Book release / review by Robin Westley Martin
I was lucky to have been a friend of US author Jerry Hopkins, who passed away in 2018. He had written 39 novels, amongst which was Bangkok Babylon, chronicling the lives and misdemeanours of 25 of the more inreresting denizens of Bangkok, whom Jerry called his friends. Kevin Cummings carried on this tradition by documenting the lives of some of his fascinating friends in Thailand with Bangkok Beat, published in 2016. And now comes the follow-up, the recently released Different Drummers, also taking an up-close and personal look into the (often strange and entertaining) lives of members of the expat writing community, and where they hang out. Most specifically the legendary Bangkok nightspot, Check Inn 99.
Different Drummers is largely an interview format book, with adroit questioning of his subjects subtly presented by Cummings. When conducting interviews it takes great skill in editing down the sometimes rather voluminous replies the inquisitor receives from his subject. Cummings has acquired this skill in spades, and the pages are turned quickly as you absorb the easy interactions between interviewer and interviewee. The interviews with established authors (eg Christopher G Moore, John Burdett), new to the scene scribes, and musicians, are great.
But Cummings has become a man about town, and he and a few of his friends had a lucky meeting with US comedia Doug Stanhope before his Bangkok gig, which gave him a chance to exercise his impromptu people skills. An interesting and well-described conclave it was, albeit in a hotel restaurant, rather than a dive-bar …Stanhope’s usual preference.
An engaging read indeed. Different Drummers has the added bonus of significant contributions from two other authors, T Hunt Locke, and acclaimed poet John Gartland, who co-authored the book, and whose work seems to gain in stature every time he sets pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).
Here is the Muse
And when she saves your lucky skin again, Incredibly she opens to your tentative embraces, And has you, in the hallway of the treasury, Some happy fool, exalted to be chosen, momentarily; Allowed to see her naked faces, Intimate, contemptuous, by turns. She’s left you in the empty morning, Grateful, and alone, again. Her number smeared like lipstick in your notebook, And seems a fragrant phantom then, Till evidenced by carpet burns.
Copyright, 2018, John Gartland Different Drummers is available on Amazon, and at Asia Books