Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Naughty Pre-Schoolers Fueled by Liquor Cordials?

Beijing -- A Changping District pre-school has reportedly seen an outbreak of students getting intoxicated from liquor cordials. The cordials, small chocolates filled with high-proof alcohol, were reportedly acquired on a summer vacation and have since made their way into the desks and mouths of a number of young students.

A foreign teacher embedded at the pre-school, fearing reprisals from higher authorities, spoke on conditions of anonymity. "I was just in the classroom, hanging out while the kids were eating their breakfast. Then, one kid, [name removed], came up to me with a bag full of little wrapped candies. First, he yelled, 'I'm a Transformer!' Then he extended the bag to me and said, 'Take one.' I told him, 'Just give me the best one you have.' He handed me a piece in a silver wrapper and I set it aside for later."

The foreign teacher decided to have his snack right before morning exercises, when all of the children and teachers go outside to perform choreographed routines to saccharine pop music. "I was unwrapping it, and while I was doing so [name removed] ran up to me and screamed, 'There's jiǔ (alcohol) inside!' and then spun around repeatedly in a circle while cackling. It was sort of creepy. I didn't really think about what he said at the time, as the kids say anything and everything for attention, but after I bit into it, sure enough, it was filled with some rank, Chinese liquor."

"I can normally hold my drink better than most, but I'd been dead sober for several weeks, so it hit me kind of hard," the foreign teacher divulged. "I'd say it was the equivalent of half a shot. So, when we went outside to do our little dances, I was slightly buzzing. It was definitely the funniest morning exercises I've experienced yet."

A Chinese teacher at the school was later confronted with questions about the incident. With a big smile, she asserted, "We think the candies make you very happy, and they are very lucky, too." When pressed further about the propriety of a 4-year-old potentially getting drunk off of the alcohol in the chocolates, she just smiled and nodded, apparently misunderstanding the inquiry.

An informal survey of behavior in the school showed an abnormally high amount of "naughtiness" and "moody crying." As to what role, if any, the candies played in this behavioral spike has yet to be conclusively determined, although anecdotal evidence strongly suggests a correlation.

[Fake reporting, but really happened]

Monday, September 7, 2009

After these messages...

In recent news, a dork off the coast of continental Europe has spotted the Loch Ness Monster with the help of Google Earth. See the convincing image above. In other news, I've returned to the net after a month of traveling and bureaucratic headaches. It feels good to be back, and I'd like to first set the mood with a bumpin' soundtrack. If you've had your nose anywhere near the musico-blogosphere recently, you're probably already well acquainted with the first two sets.

Health, an LA based electro-noise band, has certainly been soaking up the limelight this last month. How many times have I now read, "Best album of the year," referring to, Get Color, their latest release? Perhaps enough times that I've started to believe it. "Severin" reminds me of certain Animal Collective tracks off of Feels combined with some sick drumming and heavy axe work, whereas another track, "Die Slow," makes me think of something I heard, and disliked, during my 90's adolescence. Is it the best album of the year? Hmmm, what's an album? I'll give you one song that I like and you can dig for the others elsewhere, if you so please.

Health - "Severin"

Memory Tapes is Weird Tapes is Memory Cassette. Follow me? In the latter half of last year, the last two of these three names dropped some quality tracks onto the web, each with their own distinct sound. Then, this year, Memory Tapes was born, with another distinct sound, which may or may not be described as a merging of Weird Tapes and Memory Cassette. Still there? My understanding is that there is one guy, somewhere in the UK, who is behind these three monikers, and as of this month, he (or Memory Tapes, rather) has a new album out on Rough Trade. Here are tracks from each of the incarnations. They're all very poppy and infectious.

Weird Tapes - "The Heavens"
Memory Cassette - "Listen to the Vacuum"
Memory Tapes - "Bicycle"

And, I know a guy from school who is part of a new electronic duo called Blondes. I'm no fan of nepotism, so don't think that this addition comes unscrutinized. It's a svelt, ambient build-up that evaporates before you even realize you just taken a 5 minutes and 4 seconds journey through the Creator's sub-conscious.

Blondes - "Spanish Fly"

Finally, we have Mirrors, a Brighton band espousing David Byrne-ish vocals and Kraftwerkian electronics. I'd be happy to hear a full album following this vein.

Mirrors - "Fear of Drowning"

Coming soon, hopefully, a dive or two into the music of mainland China. Turn up the reverb and get ready to sing along. You speak Mandarin, right?