Late last night I sat down in front of the TV with the intent of staying long enough to finish my soup before I went back to work. But I got caught with this film (How Was Your Fish Today?) about a writer who gets writer’s block and starts living the life of the character he created.
I started it maybe half way in and it was very surreal and strange at the same time as it was filmed documentary style. The plot took the writer (and his character) to Mohe, a desolate Chinese village near the Russian border known for the Northern Lights.
The reason why it’s so interesting is because the writer and his character had this idea of Mohe was like based on textbooks from grade school and word of mouth. The imagery of an artic village without electricity, untouched by civilization was used as a means of inspiration/curiosity and as a sanctuary for another. It ties in very closely with a project I’m doing for class where I have to market Canada as a tourism destination to the world.
Right now, we’re looking at imagery and myths. What kind of myth can we give to Canada and what tone should that myth be told? These images and myths about places don’t usually come from marketing. Instead it sort of exudes itself through culture. A lot of the American myth was constructed through bits and pieces of the culture we export. And a lot is also constructed through people’s experiences and how they retell those stories to their friends (In America, they have hamburgers the size of your head! No kidding!).
The reason why this film is still stuck in my mind is because it seemed very aware of what I just talked about. It had tourist friendly photography of the landscapes. It showed parts of Mohe that it look very relatable but also things that made it seem strange and exotic. And it even had a part where a guy was talking about turning his house into a hostel and getting a computer with internet connection so people can book rooms from abroad.
I’m just saying.
So a Chinese guy walks into a restaurant and says this:
Me: I’ll have a breakfast burrito.
Then his El Salvadorian friend says this:
Friend: I’ll have a breakfast eggroll.
I somehow stumbled upon a series of videos on Youtube documenting a freestyle battle in Shanghai. They brought in a couple of Beijing rappers and let them loose on stage with the Shanghai guys and this is what happened:
Man, it’s so vicious. A lot of different ways to say I’m gonna fuck you up, fuck your girl and straight up fuck you. It’s interesting that all the Beijing guys are dressed kind of thuggish (if that’s possible) and the Shanghai guys look like random dudes off the street.
If you watch most of the clips, MC Jverson (Shanghai) seems to dominate a lot of the battles, but he just sort of shouts obscenities and really going at people. There was a guy from Hunan that was trying to calm things down. And another Beijing guy that used his time on stage to say “we’re all in this together” (sadly, that’s how long they lasted). And the last clip, Young Kin (Beijing’s finest!) steps in and rips Jverson a new one.
I think this is the beginning of a beautiful feud.
This is off the grill in our backyard. Three guys and one dog live in this house and this is usually how it is. But I don’t mind. The casualness is nice. At the same time, I can’t help but to think the mess we leave around is a sign of our manliness. Not that it’s manly to leave our crap around, but we’re so busy/preoccupied with much bigger and worldly things that we just can’t be bothered with such trifling matters. One of us is a painter. The other is training to be a paramedic. And the last, makes advertising for things such as toilet paper and pills for erectile dysfunction! Clearly we are all men of virtue.
Yeah, look at this punk sitting in the corner trying to not be noticed. It was supposed to wake me up at 8 this morning, but decided that it had better things to do. Now it’s trying to brush it off like: “Hey, you got to school on time anyways”. That’s not the point. The point is that you’re supposed to wake me up at 8. See that other adapter on top? Yeah that’s right. It’s for the cell phone, punk.
When I was in Shanghai a couple of years ago, there would always be these guys who walked around with these long portable grills. They’d setup shop on a street corner and grill these little kebabs that looked pretty gross. It wasn’t until the end of my trip when a friend told me that they sold weed. Check out this link about weed in China.
I’m not too clear on the drug situation in China. I know that people use ecstasy, but only because I walked into club where everyone was on that stuff. But other than that, I assumed that it was a pretty big crime to have it. Which is why I was so surprised to hear this song: 大妈 from 天王星 (as an added bonus, there’s a guy that sounds like Lil’ Jon on this track). EDIT: Or, check out the MV which is titled the cheapest looking MV in all of China by the person who posted it.
天王星 seems to be more popular than most groups – with their weekly radio shows, appearance on TV shows and higher profile concerts – and that usually leads to more scrutiny from the Censors.
Anyways, here’s another weed-related track from MC茶米 a Taiwanese rapper. You can also check out my anywhere.FM profile for other songs.