Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Cattle Depot Artists Village, Ma Tau Kok

I spent some time this week wandering around the Cattle Depot Artists Village. Although being used as a sort of artist collective since 2001 it only received a Grade 2 listing in 2009. The site, originally built as an abattoir, was constructed circa 1908 to replace the Hung Hom slaughter house that was demolished to make way for the newly built KCR railtrack.

It operated as an abattoir until around 1969 when slaughtering duties were transferred to a new site in Cheung Sha Wan and the site was kept as a quarantine depot for various livestock including cattle, pigs and sheep. It remained in use until 1999 and anyone who was in Hong Kong in the 1990s may remember the livestock trains that used to roll down the East Rail (then KCR) rail line. I can always remember my first experience standing on the platform at Tai Po and saw everyone take a step or two back from the edge. I had no idea what was going on until the train rolled by and I was hit in the face with the smell of the pigs in the back.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Wader Studios Then and Now

If you read my film locations blog, then you may be aware that not so long ago I was researching the locations for a Thai movie, Aorm Aok Jao Praya (Thai: อ้อมอกเจ้าพระยา), when I realised that one of the locations seen on the film,Wader Studios, was the very same place where Bruce Lee had been photographed during some HK-based filming for The Big Boss (examples can be found here, here and here). It had been bugging me for several years and all of a sudden I had the answer thanks to some scenes for a Thai film shot in HK. In a sort of weird reverse coincidence, The Big Boss was a HK movie shot in Thailand.

Anyway, with that mystery solved one of my overseas Bruce Lee friends was quite keen to visit the site (or at least what is left of it) to see where those photos of Bruce had been taken. Well, sadly there is actually nothing left of the old studios, but at least we can stitch together some screen grabs and see the rough area. The following panorama (supplied by AP in the UK, thanks AP) is a stitch of several screen captures from Aorm Aok Jao Praya. The taxi car is driving up Castle Peak Road, and turns right towards the main gate of Wader Studios. The main studio office is the one you can see with red dashes of colour in the background.

Monday, 1 April 2019

The Avenue of Stars 2019

Well, it's been 3 long years since the Avenue of Stars closed to allow New World Development to build their new harbourside carbuncle, Victoria Dockside/K11 Atelier. The New World Centre and its adjoining serviced apartments are now consigned to history and in their place we have another Kowloon skyscraper.

Whilst all this was going on, some of the exhibitions from the former version of the Avenue were moved to a podium garden above TST East MTR Station and languished there for a while but was moved back a few months ago in preparation for the grand reopening.

Anyway, you may or may not recall many years ago I wrote a rather long piece for the (then) in-print Time Out magazine, and then followed it up here with a blow-by-blow guide to each personality featured on the Avenue. As a bit of a restart to this blog (because I have been lazy and not posted anything for nearly a year, although I have a bunch of stuff that is still in progress) I though it would be nice to revisit this old haunt and see if and how it has been improved.