In Memoriam: SmartBeijing

A week ago we woke to the unexpected announcement that had closed. Few saw this coming. Just as surprising was just how little coverage the closure got. Beijinger blogged it, throwing a few crumbs their way. Sister site SmartShanghai mentioned it on their Wire in between “Shanghai Dolls Networking Night This Thursday” and “Mauro Colagreco, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Theo Croker At Unico”. Someone posted the news on the Beijing sub-reddit and it drew zero  comments and only 5 upvotes, 1 less than “Vietnamese Food Recommendation In Haidian”. No one seems to realize that for the first time in like what 7, 8 years Morgan Short is off the air. This, my friends, is wrong and now I am going to rectify it.

I’m not the most obvious person to sing Morgan’s praises. I only met him a few times and then only after he’d made the move to Beijing, but I’d been keeping up with his stuff since 2009. Since I was running City Weekend we were to some extent friendly / wary rivals, at least in a business sense and at least in my corner. During the years I was at City Weekend I had numerous conversations with people around town–potential advertisers but normal people too–in which I tried to convince them his writing was somewhere between “crude”, “sophomoric” and “easy”. In the year that I’ve been away from the local media scene I realize more clearly that his writing was actually somewhere in between “really fucking hilarious” and “probably the best in China”.

Here are four recent pieces which bear that out.

Eating Nanluoguxiang
The Den Big Burger
All You Can Eat Boston Lobsters
The Great Leap Brewing Karl Long Challenge

Side note: it’s actually critical to collect up the links to these gems. Even though Smart says they will keep the domain active “forever”, there is no more navigation so it’s not easy to find the gems anymore, unless you want to get real friendly with the Wayback Machine. No one is going to take the time to collect all his greatest pieces into a nice book and put it for sale behind the counter at April Gourmet, not even True Run. And even if someone wanted to it would be impossible, because his stuff was so bloggy. Some might say his stuff was all about the photos, but that would not be entirely true. That only came later. That came after Da Admiral.

Da Admiral, you might remember, was a character he invented which he used to sign off the leads to the SmartShanghai newsletter which, at that time, went out every Friday and was actually only about Shanghai_nightlife but in practice had nothing to do with Shanghai_nightlife. I wasn’t a fan of Da Admiral to be honest. Partially because I lived in Beijing and just didn’t get it. Partially because there were strange and unholy fixations in them. But then I remember reading this one where he gets lost in a Carrefour and wonders about the shops that exist in between the levels of Carrefour and whether those shops really were part of Carrefour or whether they existed in some other dimension and I suddenly did get it. Afterwards I was a closet fan. When I did finally meet him, I mentioned this piece to him and he looked at me like I was crazy. Fair enough.

Anyway, the leads to those Shanghai_nightlife newsletters are priceless artifacts. And I think only one of them had a photo. As I said, the photos came later.

But then there were those unholy obsessions: jean shorts, bongs, Lord of the Rings, fat doobies, McDonald’s, getting high, metal, being baked, small plastic swimming pools, ayis, smoking dope, possibly in that order. Man those were real.

Since I ran City Weekend and had to think about the finances of the whole thing–the holy trinity of brand, advertisers and readers–I always wondered how he got away with as much as he got away with without a) driving away the advertisers and b) driving away the readers. Somehow it all seemed to work. I figured they had scaled their business correctly. Then three years ago they went up to Beijing (for the third time according to the former Clubzone boss), but this time they seemed to be serious about stealing Beijing’s burgeoning English language digital ad dollars which was especially troubling because the print ad market was basically collapsing and had been for years. We fretted and waited. And then I left the biz and didn’t care anymore. Then they up and folded.

I honestly don’t see how they failed to make at least enough money to break even.

I took City Weekend to Guangzhou and was profitable after 9 months and this was after letting the /guangzhou subdomain sit around unattended collecting escort ads and Indian restaurant self-review spam for like 7 years. I took CW to Suzhou and starting making money in like 3 months. In fact, we were quite profitable on the satellite cities and I am guessing SmartBeijing had as much if not more traffic than either /suzhou and /guangzhou did. They certainly had way better time on site with people clocking in to read those epic tales of Herculean gluttony. I’ll bet the ToS for those pieces was like 25 minutes. That’s engagement, my friends! Them metrics is gold! No idea what happened. Maybe Morgan smoked the revenue. Wouldn’t put it past him.

If he didn’t, then it is sad indeed to realize that genuine literary effort–putting up the hahajing (哈哈镜) to the face of this expat life–isn’t enough of an axis around which to build a sustainable community business. No cheap advertorials came from that pen, not even very much useful advice. Morgan had a fan base, that’s for sure, but it literally might have been only 10 people, 3 of whom didn’t live in China. Maybe that’s why there’s no one talking about how much it sucks to be deprived of that voice, that willingness to eat the sorrows that beset us in one epic sitting.

Hopefully it will only be for awhile though.

Do that shit, buddy! Go indie!

Over the last 7, 8 years Morgan Short wrote some of the funniest damn shit in China. Beyond funny, it actually probably also had some sort of deep literary and anthropological significance that should be the subject of someone’s Master’s thesis but never will be. Sigh.

Until he turns up again, here are a few classic Shanghai_nightlife leads to pass the time. Read them, there are poems in there. Real poems.

Hey Shanghai,

Oh man, we need this weekend, huh? Oh man. We need it like that white guy needs that Big Mac meal.

You know who I’m talking about. That one lone, white man in every single fast food restaurant in town. He’s always there. Fattish, 30ish, a bit blotchy, rumpled suit, sitting there silently bashing away at a Big Mac or a Whopper or something. The world falls away from the single white man in a fast food restaurant; it’s a private, religious thing. University students are on dates, splitting an order of fries, office workers are sleeping all around him, but he doesn’t see them. The world slips away from the white man who finally finds some food he can eat in China. Look at him there — he’s got to go back to work in an hour — but for now he’s gently sobbing and chewing, making plaintive Chewbacca noises as he shoves a trio of freedom fries in his mouth. Gnnnaawww…. …. Gnnerrrrrrffff gggg…

Finally, finally … it’s a homecoming. It’s a homecoming. This is something he knows.

