Friday, October 30, 2009

Scare Tactics

Hallowe'en has never been a big deal in Japan. This is largely because of the absence of the entire cultural context (however flimsy & fabricated) for the holiday, but also because there's already more than enough opportunity to apply ghoulish makeup and extravagant costumery. This year, however, appears to be different: paper skeletons & plastic jack-o-laterns are ubiquitous, and every nightclub (as opposed to only the ones that cater to foreigners) is hosting some kind of haunted happening. Granted, I've been absent the past two years, but my friends here confirm that this sudden enthusiasm in All Hallow's Eve has arrived without warning. I'm convinced this is an economic stimulus effort that's helping to resurrect the Japanese economy: hype an accessory-emphatic holiday, pushing everyone to purchase the necessary accoutrement.

I doubt that Hallowe'en will become a staple of the fall season, though. Other countries have had fleeting love affairs with the holiday, only to discard it once the novelty wore off and the candy hangovers kicked in. In the early part of this decade, that bastion of high culture France "went batty" over Hallowe'en, reclaiming their stake in the ancient European celebration while enjoying its New World lunacy. A few years later, of course, the French lived up to their reputation and quickly ditched Hallowe'en like the autumnal fad it was. Now, Hallowe'en is little more than an excuse for an extra ladies' night on a nightclub's event calendar.

Which isn't to say nothing scary happens on Hallowe'en in France. Last year, I witnessed in Paris some of the most ghetto bullshit I've seen since leaving Baltimore. Traveler's Tip: when some drunk steps to you in the 11th arrondissement, let it slide and believe him when he says he makes bank. I don't care about their military history, the French will fuck you up if they have to.

Click on the mix title to download.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

1. Black Sabbath - "Black Sabbath"
2. The Birthday Party - "Release the Bats"
3. Chain & the Gang - "Cemetary Map"
4. Public Image Ltd. - "Graveyard"
5. Wendy Carlos - "The Shining (Main Titles)"
6. The Caretaker - "Haunted Ballroom"
7. The Jesus & Mary Chain - "Nineteen666"
8. Scientist - "The Voodoo Curse"
9. Pete Rugolo - "Finger of Fear"
10. Suicide - "Ghost Rider"
11. Big Lazy - "Just Plain Scared"
12. Johnny Pearson - "Graveyard"
13. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown - "Fire"
14. David Bowie - "Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)"
15. Teeth Mountain - "Ghost Science"
16. The Bourbons - "A Dark Corner"
17. The Fall - "Mansion"
18. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - "Red Right Hand"
19. Lucifer - "Exorcism"
20. Lord Dent & His Invaders - "Wolf Call"
21. Sonic Youth - "Hallowe'en"

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