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22 Apr 2005

squirt in bed

Richard, a Bangkok resident, relives the night in Bed on April 15 as Fridae held its first party in the Thai capital.

Bed Supper Club has never experienced such a night! The boyz were back in town and Bangkok's arguably poshest club was venue to a first-time all-gay extravaganza, the likes of which this city has never seen. Fridae.com was host to one of its signature events, SQUIRT, at Bed on Friday evening from 6pm till 1am.

Click fotos@fridae for more pictures.
But signs that the event was drawing more than Bangkok's usual share of gay visitors during Songkran (Thailand's three-day water festival/ Thai New Year's celebration) were growing all the previous week leading up to the affair. A friend walking down Silom on a dinner date the previous weekend texted me saying, "I see boys from Singapore and Hongkong and Taipei!" He had to keep his eyes on his date and be good! I went out that Sunday night to Bed's gay "Think Pink" night, started and ever-growing in popularity in the last three or four months or so, and saw the indicators with my own eyes. They were here. And our weekly whisk off to DJ for an hour's more dancing at 1am found the club full to the brim with out-of-town visitors. (The out-of-town Thai guys who'd come to Bangkok for this special yearly occasion, my third, weren't difficult on the eyes either.)

Wednesday was the first official day of Songkran and that evening would be the first official night out during this local three-day holiday. With revelers and water throwers out on the streets all about town, and with nearby soi (meaning small street) 4 erupting out onto the streets in a water-wet madness, we made our way to soi 2 just after midnight.

From the unusually gay 7-11 across the street to the boys all over Silom crossing in shorts and swim trunks, it was clear we were in for a big night! Entering the all-gay soi which was already spilling out onto Silom with new faces, we passed cute boy after handsome man after gorgeous guy! "Oh god!", "Wow!", "Where is HE from?!?", "Oh my god, they're everywhere!" were part of the running inner commentary. We went into DJ Station after getting a drink at Happen and were guests at a smorgasbord of sensory excess. The night was incredible, the faces and shirtless bodies, DJ being as packed or more than I've ever seen it, but that's another story. Bed Supper Club has Model's Night every Wednesday night and I've been, but it seemed that DJ was filled with more handsome guys that night than the beautiful men and women that Bed draws in a month of Wednesdays.

On to the main event, the SQUIRT party Friday night at Bed. You know, Bangkok is a funny place. While this city is full of gay bars and clubs, somehow very few visitors know about it, even some indigenous DJ boys know no world outside DJ. Hence, we are left with one party-central headquarters night after night. And with the abundance of mixed clubs that you see from London to Bali, in one of the most gay-tolerant cities in the world, it has been strange to see almost a complete, though non-discriminating segregation of the straight and gay worlds. A year ago, I had only two gay friends who were interested in going to places like Tapas on soi 4, the only true mixed place that I know of, much less clubs like Mystique or Bed. Comments would be like, "Why? It's full of straight people." It may be ironic to say, as this is often said about us, but straight people are people too and it's good when some of us work to bridge the gap. So it has been wonderful to see these last two clubs in the last nine months open up gay nights, realising we are people too and we know how to party! And of course, as always, straight people come to our parties!
Click fotos@fridae for more pictures.
Bed has had great success but the SQUIRT event was a night that the two-year-old club has never seen. We arrived at the white spaceship-looking architectural delight and saw from across the street laser lights scurrilously darting about and strobe lights pulsating through the heavily frosted all-glass faade in a rare display of flickering bedazzlement, because it's the restaurant section that faces the street. The radiance silhouetted individuals standing and dancing on the stairway, couples talking, lights beating away to the pound of the music. Since an occasion like this had never been held before in a straight club, many Thai guys, even some of gay Bangkok's more elite were unsure whether it would really go over, seeing that by all surface appearances, we are a one-club town (though there's so much more if you scratch beneath the surface!) But indeed, reports came that day from Fridae's website that the night in Bed had been sold out. And so it was, people turning up at the door, ticket-less, only a few very connected ones finding a way inside.

After picking up our online tickets and thanking the Fridae staff for hosting this party in Bangkok, we got our wristbands and tried to go inside. It wasn't too crowded (although it was packed) or that there was any problem, it was running into people I'd met in other cities and the sense of Asian community that was there. It was a beautiful thing. Philip from Singapore, whom I'd met in KL and Sing, but lives in HK. Jacky from Taipei who lived in Bangkok and KL, taking photos of group after group that he knew. Thai Kevin who lives in Sing greeting people. Wee, an icon of Bangkok, seeing all his friends and acquaintances he's made through all his travels. And everyone inter-connecting. The unofficial welcoming committee and those being welcomed were hard to get by because it was so good catching up with people and watching people discover how bound together we are though we live in different cities.

We were out at 9:45 (after a few pre-departure cocktails), unheard of in Bangkok! But we almost felt late, because the night was in full swing and everyone was in form. It felt like midnight but we had three hours to go, an hour at DJ afterwards and, on a night like this, for sure, an after-party! We turned left and walked into the otherwise calm restaurant portion before planning to go into the club side to the right, and were blown away at the sight. Two separate two-tiered stages had been set up and the place was two stories of wall-to-wall people in party mode! Ten o'clock and almost everyone was shirtless, pumped up and dancing. Bodies moving, arms flailing, "everybody move to the music!" It was a mini-Nation party in our own backyard!

A quickly bought drink and we were out and over to the clubbing side. This side was also packed. Being that it was toilet time, we were able to walk through a bit and get a feel for what was going on here. Bed's house DJ was pumping out great dance mixes and funky house in the smaller room but we agreed almost right away that the music in the main section was where we wanted to be, because it was music we don't get to hear in Bangkok! It was DJ Monty Q from Miami, US, and by the time we'd gotten back there, he'd cranked up the level of party-fever, surrounding us with hard house with heavy heavy crescendos that through the night escalated to envelop and permeate us to our cores. We recognised a lot of guys we knew here and kisses hello, catchings-up and brief dances ensued. The music was incredible; he knew just how to take us and where we wanted to go.

My predictions earlier about an hour at DJ and an after-party came true as the mass exodus from Sukhumvit to Silom must have looked like one huge motorcade from the sky and two of our resident Hongkongers threw a party that was the perfect end to a perfect night.

While this event perhaps didn't compare to Bangkok's old glory days, when clubbing went all night till dawn; and while this was only a smidgeon of Singapore's fantastic Nation event last August, it still was a milestone for this city and the ever-increasing community interests of the region. It was one great night in Bangkok. We in Bangkok are thankful beyond words to Fridae, the organisers, promoters, hosts, everyone involved and visitors for making this event a smashing inaugural success. Let's continue to look forward to these events in different cities, patronise them and keep them ongoing with responsible partying and a spirit of brotherhood and respect as we witness, in our time, this unique gift of seeing our community come together region-wide, feeling more and more like the family we should be.

Richard is a frequenter of Bed Supper Club on both "gay" and straight nights as well as a semi-regular DJ Station goer. He has lived in Bangkok for 2 1/2 years and is currently working on two books, one of which might be called 'One Night in Bangkok.'


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