blacklilly: (Default)
Hey all,

After last night's big aftershock, we're now being pummelled by some impressively strong wind.  I'm not sure now whether it's the ground, me or the wind shaking the house.  Thanks, weather.  Just in time for my hanami party too.

So, I actually just wanted to post this link to the Deathgaze review and interview at Rokkyuu Magazine.  Photos by me.  What a good gig that was.  I was a bit gutted that Deathgaze cancelled their Tokyo gigs after the quake, though it was entirely understandable.  I guess I shall be somewhere around the world when they next play Tokyo.

Speaking of which, there are now two weeks to go until the Peaceboat sets sail from Yokohama.  I am nowhere near packed (I have to be ready to send stuff off next weekend) and there are all these things I keep needing to do which jump out at me.   I attended two Peaceboat events this week.  The first was a pre-voyage fundraiser where I got to meet alot of the young volunteer staff, who are all ridiculously energetic and funny.  I then had a staff nomikai (drinking party) last night, where I was able to spend a bit more time with my bosses and co-workers.  They all seem like a great bunch of people, and there are a couple of people I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be good buddies with.

I've had flu and tetanus shots this week, and am thinking about thyphoid and hepatitis B - though they are prohibitively expensive.  I guess I shall just have to be extra careful.  I'm also a bit unsure about the malaria situation.  Basically, the costs and side-effects of taking malaria medication for over 80 days outweigh the risks of actually getting malaria, so we decided not to do it. The doctor just told me to go straight to a clinic if I get at all feverish.  A friend of mine told me he has had malaria four times (his father is/was a Nigerian ambassador) in his life, and he's doing OK...

In other news, I celebrated my freedom by making a return to my old goth self.  It certainly makes me feel about 10 times sexier than I did before, and is a  damned good excuse to wear more lipstick:

 
blacklilly: (Amelie)
Blissed out

Let's go with the Blissed Out first.  Further to my musings on the VK scene and my little photographic forays into it, I actually go all fan-girly and excited (well, as fan-girly as I can ever possibly be) about getting to shoot Deathgaze at their gig in Shinjuku at the weekend.  You know, had I not got the chance to photograph them live, I would have paid for a ticket and forgone the photos anyway.  That's how much I like them.

The ed. and I arrived at 4.45pm and collected our press passes, before hanging out in the venue (Loft, Shinjuku).  I scoped the stage out but somehow completely ignored the photographers' run at the front of the stage.  It took one of the sound guys to point it out to me, and I was quite relieved as I did not fancy the prospect of fighting the moshing masses to get a good photo.

So, I crawled down the front and had a little chat with a photographer from Cure magazine while we waited.  It was actually due to case of lens envy that I got talking to her.  She had the lens I've been salivating over, but will never be able to afford - a 14-24mm Nikon wide-angle lens.  I felt rather inadequate, to be honest.  She had the wide angle, a cute little 50mm (by the look of things) and a zoom lens, all of which she alternated throughout the show.  I had my 35mm Nikkor prime lens, and my 44-200mm zoom, which at such close proximity was only good for trying to snap the drummer, who was sitting in the unlit depths of the stage most of the time.  It does take nice sharp photos, where the 35mm sometimes fails, so it's always good to take along, just in case.

Deathgaze took to the stage a little later than scheduled, Naoki and Kousuke taking to the stage first, before Takaki followed.  Ai appeared after a little pause and the band went slamming into the first number, which may have been "Crash Down", but I can't be certain owing to switching into photographer mode. I remember the third song being "Blood", as it's my favourite off the new album.  I'm currently trying to check the Deathgaze blog to find a set list, but nothing is loading up...nope, nothing on the blogs about set lists. 

I had a great time up in the bands faces taking photos and trying not to mosh too much myself.  They were full of energy and playing my favourite kind of music, so there was nought that could go wrong!  Apart from the lighting.  Which sucked.  Not for the band themselves - from the audience the set up was great, but for me down the front, there was far too much back-lighting and waaay too many red gels being used.  I don't seem to be able to figure out how to compensate for reddish-tones in photos.  Ai looks positively devilish in most of my shots...when you can actually make out his face, that is.   Both he and Takaki were playing up to the camera all night.  I was most pleased.

I had my boots off for the first half of the show, which made scurrying about much easier, but after ducking out half-way to get some crowd shots, kept my boots on and did the rest of the show squatting down and performing all manner of photographic acrobatics in 3-inch platforms.  My thigh muscles are still pretty sore and I seem to have almost pulled my toe nail off my big toe.  It doesn't hurt, but I can tell it's not right.  I dread taking off the nail varnish to see what the damage looks like.

