i had the most ballardian experience on a lay-over in hong kong: trapped in a shopping mall!
i was excited to be back in hong kong after 18 years. we hopped on the airport-express which took us to kowloon in 15 minutes. i had planned to walk around the area, go to the star-ferry and transfer to hong kong island. after exiting at kowloon station at 8am we found ourselves in the middle of the still closed “elements shopping mall” (which, according to wikipedia, caters to the upper middle class). finding any exit from this huge, multilevelled labyrinth of closed gucci-stores became a real nightmare experience, soundtracked by an endless stream of x-mas-muzak.
After 20 minutes we arrived at the main entrance, but were told by a guardian that we could not use this exit as the place was still closed. we had to go back to find another way. finally emerging to the earth surface we found ourselves inside immaculate gardens, surrounded by massive residential high-rise blocks that formed a circle around us. all attempts to pass these buildings towards the waterfront were blocked by fences or guards.
i knew where i wanted to go but it was impossible to reach. combine this with jet-lag after an 11 hour flight and the strange memory of a place that has changed tremendously during the past 2 decades and you feel like walking through an unpleasant dream.
We finally decided to find the train-station again and went straight to the island to get our dose of hong kong insanity.
Found this pic this morning on my tumblr and couldn´t stop looking at it! I have no idea where it came from and why it is there. It originally linked to 4chan but it must have been removed. You have to see it bigger that´s why I put it up in my header.
Maybe it´s just me but I find this picture incredibly amazing and disturbing. It´s the closest thing that seems to have fallen straight out of a nightmare. The colours, the perspective, the man looking into the camera: everything seems to be related to that...thing in the background.
It´s either that or it´s Grace Jones taking a family snap-shot
Prefab Sprout will indeed release a new album in early september! "Let´s change the world with music" (not more not less) will be the first PS-album in eight years.
From what I gather the album was actually planned to be the follow-up to "Jordan: The Comeback" from 1990, titled "Earth: The story so far". Apparently the record company was bored by the spiritual tone of the material and shelved it.
Listening to the album opener "Let there be music" it appears that the whole record could have been put into the vaults, waiting for it´s release 20 years later. "Let there be music" is bonafide Prefab Sprout radio-pop (where it will never be played, of course). I am listening to it on endless repeat right now.
So are these actually only demos recorded roughly 20 years ago? It doesn´t really matter! It´s Prefab Sprout, it´s timeless (regardless of a gated snare and Paddy´s Vadder Abraham-beard).
I think the heroes of back in the day should do remixes for this: Frankie Knuckles, Mashall Jefferson, Justin Robertson... oh, I forgot: they were actually giving remix jobs to the Future Sound of London back then.
Walt Disney, was wise enough to film the building of Disneyland from various angles over its whole construction period, in colour! From specially built towers time-lapse cameras would capture the transformation of a boring orange grove into the mythological black hole of 20th century fantasies.
It´s fascinating to watch and the commentary is very informative.
Observing the naked land, building of the entrance and main street.
world of tomorrow: from zero to three days before opening. Building of cinderella´s fibreglass and plywood castle.
Other parts: creation of Frontierland. The next part covers the making of the Jungle Cruise in Adeventure Land. This is especially interesting as it shows the whole building process without time-lapse in gorgeous colour.
The last part shows the testing of the finished Jungle-ride and an aerial view of the park on opening day.
Artist Moritz Reichelt created a new series of works titled "Peace Monsters" for the "Embedded Art"-Exhibition.
EMBEDDED ART was an interdisciplinary exhibition focussing on the societal shifts caused by the universal desire for security. Showing only works realised on location or against a background of research into future security.
Reichelt´s five paintings portrait real people, esoteric developers of futuristic weapons, army strategies, psi and psychotronic warfare.
Victor Selivanov. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.
Visionary theorist of so-called "non-lethal-weapons", including chemicals like Fentanyl-Gas. This gas was used to "free" the hostages of the Moscow musical-theater, but in the process 170 people have been killed by the substance.
Selivanov writes theoretical-strategic essays on psychological warfare. In one of his lectures on psychotronic weapons (weapons that influence the brain), he refers an experiment of well-known mathematician Buridan (Buridan´s ass): a donkey is offered two bales of hay, identical in size and placed exactly in the same distance from the animal. The donkey is unable to decide and starves to death.
