Bangkok: Own it

Ade Cox
6 min readJul 22, 2020


My ears are gay.

There, I said it.

My close friends and some of my family have known (suspected?) this for some time now, but now I feel I have the courage to say it out loud.

My ears are gay.

During my life, I have been a huge fan of classic hip hop (proper hip hop, none of that bullshit autotune Drake bollocks) and I have also been a fan of rock music… But, there is another music style that I love… A certain type of song that I just cannot deny any more…

I LOVE a gay anthem.

It’s raining men by The Weather Girls? Love it

I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor? Love it

Holding out for a hero by Bonnie Tyler? Love it

Born this way by Lady Gaga? One of my favourite songs of all time, and a song I proudly proclaim as “my jam”… I love it, I loved it the first time I heard it and I’m pretty sure I’ll love it till the day I die.

No matter what you are, gay, straight whatever… Just accept it, own it… “Don’t hide yourself in regret, Just love yourself and you’re set” Come on, what is there NOT to love about that sentiment? It’s not just about sexuality, it’s about all aspects of being this frail thing we call human…

Gay? Own it.

Geek? Own it.

Fucking trainspotter or stamp collector… Fucking OWN IT.

And for the record, seeing Lady Gaga live was a semi-religious experience.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s get on with the blog, shall we?

Thanks to a friend of ours here in Bangkok, we had the chance to attend one of the opening nights of a drag bar, I’m not entirely sure how it happened but it was arranged that folks would come to our apartment for pre-night out drinks, so as happens every time we have friends over I was given the job of going back and forth in the elevator, down 31 floors to the lobby to meet our friends and bring them up to the apartment… Now, in a perfect world, everyone would arrive at the same time, meaning I’d only have to go down those 31 floors once (or maybe twice depending on the capacity of the lift) However, we don’t live in a perfect world so I did my usual yoyo in the lift routine, in a short time our apartment was full of people… Girls in the bedroom messing around with makeup and the men in the living room playing Playstation… One of the girls was nursing a swollen and bleeding eye after a misunderstanding between her and a plateglass window (the one time I didn’t go down to meet someone and an accident happens… Sods law!) after a few drinks and some pizza (Ordered by my mate Christo in a display of sheer brilliance… Despite the fact I no longer eat pizza) we all headed back to the lobby to get in taxis… All of us stopping en route to admire the Angela shaped mark on the plateglass window in the lobby…. The artwork entitled “Angela face print on the glass” admired and we were all on our way to another part of Bangkok to continue the night festivities.

Half an hour or so later and we arrived at “Heals”, I’ve never been to a drag bar or a gay bar before so I wasn’t really sure what expect, I know I was instantly impressed by the lighting rig and the decor… We all congregated around a pole near the rear of the bar, pointing toward a small raised stage at the other end of the bar we wondered how long it would take Jo to find herself on it… Amazingly (for me anyway) I was instantly at ease, I was relaxed, I was having fun, at one point I was even dancing (sort of) on the pole… Don’t worry, a career in pole dancing is NOT on the cards.

The music was good… Dance music, but (that rare thing that is) good dance music… Various drag artists mingled with the crowd, it was a really cool atmosphere.

As I said before, I’d never been to a place like this before and I really had no idea what to expect, overt sexuality, Freddie Mercury moustaches and people being flamboyant to the point of annoyance…I had no idea… What I didn’t expect was for it all to be so “normal”… Just a cool place to be.

A really cool place to be.

The hostess (host? I’m not really sure how you’d describe him/her… Fucking pronouns) Fuck it, hostess.

The hostess “Pangina Heals” took to the stage wearing a flowing silver gown and lip-synced to “This is me” from the greatest showman… A side note, the greatest showman was an absolute abomination of a film… But with one good song… A song that just so happens to be “this is me”… Hang your head in shame Hugh Jackman… Hang your fucking head.

After lipsyncing she spoke to the crowd, thanking us all for coming and explaining how the idea of the club was to promote diversity and understanding differences … I liked that… We could all do with a little more understanding in our lives.

The night continued with an amazing singing act and various other performances by the drag artists… Then there was a competition.

The prediction that Jo would end up on the stage came true.

It was her moment to shine.

A number of people were up on the stage, Jo, an Asian man, two of the Japanese girls from our group and another woman.

The contest was a pole dancing contest and Jo went first.

I know Jo can dance, I know Jo likes to have fun… But, I don’t think any of us expected Jo to be THAT good at pole dancing, she had everyone cheering, she was brilliant… Next up was the Asian man… His dancing was nowhere near as good as Jo and he ended his routine by licking the pole… DUDE! In the age of COVID NOBODY SHOULD BE LICKING THAT POLE! People cheered, it was time for the next contestant to take to the stage… Or should I say, CONTESTANTS, to take to the stage.

It was the Japanese girls turn… One made her way across the dance floor toward the pole, so far so good… There was confusion on the stage as the other girl “Rina” seemed to forget what she had to do, Jo could be heard telling her to get off the stage, Rina had been drinking all night and just seemed to get even more confused, eventually, the hostess leads her off the stage, Rina still seemed unsure of what to do so proceeded to politely bow to the crowd… She wasn’t winning the dancing contest but by God, it was one of the funniest things I’d seen in a long time.

The other woman took her turn, but it was clear who the winner was… Except it wasn’t.

In a display of pure injustice, Jo came second in the contest… The COVID pole licker won… How the fuck did that happen?

The entertainment continued, the music was great… I was bothered by the fact the DJ wasn’t mixing the music but still, the night was great… But, something was missing.

I needed Gaga.

I’ve never been one to approach a DJ and ask for a song… I’ve always sent Jo to do my dirty work… This night was no different… “Ask him to play Born this way” I begged, at first she refused… But I begged again and she gave in… A few minutes later and I heard it…

“It doesn’t matter if you love him… Or capital H-I-M” The place erupted… Everyone was dancing, I may not have “actually” asked for the song to be played but by God, I’m taking the credit. And, my gay ears loved every second of it.

Due to COVID, bars and clubs have to close early, so as midnight came around, our night at “heals” came to an end, some of our group headed off home, but a few of us came back to our apartment to end the night, Jo ordered food and we sat till the early hours chatting, eating and just enjoying the night.

Another amazing night with amazing friends in this amazing city.


Until next time…



Ade Cox

A working-class man from The Black Country, plucked from the factory and now living the best life in Bangkok