'Campus Lullabies' singer keeps fans awake all night

By Han Songluo ( China Daily ) Updated: 2008-07-16 09:15:00

Early one morning, I awoke suddenly to a ringing telephone. It was my friend Baozi. "Do you know who came to our home last night? Lao Lang!" said an excited voice.

Baozi has a good friend whose surname is Lang. "Is this something worthy of waking me up to tell me at this hour?" Baozi (which means "steamed stuffed bun") repeated: "It was LAO LANG! The singer of 'Campus Lullabies!'"

I was stupefied for a moment. Those who spent their formative years on campuses in the early 1990s couldn't be more familiar with this name, meaning "Old Wolf," and his songs about sadness, yearning, and the restlessness of youth.

When I calmed myself down, I corrected him: "It's not 'our' home, but 'my' home."

After I moved away from Lanzhou, capital of northwestern Gansu province, I allowed Baozi to stay in my apartment in the city. I'd never minded his saying "our home". But this time, it seemed different. Lao Lang was in my home!

It turns out that one of our friends, Song Hui is a friend of Lao Lang's. When the singer had stopped in the city, a small gang of longtime friends and fans rallied to see the famous singer.

"I usually go to bed before midnight. But last night I didn't sleep until 1 am. I felt something was going to happen, and then I got this call. Tell me, is this fate?" Baozi said, his voice trembling with excitement.

When he met the singer, Baozi immediately brought out his treasured collection of all the albums Lao Lang had ever issued. This included treasured tapes and CDs, ranging from "Campus Lullabies" to "Beijing's Winter".

"Luckily, I never bought any pirated copies. Otherwise I would be ashamed to death!" Baozi added.

Baozi recalled how he found each of these precious recordings. Lao Lang was evidently moved; he "had tears welling in his eyes," my friend recounted. The new friends sang and talked until 6 am - which was when Baozi decided to call me.

The singer obviously made quite an impression in person. "He is very amiable, very polite. When others speak, he always looks at them." As if feeling flattered, Lao Lang repeatedly assured him: "Baozi, I'm just a common man." However, my friend came to another conclusion: "The niu-est (ox, which means great, tough in Beijing dialect) man cares the least about his fame."

I remember how our old friend Song Hui used to run both hands through his hair, rubbing his locks backward, whenever he got excited. Did he do the same last night? "His fingers almost got abrasions," Baozi said.

And what about Baozi? "I was neither haughty nor humble, both warm and calm, not a bit like Song Hui!" Yawning, Baozi told me he now must finally go to sleep. I immediately dialed Song Hui for more details.

I related Baozi's observation about Song Hui's fingers. He sneered: "As for Baozi, he squatted opposite Lao Lang, saying every three minutes or so: 'Are you really Lao Lang? Am I not dreaming?' I am ashamed to death!"

The article first appeared on Southern People's Daily

(China Daily 07/16/2008 page20)

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