Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 20 2007

Thinking at 5:59am

I’ve been getting too many reminders lately, too many overdue notices, so to speak. Moving back into smaller quarters has disallowed me to continue shunning the cries emanating from various hidden corners of my life. There’s not much else to say, except that one can only cheat oneself so much before it becomes unbearable.

I recently came across the photography of Joakim Eskildsen, and although I find most online photography sites pale in comparison with a simple search of Flickr’s Explore feature, this guy is amazing. His composition, colors, manipulation of light, emotion and presentation of people in their environments constitute, in my mind, real photography, something I’d forgotten in this age of digital photography. He uses a Pentax 6+7 film SLR with prime lenses, apparently.

I just finished watching Layer Cake, and was reminded how a real movie communicates with its audience, not through dialogue, which is almost ancillary to the story, but visually, viscerally pulling emotions out of the audience. And this, ladies and gentlemen, isn’t exactly that deep of a movie.

I was at the house of a friend who bought some CD’s of ours, and he put on an old Louis Armstrong album including some of the songs we play. When Louis plays, it’s like nobody ever played before, or ever will again.

During the move, I was going through my old stuff, throwing away some of it. I went through old journals from the 1990’s, when times were tough for me, when I was a struggling camera assistant trying to make it from month to month and moving house periodically, almost systematically, throughout the city. I also reread a bit of the English version of my book, recalling the words of my old colleague Carl Davies, spoken not long after I was hired at the China News, to the effect that I couldn’t write myself out of a paper bag. He was right, of course.

I woke up this morning at 5:59am, after only a few hours of sleep, thinking: what the hell am I doing? If I don’t get to the core of things now, it’s likely I never will. I can’t quite explain it, and I suspect I should stop trying and get on with things.

posted by Poagao at 7:52 pm  


  1. For some reason, I never really got into Louis Armstrong, and I think he may even be my homeboy. There’s a Taichung story at the end of this…if you’re interested, take me out for a drink when I get back…

    Comment by PR in the Alice — November 21, 2007 @ 6:34 am

  2. btw, thanks for the introduction to Joakim Eskildsen. You are right-extraordinary…

    Comment by PR in the Alice — November 21, 2007 @ 6:36 am

  3. Yes, PR, Louis was born and raised in Uptown. I’ll take you up on that drink when you get back to our fair island.

    Comment by Poagao — November 22, 2007 @ 12:20 am

  4. JE’s photos looked like movie stills- very dramatic and made me want to know the whole story. whatcha mean you can’t write yourself out of a paper bag? get to the core or get on with it?you think you don’t measure up? you can’t be in the upper echelon so why try? anyway that was my impression. remember the message of rocky balboa: fighters fight and writers write. you should do what you are moved to do without being hindered by comparisons. or was the ‘core’ thing about something else altogether?

    Comment by v — November 22, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

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