About fifteen years ago, I was living in Liverpool, and, as unlikely as it sounds, I took part in the great Chinese New Year parade that that fine city holds. Liverpool has the oldest Chinese community (and the largest Chinese arch) outside of China, thanks to its old trading links with its twin city, Shanghai. The city has three kung-fu clubs, perennially warring, who provide the lion, dragon, and other animal (I seem to recall it being something at bit rubbish, like a unicorn) in the parade. Those most senior in rank perform the dances, which are both incredibly difficult and unbelievably tiring. For my own part, I held aloft a staff. But I was just happy to take part. On Sunday morning, London’s Chinese community and hundreds of thousands of others welcomed in the Year of the Horse. The Chen brothers’ lion dance was exceptional. But the staff-holding wasn’t quite up to my elevated standards.
Photos: Courtesy of Patrick Grant