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So you're a gamer? Name every game.

!Que Pasa Neng!
!Shin Chan: Flipa en colores!
&: Sora no Mukou de Saki Masuyou ni
'70s Robot Anime: Geppy-X
'89 Dennou Kyuusei Uranai
'96 Zenkoku Koukou Soccer Senshuken
'98 Koushien
'99 Koushien
*NSYNC: Get to the Show
-8
...Iru!
.hack//Fragment
.hack//G.U. vol. 1//Rebirth
.hack//G.U. vol. 2//Reminisce
.hack//G.U. vol. 3//Redemption
.hack//Infection Part 1
.hack//Link
.hack//Mutation Part 2
.hack//Outbreak Part 3
.hack//Quarantine Part 4
.hack//Vol. 1 x Vol. 2
.hack: Sekai no Mukou ni+ Versus - Hybrid Pack
0 Story
0-Kara no Shogi: Shogi Youchien - Ayumi Gumi
0-ji no Kane to Cinderella: Halloween Wedding
007 Legends
007 Racing
007: Agent Under Fire
007: Everything or Nothing
007: NightFire
007: Quantum of Solace
007: Racing / Medal of Honor / 007: Tomorrow Never Dies - Collector's Edition
007: The World Is Not Enough
007: The World is Not Enough
007: Tomorrow Never Dies
1 vs. 100
1, 2, Switch
1-Jikan de Wakaru Kabushiki Toushi
1/2 summer+
10 Minute Solution
10 Pin Bowling
10 Pin: Champions Alley
10,000 Bullets
10-Yard Fight
100 All-Time Favorites
100 Classic Books
100 Classic Games
100 Kiri Golf DS
100 Manyen Quiz Hunter
100% Pascal Sensei: Kanpeki Paint Bombers
1000 Cooking Recipes from Elle a Table
1001 Crosswords
1001 Touch Games
101-in-1 Explosive Megamix
101-in-1 Party Megamix
101-in-1 Sports Megamix
101-in-1 Sports Party Megamix
10101: "Will" the Starship
1080 Snowboarding
1080: Avalanche
11 Eyes: CrossOver
12-Ji no Kane to Cinderella: Cinderella Series Triple Zenkan Pack
12-Ji no Kane to Cinderella: Halloween Wedding
12-Sai. Honto no Kimochi
12-Sai. Koisuru Diary
12-Sai. Torokeru Puzzle Futari no Harmony
12-Toki no Kane to Cinderella Series Triple Zenkan Pack
120-en no Haru: 120 Yen Stories
12Riven: The Psi-Climinal of Integral
13-Sai no Hello Work DS
1500DS Spirits Vol. 10: Igo
1500DS Spirits Vol. 1: Mahjong
1500DS Spirits Vol. 2: Shogi
1500DS Spirits Vol. 3: Block Kuzushi
1500DS Spirits Vol. 4: Reversi
1500DS Spirits Vol. 5: Hanafuda
1500DS Spirits Vol. 6: Trump
1500DS Spirits Vol. 7: Chess
1500DS Spirits Vol. 8: Darts
1500DS Spirits Vol. 9: Futari-uchi Mahjong
1500DS Spirits: Mahjong V
1500DS Spirits: Shogi V
1552 Tenka Tairan
16 Tales: Vol. 1
16 Tales: Vol. 2
16 Tales: Vol. 3
16 Tales: Vol. 4
18 Card Games
18 Classic Card Games
18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker
187 Ride or Die
1941: Counter Attack
1942
1943 Kai
1943: The Battle of Midway
1945 I&II The Arcade Games
1999 Hore, Mitakotoka! Seikimatsu
19: Neunzehn
19:03 Ueno Hatsu Yakou Ressha
2 Games For 1 Great Price!: Big Beach Sports / Big Beach Sports 2
2 Games In 1 Double Pack - Hot Wheels: World Race / Velocity X
2 Games In 1 Double Pack - SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom / Nicktoons: Freeze Frame Frenzy
2 Games In 1 Double Pack - SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge / Revenge of the Flying Dutchman
2 Games In 1 Double Pack: Finding Nemo / Monsters, Inc.
2 Games In 1 Double Pack: Power Rangers: Time Force / Power Rangers: Ninja Storm
2 Games In 1 Double Value!: Monster Trucks / Quad Desert Fury
2 Games In 1: Disney Princess + Disney's The Lion King
2 Games In 1: Disney's Baren Bruder + Disney's Konig der Lowen
2 Games In 1: Disney's Brother Bear / Disney Princess
2 Games In 1: Finding Nemo / The Incredibles
2 Games In 1: LEGO Knights' Kingdom + LEGO Bionicle
2 Games In 1: Shrek 2 / Shark Tale
2 Games In 1: Sonic Pinball Party + Sonic Battle
2 Games In 1: Sonic Pinball Party / Columns Crown
2 Games In 1: SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge / Rugrats Go Wild
2 Games In 1: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie / SpongeBob SquarePants and Friends in Freeze Frame Frenzy
2 Games for 1 Great Price!: Wheel of Fortune / Jeopardy!
2 Games in 1 Double Pack: Scooby-Doo / Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
2 Games in 1 Double Pack: Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase / Scooby-Doo! Mystery Mayhem
2 Games in 1 Double Pack: SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom / The Fairly OddParents! Breakin' Da Rules
2 Games in 1 Double Pack: The Incredibles / Finding Nemo: The Continuing Adventures
2 Games in 1! Archer Maclean's Mercury / Mercury Meltdown
2 Games in 1: GT Advance 3: Pro Concept Racing + MotoGP
2 Games in 1: Sonic Advance + Sonic Battle
2 Games in 1: The Incredibles / Finding Nemo
2 Games in 1: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie / Battle for Bikini Bottom
2 Games in 1: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie / Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams
2 Hits Pack: Sonic Forces / Puyo Puyo Tetris - Sega Collection
2 In 1 Game Pack: Shrek 2 / Shark Tale
2 In 1 Game Pack: Spider-Man / Spider-Man 2
2 In 1 Game Pack: Spider-Man Mysterio's Menace / X2 Wolverine's Revenge
2 In 1 Game Pack: Tony Hawk's Underground / Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer
2 In 1: Asterix & Obelix Jetzt Geht's Rund! + Asterix & Obelix XXL
2 Jeux En 1: Titeuf: Ze Gag Machine / Titeuf: Mega Compet
2 Pak Special: Dungeon Master / Creature Strike
2 Xtreme
2 for 1 Power Pack: Indianapolis 500 Legends/WWII Aces
2 for 1 Power Pack: Kawasaki Jet Ski/Summer Sports 2
2 for 1 Power Pack: Winter Blast/Summer Sports 2
2 in 1 Combo Pack: Sonic Heroes / Super Monkey Ball Deluxe
2 in 1 Combo Pack: Sonic Mega Collection Plus / Super Monkey Ball Deluxe
2-In-1 Fun Pack: Madagascar: Operation Penguin / Shrek 2
2-in-1 Party Pack: Shrek's Carnival Craze / Madagascar Kartz
200-Mannin no KanKen: Tokoton Kanji Nou
2002 FIFA World Cup
2003-Toshi Kaimaku: Ganbare Kyuukaiou
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
2020 Super Baseball
20th Century Video Almanac
21 Card Games
21 Emon: Mezase! Hotel Ou
21: TwoOne
24-ji no Kane to Cinderella: Halloween Wedding
24: The Game
25 to Life
250 Mannin no Kanken Premium - Zenkyuu Zen-Kanji Kanzen Seiha
250 Mannin no Kanken: Wii de Tokoton Kanji Nou
2999 Game Kids
2Dark
2K Essentials Collection: Bioshock / Borderlands / XCOM: Enemy Unknown
2K Essentials Collection: Bioshock / Borderlands/ XCOM: Enemy Unknown
2K Power Pack
2Tax Gold
3 Choume no Tama: Tama and Friends - 3 Choume Obake Panic!!
3 Count Bout
3 Games in 1: Tak / SuperSponge / Rugrats: I Gotta Go Party
3 Ninjas Kick Back
3 Ninjas Kick Back / Hook
3 in 1: Solitaire, Mahjong & Tangram
3-D Tetris
3-D Tic-Tac-Toe
3-D Ultra Pinball: Thrillride
3-D WorldRunner
3-Fun Yosou Umaban Club
3-Nen B-Gumi Kinpachi Sensei: Densetsu no Kyoudan ni Tate!
300: March to Glory
360: Three Sixty
3D Atlas
3D Baseball
3D Crazy Coaster
3D Dot Game Heroes
3D Game Collection: 55-in-1
3D Lemmings
3D MahJongg
3D Mine Storm
3D MiniGolf
3D Narrow Escape
3D Pocket Pool
3D Shooting Tsukuru
3DO Buffet
3LDK: Shiawase ni Narouyo
3X3 Eyes: Kyuusei Koushu S
3Xtreme
3on3 Freestyle
3x3 Eyes: Juuma Houkan
3x3 Eyes: Kyuusei Koushu
3x3 Eyes: Sanjiyan Henjyo
3x3 Eyes: Seima Kourinden
3x3 Eyes: Tenrinou Genmu
4 Elements
4 Elements II
4 Games on One Game Pak: GT Advance / GT Advance 2 / GT Advance 3 / MotoGP
4 Nin Shogi
4 Nin uchi Mahjong
4 Wheel Thunder
4 in 1 Action Pack
4 in 1 Row
4 in 1 Super CD
4-4-2 Soccer
4-in-1 Fun Pak
4-in-1 Funpak: Volume II
40 Winks
428: Fuusa Sareta Shibuya de
4X4 EVO 2
4X4 Evolution
4x4 EVO 2
4x4 Evolution
5 In One Fun Pak
5 Star Racing
5-Kyuu kara 1-Kyuu Kanzen Taiou: Saishin Kako Mondai - 2-Ji Shiken Taisaku - Eiken Kanzenban
5-nin no Koi Prince: Himitsu no Keiyaku Kekkon
50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
50 Cent: Bulletproof
50 Cent: Bulletproof G Unit Edition
50 Classic Games
50 Classic Games 3D
50 More Classic Games
6 Inch My Darling
6 in 1
6-Pak
64 Hanafuda: Tenshi no Yakusoku
64 Oozumou
64 Oozumou 2
64 Trump Collection: Alice no Waku Waku Trump World
64 de Hakken! Tamagotchi Minna de Tamagotchi World
688 Attack Sub
7 Blades
7 Days to Die
7 Sins
7 Wonders II
7 Wonders of the Ancient World
7 Wonders: Treasures of Seven
7'scarlet
700-Banjin no Atama o Yokusuru: Chou Keisan DS - 13000-Mon + Image Keisan
720 Degrees
77: Beyond the Milky Way
7th Dragon
7th Dragon 2020
7th Dragon 2020-II
7th Dragon III Code: VFD
8 Eyes
8-Bit Armies
88 Heroes
88 Heroes: 98 Heroes Edition
8BallAllstars
90 Minutes: European Prime Goal
90 Minutes: Sega Championship Football
989 Sports Demo Disc
99 Nendohan: Eitango Center 1500
99 no Namida
u/field
A Boy and His Blob
A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia
A Bug's Life
A Bug's Life / Tigger's Honey Hunt / Tarzan - Collector's Edition
A Bug's Life Activity Centre
A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV
A Labyrinth Game / Supermind
A Mars Moose Adventure - Cosmic Quest 1: City Sights
A Mars Moose Adventure - Cosmic Quest 2: Fairy Tale Island
A Mars Moose Adventure - Cosmic Quest 3: Race Through France
A Mars Moose Adventure - Stay & Play 1: In the Clubhouse
A Mars Moose Adventure - Stay & Play 2: In Mars' Bedroom
A Mars Moose Adventure - Stay & Play 3: In Lonnie's Classroom
A Mars Moose Adventure - Walkabout 1: The Natural History Museum
A Mars Moose Adventure - Walkabout 2: The Shakespeare Festival
A Mars Moose Adventure - Walkabout 3: World Sports Day
A Nanjarin
A Rose in the Twilight
A Witch's Tale
A Year at Pooh Corner
A-Rank Thunder Tanjouhen
A-Ressha de Ikou
A-Ressha de Ikou 2001
A-Ressha de Ikou 2001 Perfect Set
A-Ressha de Ikou 3D NEO
A-Ressha de Ikou DS
A-Ressha de Ikou DS: Navigation Pack
A-Ressha de Ikou MD
A-Ressha de Ikou Z: Mezase! Tairiku Oudan
A-Train 3D: City Simulator
A-Train 6
A-Train HX
A-Train: City Simulator
A-Train: Trains - Power - Money
A. IV Evolution: A-Ressha de Ikou 4
A.C.E.: Another Century's Episode
A.C.E.: Another Century's Episode 2
A.C.E.: Another Century's Episode 3: The Final
A.C.E.: Another Century's Episode R
A.III: A-Ressha de Ikou III
A.P.B.
