Someone spiked the Kool-Aid at City Weekend again if this review of the sports bar / hip hop club duo of All Star / Bling is any indication:
… All Star serves up excellent pub grub, including some of the juiciest burgers in Beijing, so you won’t go hungry during your total sports immersion. There’s even a hip-hop club upstairs, Bling, so you can get down with some beautiful people after the last event wraps. Maintaining top-notch service and quality…
What’s the problem?
That it’s pretty hard to review burgers, service, or pretty much anything besides the amount of sawdust on the floor given THESE PLACES HAVE NOT YET OPENED. Well, unless you have a crystal ball*.
Incredibly, even as the magazine raves, it notes an opening date of August 1. Fortunately, this issue is otherwise useful, with a comprehensive list of places that do exist for people to enjoy and a handy Olympics events schedule.
Meanwhile, Time Out, which had its print edition shelved because it lacked a publishing license, is putting out a double issue, with the editor justifying the move because there won’t be enough material for two editions.
I hope that’s a misquotation, because a large number of restaurants and bars continue to open in Beijing, because Solana and The Village in Sanlitun are cranking out retail shops, and because… hang on… there was something else… what was it… oh, yeah… because BEIJING IS HOLDING THE OLYMPICS!
Not enough material? The photo ops from VIP parties alone would fill a magazine, not to mention that it would be useful to take the lessons learned from the Olympics in August and package them for regular readers and tourists alike when Beijing holds the Paralympics in September. I’m guessing Time Out London won’t reduce its publishing schedule when the English capital holds the Summer Games in 2012.
With Time Out doubling up, I guess more readers will depend on the new that’s Beijing, which coughed out a hairball of a first edition last month. How would you like to be among the former employees, who now all work at The Beijinger, and see your labor of love redefine the concept “white space”? Seriously, you usually don’t see layout that poor or holes that big even at draft stage, even if you use Microsoft Word. Add a stark cover titled “The wolf comes at midnight” (and no hint at what it means) and a story about foreigners’ “stench”, and the optimist in me says this magazine is going to get better.
Meanwhile, The Beijinger looks and reads almost the same as the old that’s Beijing – I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s good, that’s bad, or that’s just the way it is.
Last but not least, look for the magazine racks to get even more crowded. Local Noodles, an online resource for restaurant, bar, and other reviews in Beijing, will join the fray when it launches a print edition early next month.
* And I do. I bought it at Yashow for 10 kuai. Let me use it to review a future issue of City Weekend. Okay, I’m rubbing it, I’m getting a good vibe, I’m starting to see things…
The magazine will spend too much time promoting the Web site, “City Seen” will have photos from Block 8, and the cover will have a headline with a big number, like “88 places to spay your poodle in Peking!” The cliché quotient will cause weeping and gnashing of teeth, intelligent writers will tend to end up sounding like hopped-up cheerleaders, and someone will again cause the naughty to grin by referring to the Olympics as “the big O.”
Seriously, I know some smart writers at City Weekend, and at all of the free magazines for that matter, but it sometimes feels like the format doesn’t let their abilities come through.