BMTH in Jakarta: a total disaster, thankfully not a tragedy

This is not the blog post I had wanted to write. I had long been looking forward to the Bring Me The Horizon (BMTH) concert and wanting to write about a fantastic gig by one of the world's best metal bands. But instead I am having to write about a total disaster that caused the second-day gig to be cancelled after the first-day gig ended prematurely. First of all, let me say I really like BMTH. There are few bands which can match their sheer emotional velocity in the rock world. To bring metal and even aspects of metalcore to a much wider audience by incorporating pop sounds into really well-written songs is pure genius.  Live they would be magnificent. Or so I had hoped to see myself. A lot has appeared in the media about what happened in the first day gig and why it ended prematurely. But let’s be truthful here: this was a shambolically organized gig. An absolute disgrace and we can only be grateful that a tragedy was averted. The problems To avoid writing a ridiculo

MG arrives in Indonesia…

I'm on the way to the office and come to a stop in a traffic jam.  Nothing unusual about that.  But looking over to my left and I see this: WTF! MG – 100 years of British legacy! Argggg! I instantly recoil and have flashbacks to the halcyon days when MG was actually a UK company that produced unreliable and rusty ‘sports cars’ that were nonetheless stylish and had CHARACTER. And now? Well, the MG brand is no longer British and is instead owned by the Shanghai-based Chinese state-owned automaker SAIC Motor. Their cars, like nearly all modern cars, have no character but are probably highly reliable.  The complete opposite of what they used to be! SAIC Motor’s MG cars that are sold in Indonesia are currently imported from Thailand where a plant has recently been set up by the Chinese company. However, the cars do not come cheap in Indonesia and the MG 4 EV sells for a mouth-watering Rp649.9 million, for example, while prices for the conventional petroleum fuel driven MG 5 start from

Image of the day (14): Keeping it in the family

Democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.  -Churchill  Sukarno > Megawati > Puan Maharani  Gus Dur > Yenny Wahid  SBY > Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono  And of course: Joko Widodo > Gibran  Political analysts may write lengthy articles discussing the reasons why political dynasties take root but any fool knows that rich and powerful people simply want more of what they already have.  Are these people really doing what they do ‘in the best interests of the people’ or are they – as Frank Zappa famously said – ‘only in it for the money’?  Well, I think I know the answer to that question!

The Cloves and the Tobacco set alight Toba Dreams

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”   ~ Jay Gould  I was surfing around on Instagram and came upon this:  Indonesian Celtic Night Out?  What the heck is that? Well, a bunch of Indonesian bands that play Celtic Punk music!  This is not a genre I’m familiar with at all, and the only Irish/Celtic punk band I can recall off the top of my head would be the Pogues. But hell. I have plenty of Celtic blood running through my veins and I like a lot of the old 70s punk bands, so I got some tickets.  The concert was to be held at Toba Dreams near Manggarai, a venue I have passed many times in the past on the way to work but never actually visited. We arrived early to get good seats and picked up some cans of warmish Anker beer before taking our seats to the side of the stage.  Toba Dreams is certainly a roomy venue and could easily fit in 200 people I reckon. A number of bands would take the stage but most people would come to see the main act: The Cloves and the T

On working class heroes

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV  And you think you're so clever and classless and free  But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see  ~Working Class Hero by John Lennon  PT Wadah Masa Depan is a company related to two of the president’s children, Gibran Rakabuming (chief commissioner) and Kaesang Pangarep (director). Also on the board is Anthony Pradiptya (34), the son of Gandi Sulistiyanto, former managing director of the infamous Sinar Mas (SM) Group, and the current Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea (sworn in on 17 November, 2021).  (more info here )  What this company does and why it was established is anyone’s guess.  PT Bumi Mekar Hijau (BMH) is a subsidiary of Asia Pulp and Paper, or part of the Sinar Mas Group, and was allegedly responsible for clearing huge swathes of land in Sumatra by burning down forests .  For this, the company was sued by the Indonesian government in 2016 for a mouth-watering Rp 7.9 trillion. The Palembang High Court for s

On the paradox of time and Bada man

Imagine, if you will, of time as a continuum. There is a thin band which represents now. Before that, there is the past. And after the present is the future. All very simple, of course, and visually it should look like this: The thing though is this: how thin is the band which represents the present? After all, it cannot be that wide can it? In fact, if you think about it, the band must be very narrow indeed. Infinitely narrow. Or in other words, it cannot actually exist. And if this band cannot exist, then there can logically be no such thing as the present. But if there is no present… All very confusing of course, and I sometimes do wonder where time has gone over the years. It doesn’t seem long ago, for example, that I was hiking in the Bada Valley of the Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. This is a beautiful and verdant place which is home to hundreds of megaliths of undetermined age but which undoubtably far predate any Hindu or Bud

Climbing the twin peaks of Arjuno and Welirang

Another year. And another volcano to hike.  Well, this time it would actually be two: the twin peaks of Mount Arjuno and Mount Welirang in East Java.  There are two main tracks leading up to the camp site located at a saddle between the two volcanoes, one from Tretes and the other from Batu. We would choose the latter as it is a relatively easier and shorter trek starting at a higher elevation (1,700m) - and that’s definitely not a bad thing at all!    This time, the trip would not be quite so easy to organise, however, as the bureaucracy involved in climbing Indonesian volcanoes has unfortunately increased in recent years. In the case of Arjuno-Welirang, online registration is even mandatory beforehand. And that’s a mountain to climb in itself, I can tell you, as their website is even more difficult to navigate than a huge Jakarta kampung walked through blindfold.  Another bureaucratic hurdle was having a letter from a doctor stating that one is healthy and fit enough to climb a volca

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