8.15pm local time, 13°C (55°F), cool and overcast

TO HELL with Valentine’s Day — either you got lucky … or back to the Vaseline with your girlfriend whose name ends in .JPG. Massage your pain to the rhythm of our signature tunes.

This is the long-awaited follow-up to the post “Burn your bridges before arriving there” (27 Jan 2014).

By the way, I’m totally sloshed with IKEA Akavit Snaps (Swedish schnapps) so this post isn’t gonna make much sense to anybody…

Read the rest of this entry »

The ‘male’ rockstar, according to Annie Lennox

Tuesday 6 August 2013, 12.06am HKT


rockstar via annie lennox 640x480

“What are the qualities that represent a quintessential ‘rock star’ of the male category?

“I would say … a certain ‘louchness’ — an absolute swagger — the prowess of Hercules combined with the intelligence of a streetwise Aristotle — the sexuality of a female predatory cat, dancing with the moves of a transcendent shaman, mixed in with the yowling whoops and calls of legendary blues kings … You must have wildness — snake hips — gender ambivalence — totally individual style and a particular type of narcissism that leaves a trail of broken hearts in it’s wake … That’s a ‘Rock God’ for ya!”

Annie Lennox on Facebook, Sat 03 Aug 2013 ca. 12.38pm UTC

*

I personally know a few rock stars and actors in my day. My take is that the real trait — the prime trait, but not necessarily the most visible one — is one of getting things done when the ‘get-it-done’ time comes.

The rock star has no choice. There’s so much distraction, so many distractions, such intense disruptions, that they’d must have that get-things-done blood running in their veins. If not, the person isn’t a rockstar then.

(Image via Annie Lennox on Facebook)

_____

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13255)

‘People want to hear the…’

Friday 27 July 2012, 2.14am HKT


On the band’s forthcoming Quadrophenia North American The Who Tour to take place from 1 November 2012 to 26 February 2013.

Click here for ticketing pre-sales.

_____

TOP POSTS | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | MIRROR | SISTER BLOG | ABOUT

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. Image by me. (B12232)

Time soon to face the music…

Wednesday 14 March 2012, 6.14pm HKT


6.11pm local time / 17°C (62°F) breezy, muggy, overcast

SING WITH ME.

SING TOGETHER NOW…

* * *

“You Get What You Give”

by The New Radicals

The YouTube video (with lyrics):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc6jd9P1X6w

One, one, one…
One, TWO!
One, two, THREE!

Wake up kids
We’ve got the dreamer’s disease
Age fourteen we got you down on your knees
So polite, you’re busy still saying ‘please’

Frienemies, who when you’re down ain’t your friend
Every night we smash their Mercedes-Benz
First we run and then we laugh till we cry

But when the night is falling
You cannot find the light
(Light!)
If you feel your dreams are dying
Hold tight
You’ve got the music in you

Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up
You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget
We only get what we give

I’m coming home, baby
You’re tops
Give it to me now

Four a.m. we ran a miracle mile
We’re flat broke but, hey, we do it in style
The bad rich
God’s flying in for your trial

But when the night is falling
You cannot find a friend
(Friend!)
You feel your tree is breaking
Just then
You’ve got the music in you

Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up
You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget
We only get what we give

This whole damn world can fall apart
You’ll be okay — follow your heart
You’re in harm’s way — I’m right behind
Now say you’re mine
You’ve got the music in you

Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up
You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget
We only get what we give
Don’t let go
I feel the music in you

Fly high … HIGH
What’s real can’t die
You only get what you give
You gonna get what you give

Dont’t give up
Just don’t be afraid to live

Health insurance ripoff lying
FDA big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they’re multiplying

Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson
Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson
You’re all fakes
Run to your mansions
Come around
We’ll kick your ass in!

Don’t let go
One dance left
Don’t give up
Can’t forget
Don’t…

* * *

See you ’round,
While I get myself sorted out by pound.

I’ll be back,
After I lay down the track.

Sooner or later,
Hopefully tastier than ever.

