Bring the “Pain21,” An Art Exhibition

Well friends, Bangkok is lousy with tourists again, and I’m not sure how to feel. It’s great news for Thais, but terrible news for grumpy curmudgeony mongers like me. It’s a testament to how bad the lockdowns must’ve been for people in their home countries that they’d hop a plane and fly halfway around the globe to come to a city that used to be fun. And it ain’t just horny loners, either. Last week, I also saw large herds of chunky farang chicks swaying drunkenly up and down Silom Road at 5 in the afternoon, as well as throngs of hybrid couples—Thai ladies and white dudes. They’re everywhere these days. I wonder if they’re reunited lovers who were forced apart by two years of flight bans, or perhaps they found each other on Tinder during the lockdown, and are finally meeting up in person.

I’d forgotten how much I loathe foreign holidaymakers. They are—as a homogeneous group—pure cunts. One subset of farang that I don’t mind rubbing elbows with are the local art community. On Friday, as part of Bangkok’s ‘Galleries Night’ event, BarBar and the Candle Light Studio hosted an exhibition called “Pain21,” displaying are that sprang from the anguish of the Covid lockdowns. Among the contributing artists were some famous names. Headache Stencil, aka Bangkok’s Banksy, showed five new paintings. Myrtille Tibayrenc, a French artist whose work ranges from the erotic to the provocative, exhibited a collage of inspired works. Tawan Wattuya had some of his signature watercolors on display, and John Mango contributed two photos of Bangkok street life, one of which sold to a private collector. And yours truly threw in three renderings of a gogo dancer from XXX Lounge. A couple of foreign dignitaries visited the exhibition, though as it was held in a bdsm club in Patpong, they balked at posing for photos. Still, the crowd that showed up were a cross-section of the edgiest members of Bangkok’s underground scene.


Last Thursday was Thanksgiving—a holiday celebrated by Americans, and one that I look forward to every year thanks to the amazing buffet put on by the Westing Grande Sukhumvit. This year, however, I wasn’t able to attend. Their reservations website rejected my credit card, and no one at Westin responded to my multiple frantic emails until it was too late. I had to settle for a slice of pumpkin pie over at The Roadhouse, and placate my despondence with the company of the “waitresses” (gogo dancers) over at the XXX Lounge “restaurant.” As support for the Pain21 event, the good folks at XXX cooked up bratwurst and doled out 99 baht Leos and Changs. Earn was happy to share my dinner, and Beer and Nan–clearly sensing my heartbreak as missing Thanksgiving–sidled up next to me for comfort.

It wasn’t enough, though, so on Saturday I ventured out to Stumble Inn on Soi Nana to try their fish and chips, based on a recommendation from Bangkoknites’ Jack Nites. It’s amazing how different fish and chips can be from restaurant to restaurant. Stumble’s is unique for a couple of reasons–namely the whole pease on the side instead of mushy, and crinkle cut chips. I have to say, it was a delightful plate of food. The fish was light and fluffy, the batter crispy. And another idiosyncratic characteristic (characosyncratic for short, copyright BKK7), Stumble served it up with a wedge of lime instead of lemon. It’s amazing how something so small could have such a huge affect on the flavor. With the first bite, I flashed back to dining at the Rosarito Beach Hotel in Mexico, feet in the sand, already 10 Coronas deep at 11 am. I’d put Stumble’s fish and chips in my top 3 at this price point: 370 all in with a SML. As good at it was, though, it didn’t make up for missing Thanksgiving, so I headed to G’s on Silom Soi 4 for some high-end beer. G recommended a new arrival–White Oak IPA–which was downright fantastic. It made me nostalgic for Kiss Bar A-Gogo, a now permanently-closed Patpong venue that used to serve the same brand of organic ale alongside a lineup of some of the hottest girls in all of Bangkok. They’ve been scattered to the four winds now. I hope that when the govt deigns to reopen the red-lights, they’ll find new homes among the remaining gogos on the Pong.

On that hopeful note, I’ll let y’all go. Have a great rest of your Sunday, and if you can, sometime today raise a glass to another week above ground in the greatest country on Earth–so great that it’s already inundated with annoying tourists despite the dearth of fun. Speaking of, here’s to the govt possibly moving up the reopening date for entertainment venues. Cheers, everyone.