A selection of favourites from the middle of last year (a relatively quiet spell on here)...
Guided Tour - recommended posts from the 2nd quarter of 2011
1) Weekend Musical Interlude - 1st April 2011
Middle Eastern musician Abaji visits Beijing with his amiable style of 'world music'; I offer a micro-review, and a couple of nice YouTube clips of his playing.
2) Is it really that easy? - 8th April 2011
An intriguing discovery from a recent holiday in Malaysia: a cheap knock-off 'whisky' with a beguilingly simple recipe.
3) The Parting Glass - 9th April 2011
Another in my 'Great Drinking Songs' series: three great versions of the poignant Scots/Irish leaving song.
4) The Beatles, but not as we know them - 23rd April 2011
Another musical oddity - a version of Come Together performed by Siberian folk-rock throat-singing band Bugotak.
5) It's déjà vu all over again - 25th April 2011
I lose patience with the annual farce of The Beijinger magazine's Bar & Club Awards... and offer up my own shortlist of contenders (not actually bars that I like myself, but the bars which would be appropriate for consideration for such an award). I later nominated some more detailed 'alternative awards' here and here.
6) Top Five reasons to skip festival-going this year - 29th April 2011
The May holiday brings the first of the year's outdoor music festivals in and around Beijing... but I find I'm not enthused this year.
7) The worst pool tables in the world? - 12th May 2011
The chance discovery of some spectacularly grotty outdoor pool tables (long a rarity in Beijing) reminds me of some of my earliest experiences of playing pool in China.
8) HBH 233 - 13th May 2011
One of my better haiku, celebrating the sublime meditativeness sometimes achieved on the long stagger home.
9) Skipping the Party - 28th May 2011
This year, I gave the 2 Kolegas Birthday Party a miss. For a long time it was my favourite live music venue in the city, but lately I'd been losing the love.
10) Saving a tailspin - 30th May 2011
A really horrible day is surprisingly redeemed by a chain of improbable experiences in the evening - such is Beijing life! (And here's a more thorough example of the sort of fortuitously wonderful day I sometimes enjoy here.)
11) Wisdom of the Froog - 7th June 2011
Some more of my insight in the matter of hangovers...
12) How to hold a music festival (or not) - 9th June 2011
The new Kama Love Music Festival was - even by Beijing/China standards - one of the most spectacularly ill-organized I have ever experienced. At least it provided me with a template for how one ought to do things right at these events.
13) More musical magic - 21st June 2011
I am bewitched by a recital by the lovely Lan Weiwei, a virtuoso of the pipa (Chinese lute), at The Bookworm, and turn up this YouTube video of a masterclass of hers.
14) Dazed and, er, 'feasted' - 28th June 2011
A celebration of the superb party which was the inaugural 'dazeFeast one-day music festival at 2 Kolegas (and some thoughts on the superiority - for all concerned - of free gigs).
15) Mogwai! - 29th June 2011
My slushy side is revealed by the impromptu rescue of the world's ugliest kitten.