‘…for what it’s worth’

Not too long to go now before I return to the yUK and can be reunited with my wonderful wife and baby. Counting tonight it’s five sleeps before touching down in the waterlogged land of the smoke free and the home of the terrorist attack…

We talked by videophone tonight, and Oti was doing his best James Bond villain impersonation, trying to ensure that the secret programme that would ensure world domination for his organization BABIGRO (Bad-Ass Babies International Group Run by Otis) was going to be downloaded by hammering the keyboard and pulling any cable that came within his grasp. He’s getting so grown up now, and I just know (and really look forward to) how much of a handful he’s going to be. He’s inquisitive, searching, intelligent and just so, so wonderful, and I’m allowed to gush, ‘cos I’m his dad. So there

From a distance, Britain seems to get more like a bad movie every day. Maybe we will end up in a Kevin Costner movie, some crazy cross between The Postman and Waterworld (and we know how successful they were, don’t we folks…). One thing is for sure; it won’t be Field of Dreams. I have to confess to being a sucker for those kind of aw-gee-shucks small-town America movies, where the decent folks go through their trials and tribulations and then come out with dignity intact and a little bit more respect in their community. You know what I mean, don’t you, that kind of Bradbury-ish evocation of long hot summers, crisp frosty winters and white picket fences that permeate It’s a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St Louis, The Best Years of Our Lives, A Summer Place, Edward Scissorhands, Blue Velvet… you do know what I mean, don’t you…?

I’d like to meet David Lynch. The world needs more seething geniuses like him and Tim Burton to be making movies. Terry Gilliam is another. They don’t really know what they do, they are just driven to do it and get on with it and more often than not get it absolutely right. When they were children they probably stayed up all night watching The Outer Limits, as I am doing at the moment (albeit en Francais – as I said before, ‘pretentious? Moi?’). The direction, scripts, acting, production values are just so damned good, the special effects for the most part astonishing, it’s like a masterclass in television chiller thrillers. And it really is still very, very creepy…

The other thing I am really pleased about is that I bought (for a dollar, I’m such a cheapskate) a fantastic DVD made by Jonathan Demme called Heart of Gold. It’s a documentary about the premiere of Neil Young’s Prairie Wind album (do we still call them albums? I’m sorry I’m not up on the current parlance in the recorded music field) and it reveals the gurny old curmudgeon in a completely new light (to me). He is witty, charming, likeable, frank, emotional and in extremely fine voice all the way through, and aided by his grizzly old band members, some of whom, like Ben Keith, go all the way back to the Stray Gators of the Harvest era, the sound they produce is like milk and honey and warm fires, liquid warmth for the soul. Emmylou Harris is there also, and the amazing Spooner Oldham. They all just exude good vibes, there is no other way to put it, and it’s like all the hippy ‘peace and love, man’ stuff was actually all worth it. I’m sure it will be out for hire in the yUK, so slip on that ole bandana and get down to Blockbuster or Hellraiser or whatever those DVD stores are called and have an evening in front of the box with uncle Neil. Just so’s you don’t get into too much of a mellow vibe, I’d also recommend waiting until a few minutes after the credits have rolled (especially as they roll over a great acoustic version of The Old Laughing Lady) and then get on the internet and go here…


…and enjoy!!

‘Tonight’s blog was a public service announcement from your Khmer correspondent, BBC World Service.’
(sound of coins falling into metal cup)
‘Thank You. Goodnight.”

Listening to – the rhythm of the falling rain

Watching – the skies

Missing – my babies

senses working overtime

The other day I watched with interest as a couple of barang (foreigners) struggled manfully across the busy riverside road lugging a large Cambodian urn between them. It got me thinking about Morecambe and Wise. Not that they were indulging in any humorous bantering interplay between themselves, indeed far from it. They were hissing from between gritted teeth at the barrage of ‘hello – you want tuk-tuk’s’ that they were subjected to from the riverside posse. Judging by how much they were sweating they had been lugging and naysaying for a long time and were pretty much fed up. They did not even resemble Morecambe and Wise, they were in fact clean-cut-t-shirt-wearing-college-boy look-alikes. So why did the humorous twosome spring to mind? Because in the random morass of neurons and thingies that zoom around in the grey(ing) matter that passes for my brain I thought of a ‘joke’ that I am certain Eric Morecambe once used, albeit with a different locational content.

But we’ll get to that later. The grey matter shoots off in a different direction and lands upon things that make me very happy. I spoke to my beautiful wife and baby boy today courtesy of the Thunderbirds videophone that I have disguised as a Macbook. They are both well and happy, and despite the tendency for the digital pixilation to occasionally turn them into a David Hockney-esque explosion of colours, they are looking good. One week to go, yippee! and I can see them in person – I truly am very, very excited by that.

The bad weather here seems to have severely scrambled television signals, so I am unable to watch hours of Khmer karaoke videos as I had hoped. Severely disappointing, but if the weather and signals improve then be prepared for a blog on the finer points of how to create the perfect Khmer karaoke video. So you can put in some preparation, it might be useful to seek out the following – a tree, three people (either two men, one woman, or two women, one man), a shop selling jewellery, a motorbike, and a long path to stroll down (preferably adjacent to the tree.). This masterclass will continue when the reception gets better…

So I have actually been watching some DVDs of late. Here are my thoughts on the last couple. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ – my kind of movie. Fantastic, in the truest sense of the word, beautifully shot and acted, and in Spanish, which always makes the dialogue more portentous. ‘Volver’ – as above. Today I also bought the first season of ‘The Outer Limits’ – $13 for 8 discs, and oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy, am I inordinately excited about that… the man in the shop tried to put me off by telling me that for some obscure reason the first disc is dubbed into French with no subtitles, but you know something? I DON’T CARE. Now if I could only find a set of ‘Journey into the Unknown’ I’d be ecstatic…

The Khmer grunge outfit that performed on Friday night were rather sweet actually. They were about as grunge as Josie and the Pussycats, but immensely likeable, and played their own stuff, so three cheers for that. I think that the music scene is really showing signs of developing here, which is so encouraging. I think I’ll try and keep out of the way musically, as I don’t want to set things back 10 years or so with my noodlings…

What might Eric have said? Maybe something like this –
Eric ‘look – there are two blokes, lugging a Cambodian Urn…’
Ernie – ‘what’s a Cambodian Urn?’
Eric – ‘just over a dollar a day, based on the GNI of $380 per capita. Boom Boom!’

And before you ask, it was a Big Urn, not a little Ern…

Listening to – ‘Live from Brattles Theatre’ – Evan Dando
‘Iron Man’ – Black Sabbath
‘Highlights from the Plugged Nickel’ – Miles Davis

Eating – Spiced Fish Chowder (Friends Restaurant)
Drinking – Pineapple and Chili Frozen Margarita (as above)

And yes, still really, really, really missing my two beautiful babies, Ani and Oti.