Thursday, 28 June 2018

Cape Point | Night Life

Continuing our look at Cape Point in the late 2020s. The numbers on the left correspond with the Cape Point map listing, the letter and number in brackets [eg: (G3)] are the map grid references.

23. The Drome (bar) (G5)

The Drome is the premier night spot for the fixers, street dealers, solos, cutters and the movers and shakers of The Hub's underground. A tunnel of brushed metal surfaces, cold blue neon, long landscape windows with metal strip blinds, awash in the harsh vibe of 'biz' set to a speed metal soundtrack.

28. Visage (nightclub) (E3)

Popular Photonic Wave club with pseudo 80s styling, built inside the defunct Traffic Department building. A dark cavern of dry ice, pulsing lasers, black walls with paint splashes, wonder-walls, chrome tubing, large dance floors, mirror tiles, worn red velvet seats and black ash effect tables and several bars with black gloss tops. The clientele are mainly poseur-types; women go for the classic tight black mini-dress, polished chrome is so awesome, there are glo-tats, light-panelled clothing and neon optics. Visage is staffed by classic 80s chrome sexy 'robots'. Some of the patrons (retros) are starting to go for the look too. The club is a real mix of Schotschekloof Filter players, the Bo-Kaap beautiful and Green Point slummers. Managed by a rictus-grinning, plastic-faced hyperactive calling himself Max Headfuck. 

29. Club Synapse (nightclub) (E6)

This converted warehouse is dirty, faded and dark, both inside and out. All the ground floor windows are boarded over and the upper windows have barred grills covering them. The Club Synapse sign was painted onto the building around 8 years ago, and years of acid rain have taken their toll. The once bright paint is faded and flaking. Kombinat foot-soldiers use the club as a pick-up joint.

The club is open 24 hours a day, with cycling staff shifts every 6. Stay in the club long enough, and you’ll notice the Punk & Bass play list runs on a loop. Security staff also operate in a shift pattern but they never seem to have a full compliment, so security is minimal and, very occasionally, non-existent. The place is regularly closed due to a shooting or stabbing. It is popular with the unemployed and shift workers and is only ever at one-third it’s capacity at any given time. There’s a 5eb entry fee, providing there is someone on the front desk to collect it.

Club Synapse is owned by Amadeus Burundi, a young and moderately well connected fixer who specialises in bringing those with a need together with those who have a solution. Amadeus rarely handles any tangible goods, preferring info and connections. He lives in a cramped loft apartment in Oranjezicht, near the geodesic, rather than above the club he mismanages. Amadeus is on good terms with the Kombinat.

30. Dawala Nights (nightclub) (I5)

Small Xhosa Trance club in a disused police check point that's been extended. Inside there is a gaudy animated holographic waterfall covering an entire wall, which only maintains the illusion of depth when seen from the front, and it doubles as the main light source. Popular with some of the more sociable tsotsi. All manner of narcotics are available here if you know who to ask.

31. Atrocity (nightclub) (G4)

This old shopping atrium has been converted into The Hub's premier Industrial Grind club. The dark interior is decorated with old medical apparatus, Geiger-esque furniture, sickly toxic coloured lighting that pulses through a series of grilled turbines in the ceiling. Body modified dancers gyrate inside dirty glass cylinders mounted on conduit covered metal plinths. Revoltingly exotic joy toys languidly splash around in shallow fluids, inside filthy horizontal tubes that hang over the dance floor and bar area. Biohazard symbols are projected around the main room, along with sinister Cthulhu-inspired symbols and images. Live grind bands perform sets on a grilled stage above the infamous mosh pit. Patrons openly flaunt body mods, scars, sickening tattoos, and horrific implants. Many wear masks and respirators, latex and rubber fetish wear. 'Slaves' on leashes are not uncommon. The club is designed to revel in an alien-ness, an otherness and body-horror. The owner (who prefers the term 'host') goes by the name of Tetsuo Lovecraft and he has large black almond-shaped eyes, pallid grey skin with implanted tubes and bearings underneath. His artificial hair is like the spines on a sick porcupine.

32. Eutectica (bar) (E2)

A reclaimed and modernised tea warehouse built of local stone, with one 3-storey wall replaced with smoked glass. Inside, the bar is spread over two floors and features laboratory style glass, metal and polymer surfaces, spill channels on the metal tables, beaker-like glassware, and brightly coloured vinyl upholstery. This is enclosed within unusual angles, hard shapes, spheroids and interwoven with carbon nano-tube helixes. A resident DJ handles the background music while holographic projections dance and shift the ambience in sync with the tracks.

