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Live TALK: The People’s Republic of Comedy

One of the things that’s really missing in Shanghai is a good comedy club…somewhere that you can go with friends, and have a laugh over some cheap-ish drinks. And while this bit of news doesn’t remedy the problem it does go some way towards relieving the symptoms.

Malone’s is starting something it’s calling the ‘The People’s Republic of Comedy’. From tomorrow (1st December) there will be a regular rapid fire laugh out loud 90 minute show featuring some of the best improv comedy in China. Due to take place every second week it promises to become a regular part of a lot people’s social calendar.

Entrance will only be RMB 50 and all standard drinks will cost the very reasonable RMB 30 during the performance.

The web-team is heading down there tomorrow night and will give you an honest review in morning. But if past experiences of live performances at Malone’s are anything to go by I’m sure it will be nothing short of excellent.

If you do decide to give it shot tomorrow night get there early and grab a good seat. The show starts at 9pm sharp.

Where: 255 Tongren Lu, near Nanjing Xi Lu


Night TALK: The Long Goodbye

Over the past few days the world has been rocked by the passing of comedy legend Leslie Nielsen, and the death of Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back. And now a small piece of Shanghai history is following them out the door.

The beloved Long Bar at the Shanghai Centre is closing up for the last time this week. From what we at TALK have found out the people running the place decided that while there was probably some legs in the old dog yet the F&B industry has changed so much over the bar’s illustrious history its time for a change.

According to the people over at Smart Shanghai it’s going to become a new lounge style bar called ‘Cvrve’. And while I look forward to what happens next at the location it‘s hard not to be sad that we‘re loosing one of Shanghai’s greatest drinking hotspots.


Night TALK: Buuren at M2

This past weekend saw the welcome return of Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren to Shanghai, and thanks to some mad connections on this side of the keyboard I had some media tickets waiting for me behind the door.

So the night got off to a good start, it being free and all, but truth be told I would have given the contents of my bank account, which admittedly isn’t very much, to the promoters on my way out. It was such a good night, and I don’t think you can put a price on watching a master at work.

Buuren has often dismissed his position as the world’s greatest DJ. Self deprecatingly describing what he does as simply playing other peoples songs and putting his hands out in the air. But I tried doing this to a select group of friends and they all said, without hesitation, that I looked like a tool.

Unsurprisingly, the Jesus pose was out in force during his set. And the crowd couldn’t have been happier. It was apt that was doing his Christ the Redeemer thing, since I had just finished breaking six of the Ten Commandments and was in need of some pretty serious repentance. I won’t tell you which ones they were but I will say I didn’t kill anyone.

I don’t know if anyone who went reads this blog. But if you did I am sure you will join me in calling for M2 to sort it out again for next year. And perhaps continue their trend of bringing the worlds best DJs to Shanghai….Gui Boratto anyone?


Art TALK: Rush Still

It’s been a while since I posted an art-related blog, but I got a press release today about an exhibition that actually looks kind of interesting. The guys over at 1918artspace on Moganshan Lu are presenting an exhibition named ‘Rush Still’. Poor name aside, this seems like it could be quite interesting, and definitely worth half an hour of my time.

The exhibition features work from Till Rabus (pictured), and Chinese artists Zheng Delong, Song Yonghua and Gong Xinru. According to my handy press release, the point of it all is to encourage us to reflect on these questions: "Who are we? And what makes us?” To me that sounds a lot like hot air, but nevertheless this is an exhibition of some nice works of art from some locally famous artists and one internationally-renowned one.

While the work from the other artists looks good, it’s the stuff by the Swiss artist Rabus that really excites me. His almost Dali-like imagery is both surreal and oddly realistic. Clearly having taken inspiration from classic movies like War of the Worlds. His subject matter is relatable but otherworldly, like a Pixar movie about aliens.

I find it hard not to be charmed by the idea that my picnic basket could animate itself and start destroying Shanghai. Although I hope Michael Bay doesn’t read this blog or we could be looking at the plot for Transformers 3.

