Category Archives: Comment

Beirut is more than boobs and Botox (a response to David J Constable)

D J Constable: Is he wearing any trousers?

So summer is here again and with it comes the annual influx of derogatory, poorly researched articles by western ‘journalists’ doing their best to pick out the worst parts of Beirut culture after a quick holiday visiting a couple of nightclubs.

Last year CNN made a brave expedition through the jungle of Beirut’s rooftop bars, encouraging the world to think that the city was populated entirely by sparkling idiots who couldn’t care about tomorrow as long as the champagne was flowing and the iPhone still had enough battery to film the dead look in everyone’s eyes.

This year the Huffington Post have gone one step further, with a piece by David J Constable claiming that

Beirut has now overtaken both LA and Miami as the plastic surgery capital of the world.’ 

Unfortunately, David neglects to inform us exactly where he sourced this data from, and if he did manage to bump into a medical statistician armed with a verifiable set of figures in either of the two shit clubs he visited he must have forgotten to add it to the article.

And that was not the only piece of data he forgot to reference. With such gems as

Muslim, Christian and Druze women in Beirut dress surprisingly skimpy’

and

the women look like Cleopatra, with a dark natural beauty’

it seems that it was not a guidebook but his own penis that led him around the city.

Well if the Huffington Post can employ a pervert to make wild unsubstantiated claims Beirut Beat can go one better. If Beirut is the plastic surgery capital of the world it is also a few other things too.

 

Beirut is design capital of the world

Beirut Design Week 2012

As last month’s Design Week showed, Beirut has more talented designers, artists and creative thinkers than any other city in the world, possibly the universe.

From workshops and talks with renowned fashion designers…

Johnny Farah workshop by Ghannouj

non-profit fashion houses

Creative Space Beirut Workshop

Arabic type-inspired furniture designers

Kashida: Product design inspired by Arabic typography

independent graphic designers

Maajoun: Independent graphic designers

renowned design educators and award winning film makers, the city embraced its design heritage and celebrated the rich culture of a very Middle Eastern art.

NB: Boob design does not qualify as design.

Beirut is the electronic music capital of the world

Per capita, there is more ground breaking electronic musicians in Beirut than any other city in the history mankind.

With musical outfits such as Beirut Groove Collective and Acousmatik system

Acousmatiksystem: They love owls…

and song-writing performers including Munma

Munma aka Jawad Nawfal

Tarek Attoui and Jad Atoui

Jad Atoui

not to mention Dj’s Lethal Skillz and DJ Spindle

or hip hoppers Fareeq El Atrash

Edd Abbas of FareeQ el Atrash

and Toufaar (who are from Bekaa but they deserve a mention for being amazing), there is enough new music coming from Beirut to give your ipod a heart attack.

NB: You may see many people with unusually large smiles at concerts and parties but trust me, it is not Botox.

Beirut is the western journalist capital of the world.

The journalists spot a mini skirt

At the last estimate there were approximately 17 million western journalists in Beirut. Building nests in 5 star hotels wearing their best Jesus sandals and tattered baseball caps, they crawl around every conceivable public space, interviewing people about ‘issues’ and trying to twist your every word into a political dialogue about refugees or Iran.

I once sneezed when walking down the street and the next day found out it had been translated into a double page article about Gaza. The only way to avoid them is to stay away from rooftop bars. You heard it here first people.

(ps Sorry Bobby Fisk I wasn’t talking about you).

(pps There are loads of other great bands I didn’t mention, this article pretty much covers them all)

Thank God Banksy tells me what to think…

“When you go to an art gallery you are simply a tourist looking at the trophy cabinet of a few millionaires.”

Banksy*

*Artist behind the painting ‘Keep It Spotless’ which sold for $1,870,000 Sotheby’s auction, 2007.

Thank god for Banksy. In the past I would just do as I was told and never rebel, aimlessly following lists of rules on how to behave. Now that I follow Banky’s incredibly unsubtle yet ultimately empty pseudo-political guidelines instead, I have become free.