A.S.P. Air Strike Patrol
A.W. Phoenix Festa
A/X-101
A2 Racer II
A2 Racer III: Europa Tour
A5: A-Ressha de Ikou 5
AAAHH!!! Real Monsters
ABBA: You Can Dance
ABC Monday Night Football
ABPA Backgammon
ABZU
AC/DC LIVE: Rock Band Track Pack
AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack
ACB Total 2010/2011
ACME Animation Factory
ADK Tamashii
AFL 99
AFL Live 2004
AH-3 Thunderstrike
AI Igo
AI Igo 2003
AI Igo: Saturn Version
AI Mahjong
AI Mahjong 2003
AI Mahjong Selection
AI Shogi
AI Shogi 2
AI Shogi 2 Deluxe
AI Shogi 2000
AI Shogi 2003
AI Shogi 3
AI Shogi Selection
AIII S.V.: A-Ressha de Ikou 3 Super Version
AKB1/149: Renai Sousenkyo
AKB1/48: Idol to Guam de Koishitara...
AKB1/48: Idol to Koishitara...
AKB48+Me
ALC no 10-Punkan Eigo Master: Chuukyuu
ALC no 10-Punkan Eigo Master: Joukyuu
ALC no 10-Punkan Eigo Master: Shokyuu
ALF
AMF Bowling 2004
AMF Bowling Pinbusters!
AMF Bowling World Lanes
AMF Xtreme Bowling
AR Games
ARK: Survival Evolved
ASCII Entertainment Demo Disc
ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat
ATP Tour Championship Tennis
ATV Mania
ATV Offroad Fury
ATV Offroad Fury 2
ATV Offroad Fury 3
ATV Offroad Fury 4
ATV Offroad Fury Pro
ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails
ATV Quad Frenzy
ATV Quad Kings
ATV Quad Power Racing 2
ATV Racers
ATV Racing
ATV Renegades
ATV Thunder Ridge Riders / Monster Trucks Mayhem
ATV Wild Ride
ATV: Quad Power Racing
ATV: Thunder Ridge Riders
AV Poker World Gambler
Aa Harimanada
Aa Megami-sama
Aa Yakyuu Jinsei Icchokusen
Abadox: The Deadly Inner War
AbalaBurn
Abarenbou Princess
Absolute Supercars
Absolute: Blazing Infinity
Abunai Koi no Sousashitsu: Eternal Happiness
Abunai: Koi no Sousa Shitsu
Academy of Champions: Soccer
Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight
Accel World: Ginyoku no Kakusei
Accel World: Kasoku no Chouten
Accele Brid
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
Ace Combat 2
Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
Ace Combat 6: Kaihou e no Senka / Beautiful Katamari Damacy
Ace Combat 6: Kaihou e no Senka / Lost Planet: Colonies
Ace Combat Advance
Ace Combat Assault Horizon
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+
Ace Combat: Joint Assault
Ace Lightning
Ace o Nerae!
Ace of Aces
Aces of War
Aces of the Air
Acid
Acid Drop
Aconcagua
Acrobat Mission
Acrylic Palette: Irodori Cafe - Cheers
ActRaiser
ActRaiser 2
Action 52
Action Bass
Action Fighter
Action Girlz Racing
Action Man A.T.O.M.: Alpha Teens on Machines
Action Man: Destruction X
Action Man: Operation Extreme
Action Man: Robot Atak
Action Man: Search for Base X
Action Pachio
Action Pack: Prince of Persia Revelations, Driver 76, Rainbow Six Vegas
Active Health with Carol Vorderman
Active Life Explorer
Active Life Value Pack
Active Life: Extreme Challenge
Active Life: Magical Carnival
Active Life: Outdoor Challenge
Activision Anthology
Activision Classic Games
Activision Demo Action Pack
Activision Hits Remixed
Actua Golf 3
Actua Ice Hockey
Actua Ice Hockey 2
Actua Pool
Actua Soccer 2
Actua Soccer 3
Actua Soccer: Club Edition
Actua Tennis
Ad Lib Ouji ...to Fuyukai na Nakama-tachi!?
Adam & Eve
Adam's Venture Chronicles
Adam's Venture: Origins
Addams Family Values
Addie no Okurimono: To Moze from Addie
Adian no Tsue
Adiboo & Paziral's Secret
Adiboo and the Energy Thieves
Adibou Et L'Ombre Verte
Adidas Power Soccer
Adidas Power Soccer 2
Adidas Power Soccer 98
Adidas Power Soccer International '97
Adidas miCoach
Adrenalin Misfits
Adult Swim Collection
Advan Racing
Advance Guardian Heroes
Advance Wars
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Advanced Daisenryaku 2001
Advanced Daisenryaku: Deutsch Dengeki Sakusen
Advanced Daisenryaku: Europe no Arashi - Doitsu Dengeki Sakusen
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: DragonStrike
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Dragons of Flame
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Eye of the Beholder
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Hillsfar
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Iron & Blood: Warriors of Ravenloft
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Pool of Radiance
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Treasure of Tarmin
Advanced V.G.
Advanced V.G. 2
Advanced World War: Sennen Teikoku no Koubou
Advent Rising
Adventure
Adventure II
Adventure Island
Adventure Island 3
Adventure Island II
Adventure Island II: Aliens in Paradise
Adventure Mega Pack
Adventure Player
Adventure Quiz Capcom World: Hatena no Daibouken
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!
Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations
Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!
Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom
Adventure of Little Ralph
Adventure of Tokyo Disney Sea
Adventures in Letterland With Jack and Jill
Adventures of Dino Riki
Adventures of Lolo
Adventures of Lolo 2
Adventures of Lolo 3
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Adventures of Tron
Adventures of Yogi Bear
Adventures to Go!
Aedis Eclipse: Generation of Chaos
Aegis of Earth: Protonovus Assault
Aeon Flux
AereA
Aerial Assault
Aero Blasters
Aero Dancing F: Todoroki Tsubasa no Hatsu Hikou
Aero Dancing i
Aero Dancing i: Jikai Sakuma de Machite Masen
Aero Dancing: Torodoki Taichou no Himitsu Disc
Aero Elite: Combat Academy
Aero Fighters
Aero Fighters 2
Aero Fighters 3
Aero Fighters Assault
Aero The Acro-Bat
Aero the Acro-Bat
Aero the Acro-Bat 2
Aero the Acro-bat
AeroGauge
AeroWings
AeroWings 2: Air Strike
Aerobics Revolution
Aerobiz
Aerobiz Supersonic
Aerostar
AeternoBlade
Afraid Gear
Afraid Gear Another
Afrika
Afro Inu: The Puzzle
Afro Samurai
After Armageddon Gaiden: Majuu Toushouden Eclipse
After Burner
After Burner II
After Burner III
After Burner: Black Falcon
After Burst
After Hours Athletes
After... Wasureenu Kizuna
Again: Interactive Crime Novel
Agarest Senki Mariage
Agassi Tennis Generation
Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders
Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie: Evil Under the Sun
Agatha Christie: The ABC Murders
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Age of Empires: Mythologies
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings
Agent Armstrong: Himitsu Shirei Daisakusen
Agent Collection
Agent Hugo
Agent Hugo: Hula Holiday
Agent Hugo: Lemoon Twist
Agent Hugo: Roborumble
Agents of Mayhem
Aggressive Inline
Aggressors of Dark Kombat
Agile Warrior F-111X
Ai Cho Aniki
Ai Sensei no Oshiete: Watashi no Hoshi
Ai Senshi Nicol
Ai Yori Aoshi
Aibou DS
Aidyn Chronicles: The First Mage
Aigiina no Yogen: Balubalouk no Densetsu Yori
Aigina no Yogen: Balubalouk no Densetsu Yori
Aikagi
Aikatsu Stars! My Special Appeal
Aikatsu! 2-nin no My Princess
Aikatsu! 365-Hi no Idol Days
Aikatsu! Cinderella Lesson
Aikatsu! My No.1 Stage!
Ailu de Puzzle
Air
Air Battle!
Air Buster
Air Cavalry
Air Combat
Air Conflicts Double Pack
Air Conflicts: Aces of World War II
Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars - Ultimate Edition
Air Conflicts: Vietnam
Air Conflicts: Vietnam Ultimate Edition
Air Diver
Air Fortress
Air Hockey
Air Management '96
Air Race Championship
Air Raid
Air Raid 3
Air Raiders
Air Ranger 2 Plus: Rescue Helicopter
Air Ranger 2: Rescue Helicopter
Air Ranger: Rescue Helicopter
Air Rescue
Air Strike
Air Traffic Chaos
Air Zonk
Air-Sea Battle
AirBlade
AirBoarder 64
AirForce Delta
AirForce Delta Storm
AirForce Delta Strike
AirGrave
Airaki
Airborne Troops: Countdown to D-Day
Aircars
Airlock
Aironauts
Airs Adventure
Airship Q
Airwolf
Airwolf (Japan)
Aishiau Kotoshika Dekinai
Aisle Lord
Aitakute...Your Smiles in My Heart
Aiyoku no Eustia: Angel's Blessing
Aka-Chan Doubutsu Sono
Akagawa Jirou Mystery: Tsuki no Hikari
Akagawa Jirou Mystery: Yasoukyoku - Hon ni Manekareta Satsujin
Akagawa Jirou no Yuurei Ressha
Akagawa Jirou: Majotachi no Nemuri: Fukkatsusai
Akagawa Jirou: Yasoukyoku
Akagawa Jirou: Yasoukyoku 2
Akagi: Touhaiden
Akagi: Yami ni Furitatta Tensai
Akai Ito
Akai Ito DS
Akai Ito Destiny DS
Akai Katana
Akai Suna Ochiru Tsuki
Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka Portable
Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka: Parallel
Akatsuki no Amaneka to Aoi Kyojin
Akatsuki no Goei Trinity
Akaya Akashiya Ayakashino
Akazu no Ma
Akazukin ChaCha
Akiba's Beat
Akiba's Trip
Akiba's Trip 2+A
Akiba's Trip Plus
Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed
Akihabara Dennou Kumi Peta Pies!
Akira
Akira Psycho Ball
Akiyama Jin No Suugaku Mystery
Akko de Pon! Ikasama Hourouki
Akko ni Omakase! Brain Shock
Akogare Girls Collection: Lovely Youchien
Akogare Girls Collection: Mister Donut DS
Akogare Girls Collection: Ohanaya-San Monogatari
Akogare Girls Collection: Pika Pika Nurse Monogatari
Akogare Girls Collection: Suteki ni Nurse Days
Akudaikan
Akudaikan 2: Mousouden
Akudaikan 3
Akudaikan Manyuuki
Akudaikan Manyuuki: Seigi no Yaiba
Akuji the Heartless
Akuma Zensho Dainishuu
Akuma-kun: Makai no Wana
Akumajou Dracula
Akumajou Dracula X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku
Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun
Akuu Senki Raijin
Al Unser Jr.'s Road to the Top
Al Unser Jr.'s Turbo Racing
Alabama Meets Will Vi
Aladdin Magic Racer
Alan Hansen's Sports Challenge
Alan Wake
Alarm for Cobra 11: Crash Time
Alarm fuer Cobra 11 Vol II
Albert Odyssey
Albert Odyssey 2: Jashin no Taidou
Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean
Album Club: Mune Kyun * Saint Poria Jogakuin
Alcahest
Aldynes
Aleck Bordon Adventure: Tower & Shaft Advance
Alekhine's Gun
Alex Ferguson's Player Manager 2001
Alex Ferguson's Player Manager 2002
Alex Kidd in Miracle World
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alex Kidd: High-Tech World
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars
Alex Rider: Stormbreaker
Alexandra Ledermann: Summer Camp Adventures
Alexi Lalas International Soccer
Alfa Romeo Racing Italiano
Alfred Chicken
Alfred's Adventure
Alia's Carnival! Sacrament
Alias
Alice in Cyberland
Alice in Wonderland
Alice no Paint Adventure
Alice on Borderlines
Alice's Mom's Rescue
Alice: Madness Returns
Alien
Alien 3
Alien Breed Trilogy
Alien Brigade
Alien Chaos 3D
Alien Crush
Alien Front Online
Alien Hominid
Alien Invaders Plus!
