“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
― Henry Miller
Everything starts with an idea. I have long believed that. The thing is, it doesn’t even have to be an original idea. In the case of this blog the genesis came from the Henry Miller quote, above. I figured Henry was a lot smarter than me. Being around people smarter than I am has never bothered me. In my business I seek them out and hire them. With friendships it’s an added bonus.
Let’s take a look at Thailand Footprint’s first year, Miller style. You can click on most of the pictures to take you to the discussed post or do a search on the site, if you like.
Henry Miller would have liked Malcolm Gault-Williams, shown with his three sons. I am sure of that. Malcolm now lives up country near the Laos border, he is engaged in a life long project, LEGENDARY SURFERS. Malcolm was featured in the first ever interview at Thailand Footprint: EACH ONE HIS OWN DIRECTION EACH ONE HIS OWN WAY kon-lá tít kon-lá taang / คนละทิศคนละทาง
Mook, the smiling waitress at the Soi 4 German restaurant in Pattaya whom I recounted the rather remarkable story of having my gold chain ripped off my neck by a 150 lb katoey as I drank a cup of coffee by the sea, only to get it back twenty minutes later, in the middle of a growing crowd, which included a few men in brown or Pattaya Policemen. A memorable evening where I explain why I love Thailand and learn that the word Mook in Thai means pearl.
There was the essay I wrote about Henry Miller called, Forget Yourself, What did Henry Miller mean? In that essay I pay tribute to an old friend, Dick, that passed away of a heart attack at age 76. I discuss that forgetting yourself is never easy but almost always worth it.
Two of the three most popular posts, traffic wise, had nothing to do with literature or music. It was all about Muay Thai. They both featured Muay Ying Champion Melissa Ray and the second one featured charismatic MAX Muay Thai Champion Hotchilli Ntg, who recently took home a $15,000 US purse in a four man tournament in which he finished second to a long time Champion. A special thanks to Bangkok photographer, Eric Nelson for those two posts in particular.
For me personally it was a great year as I was able to get to to know many of the Bangkok authors whose books I had read over the years. But equally rewarding was making contact with out of town authors face to face after I had featured them at Thailand Footprint. One thing we can be sure of, Henry Miller would have preferred face to face over Facebook every time. My author collection has grown and so has my friendship collection. There are a lot of benefits to following Henry’s advice. I have gotten to know American , Thom Hunt Locke, whom I did an interview called, Jim Thompson is Alive! A Sam Collins Mystery. Thom has a new novel out now, The Chiang Mai Chronicle, with a new protagonist, Declan Power. I was also able to meet British author, Matt Carrell author of Thai Kiss among others, whom I featured in an essay called, Nobody Loves Goliath, about Amazon.com. Both are interesting men with second careers other than authors and a passion for writing and living life to the fullest.
There are also three fellow bloggers who helped me out a lot in 2013 before I ever published a single post and have always been supportive. I thank Robert Carraher of The Dirty Lowdown, a book and music review site, Voicu Minea Simamdan of http://www.Simandan.com – Writer, Archer, Travelor and Trevor Bide of http://www.engagingthailand.com , a site about Thailand culture, travel, cooking and much more.
Some of the memorable things in 2013 included the couch at The Living Room located at the Sheraton on Sukhumvit 12 in Bangkok. It was from a couch that we watched Steve Cannon play another thing, the trumpet. I wrote an essay about earning the couch. Henry Miller earned the couch most days, I reckon. It is always a worthy goal. One I will shoot for more often in 2014.
Thai University uniforms are things. I didn’t write the popular satirical essay on the Thai University uniform, Kaewmala did. She of http://www.thaiwomantalks.com . She kindly allowed me to re-post it. Henry Miller would have been against University uniforms and in favor of short skirts, if I had to take a guess.
Parks are some of my favorite things and I wrote about them in 2013 in The Parks of My Life. This is Suan Rot Fai, my favorite local park in Bangkok.
The fountain at Hemingway’s restaurant on Sukhumvit 14 is a thing and a perfect meeting place for friends. Owner Craig Bianchini and General Manager Damian Mackay have always been helpful and friendly about the restaurant named after the famous American writer, which is modeled after his Key West, Florida home.
Shrines are things and no one finds more interesting things than Jim Algie, one of many Footprint Makers featured on this blog. His book, Bizarre Thailand, is filled with things Henry Miller or anyone would find interesting.
A toilette is a thing of necessity. Who could forget a personal favorite of mine in 2013, Gop’s interview with that prickly protagonist, Joe Dylan when he decided to go tubing at Koh Samui Health Resort and Spa after taking a slide on Zone ice after solving the White Flamingo caper down in Fun City? Quite a few of you, apparently. That’s why I am here, to remind you. The White Flamingo novel by James A. Newman has been charting regularly in the noir rankings at Amazon, no doubt due to Gop’s probing questions and the piles of publicity it created.
Two more of my favorite things in 2013, speaking of famous plastic birds. This one is at the Check Inn 99 alongside the painting, Soi Cowboy by Chris Coles.
LITERATURE & MUSIC:
We’ve covered literature already this month with my list of favorite fiction and non-fiction for 2013. A revue of musical venues will be done in April. So I now turn to the first annual Thailand Footprint Makers of the Year Award. To the persons who have promoted literature and the arts of Thailand above and beyond the call of duty for the betterment of anyone with a dram of common sense and sense of appreciation. Drum roll please …
FOOTPRINT MAKERS OF THE YEAR FOR 2013 at Thailand Footprint
Let me tell you what these two men share in common, before I discuss them individually. Neither of them could have predicted 15 years ago what they are doing today. They get up most every day and get to work. They also have time for fun. They both love Bangkok and do not get back to their home countries that often. They both capture moments at every opportunity. They appreciate what the other one does. They have the same first name. They are Check Inn 99 owner, Chris Catto-Smith and artist and author of Navigating the Bangkok Noir, Chris Coles.
Just some of the highlights for the former Royal Air Force jet fighter-pilot from Australia, Chris Catto-Smith in 2013: hosting Night of Noir; bringing The Rocky Horror Show to Bangkok; The Blues Brothers Show featuring Keith Nolan and company; Casablanca Night; Dean Barrett China Night and of course, Music of the Heart Band pretty much 7 nights a week. If you’ve never been to Check Inn 99 when you get to Bangkok, go. If you’ve been, you know. He could not do it without his wife, Mook who runs the show while raising their two children. Two full time jobs, done well.
American, Chris Coles is a former Ivy League guy, a former Hollywood big budget movie production manager. He has now been making a documentary on the Bangkok Night for over a decade one painting at a time. Author of Navigating the Bangkok Noir, Chris has spoken at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Bangkok, had art gallery showings in several different countries and can always be counted on to give an entertaining presentation highlighted by his own art and commentary. Chris is as comfortable in front of a camera as he is in front of a canvas. Google some of his YouTube interviews. You will be entertained. Chris Coles expressionist art works are impressive in volume and content. More impressive to me is that I have seen Chris Coles be encouraging to people in the arts time and again and to me personally.
His Soi Cowboy painting at Check Inn 99 is already iconic. Chris Catto-Smith received a big bucks offer for it and to his credit refused to sell it. It’s hard to imagine the place without it now. Like the plastic flamingos they all found a perfect home. Likewise, I cannot think of two better Footprint Makers to be singled out in 2013 at Thailand Footprint. Thank-you, gentlemen. Your gift certificates for a foot massage and dinner at Hemingway’s restaurant await you. Congratulations.
Thanks for reading Thailand Footprint in 2013. May 2014 be the beginning of a beautiful year for everyone. With no civil war in Thailand, for everyone’s sake.