Accidental Death of an Anarchist

Nicholas Quirke was not referring to the demise of himself or anyone else in the title of his Blog of 20 August 2020 but the Dario Fo play, which he was going to see in Beijing that evening and directed by one of the country’s leading directors, Ming Jinghui. He had woken that morning with more purpose than he had felt for a few days. Lighter and refreshed from his fast he felt his energy had returned and this feeling was testified by his rapid and thorough cleaning of the apartment though his enthusiastic attempt to clean the windows ended in creating more work as the dirt dripped down the walls. Peng had another dental appointment and Nicholas had arranged to meet him at a cafe in the Galleria Mall. He had already arranged that he would have a FaceTime meeting with Penny to discuss their Podcast plans and once he had ridden the subways, winning the hearts of some Chinese when he gave up his seat so a mother could sit with her children, and then cycled to the location. Its was another smart mall but it took him a while to find the coffee bar which, was tucked away in the furthest corner of the basement and uncomfortably close and sharing seating with a KFC. It was great to chat with Penny and talk about the proposed recordings which she proposed they call ‘Chat from China’ and his zealous disposition about the day persevered. Peng‘s appointment had taken longer than expected and he was going straight to the restaurant they were going to eat at before the Play. He was excited to be going to the theatre once again and intrigued to see a play he knew was interpreted in Chinese. First they were eating from  the new Vegan menu that Qmex were now producing and as he cycled there he got involved in a gesture conversation with an old white haired Chinese lady at a crossing. Her smile when she saw him lit up the street and after a “Ni Hau” she indicated his bike and said “Beijing”, and from this he surmised that she was delighted to see a Laowai on one of Beijing’s renowned modes of transport, or she was simply delighted to see him in Beijing. Whatever they were trying to say to each other and could not understand did not matter they were both very happy with the exchange. The Mexican meal was very tasty and was an opportunity for them to Check out films to see in the Beijing Film Festival, though most had been booked out already and to discuss his next trip in China’s interior. He was trying to get to see as many places in China as he could while he was still at liberty. He did not know how much longer he had to enjoy the country at the hospitality of the People’s Republic of China and as he couldn’t work travel was the best and most informative way of spending his time. The theatre was an ‘experimental’ studio space, ‘The BeeHive’ and was packed. To his amusement the social distancing seating seemed at odds with the policy in the foyer where people were crowded and standing close together. It was a long time since he had seen the play and though he was familiar with the plot, following the Chinese layered production was a little problematic. The dialogue delighted the audience, who were fully engaged in the performance, which went over his head and Instead he enjoyed the physicality and the vocal gymnastics of the cast. The end resonated with the Chinese audience and the partial tribute to Dario Fo and Frankie Rama was moving. As they left they were given a free gift of slime, though he was not sure why but it was oddly surreal. They enjoyed an ice jelly in a nearby mall before going back home. He felt oddly deflated and remote by the end of the day despite it satisfying his tastes. It was unusually this mood which took he took to sleep with him.


  1. Good to see the domestic goddess back at work! Loved hearing about your exchange with the lady at the crossing xx

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