Monday, June 16, 2008

Recommended Posts, January-March 2008

Guided Tour - recommended posts from the 1st quarter of '08

1) Blue Swirl - 4th January

A favourite abstract photograph, and some thoughts on the pros and cons (mostly cons) of digital photography.

2) Irresolutions - 6th January

I review my sorry romantic history and ponder my current 'prospects' (in a poem!).

3) A worrying sign? - 11th January

I confess to my partiality to a particular brand of baijiu.

4) Possible Band Names - a game you can all play - 12th January

The birth of what quickly became my most commented upon post. I hope it will run and run

5) More sage advice - 14th January

Sometimes I come up with my weekly bon mot myself.

6) A warning unheeded - 17th January

I discover an amusing Victorian notice, whose stern moral strictures seem strangely apposite to my recent libidinous encounter with
a quartet of NFL cheerleaders.

Chet Baker becomes the latest of my Unsuitable Role Models. I post a fantastic montage of photographs of the great man from YouTube, accompanied by a performance of Let's Get Lost.

8) Carnival time again! - 19th January

A brief tribute to the smallest but best of the New Orleans carnival season parades, the Krewe du Vieux (in which I have participated three times in the past, and am well overdue another visit to) - includes a YouTube video of the previous year's event.

9) Great Love Songs (2) - 20th January

A lovely song, Gypsy, given a great performance by Suzanne Vega. This is one that has especially strong personal resonances for me

10) A bon mot especially for me! - 21st January

My old friend Snopes comes up with some advice which seems sadly pertinent to my becalmed 'love life'.

11) A dating haiku (HBH 64) - 25th January

This pithy little poem (on why some expat women here have such a hard time finding a boyfriend) serves as a useful summary/index page for my famous (infamous?) series of posts on Dating in Beijing.

12) Vodka on the cornflakes - 25th January

My delightful blog-pal
Moonrat puts me on to the latest intriguing culinary experiments from New York.

13) Heavy Metal hero - 27th January

A fan-boy tribute to mainstay of the Beijing music scene, Jaime Welton, and his latest band, the 'Monsters of Rock' tribute outfit, Bad Mamasan.

14) A dating bon mot - 28th January

A great, great line from
Moonrat's boss, eccentric sage, Robert the Publisher.

15) Bu yao Tsingtao! - 30th January

I kick off my campaign (probably doomed - but you gotta try, dontcha?) to try to eradicate the awful Tsingtao beer from the city's bars, and get it replaced with the much nicer local product, Yanjing

16) Another you-know-who haiku (HBH 65) - 1st February

I reach the point of (just about) giving up on my doomed infatuation with Madame X. As Fate would have it, later the very same day I fall for someone else...... Dangerous stuff, this poetry.

17) The Grapevine - 4th February

By happy chance, I hear about an 'undercover', invitation-only music event in Beijing over the coming weekend - perhaps the greatest music event of the year here: an intimate 'workshop' with blues harmonica legend
Charlie Musselwhite.

18) Party conversation fragments - 10th February

A long night of boozing produces an unusually varied collection of great lines.

19) The Super Bowl - a great sporting event, a great party excuse - 12th February

Observations on my (unexpected) fondness for American football, and on (far more predictable) fondness for daytime drinking. Also, an anecdote about the most excessive Super Bowl 'party' I've ever indulged in.

20) HBH 67 - 15th February

'Bah, humbug!' at the odious Valentine's Day.

21) Ultimate Chopstick Challenge - 17th February

A game you all can play. A very, very silly game.

22) HBH 68 - 22nd February

A haiku about the novelty of drinking ice-cold shots of vodka out of glasses carved from ice. (Photographic proof appended.)

23) In search of 'value' (I) - 29th February

I notice a worrying pattern to my nights out of late....

24) All a man needs?? - 4th March

An amusing poster I photographed outside a bar in Harbin recently prompts some brooding on the scarcity of decent bars in China.

25) Another competition for you - 4th March

I offer another list of suggestions for the Possible Band Names Competition. The further challenge here is to identify the film quotation source for each of them.

26) Anxious times at The Pool Bar - 13th March

I contemplate the promised replacement of the pool table at my beloved 'local' with some trepidation (unwelcome disruption of my mojo just when I've started playing well again!).

27) The Plan - 14th March

A statement of intent about my newfound determination to do something about my moribund love life (later elaborated here).

28) The elements of a pretty decent St Patrick's night - 18th March

Rather to my surprise, I have a good night out on St Paddy's after all - entirely thanks to Luke and the Pool Bar.

29) Great txt msgs of the world - 22nd March

The Plan miscarries horribly, but at least my torture produces some rueful humour.

30) Nasty - 23rd March

An idyllic Easter Sunday is rather marred by another bizarrely crass example of Bad Service In China. Warning: Not for the squeamish.

31) A delayed St Patrick's Day treat (Great Drinking Songs [4]) - 24th March

My planned St Patrick's Day music special is a week late, because of the blocking of YouTube in China for a couple of weeks following the Tibetan riots earlier in the month. Better late than never - I offer a selection of versions of classic drinking song The Wild Rover, the best of which, I think, is a very old one by The Clancy Brothers

32) Another moment of cognitive dissonance - 27th March

I am shocked to discover a picture on the Internet which seems to suggest that Moe's Tavern (home-away-from-home for Homer Simpson and Barney Gumbel) has a pool table.

33) HBH 73 - 28th March

A bitter haiku on my recent romantic disillusionment improbably prompts some research into Web-based 'name generator' toys - and hence we discover my Porn Star Name, my Mafioso Name, my Luchador Name, and more. Another game you all can play.

34) Another three women - 30th March

Just when I had almost given up on women for good, Fate pulls more playful little tricks on me....

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