October 2009 Archives

Second / Leiren live @ Live Sound Garage

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second bass
Friday night and it was time to check out the downtown Live Bar location for the first time. The official name is Live Sound Garage and it's situated inside the Weihai Road 696 centre, a cluster of old buildings for art studios. 

The show was advertised as a 9 o'clock start and here was the line up:

Small Man
塑料拖鞋 (Plastic Slippers)雷人 (Lei Ren)

I mentioned that Lei Ren translates roughty to Lightning People in the podcast but then noted in the comments that it usually means to shock someone. Well, I looked into it and the band have the official English name 'Lightninger'. So make of it what you will.

Firstly, the venue. I was quite impressed, despite being a smaller space it was nice. Good stage, lots of brand new equipment including a huge speaker set for the PA that seemed way over the top and a good standing area that could probably get 150 people in. Someone who knows how could put on some cool shows there. It's basically like a rectangular version of the main room at YYT, but with nothing else around it. Only odd thing is how big they made the stage, the drummer seems miles away.

So, Small Man didn't play finally, just three bands tonight. We got there at 9.00, the advertised start time, and they were still sound checking. Long story short, gig started at 9.45. Plastic Slippers are clearly a brand new band but were well received by the audience of the bands, their friends and me and the wife. I should say that some other true punters did trickle in a bit later. The band shared a member with Lei Ren (their drummer) too.

Up next, Lei Ren. Lei Ren seem to live the Lei Ren life and were behaving off stage much like on. Anyway, they got up and went into their set of 80's Japanese TV theme covers and parody songs. In between songs, the front man and band members went through several lengthy stand up routines. Most of this revolved around the joy of saying rude stuff or slang in Shanghainese. Example joke, keyboardist starts using his head to play, singer exclaims 'Lou lu'. Lou Lu means old cock and means literally cocky, which can be good or bad. This typically reduces the whole band to tears of laughter. 

Finally Second took the stage and were uncharacteristically sloppy and out. Before long it became aparent that they couldn't hear themselves or each other ... and then the drum kit fell apart. They asked for the previous drummers to come up and help. The previous drummers didn't come up, they stood around being very Lei Ren. So, it took a good ten minutes or so for the sound guy, and I use that in the broadest possible sense of the term, to sort everything out and finally Second managed to play some quality tracks. I look forward to catching them at the next 0093 showcase at Yuyintang.

Reminders and bamboo guitars

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Update: Brad documented the whole bamboo guitar project on his site Sinolectro

So, yeah, now me and Jake have a podcast. It's me and him talking a bit but people seem to find it bearable and we even play you a Chinese indie song at the end.

So, don't forget, Jake's blog is good and it's the main one.

Go there now to hear the pod and see what's going on:

Now that's Brad Ferguson pictured with the logo for the Control show a while back, which I mentioned in the podcast. So, we're currently doing a bit of work together on the upcoming Expendable release. Today, I finally popped over to see Brad's workshop.

Brad custom builds both guitars and guitar equipment from scratch. Today I got to have a look at a prototype bamboo Telecaster and play through his Tonerider analogue effects. Brad is currently working with some prominent scene figures to develop some new custom effects pedals. I can't say too much as it's all in development now but it features genuine stars of the scene and some great ideas. So, if you're looking for a unique custom sound for your band, you'll know where to go.

Youtube Tudou: Second live @ Mao Shanghai

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A little while back I reported on the Rock Shanghai anniversary party at the newly opened Mao Livehouse Shanghai. This show was organised by 0093 rehearsal studios and was basically a re-run of their regular showcase nights at Yuyintang.

Now, before you watch this video we need to add some context. Well, firstly the quality is not good and it seems to have been done on a phone. But ...

Imagine you are back in your home town. Imagine that a local bar or hall is letting completely amateur unsigned bands play that night. The band is made up of mainly younger students and they've barely been playing together six months and part-time. They are playing their first original material. What would that be like? Well, on the Shanghai scene it's like this. This is Second (重结晶乐队) with their song 《如果可以 》 If I Could. 

Hint: They were good and the venue is great. 

poverty lines from World Bank study
Click image for clearer version

Update: I urge you to also read some excellent and lengthy comments at the end of the post.

