Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

That wacky newsletter of all things Kpop, Allkpop, had a fabulous headline story titled ‘Netizens react to virtual boy group Plave winning first place at the Show! Music Core’. It’s all in the title. Yes, they have virtual groups in Korea made up of digitally constructed girl groups and boy groups. The writing, music, singing and choreography are generated by real people who remain anonymous behind the scenes. And these ‘groups’ actually win music shows, obviously much to the consternation of some ‘netizens’ who think only ‘real’ people should go on them. I actually like this phenomenon and can’t wait for the day when the writing, music, singing and choreography are all AI generated. I watched the video of Plave’s performance, and the song Way 4 Love is pretty catchy. By the way, Plave have a sister group called Mave, which generates some fun faux relationship scandal gossip about the two groups’ members. Who’s dating who? kind of thing. I like Mave, they had a really good debut song called Pandora which even made it to number one on our SBS Asianpop charts here last year. And all this reminds me of the great anime Macross Plus, which featured a similar virtual diva called Sharon Apple and came out way back in 1995.

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I raved about Miyazaki‘s new film The Boy and the Heron recently. And now it’s won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. This is Miyazaki’s second win – the other film was, of course, Spirited Away back in 2003. So, congrats, Miyazaki-san. And again, he didn’t attend the ceremony or pick up his Oscar, though this time it’s thought he begged off due to ‘old age’.

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Yanis, golden Greek

I watched Q&A on the ABC for the first time in ages. The main draw card for me was Yanis Yaroufakis, economist, former minister of finance for Greece and all-round good guy. There was also Labor cabinet member Ed Husic, uh, Jacquie Lambie, Tasmania Senator and fence sitter, and others. Yanis got a chance to talk some points from his new book Techno-feudalism in relation to a question about the influence of tech giants over governments. Other topics covered were Intergenerational Inequality (which seemed to boil down to no housing for millennials), UNRWA funding (which Husic surprisingly supported passionately), Will Trump Win the Election? and Can Australia Ever Regain its Manufacturing Base? Some good points were made by all, with little grandstanding or party political points made (apart from Lambie, who can never help herself). Host, Patricia Karvelas, did a pretty good job of teasing out points and keeping everyone in check. But the star of the show was surely Yanis. I advise interested people to check out the episode on Iview (if it’s still there) to see Yanis in action. I think I have a man-crush on him. He reminds me of Spock. I would follow him over the hill into battle (my preferred version of ‘I’d go gay for him’).

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Had a listen to the Twice b-sides compilation cd I made. It’s a thing I still do – making compilation cds. I know, I’m old school, but I love it. I know I could make a playlist like this with a streaming service like Spotify, but it’s really not the same. This one is made up of non-album tracks, remixes, English language versions and all their Japanese b-sides. (Besides their Korean albums, they also release unique albums and singles specifically for the Japanese market. Thus we Onces are doubly blessed.) I painstakingly bought all 11 of those Japanese singles over time, and they were not cheap. It’s so nice to put them all together on one cd, with others, sounding much better than they could with streaming. Send me a message if you wanna know the track list. Listening to it is a good time.

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After that heaviness I did some light reading with Zen, Drugs and Mysticism by RC Zaehner. The main takeaway from this book so far seems to be that drugs should never be viewed as a short cut to religious or philosophical enlightenment. You must put in the hard yards with lots of meditation and pain. Or something like that. In any case, the book casts doubt whether hallucinogenic drug experiences can equate to authentic mystical, religious or spiritual experiences. An interesting line of argument. I’m a sucker for any book that has Zen in the title.

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