17 January 2015


Javin 2015

This marks the third year in a row that Javin came to Korea to teach short-term winter break programs and travel a bit more around Asia. Just like the last couple years, this month has marked a busy period, as we get a lot done in a short time.

This time he brought his quadcopter with him, and we found a few places to launch it where we wouldn't bother any residents. I'm looking forward to seeing his footage soon. Hell, I'm still looking forward to seeing his stuff from 2013. Toronto is Home, Hong Kong is Home, but what's Seoul, chopped liver?

We also hung out with Ali, formerly of the Daegu math rock band Colours, now of the new project Mountains.

10 January 2015


RASKB Tour of Kyung Hee University Natural History Museum with Verv

As soon as I found out Verv worked at KHU's Natural History Museum, I figured it would be a very good choice for an RASKB tour. Verv talking about animals is always the best thing ever, and the museum has six storeys of taxidermy and fossils and so on. Plus the banner art running the stairwell is pretty bizarre in a retro sort of way, depicting natural history into an apocalyptic future.

We ultimately had a group of nine, which was probably right the size for moving around this building and staying together. Then after, we went out to a restaurant, followed by a bar, followed by a rooftop.

2 January 2015


The Bone Tunnel

I made it less than 24 hours into 2015 without doing anything of questionable legality. Anyway, as we discovered on Christmas, the way has been paved for reaching the Bone Tunnel without having to crawl over ice or scale a very sketchy fence (though you can still do the latter, if you like).

Anyway, I set back to visit the Bone Tunnel, mainly to scout out the entrance and only go a little ways inside. I brought a Ukrainian along with me because when has that ever gone wrong (NSFW)?

I hit three very difficult tunnels that day, and yes, I did find monsters at the end of it.

Also, you may note that the entire 2014 year is now open in the archives for you to look through.

31 December 2014


New Year's Eve

For New Year's Eve, I hiked up a mountain. Right around midnight, a big group of people came and fired off tons of fireworks, ruining the mood. They were up there for about 20 minutes, and left before the cops could respond. I was not involved with them, and Daehanmindecline does not support any illegal or disruptive activities. Here's for a crime-free 2015!

29 December 2014


Yonsei Under Construction

Has anyone noticed what a dump Yonsei looks like lately? Oh well, could be worse: you could be stuck in Songdo.

29 December 2014


Interview with Colin

Last summer, I was interviewed by Colin Marshall, an urbanist who was visiting Seoul for a limited time and interviewing anyone he could find, seemingly. He went on my RASKB walk of Yongsan, and afterwards we sat at the train tracks bar and did a one-hour interview that ended up being pretty thorough, touching on a lot of urban exploration and urban renewal issues, as well as the punk scene and how life in Korea has changed over the past decade. I can't say whether I recommend listening to it, but he is very thorough about what's in it, plus there's lots of train sounds.

27 December 2014


All Together Now

This show was the closest thing we had to a Christmas/New Year's show that I could find. There isn't that much to speak of happening on Christmas or New Year's Eve, but this one show between the two had a very interesting mix of older mostly punk bands and younger mostly hardcore bands. I was more focused on the zine, as well as the attendance of Verv, so I didn't start taking pictures until very late, starting at Rudy Guns and also getting Things We Say, Return Bois, and Find the Spot.

I also released the 19th issue of Broke in Korea at this show, which can be downloaded at the usual place, where you will also find almost everything you need for Hongdaepoly.

25 December 2014


A Very Merry Host Christmas

Though I consider visiting the Host on Christmas Day to be an annual ritual, I'm pretty sure this is only the second time we've done it on the day (the first being my original visit in 2009). Things have changed a lot under Seoul, but still the only monsters down there were the ones in our group.

24 December 2014


Christmas

At the last minute, I guess Jeff and Trash decided to have people over for Christmas Eve. We ordered pizza, Korean Chinese food, and fried chicken, which is slightly odder a combination than it sounds.

