Friday, 25 September 2009

Texas please

Packing away my worldly possessions I bust the zippers on my suitcase. This in turn led me on a rounded tour of various Jukjeon tailors, ending with me in the hidden corridors of Shinsegae Department Store as a nice chap with an English lisp endeavoured to help me with my plight.

Walking out I heard some nice synthpop beaming from the poles outside Shinsegae. I stood by one trying to work out the Anglo voice - Lily Allen maybe? Turned out to be overhyped starlet La Roux, Reflections are Protection. A rather brave choice; maybe Universal decided to take a gamble after all and try push her in SK along with Japan (I was privy to a conversation with Universal execs after a day of posing as Eminem to promote his Relapse CD in the COEX. I never blogged about that, did I? Well I have now).

I'm listening to her album now; it's okay. She definitely won't break Korea.


Being unemployed and caught up in a civil petition as I await my return home, I'm finding all the days mould into one, livened up by Friday/Saturday excursions to foreigner-heavy Seohyeon down in Bundang. The tune of the moment is most definitely Poker Face by Lady Gaga. A song I originally dismissed for its euro-diva chorus has now snuck up on me and nothing gives a headier thrill in the club when it pans in with a subterranean wave, turns into rude blue guttertronic stutters and nasties up into the skanky army trail of the first verse

I wanna hold 'em like they do in Texas, please
Fold 'em let 'em hit me raise it baby stay with me
Luck and intuition, play the cards with spades to start
And after he's been hooked I'll play the one that's on his heart

The club goes wild. I've heard it forever, these passing days as one.

I should go home and work.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009


Behind a petrol station I found this lovely temple.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Oedipus Marshall

Try head down to the Naim June Paik Art Centre in Yongin when you can, and watch the 30 minute Oedipus Marshall (Javier Tellez, 2006) when you're in there. That link will tell you all.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Ddongpari 똥파리

Finally saw 똥파리 Ddongpari aka Breathless this week, a much acclaimed movie from last year. I really recommend it, powerful stuff. The acting from Yang Ik-Joon and Kot-bi Kim is sublime.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Taekwon V Tower

'giant robot taekwon v statue will be six times as large as giant gundam statue'

It's actually going to be a tower with an exhibition about Robot Taekwon V on the ground level, an observatory in the chest area with another astronomical one based up in the head.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Haing mengleng follows me

I'm fascinated by this advert for Lotteria's 30th anniversary burger, the 불새버거, half shrimp half beef, real traditional Korean cuisine (or, K-usine).

Is it the odd choice of Franco accordion soundtrack? The Harvey Dent/Gollum battle between the two psyches as they debate between fish or bulgogi? Maybe just the 3-dimensional plastic make-up job on the actor, much like the Burger King monarch or Maximum Headroom, who has a memorable moment barking 'burgher! burgher! ...burgher' 3 times in a row, dying Shakespeare.

Whatever's going on, somehow an advert actually worked on me for once for the very next day I ordered one of these frankenfoods and found it to be very scrumptious.

MC Mong, stupid song

Yet irrepressibly jaunty.

Here's a funny story. I don't have an aerial connection on my TV, so I only know about two Korean dramas - the one which is basically Mulan all over again, and Tamna, which I blogged about last month in derision. Cue a few weeks of mockery of the show with friends relating to yellow fever and the general bad acting & writing on display, plus the freaky looking nature of the white guy they cast as the nobleman washed up on the shores of Jeju island. And what happens when I pay a midweek visit to the Korean Folk Village? Why, I stumble on the set of the making of a brand new episode of Tamna (freaky looking white guy nowhere to be seen). What are the odds. Here's a snapshot.

*Please note Simian Mobile Disco are DJing again in Seoul on Saturday the 12th, this time at Club Answer, or new club Mansion/Manshion?

Monday, 31 August 2009

The Stone Buddha of Mabuk-ri

Yonghwajeon Temple, Yongin Local Relics No. 52

Sunday, 30 August 2009


With my school bankrupt and closed, I was bored sitting around at home so I hopped on the Bundang Line and came across Bongguksa 국사 Temple.

