May 3rd, 2005

operesque

Dechets de boulangerie

I'm back in Berlin now, but here's a photo of the patisserie party we had at Kumi Konki's place in Paris on Sunday. Apart from being one third of the brilliant Konki Duet (I know, the math is crazy), Kumi works in a bakery, and at the end of the day there are always unsold cakes to take home. So we assembled to eat them, along with coconut cakes from the Vietnamese bakeries of the 13th arrondissement. From left to right you see Miltos Manetas, Florence Manlik, Jessica, Hisae, cat, Momus, Johann, Miltos' friend (didn't catch her name), Mai Ueda, Mehdi Hercberg, Khanh-Linh La, Kumi Okamoto. Click the picture for a bigger version.



Mehdi runs Shobo Shobo, and Khahn-Linh has documented the eight events they've so far staged in her pictures. If you're in Paris tonight, check out Shobo Shobo 9 at the Glassbox Gallery (13 bis, rue Oberkampf 75011, Métro Parmentier / Ménilmontant, starts 20.30, free) featuring the wonderful Lullatone. I wish I were there myself.

I might not be at the Lullatone show, but I am on Neomarxisme. Marxy is doing Golden Week interviews, and it's my turn today. Explaining why I hadn't been contributing recently to his blog debates, I told Marxy that the recent China-Japan tensions had changed the context of the debates we were having. He came back with "I'm interested in what you mean by that," so I expanded:

Momus: There were points of similarity between what you were saying about Japan and what the Chinese were saying. For instance, you've spoken about the history book issue and so did they. And neither you nor the Chinese looked at your own national records: the Chinese completely fail to mention major famines under Mao in their history books, for instance, that killed millions. And you would never mention the current efforts of the religious right in the US to get biology textbooks rewritten so that "intelligent design" is presented on an equal footing with evolution. So I just began to feel that the whole thing was really distasteful.

Marxy: I think you're right about this, and the more I read and watched, the more it was clear that the Chinese claims are totally hypocritical. (In the past, democratic South Korea has been the ones leading the attack against the textbooks.) That being said, the LDP (or at least, its more right-wing side) was really bad at PR and kept saying things like "Japanese textbooks must support the government line!" The most interesting thing is that Japan went out and apologized very quickly: no one apparently, certainly not the US, can say no to China's market.

Momus: Japan gets beaten up for doing things that everyone else does, and worse.

Marxy: Sure, I agree. But the opposition voices in Japan are so muted that it's hard to get the sense that the Japanese are debating it themselves. I think you know and I know and everyone knows that at least half of Americans wanted Bush out of office, but it's definitely harder to get a sense on the Japanese public's views. I think they're mostly against all this LDP neo-nationalism, but we don't get to hear much in the way of domestic complaints.

Momus: Anyway, I'm glad to see you're taking a slightly different tack these days. And Duckworth seems to have gone full time into charity work.

Marxy: I never aim to be ethnocentric, misleading, chauvinistic, etc. and I've always appreciated you putting me back in line when my outrage overreaches itself.

Isn't he sweet?

If you're in a reading mood -- and, like me, love public transport and its history -- there's a great piece in the new London Review of Books by James Meek. It's about the history of the London underground and it's called Crocodile's Breath. Oh, and if you're in an interview-reading mood there's an interesting interview with The Super Madrigal Brothers here. John Talaga does a word association test and, in response to "Momus", blurts out "Dad!" Hush, John, we don't want everyone to know!