Some of you will remember him for his messy hair, and others will remember him for his tight ass, but Aric Queen is back, this time with a hairband. The former City Weekend nightlife columnist, one time Shanghaiist contributor and serial podcaster found himself wanted by the police for a series of videos that he had been filing for Current TV under the name Shanghai Diaries (not to be confused with Dan Washburn’s 2002 blog of the same name). Aric is going to tell the story of his exile from Shanghai in a new series which we presume is starting pretty soon.
Here’s what we already know from a post in his personal blog dated Aug 12:
I’ll never forget the intersection I was at yesterday when I got the message, as it will always be associated with a sick feeling. Kind of the way I can never listen to Inner Circle’s ‘Rock With You’ as that was the last song played in my car before I walked up to greet (name removed), my junior-year girlfriend, back from her summer holiday, and she broke up with me…I digress.
There I was, enjoying (as you can see from the previous post) the wonderful town of Solo and I get an SMS from someone who is not known for their over-dramatics saying ‘Please call. Urgent’. This person has never said ‘urgent’ about anything. In fact, this person isn’t the ‘urgent’ type. 3 seconds later they called to inform me that the police had just shown up at their office looking for me, as I had done a few projects out of there. They confiscated my phone number, email address and bank records claiming I was somehow involved with Tibetan support. No doubt this comes down to ‘the diaries’ , but thank God I walked when I did. I don’t think I’m headed back. Anyone who knows anything about the current climate knows they could make my life hell, as they have done for countless others. One friend thrown in prison for 10 days without his contacts (rendering him legally blind…in a cell with 10 others) and the police did not notify the consulate for 5 days (it’s supposed to be 2). Another friend of a friend had her passport confiscated (highly illegal) without given a reason why. This is happening all over China, so when I say it’s becoming a police state I’m not exaggerating.
So why go back? Sure, my stuff is there, but thankfully, a friend of mine helped out and it’s now in a safe place. Clothes? Yeah, sucks, but only a few things were worn enough to justify a moment of silence. Books and DVD’s, sure, it’s also a pain, but I’d read/watched most of them. The important stuff is safe. I don’t think I’m headed back. I didn’t like it there. I have a few weeks left on my flat (one of the things I’ll miss the most, not the apartment itself, but the coffee talks with Scott, that’s what hurts) so I might just have a big ole free yardsale and let those who I’ll soon call ‘old friends’ inherit my ever-changing tastes. I’m still pulling in a tiny bit each month, might even be enough to get me over to India instead of rent (half, actually, Scott was paying the other half as ‘it was worth it not to have anyone else in there’) and a phone bill. I’d like that. Even Nepal. Maybe Sri Lanka. Could work out nice. I’d be eating rice and drinkin’ water, but hey, Mom promised me her enchiladas if I can get home soon. What was it Proust said, ‘We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full’, right? Who wouldn’t trade some dirty cots and a dance with dysentery in exchange for sunrise on the Ganges and a sore neck from the Taj? Fuck it. I’m doin’ it. At least, I’ll try. Seems strange though, having just given my Facebook a peek that I might not see these people ever again. That’s weird. But goodbyes usually hold more cliches than a fraternity brunch, so I’d be okay with that. The people that matter I will either see again, or know I’ll miss them. Man, talk about ‘when one door closes’ (oops – see you at brunch) mine just got slammed shut. But it’s kind of the same feeling a girl slapping you after you just requested break-up sex is. In the overall sense of things, it’s over – but man, it would have been cool to end it slightly differently.
It hadn’t really sunk in until I wrote this whole thing…now it’s surreal. This could be it. Wow.
Wow, what a difference in life 24 hours makes if you let it.
We’re still not sure what specifically did Aric in, but there were some things he said on his show during all the pre-Olympic madness that one really shouldn’t say out loud even if you really, truly, sincerely believe it with all your heart. Case in point is this video below filed June 5 on a day when he clearly wasn’t in the best of moods which totally made us go “Woah! Where did he get that from?!”. In it, Aric famously declared that “nobody wants China to fail in the Olympics more than the foreigners living here do”. When he published the video, Aric described it as being the one that might get him into trouble, and we think it did: