Tag Archives: scotland

Hong Kong says goodbye to its dreams, JLaw says ta-ra to her dignity

5 Sep

jlawI’m a bit depressed.

It’s not because August in the UK was a steaming turd of a month. A grey, miserable, disappointing four weeks of anti-climax and ennui. Not even because on the other side of the world friends cavorted on junk boats under cyan skies and swam in seas the temperature of bathwater. Nope.

It was my 37th birthday at the end of August. The beginning of my late 30s. The downward spiral. The end of days. If Alex James did actually say he celebrated his 20s with booze, his 30s with drugs and his 40s with good food then he’s got it wrong, because I managed all three that weekend. Yet even this failed to disguise the very real fact that I was getting older. A lackadaisical approach to facial hygiene meant my beard grew a little (it only ever grows a little, the shit) and presented me with a little gaggle of white follicles. In plain sight they were, mugging me right off.

My Dad, who has a wonderfully anachronistic way of speaking sometimes, narrowed his eyes and asked me if I was “pursuing a beard”. Pursuing a beard? As if I’d just jumped breathlessly into the back of a cab and asked the driver to follow the car in front…the one with my beard in it. No father, I am not actively pursuing a beard, but I’m rapidly chasing down old age. It didn’t help that I fucked my back and got followed on Instagram by my 14 year-old-nephew in the same birthday weekend.

It’s a toss up which is the more traumatic. Initially it was definitely the intense pain of twisting my lower vertebrae, but now that’s subsiding the long term misery of being bombarded with inane pictures of nephew #1 and his mates is starting to sink in. I daren’t even leave an angry comment in case I’m branded an old twat, a paedophile or, even worse, completely ignored like an elderly uncle at a wedding.

So to cheer myself up I thought I’d revive the Noodle, so to speak, and write about something funny that’s happening in China. Except there isn’t really anything funny happening ANYWHERE on the planet, least of all Hong Kong, where the people have finally, definitively been told by Beijing that they can’t elect their own leader. At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all here, what did they think was going to happen? CPC in failing-to-honour-international-agreement-betrays-its-own-to-stay-in-power shocker. Fuck knows what the nightly news is going to report on now. Public backlash over a new waste incineration plant? Another preventable death at the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival?

It’s not as if things are any better abroad. ISIS* continues to build a terrifying new world order, Putin remains a massive dick, Scotland unfathomably seems to think it would actually like to just bugger off on its own somewhere like a spoilt child, and Dave Lee Travis continues to … well we’ll find out pretty soon. And then some poor old grannie gets beheaded in her back garden in Edmonton. Are we actually playing out our final days here? It does feel like we’re building towards the denouement of something. I might place a bet on who we get invaded by first: Russia, Islamic State militarists, or China.

Then, just when it all looks so horribly, soul numbingly bleak, the internet goes and bloody saves the day by serving me up pictures of JLaw’s snatch. At least it’s not all doom and gloom out there. And I was writing a story on the iCloud hack so I didn’t even need to feel guilty. The Pete Townsend defence in full force for you there.

So, to the Oscar-winning actress and her perfectly hairless foo-foo I say “thankyou ma’am”. Life will always find a way…


*incidentally this is the name of the cleaning company which services my block of flats. They either need to change their moniker or embrace it, perhaps with a new slogan like “declaring jihad on dirty windows since 1997”.

Hong fun in the summer Kong-shine!

12 Jul

lionsAs someone who has a love-hate relationship with sport, love it when we win, inconsolable when we don’t, last weekend could have gone down as one of the worst since Newcastle “blew” the Premier League lead in ’96. As it happened, it was one of the best. A scintillating 10 minute period from the Lions which routed the Oz-tralians was followed by even greater heroics as Andy Murray reclaimed his British credentials from the claws of Alex Salmond and gave a nation even more to cheer about.

Watching it all soaked in cider and sweat from my Hong Kong home has made the whole thing seem slightly unreal, although at least we’re spared blanket coverage and Sue friggin’ Barker here. In fact, witnessing the demolition of the Wallabies was all the sweeter from the grand colonial setting of the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Central. Sipping Tsingtao with my fellow gin-soaked members – whose faces were about the shade of a Lion’s jersey – was particularly satisfying come the final whistle. I can say in all honesty that the “whingeing” moniker is ironically enough 100% more appropriate when applied to our Antipodean cousins – as a nation possibly the world’s worst sporting losers.

So that’s the start of summer then. All here are hugely looking forward to morphing into an unwrung sponge after just a few steps out of the door. As indeed are we to spotting the hordes of teenaged Hong Kong girls – and indeed middle aged women with teenaged girls’ bodies – dressed in hot pants so short  it really does make Wan Chai a confusing place after a couple of sherbets.

There’s honestly not much to do here until September. In a week or so China’s government will pretty much shut down for the summer and Party cadres and their families across the Middle Kingdom will pack up their Louis Vuitton luggage and primary colour clothes and head to Europe or the US on luxury holidays most Chinese can only dream of. They will behave appallingly but spend an obscene amount of (probably) illegally acquired money, thus making them at once both indispensable to the tourist industry of these foreign lands and utterly hated throughout the world.

In the meantime, I for one intend fully to spend my summer afternoons at the beach, my weekends gorging on dim sum and the rest of the time jumping off boats into sea the temperature of warm milk. Oh yeah, and my evenings agonising over the Ashes, having one too many and being bundled onto some concrete by some twat. Probably Australian.