Sunday, 28 February 2021


Airing on this day in 1983, the series finale of M*A*S*H (see also) “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was until the Super Bowl of 2010 the most-watched event in television history and retains the title as the television episode with the most viewership, with an audience of over one hundred million tuned in. Taking place in the last days of the Korean War as ceasefire is declared (27 July 1953), the characters cerebrate decamping for a last time the mobile army surgical hospital and reflect on the fighting’s effects and legacy.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

it takes one to know one

We’ll see how much history is determined by the historic meeting between the leadership of the US and North Korea but it does already strike me as a little hollow and quite asymmetrical with the regime of Kim Jung-un being accorded the legitimatising recognition that it’s sought for some time and preternaturally under the same terms and conditions that Trump bewailed his predecessor as concessions to Iran, making America look weak and dopey.
Much in the same way that the Manchurian Candidate’s revolting behaviour has markedly improved the image of loveable, old war-criminal Bush II, not only does his eagerness to meet with Kim deflect attention from the hermit kingdom’s atrocious human rights standards (zero freedom of movement, zero freedom of speech and mandatory, universal adoration—not to give Dear Leader any more ideas) with the optics, this plum bargain asks little in concrete terms from North Korea while having US military presence on the peninsula characterised as “provocative” (after so much mutual sabre-rattling) and pledges to suspend large-scale training exercises with the South and Japan.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

la repubblica popolare democratica di corea

Hyperallegic directs our attention to a modest gallery owner and art broker in a small Tuscan village who is responsible for the vast majority of North Korean art—inspiration, motivation placards, ephemera, propaganda posters and fine art—that enters into Western markets. The article also discusses the thousand-strong studio that produces much of what the gallery resells and that has executed monumental consignments for various institutions and world leaders at steeply discounted prices.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

dear jong letter

Friday, 27 April 2018


Saturday, 24 March 2018

์šฐ์ •์˜ ๋‹ค๋ฆฌ, ะผะพัั‚ ะดั€ัƒะถะฑั‹

With a working-group being appointed to explore fording a second link between Russia and North Korea to supplement the Friendship Bridge—the sole crossing built in 1959 to allow train service over the Tumen River by special arrangement only and notably since last year a fibre optic cable, Calvert Journal correspondent Tom Masters candidly shares his railway journal from Pyongyang to Vladivostok. The account makes for an interesting read and the trip is illustrated with a lot of photographs. One of the only other points of entrance and egress for the country is the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge over the Yalu River, originally spanned by the Japanese Imperial Army when it occupied north-eastern China and the Korean peninsula during WWII, which allows both trains and cars but no pedestrian traffic.

Friday, 1 September 2017

rock, paper, scissors

Marking perhaps a heartening turn in the tone of sabre-rattling rhetoric, North Korea appears in its latest propaganda video to be challenging America to a dance-off, as Gizmodo correspondent Matt Novak reports, rather than the usual fare of nuclear warheads striking Guam or San Francisco.  Of course, Dear Leader has produced many counterpoints to this spectacle and there is naturally such ill-will between the two as they are too much alike and need their egos protected.  The narrow characterisation of the North Korean regime does the rest of the world a disservice as the country understands very well that it has the strategic upper-hand at what is at stake, which is nothing short of global thermal nuclear war.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

directors’ cut or good morning pyongyang

Via Gizmodo, we discover that in the North Korean capital, there is a daily morning broadcast on loudspeakers of a Theremin-sounding leitmotif that resounds throughout the city.
Although reporting appears rather dodgy and some handlers of visitors to the Hermit Kingdom disavow the existence of the routine—the implication being that they are so brain-washed that it no longer registers, this instrumental tune is a little reminiscent of the Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) soundscape composed by Vangelis and is possibly called “Ten Million Human Bombs for Kim Il Sung” but no one knows for sure. It seems eerie and oppressive at first blush but I wonder what message that North Korea intended to send.