One fine day.
Whatever at me they spray.

* * *

“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” (Anon)

“Question your answer.” (Grandpa)

“Mountains never meet. But men do.” (Russian proverb)

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Image via ImageFave. Listen icon by the author.

Clockenflap 2011 (3/3)

Friday 23 December 2011, 3.00am HKT


(Continued from Part 2)

(Allow time for some animated images to load, please. Worth your wait.)

THE MEMORABLY NAMED Clockenflap 2011 festival on 10-11 December was the only music and arts festival in Hong Kong (at least in my memory) where expats and locals really came together as individuals rather than as disembodied, dislocated and disconnected communities living cheek by jowl in this ex-British/Brutish/now-Chinese colony.

Summer would be the wrong time for this festival. The whole thing had to be in winter. Winter makes people come together — if not for warmth of companionship, then at least for the warmth of surviving the harbourfront wind and 9°c (48°F) cold.

Probably the best part of it all was to see expats and locals clinging to each other, braving the elements together, teeth clacking away, shivering their socks off — and bitching together about how bitchy, ugly, brain-damaged or money-grubbing their sons and daughters are. Any other season, it wouldn’t have worked so well.

The elements = basic crowd control.

* * *

Odd Things that Look Nice

Lunar eclipse while the acts were happening.

One performer on stage told the crowd to stop texting for a second and watch the lunar eclipse that was happening mid-show.

The next lunar eclipse will be in 14 years’ time. Some of us will be too old to see anything by then.

Hello! Fourteen-year-old emos! You’ll be 28 at least by then! You’ll have to put up with your own misbegotten emo goth kids then! Muahahaha! See how you’ll like that when you have to bicker constantly with your brats whether they’re feeling chilly or hungry or thirsty or need to go to the latrines! Muahahahaha!

Go be an hero now if you can’t stand that! Go suck eggs!

(Yes, it’s called ‘an hero’ — because it’s an Internet meme, genius.)

* * *

Fascination with Lights

I’m a big sucker for these magic mushroom seats.

They didn’t blink, didn’t move, didn’t interact, didn’t do tricks. They just sat there like sulking emo kids. But they were lit up and changed colours, and that was good enough.

*

Sponsors and providers of the mushrooms. Remember to do it for 2012. Please.

*

It’s meeeeeeeeeeeeee on magic mushrooms! Yay! All ’shrooms and no side effects!

Everybody had to take a picture on the ’shrooms, no matter how dark or silhouettey we ended up. But that’s the point, isn’t it?

  • Notice how well-behaved yours truly had been.
  • Trivia: Purple is my ‘power colour.’ What coincidence.

*

I kid you not, but this was practically the only littering at the site.

If you leave people well enough alone, and provide the necessary amenities, people will know the right thing to do. All the time, every time.

&

INSIGHT #15

  • Human beings are natural-born rebels.
  • Everyone, including the most obedient, the most authoritarian, the most establishmentarian, are rebels at heart.
  • Put in an authority figure, and we rebel.

Why? It’s because we know what’s best for ourselves and ours, thank you very much — we need no stinkin’ stranger to tell us otherwise. Especially if you’re one of those shoeshining, piss-pissing, two-timing imbeciles who contributed to The Great Financial Bail-Out-The-Unbailable Tsunami of 2007.

  • People in authority often don’t know what’s best for themselves, much less for us.
  • Look at the state of our world over the past 10 year for proof.

Every one of us have wasted well nigh 20 years following some sort of foolish, decrepit, pointless, lulz-destroying rule — in school, in the home and at work. Rule-following is ingrained in us after those 20-odd years. Just tell us matter-of-factly to behave ourselves, not chuck stuff all over the place, provide the amenities, and we’ll do it. No need to ‘enforce.’ You need to be more responsible in the way you ‘enforce.’

