Suh Do-ho in Psycho Buildings

Psycho Buildings is a cosmopolitan collaboration in which artists from as far afield as Tokyo and Cuba “take on” architecture. Suh Do-ho (right) is one of the diaspora of Korean artists working in various countries around the world. Like Baik Nam June, Suh has chosen to make his home in America. Suh’s work has in […]

Jennifer Barclay: Meeting Mr Kim

Summersdale Publishers, 2008 Jennifer Barclay went to Seoul with her musician boyfriend eight years ago with no fixed agenda other than a desire to get away from her job. Fortunately, while in Korea she took advantage of her free time to explore parts of the country which are not necessarily on the tourist route. This […]

The King Baeksu counterblast to Amnesty International

J Scott Burgeson, aka Scott Bug, aka King Baeksu, has been monitoring the protests in Seoul pretty much nightly since they started. He’s been filing some detailed and extended eyewitness accounts over on his bulletin board. A week or so ago Amnesty International called for the “excessive force” used by South Korean police “against peaceful […]

A veteran remembers

Today, 27 July, is the anniversary of the end of the Korean War in 1953 – a war in which millions died, and which only ended with a ceasefire, Korea remaining divided by a heavily guarded border for fifty-five years now. Jennifer Barclay marks the occasion. Peter Poole served in the Korean War as a […]

LKL featured in Euro Journal (유로저널)

I recently had a heavy soju and singing session with Jeon Sung-min (below right), who as well has being one half of a well-known kayageum / guitar duo and nephew of the founder of 해바라기 (Sunflower) is also a feature writer at the Euro Journal (유로저널), a Korean language weekly newspaper distributed in Koreatowns in […]

Saturday documentaries at the KCC

This Saturday there will be a screening of a short film entitled “The History of Gold” at the Korean Cultural Centre at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. Each screening will last around 30 minutes. Silla dynasty gold earrings, 6th century AD. Diameter 3.5cm, Height 8.3cm. National Treasure No. 90, Seoul National Museum. Silla people decorate their […]

The Gyopo PI

Leonard Chang: Fade to Clear Thomas Dunne Books, 2004 This is the third novel featuring the private investigator Allen Choice, a Korean American whose name indicates how far he has moved away from his Korean roots. He can’t speak the language, but he gets annoyed when people call him Chinese or Japanese. He dates a […]

Meet Mister Kim. Now.

It’s the publishing event of 2008. More hotly anticipated than the latest Harry Potter, and certainly more entertaining, Jennifer Barclay’s Meeting Mr Kim, or How I went to Korea and learned to love kimchi, is in the shops now, priced at just £7.99. Jen’s trip to Korea was actually back in 2000, so this little […]

Book review: The Dawn of Modern Korea

Andrei Lankov – The Dawn of Modern Korea EunHaeng NaMu publishing, 2008 This entertaining book has, paradoxically, taken me a devil of a long time to finish. That’s not because it’s difficult. It’s because it’s the opposite. The book is co-branded with a series of articles that Andrei Lankov has been writing for the Korea […]

Excess Baggage goes north of the DMZ

After last week’s feature on South Korea with Jennifer Barclay, this week’s Excess Baggage looked at North Korea with Robert Willoughby, author of the Bradt Guide to North Korea (right), and Doris Richards, an avid traveler. Willoughby’s introduction to North Korea was as an English language examiner working for the British Council, assessing the language […]

Official photos from the Dano festival

Justina Jang of the Korean Cultural Promotion Agency, the organisers of the Dano Festival in Trafalgar Square, has kindly sent me some of the official photos of the event, which I have now uploaded to Flickr. Some good photos of the very entertaining Noridan (above), some great crowd scenes which really convey the atmosphere of […]

Dae Hun Kwon in The Situation

There’s some sort of funky alternative event being held at the funky alternative end of Clapham on Thursday, to do with London Lit Plus: The Situation: Back to Basics July 17, 2008 7:00 pm to July 18, 2008 1:00 am. The Situation presents the dialectical unification of art and life: art / music / performance […]

James Church: Hidden Moon

(Thomas Dunne Books, 2007) After A Corpse in the Koryo, the rip-roaring start to the Inspector O series, Hidden Moon comes as a bit of a disappointment. Maybe the freshness of the debut is a tough act to follow, but somehow the first time round Inspector O had more character. He’s still got his quirky […]

Boryeong Mud Festival 2008

The Festival is on around about now. The traffic on my two other posts about the festival is going through the roof. If any reader based in Korea is going along and feels so moved, feel free to send me in some photos and an article to tell everyone how great it is. I’m told […]