1 January 2020


New Year on Naksan

I showed up at Morgan's place for his first New Year's party in two years. He wasn't expecting many people, but somehow a ton of people showed up. I knew four people there.

We climbed Naksan past the place where I carried the Olympic torch, and saw fireworks. Still tame compared to when we used to light our own fireworks.

2019


Smartphone Camera

I'm going to cap off this year with pictures taken on my smartphone throughout the year. I consider my DSLR to be my serious camera, and anything taken on my smartphone is disposable. But quite a lot of interesting things popped up on it this year that I didn't take with the DSLR.

29 December 2019


Seth Mountain CD Release

I met Seth back during the most recent HBC Fest, and then only recently I saw I had failed to accept his friend request. So I did, and immediately saw his post about Jung Tae-chun's performance. Then he invited me to his album release, which I had just enough time to cover for an article that turned out especially well. Also weirdly the day after we ran the article about him, the city desk chose to run a wire photo that showed an unidentified foreigner at the comfort women protest. Also it was his birthday that week. A lot of weird coincidences lined up for that.

28 December 2019


Day Off

Saturday has been my only day off for the past few weeks. This Saturday, I stayed home and did nothing with the cats.

25 December 2019


Santa's Last Stop

The sky was just overcast that I decided to risk a trip back to this roof at the last possible time before Christmas was over. I more or less got what I wanted.

22 December 2019


Jung Tae-chun Homeless Memorial Concert

Seth Mountain posted on Facebook that he was waiting to see Korean folk singer Jung Tae-chun perform at a homeless memorial in front of Seoul Station. I was stuck at work and had some time for a break, so I headed over. Yes, I got to see one of Korea's most important folk singers perform for free right where you usually find homeless people loitering.

22 December 2019


Buster

Buster has a new box that's way too big for him.

21 December 2019


Monkey Pee Quartet at Club SHARP

One of the bands I interviewed for Broke was Monkey Pee Quartet from Gwangju. I also did the interview so I could publish an article in next month's Gwangju News. They didn't have particularly publishable photos, but it turned out they were playing in Seoul before the magazine's deadline, so I was able to stop by and photograph them.

21 December 2019


Santa's Secret Underground Army

We had our usual Christmas voyage through Seoul's largest remaining underground river. This ritual started 10 years ago in 2009 and we've done it most years since. This year, we discovered they're doing a lot of work with the Bone Tunnel, and it appears the bones have mostly been removed. It looks quite different, especially with the power on and lights strung up everywhere.

18 December 2019


Jonggak Station Solar Garden

A small corner of Jonggak Station has been converted into an underground garden. The light is natural, piped underground by a number of reflectors. A pretty neat novelty, but get used to it because maybe we'll all be living in places like this in a few years.

16 December 2019


Cheonggyecheon

I was working on an article about where to go in Seoul to find a festive mood if you don't have family or religion, and right after I submitted it mentioning there were some decorations at Cheonggyecheon I drove by, seeing there were actually a lot of decorations.

15 December 2019


Yongsan

I had plans to do another Santa rooftop shoot, but the day I went was too sunny and the scene was compromised by strong shadows. Instead I got an impressive view of Yongsan Railyard, where they've demolished everything except the shell of one more building. Apparently Korail is taking control and might do something with the area, but no signs of that yet.

14 December 2019


Broke in Korea 26

I ended up making another zine in time for Christmas. It's been over a year, and this time there was a lot of stuff to write about since I hadn't done anything for a while. All interviews are based on new material, although in the course of doing this I also got material for the WDI 10-year anniversary show where the zine was released, and the Gwangju News Monkey Pee Quartet article.

14 December 2019


Grand Mart

I went to Sinchon to get some printing done, and while I was waiting for my job to finish I decided I should go buy some cat food. But when I got to the grocery store, I found it had been totally removed except for a few signs on the walls.

29 November 2019


American Thanksgiving

The Moseses had their annual Thanksgiving feast, and I showed up late after a rough day at work.

28 November 2019


Buster Goes Exploring

Buster was very sad when the roof was repaired and he could no longer explore on the other side. So I loaded him into a carrier, climbed a ladder, and came down on the other side. He got to wander through the other apartment, which is still empty but looking finished now. It was fun for him, but not as much as before, probably because all the tools are gone and the place even has working lighting now.

