■ 23:58 (UTC+08:00), 14 JUL 2018 | CHN CHAOYANGMEN, BEIJING
It happened earlier this year in Inner Mongolia: my once-trusty Shure mic, which “clipped” onto the Lightning connector, decided to give it the quits. Happily, I had backups: a “traditional” iRig iMic which used the usual audio connector, and the USB variant, which I used.
I was “mic-trained” before those that you could wear on your ear became big (or the Bluetooth variants, now part of many a new iPhone). I grew up when Mandopop divas went onstage with a handheld mic and an extremely long cable, so to me, sound recording absolutely equated with an old school microphone you held in your hands. For a long time, I had wanted to make the audio set at home work for me. (You’re seeing dedicated microphones I use in documentaries, sound recording, and backups, as well — I go through my mics at a very fast rate, as there is a casualty every 100 stations or so!)
The USB/Lightning mic I carry on me (which now has an occasional scratch or so) has recently been “converted” to become my podcasting-only microphone. I carry this with me in my black bag that I got from my BA Club World flight back to Beijing (the Swiss do re-use many, many different things!), and that goes along with my regular bag, which has my laptop and plenty of power and connection cables and dongles. I’ve tried recording without a “proper” mic and only using what my phone has: it does not sound optimal. Hence my preference for “the real thing”. This also means that I’ve finally, after many previous tries decades back, decided to enter the world of podcasting.
The podcast I’m doing, on Anchor (which I’ve found to be rather easy to use — it being new, however, and me ageing, means the learning curve appeared a little steep at times), is called David Feng’s Cities. It makes sense as either I’m in cities or travelling to or away from them (or going in transit). I’ve three I call(ed) home — Zürich, Beijing, and London. I take an interest in places I used to live as well — such as the Hopper Fare in London, the new Zürich Tram Line 8 stop at Hardbrücke — and of course, my usual cities — of course Beijing, but also Tianjin, Shanghai, and Hong Kong…
As with all things Swiss and David Feng, this is a completely independent show. I am not funded by, or beholden to, any alien authority (but then again, I’m usually not extremely political or religious, either!). The shows are independent and don’t come with or accept annoying advertising (but if I stumble upon a gem in the rough, I’ll be sure to let others know provided it’s worth knowing!). These shows are generally between three and five minutes a show (occasionally up to 10 minutes) and are released about 4-5 times a week. Think of them as personal insights into a city as long as the average inflight BA announcement by cabin crew — somewhat chappy, hopefully witty, but always aiming to be as informative as ever.