Multiple Lennon walls, carol singing, Banayaooyoo, chalking, a new garden and free hugs
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The ‘Chalk Girl’ story is front and centre in the international media with stories filed by Time, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the New York Times – giving the Police, the ‘independent’ courts and the government another massive black eye and more loss of face (not that they had any left). The attention probably has something to do with why she’s now suddenly being released on bail.
Quite how, during busy periods, the MTR will get 689 mainland tourists just off a Macau Ferry and their 689 pieces of heavy wheelie luggage onto a train inside a ‘normal stop’ is anybody’s guess… However as of 6am on the 28 December after passing through HKU, the MTR’s Island Line ends in Kennedy Town instead of Sheung Wan. The two new stations, located 80m and 60m underground respectively, are efficient and well connected to to bus stops and minibus terminuses.
There’s big shiny wall murals at each station – with HKU having an interested potted history of the the University on the long corridor to exits A1 & A2. It’s an interesting 50m plus panel with some nice photos, but people reading the mural block half the space creating an irritating logjam even during the afternoon.
Public toilets: the MTR have finally recognised that it’s customers might need a toilet, and there are public facilities inside each station.
Wifi hotspots: at each entry concourse, the MTR’s free wifi hotspots allows 5x 15 minute logins per day – registration free.
New Ticket machines: which among other things allow for checking of your Octopus transaction history and, for $3, a transaction print out.
Exit A at HKU station. This lift only exit is split into two parts A1 and A2 – each is bank of four elevators using a new lift tower. A1 opens at the top to offer exits at HK University and A2 which opens at the bottom onto Pokfulam Road. The lifts are double sided, with the unsigned exit side opening before the entry side. This makes for very slow lift fills – in the middle of the afternoon there was a queue. It’ll be messy in rush hour and a nightmare when raining.
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Sadly Sue Shearman has joined the great concert in the sky. Thank you Sue for so many great nights of music, you entertained and touched so many. Your music lives on, an eternal candle to the memories of you – but also as a soundtrack to future stories as they unfold accompanied to your songs. RIP
bc unplugged interview 2011
Sue Shearman’s music doesn’t mince notes
Sue Shearman’s music can envelope you with its raw power, like all good rock songs should. But she also writes tunes that are subtle – and intense in a different kind of way. She claims the unique distinction of having studied djembe in Africa and certainly doesn’t sound like an archetypal female solo artiste. She tells bc about what she does, alone and with her band, New Tonic Press.
Your song Light Me Up has the lyric ‘Let’s sit here and toke’ – is there a story behind the song and its formulation?
Cigarettes! I used to smoke until Alan Carr made me see the light!
In general, your lyrics appear to have their roots in personal emotional experience, which raises the question; what inspires your songwriting?
Personal experience almost always prompts me to write a song, so my songs are nearly all autobiographical. But I’m also inspired by images, such as things I see on the street or in movies. Jon Voight’s boots in Midnight Cowboy got stuck in my mind so I put them into a song.
Your guitar style is “masculine” in the sense that it’s more aggressive than that of the average female singer-songwriter. Is this because you are influenced by people like Hendrix and Prince?
I never really listened to female singer-songwriters until I started singing. Before that I listened to guitar players like Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin, John Lee Hooker and, of course, Hendrix and Prince. That’s how it feels natural to play. So, yes, I suppose it rubbed off on me.
Your band New Tonic Press is about as rockin’ as they come, while as a soloist you are more reserved and pondering. Do you have a preference between the acoustic and electric forms?
The solo shows are really a combination of delicate touch and raw energy. I like playing both acoustic and electric shows equally. They’re satisfying in different ways.
Studying djembe in Guinea is not something every musician does – especially not every musician in Hong Kong. What was behind this decision, and what was the experience like?
I wanted to immerse myself in the music because I loved the sound of the djembe, the melodies and the rhythms. I wanted to listen to the musicians and play with them. I was under the guidance of a world-famous teacher, Famoudou Konaté. We played drums for up to six hours every day and listened to and watched all kinds of musicians and dancers. I could hear how jazz, electronic music and rap all have their origins in West Africa. We travelled around the country and listened to drummers in rural areas too. They played more laid-back, groovy rhythms while the city musicians hit their drums very hard, like a machine gun. You never really realize that there is such a difference until you take the time out to think about it.
Did that kind of immersive experience affect your songwriting or musical philosophy?
I did want to stretch out on the guitar rhythms after that. I’m not sure if I have a musical philosophy. I love playing music and that’s the only reason I do it.
You’ve mentioned a love for electronic music, a preference that tends to eventually blend with many musicians’ rock sensibilities. Any chances you would do an electro-rock project some day?
I’ve been thinking about playing guitar with a DJ for years but it hasn’t happened yet!
Finally, anything in the oven for you and your band right now or in the near future?
Right now I want to play as many gigs as I can with New Tonic Press and as a solo performer. I’m also preparing the release of an acoustic EP. I have lots of ideas brewing for future projects and once I know what I want to do, I’ll put them into action.
Listen to Sue Shearman and New Tonic Press on soundcloud
For the next 60 days Hong Kong’s harbourfront event space hosts the ‘Great European Carnival’ and to give it’s CEO Micheal Denmark his due – it has potential. There’s plenty of games with lots of stuffed animals and toys to win, a lovely outdoor ice skating rink, a beer tent, a community stage, food (most food stands were closed on the media tour so we can’t comment on the quality of the food) and rides…
And here’s where the problems start, the rides. There are plans for between 25 and 30 rides of all shapes and styles for adults and children alike. On the media tour, none were open – not even the most basic slide. The bumper cars were quiet, the ghosts of the Haunted House under arrest for shopping in Mong Kok… A couple of interesting looking rides were being tested, but most were still awaiting construction.
I know from spending three years working on a traveling carnival in the United States that good carnies can erect or tear-down a ride pretty fast – but these are international rides and new to Hong Kong and getting them safety checked and licensed appears to be complicated. It’s good that government is ensuring the rides are safe, but when they ask “What happens when two bumper cars hit each other…”
10 rides are scheduled to be working today, opening day – but with unbuilt and un-opened rides dotting the midway, the carnival looks like what it is, a work in progress, which is a shame.
Entry costs $125 which includes 10 tokens. Games and rides use tokens – which cost $10 each. All food and beverage is cash only. There don’t appear to be any ATM’s on site. Don’t like waiting, there’s a fast track entry and ride band which costs $600.
The carnival can hold around 12,000 at any time, so at busy times, expect to queue. As I said earlier, the carnival has potential lets hope the organisers can get it fully up and running as quickly as possible, because really, there’s nothing like a day at the fair.
Great European Carnival
When: 11am – 11pm, 23 December, 2014 – 22 February, 2015
Where: New Central Harbour Front
How Much: $125
More info: www.tgec.asia