23 November 2019


Rebellion Ink Opening

Trash has started her own business, and had a party with free food and acoustic music.

16 November 2019


Maloney's Station

Morgan said he was reopening Maloney's Station for one more night, and bartending himself. I stopped by to see how it would go. Not bad apparently.

16 November 2019


Jonathan Hunt

Following up on earlier coverage, I finally got around to seeing Jonathan Hunt perform. Also, Phillies Basement is completely changed, with the bar and the stage swapping locations.

16 November 2019


Millie's 14th Birthday

Millie turned 14 on November 15, and unlike previous years I seem to have actually given her something she wants to use. Someone had left a couple cat trees in the lobby of my building saying they were free for whoever wanted them. Millie likes this one.

9 November 2019


Cut Lon in Seendosi

This Vietnamese band was coming to Seoul, and they sounded like a lot of fun so I was able to interview them. It was a pretty fun show, and because Seendosi has the ceiling it has, I shook the dust off my speedlight, which worked perfectly here.

9 November 2019


Abandoned Hanoks

I went up north to visit a small alley containing some abandoned Hanoks. I found Coetzer inside.

After, we drove quickly through the red-light district of the area. Yes, there is still a substantial red-light district in Seoul, despite how you hear how 588 was the last.

7 November 2019


Yarnbombing in Huam-dong

I noticed there were these yarn sleeves placed around some trees along one stretch in my neighbourhood. Not sure who did it or why, or if it was officially approved or not. Gonna guess the simplest explanation, that a local school did it for the local government for some tree reason I don't know about, and there's nothing subversive involved at all.

They since weathered one rain and still look the same.

2 November 2019


RASKB Open House

I only took one picture of this as we were leaving.

The RASKB had its second open house this year, and you can read more here.

I showed up late and brought Slurpees.

30 October 2019


Millie

I was getting ready to go out to edit photos, and Millie made one last-ditch effort to get me to feed her. It didn't work.

26 October 2019


Duncan Reid and the Big Heads at Strange Fruit

I managed to see much more of the second show on the tour. I caught Russ Mainwaring, who revived his band the Stingrays with help from members of the Patients.

I used a technique in most of these pictures to soften the light from the flash by holding a beer near it. So for almost every photo I'm raising a glass. I thought these pictures worked out pretty good, especially compared to yesterday when I had to deal with Steel Face's harsh spotlights, so that's why there are so many. Sometimes I can't choose, and I've learned it can be better to let the band see a huge amount, because you don't always know what they want -- although there are probably a few I took that they don't want.

25 October 2019


Duncan Reid and the Big Heads at Club Steel Face

This was my weekend for working the city edition shift, so I got off work at 10:30 and rushed over to Hongdae to catch the end of the Duncan Reid and the Big Heads show at Steel Face.

Coming into this tour, I'm actually more familiar with the songs of Duncan's side project the Yobs, rather than the Boys. In the late 1970s they recorded an incredibly filthy album of Christmas songs, and I still listen to it every year because it's good to have some good Christmas carols.

Shortly before I came to Korea, the punk bands here recorded two albums of Christmas carols with a similar take. I own one of the albums physically and managed to find the other online. It always made me curious whether they were inspired by the Yobs. Here's an example, which just made me realise I know someone who was involved in recording these and I could ask him! Hopefully I'll get more answers soon.

24 October 2019


Duncan Reid in Huam Market

I was surprised when Duncan Reid told me his hotel was located near Sookdae Station, walking distance from my home. I suggested we meet up for food before he resumes playing shows the next day. As we were walking to a restaurant, I was even more surprised they were interested in seeing live jazz. It turned out they wanted a break from hearing power pop live. So we went to Sound Dog where we caught a few songs by the jazz band playing there.

24 October 2019


Buster

Buster's face is squished on the couch. I missed his paw being extended up under his chin a few seconds earlier.

20 October 2019


Dog Meat Restaurant

I heard one of my coworkers remark that there are no dog meat restaurants left in the downtown core, or some unbelieveable claim like that. Just using Korean online maps I was able to find a handful. The nearest one is just across the street from our office, although it's been closed for a while as it went through renovations. I thought this meant the end of the dog meat restaurant, but they have yet to remove the sign.