I have become free to understand that wealthy companies advertising in public places without my personal permission are evil, as explained to me by a wealthy artist who advertises his work in public places without my personal permission.

I have become free to understand that we live in a vacuous, celebrity-orientated society, obsessed by wealth – a fact that Banky revealed by ironically selling Christina Aguilera a print for £25,000 in 2006.

I have become free to no longer accept war and poverty. Making the change was painless. You would be amazed how different it feels to no longer accept war or poverty, so responsible and wise, without changing my lifestyle in the slightest.

But most of all, I have become free to see that you people are all materialistic consumers, consuming away like whores, 24 hours a day.

Realising how evil consumerism is did not happen overnight. No sir. It took time and effort.

I started to get the idea after purchasing the picture book ‘Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall’ by Banksy in 2001. A more complex understanding developed after buying ‘Existencilism’ by Banksy in 2002 but did not fully hit home until I bought ‘Cut It Out’ by Banksy in 2004.

Then I forgot for a while and bought that big sound system to plug my decks into and that DVD to learn how to use my decks but I threw them all in the bin after I bought ‘Wall and Piece’ by Banksy in 2005. I also got ‘Pictures of Walls’. By Banksy. In 2005.

The pictures he did on that wall in Gaza really made me realize the fact that the thing in Gaza is wrong.

Things that will NOT be big in 2012.

Ed Sheeran's début album has 400 Brit Award nominations

My prediction for 2012 is that things will happen. Pop singers will gyrate their toned bodies on television screens, films featuring Adam Sandler tripping over things will play on trans-Atlantic flights, books will be written by Dan Brown. Other things will happen too, all of them bad. Huge cultural turds will wash into your eyes and ears and people who work in the media will tell you why you should swallow them up like hungry bears.

There are two main ways with which you can approach this problem. Firstly, you could lay awake at night, with the naive but optimistic hope that somehow the entire western entertainment industry will be wiped out by the genetically enhanced virus that Beirut Beat is culturing in the test tubes of our mind.

But in the meantime, you can look to the past and smile as you think of a more peaceful time, when the currency of fame was dealt in talent.

Here are a list of things that will NOT be big in 2012…

Under Milk Wood will NOT be drama of the year.

This 90 minute, sprawling lyrical master peace may well be the best script that has ever been written. The deliciously dark story of the residents of the fictional Welsh town of Llareggub (read it backwards) was written as a radio play, later adapted for the stage, capturing both the cynical nosiness, bitter hatred and tender affections that people in rural village communities feel for one another. It doesn’t have Daniel Ratcliff in it either.

‘Come now, drift up the dark. Come up the drifting sea dark street now, in the dark night see-sawing like the sea…’

Buy it here for under 2 pounds.

‘Exile On Main Street’ will NOT be album of the year.

In 2011, Adele had the biggest selling album of the year, closely followed by Michael Buble’s Christmas toss rag and another piece of electronic scat from Lady Gaga. Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones was not number one in 2011. But neither was it the number album in 1972, the year of its birth. That was because 1972 was also the year that Harvest by Neil Young, Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie and Paul Simon’s debut solo album were released. Does that make you feel sick? Well unless your name is Adele, it should.

Buy Exile on Main Street here, it is probably the best rock album of all time.

‘It was a good day’ will NOT be hip hop track of the year.

I shouldn’t really be including this, not after the way in which Mr Cube has slipped into the sewage of mainstream American family comedies. Perhaps he spent all his money on bandanas and couldn’t afford to pay the swimming pool cleaning bill? Who can tell. Apart from the glorious ‘Footsteps in the dark’ sample, the catchy beat and plodding bass, what I really enjoy about this track is the uneventful storyline.

First of all, Ice Cube apparently lives with his Mum, who presumably shouts at him for leaving AK-47s all over his bedroom when she is hoovering up. His perfect day involves playing basketball, having sex with a skank, getting pissed and going to Fat Burger. Plus there is a dirty bit at 2.55 that makes me giggle. Because I am a child. He also not appears to have understood the concept of irony. Great tune.

