Kings & Queens


From its days as a strictly teenage hangout, Dan and Stu find that Royal City Avenue has grown up, even though some of the younger punters are still in hormonal overdrive. 

 10:40pm, Flix
Better late than never as my old Dad used to say, and late we were.  The plan was to hit RCA, since things have been changing there in the last 12 months or so.  Being on the far side of the moon, or Phetchaburi Road as it’s otherwise known, a long ride in a taxi was in order.  Being a politically correct sort, I shunned the flashy new taxis and held out for an owner-driver cab, preferably one with the monks’ blessings pasted to the roof.  A fine chariot it was, too, with sagging suspension and the driver almost rear-ended a BMW after taking off.  The driver couldn’t get into first gear without turning off the engine and Stu’s door handle was busted off.  Obviously this taxi was popular since it smelt of piss and old armpits.  It did have custom-fitted exhaust, though, and a racing-car steering wheel.

Stu: Fashionably late in RCA is the only way to arrive, albeit in less style then some, we finally arrived at the clubbing Mecca for Thai teens.  Being an RCA virgin I was glad to see that superclubs were still alive.  It took me back to my own salad days in London’s megaclubs getting steaming drunk and dragging anything with a pulse out of the place and into a cab.  Being a man now more comfortable in wine bars and hotel lobbies, I wasn’t sure if my old tactic of three rounds of Sex-on-the-Beach followed by one between the sheets would work tonight.  This Southeast Asian ballroom was just warming up with a majority Thai crowd and a few token Farangs.  Faux-aristo decoration, chandeliers, padded walls, candles yet not a goth in sight, this place is all about House music with a strict no Hip-Hop policy.  For that you have to go next door, which, needless to say, was rammed to the rafters.

 11:43pm, Club Astra
I knew this place was going to be different.  The first clue was the riced-up rides and chopped bicycles parked outside.  Daniel was particularly impressed with the gold-glitter paintjob and leopard-skin interior of one of the motors.  A perfect accessory for wanna-be gangstas, like Dan who was already flashing elaborate hand signals and walking with an affected limp.  Inside, DJ Spiller was spinning rhymes and doing crimes, to a crew of Bangkok’s finest part-time homies.  Yo!  Kind of reminded me of the Notting Hill festival, but without all the stabbing.  Bling bling brother!

Dan: Me and my bro Stu walk in da room and all da bitches drop.  Whenever DJ Dan is in the hood, you find him at Astra, bustin’ moves and sometimes limbs.  All da players there know me which is why they all starin’ and talkin’ when I hit the floor with dope moves.  I’m getting jiggy with a honey when I eyeball my good homie Wayne.  He come up to me and say “Hi Dan, how’s the wife and kids?  You crack 19th level on World of Warcraft yet?”

 12:00, Route 66
Mortally embarrassed, I grabbed Stu and scurried off to Route 66.  Things have really changed in RCA – out are the perv-cameras on scaffolding outside and the blue-screen (so you can appear in your own video-clip) that used to grace this Bangkok institution.  In is chic sophistication with more chandeliers, slick design and a DJ spinning outside the loo.  Out as well were my chances of seducing a Chula chick who’d told her parents she was going to a slumber party.  I asked the PR manager, Golf, what had caused the transformation from whiskey hall to trendy central.  “It was time to renew,” he said, expressing desires for a more upmarket clientele and a need to move with the times.  Words that gave me pause as I considered my own need to keep abreast of things.

My name’s Long John, Silver Stud, Romancer Bill. What’s yours?

Stu: This is the mothership of RCA, a true behemoth of a club so much so that it has its own navigation system encompassing all points of the compass.  West side is Hip-Hop, east is Trance, Drum and Bass and the rest, with south and north making up the bogs and bag check.  Unfortunately we left our GPS at home so tried to smell out the closest bar – a daunting task since every woman (and a few of the men) in the place smelt like the perfume counter at Harrods.

 12:45am, Time Out
Being very important and drunk journalists we naturally breezed straight to the bar, only to be served by a topless Farang man in a cowboy hat.  No wonder Dan kept this place for last.  We’d arrived at a club that wasn’t even open yet and it was rocking with angels and cowboys.  We’d obviously arrived on gay night.  PR Manager(ess) Misty was very accommodating with drinks, as were her introductions into the local scene.  Camper than a row of tents and gayer than Christmas, the club was going off like a cracker.  There was more fun to be had here than any other place on the street tonight (not that I’m a shirt-lifter, mind).

Dan: I had been forewarned that tonight was the launch of Time Out’s gay-friendly night but thought I’d keep it as a surprise for Stu.  Nevertheless, he worked it out in around two picoseconds, probably when we got the free tiara on entry.  Backs to the wall boys and all that but actually I didn’t get hit on at all.  I guess I’m getting old and ugly, and fat.  Time was that I couldn’t meet a gay man without beating him off with a shitty stick but my youthful good looks have deserted me and I never invested in a muscular chest like the two shirtless and shaved men beside me at the bar.  Don’t get me wrong fellas, it’s not an exclusively Brokeback Mountain establishment but like most clubs in Bangkok, Time Out has its pink night – surely a model’s night is to follow.  That said I hope the other nights are as rocking as this one.  Look out for the official opening, come October.

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