Beyond the Wings, August 2021

It is finished. The new album ‘Abusive X’ is already available as a YouTube playlist and on Bandcamp. It was hard work but a great experience. The cover, as designed by Wanda Roslyn, is one of my favourite things about it.

Output

Toward the end of the month I was frantically making YouTube videos for songs from the new album. Personal favourites include ‘Cheap Hotel’

And the album closer ‘Hope It Might Be So’.

I have also been getting out and performing at least once a week.

Activities

Despite business being great for both my English tutoring and Chinese tutoring, I have had the privilege of being able to read a lot. This month’s reading included newly released blockbuster ‘The Abstainer’ by Ian McGuire, which I intend to write a review about soon, and ‘China Dream’, by Ma Jian, which will certainly be the subject of a future China Book Club.

With all Covid restrictions being lifted, at least for the time being, my online activities have been less well-attended. This is a good thing, obviously. But I built some great relationships during the Zoom era, and there is much I will miss about those events.

Looking forward, I have been trying my hand at comedy sketch writing and will finally be working toward making my ideas a reality in September.

Most excitingly of all, the album launch night, which was originally set for April 18th, 2020, is scheduled to finally go ahead on November 13th at The Lion’s Den, Manchester.

Wider World

I spent my formative years during the 1990s. Those times, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and before the September 11th terrorist attacks, America was unchallenged as the world’s only superpower. This month its military suffered a colossal failure in Afghanistan.

The current president is getting the blame, but the three previous administrations failed comprehensively at nation-building, and all made huge mistakes. The Bush Administration started another costly and disastrous war in Iraq, Obama’s trop surge proved ineffective, and Trump struck a disastrous deal with the Taliban, which has been easily exploited.

Some commentators have predicted that America’s defeat will embolden China, auguring well for its desire to take back control of Taiwan, and extending its crackdown on Afghanistan’s Uighur population. But the Taliban government will find it very difficult to achieve stability in Afghanistan, and China does not need more chaos on its Western border. There are three nuclear-armed states in the region, all with their own territorial ambitions.

Only a fool would predict anything too confidently, but it is quite likely that this Aldous Huxley quote will stay as relevant as ever: “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

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