21 December 2014


Abandoned Prison

This is something I expect to puzzle over for a while. A totally abandoned prison, seemingly as hard to break in as it is to break out of.

20 December 2014


Monkey Business

I finally made it to Monkey Business, the venue just one neighbourhood over, located in Seochon next to Tongin Market. Not a place you'd expect a venue for punk shows, and this comes from a guy who's spent a lot of time in Mullae and Chungmuro. The bar is pretty nice, with a wide selection of import beers, and they give a lot of different bands the chance to play who I don't see often.

I mainly went for Mateo, renamed Madox at the last minute, but I met up with the lead vocalist of Jungsig-i named Jungsik who used to play in an old punk band years ago called Empty Brassiere. And I also had my memory jogged for who Overall Impasse is; I heard their album online a few weeks ago and had intended to review it for Broke. Fortunately I made some last-minute changes and fitted them in.

20 December 2014


Around the Neighbourhood

Just a few pictures from around the neighbourhood. I heard someone had sighted Santa up on the rooftops, so I went up for a look myself.

19 December 2014


Driving

I've been working on getting my driver's licence, a long, convoluted process. This is where it is done. I passed the written exam with no trouble, scoring 77 (out of what?). I failed the first course test, which was held on the course seen here, because of a lack of understanding the exam protocols. I passed it on my second try and failed my first road test, mainly because I don't shift into neutral when I'm stopped at a red light (because it's bad on the transmission, bad for fuel efficiency, increases your reaction time, plus introduces the possibility you'll forget to shift back to drive).

15 December 2014


Party 51 Party

After the release of the documentary, the four main bands (Ha Heon-jin, Danpyunsun, Bamseom Pirates, and Yamagata Tweakster) put together a show at a small cafe in Hongdae near the former location of Dooriban. And for some reason it was on a Monday. Still, there were quite a lot of people there.

I decided to stop by the new Dooriban for supper first, and when I walked in wearing my construction worker's jacket, Ahn Jongnyeo looked alarmed. Probably not the best place to wear that jacket.

15 December 2014


SKKU Snow

It snowed again, so I went out during the worst of it to get more pictures.

13 December 2014


Kingston Rudieska CD Release

Kingston Rudieska released a double album at a show on Saaturday. It was held in MUV Hall, which I previously had been to for another reggae show. That time it was not a very nice place, and I saw staff mistreating JoshRoy's manager during his set, but this time around I didn't see anything going wrong. The show was overall very good, with Kingston Rudieska doing two sets with a ton of guest musicians stretching back to the early days of the band.

13 December 2014


Changdeokgung

Scaffolding went up over the wall of Changdeokgung so that workers could cut down branches. And so that I could practice trespassing on royal property.

12 December 2014


Woodstock Show

On Wednesday night after I'd already gathered up and promoted the weekend's shows, I got another invite for a show at Woodstock in Itaewon. This one was put on by Amy from S-Gerat, and one of the bands was Sato Yukie and Tyler Brown, so I decided to give it a try. I'd been having trouble getting in touch with Amy about doing an article for the zine, so I tried meeting up with her in person. As you can see in the pictures, it was a pretty weird show with plastic bags and gold glitter and a lukewarm audience drinking in a scummy dive bar.

11 December 2014


Party 51 Opening

If you ever went to Duriban around 2010/11, you should probably watch this documentary to see if you're in it. Every time I went there, I could see Jung Yong-taek running around with his video camera recording everything. Turns out, he finally did something with all that footage. Party 51 is a passionate film with a strong narrative arc from start to finish. Even if you disagree with the politics, you will probably never see a better film about Korean underground music.

For now, I'm saving my thoughts for the next issue of Broke, which should be released around Christmas. But go see this movie. Information about screenings all across Korea is here. Unfortunately there are no English subtitles yet, but there eventually will be. I saw it twice -- once on a computer screen with subtitles, and once in the theater in Korean only -- and it should be everyone's priority to see it on the big screen, which brings you right into Duriban up close with the Jarip guys.

