Sunday, 30 March 2008

Analyse D'image

Moments of her life, forever caught. Presented to us.

Ringo the beauty. Ringo the woman. Ringo as only Ringo does. Such an entertaining blend of purples and beiges, compels the viewer to see into the allure of culture and ponder what place this sort of pursuit has in modern society. Yes, she is certainly an irresistable charmess, but doesn't give a fuck and is badass. Despite this risk, however, you cannot deny her. It is impossible.

Dressed in purity, colours of prime, shines like an angel, contrasts Ringo's controversial public image AND YET it shows a defiance. In the way she carries herself, and is focused and has her shit together, she is dominating proceedings. An amazing contradiction.

This image is a profoundly post-modern concoction of visuals. The striking clash of elements, the gun, the woman, the low key mood, it harkens to films of yore such as those of kinji fukasaku, and yet, is so current it hurts.

2003-era Ringo is presented with a harsh political climate. Ringo is juxtaposed against it, as her own political agenda is antagonising towards this one, she looks upon the pride driven nationalists with scorn, driving through them with a glare that could cut steel and make walls come tumbling down. Cor blimey, she is FUCKING PISSED OFF. Check out the sheer disgust on her face. Excellent.

In stark contrast to the previous image, this UNBELIEVABLY enthusiastic smile represents the sweet innocence of her own personality. Just look at her, LOOK AT HER! How happy is she? She wants you to be happy as well, how can you look into those majestic eyes, and argue with anything she says? The purity of her worldview, the sweetness of a woman. Before she was presented with images of vile nationalists, hence why she wears more feminine attire in the previous image, to further emphasise her purity in contrast to the evil right-wingers. But here she is wearing more casual clothing, showing that her purity can shine through regardless of outfit. WHAT A SMILE.

le papier peint

Inspired by HEDOfloe's masterpieces, I myself took to the arts to craft this very desktop wallpaper to lay proudly across your screen. A guitar wielding girl, a powerful and provocative slogan, bound to catch the eye and imagination of passers-by. It would be my great pleasure if a reader was to email me a photograph of their computer screen enlightened by my art. Would be wonderful.

lyrique de la semaine #3

Who could forget "歌舞伎町の女王"?

The controversial seedy classic, in which Ringo takes on the character of a young prostitute in the Kabuki-Cho area of Shinjuku. Quite frankly, it's a testement to her brilliant mind that she comes from quiet Fukuoka in the south, up to busy Tokyo, and manages to completely deconstruct the underbelly of Shinjuku and then reconstruct it as a slice of, as the great Paul Morley would say, Pop Perfection. As if she had always lived there. Outstanding.

The song sounds folkish in nature, resembling the outsider folk 60's anthems as performed by "三上寛". Or a more modern example would be the recent output by elderly punk legend "遠藤 ミチロウ".

The particular line I wish to speak about is as follows.

"kono machi de musume no atashi ga joou"


"From tonight onward in this town, I, once the queen’s daughter, am now queen."

For the stupid.

First you must understand what happens musically during this particular recital. The tempo drops, the guitar begins to stir, the line is delivered with a restrained exuberance, our jaws drop to the floor.

When I first heard this, a time when I was rather unfamiliar with Ringo, I sat silently in amazement. "Who is this girl? I need her!"

Spectacular. It's almost as if the whole song builds up to this one line, in which she rather proudly announces she has taken her mother's title of best prostitute in Kabuki-Cho, she has become...

"The Queen Of Kabuki-Cho".

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Ringo the beauty. Ringo the woman. Ringo as only Ringo does. Such an entertaining blend of purples and beiges, compels the viewer to see into the allure of culture and ponder what place this sort of pursuit has in modern society. Yes, she is certainly an irresistable charmess, but doesn't give a fuck and is badass. Despite this risk, however, you cannot deny her. It is impossible.

Dressed in purity, colours of prime, shines like an angel, contrasts Ringo's controversial public image AND YET it shows a defiance. In the way she carries herself, and is focused and has her shit together, she is dominating proceedings. An amazing contradiction.

This image is a profoundly post-modern concoction of visuals. The striking clash of elements, the gun, the woman, the low key mood, it harkens to films of yore such as those of kinji fukasaku, and yet, is so current it hurts.

2003-era Ringo is presented with a harsh political climate. Ringo is juxtaposed against it, as her own political agenda is antagonising towards this one, she looks upon the pride driven nationalists with scorn, driving through them with a glare that could cut steel and make walls come tumbling down. Cor blimey, she is FUCKING PISSED OFF. Check out the sheer disgust on her face. Excellent.

