Minor update

May 27, 2010 § 1 Comment

Looks like my book, The Tree That Bleeds: A Uighur Town on the Edge, will be out in early October, at least according to Amazon. No doubt the thinking is that it will clean up at Xmas, which is of course the time of year when people are desperate to buy books about riots and ethnic tension. On Xmas day, I may recreate that scene from The Doors where Jim Morrison gives the rest of the band presents, which pleases them greatly, till they open them and find that they have each been given a copy of his book of poems. [following sentence deleted out of an attempt to preserve reasonable family relations].

Problems for Adam and Eve

May 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

From Jo McMillan’s piece on Chinese sex shops in the current issue of Granta:

Dr Wang opens her eyes. She is ready now to pronounce, to prescribe for my lack of man. She fishes keys from her pocket and unlocks a cabinet. ‘This is what you need,’ she says, and offers me a pink baton, a face moulded into the head, the shaft embossed with rows of nodules that look – here, in this clinic, in this doctor’s hands – like an unusually disciplined rash. She balances the vibrator in the tips of her fingers, showing it off to me. I catch the smell of garage forecourts.

Having stayed in a lot of Chinese hotels over the last few months, I am pleased to report that the quality and range of sexual health products supplied in the rooms has improved immeasurably from 8 years ago. Though there are still the lotions that misleadingly promise genital hygiene (which are dangerous, in that their use dissuades people from using more reliable methods of prevention) there are now always condoms as well, sometimes for free (for instance in Yining, which has a high rate of HIV infection).

The Thorn in the Heart

May 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Trailer for the new Michel Gondry movie, a personal look at the life of Gondry family matriarch, his aunt Suzette Gondry, and her relationship with her son, Jean—Yves. Michel examines Suzette’s years as a schoolteacher and her life in rural France.

Heaven knows when it will be out in the UK, but on the evidence of this it looks worth seeing- assuming you have any interest in the lives of actual people who are not vampires or tycoons with superpowers.

N+1

May 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have an update on the situation in Xinjiang at N+1.

Here are some more photos I took while cowering behind cars:

A wooden tongue

May 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

The same Noh mask at three inclinations.

From Ian Buruma’s review of the new William Vollman book in the latest NYRB:

If even our deepest desires are no more than delusions, then the objects of our desires are forever beyond our reach. But Vollmann, like most of us, though moved by the performance of Noh, is not ready for Buddhist renunciation. This, he writes, “is not what I wish to believe. I want to kiss the mask, and when I put my lips against its wooden emptiness, I want to feel a woman’s tongue in my mouth.”

Fair trade, Apple?

May 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

Good piece in The Guardian about the routine breach of health conditions by those who make our shiny toys (sorry meant to say ‘iPhone manufacturers’).

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