By Hans Ebert
Before reaching the inevitable breakup, Trina and I threw ourselves into work. Guess it was high avoidance after the death of our wonderful Nipper. The only time I cried during any of our counselling sessions was when asked, Hans, what made you sad? Easy. It was losing Nipper. That little dog kept us together.
By now, Trina was constantly travelling, I was constantly travelling and living pretty much a wannabe rock star lifestyle. There’s no point going into detail, but absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It takes it everywhere and nowhere until it finally lands somewhere with someone new where words and action have no meaning. It’s often machismo bullshit played out for the peanut gallery.
There were many someone news during those travels which were mainly to the UK and Europe- strangers in the night, singers, colleagues…It’s often strange to grasp this #metoo movement as, at least in the music industry, women weren’t throwing themselves at those with the means to help their careers, but they weren’t exactly screaming no. There were artists, yes, but also co-workers, some married, who knew Trina or at least knew that I was married. Still, things happened, and when this recklessness carried on closer to home, everything finally blew up.
No amount of counselling was going to put our Humpty Dumpty marriage together again. Yes, it was all my fault and I take all the blame for going through Tom Thumb’s Blues. I was lost in Juarez and there were some hungry women who sure made a mess outta me.
The question I ask myself is whether at that point in my life staying together would have been a complete lie made up of layers of hypocrisy danced around by many Trina thought were leading happy lives. Most were with nauseatingly vapid wives who had married into old family money.
What would have worked best for us? Sign a contract with both sides having first refusal on whether to return to home base? But, nah. We had come too far too fast and this was the end of the innocence. My parents had returned to Melbourne, and we didn’t fight hard enough to make it last. Maybe we were too drained to try again. What I put Trina through is guilt I shall carry with me to my grave. Self loathing is something kept under lock and key.
Trina basically threw me out. She had had enough of being treated with no regard and with me behaving like a bachelor. I was on my own with nowhere to go except to check into a hotel. It was a quiet exit and after stays in a few hotels came the life changing move to suite 1616 at Convention Plaza, the service apartments next to the Grand Hyatt hotel.
While waiting for my divorce to come through, I was hanging out with an American Chinese guy named Felix. He was funny as hell, but prone to bouts of depression about his marriage. His wife was living in the UK with his kids and despite being smart, his career had gone through stops and starts.
For whatever reason, we had decided that he might fit into Universal Music and work on special projects related to sponsorship. UMG belonged to Seagrams which meant flying high on the expense accounts of their executives whose main job was to entertain their business partners, especially at karaoke clubs where they owned everything they surveyed. The Wolf Of Wall Street would have blushed at what went on at these sessions.
It was after one night of heavy drinking that Felix and I decided to take in some karaoke and female company by visiting Club de China, one of two escort clubs in Hong Kong with Eastern European hostesses. That’s when she walked in and I was immediately smitten- a slim, tall, impeccably dressed 18-year-old from Lithuania named Irina and whose English was pretty good.
New to Hong Kong, she wasn’t used to the “house rules” and how everything had to go through the Mamasans. We asked her out for a drink, and she came along before receiving a call demanding that she return immediately to the club.
We exchanged numbers and before long, I was taking her out for dinner every night and wooing her like a man possessed. Of course, I had to pay the club for her company. She was one of the few girls who didn’t go out with customers which made me want her more. It was a costly romance, but those were the days when music companies had money and us music executives had Wolf Of Wall Street entertainment allowances.
After a few months of visiting Club de China and making friends with the main Mamasan, Irina was able to go out with me at no costs for dinner as long as she was back at the club by 10pm. I would bring her back there and then book her for the night and another karaoke session just so I could be with her and be as happy as Larry to just hold her hand.
Following some teenage-type dating, she came over to my new Lennonesque all white apartment in the prestigious Convention Plaza adjacent to the five-star Grand Hyatt hotel. She was starry eyed at how it was designed and the spectacular view it offered. It wasn’t long before she asked to have sex. That clinched it.
Somehow, Irina managed to get out of her contract as a dancer with the club and moved in with me and enjoyed being my girlfriend. Other than Felix and the married men who were regulars at the club where she had worked and had their own escort girlfriends, no one knew about the job that brought her to Hong Kong. Having just left Universal Music for EMI, to everyone else, she had come to Hong Kong on a modelling assignment, we had met and fallen in love.
Though trying to keep Irina away from my daughter Taryn, that didn’t work out. Both had some ugly public spats. But I was separated and didn’t believe I was doing anything wrong. The heavy drinking helped dull the guilt. This was my new life and Irina was part of it. I kept in touch with Trina as we shared our domestic helper. I didn’t have to say anything. She knew.
Before long, I was taking Irina everywhere and my friends and office colleagues loved her. She was good fun, strikingly beautiful, and more than good as an adventurous and passionate lover.