‘It’s ironic, I had the brew she had the chronic, the Lakers beat the Supersonics..’

‘Rocket from the tombs’ will NOT headline summer festivals.

I don’t know how I came across this filth. Rocket from the Tombs existed as a group for barely a year in the mid 1970s, their lead singer Peter Laghner dead aged 24 two years later. Although most of the lyrics are impossible to decipher, the sheer energy, anger and force of these tracks actually make The Stooges look like Coldplay. This track features one of the most disgustingly fine guitar solos in history, with sounds that must surely have been created by electrifying one, if not several, live cats.

Buy the dirtiest record in the world here.

I must leave you now to continue digging Ed Sheeran’s grave, but any suggestions for a continuation of this article are welcome.

Fishing for sex: The sleazy world of Craigslist Beirut ‘personal’ ads.

(NB: All information in the article is real. The postings were, and will be for a limited time still available to view on Craigslist. All emails are still sitting in my inbox. I would print the addresses but it is probably illegal, although judging by some of these guys, they would probably love it.)

So. Where to begin.

Craigslist is a centralized network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements with a site dedicated to almost every major city in the world. Each local site has sections specializing in housing, items for sale, services and community. Oh yeah, and sex ads. Lots of sex ads.

I suppose I could try to wriggle my way around the subject by talking about my deep love of online classified listings, how hilarious and inexplicably twisted people can be when they are shrouded in anonymity, how I was ‘curious’ or found myself reading ads ‘by accident’. But, as you will no doubt agree, the point will remain exactly the same. I was sitting in a café, reading the casual sex pages of the Beirut Craigslist website. There, I said it.

The odd thing about this site is that unlike in other parts of the world where it can be a gold mine of free furniture, stolen bikes and strange landlords, nobody seems to use the Beirut Craigslist. The jobs section is bare. The flat rental department features around one new posting per week. Unwanted pets, not even a hamster.

So when I entered the ‘Personals’ section I was quite surprised to find anything at all. As you will see if you visit the site, the links are arranged into different categories. There is the very ambiguous ‘Strictly Platonic’ for those prudes who cannot admit to their own depravity even whilst hidden behind their IP address. Following this is the regular ‘Men 4 Men’, ‘Women 4 Men’ and ‘Women 4 Women’ columns, the much racier ‘Misc Romance’ and finally the pure filth that is ‘Casual Encounters’. I have always wondered about the latter section, whether it means you are up for it without taking your socks off or can perhaps spare a free hand whilst also doing a bit of light housework.

The postings, if there are any, follow a very strict pattern depending on the genre. The Women4Men section is dominated by adverts for prostitutes, with images presumably taken straight from porn sites (none of them look very Lebanese at least). The Men4Women area is a bit more genuine, with a few business men looking for a cheap lay whilst here on a sales trip and the majority appearing to be unattractive middle-aged men from the USA looking for a woman who is prepared to put up with their ugly mug in exchange for an American visa. The percentage of said marriages which end with one of the newlyweds buried in the back garden is not available on the site.

If you want some action and are happy to be frank about it then the Men4Men, Misc and Casual sections are the place to be. Without wanting to offend anyone I believe it is common knowledge that gay men are a little more gung ho in their approach to getting some hanky panky, an assumption which is certainly not disproved here. Graphic descriptions, orgy planners and pictures of naked body parts are to be found aplenty here, and the response rate to these postings, as you are about to find out, is nothing short of enthusiastic.

By way of testing the water I decided to reply to one of the emails under the user name Fred Haley, the author of the curiously titled book ‘Satan was a Lesbian’ (anyone recognize the poster from a bar in Gemmeyzeh?).  I decided to reply to a post with a high chance of a response and found one looking for people to make up the numbers at an orgy following the Vanity Party. I foolishly did not save the original posting so cannot recall it verbatim but the general gist was as follows.

‘Looking to get an orgy together after the vanity party, email with a pic if interested.’

That was it. No specifications for age, appearance, political leanings, piercings, pets or otherwise. Just guys wanting an orgy. Replying in a serious manner would undoubtedly get me a serious response. But I wanted to see how far they might be willing to push this. My reply was as follows.

