“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh…

Posted: August 18th, 2019 | No Comments »

I have a review of the excellent thriller Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh in the South China Morning Post this week – https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/books/article/3022878/beijing-payback-daniel-nieh-paints-picture-perfect

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Opium and Whiskey…Ban them all!

Posted: August 14th, 2019 | No Comments »

Prohibition was introduced in the United States in 1920. In 1919, in the arguments in the run up to the Volstead Act, some pro-Prohibition American newspapers decided to equate whiskey with opium, and the American government’s active attempt to ban opium trafficking, in what became a rather confused argument….

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Who wouldn’t want to read this story….

Posted: August 13th, 2019 | No Comments »

Who wouldn’t want to read this story….

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Another Spot to head to After the Hai-Alai…The

Posted: August 9th, 2019 | No Comments »

I posted a couple of days ago on the Barcelona restaurant opposite the hai-alai fronton at 305 Avenue Roi Albert (Shaanxi Road South)…Just close by was also the Sevilla at 316-318 Avenue Roi Albert…probably arguing for the same clientele after the hai-alai….

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Lady Bredon on Chuan Pan Hutung, 1922

Posted: August 8th, 2019 | No Comments »

Readers of my books Midnight in Peking and Badlands will know that in the 1930s the hutongs of Chuan Pan and Hougou, just off Hatamen Street (Chongwenmen Dajie) became the epicentre of the foreign Badlands of Peking. However, in the 1920s, at least according to the Peking Who’s Who of 1922 no lesser personage than Lady Bredon lived on Chuan Pan Hutong.

Lady Bredon was Juliet Bredon, the author of a number of good books about Peking, particularly Peking: a historical and intimate description of its chief places of interest. – which Lady Bredon was Juliet Bredon, the author of a number of good books about Peking, particularly Peking: a Historical and Intimate Description of its Chief Places of Interest. – which was published in 1922, so we can assume she wrote while living on Chuan Pan Hutong. Bredon was the niece of Sir Robert Hart of the Chinese Customs (and write a rather indulgent biography of him).

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Made in Shanghai: Tropical Bungalow Kits

Posted: August 7th, 2019 | No Comments »

In the 1920s and 1930s as the colonisations of British Malaya, French Indo-China, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines were underway the demand for tropical bungalows using corrugated sheets was booming. William Jacks & Co of 1 Hong Kong Road (Xianggang Lu) supplied demand straight from Shanghai in kit form – walls, floors, windows, verandahs, roofs and perimeter fencing, all in one handy easy-to-assemble kit. It’s puts IKEA to shame…

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August 25 – the Midnight in Peking Official Walking Tour is back on….

Posted: August 6th, 2019 | No Comments »

It’s only happening one this summer – August 25th – thanks to the good folk at Bespoke Beijing and Penguin China…

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Where to get the Hai-Alai gossip in Old Shanghai – The Barcelona…

Posted: August 5th, 2019 | No Comments »

The Barcelona restaurant was virtually opposite the hai-alai fronton at 305 Avenue Roi Albert (Shaanxi Road South)…it was very popular with both hai-alai fans and players….There was a small dance floor for anyone who wanted to dance with the notoriously handsome Basque hai-alai players…

This Barcelona is not to be confused with another joint called the Barcelona – a Jewish-run cafe-bar up in Hongkew that had a good amateur football team that hung out there and served excellent goulash and nockerl dumplings apparently.

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