Alien Monster Bowling League
Alien Olympics
Alien Raiders
Alien Resurrection
Alien Soldier
Alien Storm
Alien Syndrome
Alien Trilogy
Alien vs. Predator
Alien vs. Predator: The Last of His Clan
Alien: Isolation
Alienators: Evolution Continues
Aliens Versus Predator: Extinction
Aliens in the Attic
Aliens vs. Predator
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Aliens: Infestation
Aliens: Thanatos Encounter
Alisia Dragoon
Alive
All 1
All Grown Up! Express Yourself
All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua
All Japan Woman Pro Wrestling
All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation
All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation 2
All Kamen Rider: Rider Revolution
All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros.
All Round Hunter
All Star 5-A-Side Football
All Star Action
All Star Cheer Squad
All Star Cheer Squad 2
All Star Karate
All Star Pro-Wrestling
All Star Racing
All Star Racing 2
All Star Soccer
All Star Tennis '99
All Star Tennis 2000
All Star Tennis 99
All Star Watersports
All-Pro Basketball
All-Pro Football 2K8
All-Star 1997 Featuring Frank Thomas
All-Star Baseball
All-Star Baseball 2000
All-Star Baseball 2001
All-Star Baseball 2002
All-Star Baseball 2003
All-Star Baseball 2004
All-Star Baseball 2005
All-Star Baseball 99
All-Star Fighters
All-Star Mahjong: Kareinaru Shoubushi Kara no Chousen
All-Star Major League Baseball
All-Star Professional Wrestling II
All-Star Professional Wrestling III
All-Star Slammin' D-Ball
All-Star Tennis 2
Alleyway
Allied Ace Pilots
Allied General
Alnam no Kiba: Juuzoku Juuni Shinto Densetsu
Alnam no Tsubasa: Shoujin no Sora no Kanata e
Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark 2
Alone in the Dark: Inferno
Alone in the Dark: One-Eyed Jack's Revenge
Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare
Alpha Beam With Ernie
Alpha Mission
Alpha Mission II
Alpha Protocol
Alpha and Omega
Alpine Racer 3
Alpine Ski Racing 2007
Alpine Skiing 2005
Alpine Skiing!
Alshark
Alter Echo
Altered Beast
Altered Beast: Guardian of the Realms
Altered Space: A 3-D Alien Adventure
Alundra
Alundra 2: A New Legend Begins
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Alzadick: Summer Carnival `92
Amaekata wa Kanojo Nari ni.
Amagami
Amagi Shien
Amagon
Amagoushi no Yakata
Amagoushi no Yakata Portable: Ichiyagi Wa, Saisho no Junan
Amatsumi Sora ni! Kumo no Hatate ni
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submitted by Zipdox to copypasta [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – Just take a hard left at Daeseong-dong…5

Continuing
“Hey, Viv!”, I say, as we’re all being shuttled onto the bus which will take us to our hotel, “Toss me one of those miniatures, if you please. Yeah. Of course, Vodka’ll do. It’s bloody dusty round these parts.”
Viv chuckles and asks if anyone else wants anything. He’s a consummate scrounger and somehow sweet-talked a demure and pulchritudinous female Air China cabin attendant out of her phone number, Email address, and a case of 100 airline liquor miniatures.
That he looks like a marginally graying version of Robert Mitchum in his heyday and speaks fluent Dutch, French, and Italian might explain his success. I mean, a guy with four ex-wives can’t be all wrong, right?
He’s a definite outlier in this crowd. We could be characterized as a batch of aging natural geoscientists who collectively, sans Viv, add up to an approximate eight on the “Looker” scale. Besides the years, the mileage, the climatic, and industrial ravages, it’s a good thing we all have expansive personalities, as most of us are dreadful enough to make a buzzard barf.
But, save for Viv, no one presently here is on the make. Oh, sure; we’ll all sweet talk some fair nubile into a free drink or a double when we really ordered a regular drink, but we’re all married, most terminally, that is, over 35 years and counting. The odd thing is that save and except for Viv, none of us married folk had ever been divorced.
That is strange, considering that the global divorce rate hovers around 50%, and we are often called to be apart from kith and kin for prolonged periods. However, we are always faithful and committed to our marital units and those vows we spoke all those many long decades ago.
But, hey, we’re all seriously male and not anywhere near dead; and there’s no penalty for just looking, right?
Continuing.
We’re all loaded on a pre-war, not certain which war, by the way, bus which stank of fish, kimchee, and diesel fuel. We really don’t care even a tiny, iotic amount. It’s free transport, we’re tired of traveling, and not keen on walking any further than we absolutely have to.
Viv has been passing out boozy little liquor miniatures, and I’ve been handing out cigars since I bought a metric shitload back in Dubai Duty-Free and somehow got them all through customs.
We didn’t light up, as there was neither a driver nor handler present. So, we figured we’d all just wait on the cigars, and concentrate on having a little ground-level “Welcome to Best Korea” party until the powers that be got their collective shit together and provided drivers, herders, and handlers.
We sat there for 15 long minutes. Being the international ambassadors of amity and insobriety, we started making noises like “Hey! Where’s our fucking driver?” and “I am Doctor Academician! Of All State Russian Geological Survey! How dare you make me wait?
Suddenly, a couple of characters in ill-fitting gray suits and fake Rays Bans are outside the bus having a collective meltdown. Somehow, someone fucked up and put us on a ‘regular’ bus and not the ‘VIP’ bus. In other words, we got to see what the locals really got to ride around Pyongyang on instead of our supposed to be impressed by the bus that wasn’t there; but was now just arriving.
A spanking new purple-and-chrome Mercedes long-haul bus shows up. It even has our group name emblazoned above the placard that normally tells where the bus is headed or who it is for: “’국제 석유 지질 과학 연합’ [Gugje Seog-yu Jijil Gwahag Yeonhab] or ‘International Union of Petroleum Geological Sciences’”.
We are brusquely ordered off our present bus and into the opulent, obviously bespoke, bright yellow faux-leather interior Mercedes-Benz Tourismo RH M. It’s so new and so obviously a ploy to get us to think that all things here are so new and opulent, it even smells of that new car, ah, bus, aroma.
“Well, we’ll take care of that soon enough”, I muse, as the bus is equipped with ashtrays and we’re going on the scenic route to our hotel, which is only 25 or so kilometers from the airport. However, it was announced that it’ll take us about 2 hours to get to our hotel since we need to see the city in its best light and get a feeling for the town if we should ever find ourselves lost and alone.
We all know what’s going on. They’re getting our rooms ‘ready’ for our arrival and need some extra time to make sure everything’s all wired in and transmitting properly.
“Guys”, I muse to our new handlers, “I’ve been to the Soviet Union, pre-wall fall. I stayed in places where I was definitely among the first westerners ever to grace their porticos. We’re a busload of natural scientists, of eight different nationalities, covering the economic spectrum from staunch capitalism to sociable socialism to hard-core communism. You even think for a second we’re going to spill any beans about anything you’d find interesting or useful? Think again.”
In fact, it would become a running joke between us all to see what sort of fake bombshells we could drop into the normal conversation what would give the listener’s the greatest case of the jibblies.
But for now, our bags were all loaded into the cargo compartment of this very, very nice, I must admit, mode of conveyance. Our handlers: ‘Yuk’, ‘No’, ‘Man’, and ‘Kong’, are all seated upfront and please with their latest tally of bodies. We have a couple of shady fellow travelers with the knock-off Ray-Bans and shiny gray suits that just appeared out of the woodwork in the back, seated by the loo, watching over all of us, and we’re going on a fucking city tour, whether we like it or not.
We’re all present and accounted for. Let’s keep our camera in our bags for the time being as the drinking and smoking lights had just been lit as the bus fired up its new German-engineered and machined precision diesel engine.
The bus rumbled to life and after a moment or two of checking that all dials, gauges, and indicators were where they were supposed to be; without so much as a cursory glance, we pulled out into traffic.
Except there was none.
Not another bus, pushbike, tap-tap, scooter, car, truck, hover-board, or motorcycle in sight.
Nothing.
Seems we were a big deal. They shut down the main drag so we wouldn’t be encumbered by such proletariat things like traffic jams or people-things cluttering the roadway, clambering for a look at the Western scientific cadre.
So, away we whizzed, sans traffic and into the very belly of the beast, and onward; eventually, towards our hotel.
Our handlers were very kind to point out passing scenes of interest.
“Look, look! There’s the Potong River. Notice all the lovely birds, ‘eh what? See the Norwegian Blue? Beautiful plumage!”
“See here, look. Here’s the Taedong River. Many forms of fish in the river. Maybe we’ll see some fishermen. If you like, we can stop, and ask them about today’s catch.”
We all declined, as we were certain that the fish the ‘random fisherman’ we’d talk to was flown in fresh from elsewhere earlier in the day.
Besides, we were comfortable. We had our drinks, our cigars, and we were leaving the driving to someone else.
After being driven around the city and seeing all the wonderful monuments, like the faux Arch of Triumph, which looks exactly unlike its namesake Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile in Paris.
The Arch of Reunification, a monument to the goal of a reunified Korea, which, by necessity, is unfinished. Then there’s the Tomb of King Tongmyŏng, where people are lining up, just dying’ to get in.
Finally, we all called for our hotel, the Yanggakdo, after yet another mausoleum, the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun.
Arches or tombs. Such a stunning array of monuments and places of less than moderate interest.
We were interested in Mirae Scientists street (Future Scientists street). It is a street in a newly developed area in Pyongyang to house scientific institutions of the Kim Chaek University of Technology and its employees. But we were told that it was too late, there was not much there to see, we needed to express written permission to visit, and we’d be going there tomorrow or next week.
We wheel into the parking lot of the Yanggakdo Hotel and are immediately unimpressed by the pseudo-Baroque concrete fiasco that appears to stand, wobbly, before us. It’s a page right out of the Soviet Construction-For-The-Masses Handbook. A cold, gray concrete edifice with multitudes of seemingly little, tiny windows. A perfect metaphor for our travels thus far; look at the expansiveness of Best Korean wonders, through this pinhole.
However, we judged too soon. We were told to go inside and check-in, whilst our luggage would be de-bussed for us and handled by the expertly efficient hotel staff. The lobby was opulent, tastefully laid out in earth tones of facades of veneers of marble, granite, some garnet-mica schist, if my hand lens doesn’t lie, some Prepaleozoic anatectic migmatite, displaying intricate and intense plication, xenoliths, and graphic delineation of minerals by segregation through melting points. There was a gigantic well-appointed and well kept up aquarium, complete with snuffling sharks and nuclear-submarine sized groupers.
Very handsome indeed. Impressions increasing slightly.
Then we see that there’s a bloody casino on the bottom floor of the hotel, several bars interspersed throughout the hotel, and karaoke, of which I’m not terribly fond, but some of my European counterparts almost swooned at the prospect. There are a large pool and weight rooms/gymnasia, saunas and places to relax outside of one’s room, but still under the watchful eye of the thousands of ill-concealed video cameras at every turn.
“Covert surveillance” may be a thing in Best Korea, but it’s a practice still leaves a lot to be desired. The Eastern Siberian Russians back before the wall fell were more covert with their obvious button audio microphones woven into the fabric covering the headboard of your Intourist bed than the Best Koreans here. Their cameras were ‘disguised’ as flower arrangements, overhead lights, and speakers inexplicably placed into things like standing ashtrays, refuse bins, and randomly placed holes in the wall.
The floors were all covered with exquisite what looked to be hand-woven rugs of most vibrant crimson and gold; the usual Communistic colors. Always with some sort of floral pattern or pattern that’s supposed to be reflective of nature, as I was told. Evidently, for workers to remember what nature was as they don’t get out much with 14 to 16 hours workdays here in the Worker’s Paradise.