In stark contrast to the previous image, this UNBELIEVABLY enthusiastic smile represents the sweet innocence of her own personality. Just look at her, LOOK AT HER! How happy is she? She wants you to be happy as well, how can you look into those majestic eyes, and argue with anything she says? The purity of her worldview, the sweetness of a woman. Before she was presented with images of vile nationalists, hence why she wears more feminine attire in the previous image, to further emphasise her purity in contrast to the evil right-wingers. But here she is wearing more casual clothing, showing that her purity can shine through regardless of outfit. WHAT A SMILE.


Standing with my red crunchy girl
The wind blows like a man's sneezing nose
Blows out dust and the dirt of life
Because we're ringo-go-going to the moon

Yeah, me and my girl
Her name is Ringo-go-go
We're Ringoing to the moon and nobody can stop it happening
No, oh

She raises me from the ground
I'm floating around
With a girl I love
Ringo-go-going up

We're still flying higher
And it'll never stop
But then she hit a plane
And she's Ringo-go-go-gone

Oh Ringo, no
Why did you Ringo-go-go?
You were the best, you had a magic to you
And I really felt it in our love
Oh christ!
Ringo, no! NO!!!!!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Great Minds (Linnea Niklasson)

Who is Linnea Niklasson? Those of you asking this - and you call yourself Ringo fans! - she is simply a beautiful, intelligent young Swedish girl, who is the sole proprieter of what may be one of the most incredible websites devoted to Ringo on this side of the Web. You may know this site as

An astounding woman by any standard, she has maintained a solid passion for the Ringo since the sites inception, along with an immense level of integrity as evidenced by the .se part of her address which reveals her staunch national pride. This is in direct and sad contrast to the situation at Ringo Jihen, a website on its last legs. How can a website with no soul function? This is the question Linnea asks, and answers resoundingly with a perfectly Swedish-accented "No". In this way she is violently attacking Claudia of Ringo Jihen for her lack of commitment.

Her love for Ringo comes through in full force here, you can feel the giddiness, the tears, the elation, the hardships, the truth... as you read her honest-to-god account. So without further ado, here is Linnea herself.

1) You have amassed an unbelievable collection of ringo shots, which all seem to capture the various sides and personalities of this goddess. Do you have a favourite shot, or feel that ringo is someone who's essence cannot be fully captured in a meagre photo? but can only barely be approximated by thousands upon thousands of them?

- Well, while I wouldn't put it in as big words as you do, I think it is difficult to pick a favorite. I think I prefer the less "staged" photos in general, because they show the person behind the artist - kind of like the backstage videos on her DVDs do.

2) Did you have a predefined goal when you created the site? Did you wish to spread the influence of Ringo, or merely use the site as a front for the furthering and blossoming of your own personal passions and fervours towards her?

- When I first created the site back in 2004, there was no really massive, active website. I wanted a place where you could find all her lyrics compiled together, and after unfruitful searching I decided to make one myself. I created the website in Swedish to make it stand out a little, and also, to see how many Swedish Ringo fans there were - and it seems there are quite a few! Yet, when I started working with Jonny, we decided to focus mostly on English (although the site still is available partially in Swedish) since we felt that as the site grew larger, more people would want to be able to use it.

3) Do you feel that Ringo's amorous effect on your senses has driven you to design the site with a red background in mind? After all, red is the colour of love.

- Hahaha no, not at all. I made the layout in December, and I felt red was more christmas-y than the previous layout color, which I think was gray or blue. If you've known SRSE for a while you should know that.

4) As a fellow female, have you ever felt any sexual attraction to Ringo? Does she tap into a particular lesbian psyche of average girls? Because I feel that Honnou, among other aspects of Ringo's career that incorporate lesbian imagery, stands for an upturning of sexual morale and a desire to find truth in the senses. Do you agree with this and / or the previous questions?

- The first question is pretty personal - I'd like to leave that blank. Ringo herself said that she made the 'Honnou' PV to show that women could have sexual fantasies, just like men could. I'm not sure I think there are that many other aspects of Ringo's career that incorporate lesbian imagery? I do think, to go a bit off-topic, that she stretches the limits for a woman artist in Japan by doing a number of things, but in the end she just wants to make music. She's such a private person, I don't want to speculate about this, but after reading interviews with her, my opinion is that she wants us as fans to see behind the PR and just listen to the music.

5) There is a very artistic effect to the layout, is this a conscious decision to express ringo through visuals? For example, on the lyrics page, all song titles are written in full lowercase, foregoing punctuation. This reminded me of the low-key, diminutive side of Ringo's personality that we see at times. But the background remained a shade of flaring, sex-hungry red. Were you trying to emphasise the contrasts and ambiguities in Ringo's work with this?

