, followed by a luxury dinner/concert in the evening to ring in the New Year.
It was going to be quite an expensive affair, and he needed to charge a high price for tickets in order to cover his considerable costs and make a profit.
This was undoubtedly a high risk in this venture. Nobody had ever paid the kind of price Ittiput was proposing to charge to attend a concert in Bangkok before, and the whole concept of having a New Year’s dinner, being entertained by an Australian pop group, was a revolutionary concept. There was no guarantee that the ‘hoi polloi’ of Bangkok would be interested in celebrating their New Year’s Eve in such a manner.
But I was totally ignorant of all these risk issues. I was an utterly naive person who had been captivated by Thailand and Ittiput’s charm. I took comfort and reassurance from Dave’s assurances that Ittiput was a good, honourable business man who knew what he was doing and was ‘on the way up’.
As the contract with the Australians was being finalised, Ittiput asked me if I was interested in investing in the concert promotion. He showed me the figures which projected a substantial profit if both shows were a sell-out and it took little effort to persuade me to invest a 50% share from my hard earned savings.
Once the contract was signed, things almost immediately started to go wrong. It transpired that the Group’s sound equipment requirements, of which in those days I knew absolutely nothing, were simply not available in Thailand.
Ittiput had known this from day one, but had been banking on his powers of persuasion to convince the group to use locally available, but inferior sound equipment. This was one of the first lessons of international concert promotion that both Ittiput and I learned the hard way. Western artists will rarely, if ever, compromise on their equipment requirements and once the list is agreed in the contract, they will refuse to perform if the promoter cannot provide what has been requested.
The only solution was to airfreight into Bangkok the requested equipment from Australia, and this became the first of many very large, un-budgeted expenses. The bill to bring this equipment into Thailand spiralled ever higher as Ittiput had to negotiate huge ‘bungs’ with customs to let it all in without delay.
There were countless other unexpected costs – this was the first ‘real’ western promotion that Thailand had ever seen and we were learning as we went.
Ultimately, it wasn’t the additional expense that was our downfall, for if we had succeeded in our aim to have two ‘sell- out’ shows, we would have at the very least broken even.
But the concert ticket prices were too high; the kids weren’t buying them, and the evening dinner/concert was just too unorthodox to capture the imagination of the rich and famous.
It was becoming a disaster and I could see my hard earned investment rapidly disappearing.
In the end, the shows were a long way from a total disaster. The group were very good, the imported sound system was awesome and we probably had about a 50% turnout for the afternoon concert and maybe a little more than that for the dinner show.
All who had seen the show were totally bowled over and the ‘word of mouth’ positive feedback, plus the ongoing promotion of the group on Ittiput’s radio programmes all conspired to turn a little known Australian Pop group into one of the most popular western bands in Thailand. Their music was played continuously for years, and in those days the ubiquitous juke boxes always contained a number of the groups’ songs which were played over and over again.
The momentum that commenced at that New Year’s Eve promotion resulted in three return concerts by that group in the following years, when they played in huge stadiums to sell out, hysterical teenagers.
But poor Mobi had lost all his stake money in that very first concert, and was not in a position to re-invest when early losses were turned into substantial profit in subsequent promotions.
As for Nid, well it was too early in our relationship for her to fully appreciate that her boyfriend had just lost a substantial part of his savings.
Nid was content to bask in the perceived ‘glory’ of being the girlfriend of a concert promoter who was working with the now famous Ittiput group. She knew how to dress and was outwardly accepted by Ittiput and his colleagues, even though they must have realised the nature of her background.
To her credit, Nid was never intimidated or phased by these ‘Hi-So” people I was working with; she gave as good as she got and seem to mix in very well.
Sometime later, when our relationship was well established, her frequent appearances at Ittiput’s offices to visit with me was considered perfectly normal and she was always treated with the respect deserving of the girl friend of one of Ittiput’s senior managers.
In fact one our newer DJ’s, a Hi-So lady from an extremely wealthy Thai- Chinese family, (who by the way spoke incredibly fluent English, as she was educated in the USA from a young age), was due to have a large society wedding reception at the Oriental Hotel. Incredibly, both Mobi and Nid received a formal invitation for this auspicious occasion.
We duly attended the ‘event’ but as neither of us had been versed on how to behave on such occasions, we made a few fopas which even today provoke a slight cringe.
The worst one was when we handed over a gift-wrapped wedding present to the bride’s parents, as we took our turn at the head of the reception line. The order of the day on such occasions is to bring an envelope containing money. I still recall the look of embarrassment when they took our gift, and quickly put it out of sight under a table before turning their attention to the next guest in the line.
But in those heady days, in spite of losing a great deal of money, I was relatively happy. I was involved in an exciting business and Ittiput, after falling over himself to apologise for my concert losses, finally put me on the payroll of his company. Mind you the salary he paid me was a pittance – nowhere near enough for me to live on.
I didn’t mind as I still had some savings remaining and I felt sure that ‘something would come up’. Then, to top it all, I was living with this stunning, feisty lady who I was fast becoming totally infatuated with.
Little did I realise the troubles, emotional trauma, lies, deceit and my descent into a drugged hell that was waiting for me just around the corner.
Nid (Part 3)
I settled into a routine with Ittiput’s company and attended his offices daily to perform my newly agreed duties in return for the meagre salary that Ittiput had agreed to pay me.
Work permitting; I would spend my nights getting drunk with Nid and the gang in the Derby King, so I rarely arrived at the office before 10 in the morning, sometimes even later.
This didn’t bother anyone too much as Ittiput himself never arrived before noon and on most days we would all stay there until well into the late the evening.
I had only been there a few weeks when Ittiput told me that he had joined the police force. Using his family connections, he had gained instant admittance as a commissioned officer, and after attending a brief training course had been assigned to a station in Bangkok. Every morning he would check in with his new employer before making his way to his office, usually arriving there by noon.
I was somewhat mystified at the time as to why he would bother to join the police force when he had a fast growing business in the private sector. But of course in the those far off days, I had little or no appreciation of how things got done in this wonderful land of smiles, ‘face’ and ‘mis-truths’.
Apart from my regular duties which involved overseeing the accounts and dealing with all English correspondence, I was also assigned to oversee the operations of Dave’s business in the studio next door and, crucially, I was responsible for contacting and negotiating with the agents of overseas artists with a view to persuading them to perform concerts in Thailand.
The loss making New Year’s Eve concert proved to be a breakthrough for our company. Up to that point, most of the western entertainment world had given Thailand a wide berth as the few previous attempts to bring performing artists to Thailand had all ended in disaster when the Thai promoters would break contracts and the artists were cheated out of their performance fees.
Our concerts with the Aussie pop group changed all that. The manager of the group was very impressed with our apparent integrity, and the fact that we kept to the contract even though we had obviously lost a lot of money.
He was particularly impressed with yours truly, Mobi, and in a pattern that was repeated time and time again in subsequent years, the presence of a ‘respectable Englishman’ at the helm of the Thai promotion company became a strong ‘selling point’ when trying to persuade an artist to perform in Bangkok.
The Aussie pop group manager introduced us to a wide range of Australian artists and also Australian promoters and it was this breakthrough that enabled us to slowly build up a network of show business contacts, not only in Australia but also in the UK, the USA and throughout the western world.
I corresponded regularly with these contacts, and discussed the possibilities of bringing various artists and groups to Thailand.
As a result of this networking, we started to receive regular visits from agents and managers take a look at us and at potential performance venues.
We entertained all these VIP’s in true Thai tradition. Ittiput would be in his element on such occasions, and Mobi would always be on hand to take over the entertainment in the small hours if the particular VIP had shown a penchant to visit the seedier side of Bangkok life.
Not that Ittiput was above such activities – he was just in a different social class. He did his ‘procuring’ in a slightly different manner.
Patpong was not the place for him. His ‘modus operandi’ of obtaining female company for our honoured guests was to engage the ‘services’ of minor movie stars.
As a consequence, many a dinner in some up market restaurant would be graced by the presence of a gorgeous, impeccably dressed Thai lady and it never ceased to amuse me when, at the bewitching hour, our honoured guest would depart with the ‘actress’, and Ittiput would whisper to his guest how much to pay her.