Enough of the travelogue; we all wander up to the front desk, and each with their own passport in hand, request our reserved rooms. We supposed that we would all have rooms on different floors as the reservations were made, expired, re-made, juggled, rebooked, allowed to expire, re-jiggered, and finally formalized a scant week before we left the UK.
Nope. No such luck. We were all on the 39th floor. The place boasts 47 floors, of which, the top floor is a revolving restaurant. Evidently, food tastes better when you’re rotating.
However, it won’t spin unless you first buy a drink.
We had that thing whirling like a NASA centrifuge after its discovery the second night.
Yeah, all 12 of us are bivouacked on the 39th floor. A floor with approximately 30 rooms.
I guess we could have played “Room Roulette” and see who got which room and who’s luggage. Or we could switch every day or two to drive our handlers nuts. Or, we could just take our assigned rooms, which were conveniently located one empty room apart.
Meaning, no one had adjoining rooms. Why? Fuck if I know. We didn’t spend much time in our rooms, and that time was either sleeping or showering. We’d all meet at the bar, casino, restaurant, karaoke, bowling alley (all three lanes) or actual meeting rooms every once in a while when we thought we should get together and compare notes. It was the most inexplicable situation.
Plus, we spent an inordinate amount of time waiting on the fucking elevators to take us to our room. These elevators, and if you think you’re going to get a batch of aging senior scientists to schlep it up 39 floor’s worth of stairs, think again; are the slowest elevators in the civilized world. And that was the consensus of scientists representing not only Europe and North America, but Russia as well. 15-25 minutes added to each journey, up or down; stopping on every floor, except 5, on the way down..
Jesus Q. Fuck, dudes. If you can’t construct a bleedin’ elevator that works better than those at the Sozvezdie Medveditsy Guest House in Lesosibirsk, Eastern Siberia; then I suggest you seriously rethink your plans for world domination and new world order.
Grako and Erwin once, while waiting for the fucking elevator, figured out that we were earning some US$25 each just to wait for the lift to arrive and take us to our rooms. Every day. Sometimes several times per day.
With that, we all agreed to toss our “waiting time” funds into a kitty and on our last day of captivity here, blow it all in the hotel casino. Whatever became of that would be donated to the Koreans we thought most deserving of our largesse.
Would it be our handlers? How about the Korean Scientists we’d be meeting? The affable and most accommodating concierge? Or that plucky little Korean charwoman who was always on our floor and kept everything spotless, right down to our freshly laundered and pressed field clothes and newly polished field boots; done without our requesting or knowledge?
Only time would tell.
It could be a fortune or it could be bupkiss. Just like our expectations of the Heavenly Kingdom where we were currently sequestered.
As it was, with our official protestations, they kept only photocopies of our passports as we roundly refused and threatened a full-scale karaoke battle right here in the lobby if they didn’t relinquish our passports immediately. I had broken out my nastiest cigar and was primed to offend.
With that, we all had our keys and trooped over to the elevators for our first, of many, inexplicable waits. We made many uncharitable and potentially nasty remarks about the Anti-Western posters that made up some of the wall décor. Once we finally made it to our floor, we all fanned out to find our rooms. Viv found his first and was quite pleased to report to the rest of us that there was a “Welcome” basket in his room.
We all hoped that we would be receiving one a well.
I was in room 3914; which I considered a close call, but later only wondered as there was no 3913. Upon entering, I saw it was 1980s Hotel 6 opulent, but with an excellent over-city view. True it was late, dark, and the city was only somewhat lit up; I was looking forward to the view of the town in full daylight.
The room had a ‘king’ bed; that is if the king in question was Tutankhamen, the stubby, Egyptian boy king. The bed had no mattress pad and no box spring but it was hard enough for my liking. Many of my compatriots didn’t agree and complained bitterly. They eventually received thin mattress pads for all their kvetching.
There was an ancient Japanese color television, which only had 2 English language channels - Al Jazeera and the BBC, which was on a dated news loop. Watching the local channel is amusing though; the ads for ‘personal enhancements’ were hilarious, even without understanding a word of the language.
There were a couple of chairs and a low table, built-in dresser drawers for our clothes, a rusty and probably unusable room safe with corroded batteries, a small table built out of the wall that would serve as my travel office, and would-you-believe, a rotary telephone; how’s that for nostalgia?
There was an old-model radio built into the nightstand next to the bed. I was very surprised to find it not only received AM, FM but shortwave as well. I had brought along a pair of Bose headphones and during some rainy down days, spent many fun-filled, and I mean that sincerely, hours DXing from the comfort of my ‘enormous’ king bed.
Beyond that, the room was very nondescript. Like any other of the millions of rooms in hotels around the world that unlike here, aren’t claiming a 5-star rating. I mean, it was clean, if not a little long in the tooth. But didn’t smell too terrible, even after I took care of that with my Camacho offerings. It was utilitarian, everything worked, even the water pressure, which surprisingly could strip off layers of one’s skin if you weren’t careful.
The bathroom, though no Jacuzzi, had a large enough bathtub for the occasional soaking period. Western accouterments in the bathroom were also welcome additions. My knees can’t handle the traditional squat-holes any longer.
There were an electric teapot and several brands of tea, but no coffee. A quick “Gee! I sure wish I had some coffee!” to the four walls and damned if 30 minutes later, a porter didn’t arrive to replenish my tea and courtesy in-room coffee…
There was a small Japanese brand in-room refrigerator which I thought might house a mini-bar. Oh, no! It was actually a complimentary larder stocked with all sorts of Best Korean goodies. Multiple cans of Taedonggang beer. Several bottles of Pyongyang Soju, in various flavors ranging anywhere from 16.8 to 53 percent alcohol by volume. My fridge was skewed towards the right-hand side of the bell curve; the more heavy-duty boozy side.
Evidently, my reputation had preceded me again.
There was a selection of German-style wheat beers from the Taedonggang Brewery and the more familiar ales, steam beers, and lagers. There were some imported beers like Heineken, Bavaria, Pils, a couple of Japanese brands: Asahi and Kirin, and something called ‘Hello Beer’ from Singapore.
There were also ‘sampler’ bottles of Apricot Pit wine, and a couple of high-alcohol fruity liquors made from constituents such as apple or pear, and mushrooms. There were also special medicinal liquors like ‘Rason’s Seal Penis Liquor’.
That is going home with me unopened.
There were a couple of bottles of local sake, called Chonju. Finally, there was a couple ‘samplers’ of homemade alcohol known as Makkoli. Plus there was something called ‘Corn Grotto’, which for the life of me, looks and tastes much like a very passable Kentucky Sippin’ Bourbon.
I put our concierge on instant danger money the very next day. He’s yet to source me more than a fifth of the stuff so far.
I found that there is a popular drink here which mirrors the Yorsch of Mother Russia. Beer and soju can be mixed to create *somaek’; a foamy, frothy, funky drink of many flavors, depending on the soju chosen.
Is ethnoimbibology at thing? The science of how different cultures drink and the effects of drinking culture on different societies. If not, now I have another Ph.D. to pursue after I endow a chair at some likely Asian university.
Anyways, in everyone’s room was a “welcome” basket, just chock full of Best Korean goodies. Postcards, stamps, ads for coin sets, stamp proofs and other goodies that could be purchased at the hotel. There was a field notebook, which I thought was a very nice addition, newspapers, cookies, crackers, biscuits, candies, fruit drinks, and some fresh fruit; although tamarind chewies and durian chips aren’t on my list of personal favorites.
There were a couple of tour books, just chock full of staged photos. These were very nice as well, as so far, we haven’t had much time for shopping outside of government stores or smaller family-run shops in town or out in the boonies.
A few of us were hungry and decided to see what the hotel had to offer room service-wise.
Bupkiss.
But, they did have a selection of restaurants. There is a Chinese restaurant, a European restaurant, and a Korean restaurant on site but they all serve the same food...a Best Korean attempt at western food. And it was weird being the only ones in the restaurant even though it was fully staffed.
We grazed lightly and decided to do some late-night perambulations around our hotel. Our handlers admonished us to stay within the confines of the hotel, or see them if it was absolutely necessary to go walkabout. In the hotel, we were on our own.
We found that there were tunnels in the hotel’s basement. The basement tunnels were a real bonus. There’s a bar with pool tables, a karaoke room, bowling, and a massage parlor, where I was beaten and pummeled into submission by tiny, diminutive, little Korean lassies fully 1/5th my size.
It was wonderful.
There was a hairdresser’s, who were completely befuddled by my shoulder-length silver-gray locks and full gray Grizzly Adams beard. They did provide a lovely shampoo/cranial massage though for the equivalent of US$2.
There were a couple of shops selling Chinese goods rather than local stuff, which was sort of disappointing, a cold noodle bar, and another casino. No shops selling Korean Communist propaganda posters, as I wanted to augment my Soviet-era collection. Perhaps I’ll find something in-country later on.
We were shocked to find that the casino had WiFi that was uncensored and we were able to access; after a fee of liquor miniatures and a cigar or two. We were supposed to have access to the global internet, not local intranet, from the universities that we would be visiting. However, all of that was under the heavily squinting eyes of handlers and guys in shiny suits wearing fake Ray-Bans.
I still had my secret satellite internet lash-up available, but that was iffy, a pain in the ass to set up, and ridiculously expensive. However, it did work on the 39th floor and the times I used it instead of wandering down to the tunnels, no one appeared to be the wiser. Thus far.
So typically, we’d just head to the basement casino with our laptops, iPads, and phones. Bam! Robert’s your Sister’s Husband, we could connect more-or-less free with the outside world; hence how you are reading this now.
Herro! “Yes, I’d sure like another beer. This time a porter, if you please.”
The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain. Or the more they put into locks, the easier they are to pick.
Besides, we were told we’d have access to unfettered and free internet. OK, so we just found it for ourselves. Whaddya expect? We’re scientists, motherfucker, back off.
Ahem.
Back to reality.
The breakfast buffet the next morning had a wide choice of Asian and Western food, although the choices seemed to be the same every day. The main event was to beat the Chinese tourists to the egg station every morning. Breakfast always included fried eggs, a limited selection of pork, kippered fish, potatoes, rice, fruit, and a very Titanium-dioxide-white white bread
After a while, I took to going to the small market behind the lobby, buying some imported Chinese or Japanese nibbly bits and heading to the tunnels for a few breakfast beers before the long hard day’s work. It took almost a week, but I gained the trust of some of the workers in the tunnels and they showed me the on-site microbrewery at the hotel. It produced very passable, and very, very cheap beers of several varieties.
Liquid bread. Beer. Is there nothing it can’t do?
After breakfast our first day at the hotel, we were told to meet in the Conference Room “Il-sung” as we were going to have a ‘Welcome foreign imperialist scientists’ introduction and indoctrination.
Besides our handlers and the shiny-suit squad, there were several Korean folks we didn’t recognize. These were students, scientists, and scholars from the Kim Chaek University of Technology, Kim Il-sung University, the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology; all hailing from Pyongyang, and the University of Geology from North Hwanghae Province.
“Oh, marvelous”, Erlen remarked, “It’s going to be a bloody Chautauqua. We’ll be here all day.”
“Well”, I replied, “It could be worse. We could be on a bus headed off on another unscheduled road trip.”
As we found our seats, our Korean counterparts were busily setting up portable screens, like the ones your grandfather had for showing his 2.1 Googleplex worth of travel slides every Christmas or Thanksgiving get-together. They had a couple of ancient Chinese brand laptops that could have doubled for body armor, they were so thick and heavy.
While they fiddled with running cords for the overhead projectors and 16mm film projector; yes, it was going to be movie time as well, the hotel’s restaurant folks wheeled in carts laden with scones, cupcakes, and other sweet sorts of bakery. Another cart was wheeled in with pump-pots of hot water, tea, and coffee. Usual scientific meeting fare.
There was one final cart that made the day bearable. It held a pony keg of hotel micro-brewed beer on ice, with several dozen frosty mugs available for all who wanted to partake.
There were instantly 12 mugs that were spoken for.
I grabbed a cold beer and wandered around the conference room, sipping beer, chewing on an unlit cigar, and just trying to be pleasant to our hosts and their scientific guests. I was surprised when one North Korean professor, who spoke amazingly British-tinged English, offered me a light for my cigar.
“Is smoking allowed here?” I asked.
“Allowed?” he laughed heartily, “My good man, it’s practically a prerequisite.”
“Here then”, I said, offering him a nice, unctuous Camacho, “Try one of mine.”