Colonel John B. Alexander. Acryicl on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.
He is the godfather of the esoteric think-tank-scene of the US-military. Supposedly retired. He was commanding an army department that experimented with psi-phenomena, like "walking through walls" or "killing with thoughts". He is consulting the German government about new technology and weapons. He is regarded as the "pope" of "non-lethal-weapons" and he promotes them since the early 1990s. Back then he was located in the Los Alamos Institutes, where -among other things- the atomic bomb was conceived.
James "Jim" Channon. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.
He is an esoteric military-guru and army-networker who lives in Hawaii. Channon invented the "1st Earth Battallion", a utpian peace-army that is supposed to establish a new world order by means of tricky psychological interventions. He likes to be seen as a shaman. He furthermore gives scientology-esque lectures, which should teach the participants to become perfect, universe-centered warriors. He is currently planning to establish an outlet of his consulting business in the game "Second Life".
Janet Morris. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.
Ex-hipie, science-fiction author, weapon producer and horse-breeder.
As leader of the development dept. of CIA-linked "Global Security Council" she propagates so called "non-leathal-weapons". She writes strategic papers for the US-Army. Her favourite citation is: "Stop killing your customers". As chairman of weapon company "M2" (they offer nano-technological weapons) she breeds an old horse breed that is preferably used as police-horses. She is also a busy author of slightly rassist novels in which she likes to orchestrate the "eternal war between good and evil." Her books are mostly published as companion pieces to foreign assignments of the US military.
John "Jack" Cover. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150 cm.
He is the inventor of the taser-gun, an electronic close combat weapon. The Taser is manufactured by Taser Inc. who refer to it as a "electronic human control device". The Taser is increasingly used by polics and security companies to arrest people.
Cover was inspired by the pulp nover "Electric Rifle" by Thomas A. Swift. Covers patented his weapon in 1970 on an older patent by a German gunsmith H.G. Cordes who had invented an electric wale-harpoon.
This is the ultimate star-portrait!
"When Brad and I take a road-trip we love a Taco Bell and a roadside motel."
Sure, that´s why Mrs. Jolie is pictured flying around in a private plane with her skirt up to her thighs.
This photo and the caption are the ultimate ballardian statement: sex, technology and bizarre fame meet 300 meters over the desert ground.
I guess this was shot by Annie Leibovitz and appeared in Vogue.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the legendary BBC Radiohonic workshop! Even if you never wanted to know anything about it in the first place, do yourself a favour and watch this six part documentary. It´s an hour well spent!
Part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6
"I´m the pack-man, eat everything I can"! This harsh electro-funk track exploited the "Pac Man"-fever of the early eighties and became a classic of the emerging breakdance/electro scene of that time.
Produced by Bobby Robinson, who is in the music business since the mid-fifties, "I´m the pack man" was chosen as the opening track for the seminal compilation series "Street Sounds Electro 1" which rocked the world with the freshest electro and fantastic live-mixing.
Ming & Ping are identical twin(k)s from Hong Kong and their full on 80´s electro-pop is damned catchy.
Their second album "Causeway Army" was already released in 2007 but it seems they are trying to go for the international market now with a new video clip for "Legends of Nothing". With the right amount of exposure in all the relevant beach-clubs and sangria bars this could become a huge summer-hit.
The Vyrotonin Decision by Matt McCormick is a post modern disaster epic featuring thirty-six appropriated television commercials from 1971. using a hole punch, junk store splicer, and lots of tape and glue, the vyrotonin decision is a hand-made film constructed from the images and sounds of dumpster-rescued television studio discards from the days before video replaced 16mm production. the vyrotonin decision mocks the formula of current hollywood blockbusters while re-inventing some of televisions most embarrassing moments.
After Edgar Schlepper unpacked the new guitar-synthesizer he had ordered for his music-shop he immediately called his friend Hans Müller and they spend a drunken night toying around with this new device. Müller, who worked at a record company must have seen the potential of their experiments and the two formed Warning. They called themselves Ed Vanguard and Mike Yonder, put on black robes and Darth-Vader-esque masks and invented (and buried) death-metal-doom-disco.
