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Dann Says: RIP SmartBeijing

Ahoy there Beijing. Damn, yesterday was a monumental bummer: the death of SmartBeijing. First the Soundstage, now this. The one website around that had the balls to write about,well, whatever they damn well pleased. Write ups on avant-garde weirdo noise, interviews with all colours of creative miscreants, reviews of some of the city finest and least finest dining establishments, and blurry drunken photos. Lot of blurry drunken photos. I’ve got to take my metaphorical hat off to Morgan and Josh, not just for their sterling coverage of the general WTF-fest that is this polluted fun land, but also for throwing me more than a few bones in terms of coverage of my whacky shenanigans and publishing some freelance pieces that I doubt other publications would touch with a barge pole. SmartBeijing, I salute you. I’m not sure if one less media outlet around automatically promotes the importance of my own patch of music coverage on the interwebs (eg. from totally unimportant to still pretty unimportant). Either way I don’t care. The silly jokes and cat fiction will continue until the people paying the rent tell me to stop. So, here’s to setting out deck chairs on the Titanic as it slowly sinks into the cold, icy depths.

Alright, let’s see ,Wednesday , you can bounce to Yugong Yishan to dig the Peter Peter Brötzmann Trio from 8p.m. That’ll be some of that jazz stuff I expect. You know, saxophones and all that malarky. Witchcraft maybe. Dig. Meanwhile at School you can get a vegan hotdog! Yeah, I think I wore out the hotdog talk last week. Anyway get some blues in ya from The Nightcrawlers from 8p.m. And at DDC if you’re after something weird you can fill your earholes with Craving Strange from 8p.m. They have funny music videos. Funny like a monkey putting its fingers in its bumhole and then licking them. Maybe they’ll do that mid-set. Better go to find out.

Thursday, wiggle down Wudaoying hutong to School and get some young-gun noise in your ear holes with Freeloop, Dao Ci Er, and Feng Hou from 9p.m. Over at MAO a whole pile of rawk and roll madness with Baxian Fandian, Fungu, Drunkard, Silt & Lotus, and TOSS from 8p.m. If you make a placard that reads “I HEART WANG FAN”and hold it up during Baxian’s set I’ll buy you a Yanjing tall boy and bless it with hipster zombie magik. And at DDC you can enjoy the Partikel Trio all the way from the UK along with a non-vegan hot dog. Maybe a lady with random pets like snakes and ducks will appear and set them on people. Maybe 69 will watch while swigging wine from a goblet and smoking a cigar. Again. Who knows man, anything can go down at that joint from 8p.m. And it’s that time of the year when the good folks over at Sinotronics celebrate quirk noise with BEME. They’re kicking off their three day thingy of shows with a spot at Dada with Earsnail, GOOOOOSE, Menghan , FAR/∞, XLF and Elvis.T from 9p.m till god knows when. Get on that noise.

Friday, let’s get this party startttteeed! Or something like that. At School it’s going to be a standard package of 1) rock 2) roll 3) heavy drinking 4) sweat. The soundtrack to this madness will comprise of Icy Whiskey, Longfusi, and Secret Club. Over at MAO you can get your indie on with The Big Wave. They’re like a big deal, man. From 9p.m or summin. BEME continues, this time at my favourite record shop in the universe, fRuityshop with Bob Ostertag, Meng Qi, Silver Nunz and Hong Qile + VJ Mao from 8p.m.

Saturday, Caturday, nepotism prevails so you should definitely come to School Bar to dig Final Impact, Gum Bleed, Nakoma, Luvplastik, and GUIGUISUISUI (< that’s me and my wife! Yay!). It’s free and stuff! Rad rats! DDC will be getting it’s jazzzz on, like drinking Martini out of a shoe jazz...it’s the Hot Club of Beijing, my favourite Django Reinhart-breakers (see what I did there?). They’ll be getting technical from 8p.m. And you could be yourself or instead BEME (thanks Brad), the closing night going down at ModernSky Labin Galaxy Soho featuring Soviet Pop ,Vavabond, JFI, ,Me:mo, Alpine Decine + Charm, with a closer from SHAO aka. Dead J. 7p.m till crazy o’clock. Get involved.

Sunday, DON’T open the curtains. Instead sit in the dark watching the new Star Wars trailer over and over convincing yourself this won’t be the most disappointing thing to happen ever. I mean it could actually turn out rad. It’s possible, right? Then have a browse through the SmartBeijing archives and re-live some of the glorious moments. Like the time Morgan ate a burger bigger than a DVD. Or that munched on a sandwich thicker than Thor’s dick. Or the time he consumer seventy eight ice creams, or drank thirty two beers. Man, memories ... After that stagger over to DDC and dig Suzuki Tsunekichi’s folk jams all the way from Japan. Dig. 8p.m start.

Monday, awwwww, get out of my face. I detest you and now I don’t even have MP3 Monday to read/steal content from! Tuesday, you’re not much better either. I wonder what Raindog will be doing? And Wednesday go dig Charles Pasi, a Canadian singer of some species or another who will be entertaining with a ping-pong show at DDC from 8p.m. Except the ping pong show was a complete lie. Sorry. But if you’re totally into that Thailand is only an uncomfortable AirAsia flight away.

