The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Entries for 'Mark Godfrey'

16

St Patrick’s Day means it must be Irish Ball time again. Since St Patrick’s Day falls on a Monday the annual party will this year happen on Saturday March 15, at the Kerry Centre Hotel. Festivities begin with cocktails at 6pm. To ensure punters get full value for their RMB1,000 tickets there’ll be free flow of Guinness and Jameson whiskey all night. 

 
Organisers of the Ball (a sell-out affair for the past five years) the Irish Network China is flying pub-rocking quintet Kif to ensure the crowd gets its fair share of U2, Van Morrison, the Pogues and other danceable Irish gems. From Galway city on the west coast of Ireland, Kif will play a lengthy set once the dinner, speeches and auction are over.
 
A menu of Gaelic cuisine for the night has been created by Beijing-based Irishwoman Catherine Toolan, who in her day job heads up the operations of Aramark, the international catering group which will be particularly busy feeding athletes and VIPs at the Beijing Olympics.
 
Cash from the Ball goes to Jinde charities, a Hebei-based community charity which, among other things, helps poor families pay tuition fees. Last year a battle of bids yielded RMB50,000 for a landscape oil painting by Irish artist Paul Christopher Flynn. "That’s a lot of school fees," says Joe Loftus, Irish Network China committee member and Jinde volunteer. 

There will be other jolly green frolics in China's capital to mark Ireland's national day. St Patrick’s Day also means parades – Dublin and New York have the world’s biggest and best known - of leprauchauns, ceili dancers, Gaelic footballers and anything remotely Irish. This year Beijing will get one too. A March 16 parade of (Chinese and) Paddies down Wangfujing will mark the beginning of an Irish cultural festival running from 16 March to 6 April. The Irish Embassy and Tourism Ireland are the main organisers.

 

 


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01

Yesterday I got an invitation from a local internationally run hotel for a residency by a visiting British musician - media are invited to sit after-show with the musician, a travelling former session player for Mike Olfield. Board and a few weeks of gigs at the Intercontinental in pre-Olympics Beijing sounds like a good life. 

In another hotel on the otherside of town, for the past seven years at 5pm the resident Filipino crew plug in and play the first of three sets. It’s a tough beat: six nights a week, one day off. Musical and marriage partners Ramir and Kate cover everything from Johnny Cash to Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters. There’s some Green Day too: Time Of Your Life – for the younger crowd.

Ramir and wife Kate play at the Lido Holiday Inn, a Beijing institution in the days before China became a preoccupation of world watchers. Today a recently renovated Lido still serves the airline crews and the international salesmen who like it for the convenience to the airport. There’s also a fair spattering of art dealers, doing deals with artists from the nearby Dashanzi factory-cum art colony. Suede stayed in the hotel on their 2003 visit to China.  

Imagine playing four hours a night at a Texan steak house restaurant. Bars across town are replacing their foreign musicians with local talent. A classically trained Bulgarian pianist friend of mine was replaced with a local Chinese musician churning out soft local favourites with none of the soul of a professional with a track record playing concert halls around the old Soviet block.

American occupation of the Philippines meant that local musicians developed an ear and an ability to master American pop standards. Filipinos had a headstart on other Asian musicians and were ready to staff the bars of Tokyo during the post-War economic revival of Japan. And thus it has continued, only now Beijing is the boom town everyone wants to play.


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24

The enthusiasm of the volunteers was the first thing that struck us on arrival last night at the Good Luck Beijing Weighlifting Inviational Tournament, a trial run for the Olympic event. We and our tickets and bags were greeted and checked at the entrance to the venue, the gymnasium of the Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics, by a gang of bilingual student looking volunteers wrapped up in large blue coats against the biting winter wind.
 
You couldn’t get this customer-driven dedication to service – “good evening, may I see your ticket please” “enjoy the competition” – if you paid someone in China. I never got not even a grumpy greeting in Chinese from the cashiers in our local state-owned supermarket.
 
The venue looked great. All shades of blue, with the flags of the competing countries hung nicely from the roof. The toilets were conveniently located and immaculately clean. There were attendants going around at the breaks with baskets offering drinks and snacks. Everyone wore neat tags with photograph and title. Inside the venue the volunteer helpers had smileys on the sleeve of their three stripe white-black tracksuits.
 
