To start

Nathan and I were listening and watching to the group of musicians on the stage. He spotted the bassist and just went “I want to play with her”. And then he did. For him, it is just natural to go after what he finds interest in. He just goes. Grabs it. Which is why he playing everywhere with everyone all the time. We could all use being a bit more like him.

 

This night, was amazing. The gal worrying mostly about what to wear when walking in to 4C every Thursday, wanting to just be around real musicians, my 24 year old me. Would give me a big hug and a high five. Why? Because my outfit has turned to more like a uniform, and I am last night I was art of creating the fun from nothing.

Before ever entering anything anywhere, you gotta know your room. Always nr 1, listen first. Feel the vibe. Literally, feel the vibe. All (new?) situations in life involving other people, are like sitting down at a table where people are already engaged in a conversation. Would you sit down and start telling about your day without having no idea what they are talking about? NO! Unless you’re a dick. You enter quietly. You listen. You teach yourself what is going on, before you start adding to it. Or changing it. This out of no bigger reason than decency. Simple decency.

If sitting down by the table is hella scary, remind yourself, that if you belong just like everyone else. You are not that much worse than anybody else. You might even do a good thing, if you aim at adding rather than changing.

At 4C they were all inspiring, aspiring, writers, musicians, singers. What brought them together, what made those evening possible, was the fact that they were all doers. Bringing my camera made me a doer too. It got me in. And it was well done, because it has made me some money at the end and made a me loads of friends, brought me wonderful experiences and people. However, all I actually and really wanted was to have someone, Tavey, teach me how to not be such a nervous wreck so that I could join the fun. Someone to just come and say “I know you’re hiding something amazing. Something that your shyness is’nt letting you bring out to the world. Something so new, so refreshing and just so amazing that the world needs it. You’re talents are too important to be hidden away, so Im gonna help you. By next year, you’ll be as comfortable on this very stage as you are on your on toilet at home”

Now listen up ya’ll! The world aint werkin like dat.
If you want one thing, do not get comfortable doing another.

Because as soon as you do, that place is where people around you will perceive you comfortable. All of a sudden, that is who you are. I became the photographer, not the girl trying my stuff out at the Open Mic. Then it is a big shift that needs to be made, rather then just slipping into something new while at a new place. Environmental changes are great for these shifts. When I was still new there I should have just gone and do it, but at the same time. No. I was not ready. I loved to just listen. Feel the atmosphere. The energy. I loved falling in love with the place, with everyone. Being around people singing and jamming together became like a drug. It filled my soul and it still does.

I have been singing and writing songs on my own, sometimes with my best friend Matilda, for 7 tears now. 7 years… I dare to say I have found my voice. I dare to say, my songs are good. All that is missing, is a band.

Doesn’t matter what your dream is, if you are doing something completely different because you are scared of what might happen if you give it a shot. At this point, I had basically made a decision that the dream of joining the fun does not get a chance to flourish. Basically, I had killed its pulse by getting comfortable not doing it. By bringing my camera instead of bringing my book of songs I’ve written. It was my job to keep the dream alive, not give it valium. Keep its pulse strong! My other job was to show other people where the pulse is. That there is a certain fire withing me, not in hot flames, but glowing. If people are not aware of those glowing pieces of creativity within you, who in their right mind would try to help you away from where you are already doing? Especially, if that it what you have made your identity? That would be mad. So its up to you, to inform them. Its up to you, to make it happen.

Keeping it alive at home is ofc a way to keep its pulse strong. To maintain the glow. Not even doing that, will cost you a lot. So always at least believe in yourself when you’re alone, if you cant when with others. Now I have reached a point where this glow needs to become fire. I want the flames to go high, so that I can dance naked behind them and still be invisible to people. That is how much fire I have. I cant imagine how my soul will feel when I am jamming with musicians playing to my words. Aaaah euphoria.

What if my 24 year old me would have seen the 28 year old me sitting there yesterday singing with 2 strangers and a the manager of Hot Cat, drumming with my Chinese fan on the table, the Bai Jiu bottle and my lap – not being scared. Just having fun. Just enjoying. Trusting the others to take me seriously, just like I did them. Grateful to be a part of it, not even thinking about wether I belong or not. If I am good enough or not. Realizing today, the morning after, that I didn’t even get the traditional “I have dared to sing when people can hear me stomache ache”, which usually lasts for about 40 very intense minutes. But nothing. Nope. Zero. Nada. Why?… Because I just allowed myself to enjoy. None of it was a performance where result mattered.

