Koh Tao Flood Relief Album

Finally after almost a week of incesent downpour the rains have stopped. Now it’s time to clean up the mess. The damage caused by the record breaking falls is tremendous. Roads, homes and businesses washed away. It will take months before the community recovers, and I’ve got a way that you can help from afar.

Click “download” on the link below to make a donation and get some music made right here on Koh Tao.

Some of you may have already read about my unfortunate flood story. On the 6th of January 2017 we had the worst of the storm. 190mm of rain dropped that day. 40mm of that happened in just one hour early in the morning. So much water rushed the island that almost every road became a turbulent river. Choppers, a venue that I regularly perform in, was flooded and unfourtunately my gear was inside. When I arrived the following morning I found my gear floating around in the muddy flood water. I was heart broken. Any musician will know the feeling. My guitar is not only a tool it’s a part of me, it’s a close friend. I felt like I had let it down, left it in the cold wet storm to drown. The image of Hannah pouring water from it’s sound hole will haunt me for years. But the pain didn’t stop there. My loopstation, the tool that has now defined my stage performance and given me the opportunity to travel the world with my craft sitting there in the dirty water, it seemed all hope was lost. What will I do, I can’t afford to replace it and I can’t afford to continue my journey without it. This wasn’t even the extent of the damage. Also amongst my gear was my laptop, full of material I will never see again, my mixing desk, my microphone, a brand new, still in the box MPK midi controller and my guitar tuner.img_0685

As a result I decided I needed to raise some funds to get my tools back.

Back in 2014 I recorded a live album right here on Koh Tao with my good friend Andy V. Two days ago I put that album on my bandcamp page with a “pay what you feel” price for all of those out there that would like to contribute. Over the years I have met some beautiful people while sharing my music across the world and in two days I managed to raise about 10,000 baht. Though it is not enough to cover the damage I incurred financially, it is definitely enough to heal my broken heart and put me back in a positive mind set. I no longer feel overwhelmed, instead I feel excited and ready to face the world and whatever it can throw at me. And though the 10,000 baht is not enough, it is enough to get me started so I can rebuild. Now I would like to do the same thing for my Koh Tao community. From now until the evening of the 12th Jan 2017 all funds raised by this album will be donated to the Koh Tao Rescue team that were so invaluable to the people of the island during the storms, and will continue to be in the clean up. I will be presenting the funds to the team at a benefit concert I will be performing at Banyan Bar on the night of the full moon.

To donate simply click the download button on the link above. Please dig deep, share this article, buy the album and get in touch. Empathy and love are the greatest of all emotions, they bring us together and teach us what it is to be human.

Enjoy the album with lots of love from all of us on Koh Tao. Happy New Year.

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If you are on the island or know anyone that is, please make sure you’re at the benefit gig on Thursday. We will be raising money for 5 Burmese homes that were destroyed in the floods.

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Top 10 #looptheworld Shows So Far

This was a difficult list to compile. Almost every show I have played since the #looptheworld adventure began has been memorable for one reason or another. Special mention has to go to Choppers Bar, Koh Tao. Those hot, sweaty nights with the Koh Tao Pub Crawl made up a huge amount of the memories that the tour has brought me so far. Every night at Choppers was another crazy party. So too were all of my performances at Harmony, Ios. However, this here list is about those single shows that stood out. The shows that warmed my heart and kept me on a high for days after getting off stage. Those shows that reward me more than financial gain. The shows I’ll remember long after my career is over. The shows I’ll look back on and smile.

No. 10

Surfers Paradise Live Festival May 2015

A festival stage definitely helps to make the top 10 list. A big crowd, a great PA, a professional sound man, the whole kit and caboodle. This was also the last show before we took #looptheworld international. On a more personal note; Surfers Paradise Live Festival was special because my family was there. My mum, my little sister Megan and my adorable little nephew Malakai. It was also the first time my newborn nephew had left the house since his birth. I’m very proud of this fact. It will be a story I tell him when he’s older. I hope one day he takes up the musical adventure that has brought me so much satisfaction.