- Well, like I said, the red background is because I made the latest layout at Christmas. I do think of how the site looks, of course, but my main goal with the layout is that it should be easy and logic to navigate through it and find what you like.

6) I see you have translated various words of Ringo, do you have a particular favourite line which touches you? Or do you find it impossible to sum up Ringo in singularities, because she's just too profound for that? I feel this way all the time. Who do I think I am, trying to SUM UP RINGO? Have you ever found a line that does this?

- I am not nearly fluent enough in Japanese to translate Ringo's lyrics - I always use frecklegirl's translations. I have a couple of lines from her songs that touch me every single time I listen to them, some for obvious reasons & some for more personal ones. I think the lyrics to "Odaiji ni" are amazing, I can't pick a favorite line from it... I also love when she plays on words, changing kanji/kana to show something hidden, or just something to make you laugh out loud. It may be a clichée, but I don't think I could sum up ANYONE in just a word or a line. Trying to think up a favorite...

" The gauze that wraps around my skin is a white lie, a sweet trap
If I betray myself I'd be taking the easy way out.
I'm all grown up now, so permit me to sing a little and laugh a little
at least until I can breathe." (Odaiji ni)

7) We see links to various other ringo dedicated sites, do you feel yours surpasses them to a great degree? I feel it does.

- Well, thank you :) I really don't know how to answer that question without either sounding like an imbecil or a stuck-up bitch, so I'd rather not. But thank you.

8) Are any of the photos in the gallery taken by yourself? Have you ever met Ringo? And if so, is there any way you can put me through to her somehow. I would love to interview her, or even just get to talk to her.

- No, and no, unfortunately.

9) Have you ever dreamt of Ringo?

- Probably... I dream of a lot of things. Nothing worth mentioning here though.

10) What do you think about the undeniable ゲルニカ influence? What particular aspects of Ringo's creative efforts do you think it most influenced?

- I assume you're talking about the Japanese band and not the Picasso painting: honestly, I've never heard them nor have I ever heard them mentioned in an interview with or a discussion about Ringo, so I can't really say anything about that. But I'd love to hear what you have to say.

11) An invitation from Ringo to a love hotel, wine and strawberries, would you accept? I certainly would.

- I'd never turn down a chance to meet Ringo.

12) What does Ringo mean to you?

- Wow, the shortest question is the hardest.
I first heard Ringo's when I was fourteen years old, and I don't think I would be the same person without her, seriously. Through her music I've found sooo many other artists that I listen to every day - in so many genres. Through her fearlessness I have found a way to not care as much about what people think. She made me want to learn Japanese. I've cried listening to 'Gips', I've danced to 'Yokushitsu', I've played 'Koufukuron' on the guitar until my fingers ache. Ringo has been a part of my life for so long I can't separate from her in any way. To me, Ringo means... I can't end the sentence without feeling I'm missing something. Let's just say I owe her a lot.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Great Minds (Claudia Ladogana)

In today's post we will be interviewing the ringleader of one of the premier Ringo web establishments - the infamous Ringo Jihen, a site known for the webmaster's uncanny interpretations of Ringo and her art as well as its still-bustling Electric Mole forum (where the great HEDOfloe can be found contributing to the community in droves). What this interview with Claudia Ladogana sadly revealed to me, however, is that here is a Ringo fan who has clearly jumped their proverbial shark, run out of good things to say and ultimately revealed the true nature of their fandom - that of a shallow poser, only into Ringo for self-preservation and helping out the government, "The Man" in matters that only a slimy little whore can attend to (for nobody else would be caught dead in such an undignifying pose).

Ringo virgins, be aware that the interviewee's opinions in this interview should be taken with a pinch of salt - although we can never ever dispute the contribution Claudia made to the Ringo fan community in her prime, you should be aware that the dear lady now espouses a great deal of embittered bullshit. To clarify, everything Ringo has put her name to is GOLD. I will not let this interview falter my love for her, and neither should anyone else. Real Ringo fans are stronger than that!

Nevertheless, I thank Claudia Ladogana for giving me her time for these questions and hope to capture the spirit of her classic self in my own work.

1) Perhaps the biggest attraction to your site is the Electric Mole forum, a public congregate of Ringo fans who participate in lengthy and literate discourses of her life and achievements. As a fan myself I dream of one day giving back to Ringo in a similarly grandiose fashion, and the Mole boards are my predominant inspiration in this regard. What is the key to the Electric Mole's prosperity, the ingredients or drive behind it? Or, what would you say to a fellow Ringo fan who wishes to give back to the community and their idol?

