Blue Cat Jazz Bar, Ubud


Incongruity at 7.30 p.m: A few customers, tattooed gentry masquerading as cultured lounge lizards high on aphrodisiacs, listen to the Griya Faria Ubud Reggae Band belt out numbers by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

A short while later, Harts stroll in and head straight for the bar on the far side, some are overheard lamenting the night of rain. Wet. Drenched. The throb of music is warm and like ‘the first kiss’, invitingly moist. The crooner’s lilting voice is punctuated by the intermittent roar of passing motorcycles.

The place reverberates with a sweet emptiness like biting into a macaroon. A red light on a pillar blinks out of sync. The singer mumbles apologies for what he assumes is poor sound quality (which it is not).

A self-conscious couple walks in and glances around furtively to see if anyone is watching them. They cling to one another as if propping each other up.

Incongruity is present and all pervasive.

Miscellaneous reality : Red, red wine is absent thanks to the Powers that Be; Bali is presently running dry as all supplies of liquor have ceased and further replenishment is like a mythical creature…though inferences are made it remains a figment of the imagination.

It’s now 9 p.m and Blue Cat is filling up to the brim with passersby dropping in eager to partake of the seductive jamboree. The boys behind the bar are smiling…shaking the Shakers, slapping on the lemon and dunking the ice cubes into pegs of Arak.

Mutton dressed as lamb gyrates on the dance floor under the adoring eyes of a young man she has apparently just befriended.

We fight for the right to be free…we all sing one song…the song of freedom…don’t worry about a thing…everything is going to be alright.

The show is enthralling as people in all shapes and sizes appear to be doing calisthenics to the thumping Rastafarian rhythms.

The night glides on to Cinderella’s cut-off time and then the band goes silent. Light recorded music wafts through the air as the loud chatter gently fades to a whimper and then dies out.

The year is now pregnant with the New Year…it is expected soon…screaming at the crest of a multitude of change by bringing with it renewed joy, grief and platitudes.

Hopefully the Blue Cat will remain a Terminus for lonely Harts, tourists and assorted expats to congregate thrice a week for a night of pure music, drinks and friendship.

To the Griya Faria Ubud Reggae Band, I say, thank you for the music.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om