Dr. P'ung Kwang-Seon of the North Korean University of Geology became my instant and lifelong friend at that moment.
We had a very nice chat, much to the chagrin of the gray suit cadre, who could hear what we were talking about, but probably didn’t understand anything beyond every 8th word.
After a while, we were asked to take our seats, after refreshing our drinks, and introduced to the group of Korean geoscientists we’d be interacting with during our stay here in Best Korea.
I tried to record every name, but between the students, other scholars, and professors from the various universities, I decided I’d ask for a list of participants once the day had worn on. After all, they had all our names, references, and resumes if the thick folio they kept referring to was any indication.
There were a couple of hours of introductions, as every one of the Korean geoscientists there introduced themselves, mostly through translators, told of their personal area of specialty, and their latest work.
Most were what would be considered geoscientists, but oddly enough, not one that you would consider a petroleum geoscientist, however tangentially.
There were geomorphologists, structural geologists, petrologists, mineralogists, marine geologists, engineering geologists, and seismologists. However, there were no stratigraphers, sedimentologists, paleontologists, or geochemists. We were all geoscientists, but apart from the obvious Korean:English disparity, it was as if we spoke different scientific languages as well.
That would be our first hurdle to overcome.
They had no oil industry here; none whatsoever, therefore why one would bother with the geosciences that fed directly into petroleum? That, in and of itself, would make it difficult to explore for oil in the country. Couple that with the fact that they’re so insular, think their version of ‘science’ is the best, at least that’s the official line, and think all other’s ‘science’ is capitalistic, substandard, and inferior doesn’t bode well for your country discovering anything either oily or gassy.
We were having another conclave around the beer keg, ack, err…a ‘coffee break’ and I mentioned this fact to my scientific colleagues.
“Guys”, I need input here, “We’re going to get precisely nowhere if they won’t even acknowledge that they have major problems from the start.”
Ivan replies, “Very true. I’ve seen this before back home. You get a group so entrenched in their own little corner of science, they can’t even accept or acknowledge that others exist. Not only exist but actually know more about a certain problem than do you.”
Dax joins the fray, “Sure, that’s very true, but who’s going to tell them this unfortunate fact? They could take that as a personal, national, and global insult. Imagine you’re at an international conference and a bunch of foreigners walk in just to tell you you’ve been doing it all wrong for the last 75 years.”
I add, “Remember, though. These characters are scientists as well. I think it’ll be a good measure of seeing what sort of science and scientist we’re dealing with here. If they are truly researchers, they’ll listen to and evaluate what we say as for veracity and accuracy. If they’re just a bunch of Commie goons; no offense, Comrade Academician Ivan, they’ll get all pissed off, kick us out, and we get to go home and enjoy our triple Force Majeure pay.”
Ivan walks over and deliberately steps on the toes of my newly polished field boots.
“In Soviet Russia, field boots walk on YOU.” He laughs in his heavily inflected, and scary, Soviet-era speech…
“Yes, I agree”, Joon adds, “But who is going to address this issue with our hosts? Perhaps one of our Russian comrades, as they are, or were, more politically aligned with our Korean friends and perhaps best understand the issue?”
Ack speaks up, grinning maniacally, “No, I disagree. We should have the one person here who so encapsulates the ideologies and political leanings that they love to hate here so much. You know; the quiet, diminutive, and soft-spoken North American…”
Dax recoils, “Oh, no! I’m not going out in front of this mob of ornery Orientals…”
I smile wanly and tell Dax to cool out.
“Relax, Dax. They’re talking about me.”
“Oh, yes”, a collective group of voices replies, “Yes. Let out fearless Team Leader break the bad news to our Eastern Colleagues. That way we can gauge their reactions to being bounced around scientifically by a member of the Evil Capitalist Cartel.”
“OK”, I reply, “I’ll do it. But be forewarned, my fine feathered fiends. I get stuck on a topic that’s not precisely my bailiwick, I’m going to throw your ass to the wolves. Remember, we’re all in this together.”
Whoops, and catcalls were reduced to mumbles and ‘Aw, fucks.’.
Chautauqua resumption was called and I asked for the floor.
It was a bit off the agenda, but since they’ve been chewing the air for the last several hours, they understood it would be appropriate for us to at least try and get a word in edgewise.
I downed my beer, and grabbed a fresh one as what I was going to say was going to be harsh, cut-and-dried, and rather pointed. But delivered in a pleasant manner.
I hoped.
This all had to be filtered through a series of translators, one for general conversational Korean and another for the more technical and scientific transliterations. I realized I was going to be up here for a while. So, I brought a cigar.
One way or another, I was going to deliver our pronouncements and hell, I may as well be comfortable while doing it.
.
“Greetings and felicitations, my Eastern Colleagues. Let me first say how nice it is to be here in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as part of the ….”
I’m going to fast-forward through all the flowery bullshit and introductory happiness; I’ll going to just cut to the guts of the matter.
“…Now, you do know why there has been virtually no oil, gas nor any other hydrocarbon related deposit discovered here in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea?” I asked by way of a rhetorical question.
I sipped my beer and lit my cigar. In for a chon, in for a won.
I let the buzzing subside on the side of our eastern counterparts.
“Because, and please do not take this as insulting or derogatory, but as a statement of irrefutable fact, no one with the proper training nor experience has been looking. You’re historically guilty of applying the science incorrectly and letting dogma and politics guide your search, instead of the scientific method and the facts. Geology, like all natural science, is just as truth based on the facts for a capitalist as it is for a communist. Reality is not influenced by your beliefs, be they scientific or political, secular or spiritual, ‘trusted’ rather than ‘thought’; any more than by your wish that it wouldn’t rain today during a raging thunderstorm.”
Little Boy over Hiroshima was dropped with less effect.
Our Democratic People's Republic of Korea colleagues erupted into a chaotic mixture of stuttering, internecine yelling, accusations, and sputtering.
Calling for decorum, I figured that since I was this far gone, I may as well push the plunger all the way to the bottom.
“Gentlemen, I do not denigrate the science of geology as taught and practiced here in Best Korea.” I actually said that, sort of a slip of the tongue. Continuing, “However, one would not fish for Bluefin tuna from a rowboat in a pond with a fly rod. One does not hunt bear in the city with a slingshot. Just as one doesn’t search for oil and gas with mining engineers, geomorphologists, and seismologists.”
I let that sink in and after the translation, they calmed a bit and wanted to hear the rest of what I had to say. I could sense a couple was less than thrilled with what I had to say, but forging onward…
“One fishes for Bluefin tuna in the deep ocean with huge rods, reels and a specialist boat captained by someone with deep experience in hunting the elusive fish. One hunts bear in the proper environment, the taiga or forest, with the proper tools and guided by one with the education, learnedness, and experience to know how to make the hunt come out successful.”
Hit them with some analogies they can relate to and digest. Now, go for the carotid.
“Just like one does not hunt oil and gas without stratigraphers, sedimentologists, geophysicists, petrophysicists, and other oil and gas experts who have the education, experience, and knowledge to know where to look. Knowing which environment looks most conductive to hide your quarry, if you’ll pardon the pun, and how best to find them, the guys who know how to corral and de-risk them once you find them, and the engineers and technologists who know how to bring them to the surface so they can be utilized.”
They had stopped being irritated and were listening in rapt attention.
“My colleagues and I have spent the last few days going over, in detail the geology of your country. There is nothing we can see that would preclude the development, entrapment, and preservation of economic quantities of oil and gas. Ture, the geology is quite complex as is the structural history of the entire peninsula. That’s one other thing you will have to accept. Geology doesn’t give the tiniest shit about political boundaries. One must look at the big picture, and that doesn’t stop at some man-made borders. Ignore that fact at your peril, because if you continue to view the geology here as not existing across political boundaries, you are preadapting yourself for failure.”
Drs. Ivan, Volna, and Morse make certain that everyone sees the ex-Soviets agreeing with the bushy-bearded, cigar-chomping American capitalist.
“So,” I said, hoping to bring this little spit-balling session to a fortuitous close, “If we can have an agreement; scientific agreement, on these points, then I am certain we can find a way forward with not only this discussion but the program we can devise for the best Korean (notice phase shift?) geologists to take the project forward both scientifically soundly and economically successful.”
My North Korean counterpart gets up from his seat in the conference room, goes to the keg, taps a couple of beers and walks up to the podium where I was standing.
“Thank you, Dr. Rocknocker, for saying what needed to be said”, he spoke in perfect English as he handed me a beer.
I grinned and gratefully accepted the beer.
“Why, Dr. Chang Kwang-Su”, I said, as that was his name, “You old fraud. You do speak English; and very well, I must add.”
“Yes, almost all of us do”, he relayed, “But, as you said, we are most reserved. We were more or less under orders of the ‘most illustrious’, to play coy, and act as if we spoke no English.”
“I see.” I said, “I’ve worked in several FSU countries as well as Russia and saw that there as well. I guess old habits die hard.”
“That they do, Doctor.”, he replied, “But, we must now tell you the truth. We knew exactly what you said is true, and we agree. We are not as totally insulated from the outside world as some suspect.”
“Well, I was going on what your superiors related to us. Like the police that had all their toilets stolen, I had nothing else to go on.” I replied.
“Ah, ha! Quite!”, he chuckled, “We had long suspected that we were lacking in certain areas of scholarship. What you said cements that fact as it was an independent conclusion. We can now present that to our superiors with the caveat that unless we bolster work and training in these areas, the hunt of hydrocarbon resources here will be for naught.”
“I am relieved”, I said, truthfully. “I was slightly concerned that some might take umbrage to being told their science is not up to specifications. I tried to be the bearer of that bad news but deliver it gently. Here, I find you need that to use that as a truncheon to smack one’s boss upside the head and tell him that an upgrade is required. And fast.”
“Ah, so”, he replies, “We are in total agreement. Now that is out of the way, we would appreciate it if you’d help in designing a course of study for up and coming local geoscientists. Then, we can go forward with a great plan to search for oil and gas here in…Korea. Correct?”
“Absolutely”, I remarked, “You’ve got over 400 man-years of science and exploration expertise here in this room alone. Let’s shoot for the moon, so to speak. Let’s get you up to speed on scientific journals and articles that are available out there in all of academia and industry. Let’s get you communicating on a global basis. Let’s prove that you can talk science with global scientists and still not have it affect your political or nationalistic aspirations one little bit. Let’s see if we can drag you, figuratively speaking, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.”
“Doctor”, Dr. Chang remarked, “You are the embodiment of what we were always told what Americans are. Brash, loud, confident, and evil. Except for evil, you are American as we were led to believe.”
“Hey, I take that as a compliment”, I exclaim. “You think that’s bad, I’ve got a bunch of earnest Europeans, raucous Russians, and a couple of cagey Canadians on my side as well. Before we’re finished here, we’ll have you ordering hachee, dining on Caldo Verde, snacking on salmiakki, drinking Russkaya vodka with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, eating poutine, and rooting for the Packers.”
“Doctor, I don’t know what half of that means, but I hope it comes to pass. It sounds most fascinating.” Dr. Chang chuckles.
The rest of the day was spent with various groups crystallizing and breaking off from the main crowd; then reforming as different groups. This was good, as it showed an interest across not only national borders but across ideologies and scientific specialties.
Most everyone here spoke English with some degree of fluency, so the translators were called in only occasionally.
I made certain they were included in everything that transpired that day. I want everyone to feel ‘part of the team’. How better to show the classlessness of Western science to include everyone in on both sides of every discussion and activity?
