Saturday, May 31, 2008
Correction: I got the wrong guy! How embarrassing! I've met the British artist, Martin Barnes, once or twice, and I had somehow mistakenly got the impression this book was his work. In fact, the photographer responsible is called Matthew Niederhauser, and his book is titled SoundCapital. I just picked up my copy from The Bookworm. Hmmm, my acquisition of art books is getting a little out of control. I think I need a larger coffee table.....
Friday, May 30, 2008
Windswept hair, sand-blasted face.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
All best wishes to Ian and his family. Be well again soon, mate.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Tonight's event at The Stone Boat bar promises to be particularly fine, with a variety of good bands slated to appear - RandomK(e), Arrows Made Of Desire, Hanggai, and more.
And it's a gorgeous sunny day, and looks like it should stay fine and clear (for once!) into the evening: ideal conditions for sitting outside at the Boat.
See you all there!
Come on, mate - it's for charidee!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
The brightest eyes. Heart flutters,
Knees begin to sag.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
It was a little worrying that our driver clearly had no idea at all where the place was. He seemed to take a wrong turning at almost every opportunity, even leading us irrelevantly out to Terminal 2 of Beijing airport at one point. It wasn't an encouraging sign that, having picked us up at 8.30am outside The Den, he immediately turned left towards the 2nd Ringroad rather than right towards the 3rd..... and it just seemed to get worse from there. At one point, as we realised we were getting near because of the increasing frequency of beer lorries on the road, I suggested simply following one of these. However, our driver insisted on continuing to try to follow his instincts, with the result that we drove around in circles for a bit longer. Even when we finally got there, he managed to drive right past the main gate, and had to execute one last U-turn in the middle of the road (there had been many by this point). Rather a stressful start to the day.
It's an awesome spectacle, though. I visited the Coors brewery in Golden, Colorado a few years ago, and I seem to remember that that boasted of being the world's largest single site brewery, or one of them. I think the Yanjing HQ must be even bigger (though perhaps it's not all devoted to brewing beer; in recent years they have been diversifying more and more, entering into the bottled water and soft drinks markets as well) - as evidenced by the funky model of the site below. It is pretty much a self-contained city, with its own full-sized football pitch, and several tennis and basketball courts.
It's all very gleaming and modern (I wonder what I would have seen if I'd managed to come, as I first planned to, 5 or 6 years ago) and highly automated. There are hardly any people to be seen at all. And those that there are (like this poor guy) look severely underoccupied and extravagantly bored.
This is the very high-tech control room, definitely like something out of a Bond villain's lair.
And the man in charge of it all, almost comatose with boredom and not looking as if he has a clue what any of the switches do, is irresistibly reminiscent of Homer Simpson!
Thanks, by the way, to Tracy of the Ambassador Mandarin school for organising this. She has several other out-of-town excursions in the offing. A visit to one of China's largest steel plants sounded particularly interesting (although it is shortly to be relocated further away from the city, so the current site will probably start decommissioning soon; we're hoping we might be able to catch it still in operation if we can go in the next 3 or 4 weeks). And there was some talk of an ice cream factory too. What's that, Homer? Hmmm, ice cream!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
There's no admission fee as such, though door donations are encouraged (recommended 30 RMB minimum). They're also selling t-shirts and a bunch of other stuff to raise money.
Important Correction: There was a certain uncertainty as to what exactly the bar's contribution to the relief fund from this event was going to be. Initially it was suggested that it would be the "profits" from the evening, but a number of us regular bar cronies pointed out that this was an unquantifiable term. On the initial mailing I received, they seemed to have switched to the (improbably, dangerously generous) offer of "all the money taken for food & drink". They probably can't really afford to do that, if it's a busy night. The thinking now is that they will donate a fixed percentage of the revenue - to be advertised on notices at the bar on the night.
Please don't think there was any conscious attempt to mislead here. It's just one of those tangles you get into when you're throwing something together in the space of a few days, and English isn't your first language. It's as much my fault as anyone's, since I was supposed to be advising on the English-language version of the promotional blurbs.
Monday, May 19, 2008
It is becoming something of a worry to me, though, that the twin we-never-close delights of the Pool Bar and 101 are resulting in more and more late nights for me, particularly over the weekend - it is preventing me from getting anything much useful or cultural accomplished over Saturday and Sunday (this is the third time in only 6 weeks or so that Sunday evening 'plans' have foundered in this way), and sapping my energy levels dangerously during the subsequent week.
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
And people ask me why I blog....
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
The awesome Ziyo are back, and, I gather, finally having a launch for their much talked about, oft delayed debut EP. Since MAO Livehouse, where they're playing, is the best music club in the city, and since it's only 20 minutes away from where I live (and 30 seconds away from 'second home', The Pool Bar), and since I have an enormous schoolboy crush on their utterly fabulous lead singer Helen Feng...... well, I feel that is my only choice tonight. More pictures of the lovely Helen here (the text is in French, but I'm sure you can cope). The band also has a rather good page on MySpace now.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Perhaps it was dangerous to start thinking in those terms, to fix such a spending target so vividly in my head.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Time helter-skelters onwards
And, sorry, the appearance of the haiku was delayed this week, for reasons which I have explained over on Froogville, but, basically, because I'm crap.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Monday, May 05, 2008
Such a pity I have to work tomorrow!
Sunday, May 04, 2008
But this has never happened before!
Congratulations to Luke & Yvonne, and much happiness to them.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Friday, May 02, 2008
The city yawns and stretches
Going home at dawn