Saturday, 25 June 2011

PARTY DIRECTIVE No. 1....Amendment following Politburo Advice.

This site will remain active for personal trivia, while the Wordpress site will contain more substantive scribblings.

Six Perfectly Shaped Vinyl 45s.

A perfect example of power pop with Steve Marriot's soulful vocals. Produced by the now reinvented Andrew Loog Oldham author of Stoned, a must have read on the 60s music industry, if only for its description of that craziest of all producers Joe Meek. Oldham has written a follow-up titled Hustlers,which is a study of the great music entrepreneurs like Don Arden, Freddy Bienstock etc.
Quite by accident last night, I listened to the Stones Good Times, Bad Times - recorded in Chess Studios in 1964 by Andrew Loog Oldham. Reminded me of what a great vocal soul stylist Jagger used to be before the band found its own voice, which then totally disppeared into a mess of corporate rock crap after Let it Bleed.
Everlovin' Man by Oz legend The Loved Ones is unquestionably soul music culture writ large. Jerry Humphreys had a set of vocal chords to die for. I still moves me ... decades later.
Forget that One step for mankind.....Aldrin, Armstrong first man on the moon moment. The real moment of the 60s was captured by Raven Records three volume LP set Ugly Things containing the great garage bands of the Antipodes. Foremost would have to be The Creatures with their grungier hard rock single (as you would expect) Ugly Thing. 1966 appearances on TVs Dig We Must with waist length purple and green hair.

Lock up your daughters and stay away from musicians with panel vans.

Trivial Factoid: The Creatures hailed from Mildura, Victoria, the same hometown as the The Modes who laid out the most nervous version of that staple Baby Please Don't Go. Ian Hunter bassist in The Modes went onto to be KT's p/g supervisor, and foremost deconstructionist of Althusser, Derrida and Foucault, in addition to a recent massive tome on Kant and all round philosophical heavy hitter with pieces like THIS.

Staying south of the equator, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Kicks by The Librettos
Let's break with tradition here and highlight an LP, namely Lysergic Emanations by the Fuzztones. Retro US garage band who righfully pay homage to The Sonics, albeit with Bach organ flourishes. Highly recommended for the discerning listener.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

PARTY DIRECTIVE No. 1: moved to - http://

I now have a site and will be posting here from now on.

New address

I hope to move my archives to this new site when I acquire the confidence and technical know-how.

This is a case of Manifest Destiny.

Any advice on this move is greatly appreciated.

Meanwhile I leave you with an okay article from The Economist on my favourite pol Bo Xilai HERE.

But Mr Bo could well be offered the portfolio of China’s internal security chief, currently held by Zhou Yongkang, with whom he is believed to have close ties.

Mr Bo’s upfront style is a radical departure from the backroom politicking that has long been the hallmark of Communist rule and would seem like a refreshing change, were it not that some of his supporters see him as the Vladimir Putin of China.

The Economist is turning out some reasonably solid China analysis at the moment.

Stripping to the waist and fighting off bears might however be a bit much even for the Beijing establishment. However, a sordid sex scandal aired on weibo would be perfectly acceptable.

My Bo dossier now notes that he drives a Jaguar, a British marque motor which has produced a succession of shit models since the mid 60s.

Open the article. Don't you just love the cheesy smile. Reminds me of Tony Blair.

So long Pilgrims and see you in the Promised Land below.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011



Big Jimbo and The Doors were unquestionably the most over-rated Rock Band since Heart Break Hotel hit the airwaves in 1956. They turned out exactly two great tracks, they being Crystal Ship on their First LP and Five to One found on their crap double Absolutely Live. Crystal Ship has to be the greatest example of sound psychedelia, while Five to One is one down and dirty incitement to Youthful Anarchy. And in this age of sanitised, corporatised rock music, the sound of broken glass is sorely missed.

The whole Doors Industry, which fortunately has ground to a halt this century - Danny Sugerman, Jerry Hopkins, John Densmore and Mr Oliver Stone (of more in Part Two) - has been a carbuncle on the rear end of Rock Journalism. It is about time we recognised the efforts of that other industry. And yes, Pamela as a much younger wench made a vital in-the-studio contribution to the greatness of Crystal Ship.


Australia's Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs (formerly know as Foreign Affairs) has to be the worst of any in the G20. The public servants (in this case an oxymoron), who occupy its overseas embassies et al, view inquiries by Oz citizens overseas as an occupational hazard to be avoided by placing them in the ether of the internal phone loop. Equally, serious has been the past instances of practicing paedophiles been given overseas posting and subsequent departmental hush ups.

Disclaimer: I have never had occasion to utilise their services. In point of fact, they could take a lesson from the PRC's overseas embassies who provide an efficient and helpful service.


