Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy New Year/band news

Tonight is the Lantern Festival, 21 days (I think) after the New Year and the official end of the holidays. It's just unbelievable what is going on outside. Fireworks have been booming for hours and will , I think, continue until midnight . The air is thick with smoke, and nothing is being set off inside the compound.

There is a street that runs alog the back side, in between us and another compound and tons of people go out there to set them off. We all went out on the third floor patio to watch for a few minutes before the kids went to bed -- theyr fallig right asleep while it sounds like a war zone outside is testament o three years living in China, I think.

I've been meaning to ride my bike over and have a look but haven't done it. I am getting lazy.

Now the holiday is over and things will get back to normal. The roads have been empty and things overall quiet. Lot of people have been ayi-less as they returned home for two or three weeks visit. Ding and Hou are both Beijingers so they just take their week off.

It was a nie crisp spring day today. Becky and I were taking about the strange phenomenan of weather here. They call new year holiday "spring festival" despite the fact that it falls as early as January some years. (It is on the Lunar Calendar). But regardless of when the holiday actually is, it really does seem to warm up right afterwards. Go figure.

It will be a busy Year of the Rat for Woodie Alan. We have lots of gigs coming up. I think we have seven between now and the first weekend in April. We're playing tomorrow at Jianghu, the little hutong bar I love and have written about before. And on Marh 7 we are playing at the Orchard, which I have dubbed our first birthday show. Our first gig was there last March.

I've been writing more songs -- it's really easy with these guys because if I get lyrics and half a musical idea, we can make it sound good in an hour of jamming. Zhang Yong the bassist has a great Chinese tune, which he sings. So we have about five really solid originals now, with two more in development. Woodie is really hot to record them. Next Saturday we are playing at Yugong Yishan (the big club we've played before) with three or four other Chinese blues bands. It is an all originals night, so we are working on an entire et of originals. Woodie is taking that very seriusly, so I told him I wrote a couple of Johnny Copeland songs. It seems to me that it is more original to play a Johnny Clyde Copeland song in Beijing than to write something ourselves.

Woodie is kind of on to me He questioned me on those songs and I said, "What you don't know can't hurt you." He likes it when I teach him idiomatic English.