Monthly Archives: October 2012

Traveling to Qing Dynasty China in Style

NOTE: This post follows from the previous post: Beijing to Shanxi by Car. But you can also read it as a stand-alone article. ‘We have to leave by eight’ Mr Tang said sternly. For all his talk about anarchy the man has a deep respect for schedules. Everything has to go according to a detailed […]

Beijing to Shanxi by Car

When you live in Beijing you welcome any chance to get out of it. It’s not that the Chinese capital is an exceptionally bad city. It has its charms. But its expats will know what I’m talking about. The smog, the copious amounts of humans choking the transportation grid, the vast distances involved in getting […]

Urban Sprawl

  Introduction: Last night I was watching a drama on BBC iPlayer about Allen Ginsberg’s poem ‘Howl’. Then I remembered this old poem I wrote and decided to re-read it. It so happens that I’m suffering from a severe case of Writer’s Block these days and looking back on my old writings from this sterile […]

A View of North Korea

The demilitarized zone between North and South Korea is one of the more surreal places I’ve visited. Razor wire, watchtowers, machine-gun nests. Mortal enemies staring at each other across a river. The only comparable experience for me is a trip I made to Bethlehem in Israel’s West Bank, where the Israeli ‘security wall’ stands harsh […]

A Church with no Seoul?

Seoul is the City of God of the East. As I rolled into it from Gimpo Airport the first thing that struck me was all the bright red crosses glowing beneath the night sky. Clusters of them above and between the apartment blocks like I’d arrived in some neon graveyard. The churches are as big […]

Beijing’s underground music scene is alive and well

I had my first taste of Beijing’s underground music scene. The counter-culture. A crazy, unforgettable night. The gig was at a dingy graffitti-scored venue called the Mao Livehouse in the heart of Beijing on an old street full of guitar shops. The name of the place is ironic considering everything that goes on inside it. […]

To Tellus

Earth, you hang there like a pearl Rubbed from the grit of Chaos: What are you good for? You gape like the white of my eye Cataract-clouded Into infinite depths: What do you see? You were cast in the oyster of Space Bastard of an ignorant energy Obeying laws that wrote themselves: So I’ve heard. […]