Tuesday, 21 April 2009

When is a play on a world stage but the men aren’t acting?

When it’s the Hong Kong Sevens of course. Once a year teams from 24 countries come to Hong Kong to do 15-minute battles of endurance and speed, not to mention knock the be-jesus out of each other, in this stripped back version of Rugby.

Me I go there to hang out, take photos, shop and where possible drink some beer. Oh, and to work of course! Lets not lose sight of that now!

For the past 5 or 6 years I have designed corporate suites for a couple of companies. Over time the companies have changed but I still have the two suites to mould and make my own.

But we are ahead of ourselves. The place, people and games are but a vague blur from the starting point. They are important; they are the carrot for me. They are the main reason to apply myself all that time ago in front of my computer.

Briefly the process, I come up with a couple of different graphic approaches for each of the suites and send them off to get feedback, critique, abuse (rarely though it has been known to happen) direction and/or style tips. We short list them between our selves, or even lock in one approach but extrapolate it across the various areas and items that will be branded. Some work, others less well. Refine, design, submit. Finally the resulting art is satisfactory and the design is sent through to the client with a rational. A flurry of emails follow in its wake.

Slowly bits are designed and sent off for production other new bits are added to the list of things to produce and changes are a daily event all the while we watch the calendar, waiting for the day where we get to jet off to see our handy work. To fly there to immerse into Hong Kong, and of course, to drink some beers at the Sevens!

The big news is Cold Play were on my flight from Singapore to Hong Kong, sorry I know, I should have mentioned it before but I am now watered and fed and a lot more subdued. Sort of slipped my mind to this point. They travel with a lot of people. Oh and lots of stuff. Nothing else about them, didn’t chat, didn’t stop only realised when I was standing at the carousel waiting for my bag and LCD TV to come out. I saw them there with a huge entourage and about two tonne of bags some of which bore logos for the tour. I need a visual prompt sometimes. Cant always be quick.

Bugger, jackhammer! Urgh! I am in this room for 6 days and I have a jackhammer that starts at 8am. Hong Kong it truly the armpit of Asia, from a sensory perspective. The overload of smells, sights and even the tactile bits.

I had the morning to tour about. I looked in shops, went to H&M brought some new boxers and two jumpers because it is cold here, went to Shanghai Tang (one of my favourite stores here in HK) tried on some expensive jackets, sprayed myself with expensive after shave and exited to wander about some more, wished I HAD OF BROUGHT MY CAMERA, EVEN MY LITTLE HANDY ONE(oops cap lock).

There was this wild lady taxi driver, she had stuff all through her cab, above the speedo there would have been 5 or 6 phones, not sure why, books, animals, flowers, it looked like a lounge room in there. No one would get in, Hell, I didn’t either. I know I should have, but she really was weird and I was most worried about her ability to navigate the cab safely without being distracted by the myriad of shiny things in front of her. I wouldn’t have been surprised if there was a mirror ball hanging from the ceiling. Across the road were signs in Chinese and English calling Citibank to give compensation for losing peoples life savings, the cold hard light of the economic downturn. Is very evident here in Hong Kong. Have to get some technology while in Hong Kong. It is a prerequisite. No trip here can be concluded with out new Tech Gadgets and a foot massage.

Went to the box in the afternoon and finished off the graphics, ordered a couple of oversights and changes and padded about the place which in a few days would have 50 000 people wandering about through it. For now, there were just other teams of workers finishing off their own bits and pieces.

Went for dinner at American Peking for Tija’s birthday. I drank a lot of beer, more than I have drunk in a long time. Luckily it isn’t overly strong or my head would hurt more than it does. We even found the Kebab shop in Wan Chai on the way home. Every city has its kebab shop. Of course as one does in these fine establishments, we ran into an old friend from previous years Rugby. A Texan from Europe. I know it’s a great sentence, very visual isn’t it. Like us he too had had a couple of drinks and was partaking in the absorbing qualities that is this collection of chicken smothered with garlic sauce, laying in a bed of lettuce and tomatoes all wound up in a pita roll. I wonder if they taste any good in the daytime? Best not check!

Woke late, didn’t hear the Jack Hammer start this morning though it was there when I came too at 9.25am. Welcome to another wet and cold day in Hong Kong, well it’s not overly wet, showers, overcast at present. I hope the rain stays off for the rugby. Doesn’t help if it is raining. But first breakfast. Omelette, Canadian bacon, coffee, juice, ahhhhh.

Now I am stretching and getting ready to go to work. Will leave here just after 10. Have to be at the hotel before 11 to set up for the lunch then from there I have to go to the stadium and set up the AV in the suite. Stay there for 3 hours on my own and then everyone will arrive at around 4pm. Tonight I will finish at around 9pm. Urgh! For my amusement this afternoon I have several episodes of Flight of the Conchords to watch so I am not worried about being bored at the suite. My job is to just make sure it is already for when the client arrives with all of the guests. I also have a 32 LCD with me to play them on, everyone should travel with such a monitor, so I will be big screen entertained.

Just spent the last 15 minutes looking at iPhones, they want HK$4850 for one, is that good? I don’t know. Should I? Do I need it? Another toy, hmmm. I will think about it.

They came, they drank and ate and then left. We served them beers and wine. I took photos and chatted. Tired, but the really good thing is I’m not drunk, which is usually the scenario at 11.30pm on the 7’s Friday in HK . Bad news is I have put on about 2 kilos from eating and drinking this week; Well it’s Hong Kong for god sake and I would have done more damage had I been drinking!

Saturday is the real first day of the Sevens though the first 12 games are played on Friday afternoon.

Walked to the stadium, the good thing about staying in Causeway Bay. Sulked in the sprinkling rain up the hill. Actually walking around the city on the way from the hotel to the stadium is great, its a procession of weirdly dressed people all making their way up the hill, all trying to get there early enough to secure a spot, a good spot in the famous South Stand, it’s not every day that you see a collection of Smurfs, vicars, prostitutes (Usually boys dressed as girls), sheriffs, Indians (both sorts), the Gendarme about 20 of them too, some guys in fat suits, cowgirls, about 50 Steve Irwins, Hulks, hedonists, Cops, Generals, Mao’s and more.. That is the real Sevens. We are living a more sanitised version up in this corporate suite with free booze, though I am serving it not consuming it, free food and lots of great giveaways, hats, shirts, bags etc…

Come 6.30pm Sunday arvo and the Sevens had ground to a halt for another year. Fiji cemented their dominance by beating South Africa in a nail biting final. We cleaned up. I packed my 32” Hi Def LCD, looks great now in my lounge and headed back to the hotel. A quick clean up and then we went out and had pizza for dinner, Scott, Tija and myself. Quiet evening followed by an earlyish night. The morning came quickly to find myself standing at my window watching my little corner of Hong Kong waking. The view of the apartment block, across from my room, is slowly illuminating square by square, like a game show when you get the questions right. The sky is grey and promises another overcast and somewhat bleak final day for me. Bed is out of the question so I shower and disappear to the restaurant for breakfast. An omelet later finds me back in my room, I pack, I brush teeth, I spray aftershave on and then I peer yet again at the apartment building across the square. Before it was the tell tale signs of it coming alive, now the whole building has signs of life. I glance at the digital clock beside my bed. I have 8 minutes before the jack hammer starts and I can hear what city sound there are; cars and trucks and a general city din are the morning sounds that are reaching up the 14 floors to my room. I drift. It will be nice to get home to the frogs, birds and the 100 cc motorbikes again. I have had my hit of the city. I am ready for Bali. Oops out of time. Jack hammer has signaled this post must go.

And before I go, that iPhone. The Ayes have it. Boy gets new toy.


1 comment:

David said...

so that's what you do in HKG. I like the nightbuildings shot.