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Feb 2020 Update: Book, Radio, SmartBeijing Archives

A few recent updates. My main focus at the moment is Open All the Buddha Boxes, an illustrated history of the Beijing music underground from 1999-2019 that I’m putting together with good friend Krish Raghav. You can find a general intro to the book project here, and please do sign up for our biweekly newsletter for future updates. The first chapter of the book — on Beijing punk pioneers Hang on the Box — was published by RADII last September; find a link to that below.

We are looking for a publisher to take take on the full project! If that’s you or someone you know please contact us.

Read on RADII

I talked about the book and some of the artists we’re featuring (Yan Jun, FM3, Chui Wan et al) on a recent episode of Mais Um’s Global Warning show on Soho Radio London. Check it out from the 45-minute mark for my selection of tracks and yakking segments:

In the process of researching the book I’ve been revisiting a lot of old interviews and articles I’ve written over my 11 years in the mix. My writing career proper began at, where in addition to events/listings-based coverage I wrote about 60 features on various topics, mostly related to music and art. SmartBeijing went down last year for a scheduled server upgrade and never came back; the site’s parent company has told me they have no plans to extract the database, so the first three years of my writing career are basically consigned to vapor.

There’s another post to be written about the precarity of writing for the internet etc etc, but for now I’m more interested in pulling what I can from the Internet Archive so that at least some of what I wrote for SmartBeijing isn’t permanently memoryholed. I maintain a spreadsheet including all of my published articles (and links) which is publicly viewable here; if you’re a freelance writer, I highly encourage you to maintain a similar list. Without these dead SmartBeijing URL’s I’d have no way to access all of these old articles!

My SmBJ extraction mission will be conducted piecemeal, but I’ve begun accessing and re-posting some articles in the book research process, which can all be find at this tag. Here’s one of my favorites from that period:

That’s it. This blog has been a clearinghouse for random thoughts that no one else would publish/self-promotional tidbits, and will now largely function as a repository of my writing that has disappeared from its original context + updates like this one. The thing I’ll be updating most conscientiously is Krish’s & my book newsletter — here’s that link again!

Published in China Music Writing