26 June, Bangkok, Thailand – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’
Tried to blot out thoughts of my home country slipping into chaos, but it wasn’t easy when the first thing that greeted me as I opened my hotel door was a newspaper screaming about Brexit meltdown. Britain may be suffering the biggest constitutional crisis in its history, but I had a superhero memorabilia collection to film.
The Batcat Museum is basically a geek’s toy collection gone waaaaaaaay out of control. Sitting by a main road on the outskirts of Bangkok is a sizeable retail unit with several large rooms stuffed full of figurines, replica cars, life-size super hero models and all sorts. It all started with a guy called Somchai and his Batman obsession. He filled a room with Batman merch (triggered by the gift of a Batman piggy bank) and then moved on to other superheroes and now has a collection of over 50,000 pieces. He’s created his own museum to share it with the public and it’s actually fascinating seeing how the characters have evolved over the years and what sort of toys kids were able to buy in the 1950s and 60s.
Then it was off to one of the weirdest places we’ve been for a while (and that’s saying something on this show) – the Ka Tron restaurant. Nestled under a motorway bridge it’s a restaurant with a unique business plan. When you order a chicken the waiters load it into a catapult in the courtyard and then a waiter on a unicycle taverses a raised, bending obstacle bar to a stage in the centre. The catapult is then fired and the waiter catches the chicken on a spike in the middle of his helmet. No one in the restaurant speaks English, and by the end of our translated interview I still had no real idea how this had all come about. Didn’t stop us from having a go though.
Lauren and I donned fluffy chicken costumes (just what you want to be wearing in the humid monsoon season) and started our training, very quickly learning that we were good at catching chickens holding spikes in our hands, but rubbish at unicycling. Luckily we were able to cheat for our final attempt on stage by using a unicycle mounted to the floor. This was our big moment – to catch one on our head. Sadly neither of us pulled it off, so it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting a job at the Ka Tron restaurant any time soon.