2019

WHAT TO DO?

“The Calamity of the Caucasian Male” Fred Vee, 2019

I’m still alive and kicking for better or worse. It’s been a long hiatus from this blog and I’m up in the air about whether to continue doin this or not.

I’ve about had it with social media and the internet in general. During the last month I realized how much time I waste online. I don’t even do social media really, but admittedly get caught up in Reddit and Tumblr, not to mention YouTube. I feel stupid being a 53 year old dude reading goofy arguments, collecting pictures of artists I like and watching videos just to be distracted most of the time. Plus, posting here feels weird as well.

I’ve been living in Japan for 8 years plus now and I’m still illiterate in Japanese. I started making a real effort a few weeks ago to change that. It’s ridiculous I can’t read or write worth a shit and I feel this is where my energy and focus should be from now on.

I’m still creating stuff and enjoying myself while I do and I do want a place to share what I’m doing. I think I’m just gonna post once a week here. Not sure what day but Monday’s sound pretty good. Probably gonna strip this site down to as minimalistic as possible. Web sites feel like graveyards to me.

Anyway, I’ll figure it out. If ya got any suggestions drop me a line.

FV

 

NO BLOGGING

Too busy to blog this month. In short, I’m doing an artist residency here and just too burned out to write about stuff every day. I’ll make a post about it when it’s over at the end of May.

Till then I’ll try and post a little something here and there but not much.

Thx

FV

 

I AM

If they asked her if she was busy and her mind whirling with a million thoughts, I can relate. If they asked her if she was really a man or a demon about to kill them - I’d be interested and thankful for the distraction.

FV

 

KOHEI YOSHIYUKI

Kohei Yoshiyuki, “The Park”, 1973

Kohei Yoshiyuki, “The Park”, 1973

A pretty good article to introduce an interesting photographer for those who don’t know of him. I remember reading about Kohei Yoshiyuki’s series “The Park” quite a few years ago when the internet as we know it was still young. It was such a strange project I thought, though I also thought it was pretty amazing.

The subject matter of voyeurism and Yoshiyuki’s choice to photograph the night voyeurs instead of the couples getting down in various parks in Tokyo inherently brings up an array of privacy issues, which as the author notes, feels relevant in the #MeToo era and the general lack of privacy felt online these days.

When I first saw them those type of issues were not on my mind. I was more fascinated by this curious subculture. In places like New York City, San Francisco or any major American city, this type of stuff is pretty common, though from what I know, mostly in the gay male community. Cruising in parks is common knowledge and it wasn’t unusual to stumble upon a couple of guys doing their thing while walking your dog or crossing Buena Vista Park when I lived in San Francisco.

However, I don’t really recall seeing a lot of voyeurs (although I’m sure they were around) and again, there were no straight couples that I heard of that used the parks regularly as hook up spots. I know plenty of people who’ve had sex in public but not the way the people in Tokyo were going about it. I suppose it was partly the freewheeling 70’s and partly the cramped living in Tokyo that led the people to the parks. Maybe a dash of exhibitionism as well. Either way, it makes for good thinking about a man with a camera 40 plus years ago, running around in the night and watching the watchers, and making images of them for us to really make this exercise in voyeurism astounding in it’s degrees of separation.

Fun stuff.

FV

 

GOODBYE MARCH

I don’t know who painted this but apparently it’s from around 1680. It reminds me of this March, which I’m sure you can figure out I ain’t gonna miss. Hope things look brighter as spring settles in.

FV

 

GIVE A CALL

I’m going to be pretty busy the next two months, so posting will likely be less frequent. I don’t want to get into why just yet but when things settle in next week I’ll give an update. Meanwhile, Satan is always entertaining - give him a call.

FV

 

DEATH OF THE OCEANS

This very brief video should be enough to cause you a lot of concern. As the title implies, it points out that the coral reefs are dying, fish are migrating and a few other critical things that could radically change the ocean by 2030. I’m stunned people don’t talk about this stuff a lot more and with a sense of urgency.

Denial is one hell of a hard thing to break. I think it’s already too late to undo the damage and I hope that I’m wrong. From what I don’t see and don’t hear, I feel bad thinking that the planet is going to end up as a giant shit hole. We blew it.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - THE CLAYPOOL LENNON DELIRIUM

I’m not too sure what I think about this album yet. It features Les Claypool from Primus, who I like and Sean Lennon, who I honestly only know as John Lennon’s son. But this is their second album I learned, so they must have an audience.

It does have a distinct sound, a retro feel but I don’t think it’s as psychedelic as some others do. The best tune I heard so far is “Blood and Rockets”. Great hooks, a nice fuzzy guitar sound and Lennon’s voice is perfect for this song. I have a feeling that with a few more listens this will become a favorite of mine. Definitely worth the time to check it out.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - LOU REED

Lou Reed is an icon for many different reasons for many different people. He is a polarizing figure to many as well; you either love Lou Reed or hate him. I’ve met few people that don’t have a strong reaction either way. I’ve felt both ways about him at different points in my life but it always comes back to the love side (though it’s arguable love and hate are essentially the same thing).

There’s far too much to say about the man than I want to for a simple music post, but this album Transformer, is a pretty fair summation of why I always end up loving Lou. The deceptively straightforward simplicity of his music, his ability to distill so much in a single line, his awkwardness that lied right next to his ultra coolness.

