50s to 90s

When the Discotheque was Introduced in Kuwait

Last week while flipping through some old Kuwait Times newspapers from 1971 I spotted the article above titled “No. This Is Not In Soho, This is in Kuwait”. The article was about the introduction of the discotheque in Kuwait at a popular hotel back then called Phoenicia. Here is the article typed out if you can’t read it in the image above:

The discotheque, at Phoenicia Hotel, was the scene of a lovely and ac-tion-full night Saturday, when most of the young and several other not-so-young celebrities showed up to enjoy this new form of entertainment to emerge on the Kuwaiti scene, thanks to the efforts made by the organisers of the British Trade Week.

The star attraction of the evening was, of course, the “Miss British Trade Week” Brenda Wheeler. British Ambassador, Mr. Whilton, was also present to lend the evening an official importance.

The Discotheque, in short, is a success in Kuwait, and many people hope it will continue – and also not just in one place.

An interesting side note, the original plans for the Kuwait Towers included a discotheque.

14 replies on “When the Discotheque was Introduced in Kuwait”

“The Discotheque, in short, is a success in Kuwait, and many people hope it will continue – and also not just in one place.” 😅

Where did it all go so wrong and when did Kuwait loose her groove ?
I remember the Phoenicia. It used to be sat right beside the Carlton Towers. In the 80s it became a shady establishment and I remember the one time a bomb went off and ripped a hole in the building a la Beirut.
While life in Kuwait was not as comfortable back then as now and without the bells and whistles of modern technology and all the trappings of luxury retail and food, culturally and socially things were way more open, tolerant and liberal if this article or a previous post outlining the evolution of KU cabin crew uniforms over the years is any indication of the times.

Kuwait and the Middle East as a whole underwent many sociopolitical changes in the 80s during the Islamic Renaissance النهضة) الإسلامية)

Arab Muslims who were Moderates became more religiously observant of their faith and countries started adopting more Sharia laws.

There was a Conservative wave that swept across The West as well during the 80s Reaganite and Thatcherite eras.

We all knew about these stories growing up and I always used to wonder what could have been. But now that I’m older and even though I’m still very much a liberal and spent many of my best years in England and America I find this slightly disturbing.. You can tell by the way the article is written this was nothing more than a western colonial experiment, or rather a westernization / de-culturing of the “savage middle easterners”. It’s actually funny seeing the glaringly positive outlook they have on our people assimilating to their culture.

I feel like this is just as bad as those crazy religious politicians who are trying to separate genders in public and impose Islamic laws. I think our culture should be appreciated more instead of being praised for temporarily conforming to western ideals. Last thing I want is a night club in Kuwait- look at how things are going in Dubai (beneath the surface) and furthermore look at the socioeconomic decay of post colonial western societies. I actually appreciate our family values and the lack of a dangerous night life in Kuwait. We should ease up on a lot of these ridiculous and comically backwards religious laws, but we shouldn’t try to emulate the west.

The reality is that it was just western and Arab expats who were very far from home and trying to have a little fun in an otherwise dull and remote place. And the hosts were trying to make a little money. It may have been culturally insensitive of them, but I doubt that anyone had more in mind than a bit of entertainment. That’s certainly how I experienced it in the late 70s (there was another « disco » on Fridays in the restaurant that used to be on the ground floor in the Pearl Marzook building in Ras Salmeya).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *