Entry for May 8, 1998
Lots of things going on, boys and girls!!! Life here in Shanghai just gets more and more frenetic. A friend of mine from New York who is visiting Shanghai and who writes for several major magazines, last night said he saw Shanghai as being the NEXT BIG THING. Wrong, I said. It is the CURRENT BIG THING, but the world is only just waking up the fact!!
I hear the Shanghai Lawn Club has finally been established, after much too long a wait. Will it provide competition for the International Tennis Center on Hengshan Lu? No. It is not that kind of lawn. My good friend, the cuddly and extremely intelligent Marcus, who is behind this new club tells me the focus is on real lawns -- that is, grass!! The club will hold meetings on weekend afternoons, the first one this Sunday at the Hongqiao Guest House!! The membership fee of 100 yuan includes a white sports shirt emblazoned with the Shanghai Lawn Club logo. Please send an email to Jenny at Shanghai-ed if you would like to join!!!
Yanan Lu is about to disappear!!! I may have mentioned it before, but the significance of what is about to happen to this road and the buildings along it is hard for me to grasp. Not that it's particularly pretty, although there are several old houses along the way that I hope will be spared demolition. We will know soon after May 25 when construction begins. But it is like a main artery through the city's body. Will Hilda's Long Bar, the Shanghai home of Guangong, be allowed to survive? Will the appalling fengshui of the Yanan Lu area improve as the elevated highway takes shape? Has anyone consulted a fengshui expert to check??!! I understand that Michelle is looking for somewhere new to operate her 1221 restaurant during the construction period, which is going to turn the approach to her establishment into a demolition derby!!
I hear that Coco, Shanghai's most divine Billie Holiday impersonator, is singing again in various places around town!! I thought he was just here for a couple of weeks, but it looks as if he'll be staying longer before returning to Europe for his wedding!!! Other musical news -- the Wu Yue band is no longer "between engagements". They are now playing several nights a week at the Superstar Bar across from the Holiday Inn.
If you enjoyed the Weird Link I offered up in my last report, you might like this as well -- a weekly newsletter on the weirdness that is life. Click!!. My darlings, please send me an email if you come across any good weird and funny sites. Thank you!!!
I was at a dance party last night at the home of one of Shanghai's most famous artists, Mr Xu Yuanzhang, who has a house and a huge garden right in the centre of the French concession. I am not very good at ballroom dancing but I watched in awe as a very charming man I understand is called Mr You swung his partner round the room which such dashing style!! I so wanted him to dance with me, but it was not to be!! I'm not jealous, and I'm certainly not the kind of girl who steals a man away from another girl on the dance floor. Whoever the lucky lady is who was dancing with Mr You -- if you read this, I promise I will let you "Save the last Dance For You"!!!
Entry for May 7, 1998
Boys and girls, I heard this evening that Michelle Garnaut has signed a lease on a restaurant on the corner of the Bund and Guangdong Lu!!! Do you realise what this means?? The best Pavlovas in the world will be available for us to eat anytime here in Shanghai. I am just going to have to work even harder at keeping my waistline under control. Everyday already I do exercises, although it's not easy. I say to myself: "I will touch my toes or bust - which comes first"!!!
Anyway, Michelle runs the best restaurant in Hong Kong - M at the Fringe - and she has been looking for a place to open here in Shanghai for well over a year!! The one she's chosen has a balcony view of the Bund and the Huangpu River -- just perfect!! Opening date: October, I understand.
I hear that Bill Clinton and Hilary will be staying at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel during their stay in Shanghai at the end of June. That should be wonderfully disruptive!! But I'd be happy to show Hilary round some nightspots if she'd like to get away from the circus for a while. Not Bill, just Hilary. I think Bill probably has enough trouble on his plate without being spotted out on the town in Shanghai with May-May!! If anyone from the White House is reading this (and you never know, darlings!!!) -- it you would like me to help in any way looking after Hilary, just ask. Send me an email!!
You remember a few days ago, I gave you the Unternet address of a really weird page? Well, I've found another one, possibly the funniest page on the entire web. Please do look at it, and remember to come back here straight afterwards!! Here it is Click!!!