The German producer duo hit it big when their bizarre and disturbing single "Why can the bodies fly" was used as the memorable soundtrack for a 1982 episode of popular TV-crime program "Tatort" (Crime-scene).
In the now classic episode "Peggy hat Angst" (Peggy is afraid), the killer listens to the song over and over while playing bongos. He terrorizes women by playing the song over the phone late at night. He finally kills one of his victims (a fashion-model) while she is on the phone talking to a model-friend. We only hear the music blaring through the speaker overlaid with the screams of the dying woman.
On the next day, people stormed the record-stores demanding the single which soon climbed to #11 in the charts.
This spooky novelty song with its totally disembodied voices and hilariously “dark” lyrics is a lost classic. Outside of doom-metal you won´t hear a voice like that and even today "Why can the bodies fly" sounds as strange as it did in 1982.
Check the cheap video and dig the backing-girls cooing "they killed it" over the simulated puking of the vocalist!
Take KISS in their disco-phase, bury with Italo disco and Munich Machine and witness the missing link between Amanda Lear and The Sisters of Mercy rising from it´s disco grave.
Warning released two albums which some goth-heads regard as very influential.
Today, Edgar Schlepper is producing audio-plays while Hans Müller died in 2004.
Oh, I like this collaborative music project by Darren Solomon!
He asks people to send him short music or spoken word videos which he then puts up on one site. You can play them simultaneously or as you wish by starting the videos and control the volume of each individual clip.
This way, Youtube is turned into your own multitrack mixer. It sounds more like KLF´s "Chill-Out" than Cabaret Voltaire.
Evolution of Scooter (or Bumper-) cars made by Reverchon in France. From top to bottom: 1950, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1980
Drivin´ n´ smokin´
I don´t know what she is trying to sell, but I can tell when she did it
Nice detail of a vintage scooter made by Ihle
Another classic Ihle-car: The Mercedes-scooter
When Blumfeld released "Tausend Tränen tief" and their third album "Old Nobody" in 1999 their fans went berzerk, but not in a good way. It was a bit like when KISS went disco, or as a commenter on Youtube puts it: "when this came out it was the end! We were almost a youth-culture, we had lived with "Ich Maschine" and "L´Etat et Moi" every day. With "Old Nobody" we felt like abused children!".
Nine years prior Blumfeld, along with a handful of other German bands were the heads of a new indie-rock movement that combined guitar feedback and intellectual, German lyrics. After an almost five year hiatus the release of this new record must have felt as if Blumfeld have grown up and grown old at the same time.
"Tausend Tränen Tief" could be mistaken as a German George Michael song and it became a great success for the band, bringing in new listeners via a radio-friendly, timeless love song. One to be played at future funerals.
The video is a stroke of genius! We see Helmut Berger, the notorious, forgotten world star getting dressed up in a hotel suite. In between, Jochen Distelmeyer, Blumfeld´s voaclist is sitting in a taxi, driving through the night. Fireworks illuminate the sky and finally the two meet in the lobby. Formal handshake, champagne is ready, Berger refuses to drink. They begin to talk, Distelmeyer makes Berger laugh, the ice is broken. Is it the first meeting to discuss the idea of the video we have just seen? Early morning, Berger walks alone along a foggy lake, he fades away. The end.
Watch and listen:
The stunt casting of Berger secured heavy rotation on all music channels and today "Tausend Tränen tief" is a classic of German pop music, a genre that still has not that many contenders.
Anyway, it has to be said that Berger really owns his part. The way he flips through the selection of his suits, the moments of inner turmoil as he is riding the elevator... A legendary person who happily enjoys being a legend for pay, for this one day.
As with most great songs, the lyrics are almost banal. I tried to translate the words as close as possible, including some awkward grammatical terms, trying to saty true to the ambivalence of the original lyrics.
"Thousand Tears Deep"
thousand tears deep
sounds an old song
it could mean so much
into the day
it wants to be with you
it sings to you only
of new possibilities
come to me in the night
we hold each other tight
until the day awakes
kiss me then
as if it was the first time
into a different blue
we share a dream
a picture from different times
like you are a part of me
I am a part of you
I can feel it
the way we touch
a song of two people
how love feels
we flow in rhythm
to the sun
everything is earthly
the world lies dark
we float as a whole
the night belongs to us
thousand tears deep
sounds an old song
it could mean so much.
