Johnny Tango | Faces of Angeles City

The Tango Tale

He’s brash, he’s loud and in your face. His sales approach is reminiscent of an overbearing used car salesman. Yet beneath the crass exterior lies a dedicated worker who has boundless energy, eternal optimism, and a never say die attitude.

Johnny Tango is the sort of guy who is hard to miss, He is not everyone’s cup of tea and there are those who actively dislike the man whilst others who visit Angeles City Philippines have only good things to say about him.

There are two sides to Tango. On the one hand he is brash, overbearing, sleazy and a self obsessed showman. On the other hand he is a dedicated hard worker, a doting father and a loyal friend. There is an interesting duality in men like T, but only a few get to see past the surface and into the real man. Indeed, this is the case for many of whom become involved in the bars of Angeles City Philippines.

Tango has an interesting and varied past, which to some extent explains who he is today. He claims to have grown up in New York the son of an Italian father and a Jewish mother. If prompted he is full of stories about his gangster “wise guy” relatives, and I have spent many hours quietly chuckling, as he relates their antics.

Listening to Tango’s stories one is reminded of the classic gangster movies detailing larger than life Mafioso characters. “Goodfellas”, “the Godfather” and “Carlito’s way” spring to mind. Indeed, Tango is a man who paints vivid pictures with his words, drawing from the rich and colorful canvas of life, that was New York in the fifties and sixties.

According to Tango he is distantly related to the Gambino family on his fathers side and famous American comedians, the Marx brothers, on his mothers side. He is the original “licorice allsorts”, or in modern day terminology, a real “mixed bag”. Again this is a very feature among those who live and visit Angeles City Philippines.

Above all else Tango is a survivor, he will do whatever it takes to ensure his and his families survival. I have seen the man negotiate large financial deals and the next moment hustle a bag of Pretzels to make a 50 piso profit. He has worked in some of the lowest budget bars in Angeles City Philippines for a pittance, yet still manages to smile about the experience.

The list of illustrious Angeles City Philippines bars he has worked in include, Private Dancer, Cartoons, Twilight Zone, The Jungle, Kitten Club, Flamingo, Viper room, Lipstick the fun a go-go, Stinger, Illusions, Blue Fox, Classroom 2, Spearmint Rhino, the Lone Star Cebu, Angels Subic, Bar Hoppin’ the Welcome Inn and Hot Lips Bar.

This guy has worked in more bars in Angeles than I’ve had hot dinners.

Eight of these bars in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, were at one time or another owned by Ray Kelly. Kelly, who is not exactly renowned for his subtlety, had a love hate relationship with Tango. Periodically he would get loaded on Jim Beam and fire Tango, only to ring him the next evening and tell him “your late for work, where the fuck are you”.

I would often discuss Tango with Kelly and his standard reply was “Tango’s fucking useless, but who else am I going to get with the wages I pay”. Kelly would often admit that Tango knew the basics, he was a draw card for some customers visiting Angeles City Philippines and a repellant for others. He was persistent, he worked long hours and he actually cared about how the Angeles City Philippines bar performed.

Tango has worked for some of the hardest most jaded task masters Angeles City Philippines has ever seen and never complained. He has been hired, fired and rehired by the same owner in the course of 24 hours. He has had epic run ins with some of the hardest core bar girls in Angeles City Philippines, the dumbest mamasans in Angeles City Philippines and at the same time rubbed shoulders with some of Angeles city’s biggest players.

He has pissed of hundreds of customers and entertained thousands more.

His honed survival instincts often work against him, as much as they do for him. There is a certain sense of desperation about Tango and many visitors to the bars on Fields Avenue, Angeles City, Philippines pick up on this. I have often heard people in Angeles City Philippines describe him as a hustler, an over the top salesman, a show pony and a B grade entertainer.

Admittedly Tango is not everyone’s cup of tea but for me, I have always found him to have his heart in the right place and he does what he does primarily to make money for the Angeles City Philippines bar.

Tango considers providing entertainment as part of his job. In Tango’s world there is no such thing as bad publicity. Whether it be praise or notoriety, it all goes toward furthering the Tango in Angeles City Philippines legend. Indeed, when I told him I was going to write this article he was actually excited and looking forward to reading about himself.

For Tango there is nearly always an angle. When an Angeles City Philippines customer buys him a drink it will be top shelf and most of the time only a half shot. Some people consider this a scam, while others see it as common sense. For Tango alcohol is a sales tool and not something for personal abuse.

When he pushes bell rings in Angeles City Philippine bars you can guarantee there is a commission in it for him. In days gone by bell ringing (campanology)was regarded as crème on the cake and owners would often incorporate the managers commission into the overall price. Some regard this as scamming the customer with a hidden cost, whilst others see it as incentive driven salesmanship.