That turned out to be the key for the out coming, for the soft opening of sharing my voice in social situations without it being agony or something that needs “powering through”. Taking the pressure off and focusing on why I was doing it, was key. Joy! Doing it for the same reason there as I do at home. Because it makes me happy! Because it comes naturally! Because I love doing it. When I didn’t have anything to bring to our circle beyond the tapping of my fan, I meditated on how happy I was to be there. How beautiful this moment was, and I even dared to close my eyes and just listen. Tap and listen. On my gratitude that I had been invited to play. Invited to this idea “That hey, lets make some music right here, right now”. All I had done to be counted in on that, was admitted that I sing and write on my own. That joy in my heart I got from them giving me room, also made the singing come easily. It came from my heart and I was more than happy to share.

There was this lovely girl from France, Felia, who is a major Erykah Baidu fan and I could’nt believe how lucky I was that she was there. I love people who sing like that. Its so weird, and so amazing. Its so free. So not square. Such an outburst of a feeling one cant explain with words, because human has not come up ith them yet. But with this singing of sounds, you can feel it. The whole thing was magical.

Give room to those silly outbursts of joy, whatever they are.
Joy will make you bigger and bigger, while lighter and lighter. Give Joy room, not Fear.

Follow your joy goddammit.

And be nice to people.

 

Beijing North West corner adventure

We were just gonna go through the park to save time, but ended up in a confused loop due to the west gate being bricked up.

I would never say “all foreigners look the same”. They just dress the same.

To contact police, just press the red button, that happens to sit behind thick glass. Ah shit.

After refueling on electrolytes we continued to Qinghua University for a game of softball. But we could not possibly find our people and then Ethans battery died. So we had to find something else to do…

 

Graffiti on the wall separating the school area from living space.

We had left the university area to search for food when I spotted this princess in green!

and this supr dope flowy coat.

Lady selling colorful ribbons, flowers, Jian Bing and Ma La Tang from the same window.
JIA YOU! 加油!!

 

And this guy built this thing to use for selling pots. Genius.

Yuletid

View from my fathers livingroom.

When living abroad in a country very different from your own, it is not uncommon to skip holidays. Only a few lucky ones really celebrate like back home with a big group of people, a christmas tree, window decorations and candles sticks, chocolates, gifts, candle, desserts, casseroles, meats and salads. The most people usually do, is to enjoy a Christmas Buffet for 150 – 400 RMB per person. These tables are Canadian or American, never Finnish or Swedish. Since the Chinese folks dont give a darn a bout Christmas, there aint visble quies all over the city about what holiday it is. So it goes by unnoticed to some of us.

Does it make me a weirdo if I enjoy watching various beings eating food I’ve made?

2 meatballs were sitting on a plate. A woman picked them up and fed to her dogs, as a Christmas breakfast addition. And it was the best thing. Super stoked she was, eyeing the two cuddle editions of wolf, chow down on those hand made Swedish Meatballs. Experiencing a kind of pride and joy. Happiness. The end.

Was it just so that I liked to see them eat meat, since its so rare in this pretty much Vegetarian household? And that made me feel like I am doing the “proper thing”? This morning we had meatballs in the house because yesterday, 2 days after Christmas eve, it hit me that I got no Christmas spirit. Until that moment, it had’nt bothered me…

But wait, what is this? And I started looking around the house. No candlesticks. No stars in the windows. No 4 candles burned unevenely on the kitchen table I dont have. No Christmas tree. No pretty lights. No oranges with cloves pushed in the skin, giving the home a scent. No boxes of chocolate. No bowl with a mix of different nuts. No gifts!! No Donald Duck!!! No TV at all actually, and no sitting next to my brothers playing videogames I was not welcome to participate on. NO NOTHING! This, quite frankly, blows I thought. It only took me til 48 hourse after it would have been all over, to realize I really want it all. “BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” and I miss family.

