A Night In Summer Long Ago
It seems as if I can never exclude Thailand from any part of my life – nor can I exclude most of the music that drives me on some journey that even I do not understand fully. All I do know is that both of those influences have given me an enormous amount of pleasure and provided the opportunity for me to discover the great treasure of Thai Pop Music that I have come to love so much. I have combined the Thai Pop Music into my normal repertoire of older Western music and they seem to fit well, side by side.
The above title is a song by Mark Knopfler from the CD “Golden Heart” and also from the DVD “A Night In London” – apparently no longer available. I still have the CD “Golden Heart” but the DVD went missing in the dark halls of time.
The song seems to take me back a very long time ago, as I bonded to it long before I ever went to Thailand – so I can only conjecture why that is. Only this week, I re-acquainted myself with this song after I found it in one of my folders full of working charts. I picked up the guitar and it seems like no time had really passed by at all. I was right there in that minute when I first began playing the song.
"A Night In Summer Long Ago"
My lady may I have this dance
Forgive a knight who knows no shame
My lady may I have this dance
And lady may I know your name
You danced upon a soldier's arm
I felt the blade of love so clean
And when you smiled you did me harm
And I was drawn to you, my Queen
Now these boots may take me where they will
Though they may never shine like his
There is no knight I would not kill
To have my lady's hand to kiss
Yes and they did take me through the hall
To leave me not one breath from you
And they fell silent one and all
And you could see my heart was true
Then I did lead you from the hall
And we did ride upon the hill
Away beyond the city wall
And sure you are my lady still
A night in summer long ago
The stars were falling from the sky
And still, my heart, I have to know
Why do you love me, lady, why?
Here is the link for those who wish to hear this beautiful piece of music:
A Night In Summer Long Ago
It was sometime back in that “no-man's-land” period when I had that germ of an idea to go to Thailand – and I paid a visit to friends of mine from the past (Trish) and her husband (Rod), to catch up on old times when she and I did some performing and TV/Studio recording work – too long ago to remember with clear accuracy. She had a copy of Mark Knopfler's “Golden Heart” CD and they burned me off a copy for myself. That was really the start for a lot of things that happened from that time on. The period was very early in the year 2000.
They lived on The Sunshine Coast – and I would go to visit them regularly and stayed overnight on occasions – but I got the feeling that they were trying to pair me off with a British lady friend of theirs who was working in IT for The Queensland Government. She was a very nice person – but I had definite goals other than settling down with someone here. I was seeing several Asian ladies in my home city and really wanted to be in Vietnam or Thailand. Of course, Thailand won, hands-down. We would sit in the upstairs loft of Trish and Rod's home, chatting, listening to music on the stereo and sipping a glass or three of fine port – a very pleasant way to while away several hours in good company – particularly in winter evenings.
Trish always made me laugh – she had this wicked sense of humour and I would slip into uncontrollable laughter whenever she referred to her husband, Rod, as “Petal”. Rod was a big, strapping guy and the title was totally incongruous – but she would be totally outrageous in suggesting that he should go “and frock up”. While Trish did cooking chores, Rod and I would retreat up to the loft to listen to some jazz and chat a little. Rod loved the Dave Brubeck Quartet and the hit piece “Take Five” and was right into the tenor-sax playing of the great Stan Getz, from way back when. He always said that I was one of the few people that he liked to sit and share music with. We did get along very well.
Many of my subs cover the period up until I met Natalise in Bangkok and married her in Australia – eventually getting Residency for her and the two children she had from a marriage to a Thai man. So I will now jump forward to the year 2003, when Nat was operating her own business, importing clothing from Thailand. Even during that period I was missing Bangkok and was finding little joy in living life in Brisbane – the rot had already started to set in. Nat had suggested that she buy a house in Bangkok and I go there to live in the house while she managed things in Oz. It sounded good but not everything is as it seems. That idea never eventuated – and it was probably better it did not because I could see myself having half of Nat's Thai family moving in to keep me company. Look, I really do get along with them all – but seeing them sometimes is far different to sharing company with them 24/7. I would have had no privacy or quiet times.
The title of the song “A Night In Summer Long Ago” could fit any one of several time-frames that I recall – but one in particular relates to my first meeting with a Thai lady, Monika – quite some time before I had met Natalise.
I had just finished playing a few sets with a band I often played with. It was the evening of St Patrick's Day. Monika and I had an apartment for the night in one of the upper levels, overlooking the river – and I vividly recall the magic of looking out through the big picture windows at the lights of the city at night and all of the boats travelling on the river as we lay snuggled up on the big bed, wondering where things would take us. I never knew her real Thai name – but she told me she was only part Thai, as her father was Japanese. Who would know the truth of that statement? I took it at face-value – but people will often tell you what they think you may want to hear. I had previously asked her if she was Japanese, as I adore Japanese ladies – and she did look to have a lot of Japanese features. I sometimes think of her and wonder where she went.
Back in the “present” of 2004, with Natalise, having decided to cancel her ABN and take a good position working for one of the major hotel chains, things had gone decidedly ”wonky” and it looked as though there would be troubled waters up ahead. The good ship “Happy Marriage” seemed to have sprung a leak and was in danger of capsizing. Who can name any particular reason for that happening – other than, perhaps the fact that independence and freedom of choice give more options to a person. I guess that's what happened for Natalise. Comparing what we had in Bangkok to what was now on the table – the result was that there was really no comparison other than the fact that things were very different, to put it mildly.
I had a few guitar students who would come to the home up until that point – but I was accused of cultivating the female ones as more than just students. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I had never betrayed Natalise. Going out to do paying jobs playing guitar had also become a problem, so I was getting to the stage of wanting to throw my arms up in the air and surrender. When the split came in October 2004, I should have been grateful – but, deep inside, I never wanted that split.
“A Night In Summer Long Ago” particularly relates to the night of 03 December 2004 in Chiang Mai. That was when I met “My Lady”.
In northern hemisphere seasons, December in Thailand is considered as their winter – but, being from the southern hemisphere, I always think of December as summer.
I have written extensively about “My Lady” in previous subs and yes, “sure you are my lady still”. She has always been my Lady Wan.
Every journey consists of deviations – changes of direction – and, quite often, the unexpected. Yet, I guess I had always known that we would meet on that night, without specifics of the date and time. Perhaps, if I had gone to Chiang Mai in 2000, we may not have met at all. At the very least, I must be grateful that we did meet. I will always regard that meeting as the most significant event that I shall forever recall. I doubt what we had will ever really be over.