Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Recommended Posts, January-March 2011

Time for my roundup of favourites from the first quarter of last year...

Guided Tour - recommended posts from the 1st quarter of 2011

1)  The worst bar in the world??  -  4th January 2011
I pay a brief but illuminating visit to Beijing's most abysmal - and ludicrously named - bar, La Fite Exotic English Bar.

2)  My new hero  -  5th January 2011
I discover that the tiny Pen-Tailed Tree Shrew of Malaysia subsists entirely on a type of naturally fermented nectar which has a higher alcohol content than Chinese beer!

3)  Top Five Mornings After  -  6th January 2011
Some rather embarrassing tales of alcoholic excess in my younger days...

4)  Another absinthe poem  -  9th January 2011
Arthur Symons' celebration of the blissful haze of daytime drinking...

5)  Froog's esprit de l'escalier  -  13th January 2011
Too late... I come up with a neat answer to that vexed "What are you doing here?" question.

6)  Fodder!!  -  18th January 2011
Beijing's BEST low-budget bar/restaurant remains almost completely unknown - because it's all the way out in Caochangdi.

7)  Suzanne Vega's Caramel  -  23rd January 2011
An overdue addition to my 'Great Songs' series.

8)  The dream landscape  -  25th January 2011
Some of the pubs - and pub crawls - I dream about are better than the real thing!

9)  The virtue of whisky  -  28th January 2011
One of the best of my 'Haiku Bar haiku' - on the relative merits of different beverages for facilitating a good heart-to-heart chat.

10)  How things change....  -  30th January 2011
I reflect on how I became a drinker in China... and how I got fat in the last few years!

11)  Ultimate singalong  -  5th February 2011
Fortuitously reminded of what a great communal headbang Bohemian Rhapsody can be, I celebrate by trawling up a diverse selection of versions of the song - including one by the fabulous US 'rockgrass' band Hayseed Dixie.

12)  Hold On  -  12th February 2011
As close as I get to a 'Valentine's post': my favourite of Tom Waits's more recent songs.

13)  The price issue  -  16th February 2011
On the eve of my departure on a holiday, I try to sound a clarion call to rouse the Beijing population to revolt against overpriced drinks in bars. The effort was a dismal failure, but I shall keep on trying to fight the good fight.

14)  A Tale of Two Bars  -  6th March 2011
And also, pretty much, the tale of my holiday in Penang (apart from my brief fantasy about buying the derelict hotel next door!).

15)  A 'bon mot' about baijiu  -  7th March 2011
Because you can never have too many warnings...

16)  The Coliseum Café & Hotel  -  12th March 2011
One of my curiouser - and most quirkily charming - discoveries on a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur.

17)  The greatest little boozer...  -  17th March 2011
For St Patrick's Day this year I share a personal reminiscence about the Pogues song Sally McLennane (and am lucky enough to turn up on YouTube a great live performance of it from classic BBC2 music show The Old Grey Whistle Test). Alas, despite my Irish heritage, I find the modern Irishman increasingly pisses me off...

18)  Top Five Places To Drink Outdoors  -  27th March 2011
The advent of spring prompts me to reject the supposed allurements of Beijing's expensive terrace bars in favour of... more homely pleasures.

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