Mid-1965 the broadsheet Bangkok World newspaper began regularly publishing a 'nightlife column' on their fledgling Entertainment page. Before that, their entertainment reportage was hit-and-miss. It was not coincidence that Bernard Trink had just been hired as 'Entertainment Editor'. While his hand was immediately evident in his movie reviews (his byline), and his restaurant reviews (by his alter-ego 'Friar Tuck'), the specific timeline regarding his immersion into the then-diminutive (and un-attributed), Nite Owl column is not as clear. But what is clear is Bernard had fully taken the reins by early 1966 - at which time the column grew in size, starting with a 'think-piece' (his words), followed by an entirely different writing style, and signed off for the first time with the now-well-known tagline, "But I don't give a hoot !!".
Bernard Trink 1931 - 2020
At some point, or period, in the mid-to-late '60's, somewhere in the crucible that was the Bangkok World, Bernard Trink honed his craft to match exactly the mood and excitement of the then-exploding Bangkok Night Entertainment Scene. In the ensuing decades, the city became the Night Entertainment Capitol of Planet Earth. And, unsurprisingly, the Nite Owl column became the go-to Nightlife source - to include the column being regularly clipped and snail-mailed to the four corners of the planet by visiting tourists.
All those who have since ventured into reporting on the Night Scene, be it in hard copy or electronically, owe obeisance to Bernard Trink - the trailblazer, the Godfather of Nightlife Reportage. Below, for the benefit of the history buffs among you, we explore two of Bernard's seminal columns.
Almost immediately on Bernard joining the Bangkok World, the 'look-and-feel' of the entertainment column changed, as can be noted in this mid-July 1965 column.
In this March 1966Nite Owl we see the first known use of Bernard's 'trademark' "But I don't give a hoot!!".
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Not crazy about Graffiti but enjoyed your Chinatown journey last month. Guess you taught an old dog new tricks. You showed an old add for Milo & Roger. I met Roger in Pattaya. Had morning coffee with him and the crew at the old Wild Chicken (Soi Post Office) many times. He arrived on his bicycle, shorts, white T-shirt and pith hat. He sat down at the round table (where the elite met). He had a cup of tea while engaging in mindless Pattaya chatter (like there's another kind). When he left I asked, "Who's was that ?" "Gay Roger. Says he and his partner are Magicians. The partner dress's up like a Sultan."
I remember seeing them a million times on the Ed Sullivan Show. Here’s the rests of the story. He and his partner were big international stars as their comedy was visual. They played a number of Queens Performance’s at the London Palladium. They played the Casino in Monte Carlo and later venues throughout Europe including the Lido de Paris.
Thanks for writing in. We don't get enough missives such as this - some real historic content worth sharing.
READER : Hello,
As Nana Hotel is my home away from home, so is Nana Plaza my choice of bars, if only because of the convenience. On going into the Plaza last night, I noted the security guards had made two cordoned off areas for exiting and entering. It seemed to make sense if they were actually checking for something, or testing for Covid, but they were not doing any of that. They were just having the customers walk the gauntlet. Inside, following the example of a number of other customers, mostly from Asia, I wanted to take a cell phone photo, but these same security guards rushed me with flashlights waving, saying no photo, no photo. This is not the NEP of old. Have you gotten other emails from people on this?
In fact we do occasionally get other readers commenting on this, and we also have commented on it in the past. On our surveys every month-end, we are in the position to observe the goings-on at the Plaza. As solely chronologists of the Nitescene we remain aware that the current management of the Plaza are entirely free to operate in any manner they see fit. Nevertheless, we have not ever noticed the security guards doing any productive work. Channeling customers in and out of the compound is not a real function : were they not there, the customers would just as easily pass. We note the security guards on the upper levels spend their time jeeping the door girls, or just standing around leaning on the parapet wall. We note that on the easing of Covid restrictions, Soi Cowboy has done away with their security checks at both ends of the Soi, and they are as busy as they have ever been. It would seem to us that Nana Plaza would save a lot of money by following suit. Remember: Nana Entertainment Plaza (NEP) operated most successfully through its highest growth years (for literally decades) without security guards. This is Bangkok, not Soho, not Sunset Strip...
The Muzzik Cafe has reopened after the long Covid Winter. And true to their name, they continue to have live music. Welcome back to the vicissitudes. Patpong 1 Road is still far from returning to a stand-alone Night Entertainment Area, but every new reopening, every new bar, helps. We noted heavier foot traffic on Patpong 1, and generally a brighter appearance.
