Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture

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This pioneering insight into contemporary Thai folk culture delves beyond the traditional Thai icons to reveal the casual, everyday expressions of Thainess that so delight and puzzle. From floral truck bolts and taxi altars to buffalo cart furniture and drinks in a bag, the same exquisite care, craft and improvisation resounds through home and street, bar and wardrobe. Never colonised, Thai culture retains nuanced ancient meaning in the most mundane things. The days are colour coded, lucky numbers dictate prices, window grilles become guardian angels, tattoos entrance the wearer. Philip Cornwel-Smith scoured each region to show how indigenous wisdom both adapts to the present and customises imports, applying Roman architecture to shop-houses, morphing rock into festive farm music, turning the Japanese motor-rickshaw into the tuk-tuk. Colour-saturated illustrations help you navigate various social traits, whether white-faced hi-so matrons or Red Bulls, willing workers wearing coins in their ear. This is Thai culture as it has never been shown before. Born in England, Philip never expected to live in Thailand for almost two decades. He'd been in the capital only four days before becoming the founding editor of its first international-standard city listings magazine, 'Bangkok Metro', which he helmed until 2002. Throughout his time in Thailand, Philip has organised events, from film festivals and dance productions to themed parties and award ceremonies. He also acted as location consultant on several international projects, including the Grammy-nominated video-album '1GiantLeap' and the Discovery Channel city-guide 'Noodle Box: Bangkok', which he presented. Among the other publications Philip's edited or contributed to are 'Thailand: A Traveller's Companion', 'Eyewitness: Thailand Guidebook', 'Lonely Planet's World Food: Thailand' and the city's first mobile phone guide for Nokia. International magazines he's worked on include 'Wallpaper*', 'Colors', 'World Architecture', 'Attitude', and 'Inside: Australian Design Review'.