9 December 2014


Strays

The strays in the area around my work have been getting a bit more desperate and a bit more bold, sitting outside this side door looking for any heat source or students willing to pity them with food. I took a few pictures in order to get closer to them. My tongsis came in very useful, allowing me to get real closeup video of them without being scratched. Well, these are with my DSLR.

7 December 2014


Santa Claus Conquers the Koreans

Santa was a bit too late to this neighbourhood to give presents to all the little boys and girls.

6 December 2014


Don't They Know it's Christmas?

Santa stopped in at AA Studios where there were two shows in one night. Unfortunately a good new venue was too large to fit in his sack, so we must wait and hope.

6 December 2014


Santa Claus Conquers the Koreans

Santa returns again this year, scouting out Korea due to the logistics of all the rooftops.

3 December 2014


First Snow

As I remarked a couple days earlier, snow is a lot like tornados. If it doesnt actually touch down on the ground it isnt really happening. It finally touched down on December 3. When I opened my window in the morning for Millie to take her perch, we were greeted with a thin blanket of snow over all the roofs.

I rushed to work and spent the morning wandering around campus taking snow pictures.

1 December 2014


Hamilton Hotel

I was surprised to see that the Hamilton is closed for extensive remodeling. Considering the Seokyo Hotel is currently being torn down, we're losing a lot of old hotels from a similar era all at once. It's kind of a major landmark of Itaewon. But then again, do you expect anyone to care when nothing was said about Yongsan Electronics Market being demolished or a sizeable corner of Insadong getting destroyed?

30 November 2014


Ska 4 Ensemble

After the penthouse party, I went to All That Jazz in Itaewon to see Ska 4 Ensemble, a new group that seems to be a side project for the jazzier members of Kingston Rudieska. Despite the name, it seems like they're more of a quintet, with frequent sixth and seventh collaborators. They did two sets, the second one with Danish reggae singer Philip Knudsen. I might still upload a couple videos from that performance if they are good enough quality.

30 November 2014


Penthouse Party

Dear Penthouse,
I never thought this would happen to me, but I
was invited to a get-together at a riverfront penthouse that a friend was housesitting at. It had a good view overlooking the river and a giant white dog. I spent a lot of time out on the ledge until my pants were soaked from the earlier rain. Anyway, this is what I saw up there.

29 November 2014


Totoro's Neighbourhood

I went back again to reshoot some things in Totoro's Neighbourhood, mainly Totoro himself. We also were surprised by a very large cat and found some wheatpastings that weren't there the week before.

28 November 2014 2014


American Thanksgiving

Jeff and Trash hosted an American Thanksgiving feast at their place. It was somewhat of a potluck, but using military connections we also had turkey, ham, gravy, and pumpkin pie. I made traditional Canadian Kraft Dinner, brought some backup pumpkin mix, and decided to include their cats by bringing some catnip. From now on whenever I'm invited to any kind of potluck at a place with cats, I'm bringing catnip, because it's unlikely anyone else will think of that. Unless they're reading this site.

Anyway, this American holiday was attended only by about four Americans. There were even more Canadians and we had three Europeans as well, not to mention Koreans. The original Thanksgiving was a coming together of white immigrants and Native hosts, and shortly after the immigrants mostly wiped out the locals. Read into that whatever you like.

23 November 2014


Catnip Party

Just a couple pictures of Millie and Buster on the nip.

22 November 2014


Totoro's Neighbourhood

We went hunting for roofwhales in Totoro's Neighbourhood. Well, there's one. There was a lot of other crazy stuff around there as well. It's impossible to see every part of this area. I doubt I'm even getting close. This time I wandered up a completely different street and saw a totally different side of the area.

