Films of the year

16 12 2014

Under the Skin: 



O Som ao Redor:  (The Sounds Around Us): 

Stranger by the Lake:


The Babadook: 

12 Years A Slave: 

Honorable mentions for older movies I saw for the first time this year: Castaway and the Moon, Nightfishing, The Fantastic Mr Fox, Exit Through the Giftshop.

Another year older

16 12 2013


This week a gloomy chill descended over Hong Kong (eleven degrees and rainy), and school limped towards its drawn-out close before the Xmas break, and it finally hit me – the year is (all but) over. Spectacular Beyonce multimedia releases aside, 2013 has at this point, pretty much played its hand.

It was a tumultuous year.

On the plus side, it was a year of great music. I listened to summery pop and a Korean 1920s revival and three-year old Latin chart hits. I started to read again: Christos Tsiolkas’s “Barracuda” and Zadie Smith. And I travelled: I spent an amazing Summer on the streets and subways and in the parks and bars of New York City, hanging out in Brooklyn and dancing to disco music at a music festival outside a drug rehab centre in New Jersey. I visited Montreal for a good friend’s birthday, took another good friend to Bangkok and returned to Tokyo – the motherland! – after all these years to find it still as amazing as I had remembered. And much later, I spent a debauched long weekend in Asia’s newest party city, Taipei.

I met great new people and I reconnected with so many old friends – in New York, in Tokyo, in Melbourne, in Bangkok, in Brazil. I suffered through work (sometimes) and wondered whether it was time for a change.

But of course, the biggest and most lasting event of 2013 was none of these things. It was the end of a nine year marriage, which finally fell apart at the seams. I started 2013 as a married man and watched it all – like a slow motion car crash – fall away. Daisuke and I split.

I moved house. I started afresh. I started to see Hong Kong though a whole new lens, sometimes scary and often exciting. I re-entered the relentlessly paced, dazzlingly seductive gay dating scene with its new buzzing sex apps and illusion of endless, instant choice. And then I met someone – and decided to drop back out.

Which pretty much brings me up to speed, as I type this on the floor of my new much-loved apartment in my new(ish) not-yet-loved neighbourhood,looking forward to a return back to Australia at the end of the week – but now leaving someone behind in HK.

Goodbye 2013

16 12 2013

Solange – Lovers in the Parking Lot

Lee Hyori – Bad Girls

AKB48 – 恋するフォーチュンクッキー

Kelis – Jerk Ribs

Asala Nasri – Ela Mata

Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop

Jinbo – Cops Come knock

Major Laser – Bubble Butt

Tove Lo – Habits

Nogizaka 46 – Baretta (unfortunately the amazing original video clip, quite possibly the year’s best, has disappeared from youtube. In it,  the girls gun each other down in a vigilante battle against human traffickers, with a savage twist at the end.)

Brendan MacLean -Stupid

John Park- Falling (actually a 2012 release, but reached me late).

Sky Ferreira – You Are Not the One

Blood Orange – Chamakay

Julieta Venegas – Te Vi

TOP Doom Dada

G-Dragon – Crooked

IU Modern Times –

Daft Punk – Game of Love

Annie – Back Together

Janelle Monae – We Were Rock n Roll

Micky Green – In Between (Temporary)

Royskopp – Something in my heart

Gaby Amarantos – Gemendo

And (NSFW!!!) Is Tropical – Dancing Anymore

2011: new artists

15 12 2011

A David Lynchian pinup girl with a gravel voice – perfect.

Kimbra brought soul to the Oz charts.

Nicola Roberts filled the Lily Allen-shaped hole in the Brit music scene for a witty, spunky pop star with edge and style.

Lianne La Havas (that voice).

2011: Best books

15 12 2011

1) The book that dominated my year was the one that I wrote, reasonably enough. We had some layout issues though so it will not be out until 2012 (ready to take poll position on next year’s list also 😉 )

2 ‘IQ84’ – Haruki Murakami

3 ‘Factory Girls’ by Leslie T Chang

4 ‘Ghetto at the Centre of the World’ by Gordon Matthews

5 ‘Casanova’  by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

2011 Trends: Hip Hop hibernation

13 12 2011

I realised while listening to this track earlier this week that I have barely listened to hiphop all year. Its been another super-boring year for the genre. Even quality R&B has just about dried up.

2011 K-Pop Top 10

13 12 2011

#10 Bang Yong Guk – I remember

The histrionic boy/girl violence, heartbreak and gunfire we all know and love from Korean dramas – and it sounds like Eminem.

#9 Yoon Mi Rae 윤미래 – Get It In

Cyber-samurai. The clincher is that the biracial rapper kills her real-life husband in the end.

#8 2NE1 – I Hate You

All of 2NE1’s videos look like cartoons, so why not?

#7 Cast of Korea’s Next Top Model feat. Drunken Tiger and Yoon Mi Rae

Surreal, psychadelic hip hop featuring bright lights, models and incomprehensible mumbling. Weirdly addictive.

#6 IU – Good Day


#5 Brown Eyed Girls – Cleansing Cream


#4 2NE1 – I am the Best

Its all K-Pop business as usual  – dancing in chainmail, expensively lit sets, Jeremy Scott, straightjackets – until they break out the machine guns at the end. Also noteworthy  – Dara’s metallic “ice cream cone” hat at 2:00.

#3 G-Dragon and TOP – Knock Out

A ‘fashion video’ par excellence. This is precisely when TOP’s shocking peroxide Max Headroom ‘do went from “What the…” to way cool.

#2 Sunny Hill – Pray

Vivisection, mutants, crossbows…and a sweet ballad.

#1 Brown Eyed Girls – Sixth Sense

Song and video of the year, no contest.