Sunday, April 26, 2009

Birthday Redux

It's useful being friends with designers and photographers; they have a habit of injecting that extra element of quality into capturing events. In my case, I was lucky enough to have Abe shooting away on his rig, and Gerhard & Klara mounting their time-lapse cam in the corner of the room - lovely.

Kicking off proceedings was dinner at my favourite local 'restaurant' - the getto shrimp van at the end of the street. We grabbed, wine glasses, bread and candles, and created a few raised eyebrows, dining to the sounds of music and shrimps being fried with a hairdryer. As the parking lot filled up, we decamped to the apartment, where a super spread of friends gathered to wish me well as I successfully managed to circumnabulate the Sun 30 times.

On top of that, I am now the proud owner of a 20" Apple Cinema display, which is significantly more pleasant to work on - to the point that I am pretty sure I am processing more photos for upload to Flickr now, and the blog. Awesome.

Nick and I discuss vases

Really special to have the HK crew in town. Appreciated!

Candlelit / neon - lit supper

Strike a pose.

Onizou Idea Nomads in Town

Shrimp pots.

A very special cooking style - eat your heart out, Heston.

Make a wish!

The team.


After managing to offload this trash to Sam last year, it managed to find its way back here. Someone will pay for this!

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Formoz Festival 2008

Markus, clearly pulling the wool over the eyes of his client in Seattle, chose the best weekend of live music on the island to return for a few days of business. It kicked off in fine style with an impromptu photo session with insane just-graduated Masters students in one of the local "Re Chao" restaurants, and ended with a ballistic scooter ride through Typhoon rain to return Markus back to his hotel.

In between? Another great Formoz Festival, underlined by 1976 in the final, main stage headliner slot - totally wonderful, since they were the first band I got into when I first landed here those four years ago. Is it really four years?

They, or rather the weather, got their timing perfect, with showers arriving on queue to launch the crowd into raucous displays of solidarity, under umbrellas and spot lights. My phone has only just recently switched back on, in fact, after it drank too much. Much like me, in fact. A super night - come back more often, Markus, and bring Michwel next time!

Not very impressed by local microbrewery slops

I managed to flex some contacts and blagged my way into the event for free, claiming I was a journalist for Taipei Times (it's true!), which I feel bad about and all - well, a bit. I did manage to get chucked off stage by security, though, which makes me feel cool and smooth.

Blurry night

1976 rule the roost

Clearly abusing my photography pass, I capture Markus back in his natural environment.

Antagonising the security staff, who were clearly not as enthused by the music as the crowd.

And the afterparty - held at one of the old cabaret clubs in Ximending, and just the coolest, coolest venue in Taipei. The crowd boogied their butts off to the grooves of Public Radio and the best dub band I have heard in years.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Coldcut in Taipei

Coldcut came to Taiwan as part of HP's 'Art in Motion' tour, and totally blew me away. I was asked to provide the write-up for the Taipei Times, so rather than say the same thing again, here are my words from the newspaper:

Taipei Times 'Weekender'

Last night saw the Taipei instalment of the HP-sponsored ‘Art in Motion’ tour at Luxy, featuring British legends Coldcut, Jurassic 5’s DJ Nu-Mark and VJ support from Berlin crew Pfadfinderei. Ostensibly a fusion of music and live visuals, early on the show seemed like an extended advert for HP’s personal computers, and with guidance from the most irritating emcee in Asia was beginning to unfold into some kind of hip-hop-themed ‘wei-ya’ end of year party.

However, things began to improve quickly when Nu-Mark took to the decks and wowed the crowds by mixing sampled beats with a selection of increasingly unlikely musical children's’ toys. Innovative, and unlike the local beat-boxing warm up act, not a bit self-indulgent, the crowd responded with a mixture of laughter and butt-on-the-floor boogying.

With the audience now suitably warmed up, Coldcut entered stage right and took no prisoners with a ballistic delivery of hip-hop, dub and electronic beats, all synchronised with nine projectors beaming video and images around the room in an awesome display of digital showmanship. Jumping from the more obscure references of their own back-catalogue, they never allowed themselves to alienate the newcomers and regularly dropped in samples from sources as diverse as Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”, Run DMC and AC/DC. Taipei barely knew what hit them.

With Nu-Mark resuming control, the entire room bounced the rest of the night away to the sounds of a thousand house parties, and the best music Taipei has heard in several years.

Colcut - to the limit

Nick keeps it nice and sleazy

And some other words from Tom, as featured in 'The Vinyl Word' last week:

Taipei Times - 'The Vinyl Word'

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Rooftop Live

With Markus leaving Taiwan there are a few activities that we need to clear out of the way before he is granted access to the United States, we have not been the bessst at meeting up, but in the last few days we have made some pretty serious effort to meet up and redress the balance.

I am still a bit groggy from the weekend and lack of sleep, but we had an absolute stormer of a night watching 1976 on the roof of Eslite bookstore. Fighting the elements, we enjoyed a good show, and capped it with one of the funniest moments of Taiwan in months. More to tell later on that one, in case it ruins any surprises in the near future.

Markus and I, with about 250 people behind us not able to see past us

Taiwan does pull of some good locations when it wants to!

Peeking through

My baby's on fire

1976 in the house

More pics on my web gallery here:

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


Seeing Prince live has sat around in my Things To Do In Life list for years and years, and I finally caught up with the wee scoundrel at the Millenium Dome in London last Thursday with Phil. That boy knows how to entertain, I can tell you, and played a frenetic 36-song set that included many of the classics... and one song with Elton!

