Sunday, 21 January 2007

The history of clubbing in Singapore

I chanced upon this story of Bullwinkle's in Bloomington closing, which led to this one of Velfarre in Tokyo closing. Which was an interesting coincidence since earlier today I was thinking about the clubs in Singapore that have come and gone and wondering if anyone's ever done any sort of history of them. Even just an oral history? I know there was the Zouk coffee-table book but besides that, will people's experiences of places such as Fire, Ridley's, and so on be remembered? (Couldn't seem to find anything on clubbing on Yesterday.sg, my usual source for Singapore-based nostalgia.)

I mean, take something as central to the Singapore clubbing scene as Mambo Jambo - naff as it can be, it's arguably something many clubbers were weaned on. The Wikipedia entry seems to suggest that the "retro" style arose strictly from Zouk days, but Adam Low was spinning long before Zouk existed, and I would imagine his set at Rumours had some of that same music before he brought it over to Zouk. Or was it truly original?

It used to be a circuit, back in my halcyon post-JC days. Zouk on Wednesdays, Venom in Pacific Plaza on Thursdays, Chaplin's at Holland Village on Friday's. That was back in the days when I was listening to so-called retro music (can music really be retro when I remember hearing it the first time it came out?) before I discovered house. And I discovered house music via those 15 minutes of house that would play at the end of Mambo nights - Armand van Helden's remix of Tori Amos' "Professional Widow" was a particular favourite then, as was Express of Sound's "Real Vibration (Want Love)".

I suppose I've been to many clubs since those days - just thinking of big superclubs alone, I've been to the Ministry of Sound in London, Crobar in Miami, Cream in Liverpool - all back before the dance music scene seemed to eat itself in the mid-2000s. But it would be nice to hear the story of clubbing in Singapore, something akin to Sheryl Garratt's Adventures in Wonderland. Any leads?



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