  • Ninety percent of us will behave.
  • Nine percent will follow the 90% out of shame, fear or natural rebelliousness.
  • One percent might need strong-arm tactics, but they don’t count because they don’t come to gigs like this one anyway.
&

THE FACTS

  • Nil bad behaviour (fighting, drunkenness, etc) mainly because of no police presence
  • Nil bad social behaviour (spitting, etc) because of the dustbins everywhere
  • Very small damage to the plants and shrubbery for this size of event
  • Very little littering because of all the dustbins/trashcans everywhere
  • No drug-taking (probably because of the cold weather and because everyone didn’t want to spoil something quite rare like this in Hong Kong
  • No fighting for latrines (because there really were enough of them)
  • Nil bickering over money and change because of the use of coupons
&

If you don’t provide the facilities, how the hell are we supposed to behave ourselves? Clockenflap did, and we behaved. QED. Derp.

* * *

The Main Event(ssssssssss)

Actually, there are many main events at Clockenflap. This was one of them. I can’t decipher my own handwriting, so take it as it is.

*

The smurfs. Blue-coloured skin from the cold made bluer by the stage lights.

*

Told you the main stage wasn’t that small.

*

Animated gif of the lit hoola-hoop girl lady in between the headline acts.

*

I was totally mesmerised with the hoola-hooping, I promise you.

*

The performer revealed, at last!

  • I tell you, she was a helluva lot cuter than this picture shows.
  • Srsly.

* * *

The Peeps Standing Behind Me

This lot ‘stood’ behind me, while the cute little chick in front of me wriggled up and down my front side in a highly memorable way. *Ahem!*

Have fun, folks, you get only one life and one life is all you get. Don’t waste it on unfun stuff.

&

INSIGHT #16

Thirtysomethings enjoyed themselves the most at gigs like this one more than any other age group. The next age group, surprisingly, was the 50-somethings.

*

Have fun NOW! Expat fella enjoying his youth when it counts.

*

&

INSIGHT #17

Girls who can have fun without going overboard often end up with nice guys who are successful. Guys want girls like that — for keeps — because they know they can be mothers of happy, successful children. Who wouldn’t want that for descendants?

&

The final headline act: Santigold and crew in their frilly dresses.

&

Nooooo, Santigold’s not that kind of act … not even close.

  • Notice the piss-bored look on the minder’s face.
  • He’s wasn’t bored.
  • He was paying 100% attention to security.
  • Talk about dedication to the job.

* * *

And much fun was had by all

Me and stage manager Chris B (she’s actually a ‘local’ local who’s a semi-expatty local).

Yes, I know, it’s a terrible picture of me. The winds were blowing hard, the cold was setting in, the want for latrines was pressing, the moustache wasn’t one of my better efforts (something in the water in Hong Kong), and it was getting late. Please be understanding of my predicament with lovely Chris. She has that effect on guys.

&

Me and my ‘Predator’ cap.

(Or was it ‘Preda-hamster‘? Anyway, it’s been a long time since the last wearing.)

  • It’s stupid
  • It’s vaguely funnee
  • It’s doing nothing for my reputation
  • I can’t pull chicks with it on
  • But I get lots of people (especially chicks) wanting pictures with me with it on
  • Oh well, you win some, you lose some

This is my signature motorbike helment cover. I represent Hong Kong in an official capacity at all motorbike gigs internationally with this cap. If you see this cap anywhere, you’ll know it’s meeeeeeeeeee.

I am the motorcycle champion of Hong Kong at the Dakar Rally many years ago, and this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.

  • Bizarrely, nobody knows that — or me — in Hong Kong town.

&

PROTIPS

  1. If you’re wearing something funny, strange or just out of the ordinary, always let others take pictures of you. Otherwise, what’s the point of wearing it?
  2. Don’t expect others to email back the pictures to you afterwards — they’ll sober up (eventually) and never recognise themselves in photos, much less you.
  3. They shoot you, and you shoot yourself (via them) at the same time. You never get to see their shots of you again, ever. Double the exposure, namsayin’?
  4. If you wear a cosplay outfit (in any weather, but especially in 9°C/48°F weather), it is morally indefensible to refuse being taken a picture of by others.

