Thursday, August 31, 2006

From Distant Lands

I have a temporary housemate in the form of a Viennese couchsurfer. He's currently spending a couple of months travelling around China before starting a PhD in physics (coincidentally) some time soon. Chinese long-distant transport being what it is his bus, due to arrive in at 22.30, was a little delayed and when at midnight I got a text saying they'd just passed a sign saying 150 km to Beijing I headed back to my side of the city from the bus station to get some sleep before going to meet him. At 2.30 am we met up after a successful all-Chinese conversation over the phone with a taxi driver, explaining where to go and then we quickly crashed out.

He's staying in Beijing for about 4 days, so seeing all the major sites in the day before we're meeting up in the evening to experience some of the delights of the Beijing nightlife.

As he's into rock I thought that we could head to a local music venue which has a decent selection of local bands and thought that the number of biker-looking Chinese guys and girls looked promising for the forthcoming music. After being thoroughly beaten at pool by a burly, bearded Chinese rocker the first band came on. Unfortunately this particular Chinese bluegrass ensemble, though technically very talented, exuded absolutely no personality in their music whatsoever and when we got to the medley of Benny Hill with circus music we called it quits and took our beer elsewhere. In fact elsewhere was just next door at club D-22 which was looking distinctly more interesting. With films playing quietly projected over the stage, dimly lit with drum kit waiting in the wings, this promised more than the previous venue. Indeed the first act of the night was a bizarre mix. A guy with a guitar, with floppy hair and a lurid, rose patterned polyester top, though Chinese he sang his wonderfully melancholic songs with a voice somewhere between Dylan and Chris Difford (Squeeze). Gently enthusiastic if completely self-indulgent it was a fun set. Next came the Sino-version of the Beach Boys and the elastic, nervous looking singer gave a couple of fun renditions in between taking big drags on his cigarette. At this point it was getting late so we had to make a move, F, wanting to get up early to go and see the great wall.

Things have been really hectic for me recently with several projects deciding whether to take off or not. In particular a recent paper by Csaba Csaki looks to have some really important implications for AdS/QCD so I'm seeing where this can be taken.

As well as attempting to accelerate my own language learning and continuing to take the ever-enjoyable English corner once every two weeks I'll be starting to teach a private lesson once a week to a former TV presenter which should be fun.

Anyway, time being what it is I have many things to do before the weekend which itself promises some interesting activities, which I shall endeavor to talk about when I can.

2 comments:

Rt Hon Spoonful said...

Exciting, which former tv presenter are you teaching english to?

Is it Cheryl Baker of Bucks Fizz fame? She can't talk proper for ****

Cheers for your address - for no reason at all. Nothing is happening in 2.5 weeks...

Jonathan Shock said...

Greetings,

This is a Chinese former TV presenter and though I'm sure you'd instantly recognise the name I generally don't like to give these things away on the blog.

Indeed, I look forward to nothing happening in 2.5 weeks.

All the best,

J