August 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
When I came home last night, I had decided to refrain from turning on my computer and just check my phone before going to bed. However, when I did so, I found that Elin over at Dancing on Our Own had sent a link to this tumblr post, asking Lars and me if we knew anything more about the photo.
Yes. That is Kim Heechul of Super Junior, a band under SM Entertainment, and Kim “Hero” Jaejoong of JYJ, currently in conflict with said company.
Naturally, I had to turn on the computer to go online and do some investigation work, and before long, I found this post saying it’s real and recent, taken sometime during the last year. I almost started crying.
I was already beyond thrilled when Heechul and Jaejoong started following each other on Twitter in April, and I wondered a lot about what was going on, why they could do this, how it had happened. I imagined them bumping into each other at some bar, slightly drunk, and just laughing at it all and deciding to follow each other on Twitter, starting right there on the spot. I have no idea if this is actually what happened, but what is Fandom if not daydreams and fantasies? In any case it reminded me of why Heechul is my original (though not at the moment most prominent) bias: The prettiness might have drawn me in, but what made me stay was his originality and courage beyond words, the personality that always keeps me guessing. Yes, the courage. How he continued to support Hangeng even after he left SME, and now appearently Jaejoong, even though Heechul himself has stayed in the company and even renewed his contract not that long ago. (And considering the well-known close friendship between Heechul and Yunho of DBSK, I can’t even begin to think about how this may affect all the YunJae shippers out there…)
I think what these kinds of acts and pictures do to me is that they give me hope that the idols actually are more than what they are made into, and that they can to a certain extent escape the hands of their companies. And if someone is to go against his company, it’s Kim Heechul.
I wonder if I’ll ever get wtf is going on in the Idol World. I don’t think so. But maybe some day it will become at least a little clearer to us at least what happened just now. Until then: Heechul and Jaejoong, stay strong!
March 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
Yesterday, I was trying to explain fabrication and the concept of idols to a couple of friends. But some of this is impossible to try to explain to someone just like that, after dinner with come cognac and pear cake, and one of those things is Kim Heechul, his concept, his role, his person and exactly why I find him so intriguing. So I didn’t. But on my way home, I thought a lot about him: how important a part he has played in my growing interest in kpop, how I just get more confused the more I try to understand what the hell he’s actually up to, and exactly how unique his role is in kpopverse. The eternal exception to so many rules, he had a whole talking round on Strong Heart dedicated to the subject ”Because it is (/I am) Kim Heechul, it is okay”, meaning he can get away with stuff other people can’t simply because of who he are. I guess it is a persona with a great load of freedom, and pressure, to act controversially, sometimes to the point where it’s actually rather obnoxious. And some things are still taboo, of course.
No matter. I was heartbroken and relieved at the same time when he went to do his desk job military service, and at the same time that I’ve hoped the time away does him good, I’ve missed seeing him in action (and should go on a Heechul variety binge soon again sometime). But I also felt a small pang of idiotic guilt at how, during this time, my attention has steered towards other kpop people in his stead.
And then, as though an answer to my thoughts, twitter provides me with this.
So. Heening letting Hong Seok-cheon, pretty much South Koreas only openly gay man, tweet a picture of the two of them all cozy together at a wedding? I’m not sure exactly what his reasons are, but I most certainly apporove of this displayal of comfortableness. Every little step, etc. Also: How awesomely good-looking Heechul himself is in that picture.
What can I say? 우유빛깔 김희철! 사랑해요 김희철!
January 5, 2012 § 3 Comments
This is the strangest of times for fans of Super Junior. As an ELF, a fan of this group, 2011 has come to an end with a notion of the future for our beloved boyband.
Because even though you love to see them perform, show up at varietys and watch behind the stage footage of them, as has been possible again since their return in the second part of 2011, we all know what is about to happen. The largest boyband on earth(13 members+2) have started to disolve, and this time there is really no going back.
Super Junior made their appearence quite late in my life, but was an instant hit. Sorry Sorry had just recently been released that year and I got stuck after the first viewing of the MV. 13 members in the same group. Doing that dance. Who can not fall for something as epic?
The impact that this MV had on me back then, and many many others all over the world can hardly be overestimated. The choreography and the catch-phrase refrain is known to far many more people then just the average kpop lover. I believe that I, in some ways have been a part of an historical era of pop culture, kpop and Hallyu, in which Super Junior plays an important part.
When they were formed in 2005 by SM Entertainment the idea was not for them to last at all, atleast not with the same members as in the beginning.