&

Oh, yes, I’m officially an adult — but you probably wouldn’t have thought so by the way I ramble on ‘comme un crétin sur les stéroïdes idiote’ (‘like a cretin on idiot steroids’).

Trivia

  • It’s not a Rolex
  • It’s an automatic, 21-jewelled, gilt-anodised Seiko 5 mechanical wristwatch
  • Price HK$500 (or US$64.25 or £41)
  • Works like a charm
  • Works better than the HK$38,000 one I also got lumbered with as barter payment for a print job

* * *

Comments from the crowd

  • One in three festival-goers said that had the ‘local’ locals handled the arrangements, the festival would have failed.
  • The government would have been the worst-possible organisers.

One bearded American guy from Guangzhou (Canton City) said there is ZILCH anything like this anywhere in mainland China, mainly because of the warped politics and social politics ‘overr therr.’ The Yanks living across the border have it good because it takes them less than two hours by train to come down to Hong Kong for something like this. The expats in (say) Beijing or Shanghai are just lumbered with overpriced, shoddy entertainment activities inside hotels. Muahahaha!

“Most of the expats here today most likely are those stuck in Hong Kong for some reason and can’t make it back home for Christmas or New Year. This is perfect timing. Let’s hope the organisers or the government don’t f@#k with it next year.”
— Irishman Mickey with Canadian schoolmistress (Jenny?) 

Self-plug: I wore a black velvet dress jacket, blue Palestinian scarf and the Preda-hamster cap. Two tall, dishy Euro guys with perfect physique (and waistlines!), one with a military peak cap, wanted to have a threesome picture.

‘Bridge’ (in the peak cap): We must take a picture together, like we don’t get to see somebody’s who actually cool here.

Michael: Put your arms around my shoulders.

Me: No way. Let me put my arms around your waist!

(Relax, ladies, I’m straight. We do this faggoty thing all the time in Europe. We just wanted to see Americans shatting bricks at the sight of that.)

  • Kate from London who spent the first seven years of her childhood in New York City said something really insightful and important. Alas, I can’t decipher my extraterrestrial handwriting. Sorry, Kate, we’ll leave that to the archaeologists then.
Self-plug II: One German-sounding guy at the Magic Mushroom Seats told me he really liked my black velvet jacket because “it shows style.” Thank you.
&

Hong Kong skyline

And much fun was had by all.

And so to bed.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011. All images by me.
And you thought I only pilfer images.

Clockenflap 2011 (2/3)

Thursday 22 December 2011, 11.00pm HKT


(Continued from Part 1)

SOMETHING ABOUT Clockenflap that could throw you off-balance a bit:

  • Four-fifths of the festival-goers (expats and locals alike) spoke perfect English and seemed completely Westernised.
  • One-fifth were merely people from non-English-speaking countries, so they spoke with funny but adorable accents.

Now, because of that, you’d probably think this was primarily a ‘gweilo’ event. You’d be wrong — it was pretty chockful of our locals there.

(‘Gweilo’ or ‘gwailo’ (rhymes with ‘high-low’) is Cantonese for ‘devil-person/fellow’ and means ‘foreigner,’ usually white-skinned. Rather like the Mandarin ‘laowai’ — literally ‘old outsider’ — to mean the same. Mostly, ‘gweilo’ or ‘laowai’ are not hostile or racist terms, but a lot depends on the context and intent. It’s like ‘Yankee’ — it depends.)

Which sort of confirms my own observations down through the years and across different continents that when a person speaks fairly solid English (or any other European language), his or her musical tastes tend to broaden considerably.

Trust me, the best parts are now a-coming. It contains insights about people in general that aren’t necessarily about this crowd, but only using it as a springboard.

* * *

The Crowd

The nice thing about Clockenflap was that there was an even balance of ages — from toddlers to grannies. It’s much more enjoyable like that than having a crowd skewed to one age level. Most ‘local’ musical events tend to be age-skewed — either all-young, all middle-aged or all-geriatric. But then again, most Chinese tend to clump together like that.

