24 July 2014


Smeg

I don't know what this means, just that it's used as an expletive on Red Dwarf and that it sounds almost like a culture that only uncircumcised men are able to grow.

19 July 2014


Abandoned Neighbourhood

I revisited the abandoned neighbourhood with a few friends.

First, there was Colin Marshall, an urbanist who was in the country to learn everything he could about urbanism here. He'd already gone on my Yongsan tour and I didn't want him to leave without seeing an abandoned neighbourhood, and this one is the most happening these days. Colin is back in the US now and has published a series for The Guardian on urban Korea, but there's more to come and he's hoping to return in the future.

Also, there was Chelsea, who met up with Ivan and Kanghee when they visited her in Hong Kong. It seems like there are HK urban explorers everywhere these days.

Plus, we invited along a couple of contributors to a newly formed magazine about youth counterculture in Korea. They'd interviewed me for their upcoming first issue on punk in Korea, and I pitched to them doing something about urban exploring. The translator seemed very interested so she invited the editor along and we had an interesting walk around. Their editor knows a lot about the modern history of a lot of the furniture we came across, which added a very interesting dimension to the trip.

12 July 2014


DoIndie FWD Show

Lately I've been doing a lot of writing for DoIndie. I figure it's the best platform out there for promoting Korea's music scene, especially now when there are so many major events coming up. I've been working my way through a series on the bands playing at the New Generation of Ska Festival. Now that the fundraising is successfully concluded, it's a little less urgent. Here's a list of the articles I've done for them so far:
  • Patients English Korean
  • Team New Generation of Ska English Korean
  • Skasucks English Korean
  • Pegurians English Korean
  • Rudy Guns English Korean
  • No.1 Korean English Korean

    Anyway, DoIndie had a show at Club Ta which ended up turning into Rose's birthday. I stopped by but really didn't have the energy that night.

  • 11 July 2014


    Roots Time Closing

    Seemingly out of nowhere, Roots Time closed.

    10 July 2014


    Rooftops

    I've been extremely busy all month due to work, thanks to the International Summer Semester. We have more international students come for this three-week course than we do for the rest of the year all together. On the bright side, one of the students inquired to me about rooftopping, which just so happens to be something I know a bit about. We only managed to hit one roof, but it's one of the best.

    10 July 2014


    Deoksugung Pungnyu

    Jocelyn Clark advertised on Facebook that she was performing at Deoksugung as part of their Thursday night Pungnyu program. This is a basically free concert series (you pay entrance to the palace which is 1000 KRW. I'd previously attended two years earlier with my parents and I figured this was a good opportunity to go back.

    It was a lot more popular this time, and there was pretty well no room to sit. We stayed for Jocelyn's set and heard her surprisingly amazing singing voice, as well as one more act, then it was time to head off.

    9 July 2014 2014


    Night

    At work, someone gave me three boxen of blueberries. They were very small of course, but depending on market value this could be worth anywhere between 15-30 000 KRW. And then I left them out on my desk, in an un-air-conditioned office.

    So, I hiked up over the hill at night back to the university to rescue the blueberries. This was my first time doing this walk in this direction, and it was strenuous. But at least the path was well lit.

    8 July 2014


    Wasted Land

    Why can't I ever just have a normal walk? All I wanted to do was investigate a brownfield zone in central Seoul, and suddenly I'm scouting out an abandoned highrise. Never mind the fact that there's been an abandoned highrise just sitting there in a prominent area in downtown for at least four years now.

    Anyway, this is a bit of footwork for an upcoming article I'm going to be doing.

    Update: Nikola at Kojects has scooped me on the Sogong "golden plot" pictured above.

    6 July 2014


    Sunday walk

    I went for a stroll around the neighbourhood, which led me to discover an interesting religion I'd never really known about before, and also have a rough encounter with a security guard. You know, just an average Sunday walk.

    5 July 2014


    Billy Carter Comeback Show

    Billy Carter apparently broke up a couple months ago, and before that could sink in, they decided to come back, this time with an actual drummer. Their music has changed, and some of their older songs no longer work because the drums obscure all their subtlety, but they have new material that works just fine. Also, they released an EP in their old style at this show, which is something I wish they'd been doing frequently over the last few years.

    5 July 2014


    AA Show

    I went to AA for a show with way too many bands for the small practice space. Unfortunately I was only able to see the first four bands before leaving, but if that was when they were just getting started, things must've gotten way crazier later.