Up and out to Wine Dance Supermarket on Baochao hutong, they are always open late. Got som potatoes, cream, 2 jars of anjoivies, a few onions and of milk for the Jansson’s Frestelse, which is an ah-mazing Swedish Christmas Potato Casserole. Some walnuts because mom always did. A kg of minced pork for the meatballs. Got home and got cooking! When the second casserole was in the oven, I even dugg out some awful Christmas lights (Thank you Doris, I still love that I have it). Now they are sitting pretty, decorating our hutong terrace. A Chinese orange with cloves in the peel, decorates and adds scent to our livingroom. A few candles in mason jars. A bowl of walnuts with shells still on, just sitting there. Just because.

Aaah, muuuuuuch better.

This morning, when I even got to feed my dogs a homemade meatball for breakfast, I felt fantastic. Because it meant it was Christmas. And it got a bit like, instead of me opening one present in the morning of December 24th, they got to eat one meatball on December 27th :)

Merry Christmas, Sanna

Addition in January: I cooked a well received Christmas table for New Years eve and invited people in for a detour in their already made plans. Success! Mulled wine, 2 kinds of ham, beet root salad with pieces of potato and apple, gingerbread, softbread, cheese, picked onions, pickled cucumber, Janssons frestelse, carrot casserole Finnish style.. Ah, it was fantastic. Everybody got properly fed and drunk! 


Here comes a parade of Christmas memories from 5 years ago. I love and hate these images. I love the memories, but dispise my terrible photography skills from before China. During my 5 years here, I have really learned Photography if anything.


The pictures up here are from one of the anual big vegetarian Birthday Celebration / Christmas dinners at dads place with some friends, family and his care takers.  Since my birthday is on the 23d of December, the two are usually combined.

Joakim and I made our own jams, and for Christmas we’d gift them to family.

Here’s my best friend Matilda, with my brother to the right and his buddy “Redskin” to the left. Joakim is behind the wheel. We dropped Markus and redskin at the train station, before we headed over to Tillas apartment.

Knitted a warm scarf for mom.

Psychic Kong Recording Studio with Bastards of Imperialism

 

After the Punk Night at Hot Cat, I got real curious about Bastards of Imperialism. Reached out to Darryl, their songwriter and vocalist, for some information and just admited my interest. Warmhearted as he is, he answered all my questions, shared a few thoughts about a few things and let me come along for what they were doing next  – recording a second album.

Too old for this shit

I came here to fuck shit up
I won’t stop ’til I’ve had enough
You don’t like it_ You can go get fucked
Here it is, my big crux

Now I’ve spent 40 long years in this trench
This is my life, and in Beijing there’s a foul, stench
This is not right
it’s rising up the depths
of the sewer
it fucking stinks
Shanzai punk, mother fuckin’
bullshit spewers

Young punk brag about their shoes
Fuck you and your i-phone too

You’re a fucking a clique
you bitch about the government
Where the fuck is your social commitment?

Now I’ve spent 40 long years in this trench
This is my life
and in Beijing there’s a foul
stench
This is not right
it’s rising up the depths
of the sewer
it fucking stinks
Shanzai punk, mother fuckin’
bullshit spewers

 

– What exactly is it that you’re doing here? What is it that you wanna write about?
Darryl asked me in the cab on our way back, and I told him I was’nt sure, but that there is a story here. Somewhere.

PSYCHIC KONG RECORDING STUDIO
Adress: At the bottom of a dying mall in Gao Bei Dian.
Contact:
Opening hours:
To record:

The birthday we did’nt celebrate

Adele is this super cute russian girl whose birthday was last week on Thursday. On Open Mic Night! We met through my friend Lisa, who I met through my friend Ryon, who I met at a Restaurant Bar in Wudaoying, called Stuff’d. It was a crazy hot saturday after a Hex Object rehearsal at The Snake Pit sometime early summer, me and the singer Finn wanted to make better with their Arrow Brewery drafts. A few months later, Ryon had introduced me to a bunch of people, one of them being Lisa. The two of them left together one day, but first she wanted to go have her last weekly meal of Fish n’ Chips at First Floor in Sanlitun.

