In my heyday, I was at the fabled Koh Phangan's full moon parties - three times - where I practised English, Swedish, Spanish, German and Hebrew, then walked the moonlit, vomit-strewn beach, enjoyed (meaning eating) local mushrooms, lit a bonfire of international camaraderie and watched the psychochemical clouds drift like memories into the dark Gulf of Thailand.
Dear, sweet youth. When it was easy to confuse a smile with love and a lot of things with happiness.
Stephen Ashton might have felt the same amid the New Year's revelry on Koh Phangan. The young Briton was dancing on the beach when he was hit by a stray bullet from a violent fight among Thai men who were reportedly chasing after the same women. Mr Ashton was pronounced dead at Ban Don hospital. It was tragic news to his family and friends - and dealt a blow to Thai tourism that has benefited so much from this gap-year paradise island and darling destination to The Beach and post-The Hangover generations of party-goers.
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