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Friday 24 March 2006

Beginning of the week [Am]

So. Sat there, a little anesthetised from the bar on a Monday night in Hong Kong. Time; midnight. From my bedroom window, curtains cast open to a single marvellous piece of glass as wide as the entire frontage of the first flat I ever owned, I can see the black water of Hong Kong’s Victoria harbour lain out before me for all the world like the runoff of the global squid convention’s annual whack-off. There is a forest of narrow stalagmite flats and towers left right and behind us in a way that could blow your mind if you chose to focus on them but the water’s currently the thing.
A few moments ago, as near as damnit to midnight as makes a party, a multinational cruise ship went past lights a blazing and port holes a peepin with the decks clearly frugging to the assembled throng partying their way into Hong Kong. You couldn’t actually see the faces but the movement was plain to see. Much like observing the side of a plastic bait box at the beginning of a full day’s fishing.
Was it cheesy? Who can say? I only stared out from a window. Was it fun? Certainly it looked like a lot of fun was what was happening from my windowed observation. And we’re not talking the Stenna Anglesey ferry here. This was the sort of intercontinental ballistic nuclear cruise liner that bristles with decks, points, promenades, radar spikes, quoits platforms, multi-decatonne displacement sprouty bits, verandas, sun-lounge-runs, swimming pools, outdoor aerotoria and a general decking arrangement of such pointed angularity and oi-ness that it’s like was last seen in certain shoulder-pads circa UT2k4. Decked with Christmas lights.
I would like to think that Copa Cabana was playing. Perhaps a couple of teenagers were copping off for the first time ever.
A bit before I had been in “JJ’s” a very expensive adjunct to the hotel in Hong Kong which had been done out in a variety of bizarre Harry Potterish twisty heavy oak panelled staircases and mirrors on the ground floor. A heavy set ebony bird of prey sat on a pointless plinth looking down at my Gin and Tonic - ten US dollars – as I ate a plate of amazing chilli spiced rare beef salad for nine dollars. No I don’t understand it. On the second floor (and I’m not even going into the pe0n lined pointless elevator lobby thing “Hello Mr Jonson, ell o Mester Jawnsen”) was a decent enough elliptical bar and seating all focused on a small stage where an all-American semi-stars group was bashing out R&B tunes. You could tell they had been hand-picked because they all took turns at singing the tunes. As anyone who’s ever played in a band will tell you, that sort of thing doesn’t happen by accident.
But on two of the tables in front of the band was a little tableau that held me fascinated for about an hour. On one, a Chinese or Hong Kongese in his late forties / early fifties was sat with a blond western girl, age no more than 23 to 25 who was pretty much ignoring him but drinking the Krug that sat in front of them with a huge bowl of iced strawberries which were dunked in the Krug. I pulled a drinks list. About four hundred dollars a bottle.
On the second table was another local, probably in his thirties but with three asian girls who had all come in at different times and been introduced to each other but were now collectively, enthusiastically smashing their way through the iced strawberries and in this instance, Moet & Chandon. About 200 hundred dollars a bottle. The bloke in his thirties and the bloke in his forties clocked each other for a couple of seconds. The unspoken conversation was so clear you could have telegraphed it above the hammered out riff of Midnight Hour the band were lurching into now. My champagne’s better than yours. Yeah but I’ve got three birds. Yeah but my bird is blond and young western fluff. She don’t look all that and I’ve got *three*. Hrm. Hrm. Which one’s better? Fucked if I know. Me neither.
After about thirty more minutes the white girl went off to the loos for about fifteen minutes, wearing the bloke’s pringle yellow sweater over her shoulders. She had a fit enough body but the face had only barely made it out of average into attractive. The bloke drank his Krug and patted his hand out of time to Mustang Sally.
After fifteen minutes she came back. Energetic, interested in him and quite literally dusting off her nose. She pulled him by the arm and took him off in the direction of the door. As she left she had a face on that I will never forget. She had to walk through a corridor of westerners and easterners who were each trying not to clock them too obviously, thereby only emphasising the noticeability of their passage. She jutted her chin out and stared with cold eyes ahead with a face that said “Yes I know you think I’m a whore and get this, I don’t give a shit what you think”. I looked at her face and the look was about as convincing as a tale of a snowball on the face of the sun. Suddenly I didn’t feel like staying to hear Stand By Me.
Real life should not command real life. Perhaps, the staff of cruise ships should command real life at least for the sense of occasion, a little grandeur but most of all having just some plain fun with no-one getting fucked up on a Monday night.
There’s some funny shit that goes down around midnight on a Monday night in Hong Kong town.


  1. As someone who roused themselves in the fashion of a corpse on automatic at 0400 this morning to get on a 0750 flight to Geneva, I confess to being quite jealous of your Hong Kong Tale; it has everything a C List Hollywood straight-to-video director could possibly want - glamourous location, great backdrop, sex for hire, drugs, and seedy asian businessmen... its practically crying out as a film with Steven Seagal headlining.
    Look at it from my point of view - the only people visible in Geneva, ever, are old women wrapped in six hundred layers of Hermes' finest, random French speaking, cigar toting near bald taxi drivers, and people in suits with small pinkie-finger signet rings called Phillipe and Sebastian.
    Lets face it, both Hong Kong and Geneva are awash with money, practically floating on a tectonic plate of cash - yet at least you got to sit in a swanky bar, listening to contemperaneous (or at least, recognisable) musak, and contemplating the outcome of Blonde Dolly's Adventures In Wonderland... I got a return flight in a seat designed for Ronnie Corbett's children and a lunch that consisted mainly of unidentifiable probably-bagel-with-cheese and a diet coke.
    I do however agree that Cruise Captains should rule the world... except if the boat happens to be bright orange, and called EasyTitanic.

  2. Hmm, i remember a few other types in Geneva. Like the girls with HUGE noses and leather pants (they were everywhere, kinda like ants in a forrest, this was 10 years ago maybe the weight of the heavy duty noses made them grow really old really quick), kids who havnt started shaving yet driving porsches and the blaxplotation lookalike hookers with pimps during the night. We did however live at a hostel in tha ´hood :)