Judging from the last few we’ve been to, the Beijinger knows how to throw a good party – it’s just a damn shame about the guests. Photo gallery at the bottom.
By Beijing Cream
Holding the party in the open air of Sanlitun Soho and suggesting “beachwear” as a dress code was clearly pivotal: the signal for Beijing’s really quite impressively large douchebag population to give full vent to their oeuvre of tics and mores. “Dress code? Dude… I was wearing this Hawaiian shirt with oversized aviators, four days’ beard growth and a jaunty pork-pie hat when I woke up!”
We arrive just after four. Upon entering the “gate,” there was a kind, red reminder for all foreigners that there is a crackdown going on for the next 100 years, that undercover police would be among the crowd and that the magazine would not be held responsible for any problems that ensued. Always the best way to get the party started.
As for that crowd: I have not seen so many ferocious wankers in one area since my school days. It was like gathering 200 Drake Moreaus in the same place, at the same time. I honestly would not have been surprised if the alleged Beijing “expat rapist” himself had suddenly shown up at the end as some kind of celebrity foreign guest, strutting on stage to cries of “Dude!” and “Hey, rape me!” to sing Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.” Obviously, it helped – or didn’t, at all – that it was all taking place in broad daylight, on a sunny day, with about a hundred Chinese shoppers and security guards staring joylessly down onto the proceedings from above, so you could see the twattery in full Technicolor.
To make matters worse, someone had invested in about 6,000 beach balls, which kept being tossed and bounced around – so you’re standing there with your paper cup of ale when a cargo of orange-and-blue inflatable plastic comes and knocks off your pork-pie hat. Dude!
What’s more, there were some who considered this vibrant annoyance as the single greatest invention since the football phone, leading to a bunch of tattooed Eurotrash crawling on the ground, searching for more plastic balls, which, judging from the reactions of those hit with them, might have been filled with pure hate.
From above, due to the conflagration of Hawaiian shirts (many of which were the same ones given for free with the entry fee of 100 RMB), it looked like some great hipster deity had sneezed Sanlitun SOHO into being. This situation was made far worse by the presence of at least 1 in 18 thinking it would be hilarious to roll up their shirts and show their bellies in the summer heat, like they were proper Beijing migrant workers. This spell is quickly broken by the sight of these same expats trying to bounce a beach ball off the ladies walking around cleaning up all their trash.
But as I said at the start, the BJer does know how to party – perhaps unfairly, I imagine their CBD office to be a hive of inactivity, with work mainly geared toward drinking games and finding witty reasons to go home early – and seem to have their hands in the pockets of the right sponsors. Screw BMW… let’s have Chimay and T.G.I. Friday bankroll this fucker (the TGIF workers were particularly enthusiastic, given that they had been reduced to going around offering shit “chicken wings” to guests while wearing goofy caps and other heavy, black TGIF-branded garb and manfully grinning: for my mind, these underpaid folks practically made the party and should have been given an award of their own, for best example of grace under pressure).
There was a smorgasboard of booze – including Stella and Hoegaarden, administered by a patient staff surrounded by drunk, baying shit-munchers – as well as some vile Babycham-wannabe drink containing regurgitated cava chunks, served in a blue can, that tasted like a sommelier’s piss sample and was being enthusiastically swigged by various tits wearing plastic straws in the shape of goggles, the de rigeur method via which this swill is presumably imbibed, even at home. Chunks In Blue Can: “As drunk by douches” – I think that would work, actually. If you’re sipping wine from a can, you have to have some kind of mental disability already.
The free food was much less of an event, alas. Put simply, the best consolation any of the half-dozen restaurants that presented themselves could have taken was: “Fuck it, most of them were probably too shit-faced to remember anyway.” Not us. As mentioned, TGIF was serving piss-poor chicken wings, but that is their niche role in the catering trade; that’s no surprise and it won’t stop the great Beijing proletariat from pouring into their booths and ordering the hot wings by the bucket. New SOHO Indian restaurant Khajuraho won’t have done itself any favors, though, by proffering thimblefuls of basmati (despite their booth prominently displaying a whole morass of different rices) soaked in a sorry sub-continental excuse of a sauce, thus elbowing aside Ganges to chalk up a new level of average-ness for Indian in the capital.
Another big problem with the whole shebang was that Jonathan Kos-Read was there. And no one, not a single soul, punched him in the face or stabbed him in the heart or hurled santorum in his face or circumcised him or drank from his skull. What a letdown.
While all this was not going on, there was some kind of awards ceremony going on in the background. Yeah, I’d forgotten about that part as well. Indeed, there was something both proud and pathetic about the on-stage antics, an endless parade of shortlists and prize-giving played out to a deafening chorus of we-don’t-give-a-flying-fuck from the crowd. They should just cut the booze off during this part in the future and instead rig the microphone to four giant Marshall speakers, all dialed up to 11, while the MC screams, “The award for best after-hours drinking goes to The Den, that’s right, THE DEN, DID YOU GET THAT, YOU FUCKING FREELOADERS?”
After a single minute of their meaningless prattle, the urge to scream back at the presenters to shut up and get on with it was extraordinary. But then, suddenly, you remember that this will lead to more mind-numbing exhibitions, dance-offs and bad hip-hop; thus, quelling your rage.
The awards. We should talk about them, right? Apparently, the Best Place to Bring a Date is Migas or (snigger) Bed Bar – so there’re two places to avoid like the fucking plague, right there. Best “cheap drinks” went to First Floor (huh? Not Smugglers?). Blue Frog, meanwhile, pulled a ton of awards (Best Daytime Drinking, Best Staff, Best Bar Food, Best Advertising in the Beijinger) all for Christ alone knows what reason. [Editor’s note: *rubs thumb and forefingers together meaningfully.] Beijing fuck-tunnel Vic’s won for the coyly phrased “Best Place to Find a Date” category but not, curiously, Best Place to Turn up With a Flamethrower and a Nailed Baseball Bat Having Had One Hell of a Bad China Day. They would really have won that one – look out for it at next year’s BJC Bar and Club Awards. There were also a bunch of other petty categories that made me want to throw up slightly in my mouth – Most Beautiful People? Fine, but how about Most Fugly People? We want to know where the city’s most desperate and loathsome denizens hang out (other than Vic’s). The Den – yeah, that works.
Anyway, if you need to see the rest, check here. There are 36 categories – yes, you heard that right, thirty-fucking-six – and I honestly cannot bring myself to cycle through any more. It was all so wearily familiar, like the excruciating local (shit, I meant expat) “rap acts” and other entertainments that might as well have been performing at home, in front of a mirror, wearing a tutu, for all the attention being paid to them. The only thing missing this year was edgy/sexy local nightlife blogger, something Boyce, who was apparently sulking this one out.
This part of the party – also known as “the whole point of the entire event” – was once again presented by local blonde Elyse Ribbons, for no other reason I suspect than because there’s an old marketing document in the Beijinger’s hard drive labeled “BJ Awards How-To-Do” dating back from 1998 and No. 4 on the list clearly says: “Hire Elyse Ribbons to present. If unavailable, hire anyone who speaks Chinese and isn’t fugly.” Fortunately, Elyse has, is and always will be available to get up on stage and irritate a crowd just by virtue of speaking Chinese and not being fugly. In fact, I guarantee that if, next year, they were to get someone else – Dashan, say, or Yang Rui – Elyse Ribbons would still wander on midway through like Ophelia and announce that The Rickshaw had won an award for Best Hot Wings.
So, in conclusion: same shit, different year. See you all next time!
Click to enlarge
Thanks to Lola for the Jonathan Kos-Read photoshop. See if you can find the head we used among these pictures.