21 November 2014


Redevelopment around Bukchon

Recently I was kind of surprised by the sudden shrouding of the old mokyoktang on my street. When I moved in, Tyler recognised it from articles online about its old preserved heritage. I've otherwise heard it's old and not so comfortable inside. Anyway, the blankets have gone up and the sign has been taken down. Will it be demolished or gutted and turned into art spaces like its neighbours? We'll see.

16 November 2014


Millie's Birthday Party

I missed Millie's birthday by one day, and she's been quite cranky with me. I brought out the catnip so she could forget about her problems with drugs.

16 November 2014


Sunday

I met up with Paul and we scouted around a few places and hit a good roof in Hongdae. Also, it appears they're tearing down the Seogyo Hotel, which kind of surprises me.

15 November 2014


Billy Carter at Jogwang

We showed up late, just in time to catch the last of Gonguri and see Billy Carter.

15 November 2014


Abandoned Neighbourhood

Just another trip to a familiar abandoned neighbourhood. Demolition is progressing faster than I expected.

14 November 2014


RASKB Concert

In one week, I went to four RASKB events: I ran into a walking tour led by Peter Bartholomew on Sunday, then I attended a lecture on Tuesday, an excursion planning committee meeting on Wednesday, and this concert on Friday. Also on Saturday I ran into Brother Anthony at a bar after an RASKB colloquium. Is the RASKB turning into a secret society that's stalking me?

10 November 2014


SKKU Uphill

In case you aren't getting sick of pictures of the university, here are a bunch more. These show further up the hill, as well as a visit from Charlotte and a lot of Indonesians.

9 November 2014


RASKB Tour at Unhyeonggung

On an unscheduled walk, I ran into an RASKB walking tour. They were just about to finish, so I was allowed to tag along for a bit. It happened that the last stop was Unhyeonggung, the detached palace just south of where I live. I've looked down on it from roofs and I got a closer look at the renovations to the European-style building there, but it was my first time walking through the older buildings. It turns out Peter Bartholomew was intimately familiar with them and had visited while they were still inhabited.

8 November 2014


Iron Lung at Jogwang Photo Studio

I managed to avoid Hongdae this weekend and still make it to two shows. After the Funkafric show in Insadong, I went back to Jogwang Studio in Chungmuro for a big hardcore show headlined by the American band Iron Lung. It was a pretty intense show and I met quite a lot of people I should've met before.

8 November 2014


Cat Tail

What is Buster up to this time?

7 November 2014


Funkafric Bluestar

Every so often, Lim Ji-hoon of Funkafric Boostdah organises a show at Blue Star, the makgeolli Hanok next to Insadong. I think if they do them too often, there will be too many people. Last one was on Samil and there was a big bar-clearing brawl. This time they played three full sets, mixing in funk, jazz, and reggae/ska, with no unplanned interruptions. The only reason I might say the last show was better was because it was a force of nature seeing they keep on playing without missing the beat while the brawl raged on next to them. Otherwise, this was a fantastic show.

6 November 2014


Seoul Above and Below

I met up with Jessica and hit a few places around Seoul. One of those places was Tyler, and we brought him with us to more places. One thing I especially wanted to figure out was where this video was recorded. Sure enough, it was on a roof I've visited a few times.

3 November 2014


Fall at SKKU

More pictures of leaves on campus. Too lazy to pare down the pictures from this and the previous gallery.

30 October 2014


Halloween at SKKU

Here's a pretty large gallery of pictures from all over campus, ending with a costume party in the old campus. The original plan was to get a bunch of students together and film a Thriller-style video. I didn't have time to stick around for that, but I got lots of pictures of the students interacting with young children on a field trip and the ton of photojournalists who showed up.

26 October 2014


Cousin Visits

I got news that my cousin Elaine was coming to Korea for a few days. Her last time being in Korea was 1996 when she was around 12. Things have changed a bit. I met up with her on Sunday to show her around downtown, and I brought along Nels and his girlfriend Sohhee as well.
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