Archive for March, 2009

Tuck-up Poems

March 31, 2009

Like most kids, I did not want to go to bed. But I did wanted to be tucked up and read to, so it was a dilemma – which the tuck-ups won. Mum and Dad used to read to us, mostly books (the phantom tollbooth comes to mind) or stories (dad burning the hole in the chair, mum falling into a blackberry bush). Funnily enough though, one thing I remember especially fondly are poems, and here are a couple. I can also recite them… though get a bit rusty halfway the second. 

Question: Can you recognise the authors?

Mum – The Fiddler of Dooney 

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney, folks dance like the waves of the sea

My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet, my cousin in Moharabuiee

When I passed my brother and cousin, the read in their book of prayer

I read in my book of songs, I bought at the Sligo Fair.

When we come at the end of time, to Peter sitting in state

He’ll smile at us three cousins, but he’ll send me first through his gate

For the good are always the merry, save by an evil chance

And the Merry love the Fiddle, and the Merry love to dance

And when the folks their spy me, they’ll all come up to me 

Singing “here’s the fiddler of Dooney!” and they’ll dance like the waves of the sea.

FiddlerDad – Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat

There’s a whisper down the line at 11.39
When the Night Mail’s ready to depart,
Saying `Skimble where is Skimble has he gone to hunt the thimble?
We must find him orthe train can’t start.’
All the guards and all the porters and the stationmaster’s daughters
They are searching high and low,
Saying `Skimble where is Skimble for unless he’s very nimble
Then the Night Mail just can’t go.’
At 11.42 then the signal’s nearly due
And the passengers are frantic to a man –
Then Skimble will appear and he’ll saunter to the rear:
He’s been busy in the luggage van!
   He gives one flash of his glass-green eyes
      And the signal goes `All Clear!’
   And we’re off at last for the northern part
      Of the Northern Hemisphere!

You may say that by and large it is Skimble who’s in charge
Of the Sleeping Car Express.
From the driver and the guards to the bagmen playing cards
He will supervise them all, more or less.
Down the corridor he paces and examines all the faces
Of the travellers in the First and in the Third;
He establishes control by a regular patrol
And he’d know at once if anything occurred.
He will watch you without winking and he sees what you are thinking
And it’s certain that he doesn’t approve
Of hilarity and riot, so the folk are very quiet
When Skimble is about and on them ove.
   You can play no pranks with Skimbleshanks!
      He’s a Cat that cannot be ignored;
   So nothing goes wrong on the Northern Mail
      When Skimbleshanks is aboard.

Oh it’s very pleasant when you have found your little den
With your name written up on the door.
And the berth is very neat with a newly folded sheet
And there’s not a speck of dust on the floor.
There is every sort of light – you can make it dark or bright;
There’s a button that you turn to make a breeze.
There’s a funny little basin you’re supposed to wash your face in
And a crank to shut the window if you sneeye.
Then the guard looks in politely and will ask you very brightly
`do you like your morning tea weak or strong?’
But Skimble’s just behind him andwas ready to remind him,
For Skimble won’t let anything go wrong.
   And when you creep into your cosy berth
      And pull up the counterpane,
You are bound to admit that it’s very nice
To know that your won’t be bothered by mice –
You can leave all that to the Railway Cat,
   The Cat of the Railway Train!
In the middle of the night he is always fresh and bright;
Every now and then he has a cup of tea
With perhaps a drop of Scotch while he’s keeping on the watch,
Only stopping here and there to catch a flea.
You were fast asleep at Crewe and so you never knew
That he was walking up and down the station;
You were sleeping all the while he was busy at Carlisle,
Where he greets the stationmaster with elation.
But you saw him at Dumfries, where he summons the police
If there’s anything they ought to know about:
when you get to Gallowgate there you do not have to wait –
For Skimbleshanks will help you to get out!
He gives you a wave of his long brown tail
Which says: `I’ll see you again!
You’ll meet without fail on the Midnight Mail

The Cat of the Railway Train.’

Skimbleshanks!

Intermission 为了 Rugby and Coldplay!

March 30, 2009

So that was my longest blogging hiatus yet. And yet I have returned. I surprise myself. When I started this blog, I never ever thought I’d keep going this long. And certainly never expected to be able to perform the revolutionary – to stop, and then start again. Reasonable excuse though for the last few days though 😉 First it was dissertation proposal time (as mentioned in last post infact). Result: IN. Also Econometrics assignment: IN. Continuing earproblem: 差不多 OUT. Plus 6-hour karaoke session, coldplay concert, and live at the rugby 7’s in Hong Kong, GET IN!!!