Like his mother’s teeeeeet.

We need a “white dude in a fast food restaurant” type of weekend, Shanghai. We need this. No hassles. No surprises. We need a weekend without any fucking bones in it. Hold the bones, for God’s sake, this weekend, hold the bones.

No new experiences, no encounters with culture — fuck culture — nothing tweetable, nothing blgwrthy, nothing new. This weekend I implore you to avoid new experiences. Avoid creating new memories. Shun people you don’t know. Don’t talk to anyone. There are plenty of new places about town for you to “try out”, but I don’t “recommend” any of them.

What do you do every weekend? Think about what you usually do — that same old shit — and just do that same shit this weekend. Do it! Whatever it is you do. Whatever. Embrace it. You deserve it. This weekend, don’t do anything you don’t normally do, but super-size it with an extra five or six drinks.

Scroll down to see some events. You know where you’re going anyways but sometimes your usual place is charging a cover for some horrible and unfounded reason. Why do they do that? Is this some special promotion? Just give us the regular. If you go anywhere tonight and they’re charging a cover, fight with them. To the death. Fight them. Don’t pay.

Let’s do this, Shanghai! This weekend we rock the town like it’s a giant McDonald’s. Point at everything, pay next to nothing, ignore everyone. Get fat, get mean!

Chilling out, maxing
and relaxing all cool,

Hey Shanghai,

Been a while since we done one of these… I want to say I’ve been doing some important things with my time off but really I’ve been schmokin’ mad dank and conceptualizing starting a dumplings blog. Possibly called “Dumplings” or “Shanghai Dumplings.”

Okay, so dudes, help me out here. There’s some rich people here in Shanghai — lots of rich people — and I’ve met a few of them at “functions” and so on and so forth, and when you meet these rich people and ask them what they do for a living, they have jobs like this: “I’m a VP Day Trader Sourcing Officer for a Textiles Manufacturing Firm.” So my question to you is this:

What the fuck is that?

And more importantly, how does one go about getting these jobs? My friends, there are dudes out there in billowy white shirts making like 60,000rmb a month in these gibberish jobs. We need to get in on this.

“Hi, my name is Julian Brentley. I’m a Direct Sourcing Correspondent for a Sustainable Minerals Agency. I make 100,000rmb a month. I’m wearing a billowy white shirt and I’ve already had like 8 blowjobs in the bathroom of this club. Tonight.

Have you been to The Waterhouse yet?”

My main issue is this: I don’t remember much from university besides The Matrix trilogy but — and correct me if I’m wrong — options for study are like Biology, Chemistry, Sociology, Sports Therapy, and like, Women’s Studies. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s basically it. There’s more, but like… Psychology, umm Classics Study — that’s pretty much what’s on offer. How does one get to be a “Green Market Analyst Specializing in Emerging Digital Sourcing”, making 120,000rmb a month, with blowjobs raining down on you like champagne from the gods from that? Where do you get these billowy white shirts? I want in. I want in, dammit.

How do you get these jobs? Was “Biology” the one we were supposed to take? “Criminology?” “Spanish”? Which one was it, man. Which one. It’s not too late for me. I can go back to school. I can go back, man, I can go back…. I just need some guidance…. a new career path…. a second chance.

Bah. “Bar and Club Gossip.” Some Spanish dudes are opening some club. Can’t remember who, what’s it called, where it is, and when it’s opening. Yep. You’re welcome. Um. “Drop” is some swanky-ass club in Hong Kong. They’re opening a Shanghai location called “Drop.” It’s actually a lower case “d” on “Drop”, but I figure I’ll just go ahead and correct their grammar for them to get them going on the right foot: Drop Shanghai it is. And what else… Taipei, owner of LOgO is opening some new club. I talked to him about it but either he was baked the EFF out or I was or we both were, but after a 40-minute conversation all I came away with was there was going to be music played. Ah yes.

Anyways, you have yourself a good one, Shanghai! May all your jobs be totally incomprehensible, your compensation for said jobs wildly lucrative, your white shirts buttoned down and quivering suggestively in the wind, and — bless you, my friends — may life’s blowjobs come to you in a benevolent and plentiful manner.

Cash rules everything around me,

Hey Shanghai,

Dog days of summer, my friends. Dog days of summer. Hot as hell out there, the whole city smells like a fisherman’s balls, and I just want work to be over so I can go home, lie in my kiddy pool, and blast up a spliff the size of a Toblorone bar.

You feel me? Zurich, yo.

One of the interesting things about working at YOUR is getting to read the interesting things that you people type in to the “Search” field on the homepage.

Yeah, those “searches” don’t just go off into some void. We can see what people search for. It’s one of the ways we keep our finger on the pulse, man. Like, if there are 9,000,000 searches for Phebe 3D Club, we’ll shit we’ll have to go check this place out, right?

Here. Feel the pulse:


Search query: 2:46am

Mcedonalkd’s dellevery


See what I mean? Great stuff here. It’s like looking into a stranger’s soul. These next ones are failed search results. You can really feel the hope that these people have that somehow SmartShanghai will have the information they need.


Search query: 3:55am

Massages places

Search query: 3:55am

Prostitutes places

Search query: 3:56am


Search query: 3:56am


Search query: 3:57am

Ladies Nights


This was my all time favourite:

Search query: 11:06am


Search query: 11:06am


Search query: 11:07am


[Ed's note: this person took a minute to go google how to spell "chlamydia".]

