Rubber Duck Project sails into TST

By Instagram user ppaper_magazine.

By Instagram user ppaper_magazine.

Lowest common denominator art at its finest. Even I’m head-over-heels for this schmuck of a duck. After a month-long gig in Sydney, this 16-meter (16 freaking meters! That’s more than 10 of me!) duck has been spotted at the TST harbour in li’l ol’ Hong Kong.

According to the official infographic, staff enter into the duck through its butthole. Can I get a backstage pass to this thing? I can just see the caption happening for that photo.

So since as far as I can figure out, this duck will be ahoy 24/7 throughout the month of May, so screw the Central pier parties, Kowloon’s got the good stuff now.

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Rubber Duck Project is actually seems to be part of a series of giant inflatable things (your humble author is too lazy to Google this), although it prefers to separate itself from all the other way uglier pieces. Those suckling pig eyes have been haunting me at night for ages (there is an ad in the minibus I take every morning that features a photo of an actual suckling pig, beady red eyes and all), and pardon me, but is that literally a pile of shit in the upper right corner? No contest about who’s going to be the fan favourite this round.

Jagwar Ma – The Throw + Man I Need

“The Throw” is the first single of Sydney band, who cemented themselves as the new Pitchfork darling a couple of days ago with their new track, “Man I Need”.

Surf-rocky stuff filtered through the audio equivalent of Instagram’s Earlybird. Vocals all up in that bubbly falsetto thing that us indie kids like so much these days. Talk about remixable. Does Clockenflap take band requests?

Double-dawn at Paradisco

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Paradisco couldn’t have picked a more perfect fall/winter to spring up. Despite being completely open-air and exposed to the elements, it only had to shut down operations a handful of times due to bad weather. From time to time, idiots come in and get the idea to pinch an heirloom disco ball or two, but generally it’s awash in good vibes and a trash-can bonfire if it’s cold.

We stayed until dawn on Saturday. Originally, the plan was to see Afrojack at Play. I’d supposedly won some spots on the guestlist at Play, but 20 minutes in a stone-still lineup and a bouncer denying the existence of a guestlist at all for the night was too sobering to be pre-emptive of a good time. It’s a $100, 15-minute cab ride from Central — reasonable if spent with even just one friend. You’re bound to make some more once you reach, anyway.

Having tended bar there a couple of times myself, the drinks seem pricey on the surface — $70 flat other than some snazzy ol’ Louis — but generally we’re free-pouring doubles all over the place (and we’ll even double that if you ask nicely without trying to actually hit on us) and the good beers are half a liter (tip: don’t ask for the Corona).

Cheers to a view of blinking cargo ships pulling into Hong Kong, a mountainside laser show, oldies remixes at 4am, rose and freshly-baked/stolen croissants from the bakery down the hall. Paradisco’s last party happens this Saturday, and then it moves to a new location rumoured to be in Aberdeen. See Facebook event for details.

Village party like it’s 1945

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Talk about partying in the middle of nowhere.

Last night’s bunkeroo party didn’t actually take place in a bunker, unlike all the other times that I missed out on because I preferred to lie in bed and be lazy. The hush-hush organizers of the hush-hush Bunker Club (a Facebook page with only 50 likes but a full house to every event, screw you social media!) discovered an abandoned village far into the Maclehose Trail up in Sai Kung, where wild dogs hunt at night and the headlights of a taxi will never shine on.

We roll up to the end of the trail after a bumpy, harrowing ride in our friend’s soccer mom van for the seven of us. I got to stick my head out of the sunroof and almost lost it to a tree, a decidedly sobering moment.

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Booze box. We cleaned out dat 7/11.

Glowsticks were arranged in arrows on the ground to lead the way, breaking off into a few dozen candles. The houses are dark and filled with trees and wilderness. From a distance, disco lights twinkle on the leafy canopies. Christmas lights are wound around the house that borders the back of the makeshift dance floor, which really used to be someone’s front yard.