Rugby 7’s included v short games with 24 national teams and a lot of loud fans. I’d never even heard of it really until a few days before. Am now a convert bowing to the ground and begging to be brought in from the cold. Here’s some awesome snaps taken by Will who was visiting from Dalian, mainland China:

HKU students go bananas at the front

HKU students go bananas at the front

Can you spot me? My shoulder also ended up on the front cover of the China Daily. I’ll see if I can get it scanned it to prove it. Also, the tickets were a bargain for students – 50 HKD each for the first day, that’s about 4 pounds.

Look how full the stadium is!

Look how full the stadium is!

I was only at games on the Friday, they were pretty expensive for the weekend, but did get to watch Scotland “thrash” the USA (before getting knocked out by Kenya), and Canada lose to Samoa. Fiji won the whole thing, which my sister Viv will be pleased about since she used to live there and got quite into rugby at the time. 

The atmosphere the nights out after rugby was mad. My dutch friend said it was like carnival. Wan Chai and LKF were chokka with mostly expats dressing up and getting pink, while wearing costumes such as beer cans, fire fighters, spongebob squarepants outfits, or a boot. I’d never quite appreciated how anglophone rugby is – totally swamped with Brits, Australians, South Africans, etc. I missed the sunday nightout after the games had finished and the girls from HKU went out to try and find rugby players. However it is believed there was much success.

Look how close we were to the action!

Look how close we were to the action!

Working backwards, on Thursday night went to a friend’s post-birthday-karaoke. Small place, all-you-can drink included in the price. Four of us (who had class early the next morning) went for noodles around the corner first, and returned to find everyone else wasted. They all had to leave before us too – we stayed until closing 🙂 Here’s a rather waxworkesque picture from around 4am or so. It was followed by dim sum. 

Shame about the lack of dance moves shown :-(

Shame about the lack of dance moves shown.

But Wednesday too was pretty mind-blowing. Coldplay. Waaaaw. Used to listen to X/Y repeatedly while hiding on the balcony in Yinchuan and reading the song of ice and fire and agatha christie. I’d got the impression they were a bit twattish in real life, but now that I know them intimately following 2-hour concert at distance of 100 yards, I’m not afraid to admit I was quite, quite wrong. They put on a really good concert, obviously enjoyin themselves and trying to make it fun with lights and pics and randomness and yellow balloons and paper butterflies falling from the sky and running to the back of the 11,000 stadium to sing for others and self-deprecating comments and wowness. There may also have been some sign-stealing and losing. Nicked this photo from a friend who was closer to the action than us.

Heroworshipping at this best. Roll over Meatloaf ;-)

Heroworshipping at itsbest. Roll over Meatloaf.

I may have given the impression that last week was all fun and games. Ho ho ho. I would have included photos of (attempting to) study as well, but you would probably die of boredom, and my room is disgustingly messy at the moment. Now its back to the grind… apparently only 3-4 teaching weeks in Hong Kong left before exam period leave. WTF?!

Waaa! Asian Disney Medley!

March 24, 2009

So our dissertation outline is due on Friday. I need to write it urgently. Which is what I’m doing now, with a stack of mint M&M’s and a vat of instant coffee beside me. 

But first: my new fave youtube vid, inc 8 song clips. Could life get any more awesome?

I dare you to watch all of it :p

Beijing Coma

March 23, 2009

Do you live in China? GO READ THIS BOOK. Do you study Chinese? READ THIS BOOK. Do you have any interest whatsoever in China? READ. THE BOOK. NOW. Do you like powerful literature which touches deep and difficult questions? READ IT. 

As for everyone else – READ IT TOO. Though the wow factor is def increased the more you know about recent Chinese history/society/politics etc, it is a universal novel, and must become a classic.

The online reviews don’t do it justice. Though the author Ma Jian’s interview.Is more interesting. There’s no need for a long synopsis. This is the life of a young man, told from his comatose self after he is shot in the head on 4th June 1989 at Tiananmen Square. We flash between his current life trapped motionless inside his body as China changes, and relieving the time before, with most action happening in the last few weeks of the protests, before the clampdown. 

Pic from TAM

Pic from TAM

What makes this book an epic though, is the way it (reasonably) seemlessly combines three major elements of good literature. 