Entry for May 5, 1998
Heaven, just heaven!! My friend Jack -- you remember, the real estate executive -- took me out last night, and we visited a few places that I haven't seen for a while. It was raining, which always gives the night a romantic feel as you move from one nightspot to another -- accompanied by someone you like!! Not so romantic alone. Anyway!!!
We had dinner at 1221, which I now believe has the best onion cake in Shanghai. Small but perfectly formed. Then we went on for a drink at the highest cosy spot in town -- the bar on the roof of the Garden Hotel. We talked about real estate, which with Jack is not as boring a subject as you might think. He was saying that he saw the property market in Shanghai bottoming out over the next year, and that there was a growing feeling that this is a good time to buy. I think he's trying to get me to agree to buy that place in Pudong!!
First the American Club, then Sunflowers -- now I hear there's a second Cotton Club in town. This one is in Hongqiao. But I understand from a lawyer friend that there's nothing anyone can do about it -- you cannot register the English name of a bar, restaurant or club in China, only the Chinese name. So all you other bars and restaurants -- beware!! Someone might even open a Pudong Hard Rock cafe!! That would be fun!!!
I hear the Tandoor restaurant people are opening a Thai food restaurant, and about time too!!! I have said many times that Shanghai needs a Thai restaurant, and I'm glad that someone was paying attention!! There used to be two Thai places here -- one became the upper floor of the Hard Rock cafe, and the other was lost in the Fengshui black zone on Yanan Lu. I hear Tandoor will be opening the new restaurant near their Indian restaurant in the old Jinjiang. Yummy!! Tom Yam Gong soup!!!! It is said to be the best cure for a hangover ever invented.
Entry for May 4, 1998
Sunflower wars!!! Boys and girls, The Shanghai American Club is not the only organisation in town which has to deal with the existence of a second identically-named entity! I went last night to Club Absolute on Shaanxi Lu, once one of my favorite discos, and found an all-girl band playing there. It's a trend! It is only a few weeks ago that I discovered Sunflower, an all-girl trio playing at Shanghai Sally's. That makes two all-girl bands in our Shanghai!!!
After the band at Absolute had finished their last song, a rousing version of Bye Bye Love, I went to talk to the lead singer, and asked her the name of the band. "Sunflower," she said. !!!!???? Confusion!! But but but, I said!!! She nodded. They used to be with us, then they left, she said. So we now have two all-girl bands in Shanghai and both of them are called Sunflower.
Musically, I think the Club Absolute Sunflowers are superior, but for packaging and style, I will vote for the breakaway Sunflowers trio. I wanted to mention this packaging issue to Stephanie, the Absolute Sunflower lead singer, but I didn't have the heart! Or maybe I was just stunned at having discovered the Sunflower scandal!!
I am getting quite nervous about my forthcoming Star TV appearance. You will remember that the Hong Kong satellite channel has asked me to compere a show introducing Shanghai's burbling nightlife to its millions of viewers across Asia. Not that I lack confidence, you understand. I am, after all the official Queen of Shanghai's nightlife. But I am so concerned about being fair to all the wonderful places that I visit on my nightly tours!! Oh, the responsibility!!!
Another bar seems to have closed down -- Harry's Apple Bar in the Overseas Chinese Building. And I hear several other places are having trouble meeting their rental payments. Oh dear, is it shakeout time in Shanghai's nightlife world??
I have received an email from a fan who calls him or herself "Lin Lin". An unlikely name, to be sure!!! Here's what he (or she) says:
"Dear May May: I'm a reader of your interesting column. I find it very informative and quite humorous. To be honest, I doubted your existence. It is your April 27's journal that convinced me you do exist. In that, you talked about your surfing the net and linked a sickly funny web site to your diary. I was just wondering how you stumped upon this site. Maybe you can shed some light by sharing the key words you used? Just joking. Seriously, I do appreciate very much your refreshingly different sense of humor and look forward to hearing about your next adventure."
Well, Lin Lin!! Let's strike a deal -- i won't doubt your existence if you don't doubt mine!! Fair deal??!!!
You ask me about how I found the site I mentioned in my report of April 27. I did NOT do a keyword on any word that would have brought up that site!! I friend gave me a list of bookmarks, and it was among them. I have built up an interesting set of bookmarks. Anyone who would like to have a copy of May-May's bookmarks, just send me an email!!!
Lights, camera, action!!! Oh, do you think I will be alright in from the cameras??