Leeteuk, the leader of Super Junior reminded us of this well known fact once again on an episode of SBS Strong Heart as he explained that SuJu was put together as a project group to last only for 3 months, kick start the careers of SM trainees and then reform with new members, over and over.
But this never became the reality, as there were to much invested in this group, and to many people had gained interest in them. Super Junior became an official group, adding it’s last and 13th member Kyuhyun and closing the door for trainees next in line. Such as Henry Lau and ZhouMi, who instead became members of mandarin promotional sub group Super Junior M.
The years with Super Junior can, if you want to, be looked up on as a drama, with a plot better then any soap opera there is, including severe car accidents, member losses, epic success and fanservice to die for. Leeteuk performs as the organized and (mostly) polite leader, Shindong as the funny(fat) guy, Siwon as Prince Charming, Kim Keechul as… himself. Every member fills a role or a space, it doesn’t have to be the same space every time and since they are so many, someone can be missing from a fan meet, a concert or a showcase without it being the end of the world. Brilliant.
One of the saddest parts of this boy band theatre is perhaps Henry Lau, the member of Super Junior M that was included playing violin on Super Juniors Don’t Don, but couldn’t make it in to the actual group as a full and 14th member, since the fans protested wildly. Threatening for example to buy enough shares of the company to keep future members out of the group.
Yes I have lost myself completely in this group, over and over. Not in every member, but in many enough to have no need for any other pop cultural input for long periods of time. And since there are so many of them, you can find a new Super Junior favourite with time if you need to.
Super Junior Full House, Super Junior mini drama, Super Junior exploring the human body, Intimate note… A long list of varietys that shaped me as a fanboy, made me laugh my head off and hide of embarrassment. For the first time in my life I fully understood that it was ok to love something that was not European, not in english and nothing else then main stream pop culture. Kind of a liberation of someone who was hiding inside of me. But with the help of two friends and this group, I was finally able to be that person.
Shortly after the release of Sorry Sorry there was one member missing on stage while performing. It was reported that Kibum was not to take part in the promotions for that album, but rather focusing on his acting career. And since back in 2009, he has not yet returned, but is still an official member, included when counting.
Hangeng, the only Chinese member within the 13 left the group in the beginning of 2010 by suing SM Entertainment, the company that created and owns everything Super Junior ever have done and ever will do. Hangeng felt treated unjust and wanted to get out of the 13 year contract that down to every detail controlled his life.
Not much later, Kangin also left after scandals with bar fighting and performing a hit and run while drunk. He was not kicked out of the group though, just kept away for two years mandatory militar service. It was a weird period of the fandom, as I did not really like Kangin at all, but still desperately wanted the group to keep togheter. It felt like a great loss when the epic 13 became 10.
On the third of august 2011, they released Mr.Simple, one of their best tracks and MVs ever. While writing this post, the MV has passed 32 039 583 views on YouTube.
And then a couple of weeks later the bomb dropped, as second oldest member Kim Heechul, born in 83, informed that he would enlist in the army by September 1. Every one knew that it would happen sooner or later, but I believe that most people thought it would be later, in 2012. Not in less then two weeks. Also, this is no random member of SuJu, this is the main reason I got stuck in this idol industry in the first place. The reason so many did. This beautiful man that did exactly what he wanted to and did not seem to care what others thought of him, moved the boundaries of how to perform on and off stage and made people fall in love.
He was also part of the first fanfic-couple that ever caught my attention. The passion and drama of SiChul (Siwon and Heechul both of Super Junior) can never be forgotten. I’m still not sure if they ever where for real or not… (SiChul is for real!)
Seven years has passed since it all began for SuJu and there is really no given ending, but at the same time, the insecurity and lack of active members will surely tear on us ELFs.
When Superman, simultaneously promoted with Mr.Simple, was released it was with an MV that can not only be viewed as a gift to their loving fans, but also as a lament and closing act to an era of Super Junior:
They will keep promoting as an 8 member group for now, Siwon preoccupied with acting at the moment, but soon their leader Leeteuk have to enlist in the army, and then Yesung, and then…
It will just go on and on and on. Love, agony, laughter and pain, Super Junior Love.
/Ever-Lasting-Friends at The Future is Idol, Stockholm, Sweden.
August 24, 2011 § 5 Comments
It wasn’t unexpected. I’d been waiting for it. I knew that this was the year that Kim Heechul of Super Junior would go into the army. What I wasn’t prepared for was how hard it would hit me. I usually sort of side-eye fangirls who cry when their idols go into the army, but now I finally get it.
