A brief disclaimer before we begin: I hate sport. I don’t get it, I don’t like it, and my general rule towards competitiveness is that if you want to be competitive then that’s fine, lets make a deal. You win.
Despite the above sentiment, during a recent holiday in Thailand I went and saw a live Muay Thai boxing tournament.
I went inside the stadium and took my seat just as two boxers entered the ring, who we’ll call Shrill and Hum. The referee walked over to Hum, patted his bare torso down before putting his hand on his crotch, grabbing it, shaking it, letting go and patting him on the shoulder. Normal enough, I thought. That’s how I like to start a match.
Satisfied with their sexual violation, the boxers moved to opposite sides of the ring as music started playing. Shrill considered himself quite the showman and began a long, traditional Thai dance that went on for such an absurd amount of time that I wasn’t 100% certain that I hadn’t evolved into something other than human by the time it had finished. I should have checked to see if I had developed gills or a third testicle or something.
At the start of the match, after the crotch grabbing, I thought that I would probably want to write something about this at a later date and started taking some notes, and for some reason I wrote down ‘nipples’. I have no idea why.
By the time I looked up from writing nipples there was random kicking and all kinds of nonsense going on and, in keeping with my attitude towards sport, I immediately lost all interest. I did, however, notice a hippy sitting to the left of me. He was young, possibly German, wearing shin-length fisherman pants and a burnt orange, long sleeved shirt.
He was taking photos with a long lens camera that he could never afford if he were an actual hippy. In the poker world they call this a “tell”, a subconscious physical action that betrays your true intentions. His “tell” told me his parents were paying for him to be there. Still, something told me to not judge him so quickly, to be kind. Maybe he’s a freelance photojournalist, I thought, before noticing he was wearing an anklet.
I don’t know why (anklet) I became fixated on this little psuedo-hippy (anklet), but for about an hour he became the main attraction in the arena (anklet). It seemed odd to see someone who had chosen to present themselves to the world in such a pacifistic way to be so engrossed in such a brutal sport. He’s got something else going on, I thought. He also had an anklet.
Eventually I looked back to the ring and saw that the match with Shrill and Hum had ended (probably some others as well) and in the ring was now a tiny Thai guy and a huge German guy – I know he was German as he was wearing shorts patterned like the German flag. I don’t automatically assume that every other human being is German. I’m not some weirdo. It’s not like I wear an anklet.
They were still warming up (anklet.. okay, I’ll stop now) and the Thai guy was doing some choreographed pray-dancing in the center of the ring. The German guy, not knowing what to do, stood at the side of the ring looking like he was holding in a fart, body language one becomes adept at both noticing and displaying when traveling in Thailand. To amuse the crowd “Gangnam Style” was playing and a little kid (who was about 5 or 6 years old and, I’m pretty sure, German) was doing the Gangnam dance perfectly while running around and demanding people tip him for putting on his performance – which I did, though to this day I still can’t believe I gave someone money for dancing with their clothes on.
Bored by the lack of fighting and the confused child-stripper, I looked back at the hippy. He had his camera glued to his face and was taking so many photos that he may as well have been filming the fucking thing.
If there’s one thing that really shits me it’s when people who claim to be a photographer take a million shots of the same thing and then act as though the one amazing photograph they took was on purpose. I call bullshit. I say all photographers should only be allowed to take one photo of each thing – that’ll sort the boys from the men.
In fact, I propose we stage a photography competition to sort the boys from the men, where the photographers are only allowed to take one photo of the boy group Boyz II Men. We’ll call it the “The sorting the boys from the men with the ‘Boyz II Men’ men” photography competition, and it’ll be a-may-zing.
Anyhoo, the German fart-clencher and the Thai midget fought for a bit. I can’t remember who won because I was drunk by then and was facing the back of the auditorium, the opposite direction of the ring, where a four-member Thai band played the most beautiful, intricate music throughout the matches.
They were amazing. After every song I applauded like a fat kid would at a place where things occur that fat kids like very much indeed. I lost about two hours staring and listening to that sweet, sweet music. It sounded like this:
“Ding ding daaaaang.. Ding dang daaaaaang.. Ding dang dong daaaaaaaaang.”
Beautiful, huh? I thought so too. Before I knew it the fights had all finished and the audience was meandering out of the auditorium. I saw the hippy briefly outside, shaking hands and laughing with a bunch of the local taxi drivers, before getting on his own motorbike and riding away. Ewww, a local hippy, I thought. That’s the worst kind.