Pattaya Unplugged had the opportunity to get together for a little Q&A session with Author Phil Hall to discuss his books, Pattaya and the general state of affairs currently. Phil’s books can be found on Amazon.com, the links will be provided throughout the article.
Recently two of Phil’s books “Bangkok to Ben Nevis Backwards!” (#37) and “Pattaya 2020” (#25) recently made it into the “Top 40” on the Amazon Thai charts.
Unplugged: Obviously if you have written books about the place, you have been coming to the Land of Smiles for some time now. Why don’t you start off by explaining a little about yourself, where you come from, family man? etc..
PH: Sure, well my first time in Thailand was back in 1986 as a horny little 21 year old. I originally told my friends that I was coming over to further my studies of Muay Thai. Those notions lasted about the length of the taxi ride from Don Muang to Flipper Lodge Hotel. You often hear from the old timers, which probably includes me now, that Pattaya isn’t sh*t compared to the classic days. Well, I guess there is some truth in that quote because it was absolute F’ing mayhem! No mobile phones to ruin those intimate moments and you were literally being dragged into the bars and, for me, this was paradise! I was young free and single back then but now I’m married and miserable…well only miserable when I go back there with my wife ( I love her really…shit is she reading this?)
Unplugged: What was the draw to Pattaya over other places that you have been? Was it the girls and the nightlife? or the people? The sights?
PH: In 1986 the world seemed to be a much bigger place and the people I hung around with would usually stick to Europe, places like Ibiza, Majorca, Ayia Napa etc for summer fun. But I always had a thing about Asian chicks and when a few blokes down the pub suggested we try Thailand; it took me about 3 seconds to say yes!
Unplugged: When did you write your first novel about Pattaya and what was the title? What inspired you to write it?
PU: My first Novel was actually called ‘From Bangkok to Ben Nevis Backwards’ this was written about 4 years ago and described the time when we emigrated to India and then Thailand. I worked as a teacher in a Kalasin government school for a year and that was a hell of an experience. Of course a few trips to Pattaya were fitted in whenever possible. It was my first book and I guess I haven’t stopped since.
Unplugged: Pattaya 2020 is the newest of your books, give us a little rundown if you can.
PH: It’s the book that I always wanted to write! 80 percent facts and the rest fiction, it covers about a year in the life of 3 buddies who decide to try Pattaya for their stag weekend. Everything that can go wrong does, but there are some more sensitive moments and I like to think it gives a more positive spin on Pattaya compared to other novels. One of many twists in Pattaya 2020 is when the spurned ex-fiance decides to come over to Thailand to get revenge on the bar-girl who stole her man. There’s a lot of steamy 3 way sex and fans of S&M aren’t going to be disappointed. But that aside, it’s all good family fun. I am trying to broker a deal that sees the paperback in Asia bookshops before too long because it’s already received some great reviews and I’m planning a sequel.
Unplugged: So you don’t live in Pattaya full time correct? Is all your time spent thinking about Pattaya while you are away?
PH: Not at all, I also think about Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and a few select Isaan establishments as well!
Unplugged: What are your personal opinions about the current state of affairs? Do you think that tourists will return at the first available opportunity? or do you think it could take years to return to what Pattaya was before?
PH: I was so sad when the Pandemic hit earlier in the year and that my favourite place on the planet was nearly destroyed. It’s only thanks to the likes of the NWG and other wonderful people that Pattaya is going to bounce back. The bars were partially opened up on the 1st of July and reports are good. I’d like to mention Paul Yates and Matt Lawrence who supplied some excellent photos and artwork and also Bryan Flowers and Chris Stan for their advice on how Pattaya works in 2020. I guess my biggest regret as far as the book is concerned is that 2020 so far has been very bad for Pattaya and I’ve received a fair bit of ridicule for using that title. We can only hope that the second half of 2020 blows away the memories of the first 6 months and I will certainly be over there before too long to visit some of my favourite bars and sois!
Just to close up, do I believe that Pattaya will take years to return to what it was before? I don’t think the heady days of 1986 will ever be matched but the same could be said about 1996, 2006 and so on. Pattaya is whatever you make of it and when I was there in 2019, it was still the best place on the planet for adult P4P, by a F’ing mile!
Phil has recently finished a bi-lingual book titled “Soi Dog Stories”. The book is currently in review process with Thai publishing companies and Phil is hoping that the Ministry of Education in Thailand sees the the potential that his modern, original bilingual book can achieve should it be considered a part of their national curriculum for international studies.
50 %of all profits will go directly to the wonderful work carried out by the amazing Soi Dog Angels x
WE HOPE THEY SEE IT PHIL!