Sunday, October 08, 2006


Found out on Friday night that one of my friends on Samui, Leigh Phillips, had died.

I met Leigh when I was running my internet cafe in Soi The Club (a.k.a. Soi Starbuck) in Chaweng. He owned Samui's only gay go-go bar on the opposite side of the soi and he and his staff became regular customers, Leigh for our excellent coffee and his staff to e-mail farang boyfriends and download gay porn (which soon taught me gay porn sites are awful for having malware built-in). I was also frequently fixing his laptop, on which his then boyfriend would vent his rage whenever they had an argument.
At that stage there was quite a pleasant ex-pat community, mainly Brits, along our street. Nearly everyone went bust, the Bali bombing, SARS, bird flu, etc. meant only big business with deep pockets could survive.

Leigh went on to manage the Samui Mermaid (one of my websites BTW), a cut-price hotel at Big Buddha beach, which whenever I subsequently visited Samui, would stay at. We had some good drinking sessions, particularly at Teng's Cabaret until it closed.

Back in the UK, he'd been a sax player in various jazz bands and had played all the major venues like Ronnie Scott's, and had run a garage flogging luxury cars.

He died of liver failure from drinking too much, all too easy to do in a hot country like Thailand. Interestingly, while he was openly gay, he never had a problem drinking down one of the locals run by a couple of Millwall skinheads. Had they been back in London, quite possibly their attitudes would have been different. It's amazing the effect living uin the Far East has and has had on Brits from cold, dull, WASP Britain.


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