Dear old Ittiput was not about to provide free whores to anyone.
The second promotion I became involved with was a return of the Aussie group that had ‘bombed’ at New Year.
As I have already related, the post-concert interest in this group grew to fever pitch; so learning from our previous mistakes, we went in search of a much larger venue which would enable us to reduce the price of tickets and make them affordable to the youth of Bangkok.
This was decades before the advent of Muang Thong Thani and other modern venues that have since sprung up in Bangkok so we eventually settled on a place called the National Gymnasium, which was a pretty large building, in the National Stadium complex at Patumwan.
I cannot recall the number of people this building could accommodate, but it certainly ran into several thousand.
Once we signed the contract for the return visit there was a huge amount of work to do and obstacles to overcome.
As on the previous occasion, virtually all the equipment had to be air freighted in from Australia, which once again created it’s own customs nightmares.
The gym was just a very large floor. We had to build a huge stage, lighting gantries and put in seating to accommodate the audience. Nothing on this scale had ever been attempted in Thailand before. We were the pioneers in the pop concert business, truly breaking new ground.
And everything had to be done to the specification and requirements of the group.
Fortunately some of the key members of the Aussie back stage crew came to Bangkok a few weeks ahead of the scheduled performances and they worked with us to obtain all the equipment needed and to supervise the building of the stage and lighting.
On these and subsequent occasions, I worked like a slave. Not only was I responsible for the contractual matters, ticketing and box office, (including setting up outlets in department stores and shops who would sell tickets on our behalf), but I had to ‘front’ all dealings with the groups’ management and staff. I had to work with the staff to make sure everything went as planned and on schedule – a nightmare task.
Then once the group arrived in Bangkok, Mobi had to play ‘mine host’, and take care of all the artists’ demands and requirements, including stocking up the ‘green room’ with food and booze, all in accordance with contract specifications.
So I was everywhere – 24/7 and it was a giddy, non-stop nightmare, full of stress and potential disaster.
But I loved every minute of it, especially those moments, after countless sleepless nights, when the artists would finally take to the stage, to the screams and adulation of a sell out crowd. Then that that incredible, ear-splitting sound would emit from the huge PA system and envelope the audience in a whirlwind of their much loved songs.
The gymnasium concerts were a total sell-out. I can recall well dressed middle aged business men coming by our office on the days just prior to the performance dates, begging us to sell them tickets, which were simply not available as they had all been sold, weeks earlier. People would rush around Bangkok to all the various outlets selling tickets in the mad hope that they could find some unsold tickets.
The whole of Bangkok had reached fever pitch and the group’s songs were being played on every radio station.
The concerts were an unqualified success, although the audience went so wild that there was considerable damage done to the venue by the seething crowds, which ultimately put a huge dent in our profits for the concerts.
This particular venue was never used again for a pop concerts as the government decided that it was unsuitable and should only be used for sporting events.
But Ittiput and his company had put themselves well and truly on the entertainment map and the future for this dedicated entrepreneur was very rosy indeed.
Of course poor Mobi received nothing but his regular salary for all his effort – not even a bonus for the extra hours and work he had put it – clearly over and above what could have reasonably been expected.
But I didn’t give it a second thought. I loved what I was doing; I had made good friends with a number of the group and their entourage, had had a wonderful time drinking and carousing with them.
Nid seemed to be behaving herself and accompanied me for much of the time, both before, during and after the concerts.
At the time of the first concert, she knew no more than me about this Aussie Group, but by the time the second concert came around, the group were a household name and she was very impressed with me and my role and continued to bask in the glory of the occasions.
But my savings were getting ever lower and I was living well beyond my means. The money I was able to give Nid had to be substantially reduced, so she suggested that we move to cheaper accommodation.
This sounded like a good idea and after a brief look around for available rooms, we eventually decided to move to a new, 8 storey apartment block that had recently been completed in Patunam, just across from the old fresh food market, which has long since disappeared. The block had been designed to accommodate Thai residents and consisted of large, unfurnished single rooms, with a single WC.
The rent was very reasonable, but I had to spend yet more of my savings to furnish the place.
Once we moved in, I was quite content; as I had substantially reduced one of my major overheads (rent) and I now lived within walking distance of my office and would save still further money on taxis and tuk-tuks.
It was soon after we moved to Patunam that Nid suggested that we get married. This was long before the days when bar girls would require their farangs to build houses for their families or indeed come up with a sinsod as a condition of marriage. I just took it as a sign that she wanted to make our relationship more permanent and give her greater security.
So one way or another I needed little persuading and a quick trip to the local amphur, which was a relatively simple business in those days, meant that we became man and wife. No wedding reception, no ceremony, no ring – nothing; just a marriage certificate.
Looking back and thinking about what transpired, I struggle to understand why she wanted to marry me. Even after all these years it is still a bit of a mystery, bearing in mind what happened later.
Maybe at the time we were married she really did intend to be a loving, faithful wife.
I suspect that the incident I shall recount in Part 3 of this story was the catalyst that may well have triggered a change of heart on the part of my beautiful new bride, who by this time, I held in total adulation.
Nid (Part 4)
I was becoming quite well known in Bangkok’s entertainment circles.
Every two to three months, we brought another ‘name act’ to Bangkok. Some were long-established singers and groups, such as the New Seekers, Brotherhood of Man. The Supremes, Vicki Car, Eartha Kitt and others were newer acts who we could get ‘on the cheap’.
We promoted these acts at the ballrooms of some of Bangkok’s top hotels, such as: The Dusit Thani, The Oriental,The Ambassador, The Indra and many more. The shows would be staged at whatever hotel that Ittiput could cut the best deal regarding ballroom rent, room rates for the stars and their entourage and the prices for food.
For this type of promotion, we would typically hold a concert-style show in the afternoon, followed by a dinner show in the evening, when many the ‘hoi polloi’ of Bangkok would attend in large numbers.
Then there were the pop concerts which catered principally to the younger crowds. For these promotions we needed larger venues to make the whole thing financially viable. We weren’t about the repeat the mistake of that first concert, where Mobi in particular had lost so much of his money.
But as previously stated, this was in the days before the advent of Muang Thong Thani and some other large venues which now grace the Bangkok skyline, so we were forever on the lookout for a new venue that could be used for our concerts.
The National Gymnasium was now off limits, but we managed to book the Indoor Stadium at Huamark, which proved a great success, and acts such as Donny and Marie Osmond, Christopher Cross and Tina Charles were promoted there.
Then we discovered Prakanong Theatre – long since gone. This was an absolutely massive cinema auditorium with a large stage and must have held at least 3000 seats. It was ideal for our purposes and became a regular venue for our concerts for the younger crowd.
Osibissa, David Essex, Sherbet, Dr Hook, Jigsaw, and many more pop acts from that era were promoted to sell out performances at the Prakanong Theatre, which for a while became our regular venue.
One of the biggest stars we promoted during that period was Debbie Harry and Blondie. ‘New Wave’ was just becoming established in Europe and at the time we promoted Blondie, was literally a few months before they became a worldwide phenomenon.
So we got them cheap, but as we weren’t sure of their drawing power so we compromised on venues and promoted them for couple of concerts at the ambassador Hotel.
To this day I well recall the press conference that preceded the concerts when Debbie Harry and her then husband, Blondie guitarist Chris Stein were wheeled out to answer questions from the Thai press.
True to her ‘punk’ origins, she treated the questioners with disdain and provided insolent, anarchic replies, most of which, thankfully, went over the reporters’ heads.
Then came the moment I will never forget.
Debbie, who was looking absolutely gorgeous in an extremely tight T-shirt and close fitting jeans, noticed that many of the press core were wearing “Blondie” T-shirts which we had pirated and given out as a ‘freebie’ to encourage them to write nice things about the forthcoming performances.
She turned to Ittiput and asked if she could have one, whereupon one of our staff duly obliged.
In full view of the assembled press core, she stood up, whipped off her T-shirt to reveal her wonderful bra-less breasts, and then quickly slipped on the Blondie T-Shirt that she had just been given.
Such was the speed of the change of clothes that I doubt any of the photographers present were alert enough to snap her naked torso. I think they were initially too shocked to press their camera buttons and by the time they had come their senses, it was too late.
