Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 29 2017

Lately

We played a rather strange gig at a university down south a week or so ago. While well-paying, it was odd; the campus buildings were plastered with ads for the institution, in addition to large posters of various white men saying inspirational sayings. The buildings themselves looked rather new, and the campus is located out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields. We were in the middle of soundcheck on the outdoor stage when a battalion of gas-powered grass-cutters descended upon the large field in front, which was occupied by dozens of tables and chairs for the dinner that night. Apparently it didn’t occur to them to cut the grass before setting up the tables, chairs and tents. Nor did it occur to them that the noise might interfere in the soundcheck. When we asked them if they could wait a few minutes, they said, “It’s ok, your playing won’t interfere with our mowing, go ahead!”

The Important Older White People they’d invited to the academic conference were not only far fewer than expected, it seemed from the many empty tables and the achingly uneaten buffet (we were served lunchboxes in a backroom), they weren’t terribly into music either. I hoped that the indigenous singing/dancing group they’d hired were getting paid handsomely as well, but I doubted it. Halfway through our show they stopped for a highly orchestrated “flash mob"which was actually a kick-ass breakdancing group.

Though our show might have been a little underappreciated by the intended audience, when we broke out one of our new songs for the next album, “Temple Blues”, the indigenous group and the breakdancers came out and danced together to it. It was the highlight of the entire trip, and we stretched the song out so everyone could enjoy it more.

Then, afterwards, the organizers forgot that they were supposed to call us taxis so that we could get back to Taipei before midnight. We managed anyway.

My photography course is more or less back on track after the Dadaocheng events. Since we’ve been irking the janitorial staff by staying late after the night classes, I’ve decided to move some of the indoor instruction and review of shots to our outside photography days on weekends, and we now meet at Chenbl’s empty office meeting room in the mornings before going out to shoot in the afternoons/evenings. This last time we took the train out to Zhongli, where we then took a bus out to see a nice green mosque and nearby markets, before marching through empty rice fields to a recently refurbished old military village. My friend Josh Ellis buzzed in on his swank new Gogoro2, impressing the hell out of every single cat in the area, and took us to an interesting restaurant in the city. The place was on the second floor; the first floor was full of cobweb-covered antiques, and you’d never guess that there is a restaurant on the second floor. It was quite tasty. Zhongli is an interesting city, and I can understand Josh’s frustration that many in the expat community seem to look down on the place. Their new mayor is apparently a real mover and shaker as well, implementing the nation’s most generous subsidies for electric vehicles for one thing. I’ll have to make some more trips down there, which is even easier now that recently completed airport MRT goes there.

Speaking of expats, after many years of (wisely) ignoring the main expat fora, i.e. Forumosa and Taiwanease, I’ve gone back to take a look recently, only to find that not only have they not improved, they’ve been infiltrated by that curious animal, the “conservative expat.” Anti-marriage equality, anti-civil rights, Trump-supporting, even anti-immigrant (unless it comes to their personal situation)…it’s all rather colonial, the same type of dudes I saw ensconced in the Combat Zone in the 80’s. It horrified me then, and does even more so now. So, a failed experiment and a waste of time, as I should have expected.

posted by Poagao at 12:19 pm  

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