Show No.9 >

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Gig Profile: Serenity Bar Koh Tao, Thailand

This will be the fourth installment of the #looptheworld Gig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.

Serenity5For those of you that are keeping up with the story, you’ll know that I’m in Thailand at the moment. Tonight, and every Tuesday through February I am playing at a beautiful little sunset bar looking over the west coast of the island Koh Tao called Serenity. Of all the shows I play here this is by far the most chilled. The show starts at 6 pm just before sunset and finishes around 8.30pm. The clientele are there to take in the view as the sun sets over the Thai gulf, drink a few Mojitos and listen to some music. It doesn’t take much for the bar to fill up. About 30 people draped out across hammocks and beanbags and there is not much space left. Serenity is located at the top of a steep hill in between the tourist center Sairee Beach and the main port of Mae Haad. Even on a scooter it can be quite difficult making the climb. On foot you’ll definitely get the heart rate up and a sweat on. You really enjoy that first Mojito and the view when you do make it up. The remote location does have it’s advantages. Joints are often passed around the patrons and the noise of the main road is replaced with frogs and geckos singing the sun down.Serenity13

The pay is not as good as the other shows I do on the island. I use the show as a contrast to my gigs at Fishbowl and Choppers. Somewhere I can relax, not have to worry about entertaining the drunken masses and just play some music. It’s a great place to showcase your music, the way you’d like to play it. Original material is not only accepted but encouraged and Bruno the owner reminds me every time to “Please, play from the heart and play what you want.” The PA there is small but nice. With a little effort you can get it sounding great. It’s easy enough to get a gig at Serenity. You wont need to impress Bruno too much with websites and demo videos. Just drop him a line via the Serenity facebook page and I’m sure he’ll give you a go. If it works out well, he’ll give you a bunch more spots.

Depending on the weather today we may end up filming a clip. Honestly the view is superb and playing while the sun sets makes for some beautiful light. The perfect location for a live film clip. If I don’t do it tonight, I’ll do it next week. And when I do, I’ll post it here. In the mean time here are some gorgeous photos of a show I did there back in February last year by the beautiful Alena Chulkova.

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Gig Location: 3/8 Moo 2 Ban Ko Tao, Chumphon, Thailand
Venue Contact: Brunno Tavarez via the Serenity Facebook page
Pay: 1000 to 1500 Baht
Capacity: Approx 50

Gig Profile: Fishbowl Beach Bar Koh Tao, Thailand.

This is the second installment of the #looptheworld Gig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.

Fishbowl Beach Bar is the epitome of gigging in paradise. It’s on a tropical island. The stage sits less than 10 meters from the shore line. The gig starts minutes after the sun sets over the Thai gulf and these sunsets are the most amazing I’ve ever seen on all of my travels. I really doesn’t get much more picturesque than this.

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Sunset from Fishbowl. Photo Credit: Edan Chapman Photography

Recently they have replaced the PA which was a delightful surprise. They now sport a 20″ sub woofer with 4 x 15″ front of house speakers and a single 15″ foldback cab. With the help of the in-house sound man Nanda you should get a pretty decent sound. The clientele are there to have a drink by the beach and listen to some live music before the night kicks into drunken Thailand madness so you can expect at least a good portion of the audience to be attentive and supportive. I use the gig as a back up with the Choppers gig (Chopper’s Gig Profile) to fill my schedule. Between the two of them you can be playing 6 nights a week and earning a living that will support a life style of tropical indulgence. The owners Andy and Nando (not to be confused with Nanda the sound man) are both stand up blokes. As long as you are not a drop kick you will get along with them really well. The show they are after is one that will slowly wind up the crowd till the DJ starts at 11.30pm. First set you can get away with a few slower songs, even some originals but in an effort to fit in with the Thailand madness i suggest that you keep the energy high. Second set it’s important to start really pumping up the vibe. Again you can get away with original material as long as it has a heavy groove that they can bounce along to.

VIDEO: Simon Wright Live Looping at Fishbowl Beach Bar June 2015

I suggest spending at least a couple of weeks on the island to help cover the costs of getting there. You’ll need at least 3 hours of relevant up tempo songs in your repertoire. I find the more funky stuff works better than the rocky stuff. If you think this is something you might be into feel free to contact me for more information.  Alternatively you can contact Andy or Nando through the Fishbowl Facebook page. They will want to see a video of you performing live, the quality of the camera is not important, they just want to see how you interact with your audience and hear your voice and musicianship.

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Fishbowl Beach Bar from the water. Photo Credit: Edan Chapman

Location: Sairee town, Koh Tao, Thailand.
Gig contact: Andy or Nando via Fishbowl Beach Bar Facebook Page
Pay: 1500 – 2500 Thai Baht (Solo) 3000 – 4000 Thai Baht (Duo)
Gig season: All year round (high season Dec-Feb and July)
Max Capacity: Approx 180
In-house PA and soundman.

Gig Profile: Chopper’s Aussie Bar and Grill Koh Tao, Thailand.

I’m very blessed to be doing what I’m doing. Traveling the world sharing my music and making a living doing so. In an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same thing, I’ve decided to start writing up the details of the venues that support my art – and my wallet – as I go. This will be the first ever #looptheworld Gig Profile and where better to start than at Chopper’s Bar on Koh Tao in Thailand.

choppers 3I first started performing at Chopper’s back in 2013 just 2 weeks after buying my loop station. One might say it was my international debut. It’s a crazy gig. Hot, sweaty, full throttle Thailand madness. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday they hold a pub crawl on the island and I’m the entertainment for the hour and a half they spend at Choppers. It’s the biggest bar crawl in S.E Asia boasting an impressive 180 max capacity and regularly sells out. The gig starts at 9pm and consists of 2 sets. The fist set I play to a bar of seated patrons enjoying a meal and their first drinks for the evening. This is a great opportunity to share my original music and warm up to what happens next….

At 10pm the pub crawlers arrive – 180 drunken maniacs. choppers 1They squeeze into the already busy bar and quickly fill the dance floor. 5 minutes into the second set they are dancing on the tables and having the time of their life. The gig is very demanding. The second set is long, hot and sweaty. By the time I finish I’m absolutely exhausted. A few weeks on Koh Tao and you’ll be more gig fit than you’ve ever been. I often loose weight on Koh Tao despite the efforts of the Banyan Bar staff and their Sunday roast. The combination of Thai food, hot weather and Chopper’s marathon gigs trims off the winter belly better than any diet the internet is trying to sell you. Jeff, Chopper’s Bar Owner, will offer you up to 4 shows a week. If you back that up with some shows at the other bars on the island as I do you can easily end up playing 7 nights a week.

A professional photographer shoots every pub crawl so you are likely to get a few good shots. I love playing Chopper’s but I wouldn’t suggest it to those that aren’t prepared to work hard in the hottest gig environment you are likely to encounter. If it does sound like something you’d be into feel free to contact me for more information. Alternatively get in contact with Jeffrey Glenn and send him a video of you performing live. You’ll need a pretty decent repertoire of high energy, up tempo cover material. That said, you can get away with playing your original material -particularly in the first set.

Location: Sairee town, Koh Tao, Thailand.
Gig contact: jeff@chopperskohtao.com
Pay: 2000-3000 Thai Baht (Solo) 3000-5000 Thai Baht (Duo)
Gig season: All year round (high season Dec-Feb and July)
PA:  FOH – 4 x JBL 15″ passive speaker boxes (250-1000 watt)
Foldback – 2 x JBL 10″ passive speaker boxes (250 – 600 watt)
Sure SM58 Microphones
12 Channel Mixing desk
Stereo Graphic EQ (FOH  and Fold back)
No sound man so experience in running a PA helps.

Simon Wright’s Loop Remix of the Game of Thrones Theme

Recorded live at Harmony, Mexican Restaurant on Ios, Greek Islands August 2015 on a ZOOM Q3HD during the first leg of the #looptheworld tour.

I first came up with this in July 2015 after watching the final episode of GoT  while on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand (thanks to Kylie for the inspiration). Since then it has been a favorite amongst my audiences. Easily the most requested song I’ve ever written. I’ve promised a few crew, in particular the boys from Norway, that I’d put it up on my soundcloud so here it is.

