Wednesday, 18 November 2009

China. Day 7. Mon 9th Nov

I awake with a ton of energy and with a raging appetite for breakfast noodles.

50 yards from the studio is a noodle bar in which you can watch the food being peeled, chopped, cooked and served as you wait. On one of the tables at the back they’ll be folding dumplings while the manager of the place walks among the customers making smalltalk and hustling the troublemakers. The cook’s knife moves so fast that the vegetables seem to melt against it.

The breakfast noodles are fresh-made and come swimming in a wondrous soup of red pepper, chilli, spring onion, and occasionally some coriander. They are a breakfast to blow cotton socks off. As you eat, your eyes mist over, nose runs, tastebuds dance strange shapes previously unimagined, and then you wipe the tears from your glasses. If a cup of strong coffee is your wakeup call, noodles max it. Add to that the walk to the noodle shop thru the high stink and the traffic velocity of Chongqing – you’re awake, or roadkill.

In the studio, Yan Yan is playing Alice Coltrane’s Journey to Satchidananda, a CD that I brought along from England. It sounds enormous, buzzing with eternity, on the big speakers. It’s one of my pleasures that Yan Yan has welcomed Alice/John Coltrane and Keith Jarrett into his listening. (One of my sadnesses that he sucks his teeth with exasperation at Pharoah Sanders.) So along with operatic extracts, Chinese folksongs and Schubert quartets, we now have a small free 60s jazz thing.

I start working.

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