Beyond the Wings, June 2021

Those long winter months, when restrictions were at their tightest, and Covid deaths were at their highest, I spent a lot of time designing syllabuses for both English teaching and Chinese. All this solitary work has started to pay off both professionally and creatively.


My tutoring business grew significantly in June, with new clients for Chinese and English. I remain available for tuition in those subjects, as well as the guitar, creative writing, and essay writing.

I also wrote some more for the Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing. On top of this, my book ‘The Naked Wedding’ got its first mainstream media coverage.


After only making one classical guitar video in the first five months of 2021, I made three this month, ‘Canon in D’ by Johann Pachelbel, ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring’ by Johann Sebastian Bach, and ‘The Flower Duet’ by Leo Delibes:

I also finished a new Chinese song, titled 《害羞》(Shy).

The next English album, new working title ‘Cancel Me’, is being recorded and should be available on all platforms by the end of August.

Wider World

The Chinese Communist Party this month celebrated its centenary. I was in China, working for one of its propaganda rags when it turned ninety. I still don’t know exactly what to think of the experience.

On the one hand it was just another place to work, meet professional people, and learn vital skills. On the other, I was in the employment of the organisation that had sent the tanks rolling in on June 4th, 1989, and since then has begun what has credibly been described as a genocide. I more or less see the job the same way now as I did then, like this, if you replace the word ‘English’ with ‘Communist Party’ and ‘colonised’ with ‘employed’:

It would be disingenuous to claim that China’s economic miracle has happened in spite of, and not directly because of, the leadership of the Communist Party. But the economy faces all kinds of problems. The Party’s reputation and credibility rest on its success, and the pressure to keep delivering is immense.

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