 ‘Hi 

I am fit, 35 but look 31, built, some tattoos.

 When are you planning your party? Time is an issue because I have a court appearance coming up. I wanna make sure I have some fun before I go away for a while.

Get in touch if you are for real and we will speak.’

Unremarkably this did not get a response, but it almost certainly caused some small debate between the orgy hosts as to whether or not they wanted a muscly, tattooed jailbird popping over for a game of hide the beef jerky.

Orgy Organizer 1; ‘But I think it will be exciting, a real thug at the party’

Orgy Organizer 2: ‘But we don’t know what he has done. Maybe he is a car thief, maybe a murderer’

Orgy Organizer 1: ‘Can we ask him? Is it rude to ask?’

Orgy Organizer 2: ‘I think we should keep him in the ‘maybe’ pile?’   

But still I wanted more. There was nothing to prove that any of these posts were actually real people who really did use this service to meet up and get jiggy wid it. So in the interests of journalism and academic research (ahem) I moved on to plan B. Creating my own posts. And here they are.

1) Lonely Fishing Enthusiast – M4M – 42 (Beirut (Hamra))

Looking for someone to talk about rods, reels and nets.

And maybe other things.

Can travel anywhere between Beirut and Tripoli.

I have my own van. 

Author’s note: This was my first post and the one I took the piss the hardest with. I was absolutely certain that nobody was interested in meeting a lonely gay fisherman to talk about ‘rods, reels and nets’. The picture of the old bearded chap alone should give that away. The ‘I have my own van’ line was just the cherry on the cake. Nobody would write back to this, right?

2) Rich man, marriage – M4W- 30 – (Beirut/USA)

I am man who have much money but need wife (sexy).

My car (BMW) can be drived by you sometimes.

Many thing in my house are made of gold (like Midas ahahahahahahaha).

I am good for love and (many) children.

Let us meet.

Author’s note: OK so I expected to get a few hits with this. I thought there would be at least a few women out there looking for a rich Arab husband.The ‘Midas’ joke might just about be plausible too. I also tried get across the fact that whilst this guy was boasting about being rich, he was not a walkover, and that the lady he chooses would sometimes be allowed to ‘drived’ his car, but not every day.

3) Seeking shaven beast

I am tired of all these hairy guys.

Need a real smooth companion. 

Get in touch if you are soft to touch.

I can travel to your place (as long as you have no pets).

No time wasters.

Author’s note: This I definitely expected to get replies from. Given that Mediterranean/Arab guys often have a little more body hair than their western counterparts, I thought it not unreasonable for somebody to have a fetish for baldies, if not full on alopecia.

4) Dominatrix W4M (30) (BEIRUT)

Are you a pathetic worm?

Of course you are. You are a maggot with no self esteem. You are not very good at your job. You have reduced fertility and no woman would want your neanderthal offspring anyway. You lay awake at night imagining all the things you would say to people if you actually had a set of balls in your withered little sack. You are cannon fodder. You are toilet water. You are a cockroach in a plastic bucket. You are a manufacturing error.  

You think nobody knows these things about you.

But I do.

And I will let you know.

Each and every single day

Author’s note: I was certain what I had written was just a bit too ridiculous to be taken seriously. Telling someone ‘You are not very good at your job’ is hardly psychological humiliation. I did enjoy writing the phrase ‘withered little sack’ though. I also picked the most unattractive picture of a dominatrix I could find on Google (and some of them were really hot).

So the bait had been set. My expectations were low, and any response at all would have brought me some satisfaction, even if it were only to justify that I had spent a whole afternoon conducting this ‘project’. But before closing the computer down to spend the evening interacting with actual people I thought I would have a quick check of my email.

Inbox 1

What? How could it be? The first post had only been put up less than an hour ago. It must be some spam about cheap Viagra, or perhaps an email from Craigslist requesting that I somehow prove I am a gay, alopecia loving, wealthy, unmarried dominatrix who likes to go fishing in his/her spare time. My heart was actually starting to beat faster as I opened the inbox.

