Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Yes!! The third personal journey to China (possibly my last!) is set at the break of Christmas Day 2008 and this could well be a very personal journey indeed.

But....before that happens, eve of Christmas will be at Prince of Wales 8pm to catch Etc. for another exciting "live" electric gig with ex-Etc. band members joining in! Potentially a wrecking ball of a time! I gotten meself a Santa hat for the occasion right up to getting on the plane to Beijing after that!

This time round, the trip plan very vague, many pieces and pockets of time not filled with anything! Inland flights? No idea, will do it upon arrival at Beijing Capital Airport probably. Only fixed up a Great Wall trek on 27 Dec (Sat), about 10km around Huairou County. The only thing set was the hostel on Nanluoguxiang Street hutong area. A small homely place which I had high hopes that I will enjoy it very very much! Will bicycle around probably (in zero to 3 degrees Celsisus? Nutz!). Will complete the standard touristy places around Central Beijing for a day or a day and a half at most, if possible squeeze in a half-day snowboarding trip in a nearby man-made snow resort, possibly by then no longer man-made but flushed with real falling snow!

Thereafter heading to Xi-an, via train or flight, for the Terracotta Warriors, Mount Huashan (balls-dropping wooden-plank walk! In winter cold too!), the Muslim Quarters, starting point of the Old Silk Route and meet a very special person (in my own assessment) before heading to Chengdu hoping to meet a little baby girl who could yet be my biggest lesson about life and the living. Also will head out to Renshou to visit 2 friends from the March trip earlier this year. The rest of the 2-week journey I will make up as I go because there is no other big ticket items I yearn to see in the Middle Kingdom. Possibly a short trip into Inner Mongolia, weather permitting and also pending availability of tour groups.

Haven't do any packing as yet with just 2 days left to go, then again making things up along the way is the essence of any journey. It still amazes me how things almost always fall into its places......eventually! That I have no doubt.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sonic Asylum.....Sonic Salvation!! Viva la......Etc.

Here are 2 more clips of Etc.'s gig at the Esplanade on 30 Nov 08, both song titles unknown. A throwback to the eighties era of New Order, Jesus And Mary Chain, Echo And The Bunnymen.....

ENJOY! (i.e. bandwidth permitting!)

This song I refer to simply as the "WongKarWai song":
(correction 19Dec08: from Ben/Etc.'s blog http://etcmusic.blogspot.com/ , this song is currently named "Just A Dream" (The WongKarWai one), previously known as "Sleep With Me" --> fantastic poppy lyrics!!)

This one I refer to as "Don't Ever Never":

Ben played a solo accoustic gig at Radioclash on 6 Dec 2008 at the Substation's Guinness Theatre as the opening act. Etc.'s drummer Harvey was not available that day. The gig was to raise funds for the seriously ill grandfather of a member of Force Vomit. Ben played for only 30 mins, below is the "Don't Ever Never" song:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


A colleague forwarded this to my office inbox with the header - Merry X'mas 2008 Present.
It was real good fun and a real good laugh amidst the doom and gloom. Of course this would be the ULTIMATE present, twisted imagination and all the shit - CONTROL A WOMAN??? Yeah, right! Fat hopes!

Double click the image to view its full glory!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Smitten by Nostalgia: Dancing to the Smiths - Etc

The last time I saw a band playing with a lone guitar and a drummer was Zircon Lounge at the Yin and Yang Festival in NUS back in the late eighties/early nineties. Zircon Lounge by then was only left with Chris Ho (now known as X'Ho) and Yeow. They rope in a drummer from another band (I could not remember the name of either) and played that gig in the Velvet Underground theme with Chris in cross-dressing a-la-sixties-psychedelia-Velvet-personna. It was a fabulous gig, minimalistic and yet profound. They covered a couple of VU songs, I vividly remembered Pale Blue Eyes and Femme Fatale - two of my many favourite VU songs. Too bad I neither captured the moments on video or audio, which I regret it even to this day - that was one of the best gig ever by a local band in my humble opinion.

Ben Harrison has been around since his first gig fronting the Deadbeats at the Marine Parade library in the early nineties. He is currently in his own band, Etc which has whitered down from a guitar-bass-drums to just a guitar+drums band (much like Zircon Lounge above). Ben is an amazing guitarist, you wouldn't believe it until you see him live. With just his lone guitar and effects, he created a fantastic wall-of-sound echoing Sonic Youth/U2 etc.

On 30th Nov 2008 Etc played a gig at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre and opened with a new original song titled "Dancing to the Smiths" that John Peel would be proud of and possibly bopping in his grave. The lyrics maybe still a works-in-progress but the music is almost perfect. With a little touch-up on the lyrics and a proper studio, it could well be hit material. Press on, Ben! You deserve a hit!

I was smitten by nostalgia both by the music and the words. It was a hark back to the days of New Wave in the eighties and the progressive alternative pop/rock of the nineties. John Peel got a mention in the first verse as did Smash Hits, the eighties magazine.

Thank you, BEN for keeping the faith ALIVE!