THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

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For a city that once boasted ground-breaking clubs like Canton, Disco Disco, The Scene, Manhattan and when the Lan Kwai Fong area popped up from the bowels of a rubbish dump, all of which combined to give Hong Kong a vibrant nightlife and a reason for going out, it’s truly slim pickings these days lacking in even an iota of creative thinking.

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Frankly, where does one go for a big night out in Hong Kong without running into life’s losers?

All those photo-copied clubs down Wyndham Street could actually be one club and few would know the difference because there IS no point of difference.

The decor is the same, the music is the same and the people are the same along with the peanuts and crisps.

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Even dragon-i, the Big Daddy of clubs, is just one more throbbing mass of gooey people and old guys who’ve been conned into buying bottles of expensive champagne thinking they’ve got lucky with the “resident models” who leave them stranded by disappearing at 3am.

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Where is there to go after 2am?

Spicy usk Till Dawn in Wanchai and run into the usual suspects or be accosted by “muscular” Nigerian “ladies” while sitting and watching the Makati and Colombian cattle parade walk up and down that Jaffe Road catwalk of shame?

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Escape, Amazonian, the Firehouse, Hong Kong Cafe with the truly awful all-girl band named Platinum striking Rock poses onstage, pictured below, Players and the new- and empty- Rio are crude pickup joints where the city’s very drunk and very desperate congregate.

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No one even mentions Kowloon now that the iconic BBoss has closed its door with only the rather sad Club De Hong Kong offering takeaways- the char siu bau variety- but nothing like those halcyon days when stunning Lithuanian and Ukrainian “dancers” turned into live-in girlfriends and gave up their night job.

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What’s missing are the PEOPLE to breathe life into this dead dog where once there were real entrepreneurs like Gordon Huthart, Andrew Bull, Dick Kauffman, an inspired Alan Zeman, Sylvio Wang and Michael Pope, a young Gilbert Yeung and real larger-than-life characters like Tony Morias, Balu Chanrai, Philip Chan and others.

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Today, it’s all about control and the wrong people being allowed to enter a business that starts and stops with the sex trade. There is simply no style, no class and no innovation.

When the same group owns Graffiti, Escape, Players and the old Joe Bananas which will rise again as JB Live, the business model is just more of the same.

It’s also where one minority group- Nepalese- has- and one must respect them for th ife in Wanchai which is closed to the Chinese operators.

Their territory is Tsimshatsui and it’s agreement that’s working.

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Meanwhile, in Lan Kwai Fong, Soho, Wyndham Street and parts of Causeway Bay, it’s the blind leading the blind, which must have been what made Alistair Paton and his two-man crew sell so many shareholders on the members-owned M1NT airy fairy tale that turned into a nightmare for many of them.

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Perhaps the ONLY hope of giving Hong Kong nightlife a boost- and with it the overall image of this city- is to see what will make up the cultural and entertainment-based venue that will rise from the ashes of the Central Police Station and Magistracy?

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