*

INSIGHT #4

  • It isn’t actually how old you are.
  • It’s how you come across at your age that gets you through to others.
  • Presence and young-at-heart are most important, especially if your physical features are on the oldish side.
  • Youth is always desirable, especially in the old.
  • If (as the British would say) you’re a well-turned-out 60 year old, with a glimmer in the eye and a partiality for nice, cool, young-at-heart stuff appropriate for your actual age, then you’re always ‘young’ in other people’s mind’s eye, be you 40, 50, 60 or 70.
  • It is easier to be young-at-heart than it is to pretend to be.
*

The girls knew they’re being checked out, and they made sure we had ample space and time to check them out.

Be sociable! If you (male or female) aren’t being checked out, you are not sociable enough.

*

INSIGHT #5

The first thing you’ll notice when you have expats and locals coming together in large numbers is how much better the expats and semi-expats (overseas-raised locals) tend to look after their appearance.

(It sort of helps to be able to afford fashion magazines priced two or three times the magazines’ cover price.)

I’m not talking about the expensiveness or cost of their clothes — if anything, it’s the locals whose clothes are often pricier. I’m not even talking about how well they look after their health or bodies either.

I’m just talking about their outward appearance — you know, how they kit themselves out. Expats and semi-expats also tend to know the ‘correct’ garb to wear for occasions like this one — no high heels or shimmy dresses or great big massive Siberian overcoats.

*

The Belvedere vodka stand. When the temperature started falling to 9°C (48°F) by early evening, the vodka wasn’t booze anymore. It became essential survival equipment.

(Strictly speaking, alcohol won’t keep you warm. But what the hell, most people don’t care for survival facts anyway.)

No, the vodka wasn’t free, but it did come in teacup-sized shots.

No, nobody got drunk. We tried, but it didn’t work with the cold and the wind blowing up our, err — let’s just say pantaloons.

Note the skyscapers (the J.W. Marriott hotel complex) as backdrop. You’ll never get this in an American or European music festival.

*

I called this area The Circus. It’s just a circular piece of grass around the medium stage that people just started sitting on. Quietly. Yes, I mean quietly.

This was the area where high concentrations of emo kids and other ‘difficult’ types clump together. Birds of a feather, I suppose.

By the way, somebody earlier had pulled out all the “Do not sit on the grass” signs from The Circus, and then handed them over to the nearest security guard station, explaining that the sharp stakes could injure the toddlers around. You could see the orz look on the guards’ faces.

SCENARIO

Emo chick sulking away in typical passive-aggressive fashion for having been brought here by parents.

Mother was getting pissed off at emo daughter’s non-response whether she felt chilly or hungry or thirsty or something. Emo chick continued sulking, saying nothing, turning her back on everything.

Young chappie around emo chick’s age butted in, and tells the mother to stop nagging her daughter:

“You’re doing it wrong. Give me her hotdog and I’ll take care of it for you with her.”

(Emo chick was extremely well-cleavaged, so we can assume young chappie had a vested interest in wanting to get to know her.)

Young chappie trundled off towards some nearby random sitters there, and gestured them to pass on the hotdog and the bottle of water to emo chick. Emo chick took them from the go-betweens and ate the lot without a murmur.

Quality of life just improved for the mother knowing that:

“No, you can’t do it directly with people like her. You have to do it sideways.”

*

INSIGHT #6

Difficult types have an in-built mechanism for recognising other difficult types. They also have a congenital radar to detect what is wanted of them — just that they refuse to ‘do it.’ The more you want them to go one way, the more they go the other. It isn’t rebellion. They’re just being difficult. They don’t want the attention, but can’t stand the isolation either.

The young chappie’s got it right. Just pass the ‘message’ on to the least difficult character you can find, let that character pass on the ‘message’ to the emo, and everything will be fine. Birds of a feather. Irregulars accept only from fellow irregulars.

