Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beautiful Junk...

Um... wrong, that ain't me. My hair isn't that spiky...



Listening to: I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One - Yo La Tengo


The area between Birch Street, The Jetty, and Penang Road is one of winding streets with crumbling pre-war shophouses. Many buildings here lie abandoned, the symptom of urban decay in Penang's post-Rent Control Act years. Repeal of the act years ago left many folks unable to afford the huge jump in rental, forcing them to move elsewhere. Smack in the middle is Armenian Street's Galeri Seni Mutiara, a shophouse refurbished into an art gallery. Last Saturday's "Beautiful Junk" would be held there.

For those of you and me who are unfamiliar, Beautiful Junk is an alternative art + music exhibition held yearly in Penang. Location varies. I had been distributing some flyers for this event at my workplace's cafeteria... hopefully, one or two from another department turned up.

It was only around 5:20PM that I arrived at the gallery; I had parked in front of the old graveyard near Upper Penang Road was. This mistake was due to be being told earlier that the gallery was "near Chulia Street"... in reality it would be a 15 minute walk all the way to Armenian. Once I got there, the band Nao was already playing. Also, those Damned Dirty Apes had cancelled their appearance... Pedram et all.

The narrow but long shophouse-art gallery was packed with various types of Penang hipsters, a number of them in the standard black tshirt with slogan or bandname and a few with those black thick-framed glasses. One guy, back against the wall, was going Interpol/My Chemical Romance-style in black with red tie. Not bad, though that must be pretty stuffy here. Poster prints of various artworks, mostly in the neo pop art style were hanging in mid air around the gallery. In the middle, was the band "Nao" halfway through another song. I stepped outside again to roll a cig, chat with the folks of "Panic Overdrive" who had finished some time ago, and escape the humidity inside for awhile...



Probably my favourite poster amongst the works...


Talked with a friend of mine who I had earlier failed to notice sitting in the corner. Now living in Malaysia for the time being, she used to be among the management of a nightspot in the States back in the 70s-80s that attracted lots of punk rock acts & other period rock groups. The Clash, Ramones, Lou Reed, Sex Pistols, Bob Dylan, etc. etc. etc.... seen them all live. In fact, its probably easier to ask who she had NOT seen. You gotta give a lotta respect to someone like that...

When it came to Citizens Of Ice Cream's turn, it had started to rain. And then...

On that chair in the middle is the biggest cassette tape you've seen, balanced above a puddle of water and a nasty electrical shock

You see, the stage area was once an airwell before they roofed the top over. What still remained was the drainpipe that served to discharge rainwater from the roof onto the floor, before being carried out through a small drainage hole. As it was raining heavily, our stage had started to flood.

Electricity and water isn't a very wise combination... especially when you have hi-powered amps and mixers on the stagefloor.

Eager not to let some water fuck up their plans, the guys of Ice Cream & the helpful hipsters/semi-hipsters proceeded to do a nifty balancing act of cables and amplifiers on chairs plus moving the whole drumkit to the higher floor. Then it back to rocking... with space-rock.

The show must go on...


I chatted with Rizal and Lina from Paku who had arrived sometime at 7 o'clock and were readying their gear on the staircase. They were slotted in after a metal/trash-metal band which was now pounding and screaming the stage fullblast. My ears don't really have a taste for metal, and the neighbor in the shoplot next door OBVIOUSLY was allergic to it. After a good 30 minutes of heavy metal, she had a good talk with the gallery manager and... uh... threatened to call the police over the noise. The show already had a visit from some disapproving cops earlier in the afternoon and had passed the gentleman's agreement made with the neighbor to stop at around 8PM. The organizers decided to end the gig immediately before the neighbor got fed-up and called the cops to show up... perhaps with a paddy wagon in tow and several "Hairan Metro" trashporters eager for their next "Black Metal/Punk" frontpage scoop & goat sacrifices.



The tabloids will somehow put a goat in these pictures. A black goat


The plan was to adjourn to Church Street Cafe to continue the gig. Once I got there however, it seems the owner there was unwilling to let them play, even under the banner of an open-mike-night, as as he didn't have a permit and didn't want to play dice by sweetalking any cops who came for a visit. At least he led Paku play, if only for several songs. After them, I guess we could officially call Beautiful Junk 2006 closed for the day...

* * *


Anyway, I won't be surprised if the posters ended up on some future indie artiste(s) album cover...




The guys of "Nao"


"Paku" at C.S.C.


Lina from Paku, with bro Rizal on far left...




More pictures can be seen at:

http://public.fotki.com/bjunk/beautiful-junk-2006/

http://public.fotki.com/bjunk/beautiful-junk-2007/ (Posters)



The bands that came:

Citizens Of Ice Cream

Nao -- (No English/Malay translation?)

Swearwood

Paku

Panic Overdrive


...and many more...

1 comment:

Kris Khaira said...

Too bad I came late and reached an empty street. By then the police had ordered the place close already. Ah well...