Millers Crossing by the Coen Brothers has to be their best movie simply based on the performance of Jon Polito as Johnny Caspar. The scene between Caspar and his none-too-bright and overweight son is priceless.


The three most used tracks in the history of cinema since Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets are:

Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
Rumble - the ominous instrumental by Link Wray
Anything by Kool and the Gang.

Been dying to get this hoary old chestnut printed and forgotten


In the Sino-English blogoshere, there is an annoying cross-posting, lets-scratch-each-others-back Mafia. As this is beyond debate to even the most casual observer, lets move on and recognise the conspiratorial but well documented investigations of Peter Dale Scott HERE. Scott is no slouch when it comes to documenting his suspicions, and I recommend his books to 2000, most of which I have read.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Some Interesting Sino-Links...

I thought I would take a lesson from Adam Cathcart's blog and post some links which are presently orphaned in my favourites. Adam, who I've described as the Christopher Columbus of great link-finds accompanied with great translation work, runs the highly recommended site to your right.

Sounds like I'm putting together a Sino-Net-Mafia here, but prefer to pimp the sites I like rather than diss the one's which pain me.

Lets start with a couple of heavy hitters.

John Lee, sometimes adviser to the Australian Defence Establishment, wrote a short succint book titled "Will China Fail", and you will come away with the feeling that he hopes so. Lee covers very much the same terrain as Victor Shih - examining the structural characteristics of China's economy and its banking system. Cutting to the chase, this is a highly truncated piece by John Lee HERE titled Structural Flaws will Limit China's Rise.

Here are three great book REVIEWS by Perry Anderson, former editor of the defunct New Left Review, and the less-smarter brother of Benedict Anderson who authored Imagined Communities. Perry's Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism and The Rise of the Absolutist State are now literally collecting dust on many shelves mine included, while Imagined Communities will continue to produce theretical gold dust for years to come.

I think it is time to look at the papers and see what is happening in the Land of Happiness and Red Sing Songs.

John Garnaut wrote an excellent piece for the Sydney Morning Herald today on the serious clout exercised by the State's Power Grid, a corporate Behemoth beholden to no one including Beijing HERE.

Last week migrant workers from Sichuan in blue jeans central - Xintang county close to Guangzhou - congregated in a really uncivil manner, stoned police and torched a few cars and government buildings. Massive police power was subsequently employed and there have been 19 arrests to date.

But here are the kickers. Guangdong's Communist Party boss Wang Yang had previously tied his political ambitions to a Happy Guangdong HERE slogan earlier in January. All very embarrassing and he was not available for comment. Bo Xilai one of Wang's serious competitors for a slot on the Politburo's 9 person Standing Committee must be cock-a-hoop. Bo's thought bubble: "I'm a really photogenic chick magnet, so it's only right and just that that sour puss Wang bites the dust".

Aside from this cruel irony for Wang, it seems that these ungrateful rioting migrant workers are not handing themselves in to assure lenient sentences as requested. Consequently,

China has offered rewards to migrant workers willing to inform on colleagues involved in recent mass riots in the south-eastern city of Zengcheng.

The Zengcheng Daily published a notice offering workers residency permits - which would give them greater access to services like education and healthcare.

The notice also offered up to 10,000 yuan ($1,500; £1,000) cash rewards.
Sourced from the BBC, but the media are all over this snitch offer.

And, as you would expect, the application of Happy or Positive Psychology and the creation of Happiness Indexs are the new municipal fashion statement in the Middle Kingdon.

The China Daily link I was looking for has been disappeared, but I found this entry on my former hometown:Find your happy place in Fuzhou.

After celebrating Fz's banyan trees, CD notes:

Because locals planted so many of them, the city is now covered in a leafy canopy. Thanks to the many shaded areas, Fuzhou women do not need to hold umbrellas to protect themselves against the harsh UV rays.

There you go. Leave the sunnies and sun screen at home.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Suspicion Torments my Heart ....Remastered.

Unquestionably, the three most important inventions of the 20th century were the automobile, the hot shower and the LP record in no particular order. In terms of sound transmission, we experienced the 78rpm LP (maybe), the Cadilliac of sound propagation post-1960s the 33rpm LP with the added bonus of its cover art, and its younger brothers, the Single (hit song and B-side filler)and the EP Extended Play (4 desirable singles....hopefully).

A minor footnote to the 70s was the 8 Track Car Cassette which supposed marked the demise of Stereo Sound, which (if I recall) was an 8 track sound breakdown distributed to a battery of speakers strategically situated inside the vehicle. Definitely the Edsel of sound inventions since the 8 Track unspooled before you turned on the ignition, and the catalogue was limited to Crosby, Stills and Nash and Blue Cheer (and you would only remember the latter if you attended Hells Angels bar room stomps)and more bloody Crosby Stills and Nash on-the-back-porch ditties of conscience eg Teach Your Children Well, Ohio, etc.