It was a reply! To the Lonely Fishing Enthusiast. A wonderful, single word reply.

Hi 😉

So the fish had started to bite. I left the virtual nets in place and went into to town for a beer.

The next day I opened up Fred’s email address and was thrilled to find 4 more replies. And 3 of them were for the gay fisherman…

The first I opened was a tragically sincere email from Phil.

‘Hi there,
I just read your ad on craigslist and I’m wondering what are you looking for? I’m Canadian male in Beirut for the summer and looking for someone to spend time with and maybe have fun with too. So please let me know if you’re interested in that. P.s. I dint know anything about fishing .’

Well Phil, I am sure you are a nice guy, but did you READ my post? I said I want to talk about rods and reels and fishing stuff. And here you are, with your shameless lack of fishing knowledge, thinking I’m some cheap hussy. You tart. The next one was from Eddie.

Hello,

 I saw your Ad on CL and i thought it was interesting, i don’t know much about fishing i am more a hunting kind a guy, but i was curious, are you lebanese? do you fish here in Leb??? and why did you put the ad in m4m section are you interested in men sexually???’

See that Phil, at least Eddie knows about hunting. And he is asking if I am interested in men sexually, not just assuming. But there are more.

Hey there,

I found your add online while I was looking for something else… It sounds cool… And nice pic. Haha… I am from Canada… And have been trying to travel around the world for about 15 months… Now i am in cyprus, and I want to come to Beirut/middle east for a few months, and I love fishing! Haha… I’ll send you a pic, but I’d love to know a little more about you… Was that you in the picture?

Ronan’

Perfect! Ronan loves fishing! Right Phil, you are definitely out, Eddie you are on the waiting list, Ronan let’s get the van fired up and head for the hills.

Sadly I am not gay or a fisherman, otherwise I would feel like a kid on Christmas day. The next email I received was a rather patronizing response to the Rich Man Seeks Wife ad. As she was both attempting to offer services of a commercial nature (which breaks the Craigslist rules) and she offended me personally be insinuating that my ‘Midas Charm’ would not be enough to lure anyone in I have included her contact details. Feel free to write to her.

Angelika Lancsak: Cyber pimp

Sir,

I establish contacts to outstanding singles in the Mid East, Europe, America and Asia.

If you are not successful in your search & you seek some exceptional mate in your life kindly check my websites:

www.angelikalancsak.com                                                                   www.myspace.com/angelikalancsak                           www.expectexcellenceangelikalancsak.blogspot.com                                                                                 I am well-known for international matchmaking since 1997.

Please reply for further details.

 Thanks & best wishes

Angelika

Lancsak@a1.net

The thing is Anglelika, the phrase ‘If you seek some exceptional mate’ has put me right off. I might be a hilariously bad mannered, rich Arab guy but I do not view women as biological specimens. ‘Exceptional mate’ makes the game sound like ordering from a catalogue of farm animals. So piss off, you cyber pimp. I did check her blog though and she has her own Podcast of love making songs to download. Track 1: Barry White.

Next email received was for the Dominatrix. I had expected a more depraved reply and was shocked by Rami’s polite response.

‘Hello my dear

my name is rami… i am 26 years old guy living in beirut and used to be in california.. please let me know what you want so we can have a friendly meeting to discuss what you want from me and i will be at your quiet service

Waiting your reply
Rami’

Well what a sweetheart he sounds. What reason could he possibly have for wanting a big, fat, leather-clad trollop tell him he is a bad person whilst he was tied to a radiator with his own socks? Is it because he is too nice? Maybe he had a mean piano teacher as a kid that really got him going? I will probably never know (Rami if you are reading this please let us in on the mystery).

There was nothing yet for poor old baldy lover. Were there no hairless men for our fictional hero to meet with? There was still time for him, but it was now getting late in the day and real life was calling again. Time to close the computer and check the nets again in the morning.

