So here are some much more recent gig pictures- from this week in fact. Local label M8s Records held an album launch party for Canterbury band Zilinski. With Lazy Pilgrims and Trash Mammoth in support.
If you keep walking out of Split you end up on the Marjan peninsula. The first time I visited I made the mistake of climbing up to the peak in 35c heat. After that I sensibly took the coast road. I’ve written about it in my Croatia/Slovenia zine as well.
It’s dotted with little chapels and memorials.
Here’s the view of Split from the top.
Lots of pine and cedar trees.
If you walk up the top way, you have to climb through these steep, narrow streets first, which remind me of Naples.
The rocky coast.
Here’s some photos from my trip to Croatia this summer. It was a real last minute thing, I suddenly had a week free in a packed summer of teaching engagements and still didn’t actually live anywhere yet, so I bought a cheap flight to Croatia and did some sightseeing (before returning to Slovenia ten days later for work). Here’s some pictures of Split. I wrote more about the trip in a zine- available here, so I’ll leave the longer writing in there and just show the photos.
Metelkova is an area in the centre of Ljubljana that was originally a military barracks, then was squatted in the early 90s when the Yugoslav army pulled out after Slovenia declared independence, and is now full of social centres, workshops and gig venues. (And a hostel where I stayed overnight before crossing the border to Klagenfurt for work).
The most famous area like this is Christiania in Copenhagen. I was very disappointed with Christiania when I visited last year. I liked some of the buildings there, but the central market area was sleazy and tacky and there was an aggressive atmosphere, and the place it most honestly reminded me of was the red light district in Amsterdam. Maybe its glory days were in the 60s and 70s when it was founded.
Metelkova is a different proposition. It had a friendly and relaxed attitude, and I never felt any qualms about wandering round by myself, an atmosphere probably helped by the fact that the city government takes a generally positive attitude to its existence. They still don’t pay any rent, but no-one seems to care. It was clean and pleasant- people seemed to respect the communal space.
I’ve got three new zines out . Each one is £2 (roughly 2.50 in USD or Euro) and available here.
Fanzine Ynfytyn 21
30 page 1/4 sized perzine on green paper
Going to Paris when you are broke, and managing to do it while the Charlie Hebdo shootings are going on.
Fanzine Ynfytyn 29
24 page 1/4 sized perzine on yellow paper
About Northern Italy. Travelling for work, and a last-minute trip to Lake Garda. You can see my photos of Lake Garda here.
Film Photography 101
24 page 1/4 sized zine on green paper teaching you all the basics of film photography in a friendly jargon-free way.
Our final stop in Japan before flying home from Osaka was Nara. In the 700s it was the capital of Japan, at the time when Buddhism really became established in Japan. Nowadays as well as Buddhism, it’s known for the tame deer who live in the forest park surrounding the temples and shrines. We stayed in a hostel in the forest. It seemed a short walk from the train station, but we ended up walking along dark forest paths dragging cases seemingly forever, with deer staring at us accusingly like something out of Princess Mononoke. (The hostel turned out to be a pretty weird place too).
While I was in Japan we visited the island of Okunoshima. In the Second World War it was a top secret chemical weapons plant, but now is a nature reserve famous for its free-ranging tame rabbits, who are probably the descendants of the lab rabbits.
On the ferry out to the semi-tropical, fern-covered island, we joked about it being like Jurassic Park but with rabid fluffy bunnies. They turned out to be even tamer than I had expected, probably tamer than a lot of pet rabbits. They’ve never seen predators, and all their experience of humans is being petted and fed in return for being friendly, so if you even sit down, a load of rabbits will pile onto your lap.
(Yayoi Kusama pumpkin sculpture on the beach)
I won a competition last year for free plane tickets to Japan, and went with my friend Vicky for just under three weeks in March, using a rail pass to explore the main island of Honshu and staying in hostels (and a spell in a hotel in Kyoto that came with the flights). Apart from the free flights we were totally broke, so a lot of the focus of the trip was on free or low cost attractions like scenery and museums and making maximum use of the rail pass rather than restaurants, bars or shopping. You can see more photos from other places in the Japan category of this blog, and also read about the trip in the zine I wrote.
Naoshima is tiny idyllic island in the Seto Inland sea devoted to modern art. The opening of the Benesse modern art museum (owned by the same organisation as Berlitz language schools) revived the island’s fortunes, although it’s still a small and quiet place with only a few villages and a lot of old people.
We visited the museum, but no pictures were allowed inside, so these are all of the rest of the island. I’ve made a post of some of the artists in the collection here.
Kyoto is famous for its Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, many of which are UNESCO world heritage sites. There are so many in the city that even though I spent a whole day walking round different sites, I only saw a small percentage of them. People place stones on these Shinto torii gates for good luck. You can also see my photos of ema good luck plaques here.
I took some photos of my friend Tukru, Finn of Finns, Suomi of the Suomalainen, performing some songs. Band members failed to materialise in rehearsal, so it was solo time to try the songs out in front of an audience. The lighting was a bit tricky, as there was nothing but one red spotlight, so I went for black and white. Tukru claims the genre is “Awkward Crybabycore”. Check out the twitter account for the band for more upcoming news.