To be continued…
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List of mystery box items 737 I think .., no golden goose realty

Link https://tstoaddicts.com/2019/03/13/in-game-update-classless-reunion-mini-event-is-live/
Acid Pools Acorn Kirk Adil Hoxha African Tree Resort Air Fortress Ajax Steel Mill and Roscoe Akiro and The Happy Sumo Alcatraaaz and Mansion Alison Taylor and Taylor House All American Apu All Seeing Eye Alley McBalls Ambulance Ancient Burial Ground Ancient Ruins Animatronic Bears Annual Gift Man Apus Apocalypse Jeep Aqua World Arc De Triomphe Ark of the Stonecovenant Arnie Pye Asia DeCuba Atlantis Atombic Bomb Attack Helicopter Auxillary Agency HQ Aztec Theatre Baby Gerald Bad Dream House and the Raven Bagpipe Bus Balance Beam and Gymnastics Lisa Banana Dictatorship Bandit Fort Bare Chested Willie Barney and Bowlarama Barracks Bart Balloon Bartman Cave Bartman Cave Basketball Game Battle Dome Battling Seizure Robot BBQ Pig Beach Hideaway Beach House Bear Cave Beer N Brawl and Lurleen Beersein Wiggum Belle and Maison Derriere Best Snowman Ever BGM and the Jazz Hole Big Bug House Big Butt Skinner Balloon Big Claw Big Digi Ben Black Leather Plane Blackbeard Blackbeard and Ghost Pirate Airship Blarney Castle Blasting Bass Blocko Store Blue Haired Lawyer Blue Nerd Blue Nerd Knight Blue Nerd Rogue Boardwalk Fountain Bob Clones Bob’s Victorian House Bonestorm Santa Bookaccinos Boxing Ring Brandine Brother Faith Van Brutus Bandit Buckingham Palace Buckingham Pay Less Motel Bumblebee Mand Burns Basketball Stadium Burns Coffin Burns Limo Caesars Pow Wow Casino and Chief Café Kafka Caged Tom Turkey Camera Hat Homer Camping Tent Candy Apple Island Candy Kevin Captain Bob Carnival Float Cartoon Motel Cartoon Set Cat Bus Catapult Cavewoman Booberella Cayman Island Banker Cemetery Plot Cesears Pow Wow Sign Chateau Maison Cheddarbarrel Combine Chest of Sacred Artifacts Chester and Unfinished Shed Chez Guevara Chimp Refuge Chinese Acrobatic Theatre Chinese Junk Chinese Restaurant Chinese Takeout Box Chippy Chocolate Chapel Chopper Ride Chripy Boy and Bart Jr Christmas Tree Ralph Circle of Death Classified Records Claus Co Clobber Girl Coat of Foxes Krusty Colosseum Column Mansion CONRAD Cool Brown House and Cool Homer Costingtons and Mr. Costington Cozy Hammock Crap Silo Crate of Fireworks Crazy Cat Lady and House Crazy Plane Cremo Bot Cristo of Springfield Crouching Panda Hidden Eggroll Curvaceous Cave and Cavewoman Booberella Cybord Snake Cypress Creek Elementary Cypress Creek Home Cypress Creek Sign Dancing Reindeer Dead Lobster Death Mountain and Dr Colossus Death to Homer Missile Department of Magical Vehicles Der Krazy Kraut and Becky Deuces Caboose Chili Dogs Devil Flanders Devil Float Dia-Betty and Motherloving Sugar Go Disco Stu and Disco DMV Limo Dodgeball Court Donut Boat Donut Store Donut Torture Device Donut Truck Doorbell Fiesta Van Dr Lenny’s Lab Dr. Nick Dragon Bundle Drive In Theater Drone Duff Barney Blimp Duff Beer Car Duff Blimp Duff Center Arena Duff Gardens Duff McShark Tank Duff Party Bus Duff Party Liner Duff Stadium Duff Statue of Liberty Duffman and Duff Brewery Dunking Device Easter Island God Ebenezer Burns Efcot Center Egg Nog Bar Egyptian Playground Eisenhower 4×4 and Ike Elder Blimp Electric Car Bundle Elf Home Elf Hotel Elf Toy Workshop Bell Elixir Mixer Elysium Project Enriched Learning Center EPA Hoverjet ESBN Sports Desk Eski Moes Evil Shop Keeper Bundle Exotic Petting Zoo Eyeballs of Death Eygyptian Tent Fairy Kodos Fake Toll Booth Fancy Farms Fantastical Beastarium Father Sean Fatov Femme Fatale Ferris Wheel Festive Light Plunger Fever Cabin Fiddler Filthy Angles Orphanage Fire Eater Fireman Apu Fireman Homer Fireworks Barge Fireworks Candy and Puppy Dogs First Bank of Springfield First Church of Lard Lad First Class Lounge Five Alarm Chili Stand Five Corners Flag Bundle Flanders Frozen Car Football Nelson Football Target Football Uprights Forgotten Grave Formless Terror Fort Sensible Fortress of Lonelitude Fortune Megastore and Arthur Francesca and Italian Villa Freakmobile Freedom French Waiter Frink and his Lab Frinkosonic MHV Frink’s Mechano Spider Frink’s Robot Dog Frinkthetic Egg Generator Mk1 Frinkthetic Egg Generator MkII Frosty the Hitman Fruit Bat Man Funzo Bundle Future Monument Future Proofed Home Futuristic Jet Gabbo and Arthur Garbage Truck Ghost Zapper Giant Burning Goat Giant Ferris Wheel Giant Grasshopper Giant Lobster Scorpion Giant Outdoor Fireplace Giant Robot Giant Screamapillar Giant Snow Globe Gingerbread House Gingerbread Mansion Gino and It’s A Wonderful Knife Giuseppe and his Workshop Globex Compound Gold Records on Walls Studio Golden Calf Idol Golf Course Gone Fission Gorgeous Grampa Gorgeous Grampa Bundle Great Wall Tower Greta and Springfield Prep Grub Shack Guitar Central Gypsy Fortune Teller Shop and Maude Half Pipe Hammock District Handsome Pete Hanger 18 Hangman Cage Hank and Volcano Lair Hans Moleman Havana Private Home Health Spa Heimlich Machine Hellementary School Helter Shelter Herb Powell and Powell Motors Hi Glow Waste Barrels Himeji Castle Holiday Tree Holis and Springfield Historical Society Home of Tomorrow Homer Dog Homerclese Statue Homer’s Ballet Hooch City Hootenanny Barn Hot Air Balloon Hot Springs Hot Squishee Station Hot Tub House on Scary Hill Hover Copter Howards Flowers Hugs Bunny I Choo Choo Choose You Train Ice Cream Truck and Ice Cream Homer Ice Palace Ice Sculpture Couch Gag Scene Imaginary Bear Impossible Tower Improvised Snare Inanimate Carbon Rod Monument Incubator Think Tank Inflatable Gorilla and Baboons IRS Drone Itchy and Scratchy Billboard Itchy and Scratchy Bots Itchy Balloon Itchy Mascot Itchy’s 70s Disco Itchy’s Mine Field Jacques and Fiesta Terrace Jasper and Springfield Community Center Jay G Bundle Jazzy Goodtimes Jesse Grass Jessica and Lovejoy House Jesus and Heavenly Swingset Jet Engine Bike Jewish Heaven Jimbo Lucius Sweet Johnny Tightlips and Platos Casino Juggler Julio and Hairy Shearers Juvenile Correction Facililty K9 Officer Kamp Bart & Kamp Krusty Kane Manor Kearney Kearney’s Other Son King Homer’s Skyscraper King Snorky King Winter and his Cave Kingsize Homer Bundle Knifey Spoonet and Crocky Waters Knightboat Kodos Krusty Fountain Krusty Mansion Krusty Station Krustylu Studios Krustys Kristmas on Ice Krusty’s One Plate Maximum Buffet Kwik-E-Mart Central Office La Belle Frottage Land Octopus Pen Lard Lad Donuts Laura Powers and Powers House Le Krusty Burger Left Handed Roadster Life Sized Spruce Moose Limo Lincolns Cabin Ling Bouvier Lisa Lionheart Lisa Statue Little Helper Ralph Little Lady Justic Little Lisa’s Recycling Plant Lobster Island Lotto N Liquor and Mr. Largo Luann and Cracker Factory Luft Waffles Lugash and Gym Lumpy Bundle Macaronis Shed Madame Chaos and Mindy Magic Palace Manacek and Brick Townhomes Manger Manjula and Apu’s Apartment Mansion of Solid Gold Mapple Store Mars Colony Marvin Monroe Tombstone Mary and Springfield Opry House Maude Praiseland Statue Mausoleum and Zombie Mayan Bundle Mexican Duffman and Lady Duff Mexican Duffman Bundle Milhouse’s Trailer Milo and Coolsville Mime Mini Nuclear Warhead Miss Springfield and Sleep Eazy Motel Model Donut Moe’s House Mojo Helper Monkey Money Poll Monorail Café Montgomery Burns State Prison Moog Mount Carlmore Mozert and Concert Hall Mr. Plow Mr. Sparkle Billboard Mr. Sparkley Mt. Krustmore Murderhorn Murderpuss Muscle Marge and Shapes Gym Museum of Swordfish Mutant Peacock Mutant Rabbit Mystical Self Defence National Bank of Springfield Nativity Scene Natural Faberge Egg Nickel n Dime Animation Nighthawk Diner and Rex Nightmare Pile Ninja Homer Practice Snake Nixon and Scandelgate Hotel Norbert’s Plane North Pole Station Not a Laser Shark Pool Number 111 Number 12 Number 14 Number 2 Number 21 Number 22 Number 29 Number 314 Number 5 Number 50 Number 51 Number 59 Number 67 Number 79 Number 85 Oasis Oktoberfest Gate Old English Station Old Faithless Old Gray Mare Old Mine Old Simpson Farm Old Tree Spirit Old West Sign Open Air Stage Opera Krusty Oscars Obstacles Truck Outlands Factory Outlands Sign and Mountain Man Pagon Bonfire Park Engineer Patches and Poor Violet Peacock Lounge Peekimon Park Pet Cemetery Pet Mutant Plant Pet Mutant Seedling Pharaoh Skinner and Throne Phineas Q Butterfats Pie Man Epic Statue Pies and Explosives Pile Pies for Funs Booth Piggly’s Super Smorg Pigs of Paradise Pen Pin Pals Bundle Pinkbeardy Yogurt Pinwheel Firework Pirate Kang Pirate Prison Plane Bot Planet Htype Plastic Prison Plastic Surgery Center Plow King Pokey Police Car Police Tank Polo Field House Pompeii Ruins Pont Du Gard Pope and St. Pauls Basilica Poppa Wheelies Portal to Rigel 7 Powell Mansion Prairie Maggie Prehistoric Jungle Preppers Compound Presidential Estate P-Rex and Tar Pits Pride of Ulster Banner and Leprechaun Princess Princess K and Florence of Arabia Prospector Pumpkin House Puritan Flanders Queen H and The Castle of Equalia Quick and Fresh Quicksand Quimborghini Quitters Rabbi K and Temple Beth Springfield Radiant BS Station Radioactive Man Billboard Radioactive Man Bundle Radioactive Man Film Set Radioactive Man Milhouse Radish Station Rancho Relaxo Raouls Penthouse Raptor Ray Gun Ray Patterson Reagan and the Reeducation Center Recycle Fort Red Nerd Knight Red Nerd Rogue Red Nerd Warrior Refrigeratorium ReNeducation Center Republican Party HQ Retro Lard Lad Rich Texan Rigellian Queen Rio Days Inn Ero Robby the Automaton Robot Robot Ant Bundle Rocket Car and Chester Rocket to Your Doom Roger Meyers Story Rolling Rock Rommelwood Barracks Rose and Capital City Capitol Building Rotating Religious Holo Statue Royal Tokyo Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers and Babysitter Bandit Russ Cargill Sacagawea Santa Santa’s Anvil Santa’s Little Helper Santa’s Plane Sled Santa’s Village Santa’s Workshop Sarah Wiggum and Springfield Aquarium Satellite Station Saxophone Lisa Scary Dock School Bus and Otto Sconewall Smithers Scratchy Mascot Self Reliant House Senor Ding Dong’s Doorbell Fiesta and Senor Ding Dong Sepulchre of Evil Sequel Shop Serfsons House Shaboom Kaboom Café Shadow Knight and Throne Shary Bobbins Shauna She She Lounge Sherri and Terri Shinning Hotel and Maze Shiva Shiva Statue Shooting Car Shortys Sidekick Milhouse Simpson Houseboat Simpson Laser Tag Ski Chalet Skulls Island Slaghold SLH Topiary Slide Factory Smooches on the Beach Snake with Rudolph Sneeds Feed and Seed Snow Monster Snowman Bundle Snub Club Snugglers Cove Sophie Krustofski Soul Extraction Institute Southern Cracker Fountain Space Barney Space Coyate and Pro Shop Space Shuttle Spellementary Library Spellementary Mess Hall Spider Willie Sportacus Spotlight Dancing Bot Sprawl Mart Springfield Animal Shelter Springfield Aslyum Springfield Bowl Springfield Cemetery Springfield Clamphitheater Springfield Falls Springfield Famers Markey Springfield Glenne Condos Springfield Gorge Springfield Greenhouse Springfield Heighs Opera House Springfield Hunting Supplies and Connor Grant Springfield Hyperstadium Springfield Museum Springfield Museum of Natural History Springfield Observatory Springfield of Tomorrow Sign Springfield Pet Shop and Jub Jub Springfield Shopper Springfield Sign Springfield Skating Rink Springfield Welcomes Bob Sign Springfield YMCA and Coach K Springy Spruce Caboose Sqanky Fish Squawky Squeaky Voice Teen Squirrel Luann Stack of Beer Stacy and Malibu Stacy HQ Stacy’s Dream House Stampy Ballon Star Spawn Statue of Burns STEM Conference Hotel Stiletto Scuplture Stone of Triumph Stonecutter Lodge and Number 1 Stonecutter Table Stonecutter Tunnel Stoners Pot Palace Street Cleaner Strongman Homer Stunt Bike Sugarloaf Mountain Sumatran Century Flower Sungazer Tour Bus Super Collider Super Sexy Flanders and Ski Lift Swelldorado Tailgate Taste of Duff Truck Tatum and Springfield Coliseum T-Ball Stand Teddy and Springfield National Park Teleporters (4) Tennis Court Tennis Machine TGI McScratchys The Collider The Egg Council Guy The Fracker The Grand Pumpkin The Gridiron The Grumple The Homer The League of Extra Horny Gentleman The Mayflower The Nag and Weasel and Guy Incognito The Paralyzer The Peek Inn The Scout Master The Stable at the Inn The Wiccans The Yes Guy THOH 2018 Witch Three Eyed Whale Time Travel Toaster Tappables Tire Fire Tourist Bundle Tower of Babel Town Square Training Plane Treasure Chest Truckasaurus Try N Save Tunnel of Love Turkey Stuffing Machine Turn Your Head and Coif Tuxedo Krusty Twirl n Hurl Twonicorn UFP Ultrahouse 2 Unoriginal Log Ride Up Up and Buffet UPA Talent Agency Uriah’s Heap Recycling Center and Hippie US Capitol Building USS Tom Clancy Uter and the Hungry Hun Valentines Pond Vehicle Pileup Vesuvius Pizza Vicious Monkeys Victorian UFO Victors Secret Wailing Wall Walking Kwik-E-Mart Washington and Cherry Tree Water Show Fountain Waterslide Tree Waverly Hills Elementary School Welcome to Springfield Sign Westminster Abbey Whack A Mole Whale White Witch Burns Wholesome Publishing WII Tank Wild West Film Set Wildlife Sanctuary Willie’s Tractor Wilted Rose Witch Marge and Cauldron Wizard Martin Wonder Films Woodstock Wooly Bully Wooly Mamoth Pen Work From Home Station World Wide Broadcast Dish Worm Train X Ray Truck Yardwork Simulator Ye Olde Off Ramp Inn Yellow Submersible Zip Zap and Za Zombie Zombie Sandwich Zutroy
