Saturday, January 31, 2009

Somtow's Theatre of Horror

Tonight was the delayed (after one week) premiere of my OTHER new television show, "Somtow's Theatre of Horror". The week's delay was because for some bizarre reason, every time I stood in the vicinity of the shrine of the ghostly Mae Naak, the sound would go wonky. They were trying to fix the sound all week. The show ended up with me sounding as though I were speaking from another universe, but on the other hand, all the people on the film crew won the lottery that week ... and Thais believe that ghosts love to give winning lottery numbers. All pretty entertaining. They didn't win much. They all believe that the wonky sounds came from the scary lady's vibes ... here I am with her in the picture. Is she scary or what?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fame? Hardly....

Somtow's World is a local radio show in Bangkok on Tuesdays from 8-11 pm ... it has been for many moons now. I play very eclectic music ... leaping from John Cage to Mediaeval music, and so on. So now, the show has leapfrogged to a satellite TV station called P5, which in its non-Somtow moments functions mainly as an MLM headquarters and purveyor of downscale music videos.

It's kind of a cheaply made show, just me and assorted friends sitting around chatting about music and alternating with footage of the Bangkok Opera's concerts, but I think it has potential. However, the debut of the show was marred when it opened with NO SOUND ... then vanished abruptly and was replaced by herbal remedy commercials. Some time later, it came back on ... yes, with sound. They promise me they'll fix it soon.

My other show, on the same station, is the horror one ... that debuts tomorrow at 10 pm.

I am told that this satellite can be viewed by anyone with a sufficiently sophisticated dish, so I will say that it's to be found on the Thaicom 2/5 dish on the C band.... whatever that means.

Now, there's are 15 channels of educational TV on the local cable company's network, and they often broadcast old videos of my concerts ... but tonight, EIGHT of them were showing diferent performances of mine simultaneously! I've heard rumors about this in the past, but I only just had that cable put in today, so I never realized it was actually true..... I am famous after all, if only to somenoe so bored they would surf the channels about 81 in the wee hours....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Arbiters of Taste have spoken

1. I read a French review of "Twilight" which stated unequivocably that the movie was a watered-down rip-off of my "Vampire Junction" trilogy. Who would have thought the French would know? Where do I pick up my check?

2. The supreme arbiter of Thai Society, Tatler's SOCIETY TOP 500 issue, just came out. Horror! My sisters have been kicked off Thailand's top 500! Talk about the greasy pole! I am still on the list (phew!) ..better photo, too.

3. The ghost of Mae Naak played a trick on me and, as I was about to do the first take of my TV show, gave me an attack of diarrhea. The only toilet in the temple of horror was on the other side of a pavilion where a corpse in an open casket was being chanted over. Within the toilet itself I was confronted with one of those squatting devices and a rusty old bucket of water. The perfume used to disguise the rotting of the corpse came wafting in through the door crack. That Mae Naak ... she is some woman!

Thus is it that three supreme arbiters of taste have passed judgment on me and mine this day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Theatre of Horror

Well, the two segmented sectors of my existence are finally coming together. Every Friday, you will be able to watch Somtow's Theatre of Horror on Thailand's P5 Channel (satellite) and every Sunday, Somtow's World (my music show) which is an expansion of the radio show. Now, this channel is very hard to get ... they say it reaches 2 million viewers, which is not yet very big in a country the size of Thailand, but I'm going to do a webcast of both of them as well ... more news on this soon....

In my horror show, I talk about different kinds of monsters in film and art, and show bits and pieces of horror movies.

