The “Home” page is my daily blog. The remaining tabs contain previously blogged, episodic ‘stories’, which are now re-published in chronological order.
I’m still sober, still alone and I am following the advice from “Rebel”to ‘play the field’ and keep away from any long term commitments until the right lady comes along.
Every single girl I have shacked up with since I left my wife last year – and there has been quite a number – has been a disaster. Every one of these relationships has inevitably ended in heartache and emotional distress, which in turn has led to excessive drinking.
The desire to be with a woman is still strong, but not as manic as it once was, and with each sober day that passes, I feel stronger and more able and willing to live alone until I find the right one – if I ever do.
Maybe I am reaching a watershed in my life. Only time will tell. On Wednesday evening I went for a 40 minute ‘power walk’ along the beach – the first for many months and I felt pretty pleased with myself.
Unfortunately my feet are so flabby that I developed painful blisters on both heels and was unable to repeat the exercise yesterday.
The blisters haven’t healed yet but I will apply plasters and wear some socks and give it another go tonight. Once I start taking exercise, it is very important that I keep it up on a regular basis.
Exercise is a good antidote to depression, which may account for the increase in my depressive episodes when I stopped taking regular exercise about 3 years ago.
I spent the whole day at home yesterday, working on my PC, and in the evening I went out to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat. I was back home soon after 10.p.m. and at midnight took a sleeping pill. I slept right through to 11 this morning.
At the time of writing I am still feeling a bit woozy, but no doubt a few mugs of coffee will shake the sand out of my eyes.
In general terms I am still feeling very lethargic and find it difficult to do any of the outstanding chores that are racking up around me, but at least I feel well enough write this blog, answer my emails and do other work on my computer.
I have to give myself time to get my shit together as it is barely 2 weeks since I stopped drinking and started my therapy sessions.
Mobi’s new life will not be built in a day.
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 get 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 promoting concerts for them 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 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 Ausssie pop group changed all that. The manger of the group was very impressed with our 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 entertainmemnt 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, and 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 fro 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 ‘greenroom’ 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 sellout. 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, days 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. 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 I 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.