Chu Shi San: Model Citizen

Nicholas Quirke was in eye catching form on 24 February 2021. He began his day, as most Wednesdays began with his weekly domestic ritual of dusting, hoovering and mopping and as he scrubbed away at the Beijing dirt that drifted through the apartment he took delivery of a package of badges he had ordered to decorate his slowly disintegrating caps. These were traditional iconic images of Chairman Mao and he delightedly pinned the splashes of colour onto a couple of the ruptured items. As he was going to Tai Koo Li to get some new coffees from Nespresso for Peng he would have a opportunity to wear the enhanced garments, though the time when he would have blended into the populace with such meaningful decoration had long past. The journey was too far to cycle but it did give him a good walk from the subway to the mall where he had decided to complete his visit with tea at Pge one bookstore. he found a very pleased to window alcove and made himself comfortable. he had not been there long before he was approached by a photographer who been admiring his cap and looked and asked if he could take some photos. It was some time since he had posed for a photographer and as always he enjoyed the attention. They swapped WeChat and Instagram ID’s and he was left to continue his work feeling like Citizen Quirke had been recognised in his incorporeal home of China. There was an impressive new sculpture to honour the Year of the Ox, a luck animal symbolising auspiciousness and fortune in Chinese folklore and its design, by artist Heng Bi, is meant to send out good wishes for “all the hipsters” that gather in the locality. The afternoon sped by and he was surprised that by the time he emerged from the subway on his way home that night had fallen. He prepared himself for another night at the ‘metaphorical’ theatre with a shower and a massage before watching the superlative National Theatre production of ‘Angels in America’. The scope and relevance of Tony Kushner’s 1991 extraordinary and brave classic was impressive as was its cast and the finale, as a raggedy angel announcing the ‘great work had begun’ was breathtaking. He could only imagine its power in the theatre. Though he welcomed the opportunity of seeing these recordings of contemporary productions he was still not sure if he really liked the notion of filmed live theatre. It could not compare to the thrill of sitting in a theatre feeling the magic descend as the lights come up on the stage. However, it had demanded his attention and engaged his mind in some wonderful verbal gymnastics and when it was over he was really ready for the nights sleep.

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