I haven't been updating the site or even checking the forum for ages. I'm afraid that Tokyo Jihen slowly killed my interest in Shiina Ringo... I still listen to her older works up to KSK, I liked Kyoiku to some extent, but since Otona, their music got too far from my taste. So I gave up on the forum and site. They were mantained by myfriend Lolo for a while, but now I think he doesn't check it anymore, as well.

2) Your site dispenses with the galleries typical of Ringo fansites. Is this a statement against the artificiality of image, your stand against superficial fans of Ringo who love merely her appearance and fail to look beyond that to the seminal artistic relevence?

Can I be REALLY honest? I didn't include any gallery because I couldn't bother my lazy self to put up one. XDDD

3) The reviews / descriptions of Ringo's videos and albums on the site are vivid, vigilant, spark with imagination and display perceptive critical judgement. They drew me in and suddenly I was there, watching the video or listening to the album by reading your descriptions. Is this a conscious decision on your part, a goal to communicate your love for Ringo?

Yes, I love Ringo's older music and I wanted to communicate my love for her works. ^___^ I'm happy you enjoyed my writings.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

L'Évolution De Shiina Ringo

The young Shiina Ringo. A young girl still coming to terms with the world around her. Unaware of the fact that she would go on to become the most important woman in music, and a huge success in the future. Although she was already probably deeply interested in the avant-garde stylings of ゲルニカ.

Here is a teenage indie Ringo, no doubt standing backstage at a performance. Fully committed to music and clearly showing no regard or care for the economically motivated music industry, Ringo here is an urban teenage Trobairitz with songs to spare and a touch of punk humility that provides an earnest bedfellow for her free thinking personality.

Ringo as she crosses over from her 19th to 20th year. As we look into her eyes, we see an incredibly fiery determination stare back at us. A girl wielding a guitar, such potent, exotic, and iconic imagery in our modern times. The way she clings to it, we sense she may be uncertain in her musical abilities, but as we look into her eyes once again, we realise she is full to the brim with confidence. This particular guitar, the "Duesenberg Starplayer" was unpopular at the time, but after people were blown away by Ringo, it suddenly started selling in Japan. She singlehandedly saved the company on the eastern front. She is even mentioned in the history of the Duesenberg company. Amazing stuff.

We all know this Ringo. The Nurse Ringo who shocked the world in a Situationist stunt that was a shoehorning of docile cosplay into the subversive terrains of feminism. Her pristine wear and immaculate makeup capture an ideal, which Ringo simultaneously challenges with aggressively sexual independence. Suddenly the domino of mainstream society, necessarily erect to prevent collapse, had fallen and the cracks were showing in Japan's flawed hegemony. The famous video for "本能", the famous scene in which Ringo mounts another girl and proceeds to caress her neck with her tongue. The nurse persona, typically caring in a sterile environment, now sexually aggressive. A woman, licking the neck of another female, a provocative piece of footage in itself, but when you consider it's Ringo, it truly becomes something quite amazing - incredible defiance of society's unwritten laws and comforts, the likes of which Japan had never seen. And I know a fucking lot about Japan so don't try arguing with me, YOU WILL FAIL. When asked about it, Ringo bluntly retorted with "Women need sexual fantasies too" Genius, typical Ringo genius.

I covered KZK in detail previously, but as a new album came along, so did a new image for Ringo. In contrast to her previously aggressive, guitar wielding self, we were presented with an elegant chanteuse. A woman that had been brought from the 1930s, now sporting vintage aristocratic dresses that resembled nothing less than effervescent cascades of fabric which embraced Ringo like a loving partner, and opera gloves. Ringo herself had matured into a refined beauty. In this particular image her face is covered with a veil, shrouding it like the personality she shrouds with publicity. This stylistic shift was also represented in her music - once again, refer back to the KZK post for more info.

After the inner and outer overhaul of Ringo's final solo album, we can only guess that she reached a kind of enlightenment through the creative efforts of her career. Here, in her Jihen days, she seems to be distilling the bustling and wildly fascinating overflow of melanged cultures into a sharp, purposeful direction - one which has proved so novel as to drive spectators into pondering what this new approach to life should be called. Outfitted in the casual, yet old fashioned clothing of a working girl from the 18th century, it was suggested to be "Petite Bourgeoisie" and disapproved of, although this is perhaps the best summation of Ringo's unprecedented philosophy here. Harkening back to a time of repression in an escapist manner seems to once again bring up questions of dichotomy and contradiction - is Ringo exploiting a time of social dread because she thinks the clothes look nice? No. Ringo's idea is anarchist at heart, encouraging us to wield whatever comes to hand, even burdens and enemies, as weapons of empowerment and self-actualisation. To make lemonade from lemons. To turn Hitler into a picket sign.

A Sting...

