I wonder about a lot of things

October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

I wonder about a lot of things. Today for example, I really wonder about the fact that I woke up this morning from a rather problematic dream about a member from Exo-K or why the dream ended with me and my friend Jonas eating food in the middle of the night. I wonder why I forgot to bring lunch to work so I had to go hungry, why I didn’t go and just buy something food-like and why my colleague had to tell me everything terrible about one of our students so I in the future will only think about this when I teach this student. Later in the evening at the University class of North and South Korean politics the guy next to me moved his leg so it touched my leg over and over and I wonder if he did it on purpose, because thats what it felt like. I also wonder about how it came to be that Ranias latest track Style is turning out to be this enormous obsession of mine when I never really cared about them before. In general, I wonder a lot of things about K-pop.

The Future is Idol – L

An Old Favorite: After School – Because of You

October 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

I started on this long post about To the Beautiful You and letting idols act as a support from the other side of the world. I sometimes tell people that I needed enough time to really immearse in it to get into kpop, but to be quite honest, I also think that I fell so much in love with it because I needed to, during some pretty dark times for me personally.

I have never really gotten that into After School as persons, so I won’t say that they helped me as idols. But one of the first kpop songs that got to me was an After School song. It was winter. On my ipod I had downloaded a bunch of random kpop songs I had found through some compilation I have no idea what it came from; I think I had pretty much just searched for “kpop” on isohunt and downloaded whatever working torrent I found. The buses didn’t run and it was too snowy to ride my bike, so I was walking to school with my heavy bags, running late but too tired to care.

And then this song came on:

As I didn’t yet know any Korean at all, I had a very vague idea of what the song was about. I realized that it was probably a sad song. But it didn’t matter. Because just at that moment,  the sun rose over the treetops. It shone on the completely snow-covered landscape, and into my eyes, and it blinded me.


Long-distance crushes

September 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just wanted to share this short conversation I had with a friend I met up with the other week. (Note: This is translated from Swedish to English, which is harder than expected. I will here be using “they” as a gender-neutral singularis pronoun and “you” as a non-specified pronoun; my friend was not addressing me especially.)

Friend: I have decided to try not having someone special while I’m [living at the Folk High School]. Because I know it’s like that… that whenever you get bored, sad, feel stuck where you are, or a little lonely, you will flee to that person. You will think about them, look at pictures of them… Maybe talk to them, or visit them, but that’s not the most important part.

Me: Yeah, I know.

Friend: It’s just escaping, really.

Me: This is when it’s good to have idols.

Friend: It is, right? And then no one gets hurt. Because you know it’s not for real.

Me: Something like that, though not that it’s not real… It’s just that the responsibility towards an idol is less direct. You can leave them for a while, then look to them again when you need them, and that won’t hurt them. You know them, but they don’t expect anything from you specifically, or personally.

Not the full answer or truth, certainly. But one small part of what idols are to me. I hope it doesn’t sound like I don’t think fans have a responsibility towards their idols, because I really do think that fans should be there for their idols just as much as the opposite. However, should a fan not be able to pay enough attention to a particular release at a particular time, it’s not like their idol will call them specifically and be hurt and ask what they are up to. And although that can sometimes feel sad, it can actually be a very good thing too.


A Song Calling for You

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Randomly ended up watching and listening to an old favourite and it takes me back to the beginning of my fandom. I did not really understand who they were or what it was all about, but I watched it over and over again almost as obsessively as with Sorry Sorry and Genie. I became obsessed with this groups remodeled faces and listened to this song every day on my way to work (it still happens though). It makes me very happy and I take it as a sign that I was not wrong falling in love with this scene.

/The Future is idol

1997, I’m not over you

August 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Along with the recently watched and amazing episodes of Answer Me, 1997, I’m momentarily drowned in nostalgia over my own years in high school, which just happens to be almost the exact same ones as for the characters in the drama, I’m just a little bit younger. I remember most of all the feelings. Falling in love, the first real girlfriend, disappointments and also, kissing a guy for the first time…

But even though I was good at falling in love, I kind of sucked at being in relationships and most of them ended abruptly and not so nice. Thinking back at them now many of them still hurt a little bit and perhaps, just perhaps, I’m not quite over the relationships of those years yet. Even if I now almost forgot the people who were the objects of interest.

/The Future is Idol

More on kpop, gender, desire, rules, confusion etc…

June 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

When discussing The Gayness in South Korea, the trouble distinguishing gays from straights often come up. To put it simply: The rules on who is considered gay-looking isn’t exactly the same all over the world. I brought an American friend to a mixed bar here in Stockholm, and she kept asking me who were gay or straight, a question that was even more complicated to answer because of how a lot of the people at that bar, including me, don’t identify as either. In any case, even the men that I do know identify as heterosexual seemed pretty gay (or at least “metrosexual”) to her because of how they dress, wear their hair, drink wine and giggle. Oh, also hug each other. On the other hand, the American men I have met have many of them struck me (yes, I actually noticed) as very dressed down. So the gap is less between the infamously gaydar-eluding Korean men’s style and Swedes than Americans, in general.

As mentioned in many previous blog posts, “Shinee Key gay” is a pretty common search term around here. And I’ve encountered many, many discussions on whether or not certain kpop celebs are non-straight, mostly based on their appearence and/or interests. Commonly mentioned in these discussions is “cultural” differences in sexual coding as mentioned above. Another argument might be the argumentors’ own experiences with flamboyant friends who are indeed gay, or who isn’t, thus proving you can be a male Gaga-loving fashionista and still be sexually and/or romantically interested exclusively in girls. (I am not even going into the complications of fan service here, ughh.)

