Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Tour of the Archive - top picks for 1st Quarter '07 (Part 1)

I had been aiming to limit myself to something more like 20-25 recommendations for the first quarter of this year, but..... well, March was a bumper month (it was an especially fertile period for my 'Where in the world am I?' strand, which was about to be brought to an end by my revelation that I was indeed living in China). And once I'd put something down on the 'provisional' list, I just couldn't bring myself to discard it again. I fear I am just not ruthless enough for this.

I would hope that enthusiastic readers might find the stamina to work through most of my output eventually. I would particularly urge you to read through the 'Label' categories in the side-bar.

Naturally, Poetry (my own) is the section I would most wish to find an appreciative readership. And - whatever qualities my poems may lack - they do have the advantage of being short.

I am also quite proud of the 'Where in the world am I?' series. Although I used to give this label also to my occasional routinely diaristic pieces (that almost invariably allude to the difficulties of life in China for a foreigner), I should perhaps more properly have confined the category to the posts on China that I wrote in a deliberately 'anonymized' style (usually beginning with the cryptic formula "I live in a country where...."). There were only 44 of these, and I think they represent some of the best writing on this blog.

Anyway, I will try to render this next list of 'top picks' a bit more manageable by dividing it into two batches. Enjoy

Pick of the Archive: Favourite Posts, Jan. - March '07 (Part 1)

1) The Country That Taste Forgot (Where in the world am I? [41]) - 30th March

Some observations on Chinese musical tastes - or the lack thereof.

2) The sense of loss - 29th March

A favourite passage from the determinedly 'poetic' Irish novelist, John Banville, reminds me of a Great Lost Love.

3) Yes, but WHO are you? (Where in the world am I? [39]) - 28th March

Shortcomings of Chinese telephone technique - illustrated with a transcription of an actual call.

4) On a lighter note - 28th March

One of my favourite, silly 'love poems' - and it was classically inspired, to boot.

5) Death to the trees! (Where in the world am I? [37]) - 27th March

I am not by any means a "tree-hater" (as some of my detractors unfairly suggest), but there is a powerful - I would say overwhelming - argument that Beijing has too many trees, and this is it.

6) Everything returns.... - 26th March

One of my older poems, this; but one that I feel has stood the test of time well.

7) 101 Uses of a Sidewalk (Where in the world am I? [32]) - 24th March

If I had to choose only one 'Where in the world am I?' post for inclusion in a 'time capsule', I think this would be it.

8) First fruit - 23rd March

Multiple treasures here: a photograph, a thumbnail eulogy, links to several other worthwhile websites, and an excerpt from the wonderful Scots writer, Ivor Cutler.

9) A romantic haiku - 23rd March

This was a tribute to Great Lost Love, The Poet (hell, I wooed her with it!) - probably the most romantic thing I have ever written.

10) Supplement: Where queue-jumping really rankles (Where in the world am I? [31]) - 22nd March

This is the one 'China rant' that is obligatory for all foreigners living here; I hope that I have done a better job of it than most other 'China-bloggers' (a group I mostly disdain).

11) A long suppressed Roger Hargreaves title? (Where in the world am I? [29]) - 20th March

'Found humour' - I share some serendipitous silliness from my sessions in the recording studio.

12) More on The Evil One - 15th March

I indulge in more "painfully frank" autobiography about The Great Lost Love of my life, as a preamble to another of my older poems.

13) It doesn't ***** work! (Where in the world am I? [27]) - 13th March

A can-opener that doesn't open cans? Only in China!

14) The School for Henchmen - 13th March

One of my funniest, one of my weirdest posts - it all came to me in a dream, honestly.

15) The Good Cabbie (Where in the world am I? [25]) - 7th March

I celebrate an unexpected 'positive taxi experience', to reaffirm that the WITWAI? series isn't all 'rants'.

16) My kitchen is CRAP (Where in the world am I? [24]) - 6th March

Long, self-indulgent catharsis - one of my most tedious posts, I think, but still funny in parts.

17) Thought (motto?) of the week - 5th March

This, I think, is the best (so far) of my self-composed bon mots.

18) A happy discovery - 4th March

I happen upon a previously unknown and heart-breakingly marvellous piece of E.E. Cummings - and immediately feel compelled to share it with the world.

1 comment:

Tulsa said...

oooh, I definitely see some memorable ones here.

Ladies and The British Cowboy, I highly encourage a carefree romp through the best of Jan - Mar '07 (Part 1).

And, Froog dear, what was it you were saying about your "hidden gold" problems? Goodness so many substantive posts all at once... Don't take me wrong - I'm like a kid in a candy store, can't get enough, except right now, I happen to be visiting the store with my dentist, in front of whom I can hardly gorge on sweets.

Meaning, work has not let up. So, until my nights and weekends are handed back to me for me to do with as I please, I may start carrying around a velvet bag to carry all the hidden gold, so that I might keep it safe until I have the time to take each out and admire it fully. Of course, But, knowing me, I'm sure I'll be peaking in the bag every chance I get.