World wide weird

17 11 2014

The Brazilian city of Belem, on the banks of the Amazon, is best known for its colourful riverside market of rainforest herbs and strange, monstrous fish, almost constant rain and more recently, a vibrant music scene that has spawned the likes of Jaloo and Gaby Amarantos. It was also here, in my early twenties, that I experienced one of the more exotic episodes in my travels, waiting out in a decaying nineteenth century brothel for an emergency credit card – my lifeline to the outside world – to arrive. Yet this week it has been in the news for a string of “whats app” murders, preceded by a mysterious text message telling people to stay off the streets..

The residents of outer-suburban Paris were terrorised by a tiger this week, sighted (and photographed, indistinctly, of course) outside a local supermarket. Despite a massive military manhunt the beast has still not been found, although after several days and some track mark analysis, the threat was downgraded to “Eurasian lynx”.

And finally, a sinkhole opened today on a busy pavement in Hong Kong’s own Causeway Bay, swallowing a passing pedestrian, who was later rescued by an ambulance. A friend told me something similar had happened in Beijing once, but there the unfortunate victim had been boiled alive by leaking hot water pipes.

Halloween Happy(land)

1 11 2014

Just in time for Halloween, the wonderful Coconouts Bangkok website has published a translation of this Thai article explaining the forgotten history of one of the city’s first theme parks, named Happy Land. This was a ¬†place where numerous children died and, it claims, disappeared. The park has long since closed but its name lives on in the macabrely ironic name of the housing estate built in its place and in the remaining faux-medieval castle that I stumbled upon once in the Bangkok suburb of Lad Phrao, host (perhaps fittingly) to a festival of “sad music”.

Read the original article in English here.

Too soon?

1 11 2014

Melbourne gay night Trough X with its ISIS-inspired promo pics for its next party in December.

All the news thats fit to print?

21 10 2014

Recently, in my gloomy incapacitation, I have started reading Nigeria’s Daily Post newspaper online. Its a fascinating, yet depressing, read. While I was researching my book on Bangkok I became fascinated with the Thai populist tabloid press and its predelictions with mutated animals, lottery number predictions, gruesome photographs of crime/accident victims and any combination thereof. Nigeria’s mass press seems to follow along similar lines – stories about witches who transform into birds appear alongside goats that give birth to humans and humans who give birth to “goats” (clearly a mutated human foetus.) It might all be ghoulish fun and games were you not to read a little bit deeper – the “bird woman” died in hospital. Why? Although the newspaper denies it, it seems likely she was beaten by a witch-hunting mob.

The more you read the sadder it gets – prurient stories about celebrities who are GAY!!!!!(which would earn a hefty prison sentence in this backwards country), plentiful rapes and deaths in internecine ethnic squabbles and pastors stealing money to build churches.

And stories like this that would be funny if they weren’t so damned ignorant. Sigh.

Freedom song

6 10 2014

Cold Fish

29 09 2014

Cold Fish is a gripping, awful tale about a small time Japanese tropical fish salesman and how he gets sucked into a brutal web of intrigue, sex and murder – all the more bizarre for being based on a true story. The mid-90s husband and wife team of Genkine Sen and Hiroko Kazama killed at least four people, probably more, at their Saitama prefecture dog store called “African Dog”.

In the movie, the action is transferred to a fish shop called “Amazon Gold” but many of the pulpy bizarre details of the crimes are presented true to life in a glorious, John Watersesque splatterfest about the machinations of a doormat, sex-starved husband, his unhappy new wife and ¬†hostile stepdaughter and the pathological, manipulative underworld czar of Amazon Gold.

The film is the best known flick from cult director Sono Sion, whom my boyfriend introduced me to on our second date.

How did he know…? ;)



Faye steps back to the future

22 09 2014

Pop icon Faye Wong has dominated news in China this week – but not for her new single, from the soundtrack to new movie “One Step Away” or the rumours of a comeback album which have been swirling. No, she was splashed over the front pages after being paparazzi-snapped making out with her ex-boyfriend of ten years ago, wild boy of Cantopop Nicholas Tse. It seems the power couple are back together after three marriages (between them) to other people and more than a decade apart, the ultimate rock ‘n’roll tabloid romance.

The new song is also a glorious throwback to the past, a reunion with the producer and lyricist of some of her greatest moments, “Cambrian Period”, “New Tenant” and “Flower from a distant shore”.


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