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Let me tell you about this random Chinese band from this random bar in Beijing and why you should listen to it (and share it everywhere)

So. I have all my music (over 160 hours) on a playlist on random, which means that every now and then songs I do not even remember I had get played. Which happened the other day with 相忘于江湖 by 耳光乐队. It is a very low quality live version I downloaded from youtube long time ago. To explain how I got to know this band we have to go back to to my year in Beijing in 2007, when I was much younger and somehow simultaneously much cooler (accidentally) and much more embarrassing than I am now.

It all starts with my friend Jimmy, the only competent teacher in the TEFL course. He happened to stay in the same hostel as me during the course, and we pretty much immediately became friends. Thanks to him, we did not go out to any of the tourist bars in 后海 or 三里屯, but ended up in a small bar with live music from the very active alternative/folk/jazz scene in Beijing. It is still my favourite bar I have ever been to, mainly because somehow the local musicians hanging out in the bar (and the owner) adopted us. When there was no live music we would sit around and play guitar (Jimmy was trying to teach me a Chinese song, I still haven't mastered). One time I ended up in a private party in the staff break room? owners kitchen? some random room next to the bar drinking beer and eating sunflower seeds with the staff/musicians/friends of the owner. The owner was a member of 耳光乐队 at that time (not anymore, it seems, but he plays the saxophone on their first album) and I vaguely remember seeing them rehearsing there. I know that all sounds like a very cool thing and I sound like a very cool person, but I have my diary from that time and read some of it today to find some names and I can tell you, I had a case of Fremdschämen (that will be my next German word to write about) towards my younger self.

This all came back to me, when the song randomly appeared on my playlist. 15 years later and post COVID I wondered what had happened to that bar and that band. For all I knew the band had been a small local band with only a few clips from live shows available on the internet. Folk/Jazz fusion is after all not the most mainstream music here or in China. So I did some high level internet stalking and found out several things:
  • The bar still exists and seems to be doing well. Now I feel very sad I did not try to find it last time I was in Beijing and have one more reason to return to China one day.
  • The band is a hundred times cooler than I could have imagined. They are part of the Chinese counter culture music scene. The lyrics are absurdist social commentary and on top with the very experimental folk/fusion they are doing, which blends aspects of classical Chinese folk music with every other music style, this band is way more interesting to listen to, than I could know from the two songs I had found on youtube
  • Their latest song (a filmed live version) went viral on Chinese social media and then was promptly censored two months ago. Here is a video and explanation of the song.

I searched for any way to get their music in an ok quality, but in the end I only found them on Apple music and Spotify, which I do not use. I finally gave up and signed up on Spotify, found a way to download the songs, but kept on playing them on repeat on Spotify as I really would love to be able to actually have them get paid, especially as I remember the free beers in that bar. I also feel that they are probably not in a good position, considering their social credit score must be extremely low at the moment. So here is my appeal: Go to Spotify or Apple music and add them to your playlist. Recommend them to your friends. If anything, they are the perfect show off, hipster band to know.

A very German word - Genehmigungsverfahrensbeschleunigungsgesetz

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I meant to write about another cool German word, and then I found this in an article. Genehmigungsverfahrensbeschleunigungsgesetz is the perfect German word. It is, of course, a compound word, consisting of:

Genehmigungsverfahren - permission approval process (a compound word as well)
Beschleunigung - acceleration
Gesetz - law

We Germans needed to make a law to cut down on the many hurdles of our bureaucracy to get permissions for infrastructure projects, just to be able to actually build streets, bridges and public transport. First we make laws to create bureaucracy and then we have to make laws to deal with it. Franz Kafka must be proud of us.

A mood

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To disinfect and to be drunk are the same word in Icelandic, apparently.

A very inside joke

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Today is Good Friday, and in Germany and Iceland it means that by law one is not allowed to dance, gamble or make jokes. I'm nothing but not a rebel, so here is my very inside joke for today:

The office of Efling union is restructuring. To safe costs all employees are fired and replaced by Andri Sigurðsson and his never to be finished web site.


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It is the time of the year again, for tasteless music, ridiculous stage shows and an abundance of glitter. I was travelling with a friend, but of course we had to catch the show int he hotel (we missed the first few songs though, because having a nice dinner was more important). Here is my review:

They were the first we saw. We were searching for the right channel and as soon as we came to Portugal's performance, we knew we had found Eurovision.

The song is boring and the set design with the two big trumpets is just weird.

I always appreciate it when a country knows that Eurovision is all about a cool stage show. I find the triangular cutout on the catsuit of the singer strange, it does not add to the sexiness.

The guy has an amazing voice. Why does he wear a costume that matches the background though? And what are the random shapes doing on stage? I'm confused by the decisions in this stage show.

Please don't win, I like my tax money to be used for other things than Eurovision. It is all very 101 Icelandic pop song, the song (think FM Belfast), the cutesy half ironic performance. To me it is grating, maybe I'm too old, but I never liked cutesy things.

I always like when they sing in their native language. A lot of countries did that this year. Why is the guy wearing black in front of a black background? I really find the stage shows disappointing this year.

Discount Lady Gaga forgot her pants, her background dancers forgot their shirts. Clothing equality!

Maybe he does not feel hate, but I do. Also embarrassment for being German. It has a big "hey, fellow kids" energy. I have a lot of questions about how this was chosen to be the German entry and what the other option were.

AKA Limping Park
AKA Topshop metal
AKA Not Lordie

here we have all the female singers who have been popular in the last 10 years rolled into one: Emiliana Torrini, Adele, Billy Eilish...

I appreciate that they use yellow costumes in front of a purple background. Basic stage design: do not have the performers melt in the background. Fun choreography.

I'm afraid if I do not support Ukraine the singer is going to come out of my TV and kill me. I like the electro-folk music combo. What is going on with the stage shows this year? They all feel like a first draft of half baked ideas and make no sense.

Ultimate Frenchness has been acieved.

Eurovision 101 song and show. With all the bad stage shows I'm glad to see a typical one.

I love him! He has angel wings a (fake) fur coat and a glittery suit. The ridiculous stage show with the devils dancing around him is peak Eurovision and he even has the key change! 12 points from me.

I feel so sorry for him, wasting his sincere message on Eurovision. There should be a name for the type of embarrassment you feel when someone is showing emotional sincerity in a completely ridiculous forum.

This is what Finland would love to be. It actually seems to be a legit rock band.

Same as Netherlands. His voice is super smooth.

San Marino
A classic Eurovision song, just like Azerbaijan. I appreciate the costume change, a Eurovision classic.

We are now deep in typical Eurovision fare.

A woman screaming her heart out in front of a wind machine. Eurovision bingo.

The song is called "set me free"... awkward...

I missed it. My Dutch friend tells me the singer is well known and the song is good.

Are they performing a mystic ritual on stage?

Random thoughts:

- They are going to use the old computer game graphic gimmick in all advertisements in Iceland now...
- There is a children's Eurovision????
- The "not traditional European looking" participants, from usually strong Sweden and Netherlands are doing very badly, especially with the popular vote. Wonder why that is.

Final thought: I'm postponing an REM post for this. I would be ok if this is always going to be just every two years.

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