Leaving one's home of ten years is a bit of an ordeal. Having to do so at short notice, without much of a plan of what to do next, is even worse. And to do this against a backdrop of increasing government hostility and harassment - what regular Chinese folks are starting to call a "white purge" - and a succession of illnesses, injuries, and mishaps is really very unpleasant. I have been oozing stress out of every pore for the past couple of weeks.
But I have finally finished all of my outstanding bits and pieces of work and taken care of the most important of my leaving chores (bought a flight out, confirmed my first accommodation on arrival, obtained a big wedge of foreign currency, etc.), leaving myself with SIX DAYS CLEAR before I leave. I still have a fair amount of running around to do (buying presents for people, trying to firm up a sub-let on my apartment, having farewell drinks and such), but the pressure is mostly off now. And I find I am looking forward to a change of scene, to getting away - for a while, at least - from the oppressive atmosphere of this crazy, wicked, obtuse country.
I'm feeling quite uncommonly buoyant, actually; positively exhilarated about the imminent prospect of escape.
So, apologies if I've been more than usually grumpy and navel-gazing over the last few weeks. Time, at last, for some happy stuff!
And what is more uplifting than Cream's I Feel Free? I was tempted to embed this famous TV appearance (not sure which show this is; one of the precursors of Top of the Pops in the UK, I suppose), or this montage of stills from Easy Rider, in which the song was featured, but I finally plumped for this - one of the earliest examples of a promo video? - in which the trio caper around the countryside in cassocks. It has something of a Monkees feel to it. Or Python... Or Pete and Dud....
Ah, Pete and Dud. Yes, that reminiscence puts me in mind of this, something else that always makes me feel good - one of the great comedy duo's very finest hours, the climax of their 1967 feature film Bedazzled, featuring the Leaping Order of St Beryl. (The original skit featuring this idea from their BBC TV show Not Only... But Also can be seen here.)