The track is available for free download. Please take the time to comment, share and follow while you are there. Enjoy.

And while we’re here. Here is a little video of me performing the track at Choppers on Koh Tao, Thailand.

NEW VIDEO: Let’s Stay Together/You Don’t Know – Live Loop Mash Up

I love Koh Tao. I have since the first day I set foot on that rock in the middle of the Thai Gulf. There is magic there. Until you experience it you will never know it. I’ve traveled there many times now over the past 4 years. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to share with my close friends from back home. It was only February this year that I finally got to share it with Hannah, and like me, she fell in love with the place as soon as we landed at Mae Haad Pier. This June though, when Hannah and I were half way through our Koh Tao leg of #looptheworld we were visited by a bunch of our good friends from back home. Shout out’s to Jonno, Edan, Danielle, Mikey, Anton, Mick, Anthea, Dave, Casey and Hayley. So good to share Turtle Island with you all.

Not only did I get to share the magic of holidaying on Koh Tao with my friends but also a little of the creative side. Casey and I  did a couple of shows together. One at Banyan and one at Choppers. They  both went down in Koh Tao history. Mikey and I did a couple of shows together at Fishbowl. One was shut down early by the most epic of tropical storms which Edan Chapman Photgraphy was patient enough to get the million dollar shot of. But one of my favourite collaborations on the island is this one right here.

On the 11 June 2015, Jonno, Edan and Andy Stock (a guitarist friend that lives on Koh Tao) came together at Fishbowl Beach Bar with as many cameras as we could muster up including 5 x GoPro’s and 2 x Cannon DSLRs and shot this clip. Jonno later edited together the 40+ Gigabytes of footage for Straight Jacket Productions and now we have a Koh Tao memory that will last forever and that we can share with all of you.

The song is a mash up between Al Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together” and the hip hop verses from my own track “You Don’t Know” from my 2009 EP SW&theE. I love Al Green, I was lucky enough back in 2011 to see him live in Melbourne at the Palace Theater in St Kilda with my good mate and fellow loop warrior Andy V. The show was everything I expected and more from the living legend. Andy and I used to play this song years ago jamming in Melbourne town and last year we recorded a version on our EP Live on Koh Tao which you can download free here. That version happened to be recorded live at Fishbowl almost exactly one year before this one.

I hope you enjoy and please help me out by commenting, liking and sharing. The success of my #looptheworld adventure depends on the support of you guys. Thanks so much for watching.
Si x

What time is it?….. Who Cares. Koh Tao.

I should have written this weeks ago. It’s not that I’ve been avoiding it or even putting it off, actually I’ve been looking forward to it. There is an explanation to my laziness but only those that have spent a bit of time on a tropical island will truly understand. Hannah and I have come to refer to this phenomenon as Island time. Tomorrow doesn’t actually mean tomorrow on Koh Tao, it more accurately translates to eventually. The hands on a Koh Tao clock don’t point to specific hours of AM and PM but more a rough target at which we’ll aim. Those that refuse to give up their slave to the routine ways of the cities we live in find it extremely frustrating, but being frustrated will do nothing to change island time. It’s best to give in and let the island dictate your schedule. Today the island decided I’d write my blog post. So here it is.

My new Thailand band
My new Thailand band “Simon Wright and the Choppettes.”

We have been here on Koh Tao, a tiny little island in the middle of the Thai Gulf, for almost 6 weeks now and I have enjoyed every second of it, even the Thai belly, it’s like a constant reminder I’m on an adventure. It does make me worry occasionally when I’m on stage in the middle of a set and I get that turning feeling in my gut, but luckily, so far, I’ve not had to drop my guitar and make a b-line to the closest lavatory.

 This gig is mental. 3 nights a week I rock out to 300 sweaty, excited backpackers.
Choppers Aussie Bar and Grill. This gig is mental. 3 nights a week I rock out to 300 sweaty, excited backpackers.

