Weekly Reports on Pattaya activities, 16th January 2000

Dr. Allen R. Briggs




Weekly Reports on Pattaya activities

16th January 2000


  • Icon -the Club adds third segment of Khun Toi singing late in evening
  • Bangkok’s Icon-the Club deal nearly concluded; announcement soon
  • Report on Long Yang International’s Convention in London –Icon 99
  • “High Season” in Pattaya, but where are all the customers?
  • “Walking Street” gets paving stones paving; what happens with vehicles traversing it all day, except during special “Walking Street” hours?


Icon — the Club surprised almost everyone this week as they added a third segment of Khun Toi singing, accompanied by Khun Sunny, after the Icon Dancers have finished their second set. Previously, at the end of the second Icons set, the stage was devoted to dancing for any customer who chose to dance, and several of the Icons were willing to dance with customers when asked. Khun Toi’s participation in a third set should extend the business of the club substantially, since to this observer it has seemed that almost everyone departed shortly after the second Icons’ set, and only a few remained to dance and drink. If this week’s experience is any guide, having Khun Toi stay on for another segment should keep the majority of the crowd, even though at that stage it seems to take on a “younger cast”. A “younger cast” only because many of the older men often leave with their young men for other activities, since the hour is by then approaching 1 a.m. Personally, although I am not usually inclined to stay out that late, it is great to have Khun Toi singing more … and it is hard to get too much of his outstanding singing and the fabulous accompaniment by Sunny.

There appeared to be some missed signals somewhere this past Friday night, my first experience with Khun Toi staying for a third set. To me, it appeared that the music got much, much louder, at times almost drowning out the singing. I expressed concerns about that in a message to William Ribbon, one of the owners, and he responded with assurances that this is not the plan of Icon; they intend to keep the music at reasonable levels.

William wrote:

Through lucky circumstance I have just met with Toi (Sunday afternoon) and discussed the points you have kindly raised.

“As always, assumptions about the ICON group are normally founded on misinformation, gossip and misunderstanding – such is the way of human nature. I think from the outset we should state that no such direction re: increased volume has been or will be given now or in the future. IN FACT the opposite of your assumption is the truth with David and I directing for the volume to come down.

“As with many performers, the roar of the crowd can be intoxicating, and equating volume with heightened levels of patrons’ enjoyment is a mistake that can be a hard lesson to learn. Your letter after discussion has been taken to heart particularly by Toi who has always respected your earnest support of him and his undoubted talents – the outcome will be for our later appraisal.

“The positive note that you express re: the third set is appreciated as patrons have expressed their wish for this-hence the re-scheduling, we hope that this will continue to receive everyone’s support. On the topic of change I should mention that the ICON is a concept that is evolving and as such we do not wish to ever be static or not in a constant state of change. As is evident from the many improvements the Club and the Hotel have undergone since opening, both physically and within our personnel.”


With only a few minor details yet to be taken care of before the deal for a facility for a Bangkok “Icon — the Club”, and possibly for additional purposes, Icon has indicated the deal should be completed on Monday, and a formal announcement will be made shortly after that of its new location and of its plans.. but only after all the details have been finalized. When it is a “done deal”,. full details of their selected location and their plans for utilizing the facility being lined up will be made public. Contacted about the plans for the club, and reports that the “deal” had been concluded, William of Icon responded with the following message:

“Tomorrow (Mon.) is D day so announcements should be forthcoming within the next two days. This deal for our BKK location is longer than “War and Peace”, I know. But it’s got to be right for all -I believe tomorrow will see this as confirmed in black ink. Will be in contact on Wed. to let you know.” — William

Next week’s Weekly Report should be able to offer a full report on the new club in Bangkok next week, including, hopefully, plans for developing the large building under consideration for various uses of Icon and its owners. As reported by “Thai Guys” magazine earlier, plans continue to proceed for an Icon–the Club and an Icon Boutique Hotel in both Phuket and Chiang Mai, but again no formal announcement is expected until any deal for either such location is “confirmed in black ink.”


Our newest traveling correspondent, Larry of San Francisco, reports on two significant conventions of the Long Yang Clubs, which are an international group dedicated to promoting friendships between Westerners and Asians.