– it is effortlessly wellwritten and fascinating down to tiny details  

– small physical things are used to stir big ideas. most obvious is the interplay between a man who can control his mind but not his body, and the changing country/world that surrounds him. but the book drips in history, philosophy, big questions, in a way that reverberates far beyond Chinese politics (though obviously this is the sharpest focus)

–  despite this, it is down to earth (and very often literally down to shite), and seems very real. the research is meticulous, and Ma Jian was a first-hand participator himself. This is of course a hugely emotive event, which had massive implications for the course of China’s recent history. Yet the temptation to romanticise is avoided at every turn. they are ordinary students who become protagonists in extraordinary circumstances, infighting self-appointed defenders of abstract nouns which no-one fully understands. we are not allowed to forget this. 

Book cover. It's long but gets better and better the further through you are.

From a Chinese perspective, this book is monumental. Whereas “Scar literature” has worked through much of the trauma of the cultural revolution, TAM (as chinese internet users refer to it) is still a taboo topic. (as is Falung Gong etc which is also touched on in the novel). Since anything deviating from the official line is stamped on in China, most young people either don’t know or don’t care. Ma Jian brings it kicking and squealing into the public forum, saying for the sake of the Chinese people and their history, this should not be forgotten.

But it is not just a Chinese book. Its story and ideas are applicable far beyond, from the challenge of forgetting and the twists of modern society, to simply its excellent storytelling and black black humour. Comparisons with Wild Swans are spurious, these are two very different books. I hope you will read it, give it patience and thought, and get as much out of it as I did. Apololgies though for the hyberbole. 

Btw Beijing Coma has not yet been released in Chinese – this is waiting for 6th June 2009, the 20th anniversary of the TAM crackdown. Though since it will be banned on the mainland, it’ll be interesting to see how many copies get read by the people it is most intended for.

Deaf or new hearing

March 22, 2009

I am temporarily deaf in one ear. Well more like half deaf… muppety story involving loud music and damp tissue paper… and will shortly be going to A&E to get it sorted. A couple of (sober) friends have tried to remove it with long sharp objects, and have unanimously advised to see a professional. It’s too far in, and they don’t want to risk causing permanent damage. 

So in the mean time, I’m experiencing what for a huge part of the population is everyday life. The underwater throbbing feeling of hearing the word as though through a couple of thick matresses. To have a conversation I have to twist and turn my right hear to hear… birdsong is muted, footsteps shake my stomach.

What’s funny though, is from another perspective I’ve gained a new level of hearing… the hearing of inside my head. With the tissue completely blocking my left ear passage, perhaps the only vibrations left to dance my earhairs are from within my body itself. I am constantly aware of the hot thump of my hearbeat, the cracklings of oxygen in my nasal passage, mudslapping noise as the tongue moves. There are odd squeaks, whistles, and a high-pitched silence. Never before have I been so aware of my own physicality in a place so close to my brain. It gets you wondering – where is “me” in this complex, partly uncontrollable body of mine. And what do “I” sound like.

The other thing is just gratitude. Unlike 50% of the UK’s senior citizens, huge numbers of others including the deaf children I used to teach in Yinchuan, by tomorrow I will hopefully have rejoined the ranks of the hearing. I won’t have to worry about never being able to join the army or get a driver’s license, of having to ask people to speak up and feeling like I’ve got a disability. And there are millions of folk in the world who have totally treatable hearing disorders but due to poverty and lack of resources, will never get it sorted.

On the plus side, fewer sounds keeping me awake at night, and the option of ignoring people without seeming rude. Huzzah.

Update: doctor can’t get it out. Told me I’ll have to be admitted to the hospital so a surgeon can do it. Might even have to stay overnight. Aiya! Silver lining is it’ll be an interesting experience I suppose… I don’t believe I’ve ever been admitted to hospital before…

Update 2: another doctor failed to removed the “alien object” as they call it in cantonenglish. the specialist ear doctor will be in tomorrow morning. very embarassed to be in hospital with lots of real people with genuine illneses, and me like a dipstick with tissue in my ear. nurses and other patients seemed to find it hysterical. constantly asked by various members of staff to recount 1) what is in ear 2) why it got put in ear 3) when was it put in ear 4) what else was happening at time 5) do I have a previous history of putting objects in ear 6) really, why did it end up in ear? etc etc. Also had to be asked repeatedly as COULDN’T FEKKING HEAR WHAT THEY WERE SAYING. Persuaded them to let me go home for the night since I live 2 mins walk from the hopsital (they were not keen at all) but still have hospital tag and barcodes on wrist. Dunno how I’ll wake up at 7 with no alarm clock or ability to hear if someone is knocking on my door. FFS. I feel like a temporary escapee from a medical institution. Because that’s precisely what I am.

