Causing Controversy, and Haebangchon’s Finest Hour

This weekend was just mayhem, a much needed release from a tight schedule.

I’m still reeling a little from the effect of an article I wrote in last months Rokon – my critique of 50 Cent’s inherent bigotry (see about 5-6 entries ago) seems to have caused a few people to throw their toys out of the pram in the expat community. I offer up only two things in mitigation: firstly, it was published without the quotes I was basing the article on (these are included in the link), which made the article look badly researched and somewhat unfounded, and secondly it is an ‘opinion’ piece, and I stand by mine. To be honest I’m kind of touched that people care enough about what I have to say to even react. While I guess a handful of comments (positive and negative) into my facebook email from strangers and a similar reaction to the publisher hardly count as the big time, I have heard it being discussed down the pub on two separate occasions. I’ll be keeping my head down in next months issue I think. Still, look at the link; I defy you to find any part of it that’s offensive. Meh.

Anyway, enough of my new found ‘notoriety’; Saturday was time to celebrate the wonderful community I live in once again. Twice a year we have a festival held across all four of our neighbourhoods drinking establishments, and starring pretty much the best Korea’s expat music scene has to offer. Before too many people spit their drinks out over the talents of the Seoul expat community, let me assure you that there are a fair few of them. Having said that, it really is more of an excuse for hundreds of people to sit out in the street with a few beers and a BBQ and listen to some music drifting out of the nearest doorway.

There’s one band around here that stands out above the rest: ‘The Bellows’ are a semi-acoustic aural attack who’s vocals really sum up what it is to be an expat in Korea. The one band I really went out of the way to see (in fact they were the only act I actually looked up a stage time for), and they’ll be no more after next Saturday’s farewell performance in Itaewon. I guess we know where I’ll be spending my Saturday next week.

An inevitable side effect of Haebangchon festival is an entire community hit the bars at about 5pm and stay there until we head off to search for the real nightlife late in the evening. By 11pm it’s fair to say everyone was quite substantially worse for ware. Luckily I’d got the vast majority of the huge quantity of writing I have to right now done earlier in the day, and so starting work on Sunday afternoon was an acceptable sacrifice to enjoy on of the only nights when literally everyone hits the town. HBC did in style, basement clubs, live bands and singing badly in Noraebangs until long after the sun came up on Sunday morning. I’m still suffering a little from the after effects.

After Friday night’s latest farewell dinner (Dak Galbi, the greatest food on the planet? It just might be…) I finally made it to one of those highly comic looking photo booths that crop up in random corners of Seoul. I’m now the proud owner of several photos of myself and two of my colleagues dressed up in ludicrous outfits, plastered in various amusing almost-English slogans added with the photo machine in the booth. My magnificent yellow dress, long blond wig and huge blue pirate hat was quite a site – I’ll do my best to get a decent quality image of the print outs and upload them later. Only in Korea!

That’s all for now. I’m amazed I both slowed down and kept my eyes open for long enough to write it! Back to the weekly grind,

J x

PS This is the first entry I’ve posted with my new MacBook Air. It’s an absolute beauty 🙂

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