Where: 20 Moganshan Lu




Dining Out: Pistolera

So yesterday I found myself in Jinqiao chatting to the people at Concordia. After the meeting I was left all the way out in ‘Little America’. Wanting to make the trip even more worthwhile I figured I’d try Pistolera out.

I had wanted to eat there since it opened months ago but since I almost never go to Pudong I was yet to give the place a whirl. But I can assure you it’s worth the trip. I had never tried ‘real’ Mexican food before I ate here. Sure, I had made fajitas at home and had the odd burrito the morning after the night before, but never genuine Mexican food.

And after my experience at Pistolera I can say without hesitation I’ll be back for more. Rather than the greasy, overly spicy dog chow that’s served up as Mexican in the places I had been before. The food that Pistolera serves up is flavoursome, interesting to the palate, and tastes as though it's made with a complex knowledge of the ingredients.

Despite looking like the regurgitated stomach contents of a vegan, the refried beans were delicious. And the chicken quesadilla I had was meaty and spicy in all the right ways. And since I never lie on this blog, I have to admit that the menu had so many delicious things on it I was very close to having a second lunch.

On the negative side it is a little pricy, with some dishes pushing the RMB 90 mark on the lunch menu. But, then again this is well-cooked Western food in Shanghai. And from that perspective it's actually quite good value.

There are rumours of them opening a branch in Puxi, and if that happens I'll be there fork in hand ready to give my insides a battering the day it opens.

Where: 777 Biyun Lu, near Huangyan Lu



Style TALK: Ros Millar

Christmas is a date that warms the hearts of millions of people around the globe. Families come together and have a good time while celebrating the birth of baby Jesus. But the truth is, when I go home this December I have one thing on my mind… presents. The act of giving and receiving these brightly coloured packages of joy is really what makes Christmas so special.

And this Christmas represents the first time that I will be able to buy my family and friends anything of real value. Knowing this, my generous streak has kicked in to overdrive. While doing my own Christmas shopping, I found some pretty cool things, and over the next couple of weeks I’ll post my results for you all to enjoy.

My find-of-the-day comes from the website While there is a lot of stuff on here that would be ideal, the jewellery by Ros Millar is a particular treat. I did a little research on the designer and it seems she is a bit of an up and comer in the jewellery world. She displayed at Goldsmith’s in London this year and has apparently just opened a London-based studio.

Classy but youthful, her jewellery range is a breath of fresh air when you have had to search through the mountains of uninspired rings and necklaces out there. The website delivers internationally, so get ordering before it’s too late.


The J Explained

Living in China, it's not long before you realise that emoticons are part of, not only personal texts, but often work related emails. And yesterday I was talking to some friends about the meaning of the rogue capital J that appears at the end of certain emails.

I thought perhaps it was a half a smiley, or a slang sign off term used by the Chinese. I was wrong.

If this J has puzzled you in the past then let me offer you the wealth of my knowledge. Well, the information I found out this morning on Google.

As it turns, some email accounts convert smilies into full emoticons rather than just the old school :). When they do this and your email doesn’t support the wingdings font it turns it in to a J. Who knew?

Okay, so that wasn’t totally Shanghai-related but it's interesting nonetheless.


Style TALK: On Location at the Lanvin Release

I promised yesterday that I would bring you photos of the release of Lanvin’s collection at the H&M on Huaihai Lu. And as promised I did go down there camera in hand ready to deliver. Unfortunately, while I did have my camera, I forgot to put the battery in… my bad. So it looks like you’re going to have to do with my flowery descriptions and a couple of sound bites from some shoppers.

The most popular items as far as I could tell were the t-shirts in the picture above. So if you see someone wandering around Shanghai in one of them don’t be fooled by the avant-garde look, it’s H&M.

I asked one shopper why she was queuing to buy the clothes. She explained to me that it was all about having it first. “I know in couple of weeks everyone will have these clothes. But before they do, I can be fashionable for not much money.”

