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EXCLUSIVE: One-on-one in Phuket with Bob Sinclar

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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EXCLUSIVE: One-on-one in Phuket with Bob Sinclar | The Thaiger

PHUKET: More than 3,000 music fans flocked to Famous Nightclub in Patong last Tuesday to see French DJ Bob Sinclar – the man behind the worldwide hits Love Generation and World, Hold On. Here’s the Phuket Gazette‘s exclusive interview with the man himself.

If one DJ has stood out from the rest over the past decade it would be Bob Sinclar. With two Grammy nominations for his 2007 single World, Hold On and with his most recent album “Made in Jamaica” on the shortlist for a Best Reggae Album Grammy, Sinclar is no stranger to plaudits.

He stamped his mark on the world with Love Generation in 2005, selling over two million copies and reaching Number One in seven countries.

The track was also the official anthem for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and although his beloved French team crashed out of the final against Italy – yes, the infamous Zidane head butt – Sinclar ticks off that year as his career high to date.

The self-styled, image-conscious 41-year-old accredits the rise of the “Superstar DJ” to a French movement in the ’90s.

In fact, Sinclar (real name Chris Le Friant) is one of a handful of French DJs who pioneered the dawn of the “French touch” – the use of Euro disco with a sampling of distorted beats and instrumentals in the early ’00s.

As he looks to the next decade, Sinclar is optimistic about the future, eagerly awaiting the opening of his 2,000-capacity club in Miami, confident in the ever-rising demand for DJs to play at clubs around the world, and, of course, coming back to Phuket.

The Frenchman tucked his hair behind his ears and put down his iPhone long enough for Phuket Gazette Features Editor Fraser Morton to have a chat with him.

Fraser Morton: More than 3,000 people saw you perform at Famous nightclub in Patong (January 4). How did it go?

Bob Sinclar: I really enjoyed playing at Famous. It was a great atmosphere and good crowd. Hopefully I will be back soon, and I’m sure there will be more big-name DJs wanting to play too – especially when they hear about the roof-top swimming pool! (He’s talking about the glass-bottomed pool in which bikini-clad girls frolic at the club.)

FM: Let’s go off-the-wall a bit here. Who do you think is the hottest woman in the world?

Bob: Easy, Monica Bellucci.

FM: What’s on your iPod right now?

Bob: Kings of Leon, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, A Tribe Called Quest, Swedish House Mafia. It’s 180 degrees, but they all have soul.

FM: Who do you think was the world Person of the Year 2010. Time magazine said Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Were they right?

Bob: No, they should have chosen the jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

FM: French Bread or French Cheese?

Bob: (Arms raised) You cannot have one without the other.

FM: A holiday in Thailand or a holiday in the UK?

Bob: (Laughs, almost hysterically) There is no holiday in the UK, my friend. Thailand, for sure.

FM: In the past few weeks you’ve played in Pattaya, Bali and Australia, how did the gigs compare?

Bob: It’s great to play in different countries. The atmosphere is different and the music scene is more established in Australia, but the support here has been fantastic.

FM: Your most recent album, “Made in Jamaica”, has just been nominated for a Grammy. Do awards mean a lot to you?

Bob: For sure, it means a lot. It’s special because I did it for myself. I worked with legendary Reggae musicians and I am very proud of it. (Chuckles, slaps FM’s knee) I think it is the first time a white guy has been nominated for a Grammy in the Reggae section.

FM: You’re on tour non-stop. How do you find time to make records and play gigs at the same time?

Bob: I only play on weekends when I tour, but this is where the money is now. Music is free. Musicians have to accept this now. The only way to make money in music is to produce videos and produce your own albums. All of this, I do myself.

FM: So you’re pro-free music?

Bob: At the beginning it was a bit strange to see music free, but today I cannot believe how many people know my name around the world. This is because music is now accessible for everyone. The fact that I’m here (in Phuket), which is a holiday resort, where you would think nobody cares about international DJs, shows the power of accessibility. It reaches places and people you would never have imagined.

FM: Have you seen pirate copies of your music here for sale?

Bob: I saw bootleg copies of my albums for sale at one stall here. I said to the guy selling them, “Hey! That’s me! Thank you for selling my music!” It’s a great way for people here to see my music.

FM: You have an interesting nickname: “Chris the French Kiss”. Where did that come from?

