Ringing in CNY with “Moon Poetry Night” @ Club 71

February 14, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! During the week just before CNY, I chanced upon a post on Facebook advertising the “200th” on February 10th at Club 71. Seeing the post, part of me thought that it’d be an interesting way to ring in the New Year and another part thought that since I’m attempting my first ever blog (!) in hKUDOS about arts and culture around HK, I should start exploring more of the city, especially HK Island (I’m a Kowlooner)! I’m quite interested in arts and culture but never really tapped into HK’s local scene and blogging for hKUDOS is to give myself a little nudge and explore more of my city :) This poetry night seemed like a good place to start, so explore I did on the first night of the CNY and ended up having an interesting night at Club 71.

Relying on the powers of Google Maps, it took a few up-and-downs along Hollywood Road before arriving at the club, tucked away down a narrow alley. Club 71 is a cozy rectangular space with a bar to the left, no more than ten seats down its right, a ladder set halfway down the room and a sofa corner at the end of the stretch. A colorful mural at the end of the room stood out against the club’s quirky décor and Chinese couplets were stringed all around for festivities. There were plenty of drinks and cupcakes (yum) to serve and I was told that if I climbed up the ladder to share a poem during the night, I’d get a free shot of 16-year-old Shaoxing rice wine .

A few were already mingling inside the club and in the courtyard out front. I sat down on one end of the sofa corner and watched the musicians set up for the night on the other. Before long, a keyboardist and a banjolele player started jamming spontaneously. Truthfully, I was quite nervous at first being unfamiliar to the growing crowd of frequenters who were chatting away. But the friendly and relaxed atmosphere of the place saved me from thinking my first exploration attempt for this blog a failure. The friendly faces of Club 71 were nice enough to introduce me to many interesting people, including local playwright Candace Chong (莊梅岩), the well-known local storyteller Yuen Chihung (雄仔叔叔 :D ), and former students of the late poet Ye Si or Professor Leung Ping Kwan. I even made an unexpected encounter with Professor Clarke of HKU’s Fine Arts Department! People climbed up and down the ladder sharing poems and playing music. Things took an emotional turn when a former student of Ye Si shared one of his poems. As she recited, the musicians improvised and I could sense a flow of memories stirring the hearts of many in the room. The atmosphere picked itself up again shortly after and it’s my first time being part of such a spontaneous artsy gathering! Being a first time visitor, I mostly listened and observed but at one point they invited me to climb up the ladder to share a poem. I was unprepared and nervous more than anything so I regretfully passed the turn… along with that free shot…… When I left I was invited to visit again sometime to get to know everyone better, it’s clear that Club 71 welcomes all kinds of conversations and creativity.

For all you artists, hipsters and even activists out there (I learnt from the staff that the club was formerly Club 64 in Lan Kwai Fong and it’s reopened on Hollywood Road as Club 71; these numbers are namesakes of their respective sociopolitical events) Club 71′s worth a visit. When the club’s not hosting a poetry night, it’s a nice hangout for friends and family in the afternoons with plenty of beverages and cakes to offer! A 20-minute bus ride away from HK, it might also be a nice quiet spot to read and study a little if you want a change of scenery. The next time I visit, I’d be prepared and brave enough to climb up that ladder and get one of those free shots ;) … This is the end of my first post, hope some of you out there’ll keep reading! Until the next exploration~



“Blogging is a conversation, not a code.” – Mike Butcher ~Comments, queries, ideas, feel free to read and drop me a line~