Kids on the Move
The Malaysian band Kids on the Move came to Korea recently for a tour across the country. I missed their Saturday show at the Open Your Eyes Festival because of the funk show, but I also knew there was a practice hall show on Tuesday I could see instead. So I went there and stayed out until about 1am. It was a pretty fun show, with ...Whatever That Means trying to stretch out their set by placing a few older songs and a few newer ones, and then there was Goyang melting into the floor during Skasucks' set while they were playing "Skinhead Moonstomp," and then there was Malaysian hardcore. Here are the pictures, and I hope Goyang doesn't kill me (I'm pretty sure those are short-shorts, not a miniskirt though).
2 March 2014
More pictures from my new apartment and a couple from my old one. What are these cats getting up to?
1 March 2014
It's been a while since Lim Ji-hoon had another concert in the very small Blue Star, and I suspect that may have been to kill the momentum and keep the audience at a more manageable size. It seems to have worked. Plus, there was a pretty big fight during the show, which saw a whole bunch of people shoving each other and grabbing each other. The band didn't miss a beat. I'd skipped the Open Your Eyes Festival in Hongdae that night, which sounds like it was far less violent than this funk show.
1 March 2014
Walking through Gyonam-dong
I met up with a few friends for a walk through a nearly extinct neighbourhood. Both Jessica and Trevor are leaving Korea, so this was my farewell to Jessica, and possibly my farewell to Trevor. But the world's not that big a place, and over time people have a tendency of running into each other again.
27 February 2014
New SKKU Students
The new semester of international students arrived on campus, and after a number of activities they had a pretty impressive buffet. Once they were mostly done, the rest of us had a chance at all this food.
25 February 2014
One picture from a lecture afterparty, one from a meeting at the RASKB office. I took this picture, while Robert Koehler took this one.
25 February 2014
The 10 Dos and 20 Don'ts of Urban Exploration in Korea
I've spent a couple months too long putting this article together about some of the lessons I've learned firsthand while crawling around abandonments, tunnels, and roofs in Korea. Most of it is applicable to the rest of the world, although as one person pointed out, ugly striped blanketing is more likely a sign of fumigation in other countries. It's long, but it's extensive, and in it I link an even longer document solely about draining. A lot of my friends appear in the photos, although usually in an obscured manner, and I also had Paul and Jacco's help in editing this beast.
25 February 2014
On Tuesday when I got to the upper gate of the university, there were elderly vendors selling flower bouquets. Strange, but whatever. Down in the campus, there were more vendors, as well as food tents set up. It turns out it was graduation day, and soon campus was flooded with recent graduates and their families. Everything went quiet shortly after lunch, so I'm glad I went out and got these pictures when I did.
24 February 2014
Jrinking with Jru
I considered the possibility that I would buy Jru's motorbike from him. I showed up to have a closer look, and it turns out it was a much more full-on motorcycle than I was expecting, complete with clutch and gears. So no, that's out. But we drank a fair amount.
22 February 2014
A few months ago, I went to a TBS eFM party where we ended up at this bar around the corner from Anguk Station. While looking for a good place to go with Tyler after moving, I remembered this place nearby and brought him there.
It's run by Choi Eunjin, a fantastic singer who will play you her music if you ask (and everyone coming there seems to). Her music is hard to describe, and hearing her describe it, it's clear she thinks so too. Her voice is very classically Korean, but the backing music is very unusual and pairs very well with her. I might describe it as trot music as played by gypsies, and she frequently cites gisaeng culture as something that informs her music. You can hear a sample here. And here's a sample of her own version of Arirang here which I don't think I've ever heard elsewhere. This one was recorded in her own bar; that microphone standing there isn't just for show.
Anyway, Tyler left early, I made friends with some Korean guys there, and we stayed late and ordered chicken. I bought a CD from her and was surprised to see it was released on Beatball of all places.
22 February 2014
The worst thing about living on the fifth floor is moving in. My new place is on the top floor, basically an extra unit built on top of a four-storey building. Bukchon is a very comfortable place to live, provided you can tolerate the steady stream of tourists in the daytime. I'm high up enough I never hear them. The cats really enjoy the place and have their share of windows to sit at.
22 February 2014
Moving out is always a stressful process. I've lived in the same place for over four years, and was long overdue for a move. Fortunately my new apartment had some furniture, so I could leave behind some of my old stuff including the bed and the couch. We managed to fit everything into a very small moving truck.
I was moving the next day but I knew I couldn't miss this performance. I showed up in time for the second set, and it was fantastic. I really wish more of my friends could have seen them.
21 February 2014
SKKU Back Gate
This is the route I take from home to the university. I take a bus up the mountain slope that swings down into the back gate of SKKU. It's high up in the hill and pretty scenic, but these days the pollution makes it hard to see much. Also, I don't go the same way to go home, because that's a pretty major hike. I continue walking downhill to catch a bus on the main streets.
16 February 2014
I'm getting ready to move, so I've needed to get a lot of boxen to pack my stuff into. I ended up raiding Emart and Saruga, which both have free boxen for anyone to take. I took them home and put them together, and instantly the cats declared this a new box-based neighbourhood, running in and choosing their own boxen. Then a bit of a territory war developed, and Millie exiled Buster, who came back and decided to smash the cardboard settlement. Quite an interesting conflict plays out in these pictures.
Also, you can see how messy my apartment is prior to moving out, including some conspicuous cat barf that appeard in a place I can no longer reach due to boxen in the way.
