Expo rising ... it begins

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heil haibao
Ok. let's get the main bit out of the way first:

Following the recent break out of a video of their Expo themed song Shanghai Doesn't Welcome You, Top Floor Circus have been brought in by the authorities for a 'talk'.

They have been told that they will not be allowed to 'discuss this topic' in public any more.  It is essentially a first warning but it basically translates into a performance ban. We're assuming the video will go too. People who want to check the sources of this story or verify it will have to mail me at the site mail as I'm reluctant to attach names to this. I'm sure you'll understand.

As for the band, drummer Xiao Ling confirms that if they get approval for their next show on Christmas Day, they will have to have the set list checked in advance and screened for subversive songs.

I've mentioned this on the blog before. Over here, large events lead to erosion of culture and rights. In fact, it happens all over the world at all of them. In Vancouver right now the police can enter and search your house if you are displaying an anti-Olympics sign under terrorism laws. No shit, look it up. Over here, the music scene was shut down for the period of the games and 0093 will have to move at the end of this year.

I don't know, I'm not feeling very coherent or calm right now, but it has to be said:

Everyone who lives here and doesn't have their head down the toilet knows the score. Anyone, writers, bloggers ... whoever ... that claim to support local arts and music or culture, anyone who claims to be in favour of general freedoms, should not be supporting the Expo. Or conversely, if you choose to promote that nationalist/corporate pile of shit, then you needn't talk about local culture any more. It stands for forced relocations, soaring house prices, greenwash, criminal waste of public funds and a roll back of local rights and freedom of expression.

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Andy, you're the man! (and my head goes back down to the toilet...)

haha nice graphic. godwin's law is met before the first reply.

Hey Adam

I know you're joking, although this news could not be more serious, but this has no impact or relevance to Godwin's Law at all.

If it happens in the first post then a discussion has not occurred. Also, Godwin's Law can only be shown across a number of replies as it talks about a change in probability.

You need to up your geek, dude.


It's thoroughly legitimate. The Expo's and Olympics have always been arbitrary events steamrollered into existence with little or no thought for the people who live in those cities.

Despite claims of bringing economic benefits, for example, not one Olympics has ever made a profit and the costs sit firmly in the public sector. The side effects are almost always negative, and I've listed some in the post.

The IOC heads have been some of the most repulsive people in history and I personally feel the ultimate representation of the Olympics with it's nationalism, ideology of human perfection and it's imposition on local people was Berlin 36.

I'm not making that sh*t up about Vancouver and we're now seeing here that artists who speak out against the Expo are going to be silenced and their shows cancelled.

I don't think it's time for joking.

My wife and I were at this show. At the time, she said, "They're going to get in trouble for this." I laughed it off because there were so few people at the show, but when the video stir happened I started to get nervous.

On another note, I just picked up one of those Obamao shirts and she asked me if you would get in trouble for wearing it in the States. Whiteys are so insulated from the controls here that we can forget how real and ingrained they are.

You are right Zack, and don't take offence when I say this, but it's only a certain section of "whitey's" that lack awareness and this stuff does happen back home.

I started high school in 1984, in Liverpool UK.

I did alright but the city and the community at large was in bad shape, and not because of 'natural forces'. I grew up around graffiti like "Torys hate you", our city was often on bomb alert from the IRA (who I felt made a good case) and nearby towns such as Wigan were bombed. Poverty and unemployment were everywhere, as well as the accompanying violent crime.

1985 was the year of the Rainbow Warrior and The Battle of the Beanfield.

My school was smack in the middle of our local housing project which itself backed onto a missile factory. The city centre had Marxist poetry readings and people selling Socialist Worker. We had race riots in Toxteth, and I was routinely picked up by the cops for stuff like looking different or skateboarding.

I sh*t you not, I had long hair and a rock look but lived in one of the nicer parts of town. I found my self in the station having to prove my ID on several occasions.

Especially from the two events I link, it became clear to me across my teens that as much as some countries let you say anything you like, it's just a monitored way of blowing off steam. When you actually take action or try to get change the smack down will come.

Even if you are a bunch of families and grandmas trying to save a hill: Twyford Down

But even deadlier than being unable to see that basic truth is not being that ars*d about it if it's not directly happening to you.

