Gutbrain Records

Saturday, 23 September 2006

Happy equinox! Here at Gutbrain I'm marking the occasion by considering what a bad influence my friend Joe is. He's a stamp collector, you see. Because of him I now have these:

103 cat stamps. This one is my favorite:

Friday, 15 September 2006

I guess you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I frequently buy books for their covers. Here's one of the most recent examples:

The hay of the title refers to marijuana. In a Reefer Madness-like plot development, the accountant hero of this book has to descend into a hellish underworld of marijuana smokers to get revenge on the mobster who had him worked over. Man, those were the days. I got this at Valhalla Books in San Francisco a few weeks ago.

Sunday, 03 September 2006

Thanks to everybody who came to the in-store performance at the Downtown Music Gallery today.

Here's a horrible story for you, from David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro's Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld.

Developers have used yakuza as far back as the nineteenth century to clear title to land... But with the Bubble Economy, the stakes had escalated...

Tamako Nishiyama, a seventy-year-old widow, had refused repeated requests to vacate the two-story wooden home she had occupied for forty years. Over the next eight months vandals shattered most of the windows of her house, smashed in its front doorway, and covered the outer walls with red graffiti. Her front bell rang mysteriously at all hours of the night and delivery boys appeared seeking payment for Chinese food she never ordered. One evening she returned to find the first floor of her house crawling with poisonous centipedes.

Still, Nishiyama refused to budge. After months of this harassment, one night while she attended class at a nearby school, two men broke into her home, soaked its tatami mats in kerosene, and set the building afire.

Poisonous centipedes! I haven't seen that in any yakuza movie, though one of my favorites, A Man's Face Is His History, touches on that kind of activity.