Tinkering with a Material World…



Last Saturday, two Brits, both in their thirties, were killed in separate accidents while riding their bikes, without helmets, on the Darkside.

I am currently discussing this subject in Thai Visa as, ironically, I had only recently started a new thread to point out the dangers of driving at speed – without helmets – on a dangerous road that has an increasing amount of traffic on it, when news of this double-tragedy came to my attention.

I was also prompted to raise the subject of reckless drivers as every day, when I take my afternoon walk, I pass by a memorial stone set on the grass verge, in memory of yet another English motorcyclist who died on this road a few years back.

So it was with no great surprise but with much sadness that barely two days after I started the thread, I learned that two young men ‘met their ends’ on what is fast becoming an accident black spot for irresponsible farang motorcyclists.

In the first accident, the man attempted to overtake at the same time as  a pick-up truck was coming in the opposite direction towards him. He clipped its side mirror, resulting him losing control, falling down onto the road where he was crushed under the wheels of  10 wheel truck which was following on behind.

I wonder why he would attempt to overtake on a dangerous two lane road, when there was an oncoming vehicle, making the manoeuvre even more risky than it already was. He was in such a hurry…


The second accident involved a man who was staying in Pattaya ‘proper’, but had driven out to the lake on his bike to get drunk at one of the Lakeside bars. On his return journey, he ‘met his maker’ although I have no detailed information as to precisely what happened.

It is a small world, for I discovered yesterday that this particular unfortunate victim had been living with one of my ex-girlfriends. Some of you may recall her; a lady, (who I called ‘Tan’), from Nakhon Sawan, who I had a short, but very tempestuous and traumatic affair, back in April, May and June, 2010, all faithfully recorded in my blog at that time. You may recall that I got pissed and she dumped me. Now that’s something new, ain’t it?

I have nothing but painful memories of Tan as I was very fond of her, but I wouldn’t wish the death of a loved one onto my worst enemy and I do hope that she manages to get through this difficult and sad time in one piece.


A Lustful Gentleman

For those of you who may be interested, at long last I have been making some progress on my novel and a couple of days ago I wrote around 4,000 new words after spending a day or so ‘getting back into it’ and reminding myself where I was at. Now I have recommenced, I am resolved to keep the momentum going and hopefully I will be publishing some new ‘sections’ soon.

I am currently reading Tolstoy’s ‘Resurrection’ which I will comment on when I have finished, (along with Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’, which I finished reading recently), but in the meantime. I will just mention that I was interested to note that Tolstoy had started a new chapter, every time there was to every ‘break’ in his narrative, usually every 2-3 pages.

So, as I am sure that Tolstoy knows best, I have decided to adopt a similar format for my  novel. Currently, my chapters are quite long and contain a number of natural breaks – marked by asterisks – occasioned by ‘time shifts’, either forward or back, and I shall now covert these breaks into separate chapters. As you will see, the original lengthy chapters will now be changed to ‘parts’: ‘Part 1 is  ‘Na’; ‘Part 2,  Ying’; ‘Part 3,  Toby’, and so on.



A post script… to my piece the other day on the valiant Captain of the Costa Concordia

After his retirement, Winston Churchill was cruising the Mediterranean on an Italian cruise liner and some Italian journalists asked why an ex British Prime Minister should choose an Italian ship.

“There are three things I like about being on an Italian cruise ship,” said Churchill.

“Firstly their cuisine is unsurpassed, secondly their service is superb and then, in times of emergency, there is none of this nonsense about women and children first.”

‘Nuff said…


Two Film reviews

1. Tinker Tailor Soldier, Spy

As some of you may know, I am a life-long fan of John Le Carré and he is one of my favourite 20th Century authors – although he is still going strong in this, his 70th Year!

‘Tinker’ was a classic of the cold war spy genre and it wasn’t long ago that I watched, (and wrote about) the BBC 1979 adaptation, which I enjoyed very much, although I found the back ground music somewhat grating.

So it was with great anticipation that I sat down to watch the 2011 celluloid version of Le Carré’s classic.


