When Franz went back to Austria he commissioned me to write to him regularly with all the stories I could find. He wanted to remember Pattaya, to be titillated by Pattaya and to follow Pattaya from afar. His own letters to me were themselves comic and revealing, and because of Franz I thought of writing “Dear Pattaya” using those letters which were, of course, emails. Hence this book.
Little did I know when I started writing to Franz in Austria that he would never return, and to make matters worse would never answer another email of mine after a certain moment. BUT such is your Pattaya punter – here one minute, gone the next, and such was Franz. I imagine his Austrian business-concerns got the better of him, I imagine an Austrian Fräulein got the better of him, I imagine an Austrian beer-breakfast got the better of him, or a succession of Austrian beer-breakfasts got the better of him, and from afar Pattaya got the better of him, too! He may even be ashamed of the matter, that he got hooked, and that the powerful drug that is Fun City drew him here for so many annual visits. He could be married, he could be starting a family, he could need a last, sad, good-luck wish from me which I send him via this comic book born out of Pattaya and its endless stream of the remarkable and the less remarkable, born out of Franz’s desire to read the undesirably desirable.
Dear Franz, I don’t criticise you (too much) for not returning but I certainly miss your wayward company. If you planned not to return, you could have told me. If you planned to stop all communication, you could have said so. If you negated Pattaya from your life because you got married, well, it’s been rubbed out but its ghosts are still somewhere. In your bad dreams?
I imagine your dating agencies on the internet came up trumps and you want no one, certainly not your partner, to know that you were a voracious Pattaya punter. Is that it? I’ll never know because silence has a voice the imagination elaborates, working on insubstantial wisps and fancies as light as a Pattaya bargirl’s last glance at the punter who once upon a time bought her drinks but can’t buy her another because he can’t keep pace with the financial rat-race.