Sunday, August 31, 2008
Mountain Drinking Song
To drown the ancient sorrows,
we drank a hundred jugs of wine
there in the beauty of the night.
We couldn't go to bed with the moon so bright.
Then finally the wine overcame us
and we lay down on the empty mountainside -
the earth for a pillow,
and a blanket made of heaven.
Li Bai (701-762)
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
The Elements of a Fun Olympics:
My Top 8 Moments of the Beijing Games
An old friend revisited.
Jianghu once again.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I have elaborated a little further on this theme over on Froogville too.
Leave before getting old
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I do find the younger crowd rather crass and vacuous these days; but I'm not yet ready to join the ranks of the middle-aged expats, who really are a bunch of sadsacks, for the most part. I suppose my official age (I wonder if He Kexin would tell me where she gets her passports made) puts me in that middle-aged bracket now, but in my head and heart I still feel much younger (twenty-somethings these days, alas, don't seem to have much to say, or at least not anything that I can comprehend or take much interest in). I try to position myself mostly with the still-zestful mid-30s/early-40s segment of the population..... but that's a fairly slender demographic.
Anyway, here's The Goodies' song. I couldn't find them performing it on Top Of The Pops, but this is a good recording - accompanying an amusing montage of micro-clips of Graeme Garden (the 'boffin' member of the trio) from the show.
Too old (too old!)- to be a teenage idol!
Too young (too young!) - to be a mother's pet!
Are we (are you?) - just the Inbetweenies
Everyone tries to forget?
Oh, we can compete with the best
So long as you give us a rest.
This, by the way, was Post No. 800 here on The Barstool. They just keep on coming, don't they?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I have only two things to say about this. Well, perhaps three.
I would give anything to be able to play the guitar like this (I'm not sure who's playing on this, actually. Is it Marc Ribot?): deceptively simple, but the phrasing, the tone are sublime. I get shivers down the spine every time I hear it.
Rod Stewart should be arraigned by the International Criminal Court for daring to cover this.
Anyone who doesn't dig this has no soul.
Friday, August 22, 2008
One shot after another
It's not safe out there
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
from the 2nd Quarter of '08
1) And.... they're off! - 3rd April
2) Why we drink??? - 7th April
3) The Plan evolves... - 9th April
4) The 'lost' haiku (HBH 24!!) - 16th April
5) HBH 76 - 18th April
6) More mordant txt msg humour - 19th April
7) More wisdom of the txts - 21st April
8) This week's party excuse - 22nd April
9) The surrogate drinker - 25th April
10) The weekly bon mot - 28th April
11) A small green thing...... - 29th April
12) The curse of 'three' - 1st May
13) The Last Table - 4th May
14) Note to self - 8th May
15) Sudden outbreaks of piety - 10th May
16) Chinese football fans - 15th May
17) The graveyard of good (cultural) intentions - 19th May
18) In search of.... the Yanjing Brewery - 21st January
19) Gobsmack Double Whammy - 26th May
20) The Great Chuanr Crawl - 27th May
21) HBH 82 - 30th May
22) Redemption (2)??? - 31st May
23) Weekly bon mot - 2nd June
24) Kolegas birthday gig photos - 3rd June
25) Bon mot of the week (Wisecrack of the week?) - 9th June
26) Man-Eating Sofa 2, Euro Football 0 - 10th June
27) Marjorie Daw - 29th June
28) Bon mot of the week - 30th June
Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Nevertheless, the opening night was a very special event. Everyone - Chinese and foreign - wanted to watch it live somewhere; most people, in a bar. I very much doubt if any of the actual competitions - even Liu Xiang's much-anticipated final - or the closing ceremony will draw anything like such a high turn-out. I imagine dear old 101 has been pretty much dead again since. I'll probably toddle along there in a few hours to get reports.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
One of my favourite Beijing bands, Ziyo, have recently joined YouTube, but so far they've only posted two videos (Retro Disaster and Helter Skelter, from a performance earlier this year at MAO Live House) - OK, but the sound still isn't very crisp. Come on, guys, a little more attention to self-promotion, please. It surely can't be that hard to hire some half-way decent video (and audio-recording) equipment for the evening and produce a professional-quality 'official bootleg'? Is this really as good as we're going to get??
Of all the videos I've found of them so far (and, on top of the perennial perversity of YouTube's search function, it really doesn't help that they apparently share their name with some East European rock act!), I think I prefer this (although the sound is fairly ropey) - probably the catchiest of all their songs, Indie Rock Is Dead!, a nice balance of tunefulness and raging energy, always a particularly committed performance from sexy frontwoman Helen Feng, some interesting transitions..... and A MASSIVE HOOK! (Honestly, I defy you not to be humming this to yourself after one listen. If you want to hear a cleaner version, click on the audio file of it on their MySpace page.)
Monday, August 11, 2008
I've been meaning to do this for a while, but, alas, I no longer have a functional version of Photoshop on either of my computers (hence the dearth of photographs on my blogs of late).
This character - chai - means 'demolish', and it is daubed on the walls of buildings shortly before the bulldozers arrive. Sometimes, you wonder if this isn't about the only warning the soon-to-be-displaced residents get. Sometimes, indeed, the demolition seems to follow so swiftly that I speculate there may be dozens of opportunistic wrecking crews roaming the city, authorised to raze any chai'd building they find and claim a bounty for their good work. (I'm kidding about that, of course. I don't think even the Chinese would try taking market economics to that extreme. Would they???)
The wholesale destruction of great swathes of Beijing - often in a rather chaotic and unplanned way - has been one of the sorriest consequences of awarding the Olympics to China. Many of the most charming and characterful old neighbourhoods have been ruthlessly flattened to facilitate the city's misconceived plans for modernisation. The dreaded chai symbol has swept through the hutongs like a plague.
But I decided some time ago that people really ought to remember these Games as
the Chai Olympics
(Many thanks to my friend The Artist for realising this design.)
Saturday, August 09, 2008
However, in the course of my researches, I did turn up this rather wonderful little oddity - Fishermen's Friends, a choir (of fishermen, naturally) from Port Isaac in Cornwall, singing it on the beach.
Friday, August 08, 2008
I do hope Olly has managed to get the new satellite gear hooked up so that we'll have a chance to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony with some English commentary.
New laowai blues-rock combo Mr Mojo are supposed to be playing later as well. They seriously rocked the joint when they played there two or three weeks back, so I'm looking forward to that (although I guess they won't be able to get started until Zhang Yimou's finished doing his thing - how long is that going to take?).
Right now, I'm trying to chase the blues away and get myself energised for the evening with a quick blast of (my favourite Chinese band) Ziyo's EP. Good stuff.
From the Barstool, I choose The Adventure Bar, a post from April last year celebrating the characterful little hutong restaurant where I spent most of my first two years in China.
Do please check these out.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
This could be THE big pre-Olympic party!
Monday, August 04, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
Anyway, I can't recall ever before having realised that I haven't finished drinking for the night seconds after departing for home - hence this week's haiku.