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"Toon Bodyslam"

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Last week, our Friday Guru magazine did a feature on top Thai entertainers who did not have an easy time becoming rich and famous. Let's begin with Atiwara "Toon Bodyslam" Kongmalai. More tomorrow 

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"Toon Bodyslam"

Story by Pornchai Sereemongkonpol.

You know him as: Atiwara "Toon Bodyslam" Kongmalai is the front man of Bodyslam, one of the most successful rock bands in Thailand. He moves the crowd with his energetic performances. Guys want to look cool in skinny jeans like him, while girls want to have his baby. With a goatee, ear piercing, tattoo and ongoing shirtless-ness, you probably wouldn't believe that Toon used to sing "tea or coffee?" as a clean-cut male flight attendant.

His journey: Toon has proved to be a man of many talents. He first formed a band with friends while studying at Suankularb Wittayalai School and won first place in the Hot Wave Music competition for students in 1996. His band, then called La-On, even released two albums on an indie label called Music Bugs. However, they disbanded after its members went on to study at different places. Toon put his rocker persona on hold while studying at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Law. However, he realised he didn't like it but stuck it out for the sake of his parents who worked hard for him to get an education. He also treated the degree as a safety net in case he couldn't make his musical dream come true.

"Toon" in action with Bodyslam

After graduation, he resumed pursuing his dream and sang at nighttime establishments but the paychecks weren't enough. A Chula senior suggested that he should get a job as a male flight attendant to avoid the starving artist syndrome. Toon applied to Orient Thai Airlines and he got the job. While travelling with work, he carried his guitar with him and strummed songs in his spare time. He worked as a flight attendant for six months before his band found mainstream success with the release of their self-titled album Bodyslam by Genie Records under GMM Grammy in 2002. The music gene must run in his family since his uncle is Ad Carabao, whose twin brother is also a musician.

"Toon" speaks pretty good English. Here he is on the "English breakfast" show on TPBS

energetic – having or involving a lot of energy กระตือรือร้น, กระฉับกระเฉง
cool – used to show that you really like something because it is fashionable, attractive and often different ดีเลิศ (คำสแลง)
skinny – very thin; (of clothes) designed to fit closely to the body ผอมมาก, หนังหุ้มกระดูก,  รัดแน่น
goatee – a small pointed beard (= hair growing on a man's face) that is grown only on the chin  เคราแพะ, เคราใต้คางที่ไว้ยาวเรียวแหลมคล้ายขนใต้คางของแพะ
pierce – to go into or through something, making a hole in it using a sharp point แทง, ทิ่ม, ปัก, เสียบ, เจาะ
tattoo – a permanent image, pattern or word on the skin which is created by using needles to put colours under the skin รอยสัก
clean-cut – looking neat and clean and therefore socially acceptable ที่ประณีต
talent – a person with a natural ability to do something well ผู้ที่มีความสามารถพิเศษ
indie – not belonging to, working for or produced by a large organisation; independent บริษัทเพลงหรือภาพยนต์ ขนาดเล็กที่ไม่ได้มีบริษัทขนาดใหญ่เป็นเจ้าของอยู่เบื้องหลัง
label – a company that produces records
disband – (of a group) to end; to stop working together ยุบ, เลิก,ทำให้สลาย
persona – the aspects of a person's character that they show to other people, especially when their real character is different
on hold – delayed; not happening at the expected time
stick it out – to continue doing something to the end, even when it is difficult or boring ทำต่อแม้จะเป็นเรื่องยากหรือน่าเบื่อ
for the sake of – for the benefit or good of someone or something ผลประโยชน์
safety net – an arrangement that helps to prevent disaster if something goes wrong
resume – to begin again after stopping for a period of time  เริ่มอีกครั้ง, กลับมาอีกครั้ง
pursue – to try to achieve something ดำเนินตาม, พยายามเพื่อให้ได้มาซึ่ง
avoid – to try to prevent something from happening หลีกเลี่ยง
starve – to suffer or to die because there is not enough food อดอาหาร
starving artist – an artist, entertainer, etc., who tries very hard to be successful, but does not earn enough money to live comfortably
syndrome – a set of feelings or actions that are typical in a particular situation; a medical condition that has a particular set of effects on your body or mind ลักษณะเชิงซ้อนต่างๆ ที่บ่งบอกถึงสภาพใดสภาพหนึ่ง, อาการของโรคต่างๆ ที่เกิดขึ้นพร้อมๆ กัน
strum – to play a guitar or similar instrument by moving your fingers up and down across the strings ดีดเครื่องดนตรี
spare time – free time, i.e., time when you can do what you want to do เวลาว่าง
mainstream – accepted or used by most people; considered ordinary or normal ทั่้วๆ ไป
gene – a unit inside a cell which controls a particular quality in a living thing that has been passed on from its parents; a quality that your parents or family have passed on to you ยีน, ลักษณะที่ถ่ายทอดทางพันธุกรรม
twins – two children born at the same time to the same mother แฝด,  ฝาแฝด

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