Friday, November 30, 2007

My favorite band SPARKS Ultimate show of all shows

Does it get better then this? I mean really? Sparks are probably the most out there band ever. I live in Los Angeles and I plan to go to the show. Somehow? Someway? I must!

The announcement down below came from Sparks myspace page:


May 16th – June 11th 2008. Album No. 1 – Album No. 20 at Carling Academy, Islington,

June 13th 2008. World premiere of Sparks' as-yet-untitled 21st album at Shepherds Bush Empire

When faced with the challenge of what to do next, pop innovators and musical legends Ron and Russell Mael aka Sparks have, in the past, not just risen to the challenge but surpassed any expectations.

So when asked what plans they had for their 21st album (yes you read it right…"21st" album) their answer was typically audacious:

"How do we best unveil our new album, Sparks as yet untitled 21st? How about playing in concert every single song off of every album that preceded it, all 20 albums on 20 consecutive nights, culminating in the premiere of our latest? That's approximately 250 songs, or for you musicians, 4 million, 825 thousand, 273 notes. Come celebrate each and every one of those notes with us!" Sparks, Los Angeles

Not many artists can claim to have 21 albums in their repertoire. Very few of those could say that their 21st album is as groundbreaking as their previous work. Only Sparks would dare to take on this challenge – this mammoth undertaking, this melodious epic, this groundbreaking concept, this celebration of musical greatness past and present.

The Sparks Spectacular will be taking place in London in May and June 2008 - one album per night, played in its entirety, starting with 1971's album Halfnelson and concluding with the brand new, as yet untitled, 21st album. The only concession made to man's physicality is that, whilst the order of the albums will be chronological, there will be some days off during the run!


At Carling Academy Islington, N1 Centre, Islington, LONDON, N1 0PS doors open at 19.00

16th Halfnelson/Sparks (1971/2)
17th A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing (1972)
18th Kimono My House (1974)
20th Propaganda (1974)
21st Indiscreet (1975)
23rd Big Beat (1976)
24th Introducing Sparks (1977)
25th No.1 In Heaven (1979)
27th Terminal Jive (1979)
28th Whomp That Sucker (1981)
30th Angst In My Pants (1982)
31st In Outer Space (1983)

1st Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat (1984)
3rd Music That You Can Dance To (1986)
4th Interior Design (1988)
6th Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins (1995)
7th Plagiarism (1997)
8th Balls (2000)
10th Lil' Beethoven (2003)
11th Hello Young Lovers (2006)


At Shepherds Bush Empire, Shepherds Bush Green, Shepherds Bush, LONDON, W12 8TT



GOLDEN TICKET – ALL 21 SHOWS - £350.00 (includes signed poster and exclusive Sparks song on CD). This offer is exclusive to Ticketweb. cc line 0844 477 2000


Frédéric (Fred) Chichin

Frédéric (Fred) Chichin, although I never met him, is someone I thought of on a daily basis for the last 20 or so years. A friend of mine Eric Blum invited me to his studio sometime in 1985, and played me their "The No Comprendo (1986) album and the first song hooked me. I think like a crazy goon I searched high and low (before the internet) for their first album “Rita Mitsouko,” another winner by the way.

A good friend of my wife and I, Nakano, made a video for them – and he gave us an old 8mm video collection of all their visual works. It was magnificent. Many years later some thugs broke into our house and stole the camera with the Rita Mitsouko tape in it. I wanted the death penalty for those who stole something so precious to me.

A decade later I can now watch all the missing videos on YouTube. So technology can do good things, but I wished it could have cured Chichin’s cancer, so he can be here with us.

Meanwhile here are some images of Fred and Catherine Ringer (singer and partner of Fred). Look in the October menu on this blog for their videos.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Late and Great Frédéric Chichin of Les Rita Mitsouko 1954-2007

Les Rita Mitsouko is one of my all-time favorite bands period. The death of Frédéric Chichin is too fresh for me to comment on - except to say at this moment my thoughs are to Catherine Ringer, their children, and to all the fans of this fantastic band.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Re-issue of a Sparks album

TamTam Books are basically edited and produced with the soundtrack of Sparks in the office. So with that in mind here we are looking forward to the re-issue of one of their classics that never made it on to CD. It's called "Introducing Sparks," and it's actually their 7th album. Go figure!

The album comes in two sleeves. One can either have a Ron Mael sleeve or a Russell Mael sleeve. You decide!

The Ron Sleeve

The Russell sleeve

Thursday, November 8, 2007

TamTam Books' Tribute to YUKIO MISHIMA

Mishima in front of the movie poster from his film "Yukoku (Patriotism)"

Yukio Mishima is probably the first writer that struck me as being glamorous. I was introduced to his work by my Uncle who had a copy of a photo book by Eikoh Hosoe called “Ba-ra-kei: Ordeal by Roses.”