Walking in the grounds I met a former MC turned monk, who invited me to eat noodles & dumplings with others in the monastery. Aged 23, he was a freestyler in Seoul just 5 months before taking up his studies in the temple. Really nice guy. Thank you MC Mandu x

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Last Angel

In Bundang's Last Angel: A guy with an eye for the guys hoisted me up to the elevated dance stage overlooking the bustling main floor space. Here we go again I thought.

'Where are you from?'
etc etc im a teacher etc
'Is your mother Korean?'
Wasn't expecting that one. No.
'...Is your father Korean?'

Today I popped down to the corner shop, stumbled across a pansori performance at the local temple. Shame I'm leaving this place soon.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

x kino

Lately on Twitch there have been some fantastic reviews of Korean cinema by the always excellent X. Read his takes on 김씨 표류기 (Castaway on the Moon) above and 반두비 (Bandhobi). Also a trailer was posted recently for September's 내 사랑 내 곁에 (Closer to Heaven).


Found a cracking blog here on graffiti in Korea - Wall Art Korea, and out of Taiwan it's Tagging Taichung.

This post was brought to you by Uncle Tomato, proudly leading the British Invasion since 2008 x

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Top Tracks of the 2000s

As inspired by Pitchfork

#1 More Than A Woman Aaliyah

and the rest in no particular order

Go With The Flow Queens of the Stone Age

They Removed All Trace or Branches Bare - Hood

Fatalist Palmistry Why?

I Luv U Dizzee Rascal

Egowar Gang Gang Dance

Leyendecker Battles

Save Me Save Me Xiu Xiu

Hey Ya! + Prototype - Outkast

Lost Cause Beck (plus Cellphone's Dead and the 2 singles from Guero)

Feel the Love or Hearts on Fire, oh and Future deserves a mention - Cut Copy

Adlai Stevenson Sufjan Stevens

1 Thing Amerie

Get Me Off or Plug It In or Romeo - Basement Jaxx

Get Along With You or Good Stuff - Kelis

Lady Modjo

The Seed The Roots

Do You Know Squarepusher Squarepusher

Harder Better Faster Stronger or Digital Love (or even Face To Face) - Daft Punk

Gravity's Rainbow or Golden Skans - Klaxons

Bucky Done Gun M.I.A.

Middleclass Stomp or A Tale of Apes - Subtle. Anything on the 13&God album too

In The Morning or Double Shadow or More Than Real - Junior Boys

Anything on the Hissing Fauna album by Of Montreal

The Future is a Mesh Stallion Neon Blonde

Yoshimi Pt 1 Flaming Lips

Long Distance Call Phoenix

Beach Party Air France

Grass or Did You See the Words- Animal Collective

Rolex Wiley

We Are Your Friends Simian v Justice

Give It To Me Timbaland

Best pure indie songs (PONANA) -

Banquet or The Prayer Bloc Party
Apply Some Pressure Maximo Park
Brianstorm Arctic MonkeysLast Nite The Strokes
Evil - Interpol
C'mon C'mon Von Bondies

Sunday, 23 August 2009

I fell in Cheonggyecheon Canal

Walked into a local convenience store yesterday around 3am and found a little 8 year old boy at a laptop manning the counter, dolled up mother hiding outback in a white blouse and blue skirt. It was a Saturday, just let the little bastard rest for once!

And that same hour as I walked back home some high schooler with his friends shouted at my back 'Night is dangerous!!' Melodramatic but a nice change from what usually gets bellowed at me.


Today 3 of the local techno marts are all holding sales on the same day, up and down the same street, meaning many scantyclad women on the mic standing beside clowns on stilts and dancing inflatables.

Friday, 21 August 2009

...Whatever That Means


...Whatever That Means are a promising alt rock group just starting out in Korea, half American half Korean.

They play a free gig tonight the 21st in shItaewon.

More live music...

Melt Banana play two gigs this weekend in Hongdae, 25k each. Support comes from Lazy Magnet, who's touring Korea this month, supported on Thursday 27th by Yano Shiku, Urasawa Satsuki, Sen Yukie, Fujieda Musimaru (japanese butoh dancer), and Itta (from 10). Day after catch him with Sato Yukie & Kopchanjeongol (a Korean 70’s psychedelic cover band), Korean folkers Anakin Project, plus Jap psych-garage with Kawaguchi Masami’s New Rock Syndicate.

