February 5th, 2005


Live on local TV

Yesterday evening we were invited to NHK Hakodate's TV studio to present the 'Lost Radio, Found Sound' project on their arts magazine show, which airs live daily for fifteen minutes, and on Friday gets a 30 minute slot. The studio was hilariously kitsch, with a nautical theme (I supposed it's meant to be 'a cruise' around the town's cultural events), huge robot-like TV cameras, and two terribly self-effacing, super-officious presenters resembling an undertaker and an air hostess.

You wouldn't think a small town like Hakodate would have enough culture to fill that amount of airtime, and you'd be right; the other items on our show were an exhibition at the Hakodate Art Gallery featuring a tea ceremony (the 'undertaker' really went overboard on the location report, slurping his macha with comical abandon), and an old man who made meticulous replicas of samurai armour out of cereal packets. Our ten minute slot had to be rehearsed carefully beforehand, and by the time we were live on air there was a palpable nervousness. Lehan, three students and I were lined up and asked questions about the project. We ended up doing choreographed bowing most of the time. My chance to address Hakodate came in the form of a single question: "You're a musician, so why have you excluded music from this project?" My answer: "Well, naturally I love music, but music is everywhere, it's too sweet, it's designed to please. My feeling is that people who love music should love sound, and people who love sound should love raw sound, just like people who love fish should love sashimi". It seemed to go down well, in that brightly lit 'cabin' with painted windows. As we filed out (they were rolling VT, an item about tree pruning) I noticed a model owl perched on the main monitor. It all felt very David Lynch, somehow.