Bangkok Boy Bar – a review

Bangkok Bar Boy by Richard Vohl is well written which is perhaps a little unusual for its genre. It put me in mind of Gaysia by Benjamin Law. At times the story is incredibly detailed, perhaps too much so in some areas. The book starts with a brief prologue set in Bangkok but this is followed by a long and occasionally tedious section about the author’s life as a gay man in Middle America and Los Angeles. This early part of the story becomes more interesting when the author meets Tien, a Vietnamese boy who has immigrated to live in the States. Although the writer and Tien come to love each other theirs is not a sexual relationship. They come to regard each other as ‘family.’ The family is later joined by Al, a male nurse who has come from the Philippines. Al is straight and is married (to a woman).

Eventually the author who works as a software designer decides to go on a trip to Bangkok to sample the gay life there. Again there is a lot of detail and I feel that we didn’t really need a moment-by-moment description of our story-teller’s journey on a commercial airliner.

The author books a room at the Babylon gay resort which has the biggest sauna in Thailand (and perhaps the world). Here we come to the most moving part of the story. The author ventures out to explore Bangkok’s boy bars and eventually ends up hiring a young man, Kirt, to go back to his room for sex. The American visitor and the boy become genuinely fond of each other and after several days (and nights) Richard Vohl believes that they genuinely love each other. However he faces a dilemma; if they are really in love how can he keep on paying the boy for sex? On his part young Kirt cannot conceive of giving up work.

Towards the end of his trip Richard falls in love with another boy called Golf and this time we feel they might have more of a future. When the author returns to the States Golf gives up his sex work and gets ‘legit’ work and there is a strong suggestion that he will share the author’s life.

Despite the fact that everyone who stays at Babylon receives a free day pass to the adjoining gay sauna our author only visits this facility briefly – and that’s to take a shower. There’s a hint that he disapproves of the action that goes on in gay saunas but he obviously doesn’t have any qualms about hiring boys out of bars for sex. Puzzling.

Unusually for this kind of books perhaps, the text has many photographs. The author tells us they have been taken on his cell phone and they look like it. At least a third of them are not of sufficient quality to be published. However, all on all, I feel that Bangkok Bar Boy can be recommended.

  • Reviewed by Alistair Young

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Drag

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My Dear Followers , my story ‘My Beautiful Boyfriend’ will be available for FREE downloading from Amazon Kindle from the 27th to the 29th of December inclusive – here is an excerpt.

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Of course with most drag shows the queens mime to recorded music but with this ensemble, Panache Productions, one of its unique features was that much of the music was performed live. All of the boys had great singing voices and each of them could play a musical instrument. Sheeshy was on guitar, Sean was very versatile being able to play both the flute and the French horn. Ryan was a virtuoso on keyboards. No wonder people were starting to flock from far and wide to see and hear these boys.

I found that during the run I was completely captivated by the show. I laughed and I clapped and whistled and cried. After the final number which was ‘We Are Family’ I gave the queens a standing ovation.

After the boys had finally gone off stage Ryan came rushing out, gave me a hug and thanked me for being such a ‘divine audience.’ The other guys were clustering around and I felt that my cheeks were burning. Ryan then made a little speech about how it was really great to have me as a part of the family. He also announced that I was never again to buy tickets for any of the drag shows. He then presented me with a gold pass. Oh my God, I could no longer hold back the tears.

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I didn’t have much of a problem getting away from school on sports afternoons. I only had to mention asthma (whilst doing a few fake wheezes) and the coach or the teacher on sports duty would readily tell me that it was okay to go off and work in the library or whatever. In fact I would be given the distinct impression that neither they nor the football captains actually wanted me on the field in any case. Of course I would use the opportunity to go off down to the warehouse to catch a rehearsal or over to Rigby’s Bar if the lads were setting up for a show.

One afternoon at the warehouse I had an astonishing experience. Sean Gibson, the youngest boy in the troupe, was rehearsing a new number. Now there was nothing odd about that but on this occasion he’d decided to rehearse without his drag. There he was – centre stage, moving like a sexy femme-fatale to sultry music and yet he was dressed in a pair of boyish shorts and a tee-shirt with the Australian flag on the front of it. He looked like a gorgeous surfie who might be thinking of going off down to the beach – and yet he was dancing like a seductive, dangerous diva. With his dirty blonde hair and his deep blue eyes he was scrumptious. And because of the tighter than tight shorts I could tell that he hadn’t taped up his equipment. But the main impression I had was that the boy looked so vulnerable. I was very nearly moved to tears. At the same time I realized how unique this experience was – to be able to witness a gorgeous young drag queen rehearsing a number without the drag – without his armour in other words. It was very moving.

Later on after the rehearsal over coffee I told young Sean and producer Ryan about my reaction and suggested that they put something like the rehearsal I’d just witnessed into the show. A touching ‘insider’ look behind the scenes. Ryan looked at me for a long moment and then said, “That’s a terrific idea Shannon.”

Curiously, Sean was also giving me a lingering look. I couldn’t really tell what he thought of my idea. Anyway ‘The Rehearsal’ was scheduled to be included in a new show that was being developed, Platinum Girls. Of course I was overjoyed. I felt that as well as being a part of this glamorous new world, I was making a contribution.

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One afternoon after school I arrived early at the show venue and found that only one of the boys was in the dressing room. It was young Sean. I was a bit shocked when he asked me if I wanted to help him get taped up. I didn’t want to offend the guy. But I was totally inexperienced. I’d hardly even seen another boy’s cock apart from the odd glimpses in the change rooms at school. Well Sean, in a very matter-of-fact fashion, stepped out of his shorts and then peeled off his underpants. Of course, as was to be expected, what he revealed was exquisite. His cock was uncut and his tight balls shaved. He handed me a roll of tape and a pair of scissors. Then he gave me a spectacular grin before bending over and shoving his dick and balls into his arse crack. He then asked me to tape it all in place. Of course I had a hard on in a moment which I’m sure Sean must have noticed.

I cut off a length of tape and gingerly stuck everything in place. The boy then straightened up and stretched his legs. “That feels fine Shannon.”

Gaining some confidence after this episode I decided to pose a question that had been bothering me for a while, “Sean, what happens if… well, you know… what I mean is, what happens if you crack one during a show?”

Sean looked at me thoughtfully, “I’ve never really thought about that. It doesn’t really happen. I guess I’m always too nervous to get hard. After I first started in drag I used to have to throw up into a bucket every night before I went on stage.”

He pressed the tape between his legs. “Besides, once it’s all been taped down there’s really nowhere for it to go.”

All at once I was filled with a strange feeling. Was I falling in love with Sean? Well there was a time not so long ago when I thought that fat boys were not allowed to fall in love. And then, sadly, reality struck a blow when I recalled that Sean already had a boyfriend. His name was Dale and he was nearly as cute as Sean was.

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From: GAY MOMENTS: My Beautiful Boyfriend by Kevin Armstrong