Big night out at Zouk nightclub in KL

Just over a week ago we flew into Kuala Lumpur and had a whirlwind kinda night. Tired as we were (I’d done night shift the night before the flight), we had a mission. I’d arranged to meet up with local riot grrl and blogger Jessicat, and a big night was surely in store.  Jess was an absolute sweetheart and offered to pick us up and show us some KL nightlife – as it turned out, to Zouk!

On the way in the car we talked about Malaysian & Singaporean bloggers and their liberal usage of wtf, fml, and even fhl (fuck his/her life) and fol (fuck our lives). ROFL. Then I learned a little about when to say “lah” and when to say “lor” in Malayenglish. Local vocab is very important, lah (or is that lor?)

Not to cast aspersions on her driving or anything (!), but we went across live lanes of oncoming traffic, made illegal and last minute right-hand turns, got to the car-park and drove around twice before finding the driveway to go down to the next floor…I tell you, it’s good that I was too busy chatting – Dom was shitting himself!  It was the first of many things that led Dom and I to christen Jess as “ditzy”.  Yes, we taught her a new word. I think she’s blonde on the inside – and I think she knows it too (don’t you dearie? Love you!)

It was midnight when we got there, so just enough time to check out the local lol-lok stall and have a few bites before hitting the club. Lok-lok is basically an array of things like fish balls, meat etc on sticks that you cook in boiling broth for a few minutes before dipping in sauce and scoffing.  Not bad, but no match for the curry mee, satays, roti canai’s etc I was looking forward to.  However, a girl has to have a lining on her stomach before drinking, or else she may end up less than ladylike by the end of the night ;)

Are we ready to hit the club, kids? Dom’s not too sure, but Jess and I are keen :)  Yes, you may have noticed a distinct lack of lashes on my part. I’d neglected to pack mascara, and with Jess already chomping at the bit for us to hit the town, there was no time to put on my fake lashes, dang it. BUT circle lenses cover a multitude of sins, lah?

Zouk is a mega club (sister club to Singapore’s Zouk) with various rooms paying different music – there’s the Velvet Underground, Phuture, Arista, Barsonic and the Terrace Bar. Jess, being the local it girl that she is, got us in for free, saving us 58 ringgit each – yeehaw! I tell you though, it’s on the alcohol here in Malaysia that you’ll spend your money – it’s the same prices we pay in Australia, despite the food being 5 to 10 times cheaper. We discovered that it is actually cheaper at Zouk to buy five beers, than to buy three. Three cost 85 ringgit but five cost 67 – don’t ask me why! We learned our lesson after the first round. CHEERS!

So we checked out the various rooms, and I loved the kooky decor ( if not the music, which was pretty r & b/techno based).

  

I think Barsonic was where we had the best time – there just lovely friendly people there, and a lot of cool hipsters too! Like these guys, who turned out to be designers.

Our fave bit was when Smashing Pumpkins came on – at last!! Indie music!!! Not for long, but it was really nice while it lasted. The kids seemed to like it too – so why don’t they play more indie music at clubs here? It’s a mystery. We walked around to see all the rooms, but man, was it packed!! Lookit:

Despite the fact we were just gonna have a few drinks and head on home, we somehow managed to stay until lights up, which found us chatting to these guys from Singapore:

Stumbling outside we found Jess and her friend…and decided it was time to eat again!! We went to a nearby food place (even though it was after 4 by this time) and I had a delicious roti canai and teh tarik. YUM!  Dom’s biryani and the girls’ noodles were equally delish. God bless Malaysia and its food!  Dom and I finally hit the sack at 5.30am – that is, 8.30am Sydney time. YUP – it had been a LOOOOONG day and night!!

Thanks Jess for showing us around and introducing us to your friends. See you next time we’re in KL – as long as we’ve had a good long sleep first!!