Doubtless you are aware of a certain photoshoot I brought up recently, where my precious Ringo was accompanied by a certain "Undesirable" who I went to the lengths of erasing out of a selection of images, improving them as it were.

I took a glance through the photos again recently, and in one I noticed something. I shall leave this photo untouched so you may also feel the emotional impact I felt a few hours ago.

Notice anything? Take a closer look.

Why Ringo? When I seen this, my heart was filled with a certain burning. My eyes filled up. A certain burning jealousy, a certain burning anger. It still pains me to look at it.

Shiina Ringo, I love you more than the world itself, and yet you have never met me, or made any attempt to. So why is it you must hurt me by holding hands with some bloke who looks like my fucking dad?

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Great Minds: HEDOfloe

Today we take a look at those who express their love for Ringo in outlets other than writing. Some of us like to use the medium of art, and today we meet such a person. We have an exclusive interview with HEDOfloe, he is a desktop wallpaper artist who has created some stunningly evocative Ringo-themed works, which we have discussed in detail with him for you.

1) What filters did you use for your wallpapers and why? Please could you go into what effect you think they have on the composition of each wallpaper?

Well, I actually did not use many filters on most of them. I just use a mix of layers, such as layers set to Overlay or Screens to try to get different effects on them. These secondary layers are duplicates of the original image I want to edit, and imposing it on top of the original gives you a different effect. If you change the colors of the duplicate you get even more interesting effects. Then, I manually touch up the original image by smudging and using the clone tool to get rid of artifacts and just soften up the image in general. It takes a while with higher resolution images but the final effect is worth it.

2) When designing wallpapers, do you consider it almost akin to photography? Selecting preferable moments from Ringo's photographed life and capturing them in wallpaper?

I usually don't sit down and say I want to make a wallpaper. Instead, I see an image I like and then decide I'd like to see it more often so I turn it into a wallpaper. It is not really specific moments from Ringo's life or anything like that, just an image that has something I like whether a nice angle, cute expression, cool outfit, or something like that.

3) Your Jihen wallpapers portray nudes. Is this an attempt to provoke controversy, in a punk statement of aggression and rebellion, a comment on the boundaries of social taboo, or even a comment on gender?

The nudes are to be found in the Just Can't Help It! DVD. I do not take credit for taking the pictures of those models (which are not nudes since they have underwear on)

4) In many of your wallpapers, Ringo is presented as being in close proximity to the viewer. Is this to suggest an intimacy with Ringo, or a personal desire to be close to her? Do you feel your wallpapers do justice to Ringo's beauty?

Hahah, I would love to be in close proximity with Ringo but that is not why I usually make the wallpapers closeups. I always enjoy people's faces more than anything so that is part of the reason. But also, I am usually working with images from magazines or something with text on it and so usually the upper body is left text-free, or at least the face is. So it is also just a way of working around the limitations. As far as doing her beauty justice, I think I do :D. In some cases, I'd say I even make her out to be prettier than she really is!! To me, anyway =P

5) Is your computer adorned with these fantastic wallpapers?

Actually, I don't use these wallpapers. I probably used each of them once, if that, and then never used them again. I usually can't stand to look at my creative work after a couple of days, I notice the flaws and such that I would like to change so I don't use them again.

6) In one wallpaper, you present two instances of Ringo. Is this to suggest the different sides of Ringo, or simply a personal wish? Would you prefer to encounter two Ringos rather than just one?

I would love to see two Ringo's in one band! But, no, I just really liked those two images and had to figure out some way to get them on the same wallpaper so I would not have to change between two images. It is one of those few images that I am still happy with, actually.

7) Ringo's name is presented throughout in Japanese characters. Are you fluent in the language?

No, I am nowhere near fluent in Japanese!! However, I am studying it in college. As for the use of the Japanese characters for her name on the wallpapers, it was just because it is easier to place those characters than the roman ones for her name since it is common for Japanese characters to be read from top to bottom and not look as weird as if roman characters were organized that way.

8) Finally, I would like to address the most astounding of all these wallpapers. Ringo is presented in cartoonesque postmodernity surrounded by birds of all aggressions and sensitivies. Could you please go into some detail regarding how on earth you conceived of and developed this piece?

Those are images from booklets of Tokyo Jihen. The one with the birds is from the Kyouiku booklet. I do not take credit for making that image.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

deux groupe de ringo

Hatsuiku Status

Never let it be said that Ringo doesn't love her fans. Whilst her large Gekokujyo Xstasy tour was going on, she still had time to form this ferocious girl band and tour the small livehouses. Considering those who can not go to the big shows and playing all new material which never appeared elsewhere. An act of extreme kindness. Ringo wielding Bass and vocals, and the band also consisted of Tabuchi Hisako, Murata Junko, Torii Yasunobu, and Yoshimura Yuka. As for their sound, well some particular naysayers have claimed they are merely "Fugazi Rip-offs" well I don't know what a Fugazi is. I bet it's some big italian ego band without even a tenth of Ringo's talent, and I bet they only tour big places.