There were hitches. Several lifters had to take a second shot after a mix up among stewards over timing and the sequencing of the competitors. Olympic officials in uniform chino pants and blue blazers conferred amongst each other while a bilingual Chinese announcer explained results and decisions, on two occasions sending the lifter back to the changing rooms because he was called too early. Frustrating indeed for anyone who's gotten themselves psyched up to lift 220 kilos.
 
The medals presentation was as finely choreographed as the rest of the show. Riverdance-sounding Irish airs filled the hall while the attendants got the podium ready. Clean-cut boys in immaculate white penguin suits led a procession of flags while very pretty girls moved on to the stage to present bouquets of flowers. That was a bit surreal, enormous 140kg weightlifters in lycra receiving little bouquets. There was something of a First Holy Communion outfit about the attendants while university president Li Wie presented the bronze to local man Gao Le, silver to Poland’s Grzegorz Kleszcz and gold, by a mile, to Matthias Steiner from Germany. He put 423kg into the air last night, in three lifts.
 
The fans were well behaved, mobiles seemed powered off and aside from good humoured cheer most noise seemed to come from the plastic multi-coloured hands on a stick which clap when you turn a swivel. They were handed out by Bank Of China, a sponsor. It was a pleasant evening and a good demostration that Beijing is ready for the Olympic games. We were 30 minutes late arriving though. Taxis were impossible to find near the office in Sanlitun and the local roads looked like noisy parking lots, hence a 25 minute walk to Dongzhimen subway station, 40 minute subway ride and 20 minute taxi ride to the venue. Great venues, lousy traffic. Good luck Beijing.

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16
Conceptual southerner Zheng Guo Gu, still blushing from the attention he got at Documenta 2007 in Kassel (Germany), is bringing a factory - dust, tools and oily vices - from his Yangjiang hometown in Guandong province to the Tang Contemporary gallery in Beijing this month.
 
Workers will travel too from. Real life and real-sized sculptures of workers will mingle in the show, a social commentary, which runs from January 19 to February 28. Zheng showed at the Venice Biennale and Documenta 2007 in Kassel, Germany.
 
Represented in galleries around the world, 38 year old Zheng, unlike most of his contemporaries, drawn to China's cultural capital, stayed away from Beijing after graduating from the printing school at the Guangzhou Art Academy and rather spent the 1990s in Yangjiang crafting a reputation for experimental photography, scrolls and installations.
 
His stay was made more bearable by the proximity to Hong Kong, purchasing centre for Chinese art before Beijing became the default Asia address of the world’s contemporary art dealers. Zheng’s solo work and collaborations with a hometown “calligraphy team” were duly recognized. Circumspect about modern advertising and materialism, the cropped-headed artist mused on the infinity of material objects with a collection of metal bottles he took to Saatchi’s London gallery The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art show in 2007.
 
The Saatchi curator’s notes said of Zheng: “The memory of the heaviness of the rice flour on the back that he carried home after queuing for hours in the early morning to buy in his childhood is mixed with his exhilaration over the endless supplies of goods and the unsubtle and constant bombardment of advertising today.”
 
Zheng’s work fits into the vein of recent shows at the Tang Contemporary, one of Beijing’s largest gallery spaces. Tang sells to a largely Asian customer base: the outsized installation style of exhibits preferred by the gallery are a challenge for casual buyers. “We do academic art shows,” Katherine, who runs the gallery, told me.
 
Heavily conceptual shows like the recent Border of Utopia are sponsored by the gallery. The gallery’s Chinese owners ran the parent gallery for ten years in Bangkok, showing mostly Southeast Asian artists, before opening the larger Beijing space in 2006. Thai artists shown at a recent group show were all Documenta/Venice veterans and have sold to MOMA collections. A new Tang Contemporary gallery set to open in Hong Kong will focus on Japanese and Korean artists.
 

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15

An indication of how huge the instruments business has become here: At the weekend I was in Qingdao and sought out the plant of Sejung, a Korean firm with the world's largest production line for guitars and pianos. They say they are stretched to full to meet their order book, that's how heavy demand is for their Ibanez, Epiphone guitars and their own mostly entry level Sejung guitar line. 