15 February 2014
Shake Shop Volume 12
It seems like it's become a monthly thing to have a show that features a lot of the usual Hongdae bands, but they're accompanied by bellydancers. They seem to be doing quite well, and have brought together a lot of surprising bands to perform a soundtrack for the bellydancing troupe Navah. The show is presented by Korea Gig Guide, as KGG editor Shawn is married to Eshe, the main organiser pictured here. This show featured Asian Chairshot, Galaxy Express, and Kingston Rudieska. I was coming from the Yuppie Killer show, so I missed Asian Chairshot and caught most of Galaxy Express and all of Kingston Rudieska.
15 February 2014
Party Like Shit: Yuppie Killer CD Release
Yuppie Killer had a CD to release, so they booked a practice hall and invited a lot of good hardcore bands to play there. Unfortunately I was also planning to go to the Shake Shop show around the corner, so I was only there long enough to shoot Mixed Blood, Animal Anthem, and Something Fierce. It seemed like a fun show and I printed off 30 more issues of the latest Broke which all disappeared pretty quickly. Then I had to disappear. More pictures from that later, including when I met up with the Yuppie Killer afterparty afterwards.
11 February 2014
Sungkyunkwan Door Scandal
Walking back from lunch, I identified a major safety flaw with the big glass doors at SKKU's international building. Turns out the handles are installed only in the glass. Also turns out a slight force exerted over one of the fixtures can turn the glass into a giant tessellated web of smashed glass. Fortunately it stayed together, but the noise it made post-smash was pretty nail-biting. It finally got fixed over the weekend as of Monday, February 17.
I missed out, or maybe it's better to say it was my turn to go next. Tyler and I stopped by for a visit at dusk and managed to get some interesting views from the overpass, possibly the last to ever be taken.
8 February 2014
Steel Face Records Compilation Release
I headed to Club Ta to see the Steel Face Records compilation release. It was a good mix of old and young bands, and Galaxy Express was dropped conspicuously into the middle of the lineup. It was a pretty decent show, and I met Leon, a Dutch skinhead who's staying in Korea for a couple months working for a Korean engineering company briefly. I haven't yet listened to the compilation but I'm looking forward to it.
4 February 2014
Recently I've been slower than ever at updating this site, mainly because I wasn't eager to revisit the unpleasantness of February 1, but also because I haven't had time or opportunity to work photo-editing into my daily schedule due to my new job.
Speaking of which, here's a walk around Sungkyunkwan University, including the old campus which is mainly an on-the-spot replica of the original campus dating back to 1398. Also, I hit a couple rooftops in the newer part of campus, but things get less interesting the higher up the mountain you go.
1 February 2014
Seollal at Thunderhorse
It was Lunar New Year's and I was a bit sick but I decided it would be a total waste if I didn't make it out. The show was at Thunderhorse, which I'd previously visited on their opening night. However, I heard that the previous week Jesse almost got in a fight there. That's right, Jesse, almost getting in a fight. Jesse wasn't there that night, but the guy that got in his face was. Things were mostly calm until I got Jeff to show off his new Jesse tattoo. Then things once again reverted to sane, once that guy left. I didn't mean to cause trouble for the venue and they reacted appropriately to what was happening, though I could've used more guilting in all honesty.
25 January 2014
Abandoned Oil Reserve
A few months ago, a friend found some information on an abandoned oil reserve not too far from my home. After a few months nobody had gone to check it out, so finally I made the trip. This gallery is actually from two trips. The first time, I climbed a mountain and saw the tankers from above, then went down into one but I was a bit too on edge to take good pictures. The second time, I came back with Jessica during the Lunar New Year weekend for a second look. We visited two of the three smaller tankers out of five.
It's interesting to see the plans for this area. Probably too ambitious to happen any time soon.
21 January 2014
We took a break from abandonments to spend a day in Suwon, where we walked around Hwaseong Fortress and had Suwon galbi.
18 January 2014
Barely a week had passed since Javin left, and I was again visited by a Chinese-Canadian urban explorer. Jessica is from Montreal and happens to have no contact with any of the Toronto community I've gotten to know from all the way over here. We met up and spent a few days going around to rooftops, abandonments, and tunnels.
After running around all weekend with Javin, we headed to a hardcore show at Spot. I don't think Javin was planning on coming along, but he decided at the last minute to join us, bought some earplugs, and made it all the way to the end. I made sure to explain to him that when Pyha was shouting "Go back to China!" he wasn't talking to him.
I also brought along the latest issue of Broke in Korea so this served as kind of the unofficial release. If you didn't get one, you might be out of luck, and if you did, congratulations: you have a collector's item.
Last year was a gruelling two days in which we pulled off the trifecta of rooftop, abandonment, and tunnel, and this year I didn't want him to think I was getting soft. This year's gauntlet was a little more focused on abandonments, and we had a good time in the quickly disappearing Gyonam-dong, soon to be known as Dongnimmun New Town. To make things even more confusing, we headed over to Dongdaemun for food after, going from one side of traditional Seoul to the other.
9 January 2014
Embarking on a business meeting in a part of town I wasn't too familiar with, I was keeping an eye open for an abandoned factory Tyler had mentioned. Turns out it was right in front of the subway exit I took. Anyway, I went to the meeting, hit a couple roofs, and looked around the factory. It's mostly empty inside.
31 December 2013
New Year's Eve
For New Year's Eve I planned to get the zine printed, but the shop was closed. I met up with Verv and Zeinab and John Middlemis of Chanter's Alley and we went to Zion Boat for food, then Roots Time for midnight, where we ran into Tyler and a ton of Indonesians. Never have there been so many Muslims in Roots Time before.
Also, as it's the end of the year, I'm unlocking all the 2013 archives. I don't know why I do it this way, but it's fun torturing visitors to my site.
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.