The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #56 – 19th September 2020

Highly curated, carefully selected and specifically ordered for your listening edification by world-renowned DJtenzenmen, who has over 50 years of experience in this business.

This week there’s music from Meat Wave, Melted Ice Cream, The Ex, Grippers Nother Onesers, Django Bates, The Lies, Flin Flon, The Victims, Funkadelic, Red Kross, 5uu’s, Sebadoh, Rolo Tomassi, Tafo Brothers, Rutles, Le Singe Blanc, The Angels of Epistemology, Orthrelm and Realtors.

PLAY IT LOUD! Find us on Twitter and Facebook too. Tell us if you like it, tell us if you don’t.

Intro and background music by Utotem.
Incidentals taken from the Church of the Sub Genius Hour of Slack.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #18 – 28th December 2019

Music from Sebadoh, Hilarity Ensues, Primitive Calculators, Bastro, UK Subs, Mofungo, Paper Mice, Univers Zero, Self Evident, The Bevis Frond, Snakefinger, Tar Babies, Alright the Captain, Matt Black and the Doodlebugs, Khaddash, David Bowie, The Clash, Small Faces, Bad Religion, Big Block 454 and Unstoppable Sweeties Show.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for our beautiful house. I love living here with Amy. When asked if we have any more dreams for our life we don’t have any especially. Things we would like to do but not necessarily dreams to achieve. George said we are living our dream and that’s a nice way to look at it.

The Chiang Rai Alternative Hour #13 – 23rd November 2019

Music from DMBQ, Sebadoh, Belly Button, Units, Amateur Drunks, Round Eye, Blame Game, Minutemen, Ilaiyaraaja, Ween, Motorhead, Széki Kurva, The St Thomas Pepper Smelter, Hebosagil, Tall Dwarfs, DNA, The Milkshakes, Samla Mammas Manna and Pryapisme.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful to be working in schools and with a not so serious expectation of my teaching skills. Of course, I always try to improve but the fact it is a little more relaxed has meant that I can enjoy interacting with the kids more. I don’t see many of they other teachers getting involved in the same way so much especially not the Thai teachers. All the kids want to talk to me all the time. I feel like I am a great asset to the school. I hope the school feels the same.*

17th Apr 2021 – * – It didn’t.

Hello tomorrow, today – 11th November 1994

We make today a special day (oh, very holy) and decide to head to the beach for the first time in this fair land. We look forward to it all day but its about 4 o’clock by the time we get there, heading south to Cronulla, through the bushy suburbs of the city to what seems like the outskirts.

My eyes are stuck to the windows of the train, our usual journey into the city is lined with factories and industry and where it is suburban all the houses are visible, but here all you can see is trees with the odd corners of houses sticking out or braking the skyline. Some houses are built on steep embankments above small tree infested valleys, stilts sticking out of the floor of the construction, going down twenty, forty feet til finding ground to support from.

Over a bridge over a river with a peninsula in the foreground standing high, along the waters edge, small boat buildings and above, up the windy steps, huge houses nestle in the bush, the wealthy cats must hang out there.

Cronulla, last stop on the line, this train terminates. It’s a blistering hot day but the cool breeze is blowing off the sea to the station and we follow our noses to the beach, past a hardcore record shop where skaters hang out outside listening to the music blasting away, what more could you want? It briefly reminded me of Black Flag coming from Redondo Beach, but with a blink my mind was captured by the sight of the beach, beautiful warm yellow sand in a tiny cove lined by slippery slimy rocks which went off one way round the corner and out of sight and the other leading to the main beach, apparently the longest stretch of sand in the area.

We walked round, past ocean baths, swimming pools built into the rocks and watered by the ocean, a safe swim and if you go to the ocean edge of the pool the wave will bash up against the side and over your head. We carried on, to our left, blocks of flats towered on the small cliff but trailed off as we walked round the corner and the sand started again. We laughed and played like kids in the sand and remembered the times we used to go down to the beach after work, with John, when we lived in England, it being a similar time of day (despite the lateness the sun was still high and hot).

We ventured into the water, very slowly, it was freezing to our little hot bodies, slowly letting it envelope us, but after a few metres the waves became bigger and we didn’t have much choice about getting wet. Once in though it began to feel warm, our bodies adjusting. We watched the other kids body surfing, catching a wave and swimming with it and we attempted to imitate them with little success at first but after a while I caught a wave and frightened myself as I was riding this wave, my head was in front of it and all I could see in front of me was bare sand, no water! I was flying along about two feet above the ground, but the wave broke and cushioned my fall to the sand and I got up, huge grin and back out to try it again.

The next time though we were both stood awkwardly and we got dumped, I went under for about five seconds and all I could see was the white wave all around me, when will I come up!? I found Broni and she got hit bad, dragged along the sand on her back and tumbled into a somersault, she retired hurt and slightly embarrassed, but it did make us realise the power of the water.

I went back in and the waves grew stronger and stronger, one minute the water was knocking round your ankles, the next it was too deep to touch the bottom, big waves which we would never see in England, I managed a couple more rides before getting out and drying in the sun as it slowly set over the other side of Australia.

