Bangkok Post columnist
A long time popular Bangkok Post columnist. In 1994 he won the Ayumongkol Literary Award. For many years he was Sports Editor at the Bangkok Post.
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The death of Italian composer Ennio Morricone last week inevitably sparked memories of those old spaghetti westerns, including the so-called "Dollars Trilogy", in which his creative music was a crucial element. Those early Sergio Leone films were not known for extended dialogue -- he let the music do the talking and Morricone's distinctive scores hit the right note.
One result of the coronavirus is that the majority of news interviews on television are coming from people's homes, whether they be professional broadcasters, celebrities or the general public. They tend to get a bit tedious after a while and it is easy to find yourself examining the backdrop. This is invariably a bookshelf or a couple of weird paintings that are often far more interesting than what the person is actually saying.
Like most expats I keep an eye open for any news from my hometown, which happens to be Reading in Berkshire. I surfaced last Sunday morning to find the lead item on the news was the awful murder of three Reading people relaxing in Forbury Gardens, a small park in the centre of town. When something horrible like that happens in a place you once regularly frequented, no matter how long ago, it prompts a most uncomfortable, empty feeling. My condolences to those who lost loved ones.
This past week has seen statues of controversial historical figures under attack around the globe. It is surprising it has taken so long. Hopefully the statues can be used for educational purposes by being placed into museums, accompanied by accurate historical accounts of what these people really did. The statues are an important reminder of an inglorious part of history. There is a possibility, however, that any statue or monument could become a target. One problem with statues is that they are quite vulnerable unless they are atop towering columns, like Nelson in Trafalgar Square.
A rare piece of cheerful news comes from the unlikely locale of Mullumbimby, a small Australian town in New South Wales where 28 middle-aged bearded Aussies have formed a choir, singing only traditional Russian folk and marching songs. They call themselves "Dustyesky", dress as Russian workers in cloth caps and cheekily refer to their town as Mullumgrad. Calling themselves a "fake genuine Russian choir", their stirring rendition of the Song of the Volga Boatmen is something to behold.
Towards the end of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's uncomfortable grilling by MPs last week he complained that preparing for the meeting had taken up a lot of "Sherpa time". As it seems unlikely Boris is planning an Everest expedition, the "Sherpas" he was referring to are apparently those people with the unenviable task of helping him prepare for such questioning, or more accurately, the ones who do all the hard work.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has decreed that the "Amazing Thailand" slogan will need rebranding once the coronavirus situation is sorted out. So from October, we will be treated to "Amazing Trusted Thailand", emphasising safety and aimed at "high-end" tourists. Well-intentioned as it may be, this new slogan doesn't exactly roll off the tongue and the middle word may prompt a few wry smiles.
Watching the BBC World Service's Panorama documentary on the coronavirus situation, it struck me that it is one of the few TV offerings in which the theme music is just right. You wouldn't want to hear it too often, but its distinctive authoritative tones with a hint of foreboding, suggests the show is of some substance, which it usually is. It was surprising to discover that this serious music was adapted by Francis Lai from the soundtrack of the 1966 hit film, Un Homme et Une Femme (A Man and a Woman), basically a love story. The music, which has introduced Panorama for nearly 50 years, is called Aujordhi C'est Toi (Today it's You). Well, that's enough French for one day.
It will come as no surprise that I know absolutely nothing about fashion. However I have been impressed by the stylish scarves warn by Doctor Deborah Birx in those White House coronavirus briefings. Whether draped over her shoulders like a wrap, or tied around her neck, the silk scarves are really quite attractive and look particularly suited to this elegant lady. Dr Birx's appearances have apparently prompted a considerable boost in sales of these upmarket scarves, especially the Hermes variety frequently worn by the doctor.