A couple of weeks ago, the infamous Bangkok Seven asked me to do an interview for his Patpong Nightlife blog, which to be honest I was slightly reluctant to do as blowing my own trumpet is not what I am about. But after a chat, I decided to go ahead and catch up with my fellow blogger. This week I thought I would return the favour and get a glimpse inside what makes Seven tick.
Hi Seven, for all those that don’t know you can you introduce yourself to the readers of Bangkok Nites, please?
Sure, I’m Bangkok Seven, current author of the blog patpongnightlife.com and local artist-slash-gogomonger in Patpong, or Pongmonger for short, copyright BKK7.
You are well known around these parts of Patpong 1 and 2, why is that?
For 8 years running I’ve spent 6 nights out of the week lurking in the dark corners and stage-side seats of the gogo bars in Patpong. I’m like the neighborhood don in Godfather 2–the one in the white suit who walks around waving at people until DeNiro shoots him in a hallway. I’ll probably go out in similar fashion.
Congrats on your upcoming Exhibition at The Candlelight studios, could you fill us in on what motivated you to take this next step, how did the opportunity come about and what’s the Exhibit about?
Well, before relocating to Thailand to become a permanent gogo bar fixture, I dabbled in art–sketching, painting, photography. My subject was always the only one I found worthwhile–the nude female form. When I took up the practice again here in BKK, it seemed only right to focus my eye on the lovely lasses lining the stages of Patpong’s gogos. Also, they trusted me enough to get naked and pose for me.
The opportunity came after meeting Michael, the owner of the Patpong Museum. I’d visited the museum to get info for a blog I was writing, and mentioned to him that I photograph Patpong gogo dancers, and that was all it took to pique his interest. A few convos later and voila! He arranged for me to show my work at Candle Light Studio.
The exhibition is mainly comprised of photoshopped images of some of my favorite gogo dancers, in ways people probably aren’t used to seeing them. If you want to know more, come check out the show: Candle Light Studio, above BarBar on Soi 2, Nov 27 to Dec 11.
Describe your perfect Thai girl?
Let’s see…..thin, with long hair and a huge back tattoo, preferably a gogo dancer, with no idea whatsoever of Western feminist ideology. For my self-serving purposes, that about sums it up. But seriously, all Thai women are perfect, especially when compared to most Western women.
If you had to name one, which is your favourite bar in Patpong?
I can’t name one, because they all have at least one great thing about them that make them worth visiting. Pink Panther is probably the most famous. Kiss Bar has the most down-to-earth girls and staff, both King’s Castles have the biggest roster of hotties, Glamour has some of the sexiest girls in all of BKK, Black Pagoda has the coolest aesthetic and the 2nd best DJ, Bada Bing has the best DJ and near-stage seating, XXX is the newest and coolest, and everyone there is my BFF, and The Strip–OK The Strip is my favorite, mostly for the memories created there over the last half-decade, and now, for how much fun the current girls are.
Most people that read your blog will have been interested in you having to quarantine when you arrived back to Bangkok from a stint back home. For those that missed it, what was it like in quarantine?
I called it “the most comfortable prison” because that’s what it felt like. I was forced to stay inside a small room for 2 weeks, going out only twice, each time for just an hour. It was comfortable because I had a TV, internet, and 3 meals a day delivered. But I wouldn’t want to go through it again, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’ve heard the whole process has become more relaxed now, but when I did it, people were still really paranoid about catching a flu that has a 99.6% survival rate.
We met a few years ago, how do you think the nightlife scene has changed since we first met?
Well it was already on a downward slide, what with the invention of Tinder, global economic shifts, and the ‘woke’ revolution in the West. Then Covid came along and just crushed it under its boot. And yet, miraculously–like the cockroach in “Wall-E”–it’s managed to keep bouncing along, much to my joy. But we’ll have to wait and see how long these gogos can stay open. I can’t imagine it can continue like this much longer.
You are obviously connected to Patpong on a personal level, what makes Paptong more interesting than say Nana Plaza or Soi Cowboy in your opinion?
I’ve written about this subject many times for my own blog–patpongnightlife.com–because I love talking about it. Patpong has personality. It has soul, it has spirit. It has a history steeped in lore. It’s where the CIA used to hang out during the war. Air America’s offices were on Soi 1. It’s where Tony Poe–the inspiration for Brando’s character in “Apocalypse Now!” affixed himself. It has French bistros, a supermarket, a museum, a bdsm dungeon, 2 outstanding Irish pubs, in addition to all the gogos and regular bars scattered around. Nana has……….gogos. Soi Cowboy is like Vegas. It’s a great place to visit but the longer you stay, the more broke and disillusioned you become. Every time I go to Nana or Cowboy, within an hour I’m back in Patpong. People are nicer in Patpong. They’re more “real.” They get me and I get them. I’m a pig in shit when I’m in Patpong.
What do you see as the future of the red light areas in Bangkok, and do you think Patpong can survive this?
I foresee Patpong transforming into something more than just a red-light district. It’s already in flux. Michael read my blog about what I hope to see in Patpong in the future, and he really liked my idea for a wine/whiskey/cigar bar. Recently he told me it’s already in the works, and will contain a large library of erotic art and literature. Patpong is going to become a place where Thais are no longer embarrassed or afraid to go, and where tourists come not to barfine a gogo dancer, but to have a culturally enigmatic experience.
How did PatpongNightlife – I’m Bangkok Seven. Come about?
Funny you should ask. Well, a few years back, I was writing part-time for your website, BKKNnites, when my friend Andy–previous owner of Electric Blue–said, “Hey, I own a website, patpongnightlife, that’s just sitting there doing nothing. You want it? And I said, “Uh….I guess so.” And that’s the story. Nothing more to it.
Bernard Trink, Stickman Bangkok and Stickboy Bangkok lead the way in the nightlife blogging and websites scene, do you see yourself as one of the above or are you happy doing your own thing?
Sweet Jeezum Crow, no. I’m not like any of those dudes, and could never do what they do. That to me would be pure misery. I’m not writing to entertain, though if the reader is entertained I guess that’s a plus. I’m not writing to make a living, or get followers, or share news, or “report” on anything. I often get asked by confused readers what my website is about and what the hell do I think I’m doing. I’m just a guy who goes to Patpong every day who was handed a website with the word “patpong” in the title. That’s basically it. I put whatever the fuck I want on that website, and anyone who doesn’t like it is free to look elsewhere.
If you want to call it something, call it a failed novelist living out a story that’s set in Patpong and dispersed through blogs, tweets, and photos. That’s the closest I can get to describing it. So if I don’t understand it, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when other people don’t, either.
Any final thoughts you would like to share with readers?
I’d just like to add that relocating to Thailand a decade ago saved me. If I hadn’t come here, I probably would’ve killed myself a long time ago. Life in the West is a shit-show, dominated by a culture that despises and emasculates men and is designed to keep a person broke, sick, in debt, alone, and uninspired. In short, Western culture strangles the life out of anyone trying to be free. Thailand–at least for the expat–is the opposite of that. I love Thailand, and I love Thais. I don’t like farang all that much, though.