When I first moved to Bangkok, I knew all about its nightlife and the great markets that it has. I was excited about the great food options and the variety of street stalls that sold freshly cooked delicacies all over the place. There were many things to be excited about coming here, but there was one that I was really excited about, the audiophile community.
When I used to teach in the United States, I had a turntable set up in my classroom with my collection of vinyl records in the corner that allowed me a vast variety of music to listen to. It worked great when I had my students settle down to write. I would randomly pick one of them to pick a record to listen to. They would get a little more culture while listening to something that might not listen to initially, and I would have some form of entertainment while I was given the mind-numbing task of watching students write their essay.
I missed this facet of my teaching style when I was living in South Korea, and I wanted to bring it back when I moved to Thailand. Before I did that, I needed to know that there was a vinyl culture out in Bangkok, and when I came out to visit in May, I was introduced to a record store in the neighborhood I was moving to. It wasn’t a great store, stocking mainly used records of bad 80s R&B bands, but it gave me hope that if a small record store could survive in a suburb of Bangkok then, there would have to be more record stores out there that would cater more to my style of music.
This set into motion a couple of purchases during the summer, namely a new record, and a travel case to bring out eight of my records to Thailand with me. I went on-line to find out if record player were for sale in Bangkok, and if I would be able to find better record stores. Both of these things were out here, and it made my move even more exciting.
When I finally landed, I bought a cheap turntable from Lazada, an on-line company similar to Amazon in the United States, and started to enjoy listening to two of my records. My plan was to slowly introduce more of them into my classroom so it became exciting when new music entered. What I did not expect to find was more audiophiles working on the same floor as me. Suddenly, new records appeared for me to listen to from other members of the English department, and we would bring the turntable into the break room during lunch once a week so we could listen to music. I was told about the best places to buy more vinyl, and during the first break from school, I went down to check out what it had to offer.
The place I was told about was Fortune Town, a mall outside Exit One on the Rama 9 stop on the blue line of the Metro. I was told that there are numerous record store scattered among the tech stores, and I would be able to find new records as well as used gems amongst the three floors. I was super excited about making it out there, and I finally got to go yesterday.
I was not disappointed in my find. The first record store I found was not that great because it only had mostly Thai pop music, and a couple of used soundtracks to movies that did not excite me that much. But I was told that there were various stores. I went up one more floor, and found Hall of Fame records. This was the heaven I was looking for. It was filled with a variety of music from rock to punk to pop to country to classical to jazz. There were new records mixed in with some nice used gems. I was glad that it was a week until my next pay check because I could easily have wasted the whole thing on new vinyl. Instead, I limited myself to two records. They were a little expensive, but it was nice to know that I would be able to find titles like this out here. It means that the small collection I have going out here will slowly grow, and it will be with great music that I can introduce to my students. It makes me feel like I will be a complete teacher again, not only exposing my students to great literature, but also to great music.
My only regret was I stopped to shop at this one store, and did not go further down the mall to other stores in Fortune Town. If I had I would have found a few more record stores, ones that cater more to used music that was little cheaper, but now that I know this place exists, I will make sure to make a stop down there every once in awhile to pick up a new record, and find a new record to share with my students. It is a must go place to any audiophile that makes it out to Bangkok, and I highly recommend the voyage there.