33. The Athenaeum (nightclub) (H4)

This club's theme is exclusivity, power and wealth. The old Georgian exchange building is stylishly decorated with large, ornate gilt mirrors, monstrous leather sofas, heavy dark wood flooring, slate and granite slab tables, a dark marble dance floor, an oversized and overstated oak panelled bar, high backed chairs, lush red velvet walls and chandeliers. This club exudes decadence, old European quality and is very much about ego. Rich-kids hold court clustered in exquisitely furnished alcoves. Low level corporates come here to pose, boast and act like the mythical Eurozone power-players seen in the popular sims.

34. Brauhaus (bar) (F2)

One of the oldest public houses in Cape Point. Largely run down, the brickwork covered in gang tags, you wouldn’t know this was a bar if it wasn’t for the grime encrusted, flickering Carlsberg neon above the steps that lead down from street level. The upper floors are a mix of low rent apartments and dilapidated squats. The interior is decked out in a traditional bar room style - long laminated wood-effect bar with worn bar stools, table booths, round tables and chairs, a digital jukebox and various sports memorabilia. Three flatscreens are mounted above the bar, showing cricket, news, music or soft porn. The owner, Alzo, is a lethargic, wiry skinhead in his early 40s and can often be found reading a well worn bible, whilst taking hits from any number of bright plastic inhalers with Chinese labels that he keeps behind the bar. He carries a small supply of booze in case the PSA show up, but otherwise he normally supplies various recreational narcotics to his regular patrons.

35. The Five Flies (bar) (E6)

An older free-standing two-story building, its original purpose surely lost to the ages. A big red sign sprouts from a dirty gravel parking lot to proclaim the bar's existence. A number of vehicles, each one sadder-looking than the last, haunt the car park. 

A beaded curtain separates the entryway from the bar proper. Inside it's dim and seedy, and the air is a hazy pale blue from cigarette smoke. The cliché African theme permeates the whole room, with carvings of tribal statuettes and faded posters of various tropical paradises cover those portions of the walls that aren't dominated by eye-searing neon beer logos and ads for King Cobra whiskey. Ceiling fans with rattan blades rotate lazily overhead. A dust-covered plastic parrot on a little brass swing sits on the edge of the bar. An unplugged pinball machine sulks in one corner next to a dart-board that probably hasn't seen a game since the ANC years. Multiple TV sets mounted on the walls are tuned to some kind of brutal game show involving a family of five being chased through a maze by whip-snapping dominatrices with swastika armbands. Off to the side, a barely functional jukebox wheezes through a synthesised cocktail-jazz tune that's clearly intended to induce people to spend money to make the jukebox play something worth hearing.

From the entrance you can see the hallway that leads to the 'fragrant' restrooms, and two other doors that are marked as private. Etta, a mute, skinny, African barmaid with a shaved head, a limp, and a complexion like a grapefruit, hobbles here and there, delivering drinks and scooping up empty glassware where appropriate. On the opposite side of the room, the bar is tended by a huge white man called Brian, bald-headed with a luxurious moustache, a cut off rugby top, and crude, matching oversized cyberarms. And yes, there are way more than five flies in this place.

36. Third World War (nightclub) (F2)

A reclaimed 3-storey office block squeezed between other buildings. The ground floor is painted in a garish camouflage pattern with the name of the club in peeling white military stencilling. The door staff wear olive drab flak vests and night vision goggles; all graftees. The interior is clad in bare concrete slabs, each baring a variety of damage, including bullet holes. Dented metal panels painted in flaking military greens act as tables. Smoke machines enshroud the club in a misty, noisy haze. On the walls there are tattered national flags and large polymer screens showing silent footage of combat - GEVs, swarming drone attacks, burning suburbs, AV gunships in formation, convoys of motorised infantry and tanks, tac-nuke strikes, deltas carpet bombing villages, PA suits hitting a mine field… Animated holos of mushroom clouds detonate in time to the music. The club is renowned for zone-dancing. Third World War is suspected to be part of the Njombo Cartel's portfolio.

37. Rafiki’s (bar) (H2)

This long, dark, narrow space carved out of an old, corrugated polymer industrial unit is a haven for serious wirehead addicts and braindancers jacking illegal sims. There is no bar as such in this neon-tube lit ‘tunnel’; refreshment needs are catered for with a long row of poorly maintained vendomats. Seating is a ramshackle collection of decommissioned office chairs rescued from dumpsters, old car and AV seats and a scattering of disjointed plastic tables. The whole place reeks of ozone, nicotine, teenagers and hash. 

