‘I couldn’t walk for 18 months,’ Mark Wilkinson tells me in a packed nightclub in Patong, Phuket. Mark is tall, well over 6 foot – and he’s certainly standing now.
7 years ago when Mark was 33, he was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilitis, symptoms of which include progressive curvature of the spine. Told by doctors that his condition was ‘incurable’ and would only get worse, Mark set about making changes to his lifestyle including a radical overhaul of his diet.
‘I just refused to accept what the doctors were saying,’ Mark says.
Mark not only walked again, he ran the London Marathon, twice, plus Berlin once, and is going for more this year.
Mark has also now created a new life for himself thousands of miles from his previous life as a promoter, producer and DJ based in the UK. He now lives in Chalong Beach in Phuket and broadcasts his four weekly radio shows (A History of Dance, Club Classics, Kidology (house music) & Disco Daze) Tuesday to Friday on Phuket 91.5 FM radio. He has an audience of local and international listeners.
‘I turn up, play all my favourite music for 3 hours a night and just dance in my seat – it’s great,’ he says, with a huge smile on his face. ‘I pictured myself in shorts and flip flops all year round – and here I am.’
‘So the plan is to stay in Thailand?’ I ask. Mark has worked in 65 countries, so he has quite a few to choose from.
‘Yeah certainly for the moment, I love living here in Phuket, the place is buzzing and developing so quickly, there are so many opportunities here in Asia right now I feel it’s the place to be, plus Phuket is well connected to the world with the international airport so I can get to all my worldwide gigs in just a few hours.’
Mark clearly sees Thailand as a booming area for the house and wider music industries:
'Just look around you,’ he says, ‘people want to come here.’ He is excited about building the reputation of his radio shows on Phuket FM radio 91.5FM and his Kidology brand in clubs not only on an island that loves to party, but also across Asia, a region of the world that he describes as expanding fast.
Mark is also writing a book about he managed to overcome his ‘incurable’ rheumatic disease.
‘It’s just something that I have to do now, its part of my purpose in life, to continue bringing joy to others through music and also with the book, to share what happened to me and how I’ve gone about fixing it. If I help one person it will be worth it.’
To listen to Mark’s radio shows online, go to: Phuket FM radio 7pm to 10pm: Thailand time (GMT +7hours); Tuesday to Friday).
To listen to Mark's music:
Kidology @ Pacha
Kidology London channel
Mark Wilkinson vs M J White, Mighty Real
Danny Rampling vs Mark Wilkinson, Night and Day
Mark Wilkinson vs Steve More, featuring Wray, The Player
K-Klass vs Mark Wilkinson, Know How