My gigging schedule has been hectic. Easily the most busy I’ve ever been as a musician. I’m performing a three hour show every night except Fridays between two venues. 3 nights a week at Choppers Aussie Bar and Grill and 3 nights a week at Fishbow Beach Bar. I’ve also done the odd show at Banyan Bar and Maya Beach Club. It’s getting me fit. I’ve lost about 10kgs and I can now manage the hot, sweaty shows without the assistance of an M-150 or the need for a power nap post performance. Playing every night also does wonders for my progression as an artist and a looper. And though I am working hard, I love my job. It sends me to tropical islands and attracts me to beautiful people. It pays my way and supports my partner. It never boxes me in, rather it encourages me to push the boundaries. And it’s got to be one of the only occupations in the world that inspires the boss to buy you a shot when you’re doing a good job.

Tropical hang overs are like tropical storms, they come on hard and fast and no matter how many times you see one the intensity is always awe inspiring.
Tropical hang overs are like tropical storms, they come on hard and fast and no matter how many times you see one the intensity is always awe inspiring.

Which brings me too the drinking. Hang over management is a big part of Koh Tao life. If you are not careful you will end up with the worst hangover you’ve ever experienced. Tropical hang overs are like tropical storms, they come on hard and fast and no matter how many times you see one the intensity is always awe inspiring. The cheaply brewed Thai alcohol mixed with the humid, hot nights of sweating means hydration is a constant battle.

“One beer, one water”

These days I steer clear of the cheap Thai whiskeys and just stick to beer. “One beer, one water”. At first I get laughed at like I’m some kind of amateur but the tide turns when I bump into those that were laughing at the 7-11 at 3am and I’m still clear headed and walking straight while they are hunched over a bin throwing up the cheap buckets and late night street food. I can’t help myself but to remind them. “One beer, one water”.

Casey and Edan crash the stage at Banyans.
Casey and Edan crash the stage at Banyans.

One thing that has been so beautiful this month is the visits we have received from back home. A big shout out and thank you has to go to Danielle, Jonno, Mikey, Edan, Casey, Hayley, Dave, Mick and Anthea. It was so amazing sharing this little island with you all. I hope you fell in love with it as I have and it continues to be a destination for you all for many more years. Then from old friends to new friends.

Jonno, Danielle and Hannah.
Jonno, Danielle and Hannah.

I’ve met so many beautiful people on this island and formed some amazingly close bonds. I hope I can keep those relationships as close to my heart as they are now as we move on to the next leg of #looptheworld. Hannah and I will be back on the island in January we think. For those of you that will still be here I look forward to seeing you again. For those of you that will have left Tao, stay in touch. Maybe we’ll come visit you in your country.

We are three months in now and the idea of living life on the road still feels fresh and exciting. Sadly, on Thursday this week, I play my last show on Koh Tao. Friday we go to Bangkok, Saturday we Fly to Moscow, Sunday to Athens then a ferry out to the island of Ios where I start my Greek Island gigging schedule. 7 Nights a week this time, wow.

If you haven’t already please sign up to the #looptheworld Letterbox at http://www.thesimonwrightband.fanbridge.com and don’t forget to leave a comment or write us back.

Who's a good boy?
Who’s a good boy? Photos by Edan Chapman Photography.

A quiet observation of island life.

Koh Tao from the Lamprayah

A few people stared at me when I told them I was going to a small island in Thailand for a month. “Oh, make sure you go inland. Go see temples. Elephants! Don’t support elephant cruelty. Eat street food. Don’t eat street food. Have you packed enough clothes? Everything’s cheap there! But not that cheap. Don’t get ripped off. Hide some money in an inner thigh wallet. Don’t go down dark alleys. *and so on and forth*”

I have traveled a lot in my years on this planet and I made this decision, to be ‘stranded’ on a small island, very consciously. I cannot drive or ride my own vehicles. I can’t just saunter down the road and converse in broken Thai/English. No, what I wanted here was to sit down somewhere else and watch. Learn. Get to know the little things about one place instead of being in that strange frenzy one gets when travelling – the need to jump from place to place, to take selfies with the famous or not-so-famous symbol/monument/shrine of that place, to sample the local delicacy (or in some cases, non-delicacy) and in a sense, to lift your leg and splash your mark onto as wide an area of territory as possible. I should know, I’ve been in its grip before. Sans the selfie thing, I detest them.