Right now, kind of complicated things have been going on in my life. I’m not going to get into exactly what’s happening, but I’ve had better reasons to cry than this: some guy who doesn’t know me doing some army-related office work/public servant thingy, instead of tweeting (this was before I realized that he might be able to continue tweeting, would he want to – but I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided not to, either), being on radio shows I need subtitles for and performing at concerts I can’t go to. Still, this was the first time in a very long time I couldn’t finish a meal and took the first opportunity I got to go home and get into bed to lie around under the covers and weep like a child.
But why do I react so strongly? Of course, I wouldn’t care so much about k-pop matters if it didn’t actually make sense to me. My interest is genuine, and my attachment to certain people in the industry isn’t something that just happens at random, especially not in the case of Kim Heechul, who is indeed a unique personality who I admire for many reasons and care about from afar. As previously mentioned, to me personally he also holds a special position for being one of the main reasons I fell so deeply in love (or just into) k-pop fandom. But I also suspect that my emotional attachment as a fan of certain things serves another purpose – one as a channel for emotions in general. I don’t think most people around me consider me a very emotional person, and I’m definitely not a drama queen. Still, this enlistment brought me completely out of the balance even I myself have been surprised at me having managed to keep. These two reasons, I managed to figure out for myself.
However, when I spoke to my mom about this, she made me realize even more how big an impact Heechul’s enlistment will have on my life, which actually made me feel at least a bit less annoyed over my own strong emotional reaction to it. My mother doesn’t know the full extent of my obsession, but she still wouldn’t judge me when I told her that even though I suspected that I wouldn’t have gotten so hardly hit by this event if there hadn’t been so much else going on, the thing that I could actually feel sad for was still the army enlistment of a Korean entertainer. Instead, what she told me was something like this: “Well, it isn’t that strange. Even if you hadn’t cared for that person, you would still miss what he does. Watching him over the Internet brings you joy and relaxation and helps you escape reality when you need to, right? And now you will have to find something else to serve the same purpose.”
That’s right. And in a way, I probably will. But Heenim is irreplaceable – who will stir things up like he does? Who will question things as he does? Who will be the constant mindfuck that he is? Even if he told us not to, I will wait for him, no matter what kind of person he will be when he’s done being a public servant. Because even if he won’t have to shave his hair and do two years of actual military training (in a way I’m actually selfishly thankful for the accident that shattered one of his legs to pieces) spending time off from the entertainment industry usually changes people, and Heechul is not known for being consistant.
As for the reasons exactly why he’s so important for me, that’s something that I’ve been trying to figure out from the start. I’ll probably have to make another post, or a thousand, about that. Until then, I leave you with one of my very favourite fancams of Heechul (and terribly underrated SJ-M member Zhou Mi!), complete with really cheesy music and all.
August 1, 2011 § 4 Comments
So, I was planning to write this yesterday but lost myself in an out door museum here in Stockholm, pizza and fanfic reading with Elin. Waiting for the new MV by Super Junior i spent a lot of time with watching old MV teasers, mostly from SME groups like DBSK, SHINee, SNSD and of course Super Junior.
The teaser MVs are an entire genre on it’s own, some of them are absolutely fantastic, some of them not so much, but mostly incredibly gorgeous. DBSKs Mirotic had a series of teasers that were just clips of the MV itself and made the MV no surprise when it was released. On the other hand that is the best MV and the best song ever created.
The teasers has been a bit of a problem for me these past two years, since they are supposed to give you a hint of the new concept and the new single but sometimes just confuse you even more. I guess this is what they are supposed to do but still a pain. When SNSD were to release Run Devil Run they had the most gorgeous teaser ever, I was so excited and even though the song and MV turned out to be quite ok(but so lame really in comparison), it was a big disappointment after the incredible teaser. I’m still not really over it. The MV can sometimes lift a track you did not like from the beginning, this is the case with Hurricane Venus by Boa, NU Abo by f(x) and also I am The Best by 2NE1. Run Devil Run MV did not manage to do this.
The teaser of Run Devil Run and SHINees Lucifer teaser are probably my favourite ones all time, so incredibly beautifully produced and promising so much, as they very well should.
In the end I seem to prefer the teasers that don’t tell that much about the single itself even though it is frustrating when you have no clue at all what to expect. What will the Mr Simple MV look like?
