Speech Judging in Shangri-La La Land

Earlier this month I was asked to judge an event called the USAD (United States Academic Decathlon) at the very salubrious Shangra-La Hotel in Pazhou. The idea was to judge students from many schools all over China. To break the ice, some of us held a dinner together a few weeks prior in another part […]

Education: What Good is Academia?

As I wade through the endless words of academia online a thought occurred. What is the point of all of this intellectualism? For every article, academic journal and thought provoking collaboration, for every international exchange, in order to bridge cultures and ‘understand’ ourselves better (thus completing the chain of command in changing the world) hardly […]

Arts Education: Will Careers Like Eno’s Ever Become the Norm?

In the sixties there was a band who made pleasant jingle-jangle guitar pop. Toward the end of the decade they decided to experiment and came up with The White Album and thus the rule book of popular music was re-written. The myth that has grown up around The Beatles since is as staggering as it […]

Who Killed the New Gold Dream?

  In our teenage years we are further shaped by the culture around us: books, movies and especially in my case: music. My generation had music of atmosphere, mystery and intrigue. Arcadia, David Sylvian, New Order, This Mortal Coil and the 4AD label. It was looking to the future… The Human League dared us, OMD […]

Playing Boule with the Chinese

Even within the grounds of the campus I live and work the Chinese night is a hive of frenetic activity with people jogging, kids riding bikes, canoodling students, you can even get a haircut at 10pm should you need. Over the last few months I’ve witnessed all manner of sports taking place: basketball, tennis, volleyball and […]

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Incredibly here in China, it became autumn on August 8th, though you’d never have noticed through the monsoon humidity, cracks of thunder, soggy t-shirts and feet (I need new shoes). I’ve planned, at least in part, the blog and my teaching schedules for the upcoming year and investigated my next travel destinations. The summer has, as […]

Leaving Xiangnan: Hunan’s Premier Comedy Club

In my piece about Chenzhou, I mention arriving by night. Well that night was nearly a year ago and my journey was to start work at  Xiangnan University (XNU). I hoped this would restore my finances after a nightmare year in Taiwan and secondly be a fresh start. To some extent it has provided on […]