Saturday, September 23, 2017

Strip Club 1984: Prince, George Michael, Tina Turner

There is no intention to degrade strip clubs or the ladies who work at these places. Stripping is, after all, a job and for many people, the act is an art. The story below is just an experience I had as an adult. 

George Orwell's Year 1984.


The only strip queen I heard or read about in Singapore was locally famous Rose Chan (last image below) who was a hit in the 1960's. But I had never even seen her live on stage. And the only strip joint I had ever visited in my life was during the first year of my studies abroad.

So when I went to a Strip Club one evening with a group of university mates I was surprised by the act and what the show had to offer on stage. It was my first time at such a night spot. I cannot recall the name of the club but it could be Teasers (as most are called). And what a tease I had.

Quite an experience. We proceeded to the Club at about 7.30 pm. The first thought of going to a strip joint was exciting, my imaginings of seeing a half-dressed lady on stage and doing her thing. It was a bit of a walk to the place with the air crisp and night cold.

Two factors here unmentioned. One, that the Club was near the University and, two, that the place was Winnipeg, Manitoba.  It was one of my unique Canadian experiences in 1984. 

Song One:

As we walked in, the background music accompanying the lady on stage was familiar. I told myself, it's Prince again announcing his freak weather condition, Purple Rain.*

Purple, rain, purple rain,
Purple rain, purple rain,
Purple rain, purple rain,
I only want to see you bathing in the purple rain.

It had haunted me throughout my stay in Canada and was the number one hit that year.  This agony song was heard everywhere. Similarly, in the club, the refrain just went on and on. Not much of a crowd with mostly bored but tough-looking Winnipeg guys in lumberjack checked shirts and thick-soled protective shoes. Each had a can of beer in hand. 

And the act on stage? Our poor lady looked so tired and so unexciting that I wanted to leave my little glass of Bacardi Coke and quit the place. But I couldn't. I had three other friends with me, all native Canadians. 


And I told myself, first and last time at a strip club. She looked like she was dancing for an Osmond Family Concert. What the place needed was Tom Jones and Tina Turner performing, Hot Legs. 

(BTW, I'm not much into beer and homegrown Tiger Beer is a Chinese New Year treat. But light beer which is common in Canada...  Well, put it this way, I prefer my mix. Or just drink ice-water.)

It was near November and Winnipeg was its usual chilly self. Cold actually for a Singaporean. Into Autumn and coming to early Winterpeg. Luckily no purple rain outside. 
A week-night outing with no place to go. My first and last time in a strip joint. Luckily we left early at midnight! I was told the joint opened till four. Or 24 hours. Can't remember.

 Song Two:

As we walked out of the club, a new act came on stage and livened the atmosphere with another 1984 hit! The music played the alternative National Anthem for the year.   It was Wham's ever incessant pop that had also bugged me in Winnipeg called, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. 

The young man living above my apartment used it as a morning alarm to rouse him out of bed. It was so loud the whole neighbourhood could hear the call. But what irony:

It's cold out there
But we'll stay in bed
They can dance
We'll stay home instead.


Song Three:

Then there's this third number. I can still remember it was another 1984 hit by Tina Turner. Together with Wham's, they were released in May that year. 

This Singapore girl who lived on the other apartment block across from the campus had a way with this Turner pop-charter.  Whenever we visited her, this particular song was on. And she was crying on the phone, talking to mama. 

She kept telling mama she wanted to go home, that it was cold and she missed her Singapore cuisine, satay, rojak, chapati and char kway teow. But actually, she was star-struck by blue-eyes and blonde hair i.e. a Caucasian guy and couldn't tell mama the truth.  So What's Love Got To Do With It?  😍

Strange though that this track from Turner's Private Dancer album was never played that night in the strip club. I guess we left too early.

There you are folks, three songs that kept me going. Listening to songs can trigger the places you visited, the people you met and even the weather you faced.

What songs trigger your memory?

*Prince explains what the song means: "When there's blood in the sky, red and blue equals purple which pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love; letting your faith/god guide you through the purple rain." The Same phrase appeared earlier in Top Ten Songs, 'Ventura Highway' (America:1972). 

Images: Google and a private collection.

Videos: will credit soon.
Ms Rose Chan who was well-known in the 60's period for her performances on the cabaret stage at the amusement parks in Singapore.

Song Four:

And here's the best song to remember. As good friend Tan Soo Khoon explains, it's The Stripper by David Rose and his Orchestra from YouTube [below]. Thank you Soo Khoon.

Images from Google.
Videos from YouTube.



Dear Andy,

Good Afternoon!

Thank you for all the hard work, collating all the nice music stories of the 60s, I’m sure a lot of candle-wax were melted.

Stay in touch and keep well my dear friend.

Have a nice day.

Best Regards,

FABIAN FOO said...

Only the song by TT is familiar with me. Cheers to a lovely Sunday and a great week ahead.

A TAN said...

Love the story.


Every time somebody needs me refers to the strip clubs of the good old days there's only one song that comes to my mind, THE STRIPPER by DAVID ROSE.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks, Soo Khoon. Here are the lyrics in full:

Come on in
And have some fun
You won't be
The only one
It's bump and grind
Bump and grind
All the time
Bump and grind
Just a buck, mister
To see the strippers
It's no crime
To spend some time
In the dark
And watch some prime
It?s bump and grind
Bump and grind
All the time
Bump and grind
whats a matter buddy?
Aint you a man?
Sexy girls in the nude
Inside waiting for you
Gorgeous babes
Up on the stage
Why are you waiting?
Come on in
And have some fun
You won?t be
The only one
It's bump and grind
Bump and grind
All the time
Bump and grind
Just a…

coasterart said...

Great blog impressive. Thanks for sharing useful information keep updated.


I was reading your piece on your time in Winnipeg the other day. Your thoughts on music that triggers memories of places made me think about the tunes I had written about in the article I had done for you.

I was amazed to hear from you that it ranks number five. All those tunes always trigger memories of that wonderful island where you have the good fortune to live. Hope to see you there sometime soon.

IVAN EKA said...

Nice post
Thanks for information
Thx for share

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I must thank certain companies or individuals for wanting to put their advertisements on my blog but the flood of such connections has been huge. It is still a deluge.

I have stopped it many years ago.

Thank you for visiting.

Thanks, all readers for support.

THE MEOWS said...

Hey nice blog,
Thanks for this helpful information come back again for more interesting information.
Keep it up!


1984 -

Stephen Han
My friend said during elections time the police force will be fully deployed so there less check on venue where Rose Chan performed. Do on that day MGS school friend and me went to the New World to watch her daring act but alas other people also had the same idea so it was full house. We were late and missed her. The only time I saw Rose was when she was a mummy at the Great World Cabaret. She was lovely and tough looking.

Andy Young
THANKS STEPHEN for your interesting n informative comment. As usual, you bring out the exciting moments so vividly in your stories. Rose Chan was truly an attraction those years. I wished I could've seen her in action on stage.

Freda Hanum
Such an interesting story indeed you had Andy, I had many songs that triggered me of the places and people too hehehe 😁

Andy Young
Oh yes, Freda do write your stories and songs...


Oh I have to remember the most interesting one,
I'll try then Andy haha😁.

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