It took us three hours to find the factory in the warehouse wasteland that is Qingdao's industrial belt. Sejung, a huge Korean American conglomerate with fingers in real estate and steel businesses in the town, is shifting its piano and guitar assembly lines into a new purpose built plant, abandoning the maze of blue tin and brick down the road where it's manufactured up to now. The cheap bicycles and scooters of blue-overalled workers stand in neat lines in the front yard while pick up trucks and Daewoo vans were searched at the main entrance by security guards.

The Korean management were not very helpful, telling us we'd have to be ordering minimum two 20-foot containers of guitars to get a hearing from their export sales department. "Everywhere! everywhere!" said sales manager Keith Lee in response to my question about where the guitars are selling. "We even sell in Africa!" 

Qingdao is home to dozens of musical instrument factories, many of them built by Koreans who take advantage of low labour costs, one aeroplane hour from Seoul. Jobs for locals aside, there's unfortunately not much of a pass-off in terms of knowledge or aftersales locally. If you go into a music store in Qingdao or Beijing the staff are generally incapable of talking you through the products, so , largely because all of this stuff is being exported. By contrast, I had a music store in Manchester explain the whole pheonomenon to me while I was home for Christmas: Chinese guitars are cheap because they're usually made of resin rather than wood and few people can resist a Yamaha acoustic for $80, when a wood-body Japanese made Yamaha costs $800 (but there's no difference in appearence).

Still, Epiphone guitars made in China are used by professional musicians. I tried to get a look at the company's Qingdao factory but my several emails and calls were unanswered by the press office at Gibson, the company which owns Epiphone. The press office was kept busy in 2007 explaining why seconds from Chinese factories were showing up in USA showrooms as the real product.


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07
 
It’s the only gallery in Beijing’s art district that charges an entry fee (RMB30). I heard some people bitching about the fact yet the crowds were flocking to the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art in Dashanzi on both of my recent visits. The centre was built with the cash and connections of Guy and Myriam Ullens, a perma-tanned Belgian power couple (and owners of the Weight Watcher’s brand) with a long time penchant for contemporary Chinese art. 

 Easily the largest gallery among the many which have made the converted 798 factory complex their home, the Ullens Centre also has suited attendants and guided tours. There’s a café, an auditorium and a well-stocked gift shop. While most of the other galleries show a mish mash of local established and aspiring modern artists’ work for sale, the only work to be purchased at the Ullens are prints and reproductions on t-shirts, mugs and notepads.

The bilingual story-board introduction to the current show - appropriately an interpretation of how contemporary art began in China with the country’s opening up after the Cultural Revolution - is as succinct and well written as anything you’re likely to find on Chinese art inside or outside mainland China. The works of the 1985 to 1989 period, often juvenile but always brave, years are well explained, with references to political events that shaped the artists’ work. The Tienanmen Square period isn't ignored - the story boards describe how Tienanmen Square was occupied by the military and martial law declared in Beijing on those bloody summer days. More poignant though is what's said by the exodus of artists after the square was machine gunned clear.

Letters, sketches and personal effects in the exhibition cases alongside the main exhibition detail journeys to Paris and New York. Sad is the inevitable migration of many of the featured artists to Paris and New York – exhibition curator Fei Dawei has also spent much of his time abroad. Other artists like Zhang Xiaogang, have thrived off a current craze for Chinese art. Zhang lives in a Beijing villa from which he often appears on CNN and the pages of the New York Times. It’s not clear if he gets a cut from the RMB150 t-shirts in the gallery shop which carry reproductions of some of his signature works.

It's interesting to walk to the other side of 798 to the latest show at the Asia Art Centre, one of the newer galleries opened in the old factory complex. The new gallery, an outpost of a Taipei institution of the same name, is showing a cross section of more recent Chinese contemporary art in an exhibition titled Power of the Universe. The work on show is proof of how Chinese contemporary artists have improved their techniques on the raw, experimental days represented at the Ullens Centre. Worth paying for a look.

 

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06

Lua Zhou sits in the meeting room of a pleasantly appointed office in the Spaces complex on Dongdaqiao Lu in Beijing’s central business district. Respectable digs for a Chinese rock magazine, I remark. But then the editor of InMusic points me to the advertising: European cars, French perfume, American clothes.

