After getting settled down at BNDS and starting to compile contacts from my amazing colleagues, it occurred to me that I could have a bit of a social life outside the job. I had already met up with Susan, who Josh had put me in contact with, and I suddenly remembered that Christophe had passed on the contact info for his cousin Imre. I promptly called him up and before long, it was evident that we could offer each other something: he had a wine bar that needed some live entertainment, and I was a musician looking for a venue.
Not even a month in a new country and already headlining a swanky wine bar – not bad! BNDS friends came to show their support and a good time was had by all. I even have the original set list around here somewhere.
Little did I know that a chance meeting from the night before would lead to a more enduring musical project. I went to the Bookworm to check out an act that had been described in the Beijinger as a “burlesque performer,” but when I got there, a Chinese girl was singing covers with a guitarist friend as accompaniment. She had the gift of gab between numbers, and when the set was done, she came over to my table to say hi and ask if I was enjoying myself. She introduced herself as Lulu, and when she heard that I was performing the next night in a wine bar on Nanluoguxiang, she suggested a collaboration. She was not happy to hear that I was getting paid in wine! “C’mon Rob, you’re just going to make it harder for the musicians who have to make a living doing this.” We had a couple of rehearsals at her place near Dongzhimen, and a couple of gigs at Parlor in early October. Early November we played Beermania, then Pandabrew with Gabriel and ET.