Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Emily the Strange - as cool as Gloomy?

Anyone who has looked around this blog will know that I'm obsessed with pop culture, from daft toys to Daft Punk. High culture gives me the willies. But Mark, I hear you cry, hasn't there been a postmodern flattening of high and low culture? Well, that's as maybe, but two nights ago Butter came home and said:
"You know Billy Elliott?"
Me: "Ye-e-e-es."
Butter: "You know the scene at the end..."
Me: "Ohmygod - you want me to go and see ballet!"

I was right. Matthew Bourne's nearly-all-male production of Swan Lake is coming to Tokyo, and Butter really really wants to go. I have never been to watch ballet in my life - well, apart from when my sister was in a production when she was seven, in which she dressed up as a smurf. Very moving it was, the little blue creatures pirouetting around the White Rock Theatre. Classical music, opera, even theatre, leaves me cold. So I said, "Well, I'll go if I can take a book to read. And you pay." It's 8000 yen - about 40 quid - each. Cue many cries of 'Philistine', great flashes of guilt on my part, and my eventual capitulation. But she's paying.

Hello ducky

Yesterday was National Day in Japan. This means that all the right wing nutters come out and shout 'foreigners go home' through loudspeakers in the middle of Shibuya. Am I right in thinking this kind of thing - incitement of racial hatred, I think it's called - would be illegal in most countries? Shortly after witnessing this display of tolerance, I saw a Japanese man drop his umbrella cover. Seizing my chance to be a model citizen I chased after him (okay, chased is an exaggeration - I took a few steps forward) and said, 'Sumimasen' (Excuse me). He ignored me. I sumimasened him again, pointing at his dropped item. He ignored me again. 'Sumimasen!' I shouted in his ear. Of course, he'd heard me all three times. At last, his girlfriend looked at me, and Butter handed her the brolly cover. She said thank you, but did the geek who'd dropped it in the first place? Ha! I won't bother in future.

I calmed myself down by watching Resident Evil (or Biohazard, as it's called here - it's currently No.1 in the rental charts) and imagining that the dead-eyed, slack-jawed zombies being mown down by Milla Jovovich were Shibuya salarymen. Not difficult, it has to be said.

Tatu - great, aren't they?

I listened to the British charts this morning for the first time in ages. I'm completely out of touch. How have I survived without the latest warblings of Will and Gareth? Um... very easily. But the Tatu song is excellent. Of course, it's all a big marketing, faux-lesbian gimmicky exercise in middle-aged-perv baiting. But they're a hell of a lot more interesting than Westlife. And they remind me of Beth Jordache and the red-haired girl she snogged on Brookside (RIP).