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2018 Album of the Year #24: Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino

Artist: Arctic Monkeys Album: Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino Released: May 11th, 2018 Listen: Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

THE LUNAR SURFACE (Where It All Started)

The year is 2016, Alex Turner has returned home from 30th birthday celebrations to discover a brand-new Steinway Vetregrand piano. It was a gift from his manager, and it opened a whole new world for him. “Looking back now it seems really... significant. It changed everything really.” He states about it within an interview from Mojo Magazine. He was correct. The piano sparked everything to life becoming the “centre of the universe” for the album. Guitars were just not giving him ideas anymore, but the piano was. Stored in a spare bedroom within his LA home, this became “The Lunar Surface” his almost makeshift recording studio. The name coming from the theory that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing. Alex even stating to Radio X that, “It was amusing to say, “I’m going down to the Lunar Surface.”” The makeshift studio also helped shape the album title, it was “instrumental” to the process. But the piano wasn’t the only thing within the makeshift studio. There was a drum kit, a Vox Continental organ, and a Tascam 388 eight-track recorder. The eight-track recorder would serve as a substantial part in making the album. “I sat with all my instruments and recorded the songs into the machine. That way, I could hear everything at once, whereas in the past it was all in my imagination until I could play the songs with the band.” He also considered it “a writing tool” as much as a recording tool. Working in isolation, he recorded tapes that would later remain on the record in forms of elements such as vocals and various instrumental parts. The eight-track even served as part of the album cover with the “lobby model” of the Hotel + Casino sitting overtop of it, with an earlier version of the record as the tape on it. The model itself was constructed by Turner. The model itself was birthed from the album title and the fact that this is the 6th Arctic Monkeys album. Thus, explaining the hexagon imagery, 1 side per album. The model first started as cardboard, left over scraps from this model can be seen in a photo from inside the Lunar Surface shot by Zackery Michael. Then it was built more and more until we arrived at the model showcased on the album’s cover. The model has a rotating sign bit that was inspired by the House of Pies rotating sign.

VOX, LA FRETTE, & BRINGING IT TOGETHER (Enter the Others)

Upon assembling some of the track, Alex took them to fellow bandmate, guitarist Jamie Cook. Jamie is considered the “gatekeeper” to band, almost like the human bullshit meter. Alex almost feared that he would underwhelmed with it. But Jamie was the one told Alex, “This is definitely what we should be doing.” This led to the pair adding guitar parts to the songs. The majority of these, like the demo tape vocals, stuck with the album. From here they took the album to Vox Recording Studios on Melrose Ave. in LA, in May 2017. This is where the first full band sessions were recorded. Some of the “more interesting” keyboard sounds within the album came from these sessions. But this did not really work out for the band. So, later in September, the band went to La Frette Studios, a residential recording studio on the outskirts of Paris. This was where the album really came together. The band spent about 5-6 weeks recording here. This was Jamie’s idea. La Frette ended up seeing the band bring in an extra 9 musicians to play with them. This also led to a ‘Pet Sounds’ style of recording. This was a large ensemble recording style with these multiple musicians and the band themselves on multiple different instruments including multiple of the same type. So, 2 drum kits, 3 guitars, a couple of pianos. This did not work for every track but did work for a few. (Specifically, The Ultracheese, but I will talk about this more later) Alex stated to BBC Radio 1 that, “A lot of the energy I feel like came from that session. It was all like together in La Frette.” Some of the La Frette sessions can be seen in the Warp Speed Chic short film shot by Ben Chappell.

THE ALBUM (Natural Progression and Influences)

The album overall is 11 tracks. Many believe that the album is a concept album revolving around the Hotel + Casino, but that is not the case. Each one is a “short story” in the words of Turner. Four Out Of Five and the title tracking being the most connected of the collection. "But in other ways it does seem like a collection of short stories and we named the collection after one of the stories which is this one [Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino]. The other ones belong in the same place as this." (Radio X Track by Track interview). The title of the album itself came from a variety of things. The two most prominent being: the fact it is a “place”, and the location of the Apollo 11 moon landing. One thing should be known about the idea of the hotel and casino being a place, Turner loves to think of albums of places. “I think of some of my favorite records as places that you can go and stay for a while, and sort of spurred me on to give this record the name of a place.” (iHeart) The other part of the name itself coming from the Apollo 11 landing may be considered more interesting. This is due to the fact it may have come from cups themed with the lunar landing. The title of course is not the only interesting thing about the album. The sound itself is a departure from their last, AM. But the band all feel like this was natural progression. But the AM era was where they felt they had went a little too far. Bassist Nick O’Malley told Mojo Magazine that he felt that they had lost the “realness” in a sense with that era. “I think we'd gone as far as we could go. I had these crazy ‘80s hair metal leggings on-stag. I'd worn ‘em on Halloween, which I'd done dressed as Macho Man Randy Savage, the WWF wrestler. That was a big sign that it was time to have a break.” And with that they took a break, a five year long one. Turner himself was also aware that he could not do what he did on AM again, “I was aware of the idea that, I don’t think I could have been singing about the things I was singing about on AM anymore.” (Studio Brussels) This was not the first time the band has faced this “challenge” of switching it up. The same thing had happened with their 3rd album Humbug. Drummer Matt Helders states, “We’ve had that challenge before, after the first album success where we had to just get on and make the second, or else forever be dwelling on it. But this one didn’t feel like that. I mean, maybe there’ll be fans we gained from AM that will be a bit confused now. Like, that was their first experience of the band... ‘and now they’re going this?’” (Mojo Magazine) But the band did not want to make AM 2.0. Guitarist Jamie Cook stated to Mojo Magazine, “If we were worried about that we would never have made Humbug. And to disappear for a couple of years then come back with AM2? I think people have been, ‘Fuck off.’” But of course, this move was not met without criticism. Many fans and critics found themselves in a state of “What the fuck happened to Arctic Monkeys?” upon their new era and album due to the departure of sound from AM. But Turner himself does not see this a full-fledged departure, “There’s an idea that this album’s radically removed from where we’ve been. I can sort of see that, but I don’t think it’s as much of a move as people suggest.” (LA Times)
The album takes multiple film influences, science fiction influences, and musical influences from film scores to help make these “short stories”. Science Fiction inspired Turner to explore other worlds to create the album. Worlds he made up as he went along. Three films from Jean-Pierre Melville served as main influences on the album. The films being Un Flic, Le Cercle Rouge, and Le Samouraï. The films mostly center around a jazz club. The set interiors of these films piqued Turner’s interest. “So, when I would sit at the piano and play these types of chords, I was thinking about those Melville interiors a lot.” (Pitchfork) Overall, the sci-fi influenced led to Turner accessing sort of a “vocabulary” to say, that helped paint this picture of this hotel and casino on the moon.
The album also has this “magic” that they just could not get upon other recording sessions. This led to many of the demo tapes and early session elements making it to the file cut. They wanted to make an intimate experience but just could not get it to be as intimate as some of the early recording.
The album itself is also “autobiographical” in a sense. Turner sees it as him talking to himself all throughout the 11 tracks. But this wasn’t his first time trying to write things towards himself. “I tried to write this kind of thing before, I just didn’t know how to, really. I think I tried and recognized, thankfully, that I wasn’t ready. It's like the natural place to have gone, after that first record, was somewhere around ‘ere.”

THE TRACKS

STAR TREATMENT
Opening the album, we have Star Treatment, an almost 6-minute-long track. The track itself beings with the line “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes.” A polarizing opening line for a polarizing album. This lyric was originally meant to be replaced, but Turner kept it in. He was using the “Scrambled Eggs” method for the album. The “Scrambled Eggs” method comes from Paul McCartney where he used “scrambled eggs” as temporary lyrics while writing The Beatles’ song ‘Yesterday’. This just happened to be one of those lines. But he took a liking to it the more time went on. The Strokes of course were a big influence on the band, they were even coined “The British Strokes” upon debut. But truth is, time has passed since then. About 12 years to be exact. “But when I circled back around to it I felt like it was right where it ought to be because of how it makes me think, “Shit. The last 12 years just flashed by.” There’s an honesty and a truth to it.” (Pitchfork) The passage of time is a constant theme within this track, with references to the ‘70s, the ‘80s. This track was the first thing Turner had written for the album. It came about during the last run of The Last Shadow Puppets (Turner’s side-project with Miles Kane). But this is also the most direct Turner was with himself on the album. Specifically, about songwriting. Lines like “The golden boy’s in bad shape,” refer to the fact he was lost with his songwriting and did not know where to go. But like how the track had started before the album itself had started, there’s a particular line that had existed since 2009. “Here ain’t no place for dolls like you and me,” That was the line. He had tried giving it away to others to put in a track, but no one would take it. So, he saved it because he didn’t have “follow up” per say yet but found it within this track. Another focal point for the track is the lounge singer and his backing band. This lounge singer theme can be seen through, but this is where it starts. This is where the lounge singer gets the name for his band. “I think I like the idea that there would be a longue singer sat at a bar, overhearing somebody being cut off from having another martini and hearing them say “Who are you to cut me off? The martini police?” and then this lounge singer thinking “That would be a good name for my backing band.”” (Radio X) But this track serving as the opening track overall sets a tone for the album. Upon sharing the music with others, they decided this would be the best place to start the album, a way to get people to hear it first and foremost. The other way to do this would have been releasing it as a single. But they took what can be seen a controversial move in this era of streaming and singles being more prominent than albums to release no singles. Like how this track led to Turner writing the rest of the album, it leads you, the listener, into the rest of the album.
