Beyond the Wings, April 2021

Post-Covid life has ostensibly begun here in England. I have been able to finally schedule my album launch for November 30th this year, but I will hold the same event in different venues on several occasions.

Activities

I continue to run the Mandarin Club in Manchester and have published another review with the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing.

On Wednesday May 5th,  I will give an online introduction to Chinese characters. This comes at a time when my tutoring business has been dwindling. English tutoring is going fine, but I am down to just two pupils for Mandarin, and no regular pupils for the guitar or creative writing. I am setting about rectifying this.

Since lockdowns may be ending, I have finished for now with the weekly miscellaneous covers, with one recent highlight being ‘Unchained Melody’.

Output

I have finished writing my next English album, working title ‘Problematic Is My Middle Name’. New songs include an attempt at a modern pop song

And a mournful one about so-called ‘cancel culture’.

Wider World

There’s a lot I don’t understand about the universe. I had long assumed that for anybody to have a glittering career, or rise to the top of an organisation, they must be brilliant. However, the past year has shown that so many people who run the world are deeply mediocre.

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron has become embroiled in a scandal. His memoir is said to lack ‘a single arresting thought or amusing anecdote’. Former director of public prosecutions and current leader of the Labour Party Kier Starmer has also shown himself to be – like a lot of the most outwardly impressive people – somewhat disappointing.

The same review of the David Cameron memoir makes this observation of much of the ruling class:

Behind presentation there is no substance: just more presentation, so that public relations is the queen of the sciences and opinion polls must be consulted as Roman soothsayers consulted chicken entrails.”

So many people are schooled to mistake status-consciousness with ambition, affectation with sophistication, and accolade with competence. For this reason, so much of my recent work is studiedly anti-pride, grandeur, and self-esteem.

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