Apologies To My Readers (HarperCollins, 2013) is the eagerly awaited debut memoir by legendary China expat Rich McConnell. Best known for his advocacy of a woman’s right to choose sex on a first date, McConnell also paints, plays the zither and even writes.
In Apologies to My Readers, McConnell take the reader on a wild journey into the pitch-dark soul of China: its foreign nightclub scene. Check your inhibitions at the door, and prepare for Gonzo action galore in this exclusive extract, below.
I’ve learned a lot about China over my many months scrutinizing it. A lot. The culture; the politics; the language, not so much. And, of course, the people – especially the women. I’m a massive respecter of chicks.
Yet there always seemed to be one thing missing from my reading.
Never mind Tibet, Tiananmen, the economy, pollution, food scandals… all that stuff. Where was the Real China? The one that people abroad usually don’t see: like foreigners getting drunk in bars.
Basically, my insane lifestyle!
It’s never been done before. Sure, it’s been done before. Countless times, in books, blogs and magazines. But the point is, it’s never been done before by me: a handsome Canadian.
“But Rich,” some people ask. “Why you? You’re actually kind of dull, really. Why not someone with some decent stories – someone’s who actually done some stuff? Or at least, someone who’s not you.”
To which I simply reply: “Read the book.” Or better still, “Buy the book, ha ha ha!”
Seriously, guys: I have done some wild and crazy shit stuff in my time here in China. So, have you buckled your seatbelt yet? Because this ride gets bumpy.
OK, so, for example, this one time, I went out with an older guy from work and probably drank, maybe, five pints of beer. No, wait – it was four. Four pints. We were drinking in Sanlitun, an underground den of iniquity in Beijing, the capital of China. You could sense the constant danger all around us.
“Can we get some drugs and hookers?” I mused aloud at one point. “Asking for a friend.” Later on, my pal went home with some girl who, I’m pretty sure, was not his wife.
That’s when I realized. I had to share these adventures with the world. Otherwise, what was the point of me? What was the point of China?
Obviously, that particular story’s not in the book. I had to leave some of the racier stuff out, mainly as I don’t want to alienate my core demographic – people who don’t know who I am.
And there are always going to be some folks who refuse to like me, or my work.
They’ll say things like: “Whoah, Rich. Why have you included this embarrassing story about US, while neglecting anecdotes that portray you as an unbridled pussy hound? I thought you hated censorship, Rich. What the heck is up with that, Rich?”
To which I will just say: “Chill, bro. You confide in me, that’s public domain. Look it up and smell the coffee. Now go troll my blog.”
As I tell all my paying customers at the monthly journalism workshops I run, no one has to actually like me. All I ask is that you talk about me.