Those were good times for Mobi. I would socialise with many of the artists and take them to some of the night spots around Bangkok, and bask in the reflected glory of being with, and drinking with the famous stars of the time.
Debbie and Chris were mainly interested in getting high on ‘gunja’ and other ‘recreational’ drugs which would be procured for them by one of Ittiput’s less respectable associates, and then we would all go out to a night club where all and sundry would get stoned out of their minds.
For many of the groups, we would throw in a free holiday in Pattaya as an incentive to come and perform in Bangkok, and once again it was down to Mobi to be tour guide, prostitute- procurer and drinking pal in chief.
Then it would be back to the office to take care of the mountain of paper work and accounting that would build up during a concert promotion, before hot -footing it to the venue to ensure that the green room was properly stocked in accordance with the artists’ contracts.
I would invariably spend much time in the Green room taking care of the artists before and after their performances.
I drank hard and worked hard, receiving a pittance from Ittiput for my super-human efforts, but I loved every moment of it.
There is nothing like the thrill of a sell-out concert, with the kids yelling their lungs out and the artists strutting their stuff on the big stage. During the shows I would usually stand at the side of the stage, or maybe at the sound mixing desk, already tanked up on beer, and revel in the deafening sounds echoing across the auditorium.
At such times, my adrenalin would be at bursting point; I was happy to be alive and to have been instrumental in creating such an event. Without Mobi, I used to think, it would never have happened.
My beloved Nid would be given a stack of complimentary tickets for every show. She would duly turn up with her own little Thai entourage and enjoy the reflected fame of being with Mobi and the artists at the end of the day’s gig.
Looking back, I think that Nid was in two minds about her relationship with me.
Sure, she enjoyed the aura and lifestyle of being with a farang who promoted international concerts, but she was less than impressed with the money that I was now giving her at the end of each month.
This conflict of emotions came to head one evening when I received a visit from a Thai couple, who I had known for some time. They ran their own radio shows and like Ittiput, were also crazy about western pop music.
I knew that the girl came from a very hi-so family (her father had been in the cabinet of the previous government) and the man was a very well known DJ.
It transpired that they were suffering from cash flow problems at their radio station and were looking for a short term ‘bridging’ loan to pay for their ‘air time’ until their main sponsor paid them at the end of the month.
They told me that they were desperate, and that if they didn’t pay the station what they owed on the following day, they would be off the air.
They told me that they needed 100,000 Baht, which was a great deal of money in those days. I still had about 200,000 left from my savings and I couldn’t see any problems in lending them the money for a couple of weeks until their sponsor’s money came through. She was from a good family, he was a famous D.J.
In my naive mind, there was no risk. So I agreed.
When Nid realised what I was proposing to do she went completely ballistic. She told me that they would cheat me and not pay me back, but I thought she was talking out of her backside and told her so. I had known these people for several years – they were good friends and very respectable. Of course they would pay me back.
So the next day I met the couple at my bank and gave them the money.
Nid didn’t stop railing at me for lending them the money. I couldn’t wait for the end of the month when I would be able to prove to her that not all Thais were dishonest and that I would be repaid on time, as promised.
Of course Nid was right and I was wrong. The end of the month came and went and there was no sign of the money. I tried calling them, but they weren’t answering their phones.
Nid was becoming more and more incensed.
A month past and no word from either of my borrowers, and in desperation I decided to go to the DJ’s radio station and confront him about his debt. I doubt if I would have ever dared to take such drastic action if Nid hadn’t been so seriously ‘on my case’.
I duly met both of them when the man had finished his radio show and they were full of apologies for not repaying the debt. They explained to me that some further complications had arisen, but they would be in a position to give me the money at the end of the current month which was some three weeks away.
Mollified and reasonably confident that they would keep their word, I returned home to report what had transpired to Nid. She immediately ‘blew up’ and told me in no uncertain terms what a fool I was to believe them yet again.
Of course, yet again, Nid was right.
The end of the month came and went and not a ‘dicky bird’ from my borrowers.
By this time I was starting to realise that Nid had been right all along and I should never have lent the money to my so-called friends. I also was starting to fear for the first time that I would never get it back.
I didn’t know what to do. Nid was still furious with me for lending them the money in the first place, and what remained of my own little nest egg was fast running out.
Then one day Nid vanished.
Nid (Part 5)
Yes, it was the first of many times that Nid disappeared without notice.
Much later, long after we had broken up for the final time I realised that she disappeared for two reasons. One was her need for more money, now that I was no longer able to keep her in the manner to which she was accustomed, but equally important was veracious sexual appetite. She needed many sexual partners. She was very horny lady, probably a nymphomaniac and there was no way, all those years ago, that I could properly satisfy her needs in this department. As a rule Nid would look to farangs to provide her with money and to Thai men to satisfy her sexual needs.
Upon her return, a few days later, her disgust with me for lending the money continued unabated.I was becoming increasingly anxious to get my loan repaid and I continued to call the two recalcitrant debtors every day.
When I first lent them the money, they had given me a post dated cheque which when due, had bounced again and again when I had tried to present it at their bank.They kept making new promises that they never kept, so once again I decided to go to the radio station to confront them. This I did for three days in a row and on the third day I warned them that if they didn’t pay up I would lodge a complaint with the police and show them the bad cheque.
Issuing cheques without sufficient funds in the bank of the issuer is a criminal offence in Thailand and can result in a jail term, if convinced. I hated making this threat to my ‘so-called’ friends, but I was so desperate to get Nid off my back, that I was prepared to do anything.
They finally realised that I was very serious and I wouldn’t give up until they paid me back. In addition, they were becoming increasingly embarrassed by me, waiting for them at their place of work every day. They were starting to lose face – big time, as all the staff there knew the reason for my visits.
Nevertheless I was quite taken aback when, on my fourth visit to the radio station, at long last they handed me an envelope containing the borrowed money. I was ecstatic and breathed a huge sigh of relief, and hurried home to my room in Patunam to show Nid the money.
In a wild moment of foolhardiness, I handed the money over to Nid, saying::
“Here, you take care of my money for me. You can use it to pay our living expenses for the next few months. You can use a few hundred Baht to buy some new clothes if you like”, I added in a moment of generosity.
Little did I realise what I had just done.
Nid needed no second bidding and the following day we went to celebrate the return of our money at The Derby King in Patpong. During our stay at the bar, Nid announced that she and a few friends from the bar wanted to go and spend a night in Pattaya on the following day, which was a Sunday, and they would all be back in Bangkok on Monday morning. I was happy to agree to this, not realising what was really in Nid’s mind.
Sure enough all the bar girls went for a ‘girls night out’ in Pattaya on the Sunday, and duly returned in time for work on Monday morning, minus one lady – the elusive Nid. When Nid hadn’t returned home on Monday morning, as promised, I went down to The Derby King at lunch time and asked the girls if they knew where she was.
They were all very evasive and said they had no idea what had happened to her. She had gone to Pattaya with them but they hadn’t seen her since. At first I wasn’t too bothered. I simply assumed she had decided to extend her holiday for a day or so and would be back any day.
But day followed day, and the days turned into weeks. One week became two , then three and eventually a whole month had passed with no word from her – nothing.
This was long before the days of mobile phones and it was impossible to contact her. I didn’t even know for sure that she was still in Pattaya. She could be anywhere.
I had a feeling that the girls in the Derby King knew where she was as they were all so fidgety and evasive when I asked them if they had any idea where she may be. They just assured me that she would come back soon. How did they know that?
To make matters worse, I had given her a 100,000 Baht. Maybe she would never come back!
I became increasingly frantic. I couldn’t eat, only drink. I would spend my days and nights in the Derby King drowning my sorrows in booze.
Looking back, I realise what a fool I was and how everyone, (girls and farangs alike), knew exactly what Nid was all about and just regarded me as a stupid, gullible farang. In the end I could stand it no longer and decided to pack an overnight bag and take the bus to Pattaya and see if I could track my wife down.
Pattaya was still in its early stages of development in those days, and was still pretty much a small village. I thought that if Nid was there, I had a fair chance of finding her. Upon arrival in Pattaya, I checked into a cheap hotel and was up at dawn the next day to start the search for my missing wife and money.