Tokyo bars (again)

Still on the theme of bringing over blog entries from Live Journal last year, here’s one about all the bars/clubs I visited in the almost 3 weeks I was there last April:

While I was in Japan, I spent a fair bit of time in bars (no surprise there!) and showing people around cool places in Shinjuku. I should charge the bars commission :)
A list of nightplaces visited, mostly in the Kabukicho area of Shinjuku:

Hair of the Dogs punk bar, Golden Gai, Kabukicho – twice, plus 2 drop ins to say goodbyes.
Godz metal bar, Kabukicho – 3 times
Mother alternative bar, Kabukicho – 3 times
Albatross, GG, Kabukicho – twice
Brians Bar, GG, Kabukicho – once
Sumire No Tenmado – Gothic Lolita Bar in Golden Gai – once
Advocates Bar, Nichome (gay area) Shinjuku – once
one a block up from advocates – twice
Gay karaoke bar, same district – once
Izakayas in west Shinjuku (Omoide Yokocho)to eat & drink – 3 times
Izakaya near Hotel Sunlite, Shinjuku – once
The Lock up, Shinjuku – once (it’s a theme restaurant, but a fun night)
Garageland, punk bar in Shibuya – once
2 in Shimokitazawa, and a couple in Osaka.

Places for gigs/clubs included the Shinjuku Marz, Ikebukuro Live Inn Rosa, Shibuya O-east and Shibuya O-west, and Club Que in Shimokitazawa.

Initially went places with Dom, Briony, Miki & U-tarou from Baal, and their friend Aki. Later I met up with aussies from home: Kat from melbourne, Catherine Wait and her hubby Ben, and Brendan & Tsuya, and showed them “my Shinjuku”.

Middle week/end I also met up with Ivan who lives there, and Elissa who was visiting.

And in the last week, I met 3 boys from Madrid – Roberto, Raul and Torcuato – who showed me Mother, which is now my fave bar there. Good times. Very good times.

And a few pics:


Me and the Madrid boys in metal bar Me and the Madrid boys in metal bar

This was in Godz

Hair of the Dogs punk bar Hair of the Dogs punk bar

Tohra the owner, and the barmaid

Me & Madrid boys in Mother Me & Madrid boys in Mother

the locals in Mother the locals in Mother

It was going off, mate!

Aya, the barmaid Aya, the barmaid

You can just see the cd currently playing,in the middle bottom shelf near the drinks, which is the Cult.

Exciting new Tokyo bar – the Decadance Bar!

Lacking colour in your life??
Now there’s a place you can go…and it’s not ‘Cheers’.

Last week a very cool bar opened in Tokyo – the Decadance Bar!!!

OK, no surprises for guessing this is affiliated with the amazing Tokyo Decadance club…and is therefore in the Christon Cafe, Shinjuku.

Courtesy of DJ Sisen, G-suS, and the Decadance Bar blog, we have lots of info about this exciting event.
Instead of waiting once a month for the Decadance party, you now can go ANY NIGHT OF THE WEEK!!  A-a-a-a-a-a-a-n-n-n-d…your fave Decadance celebs are there tending bar for you! (even Adrien will be there – swooon) So you can stalk themogle Coco…er, chat with them :)
Monday: 6PM – 11PM (CoCo)

Tuesday: 6PM – 11PM (Poruko)
Wednesday: 6PM – 11PM (SiSeN)
Thursday: 6PM – 4AM (Poruko)
Friday: 6PM – 4AM (SiSeN)
Saturday: 11PM – 4AM (Poruko)
Sunday: 6PM – 11PM (SiSeN)

1 Drink costs 500yen (1 Ticket). The food menu varies.
You can buy two different types of “Ticket Packages”:
2 Tickets for -> 1000 yen, or
7 Tickets for -> 3000 yen! (Cheap for Japan’s standards!)

Just look at the yummy drinks on the menu! There’s Chuhai for the hardcore, or shouchu for me.

