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Adieu, la Chine !

04/10/2007 - par Mark Tungate

And so it's time to say farewell to the China Club. Yes, one of my favourite bars in Paris has closed - forever. No longer will I experience the feeling of travelling back in time to 1920s Shanghai. There's now one less place in Paris where the barman knows how to make a decent dry martini.

Why am I writing about this ? Well, if Marshall McLuhan was allowed to write about clothes and houses in his classic book Understanding Media, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to write about a bar. A medium is just a container of information, after all. And I picked up a lot of interesting information in the China Club over the years. Gossip is the opium of the masses.

But there is another media angle to this story. I called up Walter Stirati, whose company owns the China Club (as well as Le Fumoir and La Gazzetta) and asked him why he'd closed the joint after 18 years. He told me : « It was always a gamble to run a place so large, with the service of a different era. And compared to the 80s and 90s, people go out less. It may be the combination of low cost flights and the internet. If you have the choice between going out on a ­Saturday night with your friends and saving your money to book a cheap flight to Barcelona online, what are you going to do ? »

So it's official : the internet is killing our social lives. Well, I for one intend to fight this trend. I'm going out tonight, and I invite you to join me.

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Adieu, la Chine !

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