I think the Mr Simple track itself is just as cool and Crazy Super Juniorlike as it should be, but with out the MV it is really hard to get the full picture of this comeback. Below are SuJus super clean teasers from the last couple of years:
Teaser No.1. Sorry Sorry 2009:
Teaser No.2. Bonamana 2010:
Teaser No.3. Mr Simple 2011:
Teaser No.4. Mr Simple 2011:
And finally, which teaser do you think is the better?
/The Future is Idol
April 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
Lots of the idols I like are people I don’t think I would be friends with if I met them. One of the reasons is that I usually don’t like hanging out with, well, attention whores, which automatically rules out pretty much every idol that’s ever lived, anywhere, anytime, ever. Another reason is that though I of course know that everybody are complicated unique snowflakes etc etc etc, lots of idols actually seem too normal, like they probably wouldn’t be as interesting hanging out with as they are to watch from afar. But there are some exceptions. One of them is someone I believe to be as interesting and probably also as tiring to be around as one can get, and who never fails to fascinate me. If I met him, would I like him? Would I be annoyed? Or would I feel the same mix of joy and fear as I do when I stalk him online? Oh yes, of course I mean Kim Heechul.
THIS PERSON, REALLY. I can’t stop loving what he does, the way he acts, as well as feeling kind of guilty about it. I have lots of friends who will party harder, laugh louder, dance sexier and make fiercer jokes the worse they feel, and Kim Heechul reminds me of them. But recently, I have started to wonder if he’s finally getting too fed up to act. His last couple of tweets is some of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever read, and with him suddenly unfollowing even close friends like Lee Hong Ki and not updating his Twitter for more than a week, I’m actually worried. And when he then suddenly tweets about morning dances, I am less then convinced that that’s what’s on his mind. I might be reading too much into this – it’s not like we’re talking about someone who normally acts like a peaceful monk – but I suspect that something has broken the camel’s back.
And I feel the helplessness of being a fan. When I need to, I can pretend that Heechul is my friend and even imagine him telling me to act up and be angry, angsty and way over the top when I need it. But I can’t return the favor. It’s not like he will ever be comforted by mental pictures of me telling him that it’s all going to be alright, no matter how much I’d like to.
March 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
Super Junior will always have a special place in my heart. They were, as I’ve written earlier, one of the reasons I got into Kpop with their addicting hit songs, coreographies and crazy varietys. Just the fact that they were 13 in the group fascinated me enough for giving them my time. Kim HeeChul caught my eye from the very beginning. He was funny, a bit mean and did not look like the ordinary boy band member. After all the time that passed since then, he is still someone I like to read news about. Not to long ago on MBC Radio Star he talked about how he frequently fights with his fellow members of Super Junior. I then remembered the old audio clip with him talking about how the members react when HeeChul is angry. I searched for it, found it, listened and laughed more then I’ve done in a long time. Kim HeeChul, I want you to be my friend:
Enjoy!/The Future is Idol
February 25, 2011 § 7 Comments
I am a huge fan nowadays. Pop music and pop culture, mainly from South Korea takes up a big part of my life in a way that I never could have imagined.
I was of course interested in lots of things even before, and used to have a great interest in pop music from the swedish, european and north american indie scene.
I don’t really know what people around me think about this.
Sometimes I say that I was never mocked ever in my life for anything as for my interest in Kpop and Hallyu. Maybe that is the case.
I believe that many took it for a laugh or a mere joke in the beginning when I started to spam my facebook with MVs and variety show cuts and writing cryptic messages for those few friends involved.
But it wasn’t a joke.
This one MV link on my facebook wall by the best of friends changed my life and got me hooked, to watch, press You Tube symbol at the bottom:
Never in my life have I been so fixed on something as I am now, Kpop. After many years of disinterest when it comes to music and tv-series, this came as a liberation. It all changed in a matter of days, perhaps hours, and I wonder now how I could resist the invitations from my friends to this wonderful world earlier that spring and summer. It’s insane, how could I be so lame back then?
As the interest grew, it also became important to ligitimize the interest as something more then just South Korean mainstream pop, something I believe it also is, more.
You could write an interesting thesis on almost any subject, certainly about the powerful and growing waves of Kpop. As long as you have the brains for it.
Still, this is not just an interest for intellectualism, not at all, eminently I am a consumer, and I want to be proud of that. Something I’m not always able to be(working on it though).
When I laugh so much that I start to cry over an OnKey gif. or a Twitter update by Kim Heechul it’s got nothing to do with intellect.
To watch U-Kiss act silly through yet another variety in the most insane ways or to watch and use Snsd MVs as drugs when it’s way beyond bedtime is just heaven, and not so thought through. But as a fanboy, that’s ok.
/The Future is Idol