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Dann Says: Farewell to XP and Creepy Forests

Greetings Beijing. This week we say good bye to the noisy place behind the chestnut roasters, XP. I will not be in attendance to the final shows as I write this from Terminal 3 of Beijing International Airport (GUIGUISUISUI on the road again). I’ve said my farewells to the joint, with it’s paint splattered walls and dusty floors, some will miss it more than others, some will miss it dearly. Another live music hole bites the dust so raise a glass to XP (and trying actually buying a drink there as opposed to smuggling in tall boys from the Kuai Di up the street...or do exactly that, one last time for memories sake)

Today is Thursday, a night off from teary eyed farewells to XP and instead a night at DDC for the third edition of ‘Too Much Shit On The Table’, where people are challenged to eat a fudge load of Mexican food and then take turns to squat on a table and take a steaming dump. Not really. Maybe one day. No, as before this will see a bunch of white dudes with a bunch of pedals and synth fondling and twisting knobs. This time round it’s fun and games from Kipp The Menace, Noise Arcade, and Serbey Gubka all the way from Shanghai. Serbey is one of the equine heroes from Acid Pony Club and he’s also the latest artist to be released on Nasty Wizard Recordings as part of their ‘Better Than A Glory Hole’ series. What’s better than a glory hole? Digging a new tap and hanging out to some electronic vibes, that’s what.

Friday, all right, all right, back to the XP misery train. It’s a right royal shindig with a pack of bands who all cut their teeth at XP at some point or another: The Eat, Solaris, Elenore, Lonely Leary, Luv Plastik, and She Never Sings Our Songs. Fun fact (and yes, it is related to my record label): the Luvplastik side of their tape split with Seoul’s Nice Legs on Nasty Wizard Recordings was recorded at XP. It was pretty gnar. Want another fun fact? The role of political commissar originated in the French Revolution though is probably best associated with the Soviet Red Army. The People’s Liberation Army also has political commissars in its ranks. 9p.m start.

Saturday, it’s like the last Saturday at XP maaaaaaaaan. So they’re going to go out big with white +, The Fuzz, The Yours, and Streets Kill Strange Animals. You wait until Filtyhy Bill and I get bored enough that we actually make a band called Black -. Streets Kill Strange Animals will be worth your money. All that from 9p.m. Also Saturday is hellyeah america day and 4 Corners is going to get all red, white, and blue with The Mac Daddies from 9p.m. Pop, jazz, Kid Rock, NASCAR, I dunno, whatever. I once got invited to play a July 4 BBQ and the organiser kept banging on about how much meat he was going to cook and wanting to hear ‘Born In The USA’ by Bruce Springsteen. I think I slept through the whole thing instead.

Sunday, the final day of XP, the final day to go and wonder if the new tenants will repaint or whether it will just be reduced to rubble. A last chance to smuggle in booze, and in this case a last chance to stare at Rain Dog and wonder about a great many things. Yes, it’s Rain Dog’s last dance, the latest helping of Zoomin’ Night weirdness. What will become of the avant garde scene in Beijing with the demise of Zajia and XP? Go underground or start playing pop music at Houhai? Regardless one last chance to scratch your head from 9p.m. And if you’ve already said your goodbyes to XP you could stop by Temple and attempt to work your way through their shot menu while their jam night goes down. Could be cool, could be shit, that’s the idea of a jam night, it’s a wild card. From 9p.m.

Next week: Monday, nothing. Lighting a candle for XP and all the other live venues that have closed maybe? Maybe. Or googling articles about the crazy inventions the Nazis cooked up towards the end of the war? Most likely. Tuesday, head on straight over to XP for the weekly dork fes...oh wait, I can’t do that more XP, no more Zoomin’ Night. Hmm...erm...well, head over to The Bar at Migas at that most dreaded of places know as Sanlitun for The Hot Club of Beijing for some gypsey jazz and old time tunes from 9p.m. And Wednesday Beijing says goodbye to folk singer Hanna Jarvi at Jianghu. She’s having a folktastic send off with Su zixu, Dan Taylor, and Heike Kagler from 9p.m.

