Monday, February 20, 2006

reclaiming a song

When an advert for a product uses a song, that song is in danger of forever being associated with that product. In some ways, music videos are an extension of this: the song forever being associated with cool images (Aphex Twin, Nine Inch Nails, Chemical Brothers, White Stripes, etc), making said song that much cooler.

Last year we were treated to a beautiful use of lots of advertising dollars. The Sony Bravia advertising campaign which featured thousands of super balls being thrown down a street in San Francisco. Initial viewing of this ad were greeted with "just another over use of computer graphics" and "cool concept.. pity it's fake". However, once I found out it was real, the advert took on a more spiritual meaning and lead to me at least finding out a bit more about the $5000 TVs it was flogging. Nothing spiritual with spending that much on a TV, but at least some crazy director guy got to throw a bunch of colourful balls down a big hill. The track used in the Bravia advert, "Heartbeats" is by a guy called José González, has now found its way into the mix tapes of cardigan wearers all over, claiming to have known about José back in the day*.

Before leaving for a bit of snowing in Japan, I spent a while modifying my snowboard helmet. This involved altering a pair of tune ups that were too small to fit my boof head and my non-Giro helmet. I then rigged up an elaborate mute switch that allowed me to easily turn off the music in my ears while on the lift so I could be social. The thing was broken by the 3rd day, but while it was working, it made boring lift rides alone a little more interesting, and going faster easier as Zack de la Rocha's angry yelling dissolved my fears of dying.

One of the main attractions of Niseko is the night boarding, which seems to be just that: boarding. Night boarding represents a real departure from traditional snow culture, as the snowboarding crowd are predominately younger non-skiing peeps who, if it wasn't for snowboards probably wouldn't have come to the snow. By the looks of it, in about 10 years, skiers will be in the minority as their fucked knees and arpre attitudes remove them from the slopes. While taking the lift on the second night boarding sessions, I had "Heartbeats" playing in my ears as enjoyed a tranquil and quite lift ride up to the top. The wind was still, a line of alpine trees paralleled the lift and big snow flakes were gently falling from the sky onto my goggles. This was a truly beautiful experience and has now given that song another meaning for me.

Other songs that have been reclaimed for me are:

Right Here, Right Now - Fatboy Slim (adidas commercial) - reclaimed while riding between canberra and melbourne
Instant Karma - John Lennon (nike commercial) - reclaimed while mowing my mum's lawn in the early 1990s
Are you gonna go my way - Lenny Kravits (it's commercial enough as it is) - installing or fixing car stereos

*As a side point, does it really matter when or how a person gets into a particular kind of music? Sure, the "cool kids" will use it as a badge of honour to claim they knew about it 5 minutes before everyone else did, but if you like the music, it shouldn't matter how you were introduced to it. I've caught myself doing this in the past a feel a bit stupid because of it. Swapping music tastes with people is much more fun than hoarding a sound for yourself. If you still do this, stop what you're doing, pull your head from your arse and make a mix tape for all your friends.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Dear Mr.Daniel Murphy

Thank you for your inquiry.

The way to get to the International ferry terminal from Kansai Airport:

1) Take the Nankai Main Line(Rapito) to Namba station at Kansai Airport station.

2)transfer at Namba station for the Midousuji line and get off at Hommachi station

3)transfer at Hommachi station for the Chuo Line and get off Cosmosqure Station.

4)from Cosmosqure Station., take taxi or bus to get to International ferry terminal.

It takes 2 hours from Kansai Airport to International ferry termimal.
please see the attached trafic information map.

S.Miyamoto/Shanghai Ferry Co.,Ltd.

Next Challenge: Where to sleep in Osaka?

My Bloody Valentine

No, this isn't a post about Ill-timed painters. This is a quick hello to that cool chick i hang out with back at home. You are my best friend, soul mate and lover. The next few adventurous years will be so much better with you by my side. I'm hoping we won't need a "special" day once a year to remind us of how much we love each other.

I miss you.

Happy Commercialised Romance Day Pippa

Monday, February 13, 2006

no name lift

Here in the snow, there's a competition at the moment to give the new lift at Niseko a name. Currently it is referred to as the "no name lift", which really wont do for all of eternity. Other than getting people to the top, the lift symbolises a cultural change in Niseko. Five years ago, you would have come here and seen hardly any westerners. Today, the main street is crowded with Aussies, swearing, drinking and basically standing around as if they own the place. It's part of our national psyche to invade a place, and then claim it's been "ours" all along. There are hardly any other Northern Hemisphere people here as they have their own snow, so the Australian contingent is strong. So strong that some of locals have picked up the Aussie drawl, pronouncing words the oz way: "gday. ow ya goin maate?" with everything else in English being a struggle involving charades. Just letting you know that as I type this, I periodically hear "fuck you" and "dickhead" and "cunts" being yelled by drunken Aussie out my window.

The lift itself isn't brand new. It too is an Aussie export, coming from the slopes of Falls a year or so ago. Massive job that. Putting up a lift, then taking it down, shipping it 10,000kms away and setting it up again. The company that owns Falls and Hotham back in Oz, also owns one of the resorts here and has an interest in increasing their market share in the global snow business.

But what to call the new lift? Within the group of guys I go boarding with, much shit is spoken, sayings dreamt up, usually resulting in something unintelligible being shouted at each other as we rest or attempt to punch one another in the balls. (do all blokey guys do this?). We speculated using one of these stupid saying as our entry into the competition, but it wasn't really fitting. One night in Hotham during last season, a small group of us were returning on the snow bus to our lodge after a night at the General, Hotham's answer to a pub. We go there to try and win snow gear, but in the process get a little toddled at the same time (one drink = one entry). Being slightly inebriated we jump onto the comparably warm bus, to be greeted by the Working Class Man himself, Jimmy Barnes. Hartley took the lead and assumed the position, stretching out his legs, rock salute in the air and shouted out "Barnesy!" much to the amusement of the others. The bus driver responded by turning up the volume and much pre-Cronulla Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi was had. We had just discovered something new to shout at each other for the following weeks of boarding.

