Stickman Readers' Submissions March 23rd, 2013

Always Somewhere


Chiang Mai – Lanna, so long ago now but I remember, like it was yesterday. Looking out of the floor-to-ceiling windows of my room from level 15 in the old Sheraton (now Holiday Inn), as dusk descended, the view down to Nam Mae Ping and across the city beyond to Doi Suthep was truly beautiful. Somewhere in the distance, a red light was flashing intermittently and it caught my attention – a point of reference that turned out to be the top of the AIS Network tower on Soi Kampaengdin – part of the Shin Corp empire, owned by Thaksin Shinawatra. Little did I know at that time that the light on the AIS Network tower was the beacon that marked the area in which I would live. That is so strange because I had no intention of staying in Chiang Mai – it was merely a 3-night visit from BKK to check out why people said Chiang Mai was so special. BKK always was my home city while in Thailand.

I often reflect on the subject of reality – a very subjective term, in my opinion – because here one needs to think differently to be able to throw off the shackles of cynicism and accept things that exist in the moment. Although I have been a frequent patron of Chao Phraya II, The Eden Club, Ogoto and Geisha Massage Club in BKK, it was never an interest of mine to put "notches on my belt". To me, those transient liaisons were each quite special in the moment – and I regard each of those ladies as no different to the girls serving in Central Department Store or as nurses in the local hospital. Each of them was special in their own way. I have never had the need to be towing around a "stunner" so that onlookers could see. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and quite shallow when based solely on appearances.

He Clinic Bangkok


My last night in Chiang Mai, back then, was when I saw her. Yes, she was beautiful – taller than average, well-dressed, light skin, beautiful long black hair and brown eyes – and I was instantly attracted to her by something that I could not understand. There was something different happening here – no time needed to get to that "comfortable" and relaxed state. We were already there, as if we had known each other for a very long time. That was the beginning.

She always called me her sar-mee and she was either my mia or my waan-jai. It was so natural, as if we had been husband and wife for a very long time. A large part of our life together was regular visits to the Wat – not just one Wat but many – sometimes 3 in the same day, to give offering in the presence of the monk. I remember my friend Steve saying to me "You have enough rope around your wrist to tie up The Queen Mary". But I was proud to wear it.

CBD bangkok

She never consumed alcohol and managed to convince me that my 2 bia Singha yai at breakfast was not really a good idea. Yeah, I had some bad habits before I met her but she really did make me a better person – and I thank her profusely for that. Unfortunately, one thing she was not able to fix was the fact that I was hemhorraging financially due to failed interests and an addiction to credit cards – and the banks were becoming relentless in their pursuit. It was just a matter of time before the shit hit the fan.

German heavy-rock group The Scorpions had not long released their CD and DVD "Acoustica" – Live in Lisbon, Portugal – and that group and their songs became symbolic to both of us in so many ways. The title of this sub is the name of one of the tracks off that set – and many mornings, over breakfast, we would have that DVD playing as we ate and talked. It became an integral part of our life. I have to smile when I call that meal breakfast – I really don't know what it was because it was always around 11.30 in the morning. We never got out of bed before then.

These two songs are ones I play very often.

Always Somewhere: Music: Rudolf Schenker – Lyrics: Klaus Meine.

wonderland clinic

Arrive at seven – the place feels good

No time to call you today

Encores till eleven – then Chinese food

Back to the hotel again

I call your number – the line ain't free

I like to tell you "come to me"

A night without you – seems like a lost dream

Love I can't tell you how I feel

Always somewhere –

Miss you where I've been –

I'll be back to love you again

The lyrics struck home so true of the feelings experienced by so many musicians away from the one they love – feelings that I had experienced so many times in the past but which I would experience again in the not-too-distant future – this time because of my own stupidity.

She would always carry our "baby" (Thongchai) in a Central Department Store bag. He was a large dog doll with a big red tongue – and he would bark if you pressed him in a certain place. We got him off a street vendor in Loi Kroh Road, late one afternoon while having a few drinks at the al-fresco lady-boy bar outside Traveller Inn and, no matter where we went, Thongchai came with us. Of course, we always watched ITV because she and her family were loyal Thaksin supporters and I quite liked the content that was on that channel. It was sold in 2006 as part of the Shin Corp interests.

It was one evening at a restaurant on Thanon Moon-Muang – one of the few times that I have experienced feelings of anger in Thailand (well, not real anger – aggravation is the proper word). The elections were being held this weekend and here we were with quite a lavish meal being ordered, only to be told that alcohol was not allowed to be served. It didn't bother her but I was as parched as a dead dog's donger and had to be content with Coca-Cola. Thank goodness I had Bia Singha in the fridge at home.

Life Is Too Short: Music: Rudolf Schenker – Lyrics: Klaus Meine

Have you ever seen the morning

When the sun comes up the shore?

And the silence makes

A beautiful sound

Have you ever sat there waiting

For the time to stand still?

For all the world to stop

From turning around

And you run

'Cause life is too short

And you run

'Cause life is too short

Have you ever seen the glowing

When the moon is on the rise?

And the dreams are close

To the ones that we love

Have you ever sat there waiting

For heaven to give a sign?

So we could find the place

Where angels come from

And you run

'Cause life is too short

And you run

'Cause life is too short

And you run

'Cause life is too short

And you run

'Cause life is too short

There's a time that turns

I'd turn back time

But I don't say I can

It only works if you believe in the truth

Well there's a time to live

And a time to cry

But if you're by my side

I will try to catch a star

I'll try to catch a star

Just for you

Time passed by too quickly and the shit was about to fall onto the fan and I had no real options left but to pull up stakes and go back to face the music. It sure was hard – probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I came to realize that this song was so true – this line particularly – "And you run, 'Cause life is too short". The thought hits me that isn't this what so many of us are doing – running? Many of us believe we are running away from creditors or past lovers – but we are really running away from ourselves and have taken on an impossible task. Jackson Browne wrote the same theme in "Running On Empty".

From a distance, I think about this line quite a lot: "But if you're by my side, I will try to catch a star – I'll try to catch a star just for you". If only I could.

Going back to paragraph 2 and the word reality: If we think in terms of quantum physics, time has no real meaning (Dana has written about this <smile>) – but it is true that time can be bent or expanded – perhaps even melded so that what is now and what once was can exist side-by side, allowing us to move from one to the other. Many times I dream of her and she is standing, looking out at the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyashima Island, not far from Hiroshima. I never see her face but I know it is her – perhaps one night I can be there beside her, hopefully in that time past.

Good spaces in faraway places to all.

Stickman's thoughts:

Life is all about building up a large bank of nice memories, like these.

nana plaza