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2016-11-15T00:00:00.000Z

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HQ Phone: +44 20 3693 2187

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Ultimate Library

22 Thurloe Street

London, London SW7 3LT

United Kingdom

Company Description

Ultimate Library provides bespoke book collections and libraries for hotels, resorts, private residences and retail spaces. Our personalised curating process takes care of every aspect from the design, supply and installation. Each book collection is de ... more

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Background Information

Web References (115 Total References)


Philip Cornwel-Smith text & ...

www.verythai.com [cached]

Philip Cornwel-Smith text & photographs John Goss photographs

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'Philip Cornwel-Smith is writing in a way that I like, with an electric eye for the streets.'
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Philip Cornwel-Smith does that, and does it well. Read Very Thai.
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The podcast is an interview with author Philip Cornwel-Smith by journalist Trevor Ranges and Scott Coates, who was co-founder of the bespoke travel agency Smiling Albino.
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Discovering what really makes the nation tick was precisely the goal of veteran Bangkok-based British journalist Philip Cornwel-Smith when he set out to write his enlightening, encyclopedic and entertaining book, Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture, now in its second edition.
Drawing on a wealth of insight from experts on history, anthropology, sociology and design; and generously illustrated with colorful photographs taken by Cornwel-Smith and American photographer John Goss, the book examines everything from aesthetics to folk arts.
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"The aim of my book was specifically to avoid those sensationalist things and to focus on topics that didn't get looked at seriously," Cornwel-Smith told The Diplomat.
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"The book came out at a time when the popular culture just started to become legitimized within the broader culture," Cornwel-Smith says.
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It is divided into five sections: Street, Personal, Ritual, Sanuk ("fun" in Thai), and Thainess. (It is notable that an entire section is devoted to fun.) The eclectic approach was a natural choice for Cornwel-Smith who says, "I had already been looking at the culture in a pixelated way...doing a city listings magazine and putting together Time Out Bangkok guide."
Through this "pixelated" view, the book manages to explore the cultural soul of the nation by examining the minutia of daily life: food on sticks, taxi altars, temple fairs, ghost stories, soap operas, beauty pageants, energy drinks.
Other mysteries of the mundane that are explored include quirkily groomed "poodle bushes," garishly decorated tuk-tuks and trucks, fairy lights, Greco-Roman building facades, the tiny pink napkins found on restaurant tables nationwide, and meticulously coiffed "hi-society" socialites who "actively seek face, invent face, even leverage borrowed face (by borrowing gems)," Cornwel-Smith writes. The book also offers insights on beliefs close to the heart of the nation, from ever-present royal family portraits and the astrological importance of colors to magic tattoos and fortune telling.
Some folk beliefs explored in the book - certain aspects of amulet culture, mediumship and shamanic practices to name a few - still carry a whiff of taboo. But attitudes around these topics are softening, at an alarming speed in some cases.
"The transition of popular culture being accepted within Thailand happened very quickly," Cornwel-Smith says. An example can be seen in the way tattoos have achieved a higher degree of acceptance in society within a short period. "The social context around tattoos has really changed since the first edition of the book (launched in 2004)," Cornwel-Smith says.
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Geared towards Thai visitors, Ploen Wan "includes things like local transportation, old barbershops, general stores, pharmacies... 'retro' stuff," Cornwel-Smith explains. This form of "retro heritage" even carries a widely known slang epithet now - "Thai Thai" - coined by Suveeranont, who points to Very Thai as an emblem of this sensibility.
Ploen Wan is a physical manifestation of the Thai Thai boom, but a wider following has formed around the book online, where fans are exploring its themes further. "The Internet is a major part of the national discussion around culture taking place in Thailand now," Cornwel-Smith says.
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It has also been turned into a video installation, formed the basis of a mime production and has even been physically performed with as a puppet on stage, Cornwel-Smith explains.
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A twenty-year veteran of Thailand, Philip Cornwel-Smith recently released the second edition of Very Thai, a celebration of Thai pop, retro, street and folk culture. The re-release covers the many cultural changes that have swept through Thailand since the first book hit store shelves to considerable success nearly a decade ago.
Through vivid photographs, sharply rendered illustrations and insightful observations, the author pinpoints some of the biggest changes he's witnessed over the years. One of the most dramatic changes, Cornwel-Smith notes, is the way politics has come to infuse daily life in Thailand, from fashion to soap operas.
The new edition features more than 200 striking images and four original chapters, including a fascinating exploration of the rise and global popularity of the retro 'Thai Thai' culture. "Magical tattoos, herbal whisky, Morlam folk music and street food have evolved from low-status taboo into mainstream trends with export appeal," the author says. What's more, Cornwel-Smith notes, is that Thai pop culture itself, long dismissed by traditionalists as urban trivia, has acquired social legitimacy and is regularly celebrated int eh media, at museums and at galleries in Thailand and elsewhere.
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Very Thai - Philip Cornwel-Smith
ULtimate Library A GREATER SENSE OF THAILAND.doc 1 ULtimate Library A GREATER SENSE OF THAILAND.doc 2
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© Copyright Philip Cornwel-Smith


Philip Cornwel-Smith text & ...

www.verythai.com [cached]

Philip Cornwel-Smith text & photographs John Goss photographs

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Book Review: Very Thai - Everyday Popular Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith
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But Philip Cornwel-Smith's Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture is the first book that I know of to try to explain Thailand as it is today.
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Cornwel-Smith explains the understanding of gender and sexuality - so different from the West's - that underlies the phenomenon:
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Cornwel-Smith will explain too why there might be tiny pink tissues on table, and for afters a pudding so sweet it will set your teeth on edge.
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'Philip Cornwel-Smith is writing in a way that I like, with an electric eye for the streets.'
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© Copyright Philip Cornwel-Smith


Philip Cornwel-Smith text & ...

www.verythai.com [cached]

Philip Cornwel-Smith text & photographs John Goss photographs

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"Thais have lots of festivals but they don't have a lot of work holidays," said Philip Cornwel-Smith, an expert on Thai pop culture.
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© Copyright Philip Cornwel-Smith


Philip Cornwel-Smith text & ...

www.verythai.com [cached]

Philip Cornwel-Smith text & photographs John Goss photographs

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Brand new and profusely illustrated, its written by Philip Cornwel-Smith, an English expat with many years' residence in this Kingdom of Smiles.
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© Copyright Philip Cornwel-Smith


Philip Cornwel-Smith text & ...

www.verythai.com [cached]

Philip Cornwel-Smith text & photographs John Goss photographs

Svenska Dagbladet
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All those phenomena are explained splendidly in a new book, Very Thai: Everyday Popular Thai Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith, a Bangkok-based English journalist.
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© Copyright Philip Cornwel-Smith

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