Hong Kong Garden

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Hong Kong Garden is a 1978 single which is a non-album song. Its peaked #7 on the UK singles chart, and #10 on the Irish music chart. It was the debut single of Siouxsie and the Banshees. The song is now acknowledged as a classic. In March 2005, Q magazine placed it at number 90 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks and the NME recently qualified it as “sublime”

The song was described by Paul Rambali in the NME as “a bright, vivid narrative, something like snapshots from the window of a speeding Japanese train, power charged by the most original, intoxicating guitar playing heard in a long, long time.”

Paul Morley later analyzed in the same music paper : “It was no surprise that “Hong Kong Garden” should spiral into the charts just weeks after the group became Polydor people. The mystery and enigma of the single, coupled with the similarly seductive reputation of the group itself immediately landed it with plays on the radio. Its oriental ‘authenticity’, its flickering eroticism, its simple beauty pushed it deep into the charts.”

The song was named after the Hong Kong Garden Chinese takeaway in Chislehurst High Street. Siouxsie is quoted as explaining the lyrics with reference to the racist activities of skinheads visiting the takeaway:

“I’ll never forget, there was a Chinese restaurant in Chislehurst called ‘The Hong Kong Garden’. Me and my friend were really upset that we used to go there and like, occasionally when the skinheads would turn up it would really turn really ugly. These gits were just go in en masse and just terrorise these Chinese people who were working there. We’d try and say ‘Leave them alone’, you know. It was a kind of tribute.”
“I remember wishing that I could be like Emma Peel from The Avengers and kick all the skinheads’ heads in, because they used to mercilessly torment these people for being foreigners. It made me feel so helpless, hopeless and ill.”

The lyrics “Slanted eyes meet a new sunrise / A race of bodies small in size / Chicken Chow Mein and Chop Suey / Hong Kong garden takeaway” and the song itself could be interpreted as an ode to Chinese food restaurateurs whose culture is or was regarded with contempt by some non-Chinese in Britain.

So what if it’s an old song?! SIOUXSIE KICKS ASS!! The lyrics is actually quite interesting don’t you think?

Another version form the Marie Antoinette movie. It has a really cool intro, quite unexpected.

credits to wikipedia

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