Just as we thought the Nippon-oriented Kama-Kaze (3rd level above Shenanigans) had fallen into the abyss, we noticed it has now just about completed it's renovations - to include new signage.... Expect them to reopen on or before New Year's day.
By the time you read this, the brand-new Delaney's (no relation to other Nitespots of that appellation) will have opened in what was the old Tavern Two (Tony & Tooey) digs. It promises to be something different than that which can be found on the Patpongs - to include 'live' music and a unique 'gallery'. Let the good times roll...
The Dream Boy Bangkok on Soi Bookstore (connecting Patpongs 1 & 2), is either a brand-new Venue, or it now connects to the existing Dream Boy Bkk on Patpong 2, or it is in the process of relocating... Stay tuned.
The some-time music barEast End is no more... and from what we hear from the usual street pundits, it comes not a moment too soon - they have proclaimed it was exemplary of how not to run a bar. It has been replaced by Weed Hub, the function of which needs no elaboration. 'Say we're old fashioned, say we're over the hill', but we sense that Bangkok has already reached the saturation point on cannabis shops. Either that, or Bangkok has become the new Goa, the new Marrakech, and we just have not yet got our heads around it...
The crowds inside and outside Nana Plaza continue to swell. Many taxi drivers (if you can even find one for less than 200 baht minimum) refuse to take fares inside the Soi due to the number of vehicles stopping and blocking traffic in front of the Plaza / Nana Hotel. Add to that the push-cart food vendors serving street-side, and the motorcycles parked or weaving through...
Venues in transition November 2022 through 1 December 2022 - not inclusive of the above :
* The DC 10, 2nd level, appeared to be open. Only one small problem; no customers, no bartender, no khon serbs, no dancers, no door-girls, no mamasans, no managers. Should you have wanted a break from the phrenetic pace all around you, there was no better place to go than the DC 10 - as you would have had the place to yourself.
Strikers Sports Pub (Nana Hotel parking lot) was darker than a poisoned well when we passed by the other night. No signage indicating when they might be reopening. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, we'll check back and get back atcha...
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Just about half the way down Soi Nana we see the brand-new Dawn Cafe Bar. Functionally, it is a poolbar - and already attracting a few customers. Welcome them to the neon jungle...
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
The Swan Group, still struggling to make the 2nd floor area viable, are trying again with Swan Snooker and Pool (most recently it was Swan Isan Mak Muan - which failed just as quickly as the string of it's predecessors). The real problem is there is too much of their own competition just downstairs (Country Road, etc.).
Jupiter 2018 (at the deep-end of the Soi) has been offering Live Shows on the 2nd level. On our end-of-month surveys we have not noted even one customer exiting or entering.... Too few data-points to come to any conclusion, but the signs are not good...
The new Dio 22 Massage has just taken over from the awkwardly named Healing In Thai Massage in Subsoi Titanium. Dio 22 Massg appears to be an offshoot of the Dio Massage & Spa located deeper in Soi 22. Rub-a-Dub-Dub...
The previously unnamed Venue midway down Soi 22 on the left has nailed up some new neon. The wearing of Aloha shirts not necessary. Welcome the Nalu Nani (downstairs and upstairs) to the bright city lights...
Venues in transition November through 1 December 2022 - not inclusive of the above.
The old Apoteka has, after an extensive renovations, reopened as The Golden Giraffe. Modus operandi unchanged - indoor-outdoor seating, and live bands. We are not yet certain whether the emphasis will be on blues/ rock bands or pop bands.... We'll be keeping in touch. Let's hope Fate deals them all aces and faces...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
We had predicted the renovating Mullis would open around New Year, but they have already rolled out the red carpet. Bigger (much) and better than ever before. We wonder if they are going to do anything upstairs... Welcome back to the machine...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
After an extremely long Covid-induced downtime, the mostly-outdoor Zanzibar has reopened. Live music remains the 'specialty of the house'. Welcome back to these neon sois.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
The lights are back on at Cindy's Secrets, located at the back of the Subsoi next to the Baan Phuan massg.
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
After a number of reopenings-reclosings, it looks like Club Koreana have made up their minds to stay open... and have put up some bright new signage. Welcome back to the vale of tears...
(Sukhumvit Soi 11)
Venues that transitioned from November through 1 December 2022. -Not inclusive of the above.
