Email: “Your beer gut must be even bigger than mine the amount of guzzling you must do in the interests of research. You should know that a hoary old favourite, John Bull Pub, will soon change its name and its style to Tim’s Texas Barbecue. [Owner] Frank [Siegel] is going to concentrate on his two (maybe more soon) Sequoia coffee houses. Sad, but inevitable.” - M.T.
BB: Frank, who opened Beijing’s first non-hotel bar 16 years ago, told me the new BBQ joint is slated for late October and that he’s been getting his smoker ready, so to speak. John Bull Pub holdovers will include the trivia contest on Tuesdays and the Mexican food cart on Fridays and Saturdays. The second Sequoia is open on Sanlitun North.
By the way M.T., “beer gut” is such a crude word for a distinguished part of our bodies that is years in the making. Why not something more dignified, such as, “the round mound where brew doth abound”, “tribute to barley-based beverages,” or, as M-Dawg suggests, “Belgian bulge.”
Email: “I wonder how I get on these email lists. Who are you? Want a suggestion? I read computer screens all day and there is NO WAY I want to read all this text, even if it has things in bold a la that’s Beijing style. Find a more effective way to communicate. No one likes to read. It’s a fact.” - C.N.
BB: Yo, C.N., my inbox shows that you subscribed to this newsletter. In other words, you pretty much begged like a randy font monkey for 3,000 words worth of Courier New biweekly. Could there be a link between your forgetfulness and aversion to reading? Just asking…
I realize this newsletter’s all-text look is very mid-1990s BBS but, a) I haven’t had many complaints about it, b) I don’t have time to add pictures or smiley faces, and c) those were fun years, when the Internet was more a novelty and less another way to keep us connected to work 24/7. And the rock band Veruca Salt was still together. Furthermore, some people can handle a long newsletter, as this next, uh, *eccentric* email shows, picking up on my comments last issue about Sanlitun lady bar touts and substance sellers:
Email: “It is currently 6:45 AM, Sunday morning… I got up around 5 AM due to being a bit parched, so I headed over to my kitchen for a cold drink. Oddly enough, I was asked if I wanted a lady bar a few times on the way there, and on my way back to my warm comfortable slumber I was accompanied by a young African man who wanted to discuss politics before the inevitable, ‘Want some stuff, man?’ I ditched him and turned down the first alley, which leads to my second bedroom/office. I figured: let me check my email. I am anxiously awaiting some important docs from the home office and couldn’t wait until a reasonable hour. I sealed my fate by hitting the send/receive button. There it was in plain sight, harmless in nature, yet powerful in its ability to lure me in for a closer look, YOUR EMAIL! … I read the whole thing and now my eyes are burning… I will attempt the impossible, the ole return to bed after getting a drink at 5 AM, then reading a 3,000-word email.”- J.C.
BB: See, C.N., some people do read. They might imagine lady bar touts and drug dealers loitering in their apartments, but they do read. By the way, like zebra mussels slowly spreading throughout a lake and disrupting otherwise decent habitat, the lady bar touts have now crept onto Sanlitun South and spread their annoyingness as far down as Gongti South. Six people accosted me as I walked from Pink Loft to Beer Mania at 7:30 PM. Can nothing stop them?
Email: “Maggie’s had better get back to 20 yuan on a bottle of beer or I am boycotting! Please note my displeasure if possible in your next column. We all have to do our bit to fight inflation and a 50 percent price increase is unreasonable in these hard times.”- E.O.
BB: Jacking up bottled beer prices by 10 kuai is annoying, but the bigger problem for Maggie’s is its declining relevance. On occasion, having a few Qingdao, listening to a song spectrum that spans My Humps to Paradise City, watching foreign man/Mongolian woman joint ventures unfold, and gorging on a hot dog out front might be fun, but the new Maggie’s is more sterile and, at least for me, there are simply too many other good nightlife options now.
(From Beijing Boyce XXIV, first emailed on September 21, 2006)