新歌《有一天》 New Song: One Fine Day

A new song recording

If you don’t understand it you can run the lyrics through Google Translate.

你可真是个 优秀的人





Beyond the Wings September 2019

This has been a month of endings and beginnings.


This month I left Beetham Tower, whose north-facing view provided the backdrop to over a year’s worth of music videos. I have moved to a place where it seems to be easier to get silence for recording.

Other big things to have come to and this month include my. MBA. I defended the thesis successfully in Barcelona on September 23rd. I also finished the first draft of a novel (working title “The Watcher”) and began the second draft largely based on the excellent professional feedback from The Darling Axe.

Screenshot 2019-09-30 at 14.07.28


The last recording in front of the Manchester skyline was a guitar adaptation of “The Humming Chorus” from Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly”.

I also intend to revive my use of Soundcloud to promote my music. I re-recorded a song I wrote in 2012 titled “TV Talent Shows”.

And I recorded a song I have often played at open mic nights.

Wider World

An impeachment of Donald Trump is now a real possibility but there is a long and rocky road to making it happen, or even denying him a second term. To quote Bill Maher, Republicans are the party of rednecks, but Democrats are the party of blueballs, so it would be foolish to get one’s hopes up.

As Greta Thunberg has so memorably pointed out, Trump and Brexit are only a small part of the reason why the future is so scary.

Beyond the Wings August 2019

This month I have written and recorded more new music than at any time since 2013. I have also completed my MBA thesis, which leaves just one more hoop to jump through until the thing is finished and all that’s needed is to figure out what to do with my life. 


This will hopefully be the last month of being underemployed, having now submitted my thesis, pending a defence in Barcelona in a month or so.

Screenshot 2019-08-30 at 20.19.41

I have also been frequenting open mic nights, with a view toward a double-LP launch, one of Chinese-language songs and the other of English ones. A full-time job will slow down the process, but only slightly.

In the past month, I have done nothing with prose fiction, but this precedes a massive rush in which I will complete a second draft of my novel, and begin a six-month short story-writing course.


New English-language MVs include “One Question”, a song about God:

New Chinese ones include “Sick Man of Europe”, which is about English teachers in China

And a re-recording of “Migrant Workers”, a song about the unsung heroes of China’s economic miracle.

Wider World

This month has seen the United Nations’ biodiversity chief Cristiana Paşca Palmer state that countries need to get together fast to protect the world’s forests and ecosystems and the road on which I live has been closed by Extinction Rebellion protests. The chances of the world working together do not look good since the unelected British prime minister has called on the monarch to prorogue parliament to push through an act of xenophobic self-destruction, and Donald Trump has displayed behaviour even more insane than during the 2016 election campaign.

All the frivolous activities mentioned above might well be described as fiddling while the world burns. Yet our aggressive, territorial species has been causing mass extinctions since we were walking upright, and we have tended to muddle through. Or at least the more fortunate among us have.

Beyond the Wings July 2019

This has been a month of completed drafts. I completed the first draft of my novel, a continent and millennia-spanning epistolary thriller, and have sent it off for its first beta reading. I also completed the first draft of my MBA thesis, which asks the question “Are diversity drives proving productive for UK publishing?”


The first draft of the MBA has been a struggle. It has involved a lot of reading and quantitative research. “Diversify” by June Sarpong proved massively helpful when it came to accruing data.

Thesis Draft

There have also been more live music performances, a side-project that continues to grow. I am building up to giving a full-length set that will hopefully materialise this year.


There have been new MVs, including a higher-quality version of “Self-Doubt”, that has proved popular on Manchester’s open mic scene.

There is also “The War of 1812” (I underestimated how difficult it would be to sing), and another version of “The Happy Birthday Song”.

My review of “Life” by Lu Yao, translated by Chloe Estep, was also published by The Leeds Centre for New Chinese Writing.


Wider World

When writing my MBA thesis, my main goal is to try to ensure that its conclusions are somewhat less weaselly and evasive than those of The Mueller Report. The left’s worst nightmare has come true, with Trump in the White House and well on course to win a second term, and Boris Johnson in 10 Downing Street and committed to delivering Brexit, deal or no deal.

There are reasons for optimism though. Boris Johnson does not believe in Brexit with any conviction. Trump continues to show himself to be an ignorant fool with every utterance, which means the Democrats have a reasonable chance of inflicting the first real defeat on an incumbent since 1980 (1992 barely counts because the late Ross Perot split the centre-right vote).

With the situation in Hong Kong, it is more important than ever for liberal democracy to show that it is the superior form of government.

Beyond the Wings: June 2019

After a record-breakingly hot summer last year, this June had some mercifully miserable weather. I also managed to be productive.


I have started frequenting open mic sessions at The Old Pint Pot in Salford. Performing my songs and getting an enthusiastic reaction is one of my few activities that is ego-stroking.

Things for which there is no instant gratification, but my future self may thank me for include strong progress on my MBA thesis on diversity in the UK publishing industry. I am also 25,000 words into the first draft of an epistolary novel that contains elements of historical fiction and fantasy. I have also finished the final Beginner-level module of Spanish at The Cervantes Institute in Manchester.


I bought a new electric guitar and have recorded an instrumental I wrote called “In a Lonely Hour”. I look forward to making more MVs with it.

I have also read and reviewed “Life” by Lu Yao, which has been brilliantly translated by Chloe Estep. My review will appear shortly.

Wider World

The debates for the Democratic nomination have begun. Kamala Harris was a standout performer, but Tulsi Gabbard may be the most impressive person they have.

Still, I think Trump is the favourite by virtue of his familiarity, and that he is America’s id.

Beyond the Wings: May 2019

Being busy is hardly anything to be proud of, but despite still being underemployed (I missed out on a book translation gig I really wanted), I am managing to fill the days with activities I find meaningful or expect to bear fruit in years to come.


Every day I plug away at Spanish and can now make out bits and pieces of conversations I hear. I am also exercising regularly and keeping abreast of dreams and reflections in the manner of ‘A Life of One’s Own’ by Marion Milner.

This is all very therapeutic. It’s a cultural taboo, but to suggest that psychotherapy is only for mentally ill people is like saying only unfit people should go to the gym, or only stupid people should read.

I also turned down an offer of a very good job in China. As tempting as it was, returning to Asia at this point would probably cause more problems than it solves.


This month I have made very pleasing progress on my novel. I expect to finish the first draft this year. I have also plugged away at my MBA thesis, encountering a lot of game-changing ideas and facts along the way.

Researching a novel involves reading a lot of stuff one would read for pleasure. An MBA involves a lot of books and academic papers that nobody would read without having an exam to pass. Both have already proven to be worthwhile activities and may even make some money someday.

On the lighter side, I have had a very successful open mic night performing this song among others:

Lastly, my latest for LA Review of Books China Channel is on translating Tibetan literature.

Wider World

 I was and am a remainer and am not the slightest bit surprised by what a shitshow Brexit has been. But, remainers can also be annoying sometimes.

Tulsi Gabbard gave a very impressive interview on The Joe Rogan Experience. As presidential candidates go, she is certainly one of the more electable democrats. However, I still think Trump is the favourite for re-election at this point.