Saturday, 27 December 2008

Credit Manuva

You may or not know about Rodney Smith, aka Roots Manuva. Speaking as a Yorkshire DJ, with the opinion that not only does this man know what he's talking about, but i feel he's a modern day hero. In a time and place where heros may be perceived to be in short supply you may listen to this music and be inspired whether you understand or not. Like Braintax, who is another hip hop hero, there's little ego and lots of substance. Music like art can be a compromise between the aesthetic and conceptual, i.e. sounding good/saying something important. Some people are heros because they can do both. Some people are also heros because they've fallen, been trodden into the floor, bloodied bruised, picked themselves back up, cleaned themselves off, pulled themselves together then shared their experience for the good of the world.
Experience from the experienced, isn't that what it's is all about?
As for me China has been hard, but because of things beyond my control, and often things unrelated to China. I spent 6 weeks in Beijing, a place with such high air pollution exercise was actually making me less healthy, i paid £900 for a TEFL course which taught me nothing, but a lesson in unethical business practice, and that a TEFL certificate is not necessary to teach English in China. Now i've spent 2 weeks in Changchun where it's so cold moisture and snot freezes to your face. These are both big cities, i don't care for big cities.
i want a holiday, i want a beach that looks like paradise on a postcard, close your eyes and you can see it, mine has a palm tree on the left diving down into the middle with white sand and clear blue sea. paradise is a state of mind, for me it's also a beach in Fiji:
"If the system ain't workin' you betta' think about desertin' or bringin' in some higher learnin'" (mc covert, track: 'are you on it?' album: skitz countryman)

Thursday, 25 December 2008

20 below

A woman with a 'festive size' bottle of booze and a street vendor, temperature -20˚c. Christmas Day, Changchun, China.

Monday, 22 December 2008


today's weather highs of -11˚c lows of -22˚c. freezing is the correct adjective.
"People in glass houses, don't throw stones" the proverb has been traced back to Geoffrey Chaucer's 'Troilus and Criseyde' (1385) it came to mind today. i think for the first time i clearly understand the meaning.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


I haven't skated on ice for 10 years. Today I went ice skating on a massive lake in the sunshine. then i conducted my first ice skating lesson. i like these two words used together 'striking distance'

Friday, 19 December 2008

Bad day

A really bad day and in my mind the world tumbles
Hard day:forgetaboutitbrushitoff
doesn't really work. i want to shout! moan... complain;,. and BREAK something.
any rhetoric or mantra makes about as much difference as a hippie in a war zone.
Suffice to say this...there is very little one can understand in this world when preoccupied with yourself. multiple combinations of everything going wrong happens, it's very difficult not to break out the violin and play a sad song wallowing in self pity. when dejected try and calm yourself and when elated try and do the same. the reason:
are you really the reason? does your bad day have anything to do with your actions? if so improve them, otherwise 'cest la vie', this is life. it's a hard thing for an ego to deal with, and an ego is a difficult thing to understand, the question is simple:
"does my bad day have anything to do with me?" if i'm walking down the road and get driven into, then fall on the stairs because it's slippery. reach the work place to find out my work is cancelled for the day and i was not informed. does this have anything to do with me? did i make those stairs slippery? was i responsible? did i erroniously walk into the road or was the driver a muppet reversing into a main street and not watching anything?
try not to take everything personally, the real challenge is to understand what is trivial and what is important. some things are matters of fate; matters beyond personal control should be understood as just that. if all else fails buy several kgs of rice in fabric casing and punch through it repeatedly. keep your back straight and use your whole body exhaling on impact.

Saturday, 13 December 2008


Early morning prayer at the Lama Temple, Beijing China

Sunday, 7 December 2008


"I have heard it said that a clever merchant, though possessed of great hoards of wealth, will act as though his coffers were empty: and that the princely man, though of perfect moral excellence, maintains the air of a simpleton. Abandon your arrogant ways and countless desires, your suave demeanor and unbridled ambition, for they do not promote your welfare. That is all i have to say to you" (Lao Tzu)

Saturday, 6 December 2008


it's highs of -2 and lows of -10 here in Beijing, "Completely Baltic mate, thats Baltic not Balti like the curry!" so i've bypassed the coin machine in the internet room, and im guna try and find some hot water for me teapot.

Friday, 5 December 2008

To our common ancestors

"And so i offer the prayer to our common ancestors on behalf of those seeking to recover themselves from the rubble of modernity as they seek to work their way toward being elders of the new post-modern tribal order:
'May the spirits of every pertinent direction take notice of their heart's desire.
May the forces below pump strength into their feet- that they walk the walk of their life, the walk that heals the wounded truth of their bellies and keeps the eyes of their memory open so they can grow ni yang maru.
May the ancestral fuel burn in their spiritual veins and animate their souls with vision so they can hold hands ni yang maru.
As they walk toward their future.
May they wake up fast to the dialogue between the soul and the spirit.
And may they labor to clean the world from its paralyzing epidemic of soul barrenness so that tomorrow our children can sing together in peace.'" (Malidoma Some)

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Chinese checklist

1. Haggle: Haggle with people without getting angry, despite how completely ridiculous haggling is, and how most chinese traders think foreigners are idiots.
2. Accept that people will generally clear out their noses and spit in cafes, lifts and subways.
3. Bring good socks and deodorant, because neither exist in china.
4. Don't fall for the common misconception we have in England that the more money you spend the higher quality something will be. Spend 20kwai on a thermos flask and it will leak and break. spend 100kwai on a thermos flask in stainless steel, with a handle and product guarantee, and it will leak and break.
5. Feel free to take your skateboard and take large drops down marble staircases, security guards welcome the enterainment.
6. If you have feet bigger than a size UK9.5, then buying footwear will not be easy.
7. Use the opportunity to compliment someone when their english in good, especially if you don't speak chinese.
8. Be aware of how fortunate you are; please don't whine about how horrible it all is, and how fantastic it would be if we were all socialists or communists.
me father always said, "i can stand 'owt but a whiner"
9. Try the 'hotpot' a fantastic idea where you go to a resteraunt, buy all the food raw then try your best to cook it yourself.
10. a simple but effective way to clear off beggars, pimps, tricksters and undesirables- extend your open hand right into their face stopping 2inches away, keep it there, they shut up and clear off. crude but 'in the spirit.'
11. Play ping-pong in the park on a sunday, and get your ass handed to you on a plate.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

No worry mantra

"Don't worry about the future, don't worry about the past. Make each step more excellent than the last, and you will be where you want to be." (william johnson)

Monday, 1 December 2008


"What we need is to be able to come together with a constantly increasing mindset of wanting to do the right thing, even though we know very well that we don't know how nor where to start... Without a community you cannot be yourself. The community is where we draw the strength needed to effect changes inside of us. Community is formed each time more than one person meets for a purpose. What one acknowledges in the formation of the community is the possiblity of doing together what is impossible to do alone. To make an enemy a friend is to end the need for war, to vanquish the powers of destruction."
(reassembled excerpts from Ritual, Malidoma Patrice Some)