bad habits

there's such a luxury of comfort in doing things that are habitual. these things shape us, become a part of our aesthetic, reflect our personal vision. even when they're bad. especially when someone else tells us they're bad, and we don't believe them. 

as a musician, i run into being told of my "bad habits" all the bloody time. usually the commentaries come in the form of "not good enough," "too much of this, that or the other," "unattractive," etc. 

there's a lot of benefit to being self-aware, self-correcting, and evolutionary towards the best version of oneself. sometimes moderation is necessary.

but don't forsake the very things that make you unique, simply for the sake of satisfying someone else's agenda. i saw an interview with one of my all-time heroes (no pun intended), david bowie, and it's stuck with me. never play to the gallery, he says. never work for other people.

sometimes it's good to be bad.

bokeh

or "blur," in japanese. take a photo just right and all the distracting bits in the background turn into these lovely swirls of light. it's a beautiful effect, in the right hands (not necessarily mine). only trouble with it is sometimes it's so pretty, you focus more on how well you've managed to blur out the things you didn't want in the first place, and less on what it was you wanted to bring into sharp contrast. 

i was thinking about how this applies to music. someone played midi matilda's 'tidal wave' for me in the car as we were driving around hunting for pokemon. it totally rearranged the contents of my head. made me realise i was lovingly cultivating the bokeh in my own work, and letting the subject wither and die.

when i get really invested in a project, i always have to remind myself to keep stepping back, keep focusing on the subject. but going at it solo is tough. i start getting really pleased with my bokeh. 

i'm really, really glad of the reminder to keep my ears open.

listen to me agassi

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and just as i was really starting to feel alone in korea, i came across an unassuming open-air restaurant in the middle of itaewon. and inside it, this scene.

i played soccer every weekend as a kid - there was a period when i started getting used to the pace of the people i played with, i got comfortable, and then i got bored. so to spice things up, i decided to play against the kids who played on the school team, the ones who had posters on their walls of the athletes whose jobs they dreamed of taking some day. and when i played those kids, i realised this whole time -i- had been playing with the safety on, i'd been maintaining a safe and uninspired medium. the people who took it seriously were on full blast, all the time, be it in a neighbourhood pickup match, or on the real pitch, with the ref and the lights and the uniforms.

this being my first time back in korea in nearly 10 years, and my first time being here alone, i expected to have a few of those moments that made me pause and just think, "...damn." either as a function of some latent emotional homecoming, or as an extension of a persistent sensory overload. i didn't expect any such moment to come hand-in-hand with a stabbing reminder of my suburban childhood.

so shortly after taking this photo, i went in to the bar, racked up a tab on enough food and drink to stick around until dj agassi (whose name i didn't learn until later) finished her set. it was transformative, really, listening to her. i thought i had just about figured out korea, the pace, the flavour. but being tucked away in Ramie's (the restaurant) mathematically nursing a cheap beer and literally enjoying myself more thoroughly than i had in the sum total of the time i'd spent in korea thus far, i felt really inspired. more inspired than i had all year! i chatted for a moment with dj agassi after she wrapped up. it was nice. really, really made me think, "hmm, this could work."