As ever, it has been an interesting week in the life of Mobi.
It is now just over week since I announced my intention to sell my bar, and so far I am pleased to report that there has been a fair amount of interest, but as yet no serious offers.
That it will sell, I have little doubt, as the word slowly spreads amongst the local expat community and even further afield.
But it may take up to three months, or even longer to do the deal, and in the meantime we have to carry on as normal. Like ‘yours truly’, there is always someone out there who fancies their chances as a bar owner on the outskirts of world famous ‘sin city’, so I will wait as long as it takes to get the deal I am looking for.
I have felt some of the pressure being lifted from my ageing shoulders since I made the decision to quit, but my stomach is still giving me much cause for concern. As a result, I have now slipped into the habit of going to the bar much later in the evening, when my stomach troubles have usually settled down for the day.
I don’t know why, but my stomach always feels quite dicky in the first part of the day but seems to settle as evening draws nigh.
I felt a nasty, unwelcome jolt in my stomach last Thursday afternoon when I drove down to the bar to set up the music videos for the day, only to find that my largest TV screen (which I bought only 5 months ago) wouldn’t turn on. It was kaput!
That was all I needed – a duff TV. It was the larger one of the two at the bar and it not only provided the main music video and TV Sports outlet, but also provided the means of sending the audio signal to my amplifier. No large TV meant no music Videos and no sound.
I have a backup sound system which plays CD’s, but this secondary system was not what helped to put Mobi’s on the map.
The TV was fine when we turned it off the previous evening, but now it wouldn’t turn on and there was no power light. With the aid of a good friend and customer, we tested the power cable to the TV and it was active, which meant that something was definitely wrong with the TV…
It was still under guarantee, but as it would probably have taken weeks to try and get it repaired by the manufacturer, we opted to take it to a little TV workshop, owned by a paraplegic which my friend had kindly located for us.
We left the TV at the shop and I drove home to collect my own TV from the sitting room and take it down to the bar as a temporary replacement. I then spent the next three hours trying to get the bloody sound to work though my antique and highly temperamental amplifier.
More by luck than judgement, I finally got it working and drove back home, leaving strict instructions for nobody to touch the amplifier or the wires leading to it, on ‘pain of death’.
To my surprise and delight, when I returned to the bar later that evening, the TV was still working and the sound was coming out loud and clear – until that is, until one of our ladies suddenly took it upon herself to lift up one of the wires and waggle it around!!!
A horrible ‘feedback’ screeching sound emitted from the amp that made everyone nearly jump out of their skins. It was followed by a deathly silence.
‘I thought I told you not to go near that amp!’ I yelled at the top of my voice, ‘can’t you read that sign?’
(I was referring to a large sign in Thai was stuck to the amplifier warning everyone to keep their distance).
For some unaccountable reason, Lek took exception to me yelling at one of ‘her girls’ and we had a very rare, public row. She told me to ‘Go home!’ and I told her to ‘Go away!’
Not exactly ‘pistols at dawn’ but one of the worst confrontations we have had in 4 years of ‘togetherness bliss’. We are both very stressed.
She went away and I fiddled with the errant amp and after much huffing and puffing eventually succeeded in getting it going again.
I was in the dog house for the next 24 hours….
The next day, the TV repair man called to inform us that a jing jok, (small gecko), had somehow managed to get into the back of the TV and had wreaked havoc with the electronics. I didn’t doubt it as the bar is full of them. It will cost around £150 to repair.
In the meantime, I have to say that despite occasional appearances to the contrary, Mobi’s business has shown a definite turn for the better after an admittedly slow start to the month.
The days when the bar has been chock-a-block with drinkers are relatively rare, but customers have nevertheless been coming and going in their ones, twos – and more – from early afternoon, right up to – and well past – the official closing time at midnight.
It is probably fair to say that we have maybe 3 days per week when we have paying customers drinking long past midnight, which all helps to pay the bills.
The other day, the singing Welshman who came late to our karaoke, last week, (see last week’s blog), made a second appearance at around midnight, even drunker than on the previous occasion, and we kept him happy with our delightful ladies, while we played songs by his favourite artists – Orbison, Dire Straights, Eagles and Queen.
In the end he was so inebriated that I feared for his safety, and after he had already settled his not inconsiderable bill and then suddenly sat back down to order yet more rounds of beer, I tactfully told him that enough was enough!
He took it in good spirit, and eventually staggered out of the bar at around 1.30 am to drive away who knows where? But not at Mobi’s.
I am probably the only bar owner in the entire country that calls time on customers when I think they have had enough. Maybe the bar business is truly not for me.
There is no doubt that our ladies are becoming ever more popular and are doing more than their bit in helping to keep Mobi’s bar in the black. They are being ‘bar-fined’ in increasing numbers, (often by returning customers), and meanwhile, back at the bar the ladies’ drinks are clicking over as never before.
Yesterday (Saturday) was a funny old day.
When I arrived at the bar at around 8 pm, we had a single solitary customer, and when he eventually paid up and left, we had a bar full of ladies but no cutomers. On impulse I decided to take a drive around the lake to see how everyone else was doing, and I soon discovered that almost every other bar was also empty.
I doubt I counted more than 3 customers in about 10 or more bars, from one end of the lake to the other. For sure we weren’t the only ones suffering.
Where everyone had gone, I have no idea…
However, upon my return, I was surprised to find two customer’s vehicles parked outside, and before I had a chance to check how the evening’s football was progressing, yet more folk had arrived. It was quite a turn around, and as the evening wore on, we had a succession of customers coming and going.
