About Me Revisited

The following is the ‘About Me’ blurb attached to my LastFM account. It’s supposed to be (I assume)
a brief piece, a couple of paragraphs at best. To be honest I haven’t seen any of the other accounts to
base that on. However I like what I wrote enough to share it here as well.
Once upon a time there was a little boy who liked to listen to music.
He liked Leo Sayer because Leo was short and had curly hair – just like the little boy.
He didn’t like ABBA, even though they made his feet move every time he heard them.Then the 80’s came, and with them came Toni Basil, J Geils Band and Joan Jett.
The boy decided he really liked music. Especially modern music – not the ABBA and Elvis
that his Mother and her friends listened to.

As the 80’s went on and the little boy grew up, his ears and soul collected all the best
sounds the 80’s had to offer him. Wham! Frankie Goes To Hollywood, the Pet Shop Boys and
Nik Kershaw. Oh how he loved Nik Kershaw.

Then one day an artist introduced him to the music of Brian Eno and the young man, who was
going through his teen angst years, discovered music that complimented, soothed and explained
emotion and a deeper affection for the power and influence of music developed.

As his social circles expanded so did his repertoire of musical favorites. His Pop tastes expanded
and specialized into Synthpop, Punk, Alternative and ‘Surfie’ music. His friends confusion
at some of the weird bands that he liked only fueled his desire to listen to more obscure
bands and artists while absorbing and enjoying all that his friends also had to share.

His social life and a taste for getting drunk and stoned influenced a love of hard rock and heavy
metal while he maintained a firm grasp on the sounds that had been the soundtrack to his youth.
Then something wonderful happened. He got a job in a record store (although by now the LP was
becoming a thing of the past and CD’s had a firm hold on the market).

This new access to all that was new and fresh gave him the opportunity to expand his musical world
in every direction. It gave him the opportunity to meet bands and artists and he got to go to
live shows and concerts. Having seen someone perform was just an extra layer of special to attach
to an album you’d just bought.

The years rolled on. The job came and went and musical influences came from those around him and
the lives they were living. But living in a small country on the wrong side of the planet meant
that seeing the bands he really wanted to see was an expensive and rare opportunity to come across.
So he packed up his world and moved to Australia where greater opportunities would come.

High living costs and long hours made his concert going ambitions difficult although he took great
advantage of the local music scene. Then he met a girl and fell in love. He fell in love with her
tastes for party drugs and rave music. The term ‘doof doof’ entered his vocabulary and he spent many
many hours dancing away in a blanket of smoke and strobes.

Living in Australia also meant that he came to love a lot of Australian music. Singer songwriters
and cafe bars brought an appreciation for folk-pop sounds and the intricate guitar melodies that
reminded him of the Pink Floyds and Led Zepplins of the past.

Then one day an extraordinary thing happened. One of the multicultural TV stations started broadcasting
an Asian pop music show on a Sunday morning. Just as you were coming home from a long night on the town.
This new Asian music was vibrant and fresh. It had all the attraction of his 80’s roots. It was catchy too.
It didn’t really matter that you couldn’t understand a word of Asian (oh they’re speaking Korean? Oh and
Japanese and Cantonese? And even some Thai? – well okay then) It also helped that the women were always
smoking hot. But still fundamentally it came down to the fact that it was something completely new.
Not completely new though. There was everything he already knew and loved already, from pop and EDM to
metal and singer songwriters – just a fresh spin on it all.
And it was fun.

Have a listen you’ll see just how fun it is.

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K-Drama Turn Offs

Twelve months ago I couldn’t have told you a thing about Korean television or this genre of foreign drama that has absorbed so much of my time in recent months. It is with equal measures of pride and embarrassment that I say I’ve watched a considerable number given the short time frame.

My motivation for writing this is more about using a latent talent for stringing two or more words together than any desire or qualification for commenting on the many facets of Korean drama. On paper, the many years I spent reading and reviewing books in my job as a bookseller, might give the impression I know a thing or two but in reality I am just another couch potato consumer of pop culture with too much time on his hands.

Before my K-drama viewing gets completely out of control I felt I should at the very least create a list of what I had watched – preferably in the order I had watched them. What I discovered was an interesting number of failures. These were dramas that I had watched but didn’t particularly enjoy or that didn’t grip me enough to continue watching.

Defining what it was that turned me off wasn’t important enough for me to look too closely (who has time with so many dramas to watch) however a recent discovery of a blog by  The Fangirl Verdict reviewing Master’s Sun gave me some insight into the reasons why. As it turns out (among other things) I have an intense dislike for assholes. (It appears that flawed female characters are more acceptable in my eyes). Not just any kind of asshole though – I appreciate a good villain as much as the next person. I obviously have issues with duplicitous arrogant assholes who have no consideration for the women they are supposedly falling in love with. Secret Garden’s Kim Joo-Won (Hyun-Bin) rubbed me the wrong way for much of series. I only warmed to his character during the Freaky Friday moments and at the very end of the season. His character in My Lovely Sam-Soon was only marginally better.

So Ji-Sub’s character in Master’s Sun didn’t turn me off. In retrospect I can appreciate  The Fangirl Verdict’s comments about the physical abuse, if Joong-Won was claiming to desire Hyo-Jin I may have read his behavior the same way. I abhor violence. I tolerate fighting in context – such as Inspiring Generation – but the odd beating here and there seems to be quite normal in Korean drama culture so I have become a little desensitized. Because of my mental adjustment this physical behavior went largely unnoticed. I just found it amusing to observe the rest of his behavior as he succumbed to Hyo-Jin’s charms.

Fortunately this is all a minor blot on my K-Drama viewing experience and weak/unrealistic characters or ridiculous plot points don’t threaten my enjoyment so there will undoubtedly be dozens more tiles to add over the next twelve months.

I must make that list…