It was quite funny sitting in the new arena looking at the aged rocker belt out the song, and look back at the slightly tragic celebrities in Taiwan that I occasionally encounter and think ... 'what's so different?'

BBC: Sir Elton John Joins Prince in London

Purple Rain, in a shot stolen on my camphone (people were being chucked out for taking photos!) ... to be fair though, the guy is giving away the album for free, so it is hardly surprising that he is being paranoid about the in-show copyright.

The encore after the encore, after the lights came up... quite a treat, but we did miss out on the aftershow, where he played some vintage Led-Zep... denied!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Scooter Justice

Rich is back in town, and he has not ridden a scooter since December. It is such a fantastic reminder of just how much fun piloting these things is - especially when the daily routine of getting to work in the rain takes its toll.

A great weekend was certainly had by all - road trip, big night out and long exhaustive conversations well into the night with earth-shakingly important conclusions - if you could just rememember what the question was.

Steve at speed

Top Gun

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Luxy (not again)

Just for the record:

On the loose

The Helen & Jonny Show

The bright lights of Taipei

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

We're Night Clubbing

I had a pretty great night out last night - went to VT Art Salon to see live electric geetars twinned with fiendish techno beats. Exceptionally cool, and rather nice to meet several people again that are fast becoming good friends here in Taipei. They took their time!

I took some photos on the way home - a rather sinister looking entranceway to a super gangsterish night club, a street corner, and me in a lift watching the doors close.

Stay on target


Sliding Doors

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

God Squad

Tonight is the night of several large Halloween parties in Taipei. I put some thought and consideration into my costume and I have decided to go as a Mormon missionary - a plague of religious righteousness that has hit Taipei straight out of Salt Lake City. As if lifted from a David Lynch movie, they appear from the middle of nowhere, squeaky clean and cookie cuttered out, passing out leaflets to unsuspecting locals. I find the whole activity sick.

Hence, I am dressing up as a blood-sucking Mormon missionary tonight! - the basis of my little anecdote;

I went shopping today for vampire teeth and blood to have pouring from my mouth. Sadly, none of the costume stores had anything suitable, so I went to the local pharmacy chain, Watsons. I announced to the cosmetics girl that I was looking for 'blood red lip stick', at which she relayed my request to the entire shop - "THERE IS A TALL MALE FOREIGNER LOOKING FOR BRIGHT RED LIP STICK." I walked out with some deep rouge lippy and bright, shiny lip gloss (and even redder cheeks). I'll see what the results are like soon when I get ready!

This is what I am after tonight - wholesome, blood sucking goodness (image courtesy of Flickr)

I easily looked scary enough without the blood ... and we managed to create less of a costume and more of a disguise.

The God squad

Ludvig the Bible Basher

I had been looking for him all night

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Harajuku Girls

We got in late last night. Roppongi. Mark as dangerous. The area I was told not to go was of course the first destination for the CSR crew boys here. A late night and a lack of sleep did not help getting up this morning, despite Tokyo being on our door step. Indeed, it took shaved ice with pure glucose sauce to kick me out of my stinker of a hangover. Roppongi.

Ele, Kauru, Junko and I live it up

Never have I seen so many energy drinks in one place - 'functional' drinks are huge in Japan, including Yakult and many other nutrition-packed liquids

Kauru ties the fortune knot to the bar in Asakusa (not to be confused with Akasaka - our hotel)

A local takes some time out to breathe on his Mild Seven

Kimonos were a surprisingly common sight - wonderful

After my shaved ice salvation and cruising around the Senso-Ji temple in Asakusa (confusing, since our hotel is in Asakasa) and emerging out of the metro to be faced with Philip Starke's Asahi Museum work, we headed off to * to check out some of the shopping and then to Harujuku to meet Junko and Ian. Harajuku, for those not in the know, is the place in Tokyo to see the bleeding edge, drop-dead fashions -the goths, the rockers, the girls wearing makeup to enhance ugliness, the school girls, the Elvises and the zombies. I bought some sunglasses.

Zombie woolly hats in Harajuku

Utterly insane Pachinko - I played twice in games lasting all of 20 seconds and I have come to the conclusion you need a hole in your skull to play, and another to keep slotting money in.

Dinner was Shibuya. A human hub, its road crossing is apparently the busiest in the world. It was here where I learnt that Ximending in Taipei gets its inspiration from. I swear, even down to the street lighting it was copied from this place. This was my vision for Tokyo and it happily matched it. Shabu Shabu was booked for dinner, which is a communal cooking pot with meat an vegetables comprehensively blew the doors off my local favourite Taipei version; I did not know it could be better. And I also did not know how much Japanese girls can eat in one sitting.

Shibuya - waiting to charge!

Ele, Ian and Kauru enjoy THE BEST SHABU SHABU I have ever had - and that is saying something. I am fairly sure my stomach became a solid ball of meat.

Back to Akasaka, and after meeting up with Ele's boss Gordon we headed straight for Karaoke to round off a great day in Tokyo - albeit a day with a rough, rocky and stormy start. Ending with Whiskies in the rooftop bar was perfect, and i have this feeling that I will be back in Japan sooner rather than later.

Singing our hearts out guaranteed sexy voices the next day

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