Jan 17th – Day Fourteen
All this time off is driving us just a little stir crazy especially when combined with the heat. James and Jon (Lamont) got lucky with the room they were given as their air conditioning works. Mine and Si’s on the other hand is a different story. Either a tiny vent that blasts ice cold air in a focus a laser would be proud of right onto Si’s feet when he’s sleeping in his (unmoveable, yes we thought of that) bed, or a fan that is loud enough to wake up everyone in the hotel, let alone us sleeping beneath it. Still, we’re out the sunshine that us pastey English boys can’t handle and we have a place to sleep, to shower and to eat so what’s to complain about?
Eventually Si manages to get to sleep, but i can never sleep once the sun is up so just read and write this diary instead. The book i’m reading now is the recent Stephen Fry autobiography, which isn’t bad, but not something i’d recommend. I thought of Mr Fry as an interesting, slightly awkward character who is painfully aware of how mis placed his quirky personality and traits are in the modern world and this book does nothing to change that view, however it is just TOO self conscious. Anytime you write, especially about yourself it leaves you open for self analysis and to feel anguish over how feeble your efforts feel compared to people you admire, but he goes out of his way just too often to point out how out of place he is, how sad he feels and how difficult it all is. Stephen, we get the point, you consider yourself a big, ugly gay who can’t connect with people because he’s too busy being all articulate and clever. Ok, we understand, now just get on with it.
Just as i write these notes i hear Si make a kind of chuckle is his sleep which is odd, but also makes me regard him for a moment in comparison to Fry. For all Mr Fry’s complaining how would he feel being in a totally different body and life? That of a small-ish, heterosexual (most days), beardy man who plays guitar in a rock band, has Transformers tattoos and is currently having one square inch of his left foot in danger of developing frost bite as the super focussed jet of freezing air burrows into his skin. I didn’t get too far with this thought as i realised i got a call from our manager. He tells me that the show we’re to do at Seventeen Saloon is to be two sets of 45 minutes straight after eachother, first on the top floor, then on the ground floor. We might get to play the same songs, we might not. Fuck, if we don’t get to double up we’re screwed.
In the evening after a day of being lazy we get dinner then go for drinks making news friends and bumping into a few familiar faces. Eventually we head back to the hotel about 2am but decide on one last beer at the bar right next door. There’s 8 local girls sat on the tables outside and that’s all so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what kind of joint this might be. Being the non-judgemental types we hang out, make it pretty clear right away we’re not here for business and end up having one of the most interesting nights (in my opinion) of our trip. The girl who speaks the best English is Ut, which basically means “Baby”, usually used as “Baby of the family”, i can’t describe how this simple two letter word is pronounced, but it requires kinda puffing your cheeks out and making a cute surprised sound. We all play some Vietnamese hacky sack in the road with the girls and then James mentions he has a saw jaw (i have no idea why) and Ut can’t be dissuaded from massaging his face much to James’ horror. He might be one of the coolest customers i know, but in the end the guy is British and has a stiff upper lip reserve that just does not know how to handle such situations. Obviously Jon and i take photos of his discomfort.
Eventually a fat 30 something Aussie guy show up with a bottle of vodka and all the girls but Ut crowd round him. Its his last night in Saigon and he wants to go out with a bang (bang) and it seems he has been lying to one of the girls saying he’ll marry her and take her out the country. He forces the girls to drink shot after shot, then suddenly rounds them ALL up to take off for business. Ut goes too and after talking for a few hours about life in Vietnam, families, politics, football and music it hits home that this really cool girl through no fault of her own has to head off with Mr Fatfuck. I know i’m naive and shouldn’t be surprised, but i go to bed depressed knowing something is not right with the world and wonder what Mr Fry might have made of it if he’d been born into Ut’s position.