The book consisted of images of Mishima in various poses, including a famous image of Mishima posing as St. Sebastian. An image that caused the first erotic impulse in Mishima when he was a child.

As a teenager I read Mishima’s “Confessions of a Mask” and it made a huge impression on me. Partially due to the gay context, which to me was totally fascinating – due to its outsider status

Like one admiring Dali as a painter when young, Mishima was the first writer that said to me ‘hey this is an interesting field to be in.’

What became super fascinating is when Mishima became political in the 60’s. It was obvious to me that he wasn’t tied to the right wing due to its ideas, but more to the surface beauty of Fascism.

He even started up his own private army called The Shield Society

The photograh below of Yukio Mishima and Shintaro Ishihara who at the time was a young author who specialize in books regarding the Sun youth culture that took place in Japan during the 50’s. The film “Crazed Fruit” is based on one of his novels and it starred his brother Yujiro Ishihara, who was the James Dean of Japan. Ishihara is currently the Mayor of Tokyo.

One of the interesting books I have come upon in Japan is one on Mishima’s house. He lived very close to my wife’s grandmother in Tokyo. She mentioned to me that she has seen Mishima on the bus – which is quite remarkable to me. The book starts off in the front yard of his residence and then leads us into the front room, the upstairs, which consist of the bedroom, and the most fascinating of all – his office. One can look at his bookcase, which of course are books in Japanese – but one stood out due to its English title. It was a Gay guide to New York City.

What Mishima is famous for is his death. The author and four members of his The Shield Society were invited to see a member of the Military elite at a base. Mishima and his ‘army’ took over the office, tied up the General, and demanded that he will be allowed to make a speech to the Japanese soldiers.

Without a loudspeaker or amplification Mishima started to give out his speech on the top of the building to the soldiers down below. But once he realized that they couldn’t hear him, Mishima then went back to the office where the General was held.

He and another member of his troop committed suicide in a practice called seppuku.

news movie “The Death of Mishima Yukio” 1970

Nevertheless Mishima is probably one of the major writers of the 20th Century. I have always admired his work and his dandy-view of the world.

The following are actual footage of Mishima:

Yukio Mishima Interview in English (9 minutes)

Yukio Mishima rare interview in English (and in color) 4 min.

Yukio Mishima … Early Life and Career (IN ENGLISH)

The following film footage is an excerpt from a film directed and written by Mishima called “Yukoku (Patriotism)

Yukoku – Yukio Mishima’s Harakiri scene (beautiful, but very intense!)

Over the years there have been films based on Mishima’s work, but he actually starred in a film called Karakaze Yaro (Afraid to Die) directed by the great Yasuzo Masumura

Here are my favorite Mishima books:

“The Sailor Who Fell From The Grace With the Sea”

“Confessions of a Mask”

“Sound of Waves”

“Death in Midsummer: and Other Stories”

“Acts of Worship: Seven Stories

“Forbidden Colors”

“After the Banquet”

“Sun and Steel”

“Madame de Sade (play)

“Five Modern No Plays”

Saturday, November 3, 2007

TamTam Books' Headquarters (my office)

Today I explored my office a bit. It's a small room but it's nice. I am surrounded by tons of books, cds, and DVD's. It is sort of my private world (hell). Also some of the images are blurry, due to my cell phone camera and that I usually see the world in that fashion.

Rosa and Julian gave me this mouse pad from London. I always think of them while using it.

There is no order on my table. It's basically Chaos at work.

I had this one photograph of Alain Delon for about ten or tweleve years now. It sort of reminds me to be always handsome.

Lovely practical chair. It is so clean looking. I do all my writing and blogging on this chair.

The mountain of death that is made up of various books, DVD's and a handful of cd's.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Lun*na Menoh's Costumes for Murakami's Opening at MOCA 10/28/07

TamTam Books' Tribute to ANDREW LOOG OLDHAM

First of all watch this fantastic footage from 'READY STEADY GO' The essence of the Rolling Stones Andrew Loog Oldham era!

For those who read this blog, or my blog on Myspace, know I have a fixation on British Rock n' Roll managers. I think one of the reasons is that I identify with them as a publisher. One is basically a movie producer, with respect to getting the talent together and then giving it a vision of some sort. Andrew Loog Oldham, the record producer and manager of the 60's era Stones was and is a magnificent figure.

First of all there are the two memoirs by Oldham, which is a must for those who are interested in 60's era London and of course, The Stones.



But it's a story filtered through the eyes of a young man who tasted the excitement of street fashion, the love of hustling, and music. And yet cinematic images are part of the mix as well.

"Sweet Smell of Success"

"Expresso Bongo"

The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra recordings are probably one of my favorite sounds. Here are two of his masterpieces:


"The Rolling Stones Songbook"

His great record label:

My favorite production of Oldham's:

"Would You Believe" by Billy Nicholls

And there's more...