Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas greetings

Merry Christmas all!

I hope everyone has a great day and a good break before the New Year!

Christmas Eve was spent at Club Tango, dancing to the minimal beats of DJ T with the usual Beijing flare of fire breathers, dancing santas, flaming drinks and enthusiastic crowds. Though a lot of fun with some superb music it's not the same as Christmas Eve in the Chequers in Oxford. I trust that the usual gathering happened and look forward to hearing how everyone is.

Today's a working day as normal but I'm not going to talk work now. I'll shortly be video chatting with my family, thanking them especially for the mince pies and mini-christmas pudding plus many more food goodies which I unwrapped this morning.

Christmas here is a strange affair. Many seem to delight in the decorations, songs and general Christmas cheer. I went to a famous restaurant next to Tango last night and the staff were all dolled-up in Christmas gear. Before going to the restaurant I went for a quiet stroll beside the frozen river. It's not pleasant to be outside at the moment in Beijing as pollution levels are about as bad as I've seen them but the idyll under the trees away from the traffic (20 meters is about as far as you can get from traffic usually here) with the frozen river was a nice moment to reflect and think of home.


I haven't spoken about books, music or films recently though I have a backlog to discuss. However, yesterday as I sat in my regular coffee spot, a cacophany of computer games and raucus students around me (I use these terms only because I didn't get enough sleep the previous night) my blood pressure rose (the noise plus the strange 50% jump in prices on Christmas eve, plus the network connection which kept timing out) but as I put on Susumu Yokota - Grinning Cat I became sealed in a wonderful, hermetic world where these strange, ambient noises, disharmonies and missing beats are all perfectly measured and I sat back relaxed, instantly calmed in my strange little abstract world. If you like abstract music to work to I suggest giving Susumu Yokota a go. I imagine you can find it on

Some time soon I'll talk about some of the weird and wonderful films I've been watching, from Visitor Q and Santa Sangre to more Kim Ki Duk and a selection of the finest anime I've viewed, having been told I was missing out by ignoring this genre (I'm swayed on occassion). I'll also talk about a few books I've been reading though novels have been left of late as I've been working rather non-stop.

I also want to talk about the famous Buddha box, which has its origins in Beijing. Sorry, I'm off on a bit of an electronica tangent at the moment but it's keeping me sane, or something approximating that.

Merry Christmas once again!


Anonymous said...

Happy Christmas Biscuit! You'll be shocked, as was I, to hear that the Chequers was shut last night. Don't know why and, as a personal protest, I didn't investigate further. However, the gathering proceeded as normal just down the road in All Bar One. Everyone well. Will tell you any news when I see you. For now, I've had too much food, too many drinks and it's time for bed. Merry Christmas!

Unknown said...

I look forward to hearing more.


Anonymous said...

As mr hartswood said, big shock about the chequers being shut. All Bar One not quite the same but a bonus that it was a non smoking pub.
Hope you had a good day etc.