Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Recommended Posts, October-December 2007

Guided Tour - recommended posts
from the 4th quarter of '07

1) The Frankathon - 1st October

My old drinking buddy, Big Frank, comes to stay for a week - god help me!

2) Missing a gig (or three) - 7th October

A rare week in which I missed more gigs than I attended! I try to compensate by posting a fun video of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

3) Pool divination blues - 9th October

The state of my pool game is not good; nor of my love life either - it's all linked.

4) HBH 48: Staying up too late - 12th October

A better-than-average haiku, on the theme of late nights.

5) A new record - 12th October

The execrable D-22 slips even lower in my estimation!

6) A Glorious Pharmacy postscript - 14th October

A couple of YouTube clips of my favourite - oddball - Beijing musician, Xiao He, part of the experimental band, Glorious Pharmacy.

7) The Bullingdon Arms - 16th October

Recollections of a favourite Irish pub in Oxford - including the night a bunch of strangers in the snug joined together in singing Sam Cooke's Chain Gang.

8) The Library Bar - 20th October

I mark my birthday (and my blogs' 1,000th post) with this celebration of key Beijing institution, The Bookworm.

9) The end of my widowhood? - 23rd October

A brief rant against the game of rugby - which had robbed me of most of my friends for the previous 6 weeks, and spoiled my birthday.

10) A new 'Worst Bar in Beijing' contender - 26th October

A brief, traumatizing experience of new bar, Block8 - a place that epitomises everything I hate about naff, overpriced, pretentious 'luxury' bars.

11) What makes a great bar? - 28th October

A monster post, but a good one - in answer to a commission from The British Cowboy. I've already elevated it to a spot in the sidebar, but it's worth recording here in the quarterly 'best of' list as well.

12) A parable - 2nd November

An exchange of text messages throws up an amusing story - comparing my best friend to a goat!

13) It's strangely reassuring.... - 3rd November

A micro-anecdote about the queue for the loo at the extraordinarily good gig I went to at MAO Live the night before.

14) A poem from a distant land - 4th November

A great discovery - poetic snapshots of a disreputable sailors' tavern, by the Cape Verde poet, Aguinaldo Fonseca (a Spanish version and the original Portuguese added in the comments, courtesy of online research by the lovely OMG).

15) Why I don't have a girlfriend - 6th November

I 'poll' my various personalities to try to determine the likeliest causes of my love famine.

16) Asexualismo - 8th November

A two-for-the-price-of-one post: an appreciation of a literary hero, the scathing wit, Auberon Waugh, and my manifesto for saving the world by renouncing sex.

17) "Just one more" - a cautionary tale - 14th November

You couldn't make it up: another amusing foul-up by my charmingly inept friend, The Chairman.

18) A sit-down comedian - 26th November

Remembering Dave Allen, the great Irish comedian who was a TV favourite during my early childhood - complete with a YouTube clip.

19) Bad bars abound... - 27th November

Another new 'Worst Bar In Beijing' contender - the dreadful Paddy O'Shea's.

20) Beginning of the party season - 30th November

Christmas revelries start here - with the Koryo Tours 'Winter Party'. Beware of North Korean soju!

21) Secret of Success - 1st December

A snippet of bar conversation reveals one of The Secrets of Life.

22) The elements come together - 6th December

Blueprint for a near-perfect evening.

23) The Great Kissing Debate.... - 6th December

A discussion about male and female attitudes to kissing on Moonrat's blog leads to yet more dithering on my part in regard to 'Madame X'.

24) A wintry affair - 6th December

A recollection of the greatest love affair of my life - and one of the ridiculously romantic poems it spawned.

25) Wound salting - 8th December

Another early Christmas party is somewhat spoiled for me by the discovery - in quick succession - that two of the women I have loved in vain (loved without even being noticed, in one case) are "eternally single - in need of a good man - you'd be just right for her..."

26) The Long Way Home - 9th December

I realise that my almost nightly visits to my beloved Pool Bar can mainly be credited to its perfect location - a reflection that prompts me to dig out this video of that Tom Waits song a few days later.

27) Women don't understand 'romance' - 14th December

I think the Pool Bar is about the most 'romantic' place in Beijing; my female friends don't quite get it.

28) HBH 57 - 14th December

Madame X isn't very good at replying to text messages....

29) The outbound beer - 20th December

A bad habit I've fallen into recently.....

30) That love affair, again - 23rd December

Another poem inspired by that great, bad love affair of two years ago.

31) The hi-jacking of Christmas - 28th December

How the Chinese steal our holiday.

A slurry anecdote from Rowley Birkin, QC - the fabulous Fast Show character created by Paul Whitehouse, England's pre-eminent comedy genius.

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