Party Times In Pattaya

It has been a while since I found time to update my blog but despite this, I have been active with the camera, although not as much as I would have liked.

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I still have an ongoing issue with my Nikon D750 but there is little I can do until I find a way to get my D610 delivered to me from Scotland.

Most of my attention has been taken up by parties, a subject that often involves great hilarity and meeting new and wonderful people here in Pattaya.

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Take my first image for instance. I was at a birthday party for a good friend “Phetch” when I spotted a gorgeous little girl enjoying a lolly. I introduced myself to her mother and asked permission to take a few photos.

The result is an image of an angelic little girl.

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My next offering is of the birthday girl herself and her boyfriend Stuart as he presents the birthday cake. This lovely couple own the Corner House in Rompho.

Next we have two images that for me, were the best of the night. Wan attended the party and sat beside myself and Nom. She had a couple of drinks and got up to dance. At the time however, she was on the stage and singing along with the band, providing me with a few classic images.

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Wan is one that you never take your eyes off, for you just do not know what she will do next.

The image of the lady singing (the one WITH the microphone) sings with a another chap that I have never managed to discover their name either as a duo or own identities. They are often seen entertaining around Rompho though.

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They are an excellent duo and produce some great cover versions of rock standards and ballads.

Staying at the Corner House Bar, I have included one of Nom, taken with Wan, before either of them had been dancing.

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I was going to say they were taken before any alcohol was consumed but that may be a lie.

Shortly after Phetch’s party, I was invited to another party for my good friend “Dong” er Martin.

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Martin and his delightful partner Oil, own New Country Road Bar (NCR) in Rompho, a short walk from the Corner House. I had assisted with some arrangements for this event, following the highly successful Jerry Lee Carlson gig at the NCR. Click here for photos and blog article.

Martin, like Stuart, has been very supportive of me during troubled times, and I owe this pair my very existence in Thailand. Yes you know who to blame now ūüôā

Dong as he is affectionately known is pictured above.

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The entertainment for this came in the form of a Scottish lassie living in Pattaya by the name of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Stephanie. Steph does a lot of oldies like her name suggests, with a bit of hip shakin’, gyrating and knee grinding thrown in.

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One of the guests was a guy called John, another top man living here in Pattaya. John loves to dance, especially to the likes of Chuck Berry and despite being in his 70s, the man can boogie all night – almost non-stop.

Where he gets his energy from I have no idea but I wish I had half of it. Stamina beyond belief!

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It is incredibly rare for me to feature in my photos, mainly because I am almost always behind the lens.

But due to camera issues, another splendid chap known as Marcus attended, with a view of offering advice but as a result of his presence, I got some time to be on the receiving end of the camera. Marcus is a top photographer in his own right.

This one is of Nom and I, which would usually only be captured on a phone picture.

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Anyone hosting a party in Pattaya should really look into hiring the Jäger girls. These two lovelies work for free, promoting Jägermeister and other drinks such as Jim Beam.

The deal is simple, they will sell customers one measure from your own stock and they will provide a free drink from their collection. The guest gets two drinks for the price of one, the bar gets the sale they may never have had and everyone gets inebriated. Result!

It is difficult to say no to a Jägerbomb when a two ladies are offering a free one, along with a photo too.

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So what happens when customers get free¬†J√§gerbombs and Jack Beam? See for yourself ūüôā

I don’t know the girl standing behind Nom but she was the life and soul of the party. She had everyone in tears of laughter all night long. A top girl and one that would be welcome at any party of mine. Here she has bent a drunken Nom over and well – I will leave the rest to your imagination ūüôā Jenny can be seen sitting on the bar looking weary.

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Another classic featuring the wonderful Julie, who is a regular with husband Steve at both aforementioned bars. Steve and Julie love to dance and are in fact, featured on many video recordings from this night. Friendly people who liven up every party they attend.

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The image above is one of my favourites. I had just met Karin for the first time and found her to be an outgoing person who loves to sing and enjoy herself. I snapped this photo when she was laughing and chatting with her friend Poi. Completely natural and one that I am proud of.

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Next is Martin’s girlfriend oil, who was still reasonably sober at the time but like the majority of Thai ladies, they love to dance. And boy can she dance! Later in the evening she was found on top of the bar with Jenny dancing to many party hits.

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Above, we have Poi and her magician boyfriend. The latter entertained us with some magic tricks when we required a bit of respite from the antics going on inside the bar.

Rompho throw the best parties ever. I have attending parties galore since arriving here and very few disappoint. Often people get very drunk but you never see anyone causing trouble. No requirement for bouncers here.

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I will finish with a photo taken at Phetch’s party at the Corner House, simply because I wasn’t sure what was going on but again, it depicts fun and beautiful people. Well OK – Stuart adds the fun part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven In Pattaya

What a fantastic couple of weeks I have enjoyed as far as music is concerned. Firstly, I went to see Helmut and Friends at the wonderful Hemmingways in Jomtien, where the band blew me away, with some amazing cover versions of soul, blues and rock tunes.

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Helmut is a guitar maestro and handles everything from Mark Knopfler to Gary Moore. In fact, the whole band are superb and if you haven’t seen them and you are in the Pattaya area, head along to Hemmingways on a Thursday evening from 20:00 and observe an awesome band in action.

The food in the bar is rather tasty too, I hasten to add.

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However, this post is about a certain Jerry Lee Carlson from Sweden and Håkan Nelson, from the same country. The pair played four gigs in Pattaya and I was fortunate to see two of them.

Initially I ventured out to The Triangle in central Pattaya, where a large crowd gathered to enjoy the show and secondly at New Country Road Bar (NCR) in Rompho, which is located in the Rompho Complex in Jomtien area of the city.

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Many people said the event would never work in Rompho but my friend Martin asked me to promote it for him and I did just that. Firstly with posters and flyers then numerous videos supplied by Sweden’s number one rock ‘n’ roll star, Jerry.

Jerry has played all over the world, including tours of Europe with his legends show, featuring tributes to Elvis, Roy Orbison and of course Jerry Lee Lewis.

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He has recorded a number of albums, appeared on TV and radio and is simply, one of the best entertainers you will ever see.

A lot of planning and preparation went into the NCR event, hours of hard work, hiring equipment, tables, covers in case it rained, food and so much more. Was it worth it?

Damned right it was.

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NCR attracted 102 people seated, plus 16 inside the venue and approximately 40 bystanders, who watched from the sidelines, due to either a lack of seating or they were enjoying the event from another bar.

Jerry kicked off the show as always with thundering rock ‘n’ roll classics from his hero Jerry Lee Lewis. He sang the hits of Elvis, Fats Domino, Hank Williams and even did a rendition of a Robbie Williams hit, just to show his versatility.

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Rock, country, blues and boogie woogie tunes all blasted out from the venue. H√•kan Nelson on drums was his usually faultless self ashe followed Jerry’s left hand to keep the tempo going.

People came from other bands to watch the gig. Local media in the form of Pattaya People were present to record video material, which will air shortly. Love Pattaya were represented too and kindly supplied the bar staffs shirts.

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Bar owners came from pubs in Pattaya and Rompho to enjoy a fantastic show.  Many people came to Rompho for the first time and hopefully they will return with other new faces for future events.

Jerry sang “Great Balls Of Fire”, “Whole Lotta Shaking”, “High School Confidential”, Hound Dog”, Bonnie B”, ” Mean Woman Blues”, “Lewis Boogie” and many more classics from the golden era of music.

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If ever there was a man born to entertain, Jerry Carlson is that man. He is a genius on a keyboard/piano and sounds identical to a certain Mr. Lewis, when the legend was in his prime.

He also does a great impression of¬†Andy Kaufman’s fictional character¬†Latka Gravas from the hit US sitcom “Taxi”.

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Jerry also impressed with a version of “Take Me Home Country Roads” with a “NEW” added into the lyrics, just for the bar. He sang ” Blueberry Hill” replacing Blueberry with Phratamnak to give the song a local feel about it. Phratamnak Hill is a popular area in Pattaya with tourists.

Yours truly even acted as compere for the night, introducing Jerry and¬†H√•kan. Not something that was planned, I can assure you but it’s amazing what you can be persuaded to do following a few Smirnoff Midnight’s.

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Jerry did three sets and even came back for an encore or two once he had washed the sweat from his face because it was incredible hot on Saturday evening.

Like many others, I felt disappointed when the show came to its conclusion. The guys had entertained us for a couple of hours but I would have happily listened for another two hours.

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I love rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly, especially when it is produced to this standard. But all good things have to come to an end – till next time that is. Jerry and¬†H√•kan’s return cannot come fast enough and rumours are rife that they may return as a trio. I hope so!!