But. While I am obviously aware of the differences above, and definitely personally wishing that the world was a complete gender anarchy where people frequently combined any interest with any gender expressions etc., heterosexuality usually does reward following the rules of gender conformity more than same-sex sexuality does. I know this because I myself have sometimes pulled my hair in frustration of how to avoid signaling monosexuality of any kind and exclude any of my target audiences, attraction-wise (usually resulting in confusion for everyone, to be honest). What I’m saying is this: to a certain extent we do choose what to signal, although this might be mighty tricky. And especially in the case of kpop-celebs who are also familiar with more “Western” kinds of thinking, I sometimes suspect that they consciously signal to their international audience what might pass the eyes of your average Korean. Someone who has a big interest in the “Western” world and is well-versed in English would have a bigger capability of telling that in some parts of the world, their way of acting or dressing would be interpreted as non-straight, while it is just seen as sexy, fashionable or humorous among most Koreans. Especially since a lot of at least the Western kpop fans do seem to have some sort of queerness going on in their lives. Whether or not this means that the rumoured-gay kpop celebs are actually expressing non-heterosexuality or if wearing a confusing “BORN THIS WAY”-tisha is just a very complicated kind of fanservice directed towards a tumblr-oriented international fandom… Who can tell? But I do know, that even if I’m personally not convinced that, say, tomboy-concept Amber of SME girlgroup f(x) is into girls, I am definitely convinced that she does know the question or whether or not she is, is discussed in the English speaking fandom. This applies to lots of Korean celebrities.

On the other hand, it could also work the other way around: A Korean-speaking, girly but girl-loving boy living in the US could maybe have a better chance with the ladies in a country where his love for wearing drag and dancing girl-group dances wouldn’t be immediately connected to homosexuality?

Yeah. Well. I wonder if we’ll ever know. And I’m actually not sure that I want to.

/Mis (who’s had such a long hiatus – I’m so sorry!)

Nothings Over (except today)

February 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was walking through a corridor at the museum today, making my way up some stairs to find my sister and my niece, who were lost in the building far away from the lecture hall. A couple of girls and boys, clearly on their way to our upcoming lecture, passed me by and at the moment they did, one of them whispered Onew t-shirt” ( in swedish thats is) to her friend, referring to my h&m t-shirt, the same model as the one Onew once wore.

My heart took a jump at that moment and suddenly I realized that there was actually going to be an audience listening to us this day that loves Kpop just as much as we do.

I did not dare in advance to imagine what kind of crowd that would be interested in listening to us during the Korean Day at the museum, but as we stepped through the doors and saw what kind of people that were present my head started spinning. Who would be the audience? Would anyone show up for the lecture at all later on that day?

As I found my sister and we headed back to the lecture hall the girl who made the comment and her friends remained in my head. Moments later I was standing at the front of a crowded room with people that had their focus on us, and all I could think of was that I desperatly wanted these girls and boys to understand how much I, we love Kpop, that this is not just a subject of examination but a deep love. That we were just random fans that by accident happend to get a chance to do this crazy thing. That I also cry over my idols and keep them in my head even when I sit at my office desk…

We ended the lecture by playing parts of kpop MVs that we love and felt representative for the scene and us. It included parts of I am the Best, Sorry Sorry, Step, Nothings Over and How We Feel. And even though Sorry Sorry is my most precious Kpop memory of all time and I listen to the song and watch the MV frequently, at the moment it is actually another one of these MVs that are closest to my heart:

This Saturday is finally over, thank god I can realx for the first time in a week. But everything else just keeps going and this is somethng good. Tina, Elin and Johanna, thank you for being around.

And a big thank you to everyone who showed up today!

/The Future is Idol

See Us, Hear Us, Meet Us.

February 16, 2012 § 2 Comments

This upcoming Saturday the 18th, me and Mis will be at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiqiuities in Stockholm together with the writers from Dancing On Our Own. From half past three you can hear us talk about Kpop, Hallyu and other interesting things concerning South Korean pop culture, for an hour.

We are so happy being given this chance among all the amazingly dedicated Kpop fans in Sweden!

Come join us!

/The Future is Idol

Know Your Name

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

I had not more then recently discovered 2PM as Jaebeom was forced to leave the group(the reasons were both logical and a bit hazy). As he now stands in front of us as Jay Park this part of his career feels very distant. The fact that he was once the leader of one of the rising Korean boy bands feels… strange. Jay Park is in no way a favourite of mine, the comment way back on his myspace rings in my head from time to time. Besides he is trying to hard to be street, less of an idol. Boring. But the fact is, he is doing a great job being that idol the more he tries not to. Anyway, the tracks he has released so far as a solo artist has been amazingly consistant, I really like most of them. Here is the latest one, Know Your Name:

/The Future is Idol

Poster dream

February 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

It was sent from LA to Washington DC, which kind of took for ever. Then reposted by my cousin there since I couldn’t find any company that would deliver this poster outside of the US, but then sent back to her because it was to big. She reposted it again with a heigher fee, and I have now been waiting for more then two months for this poster to arrive here in Stockholm. Finally it came.

This is the poster from the 4th album by Lee Hyori and it has been one of my favourite pics since it was released. Iv’e been wanting it for a very long time now. I have some problems with my fandom when it comes to stuff like posters. There is no way in hell that I ever will put up an ordinary idol group poster, even if I love the group. Maybe it’s my age, maybe me being a male fan or me just not being a fan of the poster idea. But from time to time you can find posters that look more like a fashion editorial and suddenly it is possible to put your idols on the wall. This is that kind of poster. I just have to frame it first.

Big thanks to my cousin Karin for helping me out in America.

/The Future is Idol


(of some reason they also sent me an Alex of Classiquai poster, maybe I will give it to one of the readers)

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