The In­vi­ta­tion

The Can­ton Disco re­vival will go down as one of the wildest nights of the year. Melissa Twigg meets An­drew Bull to find out how he made the ul­ti­mate ’80s party go off with a bang in 2015

Hong Kong Tatler - - Contents -

Ex­clu­sive din­ners, el­e­gant cock­tail gath­er­ings and par­ties ga­lore

Turn back the clock to a Fri­day night in 1985 and if you were young, cool and good-look­ing, you were in Can­ton Disco. This in­tox­i­cat­ing, cav­ernous night­club in Har­bour City was the place where love af­fairs blos­somed, hearts were bro­ken and good res­o­lu­tions were thrown to one side for a night of sweaty, heady fun.

An­drew Bull, the ebul­lient man who started Can­ton Disco and went on to be­come a mu­sic pro­ducer, is a Hong Kong leg­end. But the de­ci­sion to re­vive his most fa­mous night­club was never in his hands. The Can­ton Disco group was cre­ated a year ago on Face­book—and within weeks of its for­ma­tion, it had more than 2,000 mem­bers. “Ev­ery­body was shar­ing their mem­o­ries from the ’80s,” says Bull, on the phone from Shang­hai. “So it was in­evitable that some bright spark would even­tu­ally pro­pose re­viv­ing the night.”

The idea proved so pop­u­lar that Bull quickly re­alised he had no choice but to re­turn to Hong Kong from Shang­hai to stage the party of the cen­tury. “My mar­ket­ing bud­get was zero be­cause I sold most of the tick­ets in a cou­ple of days. The only worry was how I was go­ing to cre­ate a night that lived up to ev­ery­one’s ex­pec­ta­tions,” he says with a chuckle.

Bull con­sid­ered us­ing Water­mark at Cen­tral’s Star Ferry pier as the venue, but quickly re­alised that the 11pm cur­few wasn’t go­ing to sit well with a crowd that had mem­o­ries of tum­bling onto the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui at dawn. “I looked around for a while, but as soon as I spoke to the own­ers of Lupa on Queen’s Road Cen­tral, I knew I’d found the right lo­ca­tion,” he says. “I liked the fact there was an in­door and out­door area, so peo­ple could move about and min­gle with dif­fer­ent groups like they used to in the past.”

On the night it­self, Bull brought the decor of the ’80s back to life with pink, blue, green and yel­low lights, neon table­cloths and a gi­ant multi-coloured let­ter C at the en­trance to the res­tau­rant. “Walk­ing in was an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing as it took me back to my youth im­me­di­ately,” says Michael Ng, who spent many a teenage week­end danc­ing in the Har­bour City party spot. “I went there con­stantly with my friends, and I can still re­mem­ber the ex­cite­ment of com­ing back from the UK on school hol­i­days and plan­ning our first night out at Can­ton Disco.”

Ng wasn’t alone in feel­ing a rush of sen­ti­men­tal­ity—pansy Ho ar­rived with an en­tourage of 12 peo­ple, who all cheered with ex­cite­ment as they walked in, as did Gil­bert Ye­ung and his friends. “The energy was in­cred­i­ble from the very start,” says Bull. “Si­mon Choi was the DJ for the night and he got peo­ple danc­ing right away. It was fas­ci­nat­ing watch­ing old groups re-form­ing— and see­ing how power and re­la­tion­ships have shifted as peo­ple have aged and be­come suc­cess­ful in dif­fer­ent fields.”

Although ev­ery­body loves nos­tal­gia, Bull knew that the Can­ton Disco re­vival couldn’t wal­low in the past. “We wanted to stay rel­e­vant, not be a bunch of oldies play­ing disco clas­sics and high-fiv­ing,” he says. “I wanted it to be the most amaz­ing party in Hong Kong for 2015—on a 2015 ba­sis. The orig­i­nal night­club was very tied up with Hong Kong’s iden­tity at the time. It was a cre­ative cru­cible for peo­ple at that time—and re­viv­ing it 30 years later felt like a cel­e­bra­tion of how much this city has evolved since then.”

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