New joy in old pleasures

Mask party at the Bridge BarLast night we went to a trendy local spot called Bridge Bar, a place we hadn’t been to since a mask party in July. I think I had kind of forgotten about it in the ensuing months, but by pure chance I stumbled across a listing on facebook for a Beatles Night and thought it was time to head back. The guys who run the bar are Anglophiles so it’s a pretty hip place with a lot of British paraphernalia about.

Fast forward to the end of the night and we were ALL singing along to the refrain of ‘Hey Jude’, giving out high fives and shaking up the joint, up on our feet and dancing to awesome covers of ‘Jailhouse Rock’ by Elvis, ‘No You Girls’ by Franz Ferdinand, ‘Are you gonna be my girl’ by Jet and ‘This love’ by Maroon 5. I haven’t had FUN like that in ages! As my friend Peter said about last night, “It was a blast”.

Who would have thought that more than four decades after the Beatles released those songs, there would be a tribute night in a little bar in Chiang Mai, where what was old suddenly felt so new? Having Thai bands cover the Beatles seemed like a fresh concept, though back home this might have felt cheesy. There was a totally infectious spirit and I felt so exuberant that these young Thais loved the Beatles just as much as us. In fact, there weren’t that many foreigners there last night; it was 90% Thai so this was a night for them more than anything else.

Beatles Night at Bridge Bar
Beatles Night at Bridge Bar

It’s so cool the way music brings people together. I experienced quite a few moments where the whole thing transcended culture, time and place — and then we’d be back in Thailand again, because the band would speak in Thai or sing a song lyric in a funny way.

I’d been complaining lately about the lack of good music here and all the incessant lounge covers in bars, so it was a real joy to listen to what I know and love. Living here I really miss live music so I got a much needed dose last night. I’d also rightly suspected that there were Thais who like the same music as me, and there they were in their skinny jeans with their iPads and rock star haircuts.

Maybe it’s because I know I’m heading off soon, that Chiang Mai suddenly feels like it’s full of possibilities again, that there’s new joy to be found in old pleasures. And maybe this feeling I have goes beyond Chiang Mai, and applies to my life more generally. I mean, I thought I was over the idea of having a 9 to 5 job but this past week I’ve been thinking that maybe I’m not due for a long break just yet. Maybe there is still joy for me to be gained out of working; but let’s see where this thought takes me over the coming months. At this stage, anything that can happen.

As Josh and I were walking home after midnight, my ears were ringing and it was another old sensation that felt new again, after a year without guitar feedback blasting in my ears. As we were in sight of our apartment, I heard another cover band at the Panda and Roll bar playing ‘New born’ by Muse, which seemed a reasonably obscure track for a Thai band to be covering. Somehow, it was the perfect way to end the night.

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4 thoughts on “New joy in old pleasures

  1. Dear Sheila – it IS going to be exciting being able to devote all your time to writing when you are in Paris – being an author ‘starving’ in a garret perhaps? I think not. Cant wait to read about this next phase of your life. Your night experiencing ‘Beatlemania’ sounded a lot of fun. As ever, Imelda

  2. You know Imelda, it’s funny but I had really backed away from the whole writing idea lately…fear, I guess. The last week I can’t stop thinking about it again and really feel that this is the right next path for me to take. Ha, no starving in garrets for me, I’ll be eating too much cheese and drinking wine! I’m in Vietnam at the moment for work, and it’s really made me think that there is a lot I could write about that i haven’t even begun to explore yet.

  3. That does sound fun! Was the Muse cover less weirdly identical than the one we heard in Hong Kong? (which I know was a cover of a cover technically but still…)

    1. It was a pretty decent cover. For the most part, I find there are a lot of Thai bands who do very good covers — though maybe not ‘good’ in the sense that they don’t do their own interpretation. They just copy every note and vocal, as much as possible. One day as I was walking home I was really surprised to hear a band rehearsing at a bar and they were playing a decent cover of ‘In the morning’ by Razorlight, which is also reasonably obscure!

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