19 October 2019


Seth Mountain at HBC Fest

There are a number of performers who regularly play HBC Fest who I've been meaning to find out more about. High on the list is Jonathan Hunt who I interviewed for an article about the festival this time. But due to an RASKB tour I led through Pimatgol I couldn't make it in time to see him. I ended up stopping by Republic to see Seth Mountain, and only him this time.

18 October 2019


Downtown Errands

It was my biweekly Friday off, and I used it to meet up with former Peace Corps volunteers for an interview. As of the time of this posting, nothing has been published yet.

12 October 2019


Meeting The Host

An explorer was about to leave the country and Coetzer wanted him to see The Host Tunnel before he left. They came over to my place the night before and provided way too much liquor purchased on base. We were all kind of a mess the next day.

On the way to the halfway pipe, we found a massive mural of The Host itself, probably about 50 meters long. Why it was made here, and not at the halfway pipe itself where there's more of a clearing, it would be easier to view, and it's just more comfortable, is beyond me. Did they only go 700 meters in, and not find out what comes just a little farther?

10 October 2019


Rooftopping with Buster

The day after I took Buster exploring, he wanted to go out again. This time the roof door was locked so we had to climb through an unlocked window. After that, Buster was still up for adventure so we climbed the ladder onto the roof of our apartment.

9 October 2019


Exploring with Buster

After the workers left for the day, I went onto the roof to check on the renovation progress in the other apartment unit. Buster came with me and couldn't get enough of exploring over there.

8 October 2019


Roof Repair

One morning I looked outside and the roof was green. I see this colour on roofs all the time, and would have liked it. Later they would replace it with a nice dull grey.

6 October 2019


What the Book Closes

I checked in on the bookstore again, confirming that this time a handwritten sign claimed it was closed.

I never did hear back from owners of the store about the closure.

5 October 2019


Riverside

According to an article, they were going to recreate a boat bridge, a way of crossing the Han River in old times. It basically involved floating a bridge on top of pontoons across the river. It would have been interesting to see.

I showed up and saw nothing like it around. Meanwhile, people were arriving so they could get places to sit for the Seoul Fireworks Festival later that evening, which I skipped.

4 October 2019


Roof Repair

A few days into the roof repair, it looks about how it appeared when I first moved in. As far as I knew, there was nothing left to do. Fortunately they went ahead and did a much more thorough job after these pictures were taken.

Meanwhile, renovation work started next door in the vacant apartment.

28 September 2019


What the Book Closes

There were reports online that What the Book was closed, so I went by for a look. According to signs out front, they were "teporarily" closed, although I had a pretty strong feeling they wouldn't be reopening. Closing the website while all this was happening made it pretty obvious.

25 September 2019


Neighbour's Apartment

I was told the building manager wanted to begin repairs on the roof outside my apartment, and to do so he requested access through my unit. I tried explaining my neighbour's unit was vacant, and it would be easier to go through there, which would spare my cats a lot of stress. But they said the other unit's owner didn't want to cooperate, saying the roof repair was on our side, as if going through that unit would inconvenience them at all.

I went home during lunch to take a bunch of photos documenting the state of the other apartment. Buster followed me over, and it gave him an appetite for more exploring.

At the time I considered putting my cats in the neighbouring unit during the day while workers trudged through my apartment, or even outright squatting in the other unit. In the end, on the morning they were supposed to start, I left the neighbour's door ajar, so the workers came upstairs, saw the open door into the empty apartment with the roof access visible, and naturally went that way.

22 September 2019


RASKB Gyeongui Line Tour

Robert Fouser led a tour along the length of Gyeongui Line Forest Park, and I came along for most of it. Coincidentally these ramblings were published earlier that week.

20 September 2019


National Assembly

Welcome to the National Assembly. Here is a female anthropomorphic National Assembly to greet you.

I went back to the National Assembly, and this time I walked in. There was no security to go through at the gate, but at the important buildings they had their own security. I was directed to a line for metal detectors inside one building, but I asked to use the washroom and they let me past without getting scanned. The main building had guards that didn't let me get close.

It was worth a walk around to see what it's like.

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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 2014