Sunday, 14 November 2010

Night Clubs - Chinese Style

I’m too old for night clubs. I am a perfect example of a Discotheque Wreck.

For one thing, most of the youngsters who frequents such places would be horrified to see somebody my age trying to look cool on a dance floor – I know I would have been in my twenties. I couldn’t dance then and I’m even worse now.

To be honest, I don’t really want to go to these places anyway. There are lots of reasons for this but the chief amongst them are:

Night clubs are far too loud. These days I like to have a conversation when I socialise with people. This is absolutely impossible in a night club. The music is cranked up to a volume so loud that it invades your thoughts and renders you useless. If you try to have a conversation with another person in a night club, you end up bellowing down their ear to make yourself heard. It might make give you the opportunity to get close to a woman you fancy, but your cool words and well-rehearsed chat up line will quite literally fall on deaf ears. Add to that the spray of spittle as somebody screams at you, you realise that the experience is not a pleasant one.

I used to wonder why my throat was raw the following morning and also why my ears felt like there was a crazed bell ringer inside. It was because we screamed at each other and, more often than not, could not understand what the hell was being said anyway.

Night clubs play shit music. I have always thought this. With the exception of places like Rockworld all night clubs play dreadful music that I loathe. To me it all sounds exactly the same:


repeated ad nauseam.

Night clubs are too expensive. As a student we used to get tanked up in the pubs before embarking on a trip to a night club. We usually had to pay a colossal entrance fee to get into the place before wobbling over to the bar to pay an exorbitant price for our beverage of choice. And the beer was like camel urine so why the hell did we even bother to drink it?

Night clubs have bouncers. I have lost count of the number of times I have had arguments with these well-dressed meatheads. It is not difficult to prove that they are as dumb as a particularly stupid sheep. Those that can articulate can only say two words: “NO JEANS!” Most of them just grunt.

You should stop going to night clubs in your thirties in my opinion.

If you want to cling onto your youth, a night club is not the place to be. “Getting down with the kids” is embarrassing and a pointless as it is stupid for people my age.

One of the worst sights I have ever seen is a young man, about twenty years old, snogging with a woman who must have been about sixty in a Manchester night club. It was quite literally “Grab a Granny” night and I decided then that I would give up going to night clubs when I reached a suitable age.

I have largely stuck to that principle, apart from the odd foray into Icelandic night clubs.

Nevertheless, when I visited Kunming recently, a young work colleague suggested that we head off to a lively area and have a couple of beers in a night club.

I was about to refuse and head back to the hotel when I reconsidered. My curiosity got the better of me. I have ventured into night clubs on my travels before and I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing how Chinese youth let their hair down.

“You are an old git!” screamed my conscience and of course it was correct. But I was also a foreigner in a Chinese city and that, too, would make me stand out from the crowd.

So I thought: ”Sod it” and agreed to join my youthful colleagues, two English guys and two Chinese guys.

The area we were taken to was called Kundu. When we climbed out of the taxi, I was absolutely astonished. It was midnight and the place was one of the liveliest areas I have ever seen. The streets were packed with youngsters prepared to have a great time. The place was full of bars and clubs blaring out all manner of dreadful music at an ear-shattering volume.

I allowed myself to be lead into a night club that was packed to the rafters. One of my colleagues tried to get to the bar while I watched the crowd. It was a sight to behold but not too different from a night club anywhere else in the world.

I decided to film a short video on my camera. Here it is:

The volume doesn’t do it justice; the music was hellishly loud. When I had finished the video, a hand appeared in front of my face. I looked at the owner and it was a young Chinese guy, beaming from ear to ear. I smiled at him and he leaned over to bellow something in my ear.

“HOW DO YOU DO?” he shouted.

“I’m very well, thanks,” I replied. “How are you?”

He then gave me a high five and his friends laughed, not in an unfriendly way I have to say. It was a moment of fun.

Sadly, the place was too busy and an executive decision was made by my younger associates to try somewhere else.

Pretty soon I was in another night club – and this was even better. I had a perfect view of the DJ’s who were well into the swing of things. I took another video:

It was so funny. Unfortunately this night club really was expensive; they tried to charge us £5 for a bottle of beer in a city where the average price was around £1.

As we left, I tried to shoot another small video of the clientele, only to be screamed at by an irate waitress who told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t allowed to take photos in the club. I didn’t understand a word she screamed but her gestures told me everything I needed to know.

Eventually, we found a slightly less crowded club with more reasonably priced beer and we managed to sit down, sup a pint of Chinese lager and scream at each other over the dreadful music.

We didn’t last much longer. A tough working week took its toll and we left for our hotel.

I was shattered when I got back into my room and I realised then that I was definitely too old for the night club game. The music was far too loud, the beer far too expensive and the clientele far too young for an old fool like me.

Despite this, I actually quite enjoyed my short exposure to Chinese night clubs. For once, I didn’t stand out for being too old - I was simply a curious foreigner.

And there wasn’t a bouncer in sight to tell me that my jeans weren’t allowed.


Anonymous said...

Getting old sucks! I laughed all through your post and enjoyed the videos. My fav? Grab a Granny night? LMAO. Thanks so much for sharing. And, you are only as old as you feel. reading,Reading&Life

Kath Lockett said...

I used to go to nightclubs in my youth (late teens, early twenties) but even then I hated it. Couldn't hear, couldn't hold a conversation, couldn't dance .... couldn't afford it!

Favourite night spot for me will always be home - food and drinks of my choice close to hand, comfortable seating, appropriate volume control, all people there are those I want to hang around with, no dancing required.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi SenoraG,

Getting old does suck - but it is also great.

I'm perfectly happy as I am but we move on to enjoy different things.

And yes, we are certainly as old as we feel.




Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Bizarrely I used to like night clubs - hate them now though.

Home sounds good - the problem I have is that Mrs PM insists on reproducing night club music in our house - I do have my own mp3 player though.




An Eerie Tapestry said...

Bizarrely the music in Rockworld used to sound like that to me too, although possibly in a larger font. And to be fair to bouncers, some of them have also mastered "NO TRAINERS!"

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Marky Mark,

Rockworld was in a "different" font not necessarily larger - though how may times did you go?

My goodness - bouncers must be evolving (albeit at a slow rate).




Unknown said...

Good thing that you are the perfect example of a Discotheque Wreck and the information about the night club given is really good and interesting to know.


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Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Carl,

Thanks. It just goes to prove they are the same the world over.