Since the post-sars underground scene started to take off and gain international notice, there have been several articles written in the English language press asking the question Why aren't Chinese rockers political?

There's an easy answer to that, they are political. Just like other music scenes. Just like people in a society.

But today, via China Music Radar, I read the next generation of article which appears to up the bar by modifying the question to Why aren't Chinese rockers political enough? It seems to me that by adding more depth to the previous articles, they have simply increased the amount of biased writing and skewed premises. But, before I get into that you should read the article yourself, in full. You may like it, who knows?

Where can you start? The article itself it fully loaded with blanket statements and contradictory ideas. It starts by declaring that they aren't 'political' and then continues to give examples of how they are, but not enough. Look at the title. If people are pampered they won't complain about politics? That's ludicrous and untrue. Sorry folks, Ayn Rand was full of shit. What are it's premises? For a start, that Chinese rockers are all pampered. And to such a degree that they forget about societies ills. Utterly ridiculous. I'm loath to take apart all the classic fallacies as it would be ultimately pointless. What is political apathy? Someone once said, "withdrawing in disgust is not apathy."

I have to stop there, the problem is with the writers of these articles and their lack of awareness. Through a set of dodgy premises they then extrapolate out to an article full of nonsense. So I think the best way to illustrate my own point of view is to do just that - illustrate my own point of view. 

Here are some questions and statements of intent:

* We are one human race.
* We have one human culture with variations. Similarities that bind us, not differences that are irreconcilable. 
* What does 'political' mean?
* Who can comment on 'politics' and what is enough or too much?
* Can culture be apolitcal or neutral?
* How is our world defined?
* What does pampered mean? What is the true state of money and class in the world today?
* How 'political enough' are bands in our own countries?

I think it's best to start with a clear picture of the world we live in and how it has 'developed' in the post WW2 period. Click on the picture above. Those are the figures provided by the World Bank's development indicators. They were completed in 2008 and they reflect the year 2005, before a crash widened the gaps further. It's adjusted for purchasing power too. Click here for all kinds of stats.

So 80% of the world, or 5.15 billion people, live on less than $300 US dollars a month and that's the top percentile of that group. Most of my readers are based in China. That's less than 2000 RMB a month for ALL needs and that usually covers the whole family. The remaining 20% are what we think of as the 'middle classes' and the tiny super-rich. 

Look again, 3.14 billion people, or half the world's population, live on less than $2.50 a day ... or 500 RMB a month over here. Half. China's most recently touted statistic was 300 million internet users. Hey, that's only a billion without and it brings them in line with the global averages of 20% - just like the wealth distribution pictured above. 

Did you notice something? I make way above the poverty lines but ..somehow ... i'm drawing attention to the plight of others and getting all 'political' ... something does not compute in the world of mainstream discourse. 

It's important to note that this has actually been a time of unparalleled  poverty and no-peace for the vast majority of young people in the world and apathy doesn't come into it for them. Take the conflict centred around the Congo, if that was happening in Europe on that scale it'd be called World War Three.

So what is politics? Are you ready?

* We live in a society, as long as you interact with anyone except yourself, you're in one and compromises take place.
* Those interactions and compromises manifest as relationships.
* The managing of those relationships, at any level, is ... 'politics'.
* Don't confuse power and politics. Although they rarely come apart except at the abstract level.

We are all political and everything we do or say has some impact on society. No matter how big or small, or what the perception of it is. 

Who can comment on or affect 'politics'? All of us. We just do. Think about freedom of speech or thought. They just are. It's what we naturally do. When people talk about human rights what they actually mean is human un-rights or supression. 

So what is happening when anyone suggests that some people can or can't talk about politics? That's power.

Also remember, people use words for all kinds of their own meanings. The most common use of the word 'politics' is to describe the business of our leaders. The most common use of the world Political, in English, seems to be a negative slur that suggests the receiver mind their own business about things that are above them. There are many many others.