The owner, Rafiki, is a 25 year old hormone locked mixed-race asexual (appearing to be 14 and hauntingly feminine) and a hardcore button-head. They have an office at the back that consists of polymer lean-to’s attached to scaffolding rods with industrial adhesives. They’ll let you store stuff out back, no questions asked (Rafiki’s too lethargic to go and look at what you’ve stashed). Rafiki will accept payment in stimulants if you’re strapped for cash. Rafiki deals in info, sim-stim and softs.

Its rumoured that Rafiki has acquired a 'SQuID' (Superconducting Quantum Interference Detector) on the black market; US Navy surplus; used in the war to find subs and suss out enemy cyber- systems. Visual memories, passwords, key-phrases and the like can be extracted using Rafiki's tweaked SQuID.

38. Storm (nightclub) (FX)

This purpose-built, pale, three layered structure is constructed to withstand the coastal weather fluctuations, being situated as it is toward the far end of the docks where they meet the sea wall. Each layer is separated by glowing blue neon. A simple chrome plate by the entrance bares the name. The thunderous base the club is renowned for can be heard well before you get there.

The inside is dark and steel grey mixed with a variety of blues. Lighting consists of dimmed white light mixed with flashing blue lasers and randomly strobing UV. A huge polymer wall-screen shows images of thick, rolling clouds and stormfronts. Some of the interior walls are slabs of clear or dull transparent acrylic sheet with down-lit water flowing between them. The foyer features wild fountains, as do the washroom areas. Mounted above the dance-floor there is a crackling Faraday cage (which tends to mess with cheaper implants and cell phones). The musical flava here is Euro-Ziet. Storm is famous for it's wildly dramatic foam parties.

39. Apartheid Union (bar) (J4)

Located on the first floor of a poorly built apartment building on the edge of the Woodstock PeeZee, that dates back to the late 1990s, Apartheid Union squats above a grocers shop, a burger hatch and overcrowded flats. You have to enter the noisy building to climb the stairs to the bar. 

The first thing you notice when you pass through the leopard print curtains is the thick pot-haze that hangs in the air. Beyond the smoke, there is a small bar, painted in black, green, yellow and red stripes, plastic furniture liberated from a defunct fast-food joint and garish (but sticky) lino flooring. 

There's a large well lit fish tank dominating one wall, replica Zulu shields and assegai on another and a glowing plastic statue of Nelson Mandela healing a blind woman. A tattered poster of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, resplendent in purple, smiles down from behind him. The guy skinning up behind the bar is a thin, drawn, bored-looking white man with thick dreadlocks and red ringed eyes. This is Snowcat, the owner and sole staff member as well as the self-appointed chairman of a growing, multicultural group of anti-corporate dissidents who long for a return to the optimism of the early ANC years. They get misty eyed singing reconciliation songs from the 90s.

40. The Factory (nightclub) (K6)

The original building was a small medical centre, but has been converted to house The Factory. The interior is tall and dark, with exposed steel girders painted with hazard stripes and smooth concrete floors. Orange hazard lights spin in the smoky haze. Spark emitters shower glowing orange rain over the crowd. Several deactivated industrial robots stand in salute above the dance-floor. Every few minutes, a large, dirty yellow spider-form robot descends with a pneumatic hiss from the roof, flashing lights on the tips of it's limbs, before being hoisted back into shadow. The entire floor space is the dance-floor, the bars being set flush with the walls. The vibe of the clientele is 'punk-chic' - military style, epaulettes, thin ties, short hair, almost fascist-style fashion. The music played here is a clever hybrid of Electropunk and Ambient Mood-Swing. The club is currently suffering from gang activity, drug dealers, weapons and organised criminals. Another place eclipsed by a geodesic.

41. House of Blue Lights (bar) (L10)*

Where do you go when you absolutely need to guarantee a little privacy for a discussion or a meeting? The front room of The House of Blue Lights is a well-lit but windowless bar with exits on no less than three sides of the building. The Blue Lights does a decent business on the bar service alone. High class call girls with a variety of ethnicity's will be noticeable in the bar area. What separates it from other bars is that in the back area you can rent a guaranteed-private chamber for an important "hush-hush" business discussion. Simply approach the attendant at the entrance to the back area and:

A)Mention to him/her that you want to rent a privacy room, and 
B)Give him/her the "password" you want others to have to give him to be allowed to join you.  This allows parties to arrive at different times and makes it more difficult to figure out who is in what room.

