China Prices

Shawn walks into the dimly lit pub, a basketball game is playing on TV and there’s background music playing. He sits down next to Pat.

“Two minutes left, up by two.”

“Perfect timing,” answers Shawn, “they need this one.”

“This is the worst song I’ve ever heard.” 

Shawn laughs, “Do you remember the band China Crisis?”


“Maybe it would have been better if it was called China Prices.”

“That sounds like a wonderful name for a late 80’s nu punk band, maybe we should start a late 80’s nu punk tribute band.” jokes Pat.

Shawn laughs, then coughs, spilling some beer on his beard, “Our first EP should be called Dirt Cheap.”

“Dammit, they lost.”


This is a story of two locals at a pub watching basketball and talking about starting a band. However, there’s a few things that should be clarified — the band will never record an EP, play a show or even have a practice, but, it will take on a life of it’s own.


“You missed it, they won,” says Shawn as Pat sits down at the bar.   

“Thank god, they haven’t been playing that well at all the last few games.” 

“Monday was stupid, it’s as if they’ve completely forgotten how to play defense.”

“When’s our first band practice?” jokes Shawn. 

Marc, sitting two seats away from Pat and Shawn overhears them and interrupts, “Wait, you guys are starting a band?”

“Yep, China Prices,” quips Pat. 

“What kind of music, 90’s boyband?”

Shawn smirks and corrects Marc, “We’re actually a late 80’s nu punk tribute band.”

“Seriously? I love punk!”

“Yeah, we’re working on an EP titled Dirt Cheap,” adds Pat laughing. 

“Oh, so you’re actually starting a band, holy shit, need a bass player?”


The hypothetical band grows to three and there’s at least one member of the fictitious faction that appears to know how to play the bass, and, he doesn’t seem to understand that this is a joke. It reminds him of his high school pop punk/metal band Ripper Tide. The two founding members run with it because it’s funny.


Marc walks into the pub and sees Dan sitting on the corner stool. “Me, Shawn and Pat are starting a band, I’m playing bass.”

“Seriously? Like a band band?” questions Dan. 

“Yeah, like a band band, that plays music and records songs and plays shows.”

“I guess that kind of makes sense, they both love music, I think Pat actually toured for a while too. What kind of music?”

“Late 80’s nu punk.”

“What the crap is late 80’s nu punk?”

“I think it’s a British reaction or response to the Ramones, Pat was telling me all about it, I don’t really know that much about that time period, I’m more of a Blink 182, Metallica guy. I’m just stoked to be playing bass again.”


The bass player, who actually thinks this band is real spreads the news. He tells Dan. Dan likes telling people things, especially about other locals at the pub. He’s already China Prices biggest fan and he offers to help with promotion, album art and is looking into getting them a gig at the Atomic Rooster.


“4:35 left in the fourth quarter, down by 11.”

“They better hold on, they’ve lost four of their last five games.”

Dan sits next to Shawn and Pat. “I hear you guys are starting a band, how’s the practice going?”

“Who told you that?” answers Shawn, confused and intrigued. 

“Your bass player, I got some contacts at some venues, I can’t wait to hear what you guys sound like, I’m not to familiar with late 80’s nu punk.”

“Our bass player, eh?” questions Pat. 

“Yeah, Marc, he told me all about it on Tuesday, China Prices, that’s a sick name, and you guys are doing an EP called Dirt Cheap? How did you guys come up with such awesome names? I’ve done album art before, if you guys need something for your EP, I doodled some mock-ups.”

Pat and Shawn look at each other with guilty stares. “Dan and Marc actually think we’re starting a band.”

“Yes they do.” 

Pat looks at the bar tender and asks, “Laurie, have you heard about our new band?”

“Yeah, I didn’t know you were musical, Dan was telling me you’re playing a show in two weeks at the Rooster? I’ll be there!”

Pat looks at Shawn and asks while laughing, “Do you know how to play any instruments?”

“I can play maybe three chords, you?”

“No, not even a little bit, I guess I could sing, I really don’t want to though.”

“Hold on, with Marc playing bass, I can strum my three chords and you singing we could totally be a late 80’s nu punk band.”

“You know there’s no such thing as late 80’s nu punk right?”

“What? Don’t be silly, it’s a British response or reaction to the Ramones, of course it’s a real thing.”

John Ramsgate

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