It’s 8am and I am so excited I log into Fred’s account before even checking my own email. Ten replies! Ten! Most of them for Gay Fisherman, too. What the hell have I started? Could it be that the Gay Fisherman is actually an untapped genre in the word of ‘Miscellaneous’ relationships? Perhaps it’s the Brokeback Mountain factor, two guys, alone in the wilderness, arranging their worms to catch a bite from something. If this thing develops into a registered fetish (where do you register a fetish?) then I want it known that you heard about it here first.

Over the coming days the calls for gay fisherman were slowly overtaken by the dominatrix, who is now the runaway winner of the contest. And not all of them were as submissive as Rami..

Adam got the ball rolling with this. ‘I love feet nd would love to be ur slave from time to timeThanks for that Adam.

And Chris is apparently a man of stamina. I need someone who could show me they have what it takes to keep up with me.’

Habibi seemed to think a Dominatrix would be interested in his hobbies. I like outdoor activities, walking, skiing, travelling.’

And my personal favorite LeSheik had a confession to make. ‘Unfortunately im married and i prefer the secretive encounter 🙂 i never tried the dominatrix thing,  c’est la vie, im sorry 🙂

God I hope he is a real Sheik…

I got a second message from Phil, who removed any references to his lack of fishing knowledge from his email. Either he went away and read a copy of Trout and Salmon magazine or he was just trying to bluff it. No game Phil, no game.

But before I leave you I want you to know that Rich Arab Guy finally got a genuine message. I am sure he would be delighted…

‘Is your cock long and hard as gold, would you like me to pleasure u, u r so sexy what would u like me to do to u..’

The Midas touch indeed…

Happy fishing folks

PS – If anyone is a Gay Fisherman/ Rich Arab/ Dominatrix I may be persuaded to pass some of this information on (free of charge) as I actually started to feel a bit guilty about leading people along. xx

 

by Beirut Beat

10 Species to Spot at a Dubstep Night

Find all ten and win a rubber stamp mark on your wrist that will never come off. EVER!

1 The Whiteboy Dreads Nothing seems to bring the fairtrade krusties out in force like a good old fashioned dubstep night. Apparently it’s the noise of broken chainsaws, malfunctioning industrial blenders, exploding fax machines and other sounds loosely associated with work (something the trust fund sadly excludes one from enjoying) that gets them all excited and ready for a groove on a sticky dance floor. A word of warning, these creatures have a tendency to get shirtless.

                  

2 The Party Girl Pretending To Enjoy Herself This species comes in several varieties, but whether they are hipster, Friend-of-Dread (FoD) or magazine editor/blogger the result is always the same. Behind the moody expression and fashionable outfit there is a pair of sad eyes desperate to be anywhere else. Watching them quietly suffer can make you feel as though you are in a Smiths song. Just without the Johnny Mar melody. Or the Morrisey warbling. Or Andy Rourke rolling bass lines. Get in quick ‘cos these chicks aren’t sticking round for the encore.

3 The Pill Junkie This one is actually really easy to spot. Just scan the room for a sweaty, gurning Neanderthal flailing their arms around like a new born baby on the roof of a hot car. Narrow it down? Not really. But look more closely. Amongst the ravers who appear to be struggling to throw a steady Sieg Heil! due to the effects of early-onset Parkinson’s disease, you may spot the odd fellow dancing away to a completely different rhythm. After popping enough pills to raise a corpse, this specimen’s brain has simply rejected his environment. He is now back in Ibiza 1996, dancing on a beach and wearing those shit round sunglasses that Lady Gaga has brought back into fashion. Acid on the rocks?

4 The Lothario You have to give this guy some credit. He was going to stay at home tonight and save his energy for the schoolgirl party tomorrow. But his penis had other plans. ‘I’m staying in!’ said the Lothario. ‘But why?’ begged his penis. ‘Because it’s a dubstep party, no-one gets laid at dubstep.’ said the Lothario, putting his foot down for once. But the next thing he knew, he was mingling around the fringes of the dance floor, wearing a pair of side pipe jeans and drenched in Paco Rabanne aftershave. Some people just can’t stop giving.

