PATTAYA PERSONALITY - JIM LUMSDEN
By Kevin Cain
Our next foray into the world of personalities in Pattaya, took the editor and myself to the Baan Souy Resort Jomtien. The sun was high in a cloudless sky forming a beautiful day, and we were both excited to meet up with somebody that has been part of the Pattaya Gay Scene for many years.Having never been to the Baan Souy before, I was impressed by how easy the Resort was to find. Tucked away in quiet Soi 15 off Thappraya Road, it is about two hundred yards walk from Mata Hari.
Entering the building the first thing you notice is the incredible attention to detail in the welcoming lounge that greets you. It is not so much a reception but rather reminds the visitor of somebody’s very tastefully decorated front parlour. From the hand picked ornaments to the colour co-ordinated soft furnishings, the place oozes class. There our host was waiting to greet us and after formalities were completed we were whisked away to take residence in nearby comfortable sofa and chairs. This is the first time that I had actually met Jim Lumsden, although I had known about the legend for many years who was at the forefront of creating one of Pattaya’s most iconic locale’s, Boyztown and also opening the world famous Boyz, Boyz, Boyz cabaret venue.
Jim mirrored the decor and I understood immediately that he was obviously the creator behind the elegant and polished design that was all around at Baan Souy. From where we were seated I could look out on the opulent pool area that was being enjoyed by numerous patrons.
Our genial host explained that today was one of his Wonderful Wednesdays. Because of the curious beach restrictions on Wednesdays, Baan Souy opens its doors for anybody who wishes to use its superb facilities. For 300 bht, you can swim and relax, use the gym, showers and sun decks (with towels provided) and also receive a complimentary cocktail. It was certainly proving a success as many non residents were definitely enjoying their afternoon.
Jim started to relay his story, his soft Scottish lilt confirming what had happened to him. As with countless expats living in Pattaya he originally visited Thailand on holiday and fell in love with the land of smiles. After much deliberation with his long term partner Gordon, they decided to open some sort of hotel and bar.At the time there was no gay area in Pattaya, in fact there was only one bar existing in the current location of Boyztown. When Boyz, Boyz, Boyz was established complete with a 14 room hotel it was an instant hit and the cabaret was loved by straight and gay alike encouraging more businesses to move into this new,happening area which became known as Boyztown the name was obviously based upon it’s most famous resident Boyz, Boyz, Boyz.
Boyztown’s iconic sign was actually donated by Pepsi Cola, such was the wide acceptance of this welcome new edition to Pattaya’s entertainment world. It was fast growing a reputation across Thailand and with the help of visiting international aircrews to Pattaya, soon worldwide recognition of this new Gay location was cemented. It was during this period that Jim first started treading the boards as a Drag Act initially starting with an appearance once a week. Demand grew so quickly that it wasn’t long before Jim, was headlining the cabaret show at Boyz, Boyz, Boyz every night. Many patrons and staff of the highly popular Tiffany Show and Alcazar would end their evenings’ entertainment at Boyz, Boyz, Boyz and the place was full to the rafters every night.
By 2000, Boyztown was firmly established as Pattaya’s number one gay area, second only to Soi 4 Bangkok in the whole of Thailand. The owners of the now extremely successful business in Boyztown thought they should give something back to the local gay community of Pattaya and with Jim’s direction the first Pattaya Gay Pride was organised. At this time HIV was becoming a real problem within certain areas of the local Thai community as there was little or no treatment or even drugs available. But help was at hand in the form of Doctor Philippe Seur and the HEARTT 2000 foundation. Jim saw the wonderful voluntary work Doctor Philippe was doing, helping people infected with HIV. Thai and non Thai, gay or straight, Doctor Phillippe accepted everyone into what was the first really effective centre in Pattaya offering treatment against the indiscriminatory disease. So Jim went about organising Pattaya Gay Pride and for four consecutive years raising millions of baht to HEARTT 2000.
an enviable 80% occupancy. Without a doubt the ship has a classy master and those that have experienced the Baan Souy experience certainly are more than happy to sail again. I am glad that the Resort is a success, in my mind Jim deserves to take a slightly more reserved and gentille lifestyle.
My editor and I departed Baan Souy Resort with Jim’s last words ringing in our ears, and laughing quite heartedly, “It’s been all about Tits and Teeth really.”