Beyond the Wings, December 2020

Well, what can you say about 2020? Pretty much anything because someone, somewhere will say something even more horrible. I nonetheless had a reasonably productive year, sneaking in a few mini victories amid all the awfulness.


The Mandarin Club is going strong. In December there has been a seminar on traditional Chinese medicine by a leading acupuncturist. There was also a Zoom event on twentieth century philosopher Alan Watts:

My 2020 has been a breeze compared to just about anybody else but attempts at getting on the housing ladder have been luckless. I am moving this week, staying in central Manchester. More on that in the end-of-year roundup.


To acknowledge that many of my friends and acquaintances have lost a close friend or family member this year, while also staying in character, I wrote this light-hearted song about the afterlife.

On top of this, I have scheduled an online performance of self-penned Chinese songs on February 6th. Sign-ups have been modest so far, but it should be a good day.

Wider World

One of my all-time favourite musical comedians had his first major hit. I am delighted for him but would hate for this to be his legacy.

He is a brilliant songwriter, and the hit was in my opinion one of his least brilliant songs. Another song, from the same album, was highly relevant to the political situation in the world this month.

End-of-Year Roundup

With human contact kept to a minimum, I nonetheless had an eventful year. Here are some things I did:

  • Multiplied my tutoring business, including clients for Mandarin, ESL, the guitar, essay writing, and creative writing.
  • Finished two albums, one English and one Chinese. Had to cancel the album launch on April 18th for painfully obvious reasons, but if and when it ever does happen, it will be an immeasurably stronger show because …
  • I am well on the way to finishing two more albums, one English, and one Chinese. At the time of writing, six of the new English songs are likely to be even bigger crowd pleasers than anything I had before.
  • Did two in-depth interviews about my Chinese-language song-writing.
  • Also recorded over 100 covers of various pop, rock, folk, and Broadway classics.
  • Got published by Comma Press, an institution I have been in awe of since 2014.
  • Wrote many reviews of other people’s books, albums, and short story collections. I exclusively write positive reviews, as there is no value in publicly attacking other people’s hard work in this way.
  • Attempts at getting onto the property ladder kept getting comically kicked in the crotch, like a ‘Home Alone’ villain. At one stage I drunk-texted my landlord, calling him a scumbag. I couldn’t really apologise, because I meant it.
  • I finalised my first paperback book, a short story collection set in Shenzhen, China. It is now just one proofread away from going to the printers. It is called ‘The Naked Wedding’. Here is the cover:

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