Saturday, April 4, 2009

Undoubtedly the Best Guide to Shanghai Ever

Another plug for the excellent Shanghai-based Earnshaw Classics series of reprints on China. Some of the best, and I think most popular have been the old guides to China – I’ve mentioned their reprint of The Standard Guide to Shanghai from 1934 before in a post. Now they’ve reprinted one of the most funny and irreverent guides to Shanghai ever published (let’s be honest nobody does good Shanghai guides now – all boring museums and parks and no dope, whores and booze anymore in these sad PC days).

Tael Lights by Maurine Karns and Pat Paterson was first published in 1936 and it’s a guidebook to the seamier side of Shanghai in the mid-1930s, when it was at its most outrageous. The authors, two pretty dissolute foreigners living life to the fullest and working at least partially in a Whangpoo whiskey haze, stress the nightlife, particularly the sex and sin side of the city. Political correctness hardly enters into it thankfully. Even the accompanying Sapajou cartoons and maps list the best bordellos and bars rather than maps now that point out the dirge that is People’s Square and such innocuous “delights” as the ridiculous Xintiandi and boring shopping malls as if this is all people can enjoy in our horrendously sanitised 21st century.

The “nymphs de pave” chapter starts by telling us that, “No small part of the nocturnal street scene in Shanghai is contributed by the ladies whose commodity is love, cash and carry." Another chapter is called “Fleshpots” which is a collection of dives that make the sad wanna-bes of Bar Rouge or the tackiness of Tongren Lu all too apparent to the modern reader – who, for instance, wouldn’t pass on a night at the ghastly vandalism and snobbishness that is 3 on the Bund when offered the Venus – “The Venus begins to come to life at about three when some of the other spots begin to close.Four kinds of people go there. The people who don't go to Del Montes, the people who want to sin conspicuously, the people who want to sin inconspicuously and those who have that happy alcoholic feeling, and want to keep it.”

The ad opposite is for Ciro's in 1937 - couldn't find one for The Venus.

Oh what we missed! And how pathetic is what we have been given!


Anonymous said...

Stuff and nonsense. Check out one of the Japanese city sex guides.

Vincent沈游游 said...

I am writing a book about old Shanghai architecture and quite interested in "Shanghai in Foreigners' Eyes" while your blog really inspires me a lot.

Tera Gold said...

Ben's father, show your ex that he can get Ben to be able to New, and then Amy may depend on the specific date. Unfortunately, Kathleen discovers that Jack is certainly survive in the customer home team with this type of show that Jack can stay, Ricky provides an emotional farewell to you that his mother, and even Ashley admits love for Ricky.
WOW Gold
RS Gold
Tera Gold
Cheap RS Gold
Tera Online Gold
Buy Tera Gold
Eden Gold
Tera Gold Cheap
Buy Runescape Gold

wersgold said...

I am player of games,I like play GW2 games,I need gw2 gold!If you have cheap gw2 gold,I can to buy it.

Anonymous said...

Ben's pops, display him or her which he will getCheap D3 items Benjamin as a way to New, after which Amy may possibly rely on the actual day. However, Kathleen discovers which Jack is perhaps survive from the buyer household team using this kind of demonstrate that Jack port can remain, Ough has an psychological farewell for your requirements in which his mother,GW2 items and in some cases Ashley admits adoration for Ricky.