When it comes to recommending girls in Angeles City Philippines bars, chances are Tango will know more about their intimate secrets than their priest. When he flogs you a bag of Pretzels, you just know the money goes into his pocket and not the Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines bars coffers. I have heard owners of bars in Fields Avenue, Angeles City Philippines, complain about Tango running his little sidelines in the bar, but what they fail to comprehend, is that Tango spent his own meager reserves buying the pretzels in the first place and as such should be rewarded for his initiative, rather than criticized.

If you want something sold in Angeles City Philippines offer Tango a commission, then just sit back and watch him work his magic. This man can sell ice to an Eskimo, sand to an Arab, a painting to a blind man and a steak to a Vegan.

When in Angeles City Philippines and living on a shoe string one has to work the angles and look after oneself, Tango is a master at this. He is in many ways the consummate survivor albeit never getting more than slightly above the subsistence level.

Recently a European friend of mine, who has been living in Angeles City Philippines for many years, related the following story. When Tango worked for Ray Kelly in Spearmint Rhino in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, he would come into this guys shop, order the cheaper brand of Irish Crème but have the sales clerk write up for the higher price of Baileys Irish Crème . The difference was about 300 peso a bottle and this would go straight into Tango’s pocket with a small percentage going to the sales clerk.

This is so typical Tango. The man will hustle and scrounge for the last piso. Some visitors to Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, find this behavior distasteful, and bandy around terms like, “con man”, “hustler” and “scam artist”. Others, while not exactly approving, see it as well honed survival skills and in some cases, even exhibit begrudging respect.

Indeed if one is to survive in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines scrounging around trying to make ends meet is often the required modus operandi.

At the time my European friend with his shop on Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, employed a particularly attractive sales clerk and the story goes that Tango was constantly chatting her up, trying to convince her to come work in Spearmint Rhino on Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines. This pissed my European friend off as the girl in question was an innocent virgin and related to his girlfriend.

To this day my European friend avoids whatever bar in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, Tango is working in. Personally I see this as a bit of an extreme reaction but obviously for him it is a matter of principle.

Unlike most men his age Tango has a full head of hair, so thick it reminds me of a mop. In it’s current incantation it is dyed blond and makes me think of Donald Trump having a bad hair day. His standard apparel is a dated collared shirt, raggedy jeans and worn out sneakers that have definitely seen better days. No doubt Tango could dress better but he never seems to have the money to buy a square meal, let alone buy decent clothes.

Tango is a larger than life character even for a place like Fields Avenue, Angeles City Philippines. He ran for public office back in the day and nearly won. He attended a famous acting school and has always been a frustrated actor who never got a break. This is hardly surprising considering his lineage on his mothers side. He has a sense of style but never has the money to support it. His voice is loud and his accent, although watered down due to his years in Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines, is still brazenly New York. He doesn’t talk with you, he talks to you, and sometimes he reminds me of a blaring New York fire engine.

I have often told Tango he would go a lot further in life if he would just learn to shut his mouth and open his ears, but if he followed this advice he wouldn’t be Tango. His is a loud brash persona and I am convinced he genuinely likes the sound of his own voice. Perhaps in another life he would have been a dentist or some other occupation where the people he is talking to are held captive and unable to respond.

I first met Tango in the late nineties when I was working in Makati Manila Philippines. At the time he was involved in a rather dubious share selling operation and as we chatted, visions of him chewing peoples ears off through the phone line, kept on invading my head. One day I mistakenly asked him to give me an example of his sales pitch and it was close on an hour before I could escape to my waiting bourbon. I remember thinking, I wonder if this guy knows when the sale is made and when to shut up? Obviously the answer was no as myself and many other frequent visitors to Angeles City Philippines will attest to.

I met Tango again in 2003 but this time under rather different circumstances. I had just finished my stint in Makati Manila Philippines and had returned to Angeles City Philippines looking for a bar managers job. I approached Wolf in Illusions Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines with the proposition that I should invest 300,000 piso in his bar, but in return I wanted the job as manager. Wolf responded by telling me he liked my proposition but there was a problem because he had just agreed to start a new manager named Tango. I gave Wolf a rueful smile and replied, “it’s up to you mate. You have my offer so now you can choose your course of action”.

24 hours later Wolf rang me and asked me to come to his office where he told me he would accept my offer and that Tango would be relegated to one day a week, covering my night off. Now if this had of been me in Tango’s shoes I would have been slightly pissed, but to Tango’s credit he bravely smiled and said, “do ya mind if I just hang around and fuckin learn mate, I will do it for free and it’s not like I have a lot of other stuff going on”. For me this is a classic example of Tango’s perseverance and irrepressible optimism.

This was my first exposure to Tango’s persistence and irrepressible optimism. He had just been kicked in the guts and he still came up smiling and positive. Tango worked with me in Illusions Fields Avenue Angeles City Philippines for close on a year. I’m not sure how much he learned, but we sure had some fun and the amount of alcohol we consumed was legendary.

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