Search query: 11:07am


Search query: 11:07am

Venirial Disease

Search query: 11:07am


Search query: 11:08am

Fuck you smartshanghai fuck you

Search query: 11:06am



Thank you goodnight! Okay everybody you have a good weekend!

Now what you hear is not a test, I’m rappin’ to the beat,

Oh hyui ghuy,

One of the things I’ve noticed about Shanghai over the millennia is how many business meetings people have with one another about business things, and the massive disparity between what is said at these business meetings and what people are actually thinking at these business meetings.

What is said:

“Absolutely. I’m looking forward to our two companies synergizing resources and capturing new markets in the coming quarter.”

What is really thought:

“I want to murder your face.”

Of course — modern life, modern life — we all have to keep up appearances and whatnot, but I’ve found that the social scenario that is the “business meeting” really inspires the most abhorrent sexual depravity and violent fantasy in people.

And this:

“I’m looking at brand activation some time in late 2011, whereby our viral marketing campaign will facilitate phase two of our launch, which is print and television media.”

Is really a mask for this:

“I want to shove this iPhone up my ass, jump on top of this table, and furiously masturbate all over everyone here. Then ice cream. Then suicide. By fire.”

Next time you’re in some business meeting, look around the room. Or look around the Boona depending on how you wank. Look around into the eyes of all the people there. Therein you shall find the worst, most depraved fantasies and desires ever conceived of by humans.

People are talking markets, expenditures, forecasting, public relations, corporate strategy, brand sponsorship, and projected revenues. But they’re thinking impalement, orgies, immolation, bestiality, stabbings, incest, shotguns, fisting, plagues, orgasms, and how hard would it be to drive a spike through someone’s head with a sledgehammer?

That’s all I got for this week. Just think about it the next time you’re in a business meeting with someone. Of course you’ll be thinking:

“Goddamn, I would give anything to bury my face in this person’s genitals for hours and hours.”

And they’re going to be thinking:

“I wonder what it would look like if I pushed this guy into some helicopter blades. What sound would that make, I wonder?”

Okay! La! Have a good weekend! La!

P.S. To all those who wrote in and complained about last week’s “obscene anti-nature” themed newsletter, I chopped a tree down for each and every one of you.

Suck it.

Email me again and I’ll hit a panda in the face with a shovel.

Wreksss ‘n’ effeectttss,

Hey Shanghai,

Yeah, it’s been a while since we last sparked up a newsletter…. what can I say? I’ve been making some changes, doing some spiritual overhauling, and, my friends let me tell you, at the ripe old age of 34, I think I finally figured out what I was to do with my life…

I want to be a “mixologist”.

Yes, it’s mixology for me, I’ve been inspired, and it’s what I want to give back to the world. And so for the past little while I’ve been making all the preparations (google) and undertaking the training and whatnot (google) to make it all come together. Not too sure about the history of the school of knowledge, “mixology”, or it’s place amogst the other grand human endeavors — physics, anthropology, philosophy — and when I told my dad I was studying to be a mixologist (google), he looked at me as if I had expressed an interest in becoming Optimus Prime, but yeah “mixologist” is what I want to be.

No, not a bar tender. A MIXOLOGIST. It’s a real thing that you have to train to become (google), and I assure you, it’s definitely not some utter, utter bullshit that someone made up as a fake thing like five minutes ago. Definitely not.

This is what I do my friends, and yes I am available to work in your club: I rely on my intensive training (google) in the craftsmanship and artistry of creating alcoholic beverages — beverages that only I know how to make, like a gin & tonic or a vodka & tonic — and I amass all these special concoctions on a list — a “cocktail list”, if you’ll let me throw some industry jargon at you — and then I tailor it to the branding, image, and corporate identity of my client club. So like I’ll rename the gin and tonic to make it like a pun on your club’s name or something. Depends. Or if you don’t want a series of puns we can say something like “the signature cocktails” — like just whatever. Some shit.

The main thing is the artistry in getting together (google, google, google) a really specific list of drinks (goooooogle) that is definitely not the same shit that everyone else has… that’s the MIXOLOGY, my friends. That’s my calling…

But yeah, Shanghai, what else is new. Expo is over. With that, it feels like we’ve all collectively had gritty, tipsy sex with some anonymous stranger and now we are on a walk of shame home, still wearing last nights clothes. We’re looking good, albeit slightly rumpled, new roads, infrastructure and shit, but we had this really weird, off-the-wall orgy with some folks from foreign lands. Now we’re all just staggering out into the daylight, blinking at the light, looking for perspective that will never come. Was the expo good? Was it bad? Should you have let that random drunk Ukranian insert that into you last night? Did you open new doors of perception and reach a higher plain of sensation or was that sex sesh just really EFFED up?

Who can say, who can say.

At this point, after the talking about the fucking, I’d like to take a moment to thank our sponsors: the Jamison whisky folks, doing their cinema nights around town… what a swell idea. Are people getting laid at those? And some other one, Lounge 5, that’s opening, in association with the Kathleen’s 5 folks.


Okay, you kids have a good weekend, playing hide the dignity.

I got the rap patrol on the gat patrol,

Hey Shanghai,

Well, my friends, it’s Friday, the working week is about done, and more than anything, I’m just looking forward to heading home, kicking back, putting my feet up and curling up with a good bong.

*click * *click* CCHRRRRRRRVVVOVOoomMmM!

That’s the sound it makes.

Just Friday night and I got my dog bloopers on my YouTubes, several righteously packed bowls, some of that super sweet red Gatorade and everything is jussss aiiigghhtt.

Just some ME time, you know.

Heading home for the holidays. Planning on keeping it ill with Ma and Pa Admiral — blasting down a turkey dinner, kicking it with Grams, steering clear of people from high school and catching up on 2 years of makeover shows on TLC.

