Verboten

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.

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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.

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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.

Shanghai Talk selects its Top 3 China Books for 2016…

shanghai-talk-cover_by-tom-carter
Tom Carter showing off his photography skills again…

I’m pretty cynical when it comes to the boldness of China’s expat magazines, so I almost fell off my chair when I saw that Party Members was featured in Shanghai Talk Magazine’s Top Three China Books for 2016.

I have now pulled myself up off the floor and sat back down again.

Wonderful to be sharing the honour with two other books that I have mentioned and rate highly: Isham Cook’s At The Teahouse Cafe and JFK Miller’s Trickle-Down Censorship (both reviewed here previously). They both make fantastic Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa gifts (choose as appropriate) for loved ones in the CCP.

You can see an image of the magazine reviews here on imgur, though you’ll have to grab a copy of Shanghai Talk’s December issue in order to hold the review in your own blessed hands. It’s available from all good Element Fresh outlets and coffee shops across the city. It also may appear on their website in the future. The reviews are written by none other than Tom Carter – editor of the acclaimed Unsavoury Elements (a book I was nearly included in but I threw a hissy fit at the time and watched all the Rocky films back-to-back instead).

Personally, it is refreshing to see one of China’s expat magazines has the boldness to not only feature books that are less than positive about certain aspects of China, but also has the foresight to highlight innovative works from small independent publishers that are otherwise ignored by most media outlets. I have no idea how Shanghai Talk got it past the censors, but I take my hat off to them for doing so. Except I don’t wear a hat. I lost it when I fell off my chair. I’ll raise a glass then.

The Nanfang also ran a review of Party Members recently, though I am sad to say that the announcement was a bittersweet one. At the same time The Nanfang announced that they were closing after seven years of being in the business. I always had a soft spot for The Nanfang – especially when compared to the abysmal Shanghaiist – and I’ll miss its news, views and reviews (good name for a magazine).

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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.

Party Members Released!

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Party Members is finally released today!

Synopsis:

Deep within the heart of China, far from the glamour of Shanghai and Beijing, lies the Chinese every-city of Huaishi. This worker’s paradise of smog and concrete is home to Party Member Yang Wei, a mediocre man in a mediocre job. His content life of bureaucratic monotony is shattered by an encounter with the advanced consumer goods he has long been deprived of. Aided by the cynical and malicious advice of an unlikely mentor, Yang Wei embarks on a journey of greed, corruption, and murder that takes him to the diseased underbelly of Chinese society.

Will Yang Wei achieve his ambition of promotion to the mysterious eighth floor? Will he win the love of his beautiful but materialistic colleague, Rainy? And will his penis stop telling him to eat at fast-food restaurants? Just how far will Yang Wei go to achieve his pursuit of wealth, glory, and a better car?

Party Members is a bleak and black comedic fantasy about a world where to get rich is glorious, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Designer handbags, sex, karaoke, and shady property deals combine to paint a picture of modern China unlike anything seen before.

The book is available in digital and paperback format on Amazon as well as iTunes, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository (next to Lee Harvey Oswald) and the Camphor Press website.

It has been described as “Lovely stuff”. Not my words – the words of Shakin’ Stevens.

shakin_stevens
“Lovely stuff”

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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.

F-Max…

Sponsored post by the Aquavite company of Huaishi City, China.

If you haven’t heard already, you really need to try the lightly sparkling fish-flavoured drink F-Max that is EU approved! It’s good for healthy and is guaranteed to improve skin complexion and and increase your chances of a male son. F-Max! It’s not just a drink; it’s a lifestyle choice!

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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.

Announcing my book: Party Members

In January this year I restarted blogging after a considerable absence from all things digital. Back in the mid 2000s I was fairly prolific on the China blogging scene with my two blogs Yellow Wings and Sinocidal, but stopped writing by 2008. Some readers may be wondering why I decided to return to blogging after such a long hiatus…

The answer, of course, is because I have something to sell.

I’m very pleased to announce that August will see the release of my first book – Party Members. It is being published by Taiwan-based Camphor Press who are an independent publishing house focused on East Asia as well as being the guys behind the fantastic literature review site Bookish.asia.

Party Members is quite different from the regular books out there that are concerned with China. You can expect all the dark wit and venom that you’ll find within my normal writing. Party Members is a fictional story about a mid-level government official called Yang Wei who lives in the backwards city of Huaishi (first mentioned in my Dumplings short story). Yang Wei is a mediocre government official in a mediocre job. However, one day his content life of bureaucratic monotony is shattered by an encounter with the advanced consumer goods he has long been deprived of.

Aided by the cynical advice of a very unlikely mentor, Yang Wei embarks on a journey of greed, corruption, and murder that ultimately takes him to the diseased underbelly of Chinese society.

This is dark comic fantasy about a world where to get rich is glorious, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Designer handbags, sex, karaoke and shady property deals combine to paint a picture of modern China unlike anything seen before.

I really wanted to write something different to what is currently out there regarding China. Readers can expect a black comedy that draws on American Psycho, Fight Club, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, Kafka and even a bit of Lu Xun for good measure.