I’ve been on Koh Tao for three weeks now. With one more to go. Sairree, one of the three ‘towns’ of the island is lovely. I stayed at the Banyan bar for the majority of this time and have slowly started to get to know a few locals. There’s ‘smiles’, the western guy that works at the bakery next door. You honestly have to try their pastries stuffed with pumpkin, spinach and cheese or the ham and cheese – they’re to die for! He, despite a missing tooth, always has a beam for me and a chat.
There’s the person that runs the healthy breakfast bar stand out the front of Banyan of which I have never been able to work out what gender he/she is. That doesn’t matter, after a few days s/he warmed up to me and now every morning I walk the 15 meters to get my breakfast smoothie or bowl of fruit and exchange ‘Good mornings’.
There’s Maria, the Asian descended, widely traveled woman who works at the Serenity Bar who can spell in ASL (American Sign Language) and thus established a bond the day I stumbled, sweating heavily, into that little place on the top of a practically vertical driveway that is at least 100 meters. That trek up nearly killed me with the kilos of camera gear on my back!
Fernando ‘Nando’, the manager of Fishbowl and instant fan of my photographs who is perennially trapped in the corner of the bar being surrounded by adoring suck-ups probably trying to get a free drink and patron of Simon’s music.
Over the road there’s a superb, cheap place to eat called ‘Orange’, run by what seems to be a husband-wife combo. The little dude, once his hair goes white, is going to be the epitome of what a ‘wise sensei-san’ looks like, perfectly unkempt little goatee and a shock of hair on his head.
There’s the tattooed Buddha with a ponytail just down the road past the seven-eleven that rented out a couple of bikes to my friend and I wave at him every time I go past.
One lean and mean, clean-shaven old Thai dude called Ali runs a crepe cart just outside the seven-eleven. He’s quite amusing to watch as he does his ‘performance’ with each and every crepe, jerkily yet smoothly smashing the dough onto the steel, stretching it, tossing the waste out the other end into a strategically placed basket and just doing his job day in and night out. He’s always there. He never smiles on the job. Lately, I’ve noticed a new person there, looks like he’s handing over the cart to him.
There’s a woman in the money exchange cubicle just up the road from that cart who I have mentally called ‘Vain Dreamer’. She always has a heavy coat of makeup on and always looks bored with a faraway expression on her face. I wonder what her dreams and goals are. I hope she achieves them.
Moon-face owns one of the taxi boats on the beach. He smiles a lot as he handles his boat with superb skill through the shore reefs and out into the sea. He is never late to pick us up from whichever beach he has dropped us off.
Banyan is owned by Brian, a blue-eyed windswept hair guy. There have been some huge nights there but he never fails to turn up around midday and never seems the worse for wear.

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These people and many many more I’ve begun to know. Perhaps not personally but their faces are inside my library now.

And then there’s Simon and Hannah.

I’ve known Simon since I was a teenager in high school. Over the years I’ve watched him blossom as a musician and the way he pours his heart and soul into every gig he does. The highs and lows. Over the years he and I have had many debates over a few drinks into the wee hours of the morning about music, why is this better than that? How can you justify that? What IS great music? In this respect I see him as my sensei and me as his kouhai. I hope I have given him fresh perspectives on music from someone who will never experience it in all its wonder and glory. He certainly has given me a lot.

That’s why I’m here.

When I arrived, I was presented with the most incredible sunset and then a lightning storm. The next night there was a massive water spout and several little ones on the horizon and some more lightning.
There have been crystal clear days and monsoon torrents. The sand is almost pure white and the water crystal clear. Weather changes here when it decides to and in many ways it can be slightly overwhelming, the island bends with the weather instead of trying to fight it.

This place reminds me that I am simply living on this planet. No matter what I may do, she has the final say.

