I was mocking some of my blog pals the other day for threatening to have a 'live blogging' party on October 1st, and I was adamant that I would never stoop to anything so petty and time-wasting myself.
Well, I kind of almost did it anyway. I just couldn't resist firing off a few facetious remarks by SMS to the likes of The Weeble, The Choirboy, and Dr Manhattan.
"BLUE tanks?? Our swimming pools are safe now!"
"Jiang Zemin? I thought you were dead."
"Why is there a troop of Air China stewardesses taking part in this? Not that I'm complaining."
[Actually, it seems, they were members of the Beijing Women's Militia, and were widely acclaimed by Chinese and foreigners alike as the erotic highlight of the parade. Or as The Choirboy succinctly put it, "Woof!" I don't suppose white knee-boots, mini-skirts and fluffy hats are their combat uniform, though.]
"Dirty little smile from Comrade Hu there. Them's my girls!!"
[Also in reference to the Militia girls. Apparently the leader's smug little smirk as they pranced past him brought delirious hoots and hollers of respect from the Beijingers in the neighbourhood restaurant where The Choirboy was watching it.]
"Did the announcer really just say 'These are the latest drones'? He might be describing the guys up there on the reviewing stand."
"Love the big portrait of Deng! He's quite clearly got the bulge of a pack of smokes in the breast pocket of his Zhongshan jacket."
"They're going through the 'provinces and regions' floats a bit quickly! Did I miss the Taiwan one???"
"So, this float represents 'ethnic harmony in Xinjiang'? I wonder when it's going to break in two, or catch fire."
"Ooh, hippy dancing! Damn - they're singing 'Jia you, Zhongguo'. I thought for a moment it was going to be 'Aquarius'."
"Wot? No Da Shan? Not that I'm complaining."
[China's most irksomely ubiquitous 'token foreigner' was strangely absent from the frivolities.]
"Ha - somebody's cut off the English commentary. A heroic act of sabotage! I'm so relieved."
"Strange how the Chinese commentary seems to carry so much more conviction."
[I mentioned the other day over on Froogville that the two Chinese anchors delivering the English commentary on CCTV-9 did so in a tone of perpetual puzzlement, as if they hadn't been allowed to see the script in advance. The breakdown in sound near the end of the affair was thus a blessed respite, though, alas, it only lasted a couple of minutes. At first we had silence. Then we were switched to the Chinese commentary. Then they got another announcer to improvise an English commentary (possibly doing a live translation from the Chinese version?), which was a vast improvement. But then, unfortunately, they managed to restore the link to 'the latest drones'.]
"Oh my god - those diamond-pattern golf sweaters are hilarious. Those guys look like Marmalade and Niedermeyer in 'Animal House'!"
[Yes, indeed, the float representing China's students had them done up in 1950s Perry Como chic.]
Without this stream of frippery, I doubt if I could have maintained my interest in the event, or stayed awake. I think the infamous Man-Eating Sofa did get the better of me for a few short spells near the end. And I returned to bed as soon as it was over, to get another 4 or 5 hours' sleep.