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One Night in Bangkok - A look at the music video and an interpretation of it

Getting over falling to pieces

One Night in Bangkok (CHESS) Murray Head

The music video One Night in Bangkok on the chess album by Murray Head, was a popular video made in the 80s, and has some symbolism in it. I’ll offer one possible interpretation of it. (Also the last paragraphs offer a libertarian perspective).

First off, it might be noted that the ‘hero’ of the video – the singer, loses at the end of the video and gets smashed to pieces. This gives a possible interpretation a certain boundary to it, whether we go along with the lyrics being sung or not, and if not, why. So here is one interpretation, with the video and lyrics linked above:

The singer is playing chess with the principality of Bangkok, not a literal woman. The chess being played as suggested in the video really isn’t about chess; it’s about strategy in the real world. A wicked spiritual force in the world doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any intelligence to it because it is wicked. In fact, many things promoted that are wicked are promoted because they give the person promoting it power over others – it has nothing to do with the vice. That’s a game, the purpose and the strategy behind what is really going on, and represented by the chess set here in the song.

Bangkok is playing people based on vice, and is the black pieces. The singer is playing white. His moves are that sexual immorality isn’t intellectual, and so it is stupid. Throughout the song, he’s putting down the people in the song (which are shown in place of chess pieces in the video) for not being bright, but it is a losing strategy. He also makes a double entendre about finding a mate in the song – which appears to be one chosen based on intellect, and who he is playing in the video – a key point.

In the end, the outcome of him putting down sexual vice as being non-thinking is that the people he was talking about start pointing to him as the devil. When he goes down to their level in the end (which is shown literally in the music video), Black ends up smashing him – which also shows that contemplating her as a possible mate was a bad idea.

The key point here is that sexual vice isn’t the opposite of intellectual. Lust is the opposite of love, not intellect. Although you might say it sometimes is not intellectual, that isn’t an all encompassing point, and here it’s a losing strategy. What lust does not give you is love.

Although few things that are lustful come anywhere close to friendship and love, it might be possible to imagine a consensual relationship with some appearance of love in it and yet still be vice. What it doesn’t have in it is the love of God.

In the most intimate relationship possible, a spiritual relationship with God, thoughts of, to, and from God come first. Those thoughts *don’t* come first when you are in an immoral relationship or thinking bad thoughts. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20). He who commits fornication sins against his own body (1 Cor. 6:15-18). Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).

In the 80s, there definitely seemed to be a move to define sexual immorality as being wrong because it was not thinking, jock stuff, etc. Here, it is seen that isn’t the right way to think about it, it’s about love, not intellect. This is similar to the drug war of the 80s, which also put people down i.e. “This is your brain – this is your brain on drugs”. How about “this is your soul, this is your soul on government”?

Putting people down is not a winning strategy in either case, and it also is not what it is about. It’s about love, and it starts with God. Love isn’t force, and it isn’t demeaning. Those are losing strategies, and straw men created by opposition forces, - which is why Black here in this video wins. They might sound good – “sexual immorality is so thoughtless”, but since they leave out love and God right at the beginning, they aren’t good, and Black wins. The whole argument is jinxed on purpose at the get go. And if some people don’t think of strategy like this – why is it in a music video? That is why this article is named “Getting over falling to pieces”, changed from the song. Sexual immorality destroys your relationship with God. No immoral thought comes from Him, is thinking of Him, or is safely and sanely thought to Him.

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FYI - this is probably my

FYI - this is probably my favorite song from the 80s now, because it is nice.

A-Ha - Take On Me

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

I hated this song as a kid!

What made things worse was that there were two versions of this same song by two different groups at the exact same time.

To add insult to injury, there weren't a lot of music videos in those days, so if you watched Mtv back then, you saw the same 20 music videos over and over again.

Unfortunately, I didn't have have Mtv back then and didn't have the benefit of those same 20 videos. We had a local music video channel called V66 and it had less than half the playlist of Mtv.

Whenever I would flip on this channel, it wouldn't be long before one of these terrible songs would come on.

One Night in Bangkok by Robey

Ways To Be Wicked by Lone Justice

One Night in Bangkok by Murray Head

Don't Come Around Here No More by Tom Petty

You Might Think by The Cars

Beat It by Michael Jackson

Lovergirl by Teena Marie

Madame Butterfly by Malcolm McClaren

Material Girl by Madonna

And that was all you got. Either you liked it, or you hated it after awhile. I hated it. Ah, the old days...

I didn't particular like it

I didn't particularly like it myself, but never bothered to analyze it fully then.

But I liked playing chess.

Alas, Bangkok moves her sins onto a different level, and tries again. Chiverly and better ideals isn't intellectual though. Perhaps that's a problem, it's not right. Singer has a huge ego, and God isn't in the right place.

FYI - "you might think" always gave me a headache.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

FYI - here's one I came

FYI - here's one I came across the other day - don't really remember it, but it's one of the first videos and seems appropiate as such.

Buggles - Video killed the radio star 1979

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

You're almost right.

It's not the first music video, but it's the first video Mtv ever played when it came on air.