Next up NCR have Rock ‘n’ Roll Stephanie, who will feature at Martin’s birthday party. Steph, like me, is Scottish and does a fair bit of hip shakin’ during her act.

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If that event proves successful it will pave the way for further live music events at NCR, which can only help to attract visitors to the area, which in turn will benefit the many other bars and restaurants in the complex.

I happen to know a few great singers and bands in the UK, who if they ever fancied a busman’s holiday to Pattaya, could be catered for.

Ziggi – your audience awaits you ūüôā

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Street Photography

I have always had a love of street photography especially that of a candid nature, that is to say, when the subjects are unaware of your presence. I believe that if you are discreet, the end result is always more pleasing and natural.

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I had messed around for a few years with the subject but confidence betrayed me more often than not. That was until I met the legend that was David Hannah. Davie as we will call him, introduced me to new aspects of photography and with his help, my self-assurance grew, not to mention my skill level, which was greatly enhanced thanks to Mr. Hannah.

The man acquainted me with night shoots, light trails, sunsets and landscapes, whilst in return, I gave him his first taste of studio work.

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But it was my love of working with people that always won me over. It does not matter if it was an event such as a concert, a sporting occasion, a model shoot or simply walking the streets observing and patiently waiting for the right moment or incident to occur.

For instance in image one above, I spotted the lady in a world of her own in a coffee shop as I passed by in the darkness. I took the photo and disappeared into the night, leaving her totally unaware of my presence – and that for me is the secret of street work.

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It was Davie who taught me about Bokeh/Depth of Field or gave me greater clarification on the subject at least. We would walk the streets of Glasgow and I would observe his positioning, request details of his camera settings and ask every question under the sun as I picked his brain.

Street musicians are often a great source of images and will usually have no problem with you taking a photo or two in return for a few pennies in their hat or box. Buskers are there to make money at the end of the day and are wonderful subjects. Incidentally, the gent above does some brilliant covers of T. Rex, Slade and Mungo Jerry to name a few.

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The homeless make another smashing subject and although I won’t show images of those less fortunate than myself here, I always asked permission before taking the photos and gave them a couple of pounds for some nourishment.

Often I would go out with the view of covering an event such as half marathon or in the instance above, an annual bicycle race in Glasgow. when there is no star attraction, I would focus on the crowds or anything else of interest. This would occur frequently on the football terraces in matches I attended.

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In many instances, the photo you are looking for magically appears in front of you, like the one with selective colouring or the girls reflections. As soon as I saw them, I had the image imprinted in my mind and how I would edit it once I returned home.

Or the one with the girl holding the sign. N0thing unusual there but add to it, her reading a book, and her angry or bored expression and you have a better image. She was totally engrossed in her novel, and once again, discretion is key.

Below is one that I took over and over again, whilst standing in the shadows of Jessops on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. I could picture what I was trying to capture but the lady in the image, didn’t play ball, in that the way she blew the smoke from her cigarette would affect the final production. Finally after numerous attempts, we nailed it. I say we but she knew nothing of it. Patience is a virtue though.

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The next one I adore, simply because it could have been taken anywhere. In fact, Glasgow is probably the last city I would consider for this ones origin but it does go someway into displaying the cities diversity these days.

I have no idea if this is mother and child or grandmother but I like the capture nevertheless.

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Sometimes when walking the streets with a camera, you draw attention to yourself and my next image reflects one of those occasions.

It is posed, because the lady in this offering was a model I had had the pleasure of working with previously and she recognised me as she and her family passed by. She took the time to speak to me and happily posed.

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She even permitted me to take a few pictures of her children, who are just as photogenic as Ashley is and a studio shoot was arranged with them. I may do a post based on that shoot at a later time, for they are excellent models in their own right.

We often see street musicians but this was my first encounter with a magician on Glasgow’s streets.

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A few card tricks to grab people’s attention before moving on to the more inventive saucery. What annoys me about these sort of acts is the way people will stand and enjoy the show then walk away like they had not observed their talent at all. And for what? To save a few coppers by not rewarding the entertainer. Come on, stop being a tight ass and give them a few pennies from your pockets.

I am going to leave you with an image of a man that is responsible for all that I love about photography. I mentioned Davie as I commenced this post and it is only fitting that I conclude with one of him.

Unfortunately he is no longer with us but he will always be with me in spirit. Rarely do I pick up my camera without reminiscing about the good times we enjoyed when out and around various cities, beaches or mountains with our trusty camera. RIP big man. Miss you.

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