31 May 2009

International Emporium

On the corner of Nga Tsin Wai Rd. and Lion Rock Rd. in Kowloon City, this building used to be the International Emporium 國際. The emporium was an old-fashioned department store. There is no telling why the word, emporium, was used. It signaled a type of fashion store which catered to everyone. And in the good old days, there used to be a number of 'emporiums', including one Indian Emporium in Tsim Sha Tsui. The building is now abandoned, leaving only the skeleton of a building.

Alice remembered visiting the International Emporium when she was very young. It was airy, with florscent lights above all display glass cabinets. The clothing items were not particularly exciting, but these were clothes were comfort clothes people wore at home. There were mannequims, but they were so stiff that their limbs were put at strange angles. There was no fancy decoration or anything. Even when Alice was young, she could tell International Emporium was 'old-fashioned'.

30 May 2009

Eason Chan

This is next generation Cantopop god Eason Chan singing Aren't You Glad?, his first English song released last year. A while ago we did a survey of university students' music tastes and Eason came out way on top as favourite artist. Why does he sing with a perfect British accent? His dad was a senior civil servant (now in prison for accepting bribes), which meant that Eason got to go to a private school in England from age 12. Aren't You Glad? was written by Russell Harris, who is...? The MV was the winner of a competition in Malaysia.

19 May 2009

Sham 69

As I haven't been keeping up with UK pop very well over the last few years, it came as a surprise to me that Sham 69 still exist - let alone that they played in HK at Backstage on May 15. But as it turns out, this was not the 'real' Sham 69 - only one of the original band still there and it's not Jimmy Pursey. If I remember right, I saw Sham 69 open for The Clash at the Finsbury Park Astoria in 1978 where Jimmy made Joe Strummer look like the expat public school boy he was. I saw them several times that year and became something of a fan, then it all seemed to go bad. You couldn't get to the stage without risking being kicked around by a bunch of National Front skinheads. And then came Hurry Up Harry... Shame really when you listen to their first record. This is the B-side of I Don't Wanna with Ulster and Red London.

This is also something new on YouTube for me. You put your record on the turntable and video it while the record plays? Follow CesarAlcapone's stream and you'll see he is a master.

16 May 2009

Tizzy Bac

Tizzy Bac, my favourite Taiwan band, actually my favourite band all round at the moment. Their first CD came out in 2002 and now they have 3 studio CDs and one live double CD. Tizzy Bac do a few songs in English, like Shall We Dance, off their new CD, but they are really the band for people who like a little English with their Mandarin. Above is a track from the latest CD with a long Mandarin title that means something like 'If I see hell, I won't be afraid of the devil' . Below is Sideshow Bob from the second CD. Unusual for this kind of song, the English comes in the first line and then disappears.

13 May 2009

Neon Genesis Evangelion III

The third of three CDs from the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. A different version of Fly me to the Moon was used over the end credits of each episode, which makes for a lot of versions of Fly me to the Moon and a few interesting pronunciations. This CD closes with 12 versions, mostly 'TV size' with an 8 minute mix at the end. That adds up to 20 minutes plus of Fly me to the Moon. If that doesn't put you off, instrumental tracks include Depression, Separation Anxiety, The Sorrow of Losing the Object of One's Dependence, and Those Women Longed for the Touch of Others' Lips and thus Invited their Kisses. This album is in my car right now and I can't get enough of it.

11 May 2009

Car Sick Cars

I have some time off work, so I am going to post for a few days on my true love in music, or at least my true research interest, which is Asian artists who perform in English. I am starting with an excellent Beijing band we saw on Saturday night, Car Sick Cars. Followers of Sonic Youth - the drummer is even called Thurston - they play as close to what I remember as punk as I've heard in a long time. They have also toured with Sonic Youth and have a few English songs in their bag, including a high-speed ear-shattering version of The Velvet Underground's Sunday Morning. Can't find anything in English on the Internet though, so here's Zhong Nan Hai (the name of Beijing's equivalent of the White House and the bass player's favourite brand of cigarettes).

03 May 2009

Grover in Hong Kong

Not satisfied with looking like it is made of green Lego bricks, this Bossini clothing store on Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mongkok, is brightening itself up with Sesame Street characters. Grover says, 'Hi, Hong Kong!'