TLC man. I don’t care if it’s a house, a car, a relationship, someone’s face — if they re making that shit over I am tuning the fuck in. You know! Yes, you’re living room is a disaster! Make it over! What’s wrong with your face! It’s hideous! Make it over! Condense it to half an hour and I’m down to watch it. So down.

With my mums just taking care of business, keeping the grilled cheeses coming. No crusts. I’m not a barbarian.

Don’t know how long I’m staying for holidays yet. But, like, as soon as I see one re-run I’m back on a plane. No point to being there if I have to see the same ride being pimped, EFF THAT. So I gotta get a hold of a TV schedule and sort of plan my flights around it.

So we’ll be apart for a few weeks, you and I, but I leave you with one little nugget of advice that will get you through this winter if you’re stuck in Shanghai. Listen close though and don’t mess this up. Don’t drop the ball here. This is gold I’m giving you here. This is my Christmas present to you.

If you find yourself wanting to get into a club or a bar they’re not letting you in, or say you want a table at a restaurant that’s fully booked, or say you want to get into a “VIP area” or say you want some free drinks, a complimentary fruit platter, whatever — anything, anything at all, just do what I do.

Say these words:

“Hi, I’m Nick Taylor.”

And the world is yours, my friends. The world is yours. With these magic words, the city prostrates itself at your feet, locked doors swing open, gifts are thrust into your open hands, arms are thrown up in the air in mad , mad jubilation.

“I don’t think we’ve had the pleasure. I’m not sure you know who I am. I’m Nick Taylor.”

Virgins toss themselves into volcanos. Worlds are conquered. The sky opens up and diamonds and precious stones rain down from the heavens!

“Dude. I’m. Nick. Taylor.”

The sun explodes. The whole universe collapses in on itself. Life as we know it comes to a crashing end in a sybaritic supernova of gratitude and deep, profound respect.


Merry Christmas, bitches! I love you all!

A very warm and oaken welcome to you, Shanghai, please pull up a chair next to me here by the fire and I’ll have my man bring us some hot toddies,

My friends, the great Shanghai Literary Festival is upon us yet again — “Shanghai Pretends It Reads 2011″ — and once again the world’s most celebrated and fascinating authors and writers are winging their way across distant lands to be with us at the Glamour Bar in March, except for me because, sonofabitch, I’ve been snubbed once again.

Shanghai, it’s no secret that my mind is house of monstrous and zesty literary things, just aching to be celebrated with a Lit Fest reading followed by an awkward Q&A session, the duration of which everyone longs for the sweet embrace of death, which is how these things usually go. It’s no secret. Alas, despite much active campaigning for me by myself with much gusto at basically every turn, the Lit Fest organizers have, once again, chosen to leave me out here in the cold, un-feted, and criminally unheralded.

Here is what we’re missing Shanghai. Here are my poems for u. Enjoy them like literary tapas. For that is what they are. Metaphorically.

Acts of Prostration:
Shanghai Poems of Considerable Merit and Ability on the Human Condition in Shanghai


On Ignorance and Hunger
I only
Just barely
Even know
What a “tapas” is


Night Movements
The wind howls like a wounded animal
In the Shanghai night
The night…
The night…
And some dude is transporting a rack of stuffed animals
What’s up with that
What’s up with that


Washed Down and Out
Why does everyone
Works at Buddies
Look like they’ve just been thawed out of some sort of cryogenic stasis after deep space travel


On Legacy and Plagiarism
I keep using the same
Does anyone notice


A Mile in Their Boots
Coming around to
Uggs on men
Pretty weird, sure, but why not
But they make you look like an assistant Viking hairdresser


The Unanswerable
In the name of fuck
Do I pay my water bill
Is gas and electricity the same thing?



Greetings and Solicitations


A Thirsty Search
What percentage alcohol is this beer
And what percentage alcohol is this beer
And what percentage alcohol is this beer
And what percentage alcohol is this beer
And what percentage alcohol is this beer


Return and Regret
I sold my soul to you, Shanghai
I’ve sold my soul… to you… but
I wish
Oh how I wish
I kept the fapiao

You see what I mean, Shanghai? I’m fuckin’ ready to go here! Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war! G-Bar, what’s up? PM me, dudes. Dingle me. Just bump one of those soggy children’s lit writers or one of those queasy discussion nights and let me have at it!

I will spray literature all over the face of this city! I will spray it in great, heaving torrents of sublime profundity!

I recommend all clubs, bars and events this weekend.

I fix my funk like Thelonious Monk,

Hey Shanghai

Just struggling over the finish line here to the holidays with like two brain cells left, and after this little missive, just the one. Basically only need one anyways. Not even…

Weddings are on everyone’s minds these days – Royal Weddings, common weddings, the marriage of gin to tonic – so let’s just talk about that today, shall we? We’re going to keep it locked on “topical” today.

Got a Western friend who just married the… gah… “love of his life” … a lovely Chinese girl from central China, and they had a beautiful traditional Chinese ceremony with lots of interesting cultural observances adhered to: he had to shoot a bow and arrow into the horizon or some such thing, he had to walk on some nuts or something like that, lots of ritual drinking with special alcohol — just basically a lot of ceremonial stuff symbolizing their two spirits becoming one or whatever.


I have a theory:

There are NO special ceremonies or rituals in a traditional Chinese wedding. None. All the rituals and procedures are devised by the organizers like two or three weeks before the event, purely to have a bit of fun with the white dude.

Goes something like this:

“Yeah, my daughter is marrying this cracker. Redonkulous. They’re coming down in a couple weeks for the ‘ceremony’. Think I’m going to have him ride a tiger, paint his face up, and oh I dunno… tell him to pluck five stars from the sky or something. Gonna be a real good laugh. You should totally check it out. Going to tell this white guy that if he doesn’t bring me five stars from the night sky he’s insulting my ancestors. Let him deal with that for a while… but yeah, bring whoever.”

