Up the Peng Ke!

Written by Life

Months ago, on a mission to simultaneously party with Zakhar, introduce Eric to something other than the mainstream, and cleanse Marta’s sweet soul of Celine Dion’s foul taint, I dragged my friends out in full metal regalia to a Beijing punk rock show. At least that’s what was on the flier. “Up the pung kuh suh!” it said. “Pogo Qi Lai!”


When you think of punk, ‘elusive’ is not the first word that comes to mind. The six of us stood against the stage ready for moshing mania, a beer-fueled angst extravaganza, a rollicking vacation from the foreigners’ endless necessity to smile pleasantly and answer in the positive. Someone brought out bongo drums. I withered a little, on the inside.

“Buffarro sor-ju,” they wailed, and Bob Marley died all over again. “dled-rockuh roshta.”

I would have cried, but sobbing in army boots is only appropriate when you’re surrounded by the bodies of women and children you mistook for Viet Cong.

After witnessing the seeming convolution of punk in China, I suffered a rare form of embolism which experts say is caused by Lackis Surprisis, a medical condition that’s induced by, or often occurs after a bad Keanu Reeves movie, a partisan newscast on Fox, or receiving disappointing cunnilingus.

Besides punk, other things that are tragically unappreciated/misunderstood in China include:

1) Star Wars. Quaigon Jin is not an Arab. Please don’t ask me that again.
2) Pizza and stretchy cheese thereon. Pizza eating in China is a middle-class affair and relatively mirthless.
3) Foreign languages. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but your tattoo says GLARPF. No, that doesn’t mean “lucid butterfly” in English.
4) Communism. You can tell you’re a Communist country when everyone’s starving. Obesity in China is on the rise. Uh oh.
5) “I’m full.” No, really, I’m about to rupture something. Please don’t put that on my pla… thanks.

So yeah, Beijing’s punk rock scene was elusive, but the other night, motivated by Zakhar’s reassurances that it actually did exist, I found it in an irreverent mob outside of Cheng Fu Lu’s Club 13.

Stepping outside of the taxi and into a state of higher being and suddenly and joyously surrounded by baby-faced teenagers with glue in their hair, it spontaneously started raining as I fell to my knees and cried out for the boundless mercy of the Buddha and his gifts of otherwise boring men made attractive by good boots.

Life just got that much better.