Face Off

21 06 2016


Incredible imagery from Thai makeup artist Monticha Sriyoschati and model Jan Baiboon.

Bangkok round-up

19 06 2016


As its rainy season gathers, Bangkok continues to sparkle with its golden lottery-predicting toads, awesome gyms for transgender (female-to-male) men, marauding lizards named after Disney stars and new hipster hangouts.

But my favourite story to come recently out of the effervescent Thai capital was the “Fat Run”, held in the city’s Lumphini Park. Designed to encourage people of all weights to enjoy exercise without shame or embarrassment, it adopted the slogan: “Run 5km – and then eat whatever you want!” Participants received a medal decorated with pictures of pizza and cupcakes.

I love this for two reasons. The first is that it reminds me of my own sweat-drenched communal runs around the park, weaving in and out of a heaving mass of runners of all shapes and sizes including the odd shirtless gym-bod with rock-hard torso. We all ran together, heaving and sweating, dodging bugs, bats and birds. Music blasted, people danced to techno in mass aerobic exercises and in the dry season, the Bangkok Symphony orchestra struck up on the central lawn, as a tropical twilight fell swiftly over the city. It was a great experience.

But other than that I love the sentiment, so different from the exercise cults coming out America and rabidly adopted in HK, with their barely disguised puritan ideology that suffering is what makes you a better person. In the Fat Run, exercise, like food, is something to be celebrated and enjoyed, not a gruelling punishment to prove your self-worth (think: no pain, no gain). It is this pro-exercise, pro-life, pro-joy philosophy that powered me to make the switch into semi-serious running. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it and I think that is a great, powerful message to be sending: exercise can be fun, too!

Big trouble in little Thailand

6 06 2016


Dozens of dead tiger cubs in a black market temple racket, a winged penis, Thailand’s scariest road and a Latin food festival and a Southeast Asian literary salon in the latest Bangkok roundup…

Seventies fetish

4 05 2016


Last night I watched for the first time “Emmanuelle.” The 1974 French ‘erotic’ movie broke records on its release in Paris and turned its star, Dutch model Sylvia Kristen, into a sex symbol. The sex scenes were not that interesting to me (but then I’m not exactly the target market I guess, the men in the movie were resolutely unmemorable) but what I did love was the seventies fashions and the charm of seeing a vintage Bangkok on screen. I had heard of the movie before but never knew that it was set  – and filmed – in  an exotically rendered, soft focus-version of Thailand.

With its Lanna Thai mansions and Chinatown street scenes, vaselined lens and over-dubbed lines, ridiculous plot, even worse dialogue and parade of seventies frocks and interior decor, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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The film was so successful it even spawned a similar, if slightly inferior, Italian imitation in the “Emanuelle” films, spelled with one “m” to avoid litigation.

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Thai “sakura” season

25 04 2016


Thailand’s own little-known “sakura season” is coming to an end as the brilliant blossoms of the Tabebuia tree – here seen in Chatuchak park – fade and fall to mark the beginning of the traditional Thai new year.

Meanwhile in the gay world…

21 04 2016


Over the last week or so my Facebook feed has been inundated with glistening poolside pecs as the East Asian party tribes migrate from Seoul, Tokyo and Taipei to Bangkok for Thai New year celebrations. As always, Songkran was marked by debauchery in the streets, water fights, piles of bodies on the roads as drunk drivers race out of Bangkok, and a string of elaborately-produced gay parties in the Thai capital, with a constellation of Asian party-boy stars in attendance, posing on the podiums.


Meanwhile there are three interesting events coming up in Tokyo at Nichome’s most versatile venue. Aisotope Lounge will host a party from Beijing’s biggest gay club, Destination, in an interesting sign-of-the-times Gay-China-does-Tokyo night, followed by an underwear party with the adorably Japanese name “Exposure Crazy Night” and a gay Shiina Ringo tribute. Rock on!

Silom, 2pm, first day of Songkran

13 04 2016



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