Around the City
After being back from a brief trip to Canada and the US just two weeks ago, I’ve spent a bit more time than usual having to regain my bearings with regard to city life. I’ve made some observations and taken a few notes during this time and they form the bulk of this week’s column.
Kyiv has so far had one big concert announcement this year – Lenny Kravitz, who will play June 16 at the Sports Palace. Afisha broke this announcement back in January and since then no other big names have followed his. Pity. Promotion remains a big problem in this city, but perhaps that’s because promoters have a hard time luring big acts here. Concert facilities suck, there’s really not that much to see that Moscow and St. Petersburg don’t already offer and the lack of professionalism in Ukraine with aspect to tour promotion is omnipresent. Just the other night friends and I went to Arena nightclub because we couldn’t be bothered to go elsewhere and lo and behold a rather top-rank DJ, Felix da Housecat, was playing. I had no idea and I like to think I keep my ear to the ground for such events. Where were the flyers, billboard ads, magazine articles, etc.? There weren’t any, to my recollection. That’s just the way it goes.
Travelling with Ukrainians:
You can’t miss your departure gate from any European airport in which Ukrainians will be travelling with you. It’s the lineup that’s still checking through dozens of people with heaps of hand luggage and carry-ons from Duty Free until just before the plane is scheduled to taxi to the runway. If any major European carrier serving Kyiv has size, weight and numerical restrictions as per hand luggage, those go right out the window from the word ‘Go’. I’ve never seen so many people do so much shopping in an airport so consistently right up until it’s time to check in. It’s like they’ll never shop again. On a more positive note, the extra shopping seems to have quieted many Ukrainians to the extent that they no longer clap on landing.
I’m currently on the lookout for a good lounge bar in Kyiv – those cozy, ambient places with Ibiza-inspired music where kicking back and melting into both the furniture and surroundings is par for the course; no stiff-backed chairs or white-glove service, please. Such places I reckon are the cornerstone of my existence and in their absence in this city I’ve taken to camping out at friends’ places instead. I guess the lack of such a chill out culture in this country (aside from in the mountains or among the Tatars in Crimea) is why for many foreigners the country counts as a hardship posting and means those coming here for work receive considerable compensation for doing so. So far in my search I’ve found a few places that generally qualify as lounge bars: the VIP room at Aromaty Skhodu (Aromas of the East) hookah club on Saksahanskoho; Ani Lorak’s tiny but spacey Angel lounge bar on Shota Rustaveli; the Ashanti tea room in Bessarabska; Marrakesh at the far end of Sahaidachnoho in Podil, and the subterranean Marokana near Pecherska metro stop. None of them really fit the bill, but once I find a suitable replacement, I’ll be sure to let you know.