” ICON99…..and ICON2000. ICON99 which stands for International Convention 1999 (of the Long Yang Club of London) held an incredible weekend in London and Greenwich – from November 12th to the15th. While the weather in London at this time of year is usually bitter cold we were all fortunate in that it was mild and in some instances balmy (no, not the participants….the weather!!).

Balmy? Apparently not for this “Masked Wonder”

Each and every event – from the fine dining in Chinatown to the homemade fantastic lunch mid-stream during workshops to the “finest noodle shop in London” which was actually in Greenwich to the incredible disco dancing – came off without a hitch and the 125 participants from around the world laughed, cried and had an incredible time.

Participants got right into the inner workings of London when we stood by and viewed the Lord Mayor’s Parade – incredible floats and costumes prevailed. After this wonderful event we scooted to an equally incredible Grand Maharajah’s Indian Buffet for luncheon. I don’t believe I’ve ever had such a bountiful buffet and wild array of different Indian tastes….absolutely wonderful.

Westerners and Asians alike enjoy a party and parade!

In the early evening we witnessed early evening fireworks (I can’t remember the exact reason for them) – they went on forever and became bigger and brighter as the time passed. How fortunate we all were to have this opportunity.

Last, but certainly not least, was a regular English pub dinner -followed by a wonderful show – you had to be there!! But a “Q&A” time with revelers as participants left everyone laughing in the aisles!! Leaving the following Tuesday to return to San Francisco was all too soon, let me tell you! I am eagerly awaiting the NEXT ICON – ICON2000 in Seattle, Washington. I’m not certain of the exact date – but it will be about the 3rd weekend of September – stay tuned for details….and don’t miss it, FOR SURE!!


Although this is still “high season” by any reading of the calendar, you couldn’t tell it by the traffic on the streets, the throngs–or lack of throngs– of people crowding the sidewalks all over downtown, or the comments of many of the business people who so strongly look forward to a good, profitable “High Season.” First hindered by the cold spell that struck around Christmas time, and then by the warnings of terrorist activities worldwide that caused many would-be travelers to stay home, or modify their vacation trips to stay nearer to home, the effects have clearly been felt by the businesses of Pattaya. There are no big crowds on the sidewalks, no packed houses at most of the bars and entertainment venues (Icon the Club being one notable exception).

One well known business owner indicated to a friend this week that this is one of the poorest “high seasons” he has seen in Pattaya in many years. There are people here, but not as many as “high season” usually draws. For the many businesses that operate kind of on the narrowest of profit margins many months of the year, “high season” is usually critical to having a good year financially. Hopefully, something will develop over the rest of the year to bring larger than usual crowds later, to make up at least in part for the lack of huge crowds now.


The “Walking Street“, the extension of Pattaya Beach Road southerly from South Pattaya Road, and home of hundreds of businesses including some of Pattaya’s best known bars and restaurants (though virtually no gay ones), is being paved with loosely fitting paving stones, which provide a beautiful walking surface for the walking crowds. However, questions are being asked now about how these paving stones will stand up to the cars, trucks and other heavy vehicles which will still be permitted on the former “Golden Mile”, except during the period between 7 p.m. and midnight.

The paving stones, at least to date, are not cemented in place, and as best anyone knows, there are no plans to cement them in. This raises an issue for Pattaya’s most famous street similar to the issue of use of the beautiful pavement-stone covered sidewalk installed at Jomtien Beach. However, the Jomtien Beach sidewalk was supposedly intended only for pedestrians, with motor vehicles supposedly prohibited.

The Walking Street had never been intended for that; just limiting vehicle access during the key hours each night. Just as the Walking Street is already seeing cars, trucks and other heavy vehicles traverse its length through much of the day, so Jomtien Beach observers are now reporting that the sidewalk — a walking facility, with motor vehicles supposedly prohibited … is seeing more and more motor vehicles, including cars, not just motorbikes, using the sidewalk as a driveway, with no police response or attention.

That’s it for this week, guys!

Gay Pattayan Jan. 16, 2000 e-mail: GayPattayan@pattayagay.com

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