The Stereo Cassette soon followed, combining auto-mobility and sound youth-identity, but only if you installed a kick-ass Pioneer cassette in your Kombi van. Thence began the digital revolution too familiar to warrant description.

There are undoubtedly forums which discuss the merits and demerits of the digital remastering process - the journey from vinyl to chip, from film to Blu-Ray - so I will go on record here, and state that vinyl transferred to CD or chip loses a lot of warmth, especially when saxaphone and piano are concerned. And that colourisation is an abomination since film noir completely loses its raison d'etre.

However, there are always positive examples of the film to digital trip, namely Sergei Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible Part 2 The Boyar's Plot produced in 1945. Eisenstein (and other Russian directors such as Pudovkin and Dziga-Vertov) are best remembered for their theoretical views about montage editing. Academic film theory journals of the late 70s and 80s discussed montage theory in excruciating Marxist and neo-Marxist detail issue after issue, making the life of film theory students a pure misery. On the brighter side, we watch with pleasure films directed by Brian De Palma, that most literate of directors, who cannot help slipping in homage sequences to some of Eisenstein's killer montage scenes.

I was completely taken with the digital blacks, whites, shades of grey and elongated shadow effects in the Ivan dvd, which are both sharp, effective and true to the directors intentions. The bad Ivan - his suppurating suspicions towards all and sundry - receives full justice in this digital remastering. The eyes hold the secret of Ivan's bloody intentions, and they bring to mind that last photo of Lenin as he wrestled in silence with the succession issue. ie Lenin's so-called Last Testament and the ensuing petty bureacratic warfare with Lenin's drab wife.

The other abiding impression of Ivan Part 11 is the court and wardrobe design, the detailed attention lavished on jewellery, furs and wigs on which Eisenstein must have lavished a large part of his budget. The net result is that Ivan's world is portrayed in purely Asiatic terms with its dance and choral sequences, 'bad element' court advisers and all round factional/family fear and suspicion. Little wonder Stalin had the film shelved after a late night viewing at his dacha with Beria, Molotov etc. If I were Stalin when experiencing a black episode, Eisenstein would probably been consigned to the Gulag, since Ivan 11 accurately depicts conditions in the Red Court during his incumbency.

Rather, Stalin told Eisenstein that he portrayed Ivan as 'too indecisive, like Hamlet', and his only mistakes were'...not cutting the throats of the last five feudal families', and then "letting God get in the way and spending a long time repenting and praying'. (1) This discussion marked Stalin's final separation from his youthful experiences as a seminarian.

And I leave the last word to Jonathon Jones of The Guardian HERE on montage revolutionaries:

Without Lenin, we wouldn't enjoy Hollywood half as much.

(1) Stalin and his Hangmen Donald Rayfied 2005 Random House Page 433

And thanks to Elvis.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Will the Boat sink the Water: Yes, but for very different reasons.

This was a 2003 investigation of the conditions of the peasantry written by Chen Guido and Wu Chuntao, a husband and wife team of writers which you can read about HERE. Chen and Wu's study of social conditions has a long and illustrious tradition beginning with that bon vivant and financial supporter of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels with his The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. Most 18th gentlemen with time on their hands investigated this or that aspect of the working class, after a hard day in the family firm's counting house.

Now, do a China google news scroll any day of the week, and Wu and Chen's findings of general pissed-offness in rural communities barely raises an eye brow eight years later. I think I counted two this morning and thats just ones picked up by the media. Beijing no longer publishes the statistics on 'mass incidents' of social disharmony. Try this LINK for a contemporary snapshot.

We know that the poor and the rural poor in particular are getting it in the craw, so let's look at the condition of the fithy, mega-rich in the PRC.

World Crunch reports "that China’s richest dream of one thing: packing up and heading for other countries, especially the West", namely Canada, US and Canada.

According to a new study, a majority of Chinese who have more than 10 million Yuan ($1.53 million) worth of individual assets find the idea of real-estate investment a lot less tempting than so-called “investment emigration.” Nearly 60% of people interviewed claim they are either considering emigration through investment overseas, or have already completed the process, according to the 2011 Private Wealth Report on China published by China Merchants Bank and a business consulting firm Bain & Company. The richer you are, the study suggests, the likelier it is that you resort to emigration. And among those who possess more than 100 million yuan, 27 % have already emigrated while 47% are considering leaving.