Perhaps the most amusing thing I saw was a group of Chinese girls standing outside the shop rummaging through their bags and comparing what they had bought. Each one was cooing at the others purchases before bringing the exact same thing out of her bag, and asking the others what they thought.

As I was leaving the area I saw an older gentleman, maybe 60 years old, with his young local girlfriend. He caught my attention as he left the store and said: “I love this sort of thing. She really wants the stuff and it’s so much cheaper than a day out at the IFC.” I’ll drink to that buddy.

All in all, my foray into the fashion world was enlightening and kind of scary. I now I have a better understanding of what drives the local fashionistas, but have become acutely aware that some of them will stop at nothing to get the items they want, whether that means queuing up outside in the cold or convincing their rich boyfriend that they really need a new addition to their wardrobe.


Style TALK: Lanvin

As it turns out a new line is getting its, apparently, long awaited release tomorrow (Tuesday 23 November) at H&M on Huaihai Lu. Not having seen everything in the collection, it is not my place to judge the people who are planning to queue up to buy some pieces from it in the morning. However I’m going to anyway!

The collection is a collaboration between H&M and Lanvin. Already released in the States it has been wildly successful. I had to Google who Sofia Coppola was, but it turns out she is quite famous, and had a little to say about the collection: "I think Alber Elbaz is great, I love what he does at Lanvin, and it’s so girly and playful and confident. It's so cool he's working with H&M, it makes it so accessible to all kinds of young people to be able to afford it and wear it".

I just don’t get it…

Why are you queuing to buy clothes the day of release when they are designed for the mass market, cheap, and not exclusive at all? Granted, the clothes might be nice but are they really worth getting up at the crack of dawn for? I don’t think so.

Check the blog tomorrow for answers to these questions and more. I think I'll take my camera; there are bound to be plenty of mental cases frothing at the mouth to get their hands on this stuff.

One final word… it’s H&M people, get over it!


Sport TALK: Where to watch the Ashes

The Ashes are on their way in under a week and the editors at TALK, and by that I mean me, are very excited about it. The bad news is my boss is an Australian, the good news is she doesn’t often read what I put up here. With this in mind, I can officially declare that Shanghai TALK will be whole-heartedly supporting the mighty English from when the first ball is bowled, to the moment that the English team lifts the tiny urn on colony soil for the first time since the '80s.

If, like me, you’re not going to want to miss a single minute of the greatest sporting competition known to man, then I have a couple of bars that will ensure a good time whether you're English or, god forbid, Australian.

Looking for a quiet pint, friendly bar staff, and most importantly, not too many Aussies? Then how about Park Tavern? Beers run a little expensive but I have yet to be there and not have a good time. The food is also surprisingly good, with the chicken pot pie rocking my socks off every time I order it.

And if you’re of the Australian persuasion then Camel is as good a place as any to watch your team lose. I’m not going to lie, I wont be touching the place for the next month or so. Saying that, if the atmosphere is anything like it was during the Arsenal-Tottenham match over the weekend, it's going to be quite an experience watching the games there.

Last, but by no means least, is Big Bamboo. With locations all over the city, wherever you live you aren’t far away from one. Drinks are cheap during happy hour and with regular deals there is always a way to eat/drink on a budget.

Wherever you end up watching the series, I’m sure England can count on your support. Rule Britannia.

Where: The Park Tavern: 840 Hengshan Lu, near Tianping Lu. The Camel: 1 Yueyang Lu, near Dongping Lu. Big Bamboo:123 Nanyang Lu, near Tongren Lu, Hong Mei Entertainment Street, No. 20, Lane 3338 Hongmei Lu, 381 Hongfeng Lu, near Biyun Lu



Anonymous's picture

Response from The Boss

As much as I would love to devote this comment to reasons why the Aussies are going to ground the Poms to ashes in this Ashes series, I'm actually more than a little terrified that this is not going to be the case. Whatever happens, I'll be at Camel quietly hoping for the best, and if a miracle occurs and we happen to win back this tiny but all-important trophy - you will never hear the end of it.


The Boss


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