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Dann Says: Over The Hills And Far Away

Greetings Beijing, how goes it? The skies in England are blue andthe grass is green. It’s a fine time with cats and tea, but what is happeningback in the Northern Capital? Casting an eye over gigs listings tells me it’sas busy as ever, even if the number of live venues continues to shrink. Well,let us not linger on talk of tweed or Beatrix Potter and jump right into the fun of Beijing in the sun, sun, sun.

Today is Wednesday and that must mean Beijing is saying goodbye to folk singer HannaJarvi at Jianghu. She’s havinga folk tastic send off with Suzixu, Dan Taylor, and Heike Kagler from 9p.m. PeteSeeger is a folk singer I like a lot, he once said “Once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in this world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to makeour lives once more all of a piece? Finding the right songs and singing the mover and over is a way to start. And when one person taps out a beat, while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.”

On Thursday it’s time for the sixth edition of the Gulou Double Decker mash upbetween Live Beijing Music and pangbianr. Temple and DADA, they’re your jams for the evening, son. It’s like a buffet of musical ideas, weird andeclectic. Stuff a load in your mouth, cough, and snort some out your nose.Upstair at Temple punk and hardcore are the flavour of the month with ChaosKills The Pain and IceMoon. Meanwhile downstairs at DADA it’s a whole barrel of tag team electronic action with JDK-X, FM3老趙 x Charm, School GirlReport, and Jia Huizhen. Whew! That’s a lot to get involved with, all from 9p.m.

Friday, week to the end dawg. There’s a couple of tasty musical snacks to get your teeth into. Firstup walk backwards along Wudaoying Hutong until you hit School and then cartwheel inside for another line up from Dr.Smartass, proprietor of punk, rock, leftfield, anything that isn’t Macbook deejaying. Tonight it’s defo punk o’clock with The Danglers, Free Sex Shop, Backfire, and Secret Club from 9p.m. Meanwhile at Temple it’s going to be way more jah bless with reggae trouble makers Ulitmate Band Crew, who will be releasing their new album and telling you how sweet it is to have the ultimate band in your crew from 9p.m.

Saturday, the main course if you will sire. High on the menu is a visit from Shanghai metal fiends who’ve got a fresh-ish line up: School for Goushen, with support from Chinese Modern Guys, The Diders, and Free Sex Shop. Par-tay down from 9p.m. Over at Temple you can stay completely stationary to the tune of Jump, who do acid jazz techno or whatever. Cue rave pants and glow sticks from 9p.m. And over at MAO Hedgehog are going to be saying “Yay!” for ten years of their band and to celebrate are releasing some B-sides/rarities/reenactments of their favorite blaxploitation movies from 9p.m.

Sunday, while you heathens are basking in the glow of your own egos, caked in alcohol and vomit,I’ll be redeeming myself at Holy Trinity Church: “...founded in Saxon times, sits at the heart of this ancient market town. It has played a fundamental role in the life of the town, both asplace of worship and at the cutting edge of social innovation”[...] “HolyTrinity Church exists to glorify God and to enable thoughtful, caring people tod is cover and share the responsibilities of the Christian faith; through the witness of the congregation, the stewardship of property and the services offered to the people of Dartford.” But I suppose you don’t care about that and would rather go to School for their HipHop Par-tay. 9p.m start. I’ll pray for you.

Monday and Tuesday, nothing. With the death of Zoomin’ Night the days when we went to XP and pretended not to be bored are a thing of the past. Alas. But on Wednesday legendary UK heavy metal band Venom will be wedgying the sound man at Yugong Yishan. Not sold? Here’s some Venom lyrics from their classic ‘Black Metal’ to get you involved:

“Black is the night, metal we fight / Power amps set to explode/Energy screams, magic and dreams / Satan records the first note /We chime thebell, chaos and hell /Metal for maniacs pure / Fast melting steel, fortune onwheels / Brain hemorrhage is the cure / For BLACK METAL / lay down your soul to the gods rock `n' roll”

For BLACK METAL!!! 9p.m start.

