Saturday, June 05, 2010

High Anxiety

The mood in the city has been understandably somewhat subdued over the past few days. Police and chengguan have been out in force, generating a casually intimidatory atmosphere of Don't even think of trying any funny business. And the numbers of people out and about, enjoying the warm summer evenings, seem to have been rather depressed as a result: the normally thronged bar strip of Nanluoguxiang has been fairly quiet this week.

Poor old Salud seems to be having a particularly hard ride. The police have been pretty regularly closing down their Wednesday night live music shows over the past few months - although usually it's just one patrol car showing up at 11 or so, and after a few minutes of grumping the boys in blue will sidle off to do some other party-pooping further up the street, and the music gets going again for another hour.

This week, we got two regular squad cars and a jeep - 7 or 8 coppers in all - and they stayed parked outside to make sure that the gig shut down for good.

At least they didn't show up until something after 11pm. And Jean-Seb and friends, anticipating such an eventuality, had started fairly early and played one continuous set right through - so we got well over an hour of music. A great little show it was, too: Sunny was in particularly exuberant form on his djembe, and it was nice to hear Mathieu doing a little electric blues for a change. And their rocked-up version of Summertime is becoming quite the showstopper.

It's a pity that these great moments of joy invariably seem to be soured by the pointless and heavy-handed policing which is such a constant background to our lives here.


Ruby said...

I'm sure you'll be happy to hear those in power have taken a dislike to 4square as well. It's apparently been blocked since yesterday due to too many people checking in at Tiananmen Square. Actually I'm surprised the PSB haven't started using 4square to monitor where us expats are at all times.
But it wont spell the death of stalking apps - hearing murmurs in the twitter stream about something with the stupid name "gowalla".

Froog said...

I thought you needed a VPN to use Twitter et al anyway??