 

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I have seen thousands of fish and coral formations, some of which have colours I simply cannot describe. Some I would have said only exist when there’s blacklight present. Rainbows. Dancing ripples on the bed. Swarms of fish that you usually only see in documentaries. Mini-me sharks. If I didn’t have my snorkel and swimmers on, I would almost feel like Robinson Crusoe, stuck on a deserted island that has been almost untouched by time and man.

Palm trees everywhere, butterflies sparkling their ubiquitous zig zag along, birds zapping past, insects everywhere, geckoes being ninjas and one solitary huge bird circling overhead as the sun sets. Coconut carcasses slowly rotting their nutrients into the soil. Tropical flowers advertising their beauty where-ever you look, some very familiar and some not.

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Then you walk down the ‘main’ road, watching the tourists, farangs, stumble around oblivious to the scooters hurtling past them. On the road, the car is king. Everyone parks where-ever they like except right on the middle of the road. It really interests me how when you remove the rules, there is still order in the chaos. I have yet to see anyone run over which in itself is a miracle. Or maybe not. You do need a lot of trust in others here.

I was fortunate enough to be here for the annual Koh Tao festival which runs for two days and nights. For a small island, they sure went all out! The main stage was huge. HUGE. I had just moved into a cabin right next to the sand on the beach a short walk ‘opposite’ the paddock where this festival was held. It was all fun until I stumbled home at about 11.30. Just to clarify, I’m completely Deaf. I can’t hear anything at all. I was kept awake until 4am, the hard spring coils of my mattress and the wooden cabin perfectly amplifying the roar of the enormous speakers from the main stage. Seriously, for me this was certainly an unique experience, being kept awake by thermonuclear explosions of beats over half a kilometer away. The next night I wisely decided to get slightly smashed and that did the trick, I managed to pass out at 2am.

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At night, the island lights up. There’s thousands of lights and colours. On the beach you can see fire being twirled out the front of various bars. The horizon is speckled with the lights of fish trawlers. Music is everywhere then. The drinks flow ceaselessly and the smell of food is rampant.

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Smells pervade Koh Tao. As a person brought up next to the sea, I recognise the smell of salt in the air. It’s kind of the base ingredient upon which every other smell is based on. Some of the scents are beautiful, Thai cooking, kaffir lime, fried food (of which this island abounds in) and massage oils.
And then there’s the stench. Dead fish on the streets, rubbish, burning garbage, stale alcohol and cigarette smoke as well as open sewers.

All these things and more creates a Pollock-esque mosaic that is at once instantly recognisable and ultimately unforgettable.
Once you’ve been in South-Eastern Asia, when you go back you know. It just is.

And that’s really all one can say about Koh Tao. It just is. I’ll be back.

Edan Chapman, June 2015

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The Beautiful People We Meet #1: Mohamad Jordan

I first met Mohamad, or Mojo as he is affectionately know as on the island, back in Nov 2013 during my first tour to Koh Tao. Every time I return our friendship and his generous hospitality grow stronger. When we arrived here on Thursday night he was there to greet us at the pier. It felt so nice to be welcomed back to this beautiful place with a friendly face. His hospitality didn’t stop there. Next he drove us to Sairee beach where I was performing a show that night at Choppers Aussie Bar and Grill. Then he ducked out to book me a room, at his own expense, then returned with the key and sat and watched me perform.

Mojo and I having a jam my first night on Koh Tao
Mojo and I having a jam my first night on Koh Tao

Before the night was out, he was up on stage with me jamming. Sounds like a good bloke yeah? And I haven’t even mentioned yet that while we were here in February he put Hannah through her open water and advanced diving courses. Now on our return he has offered Hannah a job in his dive shop and will be taking her through her Dive master trainer course. This afternoon while Hannah goes out for a dive on his boat, he’s taking me around the island looking for some more permanent accomodation.

Thanks Mojo, you’re a top bloke.

If you are ever on the island of Koh Tao and you plan on getting certified as a diver, go see Mohamad and his beautiful fiancé Dylan at Mojo Divers. Their prices are competitive and their staff and service are the best. Tell him I sent you.