I was infatuated with her. She was the perfect trophy girlfriend and, looking back, she used me as much as I used her though there might have been moments of something approaching real love. It was a good partnership that worked in Hong Kong, and later, London.
She lived in an expensive apartment in Hong Kong infamously known as “1616”, stayed in some of the most expensive hotels in the world, met celebrities, whereas for me I had a stunning partner for company in and out of bed.
One of our neighbours was another girl from Lithuania- Ina- older, attractive and more “seasoned” in getting what she wanted. She was living with a middle aged English businessman named Barry- very charming and with so many stories about what he owned that it made your head spin.
Barry, a teetotaller, was the king of spin and no one really knew much about him or where his money came from- if he had any. He was divorced, had a son from his marriage and had Ina as a live-in girlfriend after frequenting Club de China and being her Daddy Warbucks.
Ina was smart- street smart- and had somehow managed to have Barry buy her a car and apartment in Lithuania. It was a second hand car, which didn’t make her happy. How he could afford to buy Ina the apartment was a puzzle. But they seemed happy together.
It didn’t take long for her to tell Irina that I, too, should be buying her the good life back home in Lithuania. She mentioned what Ina had said, thought Barry was stupid and never ever asked me for anything. But as I was starting to become suspicious about whether she was with me purely for financial reasons, we split and she returned to Lithuania. Frankly, I was relieved. The Wolf wanted to howl at the moon.
1616 became a revolving door of different sexual partners, all from Eastern Europe looking for financial security though I couldn’t really shake off the memory of Irina though Trina was always número uno. It was like being on a National Lampoon Sexual Vacation.
Those 1616 Years were truly decadent where friends used my apartment for their extracurricular activities and I would go through entire dance troupes comprising girls mainly from Moscow and the Ukraine brought to Hong Kong by Club de China and its bigger rival club Club BBoss.
There were many times- and it was tough going- when I had to juggle two girls in one night. Having a big spending “boyfriend” meant bragging rights for these girls who, as usual, saw financial security. Plus they loathed having to go out with Chinese and Japanese customers. Their trick with many was to get them drunk and quietly leave to come over to my place, have sex, and stay over. Worked for me.
Two of the girls were stunning and craved sex so much that one night during the throes of ecstasy, one of the girls screamed out, “Guns! Guns!”- Gunz being the Russian name for Hans- at 4am. This outburst had security banging on my door- only for them to realise I was doing a different kind of banging.
At the same time, there was a new young girl whose elder sister I had taken out, but who wasn’t ready to go out with customers. After a while of just paying for her company at the club, it didn’t take long for her to tell the Mamasan that she wanted to go out with me. It was her first time and we had some torrid sex while watching porn and after smoking some very strong weed. It was quite incredible.
When her contract expired and she had to return to Vladivostok, we kept in touch, but phone sex eventually became boring when there were new dance troupes- 14-16 new girls to sample while thinking the longest cocktail party would never end.
A year later I received an email from Irina. She was in London, she had found a job at the Dorchester hotel and wanted to prove that she didn’t need my money. With me spending more and more time in London, Irina wanted me to know that if I wanted to get back together with her, she was all mine.
When I saw her again, I was reminded how stunning she was. Life with her in London was good, but I soon found out that this was a very different Irina. Or maybe the real Irina.
I, too, has changed. With the time difference, and while she was asleep, I would spend hours on the phone betting on the races in Australia. This had become my latest addiction through friendships with jockeys, trainers and long nights at Fidel’s with ladies from Gotham City.
My losses became worse and would cause serious anxiety attacks. It wasn’t a good time. But looking back, I can understand why I trust very very few in the racing game- not even those on the periphery. They were sponges then, and they’re sponges now. Social media has made them extend their tentacles.
When back in Hong Kong for business and about to return to London, there was a call from Irina to say that things were not working for her and “it wasn’t fair on both of us”. The day earlier everything was fine and I was “the bestest boyfriend in the world.” Right.
It was tough to take until reality dawned and I knew that this was no relationship. It was a business deal and the deal had now soured as there were new partners involved. It was obvious she had done the math. I returned to life at 1616 and a conga line of sexual partners.
Was I happy? Not when in the middle of sex, and thinking of that next bet while hanging out with visiting recording artists and trying to be comfortably numb. Riding high by producing a number one hit record for an obscure Danish band and with EMI jumping from a four percent market share to 24 percent plus having huge best sellers for Coldplay, Robbie Williams and Norah Jones certainly helped the ego no matter where it landed. But everything had got out of hand. Even I knew that it had. I needed help.
It took a family intervention led by Trina and my business friend Norman plus the threat of being sent to rehab in Los Angeles that made me come to my senses. It was the wake up call needed a year earlier. But better late than never. I was saved.
To be continued…
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