What kind of relationships do we have in society? Well, as I said before, we have a single culture with variations. Global society is ordered by the idea of nation-states. The world is fully carved up into territories with closed borders. You need a passport to leave, Your life and identity is governed by this arrangement. They claim to be a natural manifestation of the people, they are both state and nation, despite clearly being an abstract that came into being across colonialism. This is a recent part of history and not fixed in any way.

Importantly, across this one system, the spread of development and wealth mirrors that of the World Bank stats with people in the upper 20% enjoying the most freedoms. After the financial crash of 2008, even the most disinterested punter is now aware that apparent wider mobility of lower classes in developed countries is falsely propped up on debt and loans.  

Before we get back to being 'political enough', lets throw in one more thing, the environment. What the use of being a millionaire in Shanghai if all it gets you is a 150 sq metre concrete box among the smog and light industrial sprawl? And, what's it like living on 2.50 a day if you also have no land to grow things on or any clean natural water source? Hello, half the world.

So I want to ask a question. What does it mean to be 'political enough'? It doesn't make sense. It's a none concept.

These writers never ask this question of their own scenes. They see China's situation as unique and yet at the same time hold them to a standard based in their own country. The only references appear to be to bands that are 'political enough', as examples. But that's few and far between. Also, My experience is that mainstream writers in the UK and USA tend to sneer at anything 'political' in art and write it off as preachy or heavy handed. They lack a coherent set of values and they lack a coherent worldview. They see parts of the world as relative or uniquely separate as it suits them, to justify illogical and undeveloped threads. In the article, the word political means about ten different things at different times. 

So, really, what does Alice Liu think is 'political enough'? I think in this case she, and the other writers, are substituting 'political' for passionately campaigning for the overthrow of the current power.  

And here's the rub, by saying China and by saying rock she is implying a standard that exists outside of China. That rock musicians have a special place in society for overthrowing governments and that they have fulfilled that previously. Obviously that's balls. Rock has many bands and genres, most of which do not engage in social criticism or direct action. Where's the post-war authoritarian society that was toppled by the people with the help of rock music?  And what is enough? Because the article thinks that saying it is not enough. And why choose Carsick Cars and not someone actually political like The Subs? And be careful here, I myself do believe in direct action and activism but I'm not talking about if it's possible or desirable - I'm talking about the implications of the article and their relationship to reality.

But as I said, this is all obvious nonsense because ask a stupid question and you'll get a ... you know the rest. Lets conclude with a conclusion.

In the article Alice says:

On his blog, Shouwang wrote about a dawn trip by him and a friend to the square, where they milled around for a while. The police noticed them, saw them as suspicious-looking characters and placed them in the back of a police van, from where Shouwang looked miserably at the square in the rising morning light. The result was one of the most popular songs on their debut album, in which he sings: "This is a square without hope."

... and then ...

One of the things that Shouwang reacts against is Internet censorship. On Carsick Cars' second album, there is a instrumental song with the classic title of "The Firewall Killed My Cat." Without lyrics or any particular sentiment, the song may be beautiful, but it is hardly talkin' about Shouwang's generation.

Well he kind of is. In fact, he did. 

Endnote: if anyone would like to know my own personal idea of music and 'politics' they can go here, thanks. 

Around the blogosphere: October 2009

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Tim Anderson
Via China Music Radar I see that the Beijing scene still crops up in the U.S. mags from time to time. This time it's The Propagandist The Economist. The article appears at their Intelligent Life blog and it's because of a new photo book featuring D22 called Sound Kapital.

It's done with the usual tone/perspective but it's defo worth a read. The page name is even nary zither nor lute. Please.

Over at City Weekend, Dan Shapiro keeps his focus up with two posts. First he reviews Cui Jian at the JZ Festival and then he provides us with a preview of the week ahead.

He also mentions the sad news of the week. I saw Tim today, and yeah, he's amicably parting ways with Mortal Fools. So, there's a badass picture of him to go with this post. Tim helped me out a lot with the first Expendable demos (drums) and he's an all round ruling guy. You'll still be able to catch him with Resist! Resist! in the future.

The History of The Subs

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Wu Hao and Kang Mao
Whilst talking to YLK in the comments at Jake's blog I made this comment and realised afterwards what an impact the band has had on me.