Update 3: It began to hurt so much I thougth my head would rip, and was keeping my roommate awake with bizarre animal-like groaning.  So returned to hospital in early hours of morning on a desperate hunt for painkillers, like a zombie clasping my ear (only because it was in pain, not falling off). Stumbled around the place and couldn’t find my ward. No-one was very helpful and kept sending me from place to place. Eventually I fell asleep on a chair in A&E. Was woken at 6am by a nurse who had seen my tag – WHAT, YOU’RE AN IN-PATIENT? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? Eventually got to ward and eight hours later have been discharged with the blockage removed. Tthey used a drill-like microphone/sucking thing with no painkillers and I screamed so loud I think I scared half the waiting room away. It felt like being at the dentists circa 1873. The nurse was from the mainland and was quite friendly when I burst into tears. Anyways, hearing is back, and I have lots of antibiotics for the ear infection, and hopefully it will stop hurting soon.

So boys and girls, what did we learn today?

Correct answer: Don’t put in yer ear anything larger than yer elbow,  ye eejit ye.

Escape from the dragon of darkness

March 18, 2009

The black dragon leaves you paralysed, powerless. It creeps into your life and haunts behind you – so you’re not even sure it’s really there. At first you merely sense some presence, a shadow. Your vision is edged with fuzziness. Lights seem whiter than normal, music sears. Then gently, gently it unfurls its dark wings. And in its acrid embrace, the world itself starts to dissolve. 

Steel and lead cannot create a wound such as this. It is like your insides have been torn out. Physical. An icy curdling in your stomach, which trickles to the extremities. It is numbness and pain at once, thudding, stubbing, creeping, to parts of your body which don’t have nerves, and feelings which you never knew existed. Despair. Despair and dread. Time slows down and stretches before you, endless, inescapable. Uncontrollable. 

The worst is the loneliness. Loneliness because every friend has turned to wood. Kind words and strong hugs become a terrible irony, jeering at the fact that you are totally alone. No-one will ever feel your agony, no-one will ever touch your soul. You don’t have a soul anyway, just charred paper, the remains of some numbered ticket which was stamped at your birth and will be stamped again when you die. Eternal separation, perhaps other people don’t even exist at all. You crave their company, then immediately want to leave and be alone. Alone in neuron-splitting isolation. 

But the inaction is the most destructive, and flurps you downwards like dirty water through a plughole. Because you have lost control of the cavity that was your body. Brushing your teeth, moving the empty noodle-wrapper from the floor, sending a text – this alone would sap the last breath of life from you. You horde your remaining energy like a lost polar explorer, huckled down to make it  last until the helicopter arrives. But it never does. Writing an essay, going to the bank – impossible. Best to lie in bed, in the darkness, to try to forget and slip out of this world – or best of all, dreamless sleep.

It can persist for weeks and months and wreck your plans with a nihilistic venom that cares neither for friends, nor family, nor future. You don’t even care or realise that your social life and education is being destroyed before your eyes. It is pointless anyway. Everything is pointless. Life, especially.

Or it comes and goes in mad swings, completely beyond your control. You wake feeling fine, then over breakfast are struck by a concrete wrecking-ball which knocks the breath out of you. You physically fall to your knees, everything inside is broken and in screaming pain. An hour later it’s gone. You skip and sing in the delirium of one who has rediscovered the joy of existence. But it’s still there, inside, a dragon’s claw which pierces your stomach and throbs, and then slowly spreads out again, poison blotches your vision purple.

In the evening it roars. You start to cry, softly and first, but soon you are sobbing so hard you fear you will lose your insides. You cry and cry and cry and cry, pounding the wall and cursing it, cursing it, why me, why me? Why this? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be normal? Why this oh no oh no go away ohh owwww. No, rage, despair, hopelessness, horrible horrible terror and wanting to die and crying and howling and fighting back, locking horns with the dragon and staring it in the eye, pushing your forehead against its and curling your lip. Fuck off! Leave me alone. An emotional fight leaves you exhausted, totally drained, calming down, calmed down, its gone… its still there but its gone. You have never seen your face this red, your mouth pulled down like a napalm-victim running. Wipe away the snot and tears, breath deeply. Numb – yes still numb. Numb and lonely and despairing. But the physical torment is gone. You can sleep.

