Showing posts from January, 2011

Travel and things

Friday night/Saturday

Left London 6 hours late; sandstorms in Dubai had damaged the plane, which had to be repaired. Once on board I enjoyed Emirates's good food and wine and fell asleep over Budapest. Arrived in Dubai at midday local time and caught the connection to Doha. No luggage in Doha; after an hour of calls and consternation I was told it had been left in London. Airport full of Japanese and Australians here to watch the final of the Asian Football Cup (Japan 1 - Australia 0).

My car was waiting for me and things began to improve once I arrived at my apartment: a beautiful 6th floor space fitted with all the gadgets. Fell asleep very quickly and woke up after a few hours to go out for some fried chicken. Bed.


Woken at 5am by the call to prayer; good timing as working hours are from 6.30am - 2.30pm. Minibus drove us to the compound. Not much to do here yet except show our faces, so spent the whole day chatting and playing Scrabble with two fellow English exiles. Minibus…

Farewell to England

I am off to Qatar today for a few months' teaching. No post tomorrow, so enjoy this:





Chomsky explains anarchism (1976)


Art and Observations (2)

It's strange how things that were on my mind 4 years ago are still topical...

First published on 15 October 2006

Last thing's first

Friday 6th was the Mid-Autumn Festival: the second most important festival in China, traditionally celebrated with lanterns, fruit and mooncakes. In my residential garden many families put lanterns in their windows: a glorious, multi-coloured spectacle.

On the Saturday I was invited to a party to appreciate the Moon, so along I went to another residential garden, the Villandry, on the outskirts of town. The opulence! The apartments here would have had the planners of Versailles scratching their heads. I sat by the pool with Mystic Meg from Hiroshima, being served champagne cocktails and watching bevies of beautiful girls with lanterns.

On the next table was the Italian consul; some high-ranking executives from Sony on the table after that; the whole place was packed with the movers and shakers of Guangzhou's diplomatic and commercial worlds. God kn…

Music from Qatar: Qum Na Dimi


Sir Charles Santley: Simon the Cellarer (1903)


Cambridge Singers: The Bold Grenadier


T.S.Eliot reads East Coker

With apologies to those who hate this recording (MM)...

Part 1

Part 2

Luisa Tetrazzini - Una voce poco fa (1911)

Luisa Tetrazzini, another choice from 100 Singers:

Peter Dawson: Drake's Drum

Another shanty from the wonderful voice of Peter Dawson:

Life in China redux

I used to write a blog called 'Life in China' when I was living there. The blog has long since disappeared (literally overnight and without warning, when the site was bought by profiteering scum and I thought it gone forever, but the Wayback Machine has come to my rescue, and large parts of it are still extant. I shall therefore offer you a post from those distant days.

Art and Observations (1): first published on 4th October 2006

The ferocious heat and humidity are fading away. The North East monsoon brings warm, dry days and cooler nights. Time to reflect on a lazy summer of film, books, music and travel. Over the next few weeks I shall comment on some of the best things I have seen and heard, and some of the worst.

The Football Factory

"Being beaten up by football hooligans is like getting VD: the fucking pain goes on forever." So begins The Football Factory (Nick Love, UK, 2004) and with an opening like that this has to be compelling viewing.

Following the for…


I hate to whine, but this last month, with a tendon injury, flu and an ear infection, I have had enough pain to test the tolerance of a flagellant. This culminated in a 4am march to A&E yesterday morning to demand and get massive doses of dihydrocodeine tartrate. The bliss!

In a civilised society opiates would be freely available over the counter. Not in Toryland, where even pain is regulated by the masters through the high priest-doctors; you must suffer until you are prescribed, and the holy tablet dispensed unto you.

I was supposed to have been leaving the country today en route to run a school in Russia, but pre-Christmas promises and bonhomie have given way to silence and cold feet: yet another example of the high ethical standards and integrity of EFL employers. Perhaps they ran out of money.

Still, there has been some consolation: Len McCluskey laying into spivs, media barons, bankers and Tory lickspittles on the Today programme yesterday morning. He didn't actually say To…

Felicia Weathers: American folksongs and Spirituals


A.L.Lloyd: John Barleycorn


Himno de la República Española


V lesu rodilas' yolochka (Russian Christmas Song)


Diana Damrau: Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen


Tito Gobbi: Come Paride vezzoso


Shakespeare: Sonnet 130 read by Alan Rickman