I shall release more details about the book in the run-up to the release in August and if anybody has any questions they can contact me via the “Contact” tab at the top of this page.

In the meantime, here’s a preview of the cover which features an original artwork by the dissident Chinese artist Badiucao. Badiucao recently did the artwork for the acclaimed documentary movie Hooligan Sparrow, so you can see I’m in pretty good company. It’s a wonderful piece of design and will give you a flavour on what to expect.

UPDATE! Party Members is now available on Amazon for pre-order at the special limited period price of $2.99! Go go go!

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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.

Big Announcement Coming Soon!

Everybody’s favourite China blogger Meursault has been back online for almost six months now. During that time we’ve reacquainted ourselves with old housemate Nile, met China’s new cartoon character Mr Yang Wei, slagged off almost every so-called expert on China (as well as Mark Zuckerberg) and reposted some old favourites from ten years ago.

The burning question is why?

Why did I decide to make a return to writing about China after all these years and what was I doing during my eight years of digital silence?

Well, the answer will be revealed in a blog post this Thursday which features an exciting announcement for anybody who is a fan of my writing (that’s you, Mum). Contain your anticipation – it’s only a three-day wait. Apparently there is some kind of referendum happening in Britain on Thursday, but that pales into insignificance compared to what is happening on arthurmeursault.com.

In the meantime, here’s a very sneaky peek on what to expect…

Sneak Peek
What could it be?

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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.

Resurrection

Hello.

My name is Arthur Meursault.

Obviously that is not my real name, but due to some of the things I’m planning on writing, it would be foolish to reveal my true identity. Just kidding: I’m not an anti-Semite, though I do think Leni Riefenstahl was a wonderful film director.

Ten years ago in 2006, I started blogging about my life in China as a form of self-therapy. I had been sent (funny how the word “sent” can easily be elongated into “sentenced”) to live in Qingdao where I knew nobody and endured an extremely shitty job. China wasn’t new to me: I had been living there for several years in other cities and had even studied Mandarin for four years, but Qingdao was a bit of a low point for me. To counter the misery I was going through during those cold Shandong winters, I began reading forums like Talktalkchina. Talktalkchina was a big thing within the miserable China expat circle of 2006; for the first time somebody was writing funny posts about our daily frustrations and allowing us to share a platform to vent our own inanities. Commenting on Talktalkchina led to writing my own blog – the sarcastically titled “Yellow Wings”* – which I was proud to say was probably the first China expat blog to provide absolutely ZERO insight or seriousness on its chosen topic. Instead, I used the at-the-time wonderful new medium of the blog to write half-arsed little comedy sketches about China and several beer-fueled rants. Yellow Wings led on to a collaboration project with four other commentators from Talktalkchina after that website finally went the way of a donkey prostitute and bit the dust. From the ashes of Talktalkchina, Sinocidal was born. Most of it was complete crap , but my posts (written under the name ChouChou) were not bad.

None of that matters now and nobody has the slightest interest anymore. So, introductions over, let’s crack on.

Ten years on and we live in a wonderful new and shiny world. All those horrible remnants of the past like job security, fiscal responsibility and communicating face-to-face with our peers has thankfully been consigned to the dustbin of history. Now we live in a glorious techno-utopia where I can press a button on my iPhone and get a pizza delivered to my house within HOURS, and HR managers can look up my internet history and use that as a reason to say that they wish me luck in my current job search. Truly we are living in a Golden Age.

China has moved on massively since 2006: on an upwards trajectory till around 2008, puffed up with lies, smoke and mirrors for another eight years, and as of today in early 2016 looks like it may be re-joining Argentina and Chad in the shitty countries club. I thought it was a good time to re-publish some of my old posts from the old days so that young whippersnappers moving to China today can browse through this online museum of bitterness and realise they weren’t the first white person in China to get shocked at a peasant family taking it in turns to defecate in a KFC bucket.

I will be publishing my old posts (with additional commentary and hindsight) as well as some new ones when the mood takes me. Let’s see how long I can keep this up before an angry member of the 50-cent army leaves a comment on here telling me “IF U DONT LIKE THE CHINA U CAN GO HOME!!! :-/”

*Yellow Wings: an old and now out-dated slang term during my university days meaning the fictional award a young man could expect to receive for accomplishing the act of coitus with a female of Asian descent. Just which governing body was expected to issue this award was never established. University students probably wouldn’t use such terms nowadays unless it came with a trigger warning.

A lovely sandwich

Hello there!

This is the first ever entry in my very own blog, a work of literature which will one day be known as the Best Piece Of Writing Since The Torah.

However, I know that computers are the work of the Devil, so there is no way I’m going to write a witty and lengthy first entry with the danger of it disappearing up its own arse.

So, instead I’ll tell you that I’m just about to make myself a lovely sandwich: I will use white bread, and its filling will be ham and cheese. Perhaps I’ll even add some cheese spread, perhaps I won’t. That’s just the kind of living-on-the-edge guy that I am.

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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.