Transformer has all that wrapped up in one album. There may be objectively better records than this, or personal favorites that rise and fall as the years go by, but I feel this album showcases the man and his music consistently over time and throughout the record itself. The fact that Mick Ronson and David Bowie worked with Reed here doesn’t hurt, but ultimately the storytelling is all Lou. And it’s his storytelling that always brings me back to most of his work.

There isn’t a bad tune on this album in my opinion and it flows wonderfully. If you’re one of the rare people who’ve never heard Lou Reed or only know him from a hit or two, you can’t go wrong by starting here to see what a lot of the fuss was about the man.

FV

 

IN MEMORY

I found out today the world lost another good soul, my friend KAIE. She was an artist with many gifts. Most importantly she was a caring, curious and beautiful person. I’m still a bit shocked and will miss her very much. Unfortunately, she couldn’t beat cancer. Please try to make a donation or something to rid the world of this damn disease that takes too many from us too soon.

Safe journey’s on the other side KAIE ❤️❤️❤️

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - PRINCE

What to say about Prince that hasn’t been said. The man was a musical genius and on this recording you get to hear the early signs of that. Jamming with Andre Cymone on bass and Bobby Z (supposedly) on drums, Prince is on keyboards and guitar (age 19) on this very tight jazz/funk recording. Eight tracks in all, this is a jam! Slap it on when you wanna feel good and shake that booty a bit.

FV

 

LOOK WHO'S RIDING SHOTGUN

I’m definitely feeling like death is my co-pilot these days. Working on too many things at once and I’m starting to feel it. I’m not the most organized person in the world and little things start to stop me in my tracks at times. This week has been one of those weeks. Just gotta keep on keeping on.

FV

 

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

 
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Mrs. Bridge lit another one hundred dollar bill from the many stacks in front of her on fire. She felt she should see her family one last time. The light from the flame lit the dark room dimly. Across from her she could see the figures of her young daughter and husband huddled together on the couch staring at her. They’d been gawking at her, unmoving with slack jawed disbelief, for what she was sure was several days now, if not longer. She asked them how long it had been but neither answered. 

She laughed to herself. This house, with all its rooms and state of the art amenities; her husband with all his connections to the powerful elites in the area and the assets too large to know a precise figure; none of that helped. Like any common beggar on the street they were vulnerable to the weather, though they severely underestimated that fact. The storm had no trouble entering their gated world and literally froze everyone’s sense of reality and confidence overnight.

The temperature dropped from 10℉ to minus 60℉ in a matter of hours. She recalled how the three of them sat in the living room in disbelief that it was getting colder by a degree almost every five minutes. She wondered how many others denial cost them their lives. If anyone had taken the reports seriously, which were tame compared to the reality, they would have headed south. They easily could have. At least two of their vehicles were 4 wheel drive. All the tanks were full before the gas turned to sludge. Communication and electricity went, at least for them, within less than a couple hours. No goodbyes to anyone, only a few “Can you believe this happening?” calls. 

She never said goodbye to her husband or daughter. They simply stopped moving at some point. It was odd that she felt so little for them now. The cold must have frozen her emotions. She decided to give up on the house. She lit a match and a few more bills and stared at what was her family, until the light faded out. She went to the side door at the east wing of the house where the driveway was. She wondered why she was still alive for a moment, looked out into the freezing pitch dark, and muttered “Fuck it” to herself. She opened the door and slipped out in search of someone but deep down knew she was unable to understand or survive any of this and wanted to die alone wrapped in the layers of illusions of all she believed. 

Fred Vee

 

MONDAY MUSIC - VARIOUS ARTISTS (JAPAN)

More experimental stuff this week. A compilation from Japan in 1981 featuring a lot of lo-fi, field recordings mixed with various noise and instruments. I haven’t figured out who’s who just yet as there’s no track times to match the info below. Although my guess is it’d be difficult to find any one artist, but who knows. It’s been a terrific backing soundtrack while I work on things. Here’s all the info if you don’t want to head to YouTube:

Label: Vanity Records ‎– vanity 0010-11
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation Box Set
Country: Japan Released: 1981
Tracklist:
A1 Pessimeist - Sattyuzai
A2 UnAble Mirror - Hischool Pigs
A3 UnAble Mirror - Ignorant Animal
A4 MR - 213
A5 Adode/Cathode - …Of The Passive Voice Through The Light
B1 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B2 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B3 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B4 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B5 Kiiro Radical - Denki Noise Dance
B6 Tokyo - Cassette Tape
C1 Daily Expression - Inka Sanka
C2 Daily Expression - Inka Sanka
C3 Plazma Music - Green Brain
C4 Nose - Dolby Nr On
C5 New York - 1976
D1 Arbeit - Bunders Nachrichten Dienst
D2 Isolation - Invivo
D3 Necter Low - Artificial One

Enjoy.

FV

 

Willem de Kooning

"Park Rosenberg" 1957

I’m starting to get more interested in Willem de Kooning. Some of his work, like this one, strike an immediate chord inside of me. Others I find little to like, usually because of his color use. Still, I plan to study more about him to figure out why I have such polarized reactions to his his style.

FV