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Category Archives: Wanchai
(Apologies for not posting anything here in a week. I’ve been busier than usual lately.)
Last month The Wanch celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Wanch is a bar just off the corner of Jaffe and Fenwick in Hong Kong’s Wanchai district. It’s a small bar but a friendly one and presents live music 7 nights a week with no cover charge or minimum. These days the bar features mostly cover bands, many of them consisting of ex-pats who have office jobs during the day and are living out their rock ‘n roll fantasies at night. They also get the occasional celebrity “drop-in” – I’m told Slash jammed there following his most recent Hong Kong concert appearance.
The Wanch did a week of special themed nights to celebrate this occasion and I was hired to be the official photographer for two of those nights. As part of the assignment, I was asked to get photos of the audience enjoying themselves as well as shots of all the musicians.
Friday, October 19, 2012, was the launch of their latest compilation CD, featuring songs from 20 Hong Kong bands. Musicians appearing that night included Dave Colquhoun, The Delfino Trio, The Sleeves and a reunion of legendary HK bar band The Bastards.
The Bastards were especially impressive. Although they were performing mostly covers, lead singer Dan James threw himself headfirst into every song, singing as if his life depended on it. You may think this is mere hyperbole but I’m serious when I say I’ve never seen anything quite like it in Hong Kong.
I posted a few photos from this show previously, here are some more.
Here’s Brandon Delfino:
And some shots of The Bastards (maybe one or two repeats from the previous post).
And here’s a few of the audience shots:
(There’s a much larger gallery of pictures from this night up on Facebook.) Although I was on my feet and shooting for about 7 hours, I honestly enjoyed every minute of this.
If you’d like to hire me to shoot your band or event, just drop an email to spike at spikesphotos dot com.
Story first, photos second.
Tonight I was standing outside of Amazonia Bar in Wanchai smoking a cigarette. This woman came walking by. Chinese, not unattractive. I didn’t notice her at first. But then she dropped the bags she was carrying and seemed to slip off the curb into the street. Okay, she was more than likely drunk.
She picked up the bags and walked right out into the street and into traffic without looking, one arm out-stretched hailing a taxi. I’m amazed that she didn’t get hit by a car. She got into the middle of the street, dropped her bags down and just stood there as cars weaved around her.
A guy ran into the street, picked up her bags and tried to lead her off to the side. They spoke for awhile, she was clearly crying. With her bags on the sidewalk and her standing off to the side, he returned to the bar. She just stood there in the street, crying.
Finally two other women came by and got her and her bags and put her into a taxi. It didn’t take a long time to get her into the taxi but once she was inside the taxi it was a long time before the taxi drove off. Perhaps the two women couldn’t get the woman to tell them where she wanted to go. And then it seemed as if she didn’t have any money. I saw one of the women reach into what I think was her own wallet and hand some money to the taxi driver.
The taxi drove off and we thought that was the end of it. But about 20 minutes later, as my girlfriend and I were walking down Jaffe Road heading for dinner, we saw the woman again, this time standing in front of Junk Pub (note: less than one block away from where she got into the taxi) being questioned by two police. Whatever was going on, the police seemed satisfied and left her there and kept walking down the street.
It was odd, to say the least. And I’ll admit that I felt a little bit like the news cameraman in Medium Cool who passes by a horrific auto accident and stops and takes pictures and only after that, almost as an after thought, did he call 911.
Anyway, here are a few of the pictures.
If I haven’t posted any photos in awhile, it’s because there have been several distractions in my life. Those distractions are still with me but I’m trying to get back into shooting again. (“I’m distracted with relatively solvable trivia.” – Woody Allen) I don’t think any of these shots are great; they’re me easing back into it after a few weeks “away.” All of these were shot Saturday, June 23, 2012.
The first group of shots were taken walking around my neighborhood during a break from the rain that’s been with us almost every day for the past few weeks.
Going out for the night, our first stop was the MTR station in Hang Hau. Given that it was a holiday yesterday, the plaza was a little busier than usual with maids on their day off.
Camped out under the shopping mall’s escalator, presumably because it offers some shelter from the rain (though the rain had finally stopped by then).
And then, on to Wanchai. I think you’d probably need to be familiar with Wanchai to appreciate that there’s a place called Wood Shop right next to the Ming Court Hotel (the closest “love hotel” to the bars).
The lights of the bars along Lockhart Road. I love that there’s a go-go bar named Cockeye. If memory serves, it was once actually named Popeye until they got sued.
You’ll see the same scene outside many of the go-go bars as the night begins. Perhaps last night’s was more elaborate due to the holiday. They light fires and burn paper money and other goods to send them to the ghosts. Some have said they do this to keep away the ghosts of the thousands of customers they’ve ripped off over the years.
Probably you shouldn’t help yourself to any of this food as you’re walking by.
One of the problems with this ancient superstitious practice is the way it fills the street with smoke and ashes. As it happens, we were having dinner at the restaurant right next door to this bar. And every time someone opened the door to the restaurant, ashes would come flying in. Luckily none of this filth landed on our food but one huge chunk landed on my fork.
Anyway, the only food shot I’ve got from the evening is the basket of prawn chips. We were too hungry for me to want to take time grabbing food shots – every time a plate of food arrived at our table, we attacked it instantly.
And then over to Amazonia Bar for a few drinks. Icebox hit the stage at 9:30 – I’ve shot them too many times so last night just grabbed a few quick shots. Here’s rhythm guitarist Edwin.
And here’s lead guitarist Willie. I was trying to time my shots for when the lights were relatively “normal” but I like this red shot.
Following Icebox was a new band, didn’t catch their name. They started off with a seriously out-of-tune version of Englishman in New York and then went through several more faux reggae tunes before launching into a batch of Seattle 90s grunge rock stuff. I didn’t much care for them though the female lead singer is easy on the eyes.
Shooting at F1.4, the depth of field is extremely narrow and the focus ended up on her right hand instead of her face (I did enjoy several beverages) but I think you get the picture.