Cleanse and Compensation

Nicholas Quirke was at the mercy of a hard task master on 31 January 2021 as Peng put him to work on a thorough, truly thorough clean of the apartment. Having completed the minimising project it was now time to prepare for the oncoming festival and the stage of the oncoming celebration which, citizens across the country were involved in was a deep cleansing. Firstly though Nicholas went out in the bitter cold to collect the ‘Fu’ (Blessing) he designed. He was pleased with the result and looked forward, once the purging had been completed to adding it to the decorations. His design incorporated icons for blessing of youth, age, money and the need Year of the Ox. The small characters were his name in Chinese. The great clean up started with the bedroom. Everything was stripped down, curtains, bedding, window grilles and the ceilings and walls were dusted down, tops of cupboards and windows inside and out washed. The sequence was repeated through every room including the kitchen and its utilities. When everything had been completed the floors were hoovered and mopped and the flat was immaculate. It took all day, with only a short break for lunch. It was hard graft, but the reward was going to the National Theatre of China at Tiananmen in the evening to see ‘Confucius’ a dance drama telling the story of the ideologically challenged period Confucius lived in under an Chou Dynasty emperor addicted to women. Confucius is considered to be one of the most important and influential individuals in human history. His teaching and philosophy greatly affected people around the world and remain influential today. In the dance he tries to share his wisdom on politics with the emperor but treacherous ministers conspiring against their ruler thwart his efforts and Confucius’s advice for a benevolent government was useless. He was unable to escape the imperial conflicts and was forced to become a fugitive. Trapped in extreme poverty, hungry and in a snow storm, Confucius hallucinates his ideal Great Harmony but in reality wars and refugees make his world a battle field.  Nicholas loved everything about the performance from its subject matter, sublime music, beautiful costumes and the movement combined to make a harmonious whole ending in a triumphant choral strain in praise of the legacy of the renowned philosopher. His cultural soul sated the cycle home in the minus ten temperature was an easy and uplifting journey. He was not in the mood for sleep but once he had showered and been pummelled by the massage chair as he watched a Dr Who episode drowsiness overcame him and he retired for the night.

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