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Dann Says: Stay Strong Beijing

Hi Beijing. I hope you’re all keeping well. From a far (Poland specifically) it looks like all colours of chaos have been going down in and around the Northern Capital over the past week. To compound the tragedy of recent events there isn’t much in the way of live shows during the predictable summer lull either. So in addition to this meagre helping of live music for this week I’ve included some relaxation techniques. It’s OK, GUIGUI says relax...

Wednesday it’s back to School for a midweek blast of rock and roll with Summer Warz, Mr.Odd, and Screaming Kong from 9p.m. Or you could check out The 16th Floor, Solaris, Foo-loo,Funky Monkey, and Both Willing at MAO from 8p.m. According to psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, “Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.” So if the idea ofgoing to MAO or School is too much for you sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your stomach. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. Failing that, playing Pokemon Blue/Red usually works for me.

Thursday, there is little that could be more soothing than the warm vocal melodies and bluesy guitar work of 16 Mins who will be getting down at School from 9p.m. However Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, would suggest that meditation is actually more relaxing:“Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.”So sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting something nice like “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” or “For arelaxing time make it Rain dog time.” Try it.

Friday, back to School again, this time for some house favourites with Shochu Legion, Jajatone, Logic Control, Free Sex Shop from 9p.m. But that might be too intense, so Cathy Benninger, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus suggests placing a warm heatwrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes, then removing the wrap, and using a tennis ball to roll away the pain: “Place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold gentle pressure for up to 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot, and apply pressure.” You could follow that up by snorting a line of dried flowers or something.

Saturday, Converse are having singer/trouble maker Bian Yuan at School as part of their‘Rubber Tracks Series’ from 9p.m. Meanwhile it’s going to all blues with Zhen Ren at DDC from 9p.m. And if you’re into something a bit more, erm, jock, you could brave the pit of Sanlitun for One Hung Low at HomePlate BBQ & The Bullpen from 9p.m. Jesus, I’m really scraping the barrel this week, aren’t I? Well, anyway since it’s Saturday make it a Caturday and hug a cat. Seriously. Shekar Raman, MD, said in the Huffington Post: "A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake are processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and joy.” And the whole free hug thing can be a bit sketchy so just hug a trusted pet, like a cat. Trust me, the cat will be into it. Unless you have allergies, in which case you could print out a cat’s face and wrap that around somebody’s face and hug them. That works too.

Sunday, turn it up, bring the noise, with Ruo Tan, Vagus Nerve,Soviet Pop at School from 9p.m. And you should totally gobecause Cathy Benninger, the lady who was just banging on about hot towels and tennis balls suggests you “...create a playlist of songs or nature sounds (the ocean, a bubbling brook, birds chirping), and allow your mind to focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the piece.” But who the hell has the time for playlists in this day and age. So just go and drone out to Soviet Pop instead. That’s like listening to oceans and birds, right?

Monday and Tuesday are predictably empty. If that’s stressing you out then seriously, get some perspective. Joni Emmerling, a wellness coach in Greenville, NC reminds us that “Being grateful for your blessings cancels out negative thoughts and worries”. Given all therecent mucked up stuff that’s gone down, focus on the fact you’re still here and kicking it. You could also focus on the fact Wednesday will actually have some live music with The Nightcrawler at Salud from 9p.m.

That’s it for now. Keep calm and carry on truckin’. Whatever that means.

She walked out of the bushes and found herself alone in front of a lake. It was dark, the dark of the coming night when the sun has left the stage and only the last few dying rays linger. Across the lake was a lone building. White washed walls, two rows of tall windows hidden behind green shutters, apart from two, the the ground and first floor windows on the left end of the house. Warm orange light oozed out through the leaves of a huge tree that stood in front on the building, completely dwarfing it. In front of the building a single street lamp stood, illuminating the white walls with eerie electric glow. This entire scene was mirrored perfectly in the rippling waters of the lake.

The darkness that lingered around the house was accentuated by the gentle blue sky that lay beyond. Not the dramatic dark blue that is about to give way to purple tones nor the navy blue that is the final ingredient in the mix of the night, but the cheerful blue of a summer’s afternoon, one that would be all together impossible at dusk given that the sun would need to be directly overhead. The sun was nowhere to be seen, yet the amount of light in that clear sky suggested it should be. So what she was confronted with was a gentle afternoon blue with fluffy clouds drifting through while in front of her was a house wrapped in the coming night.

Next she noticed that while her left hand was still the furless white flesh of a human her right hand was once again a white paw, with her covered with silver fur accented with black stripes. She felt her face and found parts of it were covered in fur and others were bald flesh. She couldn’t see any one else around her. No sign of the pig, the humans, or the beaks. No one and not a single sound to be heard. The water rippled, the leaves of the tree moved, but there was no wind. Silhouetted against the still, blue sky, where the clouds were permanently frozen in place.

She walked slowly towards the lake, noticing that the foot fall of her left show and right bare paw made no noise on the soft grass below. Approaching the lake she came to a shadowy rock at the water’s edge. It was cold and grey and offered the perfect place to sit and watch the silent building. She sat down and watched.

She had no way of knowing how long she sat there for but it felt like minutes and hours were slowly bleeding by. She sat, and watched, in silence. The water rippled, the leaves swayed, and the clouds and the house stayed perfectly still. The electric light beaming from the four faces of the iron lamp atop its post did not waver. The last two windows of the house glowed on and on, but no movement came from within. No matter, she sat and watched and the longer she did the more tired she felt. The weight of her journey across the valley and up through the mountain suddenly weighed so heavy. She thought of getting up and walking around the lake, tramping up to the door on the building to give it a knock or trying to open one of the glowing windows but somehow she could only sit and watch the nothingness. She thought about going back the way she’d came but she couldn’t do that either. So she sat, like a prisoner of her fatigue, every moment making her more and more tired.

At some point she finally focused her attention to the rippling reflection of the building of the building in the lake. There in the shifting, dark mirror she noticed a distance. In the aqua version of the building she noticed that one of the windows was open. The reflection of the first floor window on the furthest left still emanated the same orange glow but there was also a curtain wavering in some imagined wind. She looked back up to the buildingthe lake and a saw it was closed and nothing stirred in the glow. She glanced back to the water and saw the window was still open, the curtain rippling with the flow of the water. She sat and watched for a while longer before she abruptly stood up and against her better feline instincts ran towards the water and jumped right in. Beneath the surface she discovered that it was no reflection but rather another building entirely, sitting at the bottom of the lake, with a street lamp and tree as well. She kicked her legs and propelled herself deeper as bubbles of air trailed out of her mouth and nose. She clawed through the water, closer and closer, towards the orange glow, a tightness growing in her chest as her last breath of oxygen passed. She reached out a paw and a hand, gripped the frame of the window and dragged herself into the orange glow.