Pretty sure a “traditional Chinese wedding” is going to the local government office and getting a certificate. Bang. Done. And may the knowledge and wisdom of the ages be with you always…

Ladies and fellas, if your Chinese life partners are setting you up with a wedding ceremony in which you have to hunt wild boar with your hands tied behind your back, read from ancient scrolls, cake yourself in mud, or present the parents with the still-beating heart of a bear, they are messing with you. For their own amusement and for the collective mirth or their friends and family.

It’s actually a pretty awesome trick. The entertainment at Western weddings is what? A band of local failures doing Billy Joel covers? Trying to get blasted on “signature cocktails” and hoping to lethargically hump one of the bride’s maids in the closet? Wack.

Compare that to something like this: “Got this white guy coming down. Gonna be sweet. Getting him to drink his weight in baijiu and then I’m putting him on a horse and we’ll all throw raw meat at him… then he has to roll around in fire, punching himself in the face, while we all chant a made-up language.

Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess. But we gotta top the Huang family wedding from last year. Think I’m going to tell him the whole ceremony has to be in a lake or something. Dunno. We’ll play it by ear. But yeah, man. Gonna be party of the year!”

Party of the year, my friends. Happy holidays, my prettys. Play it low and loose.

Rock the mic like a vandal,

Hey Shanghai,

Well, it must be Friday ’cause here’s your weekly bong-powered hurricane of bile and grammar misdeeds.

Fuck the summer. Seriously.

Already sick of it. Already sick of summer. Hate it. It’s already too hot and I’m already bored of it. Bring winter back.

Here’s why summer in Shanghai sucks:

-You know that sensation of walking into a pitch-black room with no lights? You’re walking in there waving your arms around, trying not to smash into something, can’t see a damn thing. Walking outside in Shanghai in the dead summer heat is exactly like that except switch darkness with garbage mist, airborne vomit, and car exhaust. Can’t see shit. Just walking away with my eyes closed from whoever is shouting “DVD” at me.

- Do you own street cats? Did you notice that they come with their own box of shit you get to keep in your house, like forever? In the summer that box of shit heats right up like a hotplate and your whole apartment smells like cat shit chocolate bunt cake.

-The Plague: Every summer some horrible flu hits Shanghai and everyone is sick as hell — we all get to share this thing — and it never ever goes away. It’s turbo Ebola. I feel like I ate an air conditioner. Feel like I’m coughing up a tube sock filled with oatmeal and misery.

-Motorcycle taxi’s — yeah, cheap and efficient. Downside is you’re basically cradling your balls in the warm embrace of a strange man’s lower back for ten minutes or so. Not pleasant.

In the summer time, add both ball and back sweat to that situation.

-Pool Party photo galleries: Every year a bunch of chodes get together, have some pool parties, someone takes some pictures, and the next day I have to sift through all these party pictures on the internet looking for boobs because I’m only human. But don’t think it doesn’t weigh upon my soul.

But yeah, party photographers. See that shirtless guy at the pool party with the shutter shades, the massive headphones, and the shoestring necklace “VIP” badge? Don’t take his picture. No one wants to see this ridiculous brohammer. Everyone else, yes.

-Music Festival s: Just when your all-time favourite band Mr. Big is booked to play at some festival, they up and cancel on you. EFF THAT. Yes, granted, they’re old, strange, and Euro — in their press photos they looked like a suicide cult of hairstylists — but the guitarist plays with a power drill. I’d see that.

So who has Whitesnake’s celly?

Look at him, walkin around, grabbin his you-know-what,

Hey Shanghai,

Why, hello there. Been a while.

My friends, with my twin batteries of boredom and hate sufficiently recharged during a well-deserved sojourn from these weekly send-outs — and, to be sure, Bilbo Bongins of Bong-End, Lord of the Bong, Fellowbongship of the Bongs, packed righteously to the brim and ready to go — I now feel it’s time to once again resume our important investigative correspondence into the truth of living in Shanghai, the meaning of life, clubbing recommendations, the origin of speciousness, and something, something, something.

Join me, Shanghai — let’s push the envelope, once again, dear friends. Push it as far as it will go, douse it in gasoline, light it on fire, piss on it, and kick it into the Huanpu river. Huzzah, what, what!

Here are several talking points, preponderances, observations gleaned through weeks of heady research:

- Firstly, tapas. What the fuck is that. And what is canapes. What the fuck is that. Are they the same? No, don’t tell me. What are hors d’oeuvres then? What are finger foods? God in heaven, I don’t want to know. Stop the madness. Can’t we all say “Just Some Snacks for Assholes” and be done with it? As in, “Drinks, 25rmb and comlimentary snacks for assholes.”

- People, if you know a lot about wine by all means, feel free to keep that information to yourself. You wine people — oenophiles, wine connoisseurs, people who are vocal and active about appreciating fine wines and interesting vintages, you know who you are, roving around parties — you’re like a heat-seeking shithead missile, exploding in my face, covering me in liquid, burning “the 21st century in wines will belong to China”.

- Speaking of wines, nothing says, “Hey, I’m only here with a friend of a friend. Don’t know you, will probably never see you again, nice place, happy birthday, no skin off my ass if you don’t make it through another year”, like a nice bottle of Great Wall purchased at the Kedi downstairs from the guy’s apartment.

- Check this out. It’s a flash mob of regret.

- By my calculations, the majority of people in Shanghai are not members and easily 99% of the people are not shareholders. My friends, what more evidence do we need. It’s time. Fuck it. Power to the people. Occupy M1NT! OCCUPY M1NT NOW! LET’S TAKE BACK THE NUMBER “1″.

- People freaking out about fake restaurant reviews on the internet. Time to step back from the keyboard, turn off the computer, go outside, and shoot yourself in the face with a rocket launcher.