On the whole I did enjoy it and I think I will probably watch it again as I feel it is that rare kind of film that requires more than one viewing to fully appreciate its ‘finer points’

I have to say that if I hadn’t read the novel and recently watched the BBC version, I doubt that I would have had much idea about what was going on. The film is a ‘film noir’ to outdo all ‘film noirs’ and I think you would have you be a bit of a clever-clogs to really follow all the nuances of the convoluted plot if you hadn’t previously read the book or seen the BBC adaptation.

But given that I had and I did, I managed to follow where the film was going – just about, as they did change some of the finer points of the story line, and I found some of the scenes quite breath-taking in their ability to evoke to bygone age and atmosphere.

I am also now devoted fan of Gary Oldman who gave a masterful portrayal of George Smiley, but I do feel that most of the other main characters were pretty one dimensional. Not the actors’ faults, as they were all top drawer, and did their best with the material at hand, but more a fault of the scrip and the film itself. The exception to this was Smiley’s wife, who we only ever caught the briefest glimpses of, yet in some indefinable way, we somehow knew all about her.


It is a ‘patchy’ piece of work – brilliant in parts and sometimes baffling, but never, as some have asserted, boring. The plot moves along in brief ‘snapshots’ of dialogue and action and as a consequence, sometimes you have to be pretty quick-witted to fully appreciate what is actually happening.

Overall, it was an enjoyable ‘ride’, and I particularly loved the scenes of the spooks’ 70’s ‘office Christmas party’, which were so evocative, grotesque and somehow, almost scary.

I also loved the ending, but I won’t spoil it for you.

Oh… the music is just totally brilliant!


2. George Harrison – Living in the material World

I will always go out of my way to see the work of certain actors and directors – a select few, who, in my opinion, can do no wrong.

By way of example, I will always watch an Al Pacino or a De Niro film – even if it is a bad one,  as by their very presence, they will somehow drag it out of the mundane and make it a pleasurable experience.

One of my favourite directors is Martin Scorsese and to me, he can do no wrong, ever since I saw Taxi Driver all those years ago. Since then he has followed up with masterpieces such as Goodfellas, Casino and Gangs of New York, to name but three of many. Recently, his production and directorial contributions to the TV series, Boardwalk Empire has elevated it to the echelons of all time TV greats, such as The Sopranos.


Scorsese also has also directed a number of notable documentaries through the years, almost always connected in some way to his love of music and music performers. His latest, about the life of the Beatle George Harrison, is a feast for the eyes.

To any Beatles fans, lovers of popular music, or just someone interested in the life and times of this fascinating and talented man, then this documentary is a ‘must see’.

I sat down to watch it at around 10 p.m and sat transfixed, hardly realising that the clock was almost at the hour of 2 a.m by the time the final credits rolled down the screen – along with a few tears rolling down my cheeks…

There is no narrator and no quoting of dates or facts, just a cinematic account of the life of George, from his earliest days in the Beatles right up to the day of his death from cancer in 2001. The story is ‘told’ through mainly previously unseen footage and magical interviews with so many friends and family who knew him and lived through those life and times with him.


I have a new respect for Paul and Ringo who clearly gave very honest, heartfelt and sometimes surprisingly vulnerable accounts of themselves and their relationships with George and their times with him – both good and bad. And there many others; Eric Clapton, John Lennon, both of George’s wives, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Tom Petty, Phil Spector, Yoko Ono, Jackie Stewart and so many more.

Some of these people were interviewed especially for the film and other interviews were taken from archive footage, much of it never seen before. And at the top of the list of interviewees is George himself, speaking from his very early Beatle days, almost up to the time of his death.

George was a fascinating man who lived a very full life, from his music, to his film production, to his love of cars, to garden design and to his almost fanatical involvement in Indian mysticism and trans-meditation. Through the years, this quiet but obviously highly charismatic character acquired  an incredible array of devoted friends from all walks of life.


I particularly loved the videos of the impromptu sessions shot at Bob Dylan’s home recording studio in New York when members of the ‘Travelling Wilburys’, (George, Tom petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison), collaborated on a new song . It is pure magic.

But there again, there are so many magical moments

This wonderful documentary is a film not to be missed.


BUTT…BUTT… BUTT…BUTT… I don’t give a hoot!…

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