Wu Bai & China Blue

We make a side trip to Taiwan to meet Wu Bai.

Born Wu Jun-lin in Xindian, Taipei, Wu Bai grew up primarily in the village of Suantou—meaning “garlic village”—in rural Chiayi. There are many apocryphal stories about where he got his nickname, but the most commonly heard one is that it came from scoring a perfect one-hundred in five subjects when he was a kid. 

After flunking his university exams, Wu Bai moved to Taipei to turn to music. He worked a number of odd jobs: insurance salesman, streetside vendor, and clerking in musical instrument stores. Reportedly, Wu was fired multiple times for practicing the guitar on company time, instead of trying to sell to customers. 

Wu describes his style as “lonely,” “dark”, and “sad”. More here.

Naipaul, just being himself

“Even while Pat was alive, he had spoken publicly – in The New Yorker – of his pleasure in having found sexual satisfaction in middle age with Margaret in Argentina. In this same piece he also delivered himself of some choice Naipaulisms: ‘I have an interesting mind’ and ‘I can’t bear flowers’ and ‘I have no more than a hundred months left’ (that was in 1994; in 1979 he had also said he had only a hundred months left) and ‘I can’t stand the sound of women’s voices.’”

Naipaul meeting Nadira the first time in Pakistan while his wife lay dying in London.

As with many stories about Vidia, at least two versions of their meeting existed. The first described Mrs Alvi as an admirer of his work who approached him at the party and said, ‘Can I kiss you?’‘I think we should sit down,’ Vidia said.

Sir Vidia’s Shadow: A Friendship Across Five Continents – Paul Theroux