As for what you can expect there, in Sisen’s words..

The atmosphere of the Bar is mysterious…and magical. You can enjoy delicious drinks & food, play some cool videogames, watch movies, dress up in costumes…Just a place to ENJOY and have FUN, for EVERYONE!

This will definitely become a venue for visiting gaijin, a tick on their must-do list, along with seeing cosplayers on the bridge at Harajuku, and Elvises in the park.

It’s great for those of us who love to dress up, cos now we can go to a place anytime, and not feel like freaks!! It’s in a great central place…and just around the corner from the Golden Gai, which is one of my fave drinking areas in Shinjuku.  The bar is on level 9 of the building, with entry on level 8.

Check out the many pictures on the blog to get an idea of the atmosphere, but here’s a few:

Hula hooping competitions and hot chicks!

Wanna be served by a Stepford Wife?
Look at those tongues!
There’s a definite blue theme going on here….I like it! Check out the dessert!!
G-suS and Sisen getting down
Does my bow look big in this?
and the whole gang together
(All pics taken from the blog)

 
I’ve always enjoyed the colour and creativity of the TD parties – the photo in my banner was actually taken at the Tokyo Decadance Halloween Party last year. This bar likewise is obviously a fun place to be, and I know I’ll be there first night I’m back in Tokyo. 

Put it on your itinerary too!

The Cobweb Club – and out come the bats!

Saturday night, when Blood Sweat & Beers was over, we headed off to the next exciting event of the night – the Cobweb Club.

Cobweb is a Sydney Deathrock party, run by James of Beat Poet and Cat Katerwaul, (who also does the monthly club Ascension at the Sly Fox), billed as “another dose of batcave, trad goth, deathrock, post-punk, punk and coldwave for Sydney bat people”.  DJ’s were Cat, Unexpected Guest, Anorexic Dead and Inksucker.

We were told to ”expect to hear the likes of Alien Sex Fiend, Christian Death, Rosetta Stone, Sisters of Mercy, Las Gorgonas, The Cemetary Girlz, Frustration, Opera De Nuit, Bunker Strasse, 45 Grave, Red Zebra, Malaria!, Specimen, Plastique Noir, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Death Cult, Deadchovsky, Sexbeat, Bauhaus, Skeletal Family, Rudimentary Peni, Acid Bats, Kas Product, Fields of the Nephilim, Fad Gadget, Corpus Delicti and plenty of tracks from the new Zorch compilation ‘Zoundbies’.

The setlist for Cobweb club is here.

I caught a ride with Brigitte and Carly (from the Dark Shadows), and the awesome Will (who goes to all the punk gigs and clubs in Sydney). Just as we arrived, so did masses of other punters, and the place exploded with people and big hair! In the centre here is DJ Inksucker.

The club had an awesome vibe and great music. My rockabilly friends had a fun time as well as the goths, postpunks and batcavers. The decor was fun, with cobweb ribcages suspended from the ceiling, and skeletons and bats everywhere.  If you were in a certain frame of mind, it could amuse you for hours…

And there were other unexplained phenomena as well – I went to take a sip of my beer and look what had landed in it!
It came from outer space…
I took a spin on the dancefloor before going back to drunken socialising and taking happy snaps. There were bats, spiders, bones and skeletons galore on the patrons as well as the walls.
Some of the other hotties on the night were Rachel Black, art director extraordinaire who also writes for alternative zine The Independent Voice, Emily from fashion label Baroque & Roll (see my post here for more),
 
and James from Beat Poet menswear (below; I’ll definitely be writing about this label soon – they’ve been showing at Sydney Fashion Week for several years). The usual suspects also attended, including Trashley of Altering Images hair salon and who runs too many clubs to mention, and Douglas Voodoo of Die Maschine club fame.

Cobweb Club will be hosting the Sydney leg of the Christian Death tour in August! So you KNOW you wanna be there if you’re a goth or deathrocker in Sydney.

