Dazed Digital

Shanghai

Guest Editors: Jellymon

September 29, 2011

Satellite Voices's favourite Shanghai creative collective and agency guide us through a month immersed in the city's culture

  • Text by Satellite Voices

Guest Feature by Josh Atkin

Welcome to the Jellymon Shanghai column. Every month we'll be providing you with an inside scoop into one of the most exciting cities in the world. Whether it's unusual and tasty food, the latest cultural influences about town, people's wild and wacky fashion styles or some of our own weird and wonderful pleasures, we hope our column will accumulate the smells and sensations that this city emanates and convert them into bite size paragraphs for your reading pleasure!


It’s time for another report from this wild city of contrasts. In what feels like lightning time since our last missive, this month we’ve found ourselves riding on the wave of flamboyance, only for the foam of its break to be far more grounded in reality.

The month started off in VIP style as first we were invited to the launch of a new nightspot called Haven. Situated south of the Bund, the venue is a Dracula themed club and the party certainly made sure that this was conveyed throughout. From the vintage, scroll-like invitations, through to the masked and caped waiting staff, efforts were made for Haven’s opening to cop a Transylvanian feel but its Chinese roots were inescapable. At one point a brand new sports car rode into the venue for no other than reason than to be garish. Elsewhere projection problems, and an unusual Dracula themed wedding added to what became an increasingly bizarre evening. The champagne however, flowed all night.

Indeed, just 48 hours later, we were seeing bubbles again as Hollywood graced the Bund. Moet ambassador Scarlett Johansson was in town, and not just to leak semi-revealing photos of herself through social media, but also to tell the world how her effervescent life is enhanced through her association with the most famous of champagne brands. Not content with just blabbing at press junkets, Scarlet and Moet ensured nothing was lost in translation by throwing a champagne bash at Bar Rouge. A nightspot so often associated with the least tasteful side of Shanghai life, one would be foolish to deny at least some sense of holding a “top of the world” mentality whilst sipping the fizzy stuff on a roof terrace overlooking the dizzying lights of Shanghai’s financial district. However, in a slow motion like moment, perhaps enhanced by the intoxication of multiple beverages, this superiority complex quickly diminished. The sheer wastefulness of this event was made apparent as fireworks exploded out of magnums and revelers sprayed themselves whilst shaking bottles. This was a far cry from the Shanghai we’ve grown to love.

As if to highlight the back to reality nature of our hangovers, the next day we found ourselves noshing on 8RMB noodles as we sought to soak up whatever fizz was left nestling in our aching kidneys. It’s moments like these, that make us appreciate what an incredible city this is and it’s hard to imagine another place with such extreme contrasts. For example, just last week as we continued our foray into night running, we again returned to the Bund, but this time saw a very different side of the city. Running through crumbling old streets, where people play cards on street corners, lie in sweaty foot massage shops, and drum up rallies with shuttlecocks, we were taken back by the immense juxtaposition of old and new as these dingy, smelly, yet characterful backstreets were nestled in the shadows of the bright, glowing presence of Pearl Oriental TV Tower.

So this brings to a close another month of life in this city. We now enter a period of festivities with national holidays and seasonal cuisines soon to embrace us. Be sure to check back next month as we attempt to relay more on the colourful, contradictory and constantly amazing place that is Shanghai.

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