You will then be buzzed through a locked door and can go through a hallway to the room in question. People are not allowed to languish in the hallway (the attendant has an indicator on his/her desk that illuminates when someone is in the hallway and only lets one person or party use it at once), so there isn't really a way to be sure who is in what chamber if you are trying to watch from the bar area. A typical chamber is a small, windowless room similar to a blue-lit train compartment. It can hold about six people. It is fashioned in seamless clear plastic over white acrylic and features two moulded benches facing each other. The benches are more like smooth shelves built into opposite walls, the idea being that there is really no place to hide a bug. Each chamber is insulated, acoustically deadened, and is fitted with a scanning device that illuminates a warning light if something in the chamber is transmitting radio waves. Each chamber is swept for items left behind or other tampering immediately after each use. In short, there's no way to access what is said or done here without smuggling in a recorder of your own. Yes, they have a ventilation system, but they use white noise generators to keep them secure.

The staff is friendly and pleasant overall and have had some training to spot ruses and con jobs aimed at compromising security, but there are a few house rules that will get you thrown out if you don't observe them. They are posted just inside of each of the public doors and are :

1. If you ask questions of the staff as to who is onsite or where they are or when they were here, you will be denied service and immediately asked to leave.

2. Absolutely no cameras or other recording devices are allowed. If you are seen by any staff member with such a device, you will denied service and immediately asked to leave.

3. Absolutely no designation or insignia tying an individual to a media organisation is allowed. If you are seen by any staff member with such designation, you will be denied service and immediately asked to leave. Sorry, open declarations of media affiliation undermine the confidence of the patrons.

In addition, people who try to loiter around the attendant's desk will be asked to return to the bar area. Although The House is a handy thing to have, the need for such privacy is itself incriminating to a degree.  Some corporations have listed being there as a fireable offence. After all, if you were completely loyal, what would you have to hide?  The PSA, (rightly) suspicious that criminals sometimes use The House for meetings and plans, may try to stake the bar area out, but there's not really a way to be sure who is meeting whom. The owners of The House of Blue Lights have successfully sued the PSA and ISS for harassment, and as a result they tend to tread lightly here. Unknown to the majority of patrons, there is a secure puppet parlour and conventional brothel operating on the floors above as a part of The House.

42. The Dispensary (bar) (H6)

You can't see the exterior for the years of fly posters and graffiti artists, so no one knows what this place used to be. This self-service bar is lined with refrigerated vendomats for a variety of beer brands, and legal narcotics dispensers. Soemtimes, there are less-than-legal drugs in the 'mats too. The interior is all reinforced coloured glass and steel frames, the armoured and branded vendomats giving the place a retro-orbital feel. The staff consists of the shift manager and the security heavies, who observe the bar through cameras from an armoured back room. Being this close to the Devil's Peak Projects can cause problems; there are far too many violent incidents here, and the PSA are getting pissed off. Whichever gang claims the bar at any given time is very protective of it. Security only have a remit to protect he stock and the kit. A lot of well-known Projects dealers can be found frequenting the bar.

70. The Looking Glass (nightclub) (G4)

Sizeable macabre-chic strip-club where the dancers perform segments of their routines behind a curved sheet of dark, smoked glass that functions like an x-ray screen. You will literally see everything. Pole dancers perform inside cylinders of the same material. Flatscreens flash up x-ray images, many sexual. The decor consists of deep reds and opulent fabrics. The crowd is a healthy all-genders mix, dressed to impress.

71. Neoshima (nightclub) (C6)

Despite the sensationalist name, the Neoshima is a relatively calm nightclub, catering to multi-national wage slaves in a contemporary Japanese fashion. Chic, Tokyo corporate styling with low tables, burgundy upholstery, chrome edges, curved couches, communal areas, panelled paper screens, idol singers, kanji neon, elegant hostesses and the ubiquitous videoke.

78. Marimba’s (bar) (X11)

Positioned where the M61 cuts through the Bakoven geodesic, Marimba's is a NoGo bar of some repute. As dangerous as it is to get here, the information regarding events in the Suicide District can prove invaluable. Marimba is the man in the know, although now he is in his late 50s, he's thinking of quitting and moving on. He is well in with many local gang lords as well as a number of veteran solos. The bar has a very relaxed atmosphere, despite it's location, and feels more like an informal gathering. Marimba serves his guests from his back-room kitchen. The improvised furniture is littered with bongs, hookah pipes, pills, derms and plastic cups of Marimba's notorious homebrew, which he stores out back in reclaimed 25 litre containers. The furniture is made from painted bottle crates, large cable spindles serving as tables, and beanbags made from packing material stuffed into heat-sealed plastic sacks. Marimba sells some extraordinarily potent skunk too.

*with apologies to the VtfE crowd for bastardising their ideas. :)

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