Amazingly, I didn’t have to search very long.
As luck would have it, I was walking along the beach at around 8 a.m. the following morning, when there, as large as life, was Nid, in a stunning looking outfit that showed off every curve of her sensuous body; arm in arm with a young Thai man.
We caught sight of each other literally at the same moment. There was nowhere for Nid to hide and it was too late for her to take her hand away from her Thai boyfriend.
I was totally speechless, but Nid was full of rage at being caught red-handed.
Thai girls are old hands at such potentially disastrous confrontations and have long ago learned that old adage: ‘the best form of defence is attack!’
All the indignation should have been on my side.
Nid, my wife had taken a large wad of my money and had promptly disappeared for weeks after telling me she would be going to Pattaya for one night with her friends. To make matters worse, she was caught red-handed with a handsome, young Thai man, obviously her lover.
But she started yelling at me – demanding to know what I was doing in Pattaya, and why was I ‘following her’?
I was so taken aback by the vehemence of her anger that I didn’t know what to say, and just mumbled something to the effect that I had been worried about her.
She slightly softened her demeanour, asked me where I was staying and told me to go there and she would meet me later that morning.
I was so infatuated with her and so incapable of independent thought that I obeyed her like an automaton.
She was true to her word and came to my room an hour later and together we returned to Bangkok. When we returned to our room she berated me yet again, this time for the state of our room and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening tidying up and cleaning the room, which had admittedly been left in a pretty dire state.
Then came the body blow. She announced she would return to Pattaya that night and wouldn’t come back again until the following week. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing but felt powerless to stop her. She had made no reference to the money, or gave me any explanation as to what she was doing in Pattaya, except that she was enjoying herself with ‘friends’.
Before I realised what had happened, she had packed her bag with some fresh clothes and was gone in the night, leaving me sitting there, alone, the stupid cuckold husband; the idiot farang. For the first time since I had met Nid, I started to seriously question what on earth I had got myselfinto. For the first time I started to seriously consider the possibility of leaving her. As much as I was besotted with her, I was being treated with total callousness and this couldn’t be allowed to continue
In the event, Nid returned after a couple of days, with no explanation of what had curtailed her latest sojourn and she just settled back into life as though nothing had ever happened. Of course the money was never mentioned again.
Years later, looking back on that first serious problem with Nid, I could only surmise what had really happened. I was to learn much later of her penchant for Thai men and she was probably keeping that man in Pattaya, with my money. The young man had probably discarded Nid the minute that the money had run out.
So life rumbled along. I was continuing to burn the mid night oil, with concert promotions and entertaining all the myriad agents and other show business contacts that were increasingly turning up in Bangkok; with offers of procuring artists for concerts and demanding to be shown the delights that Bangkok had to offer. There was rarely a quiet moment.
One day Ittiput mentioned to me that when he was at the passport office applying for was new passport, had had seen my wife, Nid there. He had spoken to her and asked her why she wanted a passport and she had told him; “Just in case Mobi decides to take me with him to England.”
Nid hadn’t said anything to me about getting a passport, but I was so preoccupied with my work that I barely gave it a second thought.
Maybe three to four months after her last disappearing act, Nid suddenly announced one day that she had to go up country to her home in Lop Buri as her mother was very ill. It sounded plausible enough and when she told me she would be gone about a week I wished her “God speed’ and hoped that her mother would get better soon.
As before, one week turned to two and just as I was starting to fear the worst, I received a letter from her in the regular Thai post, addressed to me in English, but with the body of the letter in Thai. I took the letter to a Thai friend for translation. In effect, she told me that her mother was still very ill so she couldn’t return home for the time being.
I was considerably cheered by this missive and thought that this time she really was telling me the truth.
Another two weeks went by and I was starting to feel uneasy once again, when lo and behold, another letter arrived for me. It was very similar in content to the first letter and I was starting to feel slightly uneasy. In spite of these genuine letters, with genuine postmarks, I was beginning to smell a rat. I was now missing her like crazy, but recalled with a sinking feeling the previous episode in Pattaya, so I resolved to take both letters to the Derby King in Patpong and get another opinion on the contents of the letters and what was really going on.
I handed the letters to the elderly bar tender at the Derby King, who I had known since my arrival back in Thailand and who spoke very good English. I asked her for a fresh translation.
She looked at me, looked at the letters and smiled. I asked her why she was smiling but she said nothing, except to give me pretty much the same translation that I had already received from my Thai friend. Then she showed the letters to some of the other bar girls and they all had a good laugh and smiled at me.
I knew something was up. I knew that they knew something but they weren’t about to tell me. I looked at them, demanding to know what was going on, but their lips were sealed. I could tell they were sorry for me and wanted to tell me, wanted to say what Nid was up to but their ‘code of honour’ prevented them. I stared imploringly at one, particularly sympathetic girl, who I knew quite well. I watched her as she turned and looked towards some post cards that had been cello-taped to the bottom of the large mirror behind the bar.
I followed her gaze, looked at the postcards and could see that they were from some European destination. I could see buildings and gardens clearly on one of them. My suspicions were at fever pitch.
Before anyone realised what I was up to. I walked round the bar and pulled two of the post cards from their mountings. The pictures on both cards were scenes of was Amsterdam. The writing on the back was all in Thai. All that is, except for the tell tale signatures which jumped straight out at me. They were in English and they said: “NID”!!
Nid (Part 7)
My suspicions had been aroused ever since that second letter had arrived. It was all too ‘pat’ and seemed somehow contrived – especially as the translated text sounded almost identical to the first letter. There was no up-date on the state of health of Nid’s mother and no indication of when Nid might be coming back to Bangkok, so when I saw the knowing smiles and glances being exchanged by Nid’s ex-working colleagues at the Derby king that day, I knew something was up.
But nothing could have prepared me for the tremendous shock I felt when I discovered the truth. She wasn’t up-country in Thailand taking care of her ailing Mum; she was in Amsterdam, undoubtedly being entertained by a farang punter.
The elderly Bar tender, Yai, made to grab the cards back from me but I held onto them grimly; poring over every inch of them, trying to discern exactly what Nid was up to. But apart from the innocuous photographs on the front which bore pictures of Amsterdam and the tell-tale “Nid” signature on the back, there was nothing more I could learn by myself. The brief handwriting on each of the cards was written in Thai and would need to be translated.
I asked Yai to translate for me. At first she refused, but then she asked me to return the cards to her and she would oblige. Like a fool I handed the cards back to her and she immediately handed them to one of the bar girls with an abrupt instruction in Thai and before I knew what was happening, the girl and the cards had disappeared into the back room of the bar. They were gone.
I ordered another beer and sat down with one of the girls – the one who had seemed sympathetic and had indicated the presence of the post cards to me a few minutes earlier. I bought her a drink and pressed her for more information. At length she admitted to me that Nid was indeed in Amsterdam with a ‘customer’ but she could give me no further details of who the customer was, how long they had been there and when she might be coming back – if at all.
In spite of the fact that I had really seen this coming, it was a terrible blow to my self esteem and my pride, but most of all it felt like a searing rapier had just been thrust into the middle of my aching heart.
I was completely devastated and I remember little that happened that day, once the beers started to work their ‘magic’ on me and had started to ease the pain.
I do know that somehow I had managed to make it home, and woke up half way through the next morning with a terrible hangover. It was during this period that I started to take ‘uppers’ to get me going in the morning, booze from around lunch time onwards to help ease the pain of what Nid had done to me, and at night, addictive sedatives to put me down at night. Incredibly, despite the liberal use of very strong sedatives,(Mogadon and the like), it would often take me many hours to finally fall asleep, only to wake after barely two or three hours sleep, to start the cycle all over again by popping my little ‘white horses’(amphetamines).
I was in a mess, but somehow, with the aid of booze and drugs, I kept going. I had taken the reality of what Nid was and what she had done very, very hard. I couldn’t get her out of mind. I was totally obsessed with her and I would continuously picture her with her new man in the bedroom, indulging their desires in various stages of intimate love-making. It was tearing me apart in a pattern that was to repeat itself over and over with women who had similarly harmed me, for the rest of my life.
