Stuart Ward, currently a freelance consultant for Public Relations and Communications, spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) at their Sunday, September 8, meeting. His presentation was about his life experiences and the people he met over his long career in politics, music, show businesses; a who’s who of famous people from many walks of life around the world over the last 50 years.
Stuart was born and brought up in Exeter, England, UK, moving to Sweden with Price Waterhouse after qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in the City of London in 1973. He found that the music and entertainment industry was more to his liking and leaving the accounting/auditing profession, he then worked for more than 25 years in this industry in Sweden, his second home. During those 25 years he was a radio DJ and producer, TV host, record company manager and managing director of a music export trade organization. Stuart was managing director of the Polar Music Prize, created by Stig Anderson, who put ABBA together, and presented every year by H.M. the King of Sweden.
He moved to Thailand in August 2004 and until the end of October 2016, he was controller at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) or the Development Cooperation Section of the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok. He also performed various other duties during his 12 years at the Embassy.
Before retiring on 31st May this year, Stuart spent some months as finances & operations administrator at the Manushya Foundation after which he acted for 14 months as assistant to the president for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability at the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation.
Thus, he entitled his topic as, “From Clint Eastwood through Royalty to Khun Mechai (Mr. Condom). My Outrageous Journey with the Rich and Famous.” Stuart shared tales of the stars that he has met, interviewed, performed with, worked with, and in some cases became good friends with. He also shared sound bites from his previous radio show in Sweden including sounds bites from well known comedians and musical performers he has interviewed during his career.
To name only a few of many people he spoke about were Clint Eastwood, Burt Bacharach, Laura Branigan, Robert Plant, Amy Grant, Elan page, Oliver Stone, Leslie Nielson and the list goes on and on. He provided his PCEC audience with a nostalgic photo album presentation of his personal interactions with the stars. Attempting to cover a lifetime of moments in about an hour-long presentation seemingly without taking a breath. During this outrageous journey through life, Stuart met an extraordinary number of rich and famous people.
At the conclusion of his presentation, Stuart answered several questions from the audience. When asked who was the funniest celebrity he ever met was, he answered John Cleese (from Monty Python) and Mel Brooks, but that there are many others that make it difficult to pick just one.
Another question he was asked was, who was the most difficult person he ever had to interview? Stuart declined to say any names, but the rock-n-roll musicians on their way up he felt were the most difficult. Whereas the most wonderful and easy to interview were artists that were already famous, successful, and established as they were comfortable with their stardom. Generally speaking, he considered ninety-nine-point nine percent of the people he has interviewed were really nice people and humble as well.
Stuart felt his natural skill allowed those he interviewed, including the famous, to relax and open up on camera. This included the fact that he was not star struck when talking with those that were well known artists; thus, making them feel comfortable as if holding a conversation with a friend instead of an interview.
His presentation was as promised, a really amazing journey with the rich and famous. Stuart is planning on using this and other material to write a book in the future about his experiences.
Afterward, MC Ron Hunter brought everyone up to date on upcoming club and other Pattaya events of interest. The meeting ended with the usual Open Forum where audience members can ask questions or make comments about expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.
For more information about the PCEC, visit their website at http://pattayacityexpatsclub.com.