The Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) welcomed Jonathan Finch to speak about “Surprising Pattaya.” The poet, writer, author, teacher, lector and lover of fishing and bird watching, talked about the many “surprises” of Pattaya.
Jonathan, born in London, in 1951, spent the first thirty-five years of his life in the UK and began writing poetry in his youth. He is a Shakespearean aficionado and attended the University of Bristol, studying English Literature, before moving on to writing short stories, followed by novels. Many of his poems and stories were published in UK magazines and he also published a translation of an academic text by Ablex Publishing House in the U.S. He moved to Italy, becoming a twenty-year adult-education teacher, and he was also a lecturer at the University of Rome before landing in Thailand about ten years ago.
Recent technology making it easier and cheaper to self-publish books has allowed Johnathan to published at least seven books, with the help of Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon) and CreateSpace, an independent publishing platform. In just the past two years or so, he has published his seven books, all available on Kindle (Amazon).
Johnathan talked about most of his recent books, with an emphasis on his earliest novel, published in January 2016. However, the latest book, published just a couple months ago, in May 2017, is titled “Darkest Kiss” The setting is in a 1970’s London flat area and traces events of a man trying to make sense of a lost love and the truth.
Another book, published just a few months earlier, in January 2017, is much different, titled, “Sexy Thai Bar Girls and Me: Sex Adventures in Asia” – subsequently retitled “Great Tits I’ve Known (And Other Species)”. This is a much more lighthearted book, actually a memoir, which includes a lot of information about the best bars, a go-go’s, discos and massage parlors, in Pattaya, plus stories about the punters, ladies and ladyboys.
The other four books, all published in 2016, brings Johnathan back to his poetic roots. The “Thought Provokers: Bad Dreams” book is a collection of sayings, mottos, “pithies” and provocations, in poetry, providing many “thought-provokers”. A month earlier he published “After Dawn”, a novel for vulnerable people everywhere, set in in the Scottish Highlands and nearby Islands and is about a young man escaping an unhappy past.
The remaining two books start a series, the first titled, “Poems People Liked (1)”, which are about being / feeling imprisoned and feelings of “no leeway”. The depicted prisoners are actual and imaginary. He states, “…if poetry can sometimes help us to escape, well, then, let’s escape. Imagination is not imaginary.” The second is titled, “Poems People Liked (2): lyrical, rhyming & free verse”, dedicated to people who do not feel free and to expats the world over. The poems are in two parts. Part A is “The poison that leads to suicide” and Part B is “Living”. Part A deals with suicidal impulses and highly charged, negative emotions while Part B deals with “normal” living.
The earliest novel, “Great Tits I’ve Known (And Other Species)”, brings Johnathan back to a happier place; it is a combination memoir, autobiography, travel guide, fact/fiction tale of Thailand, England and Italy. It is also a book for ornithologists (bird experts). Its humor and satire also includes Cuba and Cambodia, but it primarily embraces Thailand and especially Pattaya, with its sensational nightlife. Some of the birds he talks about also include those with great mammary’s, the hookers, ladyboys, masseuses and more. The title of this book has evolved, starting with, “Collected Selected Words” which then became, “Sexy Thai Bar Girls and Me” and finally to its present title.
His talk centered on the earliest book – specifically he relates how Pattaya surprised him and how it continues to surprise him. He also talked about how he “surprises” Pattaya. His novel was largely inspired by Pattaya’s nightlife, by its characters and by their endless fortunes and misfortunes.
Jonathan also talked about his early years in Thailand, when he was a “confused, gullible, impressionable, and a completely happy guy”. He got into some real “pickles” in Pattaya, then bought his first condo in 2006 and never looked back, “except, of course, when he pummels his computer keyboard to recount the memorable and the not so memorable events, that he still remembers as if those times were engraved on his memory by a ‘pneumatic drill’!”
While he has tried to surprise Pattaya by writing travel-memoir novels about Fun City, he understands that Pattaya is always the active “surpriser” and is never more so than when he hits the town and meets up with the “good, the bad and the ugly”! The book is full of poetry and literary quotes from Shakespeare. He explained that although literary quotes can be heavy, his book lets you enjoy them and tries to make you smile. Even though Shakespeare lived almost five hundred years ago, his writings are relevant, since he covered tragedies, comedies, history and life problems, much like events found in Pattaya today.
He states, “Accompanied by red bulls, he still ploughs into elephant beers though the consequences help him to lament his slowing-down and his quickening age.” His talk was well received and provided a lively, post-presentation, question/answer session.
After the presentation, MC Roy Albiston brought everyone up to date on upcoming events. This was followed by the Open Forum portion of the meeting, where questions are asked and answered and comments made about expat living in Thailand. For more information on the Club and their activities, visit www.pcec.club.