For regular new content, go to MY BLOG.
I often update old posts, as well as the pages in the top Menu.
Do use the Categories and Tags in the sidebar, and the Search box between them;
still in the sidebar, the photos are cued to the relevant posts;
and do relish the playlist (with commentary here).
This site began as an introduction to my work with Li Manshan, his late great father Li Qing, and the amazing household Daoists of Yanggao county in north China, notably my portrait film and the related book (see top menu). The Li family has its own category in the sidebar, with a plethora of reflections and updates. But the blog soon expanded into my usual crazed ramblings on a variety of more-or-less related topics.
So if Daoist ritual doesn’t float your boat, or butter your parsnips, then there are generous lashings of jokes, including Chinese jokes (some sub-heads here). The drôlerie category is voluminous yet unwieldy, but the *MUST READ!* category leads to some of the wackier posts.
.Other pages in the top menu tend to be rather substantial, with
- lengthy articles under Local ritual (mostly based on previous work, but elaborated here with maps and many colour photos)—mainly on north Shanxi, Hebei, and Shaanxi; see also tags for Beijing, Hebei, Gaoluo, Shanxi (other), Shaanbei, Buddhism; and longer articles on Gaoluo under Other publications menu
- and many articles on Western Art Music—which also gets its own category, as well as tags for Bach, Mahler, Ravel, Messiaen, conducting, Proms, and so on
- and some important conceptual background under Themes, mainly on fieldwork (which also has its own profuse category).
“Compiled without regard to expense or the feelings of the public”—Flann O’Brien
I seem to have discovered a taste for arcane and unlikely links between all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse. Here are some of the more stimulating:
- Gender category, including the lives of women in China and elsewhere, feminist punk, humorists, film, and so on: handy roundup here
- Jazz, and wind bands in China and Europe
- Rants on the heritage shtick, kicking off from the so-called Hengshan Daoist music troupe;
- German tag, including major articles on Ravensbrück, the GDR, Nazism and conductors; Iron Curtain tag, covering a large region of suffering; other regional tags, including Italy, Iberia, Irish, Indian
- Fiction, including Love, Nina, Lao She and Timothy Mo—but the stellar Stella Gibbons, Myles, and Alan Bennett have their own tags
- Also not to be missed are Bach à la chinoise, and my fellow-students in the Cultural Revolution.
As you can already see, I just love doing internal links (in blue in the text). So whether you first came here for Daoist ritual, football (indeed, Daoist football), punk, Bach, modern China, or even jokes, they’re all connected, so please explore all the links! However jocular, such connections seem necessary in these fractured insular times—building bridges, not walls.
With thanks to Michele Banal, Ian Johnson, and Morgan Davies
for dragging me into the 21st century
from the Priory of the Azure Cloud Bottle* within the Belvedere of Tenuous Obscurity,** Chiswick
*Azure Cloud Bottle: Bombay Sapphire—
for anyone seeking it in China, it’s 孟买蓝宝石金酒!
** Cf. the True Classic of Simplicity and Vacuity