And that concludes our Beijing musical buffet. Now to a place over the hills and far away...

On a ledge looking down the mountain into the valley a lone fox sat.The grey cloak spread over its shoulders enabled it to blend in perfectly with the rocks around it. The wind howled angrily but the fox did not move. Its eyes never left the trail below. It could have been for one hour or one week, it would not have mattered. The fox did not move, it only waited, long bow at the ready. A quiver the same grey colour as its cloak sat nearby, filled with arrows waiting to be sent sailing off down the mountainside.

Movement on the trail below, the faint sound of rocks moving underfoot. The fox’s eyes and ears honed in on the source. A cat slowly but surely made its way up the trail far below, walking stick in hand. Having finally found its prey the fox showed no outward emotion. It simply raised the bow, an arrow already slotted in, and drew back the string, eyes never leaving its quarry. The cat was still just a speck down below, framed by the forests and rivers of the valley beyond. The fox’s aim followed fluidly, waiting patiently for the cat to come a little closer, close enough that an arrow could hurtle down the mountainside like a thunderbolt and tear right through its heart. The fox would wait for the last of its life force to drain out before trekking down, unsheathing the hunting blade and claiming another pelt. The fox drew the arrow back a little more as the cat came into range. Something bluntconnected with the side of the fox’s head with a dull thump and the arrow shot off into the sky.

The cat didn’t see the arrow arch high into the heavensnorsee it silently fall down to the mountain behind her. That was because her eyes were cast down, concentrating on the loose rocks of the trail as they slid out from beneath her boots. She dug the branch walking stick she’d acquired below into the mountainside and pulled herself up, higher and closer. She did notlook back at the valley, and therefore didn’t see the arrow fall far from its mark, but her mind was filled with nothing but the valley. Not of Def Wood directly below, the plains, the rivers, but instead the lands to the North, beyond the Flavour Forest. She saw the rolling fields, golden and green, divided neatly by kept hedgerows and clumps of trees, bails of hay, and theoccasional farmhouse. She saw the big sky of the summer nights with majestic salmon pink sunsets that seemed to linger forever. She kept these images in alive in her mind, playing over and over.

After a while the trail leveled out to where the rocks no longer slipped from beneath her and she needn’t pull her self up as she came onto aplateau. Huge boulders lay in the path and the cat squeezed between them or else scrambled over the top. The skeleton limbs of long dead trees pointed upwards to the summit. Leaping down from the top of one very large boulder she was confronted by quite a scene: on the ground lay no less than four figures dressed in the dark blue livery of the Flavour Rangers, their swords scattered on the ground. Over one of them stood a huge lump, shoulders draped in a filthy grey robe. The hulking figure was doing something to the prone figure beneath it, the rattle of coins in a money bag could be heard. The figure stopped and raised its head, slowly turning to face the cat. A snout dripping with gunk, yellowing tusks and small red eyes all prisoner within a bulky ham of a head. Across a huge gut a rake was held in podgy fists. Blue lightning licked up and down the shaft, crackling off of the teeth at the end. It watched her, grunting quietly.

It only took the cat a moment to look over the rake wielding piggy before she whipped out the writing brush and began slashing at the air with lightning fast movements. A dragon exploded into the air, scales, fangs and claws appearing from nothing and barreling towards the over grown swine. The dragon opened its maw of crystal fire and lunged straight for the pig’s throat.A clumsy swipe with the rake sliced the dragon in half, the serpent letting outa silent roar before it evaporated from sight. The cat’s ears shot back as she bared her teeth and growled. She bolted towards the pig, writing brush slashing at the air. The piglet out a squeal and began waddling towards the cat, the rake stuck out like alance, lighting spitting from the teeth of the rake. High up on the ridge the fox did not stir from its slumber, its money bag gone alone with the arrow that hadn’t even come close to finding its mark.