"He´s behind you, he´s got swine flu!" Funny, clever and sexy Mike Skinner aka The Streets launched a great and biting viral comment on the swine flu paranoia. If you consider a mix of cleverly edited gory scenes from various horror films set to Mike´s rap as NSFW, you should probably watch it at home.
As far as I can think back, I was always fascinated with Japan, amusement parks and tacky, mass-produced kitsch.
All of these obsessions seem to have met at "Nara Dreamland", or "Nara Dorīmurando" as the Japanese would say it.
clicking on pics increases the magic!
"Nara Dreamland" opened in 1961, near the city of Nara. It is always said that the Japanese like to copy things, while making them better in the process. "Dreamland" on the other hand just copied "Disneyland", there was nothing better about it.
Some parts of "Dreamland", like the entrance and train-station look like a carbon copy of its Californian inspiration. The whole layout of the park, the castle and most of the rides are also copied.
The fact that the park opened just six years after Disneyland shows what an impact Disney´s ideas must have had worldwide. Upon closer inspection "Dreamland" might have taken the ideas but certainly not the imagination and devotion that made Disney parks such a lasting success.
Where Disney´s imagineers went all the way to create convincing and immersive worlds, "Dreamland" used cardboard, concrete and plastic. This makes it so much more interesting for me.
Through the years, the park must have lost it´s artificial magic as the owners jusr added random rides and coasters without integrating them into the faux-Disney-look. With the opening of the immensely popular Tokyo Disneyland in 1983 the naive 20 year old forerunner in Nara must have appeared like an embryonic version from a parallel universe.
Neglect and dwindling visitor numbers took its toll on "Dreamland". Throughout the late nineties and early 00s the park was almost looking abandoned. By the end of august 2006 the "Dreamland" closed its doors forever.
Here you can witness "Nara Dreamland" on opening day in 1961. The resemblance the park had to Disneyland in this early phase is uncanny and amazing. The second video is even longer and shows more of original rides like the "Jungle Cruise".
The last video shows bits of Dreamland in its later days, when the crowds have gone and only a handful of school-children are stumbling across the cracked concrete.
A bizarre photo-trip to Dreamland, shortly before it was closed can be enjoyed here.
Here is a very interesting British TV feature, "A Trip Round Acid House" that mainly focusses on the media reaction (from demonization to exploitation) towards the exploding youth culture of the late 1980´s.
Part two and part three.
Not much is known about Delphic, apart from the fact that they are from Manchester.
Their first single "Counterpoint" is released on Belgian R&S records (go figure) and it sounds like the inevitable "crosspoint" of recent indie-dance productions like Cut Copy, Friendly Fires, more upbeat Junior Boys and fellow Manchester legends New Order and Section 25.
The Sequencer is back in poppy dance rock and "Counterpoint" hits straight on the twelve. The video, on the other hand, is a bit shitty.
Some pictures taken from TIME Magazine, showing Andy Warhol at various social gatherings. I feel that I have been to almost all those parties, since he told his diary about where he had been, who had been there and how much he had paid for the taxi to get there. Sometimes, when he was hanging with someone really rich, they would have a private limousine and Andy would be very happy.
Bob Guccione, Pia Zadora, Andy Warhol, Meshulam Riklis
Andy Treat: Andy and the delicious Treat Williams
Shooting Pia Zadora
When I visited the USA for the first time in 1990 I pretty soon found out that renting a limousine wouldn´t cost us much more than taking a taxi. I thought that Andy was such a child...
Andy walks with Nicki De Saint Phalle
with Laurie Anderson and something ugly on the wall
Andy was right, of course. Today it has become the ultimate tourist attraction to ride around with your small-town friends in a rented stretch limo (preferably a ridiculous, 12 meter Hummer). You can feel as v.i.p as you like as long as you don´t leave the car. After that you still have to queue up for the club and you´ll never know if they let you in. Feeling special because you ride in a limousine is still very, very childish...but you´ll always look better on photos.
Bette, Balloons, Ashtray
Barbie & Andy