Thank goodness for that

I’m not sure what audience BBC World TV is aimed at, and I’m not sure that the BBC know either, which is why it is so bland. And because the channel is done on a budget, the programmes are in part funded by advertisements, and the content is padded out by trailers and is endlessly […]

Mime at Barton Green

It was a cold and frosty evening in New Malden1. But inside the Barton Green Theatre it was warm and cosy. From the outside, the building looks like a cricket pavilion, but if so the green itself would not be large enough for a proper game. Inside it’s a small, welcoming community theatre, with slightly […]

Suicide Notes – a brief review of Kim Young-ha’s I Have the Right to Destroy Myself

Kim Young-ha: I have the right to destroy myself Originally published 1996 Translation by Kim Chi-young, Harcourt, 2007 An entertaining book to read, but somehow difficult to distill and digest. The narrator, who makes a macabre living as a self-employed suicide counselor, bizarrely seeks out clients whose exits he facilitates. A small and eccentric cast […]

The Japanese anti-Korean wave, at SOAS

Although this is a bit last minute, readers might be interested in tomorrow’s Japan Research Centre Seminar, which concerns the nationalist manga phenomenon ‘Kenkanryu’ and the so-called ‘Anti-Korean Wave’ in Japan. Wednesday 28 November, 5pm, SOAS main buildings G51 “Surfing the neo-nationalist wave: a case study of the manga Kenkanryu” Dr Nicola Liscutin (Birkbeck College)

Leonid Petrov at Chatham House

Korea Discussion Group Thursday 6th December 2007 “Squaring the Circle in North Korea: Pyongyang Strives for “Economic Miracle” (Domestic Politics and Socio-Economic Realities) Speaker: Leonid Petrov Lunch: 12.30-1.00 (£10.00 charge) Meeting: 1.00-2.00pm Film Screening: 2.15 — 4.15pm Chair: Jim Hoare The talk will draw heavily on the findings of a recent visit to the DPRK […]

Book review: Brother One Cell

Cullen Thomas: Brother One Cell — Coming of Age in South Korea’s Prisons Pan Books, 2007 A “powerful, harrowing and moving memoir”, proclaims the blurb on the back. “A Korean tear in the muscle round the ribs, a Korean hernia…” reads the selective quote. The cover design, a Getty image of hands grasping prison bars, […]

Coming soon: LKL albums of the year

Fed up with mediocre K-pop acts being showered with awards? December is the month when LKL critics, and hopefully readers as well, will be awarding prestigious accolades to Korean musicians based on their artistic merit rather than the skills of their choreographers, publicity managers and plastic surgeons. LKL Critics’ Choice A couple of months ago […]

Concert notes: Choi Jin at SOAS

Concerts at SOAS always seem to have a good turn-out. Monday (19 November) was no exception when Choi Jin and colleagues presented a programme of modern compositions and arrangements of music for traditional Korean instruments. Keith Howard provided some informative introductions to the music to be performed, which provided useful context as well as some […]

Technology in the wrong hands – a review of Robert A Kaiser’s Project Yellow Sky

Robert A Kaiser: Project Yellow Sky — A Korean Conspiracy (Authorhouse, November 2006) Those who visit websites with Korea-related content may have come across advertisements for this book in the Google Ads panel. A topical thriller, about the North Koreans trying to steal nuclear secrets… it must be worth putting in the suitcase for a […]

Yi Sung-yol #2: In exchange

Fluxus Records, May 2007. This was one of my gullible speculative purchases foisted on me by Mr Jay Kim at AM Records in Manhattan’s Koreatown. Bless him — he’s getting to know me too well. This one’s a cracker. Yi (이승열) has a gorgeous mellow voice — but with the occasional rough edge to make […]

Hanbok by Lee Rhee-Za

Hanbok by Lee Rhee-Za: an exhibition in the seminar rooms of the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore SW7 2EU. Review by Peter Corbishley In fact this is three, or perhaps, at least at the opening event, three and a half, exhibitions rolled into one. The first was a display of copies of garments typically […]

Jin Kim and Dae Hun Kwon in Arcadia, at I-MYU

23 November — 12 January Victoria Hall | Jin Kim | Dae Hun Kwon Opening Reception 22 November 6-8pm Tuesday-Saturday 10-6pm or by appointment I-MYU Projects is pleased to present the second exhibition of emerging Korean artists at its permanent gallery space in London. Artists Jin Kim and Dae Hun Kwon will be joined by […]

Album review: Ji-Eun vol 1 – Rain

Review by Jenny Wu (Yedang Entertainment, May 2007) YG Entertainment’s Kim Ji Eun has finally debuted. Her debut has been pushed forward for quite some time now, making this album all the more anticipated. As most die-hard YG fans already know, she gained fame through appearances on other artist’s albums (Jinusean, Taebin, Wheesung, and Lexy […]

History of scapegoating English teachers

English language teachers are never out of the press for long. Most recently there’s the Canadian paedophile who was teaching in Korea, and then a fairly familiar story about teachers being busted for smoking cannabis. The thing that struck me most about the cannabis story is the price. I knew that English teaching in Korea […]

A Biennale footnote

As an appendix to my other two posts on Korean involvement in the 2007 Venice Biennale it is worth noting two other London Korean links. Firstly, in an interesting Anglo-Korean-US partnership, London gallery Haunch of Venison and Seoul’s Kukje Gallery (plus New York’s James Cohan Gallery) united to bring video artist Bill Viola’s work Ocean […]