Archive for May, 2009

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Korea Kapers: Noh No More

May 25, 2009
Noh Moo-hyun

Noh Moo-hyun

Former president of the Republic of South Korea, Noh Moo-hyun*, seems to have taken the decision to not so much shuffle but, rather, throw himself off this mortal coil. On the morning of Saturday on the 23rd May, ex-president Noh was out climbing the hills near his home in rural Bongha when he apparently jumped from a height of 30 meters into a ravine and sustained fatal head injuries. A suicide note discovered later confirmed the suspicion that Noh had taken his own life.

As little as 18 months ago he was the South Korean president and had been since 2003. Not long after leaving office, following the landslide election victory of the conservative presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak, Noh Moo-hyun was hit with a corruption scandal. Allegations emerged that he had received a bribe of around $6 million dollars from a wealthy businessman during his time in office. At the time of his death he was under investigation and had issued a public apology to the Korean people when he was first questioned about the matter some two months ago. Read the rest of this entry ?

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K-Pop Korner: Big Bang

May 18, 2009

Big Bang enjoy immense popularity amongst my students. I think they’re goddamn awful. Weak-sauce, even by Korean pop standards. Their “leader”, G-Dragon, lists his weight as 54kg. What the hell kind of a weight is that for a grown-ass man? He’s bragging this?

I suppose I should make the disclaimer that, since I’m a devotee of what has been called “aw that kill yer granny music“*, my opinions on pretty much the entire catalogue of Korean pop music are going to be less than enthusiastic (with a notable exception being made for Seon Yeo Shidae here).

Here is the video for Big Bang’s smash hit, “Lies”, the track that first brought them to my attention.

I used to have to put up with kids who, when I chastised them in class for whatever bullshit shenanigans they were getting up to, would apologise by singing the lines from the chorus of that song. This is perhaps the root of my hostility to (the fistful of soggy tampons masquerading as pop stars known as) Big Bang, a kind of Pavlovian reaction. Whenever I hear that tune I’m bitterly reminded of the various times that I was mocked by kids.

*(This is the title of an album by The Alpacinos)

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Slack Attack!

May 18, 2009

It has been brought to my attention that this blog is “suffering”.

Sad, but true, it has been languishing amidst a severe slack attack  (an attaque de slaque, as the French say) for some weeks now and despite my promise to get off my ass and work at it.  I once read a short essay by Will Self (the title of which I ruthlessly appropriated for my own purposes here) on the benefits and drawbacks of slacking off.  I recall Self’s assertion that the act of slacking was like a bungee cord during the descent of a bungee jump, it keeps stretching out until it eventually snaps back quickly, meaning the period of slacking is succeeded by a swift period of intense productivity. Self also referenced Nietzsche as a shameless slacker who in his later years was given to alluding to mighty volumes of his own work that he never actually got around to completing.

That essay had an unfortunate effect on me, one that I still labour under, namely; that I can piss about all I want and eventually that cord will snap back on its own and I’ll suddenly be sitting with a freshly composed novel or two in my lap. Read the rest of this entry ?