On this Japan trip, it being the first snow trip to Japan for most of us, Hartley bought himself a Pickachu beanie. This prompted a variant of his original "Barnesy" saying, becoming the slightly modified: "Pickarnesy", which duley became our initial idea for the lift name. I'm unsure of how a made up word shouted at each other is supposed to represent the meeting of cultures, and what it would actually mean to anyone except us, so we decided against it. But we didn't want to loose that momentum of what Pickarnesy represented to us. A meeting of cultures, a different attitude (snowboarding in general is really changing the way snow resorts operate) and the influence of Australian culture on the local environment.

Until today.

Welcome aboard Niseko's new lift: The Cold Chisel
We are fairly confident that our name will get up and hopefully we'll be invited back for the naming ceremony.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


The snow is good times here in Japan. But apart from the occasional random ice cream and the lifties saying "dozo" and "arigato" there isn't much you would see here in Niseko that you couldn't see at any snow place in the world. It's all fairly generic. Until you go to where more people are.

Sapporo was fun. For me it was the first time I'd seen a built up city with snow filling the streets. For the others, it was the first time they had been in a Japanese city. Remember, Sapporo is big, but not compared to places like Osaka and Tokyo. The boys really loved it. We went shopping at Uni Qlo, which is one of the MUST GO places for clothing in Japan.

The very next floor down was Mandrake, a crazy Anime and video game place of worship. Luke found it and subsequently ran up the stairs looking for someone to tell. Anyone. Luke's excitment centred on what he had just found: a Virtual Boy, a Nintendo console featuring 3D goggles which failed within 6 months of release back in 1995. However, it a very cool idea and the one Luke found was Brand new, never been used still in its box with 11 games. We've all had a go at it, and it is cool. But just like Japanese Seizure Robots, it hurts your head after a while.

One thing that may or may not have been lost in translation is irony. The place we're staying (pension white bear) has a doorbell that plays "Lonely, I am so Lonely". Aside from conjuring up images of Kim Jong Il from Team America, the irony of proclaiming one's loneliness as someone arrives to visit is quite funny. However, after visiting Sapporo I have reassesed this...

Monday, February 06, 2006

in transit

Well after two days of solid travelling, I've made it to Niseko, Japan. and you wouldn't think it.

"get off the fucken road ya cock 'ead"

By gingoes this place is full of Australians. You want Vegemite and Tim Tams? No worries mate. The local people have welcomed the Aussie tourist dollar with open arms. Problem is the Australians have mistaken this gesture, and have rugby tackled the locals with a drunken bear hug. I spoke to some Aussies who said they had been coming here for years, and how it used to be so much better before the packs of pissed Aussie came. I was going to point out their hypocrisy, but chose to bite my tongue as I was one of those Skips who have spoilt it for everyone else. That and I had a beer in my hand. They did pass on an amusing tale of a group of pissed Australians pinching a local bulldozer in 2004 and taking it for a ride in the street, crashing it into a snow drift. It caused a big kerfuffle and the tour company was asked to add advisories onto their travel brochures to avoid liabilities.

Aside from all the wonderfully interesting cultural stuff this place has to offer, this place is the place to board. Such a different experience with snow that is as soft as this stuff. No need to read the lay of the land in front of you. You see a bump in the snow? you cut right through it. Get some air? Land on a cloud. And the speed one can reach without feeling like death is nigh is astonishing. We only got out for about 3 hours of night boarding, but it was still the best boarding I've ever experienced. I need sleep now. Will put more photos and words up soon.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

deal or no wheel? only if the price is right.

What the fuck has happened to Larry Emdur? He's buggered off to 7 to spin the Wheel.

I guess if all channel 7 could drum up for the Tsunami benefit night and logies is Andrew O Keefe, then it's money well spent. Maybe Nine needs some dosh after shelling out for Bert.

Logies hosts: Eddie McGuire, Andrew O'Keefe and Rove McManus.

ok.. So I'm about to take off on my version of the 'journey of a lifetime' trips.

On Sunday I head to Japan for a couple of weeks of snowboarding in Niseko, with about ten other friends. I come back to Adelaide to work at the fringe and divide my life into boxes which will be stored at various locations around this fine land. Then I return to Japan for another round of snowing, and on the way back, deliberately miss my flight from Osaka to Cains and catch a ferry to Shanghai China. From there I'm looking at spending a couple of months in China with my lady friend and then moving onto Mongolia and Russia for a bit. We're aiming to be in Germany by the time the World Cup rolls through, so I think Eastern Europe and the 'Stans will fit in between now and then.

and it almost didn't happen. read the story here.

Thankfully I received my passport and $10 change from the Chinese Embassy on Tuesday, so my freak out and festering anger amounted to nothing in the end. And today I got back an email from the Shanghai Ferry company confirming a booking on the 2 day sea journey that will transport me to China.

Map of Japanese Ferry Routes
Anyway, with the packing up my life, if I've lent anyone anything I'm offering an armistices.

Stuff I don't remember who I lent it to:
Michel Gondry DVD
Spike Jonez DVD

not sure what else I'm missing, but it can't be that important as I can't remember.

If anyone wishes to take ownership of any of my things, let me know.

in the beginning

Welcome to the Kevin Bacon Experiment.