Travelling the Silk Road of Pop

September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Verbally, that is. My Q and A with the director of this wonderful documentary about Uyghur music is now up at China File



Keywords: Zombies, Pynchon

September 24, 2013 § Leave a comment


In what will probably be my only publication as a literary scholar (i.e. I wrote it ages ago, when I was still doing my PhD) I have a chapter in a beautifully designed book: Thomas Pynchon & the (de)vices of global (post)modernity.

My chapter is ‘You can’t always blame zombies for their condition’: Utopian escapes in Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice‘.

Also see my piece on attending the conference that the book is based on….

The many trials of Mr Horse

September 23, 2013 § Leave a comment


My new essay on knowing a Chinese James Bond is in the new issue of The Dublin Review

This is how it starts:

Everyone in Shaoyang Teachers’ College said Mr Ma had been a spy. If this was supposed to be a secret, it was badly kept. When I first met him, in 1999, Mr Ma was in his mid thirties. He wore black glasses with thick lenses; his hair was in retreat; there was frequently a look of astonishment on his face. He was bashful, polite, prone to excessive laughter. But the fact that he didn’t look or act like a spy only made the rumours more plausible. It meant that he had been a good spy.

Bo Xilai and ‘seeking truth from facts’

September 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

The nicest looking picture of Bo Xilai I could find

The nicest looking picture of Bo Xilai I could find

My take on the Bo Xilai trial, the biggest political trial in China for decades, now up at the LRB blog

Where Am I?

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