Saturday, March 03, 2007
In a city such as Shanghai, personal space is an item that is stripped away from you when you pass through customs. Zhonghang Park: packed and denser than the New York rush hour. A beach to relax and watch the sunset: only on big screens now. Thus when in need of exactly that - spiritual medidation, "me" time, however you describe it- one must use his resources and surroundings as best as he can.
Take your ipod (or borrow your friend's in my instance) and watch.
Rhet Miller- Question.
Feel like you are in one of those coldplay-esqe film clips, walking along, everything in semi-surreal slow motion. Deattach yourself from everything, as though you are watching from above, observing the people and the insanity around you. The cacophony of taxi horns can be heard faintly through your earphones.
Something for Kate - Pinstripe (Acoustic)
Walk past a restaurant and stand on the corner. Take a breath and just observe Stop. Young girls arm in arm hurry past; bikes with crates full of rubbish rush past you - you have to take a step back to let him past. The music washes over you, you smile, this feels better than drugs - as though you are, for the briefest of moments, taken some sort of new-age drug that transforms to parallel universe, an alien planet, and you - only you- are invincible and oblivious to everyone else.
Butterflies and Hurricanes - Muse
The sky continues to glow in the bask of the city lights; the buildings tower over you, the neon signs and wide screen TVs bigger than Godzilla myself. An assault of all your senses. Look down, all you see in an army of feet and shoes without faces. For a moment, you let your wacky creative mind indulge itself, imagining that the feet are without owners, sick of their masters and now running away, a braveheart crusade for freedom, fighting for the right to wear what they want and finally walk on clean surfaces for once in their lives.
Look across. A lady is handling out some sort of product - cleaning you believe - and you stall in shock as the lyrics of the song inexplicably seem to correspond with her mouth gestures for a split second. You laugh, realising the stupidity of it.
Look way ahead. A stage stands high above a crowd of excited Shanghaiese, intoxicated by the M/C's words. I wonder what she is saying, what she is selling? Once again, ipod in ears, you imagine she is marxist minister of yesteryear, advocating the benefits of buying things, whilst explaining in intricate detail about the importance of giving back to the modern land. The paradox that is China alludes you again - capitalism on steroids in a country that (well, once anyway) preaches communism. You laugh and carry on.
How to Save Your Life - The Fray
Walk home. With the music having washed over you, you feel somewhat relaxed and re-energised. A homeless man sits on the ground up ahead, his clothes are dilapidated and faded. A small child sits in his arms, evidently cold from the night. You pull out your wallet and hand him a 5 yuan note. You are feeling generous. He takes ungratefully, shoves in his jacket (rather than his small basket in front of him), and carries on. No thank you, no nothing. You laugh that the absurdity of the situation. Normally, you would feel angry, probably smirk a rude remark under your breath, but you are feeling better now.
Switch off your ipod and walk home. Mission Accomplished.