Another quarterly round-up from last year. This one will probably be a little shorter than some, since I was away on holiday for half of this period, and suffering from problematical Internet access throughout.
Guided Tour - recommended posts from the 3rd quarter of 2009
1) Sympathy with Tom - 22nd July 2009
On my return to England I find myself experiencing a tantalising moment of near-greatness on the pool table - which prompts me to commiserate, again, with Tom Watson's recent heartbreak on the last green of the British Open.
2) HBH 142 - 24th July 2009
I find revisiting the stomping grounds of my youth to be a rather disorienting and dispriting experience...
3) A bon mot for the week from Ozzy Osbourne - 27th July 2009
A rather unusual selection for my weekly series of 'wise words'!
4) HBH 143 - 31st July 2009
For some reason, travelling also sets me to brooding again on my great thwarted romance with 'Madame X'.
5) The man without condiments - 31st July 2009
I find myself unexpectedly catering a small dinner party in Oxford. Unfortunately, my host, Little Anthony, has a very strange kitchen: very generously over-equipped in some respects, alarmingly under-equipped in others.
6) Lear - 1st August 2009
A brief review of the Washington Shakespeare Theatre's production of King Lear, starring Stacy Keach, which I'd seen a week or so earlier, at the end of my trip to the States.
7) The Marlborough House - 4th August 2009
The closure of yet another of my old student drinking haunts in Oxford provokes some mournful self-reflection...
8) What they drink in Finland? - 6th August 2009
My friend Little Anthony, a motorsport journalist just returned from covering the Rally of Finland, is able to enlighten us on this question - the answer is surprising, and rather horrifying.
9) Chill Penury (and Dirty Tricks) - 9th August 2009
I am shocked to discover how darned expensive most of the shows at the Edinburgh Fringe have got, with ticket prices seeming to have at least doubled in less than a decade. I ponder a few suggestions for scoring freebies, but realise that I am far too ethical to adopt any of these.
10) Set the controls for the heart of URANUS - 15th August 2009
My researches into an especially pretentious 'speakeasy' cocktail bar in Alexandria, VA. leave me feeling quite incensed (I had been planning to go there, but was emphatically put off the idea).
11) The Best Cocktail Bar In The World - 17th August 2009
... is actually in my friend's kitchen. And all the better for being FREE! I particularly enjoyed his recreation of 'forgotten classic' The Avenue.
12) An ominous landmark - 21st August 2009
I pass my 'Chinaversary' again.... and start to feel that fabled seven-year-itch - with a vengeance!
13) HBH 146 - 28th August 2009
In celebration of the surprisingly palatable mare's milk baijiu from Mongolia, which is becoming quite a regular 'special' at my favourite bar.
14) A bon mot from life - 7th September 2009
I conduct a schizophrenic conversation with myself on the topic of love, etc....
15) You know you've been in Beijing too long... - 13th September 2009
.... when bar staff start giving you backchat like this! My subsequent bon mot for the week was closely related in sentiment.
16) The Weeble learns a new word - 24th September 2009
My translator buddy, with his disturbingly nocturnal working - and partying - patterns, had forgotten the conventional concept of 'breakfast'.
17) Cured? - 29th September 2009
Am I finally over my last great love affair? Sort of, almost, maybe.
18) Tuesday Night Music Club - 30th September 2009
My favourite neighbourhood music bar Jianghu has instituted a Tuesday jazz jam. I am particularly intrigued by a Chinese lady drummer who's started showing up to it.