It was during this period, when my savings were finally reaching the end of their ‘life’ that I became very friendly with one of my work mates – a young Thai man named Som, who was very solicitous of my welfare and was instrumental in helping me come to an important decision that was long overdue.
He suggested that I move out of the room that I was sharing with Nid in Patunam, and find a place in the Bangkok suburb, where he lived with his family and friends.
There was clearly no future in my marriage and it took little to convince me that he was right and that it was high time to make a move and start a new life, away from Nid and her lies, deceits and hurtful behaviour.
Within a week I had found a modest, but liveable room in a working class area of Bangkok, near to where Som lived and had left the marital home forever. Before I left, I had held a ‘furniture sale’ for all the excess furniture that I would no longer be able to accommodate in my new, humble accommodation and the proceeds for this had enabled me to fund the move and pay the required room deposits, as by this time my savings had been well and truly exhausted.
Note: This period of my life has also been extensively covered in my Vignette, “Metta” which has recently been published in this blog. “Metta was originally published as a short story back in 2000, underwent substantial revision for publication in my blog, but, never the less, was written as a piece of fiction, although it is largely autobiographical in content.
Readers of “Nid” and “Metta” will therefore find there are some minor discrepancies in the time-line as narrated in the two stories which overlap during this period of my life; mainly in regards to when and how I finally parted with Nid. The discrepancies have little or no bearing on the subject matter and the ultimate direction of my life, but for the sake of accuracy I can advise that the timeline as narrated in this story,“Nid”, is the accurate one, and that narrated in “Metta” contains a certain degree of ‘literarily licence’.
Once I was safely ensconced into my new home, with all memories of Nid hopefully expurgated, I slowly started to recover my senses and my health and to remove my dependency on drugs. Much of this was thanks to Som and his friends, especially the “leader of his gang”, Pee Prasert, who advised me and guided me and gave me spiritual refreshment in a way I would never have thought possible in such an unlikely setting – a very impoverished, working class suburb of urban Bangkok.
I spent many happy evenings and weekends with Som and his gang and although I would frequently drink more than was prudent, I stopped all the drugs – the ‘uppers’ and ‘downers’ that had become a part of my life and had been slowly destroying me. I was starting to enjoy a drug free, full night’ sleep again, and Nid was slowly becoming a distant memory.
I did still pay the occasional trip to Patpong and the Derby King to catch up with my old farang friends, but the visits were few and far between. My helter-skelter existence of working for the workaholic Ittiput, my new social life, which largely revolved around my new found Thai friends and, of course, my seriously reduced disposable income, kept these trips to a minimum.
Then one day, maybe a month after I had moved my home, on some ‘spur of the moment’ impulse, I found myself in a taxi going down to Patpong from my office in Wireless Road. It was around 8.30 p.m. – I had been working late yet again and upon leaving the office, I suddenly found myself at a loose end. By the time I would have got home, Som and his gang would have probably dispersed for the night, as it was mid-week and many had to go about their business at the crack of dawn. Unusually, there were no show business people in town to take care of and Ittiput himself had disappeared somewhere with his DJ girlfriend. So what was lonely Mobi to do with himself? Too early to go home and sleep but too late to meet up with his new friends. Patpong seemed to be the logical choice. Go and see if there were any of his old mates hanging around the Derby King.
Nothing prepared me for the ‘old mate’ I was to come across sitting at a table in the Derby King.
The bar was empty except for a group of girls sitting at a table in the corner. I ordered a beer and suddenly, my heart took an enormous jolt. The girl with her back to me was talking in Thai. I could recognise that distinctive voice anywhere. It was Nid!
Almost at the same moment that I recognised her voice, she turned round and looked at me. “Hello Mobi, how are you?
“I’m fine thanks, how about you?
All very civilised, but for how long?
As if in some kind of parallel universe, where we knew each other, but had never been married, we continued the small talk for a couple of minutes, before Nid turned her back on me and started talking to the girls at the table once more in Thai.
I climbed down from my bar stool and walked over to where the group were sitting. I looked over Nid’s shoulder and saw the subject of their conversation. Spread over the table, there were dozens of colour photographs, and Nid was holding one in her hand, explaining animatedly in Thai about the background of this particular photograph. She must have made a joke, as all of the girls suddenly burst out laughing
I looked closer and was shocked. They were pictures of Nid and a young westerner. But if that wasn’t bad enough, many of them had obviously been taken in a bedroom. I could see Nid and the man in various stages of undress, lying on a large double bed. The closer I looked the more appalled I became. They were compromising pictures of my wife, in a bedroom, with another man!
Suddenly an uncontrollable rage took hold of me. I pushed my way forward to the table and roughly grabbed up all the photos, including the one from Nid’s hand.
I was shaking with rage and jealousy, and screamed at her, swearing and insulting her in the vilest manner.
Then Nid lost her cool and started screaming at me – demanding the return of her photographs. She made a lunge at me but I held on to them grimly. She picked up a glass to smash at me over my head, so I headed for the bar door, still clutching the dreadful photographs.
I careered out into the street, followed by Nid, still shouting and still threatening me with ‘blue murder’. She approached me and made desperate attempt to wrench the photographs from my grasp. In a moment of sheer rage, I let go of the photographs and gave Nid a hefty punch to her head – the first and last time I have ever hit a woman in my entire life.
She went down like a stone and immediately the girls started screaming. Within a few seconds, every nearby bar door had opened and a crazed, rushing throng of Thais – doormen, pimps and bar-girls - descended on me and literally wrestled, punched and clawed at me until I fell to the ground – a wounded animal.
I was at the mercy of a drunken lynch-mob!
Nid (Part 8 )
I was saved by the ‘boys in brown’ – the wonderful Thai police. Somehow, someone had called or passed a word to the local constabulary that an affray was occurring on their ‘watch’ and along they came in ‘paddy wagon’ to stop the ‘Mobi-lynching’.
(I should add that to those who are wondering, that this was long before the days of a street market in Patpong Road. In those far off days Patpong was a regular, pleasant road in which two -way traffic was the order of the day – and Patpong was much the better for it. In my opinion the decline of Patpong as the premier ‘red-light’ district of Bangkok can be directly attributed to the suffocating, horrendous street market which now blocks the road from end to end. Greed by the owners created a serious decline in their overall business.)
The police put a stop the marauding mob, who were taking it turns to kick the grounded Mobi in the head and stomach, picked me up and half carried and half threw me unceremoniously on the floor of the police song tow. Nid was told to accompany me, and she climbed into the front, next to the driver and off we sped to the local cop-shop.
I appeared to be surprisingly free of serious injury – just a mass of cuts, scratches and bruises, but the copious blood made my wounds appear more serious than they were. In any event the police paid scant attention to my physical condition and were listening to a long tirade in Thai from my wife, who kept pointing at me animatedly and was no doubt putting the verbal ‘boot’ in. I inwardly dreaded what may follow, as it appeared that I was well and truly outnumbered and to make matters worse, my Thai in those days was extremely basic. I feared that it may be difficult to even find a police officer who spoke passable English.
Upon arrival at the station, I was bundled into some kind of ‘holding cell’ and left lying on the concrete floor, in a mass of dried blood, nursing my wounds. I have no idea how long I was left lying there, but eventually the cell door was opened and I was pulled to my feet and was led into an office where there was a sergeant together with what I took to be a more senior officer.
The sergeant started talking to me very loudly in fast Thai. I could not understand a word but he was clearly very angry with me. He finally ceased his tirade and I looked at him in despair – not comprehending a single word. The officer turned to me and spoke in broken English.
“You hit Thai people. You do very bad – we not like farangs hitting Thais – you must go to jail!”
I was horrified. “But….but…. she is my Wife!” I blurted out in reply.
This only seemed to make matters worse. The officer translated what I said to the sergeant who then responded in more angry Thai: “You farangs must have more respect for Thai people. Hitting your wife is very bad. You must go to jail”.
Then he continued: “We have statement from lady. She tell us you very bad man. You always hit her – no reason – too much drink and hit her.”
“That’s not true!” I protested.
I suddenly remembered that when Nid climbed into the front of the police vehicle, she was clutching her cherished photographs – the ones that had caused all this mayhem.
