WoAi’s 41st Birthday Party

After the big 40th last year, I thought I’d tone it down a bit and just have a small intimate birthday party.  This was my 4th Shanghai birthday party after Red Room (2006), Bonbon (2007), Attica (2008).  Attica is now closed of course, as is Bonbon and Red Room (in fact, every time I have a party somewhere it closes!), so the choice of venue was a bit of a headache. It’s very hard to choose somewhere that everyone likes. Lots of people wanted to go to Muse, and it’s a great club, but it’s a little too chaotic for my liking and the waiters there were very aggressive and pushy the last time I was there, which I don’t like.

WoAi, Mark, John and Emma

WoAi, Mark, John and Emma

This started off as a nice photo with Swiss James’ better half, but it wasn’t long before John and Mark forced their way in to the picture.

The exclusive shareholders and members club M1NT was an option, it’s the current in place in Shanghai, but I didn’t want all my guests stuck in the line down in the lobby for hours, waiting to get in, which is what happened when I went for a friend’s party last month. (If M1NT management is reading, it’s not cool to make people wait if they have a table reserved).

Lisa and Carrie

Lisa and Carrie

Lisa (left) was one of only two people who have attended all four parties from 2006 to 2009. The 2006 party was at Red Room, where Carrie (right) used to work.

I didn’t want to go anywhere untried either as I wanted to be sure my guests would be well looked after, so although I didn’t feel it was the perfect choice, I went with Lounge 18 on Shanghai’s famous Bund strip.

WoAi with Lounge 18s Sophie and the performers

WoAi with Lounge 18's Sophie and the performers

Sophie arranged the whole thing for me very efficiently, thanks Sophie!

I wasn’t able to invite too many people, especially from work, since the table I booked could only seat around 20 people, so the invitation list had to be very carefully put together and only the lucky few received invitations.

The lovely Anna who I havent seen since February

The lovely Anna who I haven't seen since February

We kicked off at around 10.30pm on a raining Saturday night. I was a bit worried that many people would be late as taxis were hard to find, but it turned out okay with guests arriving in a steady stream from 10.30pm till around 1am.  I think there were about 35 people in all, but some left before others arrived which worked out well so that it was never overcrowded.

Helen turned up stylishly late

Helen turned up stylishly late but I forgave her

Our office assistant Fiona who wore a wig last year, but this year I think went for the natural option

Our office assistant Fiona who wore a wig last year

A HUGE thank you to Swiss for taking most of these amazing photos

A HUGE thank you to Swiss for taking most of these amazing photos

I’ve known Mark for 15 years ever since he walked in to our restaurant in London aged 16 and asked for a job as a waiter.

Ade showed up only briefly, an old friend I hardly see these days.

Will, a new arrival in my team from the UK with my ex-boss Jim and his lovely wife June (who gave me the best gift ever last year – she said I didn’t look anything like 40 years old).

One of my best Shanghainese friends, July.

A couple of colleagues (left) and one ex-colleague.

I’ve known Sandy for 10 years since I first moved to China in 1999.

Peter, Nadege, James and Emma. Peter flew in from Beijing for the party.

Jin, Anna, Helen and her French boyfriend.

I’m very happy with the venue choice. The booking was handled professionally, the drinks were ready on our arrival and the waiters were very courteous and attentive without being pushy. I ended up spending the best part of 10,000 rmb, but it was very well worth it. Judging by the texts I got the next morning, everyone had a great time, some got horrendously drunk, some went home with each other (no, I’m not mentioning any names here), some went home disappointed (again, not mentioning any names!) and others just enjoyed the moment.

I was especially surprised to see how well everyone mingled last night, more than any other party I’ve organised. What usually happens is people stay shyly in their own groups. I’m not really sure why it was different this time, but I’m very happy that it was.

So thanks to everyone who showed up, we’ll do it all again next year of course, so be nice and you might get an invitation!