That’s it my friends. Before I return to my bizarro fantasy fiction I want to take a moment to consider what a weak year this has been with live venues and media outlets going the way of the dodo. But chin up, and onwards, worse things have come to pass. Maybe a spot of Shakespeare will reignite your spirit: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; or close the wall up with our Beijing dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility: but when the blast of war blows in our ears,then imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage.”

Zai jian.


Inside the great hall the sound of ten thousand shuffling feet merged to form an ungodly chorus. It mingled with agonized groans escaping the throats of the deceased. Pandas, foxes, cats, dogs, raccoons, all the beasts of the animal kingdom; twisted humanoid monstrosities that oozed black muck at the eyes and mouth; dressed in rags and tattered uniforms, in various states of mortal decay; together they filed under the lanterns filled with green flames hanging by chains from the ceiling of the huge hall. Their minds, memories, feelings and egos were long gone, only primal urges were left in the legion of the dead, drawn to the unholy magnetism of the Necropolis. The smell was phenomenal, the sickly sweet aroma of thousands of rotting corpses mingling to make a thick musk.

Together they swarmed over the worn flagstones towards the alter of pestilence that loomed highat the other end of the hall. It was set in the center of a huge wall dripping with filth and decay. Surrounding it were hundreds of hands attached to shriveled arms that emerged from the stone, pale flesh stretched over brittle bone. Individually the hands reached out and painfully clawed at the air with an arthritic sluggishness, beckoning those below. In the center of the rippling forest of limbs was set a large golden medallion, ten times the size of a cart wheel. It was engraved in a way so intricate that one could lose their sanity if they stared upon it for too long, yet from a distance the image of a spider with a grotesquely plump abdomen supported by eight spindly legs was seen by all. From the medallion a beautiful shining light was cast, a spectacle of such wonder that it was almost impossible to look away. Its rays warmed like the summer sun on the finest day ever known. The radiant light was reflected in the lifeless eyes of the never ending horde that approached. Above the medallion a collection of deformed heads loomed, their rotting faces caught in the majestic glow, the divine light twinkling in their soulless eyes also. They smirked at the masses as they appeared out of the darkness and shuffled closer and closer.

When the walking corpses reached the wall in which the medallion was set they crowded round, bumping into one another and clambering in order to squeeze into the gigantic gaping ribcage of a winged creature that had drawn its last breath long before. Skin and feathers had rotted away, leaving only splinters of bone that had supported wings, its long beak agape, empty eye sockets staring at the hordes swarming upon it. Each and every corpse knelt down and struggled into the darkness within. On the other side was an open field of black lilies, wilting and drooping in a state of constant decay. The lilies shivered and swayed as the dead passed through on their way to the throne of the Necropolis. It reached high up into a dark sky, like an obsidian monolith. Yet if you drew closer — which was unavoidable — you would see that it was actually a door way, the inside being a dark which even a moonless night had never witnessed. High up in the face of the Necro King himself could be glimpsed. A mask the colour of the waxing moon, barely emerging from the darkness, empty eyes surveyed the approaching victims hundreds of feet below. He watched as they approached one and all, passing into the dark doorway, feeding his infernal appetite and murderous desires.

The Necro King noticed two figures that didn’t move like the rest at the edge of the pack. They did not shuffle but walked as the living do. He watched as they broke off and ran away into the high and wild lilies that grew at the edge of the field. Yet the King knew it was not really a field at all, rather an illusion inside his great chamber, and these two seemed to know this also. Soon they had found one of the passage ways escaping his grand illusion. He watched as two of his twisted and polluted servants emerged from the doorway carrying poles tipped with cruel barbs. The figures moved frantically and there was a bright flash of light, the henchmen falling to the ground in pieces.The two left the great hall, disappearing from his dark fantasy. The Necro King’s features slowly receded into the darkness of the great doorway, melting away from view. He had decided that greeting these two new comers in person was the polite course of action.

The cat and the pig found themselves in a long dark passage way. Prison bars kept them separated from the shadowy chambers on either side. Footstep and whispers could be heard in the darkness. The cat looked around uneasily at the scene straight from her troubled dream.

“Well, what now dearest? I don’t think these disguises will hold up much longer,” the pig said.

The cat turned and saw that the corpse paint had smeared across the pig’s face, ash and charcoal mixing to create a grey mess. No longer a disguise, just a pig with a dirty face. She raised her writing brush, an ember at it’s tip.The pig nodded. They took a few steps forward and out of the gloom the shape of more grotesque hence men loomed. The cat could see them clear as day, their bloated bodies, black gunk running from their bulging eyes, the cruel pikes they held in their bandaged,, broken hands. A low growl rumbled out of the cat’s throat as she slashed the writing brush back and forth. A huge bird made of burning light appeared in the air, its wings spread wide, silently shrieking the henchmen who stopped in their tracks. It flapped its huge wings, sending out waves of warm air, hovering on the spot for a moment, before lunging forward like a flaming arrow cutting through the darkness.