In a last desperate plea for common sense, I implored the officer to look at the photos that my wife had been holding. At first, he didn’t seem to understand what I was saying, but after I repeated myself several times, and then, by some miracle, I suddenly recalled the Thai word for photo, he barked an order at the sergeant who immediately left the room.
The door remained open and I could hear the strident, protesting tones of Nid in an office nearby. A few moments later, the sergeant returned, holding the vital evidence. Nid followed him, still protesting the apparent seizure of her property.
The sergeant and the officer then spent several minutes poring through the photographs, looking at each one closely. Occasionally, a dirty smile would fleetingly cross their lips. Nid was stunned into silence by the turn of events.
When they had finally finished their ‘review of the new incriminating evidence’, they put the last photograph on the table and looked up at me. I quickly jumped in and told the officer that I hadn’t seen my wife for many weeks and that she had been in Europe all this time with another man. The officer clearly got the gist of what I was telling him and started shouting angrily at Nid. My Thai was so basic that I couldn’t follow anything of what he said, but judging by the gestures that the sergeant made when he subsequently spoke to the officer, I think he was saying that if Nid had been his wife he would have strangled her.
In any event, the tables had been successfully turned by the arrival of the revealing, almost porno-graphic photos, and the police realised that Nid had been lying to them, and that I had a very good reason for hitting her – something that 99% of Thai husbands would have done in similar circumstances without fear of censure.
The upshot of the whole business was that we were both released with a warning as to our future conduct. Nid went back to the marital home, now bereft of furniture and I, Mobi,went back to my humble room in the Bangkok suburbs.
I thought that I would be unlikely to see Nid again as our relationship had been blown apart in the most dramtic of circumstances, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There soon followed a period where I renewed my familiarity with the Derby King as I had come into a bit of cash which had been owing to me from some time from my last employer in Libya. I had been chasing my final salary cheque for several months, without any realistic hope that they would pay me – after all I had taken off without any prior notice. But one day, only about a week after the debacle with Nid in the Derby King, to my total surprise and pleasure, I found that the missing funds had been deposited in my bank account.
This turn of events was probably a curse rather than a blessing, as I often ran into Nid on my trips to Patpong and she slowly started to work her magic and ‘worm’ her way back into my affections. In spite of everything that had happened, I was still head over heels in love with her and my twisted mind didn’t need too much persuading for me to take her back and make another go of things. “After all”, I convinced myself at the time, “She is still my wife, so I owe it to her and myself to give the marriage one more try.”
She urged me to leave the room where I was living and return to the apartment building in Patunam, where we had once shared a room together. I agreed to this suggestion, especially as Nid had recently secured a new room on the roof of the 7 storey-building – a sort of Thai-style penthouse – which had a huge balcony and an incredible view of the Bangkok Skyline. I used some of my ‘windfall funds’ to replace the furniture I had previously sold and within a month of Nid’s return to Bangkok from her European odyssey, we were back together again.
Who knew what the future was going bring for this marriage ‘made’ in a girlie bar, and ‘consummated’ in a short time motel room?
For a while, it was back to life as usual – as though nothing had ever happened. It was much the same as it had been after the previous debacle when I had caught Nid re-handed in Pattaya with a young Thai man. Nid behaved like she had never been away. She would perform all her ‘wifely’ duties – cooking, cleaning, shopping and the usual bedroom ‘activities’, all in a manner which belied the fact that she had cuckold me at least two times in the most outrageous of circumstances.
So once again I tried to put her unfaithful behaviour to the back of my mind and got stuck into my work with Ittiput and the gang. We continued to ‘burn the midnight oil’ in arranging for yet more artists to perform gigs in Bangkok, and many evenings were spent with Ittiput, his girl friend, Dow and even occasionally Nid, at some noodle or rice shop, excitedly discussing future promotions and putting the finishing touches to current plans. In spite of all that had transpired, Nid was fast becoming accepted as part of the ‘in crowd.’
It was this familiarity with Ittiput and his lady, Dow, that ultimately led to a series of events that finally put paid to marriage number three.
I received a call late one evening, while still at my office, from Dow who asked for the phone number of my room as she wanted to talk to Nid about something. Thinking nothing of it, I gave her the number and carried on with my work. Half an hour later, Nid called to tell me that she had been invited to go out with Dow and some friends and would be home ‘quite late’. I took this as an opportunity to ‘sow a few wild oats’ of my own and eventually arrived home at around 2, a.m. when to my slight consternation, I discovered that Nid was still not back.
I didn’t give it too much thought as I knew she was out with a trusted colleague, but when, upon awakening the following morning, I discovered that Nid still hadn’t returned, that I started to feel those terrible rumblings in my belly. Something wasn’t right. Where was she?
I thought I might find out something at the office and hurried there to ask Ittiput if he knew what was going on with Dow and Nid. Ittiput hadn’t yet arrived, but by questioning a number of the DJ’s and staff I managed to ascertain that some kind of rift had developed between Ittiput and Dow, and that another DJ had been told to record Dow’s radio programme. This all came as a revelation to me as ever since I had known Ittiput and Dow, they had always been together; the two of them shared a passion for pop music and promoting concerts; they seemed to me to be ‘soul mates’. They had always seemed completely inseparable. Yet now I was hearing that they had fallen out – over what I was yet to discover. The day wore on, I heard nothing from Nid or Dow and Ittiput continued to be conspicuous by his absence. I began to wonder what the hell was going on.
Then, in the late afternoon, one of the ‘evening’ DJ’s arrived at the office to record his late night programme. He was a young, handsome, very charming man by the name of Viroj, who was extremely popular on the Bangkok airwaves. I had recently struck up quite a friendship with him as his English was particularly good. As with all Ittiput’s DJ’s, he was from a wealthy upper-class family and had been to one of Bangkok’s top schools.
Viroj seemed to know all the ‘ins and outs’ of Ittiput’s relationship with Dow. He told me that although the two had been together for years, Ittiput had always steadfastly refused to formalise the relationship and marry Dow. If this wasn’t bad enough, a few weeks ago, Ittiput had told Dow that he was engaged to another woman and would be getting married later that year. Dow had been devastated and relations between the two had been very rocky ever since Ittiput’s stunning marriage announcement.
This was all very interesting, but what did it have to do with Nid and her apparent disappearance with Dow? Viroj was quite forthcoming on this as well. He told me that Dow had met a Swiss businessman a couple of weeks back and after Ittiput had delivered his devastating news, Dow had gone to stay with her new ‘boyfriend’ at The Ambassador Hotel on Sukhumvit Road.
So where does Nid fit in to all this?
Viroj told me that he had been chatting with Dow on the phone. He informed me that the Swiss business man was entertaining a rich Arab client in Bangkok and last night he had asked Dow where he could find suitable female ‘partner’ for his client for the night. Dow had no idea about this sort of business, but knew that Nid would be able to provide her with some contacts. So she had duly called Nid to ask for her help in finding a suitable lady ‘for the night’, and Nid had immediately offered herself!
I felt that familiar jolt of pain run through my stomach. She had done it again. Up to that point I had been hoping that there would be some reasonable explanation for Nid’s latest disappearance – maybe that she had got drunk and had spent the night with Dow or some other such similar explanation. But deep down I somehow guessed that she was up to her games again and now Viroj had brought me face to face with the gut-curdling truth. Nid was sleeping around yet again.
Viroj became quite distressed by my almost hysterical reaction to his news. He was a Thai and assumed that Nid was just my ‘gig’ – someone who I could ‘screw and use’ and someone who I could cast aside whenever I felt like it. He didn’t realise that farangs are not like Thais, and that they often form very deep, personal attachments to Thai ladies. Viroj had a string of girl friends and I dare say he screwed a different girl every day of the week, not having the slightest emotional attachment to any of them. Once he realised how upset I was by his news, he tried to back off on what he had said, but the ‘cat was out of the bag’ and I was in emotional turmoil.
I told him that I had to know for sure what was going on and after a lot of cajoling I managed to persuade him to call the hotel and try to find out the room number of the Arab who was allegedly with my wife. It transpired that Viroj knew the room that Dow was in, and through some pretext he managed to find out from Dow the number of the room where the Arab friend was staying.