Their live shows have been pretty much the highlights of my eight years in Shanghai and though I was a bit distant at first, way back when in Harley's, I have grown to love this band. 

So, checking in at their Douban group I noticed that they have a kind of potted history of the band. It's a kind of convention to list up all your gigs in the description box of your Douban group, but they add in CD release dates and some other stuff too. It starts thus:


Feb 2002 The band formed in Beijing.
In May the current bassist joined and there was a stable line up.

Click into the post to see the full list. Chinese only for now. Maybe people could translate their highlights in the comments? Can we see the early Harley's gig there, where I bought Subs Life?

Bands are back on at Harley's

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fealress flyer
A couple of weeks ago I spotted a flyer over at SmartShanghai that seemed to indicate that Harley's was up for putting bands on again.

But was it an indicator that Harley's were coming back to the scene or was it the work of an intrepid new promoter, blissfully unaware of the history there? 

Well, it turned out that the band The Rainbow Danger Club is the new band from once frontman of the now defunct The Living Thin. I heard, from the, ahem, grapevine, that the promoter / DJ didn't turn up until the very end, to collect the door money. The night may now relocate to Logo. But hey, it happened. And ...

Now floating around douban is the pictured flyer. The Yangpu death metal massive is putting on a show there soon. It features Fearless, who are well good. 

They play melodic death metal and their set features an amazing cover of Iron Maiden's The Trooper. I have to admit being a metal fanboy, by the way. You'll notice that this show clashes with 24 Hours over at Yuyintang, the latest Beijing based hot band to be brought down by STD. But. If you are going to see Fearless then you probably think that bands like 24 Hours are only fit to be your eternal slaves in Valhalla. 

Factory closed for 'strategic review'

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Not so long ago I read a post by Dan Shapiro about The Factory's proposed model for signing bands and producing music. I then wrote this post about it.

The basic idea is that they are underwritten by an ad agency and create in-house solely to pitch material for use in jingles etc. I'm not down with that. Well, it's OK if you want to be a professional jingle writer/corporate shill. Just be honest about it.

So today over at Shanghaiist, Elaine Chow reports that they will close shop for a while. She's references this post at their own house blog. They say:

Factory is temporarily suspending its activities while undertaking a strategic review to refocus and further develop its creative core.

I'd love to speculate on stuff like evil and karma but to be fair Factory does all kinds of stuff in a large complex and I'm pretty sure that their hiccup has little to do with their music making model. 

Well at least it gave us that pretentious quote. Made me smile this morning.

Right, Spoonie, you're on point

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"Bruce, no heroics" ...
"Right, Newby, you're on point"

So Jake is back from his travels. Check out the soon-to-be legendary picture on his post. This means that i'll be winding down again. Not completely, mind you. But Jake will be the lead blog on Kungfuology. 

In the meantime, Second  (重结晶乐队) have posted a lot of pics on their Douban page from the show at Mao. Also, they are playing at Live Bar's newish space at the 696 Weihai Lu art studios on Friday 30th. Here's the flyer. And here are a couple of the pics ...

second play mao

Boys Climbing Ropes live @ Yuyintang

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wedding book
Friday night at Yuyintang was a wedding themed free party that was, in fact, part of Brad Ferguson and Da Men's wedding party. The flyer on the YYT site was the Chinese wedding papers (pictured).

So, yeah, congratulations guys.

The original line up included Hard Queen and Duck Fight Goose but after a few pieces of bad luck only Boys Climbing Ropes remained. 

So, it was now up to the happy couple to step up and play the support slot at their own party. Brad and Damen took the stage and played some country hits. Sheena from Hard Queen got up there too at one point and they went through Hotel Yorba, which is a regular Hard Queen cover.

This was my first time catching Boys Climbing Ropes since their summer break, having missed out on the Handsome Furs show. The played mainly newer material with only Calculate making an appearance from the Pleasure To Be Here CD. The mics and vocal mix were good today and the combination of Little Punk and Jordan's singing came through really well. They have the material and the presence to step up to be a headliner now. All they need is to push themselves a bit online like the Mushrooms do with flyers and regular activity in the groups on Douban or whatever.