That’s the worst and it rarely gets that bad. Sometimes you don’t notice it for days on end. But the dragon is always there. You can’t tell your friends about it – they’ll think your nuts. Half of them don’t even believe in dragons in the first place. Weak. Typical overdramatic selfobsessed nonsense. Attention-seeker, drama-queen. Freak. Not that they’ve ever said that, but that’s what they must be thinking, inside. How they must despise you. Better to stay alone. 

For months your cruise along just about alright, with the occasional bump. A couple of weeks of numbness, a few days of yoyoing. Two dreadful months. Looking back, how much of your life seems rotten, wasted, worthless. Dead flesh killed by the dragon. Everything about you is dispicable  – then the next day you wake up and you love life.

The thing is, this description is not very accurate. Because when the dragon’s there you can’t imagine life without him. But when he’s gone, you can never quite remember what he’s like. And for over a month now, he’s been gone. There is happiness and sadness, anger and fun, self-love and self-hate, irritation and ecstacy. But the dragon has not been seen of. Once or twice a stone in the stomach. But otherwise just the shadow of his memory, and the fear of his return.

But it occurred to me today, that I haven’t been without him for this long, since I was 17. Since when I had no clue what he was, or how to fight him. Even during the happiest times – at school in Norway, working in Edinburgh during the festival, Kunming – the dragon has always been there, poking over my shoulder. I wrote in January that if there is one thing I could change about my life, it would be for him to go away. And it seems he has… for now…

And when he comes back, I’m going to fekking smash his head in. *touches the biggest pile of wood you have ever seen*

 

Note: its estimated that between 10-30% of people suffer “low moods” in their lifetime. Famous people include J.K. Rowling, Neil Lennon, Jim Carrey, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana.

The real St P’s Day

March 17, 2009

So there was this guy. Dunno where he was from – either Scotland or Wales, certainly not Ireland. Anyway he got kidnapped by pirates, played with wild animals and clover thingies, and managed to seriously ingratiate himself with the RC church. Now folks from all over the world dye their beer green and get annihalated in his memory. 

Let’s start again. There was this beautiful girl. From Peterborough. Her name is Pippilotta Price and she was born on the 17th of March 2002.  Here she is. She turns 7 today so lets all go out and celebrate, woohoooooo!!!! 

 

(Not the beautiful girl in the green - the one in the spots)

(Not the beautiful girl in the green - the one in the spots)

OK I do miss my doog a lot. You can’t really talk to her on the phone like you can your family – not that I don’t try. But I won’t pretend to be entirely cynical about St Patrick’s day either. I mean, I’ve had some fun ones. Like a couple of years ago with my parents in Luxembourg, in the Irish tent in place d’armes. We watched France thrash Scotland thus winning the good nations over Ireland, tried to avoid rows of makeupedtotheeyeballs tinyweegirls doing irish dancing, and listened to bands play 10 different versions of the Fields of Athenrye and Whisky in the Jar. Or was it 20.  

Mum says when she was a kid, they just tied a sprig of green stuff to their shirt and went to mass. And I’ll probably end up in a pub in Wanchai full of Americans and vodka.  Lots of people are pretty scathing about American/Brits etc and their “St Patty’s day” – grumble grumble all those plastics who think they’re irish because their great-grandma’s piano teacher had an irish setter moan moan. But I guess any excuse for a party is a good one. And besides, irishamerican can be seen as a culture in its own right. Not irish, not american, but irishamerican. Also hope those NI politicians will be doing a bit of St P’ing, and averting their local version of the apocalypse. 

But just remember – the real St P is that lovely wee dal, another year old, probably getting a bit fat, still proof that our family is completely insane when it comes to animals. Dad may be cooking her a steak as I type.

Update: Steak is confirmed.

I wonder if they scraped it into a dog bowl for her first...

I wonder if they scraped it into a dog bowl for her first...

Fobby behaviour

March 16, 2009

I’ve finally finished my midterms, which always seem much more stress than they’re worth. At night I couldn’t sleep, dreaming about econometrics textbooks loosing their pages like teeth, and invigiliators bearing a scary resemblence to Maggie Thatcher. 

But now it’s over 🙂 so there was much korean and japanese food, the beach, and Pokfulam Country Park. From there I snuck down an underused path to sit on a trigpoint which nestled between shrubs with an epic panorama over pretty much the whole of Hong Kong. For two hours I read Beijing Coma by Ma Jian (awesome book btw and topical this year), and watched until the sky muffling the islands into the sea, and the sedate highscrapers blinked into a funfair.