5 The Ageing hippie The name of this specimen may be misleading. He is not your average lifelong hippy. Those guys are so confused by acid flashbacks that they are too busy trying to peel an imaginary hash pancake off the ceiling of their living room. This group is more the wife-left-me-for-the-mailman-so-im-going-back-to-the-good-old-days type of ageing hippie. And your friendly neighbourhood dubstep party is exactly the place to throw on a pair of psychedelic sunglasses and get back to your youth. And they are the perfect customer for group 6…

6 The Drug Dealer More so than most clubs, the dubstep drug dealer is most likely to be found hanging out by the toilets. The reason being that on the dance floor, no matter how loud you shout ‘DO YOU WANT SOME DRUGS’ you will inevitably be drowned out by the unsynchronised robotic fart noises emanating at 5 million decibels from the PA speakers. And the naive desperation of the ageing hippie is exactly what will pay the bills this week. ‘I’ve got these new drugs, yeah. Look like Tic Tacs, smell like Tick Tacs, taste like Tic Tacs, and they cost $40 each. And a guy as cool as you should take at least 5. Cash only, yeah’.

7 You

8 Where’s Wally Like our Lothario, Wally had planned to stay in tonight. His days of being seen everywhere were behind him. A whole evening of watching of Friends DVDs and ironing stripy red and white tops and gay little matching hats lay ahead. But then a call from Tintin changed everything. ‘You’ve got to come out man,’ said Tintin, ‘Asterisk and Obelix have got back together, we’re all going to dubstep to celebrate!’ ‘I dunno’, said Wally, polishing his John Lennon specs. ‘Come on, it’s gonna be banging!’ screamed Tinitin down the phone. ‘I’ve got Snowy with me’.

9 More Dreads. It appears somebody has left the gate at the zoo open. These things are now everywhere, grazing on plastic beer glasses and performing campfire rituals around the DJ booth. I can feel a stampede brewing. Someone call the World Health Organisation. Or at least give me a Stetson and a lasso.

10 The Drunk Lost Guy Trying To Get home Many a great man has in his day attempted to overcome adversity with alcohol. The philosophy is as follows; This situation is not to my taste, I will improve it by adding booze. But the dubstep venue can be a labyrinth. You left a trail of breadcrumbs back to the exit but the Dreads ate them all. Are you on the dance floor, or in the toilets? Is it the girls, or the boys? Nobody can quite tell. You’re on your own son. You’re on your own…

PS. If this is me please find the name tag and address attached to my wrist and return me in a taxi

 

by Beirut Beat

Pussy Cat Party (19/3/10): How to survive the Open Bar

Step 1: Arrive. This Mansion (warehouse in Bourjhammoud) is a bit out of the way. Still, no trouble when you are transported straight to the door in a chauffeur driven Toyota Yaris with a smashed  bumper hanging down like a punched lip. That’s right, I’m a rock star. They totally love me on myspace.

Step 2: Get in. Bit of a queue on the stairs. I would push my way to the front, you know with the whole myspace fame thing, but I’ve not lost my roots.  Besides, it gives me a chance to check out some people’s outfits. Apparently what is hot this season is spandex, naked male chests and pussy cat ears. I’ve got to buy Vogue more often…

Step 3: Check place out, head to the free bar. Or maybe check the place out on the way to the free bar. Makes more sense. Saves time. It would be rude not to. On my way there I spot a few things. 1) This warehouse is fucking massive 2)There is a big projector, projecting stuff. 3) Aphy is spinning tunes on an enormous stage which has cages either side of the DJ setup. These details will have greater relevance as the night goes on. But they will have to wait. The Open Bar is calling…

Step 4: Justify drinks choice. So why have I got a beer and 4 whiskeys in my hand? Do I need all this booze? Answer: The Open Bar told me to do it. Of course it did. The room has filled up nicely and Aphy has switched from glam-pop to pumped out techno. There seem to be at least 4 professional photographers prowling the room with enormous cameras and I am possibly the only person not wearing stiletto heels. Or a wig. Or both.