What I mean is, I'd like to be at a sold out BCR show because I like 'em. Selfish me.

Youtube Vimeo: Bigger Bang @ Yuyintang

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Back in the heady days of September 21st 2009, Jake reviewed the kick ass Bigger Bang show at Yuyintang. Here is the review.

Well Shanghai Soundbites (Tim Franco) have put together a video montage of the show including live action, sound check and incidental. It seems to be set to the CD version of the track and not a live recording. But anyway, it shows some good live footage of a full YYT show and people who know what me, Jake and friends look like can spot us in the jumping section.

So yeah, there has never been clearer vid footage of a decent YYT show. Here it is:

the bigger bang ! 大棒 ! / in shanghai from Tim Franco on Vimeo.

Mortal Fools custom T-shirt

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Mortal Fools (Da sha mao 大傻冒) are Shanghai's premier old school punk and ska act. They are also Shanghai's premier nice guys and champions of community spirit. They currently don't have any official merchandise available, but they do have some logos done. So, bassist Levi Wang was nice enough to let Evans have use of the print-quality logo for free to make our own fan shirts from. 

And the reaction when he saw the final product? "I'm moved." I have one in black too, check it out:

mofo custom shirt

Youtube Tudou: Holiday recycler Pinkberry

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It's the holidays. You have time, you're relaxing with your own computer, with sound. You're on this blog, so you like Chinese indie bands. So watch this.

This is Pinkberry headlining a big show at the Dream Factory that was so disastrously organised that they didn't get on until almost one a.m. and most people had gone home. However, this vid shows Pinkberry ripping away with one of their more simple, rawer tunes. A glimpse into the amazing potential than has been on and off lately due to all kinds of controversies and line up changes.

When this Pinkberry show up, it's worth it.

Bands back on at Harley's?

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No sooner had I put up this Harley's Bar old pic and blabbed about it in my nostalgia post, I came across a flyer online advertising a new rock night with a band there.

Blimey, it must be going on three years since there were any significant gigs on there.

So, the flyer comes courtesy of Smart Shanghai here so Morgan Short must be the man with the lowdown on the show. He's on his hols now though so I won't bother him. Unless he wants to come on the comments that is. Ahem. 

From the site:

New indie rock night, Sticks and Stones, kicks off at Harley's Bar. 00's rock and a performance by new band, The Rainbow Danger Club.
Well, it seems that it's new and not (yet) part of the scene, so to speak. But hey, all are welcome of course and Harley's is a cool little venue to see bands at. Is it still under the same ownership though? Perhaps the Sticks and Stones organisers will soon find out first hand why there have been no shows there for quite some time.

Youtube Tudou: A look in Mao Shanghai

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Warning: yes, this is a look in Mao Shanghai. However, it is a hastily shot vid done on a point and shoot variety digital camera's video mode. 

I give a brief intro. But after the "40 seconds" are up and we can clearly see the stage, I change my mind and stay on it for two Momo tracks. So maybe this should be called Momo live @ Mao Shanghai.

Rock Shanghai Anniversary @ Mao Shanghai

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rock shanghai one year
Rock Shanghai website has reached one year old and to celebrate they have revamped their front page and put on a promotional gig. The revamp is just a nice front page, the site is still solely comprised of a BBS. It will be interesting to see how they plan to topple Douban.

So, here was the lineup for the 0093 organised show:

小巫师 (Little Witch)
胶壳乐队 (Joker)
甜品店 (Candy Shop)
重结晶 (Second)
伍角星 (Five Pointed Star)

First up, good turn out. Over three hundred tickets sold as we got there early. By the end of the second band it was as full as The Mushrooms show the night before. Perhaps the best attended 0093 show to date.

Little Witch did not play and an unannounced band were to start. Just like the good old 0093 shows. The replacement band, whose name I didn't get, assuming they were Little Witch, played a mix of riff-tastic old school metal and ... err ..pop ballads. Props to the bassist who looked killer in her thrash wrist guards and low slung bass. Looking the part makes a big difference. Joker followed up with their blues-rock show. Good band but maybe a Mao Livehouse full of people mainly here to see Momo and Candy Shop is not the best place to do a rambling eight minute blues impro. 

