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”.





Death listing

13 09 2014

While researching the Lai Tak Tsuen estate (I was curious exactly how many people had leapt to their deaths in that great circular space) I discovered this; Hong Kong’s premier English-language real estate website keeps a listing of potentially-haunted houses, complete with details of what happened there. Apparently this is common practice for HK real estate agents. My boyfriend told me that banks will not offer loans for properties on this register, effectively making them un-sellable.





RIP Ladies Code

10 09 2014

No more rohypnol-and-bazooka anthems from Ladies Code. RIP to two of the members of the promising K-Pop group who were sadly killed in a car crash in Seoul this week. The shocking news has prompted a campaign to name and shame Korean celebrities who are snapped sans seatbelt, which is perhaps a positive thing to come out of the otherwise senseless news.

The girls had burst on to the scene last year with this quite catchy and genuinely bonkers pop moment- especially in its second half.





Dog Days

25 08 2014

Hong Kong was gripped last week by a controversy over an unfortunate stray dog that ran on to some train tracks and was sadly killed. Bizarrely though, this has led not to muttered offerings of regret but to a large-scale outpouring of anger at the transport authorities who “didn’t do enough”. Teary protesters marched on the government headquarters bearing photos of their own dogs and pillows shaped like giant dog biscuits. They shouted and wept for justice.

Watching them on the news I was, frankly, disgusted. In the context of a city where the population does not yet have the vote, in a country riven with stark inequalities and human rights abuses, in a world where ebola is stalking Africa, Syria and Iraq are engulfed in the horrors of war, sea levels are rising and whole species are being pushed to the brink of extinction every week  Рthis is what the chattering classes of Hong Kong have to be angry about?

It was so parochial and so childish that it made me furious.








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