*

Nightfall a-pace. Temperature dropping suddenly, the breeze picking up, and all manners of cattle started clumping together for warmth — and the long lines for the latrines.

*

Local bird. Look at her bum and you’ll know she’s Westernised. I found out she’s got some connection with Australia.

(Trust me, I know a lot about this bum-to-Westernisation correlation business.)

*

INSIGHT #7

Locals who speak a foreign language (like English) rather well tend to be friendlier and easier-going than locals who don’t. Reading ability doesn’t count.

*

Expat bird. Yes, the bum/Westernisation correlation works! This American chick came to Hong Kong when she was a baby.

*

INSIGHT #8

Expats and semi-expats who’ve lived in two or more other countries before are far, far more approachable than the same who’ve lived in just one place.

*

Euro bird. Well, a Brit MILF, if memory serves. What can I say? They’re bonkers. This one had these lovely, adorable freckles on her back.

It’s true: British bums are different from the rest.

Frenchwomen have nice, old-fashioned derrieres — I reckon mainly because of the fresh food they tend to eat.

Italian women have nice love-handles. Enough said.

Sorry, Americans. Your chicks usually stop having bums after the age of 21. They have ‘things’ that are nominally asses. Your chicks need to exercise more and do less camwhoring.

*

INSIGHT #9

  • Girls with big, flabby bums end up with luser guys.
  • Girls with rounder, smaller, firmer bums — nearly always with winner guys.
  • I don’t know why — just what I noticed.
  • Your mileage may vary in your locale.

*

INSIGHT #10

Homegrown Hong Kong Chinese birds are loud and picky with a litany of aversions, disinclinations and overconsiderations.

Local expat girls are stuck up and mean (unless they also speak Chinese, in which case they’re merely stuck up).

ABC birds (from the States) are loud and stuck up.

BBC birds (from the UK) are bonkers + stuck up + trying hard to be ‘English.’ Especially funny if they’re from Doncaster, Stockton or the Tyne and Wear region. BBC birds from London are more like New York City chicks than from London.

‘Broccolis’ (British-raised local Chinese) are evenly divided between the calculating types and those who are whiter than ‘a whiter shade of pale’ and still stuck in the 1970s.

Aussie Chinese birds are friendly, all good poledancers, but they know what you have got in mind — and they’re not letting you have it. And they have flippin’ strong grips too.

Singaporean birds are weird control-freaks who think they are unique but actually more like a more cosmopolitan version of Hongkongers with a hybrid ANZ-American-Britspeak accent with the wrong syllable stresses.

French and francophone Chinese birds are insufferable because they are 100% friendly and 100% capable of spinning you around like a top, and you don’t know whether you’re hot or cold with them. They’re French and you’re fried.

Newly arrived expats start off pretty nice but soon become less friendly to Chinese faces — but, then again, most new expats here aren’t as friendly as the homeys in their home countries anyway. Remember F.I.L.T.H.? (‘Failed In London, Try Hong Hong.’)

Broadly speaking, broadly speaking.

*

INSIGHT #11

  • Observation, actually
  • PRC girls (chicks and MILFs from mainland China) mostly wear skintight jeans
  • Mostly in the Italian style that you see in fashion magazines
  • You can tell the skintightness is copycat
  • But they do copy quite well

* * *

The Antifreeze Tent

Offically called Side Flap and next to the main stage (?), I dubbed this The Antifreeze Tent. This was where people took refuge from the wonderfully enjoyable crap weather by dinnertime.

“Shit! They’re all from London here! Let’s go somewhere else with real people in it.”
— Woman with a north of England accent

*

INSIGHT #12

Londoners are most anxious among the British/English about being recognised as Londoners. The others (other English) don’t much care; a simple ‘British’ will do just fine, thank you very much.

For the Scottish, yoo’ve gott to be deeeaf nott to hearrr thah accent in the firrrst plaece.

