8,008 km so far.
Update on Jane: She is still sick. How sick is she? Tonight, one of her favourite bands, Efterklang, played in town. A friend from our long-distant life in London put us on the guest list. And yet, Jane stayed home.
Jane’s note: You may have noticed that Efterklang’s Magic Chairs appears all the time in the soundtrack listing at the bottom of our posts. That’s because I listen to it constantly. They have taken me up many a mountain on this trip and I was gutted to miss their show.
The only other time we’ve seen Efterklang was in Austin at a small bar during SXSW. They played at the 4AD party, while Serena Maneesh manned the barbecue, but that’s another story. It was a great show then, with about 30 of us packed tight in a smoky bar, and they were terrific once again tonight.
Pyramiden (It Means The Pyramid)
Caspar, the lead singer, told us about Pyramiden, for which their latest album, Piramida, is named. Pyramiden is an abandoned Russian coal mining town on the island of Spitsbergen, north of the northern tip of Norway. A couple of years ago the band travelled there and made field recordings that became the bed tracks for their latest album.
Jane and I have been pretty far north in Norway, but this made our trip 400 miles north of the Arctic Circle seem pedestrian.
When the miners left Pyramiden, they didn’t pick up their belongings, they didn’t really pack. So clothes still hang on hooks, tables and chairs sit looking out the windows of homes, and a few polar bears mingle with the tourists who come to see it all. Sounds like the perfect place for Efterklang to find inspiration for their evocative soundscapes.
As the show came to a close, one of my yoga students came up and said hi. Yulia really surprised me. I used to bump into students all the time in LA, but I’m not yet used to this happening in Shanghai. I had a great talk about yoga, Romania (her home country), and life in general with her and her partner Mihai, before I headed off in search of a late, late dinner.
I wish Jane had been well enough to come tonight; I don’t mind going to shows alone, but I know she would have loved it. But, before we left LA she forced herself out to see Wilco at the Hollywood Palladium when she was far to sick to be out of bed. As she wisely said to me tonight:
Remember that time we went to Wilco and I was sick? I don’t.
One of my friends from LA came to my yoga class today.
Wendy is in town for a couple of days, on tour with Priscilla Ahn, another LA friend. It was incredible to see Wendy, to have her in class, and to be able share a bit of my new life with old friends. I know Wendy from my days in the music biz, and to be able to offer her even an hour of yoga in the midst of a tour made me very happy.
She brought along Sasha, who is also in the band, and today Priscilla told me that the class inspired Sasha to take up yoga. I hope he sticks with it. LA has some of the best teachers in the world, so I hope he can find someone to continue inspiring him when he gets home.
Shades Of Grey
As promised, I continued my work on Black & White photography today. It’s so nice to get out of bed and wander around the city looking closely at things.
There is so much history in the buildings of this city, especially in the places people live.
The alleyway entrances to residential areas are fantastic.
Public spaces here have more personality than we’ve seen in the newer Chinese cities.
Nobody has a yard, so life is lived on the street.
Sometimes I like to take pictures of cats.
That’s the end of B&W Shanghai for now. Tomorrow I’m going to explore all the angles. ♥
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