Thursday, January 14, 2010

Failure to communicate

I have commented on here more than once before about how unreliable listings in the expat magazines and websites can be, particularly for regularly repeating events. Venue owners put out a notice for a regular weekly or monthly event, and then...... well, they never think to modify the listing when they move or cancel the event shortly afterwards. And no-one from the magazines ever seems to check on the status of regular listings. I wonder, in fact, what the record for the most out-of-date listing would be? I think I've seen things that are up to about a year behind the times. I have even, on occasion, seen listings for bars and restaurants that have ceased to exist.

Unless you know that a weekly event is newly initiated, you should always treat such a listing with a large pinch of salt. Always try to check in advance with the venue, if possible. I'm never all that surprised by phantom listings.

Yesterday, however, I got caught out. Obiwan (not a particularly attractive destination for me, but only a fairly short walk from where I live) has been running a Wednesday night promotion called Jack Rabbit Slim's - after the diner in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction where Mia and Vincent enter the dance competition. Apparently you get a burger and fries and a three-hour free flow of draught Tsingtao while a DJ spins golden oldies from the '50s and '60s - all for just 50 rmb.

Now, that does sound rather fun. And very good value for money (a vital consideration for me, since I've earned bugger-all in the last four weeks).

This, I think, is a relatively recent innovation. And it seems to have achieved a particularly high prominence just lately: it's in all the listings magazines this month. I had, therefore, assumed that this might be part of the recently announced drive to revamp the place as it moves into its fourth year of operation.

I was too busy yesterday to call the bar myself to doublecheck, but I'd asked a friend to confirm with them if the event was still running and let me know if it wasn't. He didn't get back to me, so...... well, I thought we had a green light; I started rallying the troops.

It was, perhaps, lucky that the troops mostly declined to be rallied. Only the reliable Dr Manhattan answered the call.

We were cruelly disappointed: not only was there no Jack Rabbit Slim's night, there was no bar. The place is closed. (Closed, in fact, in a looks-like-it-might-never-reopen kind of way.)

There was much hullabaloo a month ago, when Ralph Ziegenhorn and Echo Sun of Q joined as new partners in the bar, with the intention - I presume - of taking the cocktail offerings up a notch or two in class. Other changes, including 'renovations', were mentioned in passing in their releases to the press - but nowhere, as far as I can find, was any reference made to being closed for a period.

My old buddy David Mitchell (the scintillating guitarist with Uyghur folk/jazz outfit Panjir) is supposed to be 'Director of Communications' there - but I don't think he's in Beijing at the moment (he hasn't been answering his phone for a while, anyway). There was a lot of favourable publicity about the joining of Ralph and Echo in December, but..... no news since. Dave, old son, it really would be a good idea to let people know that you're closed, why you're closed, and when you're going to re-open.

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