The Welsh: “We’re not Londoners and we’re not Cockney. We’re Welsh. Like Duffy. You accidentally right into that one, didnt’cha?” (Note the Welsh habit of skipping verbs at random points.)

The Irish, however, want you to know they’re Irish solely because they don’t want to be mistaken as English — which they are not, even if they speak perfectly unaccented ‘English’ English. They’re also good-natured if you get it wrong, and state matter-of-factly that, “Weer dif’rent peep’l. Weer terrorists when weer sober. That’s why we hef Guinness all day long.”

The Americans wonder how the heck practically everyone in an ex-British colony like Hong Kong speaks with an americanised accent.

The Canadians are long used to being confused for Americans, especially confused Americans.

The Euronals don’t care because they can see you’re totally hypnotised with their funny and adorable accents.

Aussies and New Zealanders pretend to be each other just for kicks, and the two countries have a binding treaty for that.

The South Africans (‘Suf-efrikens’) snigger that you just can’t identify their accent.

*

INSIGHT #13

The Eurasians (people of Asian and European parentage) are far more Asian/Chinese than they think they are, and much less ‘white’ than they imagine.

*

INSIGHT #14

Two quality-of-life-changing protips here for enhancing your approachability for others (and vice versa):

For women:

  • Dead easy.
  • Just speeek wis a leettle Fren’ch accent.
  • Just some words; doesn’t ’ave to be a’ll.
  • Zer tri’ck iss zer soft Fren’ch ‘r’ (non-rhotic to the linguists). Zer Fren’ch “aah’r’uh.”
  • Zer subtle sh’rug an’d ewpen palms at bu(r)st level are compulsory gestures.
  • Persuasive looks: Square glasses, red lip-steee’k, coloured tights, pointy shoes and hat.

For men:

  • Trickier to do.
  • Speak a Germanic accent.
  • The German accent is an acceptable and authorised English accent.
  • The best German accent is the it’s-there-but-not-annoying one just like from actor Jürgen Prochnow or the even fainter accent of Matthias Schweighöfer.
  • Robotic: Arnold “I’ll Be Back” Schwarzenegger Austrian accent.
  • Verboten: B-movie Panzer Division Stalag Luft Nr. 31 Jawohl-Herr-General German accent — it just sounds too psycho.
  • Eminently sexy: The Dutch accent of the eminently sexy actor Rutger Hauer.
  • Avuncular: The upper-class Swedish accent of Max von Sydow.
  • Rutger Hauer’s accent is especially appealing to women because they can’t tell if it’s French, Dutch or German (as I’ve been reliably informed by various kinds of chicks).
  • Persuasive looks: Titanium-rimmed square glasses, soft tan-coloured suede jacket, charcoal-grey jeans, black ankle dress boots.

For men (in front of American women):

  • Ditch the Germanics.
  • Go for gold with the French accent.
  • Not Pink Panther Inspector Clouseau French accent (that’s an Englishman’s French accent).
  • Not François Truffaut’s (too challenging).
  • Speak like Alain Delon (romantic) or Jean Reno (manly).
  • Jean Reno’s is easier.

This insight clearly is worth its weight in gold. The invoice is in the mail.

* * *

‘She’s not sleeping!’

“Jesus Christ! You can’t do that!” yelled the mother.

The platinum blond(e) toddler had just kicked that woman slumped over there in the shins.

She’s the one cowed in foetal position with the red handbag, next to the expat kids fagged out from playing the swings all day.

“Mum! She’s not sleeping!” the toddler cried.

That instant, we all realised something was wrong. The medics came and fetched her away. Turned out that the woman, a local Chinese, was suffering from overexposure, what with the cold drinks, lack of food, the harbourfront cold and all.

We all thought she’d just passed out from the booze or something.

Yes, folks, cold exposure comes on suddenly. Just like heatstroke, there are no warning signs in the practical sense.

Please check on fellow partygoers occasionally, even if you don’t know them personally.

That toddler probably saved that woman’s life.

* * *

UP NEXT IN PART 3 — The other stuff

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