Clockenflap 2011: You’ll never believe what I’m telling you now (1/3)

Tuesday 20 December 2011, 11.15am HKT


CATCHY HEADLINE, huh?

I’m such a bald-faced liar since having grown a moustache for that stupid moustache-growing competition a month back that I’ll now tell you the truth and nothing but the lying-sonofabitch truth.

Like I promised you mugs readers a couple of days back, I’ve sorted out my pictures and deciphered my hieroglyphics for that music and arts festival with the highly memorable name of Clockenflap.

It’s CLOCK-en-FLAP, not — never mind, you remembered what I said before.

Okay, pictures first, then the brain-damaged words.

Full-blown pictures, so you don’t have to click, flick and dick around.

* * *

Going in

The road leading to the gig. Note the DHL sponsorship ballon.

Clockenflap 2011 carried on for two days and two nights on 10 and 11 December. Venue was the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade (or ‘praya’ if you an old China hand). The perfect place for a ‘do’ like this one.

Our moronic regime esteemed government has been pitching West Kowloon for some years to be the ‘cultural hub’ for Hong Kong.

  • In proper English, the government had meant to say the meeting point for music and the Arts (if you’re into PR-speak) or the artistic and musical quarter (if into Parisian airs).
  • Ninety percent of everyone reckons West Kowloon is going to end up being a property developers’ paradise instead.
  • The word ‘hub’ is not what the government think it means.

I think calling anything in Hong Kong a ‘cultural hub’ is a bit of a stretch and somehow hard to live down (or live up to, depending on how you look at it) — especially after the debonnair Noel Coward astutely observed (and then branded) our ex-British/now-Chinese colony as a ‘cultural desert‘ because everyone’s been living on borrowed time since 20th January 1841.

  • In case you don’t know, 2046 is the year when we shall be fully and legally absorbed into China. You see how astute Coward had been about living on borrowed time?

Never mind. We continue.

* * *

Induction

The food and coupon-selling stands near the entrance area.
Note the chappie with his jug of San Miguel beer.

Patrons first bought coupons for paying their chow and slosh. The food and drink stands accepted no cash and gave no change. Coupons came in sets of HK$100 (or US$12.84 or £8.27).

&

The entrance area
The pink/white-striped Land-Rover was courtesy of Jack Wills the British
outfitters, which just open a couple of outlets here in Hong Kong.

They’ve got this routine right. By using coupons, the vendors were completely let off the need to keep cash around. What with people milling around, kids running about, the indecisive figuring out what they want, the queue stoppers and all — the catering staff simply concentrated on catering the right chow and slosh to customers and not worry about money and change.

Remember, Clockenflap was held on one of the coldest weekends here (around 13°C/55°F daytime, falling to just 9°C/48°F by nightfall), so people can get wee impatient. Since everything was priced in multiples of HK$20 and $40, the coupon was an excellent idea. Other events should copy this idea. It’s just basic crowd control.

* * *

The Arties

This is the Art Tent. It’s not a harem. It contained multimedia shows of up-and-coming local and international artists on tour in Hong Kong.

Yeah, it’s small. But that’s Hong Kong ‘cultural awareness’ for you.

&

Artists at work. Apparently, these two guys are world-famous. I don’t know (and couldn’t remember) their names, and couldn’t decipher my own hieroglyphics. Sorry, guys, no offence meant.

The really funny thing was that the locally raised locals (the out-and-out homeys) at first thought these artists were workmen doing up the barriers and whatnot. Kinda sad too, since the artists weren’t getting paid anyway, barriers and whatnot.

&

INSIGHT #1

Artists who pitch in and get their work done without fuss or pretention often turn out successful and known. (Perhaps not world-renowned, but at the very least known among the paying cognoscenti.) Artists who pitch their art as ‘art’ often don’t get a second look-in from anybody. Your loss, pal.

* * *

Lateral Latrinal Thinking

The unisex lavatories (latrines?) were A-1 entertainment.

They were the ‘squat and shat’ type — and some of the Euronals and Americramps didn’t know how to handle them.

Clearly, they’re not people who watch National Geographic TV (or go out much).

It was pretty funny using the latrines too. While the front part was reasonably soundproof, the sides were practically sound-transparent. You could hear all sorts of lurid conversations going on, latrine-to-latrine as well as on the phone.

  • The girltalk was absolutely rivetting and, frankly, I didn’t want to come out.

By nighttime, the latrines got quite creepy because they didn’t come with lights. But all made up for when this came streaming through the latrine grilles:

“I can’t find my c*nt in this darkness, so hang on a sec!”
— Lancashire accent in the next stall

* * *

The Stages

The main stage, where the two dozen headline acts from all over the world did their thing. It doesn’t look much from the picture, but was actually pretty big.

Left side with the black canopy was the ‘disco’ stage, where the half-frozen crowd took a breather between acts and tried to break each other’s legs to high-energy techno-bamboozle-disco-fracas-breakbeat tunes.

&

The medium stage. I reckon the acts were organised by size rather than ‘fame’ or anything like that.

AN OFFER YOU JUST HAD TO REFUSE

The picture above was taken minutes before I got propositioned by two teenage girls. (That’s about an hour or so into the festival.) The girls were really, really good-looking — srsly.

Sounding the way they sounded, I thought the two girls were genuinely wanting, willing and giving whatever the heck they had wanted, were willing to do or had to give. They weren’t drunk either — or even ‘on the game’ — so all the red flags went up for me.

These chicks were, like, laying all this on me (as we say in law) with full, effective and effectual representation and in earnest full faith. That’s scaaary.

When I declined, they were very good natured about it: “Maybe next time then, okay, if we see ya.”

… AND RESTRAINED BY PRIORITIES

And just minutes after that brick-shatting episode, Maddie (blonde American) and Laura (brunette Aussie) got into a chat with me. Srsly, it’s serious business. They were broads (late 20s/early 30s) that I would have propositioned to.

And right at that moment, I wanted to have some chow and slosh…

&

The medium stage is nothing to sniff at when you have a solid band playing classic hard rock at night with the sound and light systems going on full blast.

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Above, a local expat/semi-expat/local rock band on the medium stage, going full tilt with lights and all.

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The small or ‘local’ stage. I’m not sure if this was actually branded as a local stage for local acts, mainly because the acts have been really, really good. I’ve also seen some overseas one- or two-person acts there, so maybe it wasn’t ‘local’ after all.

&

INSIGHT #2

For a long, long time I have said (not necessarily on this or any other blog) that the biggest problem with local musicians and bands is their lack of boldness of voice.

If you’re a rocker, you’ve got to be bold in how you sound. Making an almighty infernal racket (like those local death-metal goth hard rockers are apt to do) isn’t f@#king boldness — you’re just being noisy and making an arrestable nuisance in the middle of the night. Your expensive Gibsons, Fenders, Ibanezes, LTDs or whatever guitars aren’t going to help you cut the ice.

  • Your starting point isn’t to listen to Johnny Rotten and The Sex Pistols
  • You should be listening to (and learning from) the likes of Huey Lewis, Billy Halliday, Elvis Presley and those giants
  • And — believe it or not — Edith Piaf and Judy Garland!
  • The sound of you sucking eggs is actually better on our ears and for your longevity

&

It’s small, but it’s also seriously cosy — a priceless compensation.

&

INSIGHT #3

Bearded people seem to understand music better than clean-faced people. Does not necessarily apply to clean-shaven DJs or musicians.

* * *

UP NEXT — The crowds

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011. All images by me.

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