    This show was a fundraiser for Shim "Black Commie" Jihoon, who apparently has suffered a bit of legal trouble due to his political activism. Oh well, as long as he isn't paying off public nudity charges or anything. They also released a compilation album that I'm looking forward to listening to.

    And yes, I have exactly one picture of Jihoon's junk. It didn't make it into this gallery in case he ever wants to run for political office.

    1 July 2014


    Hanok "Restoration"

    This is something I've been watching closely since April. Currently the roof tiling is almost done, and then all that will be left to do is interior work that I won't be observing. So, here is a rundown of the progress so far.

    Hanok restoration requires two steps:
    1: Demolish existing Hanok
    2: Build an entirely different one in its place.

    I've also put the pictures together in an animated gif so you can see the new one replace the old one.

    22 June 2014


    Yongsan

    Still getting ready for the RASKB walking tour of Yongsan on June 28. This time, I went back and did a thorough walk around the railyard, following roughly the path I've been planning. It all took around two hours. Of course I made a few other pitstops that won't be on the tour, so it might actually go a bit faster. But probably not.

    The deadline for signing up is Wednesday I think. The more walking around I've done, the more confident I am this is going to be very interesting.

    21 June 2014


    Team New Generation of Ska Fundraiser

    Team New Generation of Ska (English) is working on putting on a free ska festival in Sinchon at the end of August. They're raising funds to keep the price at 0 despite the fact they're bringing in three bands from overseas. To that end, they put on a fundraiser at Thunderhorse on the weekend.

    I've also been working on an article series about the participating bands, and we just published one on Skasucks (English).

    I met up with Redboi and his wife after their return to Korea, as well as Walter and his daughter who also recently arrived back in Korea (Walter's daughter said this was her first day). She wore very big impractical high-heel shoes, so Walter sent her out barefoot into the street with some money telling her to go find new shoes. Somehow she did and even found her way back to us.

    The show went well, though I have no idea how much money they raised. If you haven't yet, there's not much time left to donate.

    16 June 2014


    From Mannam to IPYG: another Shinchonji cult front

    Remember a couple years ago when I attended the world's largest cult event? Here's an update on what everyone's favourite* Korean cult has been up to since then. Long story short: they created a bunch of new cult front groups, then suddenly pulled the plug on all of them. But they'll be back.

    *Hear me out. Their attempts at deception are hilariously easy to see through, and they're not quite as notoriously destructive as WMSCOG or JMS I'd say.

    15 June 2014


    Yongsan Electronics Market

    I returned to Yongsan, this time with a tripod and a respirator. Having the first makes a world of difference in photography, and having the latter makes breathing feel a little safer, even if you're not breathing as fast as you'd like sometimes. This time, the demolition has progressed respectably. I think they might have to slow down here as they take down the escalators. But I know nothing about demolition, and the hollow area might help them move faster.

    I'm preparing for my RASKB walking tour of Yongsan on June 28, and this demolition has forced me to change my plans. Originally we were going to walk through the market, but now that's pretty well impossible. I doubt the building will even be standing by the 28th. I'm committed to keeping this walk trespassing-free, so it's suitable for anyone who can stand all the walking. It's 20,000 won for RASKB members and 25,000 won for non-members. Also, we have a Facebook event page, but that doesn't mean you don't still have to register through the RASKB.

    14 June 2014


    Durchfall

    I don't think there are many other people who would go to both a garden party and a Durchfall concert on the same day. Well, Durchfall will only be around for two shows anyway, before their drummer Chris leaves the country. This is Ken's second limited-time project, so I made sure to attend.

    14 June 2014


    RASKB Garden Party

    Every year, the RASKB has a garden party at either the American or British Ambassador's residence. This year it was at the British Ambassador's residence, which is on the grounds of their embassy. Basically, we drink a lot, listen to some live music, and socialise. Other than lecture afterparties, this is really the only strictly social event the RASKB hosts each year.

    13 June 2014


    Inside Bicheondang

    The doors of Bicheondang open fairly often, and the interior is much nicer than most of the other sealed buildings in the old Sungkyunkwan campus. A program is run for kindergartens to bring the kids over for the day and have them try a lot of different traditional events, including wearing Hanbok and participating in a tea ceremony. I just hope they aren't giving those kids caffeine.

    10 June 2014


    Protest

    After work, I headed over to Somerset for the RASKB lecture on Korean stamps, which turned out to be more fascinating than it sounds, as I predicted. Only I missed half of it due to the extremely heavy traffic.