Tokyo Jihen

Comprised of snap-neck bass wizz Seiji Kameda, guitar alchemist Ukigumo, percussive entity Hata Toshiki and Chopin's spiritual successor Izawa Ichiyou - not forgetting Ringo herself, of course - Jihen are Shiina's crack team of militant musicians who seem dead set, album upon album, on bringing down the dams by which genres are defined and musics seperated. Virtuosos one and all, as a band they are godly - but there is still an incredible lesson to be learned when a bandmember goes into his solo part and you realise "fuck, that's a HUMAN? I thought it was just good studio engineering!". But nevertheless it is so - Ringo's band are as live and raw as Husker Du were on Land Speed Record, yet musically competent enough to beat the 70s jazz fusion deities at their own game a million times over.

This unit was formed by Ringo after she blew a kiss to her solo efforts and decided that a band was the best way to realise her musical visions. While Ella Fitzgerald had always been a longtime influence and jazz songwriting always a big part of Ringo's style, Tokyo Jihen really takes her love of jazz to new highs. It is clear that the great bop masters have beared their mark upon these guys - Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Red Garland - along with the classic crooners such as Frank Sinatra (Ringo has covered his classic "The Lady Is A Tramp"). Even hints of free jazz are prevalent in the Jihen musical equation - the Coleman touch is present, along with late Coltrane, Paul Bley and jazzers from her home country such as Kaoru Abe and Masayuki Takayanagi.

And it doesn't stop at jazz. The fury of Ringo's arrangements calls to mind classic post punk outfits such as Wire along with technical death metal as recently practiced by bands such as Gorguts. Dabs of soul and other black musics also decorate the album.

Jihen have been honing their unique approach to music over the years, presenting new evolutions of their sound with the release of every album (each one cleverly titled after genres of television broadcasting, such as Adult, Variety and Education) and today are unmistakeable the only real rock and roll band going. And the presence of Ringo alone is certainly worth the price of admission, eh?

Sunday, 16 March 2008


lady and the tramp

I was a tramp.
I walked the street in contempt
in the clothes mother bought me.
That same mother, who said I was a waste
destined for nothing.

I was out of work, and out of luck.
But one day
I met a girl called Yumiko
she said "call me ringo" and I obliged
Her cheeks turned red
I was in debt of her beauty.

She never did say much
But the words she did say, were golden.
She said "Nobody sees worth in you, but I do"
she shone
she was charming
she emitted a warm light that caressed me.

She took my hand
Lead me to a quiet place
She kissed me
my body was transported to heaven
I felt warmth inside, an incredible feeling.

She grabbed me
She took me
I made love to her
And for the first time in life
I felt complete.

Hold Me

Shiina Ringo
I have a very good question for you
Would you hold me?
I am freezing cold
I tried putting the heating on
But I am still cold
Why am I cold?
Shiina Ringo
Hold Me
Hold Me
Hold Me

Friday, 14 March 2008


Yeah yeah. Try and make your shit computer game better by basing some harlot boss character around my sweet Ringo. Same guitar and everything. Well fuck you, you capitalist cunts!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana review

Prior to kalk's release, Ringo was known as a musical icon who flirted with ideas outside of the mould. Her fans treated her albums like a packet of sweets - a selection of confectionary nuggets that offered little more. Her appearance merely mocked and coopted submissive female stereotypes while indulging in their feminine perks, much in the vein of 80s cult avant garde singer 戸川純. Tastemakers in Japan often criticised her as a shameless mainstream ripoff of this aesthetic, capitalising on the neo-eccentric-art-riot-grrl movement of the 90s characterised by performers such as Bjork and updating it for the new millenium. While this perspective was certainly unfair and misguided, Shiina was the first to address such naysayers - much as she usually is the first to everything in the music world.

Come 2003. A seismic ripple shook through the plastic, eminently superficial music scene of Japan. That ripple came in the form of an album entitled kalk. The culprit? 椎名 fucking 林檎.