You can pick through the Report for the practical reasons behind this desire to emmigrate. I want to focus on the class dimensions, "the original sin of wealth" and the hatred and envy directed at the mega-wealthy. This spotlights the widening rich-poor divide, China's Gini coefficient and low-level war of attrition directed at the Ferrari class on China's social media.

Another take on the same report HERE also emphasises this class hatred dimension:
It’s true that many of China's rich amassed their wealth in the early years of the country's opening-up during the 1980s, when monitoring systems and regulations were lax, if non-existent. Many now fear they may face hefty fines or even confiscation of their assets if the source of their wealth is uncovered. And so they stash their money abroad.

You can read the China Daily's reponse to this issue HERE..

However, as soon as you look at the amount of money sluicing around the grey economy in China, you also have to question Beijings bragging rights about the foreign reserves held by its financial institutions and wonder just how much wealth is decamping overseas.

Forbes reports that the Chinese have $1.5 trillion in hidden income. By way of perspective, the US deficit is around $13 or $14 trillion. More important, the figures crunched by Professor Wang Xiaolu came up with these astounding numbers:

Almost Rmb10 tn in hidden income, or 30% of GDP. Based on a creative survey technique focusing on the correlation between income and spending patterns, and with over 4,000 samples across 19 provinces in China, Prof. Wang estimates that the per-capita disposable income of urban Chinese households in 2008 should be Rmb32,154, 90% above the official data. Total hidden income could total Rmb9.3 tn, 30% of GDP, with about 63% of hidden income in the hands of the top 10% of urban households.

Victor Shih, my favourite analyst, also looks at Professor Wangs figures within a larger contextHERE.

Okay, enough of this hagiography and think about this. What if the Bo Xilai and the Left Song and Dance crew were forced by changing economic circumstances to take their rhetoric seriously, and decided that some major league wealth redistribution was just what social harmony called for. ie willing to surf the wave of class hatred and envy.

Politicians are pretty well the same the world over, pragmatic, opportunistic and attached to the power and perks of office.

Every farmer would be given a Chery and lamp posts would become multi-purpose utilities.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Fine Cotton Races in Wuhan

The latest newcycle reports that horse racing is to be introduced for the first time in Wuhan since it was banned in 1949.

Prior to his great success in industrial, agricultural and ideological policy, the Great Helmsman had cogitated on sports betting policy, and declared horse racing to be an immoral capitalist pursuit. As readers would be aware, Shanghai previously had a long history of horse racing with its Shanghai Race Club, in addition to being one of the most vibrant cities for prostitution in all Asia

However, unlike normal betting procedures, looking at the odds and putting your money on the nag most likely to win, or even a more ambitious trifecta, the wagering procedures in Wuhan involve the usual Chinese characteristics:

"People can win small prizes if they correctly guess which horse will win the race, but they can't bet on horses like people do during Hong Kong horse racing," Liu Hongqing, spokesperson of Wuhan's Orient Lucky City race course told the newspaper.

Correctly guess, but can't bet on horses. Try and square that circle.

Nonetheless, this is progress when one considers an attempt some 5 years ago to introduce racing to Beijing. A consortium of Australian business smarties collected a large number of race horse wannabees - horses which were never likely to win a race and were destined for the glue factory - and transported them to Beijing, only to find their quangxi had disppeared. The local authorities clamped down and the horses were dispatched to Inner Mongolia, where they no doubt inter-bred with their smaller equine cousins.

Now, when we consider the widespread corruption and match fixing in Chinese football, which I won't even link, a flutter on the Wuhan horsies does not sound like a good idea. Stick to mahgong, dear readers.

Already, Wuhan's horse owners are googling best and most effective racing scams, and of course the Fine Cotton will top the search engine.

The scam involved a syndicate said to be headed by former bloodstock agent John Gillespie, which purchased a horse that looked almost identical to Fine Cotton and performed better. Unfortunately for the syndicate, this horse was injured and unable to race when the ring-in was due to take place. Having already invested money and gone so far, the syndicate decided to find another horse. With time running out, they purchased a horse called Bold Personality, an open-class horse several grades above Fine Cotton.

The syndicate faced a problem in that the horses were different colours. Fine Cotton was an eight year old brown gelding and had white markings on his hind legs, whereas Bold Personality was a seven year old bay gelding with no markings. To overcome this issue, they applied Clairol hair colouring to Bold Personality with limited success. On race day, having forgotten the peroxide to whiten the legs of Bold Personality, they resorted to crudely applied white paint. These poorly conceived attempts to overcome the discrepancies in appearance between the two horses later served to highlight the amateurish nature of the scheme.

Hayden Haitana trainer of equine racing legend Fine Cotton was later jailed for running a prostitution ring.

So thats the horse and flesh trade connection.