Argh. I have spent the afternoon on the computer whilst YY is watching CCTV-11, an entire television channel dedicated to cat mutilation. Or at least that's what it sounds like.
OK, the subject of this piece doesn't actually involve cats but it does sound like them. And the subject is... Beijing Opera.
Now of all of the aspects of Chinese culture, I think this is the one of only two things that all expats truly agree on - and that is that Beijing Opera sucks.
Now people who like western opera are often derided by outsiders for its high-brow form, silly stories and unintelligible dialogue but Beijing Opera takes this onto a whole new level.
The protagonists - always male - have painted faces, dress up as women and wail away like cats in the process of being boiled, flailed, crushed and skinned. The accompaniment to this is a group of, er, musicians. The instruments resemble the bits of metal that Stomp decided had no musical value. There's the misshapen oil drums that they like to beat excitedly, at the same time as people rattle dischordant tambourines. Every so often when someone is really excited they twang what sounds like a piece of fence wire.
It is truly, truly dreadful.