Bob: It was given to me when I started out in the early ’90s. There were no DJs that had an image or identity. The only examples were the Americans like David Morales or Masters at Work or Roger Sanchez. No-one had created an identity of their artist image. The French guys made the DJ image I think, like Daft Punk.

FM: And what’s yours?

Bob: Mine is like a disco superhero. In 1997, I took the name Bob Sinclar from a French movie star. It caught on.

FM: Do people often ask you to take your clothes off, as you appear half-naked in many photos?

Bob: I’m not like a gay icon or like Kylie Minogoue or something.

FM: How do you stay in shape? You’re a DJ and you have a six pack.

Bob: You are what you eat (laughs). I just don’t eat fat. Lots of protein, fruit and vegetables, and no cigarettes and no alcohol – ever.

FM: What do you class as your career-defining moment?

Bob: Easy. This was in 2005: Love Generation. It was a beautiful accident that I built towards. I created all the melodies, and I’m not a musician. I studied music in creating recycled sounds with a sampler, that’s it. That’s all I know in music.

FM: So what’s next?

Bob: I’ve sold millions of tracks around the world. Two million with Love Generation, and five albums. Just now, I’m just happy to be here.

FM: Do you think you’ll ever want to do something else?

Bob: Not until I get bored of it, but the travel is killing me. I am opening a club in Miami this year. Only a DJ can make a club.

FM: What are the best and worst things about being famous?

Bob: Being famous is very perverse. It makes you believe that you are something, but one day, fame will take me back down to Earth. It’s good to be loved for what you do.

FM: Love Generation was the anthem of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but wasn’t it a shame about France’s result in the final that year?

Bob: That song spread the right message to football fans, but it was a shame Zidane did something wrong, but what do you want me to say? We got to the final!



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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Phuket

Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit | The Thaiger

VIDEO & SCREENGRAB: M Today

The Palang Pracharath member of parliament from Bangkok, Sira Jenjaka, had an argument with Lt Col Pratuang Polmana, Deputy Superintendent of Karon Police during his inspection to the controversial Peak Condominium in the Karon area of Phuket.

MP Sira was surveying the construction site of the project and the sales office, which also serves as a coffee shop, where he saw Lt Col Pratuang inside.

He stopped there and asked why the Deputy Superintendent didn’t send any officer from Karon Police Station to provide security for him, a standard protocol when parliament members visit a specific area.

The MP had publicly stated he had received death threats for revealing ‘problems’ with the ‘paperwork’ for the Phuket condo project that he claims has been built on land without the proper documentation.

Lt Col Pratuang said that he already prepared a team of officers to provide security for the MP but they were waiting for a confirmation. Then the MP asked his team to record a video of the conversation and said that, while he was not threatening anyone, he believed the police must respect and offer protection for a government MP who comes to work in the area, which was then followed by an argument.

There was a “middleman” who eventually separated the Deputy Superintendent and pulled him aside to calm him down. The ‘police whisperer’ then came back to apologise to the MP before they went inside the coffee shop for further private talks.

Read the original article about the allegations against Peak Condominiums in Karon HERE.

Palang Pracharath MP chastises Karon Police for not offering protection during condo visit | News by The Thaiger

The Peak Condominiums in Karon, currently under investigation after allegations made by Government MP Sira Jenjaka, who claims death threats have been made against him over the matter.

 

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Patong

How to be charged 2,600 baht for having a flat battery in the Jungceylon car park

Tim Newton

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How to be charged 2,600 baht for having a flat battery in the Jungceylon car park | The Thaiger

A rant…

Started off with trying to exit the Jungceylon carpark in Patong, Phuket, late on a Sunday night. After watching a film in their tawdry cinemas, I was assured by ticket sales staff that I should present my ticket stub with the car park card for free exit.

Getting to the exit gate and I was told I had to go to an ‘elevator’ to get my ticket stamped. As there were already three other cars behind me (it was around 9.30pm at this stage), it caused quite a kerfuffle and tempers (mine included) were starting to fray.

The poor woman at the exit booth (whose key work skill must be ‘patience’), kept yelling ‘elevator, elevator’, doing little to inform us what we were actually meant to do. (I wanted to leave a car park, not go on an elevator?!?).

Anyway, minor ‘misunderstanding’ sorted out soon enough, and returned to my car to exit the car park (about 10 minutes later).

A Russian man had had his own adventures with the Jungceylon car park the night before. Firstly he was stuck there on the Saturday night with a flat battery in his white sedan. As it was very late, and wanting to get home, he left the car in the space and took a taxi.

