I'm Wits Toopid

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…

Posts tagged ‘Beatles’

I’m clearing all this shite out of my room this week cause when I return I’ll most probably be purchasing a house. As always with a big clearout the task becomes a naustalgiafest and I end up spending hours sitting in a pile of dirt and dust and mess and looking through photos I have taken and stuff that I have written since 1992.

Thinking back like this is always a rose tinted affair. Life is always perfect, summers always sunnier. You always remember your shit smelling of butterflies and icecream, lolipops and bullshit.

But this time it’s also getting me excited with anticipation. In three weeks (to this day) I set off on a 5 week trip to Japan, Sydney, Perth and Hong Kong.” – Me, Sept 2009

…and so it began. In 2009 I started a blog to follow my adventures as I travelled Japan, Australia and Hong Kong. After I returned I gave up for a while but decided to take it up again last year and used it as an outlet and excuse for my burgeoning career as a full time spare time amateur photographer.

In honour of my 200th post. Here are my personal top 10 blog posts:

1. IN SEARCH OF GEISHA

There is a warped majesty to the role of the Geisha in Japan; a bent honor. Sometimes considered an honored courtisan though sometimes there seems a feeling that seedier deeds are afoot, the Geisha of Kyoto, their home base of Pontocho, are masterful in their secrecy. They avoid the stare of the hunting public, dipping in and out of the tiny Pontocho sidestreets.

A freshly bought camera in hand, I spent one late evening stalking their shadows through the streets of Kyoto.

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2. HOW TO SCAM A SCAMMER

– Hello?
*silence*
– Hello…
*still silence*

When you answer the house phone at this time of the day on a weekday and get this long a silence it can only mean one thing; that douchey Indian “PC repair” phone scam lot are calling again…

Some people get angry at call centre scams… I just get even…

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3. A FUTURE ECHO OF THINGS TO COME


There was no way of me knowing that within a month of me leaving Egypt in December of 2010, the Arab Spring uprising would have millions take to the streets and Tahir Square to rise up against the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, but on my last day in Cairo I witnessed, from my hotel balcony, a protest taking place against the results of an election that had happened just a week ago. A snapshot of Egypt as it lightly tore at it seams, ready to burst a month later…

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4. SHANE’S “GROOVIN DISC SHOP” BARGAIN BASEMENT TOP 5

I see this bargain bin as I’m making my way to the peace memorial in Hiroshima. 300 Yen is about Euro 3.75 so I set myself a challenge, to pick out the best worst 5 CD’s that I could find in the bin. Competition was high but eventually I managed to wittle it down to these few choices.

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5. LONDON IN SILVER AND DIAMONDS

In May of 1935 my grandad, in his late 20’s at the time, braved the waters and travelled from Dublin to London to witness the Silver Jubilee celebrations of King George V. The photographs that he took of the event are an amazing snapshot of pre-World War II London. 77 years later I moved to London to live here, strangely marked by the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elisabeth II. I decided to take to the streets to hunt down the locations of my Grandad’s 1935 photographs.

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6. SANTA MONICA BURLESQUE


A thick, rolling, rasping voice drags like melodic brick on concrete from the back of his throat. She flicks her hair, sweeps her hips, hiking her skirt, carefully torn fishnet tights, revealing just enough leg to send me to heaven.

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7. GION IN THE MORNING (GION AND THEN GONE)

The quiet shuffle of the early morning set against an empty pale blue sky. Shopkeepers standing on their purches set against the empty streets of stone and house’ of wood and wash the stoop, first they carefully brush up any litter or leaves before a simple green hose from its constant purch next to the door and then, if needed, any details that need cleaning are tended to individually with a bucket and sponge…

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8.ON THE PRECIPICE OF ANARCHY (NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL)

Everyone likes a good carnival, especially if you want some good photos, but, in Notting Hill’s cultureclashed yearly festival the festive plumage of the parade belies a more nihilistic anti-establishment freedom in the backstreets. Despite the strong police presence there is a feeling that if anything did kick off there is little that they actually could do; 11,000 officers and a couple of hundred thousand people in a maze of small streets. We dance on the precipice of anarchy…

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9. FELUCCA TRIP

A motley crew of international ne’er-do-wells. A Japanese guy; crazy and happy; constantly (maybe?) drunk and with just enough a lack of English for hilarity to ensue. An Australian family with their daughter and her British boyfriend (about to do a stint in the army). A slightly hippieish couple from San Francisco. A very down to earth (are they ever not?) Canadian husband and wife; taking a break from their smalltown internet company to tick off a “must do” from the bucket list. An English guy; aspiring Geography teacher; come to learn a little about what he’ll be teaching. An Argentinian girl, but living in America, with a distinctly Irish name. And of course a geekish Irish mid-to late twentysomething lad with a penchant for the over-imagination. Place them all in Egypt, sailing down the Nile in a traditional felucca sailboat with their happy-go-lucky Egyptian tour guide and a couple of locals to help out and you have the perfect recipe for a horribly awful monster-disaster movie…

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10. BEATLES TRIBUTE ACT AT THE TOKYO CAVERN CLUB

By far one of my favorite highlights on my trip to Tokyo was my night in the Tokyo Cavern Club, a 7 days a week Beatles Tribute Bar in Roppongi, dressed in immaculate 60’s vintage style and full to the brim with beaming Japanese fans, the band admitted to not speaking any English so learning the lyrics to Beatles tracks orally. This lead to a fantastically crazy sound…

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Look at how fucking happy I am…

Like some fucking cartoon pastiche of the Goodfellas steadycam shot we are lead through the club.

The low light of a 60s or 70s rock and roll club, the walls decorated with every photo of the beatles you could imagine. All of staff members stopping what they are doing to stop and bow, show their respects as the maitra d, bowing profusely and overdirecting to our seats up near the stage. The feeling that we aren’t waisting our time going to see a beatles tribute band in The Cavern Club, one of two full time 7 days a week Beatles Tribute Bars in Tokyo.

Awesome! And the band hasn’t even come on stage yet.

The band introduces themselves to the ecstatic majoritively Japanese crowd, talking to each other in that Japanese banter that make late night game shows so goddamn funny and illiciting tittering reactions from the crowds. Japanese Paul is the best Beatle lookalike, with his bowl cut somehow suiting him despite it all the way that somehow every single Jap can pull off whatever look it is that they inhabit. But all of the guys are dressed the part in more rock and roll era suits and ties.

And then the music. And I tell you they do not disappoint, opening with an amazing engrish rendition of “Rove, Rove Me Do” and “Mr Postman” and during the gig, among others great versions of “Herp”.

The spectacle of a band singing a songs in a language they can’t even speak doesn’t just end on stage, it teeters down into a crowd which clap and cheer and mouth along, from businessmen sitting with their mistresses in the perfect unphased silence and a cloud of unnending cigarette smoke to the family groups happily clapping along in unison. My favorite being the extatic older woman who lives on her own right in front of the stage and claps and beams and sings and beams to all of the songs. Japanese tribute band groupies. Awesome.

This is my best band night and my one true recomendation of Japan and Tokyo. If you go to Japan, it’s not about having to go if you can…. if you go to Japan and Tokyo you MUST go see a Beatles tribute act.

Finally, here are some videos I recorded of “Money Can’t Buy Me Rove” and “Rorr Over Bethoven” (apologies for the sound quality) :

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