It's not easy being a celebrity, attending endless receptions and VIP parties, so my recent hometown holiday in Tianjin was just what the doctor ordered. Whenever I return to my roots I head straight to a downtown teashop called the Qing-Cha Bubble Pot, which serves oolong tea and plates of my favorite snacks, "ear-eye" fried rice cakes and "take no notice of the dog" steamed buns. It was here that I made my debut as a cross-talk performer and got into a fight after making jokes about one of the patrons. Generously, the owner does not hold this against me.
Much of the teashop gossip focused on a local lady known as the "Tianjin Mouth", who has upset traditionalists in the cross-talk community by performing naked. I worry that I will have to follow suit, though I am cheered slightly by the fact that television makes one appear bigger. There was also talk about constructing an Aussie Rules football stadium, costing around $1.5 million. Not many people know that Tianjin is twinned with Melbourne, I didn't, but that was the explanation given for building the white elephant. I just can't imagine my homies charging around after a rugby ball shouting "g'day mate, fancy a vegemite sandwich?"
On my return to Beijing I was perusing the newsstands when I spied our nation's sweetheart, Zhou Xun, on the cover of Time Out Beijing, with a leaf glued on to her upper lip. I suspected the actress and singer was promoting some novel kind of moustache-like body adornment for women, or alternatively a natural air purification system. It turned out that she was recently made a UN goodwill ambassador for the environment. The green moustache is still a mystery.
On Saturday night (back in the swing) I went to a champagne and models reception at Hilton's Zeta bar for fashiontv (www.ftv.com), which positions itself as the favored portal for fabulous fashionistas. At the party clean-cut foreign fashiontv presenters with strange English accents mixed with skinny models, who got top marks for posing but failed to do much more than wiggle uncomfortably on the dance floor.
One of the party hosts brought me up to date with the latest goings on in celebrity circles. Like the models, it was thin pickings. The only remotely interesting snippet was news that next month 57-year-old billionaire Terry Gou is planning to marry dancer Delia Zeng, 34, after a whirlwind three-month affair. The headlong rush into nuptials has the press speculating that Zeng is pregnant. At an event attended by the couple journalists popped the shotgun marriage question, but Zeng was keeping mum.
Hu Deman, legendary Beijing crosstalker and confidante to China's biggest celebrities, talks to Jules Quartly
(China Daily 06/11/2008 page18)