WARNING: RAVING RANT AHEAD
You really can’t teach old dogs new tricks. 3A and I certainly demonstrated that when we stayed up till the wee hours of the morning just in the hopes of catching a dance performance.
No, we are not groupies … just two sad has-been with nothing better to do it seems. It all started when I’d received an evite from dbl O, a club in the Mohd Sultan strip of nightclubs and bars, advertising the Belly House parties from 19 to 22 April. Normally, I disregard such invites but this one captured my attention because of the sultry promise of the following:
Admittedly, much of my attention was snagged by the tantalising words, “Magnificent Muscular Men”. Amused and curious, I sent it to some dancer friends to check if they knew who the performers were. The consensus was that the “live” drummer was probably the psychotic, stalkerish and eminently untalented drummer blacklisted by most of the dancers. And the dancers might be from the KK school of dancers. 3A and I were curious and bored enough to decide to pay a visit to dbl O just to catch their performance, since it had been a long time since we’d seen KK’s dancers do their thing.
Now, I have to talk a little about Mohd Sultan Road. In the late 90s, it was the hotspot of nubile young things, pounding music and humongous lines outside the many trendy nightspots. A common tableau was extremely young and illegal patrons queuing for hours to get in or staggeringly drunkenly out to upchuck glamorously into the five foot walks.
Taxis lined the streets of rich pickings and it was fairly amusing to watch the desperate, last ditch attempts at pick-ups of another kind as you leave the clubs. Amusing and alarming in equal measures because so many of the young girls were often so inebriated, they were lying prone on the pavement as morally-bankrupt blokes stood over them hopefully caressing their little silver foils tucked in their pockets. Those were the days when just passing the street made you feel old.
3A and I felt old this time around too. Because dbl O still harboured the Mohd Sultan ‘tude – full of nubile young things and more attitude than style. However, Mohd Sultan had become a shadow of its former self. Shabbier and infinitely quieter (so quite it was empty), there was an air of silent, despairing desperation of a street clutching hopelessly to its former glory. It was in denial of its has-been status and was trapped in a dated, terribly unhip time warp. Much like 3A and I, actually.
Sure we had our hay days of partying but we stuck out like two extremely sore thumbs in dbl O now that we are on the dark side of our 30s. It did not help that we were inappropriately dressed. The door bitch/bouncer refused to let 3A in with her messenger bag. It was obvious it was not the size of the bag. We were given the choice of bag checking 3A’s bag or leaving. 3A was uncomfortable about the security of the club so we were forced to go back to her place to change to a smaller bag. Later, 3A groused that there were many girls there with much larger bags than hers. I did not have the heart to tell her it was not the size but the lack of style they were giving us hell for.
Truly, dbl O was reveling in its own delusion of coolness. Which is quite ironic since the décor was incredibly tacky, the music banal, the service atrocious and the performances horrendous. It was also really boring. The most outstanding thing about dbl O was the staff’s attitude. I did not appreciate the door bitch/bouncer’s looking down at 3A because of her attire and the obvious fact that she is not a clubber. Another bouncer spent the entire night walking the perimeters of the dance floor and telling people not to drink on the dance floor when they were no where near it. The staff were so unjustifiably full of themselves, had really poor attitudes and no concept of how a club should be run.
Bless 3A though. She actually worried that we might get picked up despite my telling her that we would never have any worries in clubs like dbl O since we are old enough to be many of the patrons' mothers. And seriously, no bloke would even give us a second look. I don’t think 3A has quite realised that we are has-beens in the clubbing scene yet. Yes, denial is not just a river in Egypt. I certainly hope we do not mimick Mohd Sultan’s slow kicking and screaming slide into the sunset.
We were definitely an incongruous sight in dbl O. It would not have been as bad if we had situated ourselves discreetly in a corner but 3A was determined to have a good view of the stage, which meant that we were smack dabbed in the centre of things.
I could feel the garish spotlights highlighting how out of place we were. It did not help that where we were standing was right under the very cold and draughty air vents blowing right into us. And we were not dancing … just standing there, making our presence highly conspicuous and suspect. What was worse was that I had a vague suspicion that our position announced our presence to all of KK’s students – something I truly dislike. Sigh … I really, REALLY like my anonymity and hate people taking note of my appearances. But I just gritted my teeth and ignored the many questioning stares.
After all that waiting, the two drummers only set up at 11pm. There was a palpable air of restlessness from the natives. The drummers were complete strangers to us, which was a relief. I always like “discovering” new drummers. However, I thought it was extremely poor planning that they began assembling the stage only then and we were treated to their fumbling set-up of the mikes (of which there were not enough) and velcroing of the skirting to the small platform. They did not even do a sound check resulting in the two drummers not being heard above the dance music.
While the advertisement did not claim that the tabla players were middle eastern drummers, it certainly implied it with the theme. Therefore, it was disappointing that the two drummers used Indian tablas and bongo drums. And to be honest, they were not very good but then again, I cannot say that with absolute certainty because of the messed-up sound system. And the Indian tabla player had no clue what he was doing because he had to physically walk in circles around his set of 3 Indian tablas and 1 bongo drum in order to play each drum. Tragic.
With such uninspiring drum performances, 3A and I should have cottoned on to the possibility that the dance performance may be just as disastrous. But since we had endured so much to even get into the club, we were determined to see at least one dance performance.
All I can say is that it was a good thing it was Ladies Night, so entry and all the house pours were free, as I would have kicked up a big fuss and insisted on leaving if I had to pay money to suffer through the dbl hoax experience.
We waited and waited but did not see any dancers. What we did see was dbl O’s idea of a Kasbah Harem set-up. They had makeshift valances made of cheap, shiny green faux satin trimmed with gold tinsel and embroidered Malay-style ribbon. Indonesian checked sarongs lined the walls and I had to check I was not at a Malay wedding instead. But the pièce de résistance was a large tube of fire-engine red mesh right smack in the middle of the club. It looked like a Chinese lantern gone very very wrong, sporting a jaunty frond of the same green atrocity adorning the beams above us. At first we assumed it was someone’s bad attempt at a light feature till we realised to utmost horror that it was meant for a “cage” dancer.
Just as we reached this scary conclusion, we spotted four girls decked in lurid, cheap spangled bras, hip scarves and diaphanous slit-to-the-waist harem pants. They looked incredibly tacky but it was made worse by the fact they were all wearing their harem pants tucked into high, kitten-heel boots and matching head scarves. Behold the gay French Legionnaires trying out for a role in Moulin Rouge!
3A excitedly grasped my arm (I have bruises … the woman likes to grab my arms and she has strong fingers) when she saw them, convinced they were the dancers. But I spied the play syringe and vials of tequila clutched in the clueless damsels’ hands and informed 3A with great relief that they were just the tequila mamas.
This relief was cut short when at 1.05am (yes, we actually waited till then! Someone give us a medal for tenacity and stupidity please!), one of the tequila mamas pried herself into the red light district and began gyrating, wriggling and undulating to a music unheard by anyone else in the club. I do not know what song she was hearing in her head, but the rest of us were obviously on a different channel. Aghast, 3A and I just stared at her with our jaws almost dropping to the ground. Unbelievable! Not even KK’s girls would stoop to that!
I wish I had something positive to say so I do not sound like a raving bitch ranting away but it was truly a horrible night and a complete waste of time. I take issue with dbl O for completely false advertising, poor taste, abysmal service and just plain lousy entertainment. 3A and I left at exactly 1.15am. Honestly, I would have had more fun washing my hair.
And what magnificent muscular men??!!! Now that was just wrong to mislead me thus!