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One Night in Bangkok - Murray Head


Today's song has a Thailand theme as it is the queen of Thailand- H.M Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana's - birthday today!


I absolutely LOVE Thailand, it is such a beautiful place and I could go on about it for ages (it would definitely take more than one night). The people are incredibly hospitable and friendly, nature and temples are breathtaking and as a country, it is just magical. While there will be many more tales to tell, I thought it would be good to start with the capital.


The song was created in 1984 for the West End musical Chess with the music written by Benny and Bjorn from Abba and the lyrics by Time Rice. The play tells the story of two chess players, one from the US and the other from Soviet Russia, who are competing both for the title but also for the affections of the same woman. The play is used as a metaphor for Cold War.


The song however compares the game to Bangkok's nightlife. The song's lyrics tell the tale of a chess grandmaster who is visiting Bangkok for a tournament, however he is too focused on the chess game to want to go out and see the city. He is disdainful and says that focusing on the game is more interesting than seeing what the city has to offer. Thailand banned the song in 1985, stating that the song was disrespectful and mispresented the city.


A few fun facts about the lyrics -

"It's Iceland, or the Philippines, or Hastings, or Or this place!" - the cities where the tournament has been previously held.

"In a show with everything but Yul Brynner" - an actor who had played The King of Siam in the Broadway musical as well as the movie The King and I but had since passed away.

The "Tyrolean spa" is referring to the town of Merano (which is known for its spa resorts) in the South Tyrol region of Italy, which is where Act 1 of the musical is set.




Personally, I think that grumpy grandmaster missed out. Bangkok is an amazing city!


Although, it was only two nights spent in Bangkok (doesn't have quite the same ring does it?) a few years ago and albeit a very quick stopover, we were able to experience some highlights of the city -


- The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market: this is a fantastic experience and definitely worth the approximate two-hour journey out of the city. You float along the river, amidst a variety of colours and enticing smells and when you are ready to shop, you let your guide know and he will "pull over" or hook onto the other boat (floating pancakes anyone?) and you can grab a bite to eat, shop or just enjoy the sights.

- Visiting Grand Palace and seeing the tiny replica of the palace

- Wat Phra Kaew Temple

- Exploring the night markets

- Having a cheeky cocktail at a rooftop bar watching the world go by







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