A fan of British punk and an reader of NME and Kerrang when both publications were hard to get in China or online, this sweet, bubbly 27 year old talked me through the RMB15 (EUR1.45) monthly magazine put together in Beijing by a staff of ten and a circle of freelance writers.

A print run of 120,000 copies of I Music is distributed monthly to all major Chinese cities. Sales are strongest in Shanghai. The magazine sells particularly well in airports. A magazine already in circulation in Guizhou - published under the auspices of an artists’ organisation in the rural southern province - provided the all important government-approved "kan hou", a barcode without which magazines can't get distributed in China.

The editorial engine behind the magazine, Hao Fang, was a music critic in the 1990s, a "godfather of Chinese rock kids," says Lua. "He wrote books about Nirvana and New York punk bands." Lua was one of the Beijing rock fans who congregated at a book store he ran near Beijing Exhibition Centre. "You could buy under ground music magazines and books from abroad. He had demo tapes and even posters done by the bands themselves. Hao was also one of the "first people in China to publish nude photos from the foreign rock scene." Though China has a long history of publishing nude photos in ancient times, says Lua, "...his book surprised me."

Hao's magazine hit the streets in March 2006 as the Chinese edition of Rolling Stone, launched to huge fanfare in the international press. Rolling Stone China put the likes of Bob Dylan and local rock godfather Cui Jian on the cover. Then the venture’s Hong Kong partner and advertising sales agency One Media pulled out to concentrate on middle class glossies like Ming, making money off the gentrification of the Chinese masses. Lua is uncomfortable talking about the Rolling Stone episode, only repeating that the transition between the two publications is "complicated... We erased the Rolling Stone logo in July 2007, which means we called ourelves InMusic starting from July 2007."

Rolling Stone China was criticised by some readers for mediocre writing and a lack of the punchy political writing which the original US edition carried off to some acclaim. Good scribes are hard to find, says Lua whose southern Chinese shyness ebbs when talking about British bands like the Babyshambles. "If you’re in the circle you know who is good writer." She studied journalism at the University of Minorities in Beijing as well as a stint at the University of Westminister in the UK. 

IMusic content splits 50/50 between local and foreign coverage. "We choose the best demos of the month and always go to shows. We’re the ones there every night, talking and taking photos. If we fancy a band we sometimes ask them to send a CD, but we have loads coming in. Out of 100 we choose ten."

CDs come in from the Chinese branch offices of the four majors and a new wave of Chinese Indie labels. "There are more labels than ever," says Lua. Most were set up by musicians. The most visible, Modern Sky and Scream were both set up by musicians, the latter as a sublabel of state-owned distributer Jingwen. A newer start up, Bing Ma Si is the side project of Yang Hai Sun, stalwart of Sino-Swedish punks PK14.

The Rolling Stone logo is gone but the IMusic strategy is strikingly similar to the iconic US publication, which long ago lost its countercultural edge to more alternative magazines like the Village Voice. Advertising from car makers like Volkswagen as well as cellphone and drinks brands because the magazine keeps its standards, says Lua.

"The big difference between us and other rock magazines is that we haven’t so many instrument shops advertising. Our advertising sales team is very good, they don’t just focus on music.” An in-house survey showed most of the title’s readers are well educated professionals. "Young professionals have the potential to buy a car. The typical reader surfs the web for information and speaks a foreign language."

Corporate marketing budgets have been convinced, but it’s part of a trend towards an acceptance of rock among China’s middle class youth, says Lua. "More brands are keen to invest in rock concerts. More and more of the mainstream majority are opting for rock.” IMusic covers "youth culture rather than rock culture.” Hence an editor is assigned to hang out at 798 covering the contemporary art scene.

InMusic's Johnny Depp cover in August 2006 proved the biggest seller. "Everyone can accept him, especially music lovers because he had a band." Covers depend on who has a new album out. The July issue was Pu Shu, a pop rocker with a chequered life story and big CD sales in 1999 and 2000. "He stopped making music and disappeared to Tibet and abroad. An InMusic journalist shadowed him for a week and we printed his new writing and songs from his travels.” Pu was also chosen for looks. "Girls are crazy for him.”

Reportage on local rock accounts for about a quarter of the page count in the most recent issue of InMusic. "The most popular genres in Beijing right now are post punk and new grunge, Queen Sea Big Shark is new grunge. Retros is post punk," explains Lua by way of two of the city's most current groups. Luo has an easiness with labels and categories, referencing musicians by genre. Her early favourites The Flowers went from being an "underground punk band" to a "pleasant soft pop band."