It’s a new generation of electric white boy blues – 30th August 1994

I’m shattered, we’ve been at Reading Music Festival for the last four days. Tenting down in the dust and dirt, eating half cooked veggie burgers in a sea of tin cans and plastic food containers as a thousand people walk by you in the blink of an eye, on their way to getting pissed at eight in the morning or coming down off the previous night’s high.

Crusty scroungers push a pram full of puppies in search of free amber nectar or tar of any sort. A hundred young girls queued for the seven or eight toilets, from six in the morning, daring each other to go in the one second from the end. People slept where they fell and some fell in the bushes where people pissed. Some never slept and others slept through while their favourite band was playing.

In the arena was a comedy tent, the Melody Maker tent and the main stage and you’d be lucky if you could get anywhere near any of them. Well, we did get to see Sebadoh’s guitar breaking set which was about the most exciting thing all weekend. In fact time did seem to drag at certain points but we were kind of happy that we had nothing to do except drink and relax, and occasionally running across to the record fair to the nice clean toilets.

First thing to do when camping with 50,000 other people must find a decent toilet which other people don’t know about. Most people had to pay a pound to go in the record fair but we just slipped in each time claiming to work there. Of course, we had plenty of friends in there, Simon, Rich, Baz, Gaz, Mark, John and his wife; we even got roped in to do Simon’s stall for part of Saturday morning.

Anyway, on the campsite we came up with Rob, Rich, PJ and Warren, who none of us knew and didn’t hang around that much. On Sunday, joined by Chrissy, Sharon, Selena, John, Tina and Rob who out drank us as we slept through their insane partying; I wish we could’ve stayed awake on that last night but we’d just had enough by then.

We eventually left on Monday morning after a very nice man helped us get the car started. A beautiful bath and an hours sleep saw us into the evening but we exhausted of all energies and just kind of lazed on into bed, Broni reading me love poems as I drifted off once again into unconsciousness.

And then today is still slow as we clean up the house in preparation for David and Louise coming down soon and then Kerry’s return tomorrow. Things are starting to seem much bigger now as we have only four weeks to go before I leave – it’s scary. Yeah, it’s scary, kind of huge.

I was sat in PJ’s campervan drunk and stoned and it hit. These guys here, I’m going to miss them. Not so easy to just ring up and gossip, and I’ll miss out on the tiny stories, the little things that help you understand what people are like, the details, you know the bits between the lines. When you communicate over a great distance you feel like you just want to mention the really important things, big things, but I’ll be wishing to hear the other things too.

Too smart to ask for more, this is all I’ve waited for – 24th April 1994

All I need is one true friend
I want total peace of mind
To leave the hurting world behind
I’m not scared; I swear I’m free
It may collapse the fear
That burns to bring the worst from me

(Lou Barlow)

Like sparks igniting the brush, we’re up and awake this morning. Last night saw me, Broni, David, Louise and Piers up at Uxbridge Road a jot, to a wild Greek restaurant with some old English fella singing English 60’s songs. The place packed out, with the restauranteur stomping around with his clipboard and shades like some guy out of the Comic Strip Presents. Real stereotypical big fat guy running a business, short and abrupt with people with London accent, though Greek descent.

A crowd of people walked in and he went up to them and said ”Oo uh you? You’re late should’ve bin ‘ere an ‘our ago! I’ll see what I can do fer you!’ Food was okay, especially the salad with coriander! Came back to David and Louise’s and drank champagne – did I mention it was David’s 30th birthday? – and I pondered how I’ve ended up here in the last two years and how I’ve changed to broaden my horizons.

We ate plum pudding with brandy and whiskey sauce and hours later arrange a bed on the floor to sleep. I wrote some, as you can see, and me and Broni talked a bunch before Sandman carried us away into our subconscious fantasy worlds.

This morning the sun shines and our souls are alive with adventure, waking us up and now sat waiting impatiently to leave, to discover new things in old museums. Live life, love life.

How to describe all my emotions as I leave my true sweetheart behind in wicked old London and I travel rapide back home to Poole. I wrote a poem in the few moments before the bus left, a poem for my Broni. We waved and blew kisses as the bus pulled out of the station. I remember how whenever Broni used to say goodbye to me that was it – no lingering around.

We really do feel madly in love with each other and I would die if anything happened to her. I feel a big sense of loss already, I hope she’s okay getting back to David and Louise’s. I nearly cried as I saw her sweet face for the last time today, a beautiful smile wishing me well. How love has taken me over once again but this time with my real soulmate, one true friend. How we ever survived being apart for five weeks last year I’ll never know (but I will because we have all the letters). Love to my Broni, my thoughts are with you always.

We could plant a house, we could build a tree – 15th April 1994

Next morning when finally awake we dithered and cleaned and a letter came through the door from Australia House with more forms for us to fill. And we duly got stressed out a bit on Sunday when it came to filling them in.

News today was that Kurt Cobain shot himself dead and that’s been on my mind through the week. Shocking news and, strangely, having a personal effect on me. The first rocker of my generation to suicide out of life!

