Tag Archives: Music


Some more photos from 2016, no longer where I left them on the internet, so going up here instead.

Anison done, I took in punk-power-pop Osaka veterans Shonen Knife at Fever in Shindaita, just one stop from arty, arsey, am-dram hangout Shimo-Kitazawa.

The guileless and warmly requited connection between audience and band was palpable, and as the music clattered from uncontrived glam to careering rock n roll abandon, the atmosphere became fuzzier, funnier, and even more affectionate.

It felt like the band love their fans as much as their fans love the band, and in that case, it’s an impeccable variety of romance: a marriage for life.

With some acts there can be an emotional gap between the performer and the audience, and the show is, well, for show. But with Shonen Knife the gap was almost not there, and the show was for real, between friends.


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Akihabara, some time in 2016.

Some of these photos were published elsewhere at the time, but the site they once appeared at has, I recently discovered, now disappeared, so I thought I’d put them up here.

I’d gone to take photos at an anison event. Anison means animation songs, but what it actually equates to is a mish mash of anime soundtracks, synthpop, future bass, electro, hip hop, breakbeats, drum and bass, guitar solos, 8-bit retro noises, genres I don’t know the name of, if names even exist, and whatever else you feel like throwing in there.

All accompanied by syrupy anime visuals on the walls, and glowsticks in hands.

Akihabara, over on the east side of the city, is the otaku capital of Tokyo, of Japan, and, by extension, of the world, and this felt like its soundtrack.

I might go back to the club sometime, if it’s still around.

For now though, while Tokyo stays in for the end of the winter, nostalgia will suffice.

Good Intentions

“Robert Oppenheimer, a little while before he died, said that it’s perfectly obvious the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so. Because you see, all the troubles going on in the world now are being supervised by people with very good intentions. There are attempts to keep things in order, to clean things up, to forbid this and prevent that, possible horrendous damage. And the more we try, you see, to put everything to rights, the more we make fantastic messes, and it gets worse, and maybe that’s the way it’s got to be. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all about the folly of trying to put things to right, but simply on the principle of Blake, let the fool persist in his folly so that he will become wise.”

That’s from a talk by the masterly Alan Watts, a compelling philosopher and Bodhisattva. I don’t know when the talk was given, but Alan died in 1973, and it’s striking that what he says here seems so operative and resonant, given the decades that have passed since he articulated such ideas.

Is it better, then, not to do good? Certainly, that phrase, a do-gooder makes me shudder a little. No-one wants to be a do-gooder, and not a goody-two-shoes either. Where would be the fun in that?

And at an institutional level, it becomes not just tiresome and graceless, but impositional, restrictive, and ultimately dangerous. Institutions have power. The authorities have clout. When they decide that a certain behaviour is good, it means other ways of conducting oneself might be bad, which means they may not let you do them for much longer.

Or in this age of self-censorship, you may not let yourself do them.

And it might then follow that English author TH White’s words become unfortunately relevant.

“Everything which is not forbidden is compulsory.”

So how do we avoid such a future?

Let’s turn to a contemporary figure, who got to the essential core of how best to proceed from here in a single word:


And since we’re on the topic of Yeezy, and I can’t help but detect a certain mysticism in the air at the moment, let’s work with this too: