Archive for May, 2008
Today I went to a mini press conference for the Ed Banger crew, who are playing tomorrow night in Kowloon Bay. It’s about the most awesome electro line-up Hong Kong could hope to see — though we were lucky enough to have Justice (the most famous Ed Banger act) last year.
It was cool. I met Busy P (aka Pedro Winter), founder of the label and former manager of Daft Punk, as well as DJ Mehdi, Uffie, Feadz, Krazy Baldhead, and So Me. Though they were not long off a flight from Paris, they were in relaxed spirits and conducted the group interview with humility and humour.
Among other things, I asked them about what they thought of new French president Sarkozy (no public opinion — though it was clear they’re not fans), the controversy over Justice’s mad-cool new ‘Stress’ video (they think it’s just a great video that suits the track, and that the brouhaha would have both damaged and helped the label — mainly the latter), and I tried to squeeze a few words out of Uffie by asking what her favourite Cantonese slang is (she lived in Hong Kong for six years in childhood but misunderstood my question) and what the ride has been like for her over the last couple of years, considering she basically had nothing to do with music before she arrived in Paris and has since gone on to worldwide (sorta) fame. She gave the usual “aw shucks” answer and left it at that. Perhaps she was tired, and possibly shitty that I had dissed her lyrics in an earlier story.
Mehdi was the liveliest, constantly cracking jokes (Uffie was in the gymnastics team at the Moscow Olympics, apparently) and also answering the political questions thoughtfully and diplomatically. It was a more intellectual continuation of email responses he sent to questions I sent him a couple of weeks ago. Then, when I asked him how the Paris electro scene compared to other cities, he replied: “It smells so much better”.
Here’s a crappy photo I took of the crew. From left to right, that’s Uffie, Mehdi, Busy P, So Me, and Feadz (Krazy Baldhead was on a toilet break, I think).
Perspective is an easy thing to talk about and an elusive thing to grasp. From what I can tell, it occurs chiefly in hindsight, or from the safety of a disaffected third-party position. At best, it is the accessible healer that salves all qualms, or a mitigator of the detrimental effects of unsavoury circumstance. At worst, it is an impossible illusion, concocted by the idealists who seek to alleviate themselves of other people’s problems by insisting on this unattainable construct.
In any case, to strive for it is still important, at the right time. The alternative would be to deal with what could otherwise be cosmetic issues under the lens of a vile microscope that only serves to magnify warts. Wouldn’t it?
These past few weeks have visited upon me several instances in which perspective is called for (as if it isn’t anyway called for in everyday life). Many of those situations affected — or continue to affect — me directly. The most important, however, affect my friends. When, faced with these challenges, your friends turn to you for advice or opinions or comfort, there seems to be no better strategic line than to extol the virtues of perspective.
“In years to come, you’ll look back on these events and be glad for the experience.”
“At least you’re not sleeping on a flattened cardboard box by a public walkway.”
“You’re young, educated, and you have a great family behind you — this will wash off.”
My favourite is a little-known Cantonese saying: “Complain about being hungry, but not about being full.” Okay, that square peg doesn’t quite fit this round hole, but it is a useful reminder to some of us about our place in the world.
But there are times when to proffer the ‘perspective’ line is inadequate. The thing is, it can sometimes be better to put perspective away on a high shelf for a while, out of the reach of rationality. Some problems are best grieved over, panicked about, dwelled upon — as long as there is a recovery period that follows soon after.
According to a philosopher I know by the name of Wiki Pedia, there are five stages of grief:
If you ask me, that process is actually rather useful. And perspective can sometimes spoil it.
An hour into my trip to Manila, I stop on a street corner and shell out eight pesos for a copy of the esteemed Peoples Journal Tonight.
Under the subtle headline, “MALL SEX SCANDAL”, I read the following teaser:
The Daewoo rocked suspiciously at the parking lot of the Tiendesitas strip mall at dawn, hinting of a couple having animal sex in the back seat. True enough, Rhea Justin Bastre, 19, and her boyfriend, Gian Paolo Mandoza, 24, were found pumping and stroking each other’s sweat-filled, sizzling nakedness.
I love this city already.
Mind you, I’ve been walking around a lot in this 31-degree heat and I must say my body is getting sweat-filled. I think I shall retire to a hostel, where I can shower in my sizzling nakedness.