After a refreshing sleep in Stanley (away from the road) I got the maps out and started to plan the trip properly. I had traversed three quarters of the world in about three quarters of the time, though I had my biggest landmasses to come. The ancient nation of China spread out in front of me, and I hoped that I could handily get through it via train. Which is when I had my first of many crises, there was no direct train. Instead I had to hitch-hike into the mainland.

I hate hitch-hiking. Not just because it was a dodgy sixties dance. Not just because of Roger Waters’ “The Pros And Cons Of Hitch-Hiking”. Well okay, mainly for those two reasons (the nude on the cover of TPACOHH illustrates everything that was wrong with THE WORLD in the early eighties). But I got my thumb out and within no time I was sharing a lorry with a thick set, slightly malodorous truck driver.

Who listened to Convoy.

Why do all truck drivers listen to Convoy on a perpetual loop? Its not as if I listen to songs about hating music on a constant loop to try and justify who I am. Okay there are a couple of logical flaws in that argument:
a) There aren’t any songs about hating music
b) If there were, they would be music, what I hate
But you get my point. But I put up with it for the transport down the Chinese Way into the heart of the worlds most populous nation. Even after that Wham! concert – yet another China Crisis for me.


Yes, yes: Black Man Ray. But I have not come here just to eviscerate one racist song by this bunch of chancers. No, this is much worse. This is the whole bands ouvre. China Crisis, Liverpool Crisis more like.

Think about it. People always talk about Liverpool as some sort of musical holy grail town. If you were to accept that the Beatles were something special (I am not, but you fool might) its not as if other bands of similar stature have even come from Liverpool. Let’s look at the evidence. The Zutons. Case closed? No need. The Christians! Not enough. SPACE! I’m running out of bolds. Here have a look at a list twelve piss poor bands from Liverpool. AND IT DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE HORROR THAT WAS CHINA CRISIS. The Boo Radleys are seen as being better that CC. Gives you some sort of idea of how poor they were.

The early eighties was a foetid hunting ground for many bands, but like a very poor mans Tears For Fears, China Crisis went about there business of being annoying in a lumpen, deliberately bad way. Black Man Ray has been mentioned, a metronomic ode to tedium and Ray Charles, who they had noticed was black. But may I present King In A Catholic Style (Wake Up) as their true nadir. The Wake Up in brackets was a hint to any sonambulent buyer to not to get the damn thing. Later aped by the Boo Radleys in their Wake Up Boo, which equally got bought more than a song like that had any right to be.

It is unclear what King In A Catholic Style is about – though there is some suggestion that it is on the fascinating subject of Polder reclamation in a Holland run by George Bush Snr:
The residential black sea band
they rose up out of a sinking sand
the presidential elect man said
for what you want take me instead

What else can that mean. But its attempt at being jaunty and danceable showed their limitation was pretty much in just making music. They burned away quickly, when people actually Woke Up and realised how rubbish they were.

Really there is little I need to say when their first two album titles tell you what utter twats they were:
Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms (Some People Think It’s Fun To Entertain)
Working With Fire And Steel (Possible Pop Songs Volume Two)