Notebook on Cities and Culture
(Formerly The Marketplace of Ideas.) Colin Marshall sits down for in-depth conversations with cultural creators, internationalists, and observers of the urban scene all around Los Angeles and beyond.
S3E7: The Accidental Japanophile with Christopher Olson

Colin Marshall sits down near Nara, Japan's T┼Źdai-ji temple with artist, critic, and teacher Christopher Olson. They discuss his thoughts, as a Winnipegger born and raised, on Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg; the displacement, discombobulation, and respectable bullshitting of Chris Marker's Sans Soleil, a copy of which he keeps at all times on his phone; high-risk art, and the stuff that requires more time spent absorbing than creating; the still-exciting art school idea of limitations and restrictions as the engines of creation; whether or not Japan is "a land of images"; why you can't resist photographing your food in Japan, and what this has to do with the cultural sense of doing things properly or not doing them at all; the utilitarian, quick-and-dirty mindset of our North American homelands, which we notice with special force after having spent time amid Japan's superlegitimacy; the modern west's lack of filial piety, which he came to understand after getting involved with a Japanese lady (in a relationship that endured its Griffin and Sabine period); life in Japan as a constant process of auditing one's assumptions, especially those instilled by western Buddhism; freeloading on the Japanese social contract as a foreigner, and enjoying the liberty to "create your own Japan"; the gaijin you meet in Japan, including the "weeaboo" and the last-refuge English teacher; how Japanese vending machines could possibly not be trashed, robbed, and stripped of all saleable metal; Vancouver, the city where Canadians go to figure their shit out; the benefit of the foreigner's anti-inanity language barrier; how the force that makes Japanese trains run on time also causes the occasional Japanese to jump in front of one; the lack of ambient ambition in Japan, as opposed to the aspirational culture in North America that generates both resentment and a certain charge; his turn toward writing and criticism after an "I'm just not that good" moment in the visual arts; his desire to recapture that Chris Marker sense of delirious displacement in day-to-day life; and how he's ridden that distinctively Japanese sawtooth pattern of culture shock.

Direct download: NCC_S3E7_Christopher_Olson.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:38am UTC

To Japan by cow: Nick "Momus" Currie, musician, writer, and artist

Colin Marshall talks to musician, writer, and artist Nick Currie, also known as Momus. Having recently relocated from Berlin to Osaka, he returns to the program to discuss his brand new book Solution 214-238: The Book of Japans. The novel follows up his previous book Solution 11-167: The Book of Scotlands with a similarly humorous exercise in social geography but one within a richer narrative framework — a narrative framework that pits twelve Japan "experts" against twelve Japan "idiots" — dealing with issues of imagination versus experience, monoculture versus diversity, and foreign versus future.

Direct download: MOI_Nick_Currie_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:01am UTC

Musician, artist, journalist and ex-blogger Nick Currie, a.k.a Momus

Colin Marshall talks to Nick Currie, better known as Momus. Since the mid-1980s he has led parallel careers in music (with 21 albums out so far), prose, art and journalism, exploring the nexuses between them while traveling the world and examining his favorite cultures. He has most recently turned toward traditional ink-and-paper publishing with two volumes, The Book of Jokes and The Book of Scotlands. Since 2004, he has written the blog Click Opera on his life, work and art adventures, which he closed on February 10, the eve of his 50th birthday.

Direct download: MOI_Nick_Currie.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:48am UTC