This is not the first time that Top Floor Circus got into trouble. Their album was banned before. This is one of the reasons why I love them so much. They didnt back down, they still sing about what they think and mostly the truth that other people or artists don't dare to speak out. This is time all bystanders wake up!m*therF*cker!

Expo bad. Olympics bad. Freedom good. So simple. Then why so bloody complicated in real life?

I think it is simple in real life, as you put it.

Could you explain how it is complicated. What do you mean by 'it' exactly?

How does your view that 'it's complicated' bear on this business with Top Floor Circus? Do you in some way sympathise with the government view on dissenting the Expo?

Or perhaps you refer to the ability of magazines or other writers to speak out against, or exclude the Expo? Like if they don't want to annoy their advertisers, for example? That's also simple to understand.

Yeah, I definitely think things are more complicated than X=good, Y=bad. If I don't agree with the government's approach to handling people with dissenting view on Expo, does that mean I am against the Expo?


You are grossly misrepresenting my post. I give several reasons why the Expo seems 'bad' to me with in depth background on one of the reasons - the Top Floor Circus story.

Not all my reasons are purely the govs handling of the Expo either.

I mention house prices, relocations, gentrification, Greenwash, the censorship, and that amount of public money used for it. All features of the Expo and Olympics in any country.

After weighing up these issues, I feel it's bad enough to label it 'bad' and be 'against' it. There is no case of bleating Expo=bad in an ad hoc way.

Now come on, what exactly is your stance, and give your reasons. Since you are kind of dismissing my reading of it as shallow you'd better explain more.

Let's just stick with Top Floor Circus, the other stuff gets too directly into epistemology. Two points to make. One, I will be surprised and saddened if this incident directly causes the downfall of the band. In fact, just the opposite could occur. Taking a principled stand boosts their street cred. Furthermore, bands that suffer setbacks due to official interference sometimes gain higher exposure in western press which ironically translates into even great market potential. Carsick Cars being not allowed to open for Sonic Youth in '07 hence Sonic Youth invite them to Europe to open a few shows. Sounds like a pretty good swap. But TFC isn't into the music for the market potential, are they? They just want to rock out. See point number 2.

Second point. Top Floor Circus played this anti-Expo song in Mao, right? I'm guessing TFC aren't idiots and could suspect possible repercussions to both themselves and Mao. Knowingly putting one of the best and brightest new rock venue in town in jeopardy? That's not exactly the most scene-friendly act. It could be interpreted as a completely selfish act.

This interpretation depends on a realistic assessment of where China is, not an idealistic view. The idealistic view, which I am guessing you and I both agree with, is that one band playing a song in a club and doing a video means so little in the grand scheme of the "big event" that it's ludicrous the authorities would even bother to care. Why not let people have their fun? I don't have an answer to that question, my man, other than to say that I think things in Shanghai are better than they used to be. Things in China are better than they used to be. And things will continue to improve.

Until the entire world is consumed in environmental disaster.

Greenwash, gentrification, censorship (of magazines and news outlets), forced relocations and misuse of public money are in the realm of epistemology? I.e. it's just a debate about if they can be known or not and what is knowledge?

You can do better than that ridiculous cop out. They are all very real issues that impact us all.

"Let's stick to Top Floor Circus." No, let's not. Let's stick to the subject you brought up and the subject I'm asking you about - The Expo as a whole and weighing up all the issues in order to come down on whether or not we think it's negative.

I'm still waiting for you to sum up where you stand overall on the Expo - and why?

Come on.

Or are you sticking with no comment because The Expo 'can't be known'.

to Lee,
Point one, a band getting banned actually is better for their career than them actually playing a gig... hmmm....well,let's just shut down whole shanghai and see how all those bands sell all their records and get signed by big label and be successful and famous...hmmm...save us a lot of work,aye.

Point two, things are better...well....what are "things"? you use "things""it" so often and not actually say what they are.people cant take you seriously can they.

point three, top floor cirucs being selfish...if speaking out your thoughts is selfish...blah blah blah,sounds like you are working for P.R.C.

TFC is right, SH sucks, yet the WE2010 is absolutely vital for an image and attitude adjustment for SH people. O.K. I'm overstating it. Nevertheless, I've family in SH and I miss them, and I always thought Haibo/Haibao is sort of a knock-off of Gumby.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on December 10, 2009 10:59 PM.

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