Momo were next. As usual they were tight and professional. All the bands played short sets but Momo still managed to throw in an oldie from the Happy Strings days. Tonight's crowd seemed more up for their bubblegum indie pop material. 

Candy Shop hit the stage and ripped it up. They have a ton of new material and play a full set well now. New singer Sammi, in for Melody Li, is a great performer and held her own with the manic and always funny MC YKE. They were the first band to get people moving and jumping.    Highlight of the night. The older songs mixed thrashy riff with the catchy choruses, they now seem to be leaning more towards skate-punk style in the heavier sections. Again two great performers up front who really know how to work up the crowd. 

Now we were at the two and half hour mark. And two more bands to go. Following the Mushrooms gig I was already wasted and couldn't last the marathon. As we were getting our stuff together, Second came on and we caught the first two songs. Second grab attention immediately for their, err, natural advantages in the looks department, but that's not a concern for them. They were the first band of the night to play honest straight rock. Everyone else mixed a variety of genres with heavy dollops of pop in the mix. Second just rocked. Great.

On the way out we heard that Pinkberry were hiding backstage and were going to play a surprise headline appearance to round off the night. I'm not sure how wise an idea that was considering the regular show must have run well over three hours by the end. Anyone care to review in the comments?

andy at mao shanghai

The Mushrooms live @ Mao Shanghai

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mushrooms polaroid
I wrote that the opening night of Mao Shanghai, a new 800 capacity venue, was not a true indicator of how the venue may work. Well, this time was the first show that was a ticketed rock show headlined by a local band.

The Mushrooms are especially good at cultivating their online community groups and front man Pupu is a major personality on Douban. All indicators said that they could add to their usual 3-400 YYT crowd.

One funny incident on the way in. In front of us at the ticket desk were a group of two local couples. They didn't know it wasn't free, they'd obviously been last week. So they asked who was playing. When explained to them they gave a group sarcastic laugh and even broke into English to say "Chinese band?". Then they left. Echoes of the Windows Underground manager/incident.You could see last week though, that a free promotion give-away crowd is not the same as the rock crowd.

Anyway, fuck them, because there were 500-600 true local rock fans there on the night. Support act Double Control Where played a mixture of thrash with screaming and very Mushrooms-esque slow parts. I was told they are Emo, maybe Screamo? The stage seemed a bit big for a newer band (you know, metaphorically) but the crowd liked them. 

The Mushrooms came on to high expectations and played a proper headlining set of well over an hour. They played a lot of new songs and tried to organise the set with changes of pace. Pupu doesn't need to do much to please his fans these days, but he doesn't know any other way except all-out. Good. I was a bit disappointed that the crowd was a bit too much poser and not enough pogo but we all had fun anyway. Our little contingent of crazy fans got an unexpected boost when a group of girls also turned up in matching tees and joined in the jump/mosh action. Nice.

But could it be last time? Stay tuned to our blogs to see what happens. 
H. P. Lovecraft 1934
I was reading around the topic of director Roman Polanski's arrest in Switzerland lately. That's not him pictured, read on. Due to the various high-profile reactions, there is now a debate going on around it. However, it is confused. It is at least three debates.

1) Should he be arrested, is he a criminal.
2) Should Hollywood have let him work (release and reward his works).
3) Do artist's behaviour/crimes affect their art, should we condemn his work.

I'm writing now because I'm interested in number three. The mainstream debate, excellently reproduced here,

... tends to come down on yes or no art is or isn't separate from the artist. I believe it's more complex than that, but easy enough to lay out. Let's clear up number one first so we can let it go.

In one of the essays presented in the NYT article there, Geraldine A. Ferraro says,

"A male is guilty of rape in the second degree when, being eighteen years old or more, he engages in sexual intercourse with a female less than fifteen years old."

This is the definition of statutory rape. A 13-year-old can't consent to intercourse with a man over 18.
There you have it. Also one of the commenters over at the The AV Club perfectly summed up their excellent podcast on the celebrity reactions thus:

"New rule: If your family is killed in the Holocaust and your wife is killed by Charles Manson, you are allowed one free rape."
Indeed. Okay, we'd better go after the jump for the next part on art and artist's beliefs/behaviour.

