November 1984 was the first time that I set foot in Bangkok, Thailand. As a 19 year old, it was one of the biggest plays on my senses that I’ve ever experienced. It was so addictive that I spent the next 34 years attempting to recreate the feeling, and I’ve only missed appearing in the capital on two of those years. The visits continue.
For my early visits I was desperate to get an inside view of Bangkok. I wanted to know what made the capital and the country tick, but in those days there was no internet, it was all down to a few book shops. Oh, how I wish back then there would have been a book available like Different Drummers. The book acts like a who’s who and what’s what of the expat world in Bangkok. The book is not just about Bangkok or Thailand though, It delves into other neighbouring countries of southeast Asia as well. Author Kevin Cummings has rounded up talented expats from the Southeast Asian region and returned with a firsthand, inside view of locations, vocations and experiences. Different Drummers is the sequel to Bangkok Beat.
The Different Drummers consist of Musicians, authors, poets, artists, cartoonists, journalists, publishers, travel writers, night club owners, tavern owners, restaurant owners, and gym owners just to name but a few. The book is chock – a – block full with Interviews, book reviews, short stories, history, points of interest, other book tips, recommendations in all genres, and nuggets of wisdom for life.
For inspiration and creativity there surely can’t be many places better in the world than Bangkok. This appears to be backed up by author Tim Hallinan who refers to the quote by Dr Johnson, ” A man who is tired of London is tired of the world.” Tim adds, ” in the 21st century, I think that’s true of Bangkok. I can’t imagine ever running out of things to write about it. ”
Along with lives that have been truly lived you could be forgiven for expecting some useful words of wisdom. The book doesn’t let you down in that department either. Author Christopher G. Moore is asked, Is it possible to get bored living in Bangkok? I enjoyed the reply… ” One lifetime isn’t long enough to get bored. There is enough to experience in life for several lifetimes. Trust me, I know. Take to the road. Lose yourself to the experience of living.”
Writer, author, traveler, and gym owner J.D. Villines offers this advice on Money: ” If I can eat what I want, and travel when I want – then I have enough.”
Tavern owner John Branton say’s, ” I try not to consider what is not important. ” Now there’s a man after my own heart.
The book is full of fascinating lives and intriguing stories, but how did they come to set up home in Southeast Asia. This is just one question of many that author Kevin Cummings asks. That’s one of the more easier questions to answer. How about, ” What have you learned so far during your time on the planet? The important stuff and the unimportant stuff – break it down for me. ” Now that takes a bit more thinking about. I love the word association question that the author springs on a guest sometimes. Back to writer, author, traveler, and gym owner J.D. Villines. The author asks, ” Lets do some free association. I’ll throw out some words and you write whatever first comes into your mind. There are some classic answers here, one which involves clowns, but they’re not in a circus.
I was also very thankful to author and professional cartoonist Colin Cotterill for disagreeing with Ernest Hemingway. Hemmingway said, ” The compulsory writer would be advised not to attempt the short story.” After a few more projects are completed I’d dearly love to attempt the short story. So I was happy to hear the advice of Colin Cotterill. ” However, everyone has it in themselves to turn out short stories. Whether they’re good or not is a moot point. It’s getting that baby out of you before it rots and clogs you up that’s important.” Sorry Ernest, I’m siding with Colin on this one.
The folk interviewed are not people that have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths. These are people that have had their fair share of knocks, gone through tough periods, done the hard yards, and had to roll the dice on more than a few occasions. Whatever the hill to climb, you’ll find that persistence and talent always shines through in the stories.
The author is like a dog with a bone and he doesn’t let go until he gets the information. Let’s talk books, he suggests to guests. His love of books comes across in a big way. Having said that, so does his love of music. I’d go further and say he has a massive love of the arts and life in general. I’m just delighted that author Kevin Cummings decided to lay his hat in Bangkok, a place close to my own heart, and then set about interviewing and reviewing such an intriguing and talented bunch of individuals.
Whether you’re new to the expat scene in Thailand and Southeast Asia, or an old hand, you’re going to love this…. Highly entertaining and recommended.