As I was sorting out my own car park ‘misunderstanding’, other car park staff assisted him with his flat battery by jump starting his car. The assisting staff were given a gratuity, I don’t know how much.

But on reaching the exit gate he was told he had to pay 1,800 baht. (Presumably for around 24 hours of car parking).

With his fist full of receipts, around 3,300 baht worth, he was also told ‘elevator, elevator’. He got out of his car, there were another three cars backed up behind him at this stage, and went to find the ‘elevator’. Upon returning he was now told he had to pay 2,600 baht! How the amount had magically inflated to 2,600 baht remains a mystery but the cark park ‘gatekeeper’ was not to be messed with.

By this stage about eight young Thai gentlemen, with name tags, keys hanging from their belts and hand-held radios, had turned up to ‘assist’ in addressing my complaints and ensuring that the Russian man was not able to leave the car park before paying the 2,600 baht. The only common language among the Russians and the Thais in the situation was English and it was not going well.

Google Translate was getting a fine workout but wasn’t really helping.

During the extended ‘negotiations’ the cars behind were detoured around and allowed free exit.

Given the man’s travails in having a flat battery, having to come back to the steamy car park late on a Sunday night, the cars piling up behind him and the loss of face for just about everyone at this stage, the ‘smart’, good PR thing to do would have been to thank him for spending 3,300 baht at their expensive shopping centre, lifted the boom gate and waved him on his way.

But no, these young Thai car park staff wanted their pound of flesh and there was no way in the world that barrier was going to be lifted until the man had paid every baht he ‘owed’. Three police turned up to try and sort things out but all departed in exasperation, knowing the car park staff were being pig-headed but unable to intervene because they would have caused their fellow Thais a loss of face.

At this stage the Thai car park staff were already starting to utter things under their breath and spitting out ‘farang’ in their deliberations.

During the entire two hour drama many other cars had the same issue of not understanding that they needed to report to the bottom of one of the ‘elevators’ to have their receipts stamped. There didn’t appear to be any signage or understanding of the procedure (until, of course, you go through this rather drawn out lesson in Jungceylon car park procedure). There was a sign outside the elusive ‘elevator’ but given there are seven other exits from the car park you’re unlikely to see them.

Apart from Jungceylon losing the patronage of at least two, or more, customers over their overly-officious and unprofessional behaviour, the system will surely remain unfixed waiting for the next stupid ‘farang’ to stroll innocently into the underground farrago.

The only bright light in the dingy car park fiasco was the pleasant young gentlemen sitting at the ‘elevator’ with his stamps and gracious smile, wearing full eye make up and blissfully unaware of the surly car park Nazis. He profusely apologised but I am fairly sure he was none-the-wiser about my lengthy explanation of the situation.

Give the man a pay rise!

For Jungceylon, I would urge better signage, in a few languages (it IS a tourist town), to inform us about their rather opaque car park procedures.

I did ask for a statement to include in this story from some of the ‘people with hand radios’ or a comment from the Manager. But there was none forthcoming. Our forum remains wide open for a response from management.

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Patong

Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety

The Thaiger

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Phuket’s lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Lifeguard Service

A commemoration ceremony has been held for Prathaiyuth Chuayuan, a local Phuketian who helped drive Phuket’s first beach lifeguard services. He passed away on Friday morning after a heart attack.

He first experienced chest pains whilst delivering his daughter to school in Phuket Town on Friday morning, drove himself immediately to the Vachira Hospital nearby but succumbed to cardiac arrest around 9am.

He was 57 years old.

He worked with Australian lifesavers to help train local lifeguards and improve the skills of the Phuket’s beach enthusiasts, and finally sought international accreditation for the growing body of competent Phuket lifeguards.

The Phuket Lifeguards Service, founded and run by Prathaiyuth and his wife Witanya, saved innumerable lives each year whilst battling Provincial Hall and local government for increased funding in annual contract negotiations.

Daren Jenner, a FOT (Friend of The Thaiger) and local safety officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association, sent a message to us expressing his deepest condolences to Prathaiyuth’s wife, family and friends.

“I had many good conversations with him over the years. He was a good-hearted man who did his best in difficult and changing circumstances. A very big loss for Phuket and the lifesaving community here. ISLA sends our deepest respect for his long commitment to ocean safety in SE Asia.”

Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger Phuket's lifeguards say goodbye to a champion of local beach safety | News by The Thaiger

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