Hopefully I will come out with an English version of this at some stage for the international market....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Revolutionary Dreams

So, last week, I had a dream which I personally saw to mean a certain thing, and yet my good friend the author Tew Boonnag interpreted quite differently. In this dream there has just been a major revolution. To celebrate, a vast concert is taking place in a huge building with glass walls. I didn't do the concert and indeed I have decided to leave the building. So I am coming down these vast, zig-zag stairs ... they are black burnished metal, the kind you could slip through, not solid stairs. And outside, in the parking lot, on the other side of the glass walls, violinist Leo Phillips, in a blue suit, is surrounded by the press and taking credit for the entire evening's music. I decide to leave by another doorway, but I see that a red carpet has been laid out, such as is used by royalty or major VIPs when they come to concerts. There are soldiers in white uniforms. The VIPs appear to be late coming to the concert, and there is no huge throng to greet them, just a few soldiers. I am about to slip away when the Royal Anthem sounds. I freeze as it would not be good manners not to wait until the anthem finishes playing. At that moment, two extremely important high-ranking individuals ... in a tremendous hurry ... one of them I have met very rarely, the other I have never met. I watch as they hasten along the red carpet towards the stairs. The are wearing pale lavender suits. Suddenly, at the corner, they turn and see me, and they wave at me in recognition. They smile broadly and feel warmed and welcomed though I am surprised to be known this way. I think to myself, No, they have not forgotten me, they know what I have done, and in humility, I sink into a prostrate position as I awaken. This was a brightly colored dream, each color brilliant and jewel-like. Strange. I took this dream to be a very positive one for myself, one that showed that I was being recognized, even though in an oddly secretive way. I told this dream to Tew Bunnag, who saw it as prophecy of disaster.

So there's another dream as well. It's about how Trisdee and I fly to an island for a recording session. There is some kind of problem with my new credit card at the airprt. We get separated. I discover that I am not really needed. Out in the airport parking lot I hail a motorcycle and go to the heart of the city. A clump of tree trunks in the middle of the road bursts into flame and chars. On my left, a church is burning. It seems to be raining as well. I don't feel the heat, think it is just one building, but it is not; to my left, churches and charred walls, all burning, burning, and as far ahead as I can see, clouds of smoke. But I plough on. Finally I reach the central green plaza, past a TV in a stiore window that is showing a documentary about some weird sex acts which is being ignored. I walk past. The central green beckons to me. I wake up.

This appears to be about both disaster and hope, doesn't it?

Monday, January 12, 2009

January • Limbo

I haven't posted here for about ten days but that is not to say that nothing is going on. In a while I will write about some very dramatic dreams. But meanwhile, perhaps you can enjoy this video, which is the second part of an interview I did with Tom Mintier a year ago....

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 and Life and Death

So, the morning of the first day of 2009, I'm greeted with an email telling me that Joseph Sheehan is dead. Joseph Sheehan, whose internet nickname was "Eminence" and who was such a prominent member of our audience, coming to every show, downing gallons of white wine whenever we had it ... the last time I saw him, he came to my office bearing a huge gift, a wine bottle opener with a brass plate inscribed with the legend "to the maestro." He said to me, "I am going back to America to die." I said, "Die here, old friend; we'll miss you too much if you die there." You see, I kind of thought he wasn't being that serious. But he was, and he did.

The country continues to be in the kind of turmoil that must be imputed to collective stupidity rather than any desire to further any agenda that might benefit anyone whatsoever. I thought that no political statement could possibly be less astute than the PAD's declaration that the poor are too stupid to vote and therefore should be disenfranchised. However, their enemies' announcement yesterday that the government hadn't made its policy speech at the government house (it could not do so because its path was blocked by protesters) but at a different venue, that it was therefore an unconstitutional government ... there's a masterstroke of trivialization. If only Ionesco were alive today to write a play about Thailands politics of the absurd....

And Somtow's World, formerly on FM 98.75 every Monday night for three hours, will continue ... but there will be more ... a television version on satellite ... Channel 19 here in Thailand ... more of this later ... I'm not getting a dime out of this, but maybe the Bangkok Opera will gain something ...

Today I rode in a taxi whose driver escaped being burned alive in the infamous New Year club fire (not too far from my house) by a few minutes; he had to dash out of the club on an urgent phone call. His friend, inside, was killed. Our existence is fragile.

2008 is already shaping itself in my personal mythology as the year from hell. Therefore I want to position 2009 as the year of redemption. I hope it works....