Five years ago, I visited the Hard Rock Cafe with The Cellar Rat as part of a data gathering mission on the bars of Beijing (see: The Go Local Campaign). Even then, Hard Rock ranked among the veterans of the nightlife scene, given it opened in 1994, and with blues legend BB King as the headline act no less.
Unluckily, King was not present during our visit. Instead, a woman involved in short-term between-the-sheets joint ventures decided we needed her services and, once convinced that we in fact had zero interest, then has another proposition. She smiled, revealing a gap where a tooth might once have existed, and whipped open her jacket to reveal… a bottle of Heineken, warming against her armpit, and available to us at rmb5 less than what the bar was charging.
My only point in recounting this experience is that I was reminded of it while reading a recent Global Times story about the Hard Rock, specifically about former employees — the place closed late last month — who say they were unfairly treated. That story also reminded me of the trickiness of words.
For example, if you were the manager at Hard Rock and an employee said, “Some guys just showed up with axes“, you might — knowing that “axes” is slang for guitars — think that a musical instrument delivery was in progress. That is not always the case, as the Global Times article shows:
On September 25, 50 people in black suits wielding axes and iron bars rushed into the two-story building in Chaoyang district… [said] an employee of the café….
“The mob mainly took away the financial documents as well as the hardware of the computer which controls the monitoring equipment”…
Those kinds of axes are scarier. Much scarier. Scare enough to make one nostalgic for the days when dealing with the dispensers of armpit-warmed Heinekens seemed like a problem. You can get the full article here.