Holiday in Cambodia, Christmas in Phnom Penh

Back in the late 70′s and 80′s, Cambodia was NOT a place you went on a holiday, as the Dead Kennedys song “Holiday in Cambodia” attested.

People did, as they today go to Afghanistan and Iraq, but anyone who has been to Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh can tell you that whities too were tortured and executed. Some possibly NGO’s, others possibly tourists in the wrong place and the wrong time.

But now is a different story. Tourists have been flocking back to Cambodia for some years now, with both good and bad consequences. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I was last there 5 years ago on my honeymoon, and I was keen to see what has changed.

I had an extremely long and tiring journey getting there. I’d done a 12 hour night shift on Christmas Eve, and got home at 6am to finish packing before heading off to the airport at 7.30am to fly out at 10am. I managed only a very short snooze on the flight and so was still feeling exhausted when we had to transit in Bangkok airport.

And then – oh joy – the plane was delayed. What should have been a 3 hour stopover stretched to 5 hours!! My eyes were falling out of my head. We were determined, however, to still go out in Phnom Penh that night, despite now not being able to hit the town until 11pm. By the time I finally slept (plane snooze notwithstanding), I’d been awake for just under 40 hours. Oi veh.

To cut to the chase. We booked into our hotel on the river, the “River Star” and headed forthwith to the Foreign Correspondents Club. The FCC was as glamorous as ever with its colonial feel; the huge fans swooping lazily overhead a welcome respite from the stifling heat. We had our first Christmas night beers of Angkor and Beer Lao, and watched life going on below.

The FCC was closing at midnight, so we hopped on a tuktuk to go to Heart of Darkness, Howies bar and the Walkabout. These are all in the same part of town, and on the street corners nearby was all manner of street food…but this would have to wait.

The Heart of Darkness used to be a lawless kind of place, where gangsters packing guns would hang out. Last time we were there, there had been a recent shooting and stabbing. And single women had at times been attacked on their way home, their tuktuks being ambushed by guys who’d followed from the club.

Now, there’s a big security presence. As we rocked up, the place was no longer dark, but lit up like a Christmas tree (fittingly!). Several staff on the door checked our person and bags for weapons before we were allowed through. And when we got in…we found a busily packed disco with buddhist icon backdrop.

There are lovely buddha sculptures everywhere, and bas reliefs of apsaras on the walls. The crowd was a mix of Khmer and western, and young Cambodians obviously went there to have a good time. It felt safe and fun. The only problem for us was the hideous urban/ r & b / hiphop music. So after one drink, we legged it to Howies.

Wow, what a change! Howies was playing indie and rock music like Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Beatles. More our type of place. The staff were fabulously friendly, and this really made the night for us. When you’re missing your mates in a far off country, it’s nice to connect with someone in conversation, and for us, this was it.

One of the girls asked us to play Connect 4 and Dom agreed, knowing he would probably lose miserably. She said she’d buy us drinks if he won, but we’d have to buy her a drink if he lost. Best of five was the winner.


The picture says it all. She let Dom win the first few, but in the end, she won. Ah well, it was a bit of fun.

After this we checked out the Walkabout, against our better judgement. I say this because we hate Aussie theme bars – they are generally sooo cheesy. But the music seemed ok, so we went in. Well, we hadn’t been there long when a girl came up and started giving Dom a shoulder massage and then wanting money. Uh-oh. We finished up one drink, paid her a dollar, and then decided to get some food.

We’d had so much fun in Howies that we decided to go back for a few more drinks. All in all, quite a “Merry” Christmas, despite the long lead-up to it. Now 3am, a tuktuk home and a few zzz’s were in order.

Unfortunately, Boxing Day started all too early, with jackhammering ripping me from my sleep at 8am – DOH! Sleep dep would continue for another day, through the busride to Sihanoukville and beyond. But that is a post for another day – read more tomorrow.

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