    Turns out this was the anniversary of the June Democratic Uprising. I ran into some Korean punks I knew in front of Insadong and they filled me in. They had hoped to march on Cheong Wa Dae, but that never works out for protest movements. This date also has a much older significance to Korea, being the anniversary of the June 10 Movement of 1926 when they protested against the Japanese occupation.

    During question period at the lecture, we heard a great deal of noise outside as the main body of the protesters marched by.

    8 June 2014


    Yongsan Redevelopment

    I'm in the process of preparing for an RASKB walking tour of Yongsan, but every time I go to the area to scout it out, I end up finding something new and bizarre. Now, the main building most of us know as Yongsan Electronics Market is being torn down. This building actually used to be one of Seoul's main bus terminals, but apparently that role changed with the opening of Nambu. The building was quickly turned into an electronics market as vendors moved here from Sewoon Arcade. I have no idea where they are now.

    I really need to return here with a tripod before it's too late. It looks like demolition will be pretty quick.

    7 June 2014


    Kitsches CD Release

    Here are some pictures from the Kitsches CD release. I showed up a bit late due to the gay pride parade. Fortunately I didn't miss Mixedfits, which made an unadvertised appearance. The Dead Gakkahs also played another great set, and the Kitsches ended the night with a strong performance. I really enjoy shows in Badabie and I like the lighting and weird wood paneled stage. Much more fun for photography than Spot.

    7 June 2014


    Gay Pride Parade

    On June 7, a bunch of moral degenerates filled Yonsei-ro. Of course I'm talking about the crazy Christians protesting the Gay Pride Parade.

    I was reminded this was happening when a number of my friends began posting about the crazy Christians trying to blockade the event. I went down there and didn't see that many Christians, but I did visit a couple decent rooftops.

    6 June 2014


    Dunburgers

    I forget who suggested that name, but hopefully it won't stick around. A while back, I was eating at a Korean galmaegi restaurant, and due to the sauce they used I thought it tasted sort of like a burger. I wondered what it would be like to substitute all the ingredients in a Korean barbecue meal with the ingredients of a hamburger. It still looks fairly Korean if you can get over the bright colours of the condiments; don't be surprised if you think this closely resembles tteokgalbi.

    There has been some discussion among some of my friends that this is basically an Atkins burger, but that overlooks the eating method. There have been mini-burgers done before in this style, but even that example treats the burgers as more of a salad topping rather than a lettuce-based delivery system. Still, that site has a few useful suggestions that would improve my own recipe.

    5 June 2014


    Underground

    The subway holds a lot of secrets. Probably the best ones are around this station, which both has a secret platform I'm still unable to get to and a tunnel under construction.

    4 June 2014


    Election Day and Geeks Music Video Shoot

    We had Wednesday off for the elections, and I was registered to vote.

    Also, the Geeks were shooting a music video at Yogiga. I stopped by to make sure there was a guy holding a beer can in the background at some point in the video.

    Speaking of music videos, last month I went to the recording of a music video for ...Whatever That Means, which is now completed.

    1 June 2014


    Hangover Day

    Just a few pictures from early in the week. No relation to that new song.

    31 May 2014


    Pegurians at Ruailrock

    Quicker than I expected, the Pegurians started playing shows. This is the first time I can remember that a reggae band was started exclusively by members of the Korean punk scene. They're part of the New Generation of Ska Festival happening in August, which I wrote about for DoIndie here (and Korean here).

    I would never have expected a band like this to start in Korea. But sure enough, here it is, and it's amazing.

    This was Leon's last weekend in Korea, so we made sure he had a good time. Also, when we first met at This is Chicken, I was surprised to run into the wedding afterparty for Boram of Samchung. I wish I'd had a chance to go along for that. The GMC guys always seem to have the most fun at weddings, or at least that's the impression I always had.

    29 May 2014


    SKKU Natural Sciences Campus in Suwon

    I paid a visit to the Suwon campus of SKKU. I used to live right next to it way back in 2009, and of course my first year in Korea wasn't so far away either. The Suwon campus has a much more relaxed atmosphere than the Seoul campus, and I'm not sure whether it's just the differing attitudes of engineers/scientists vs business/arts students, or the more comfortable campus, or something else. Anyway, I was in no danger whatsoever in this picture.
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  • Please remember that these photos are all copyrighted to me. If you want to use them in any way, there's a 90 per cent chance I'll give you my permission, and be able to give you a copy with a higher DPI.
    Copyright Daehanmindecline 2013