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Those Were the Days



Those were the days when a beautiful, young Thai girl would call you “hansum”, whatever you looked like; those were the days when you could bed a bargirl for the price of a good meal; those were the days when a fat and bald sexagenarian could have an Asian wife 40 years his junior. Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days!

To give just a few examples, there was that first visit to Bangkok in the early 2000’s when I discovered that, even though I was 50-plus and divorced, there was still hope for me – indeed, I discovered it 7 times over in one week – those were the days!

On the same trip, I discovered that there was a kind of Sistine Chapel in Soi Cowboy, where you could look up and see more of Eve than Michelangelo dared to paint – those were the days!

Later, I discovered that, in a bar called Angelwitch in Nana Plaza, you could see Ram Thai (Thai classical dance) as it was meant to be done – topless. And if that wasn’t enough, there was the soap show, the dildo show, the lesbian show, and the show where a dancer invites a volunteer from the audience and teases him with her pussy in his face – those were the days!

There was that time in Pattaya when I fancied a girl in Super Baby, but who was new to the bar and too shy to come with me. Her experienced friend said she’d come too to look after her – and somehow, I ended up with another girl as well. I took them for a seafood meal – and then to bed. And there was I, a fifty-something year-old, with three twenty-somethings doing their best to please me – the only downside being that the bed wasn’t big enough for the four of us and, being a gentleman, I volunteered to sleep on the floor – those were the days!

But that was nothing to what happened to me one night in Bangkok when I actually collected seven girls, ranging from 18 to 30. I took them to a night club in Soi 11, then back to the hotel. The receptionist gave me a strange look, and I thought she was going to kick us all out, but she only asked if I needed extra towels. We all crammed into the bathroom (the Dynasty had proper bathrooms in those days with bathtubs) and soaped each other all over. I wish I could remember what happened next, but I had had too much to drink and passed out – those were the days!

Then there was that time in Patpong where the girl said she really liked me, and I didn’t need to give her anything – a bargirl freebie! Something I had read about, but never experienced (maybe she liked me because I had dyed my hair the day before and looked a bit younger). She wanted to be my girlfriend and in the end cost me more than a hundred barfines would have done – those were the days!

Best of all was the time when I met a nubile 19 year-old in Angeles, bought her out of the bar and married her. OK, it went wrong, but it was good while it lasted – those were the days!

And in February this year, I met a woman in Hua Hin who wanted me to move in with her.

“But I’m a sexagenarian,” I said.

She thought I said something about being sexy, and fondled me down there.

“I’ve no money – my ex-wife has it all.”

“Hua Hin vely cheap,” she said, still fondling.

“I can’t marry you because I’m married to a Filipina and there’s no divorce in the Philippines.”

Mai pen rai. Have moobaan wedding – plenty monks, no papers!” she said, as she pulled me onto the bed.

Those were the days, and that was only two months ago!

Oh yes, those were the days! But it’s all one now, whether it was 2002, or early 2020, because it’s all a vanished era. In the future, the world will be divided into two eras: BCV (Before Coronavirus) and ACV (After Coronavirus). Many things will be worse, the economy for one thing, travel, and perhaps the bar business, but some things might be better – more working from home, more care for the planet, and perhaps even a more caring society. One thing is certain, things will never be the same again, and we will look back through the rose-coloured glasses of nostalgia and say, “Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days!”

* * *

I am reminded of a song along those lines, sung by Mary Hopkin in 1968, and thought it might be interesting to do a Thaied version of it with the current crisis in mind:

 

Those were the days my friend,
We thought they’d never end,
We’d sing and dance forever and a day.
We’d live the life we choose,
We’d fight and never lose,
For we were young and sure to have our way.

—MARY HOPKIN, 1968

Once upon a time there was a gogo
Where we raised a Heineken or two.
Remember how we’d laugh away the hours
And boast of all the bargirls we would do…

 

Chorus:

Those were the days my friend,
We thought they’d never end,
We’d watch the girls forever and a day.
We’d live the life we choose,
We’d fight and never lose,
For we were old, fat and bald*, and sure to have our way.

Then the busy years went rushing by us,
We caught coronavirus on the way.
If I’d see you on Skype, Zoom, or on Facebook,
We’d grin at one another and we’d say…

Chorus

Those were the days my friend,
We thought they’d never end,
We’d watch the girls forever and a day.
We’d live the life we choose,
We’d fight and never lose,
For we were old, fat and bald, and sure to have our way.

Covid-19 shutdown all the gogos –
I thought I’d die of boredom in lockdown!
But I got out my diaries and my photos,
And re-lived all my nights out on the town… 

Chorus

Those were the days my friend,
We thought they’d never end,
We’d watch the girls forever and a day.
We’d live the life we choose,
We’d fight and never lose,
For we were old, fat and bald, and sure to have our way.

Soon self-isolation will be over,
And we will pay a barfine once again,
But maybe when we do, it will be cheaper –
And that will pay us back for all our pain…

Chorus:

Those were the days my friend,
We thought they’d never end,
We’d watch the girls forever and a day.
We’d live the life we choose,
We’d fight and never lose,
For we were old, fat and bald, and sure to have our way.

La la la la la la
La la la la la la
Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days!

 

*old, fat and bald – this doesn’t scan, but I just had to get the old cliché about sex tourists in there somehow.

BANGKOK BYRON

If you enjoyed this version of Those Were the Days, there are many other re-workings of well-known poems (and a few songs) in my book Jasmine Kisses.

The author of this article can be contacted at : [email protected]