This Saturday…


If you’re not doing anything this weekend, allow me to suggest this event I covered which is featured in this month’s Groove Magazine:

HBC Fest Just Wants To Rock!

The HBC Fest has seen it all: rock, punk, hip-hop, folk music, poetry, Shakespearean drama, comedy, even a large balding man painted head to toe in green and smashing watermelons over his head.

The festival now regularly attracts musical acts from cities all over Korea. More and more local businesses are vying to join as venues, and organizer Lance Reegan-Diehl has had to turn musical acts away, as he can’t accommodate the large number of willing participants.

Never before has the festival received this much publicity. Not only did this magazine give it a three-page feature last October, but all the other major monthly expat magazines, newspapers and websites also featured the festival. On top of this, the festival’s reputation grew as a place for people to get together and listen to good music, all under the banner of a music festival designed with expats in mind.

Continue reading on Groove Korea’s website »−›

On Being a Writer in Korea – Getting Down to Dirty Truth


Part 3

The fact of the matter is that if you are writing in Korea then you are going to find it very difficult to get paid for your work. For all the writing I do, I have never been paid for any of the contributions I have made to the media here. Is there something wrong with this? Yes. Is it my fault? Yes. Can I do anything about it? No. Am I complaining? No.

There is writing work out there that will pay, but much of it is related to proof-reading and copy-editing, work that I have done and been paid for. I could go on about the problems in this area too but I won’t because I don’t do enough and it’s not in my mandate. Basically, this kind of writing work doesn’t really interest me that much – that being said I’d jump at a chance to take a job that would fit my schedule – I prefer writing about stuff basically, and copy-editing a poorly written ESL book isn’t that exciting.

Continue reading

On Being a Writer in Korea – A ‘How To’ & ‘Where To’ Guide


Part 2

*This post includes a few new additions, as well as the removal of another apparently dead ‘magazine’*

Of course, to be a writer you have to write. But of equal importance to the writing element is you have to be read. There are many different ways to be read, but rest assured that for all the fantastic poetry and prose you scribble in your fancy notebook and for all the standing up on stage you do at open mic nights, you will never be never be read if you do not approach the media.

Of course you could argue that you write for yourself, which is fine, but if that is your take on writing then this post is not directed at you. And even if that is your take, you probably want to write for someone someday.

Continue reading

HBC Fest – A grainy and blurred photographic reflection on the musical event of the summer!


Yesterday was, of course, the HBC Fest. It was very colourful, especially if you consider the busfuls of cops that turned up to help us out with crowd control. It’s good to see that our taxes are eventually getting their money’s worth, especially when it comes to the 5-O. Anyway, I’m sure that the prominence of the cops has well advertised on the Korean blogosphere. This suits this post perfectly as I don’t intend on sharing any pictures of the cops – although I did see one great picture of some guy standing in and helping out the cops as crowd control which was hilarious… Anyway more about the cops later…

In my Groove article about the HBC Fest I advocated for people to go into the venues and enjoy the music, and for some reason everyone – or at least a lot of ones – did so. All the venues were packed and the music benefited and rose to the occasion! At the start of the day it pissed rain and I think this encouraged a lot of people inside where they found that it was a lot cooler than the previous May Fest and also that the standard of music, entertainment and good vibes was of a high standard. Kudos to everyone who took part in the festival; musicians, bar owners, bar staff, restaurant workers, Kobawoo supermarket, Lance, and of course all the wonderful people who turned up on the day to drink and be merry, and of course spend enough money to make all the hassle from the cops – if there was any – worth it in the end for the organisers.

Here are some of the photos that I took yesterday with my iPhone and shared on twitter throughout the day.

Phillies at the onset

My good friend - Mississippi Dave ... who's actually from Winnipeg but that's beside the point, he's a wonderful performer and I'll miss him when he returns to Canada after fifteen years in Korea this September.

Yes they are jello shots and yes they were all gone the next time I looked at the tray!

These guys were called Language of Shapes (I think), very cool sounding group.

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of this guy 😦 But it's nice photo, right???

Mikey from the VFW mopping the floor before the Fest started. Why did he bother???

Great festival weather - actually made me a little homesick. That crowd is gathered around the Frills and Thrills Burlesque Show which nearly caused more car accidents than the entire festival!

Magna Fall! Good band and worth checking out in the future!

The always spell-bindingly wonderful Mia Zepeda!

Mikey in the VFW still shouting for everyone to get fucked up - as if they needed any encouragment!

Two guys playing The Local - I think they were called Backus. Good stuff!

The Drunk Democracy - I'm not sure if this was before or after the 30 other Irish people had to be pulled down from the lights (myself included) when they started playing Horse Outside - if you haven't heard of this song just look for it on YouTube.

Johnny Red in Le Vert

LRD and a strange bald ex-editor or Groove trying to steal his guitar...I think

Angelic me

The Two Guitars in The Orange Tree well past my bedtime...

...and also this fella's!

Photos are, admittedly, a bit grainy. Oh well.

When I was coming back through Haebangchon the next morning in a taxi there was someone passed out in front of the Family Mart – unfortunately it was only hindsight that had the good idea to stop the cab and take a picture. Maybe next time!

I didn’t take many pictures of the police presence at the festival. For me, this was probably the most significant thing that you can interpret as you will. It was certainly unique. However, as far as I could work out everything went well. There didn’t seem to be any problems and all the interactions seemed to be good natured and respectful. Most people realised they weren’t there to break up the party and people just go on with having a good time. The guys forming the line along the street were all young military service aged kids who didn’t want to be there any more than any of us would have liked to be there, but I could see that they were taking it in their stride and enjoying the madness of the situation, while a few were even taking the opportunity to practice their English. I’m pretty sure no hagwon or text book in the world will have a lesson on ‘drunk at a music festival’, so they can be happy about that. While their may have been some bad things that happened, all in all, I think it passed off – for want of a better word – trouble free.

Thanks to everyone who came out, performed, drank, smiled, danced, ate, kissed, and/or held hands. This was certainly a HBC Fest worth remembering!

I should have more less grainy photos up somewhere soon!

Letter from Korea, October 2010


Yongin, Korea
21/10/2010

 

Dear Ireland

 

It’s kind of been a weird phase for me writing lately, because for a while there was nothing else I could do or focus on. Specifically, I’ve been trying to contribute to a lot of magazines and newspapers here with quite a bit of success, but I still am not sure how to measure that success, or how relevant it really is at all.

When I first arrived in Korea I have seen plenty of English language magazines that openly welcome contributions from the community. I can just about remember K-Scene, which was relatively famous for its classifieds section. Before that it was apparently just called Seoul Classifieds, but that was before my time. After that magazine collapsed or closed or whatever, I remember hearing a few rumours but I’ll save you the iniquity, there was a gap and then along came Groove magazine, which has been gracing us with its presence for almost four years now I’d wager.

Continue reading