Ellis and I, like most modern people, spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. I love Facebook and he loves YouTube and we both can spend days lost in the New York Times. We’ve got desktops at work, but at home we’ve always been laid out on the bed with a laptop and a cigarette guys- the theory being that what made reading On the Runway or Datalounge at home different from reading them at work was the laying down with a cigarette bit. So it put a bit of a crimp in our style, to say the least, when Ellis’s computer died a few months back. It was old, by Apple’s lame standards (4 years), so it wasn’t entirely unexpected, and being frugal, as our era seems to demand, we decided to make due with one. Then, when my perfectly good, barely-one-month-out-of-warranty Macbook Pro went to sleep one night and then never woke up, we were both so incensed, having been told that the cost of repair was just a wee bit less than buying a new one, we decided to make due with none. And while it can sometimes be frustrating living without a home computer- for instance last night I had to run down to the shop at 10 o’clock to Skype a really old friend- for the most part it’s been a pleasure of the highest order, as we’ve been forced to start reading again: actual newspapers in the morning and then books at night. I can’t tell you what a revelation that’s been. We have always both been bookish types; one of the biggest complaints we have about life in Hong Kong is the absolute suckiness of the bookshops here. Whenever we are in a city with a decent English language bookshop (hello Singapore!) we need to set aside half a day, several thousands of dollars and a big suitcase. We are literally beside ourselves that Eslite, the giant Taiwanese book chain, is opening in the Central Market Building but of course convinced that it never will happen. But now that we are off the grid at home (except for our dumb Blackberries, which are getting old really fast), we can now easily spend hours at Dymocks, a painfully sad excuse for a bookshop chain that tells you all you need to know about the state of the English language in this supposedly bilingual city. Besides making us feel very intelligent and civilized, spending some time in a good book has been very inspiring for us on a work level too, especially as we have been reading so much biography and memoir, getting really into the lives of some very inspiring characters. And while I do see the irony of presenting this ode to books about lost dandies on a blog of all things, I hope it’s a nice reminder for image hunters that a lot of the really brilliant ones still aren’t on tumblr yet.
Ellis and I and a busload of friends got together this weekend and rode out into the far reaches of Kowloon for a very unusual art event called Power Plant. Part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, which seems to get better every year, Power Plant is a traveling installation by a group of British artists that transforms city parks after dark into spooky and magical sound and light shows: previous stops on the tour included Edinburgh and Singapore. There are four tours a day for almost one month and apparently it’s still solidly booked out. In fact, almost every event in the festival is booked out, which makes one wonder if it’s not for a lack of opportunity that Hong Kong has earned its reputation as a cultural vacuum. That said, oftentimes big companies buy out swathes of tickets for their staff who choose instead to do something a bit more typical- horseracing? pub crawling? shopping? We turned up at a “sold out” Pina Bausch concert a couple of years ago; not only did we manage to buy seats, half the rest of the auditorium was empty! Which is all by way of saying: try to get tickets for this event if you haven’t already got them! If you can’t, then I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with a few photos. Not that Ellis’ nighttime photography skills are in any way lacking- but suffice it to say, Power Plant needs to be experienced in person to be properly appreciated.
Somehow, this guy is making a kaleidoscope by projecting a bowl full of live snails on a screen. Kind of gross.
Except for the snails- and even those managed a kind of alien beauty- and the hundreds of screaming children – which most certainly did not- the experience was pure magic. Even more magical when one considers what the Kowloon Walled City was before it was razed and turned into a park.