Beyond Beijing IMusic generates a good share of its monthly copy in the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, home to a vibrant punk scene. "People there come out and promoted themselves. The scene grew from Wuhan University, from a lot of campus bands." The wealthy Cantonese city of Guangzhou, being by the sea, has good access to cheap imported CDs. "It has a very good scene and good critics."

InMusic pushes newcomers it figures worthy of notice. The magazine's New Face Bands stage at October’s Modern Sky rock festival gave half hour sets to fresh local faces featured in the magazine - and girl bands. "People need to know the new bands and we want to be promoter.” It helps that half of InMusic staff writers are also musicians. "One of the girls is in a post punk band." Executive editor Cheizak organizes hip hop shows and produces hip hop albums.

Lua sings. Her band Happy Project has however momentarily lost its keyboard player to a cooking course in Vietnam. They play "disco punk, music that people can dance to." Influences include the Scissors Sisters and Electric 6.

She started listening to music in high school back home in the urban industrial jungle that is Chongqing. "I got Nirvana and Eagles albums from my piano teacher’s son." She liked local stars like Bao Jia Jie 43 Hao and the group's frontman Wang Feng, currently a credible solo artist.

Rock took Lua out of Chongqing "because there was no bands there, and no venues. Beijing is a melting pot, so you get more space away from hometown traditions and rules. Shanghai girls are local girls, whereas Beijing is a mix of locals and country girls, so there’s more culture."

Beijing also had better music shops. She started buying US blues, "Buddy Guy and JL Hooker." Studying in the UK was also about music. A London concert by the Libertines "was like a revolution, it was so mad. I lost all my accessories while I was in the front row pogoying." Lua estimates she spent half her UK time going to gigs. The best show she’s seen in beijing was Nine Inch Nails, for its sound and visual qualities.

Fashion is important to Chinese rock. An October headlining set by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the marked a rain-sodden but spirited end to the innaugural Modern Sky festival in Haidian Park. Local fans remember it for lead singer Karen O's look on the night. "She wasn’t well. It wasn’t the best side of her." The avant-garde New Yorker has become an icon among Chinese girls as much as a fashion model as for her music and stage craft.

"They want to dress like her, to wear shiny tight pants and loud lipstick. Some girls are not confident enough to be on stage." To bring in extra cash InMusic also runs its own line of t-shirts. A top seller, by mail order, bears an image of a fishnetted but badly proportioned Rock Girl. Her legs aren’t well aligned but even at a compartively steep RMB80 sales are good.

 


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12

Song Venue Beijing

With talk of USD100,000 to USD200,000 being paid by national Olympic committees to rent venues during the Olympics, now's a good time to open a decent pub or club in Beijing. The latest place to open (in a location previously occupied by a failed club and bar) Song sounds special.

Described as a “contemporary Chinese style where the steps of the Paddy fields and soft contours of China’s south combine with the colour and flair of contemporary China,” Song “will be a physical home for creative people” goes the press blurb. The club/restaurant in the Place mall on 9 Guanghua Lu is run by local promoter and DJ Neebing. For people who like “lounging, talking and dancing” the whole thing looks very Scandinavian. Sure enough house DJ and Swede Nils Krogh will be there often on the piano and the decks – he’s billed as a “pioneering musician” who “heavily influenced the Swedish nu jazz” scene. The Swedish embassy are sponsoring his presence.

Chinastylus.com did the identity design and art direction. Looking like Rod Stewart, blond-haired Jonty Scruff from London has been brought in from London’s “coolest cutting edge clubs” for December 22 and 24 as well as New Year’s Eve. Pfadfinderei is a Berlin based design collective putting on a December 14 VJ/DJ session (Neebing on decks). That the group is more known for live installations for corporations like Louis Vuitton (Paris flagship store) says something about Song’s future plans and location – in the vast but soulless faux classic Place mall which opened in 2006. We wish them well, and hope they make it to the Olympic pay day. More later, we're going there tomorrow night.