Youtube Youku: New BBT video out

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Just a month ago, Jake told us of a video shoot for Shanghai indie-pop act Bang Bang Tang (Lollipop). The Yuyintang footage plays a very small part but if you watch carefully you will see Jake's blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo. 

But never mind that. Check out the band and video. This is 我最爱缺陷男 (I Love Flawed Men Best)

Ghost Bikes: James Langergaard

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James Ghost Bike
I blogged recently about someone I knew who was killed on his bike in New York City. Revisit the post and watch his funny, thought-provoking video on bicycle philosophy.

He has a special memorial this week by other cyclists involving a Ghost Bike installation at the site where he died. 

The photo shows the spot where he was killed, but the bike will now be chained to an adjacent fence. If you look carefully at the top right corner you'll see that in addition to the oncoming split six lanes, there are more for traffic going the other way. Right through a residential area. 

While were on the subject, some of my younger students were telling me that Shanghai has the worst traffic in the world. They are mistaken of course. Elsewhere on Streetsblog is a great post about a rush hour 'race' in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The bicycle won coming in at 22 minutes, where a car came in at over an hour, also losing out to the walker. But the amazing thing is the hook of the post. The bike beat the helicopter. That included starting at the same point of course, so the helicopter guy had to go to the heliport and get clearance etc. 

Duck Fight Goose live @ Yuyintang

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I have to start this post by apologising. Usually I make a point of linking up the bands so you can click into their pages and music. However, all the following local bands have their main pages on Douban. Douban has been temporarily blocked for cleaning following several rumoured online events exploiting the vast comedy potential in a certain parade.

So. Last night's show at Yuyintang was supposed to be The (International) Noise Conspiracy, a major band who's latest release was produced by Rick Rubin. The Mushrooms were making up the local support along with The Offset: Spectacles. However, it was decimated at short notice and changed into an impromptu Miniless night with Boojii and Duck Fight Goose coming in. So the line up was:

Duck Fight Goose
The Offset: Spectacles

I don't write up performances that I didn't see fully and/or give proper consideration so I'm only going to talk about DFG, sorry again.

Duck Fight Goose is a kind of experimental scene super group that includes Da Men and San San from Boojii and Han Han from LOS, who is also the founder of Miniless Records. They gave their tightest performance yet, channelling early Pink Floyd and Rush while using loops and modern effects to create sophisticated layers. The music is mainly instrumental but the dynamics were tightly executed making it very engaging.  Both Boojii and DFG will now head up to Beijing for the Modern Sky Festival.

The other feature of the night was the audience itself. While sparse due to the last minute cancellations, it was full of band members and scene people. The most prominent was Yang Haisong, legendary frontman of PK-14 and recent producer of the outstanding Lava | Ox | Sea album. What's more, he was sporting the LOS tee that Jake's wearing in the photo. Nice. I could go on all night name dropping like Perez Hilton. But I won't. 

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

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china flag
Update: Over at the CMR a reliable commenter has said that: 

This would not be a government directive - it was specifically requested by Modern Sky of the organizers of the International Noise Conspiracy shows that the band not play any other shows...

Having first brought us the line up for the Modern Sky Festival this year ... and having expressed astonishment that it would go ahead despite the China 60th anniversary national day celebrations ...

... takes breath ...

... China Music Radar now bring us the news that the festival has been told that no foreign acts can play. This done in the usual way, extreme last minute and with no source or law quoted. 

However, I will match your news, CMR, and raise you a no foreign bands will play anywhere.

That's right, Yuyintang got the call today (30th) putting the kibosh on The International Noise Conspiracy gig. In a group message issued over Douban today, YYT say the show will go on featuring the local acts only at a reduced ticket rate. They keep it guarded but mention it affects all the band's shows including Chengdu and Modern Sky, and say to check the Modern Sky group to see the reason.

I'm sorry, but I won't reproduce the original Chinese message here in case of attracting aggro. If anyone doubts my sources or wants to see the original message, please contact me by e-mail.

Just a thought. A certain elephant in a certain room will run for over three months.

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