The Zoé

French Asian
Ooh la la…
Have you ever met a Zoé?

Quite simply, a Zoé is a Francophilic Asian girl.

I’ve met about four prime examples of a Zoé during my life. There are normally a few telltale signs.

First, 99% of all Zoés (the China variety, though there are many also in Korea and Japan) live in Shanghai as it’s the only place that can sustain a Zoé with her need for superficial French things. They will flock around the French Concession and spend copious amounts of time taking selfies of themselves with glasses of red wine and French tarts (just photos, they can’t actually stand the taste). If an art exhibition featuring a French artist is in town they will wander around the exhibition making statements with the occasional pretentious French word dropped into their Chinese. “我觉得今天的展览 tres magnifique!”

Paris Baguette
Paris Baguette – actually from Korea. A Mecca for Zoé.
The Zoé will begin to fill her life with things that represent an ideal of France. Her favourite music becomes the soundtrack of the film Amelie or perhaps French-Japanese jazz singer Lisa Ono. Of course she will never watch anything which paints a less than idyllic view of France, like La Haine for instance. Gradually the French-loving manifests in dress and voice. Zoé will begin to drop the h’s from her words so that others are greeted with a bizarre “Ni ‘ao” every time she says hello. She will start wearing ridiculous hats like little pastel green berets or bizarre monstrosities with feathers stuck in.

Ni ‘ao
The Zoé will continue her rosy embrace of all things French until one of two end conclusions naturally happen:

  1. Zoé lands herself a French boyfriend. Typically these can be bagged at classes at the Alliance Francais or hanging around fancy Shanghai restaurants. Zoé will be ecstatic at having her own Frenchman, but will be inevitably heartbroken when the Frenchman’s unfaithful ways result in him announcing one day that he has another girl pregnant. Zoé will then realise she’s 28, start speaking normally again and marry a guy from Ji’nan who may or may not have finished college.

Or 2.

Zoé will actually GO to Paris and receive the most existential shock she has ever received in her life. Far from being the Paris she imagined of whimsical pixie-haired girls riding bicycles and mime artists playing accordions, she will discover that Paris is in fact a huge and quite dirty city full of dog shit, smelly trains, and – quelle horreur! – lots and lots of black and Arab people. Paris Syndrome is real, mes amis. Zoé will attempt to keep her illusions intact by confining herself to Montmartre and taking selfies in cafes but will finally admit the truth when mugged outside the Moulin Rouge. Then it’s just a taxi back to Charles de Gaulle airport and a final farewell to la vie belle.

Guess what she does with that baguette? 
Fun fact: you can have great fun with Zoé by catching her out on her pretentiousness. When Zoé states that she loves French jazz, just simply ask her “Name me a French jazz singer who isn’t Edith Piaf.” The loss of face is delightful.

The Zoé has no German-loving equivalent.

Bojack Zoe
This is also a Zoé


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.


Quick quiz: what do the following six things have in common?

Clockwise from top-left they are: Brad Pitt, Cuntbook, the memory of June 4th, Winnie the Pooh, Party Members and The Big Bang Theory.

If you had guessed that they were all mediocre symbols of a decadent civilisation in irreversible moral decline, you would have been right (except the June 4th which admittedly can be a mixed bag. I had a very pleasant day-trip to Dorset once on June 4th 2009).

However, the real answer I’m looking for is that they are all banned in China.

Yep, Party Members seems to have joined that long and ever-growing illustrious list just like probably anybody with tits and a fanny in Hollywood joins the list of Harvey Weinstein’s victims.

According to my publisher Camphor Press, copies of Party Members don’t seem to be getting past customs in China anymore, so are advising any China-based readers to buy the digital version instead. This comes with the added bonus of not only being cheaper, but you’ll also be able to put your foot through your Kindle and send me the bill if you get angry while reading it.

Apologies to all of you who were planning on reading it with Brad Pitt on June 4th while dressed as Winnie the Pooh and then posting it on Facebook in your favourite “Books and Big Big Bang Theory” chat group. You’ll have to find a whore on WeChat instead. Apparently that’s still legal.


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.

Works in Progress

There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes at Meursault HQ recently – and I don’t mean getting raped by Harvey Weinstein. Tired of short little shitposts about panda jokes or Stephen King, I’ve been attempting to create something of more substance again, something I haven’t done since Party Members was shat out into this world last year.

