Beyond the Wings: April 2019

This month marked a year since I left Asia. While freelancing away, I have been binging on books, trips to the cinema and attempts to stay fit in the hope it leads to another creative burst.


According to a nationwide survey by Pan Suiming of Renmin University, China has the world’s highest proportion of people who admit to engaging in extramarital affairs. The figure for both men and women has consistently increased since the year 2000. This month I made a new MV, a song about this moral anarchy that the country is going through.

I also reviewed Jiang Zilong’s thousand-page tome “Empires of Dust” for The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing.

Screenshot 2019-04-28 at 14.09.15


Early in the month, I was attacked by a stranger online for an inappropriate attempt at humour. This reminded me of two rules I have about most social networks: never argue and never attempt humour.

Woke people usually have a point, and just because they often make arses of themselves overstating it, doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

Cultural consumption this month has ranged from the exceptionally good (seeing Michael Mann’s “Heat” and Jia Zhangke’s “Ash Is Purest White” on the big screen) to the extraordinarily bad (blockbuster novel “The Tattooist of Auschwitz“), but all provided valuable lessons on the art of story.

The Wider World

This month, Extinction Rebellion brought parts of London to a standstill while the Brexit Party made its presence felt, with Annunziata Rees-Mogg (Jacob’s sister) announcing her candidacy.

These two things happening at the same time reminded me of a passage from “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Noah Harari: “Nationalist isolationism is probably more dangerous in the context of climate change than of nuclear war. An all-out nuclear war threatens to destroy all nations, so all nations have an equal stake in preventing it. Global warming, in contrast, will probably have a different impact on different nations.”

On the subject of irresponsibility on the world stage, Amal Clooney has attacked senior members of The Trump Administration by name for their undermining of the International Criminal Court. In opposition to Trump, Joe Biden became the 21st democratic candidate to declare and, in spite of allegations of inappropriately touching women, currently looks like the favourite to be the nominee.

Despite the candidates including such genuinely impressive figures as Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, my money is still on Trump to win a second term.


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