The toe beating slowed me down somewhat, so I took a breather and sat on the floor of the the pit watching the show.  After two great encores the show finally ended.  I had a beer in the bar with music still going round in my head, and waited with the ed. to interview the band.  Sadly, while I was waiting, I realised that I didn't have enough money on me for a t-shirt, which saddened me, as I had wanted to get one.  No idea where to track one down in Tokyo. 

The details of the interview I cannot tell you, as firstly, you should read the interview when Rokkyuu publishes it, and secondly, I can't understand enough of what was said to give you anything meaningful, except that Kousuke said he liked animals.

To the right here, we have the lasciviously-tongued Ai posing for the camera.  The "blacklilly" on his leg is my internet name, which also doubles as my photography name.  So, no pinching without asking, ne.

I need to wrap this up as I have to go to bed soon, but the mention of photos and names brings me to theme number two.

Slightly Put Out


Basically, I've photographed a fair few bands now, and for the most part have had no issue.  However, twice last weekend I found bands uploading my photos onto Facebook having swiped them from mine.  I was credited, but I am a little uneasy about the idea of bands using my photos without letting me know.  The issue is not permission - of course they can use the images, I'm more than happy for them to do so.  However, I would like some warning so I don't look at their pages and wonder why that picture is so familiar.  I had a discussion with the singer of one of the bands last week and he got quite defensive about it all, saying that what goes on Facebook is fair game.  True, but common courtesy is nice to practise too.  So, I'm a little...annoyed/confused/ about it all.  I've actually considered not bothering anymore, but that would be a stupid response.

So, in the future all photos will be marked with my name and website (when I sort one out).  It perhaps seems a little overkill, but this is something I would like to make money doing, and I need to attempt some sort of professional behaviour.

Actually, I just realised that using that promo pic of Deathgaze is probably making me look like a hypocrite, but it's a promo photo which means someone was renumerated for it.  I wasn't.

Worn Out

Yes, I am worn out.  All I want to do is sleep, but when I get there I can't.  I am counting the days until I finish each of my jobs.  Sadly the one I want to get out of the most is still over a month away from finishing.  They were saying to me the other day that they want me to come back and work for them in July.  Which part of "I quit" is failing to register?  Very Japanese I suspect.
blacklilly: (Amelie)
Despite my best intentions when I returned from Bali to make a little more time for doing nothing, which means actually relaxing at home with a good book, I have had remarkably little time to do so this month.  The weeks have flown by once again, and there seems very little to show for, although a far deal of stuff was done.

Back at the end of December I shot a goth fashion show in Harajuku, which featured X-Japan's guitarist Sugizo giving a live performance on both guitar and electric violin.  The shoot was for an online magazine, for whom I have written some album and single reviews. The magazine isn't live yet.  It was meant to come out last week, but it's now looking like sometime this week instead.   How I ended up writing for a Visual-kei magazine, whilst knowing almost nothing about the genre, is still to be discovered, but booze cruises in Tokyo have quite a lot to do with it.  I'm thinking of trying to research Visual-kei a bit more, as it's a genre of Japanese music which drives me slightly potty.  Potty, because they bands almost never look like they sound...or how I think they should sound, at least.

Let's use Daizystripper as an example.  Observe these lovely lovely young men to the right.  Rei (the bassist on the left) is rocking the cut-off t-shirt with his teeny-tiny waist, and the other all look thoroughly cute.  My problem was what they sounded like.  Looking at them, I was thinking something along the lines of the early grunge scene - you know, when Alice in Chains were more glam.  And then of course, I listened to a song.  Whatever song it was I cannot remember, but it didn't impress me much.  The music was fine, I just felt that the whole thing was overproduced and far too clean sounding.  And then I saw them in concert, which made my jaw drop.  Yu-giri getting on stage and growling and screaming earned huge amounts of rock points in my little world.The energy of the band was excellent, and I found myself bopping along in the photographers' pit.

You can watch a video here.

In other news, I am looking after a rabbit for 6 weeks.  He's super cute, but doesn't like to be handled too much yet.  He runs in circles around my feet while I'm cooking, which is pretty hilarious to watch.  He also has an unhealthy relationship with an orange ball.  I had to take it out of his cage as the raping of said orange ball was freaking me out.  His name is Cecil.


Apart from that I've done some photography at a couple of shows -art shows and rock gigs,  but haven't yet put the photos up anywhere to see.

Next week I'm being interviewed by an eco-lifestyle magazine about being a vegetarian in Japan.  I get a free meal in one of the best vegan cafes I've been to in Tokyo (I was there last night, actually) and can wax lyrical about being poisoned all the freaking time.  I actually ate a piece of meat by accident on Saturday night, which pissed me off a bit.  I'm getting really fed up of telling the restaurant staff I'm vegetarian, only for them to forget about it as soon I've ordered one dish. Being vegetarian applies to everything I order.Rabbits

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