29th you'd maybe wanna catch retro garage group OH! Brothers at Ssamzie Space in Seoul.


This sounds good - on September 19th a bunch of bands play with the added twist of being set up at the same time along the perimeter of the venue with the audience right in the middle. Each band does one song at a time, no breaks, back to back to back etc., until the show is done. Info here on SUPΞR C۞L۞R SUPΞR. Oh and Round Robin, cos it's a Round Robin event. Bands include 10 and Japan's Henna Dress. The Samiyam tour also looks good (US nintendo fuckery).

October 24th brings the Grand Mint festival, headlined by Maximillian Hecker.

Hello Baby!

SNSD aka Girls Generation look after a baby.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


A fantastic review of this year's 마더 Mother went up yesterday on Twitch. Mother has been picked to represent Korea at this year's Oscars.

Coincidentally, Bong Joon-Ho's previous films The Host and Memories of a Murder were picked by Q Tarantino this week as two of the best films to be made since 1992. One other Korean flick gets a mention there, Joint Security Area, which I'd never heard of.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

탐나 Tamna - The Island

A young English nobleman sails to Japan, crashes into Jeju instead. Gets saved by a Jeju mermaid. Remarkable.

A Radical New Korean Drama?

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Scully Doesn't Doesn't Know

I borrowed the first album by Korean indie trio Humming Urban Stereo 허밍 어반 스테레오, the 2cd Very Very Nice! and Short Cake. Their style? Well, one song is named The Lady From Ipanema so that's a big indicator. When I first listened, one song's loungey refrain sounded remarkably like 'Scully doesn't doesn't love you...' Not wanting to believe, I just assumed it was her accent's take on sayin 'Cos he'. But no, the song's actually called Scully Doesn't Know, and it was released in 2005, 3 long years after The X Files actually finished making new episodes. Outdated perhaps, but the song's a cult hit in SK, even leading to a 'sequel' song on HUS' sophomore release entitled Mulder Does Know.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

변태 !! aka My Favourite Subway Ad

Have you seen this infomercial? Always makes me laugh. A pretty young girl sits on a Seoul train, reading a book. Opposite her is a pervy 40something peering over the top of his newspaper at her with the most OTT overacting, sweaty brow with a few nervy strands across it, having a good old lech at the young maiden, waggly eyebrows and parched lips. Next to the girl sits another brute male, a businessman reading over her shoulder, who then begins rubbing his leg against hers. More OTT melodrama as the young girl cringes in pain, scream within her temples.

I always see this advert on the subway TV, yet yesterday I just couldn't stop laughing at its ridiculousness. Love it!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

wawoo deux

Track back one post for more on Wawoo

wow woo Wawoo

You must go to Wawoojongsa Temple in Gyeonggi-Do.

You must.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Iron Man

Of men and irony: my boss ushers me into an empty dark room without a word. This is yesterday afternoon. 'Here we go' I think. Right on cue he twists me round and mimics anal intercourse, fumbling for my crotch. Does it again in the office, armed with the aircon remote. 'I don't like boys' he mumbles after as precaution. Tries again in public as he waits for the bus, seeing me leaving work. Nutter.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Global Gathering '09

Prodigy - Girls

Somehow you can buy tix here for Global Gathering 09, a dance music event happening on September 19th by Han River, headlined by The Prodigy, Royksopp and MSTRKRFT.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

banana & dumplings

Recently I posted about Korean solo artist Haihm and her curious remix work on the new release by K-starlets Brown Eyed Girls. Thanks to the excellent treekingdom, I found Vol. 1, her debut from 2008. I was expecting some harsh avant garde in the vein of her chopped up BEG rmx, but instead the album's half hazy lounge like the lone single above, and half subtle 2step sadness. These beaty tracks like April's Snow are definitely worth a listen - have a download here. Maybe Haihm's finding a more experimental direction for her next release judging by her '09 output - turns out she produced the wonderfully quirky picopop track I mentioned in my original post about the Brown Eyed Girls new CD, the must listen Strange Days. You'll heart it.


You'll also enjoy this fantastic blog on art & film events in Korea, Art'n'about in Korea. I've been looking for a blog like this for a long time, fantastic. Discovering Korea is also worth a look.