He handed me the room number. I stared at it, not daring to do anything. I was terrified what I might find out. Viroj had to go and record his programme, and he left me, clutching the room number. The more I stared at it the more I realised that I had to know for sure. I had to clear all doubts from my mind and know for once and for all what kind of lady I was married to. Of course, I already knew, but my twisted brain was having huge difficulty in accepting the truth. I was still totally infatuated, some might say ‘bewitched’, with her.
I must have sat there for an hour, but eventually I picked upon the phone and dialled the number of the Ambassador hotel. Then I asked to be put through to the room number that Viroj had given me.
It was a female voice who answered the room phone. It was the highly distinctive voice of Nid. “Hello…Hello… who is there? … Is anyone there?…
Now I knew for sure, and I slumped down in my chair and held my head in my hands. It was all I could do to stop the tears from forming in my eyes. I was so hurt. I couldn’t get the picture of Nid, in a state of undress in the room with her Arab customer, out of my mind. It was torturing me.
Just then Ittiput arrived, with a face looking like thunder. He called to me to go into his office.
“Yes, Mobi I know what has happened. We have both been cheated. Dow is with her Swiss boyfriend and Nid is with an Arab.”
It didn’t occur to me that Ittiput had little to complain about, due to his intending marriage to another woman, so I just accepted that we were both victims of two ‘wicked, deceitful’ ladies.
I told Ittiput I had just listened to Nid’s voice on the phone in the hotel room. He seemed surprised at this news and asked me how I had tracked her down. I told him that Viroj had helped me – news that didn’t go down to well with Ittiput. He decided to call the hotel himself and see if he could track down Dow. He was on the phone for quite a while and seemed to be arguing with someone at the front desk. At length, he put down the phone and looked at me.
“They’ve just checked out. They have gone to Pattaya.”
I just stared at him – not able to take in what was happening.
“Mobi! We must go to Pattaya and settle this – once and for all! You agree?”
I looked at him in astonishment. “Yes… Ok then… How will we get there? How will we find them?…”
“I will drive there. It won’t be difficult to find them once we are there. We must go tonight!”
“Yes, we will go as soon as I have recorded my programme. You can go home and pack some things and I will pick you up in two hours. OK?”
I was too shattered to offer any resistance. “Sure…OK… Ittiput…. but what will we do when we find them?”
“We will find them. We will catch them with their new boyfriends and we will finish with them – for good. Agreed?”
I looked at him and he was holding his hand out. He wanted to me to shake hands. I took his hand and shook it.
“Agreed. This is the final straw for me. I can’t stand her behaviour any more. This time I really mean it. I will finish with Nid for good!”
“Fine, then we are both agreed. We will both finish with our women. See you in two hours”
Little did I realise the dramatic events that would transpire upon our arrival in Pattaya later that night.
Nid (Part 10)
It was quite late at night when Ittiput, a couple of his DJ’s and me – Mobi, arrived at Pattaya beach in Ittiput’s Mercedes Benz. The road to Pattaya in those days was a far cry from what it is today, but the late departure did mean there was little traffic on the mainly two lane highway, so all in all, it was a journey of around three hours. It was approaching midnight when Ittiput parked up, just off the beach and he then led us to the hotel where he had been told that our ‘better halves’ had checked in.
One of the DJ’s spoke to the hotel receptionist to ascertain the whereabouts of the ladies and their escorts. He came back and told us that their keys were at reception and that they must be out on the town somewhere.
The Hotel was facing the beach so we took a short stroll along the beach, keeping the hotel entrance in view for any sign of our ladies. We didn’t have to wait long. In those days Pattaya used to have crude, open air bars erected right on the beach front and it was from one of these that a party of four emerged, heading towards the target hotel.
As they came closer, we could make out their identities. It was almost surreal. Dow, arm in arm with her new Swiss boy friend and Nid, my wife with her arms hugging the tall, lithe figure of a young Arab man.
As with the previous occasion when I had confronted Nid in Pattaya I was transfixed to the spot – totally traumatised and unable to move or do anything. But Ittiput was clearly not inhibited by any emotional shock he might have felt by seeing his long term partner with another man.
As the ‘adulterers’ approached our party and realised who we were, Ittiput did something I will never forget for the rest of my life. He pulled out a gun and pointed it at Dow – his lover. Both groups suddenly became rooted to where they were standing on the beach. No-one moved. Ittiput started shouting very angrily and waving his gun at Dow.
Dow answered him very calmly and was obviously trying to persuade him to put his gun away.
But Ittiput was having none of it and was becoming ever more threatening. One of the DJ’s in our party tried to talk to Ittiput and grabbed his gun bearing arm, but Ittiput shook him off angrily. He seemed determined to bring this confrontation to a bloody conclusion.
My mind was in a whirl. However much resentment and anger I felt about what someone had done to me, I would never want to kill anyone – it just wasn’t in me to do such a thing; yet here was this intelligent, well educated, western oriented Thai, seemingly hell bent on killing the girl who had the temerity to dump him. I realised that Ittiput was a serving police officer with very good family connections, and I knew that the chances were that he could literally ‘get away with murder’, should he choose to do so.
Suddenly Nid decided to get into the act and started screaming at me and at Ittiput. She was clearly drunk and was beside herself with anger. Ittiput reacted badly to Nid’s insults and waved his gun in her direction. I was thinking we may be about to have a bloodbath on our hands when we were all distracted by the arrival of a group of local, uniformed police. They rushed over to Ittiput and shouted at him very roughly, whereupon he produced his Thai Police identity card. Their attitude suddenly changed from being hostile to being obsequious, but they continued to talk to him and were obviously trying to persuade him to put his gun away.
The discussion back and forth, between the local police, Ittiput, his DJ’s and also Dow continued unabated for a long time. I understood little of what was being said but the main thrust seemed to be to persuade Ittiput to settle matters by talking and not by force.
At length I could sense that Ittiput’s anger was draining away and he finally acquiesced, slowly returning the gun to its holster, which I now realised he had been wearing under his Thai-style tunic.
The two ladies and their men moved to go back to their hotel but not before a very drunk Nid started screaming and swearing at me again. Her Arab ‘companion’ had to virtually drag her along with him, still shouting and kicking.
We watched them enter the hotel and disappear in to the hotel lift.
We had come; we had seen; we had confronted. There was nothing more we could do.
Ittiput did not say another word as he led us back to his car and we made the long, return journey back to Bangkok in total silence.
This time my mind was made up, particularly when I remembered the pact I had made with my boss. We had both agreed to finish with our ladies for good.
As soon as I returned to Bangkok I resolved to move out for the last time. At that time there was an Australian who had been working on a freelance basis for Ittiput, helping him to put together a sound system that would satisfy international performers and so eliminate the need to import equipment for every promotion. His name was Billy and had originally been part of the road crew for one of the Australian acts that had recently performed in Bangkok. Billy was being ‘used’ by Ittiput in his usual inimitable manner; persuading farangs to work for ‘peanuts’ by trading on their desire to live in Thailand.
Like Mobi before him, Billy had some savings to live on and was hoping that he eventually would be able to earn a ‘living wage’, working for Ittiput. It so happened that at the time that we had our ‘shoot-out’ in Pattaya that Billy was looking for somewhere to live on a long term basis, so upon my return to Bangkok we agreed that we would rent a decent two-bed apartment in Soi 24, of Sukhumvit.
Speed was of the essence, as I had no idea when Nid might make a return to our home, so within two days of the Pattaya incident, I had moved out lock, stock and barrel for the very last time.
A few days later, Nid did indeed return to Bangkok, her ‘escort’ role having come to an end. Upon discovering my departure from the marital home, she immediately went to my office to track me down. Fortunately, I was having a few, well earned days off from my job and so I was absent from the office when she went looking for me. Billy told me that she had been there several times and tried to obtain my new address form the staff, but only Billy knew the exact address and he wasn’t about to tell her.
I am not sure if the Pattaya incident had in some way damaged my relationship with Ittiput, but within a week or so of me leaving Nid, I was starting to have ever more concerns about working for him. His business ethics were typically Chinese-Thai. ‘Promise the earth’; agree to anything if it may secure a contract, and then break all promises and contracts with impunity whenever it suited him and whenever he thought he could get away with it. I had been intimately involved in many of these ‘promises’ and ‘agreements’ – indeed without my presence as the ‘principled Englishman’, many of these agreements would never have been possible to secure in the first place.
The final straws were the way in which he was trying to cheat my friend, Dave, who had a partnership with Ittiput to run a recording studio, the manner in which he was using and cheating Billy, and the manner in which he cheated countless Thais who were ‘showbusiness-struck’ and believed every promise he made to them.
One day, in the middle of a concert promotion, I decided enough was enough and told Ittiput what I thought of him and his never-ending lies, stormed out and brought to an abrupt end to my first career in Thailand.
My resignation also had the effect of removing the last means of contact that Nid, my third wife, would have with me. Once I had left Ittiput’s employment, there was no way that Nid would be able to track me down and wheedle her way back into my affections. I am sure this was also in the back of my mind when I finally split with Ittiput. I decided it was time to start over – with a new job and hopefully a new woman.
Within a few days of my leaving Ittiput’s employment, my friend Dave also terminated his partnership with Ittiput. Thanks to a wealthy friend in the advertising business who had agreed to invest in Dave’s new business, he was able to form a new company and set up his own studio to produce and record albums and advertising jingles. Dave asked me to join him as his business partner, to effectively run the business side of the business so I was very soon returned to gainful employment.
It was during the early stages of my work with Dave that I met my fourth wife, Noi, who worked as a sales lady in one of the local department stores.
It must have been about a couple of months after I started working with Dave that one day to m y astonishment, a familiar face appeared in my office. It was Nid, looking as beautiful as ever. I still felt a jolt of excitement run though me at the sight of this really bewitching lady, but mentally reaffirmed my resolve not to allow her back into my life.
She told me that a drunken Billy had finally told her where I was working. Thanks mate!
The reason for her visit was because she wanted me to go with her to get a divorce. She told me that she had a new, rich, Thai boyfriend who wanted to marry her and that she wanted nothing from me except to sign the divorce papers. The story sounded convincing enough as I noticed that she had arrived at the studio in a chauffeur driven limousine.
For some reason she wanted to go up-country to her home province to get the divorce and it was agreed that she would pick me up early one morning a few days hence.
On the appointed day we commenced the long journey up-country in Nid’s chauffeur driven car. All morning Nid had been ‘charm itself’ and it had seemed as though she was making a play for me again – maybe just using the excuse of getting a divorce as a ploy to spend time with me. I will never know for sure but once we reached the amphur, we spent the next few hours going through the divorce process. I was totally trusting, as everything was in Thai, but I had no assets so was not particularly concerned that Nid might try to cheat me. She said she wanted nothing – as proved to be the case.
By late afternoon the bureaucratic nightmare was finally concluded and we both returned to the car flourishing our divorce certificates. (Yes, in Thailand, they actually issue a divorce certificates.) I thought we were in our way back to Bangkok but Nid told the driver to make a detour and we stopped outside a car repair shop. We all got out and Nid called a mechanic over and showed him a small dent on the back nearside door. Much discussion and bargaining ensued and eventually it appeared that agreement had been reached.
We all adjourned to a noodle shop while the repair shop workers went about their business. Nid explained to me that her boyfriend would be very angry if he discovered the damage to his car so she had to get it repaired before she returned the car to him the following day.
An hour later, the door looked like new and we once more continued our journey home, except that now we had an extra passenger – the young, handsome worker from the body repair shop. I had no idea why he was accompanying us. Maybe he wanted a lift to Bangkok.
It must have been well after nine pm when the car eventually parked up outside my apartment on soi 24 to let me out. Nid asked what floor I was living on and seemed quite keen to come and see where I was living. I was pondering this quandary – for she was looking particularly sexy and enticing. After all, what harm could it do? We were now divorced. But the decision was taken out of my hands. The young mechanic who had accompanied us was not very happy. He clearly didn’t want her to go upstairs. Then Nid did an extraordinary thing. She smiled at him and stroked his face. The young man smiled back with an obvious sign of relief on his face.
The penny suddenly dropped. Nid was going to pay the car repair bill by giving the young man ‘certain favours’. I smiled wryly Nid; the ultimate professional. As I got out of the car I noticed that Nid put her arm around the young man as they sped away into the night.
It was an hour or so later that I met up with my new ‘potential’ girlfriend, Noi and showed her my glossy new divorce paper.
Noi came back to my apartment that night for the very first time, and she stayed with me as girl friend, wife and mother for the next 27years. But apart from my infatuation with her during those early weeks – undoubtedly during a period when I was still trying to get over Nid – I never really loved her and in time grew to rue my haste in allowing her to move in with me. The story of my life with Noi is related in detail in ‘Mobi’s Story’.
I did see Nid again. About a year after our divorce, quite by coincidence I met a young man from Singapore who lived in the Patunam apartment block where I used to live with Nid. He started telling me about a Thai girl he knew who lived in the ‘rooftop penthouse’ and it didn’t take much questioning to establish that it was indeed Nid, still living there, and not yet re-married.
One thing led to another and after the Singaporean told me that Nid would be pleased to see me as a friend, one day I stopped by the apartment block and went up to see her.
Nid had put on a lot of weight and was starting to lose her looks. It was quite a shock that she could have changed so much in such a short period of time. But she seemed quite happy and was happy to see me. We chatted about the old times and there was no rancour on either side. We had both moved on. Me with Noi, and Nid with God-knows who?
I made a couple of return visits to Nid over the coming months, but eventually I changed jobs yet again, became totally immersed in my new job, and lost contact completely.
I never saw or heard from her again.
As for Ittiput’s promise to break with Dow if I finished with Nid; for a long while it seemed that at long last he had learned how to keep a promise. I heard from my old colleagues that Dow had married the Swiss man she had been with that day in Pattaya and had moved to Switzerland. Then one day, a couple of years or so later, I was driving in Bangkok and happened to tune into one of Ittiput’s old frequencies. I couldn’t believe my ears. There was Dow, doing her radio show like she had never been away. Further enquiries revealed that Dow had returned from Switzerland and had gone back to Ittiput – even though Ittiput was now a married man. They resumed their former relationship and Dow was once more gracing the airwaves with her dulcet tones.
After I left Ittiput in the late seventies, his company went from strength to strength. In 1979 I was invited by some of Ittiput’s ex-colleagues to be the General Manager of a new company that planned to carry on similar activities to those of Ittiput – namely radio programmes ,(but our station was to use English speaking DJ’s), concert promotions and the manufacture and distribution of music cassettes.
We were in direct completion with Ittiput. He fought us tooth and nail in every way he knew – much of it by using dirty, underhand tricks to undermine us and make our business fail.
My three year career with this new company is a story in itself, (related to some extent in ‘Mobi’s Story’) and when I finally left Thailand for good in 1983, my company and Ittiput’s company were both extremely successful, thriving businesses.
Today, both companies are a distant memory. Why? Difficult to say, although I do know that my company lost its contract to run English language radio as the ‘back-handers’ became too high, and once they lost the right to broadcast – the heart of their business – it was only a matter of time before the whole business went down the drain.
As for Ittiput, I understand that not long after my departure to England, the share holders of Ittiput’s company staged something of a ‘palace coup’ and removed him from his position of Chief executive. Apparently even they had become tired of his lying, cheating and plain unprofessional approach to business.
The major share holders were a Soft Drinks Company and Chinese-Thai businessmen and they took over day to day management of the company. But they had no feel for show business. It just wasn’t in their blood.
In the meantime, other Thai entertainment conglomerates were starting to make a name for themselves – run by Thais with a vision for the business and also able to operate from a much larger investment base. GMM Grammy, of course, was heading the rush.
So Ittiput’s company and the company that I managed have long since disappeared without trace. However, I like to think that Ittiput – with all his faults – should go down in the annals of Thai history as the one who initially opened up the wide world of entertainment to Thailand, to say nothing of Dave, who singlehandedly introduced the whole concept of original jingles to the Thai advertising industry.
And then of course there was Mobi, who had a guiding hand in all three businesses.