A selection of highlights from my last few months of despatches from The Barstool. This list might end up being a little longer than usual, because the approaching demise of the blog prompted me to post quite prolifically, and to address a number of especially good topics that I'd somehow failed to get around to over the previous six years.
Guided Tour - recommended posts from the 4th quarter of 2012
1) Blues Week
I began October with a week of diverse musical posts, covering varieties of the blues: we had some Motorhead (a slowed down version of The Ace of Spades), Cream, ZZ Top, some early Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin (some amazing footage of one of their first ever TV appearances), the astonishing blind singer Turley Richards, and piano legend Otis Spann playing with the great guitarist Peter Green.
2) The desire for oblivion - 5th October 2012
My weekly haiku triggers one of my more serious posts, examining my lifelong history of depressive illness.
3) If they'd asked me.... - 9th October 2012
I imagine what my responses might have been if The Beijinger magazine had invited me to participate in their new 'A Drink With...' series.
4) "The Carp" - 11th October 2012
A reminiscence of a favourite restaurant during my first year in Beijing - and its horribly memorable floorshow.
5) Childhood holidays - 12th October 2012
It's amazing what the aroma of a single malt Scotch can evoke!
6) A Top Five Guitar Riffs - 13th October 2012
Does exactly what it says on the label. Of course, it's impossible to limit myself to just five once I get started on this topic - I imagine I'll be returning to it at least once or twice here.
7) Useful words - 16th October 2012
I discover a couple of intriguing concepts from other languages... and wish that we had English equivalents for them.
8) Stop that! - 25th October 2012
Flirting is BAD, m'kay? At least according to the Anti-Flirt Club - a real (though short-lived) social campaign from the Prohibition Era in America.
9) Drink and age - 26th October 2012
The passing of another birthday makes me ponder on the spectre of the dreaded Mid-Life Crisis.
10) Drum & Bass: a Top Five rhythm pairings - 27th October 2012
Can you guess who my top pick was? Moon and Entwistle? Bonham and JPJ? [Some more Great Basslines here and here.]
11) Possibly my favourite ever 'Weekly Bon Mot' - 29th October 2012
Not one of my own, alas; but very, very good.
12) The Rule of Custom - 30th October 2012
I a reminded of why you shouldn't go into restaurants that have no customers in them.
13) Bitter? Moi? - 5th November 2012
This is one of my own bon mots - combining my favourite subjects: women and drink.
14) The Top Five Unusual Places I Have Drunk - 7th November 2012
Gosh, I have led an adventurous life! Well, in my younger days, anyway.
15) The Monmouth connection - 14th November 2012
Reminiscences about how the place where I grew up influenced my burgeoning enthusiasm for music.
16) A rare regret - 16th November 2012
My return to Hong Kong after a LONG absence revives memories of a not-quite-romance from nearly 20 years ago... and prompts me to recount the story of how I once blagged my way into the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
17) Ginger ale that knows someone! - 19th November 2012
Champagne - I am not a fan. And neither was Hawkeye.
18) Bad behaviour - 23rd November 2012
I reflect on what it is about hotels that so incites people to misbehave.
19) "Don't think this has taught me a lesson." - 26th November 2012
I allow myself a bit of a swoon over the inimitable Tallulah Bankhead.
20) On Anonymity - 27th November 2012
I explain why I opted for anonymity in my blogging - and why I feel it would in general be a better course for anyone who's reviewing bars and restaurants.
21) Chinese hotel breakfasts - 29th November 2012
One of the most hilariously awful things in the world!
22) What kind of probe? - 30th November 2012
It is not until I journey into remote south-west China that I discover that Beijing's local beer is sponsoring the Chinese space programme.
23) Lost songs - 14th December 2012
Two fragments from my brief career as a lyricist for a punk rock band. (I was 17; forgive me!)
24) The BIG Question - 14th December 2012
I ponder the tricky question of whether a bar can make more money off Chinese or foreign custom, and whether it's possible to combine the two.
25) A final 'unsuitable role model': Fred Dibnah - 15th December 2012
An affectionate tribute to the affable Bolton steeplejack who was one of the great stars of British television during my childhood - and one of the most admirable and enviable men I've ever encountered.
26) American bartenders - 17th December 2012
I love 'em to bits, think they're the best in the world, but... their habit of randomly slashing people's bills at the end of the evening discombobulates me more than somewhat.
27) A Beijing 'Bucket List': 10 things to try before you die - 19th December 2012
I reflect on some of the more frivolous and fun experiences I've had during my decade of living in the Chinese capital.
28) A more cynical 'bucket list': the things you probably will have done before you leave China - 19th December 2012
Barbed farewell satire on the rather-too-common expat experience in this country.
I'll also be 'cheating' a bit - returning to the blog every once in a while to add further music posts here, and new 'Top Five' posts on other assorted topics here. So, keep your eyes peeled.