Possessing the attention span of an ADHD-diagnosed gnat I find it difficult to concentrate on just one thing at a time, so I’m foolishly trying to spin three plates right now which will no doubt result in three small stool samples rather than one big steaming pile of crap.

Here’s what I am working on right now when not putting food on the table or trying to understand the idiosyncrasies of the French language (yes, another futile project I have undertaken is to try and get my French back up to acceptable standards which is pretty pointless really when we are dealing with a language that feels the need to imbue chairs with a gender).

The Flock of Ba-Hui

For reasons that will become clear in the next part, I was searching the internet one day for something to satisfy my hunger for anything Lovecraftian. I’d been wondering for some time if anybody out there had combined my two interests of Lovecraftian cosmic horror and China – and I’m not talking about the Cruel Empire of the Tsan-Chan. To my delight I stumbled across the blog of one “Akira” – a mysterious entity who I was already connected to on Twitter. Akira has a lot of similar interests to myself – accelerationism, Sinofuturism, Ted Kaczynski – and basically all the other dark things I rarely mention on this piss-taking blog. Akira had discovered a wonderful Chinese language story set in the Cthulhu Mythos on a Chinese creative writing site called The Ring of Wonder and had begun the task of translating this beast into English. The density of the language makes it a particular fucker to translate so I volunteered my services; thus condemning myself to many long nights spent hunched over teeny tiny Chinese characters. My eyesight is now screwed but it was worth it.

The translation is almost complete and interested readers can see the published work so far over at Akira’s site. I’ll be posting updates here on its progress. The picture at the top of the page should give some clues as to what exactly is The Flock of Ba-Hui, but anybody who appreciates grand Lovecraftian horror will love it. Don’t read it with the lights off.

The kind-of-but-not-really sequel to Party Members

I won’t reveal too much at this stage as I have no idea how long this will take me to complete, but I have begun work on a kind-of sequel to Party Members. Except it isn’t really. Yet it kinda is. It’s hard to describe. It probably won’t result in a full-length novel, and it’s also a straight-up horror rather than the dark comedy that was Party Members.

Working title is either The Shadow over Kezhankou or The Milk Factory depending on how I feel on any given day. The former title should provide clues to any Lovecraft fans out there as to what the story is about, though don’t expect any fish people. These Deep Ones are a different breed entirely.

The Adventures of Tim Budong

And finally, in the tradition of the light-hearted “and finally” moments that used to end news broadcasts in the UK, something a bit fluffier. I’ve been messing around with the Twine engine and have outlined a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style game about a naive young English teacher who just arrives in China. I’ll probably never finish this, but if I did you can expect lots of this type of thing:

It’s Friday morning and the Foreign Liaison Officer at Happy Giraffe School suddenly announces that you will need to work over the weekend because the bastard son of a fuerdai scumbag needs to cram for his exams. 

Do you:

  • Happily agree as you believe in helping the future generations of China in their quest to stand up and integrate with the world?
  • Knock back the emergency bottle of erguotou that you keep in your drawer for such occasions and make a mental note to go for a happy-ending massage once this is all over?
  • Burn down the school and everyone in it?

Wow, thinking about it, maybe I should make The Adventures of Tim Budong my priority after all.


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.

Crap Joke


One day, and to great excitement around the globe, Beijing Zoo’s world famous panda bear Chi-Chi gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. The panda’s son quickly became the star attraction of the zoo, but due to exposure to foreign journalism, soon picked up evil western habits and converted to Catholicism. Every Sunday, the panda’s son would attend morning Mass, and he would always say grace before every bamboo meal.

The Catholic baby panda settled into life in Beijing Zoo, but there was one thing that still confused the head zookeeper. Everyday, groups of school-children would gather around the panda’s enclosure and sit for hours in complete silence. Unable to fathom why the children appeared to be listening so intently to the panda, the zookeeper finally asked one of the children.

“Excuse me little boy,” asked the zookeeper, “Why do you and your friends come and sit by the panda everyday in complete silence?”

“We’re waiting for him to tell us a story,” replied the child.

The zookeeper was puzzled. “A story? Why do you think he’s going to tell you a story?”

“Well,” said the child, “Everybody knows that he is the Han’s Christian Panda-Son of Beijing Zoo.”


If that was too long for you, how about:

Did you hear about the zoo in Henan Province that only had one dog?

It’s a shih-tzu.


What is Bono’s Chinese Zodiac Sign?



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.