Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Favourite posts from the 2nd quarter of 2009

Another quarterly roundup from a year (and more) ago.

Guided Tour - recommended posts from the 2nd quarter of '09

1)  Compatibility Quotient  -  4th April 2009
I reflect on a recent romance that had rather knocked me sideways.  Pity she had to leave after a week!

2)  A rather long bon mot  - 6th April 2009
... on the unwisdom of lending money to friends...

3)  Meiyou!  -   7th April 2009
The dreaded Chinese word for "We don't have that!"  It really is amazing the stuff that shops and restaurants can manage to run out of here.  More on recent gob-smacking 'bad service' experiences here and here.

4)  I have in mind a business  -  10th April 2009
I announce my intention to stage a Great Nanluoguxiang Bar Crawl, for no other reason than to prove that it can be done (an event which went ahead a couple of weeks later - on the day of the Nanluoguxiang Waffle Street Fair - with quite a gaggle of other drinkers in tow)

5)  I wouldn't have thought it possible  -  15th April 2009
After visiting the Flames bar in the new Wangfujing Hilton Hotel, I am astounded to discover that it is almost certainly the worst bar in Beijing - yes, even worse than Centro!!

6)  Ooops!  -  17th April 2009
Another anecdote about my recent romantic adventure: this time, the story of its potentially disastrous start - the first entry in my popular 'Great Dating Disasters' series.

7)  The Bookbinders' Arms  -  19th April 2009
A reminiscence of one of my favourite pubs in Oxford.

8)  My first memory of China  -  21st April 2009
It's 15 years since I first set foot in the country, so I revisit my recollections of my very first night on Chinese soil (if you don't count Shenzhen, which I don't).

9)  Gan bei!  (Surviving the baijiu ritual)  -  24th April 2009
More reminiscences about that first visit to China in '94 - focusing on how to survive the ordeal of being relentlessly toasted at Chinese banquets.

10)  Geek Wars  -  2nd May 2009
What my younger friends, the techie types, discuss - and Google for - when they take their laptops out to the bar.

11)  Rounds  -  4th May 2009
A little primer on the etiquette of buying rounds.  Some folks seem to be in need of it.

12)  Distractions  -  8th May 2009
During the Great Nanluoguxiang Bar Crawl, I found myself taking a fair number of weird, abstract or experimental photographs - some of them were quite fun.  And I managed not to lose my camera!

13)  Superstition  -  9th May 2009
On one of my first visits to 'The Secret Bar' (actually, Lucky Man - a bizarre Taiwanese whisky bar hidden away in the hutongs), I am tempted into indulging in a silly bit of romantic mumbo-jumbo to try to improve my 'prospects' with the now departed - and witheringly indifferent! - Swedish Bombshell.

14)  A Chinese proverb  -  11th May 2009
My weekly bon mot is in Chinese, for once - and I fret about the nuances.

15)  A new game for you!  -  11th May 2009
A silly in-joke for Beijingers: suggest names for the next addition to Luga's little empire of bars and restaurants around Sanlitun Houjie.

16)  A new concept  -  14th May 2009
A facetious idea for a new bar in Beijing: the world's most environmentally-unfriendly establishment.

17)  HBH 133  -  15th May 2009
This week's haiku is a lament for the suddenly demised 'Pie of 5 kuai' shop - the best snack stall on Nanluoguxiang these past 6 or 7 months.

18)  Danger Doyle's  -  17th May 2009
The worst bar to open in Beijing in recent memory, and a very strong contender in my 'Dead Pool' competition. (And I was soon to have another really awful experience there!)

19)  I couldn't make it up  -  20th May 2009
I reproduce a particularly amusing label from a Chinese "whisky".  (More examples of quirkily named fakery here.)

20)  Great Dating Disasters (2)  -  28th March 2009
One of the worst dates I have ever been on in Beijing - or anywhere!  But it provides some useful lessons for all of us, I think.

21)  Great Love Songs (16)  -  30th May 2009
I finally turn up an old, old favourite - master bluesman Big Bill Broonzy singing Gershwin's Glory of Love (no video, alas; but a gorgeous recording).

22)  Farewell to Nurenjie!  -  31st May 2009
Yet another crazy drinking spree: this time bidding goodbye to the about-to-be-demolished Lady Street 'Super Bar Street'.

23)  A bon mot for the week  -  1st June 2009
One of my most definitive self-composed ones...

I reflect wistfully on how I managed to completely lose contact with the last girl to kiss me (nearly a year before!).

25)  Back to the old school!  -  2nd June 2009
My manifesto for a month of back-to-basics living.  (It went modestly well at first, but I allowed myself too many 'exceptions' - particularly at Amilal; so, the month ended up being rather more expensive than I'd hoped.)

26)  The egos have (crash)landed  -  13th June 2009
The Beijinger magazine's 'Super Quiz' at Tun is a bit of a disaster - largely because the questionmasters try too hard to show off, and make a complete balls-up of things.  The 12 Square Monkeys team leaves in protest before the final round (as do many of the other punters).  I draw some general lessons on how to stage a good quiz.  (And it didn't help that we nearly got into a fight with one of the waiters!)

27)  A strange evening  -  14th June 2009
I become unexpectedly embroiled in a closing down party for short-lived Nanluoguxiang dive Bad Company, and a very alcoholic evening ensues.

28)  Hide in plain sight  -  28th June 2009
Rather belatedly, I discover the strangely inconspicuous No. 8 Beer Garden beside the north gate of the Workers' Stadium, and it briefly becomes a favourite afternoon/early evening haunt of mine as I enjoy my last few days of the Bejing summer before flying out for a holiday.

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