So what was it all about? What WASN'T it all about? Shiina had perfected music. This is not hyperbole in any sense. Other pop artists, such as Mr Bungle, Cornelius, Frank Zappa, Bjork and John Zorn had already tried to go beyond their station and create music without boundaries, to the predictable bemusement of the clueless masses. But Shiina took it to another level - this album, which is often classed as "art-rock" is in fact the ultimate tribute to the history of music, incorporating ancient Japanese court music (gagaku) alongside lowbrow Okinawan folk songs, min'yo etc. as well as the classical legacy (Baroque fugues, the modernism of Stravinsky, the heart swallowing classics of the romantic composers, the eastern traditionalism of Takemitsu and so on), the sizzling amplified Japanoise of 非常階段, the pseudo-pop chic of 戸川純, the postmodern elegence of the mid 90s Shibuya Kei movement and Pizzicato Five, merciless technically virtuosic thrashings indebted to the great early works of Slayer, phat beats that would make Dre himself blush... and countless more influences pepper the album.

Her Japanese background is interesting to consider - Japan is often seen as a cultural prism, absorbing influences from other countries and inverting them back anew. Bands such as Yellow Magic Orchestra played with Western stereotypes of the East, filtering them through uber-technological electronic arrangements influenced by Kraftwerk and western classical music (it goes without saying that this futuristic perspective came from Japan's repute as the nation of Sony, Mitsubishi etc). Shiina must've known about Yellow Magic Orchestra because they were huge in Nihon, that nation's Duran Duran, and a young Ringo would almost certainly have been captivated by the attractive band members and colourful music which is appealing to a child. 戸川純's band ゲルニカ was also an unequivocally massive influence on Shiina's artistic decisions, with their neo-futurist rhetoric and sound doubtless inspired by Japan's coming to terms with the then relatively young industrial revolution back in the 1920s/30s, long after the Meiji Restoration and westernisation had taken hold. The playfulness of their early sound (primitive synths) had its effect on Ringo as well. Although she would've been 4 or so at the time of that early album's release, it is no surprise that she was aware of it even then and a big fan.

What is particularly interesting about this record are the symmetries. This is a concept that Shiina devised for the album in which the CD has been made to last for exactly 44:44 - a number so perfect it made the Golden Ratio look a shadow of its former self. What's more, the record is one of two halves, each of which are counterparts to one another - Doppelganger, Poltergeist, Yin, Yang, Alpha, Omega, Life, Death, Love, Hate, Rape, Sex, Satan, Christ. There is a line repeated backwards in one half which is heard forwards in the other one - a playful comment on rock's bloated history of myths and a direct reference to Zeppelin's Stairway that is a delight to hear. Finally, the track titles are presented in a professional, formal kanji exclusive to the country's legal practices. The only inconsistency apparent to this infinite and riveting symmetrical bliss would appear to be the title of Stem, which does not have a counterpart on either half of the album and stands alone. This represents Shiina herself, not fitting in with any convention, and also represents a delicious appetite for destruction on her part as she savagely wrecks the beautiful concept upon which her entire masterwork is wrung - the punk attitude rears its fuck-you head once more.

And yet, although this may sound like the charred remains of prog rock, coming back for one last thrash at glory - no. Because, as the Ramones once said, Shiina is a punk, although they spelt it wrong. And her DIY ethic and pragmatic approach to musical blocks (influenced by the compositional ideas of Morton Feldman) silenced any accusations of pomposity while somehow giving more conviction to the elements of symphonic grandeur present in Ringo's sonic tapestry.

Every cut blends into one, every harmony perfectly positioned, all counterpoint obedient to even the most radical aspects of nature (and occasionally even giving them a push, in true Ringo rock 'n roll style, to achieve her desires). It is, without a doubt, the finest Japanese record ever made.

lyrique de la semaine #2

Quite frankly, a lyrical genius like Ringo deserves TWO lyrics of the week. And for the second, we tackle the seminal "積木遊び" from her debut album "無罪モラトリアム"

"You know, how much I care it!"

Magnificent! Here she MANGLES the english language with the fantastic phrase, "you know how much i care it". It is a critique of western culture's superficiality when it comes to love and affection, And at the same time, she bends it to her own will and expression. We expect her to use a term such as Love, but instead she uses Care, playing hard to get and once again demonstrating her laser-like wit.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Shiina, It Was Almost Something - A Story By Me

I fell hard.

On the slippery floor.

Literally, that's what happened. But I think, in life, this occurance symbolised my life. It symbolises the way I fail regardless of the endeavour. It symbolises the extent to which this happens. It symbolises the sadistic intensity of this occurance, for I fell hard. Hard as life can be.

In this particular case, it was this floor that did bring me down. In the middle of a public area. Oh, oh no. Out went all my dignity, I sat in the moisture like a fool. Very embarassing. I'm panicking. Oh deary me! I run, a shadow of my former rock and roll self, out of the vicinity, and curl up in an alleyway filled with rats. They say this is what punk is all about.

