If you are serious regarding developments in North Korea, you would be reading Adam Cathcart’s Sino-NK site, and if you are you would be listening to the Moranbong Band, North Korea’s late entry in the K-Pop phenomena. Here are some samples of Kim Jong Un’s latest addition to his Military Industrial Theatre Complex (DPRK- MITC).
While Adam and his Sino-NK colleagues provide academic analyses of the band and their place in the Great Chain of Hangul NK-Being, I would like to go down market a bit and provide some style advice.
To borrow a metaphor from the world of musical journalism, the Sino-NK staff are similar to heavy weights like Greil Marcus, Robert Christgau and Pete Guralnick enjoying their annual sabbatical. Some mild gluttony and lots of sparkling conversation on reified gender relations, the male power gaze and other heavy duty concepts from …… yikes….. various post-Marxist discourses. In contrast, I’m taking a Lester Bangs approach when writing for something like Creem or Tiger Beat for your basic teenage male who focusses on the lowest common demoninators.
This audience had real issues with the name. The Moranbong Band. Hardly a name capable of conjuring up images of hotness, North Asian teenage vixens and the like. Just look at the Japanese competition here. Anyway, I leave it to you think of a new band name, since that is the least of our worries in this Malcolm McLaren makeover. And there was a man concerned about his post-mortal legacy. I’m quite sure McLaren had some intern scrub the internet of any mention of his grand Oriental failures – Jungk – an Asian girl group with Spice ambitions.
McLaren also managed forgotten groups such as the Chinese punk-rock band Wild Strawberries. The Guardian
Chinese punk band Wild Strawberries, plus some further reading on McLaren HERE.
With that background in place, lets get on with the task. A band consisting of a dozen members. It goes against the evidence. Four to seven members at the most, three chords and seventeen songs. Next step is a wet T shirt contest and we can get rid of five in the band, probably marry them off to deserving members of Kin Jong Un’s Praetorian Guard.
The engine house of any band is the drummer and this girl just doesn’t cut it. Looks like someone who is handing out small helpings of food in some workers canteen. What is required is some dervish with wild hair, bee sting lips and Keith Moon’s attitude and kick ass drum technique.
Then there is the choice of other instruments. Let’s get rid of the bloody piano and that piano harpsichord thingy as well as all those fucking violins. They belong to old dead European culture and have no place in this Asian century. Three of the girl should be armed with Strats or SG’s and the piano should be deep-sixed for a Farfisa or Vox Continental organ. Finally, the absolutely hottest of the dozen should take on the central singing role. She must have Deborah Harry’s stage presence and Tina Turners microphone technique.
Finally, the wardrobe mistress should be reassigned to the Gulag. Those demure nurses outfits, chaste, but ass-hugging military uniforms and not to forget the spangly irredescent dresses and heels right out of a Thai go go bar are 80s clichés. They should be raiding PSYs Kim Hyuna’s dressing room and also work on their dance routines while they are at it.
You get the picture of the type of band I’m envisioning, so you can google Ms Kim’s photos later, and in your own time.
Maybe something like The 5,6,7, 8s.
Truly a band which has compacted all the great influences in the America Garage repetoire.
In lieu of my usual Japanese surfer girl update, a quick boarding expedition along the Korean peninsula.
Read the background story HERE and thanks to BusanHaps.
Looking for something more challenging? How about The Hidden Surfing Paradise of North Korea which includes satellite photos of what probably are truly pristine beaches with juche characteristics.
Finally, I thoroughly recommend Shannon Aston’s Surfing the 38th Parallel, Photo Essay Series: Winter HERE.
Oh well, back to the final of the Blue Sky series.