The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A mural worthy of Belfast’s Falls Road was the backdrop to the whispy Liu Cai Xing last night at the Traveller Bar in Hangzhou, the wealthy lake city just south of Shanghai. A 20-something seeking greener pastures beyond Beijing’s increasingly competitive music scene, Liu and her guitar sounded good but her contemplative kind of music may not be what Chinese audiences want.

There was no shortage of local punters but they didn’t actually pay much attention to the music. Their focus was rather on the large jug-mugs of Carlsberg and dice on the table: Women played men at beer drinking. It was loud and bawdy. Less people were focused on the music at the You To bar up the road. A promised guitar man Xiao Tong didn’t show so the bar was playing a live Bee Gees DVD on a pull down screen.

The place was jammed but there were few eyes on the Gibb brothers. Staff squeezed between tables to serve beer and food. More of the latter, lots of noise and sunflower seeds being cracked and sucked. We found both bars thanks to the colourful and comprehensive More Hangzhou, a listings magazine in English that’s more breezy and engaging than the increasing proliferation of government-produced English language magazines sold in guesthouses in this and other Chinese cities.

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Nuggets from our archive

2005Michael Jackson: demon or demonised? Or both?, written by Aidan Curran. Four years on this is still a great read, especially in the light of his recent death. Indeed the day after Michael Jackson died the CLUAS website saw an immediate surge of traffic as thousands visited to read this very article.