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Steamed Rice » Blog Archive » One Night in Bangkok

One Night in Bangkok

Does anyone remember this song? Okay, I meant, does anyone who didn’t go to Sacramento High School remember this song? Those who went to SHS and who read this blog certainly remember the significance of the song and how we almost “destroyed” a lifetime of memories for a dozen or so cheerleaders. More on that in future installments about my high school days. Don’t want to give it all away. Anyway, this song has special meaning for me. It’s rooted in the obvious, but also in things that are personal to my own experiences as alluded to above. It was played at the THM-Kimchi wedding of October 2003 as well.

An old friend recently forwarded an MP3 file of the song to me (and sparked this post. Thanks!). I couldn’t find it on iTunes, but I now have it. The song, from a musical called Chess, actually went as high as #9 on the US charts in 1985. Anyway, I thought I’d give you the lyrics with a few links thrown in. Think of it as an annotated “One Night in Bangkok.” The links are pretty random and don’t have anything to do with the song, but they’re fun nonetheless, I think. I don’t pretend to be so sophisticated as to know all of the song’s references, so if you know a thing about some of these unlinked references, please feel free to leave a comment.

If you don’t click on any other link, do check out the link for the Somerset Maugham Suite at the Oriental Hotel. I love it and secretly wish that one of the rooms in my future home could be decorated in that ornate Siamese style.

Bangkok, oriental setting
And the city don’t know that the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world
In a show with everything but Yul Brynner
Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change, don’t you know
That when you play at this level there’s no ordinary venue
It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings
Or, or this place

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a God in every golden cloister
And if you’re lucky then the God’s a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One town’s very like another
When your head’s down over your pieces, brother
(It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity)
(To be looking at the board, not looking at the city)
What d’ya mean
You seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town
(Tea, girls, warm and sweet, sweet)
(Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite)
Get Thai’d! You’re talking to a tourist
Whose every move’s among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Siam’s gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would
A muddy old river or reclining Buddha
Thank God I’m only watching the game, controlling it
I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you
So you better go back to your bars, your temples
Your massage parlors

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a God in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

10 Responses to “One Night in Bangkok”

  1. Smriti Says:

    Cool links to the lyrics.. I was looking to download this song, brings back memories from 15 years ago.

    Best Wishes

    Smriti

  2. Victor Says:

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the links. Random, but I hope fun.

  3. Rodman Says:

    I’m curious to hear about the special meaning this song has for you, and how it’s rooted in the experience with your high school’s cheerleaders. Will you be posting about that any time soon?

    Thanks!

  4. Victor Says:

    Did you go to SHS? If you were there when I was there, you might understand. Nonetheless, I’ll probably write another installment of my high school saga sometime this month. Check back in the “High School Daze” category on the main page.

  5. Rodman Says:

    I did not go to SHS, I’m just really curious now after reading this post. Thanks!

  6. alex hogan Says:

    That song is the most wonderfully composed and arranged song I have ever heard! I used to like it when I was partying in the 80’s, but NOW I realize what a fantasticly well done song it really is. On my bad-ass speakers with subwoofer, it is really amazing. Totally stoner song. If you have a great sound system, it can kick your ass! I think I’ll listen to it again! For the 100th time tonight. I just re-discovered it about a month ago.

  7. Jeff Smith Says:

    Is the part about queens about the chess peice? I don’t think it is about gays.

  8. Victor Says:

    Perhaps. The links are just there for interest. I don’t mean to suggest that they’re necessarily about what I say they’re about. For example, “waistline” in this song doesn’t have anything to do with obesity, but I linked it as such.

    It’s just for fun.

  9. bangkok Says:

    Top makes a brilliant discovery… He’s now spilling the beans and is willing show you how to

  10. Bangkok at Thailand Says:

    Umm… this is very quite useful…

    thanks you

    ——————————–
    Hotel at Thailand

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