I thought I might mention one thing about the music festival I went to last week. The name Midi is not related to MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) which is the way synthesizers and other digital musical instruments communicate. The name is from the Chinese 迷笛 (midi), which as close as I can tell translates as “crazy flute.”
Friday’s excursion to the festival was not the end of the week’s musical activities. RR and I went to the final night of the Apres Midi shows at Star Live to see P.K.14 and The Soundtrack of Our Lives. P.K.14 is a local band whose music I had heard before (you can hear it on their MySpace page). They’re a little on the punk side, but play well enough to be within my sphere of acceptability. TSOOL is a Swedish band I like quite a bit. I reviewed one of their albums in an issue of Exposé, and I had heard most of their others.
One thing I neglected to mention in my previous post was the fact that RR and I had dinner at a Russian restaurant called Traktir before the Tuesday night show. We had walked by the place many times (it’s on the path between home and office), but never been in. The customers consisted in large part of actual Russians, which we took as a good sign. If Russians go there, it’s probably good and maybe even authentic. We hit a snag right off when we found that our beer selections (Baltika 5 and 9) were not available, so we had to settle for 6 (or whichever is the red one). It’s a pretty good beer, so all was not lost. RR ordered the stroganoff, and I chose the breaded carp fillets with mashed potatoes. Aside from the slowness of the service, the meal was good. When we were about halfway through our meal, a pair of musicians took to the stage for our entertainment. There was a female singer and a guy playing keyboards with programmed backing. They did a few tunes in Russian (pop songs I’d guess), and then launched into a bizarre selection of music from around the world, including the strangest version of John Denver’s “Country Roads” I ever hope to hear.
For Saturday night we decided to skip the Russian place and get pizza at Napoli across the street. We’ve both been there several times, and the pizza is pretty reliable, though the service is slow. Musically, Napoli serves up a constant diet of Enya, which I must say is remarkably poor music to eat pizza by.
The show at Star Live was great. P.K.14 is an interesting band that might best be called post-punk – not that that is a very meaningful label. The singer reminds me more than a little of David Byrne on the early Talking Heads records, though the musical backing is much more aggressive than the Heads ever displayed in the studio. They had a tendency to go off on instrumental tangents, and some of the songs certainly topped the six or seven minute range.
Then The Soundtrack of Our Lives took the stage. Luckily it was a big stage, since there are six guys in the band. Leader Ebbot Lundberg is a very charismatic performer in spite of not physically fitting the image of “rock star.” The band was very good, tight but not over-rehearsed, and a lot of fun to watch and listen to.
After the show, we hung around and got to chat a little with Mr. Lundberg, acquiring some CDs in the process.
It was back to work on Monday, though it turned out virtually all of our Chinese staff took that day off as well. There were only a half dozen or so people in the office.
On Tuesday some of us went bowling to celebrate BG’s birthday. We went to the Gongti 100, and this time I took my camera. These are my own shots of what is supposed to be the world’s largest bowling alley.
This was taken from the vicinity of lane 9 looking towards lane 100.
Here is our gang on lanes 31-32.
For the record, BG had high score on the first game, with a personal best 174. For the second game, I had the highest with 123 – not my personal best, but good enough in this crowd! Our friend LW managed to finish on a Magic Number and win a cap as a prize.
After bowling for an hour or so, we went across the street to The Pavillion, where TG had previously dropped off a cake.
We had dinner, and afterwards they brought out this vision of deliciousness.
Afterwards, the manager came over and presented BG with a stuffed bear. She said she had decided to start a new tradition: that people who celebrated their birthdays there would get complimentary bears.
I mentioned in the last post that the water features here at Seasons Park were filled for the holidays. Here are a couple of pictures I took. Today when I got home from work, I found they’ve all been drained again. Sigh.
In other news, I did finally get my work permit. I’m good for a year on this, and will need to renew it next spring.
In other, less interesting or pleasant news, my sinuses have finally found something here they don’t like. I think it’s probably just the dust. Every day for the last couple weeks, I’ve had to take something to stop my nose from running and for headaches.