And here I still lie, in this stink pit. What is punk? Punk is about doing it yourself, It's about not compromising to the mainstream, it's about being yourself and not giving a fuck about what anyone thinks of you. So yes. Yes I'm a fool, yes I'm dirt. But I must live my life. Yes, yes! I must live my life!

I run into the streets and scream it. YES I MUST LIVE MY LIFE!!!

I am run over by a beautiful Japanese woman in a big car. She has a big black strip of makeup over her eyes. I am happy. Yes... I... must... live. My. Life.

Years pass. I see a fuzzy image of that women. It haunts me for the years of my coma.

After several years in a coma, I track her down from a phonebook. Her name is Shiina. Shiina Ringo. I roll the name off my tongue. Shiina. Shiina. There's something to this. I know there's something, I'm going to take it to its conclusion!!

I go to her house and thank her for paying for my hospital bills. She claims that she did not do this, but I know she did. I mean I didn't pay for them. Where's my house gone? I can't see shite. Kiss shite. But I ask Shiina out on a date. We have lots of good times. I like her a lot. But she is with another man.

For the umpteeth time, Shiina, I stand outside your house and call to you. "Shiina, it was almost something. And then you went back to him. You crushed what we had. What we had, it was my life's ambition. That love was all I had."

How can you stay, with a dumb bloke. All he'll say is "ulluwululuhul" when you are making love. Ululating. It's onomatopoeia.

Once again, I stand outside your house and call to you. "Would you like to marry me?". She looks out the window. I ripped open my shirt - underneath the phrase "MARRY ME" was emblazoned across my chest in amorous red ink. She ululated. She has never been this aroused by anything. She stands there with wide eyes. Once again I ask "Would you like to marry me?", put on another shirt and ripped it again - now the MARRY ME stared her further in the face with more vigour due to her growing lack of self control and burgeoning desires. She even considered her future.

Shiina, oh Shiina, it was almost something. But that night I walked home with a red slap on my cheek and a wet pair of boxers.

Improved Ringo Pictures

Here are some pictures from a certain photoshoot, but I have gone to the trouble of removing any "undesirables"

when will they learn. Only I, am the one who can be with Ringo.


For those of you who have the EXCELLENT Baishou Ecstasy DVD, I suggest going to the performance of "おこのみで" and watching carefully.


Ah, Ringo!

Shiina Ringo!
As beautiful as the night sky
A certain twinkle in her eye,
A voice that causes the heavens to cry,
Because it is very beautiful,
just like her.
Ah Ringo,
If only you were in my arms
I wouldn't have to cry, and happily I could die.


I took a bite.
See? Juice.
Beautiful, sumptious juice.
A moist kiss.
Ringo, it's you!

Your cheeks lit up when embarassed
But now they light up my life
Wherever you are and however you act
Here I am, basking in your flavours.

How can I resist?
The old original sin?
You entice me and I need you,
C'mon baby, I wanna fuck you.
Your music is incredible
Jazz, folk, east, west
A satiating cocktail for the cochlea.

Laughing, smiling, angry, thoughtful
It's incredible to watch you living your life
Keep it up and I may just reach paradise
You're there, inside me.

Creating The Shiina Ringo Girlfriend Experience, Part Une.

Until that fated day, when I shall meet her, when my lips shall meet hers, when my hands shall caress her body, i must have a substitute. I also realise you will want one, what with her being the most incredible being to traverse this desolate land we call Earth.

Therefore, I have constructed a very exclusive guide for you, how to achieve "THE SHIINA RINGO GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE!"

What will you require

1 - You must be a REAL Ringo fan.
2 - A printer, complete with ink.
3 - Blank Paper
4 - A Holepunch
5 - A bit of string
6 - Blu Tack
7 - When it's complete, you will need to use your imagination.

You will also require these four beautiful photographs (Click for full-size)


First, print off all four photographs, full page of course. Now take Photos 1-3, Holepunch them in the top left hand corner, pop a bit of string through that hole and hoop it round. This should allow you to flip between the photographs!

STEP 2Have a look at this diagram, (X) represents where photographs 1-3 should be, find a way to hang them up so they are at your head level. Now when you wake up in the morning, IT'S LIKE SHE IS REALLY THERE IN YOUR BED WITH YOU! Let me tell you from experience, this is incredibly exciting. Some days, I just lie in bed all day staring at her beautiful face, whilst she stares back at my ugly one. Ah, what a wonderful life.


Have two print-outs of Photo 4, apply Blu Tack to the back of them. Stick them both up in your kitchen, in the positions shown in this diagram.

IT IS COMPLETE! Now when you are sitting in your kitchen, Ringo will be there on your wall, watching you like your eager wife. She doesn't look very happy in Photo 4, but it doesn't matter because she can never leave.