My 2019 reading list includes 16 books that were already on our shelves, and I powered through four of them right out of the gate. At this point I was on The Woman in the Dunes, a strange, surrealistic, claustrophobic, and uncomfortable novel by one of Japan's 20th-century classics, Kobo Abe.
I'd read Kangaroo Notebook in Tokyo and really enjoyed it, but this one I had ordered used on Amazon.com when I noticed it was super cheap, so it was sent to my mom's address. I didn't have it until Hannes' parents generously brought it to me, along with a ton of other stuff, after visiting the States last October.
Abe's wife did the illustrations, and I love them. This one of the protagonist, an entomologist who gets lost in some obscure Japanese sand dunes, is my favourite.
This is super woke for any man in the early 60's, much less is Japanese man.
Urgh, I love them!
Anyway, this is how my Friday morning started.
These are just things I see on my commute;
noticing details, textures, patterns, stickers, and the ground, as usual.
Anyway, I was super excited about that night because Hannes had gotten us Amenra tickets and given them to me for Christmas (the Behemoth tickets were a gift to us from his mom). The opening acts were Lingua Ignota and E-L-R, and we were both very interested in seeing them, especially the former.
Here's a super weird and whimsical childrens' collage thing that covers a big portion of the wall at the coat check at the end of the labyrinth on the 2nd floor of Knust.
No idea who did this or how it got here, but I love it.
Not as much as the Abe illustrations, but 10/10 a good boy
lol these shots (basically spicy tomato soup) are really popular in Hamburg
but I had never heard of this
Venues/bars having fresh flowers is a thing. Just like, a pretty normal thing.
This continues to beguile and astound me.
Checking out the merch table, we ended up in a long and amusing chat with Amenra's merch guy.
And ah.. what the fuck? Are those actual crows' feet? Nice!
"Oh, yeah. Fans send them to us. We have, like, a pile of 'em. I try to change out the ones I bring with us though, cause like, you know, after a while they start to smell?"
Lingua Ignota opened by attaching these spotlights to herself, to a sort of harness belt, but they wouldn't stay in place, so she just continued with the big metal clip sticking out the front and these on the floor.
This is a very unusual and intense experience. She is a classically-trained vocalist who is creating a genuinely avant-garde, genre-bending, atmospheric method of singing her personal trauma, which includes overcoming an eating disorder and escaping an abusive relationship.
I was overjoyed to see on Instagram that Amanda Palmer had personally chosen Lingua Ignota to open for her at SXSW, and even better, the venue was an old church.
Feminism or fist fight
E-L-R is a Swiss three-piece that plays shrouded in a cotton candy-coloured mist from some deep dark dream place.
To put it more directly, you can't see shit.
Hannes stays further back and/or off to the sides at shows because of his height - because he's considerate - and he told me afterward that he honestly had no idea how many people were even in this band. He didn't see the second head of blonde hair from where he was for, like, a while.
Anyway, I was really liking the sound and just went for it, made my way through the people and stood at the edge of the stage.
At exactly the same moment I moved over a little bit to take a better photo of their flower and candle table/altar setup, the extreme bass that had been vibrating it caused everything to crash to the floor, one item after another. Perfect lol. Later they complained about the venue, telling me that the sound isn't supposed to travel through the stage that way, or that much.
There we go. Got it.
Mostly I was chatting with Amenra's funny merch guy, but it was nice meeting E-L-R, too.
I bought their special limited cassette.
..And I kind of wasted way too much time doing all of that, because the place filled up completely in anticipation of the headliner playing, the originators of the group of bands known as the Church of Ra, and I was relegated to a doorway.
I'm not gonna lie either, I was fine with it? I mean, I was a little drunk and a little tired, sure, and Amenra is actually my least favourite iteration of the Church of Ra, but I was sure that I would have a much stronger opinion of them after experiencing them live. That didn't happen.
Which is a damn shame, because their merch is really cool. I had decided on two patches, including a really great completely black one ("mostly for our older fans, with real jobs and families and shit, you know, so you want to be subtle about it"), and got a third for free. Lovely, but also ugh. Anybody wanna trade the white crows' feet for an Oathbreaker patch?