- Every Friday I get a little tingling in my penis like it knows it’s time to watch every single Resident Evil movie back-to-back and keep a constant stream of Munchies delivery guys coming to place like they’re the underground railroad rescuing BBQ Bacon Burgers. Do girls get a similar tingling? Like … in their labias?

- This! This! This!
Have a good weekend, Shanghai! Suckit, Suckti!@#!

Just for a minute, let’s all do the bump,
Hey Shanghai,

My friends, an ancient and terrible evil stalks the Shanghai night… a primordial evil, an evil as old as time itself, it’s ashen visage has seen neither charity nor mercy. They walk among us.

From the great, noble houses and clans of Europe, this scourge has penetrated the upper echelons of South East Asian society, finance, and hospitality. Creatures of the night, they disguise themselves in the vestments of man, seeking to obscure from plain sight the blackness of their hearts and the unquenchable hunger in their soul. They are the cursed. They are the undead. They are the damned.

Yes, my friends, I’m talking about British Yuppies.

For, let me tell you, the British Yuppie is known everywhere that men have been. He lives on and cannot die by the passing of time; he flourishes wherever he can fatten on the cocaine and the crisply dry-cleaned Hugo Boss shirts of the living. He throws no shadow. He pays little cover charge. He has the strength of many pints in his hand. He can see in the dark — no small power this in a world which is one half shrouded in strobe and disco light.

The British Yuppie feeds on the life essences of the innocent, prolonging their accursed and unnatural lives. They use deception, guile, sports trivia, and trickery to ensnare their prey. They are not without a certain black and terrible charisma, deployed as a tool to lure even the most “minging” quarry to their unholy beds.

Ah, but hear me through. He can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than wage slave of the finance firm, than PR representative to a failing restaurant. He cannot go where he lists; he who is not of nature has yet to obey some of nature’s laws.

There is still hope yet for mankind to prevail in this holy war for the ages. Behold the rules on the identification of the British Yuppie:

- The British Yuppie will recoil in terror at the mention of the word “soccer” as if being burned.

- Despite their supernatural strength and ability, British Yuppies must rest. They must do so on one of the many red-eye flights departing and arriving daily from major Asian metropolises. Stay vigilant on planes between Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. These are the nesting environs of the British Yuppie. Therein they recharge their blasphemous powers.

- The British Yuppie has an unholy thirst for “getting right mashed”. Beware the “pub quiz night” — the preferred feeding ground of the British Yuppie — the “Hong Kong stag party”, the “open bar restaurant opening party”, and watch out for drug dealers. These are the day-walkers, the servants of the damned.

- Although it is not uncommon to encounter an older, “lone wolf” British Yuppie, hunting and travelling alone, their preferred social orientation is a coven of “lads”, marauding through nightlife hamlets, laying waste to the urban cityscape and decimating local populations of “slappers”.

- Trick of the trade: you can almost track and predict the movements of the British Yuppie by following That’s Shanghai magazine. The voice of the unclean is riddled all throughout that publication. That’s Shanghai is the clandestine and profane mouthpiece of the army of the impure… their Satanic bible. If you don’t believe me, try playing their podcast backwards … if you dare.

- The British Yuppie has almost a complete and total lack of knowledge of any kind of rock music made after Blur. Don’t know why that is. It just is.

Heed my words, Shanghai, for I am Admiral Van Helsing, British Yuppie slayer of yore. If you have the knowledge you too can have the power to combat this unholy blight on our lands.

Together in one voice we stand tall and exclaim: “No more shall ye allowed to be going about, ‘aving a laff in the face of The Almighty! British Yuppie, no more shall ye ‘ave a little giggle in the face of the chaste!”

Stay vigilant, my friends. Stay watchful. Keep your eyes open and your wits about you and you may yet stay the attack this weekend of a British Yuppie bearing down on your soul, dressed as if on permanent casual Friday and smelling like 20 whiskey-cokes.

God be with you and grant you strength always.


Flushin MC’s down the loo,
If you don’t believe me bring your posse, bring your crew,

Hi guy,

It’s been a while since we last chatted. I’ve been busy. I got snowed under with this little project I’m doing. I don’t know, but you might have heard about how the Expo tickets are sold out. It’s totally a ‘blogable’ topic — an interesting little tid-bit of news — so ‘worthy of a post’ — so you’ve probably heard about it by now. No more Expo tickets. Sold out. Serious.

I’m here to tell you that it’s totally fucking accurate. For real. They are no more Expo tickets. They’re gone. All 17 million gazillion tickets are gone forever and for good. For every single day of the whateveritis — 8 months that is going on. And I’ll tell you why.

I have them. All of them. It’s taken me three weeks but I’ve bought them all. They’re sitting in stacks and stacks in my apartment. You want to know what I’m going to do with them?

Smoke them.

Smoke them all. Smoke. Them. All. And I’ve already started. Every time I get a spare five minutes, I choose a day and I spark that shit up. BOOM. Puff, Puff. I find that the peak-day tickets are the smoothest. You get a healthy plume of purple smoke with those and it’s just an all-around satisfying haul. The August tickets have a nice full-flavoured roast and July… well I don’t know how to describe those ones… tangy? Minty? Anyways, 17 million is a lot of tickets to go through, so sometimes I stack two or three on top of each other and then do four or five end to end. I cancel all my appointments. And then I blaze that shit up and think about empty restaurants with Michelin chefs and 3D I-MAX’s playing to barren theatres. And I just laugh and laugh and laugh. And toke and toke.

Hey, if The Man says I gotta be at home and in bed by 11…

Is Shanghai ready for the Expo? Has the city really changed and ‘put on a good face’ for this thing? I know they’ve been doing campaigns to try to get people to act a little more polite. Like no spitting. But I tell you I was taking a cab this morning, and there we were, swinging down Yanping Lu and listening to the radio. And then the cab driver burped, coughed, and then threw up a bit in his mouth. And then he rolled down the window and horked that shit on to the street.

