Big news this week in the China expat-sphere was that the venerable City Weekend magazine had closed its doors. Well, the announcement technically says that the owners are with great optimism having discussions about a vague future online business, but anybody who has been around knows that this is mere media code for “The journalists have already re-applied to the Beijing Happy Giraffe No. 17 Kindergarten”.
In the pre-web 2.0 world, or whatever the fuck it’s called these days, the expat rags used to have listings of various pretentious and/or wanky events around town. Some of these could be quite funny – especially the personals section that regularly featured Sunnygirl87 – a traditional girl – looking for a man with a thirteen inch cock and a minimum monthly salary of 40,000 RMB a month to be her “language exchange partner”. Or some such variance.
Some of these listings will be pretty dated now, but here was a parody I wrote back in 2007 about the types of listings that City Weekend and its rivals used to feature.
Sept 1st: Jungle is Massive Night at Club Babyface*
Find that minimal isn’t enough for your dancefloor fix? Had enough of monotonous trance synth-lines that have sold out to “The Man”? Wanna take a pill drop back to the true progressive era of sub-sonic woofer house music? If you want an indication of where Gen-X dance music is going next, then join us as we invite DJ Nobody’s Ever Fucking Heard Of But His Name Ends In A “Z” all the way from Amsterdam to set off a selection of fire and car alarms as crowds of Chinese businessmen and prostitutes listen indifferently and play dice instead. Chivas and Green Tea sets start at 888 RMB and come with a complementary grape.
* Although the management of Babyface will try its utmost, Babyface can not guarantee the presence of black people at any publicised event.
September 4th: Ladies Who Lunch
The Ladies Who Lunch will this Tuesday be dining at a delightful American themed diner recently opened just off People’s Square. Serving a homemade selection of traditional American fayre in a comfortable, yet trendy, environment; this guarantees to be a welcome alternative to our usual weekly drudge of holistic therapy and alternative yoga*. This week our selected book will be the back cover of a pirated Desperate Housewives DVD, and as we complain endlessly about how difficult it is to find good service in Shanghai these days, we will consider sending the waiter’s tip this week to the Urumqi Orphanage for Christian Children, before crossing the road in order to avoid eye contact with a gang of street beggars.
* Please contact Judy for the address of the People’s Square McDonald’s Branch.
September 8th: The Shanghai Expat’s Club September Gathering
Exactly seven lonely foreign businessmen who have been in China for no longer than two months each join together in the lobby bar of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and try and kid themselves that this is called “networking”.
September 12th: English Corner
“Can you use chopsticks?” “Are you a Christian?” “Can I invite you to a dinner?”
If the above questions don’t make you want to immediately stab yourself in the eye with a rusty coathanger, and if for whatever fucked up reason you’re desperate and lonely enough to even entertain the thought that being the only foreigner surrounded by a group of two hundred Chinese students could ever be anything other than a spiritual experience roughly equivalent to having a 20 foot Native American totem pole covered in faulty cheese graters forcefully penetrate your quivering anal hole, then please come along to the Number 94 Middle School English Corner. COME.
September 15th: Hash House Harriers Fun Run
Nestled in between Chongming Island and Pudong, Hengsha Island (literally: “Clean Island”) is an unspoilt patch of paradise untouched by Shanghai’s encroaching development. Join the Drinking Club with a Running Problem (!!!!!!!!) as we spend two days running, enjoying the scenery, drinking beer out of our shoes, and finally getting into an argument with a farmer for pissing all over his crops whilst a 4 foot tall butterball from Ohio attempts to drag you away by screaming “Just leave it Brian, he ain’t fucking worth it!”
September 18th: Opening Night of a New “Western” Restaurant in a Second Tier Provincial City
Relive the classic days of Laurel & Hardy, the Keystone Cops, and The Three Stooges by paying good money to dine at the opening night of Happy Apollo Italian Westaurant in Yantai City. Chuckle as the waiters try to serve food even though the management forgot to purchase any plates, guffaw as the cashier is forced to prostitute herself in a feeble effort to get her hands on some change, and roar hysterically as the Spaghetti Bolognese turns out to be a cardboard baozi covered in sand. Then weep, weep untold tears of salty misery, as you realise you’ve been waiting three hours and still haven’t seen a menu.
September 21st: 300 and something days to the Olympics
Go about your normal daily existence and do your best to ignore yet another fucking mediocre Government sponsored pop concert in order to celebrate 300 and something more days to the fucking Olympics.
September 23rd: Sunny Hotel Dinner Buffet
Enjoy an uninspired Chinese buffet in a three star Chinese hotel with no economic discounts or benefits whatsoever in a hope that the management still decides to place their advertising with this magazine next year.
September 24th: Cunt Cinema
The Beijing Bookworm will present a series of mostly French independent short films made by Europe’s best respected amateur cunts. This collection’s themes revolve predominantly around freedom of speech issues, women’s rights, and cunts. All cunts welcome. English subtitles for the cunt impaired.
September 30th: Labourer Holiday
Are you aged between 12 and 80? No plans for the National Day holiday? Then why not go on a working Labourer’s Holiday?
– Learn all about carrying a bucket full of dirt!
– Earn at least 17 yuan!
– Free instant noodle and steamed bun meals!*
– Free cigarettes for all mine workers!*
– Free police supervision!*
– Complete privacy as you enjoy your Labourer’s Holiday (Road will be closed to its own residents)!
BOOKING NOW ALL ACROSS THE PRC!
* Not free.
Whilst the magazine tries its best to ensure all event listings are correct and complete at time of publication, the editors cannot guarantee that locations, times, names, national boundaries, and even the laws of physics will not change before due dates.
If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy my book Party Members – a dark comic fantasy that exposes the corrupt underbelly of modern China.