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24 Responses to WoAi’s 41st Birthday Party

  1. wisemanofasia says:

    Hey mate, it was an awesome night for so many reasons although there are two reasons that spring immediately to mind haha! Thanks for organising it, hope you had an equally great time. Shit thing is now I have to go to work today…..and I don’t feel like it at all! Role on next year

  2. Swiss James says:

    It was a good do that one WoAi! Lashings and lashings of booze, lots of nice people, and good music.

    I think it was easier to mix with people because Lounge 18 is a bit quieter than Muse or Bonbon. Definitely a good choice of venue anyway (even if it’s not the sort of place I’d normally go to).

    Didn’t realise it was your birthday until today though, I thought the party was just to unveil your new glasses?!

  3. Beverly! says:

    Awesome pics, sorry we couldn’t make it!

    You should’ve decided on Muse after all :P But you’re right, it was pretty mental there…

  4. WoAi says:

    Wiseman – Role on? That English A level really paid dividends! Thanks for flying down, glad you managed to enjoy yourself.

    Swiss – Stellar job with the photos. I may make you my official party photographer for all future events. You really did bring out the best in everyone. Glad you liked the venue. I’ve already booked the Beaver for next year just to keep it fresh! And yes, it was the launch of my new glasses, it just happened to fall on my birthday.

    Beverly – Mental! That’s the word I was looking for, not chaotic. You’re a human Thesaurus. Hope to bump in to you next time.

  5. wisemanofasia says:

    Hehe I wrote that post this morning before work was in a hurry and what’s more am still on a downer after the excitement of your party!

  6. Pingback: ISpyShanghai » WoAi’s birthday

  7. CP says:

    Looks like I missed a great one – hope I can make it next year (although I vaguely recall committing myself to another Great Wall Marathon in the early hours of Sunday morning…)

  8. browneyes says:

    Is Jin the contemparory dancer?

  9. SHE in China says:

    Wow, looks like an awesome party.. and all of your female friends are so pretty!! Next year I want an invite!!! :)

  10. hX says:

    You say some went home dissappointed and others went home with another but you don’t mention which one was you. well, why would you. your a gent afterall.

  11. shopgirl says:

    I’m in love with jin, anna and helen

  12. WoAi says:

    Wiseman – You could always come back next weekend and we can do it again.

    CP – I hope you’re joking. I forgive you this one year but if you pass up next year so you can run along the Great Wall, you won’t be invited again!

    Browneyes – No, I don’t think so.

    SHE in China – You had an invite THIS year! But ok, next year for sure. Put it in your diary so you don’t make other plans.

    hX – Oh I tried it on with all of them but even though it was my birthday, I didn’t have any luck.

    Shopgirl – I’ll introduce you to them in June. We can all come to your housewarming party.

  13. WoAi says:

    Shoppers – No comment about my new glasses?

  14. shopgirl says:

    Oh yeah, i forgot to tell you. They are indeed very nice, what brand? I was actually going to look for a similar pair.

    classic and sophisticated. You go boy!!!!

  15. maxiewawa says:

    Happy birthday from Sydney!

    My girlfriend, looking over my shoulder, says that you seem like a playboy.

  16. WoAi says:

    Shopgirl – Glad you approve although I did worry they were too similar to my old ones.

    Maxie – Your girlfriend is correct. A different lady every night, sometimes more than one. It’s a terrible life, I feel empty and unfulfilled!

  17. Colin says:

    Looks like a fantastic party! Glad you had a good birthday!

  18. WoAi says:

    Colin – Thanks, was a nice evening.

  19. T. says:

    I went home disappointed, and I didn’t even attend!

  20. WoAi says:

    Yes sorry I had to limit the guest list to beautiful people only and I don’t know what you look like. If you send me a photo you can be considered for next year.

  21. T says:

    I was running on a Great Wall along with 1500 crazy people.

  22. D says:

    a big happy birthday :)xxoo
    was in venice just came back….

  23. D says:

    like the look of sophie and carrie, ade is quite cute too :p

  24. WoAi says:

    D you know you are the Queen of the double post. Always two comments together. Sophie? There’s no Sophie??

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