And I thought to myself, “I’m going to miss this.” I’m going to miss that. Because it’s not like we’re only sharing a 12rmb taxi ride, no. That kind of comfort and open honesty is rare, and when two people can share it with one another, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s like we’re at the tail end of a 40-year marriage. It’s not a cab ride anymore. It’s two people sharing one body — two people sharing one soul. I imagined that if one of us were to die, the other would be so distraught that they’d die of heartbreak right after.

He wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve. I offered him a hand-rolled. I think it was one of my “September Morns” — a fine blend indeed.

It bores me to no end discussing parties and club openings and whatnot. You have to check the event listings yourself. The only thing I recommend for this weekend is trying to forge a life-long commitment to one other person on this planet, like I did with my cab driver this morning.

Thank you for taking my taxi?

Thank YOU for taking my heart.

2 legit 2 quit,

Hi guy,

So for me the weekend has already started ’cause last night I ordered a big bucket of chicken from KFC and just went to town on it. Have you seen this? You can do this. You can order a big bucket of chicken from the KFC and sure enough, they deliver it right to you. This is what I do; I get two big buckets of chicken and then I double-fist it, one hand on one bucket getting that chicken up into my face and then the other hand into the other bucket, grabbing that fried chicken and rubbing it all over my naked chest. That’s what I do. That’s how I take care of business. Stuffing my face with chicken and then just rubbing it all over my chest and body as well. I get greasy, Shanghai. I get greasy. Mmm. Do it. Do it.

Sorry, my friends, I don’t know what’s come over me. It’s the nice weather, it’s all these wonderful events. So many good bands to see, so much dancing to do. Actually, I’m kind of bummed out because there’s this “Jue Festival” thing and I was already planning to open a bagel shop with … OMG … Exactly. The. Same. Name.

(Hey, don’t get mad, I’m allowed to make that joke. I’m allowed. And, by fuck, someone has to do it.)

Yeah, it’s just a great time to be alive, pass for young-ish, and be pulling pipes in Shanghai. You hear this? This is the biggest news to hit Shanghai in a while. Ian McKellan — GANDALF, motherfuckers — says that shooting of The Hobbit is starting this July. I’m going to get TWO copies of that — one to watch and one to rub all over my chest and body. I bet New Zealand’s super excited because they think the world has forgot about Dre since the last Lord of the Rings came out. Don’t worry, NZ, I see you down there, with your breathtaking vistas, rustic pastoral reverie, and ethereal forests and shit. You are like the land that time forgot, untouched by the modern infrastructure and industry. New Zealand, “electricity” is a cage — you’ve got it right down there, you’ve got it right. When I finally realize my dream of going on the Official Lord of the Rings tour in New Zealand and land on your untouched dells and glades, I will drop to my knees, extend my arms outwards to the heavens, and furiously rub New Zealand soil all over my chest and body with misplaced fury, possibly sexual in origin.

And for Shanghai, I don’t know. There’s some stuff happening. A bunch of Jue shows (not going to take a second pass at that), there’s The Secret Machines at MAO Livehouse, Jay Shepheard at MAO the club, Cognitive Distortion is back at Lounge18, Antidote back at The Shelter – I like Optimo. I like the Mod Party. I also like Dead Elvis.

Let’s do this, Shanghai! Let’s fight for what’s right!

And everythings cool in the mind of a gangsta,

Why, hello Shanghai, and a special ‘what’s happening’ to the ladies of Pudong,

I’ve recently realized that there are women in Pudong — beautiful, strong, powerful, rich women living in mansions in Pudong — “trailing spouses”, tai tais, whatever they’re called – they’re out there right now and me and them have to get together, combine forces, and burn this city to the ground. Like right now.

Bitches, let me hang out with you.

Trailing spouses, tai, tais, I’ve seen you at the fabric market — looking glorious, I might add – just raining down scorn on some tailor, clutching mangled garments and pages ripped out of Vogue and Cosmo. Yes. I’ve seen you women and I admire you so much — your strength, your courage, your willingness to embrace foreign cultures for huge amounts of money — so come on then. Let’s blast quarts and quarts of mojitos together, do some idle shopping, crank up seasons of American Idol, and get down on some absurd and dubious spa treatments.

Chinese calligraphy classes drunk on sangria, clawing each other’s eyes out at book clubs, firing every ayi from here to Anhui, I’m all over all of it.

Trashing new restaurants on the internet like a pack of anonymous valkyries, buying clothes for our pets, “eating Laris”, yelling at the driver in English when he goes over 40kms per hour, investing in horrible cafes, knowing who won the Booker prize, nervous breakdowns in Carrefour, reacting to poor service at a restaurant like it’s a human rights violation, cheating on the hubby with a pilates instructor that dresses like Dave Navaro with a brain aneurism, let’s do this.

Readers, if you know a gaggle of righteous older babes looking for their requisite, androgynous, snarky male companion to round out the group, allow me to humbly submit my candidacy. I can blog the fuck out of a dumpling.

Desperate housewives of Shanghai, together we would be unstoppable, I know this — empowered by disposable wealth, embittered by joblessness, and entitled by our shared sense of inner worth and loveliness.

A terrifying, beautiful, and unholy force, we’ll lay waste to any brunch deal in our path, mow down martinis, and slur our way like champions through shite exhibition openings. We’ll let yoga membership after yoga membership lapse with misuse.

I don’t offer much. I have a bong. His name is Jah Jah Binks. I don’t know if you ladies like to rip bong hits like I do, but I don’t mind switching it up. If knocking back box after box of wine, spending your husband’s placement in Shanghai in a state of constant tipsy detachment is more your thing, I’m up for that. That totally works for me. I can do tipsy detachment.

