The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #50 – 7th August 2020

Music from The All Seeing Hand, Rolling Stones, Bongwater, Blurt, Shield Your Eyes, Cat Power, Josiane Rey, Rhino 39, The Fall, Cause for Effect, XTC, Moody Blues, Racebannon, Heavy Vegetable, Sir Millard Mulch, Big Block 454, Steve Harley and the Cockney Rebel, Ruins, Scrid and Christmas.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to have been teaching all morning. I think the students are enjoying my lessons and I am really happy with them.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #46 – 6th July 2020

Music from Joanna Gruesome, D.I., Mighty Baby, Univers Zero, Christian Fitness, Neos, XTC, Chokebore, The Necessaries, Electric Light Orchestra, Owen Grey & His Jets, Unwound, Ilaiyaraaja, Bollywood Funk, The Milkshakes, The Pogues, Fotriafa and Groupe El Azhar.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for a sleep-in this morning and not to be thinking too much so having a break from journalling and reading.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #39 – 23rd May 2020

Music from Pregnant Neck, The Fugs, 35mm Dreams, Tsushimamire, Skurge, Mudhoney, George Duke, Electric Light Orchestra, Lightning Bolt, Unknown, Thinking Fellers Union Local 282, Dennis Brown, Wild Youth, Vibrato Fetish, Spanish Dogs, beNt, Cockney Rejects and The Temptations.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for my shower in the morning, to cool and refresh, and prepare for the day.

We start out loudly and go in circles, all things converging, we find an end to each day – 11th April 2020

“High in the North in a land called Svithjod there is a mountain. It is a hundred miles long and a hundred miles high and once every thousand years a little bird comes to this mountain to sharpen its beak. When the mountain has thus been worn away a single day of eternity will have passed.”

― Hendrik Willem Van Loon, The Story of Mankind

That little bird is our lives. Dwarfed by the magnificence of time.

We are small and insignificant. Not individual, not a group, nor a race. Not a society, a species or a thought from God. We are nothing.

The dinosaurs, the mammoths, the pharaohs, the sultans and kings, the inventors, the thinkers and philosophers, the builders, the masters and slaves, the writers, the historians, the celebrities, the murderers, the saints and the despots. You and me. Nothing.

What will you do with this information?

Our floating houses on molten granite
Our liquid planet, it is a home for us all
I’m firmly planted, my earth is solid
I feel a presence but there is nothing at all
I wanted something, down here is something
It’s really something but there is nothing at all

‘Slowly Melting’ by Nomeansno

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #34

Music from Tipographica, Keukhot, Chui Wan, 400 Blows, Lifter Puller, Mazaj, Geronimo, Unknown, Pell Mell, Opal, Child Bite and Debile Menthol.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for the space we have in our house and garden. We can move furniture around and reinvent ourselves, change our views.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #32 and #33 – 4th April 2020

Music from Girolamo Ugolini, Dragibus, Giant Sand, The Majic Ship, Bellini, Psychedelic Furs, The Sugar Shoppe, Sax Ruins, Beefeater, The Show Business Giants, The Hoax, Lindsay Cooper, The Afterglow, Amaxonas, Delroy Wilson, Dag Nasty, David Bowie, Christian Fitness, Beekeeper, Jackie Wilson and Negazione.

Music from Here and Now, Bob Drake, Orthrelm, Per Purpose, 20 Minute Loop, Shinki Chen, Tuxedomoon, Smog, POX, Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers, The Move, The Who, Unsane, Samla Mammas Manna, Unwound, Bob Dylan and Retox.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for these cushions where I rest my head on these lazy days.

Sometimes a parrot talks – 7th March 2020

In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, Arthur Deikman warned that many of the spiritual and utopian groups that had mushroomed out of the counter-culture were harmful cults…… He identified four signs of cult-like behaviour — dependence on a leader, compliance with the group, forbidding dissent, and devaluing outsiders. These four behaviours were particularly strong in cults, he suggested, but existed throughout society.

– Jules Evans – The soulful psychiatrist (email newsletter)

When I read this I immediately became aware that the school system that I am working within in this country is cult-like. These are government schools where I work, so it makes some sense. Governments operate utilising these four behaviours too.

In this system, preferences are given to the leader, superior or elder, whether they are deserving or not. If they are found lacking machinations begin to move that leader along, often with a handshake to comfort the stab in the back.

Compliance within the group is essential. You must conform. Non-conformity will enable idle gossip, rumour and lies. This will dig deep into your soul until it becomes unbearable. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. (I am that nail, over and over. Yes, I am stupid but I hope to learn.) It is a culture clash that happens repeatedly as teachers come and go faster than they can be replaced. No one learns from this as each party shakes their fists as they walk away.

Dissent leads the same way. Any question is seen as dissent, any suggestion is dissent, opening your mouth can be taken as dissent. To make improvements trickster behaviour must be employed, backroom suggestions that may filter through as if the leaders had thought of it themselves.

And the old favourite – devaluing outsiders. In an environment of education, it seems like it should be essential for everyone to work together. However, here there is a palpable us and them. If you decide to follow the path of non-compliance and dissent you will be seen to have no value (‘you’re one of them, one of them’). The survival technique ensures devaluing yourself – it is too great a burden for many to take.

I am not filled with hope for education in this country. But I can hope that it is only my limited experience and that things are much better in private schools at least, but which unfortunately only the wealthy can afford.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #28

Music from Aburadako, Ween, The Fall, Ahleuchastistas, Steve Miller Band, Radio Palestine, Sajjanu, The Motions, The Letters, Abnorman Chaffy, The Ramones, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Girls Against Boys, Marmalade Butcher, Guzzlemug, Slight Seconds, Cinematics, Strange Changes.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to watch our trees sprout new growth. To see the birds fly down from the branches and pick up yummy worms.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #27 – 1st March 2020

Music from The Cavedwellers, Circus Brekovic, Deerhoof, Descendents, Gregory Isaacs, The Milkshakes, Queen, Didjits, Octafish, Elvis Costello, Emporer Yes, Althea and Donna, The Soul Owners, White Blacula and This Heat.

Weight: 79.0kg
Resting heart rate: 48

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for being able to sit on this plane. To be able to afford to visit my friends. And for having a home to return to.