August events:

The 24th Asian International Stamp Exhibition is on now at the COEX mall, ends August 4th.

Korean Indie Animation fest in Myong-Dong until August 8th (thanks to Gerly). I can't find any details in English alas.

There's also the 9th Seoul International NewMedia Festival, but again, no details in English.

And finally, why bananas and dumplings? Cos that was school lunch today, when I bumped into my hokey jokey new boss Mr Lee, who saw me come out the elevator and, without a word, tried reaching down into my underwear, to then bearhug me from behind like salsa when I pulled away, touching my poor chap and exhaling a saucy 'Oohf', sizzling burns from my trousered crotch.

I watched him go outside like nothing happened, my mind shedding yet another chunk of its sanity in his wake.

Shin Sang Cheol Hula Dance !!

More recent listening. and your mother won't leave you alone...

Capsule - You Are The Reason. Great track by synth dance duo Capsule. I got their CDs Flashback and More More More in Tokyo, really decent stuff with shades of The Knife, Tiga, Crystal Castles, even Kylie.

Lo Fi Fnk - Want U

Air France - June Evenings

Cassius - Almost Cut My Hair

Morning Mesume - Love Machine

After School - Dream Girl. K-pop cover of the J-pop classic above. Girls Aloud meets a bump of French house.

Jewelry S- I Like You More

The Host 2

News on a sequel to Korea's highest grossing movie, 괴물 The Host, courtesy of SciFi Japan. The original's good fun if you take away the awful American actors involved and the at times uneasy collision of comedy and tragedy amidst the schlocky monster mayhem. Cloverfield ripped off the creature's design as well.

Monday, 27 July 2009


Found through Naver. This exhibit can be seen at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon. Thanks to my student Jake who helped me work that out, haha.

I finally visited the Dissonant Visions showcase at the Seoul Museum of Art in City Hall. There I saw Ji Yong Ho's sculptures made out of tire rubber, Bull 1 being especially grand.

Also happy I saw the Image of Youth photo showcase at the Ilmin Musuem of Art in Jongno. Really try to see these photos of Korea's adolescents at work and play. 2000 entry.

More art on Naver here

Friday, 24 July 2009

Zombies hit Seoul

Twitch at the PiFan festival reviews Korean flicks The Neighbor Zombie, A Good Night’s Sleep For The Bad and Private Eye.


Following my last post on the Brown Eyed Girls' newbie Sound G, Indieful Rok reports on an interesting bonus remix CD by various Korean electro alumni of past hits. There's a nice drum n bass remix by Fraktal which comes at you like a rhythm made out of brown paper, very 90s, while DJ Cloud and Saint Binary serve up some cool house cuts. Really interesting is the 'rebuild' by Haihm of Second, a harsh track that cutsup the original through digital hardcore. And I just googled the name - Haihm's a girl! She's hot! Hot girls don't make such industrial nastiness. Wow

Born in Seoul, Korea, haihm played the piano from an early age and graduated from Seoul Arts Highschool. Shortly thereafter, she studied at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria in the Klavier-Konzertfach program. Thank you Here are some of these rmxes anyway

Added to the blogroll

Kimchi Style

you stay there, you're fine

And with the zombies down South, this is what's happening up North. Well, Beijing actually

'Pyongyang Paradise’ in Beijing Casts North Korea in Soft Focus

The Pyongyang Art Studio

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Abracadabra. Picopop

I think Brown Eyed Girls will own the second half of '09 with new mini album Sound G.

Abracadabra starts off an awful lot like that track Wa by Jun Jin 전진 I posted a while back.

This one, Strange Days, is very picopop.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

And your mother won’t leave you alone. And your father won’t leave you alone.

In a minute things can change, at least until you get home...

It’s the middle of the night.
That’s my favorite part,
Keeps me under the gun...

Recent listening

Holy Ghost - I Will Come Back

The Juan Maclean - One Day

Wonder Girls - Headache

Monday, 20 July 2009

You're Born to Cry

Julia Hart - Prayer. The best of Korean indie. Just lovely

Saturday, 18 July 2009

HA! smile AAA (i ♥ NY)

Caught stars in her arms

Hello, hello kitty, happy in New York City...'

more of the same