First floor

Every Monday after 6 PM they cut their whole menus prices in half, so it attracts a lot of people. Pastas, subs, burgers, spring rolls, lasagne, salads. You name it. But, they are short on vegetarian, especially vegan options. During football season, First Floor shows all games on a big projector outside, which is quite awesome.

Their food and their staff gets lovelier by the year. I know this for a fact beacuse about 3 years ago it was quite shit, but it was the one place that was always open and you could smoke inside. Me and Alina had an epic evening of 90’s songs there with Jonathan Ellis, drummer from Bye Bye Kitty, as the DJ.

How I met Adele

The Fish n’ Chips weekly tradition was something Adele and Lisa did together. For their last supper I joined too! We got drunk ofc, then headed to The Local for drinks. Kenn is the best host in Beijing, so ofc, he came around with free shots. Shortly after we were sitting outside on a bench somewhere singing along to some Miley Cirus’s Backyard Sessions. This is where Adele and I noticed that we will be buddies even after Lisa has left.  Our friend  had’nt been sleeping properly the past few days, since she wanted to party with her friends before leaving. Making her pass out within minutes with her head in my lap, while Adele was singing. 10 minutes later, we put her in a cab.

Adele and I headed to the dirty barstreet dividing Sanlitun South from North, for midnight Kebabs. Then Cafe De La Post on Yong He Gong Da Jie to see if anybody was out. Ofc not, it was freaking Monday. Cafe De La Post attracts a lot of 20-25 year olds, so I feel old there. My people is more 25-35. We made ourselves comfortable outside on the steps, drinking the same Hoegaarden we’ve had in hand since Sanlitun. There is a crazy loud incredibly dark and super smoky bar where no foreigners go, just opposite but slight North of First Floor. Thats where we got them. When sitting outside the joint for a smoke, this guy came up asking interrogational questions. Which is not that uncommon. Where you from? What do you do? Do you speak Chinese? How long you been here? How long will you stay? It was obivious he just wanted foreign friends but lacked any genuine interest. Sometimes to some locals, the idea of a foreign friend is cool – so we are being very objectified at times, especially as girls. An oppurtunity to get rid of him served itself when a bullshitter came up talking about how his hostel wont allow him to stay the night, because his bank wont have the money in until tomorrow morning. Hostels do not opperate like this. Usually you pay when checking out. We knew it was bullshit to get money from us, but our guy didnt, so he started digging around in his pockets to help him out. This is when we nodded, smiled and left. Leaving the opened bottles of Budwesier brought outside for us, untouched.

Rule nr 1 for barlife anywhere: Never drink out of a bottle that a stranger has opened for you.

On the steps outside of Cafe De La Post, our bums got cold and we started moving through the hutongs towards Jiaodaokou, ending up at the Meishu Guan Kuan Jie intersection where she got in a cab. The walk there was beautiful. We were talking about her grandmother most of the time, and I was in tears when she spoke about how the students she had been teaching years ago, arrived at her funeral. From her grandmother, Adele learned to always do everything to everyone out of love. Yelling at people for treating you unfairly, is never the solution.  Even, and especially, when fighting with you friends or family. But also when a stranger is cutting in line or driving like an idiot. Always, speak from a place of love.

Her grandmother passed away 3 years ago, on her birthday. This makes it hard to celebrate. To eat cake and go out dancing. Even if she knows her granny would not want her to stop celebrating her birthday, she just is’nt ready yet and that’s ok.

So when her birthday came around I was happily surprised she wanted to come out and have dinner at 4 Corners, and better yet, it was on Open Mic Night! My luck is amazing sometimes. AND! It wa’snt just A Open Mic Night, it was the Introduction of the new host Open Mic Night. It was a slow night with  very few uests due to the holidays coming up, giving Jukka a good chance to get comfortable, and Adele and oppurtunity to sing Pink Floyd on stage, with no reason to be nervous – since she was just among friends.

Hella lazy

Some days we wake up like big balls of energy just waiting to excel the hell, out of the upcoming 12 hours. Other days we wake up like zombies waiting for the hours to go by, so that we can crawl back into bed without guilt or shame.

Today was a day in between the two. Positive, but hella lazy. After editing the first batch of my first ever “We-are-getting-married” pictures for am hour, I needed to get the fuck out of my house. Post process on important photos I only do an hour at the time, because as an artist you can easily stare yourself blind on what your working on. Too focused on the details to see what really matters, the whole.

Yong Café by the Lama Temple

Yong Café on Yong He Gong Da Jie is my favorite place for a coffee, so I go there when I need some cheering up (or happen to be craving a toast with a too-good-to-be true salad dressing reminding me of my favorite Mc Donald’s burger I havemt had in 15 years, the Mc Feast. The amazing burger nobody remembers. Was it all a dream?)

After stuffing my face for a bit, it was getting dark and it was time to go back.
Outside of the Lama Temple entrance sits my friend Wang San. He is 44, from Si Chuan province, burn victim, and because of that a begger. I haven’t asked about when or how it happened, but today he showed me his arm and I could see the beautiful color skin he has. Like light expensive mustard. We were talking about favorite food and drinks, and I asked about alcohol. The parts of his skin where he was burnt feels uncomfortable when he drinks alcohol so he cant. All he really wants to do is fly the kite or drive cars, but he can do neither because his hands won’t open properly anymore. Using chopsticks still works though, which is cool. Still his mood is always fantastic! Today he was sitting by himself in the cold, holding on to his metal bowl with a few RMB in it – still much more energized and happy than me, who just came from a nice waffle meal and a hot cappuccino. Fuck I am spoiled.

My Chinese is fading.. I studied the first 2 years here, then I’ve been focused on other stuff, like photography. So that sucks, but it’s on my To Do list for 2017. Even though my Chinese is basic, Wang San and I sat together today for an hour on the curb talking shit. Everything was great, I just wished we had some hot tea! My mind space of today was bad, but he fixed it. I am very thankful for him, because he is so genuine when talking to you. Not just nodding and smiling like people usually do. Eventually his ride arrived, we said goodbye and I walked home feeling much better. He calmed me down by just talking with me cus he makes me laugh. And he protected me like a true friend when people came to bother me, asking questions about where I am from, how old I am and what I do. Wang San sent them away going “Cant you she is talking to her friend?! Go!” And they did. Even apologized! to San. He knew I wasn’t interested in talking with them, that I was trying to figure out how to rid myself these curious folks, so he took it upon himself. Cool guy for sure. Another woman came around wanting me to pay her for reading my hand, I just eyed San for a second and he shook his head “Nah, she is a lier”, and I sent her away. San told me the man with the long beard who was asking all those questions, was just hoping I would eventually let him touch my face. San said he didnt know him personally, but he knows the kind.

I asked a little bit about how much money he gets in a day but it was too hard to say he said, however it is not a lot. Roughly 10 people a day during his 10 hours of sitting actually gives him anything. And people usually just drop in a few RMB, so he is no rich man.

An American friend of his got him a cup of coffee once because he wanted to see if he liked it. But ofc, it was too bitter. This is the common reaction to coffee among Chinese people, but like for us as well, it’s the bitterness we grow to like. That is exactly why we drink it, because it is bitter. I guess coffee for us is like Bai Jiu for them; it hits the right spot the right way, after some getting used to.

Punk Night at Hot Cat

Bastards of Imperialism

The mentioning of Punk music, immidietely paints a false picture in my head. Pink hair reaching for the sky, leather jackets with hella lot of pins and DIY patches with band names and logos. Loud music bursting eardrums and speakers. The people are rude, dirty and drinking or smoking at all times.

You see, this is not what Punk is in 2016. I don’t know if it ever even was, anywhere. The crowd was everything but a gathering of dirty people competing for tallest hair. Infact I spotted plenty of good outfits there. Girls were into a cute “I live on the country side” kind of vibe, or more modern all-over prints. Shannon who opened the stage, usually dresses in a mix between the two. Among the the guys, different shades of a dark greyish blue seemed to be the go-to. 

However, some of these people could just as easily have been life size cut outs from modern fashion magazines. True story. Looking around there, was not at all what I had expected. I did not feel as misplaced as I had imagined I would.