My new forms required a medical examination which I went for on Tuesday at some posh hospital, X-ray and all! £130 for half an hours work! It seems I’m closer to getting to Oz now though.

Wednesday saw us with Rob, trek golden highway to Wales to see our gods Sebadoh and Lou Barlow. A night spoiled by some dicks dancing uncontrollably but Sebadoh’s majesty shone through in the end. The late drive home saw me with only 3 1/2 hours sleep but worth it to see Broni’s face light up after talking briefly to Lou.

We’re both stressed this week with this new lot of forms and all the questions they bring up, like about our wedding plans etc. So much going on at the moment so little time to relax. Broni thinks I’ll never relax but I intend to take it easy for awhile in Oz. Want to get there soon now and bring her the promise of babies!!

It’s so hard to fall in love – 11th January 1994

Entries from 1994 are left as written, except fixing any typos.  On reading these words again 24 years later I can see they don’t always form a great narrative structure and introduce people, concepts and ideas without any background.  That may become apparent in future entries from this period and I’m also loath to add to this dialogue from the present – ‘knowing all the things I know’.

All written here dedicated for Steve Burgess R.I.P. 28/12/93

Many things have happened since Steve’s death.  It was a shock to everyone.  I remember when Rob called and Bronwyn called me from the other room, I could tell by her voice some had died and I initially thought it might be my mum.  We were both in tears.  And I was still getting over chicken pox.  What a terrible Christmas.

We went to see everyone in Southampton on the 30th.  We went to John and Selena’s.  It was a funny atmosphere but we all had a few drinks and by the end of the night, we were pretty drunk.  Selena spoke to Chrissy in the morning.  She was still sad but seemed fairly positive.  New Year’s Eve was the worst.  I burst into tears several times with Bronwyn comforting me.  I had a big cry and did feel better for it.

Things have been pretty quiet otherwise around this time.  Thursday 6th was Steve’s funeral.  It was very good (if that’s the right word). I’m sure everyone he knew was there.  A lot of us went to the pub afterwards.  It ended up with me, Bronwyn, Fatty, Rich, Rob, John, Selena, Gary and more (can’t remember).  It got very emotional.  I had a little cry and so did everyone else.  Me and Fatty had a heart to heart as he was upset that I considered Steve my best friend – though we didn’t really resolve anything.  Bronwyn suggested writing to him and after a day’s thought I did so.

On the Saturday me and my baby drove up to Southampton.  We dropped in on Rich and Rob before going to Chrissy’s.  I felt happy to be where Steve lived and didn’t feel uncomfortable in any way.  I didn’t once think it was strange that Steve wasn’t there.  There were lots of flowers and cards.  Chrissy seemed very well.  She’s been a lot stronger than I expected.  Heaven knows how I’d feel if I lost my beautiful Bronwyn.

We went to pick up John and Selena.  Selena said she felt a bit strange about going round but we convinced her it was going to be the best thing to do.  I think people are worried about what to say to Chrissy.  Chrissy just wants everyone to act normally.  Rich and Rob were a bit worried about that too.

I took a bit of control in the evening by organising everyone (I consulted Chrissy all the time though), in the hope of relieving Chrissy from having to worry about people coming round.  Selena phoned up Rich and Rob to get them to come down but she said Rich sounded a bit off on the phone.  I snuck out and went and got them.

By this time pizza had arrived and a few drinks had been consumed.  Everyone started to relax a bit and I think Chrissy was happy with that.

I had a chat with Amanda in an effort to try and get her to sleep!

Well, everyone got pretty drunk and had fun playing cards til 2 o’clock when everyone left and we went to sleep in Amanda’s room.

We spent all Sunday playing with Amanda.  I think she enjoyed having a male adult around.  I really enjoyed myself and had lots of fun though it was very exhausting.  Steve said ‘The best thing you can do it have kids’ and I did find myself a bit clucky. Wow!

Rebecca’s a beautiful little baby too. What a shame she’ll never meet the man who fathered her and a shame he’ll not be able to watch her grow up.  I felt attached in some way to Chrissy, Amanda and Rebecca and think it’s my way of hanging on to Steve.

I was sorry to leave Sunday night but happy to know me and Broni will be having our own kids someday.  We talked virtually non-stop on the way home.  I dropped the letter into Fatty’s too.  Rang him up next day and he looks like he’ll definitely be moving out of there and we can move in.  He said we should have a talk so we decided to go out on Thursday.  I couldn’t tell from his voice if he was upset with me or not.  He sounded kind of stern – like it was what we ‘ought’ to do.  However, he seemed fairly chirpy otherwise which certainly is a change.

Spoke to Rob tonight about the poetry booklet and it could cost us a fair bit but feel it to be worthwhile.  I’m writing an introduction which I think is fairly good even if I do say so myself.

Me and Broni had a couple of P.M.T. fights but we resolve things fairly quickly.  I want to be more patient and understanding.  I want to stop putting her down too I don’t even know I’m doing it.  She’s great, really the best girl I could ever wish for.  A true companion for the rest of my life.  I’m pleased other people say this to me too.