Tag Archives: DAB

Hong Kong’s best clubs are … where exactly?

31 Jul

hidden agendaIt’s funny how a change of scene can so utterly alter one’s behaviour. About 18 months ago I was to be found most Friday and Saturday nights in the arse end of Dalston, throwing shapes, gurning at strangers and losing my phone. My nights out in Hong Kong are somewhat different, but this new low-key existence is not the result of some new found maturity. Oh no. It could more appropriately be called “adjusting to circumstances”.

Firstly there is no shape throwing. God forbid you actually enjoy yourself at one of the many overpriced late bars in Hong Kong optimistically branded “clubs”, get up from your pre-booked banquette where your friends are sipping Krug and dance. No, no. What you need to do is sit back down, put on that permanent frown and carry on posing.

Secondly, there really is no arse-end of anywhere here. Every district is easily reachable by quick, cheap MTR or taxi, and most of it is gentrified to fuck. Well, that’s not necessarily Hong Kong’s fault given the chronic lack of space and the greed of a handful of property moguls. But when there is a cool local, bar, club or venue, the authorities – probably at the behest of said moguls or the pro-Beijing DAB party, aka the fun police – do their very best to shut it down and harass the owners. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Club 71 in Soho and Tai Lung Fung in Wan Chai have both had to stop smokers going outside after a certain hour – police will circle outside in the late evening hoping to catch an infraction. I almost feel like robbing a bank just so they have something better to do.

One glorious exception to this general lack of grungey, local dives is Hidden Agenda, a 2nd floor factory space near the old airport in an industrial estate in Kwun Tong. It reminds me of my teenaged years dancing to Radiohead in a darkened club beside the River Tyne and is, quite frankly, what Hong Kong needs more of. Except it can’t get a liquor license (which is not too bad, although the BYO beers tend to get a bit warm after an hour), and it can’t open much past 10.

It’s an industrial estate, for fuck’s sake, how many sleeping families are going to be disturbed by a well-insulated live music venue that wants to stay open at the weekends until 1 or 2? I’d rather see a world class DJ perform there than in the horror of Drop, Volar or Hyde. In fact, I’d rather sit outside 7-11 with my iPod on then go back into Volar. That entire Kwun Tong estate could be transformed into a kind of artsy/cultural area with clubs, art galleries, little bars and cafes. Last I heard they were trying to get datacentre companies to move in. It’s a moot point anyway – the whole lot will probably be demolished in a few years to make way for another fucking shopping mall.

In the meantime my nights these days are more likely to be filled with drunken meals, bar crawls and the odd secret beach party than reaching for the lasers. Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is no way to live out one’s 30s.

China sending out mixed skirt signals

17 Jul

stripperWhat do you get if you cross summer-time in Hong Kong with a group of morally retarded politicians? Answer: a list of the most dangerous places in the SAR for women to walk around in short skirts.

Yup, the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, or rather its drearily titled Women’s Affairs Committee, has released its latest list on Peeping Tom black spots.

The list, which incidentally would also serve as an indispensable guide for dirty old men in the region, details quite specifically the escalators, glass walkways and staircases where scantily clad locals are most at risk.

Rather hilariously, the now iconic Apple Store staircase designed by Steve Jobs himself comes in for a bashing by the DAB – is nothing sacred?

I’ve never heard of this kind of moral crusade by a political party in the West and can only imagine the DAB espouses the kind of retarded conservative values that would rather women wore ankle length coats at all times to avoid these kind of problems in the first place.

After a bit of digging, I found that it’s been releasing these lists for at least three years – every time with the same old spiel – camera wielding perverts are on the rise and represent a real and present danger to the honour of our young ladies.

It’s often said that China is a nation of contradictions, well, looking in the Shanghai Daily this week this became immediately clear.

It reported news that the gloriously named Guilin Merryland Resort in southern China is currently offering half price entry to women wearing skirts shorter than 38cm.

Apparently, local TV footage has shown long lines of female visitors queuing up for the discount, waiting to be seen to by a member of staff holding a ruler.

The park is also said to run a “water-splashing festival” during which visitors are encouraged to throw water over each other, including of course the skimpy-skirted women.

China. You’re sending out mixed signals here – do you want girls to wear short skirts in summer or not?

Maybe this is what they meant by ‘one country, two systems’.