Avid hikers are often rewarded with secretive, out-of-the-way party spots in Hong Kong, whether it’s the odd terrace in an industrial building or war bunkers by the Chinese border. The distance of a location from civilization acts as a very discerning asshole filter. You’re usually guaranteed a good time at any party that people have to make an effort to go to, because everyone who turns up are people trying to get away from what makes Soho so bad.

Danny, ever the social flutterby, didn’t stay with us longer than 30 seconds at a time, as he went around saying hello, referring people to the drug dealers and our booze box. The rest of us wallflowered it, or made friends by smelling friendly. I was later told that it was fake stuff as if that were a bad thing. Hell, if it got me high, who cares?! Actually, it would have been nice if I didn’t pee on my shoe accidentally because I was too slow to figure out that I was peeing on a slope and it kept going sideways.

Twenty minutes after we were promised a cab, no dice, so Y and I made a crazy-stupid decision to walk down the trail in pitch-blackness. Five minutes into the walk, she tells me she popped some E at the beginning of the party. I panicked a little, because I knew she hadn’t drank anything but beer since, and we didn’t have any water on us for the walk. Just as it dawned on me that we were probably going to die that night, the cab we called pulls in. The taxi driver had been reluctant to come all the way, but someone at the bottom of the hill had insisted there were two girls (us!) waiting for a cab up that way. What amazing souls they are.

Throughout the entire trip, the taxi uncle was half-praising and half-insulting us, calling us really brave but definitely in the way that meant “You two are fucking dumbasses.”

It would actually have been a great idea to set up a campsite further down the trail in Big Wave Bay, but too bad no one really wants to rough it out here. Anyone for the next round?

P.S. Check out Hong Wrong’s photos from a previous party these guys put on. Their venue choices are a little questionable sometimes, but if we could afford not to practically party on people’s deathbeds, we would.

Organizing an underground party? Check this list first

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At Submerged Studios in Vancouver. Photo by Jenny Waters.

To the local foreigners (now there’s an oxymoron) in Hong Kong, just put the word ‘underground’ or ‘warehouse’ in front of your parties to make them sound romantic and a little dangerous. The organizers are usually doing them for their burning passion for body rock, and may often overlook some vital details as they try to organize a big event on the after-hours of their full-time job.

So here’s a few things that I tend to like at my parties. Non-essentials, to be sure, but not very difficult or expensive moves with huge payoff for how I can feel about the night:

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where have all the good times gone?

I’ll say this for the nth time — Hong Kong’s nightlife sucks. Like slug-stuck-on-your-foot sucky. Like black hole sucky.

Lan Kwai Fong, according to long-term foreigners here, have changed even over just the last five years. It’s become a tourist destination, and it’s far rarer to see actual locals frequenting it. That means drunk Navy Seals at 8pm so they can make their curfew, rude treatment from staff at the more ‘exclusive’ clubs, and unimaginative decor and drinks priced at a premium for a crowd that just doesn’t know where else to go. You know how you can tell on vacation what restaurant not to go into by the look of the hurried-looking British couple sitting at the window? Same applies to LKF, and much of the older Soho.

It’s taken 10 months of sticking around the city to find only a couple of consistently great after-sundown hotspots, and a couple of other party organizers who throw stuff once in awhile. I think I’m starting to understand how to ‘read’ certain places and figure out quickly from their clientele and exterior which kinds of places are worth going to and which aren’t, but often it can still be a little hit or miss.

So this blog and I will operate symbiotically. It will constantly gnaw at me to update it with something new, and so it’ll give me an excuse to go to even more parties without a fear of whether it’s bad or not. It’ll make me look for parties in Kowloon and even more remote warehouse locations.

I will not bother writing scathing reviews about the Tazmania Ballroom or Magnum Club, because some feel that any publicity is good publicity. I will write about clubs and bars of any size and fame if they do turn out to be great. I may write about newer venues that didn’t live up to expectations. I could just turn this into a self-indulgent, “Look how much more than you I get wasted!” blog. I might also post the occasional hedgehog bathtime video. Actually, I’ll do that now.