My Alter Ego
There can be no denying I am a miserable git and no mistake. However occasionally I get out of bed on the right side with a spring in my step. This can be most disconcerting to a curmudgeonly old bugger as I. When this occurs I find I have to commit numerous acts of unpleasantness before this feeling of amiability subsidesใ
I must confess I experienced a morning recently with a mood of such agreeability that would not subside despite my best efforts.
I would ask you to picture a grizzled old blues musician (probably with a name like Howling Harold or Muddy Puddles) on stage playing the intro to a morose piece of twelve bar blues. Imagine for example the intro to the Rolling Stones “Little Red Rooster”…
Dee dum der dum, twang….. dee dum der dum, twang…..
“I woke up this morning”…..
Dee dum der dum, twang…..dee dum der dum …. twang.
“I said I woke up this morning” (resolving of chord)
And I felt ok……
Dee dum der dum, twang…..dee dum der dum twang …
“In fact I felt rather cheerful.”
You can imagine the look of shock on the faces of the audience. I must confess the incongruity of this image had me chuckling for a while.
I could not easily explain this uncommon mood of wellbeing although I can admit to a few positive incidents in the past few months which may have contributed to my disposition.
I had just returned from a weekend in London arranged by my two sons as a birthday present. Their idea was for a lads' weekend doing the things they could not do on a London trip when accompanied by their girlfriends who would invariably want to go shopping. The three of us went by train on Saturday morning and after booking in to our hotel in Pimlico made our way to the Science Museum. London is now a cosmopolitan city that appears to be no longer inhabited by the English. I was impressed by the sight of well dressed attractive people and amazed at the display of delicious Asian tottie I saw. I certainly did not see the hordes of ugly corpulent creatures in tracksuits I see in my hometown. Maybe they are kept ensconced in the suburbs under armed guard to avoid scaring the tourists.
The highlight of the weekend was Saturday evening when we went to see the musical “Miss Saigon” at the Prince Edward theatre in the West End. It is an amazing musical based on the Madame Butterfly story set during the last days of the Vietnam War with the second act located in Bangkok. I had seen this some years previously but this did not detract from my sheer delight at this wonderful spectacle.
On Sunday we visited the British Museum which is a magnificent edifice built at the height of empire to impress Johnny Foreigner. We returned to the Midlands on Virgin Rail and after dropping my sons off home I popped my head into the pub that houses the Thai restaurant I frequent and engaged on the karaoke. This was a nice contrast to all the culture I had just experienced and rounded off a splendid weekend.
Talking about my birthday, I recently celebrated my 60th. I received over 100 messages on Facebook and declare I even knew some of the people who sent them. As you would suspect I am a tight-fisted git who never celebrates a birthday (or anything that involves any expense) but as I didn’t expect to live this long I decided to hold a party to commemorate the milestone.
The party was held in the function room of my local pub. We did the room up to look like a speakeasy bar similar to the CheckInn99 bar in Bangkok. I had a karaoke, a substantial buffet and about 60 of my pals in attendance. It was a wonderful night enjoyed by all and the thought struck me, maybe I am not quite the “Billy no mates” I claim to be?
I recently attended the annual dinner for the Fellows of the Casting Institute. This is a prestigious event as there are only 60 people in our industry who have achieved the professional status of “Fellow”. I feel honoured and humble to be amongst their number. I sat with my old friend and colleague Professor John Campbell who is acknowledged worldwide as the guru and expert in cast metals. We have been friends for almost 30 years and a month earlier we had exchanged books. John presented me with his latest tome on the history and development of the Cosworth casting process (that he invented) and I had given him a copy of my collection of short stories “The Bangkok Ladyboy Male Voice Choir and other stories”. John declared he had enjoyed reading my stories and had laughed uproariously on several occasions. He also declared it made him realise what a sheltered life he had led compared to my misadventures. As I looked around the room and observed the august company I was in, I reflect that maybe I wasn’t quite the total failure I often profess to be.
I have nothing to report with regard to amorous activities of late. I have had no female encounters and no rejections, but who cares? I had a mild epiphany a few weeks ago that I really don’t want a meaningful relationship with a woman and the work it entailed. I actually stopped beating myself up about my lack of success with women some time ago. I appreciate I am probably lucky not to have become a beast of burden to some “heifer with baggage and attitude”. My lack of success with Thai women in England could probably be filed under “lucky escapes”. On reflection I probably have a good lifestyle. I have absolutely no responsibilities and don’t have to answer to anyone. At the age of 60 I have finally realised I am reasonably happy in my skin.
The more observant amongst my readers have recognised that I often write to a formula. There is a distinct pattern to some of my essays. I start off in a morose mood and relate a few anecdotes about my interactions with that mercurial breed of humanity known as English womanhood. I occasionally vary it with sagas of my relations with Thai women living in England. I may express a mildly misogynist opinion here and there. I then try to conclude the missive on an optimistic note. As I have previously declared my aim is to entertain and amuse.
I will not say I am creating fiction but must confess a little mild elaboration on occasions for the purpose of amusement. Although I write in a self deprecating style I am actually not (quite) the sad old tosser I portray. The majority of readers understand the joke and I am certain no offence is taken. This time I felt the urge to submit an essay shorter and different from anything I have previously tendered.
The past few months I have been very busy on the work front with four Diploma groups and one (lucrative) Certificate course to deliver. Although some of my students are teenagers the majority are in their mid to late twenties and react positively to my unusual and anecdotal teaching style. I am developing a good reputation and the prospect of future work is promising. It is nice to have a few quid in my ass pocket but it has involved a lot of travelling around the country. This has been quite exhausting and I felt I needed something to look forward to.
So I have booked a trip to Thailand in December. I have reconciled my attitude to the kingdom and have ceased to see it as a panacea for all my problems. I am now realistic about what it has to offer. In future I will enjoy Thailand for what it is, namely just a pleasant holiday. It is the opportunity to meet old friends and maybe purchase a little female attention.
I arrive in Bangkok on 3rd December and have booked in at the Mothership. On Saturday 5th December I am meeting Bangkok Barry, Union Hill and a few of the other usual suspects in the Tilac bar for (what is becoming) our annual memorial to our late pal Phil Pascoe. If any Stickmanite is interested, I will be available in Suhkumvit for a beer and a chinwag until Tuesday 8th when I depart for my pilgrimage to Sin City. I will be in Pattaya from 8th until the 13th when I intend to disappear to the Isaan for a few days. I shall be back at the Nana Hotel on Friday 18th and will be out and about in Bangkok until I return to Blighty on 23rd December.
I have downloaded a few new books on the Kindle app of my phone. I usually need something to read during the interminable time it takes for a Thai female to take a shower. I do wonder just how clean a mudgeon can be. There is a new Jack Reacher and a new Ben Hope story. I am looking forward to the new one from the No 1 Ladies detective Agency and the latest offering from John Burdett. I am particularly interested in the recent update to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.
Everything is booked and all that remains is to shave my testicles and apply the “Just for men” to my hair. This visit I have decided to bring to an end my tradition of photographing Thai girls in West Bromwich Albion shirts (small youth size). The joke has run its course and many friends consider the practice undignified and unsavoury. However I may pack a couple of shirts in case I change my mind.
I am looking forward to a few misadventures that I can write about in a future submission. I suspect normal service will be resumed by then.
In the meantime, as always, watch this space.