What else to say? When the sky is blue take a moment to look up at the clouds...

The clouds drifted lethargically across the sky. Some resembled mountains, some resembled trees, some cats,dogs, and frogs. Some just looked like clouds. They floated on, untouched sculpturesin the heavens. Untouched until the armada of airships rumbled along, barging through the dogs, frogs, mountains, and trees, tearing the clouds into wispyshreds. The sails puffed boldly in the wind, flags of bold purple fluttering excitedly. In the crows nests look outs scanned the horizons, while on the decks officers barked and squawked orders at scurrying deck hands. Gun crews readied the great cannons and on each of the many ship a captain stood at the helm, stern faced in their bright purple uniforms. Each and every one of them was acutely aware that the Flavour King was skipping from ship to ship, searching for reasons to make crew and officers alike walk the plank to the earth far below.

Besides the ships eagles soared and dived through the air. On their backs rats peeked down telescopes at the ground, searching desperately for their prey, for the cat with thr writing brush. They surveyed the grass lands below, searching desperately for any sign, for any movement, for the slightest hint of silver and black fur.

Some time later after the fleet had passed on an apparition of a tiger emerged from the trees that marked the edge of Def Wood. White light burning in the air, curving lines that suggested a back, stripes, a tail, claws, and teeth. In the warm sunlight the tiger faded from view, and indeed the light of its fire had been slowly waning. From a raging inferno to the final coals at the break of dawn. It still left mighty paw prints, singed blades of grass as evidence that the tiger did really exist, if only for a short while. Not long after the cat emerged from the trees, visibly tired, shaken from the experiences in the forest. In the bright daylight her pupils narrowed to mere slivers of black ink drawn vertically down her tea coloured eyes. She did not see the armada of airships, as they were now only specks on the horizon, moving closer to the jagged snow capped peaks of the Abaddon Mountains, looming large overhead. Between two of the mountains she could see a trail, cutting up and over, the Def Pass.

The tiger was now just merely a few lines of shining light, fading ever so slowly. It stopped, the outline of its back rising and falling heavily. The cat had never seen any of the creatures summoned by the writing brush walk around for this long. Usually they were summoned, did their work and disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Yet the tiger had led her all the way from the Iron Men’s lair, showing her the right path out of the forest.It turned slowly, the still visible burning embers of its eyes meeting hers. She hadn’t drawn this tiger. Neither had the metal spider holding the brush when the tiger appeared. The writing brush had summoned this beast all by itself.

The tiger stood, silent, observing the cat as the spark in its eyes faded away. Finally it opened its mouth, its voice escaping as nothing more than a somber whisper.

“Every time you use the brush to summon us you believe you wield the writing brush.”

The stripes and itstail had faded completely from view.

“Yet what you do not know is that it is the brush that wields you.”

The back and legs were gone, only leaving the outline of its skull.

“I know this because I once walked this path too.”

All that remained were the sparks of its eyes.

“Your painting will be finished soon.”

The tiger was gone.

The cat staggered across grass plains, away from the woods and towards the pass through the mountains. She could no longer she the tops of the peaks overhead, the mountains reaching long and tall up to the clouds. She felt more weary that she could remember. She shuffled as she walked, struggling to keep her eyes open. Eventually she came across a little stream running down from the foothills. She fell to her knees and drank greedily. She took off her cloak and spread it on the grass, lying back and letting the sun fall upon her silver fur. She stared atthe clouds as they drifted past. Some resembled mountains, some resembled trees, some cats,dogs, and frogs. Some just looked like clouds.

She woke up just asthe sun was setting and the mountains were casting long, cold shadows. She wrapped the cloak around her shoulders and stood up. She felt inside and her paw found the handle of the writing brush. The painting would be finished soon. She filled up a bottle from within the cloak with water from the stream and then set off towards the pass. It would be dark soon and the closer she was to the pass and further from Def Wood the better. She glanced behind her at the trees one last time, maybe the last time she would lay eyes upon the valley. High upthe dogs,frogs, and clouds drifted on.