Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024
The TV version, as seen in Hiroshima

I read another couple of chapters of online manga Ya Boy Kongming! on the Mangafire site. Written by Yuto Yotsuba and drawn by Ryo Ogawa, Kongming is a third century Chinese military strategist who is reborn as a young man in present day Shibuya, Japan. Here he sets out to use his knowledge of military strategy to help Eiko, an aspiring singer he has befriended to become a star. It’s a cool story, and I just read the fabulous scene where Kongming participates in a freestyle rap takedown against a troubled rapper who doubts himself. I first encountered a version of the manga when I was staying in Hiroshima last year. The live action version, called Paripi Koumei, was on in my hotel room, where I was enjoying a quiet beer and delicious taiyaki (with premium custard!). I saw the main character, complete in third century Chinese regalia and head dress, enter the Shibuya Tower Records store to do research for Eiko, and I was hooked. I had been to that Tower Records store just a week before. Ya boy!


In the course of work today (I deliver a book library to country Victoria) I had a chance to talk to some patrons, where the convo turned to pop culture. I mentioned I’d just been to a Teenage Fanclub concert and Melanie, who attends one of my stops, started talking about the Pink concert she’d recently seen. I’ve gotta say at this point I’m not a fan of Pink, and I think of her audience as a bunch of bogans. Mind you, I have an inner bogan. He comes out whenever I listen to AC/DC, which is not often, but I do like them. It’s something I try to suppress. Anyway, Melanie was talking about how the show started with some dj playing a set of 80s songs to the large audience (it was at Marvel Stadium) and how it got everyone dancing. The image here of bogans boogieing was not something I wanted to imagine. Then, during Pink’s performance, Melanie was up and dancing, and some woman behind her asked her to sit down, and Melanie quickly put her in her place. Yep, classic bogan behaviour. That got me thinking about an incident where the exact opposite happened last year at the Paul McCartney concert I attended at the same venue. A man near me put his young daughter on his shoulders to give her a better view, when a man behind me yelled at him to put her down, which he meekly did. Then the yeller and his friends behind me proceeded to talk their way through the rest of the concert. So yeah, not much fun but it was still a good concert – and pause while I cross both ‘seen a Beatle’ and ‘sang Hey Jude with Paul’ off my bucket list. Then another patron, Leanne, an elderly woman who borrows dozens of books from me at a time, floored me by saying she saw the Everly Brothers back in the late Fifties at Festival Hall. I mean, I love and idolise the Everlys. Do tell me more, Leanne. She mentioned that Johnny O’Keefe and Billy Crash Craddock supported them, and that Johnny was good (at shouting) but she didn’t like Billy. “Because he couldn’t sing,” added Don, her husband. “That’s, right,” she agreed, “he was just a pretty boy.”


A link on Twitter to a recent article in the online Telegraph newspaper about Justin Hayward, of the Moody Blues, took my eye. That’s mainly coz I’m a big Moodies and Justin fan, but anyway, the article mentioned that actor du jour, Dune 2‘s Timothy Chalamet, appears in an ad for Chanel that uses Justin’s famous song Nights In White Satin in its soundtrack. And apparently it’s made Justin’s song ‘go viral’. I don’t know if it’s quite done the business like that appearance of Running Up That Hill in Stranger Things did for Kate Bush, but I hope it does. Then again, I wonder how many people who heard Running Up That Hill checked out some of Kate’s other songs and albums. Will they do the same for Justin and the Moodies? Will they explore the magnificent body of work by the Moodies we call the ‘core seven’ for starters? It would be nice to think that they will, but I doubt it. A pity.


Watched a bit of a film called The Current Wars, about the fight between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to establish the electricity industry. It apparently had a troubled production, being made by Harvey Weinstein‘s company around the time of ‘Me Too’ that he was embroiled in. The film itself has some nice period touches (top hats, Victorian railways stations, walrus moustaches, plush boardrooms) that give it a steampunk vibe. There’s a telling scene where slightly idealistic Westinghouse doesn’t seem to realise how much he can monetise electricity, and the look on the capitalist investor’s face. There’s also some time given to the sad parade of animals that Edison had electrocuted to prove that AC current was deadly, but only a brief reference to Topsy, the elephant he had killed. Nikola Tesla, who is by far the more interesting person in all this, gets fairly short shrift – but then again, he did in life too. It’s amazing to think of all the deals, lies and betrayals we were not witness to at the time, that defined our lives.

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