Find Song at:

B108 The Place

song@songbeijing.cn


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12

Christy Moore box set

I reported some time back that there’s a Chinese singer doing a Mandarin version of Ride On, a mid-1990s hit for Irish balladeer Christy Moore. Well there may be more covers of the Kildare man’s in the East. Moore’s vaguely Pink Floyd-looking (the design is clean lines of primary colours on black) 1964 – 2004 box set is on sale at RockLand, a tiny pink-painted music store on Nanguangfang Hutong, run by the shaggy haired folk fan Xiao Zhan. You’re encouraged to choose the cheap version, neatly labeled CDs in rough brown envelopes burned on Xiao’s computer. So it’s RMB60 (about EUR6), compared to RMB300 (EUR30) he’s slapped on the original box.

One of the smallest, snuggest CD stores I’ve ever been in, Xiao Zhan’s cottage enterprise could mean that we’ll have Mandarin versions of Moore songs like Hey Paddy or the Enniskillen Dragoon – or the Knock song? – on Chinese radio soon. Xiao says he’s a fan of Moore – there’s also David Gray and Leonard Cohen, as well as lots of smaller singer-songwriter names on the shelves. Though CD factories in southern China manufacture batches of pirate copies of popular CDs the Rockland operation suggests there's also a counterfeiter and an audience in China for more obscure western artists.

RockLand is one of several music shops in Beijing’s old Houhai quarter, an increasingly bohemian/backpacker quarter sprouting out of narrow old grey-stone streets winding around the artificial lakes dug hundreds of years ago for the pleasure of the nearby palace. Several similarly tiny CD shops offer a slew of imported CDs, most of them the clearings of European music retailers. Details are very sketchy – one retailer said the CDs were part of lots manufactured in China for export before backtracking when I asked him about the price and promotion stickers of French and German shops. The CDs are possibly picked up along with electronic waste, paper and lots of other things Europe doesn’t want and put in the otherwise empty containers being shipped back to China.

Through some connivance at the ports the CDs enter China without being taxed – it’s unlikely cut CDs would be pass any country’s quarantine inspection procedure. Another CD shop owner told me his CDs were taken from a shipment of waste plastic. Whatever, there’s some great stuff here: among the pile I bought are Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, The Originals best of and Van Morrison’s latest. Prices were RMB40, RMB10, RMB10, respectively. I was charged extra for the Cardinals because it’s a double CD.


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30

A t-shirt shop in one of Beijing’s recently chic old quarter is more proof of the flourishing of small, smart design shops across the city. The Grifted shop and design studio on Nanluoguxian, a narrow lane or hutong north of the Forbidden City, is doing something in the vein of the brilliant British-run Plastered shop nearby: coming up with cheeky designs that have something tongue-in-cheek to say about modern China. Their best designs are messages on some of the city’s embarrassing social habits, like spitting and overweight local men drinking beer with shirt rolled up to the nipples.

After four years in China I still can’t get used to the sound a spit. A local spit, the deep, long clearing of the nose, then throat, then everything onto the street in a final “thup.” Men and women do it and even though Beijingers blame it on the country bumpkins coming to the city for a job, everyone does it. A pot porri of spit marks dot the flagstones in the exercise areas in my local park, frozen in neat balls during the subzero winter.

Its fitting: it was for a period, the city's major commercial street, during the Yuan Dynasty 750 years ago as part of the back court of the Imperial Palace. In later years members of the imperial family lived here, so too revolutionary leader Suan Yat-sen. Then came the Communists settled the old houses with working families and today, bursting at the seams, many houses have bought up and converted into boutique shops and cosy cafes. Elsewhere the former residences of the likes of painter Qi Baishi, and writer Mao Dun have been converted into olde world apartments for local and foreign yuppies.

Nanluogu Xiang was classified by local government as a cultural heritage zone and got a facelift from the city last year. But all the paving and painting and hype have brought their own problems. Nanluoguxiang was hitherto a street for bicycles, tricycles and pedestrians. Now China’s yuppies drive and honk their cars down the narrow street. My head was nearly knocked off by an SUV tearing past as I walked out of a café. The price of 'progress'...?


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Nuggets from our archive

2001 - Early career profile of Damien Rice, written by Sinead Ward. This insightful profile was written before Damien broke internationally with the release of his debut album 'O'. This profile continues to attract hundreds of visits every month, it being linked to from Damien Rice's Wikipedia page.