Realizing while writing that I don’t know what Punk is. My thoughts of the evening are not nerdy ones about who was inspired by what artist from what time, and why. Instead I noticed the presence very objectively. And as a person, I hope there is no need to be afraid to admit that I simply don’t know. That I arrived with the wrong impression, and that I am still deluded in some areas. All of us, must have the right to have false ideas of cultures, subcultures, specific people, even races and nationalities; without being chased out of the city. The only way for all of us to understand each other, is if we can admit we don’t. 

So I’ll go on.

The music was not an angry mixture of noise and curses, but beautiful riffs and harmony. Holy shit you guys, it is good! Mind.blow.

Maybe I ought to do some reading before the next punk event I attend. Find myself a “Punk for dummies”. Or just the right person to use as an information dispenser, and just throw it out there… “What the hell is Punk?!”

Is it so that, for it to be called punk it requires the 16th or 32nd note on drums? Is there a rule like that?  Oldie Baby’s “Teenager in Love” started off kind of folky, and later (for my untrained ear) turned into sped up. And this is punk, or is it not? If it is, what makes it that? Is Punk another word for SKA on speed?

Shannon Lethbridge

Shannon Lethbridge opened the stage with her experimental music with her sweet sounds of the ukelele, a wee bit of harmonica, looping outcries, celebrating womens day and sharing an instrumental song written for her cat. “Rooftop” is my favorite song, because it’s the simplest of joys to hang out with our favorite person on a rooftop, but the evening will never be forgotten.

Shannon is awesome. Awesome in its true meaning; something igniting the Aw. She makes everybody enter their own heads for a while, and hang out there. Thinking the thoughts we have forbid ourselves to think for a long time. Those of us spending most days avoiding exactly that with our best effort; appreciate her very much. Because she makes it feel ok. Her music is the comfort, and also the hand rail to lure you in. Just close your eyes and let her lead you there. Afterwards, you’ll feel a little lighter. That’s her gift to you.

Shannon is an absolutely stunning girl from the UK with long wavy hair, always sporting a short tops with pants belonging to the 70s. The wintercold has not ruined that for her, instead she just added a hat and a big all over pattern coat. What’s peculiar about her, is how her voice changes. She can sing the low notes, the very long and high notes, but when she talks; her voice is almost childlike. But I think it is deliberately applied, maybe the only sign of her being nervous? When her mind is focused, her face is content and relaxed — but serious. After the song, she flashes this brilliant smile and her voice changes. It’s so sweet. She is genuine, I can feel it.

 

OLDIE BABY

Oldie BabyOldie Baby was next; a duo with Nathan Borofka on vocals n’ electric guitar and Willie (I’m sure he has a surname too) on drums. There is something very cinematic about Willie’s presence, but I can’t explain it. His look is so SKA traditional, that it makes him a character from a movie nobody has made. The shaved head and the black shirt with the collar. When Willie was playing, the drummer from the next band came up to watch him. Judging from how excited he looked; Willie is more impressive than I can understand. Nathan has ever since he arrived, been a passionate musician pouring out energy and authenticity on stage. Together, they are perfect. Their Halleljuah cover is dope as hell! I’ll link a recording as soon as I get my hands on it.

Here’s an interview I did with Nathan way back when I was promoting for 4 Corners.

RHONDA. HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS!

Rhonda


Clip I found on youtube, filmed at School Bar last year.

When they got on stage I was hanging out in the back, getting to know a few new people and smoking cigarettes. I was not paying attention to what was happening on stage. 2 songs in it was time to back to my chair and that’s when I realized; I have only slept 3 hours last night. Fuck I am tires. And if peanut butter jelly time doesn’t count for dinner, my body should start eating itself right about now.

Sidestory: Like you all ought to know, Thursdays are Open Mic Nights at 4 Corners. Tavey has been hosting for a long time now, and he is purdy tired of it. Luckiliy, I have found a new guy! And I invited him, Jukka Ahonen, to 4C this week to check it out. Naturally, the evening turned into late Tequila shots, beers at Temple and a minor after party somewhere in Sanlitun. Back home at 6:30 and woke up to a fresh cup of coffee at 9. My dear husband, this wise man recommended I get up now but nap later. A great plan that went to shit. Instead I arrived at Hot Cat with fake energy, born from excitement. Running on fumes, as they say.