Step 5: Justify drinks choice again: The Open Bar has become a wrestling match. Long arms reach out from the throng, thrusting towards the bar tenders like lepers trying to touch the Pope. There is a logical mathematical equation regarding your drink order during this type of situation. Previous Order x 2. But nobody has 6 hands, so half of this must be consumed at the bar or spilt down ones jacket/bare-male-chest/high-heels. Well-oiled and tender, it’s back to the dance floor.

Step 6: Get freaked. El Djette has taken over from Aphy on the stage and is making the speakers do their work with some throbbing beats. Half the room seems to be forcing themselves onto the catwalk to get punished by the bass at point blanc range. The cages either side of the stage have been invaded by writhing half-dressed humans. It’s all starting to get a bit Roman. But then the projector throws an image of Justin Beiber on the wall. Who invited Beiber? Does his mother know he is out this late? I’m hiding in the bathroom until he’s gone.

Step 7: Deniro moment. Some weird guy is staring at me in toilet. He probably knows me from myspace or somewhere. Thinks he looks so cool in his leather jacket. But I could take him on, any day. I could totally kick his.. Oh wait. That’s a mirror.

Step 8: Dance like no one is watching. They say that if you want to look thinner then stand next to a fat person. This technique does not apply to drunk dancing. Try dancing next to the drunkest looking person in the room and you both end up looking like mental patients going through electric shock treatment, dreaming about swimming contests they were never eligible to enter. Best just to keep going for it. The whole room thinks the same.

Step 9: The Last Waltz: An unusual situation has broken out at the Open Bar. Whilst there is still plenty of booze, the plastic cups in which it would be served have refused to take part and are breaking as the bar staff remove them from their boxes. It’s as though they are on strike. The Open Bar has a mind of its own! It will not be conquered! No matter though, the show must go on. Aphy has taken to the decks for an encore and the pussy cats are still raving.

Step 10: Homeward bound? It’s time to leave but I can’t find the car. The Toyota Yaris seems to have taken offence at my ‘punched-lip bumper’ comment and is refusing to pick me up. I would rely on my old army skills to get me home, but the Open Bar has hazed my brain. I’ve also never been in the army. Anyone know the number for a Taxi?

Photos 1 and 3 by Prince Giorgio. Photo 2 by Bechara Samneh  Photo 4 by Phillipe Nayt. Thanks so much guys!

Revolution rock Beirut: Where are the guitars?

‘A system built by the sweat of the many, creates assassins to kill off the few. Take any place and call it a courthouse, this is a place where no judge can stand.’

Joe Strummer – Guns on the roof.

The words of the late Clash frontman in a track about terrorism, war and political corruption are perhaps more relevant today than they were back in 1978. Politicians and zealots still control the lives of the many who struggle for a better future, and justice often feels like a far off land. How I wish old Joe was still around to tell it like it is.

But music still does speak up and bark back, except here in Beirut, at least, in a slightly different voice.

From my wanderings between the city’s various venues it seems the most influential and promising music scene in Lebanon right now is not centered around guitars but instead hip hop. And it makes sense. As a vocal medium, rap music is perfect to discuss social problems with rhythm, express anger without shouting and deliver messages without metaphor.

And don’t get me wrong, I do love hip hop. But my heart can’t help longing to see a young man or woman on stage, singing like a demented preacher and beating a guitar to death with bloodied fingers.

The UK, by contrast, is bursting at the seams with young rebels in testicle choking jeans, snarling away into toilet mirrors in nightclubs before strangling their microphones to death under the spotlight. But the difference is plain to see; the UK suffers nothing near the problems that the Middle East has. Yes, tuition fees for university went up ridiculously (those fuckers), but David Cameron is not exactly Colonel Gadhafi. At least not yet.

So come on guys, pick up the guitars and then smash them to pieces, and let’s see some Lebanese Joe Strummers show the hip hop boys how it’s done.

(P.S.  If I am wrong about this or I am missing out on something then please let me know where you are so I can come and kick out the jams with you.)