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My Weekender is a weekly column written by changing authors selected from the Beijing community. According to the various tastes, interests and backgrounds of its authors, My Weekender serves as a window into what residents in the city are doing with their time off.

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[My Weekender]: Thomas Gaestadius

Feb 28, 2014

Thomas Gaestadius (AKA Donald Summer) has been grinding it out in the Beijing nightlife industry for about 9 million years now, but these days, he grinds pig meat straight-up as the head sausage artisan at Wudaoying eatery Stuff'd. SmartBeijing stopped by his apartment to see what he was doing this weekend. He was sitting on his couch listening to Taylor Swift. Serious.

***

My name is Thomas Gaestadius And I'm from Sweden. Gothenburg. I've been in Beijing eight years plus.

I moved to Beijing because I felt I needed to go away from Western society. I wanted to go to a place that felt like it was just starting out. Like a place that felt like it was at the beginning again. I thought Beijing would be like that, but it was just an illusion really. [Laughs.] Things are just the same here. Turned out to be exactly the same.

I came over here because I was doing my Master's thesis. I was studying logistic -- the logistics of transportation. My thesis was on the logistics of transportation between Sweden and China, like air freight, shipping, things like that. So that's how it started. I liked the city so I stayed. So, at first, I was teaching at the university where I did my research. They asked me to teach logistics and marketing, so I was doing that for a while.

After that, I started getting into organizing parties and events and shit. I started doing the NO+CH festival. Basically, that's Nordic plus China. We were working with the Nordic embassies and they were sponsoring us to bring over these really nice acts. I did that for three years. And then after that I did Baicai, which was like a party organizer kind of thing. We brought over a shitload of DJs -- Toni Rios, Loco Dice, that sort of shit. Me and Max Bureau [The M, Haze] did that.

Then I started White Rabbit with Yan Bing and Fu Yan. We did that for two years. That was really nice, and then we got shut down. Then we opened up White Rabbit 2.0 in Sanlitun and it sucked. We had a bunch of morons coming in [laughs]. We did that for, I don't know, a year or something. Way too long. Should have been a month. And then, after that, we started Haze. Did that for a few years.

And then I'd had enough of nightlife. And then, Stuff'd.

Beijing has changed so much over the years. You go back to a neighborhood that you used to know and it's not even there anymore. It's crazy. It can't compare to Europe or any place in the world. My favorite areas of Beijing is everything inside the second ring road. Everything outside sucks. But the second ring road, everything is just beautiful. It's like the Venice of China. Without the water, I guess. It's a really nice place. The rest of it is a bunch of cheap fucking buildings, but inside the second ring road, it's dirty and nice. I love it. It's dirty and nice.

So Stuff'd. I'm the sausage maker, beer maker and part owner, and I work on it every day. How do I make sausages? Well, first you get a pig and then you kill that pig [laughs]. Grind it up and put some spices in it. I love the whole thing about sausages. My idea with Stuff'd is to make sausages from all over the world, you know. I've tried sausages from many places and I just want to do that. I'm working on a Belgian sausage with cabbage and carrots, an Indonesian sausage with chicken, and a Thai sausage with a little bit of rice and curry in it. Sausages are a traditional thing. I want to try to honor that tradition but at the same time reinvent it and do my own take on it.

This Friday night, I'm playing at Dada bar. It's going to be really nice. Me and Will [Stuff'd owner] playing back to back with Patrick Yu opening. We'll play quite trippy techno. Out-there techno. Try to play shit that nobody plays in Beijing. I know that's a cliche that everybody says but I really believe it. So that's what I'm doing this weekend.

Will I live in Beijing forever?

Um. Probably. Yeah. I don't really see myself anywhere else. When I go back to Europe it's nice but... I don't know…

I love this weird fucking place.

***

As told to Morgan Short

Photo credit: Feng Yu