I’ll come over, we’ll make salsa, bitch about the morons at whatever consulate, and then throw on some Project Runway (Proj-Run). Bang. Done. That’s the afternoon. Your driver can drop me back at my place when your kids come home from school. Because let’s face it: your kids are vile. I’ll only say it once and we both know it to be true.

But yeah, that’s a whole lot better than what I got going now, which involves basically no home-made salsa and free white wine.

Call me. PM me. I need this. We need this. Let me be your financial barnacle; let me be your social hanger-on. There are like 90 Dragonfly spas in this city.

I want to live a life in which I measure the passage of time by waxing treatments.

The only events I recommend this weekend are events wherein one might refer to Pudong as “Pu-Jersey” and be received with gales and gales of cackling laughter and wild applause.

It ain’t a hit until Nate Dogg spits.

6 thoughts on “In Memoriam: SmartBeijing

  1. Thanks for the article! It pretty much sums up how we all feel. Feola was an amazing contributor as well. His in-depth coverage of the music scene in Beijing as well as outside the capitol was unmatched. I’ll miss Morgan’s ice-cream reviews and the end of the year worst posters articles a ton. Thanks for compiling a nice composition I can read on my way to work.

  2. Thanks for this – it’s fun to go back and read those missives. I dug up the “Carrefour”-themed newsletter which you mentioned. Here it is, dating from 5 August 2011:

    Hey Shanghai,

    Okay, so, for real, the Mayans from the movie “2012″ are coming this weekend to wipe us out with Typhoon Momar Khadafy or whatever and I’m just writing this real quick because I’m on my way to Carrefour to pick up my supplies.

    Stocking up on shotguns and Jay Chou CDs. BRING IT, GOD.

    Carrefour, my friends.

    Not looking forward to it. Last time I was there, went in to buy a cell phone, next thing I know it’s three weeks later, I can’t remember anything, I’m drooling, talking to myself, pushing a cart into a wall, and I’ve got a mouse pad, a duster, a shower curtain rod, a pack of crayons, and a 50rmb copy of “Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar”.

    What is it about Carrefour? Let’s talk about it, shall we! Do they release some kind of toxin into the air? Are they gassing us? Being in there is like staring at a light bulb for 30 seconds, being spun around five times, and then, “quick, which oven mitt do you want to buy?”

    Spent 30 minutes trying to figure out if this one appliance was an air humidifier or a juicer and then another 30 minutes trying to decide whether to buy the second cheapest one or the third cheapest one.

    The rule of Carrefour is always buy the second cheapest one. Always. I know this. Works for everything.

    Just wandering around in a state of serene confusion. Totally baffled by everything but still calm like a monk. Getting my ass kicked by the savings. Aisle after aisle of white-tiled floors, pushing this shopping cart slowly through oblivion. Just browsing for shower shoes at the end of all humanity. Are they playing music or is that sweet light jazz coming from inside my head?

    Man, shopping at Carrefour, it feels like my soul has to take a shit.

    What the hell are you, Carrefour? What is it? A French thing? A Chinese thing? Who owns this? Feels like whoever owns Carrefour died 40 years ago and no one noticed and it’s just been running itself, with money piling up in some warehouse somewhere.

    There’s always three types of people at Carrefour:

    1) Young Chinese couple just stopping in real quick to pick up some lotion on the way home to watch “Heroes” on a laptop.

    2) Nordic dude wearing indoor soccer shoes. He’s pushing a cart around with placemats, a broom, detergent, a desk lamp, and all kinds of excitement about his new internship at a leading design firm in Shanghai. This dude knows a fuck load about solar cars and in four months he’ll want to show you his pictures of his trip to Guilin. Avoid.

    3) Middle-aged Chinese lady tearing through a pile of track suits that look like the official Bulgarian 1988 Summer Olympics uniforms while her husband plays with an automatic mop wringer behind her, waiting for death.

    Why are all the display electronics dirty? How does a portable DVD player get dirty?

    What’s with these fucking escalators, slowly blasting us up a 10 degree incline, along a wall of Lays Lemon Chicken Tea Italian Suicide Sausage Green Tea Shrimp Wassabi-flavored chips?

    What’s with those stores that are in between the floors at Carrefour? Are they part of the Carrefour? Is that a separate store or is that more Carrefour? Is this the only place to get lingerie that looks like it’s from that Whitesnake video or do you have more Whitesnake video lingerie upstairs?

    Feels like these stores aren’t even part of our Space-Time Continuum. Like they’re just there, selling Whitney Houston jeans in a dimension that just barely overlaps with this one.

    Can you imagine working at one of those? Just heading home at night and looking at yourself in the mirror, “Yes, I work in between floors 2 and 3 at Carrefour, selling vases and Swiss army knives in an alternate fucking reality. I haven’t spoken to a single human being in five years and I’m not even really sure I exist.”


    Had a great moment in the check-out line last time. Cashier girl is ringing up my total, swiping my items through and she gets to this appliance I’ve got and the register can’t read the bar code. She can’t ring it in and has to call someone to get a price check. So then we’re just trapped there together. Trapped. Just trapped. Looking at each other, not saying anything, with this appliance in between us.

    And we’re both not even sure what this ridiculous piece of shit is — it’s like water purifier, ice cream maker, microwave, radio television, voice recorder — we’re both just staring at this ridiculous piece of shit that I’ve got, like how can this fucking thing even exist, and then we look up at each other, into each other’s eyes. We gaze into each other’s eyes. Like two dears in a forest or some shit with a light snow coming down. And then everything stops, like it’s frozen in time. Everything stops. Everyone stops.

    And it was like two dead people making love.


    Kay! Love you all. Have a good weekend! Do whatever it is you do! Don’t care!

    I rock the mic like Ike rocked Tina. Lyrical hurricane, call me Ka – Trina,

    Da Admiral

    Quote of the Week “Battering the gates of heaven with the storms of prayer.” – Lord Alfred Tennyson

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