*Lotus Massage - REOPEN - in Subsoi
*'Tewly Cocktail' group of bar beers - Now up to 7 counting the VW van bar. - In future construction area.
Pong Bar, originally in part of Soi 7 Plaza that was demolished for the (now unused) parking lot, has reinvented itself on the corner of "The Island". Original staff and 'mamasan'. Same sharkpool, different day...
SOI 7 PLAZA
Stronger (file pic below) - open only two months, has found itself very much closed. No note on the shutters indicating when, or if, they will be returning. Removed from the database for the foreseeable....
Those who were hoping that (once Covid had been seen off) the Pickled Liver Pub would rise once more from the ashes - will be disappointed. Unless you like pizza. Pizza One will most likely be open by the time you read this.
START A NIGHT OUT AT THE MOVIES - A NIGHT OUT AT THE MOVIES - START
END - A NIGHT OUT AT THE MOVIES - A NIGHT OUT AT THE MOVIES - END
Our long-term goal is to create an historical record, an holistic view, of Bangkok'sNight Entertainment Scene. The effects of the 2nd World War were slow to wear off in Thailand, and the quick-fix for Night Entertainment was the Cinema, where there was a readily available (and inexpensive) source of films dating from pre-WWII through to 1945, mostly from America. We see many of the famous movie stars of the past - often in films no one has ever heard of again... playing in theaters long since gone from the Bangkok scene...
Moontide (1942) had unseen directorial input from Fritz Lang. That, along with the exemplary performance of Ida Lupino, saved this murder-mystery film from complete oblivion.
The film Wonder Man (1945) was a fantasy-comedy-musical about a murdered nightclub owner coming back as a ghost to exact justice. The film garnered an Oscar for Special Effects. A peculiar credit scrolled through at the film's end : "This Is Overseas Program no. 913 TO FAMILIES AND FRIENDS OF SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN : Pictures exhibited in this theatre are given to the armed forces for showing in combat areas around the world. WAR ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY".
The highly acclaimed original Fantasia (1940) was a collection of interpretative animations of Western classical music. It took home two Oscars : Leopold Stokowski (Unique Achievement) and an "Honorary" to Walt Disney himself. The film had exactly no credits, before or after, and displayed only "The End".
A1943 film, The Dancing Masters is typical Laurel & Hardy slapstick. If you are having trouble reading the above poster, it was meant to read : "THEY'RE HULA-HAPPY! THEY'RE CONGA-CUCKOO! THEY'RE RHUMBA-RIOTOUS!" Of historical interest, young Robert Mitchum has a bit part (uncredited) as a shady insurance salesman.
Can't Stop Singing (1944) was an unremarkable 'feel-good' musical Western. Ad posters touted "Deanna Durbin in her first Technicolor Triumph" - it was also her last...
It would have been difficult to make an unpopular 'Western' in 1945, and even more difficult to make an unpopular one starring Errol Flynn, who was at the height of his screen popularity.
Some 'San Antonio' dialogue that slipped past the prudish censors of the day:
Clay Hardin:[about the dance] "Took me years to pick up."
Jeanne Starr: "It must have been the only thing that took you that long."
Clay Hardin: "Well, we don't get pretty girls like you down here often. Guess that's why we have to pay for it."
Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943) was one of a long series of 'Frankenstein Meets..' follow-ons, culminating in Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which might have been the most entertaining of them all. But the 1943Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man starred both Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. - what more could a horror movie fan ask for?
Anchors Aweigh (1945) was a musical starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. In the film Kelly does a now-famous dance number with a cartoon mouse (Jerry Mouse) whose 'reflection' on the shiny dance floor had to be hastily added in post production (by Hanna-Barbera) to match Kelly's. Great shades of the future Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Anchors Aweigh won an Oscar for "Best Music - Scoring of a Musical Picture".
Banksy, perhaps the most well-known graffiti artist on Earth, and certainly the most well-off, has struck deep behind Ukrainian lines with his usual mix of sociopolitical commentary - laced with irony, sarcasm, humor and original visuals. Much of it reminiscent of Banksy's earlier pieces in the Middle East. We have included herein three video-grabs of Banksy's handiwork.
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original photographs or artwork resides exclusively with the creators.
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and
prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the creators.
Bangkok's original site !
The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.
(Boge's photo, above, is not a graffitiper-se, although there are those who have insinuated....