Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The veil pierced?

I had a worrying encounter the other day.  Someone purported to recognise me as this blog's author (well, he didn't name this blog specifically - but how many blogs about drinking in Beijing are there, really?).
Worse still, it was a bar owner.  The owner of a bar I was thinking of writing about.
And now I feel inhibited
I don't want to receive friendlier service or complimentary drinks if I write something nice.  [Hey, yes, it's always nice to receive that kind of special attention - but I'd prefer it to be just because I'm a good customer, rather than because I gave a place a favourable mention on the Internet.  And I really should point out to any bar owners thinking of trying to get a plug on here that - on a good day - this blog is only read by about 20 people, the great majority of whom are old college buddies of mine who do not live in China.  So, my promotional value to you is just about ZERO.] 
Even more importantly, I don't want to suffer complaints and resentment if I write something unfavourable.  And that is, in almost all cases, far more likely: I am by nature a critic, a nit-picker, a fault-finder.  I am also a humourist - and it is damned difficult to make jokes about good stuff.  So, even with my very favourite bars, you may find as much bad as good in my comments.  [The Pool Bar, outbreaks of fake booze and deteriorating condition of the pool table; Amilal, lack of bar vibe and preponderance of poncey Europeans among the clientele; Jianghu, rising prices and compromised ambience after moving the bar into the courtyard; 12 Square Metres, eccentricities of the music playlist and obstinate refusal to lower the price of Harbin pijiu; Jiangjinjiu, often painfully overcrowded on gig nights and absolutely no ventilation; and so on and so on.]
If the proprietors of Paddy O'Shea's or Danger Doyle's or Drei Kronen ever discovered who I was, I'd be a dead man.
So, this is a worrying development.  And I wonder who might have been responsible for compromising my cloak of anonymity.  There are only about half a dozen of the Beijing laowai bloggers' community who know me, only a couple who know me well; and I don't think any of them would grass me up.
The only person who has cracked the "Who is Froog?" mystery by deduction alone is JK, the boss of 12 Square Metres - but that was relatively easy for him, because he doesn't have that many regular customers, and I don't think anyone else has written about his bar online (as much as I have!).  I can rely on his discretion.
So, how did my secret leak?
I shall find out.  My spies are everywhere.  Inquisitors and assassins have been despatched.  The blabbermouth will suffer an excruciating fate... pour décourager les autres.

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