Author(s): James West
'I was in China and I wanted something more Chinese than Chinese: bigger, better, badder, redder. China held the promise of dragons' heads, acrobatics, mahjong and brothels. I was also expecting a display of kitsch, old-school communism: messages daubed on walls, Mao sculptures propped up against cash registers, crumbling socialist monoliths... But when my eyes hit Beijing for the first time, all this fell away.' When Sydney journalist James West lands a job at a state-run radio station in Beijing, he imagines he knows a lot about China. Then he arrives, and finds himself at a rave, dancing on the Great Wall. But is one night of hedonism on China's most well-known landmark an accurate reflection of the 'real Beijing'? Or an anomaly in an otherwise tightly controlled culture, still dealing with the aftershocks of the Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen Square? To find answers, he talks to the next generation about their experiences and frustrations, about politics and about the China they will create for themselves. Against a backdrop of the changing seasons in Beijing, a city he grows to love, he enters a brave new world of bloggers, punk-rock dens and underground queer culture. An intimate account of one young Australian's year abroad, Beijing Blur is also the story of modern China - a nation poised at one of the great turns of the global historical tide.