Quite late in the evening, a group of four Englishmen – who I had never met before – arrived, just as the Manchester United /West ham football game was finishing. By this time all the tables – bar mine – were occupied and the guys sat down with me and we had a very pleasant discussion.
They were all football fans so we watched the late night Spurs -Arsenal game, which didn’t finish till well past 1 am. Then I put on some music videos and the gents settled in for what looked like an all night drinking session.
At around 1.45 am, a German gentleman on a very large, very noisy motorcycle, arrived out of the darkness, and decided to join the drinking group at my table.
Any more for any more?
Unlike another recent late night session, on this occasion we had a few staff on hand to help out; so by 2 am, I decided I had had enough. Lek and I cashed up the till and handed the reins over to her Aunt and the two remaining girls, who could take care of the remaining customers until they finally decided to call it a day (morning).
We made it to bed by 3 a.m. after a surprisingly good day’s takings. At one point in the evening we had no customers, but the afternoon punters (who I hadn’t seen) and the late night rush had put more than enough in our coffers. We really do seem to be doing all right, one way or another, and the high season is yet to come.
Some of you may be wondering if I am deliberately trying to talk my business up – given that I am trying to sell it – but this is honestly not the case. My monthly accounts which are available for review to potential buyers can verify this.
In fact, this idea of trying to put a ‘positive spin’ on my life and my business has led to a falling out with one of my long time American supporters. We have been corresponding for awhile now with a view to him marketing my books on his website at a substantially increased price.
He has recently told me that nobody wants to buy a book written by a ‘loser’, and if he promotes my book, he wants it to have a new title and he doesn’t want any link to my existing blog website as my blogs are too negative….
His sentiments are typically American, and he may well be right in what he says, but as I have told him this week, I do not wish to live a lie.
Since I started this blog way back in 2009, every word I have written has been the truth, and I have endured years of hate mail, accusing me of making it all up.
It may not mean much in the general scheme of things but I am proud of my honesty and my desire to tell all – good and bad – and I know that this has registered positively with many of my long term blog readers. My transparency and honesty is one of the reasons that they enjoy reading my weekly ramblings.
If I was to turn this blog, or another, into some kind of hyped-up promotional site that portrays me as a larger than life ‘hero’ that people want to emulate, it might help to sell a few more books, but my integrity would be in tatters.
I’m sorry but I’d rather stay broke than embark on such a course of action. My would-be American business partner has told me that he cannot understand the title of my novel – ‘A Lust for Life’.
In my humble opinion, if he doesn’t understand that, he doesn’t understand anything I have written.
A plea for work
But my decision to sell the bar, which was intended to provide me with a regular income –brings my dire financial plight back into the spotlight, and I now have to seek alternative work which will generate a small income.
Writing is my forte and it is to writing I must turn to look for sustenance.
Clearly creative writing – in the form of my novels – is not going to do the job, so I must now turn to such tasks as ‘content’ writing for websites, magazines, commercial blogs and so on, to earn a few bucks.
This will not be easy as the going rates for much of the content writing work are generally pretty abysmal, but anything is better than nothing and I do believe there is demand out there for people with my so-called talents.
A much better income could be made from writing scripts for TV and/or radio documentaries or even movies. This is a long shot and I will need some good introductions.
I have been provided with a few ‘web-links’ to start my search for work. I am also very hopeful that a project that I had been working on before I opened the bar is now back on the agenda. Back in April, I had to drop the project due to my commitment to the bar, but time has moved on and I am right back where I started.
I will now devote my energy to finding writing work of one kind or another, and in this regard may I make an appeal to you, my readers.
If anyone out there happens to know of any contacts that may provide me with any kind of writing work, then please let me know. I will be forever in your debt.
(You can contact me by leaving a comment at the foot of this page – which I will not publish without your permission – or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks in advance…
From Thailand with Love
Although as stated above, my books have not provided me with anything close to a decent income, I have recently decided to publish my collection of short stories on Amazon as an e-book.
These stories were originally published in hard copy back in 2001, under the title ‘Tales From Thailand’ and during the months before I opened the bar, I completed the re-writing and renaming of these stories.
They have been available to read, free of charge, on my blog for the past few months by clicking the appropriate tab at the top of my blog Home Page.
The stories are:
‘The Good Doctor Jak’; ‘That’s the Spirit!’;‘Walking backwards to Christmas’; ‘The beat of the Drum’, ‘In the Wink of An Eye’; and ‘Lawan’.
The book, at over 100,000 words, can be more properly described as six novelettes than six short stories.
I am in the process of publishing this collection on Amazon-Kindle, under the new title of ‘From Thailand with Love’, and regret to advise that I have now removed the transcripts from my blog.
The book will be available for download within the next couple of days, and will be priced at the princely sum of $4.99 (My other two books on Amazon have now been re-priced at $7.99.)
I don’t expect to sell many copies – if any – but it costs me nothing to publish in this way, and who knows? Every little helps.
There has been a power cut for the past 5 hours and all my back-up power supplies ran out after the first hour or so.
That’ll teach me to leave my weekly blog to the last possible moment…
Anyway, the power has just come back but it getting late and there’s other matters I need to attend to. I’ve written around 2,300 words today so I’m afraid that’ll have to do for this week – and sorry no pics. I’ll try to do better next week.
So to all of you good folks out there in blog-land, have a great week and I’ll be back on schedule next Sunday, power outages permitting.