Last night T’s band Tetsukabuto (‘Iron Helmet’) played a concert. Before they went on stage, they had an air guitar contest — the prize being a real electric guitar! A backing band made up of members of various Okinawan metal bands, fronted by my friend Teru, and dressed in biking leathers in a simultaneous tribute to “Birmingham, UK’s Judas Priest!” and the popular Japanese TV celebrity, Hard Gay (who specialises in performing stunts and interviews while dressed as a leather-clad, Village-People—style 1970s gay stereotype). Members of the audience had to jump around on stage and play their imaginary guitars as extravagantly as possible while Teru screamed out a Judas Priest cover and Masa — Tetsukabuto’s front man — watched with a clipboard, giving the participants marks for ‘moves’, ‘attitude’, ‘rockingness’ and so on. Here are some snapshots. The winner, if you’re interested, was the young man who may be seen second from the bottom on the left, and second from the top on the right.
On which note, I must now pack my bags because tomorrow morning I am going back to the island for New Year. My pre-predecessor, who I haven’t met yet, is coming too (it’s been nearly six years since he left now), so it should be interesting.
Have a good New Year, wherever you are. Let’s hope something good happens in 2006. 良いお年を！
A couple of weeks ago I went to watch some bands in a Naha live house. I had a bad cold, and the first two (of three) bands were pretty dull guitar bands, so I was just about to leave when the final band started setting up a laptop, so I decided to stay and see what they were going to do. Good job I did, because the laptop turned out to be played by a dancing, scary-face-pulling man dressed as a skittle. He provided electronic beats and noises over what was otherwise a fairly straightforward (but nice enough) rock band. He moved like a madman. At one point he jumped off the stage, performed a mid-air backflip in front of the audience, and went running off somewhere before appearing on stage again, waving his arms in the air, a minute later.
In the last few months, the internet has been my main source of music (along with Andrew and Graeme). It’s partly that cds are expensive in Japan, and partly that a while ago I came across 3hive, which regularly posts links to interesting downloadable music.
So, seeing as how I’ve almost entirely failed to send out any Christmas cards or presents this year, I thought I would make a virtual compilation tape for you who might like such a thing — a collection of some things I have found and liked in the last few months. The track-listing is below: the track names (left) link to the music, the band names (right) link to the band’s homepage, wherever I’ve been able to find one. Download them all, make a playlist in the order below, and there you are… Merry Christmas (though most of this music is, truth be told, neither especially merry nor Christmassy). Tell me, though: do you particularly love or hate any of this music? I would like to know!
Note: some links you will have to right-click and then select ‘save link target as…’, otherwise they’ll just start playing in your browser. (crossed-out links are now broken)
All the above links are downloadable at the time of posting, but because they’re on external websites, there’s no way of knowing how long they’ll be available for. If you find a link no longer works, please let me know.
I might make some artwork for it at some point.
If you were to want to burn this compilation into an actual cd, this should do the job (on Windows, anyway).
If you are an artist who for some reason is unhappy about being linked to, please
email me: hello [at] lightvesselautomatic.org
, and I will unlink.
I could write about how excited even a pessimist like me gets when I think about the implications that all this freely available music has for the future of everything: about how technology has now made it feasible for musicians (and artists, and writers…) to slip modern capitalism’s constrictive, joyless grip and distribute their art to thousands and thousands of people with money barely entering into the picture… but I won’t.
Unlike the others, the final, bonus track is not a recent one, but it’s there because (a) it is from Smashing Pumpkins’ final album, Machina II, which was possibly the first, and still one of the only major records by a big famous band to be given away free on the internet — which even five years later seems pretty radical; (b) I think a barrage of blistering rock makes for a nice, unexpected wake-up smack in the mouth after several quiet acoustic songs; and (c) Smashing Pumpkins are the greatest rock band ever.
A couple of Sundays ago I went for a late afternoon wander around Fukushu-en, Naha’s small but beautiful Chinese gardens. Warm late afternoon light with lots of shadows falling across walls and the sound of running water everywhere. A nice place.
I just came across this news item from four days ago: the headline might just as well be Woman Convicted For Reading Aloud In Central London. I’ve been trying to think of some way of interpreting it other than as a demonstration that freedom of speech is now officially a thing of the past in the UK.
I have just this minute realised that you should be careful with powerful liquid glue, because when you puncture the foil that keeps it in the tube it might respond to the sudden change in pressure by squirting out onto your hand, and if that should happen, it will have set before you can even reach the sink to run your hand under the tap (as if it was even going to be water-soluble anyway!) leaving the first joint of one finger and the tips of a couple of others coated with a plastic-y substance with the texture of concrete which you will then have to choose whether to spend the next few hours scraping off, or alternatively leaving for whatever almost certainly hellishly long time it takes to peel off naturally.
I have learnt also that there are compelling reasons not to buy the cheapest glue in the shop, and that it is tempting fate to say to a friend as you choose it from amongst the various available glues that you are buying the liquid one for the express purpose of seamlessly gluing your fingers together. Because you were not buying it for that purpose — you were buying it to repair the clip that snapped off your walkman.