Here’s some pics taken by my friend at Repulse Bay (I don’t understand why it’s called that… perhaps a vague attempt by locals to keep away the hordes of darksuited mainlanders and lobsterstriped foreigners?) The pics are supposedly “Fobby”.

noomber 1noomber 2noomber 3noomber 4

noomber 5noomber 6noomber 7 noomber 8noomber 9“Fobby” apparently means “Fresh-Off-the-Boat” and refers to immigrants into the states who act stereotypically asian. Eg taking bujillions of pictures of everything while making v signs and laughing hysterically. Not sure I could count as this sort of FOB even if I did make it across the pond though (I’d probably be more of the bad-teethed, “cute”-accented, colonial/mediaeval-attituded type). Ach well. Now for some slesep.  

Update: apparently the pictures don’t seem to show up. Don’t worry, there are fifty million more. I will replace them I have an important assignment due the next morning.

Fuck Mud Horse

March 16, 2009

*Vulgar attention-grabbing titles tm*

This post is a celebration of the grass mud horse, a Chinese internet phenomenon. My friend from Hong Kong first told me about it, and the other day it got reported in the New York Times, so is now famous in the west too.

It is a simple idea: a mythical creature which avoids internet censorship. In the government’s recent crackdown on 0nline profanity and subervsion etc, “vulgar” worlds got censored. But Chinese is uberrich in homophones, and folk soon got around the firewall by substituting for more innocuous words.

Thus Cao ni ma (Fuck your mum) became Cao ni ma (Grass mud horse)…. 

… and it got just a weeeeee bit out of control. Hence the psychadelic, all-singing, all-dancing celebration of all things grassmudhorseish and beyond… Yup, us humans do know how to go overboard 🙂 

Aside from this Superstar, the cast of characters include its homeland the Ma Le Desert (Ma Le Ge Bi…Your mum’s cunt), and the evil River Crabs (He Xie… harmony) who want to destroy it. 

Now perhaps you’re pulling a frown and thinking how infantile this is. But these colourful creatures have an impact beyond freudian fantasies. You see the government uses the excuse of harmony to censor anything which supposedly threatens society (i.e. saying things which shouldn’t be said, criticising those who shouldn’t be criticised). To be “harmonised” has become a euphemism for “has been edited/censored”… and since even the harmonious characters attract attention (or perhaps because it’s more entertaining this way), they  have been replaced with the increasingly ubiqutous river crabs.

So look out for them on Chinese cutting-edge online debate near you. 

English does of course attempt its hilarious political puns too “Hazel Blear was Brown-nosing again.” *groan* But our language isn’t quite so well designed for it…….

(Girl! I’m gonna take you to a) Gay Bar

March 13, 2009

Well, he did. And it was my first time. 

Yup I somehow got to the age of 22 without ever having been to a gay bar. And it seems I had to come the whole way to Hong Kong. Dunno quite how I managed that – quite a lot of my friends back home are gay, and I’ve been asked a fair few times if I wanted to come along (eg to ego or something) but with one thing and another never made it. 

And it’s lucky that I’m fairly used to being the odd one out – i.e. from having lived in Ningxia etc where there’s v few foreigners. Because not only was I probably the only straight person there, but definetely the only female. But my friend’s pals were v friendly – though there was an initial facetious grilling:

“So are you lesbian, a fag hag, or a man in disguise?” 

And I did feel a wee bit awkward, because I know a couple of my gay friends back home aren’t always superkeen on nongays coming along and diluting the atmosphere. But it was fine, just like a normal pub/club, except without any manky guys hitting on you. Or any other girls. And my friend’s pals were really nice to talk to – in fact, one of the few places I’ve been in HK where foreigners and locals seemed to mix about completely freely without sticking into groups.

What did surprise me, was how despite inside being a big, packed bar (with some v tasteless (imo) projections of umchakka-redmen-in-leafy-hoops-and-thong-spinning-weird-stuff) on the wall, it was almost completely unnoticable from the street, and we had to push past several thick ceiling-to-floor curtains to get in. And apparently other ones are even more out of the way, hidden down dark alleyways. It may be a supercosmopolitan international trading and etc etc city-type-thing, but def not the most socially liberal. Outside certain circles anyway!

Anyways I’m not sure that “volume” (I think that’s what it was called) will me regular local haunt from now on, especially given the drinks prices. But glad to have been anyways – definetely a change from the monotonous teenage-expat machines of Lan Kwai Fong!