On January 4th, 1965, a confused young sergeant in the US military named Charles Jenkins drank ten beers before setting off on his nightly patrol duty along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, where he had been serving for the past year. Having previously been shuffled back and forth between South Korea and US outposts across Europe, he feared his next deployment would be in war-torn Vietnam. Replaying in his mind the horror stories he’d heard of the battles going on in south-east Asia and afraid of dying in the jungle, in his boozy haze he made a snap decision. Drunkenly he stumbled over the border into North Korea with his hands in the air, giving himself up to his communist enemies. He would remain there for 40 years before escaping.
As everyone knows, President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York today. On the table for discussion: the necessity for the immediate start of peace talks between Jon and Kate. Just kidding--Obama met with the leaders in the hopes that long-stalled peace negotiations between the two countries can be resumed. Obvs. To mark the occasion (and to promote their monthlong North American tour), our friends in everyone's favorite Israeli garage-rock band, Monotonix, (read an interview here, whydontcha) sent us a sweetly trippy mix of their favorite Israeli songs.
Trouble likes to present itself on Tuesdays, and Ron is always to the rescue like a superhero-cum-debt-negotiator-for-a-magazine come to life. He is all the courage a fretful teen needs to tell his dad he’s sorry for smoking marijuana. And that’s exactly what our problem is today. Keep reading for the resolution to this age-old dilemma.
Japanese office culture is strange. People in business together don't talk, ever, except for a couple times a year when they spend five obligatory days getting absolutely smashed and passing out all over the city because it's expected of them. Afterward, they revert to how things were and don't discuss what happened. In the middle of this wave of festivities, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning headed into Shinjuku, land o' plenty when it comes to hostess bars, love hotels, and nightclubs... and right now drunken salarymen napping in the street with homeless people. If it weren't for the sort of clean clothes I probably couldn't tell them apart. Let's play a game called Holiday or Homeless!
When Vice told me that some fancy spy store sent them a new tiny hidden camera that screwed into a shirt button and they (the magazine, not the store) wanted me to use it to spy on people, I gave them an unflinching yes. I think I was imagining I was about to get involved in some James Bond-type shit. But then I found out that I was just supposed to go to the park and talk to people and invade their space. I wasn't disappointed though--I'm a lot better at being creepy than I am at espionage.
Immortal bassist Apollyon took time out from organizing festivals (sorry to mention Aura Noir again), touring, teaching kids music, and playing in six or seven different bands (he's lost count) to come to London and meet me for an interview. Here's some of what we talked about over a few beers (and a lot of Pantera) in The Hobgoblin in Camden last week. By the way, did you know that he played bass for Gorgoroth at the now infamous Krakow show? Well, now you do.
As 1989 moves back into journalists’ crosshairs and we’re treated to one more round of documentaries on the roots of British club culture – as the familiar who’s who zoo of Mike Pickering, Carl Cox, Danny Rampling, The Hartnolls, Mr C, Tony Coulston-Hayter, and so on all traipse across our screens to tell us again how “mental” it was at Shoom – James Palumbo, founder of Ministry of Sound, is one key figure of the period who won’t be grinning a mouthful of ground-down molars back at the world. In fact, you won’t see him at all.
Your friend's friend's cousin probably knows someone who’s heard of someone that has it and most magazines have daily features about the pandemic that is currently on everyone’s lips (no pun intended). Yes, we're talking Swine Flu here, did you guess already? We think it's all bullshit, so to find out the real deal, we headed to London to talk to epidemiologist Ben Lopman. Despite his young age he’s one of the most highly regarded epidemiologists in the field. He’s the guy the W.H.O. called up for advice on research strategies at the outbreak of the H1N1.
Anna Biller makes movies about sex and sexy women who are smart, which is a super weird coincidence because she's exactly the same way. Take, for example, VIVA, essentially an ode to the swinging 70s that encapsulates all the best bits of Playboy, Russ Meyer and John Waters films, and lonely-heart love letters written by housewives in need of satisfaction. It was directed, written, produced, and edited by one Miss Anna Biller, and it was her first film. She also stars in the movie, which is lucky because she's awesome.
Volker Gerling journeys from town to town, carrying a hawker’s tray full of flipbooks, reviving the tradition of hobo craftsman in his own way. A film academy graduate turned self-proclaimed flip-bibliopegist, he entertains people with a one-man motion-picture theater. Remember that photography was a gateway drug into motion pictures--and when you take it back to flipbooks, time can actually flow through your fingers, he says, and he’s fascinated with the gaps.