Fortunately, I was just there to check out Jukka’s band “Bastards of Imperialism”, not to shoot for a client. Last night he accompanied Taveys acoustic guitar and song so beautifully with his electric, that I got curious about this Punkband he ia in. I brought my camera ofc, like I do everywhere. 

Back to Rhonda: When I bring her, my camera, to a live show; I like camping by the stage. Not the closest possible seat, but the second. However tired, I still want the best seat to run up and get the shots if the moment is served.
So there I sat, dead tired, pulling up the back of another chair in front of me and rested my head for a bit. Closed my eyes. That’s when it started. It’s like I was tripping. Rhonda did something for me the others didn’t. No words for it but I felt so good. So relaxed. Looked after in a strange way. Almost comforted in some spiritual way. It was beautiful really, even though it wasn’t necessarily meant to be. It was the best thing in a long time. I felt high. The music is heavy and hard, but melodic and balanced. Fucking incredible.

What is Hot Cat? 

It’s a venue for all kinds of musical events, comedy nights, occasional markets supporting the local artists and just you know, all sorts of events to bring all sorts of people together. 

The space itself is really dope. Almost a perfect L shape. Enter from Fang Jia Hutong, and walk straight up, quite literally up because there is an incline to the bar, through the chill lounge with art displayed in cabinets to the left, couches and tables to the right. Nice and dark there! Supr chill. I fucking hate those places with lights everywhere. The bar  is neatly placed in the corner of the L facing the entrance, and to the left of it is where it all goes down. There is a good conversation piece by the bar as well, a well stocked beer fridge you scout and open yourself. 

Girls don’t have to stand there for long before a gentleman or random pervert offers you a recommendation.

The left wall running up to the stage is lined with low sofas and low tables. Separating all that comfort from the dance floor, is done by a row of chairs. Sit or sleep in them, both works! I pulled one out to face the stage, another one to rest my feet on. Dead tired with my eyes closed, listening to  Rhonda’s instrumentals – I was so happy. So content.

Beyond the shoulder tall, brick wall behind the stage, is the courtyard and the bathrooms. In other words, the pissing and smoking area. 

People here like to just sit around and enjoy, not everyone dances, so the modest dance floor is enough. Folks just wanna make out if they get the chance. If no such luck, I did mention the well stocked beer fridge right? For picking up a beer, or a someone.

BASTARDS OF IMPERIALISM! ALSO HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS!

Bastards of Imperialism

The lead singer was wearing a US flag on his head like a Saudi!! I liked his between songs talks, his interactions with us in the crowd and his fellow band members. The guy has social skills! To me, this was the most punk, punk band of the eve. He was shitting all over the politicians running his country, used very human gestures when acting out his lyrics and he kept the conversation very free. They were the loudest, most up beat, most political. They were amazing. To me it was really really cool to see a performance like this. 

Maybe he is the right person to ask what the hell punk is???

My most precious memory from the whole evening, actually was presented by this band. They have a song about “our civic duty”, called “Fuck All Night”. This song is an aggressive interpretation of sex and a parade of things people do during it. It drove people completely mental! The crowd was humping each other like animals! Even on stage! These well dressed people turned into apes! Maybe thats what punk is? 

Now I didn’t join in on that, cus I could barely understand what the damn hell I was going on! Wondering if I was hallucinating… but no. All that humping really happened and people were having so much fun. Laughing. Dancing. A short, but hella intense moment during a Punk night in Beijing.

Thank you, all of you, for making this evening. Musicians, guests, bar, everyone.

No change actually, at Fu Xue

During my quick visit to the Fu Xue Market this morning, I noticed that the shops are indeed putting their items outside the again.

 

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Did you know that in China, cats lay eggs? :)

 

Kisse katt.

 

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Yellows, reds and a white living peacefully together.

 

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Corn

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This was my favorite shop. To them I had my loyalty and felt guilty if I would ever out of convenience buy from someone else.  The whole front part there was always covered in veggies, and the woman would be cooking inside the doors to the right. Jing Jing was always welcome to sniff whatever she liked. But they have not yet opened after the cops showed up last week. What happened?

 

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The hutongs are being rebuilt everywhere, so these days this is very normal sight. Cute, arent they?

 

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So yes, I am biting my nails again.