ONE POINT PERSPECTIVE
One Point Perspective is the shortest track on the album, but it does pack quite a bit of a punch. With the title coming from a filming style, specifically one used a lot by Stanley Kubrick, a main influence on the album, we dig a bit more into the sci-fi roots. The track itself focuses on conversations, dreams, and how they are often interrupted. “It was informed perhaps by conversations I may have heard or been involved with. Under the influence of some narcotic draft or another. And fragments of those things are appearing the lyrics on this tune.” (Radio X) The track also focuses briefly on a made-up documentary called “Singsong ‘Round the Money Tree”. “I think specifically in the case of this documentary, there was something else there. And it came from the “If I’m gonna end up singing to a quiet room, like what comes before that.” Perhaps someone had told me they’d been singing along to a score or something.” (Radio X) Of course this brings us to the quiet rooms. What exactly are the quiet rooms? Well they’re exactly what they sound like, literal quiet rooms. But they also refer to isolation experienced by Turner while recording the album. With the vocal takes, especially the early tape ones, it would just be him, alone in the Lunar Surface with his eight-track. Of course, there’s also the line “Bear with me, man, I lost my train of thought.” This one is followed by a pause in the vocals and is usually played up for the live shows, but it represents that spot in a conversation where you really do lose your train of thought. Maybe it’s your mind wandering, maybe it’s that you are being interrupted and then trying to resume what you were talking about but forgot. But, it’s a universal feeling that ties together this track.
AMERICAN SPORTS
American Sports is an interesting track. Not just musically, but lyrically. Music wise an organ plays a main part in the track. The organ though was strangely organized upon recording. With Turner doing one bar, recording it, stopping, doing another bar. Eventually in later recording sessions they attempted to play it all together but just could not get the same effect/sound as the one from the eight-track tape, so they stuck with that. The vocals were also from the eight-track tape. Lyrical wise the track was pulled together by a line given to Turner from his grandfather. “I visited me Granddad one day and he said to me, ‘You know, I often think of phrases even there that I think you might be able to do something with.’ And I sort of went ‘All right.’ He likes to watch the horse-racing, and he began to tell me that whenever there’s what’s called a ‘steward’s inquiry,’- All you ever hear back after the steward’s inquiry is the phrase ‘the trainer's explanation was accepted by the steward.’ Which, as he said it I just thought was loaded.” (iHeart) This was what sparked the rest of the track. But there’s one question left, what the fuck is Lola? Well, a Lola is his writer’s block. Seen within the chorus with the line “And I never thought, not in a million years, that I’d meet so many Lolas.” He gives the writer’s block a bit of a personification. The track also gives us more callbacks to technology, another overlapping theme within the album. The narrator describes a video call with God, and a virtual reality mask stuck on ‘Parliament Brawl’. The parliament brawl also allows this track to get a little political. This can be seen heavily within the first line of the second verse, “Breaking news, they take the truth and make it fluid,” mostly referring to the phenomena of ‘Fake News’. Overall, the track makes for an interesting take combining writer’s block, political problems, and technology.
TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL + CASINO
The title track serves as the fourth track to the album. Opening with imagery of Jesus in a day spa. But the track itself is built upon the idea of the character Mark. Mark of course is a character in the track who answers phones, mostly stating the name of the hotel and casino while asking where he can direct your call. First Turner pictured Mark at this phone, then he pictured where the phone was after that. This led of course to the album title, but it also leads back into the track itself. This of course is played off well in the video, but we’ll get to that in a bit. As the track builds you a bit more of this world of the hotel and casino on the moon, it also leads to some interesting lines. One in particular being “Kiss me underneath the moon’s sideboob.” Question of the year being, what the fuck is the moon’s sideboob? Well, the term was coined by guitarist Jamie Cook. “There was a really thin crescent moon in the sky, which Jamie from the band described as the moon's sideboob and I thought that was like quite profound.” (Studio Brussel) Another odd line within the track is “Technological advances really bloody get me in the mood”, this is a bit of a satire. But is also a slight observation. This observation being that technology sometimes changes society, especially when advances are made. These changes can be reflected in the way we talk to others, the way we act, and many other aspects of our life that we may not fully realize at first. For the record though, technological advances do not turn him on.
Onto the video, this was the second single from the album, and the second video. The video was released on the 23rd of July. Directed by Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown, the video continues an overlapping Kubrick inspired theme. Unfortunately, Turner is the only one from the band who fully makes an appearance in the video. The others are briefly shown through footage from their BCC Maida Vale Studios session appearing on displays though out the “sets”. Throughout this video there’s sections where the track and video break a bit for some flashing red lights followed by some “doots” taking over the audio, like the Four Out of Five video. The video was filmed at the Peppermill Reno, a hotel and casino within Las Vegas, Nevada. The Peppermill Reno were nice enough to write a blog post about the video breaking down the locations of the video. The video took two days of film to shoot within the area. The first location they filmed at was the Fireside Longue. This is the first time Turner, playing out the character of Mark, is handed a phone. The phone was handed to him by a worker from the Café Milano within the hotel and casino. Two different suites are featured throughout the video. The first being the Safari Adventure Suite. This is home to many of the hot tub scenes. The other being the Roman Opulence suite, this was the all gold room. There’s also the elevator shots that came from the 17th floor elevators. The wandering around the hotel and casino shots, mostly shot within the cube bar and the island buffet. And some phone call answering with the Tuscany Tower’s courtesy phone. There’s one other particular phone scene within this video I decided to save for last due the fact that it is going to come up a bit later. The second phone call is answered within a replica of the 1966 Batmobile via the Batphone. This serves as a nice callback to one of the later tracks on the album titled, Batphone. During these shots he also is fake driving with a projected image of a tunnel in the background, this also comes up in the Four Out of Five video, but we’ll get into that on that track.
GOLDEN TRUNKS
Believe it or not this the “love song” on the album. Yeah. The track is described by Turner as being a conversation between him and an unnamed female character he is falling for. But that all gets overshadowed by the semi-titular line, “The leader of the free world, reminds you of a wrestler wearing tight golden trunks.” The line does steal the show for being out there in a sense. The beginning of the line is a bit cumbersome to say the least, but it is almost melodic in another sense via the delivery. But this overall is just another part of the conversation with this female character. It may even be part of her imagination, you know, something she’s saying. Almost giving us a retrospective into her thoughts, feelings, and sense of humor. This all leads towards the bridge of the track. “Bendable figures with a fresh new pack of lies, Summat else to publicise, I'm sure you've heard about enough.” Almost showing us how fast the conversation is moving along. But also showing that you get to a point where you don’t know what to believe in the conversation or really what to believe in the track. The bridge also brings another interesting point forward. The words in particular, ‘Bendable Figures’ was almost the track’s title. “Which was because, someone got me a toy Batmobile, and it came with bendable figures of Batman and Robin, I assume, among others possibly. I’ve made a bit of a name for me since, and I mean, I am a fan of the old Batman book. I remember looking at this box and on the box it said ‘bendable figures’ and I don’t know. The news might have been on in the background, and here we are.” (iHeart) Another interesting point of the track is how straight the narrator and this female character are with each other. They both are basically telling each other that they fantasize about each other. She says it by whispering in his ear, he says it by responding to her straightly.
FOUR OUT OF FIVE
Another track with an interesting open, this one was originally different lyric-wise. Originally the words were ‘Karaoke and raspberry beret, in imaginative ways, and I get signed right then and there by a hotshot executive / I wasn’t expecting it that easy.’ Quite a departure from the final version that appears on the track. Four Out of Five served as the first single to the album. The track describes a taqueria on the roof the Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, and more particularly how it is boasting four stars out of five. Mostly just how perfect scores are unattainable so a four of five is great enough, “Because the people that are in charge of giving the scores, they never give a perfect hundred.” (Beats 1) The taqueria itself is named “The Information-Action Ratio” this comes from Neil Postman's book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’. “I was attracted to the idea as soon as I heard that phrase; even though it was in this book from [1985] it still seemed relevant—more relevant than it probably was when the guy made it up.” (Pitchfork) The phrase itself explains that we don’t need the vast amount of information we receive and that we don’t do much about this information. But it’s a great name for a taqueria on the roof of a hotel and casino on the moon. The track itself also gives us more of the story about the hotel itself. Mostly its location, other than the moon itself. We learn that the entire moon is getting gentrified due to an exodus. There’s also a really cool play musically where the last chorus literally is lifted up another semitone after it’s said at the end of the bridge.
Onto the video for this one, the Kubrick fantasy filming begins here. Directed by Ben Chappell and Aaron Brown, the video was released on the 13th of May. The video was filmed at the Castle Howard in Yorkshire and the Munich Marienplatz station in Munich, Germany. The video starts with Turner playing a piano but then stopping to go look at the model of the hotel and casino. Throughout this video there’s sections where the track and video break a bit for some flashing red lights followed by some “doots” taking over the audio. Then, the video sees Turner taking the role of a director for some “Video Lifestyle Packages” for the hotel and casino. But it also gives us two different Turners. One with a beard, one without. The two doing seemingly parallel tasks within different areas. The other band members are also seen within the video, mostly jamming out. Especially with the nice little jam session with beardless Turner in the end. Due to the fact there’s two seemingly different Turners this has led to fan theories surrounding the video. Some stating that maybe the hotel and casino is some cover up for a mental hospital, another stating that maybe it’s both sides of his life (regulaprofessional). Assistants are also seen throughout the video setting up sets and other things, almost as if this was a film set. There’s also one scene in particular I’d like to touch on, the car scenes. This one is a bit important because it almost calls back the “haunt you via the rear-view mirror” line from Star Treatment. This scene was originally intended to be used in a video for Star Treatment, but they used it here instead. Overall, the video a bit of a visual treat with its cues from Stanley Kubrick and was more than a fitting visual return for Arctic Monkeys going into this era.
THE WORLD’S FIRST EVER MONSTER TRUCK FRONT FLIP
Yeah that’s a title to get your attention. The title comes from the actual event of the world’s first ever monster truck front flip. This was something that had caught Turner’s interest and will probably catch yours too upon just reading it. Sure, he may have only watched the video once, but the headline itself was what caught his attention. Later on, he used it create the base for what he was imagining with the track. “I think I imagined a sort of old presidents’ men style news room with just enough men in there. And sorta trying to get the editors attention like “You'll never believe it, somebody's done it forwards” and I think going off in my mind, perhaps and I thought, I don't know... It seems like that's where were at now innit, that sort of things are happening." (Radio X) The track itself lyrically describes TECHNOLOGY. More specifically, how people love their devices. “You push the button and we’ll do the rest” a repeating line that refers to how we’ve gotten so far that you can just push a button, and something will happen. Whether it be something within an app or data storage. Data storage is another important theme within the track. Our data is being stored everywhere. The track uses the data storage as a metaphor in many ways, with things like someone trying to breach into it. But overall the track itself just shows us how technology is changing us, references to technology changing us lie throughout. But we also see a bit of a jab at how no one wants to explain what the technology is exactly doing, “There are things that I just cannot explain to you, and those that I hope I don’t ever have to.” This wraps everything back around because it ties into the theme of just pushing a button and having everything done for us. We don’t see the background process, we don’t know what exactly they do, we just know that we can push a button and it will be done.
SCIENCE FICTION
True to the title, the track explores the themes of Science Fiction. Science Fiction is the “lobby model” of the album, as in it brings it all together. The track started with the idea of exploring Sci-Fi further and exploring worlds created from this, same with the album. One of the things in particular that sparked this was the Fassbinder film ‘World on a Wire’. Sci-Fi takes these themes and attempts to connect them to the real world and even Tranquility Base. Continuing the overarching theme of technology, this one takes the focus on how we’re viewing society due to technology, again. Making light touches on religion, we can see how in this “area” per say, science has won. But we also see how it feels like Sci-Fi is taking over in the form of a reality that feels strange and almost fictional at points. Technology keeps becoming a bigger part of our lives to the point where it almost disconnects us in a way. The narrator in this track wants to avoid that, he wants to stay within the life of his love. But it’s hard with things changing so much and society also changing. He states that he wants to make a “simple point” about peace and love but not too obviously. And this track almost feels like that point. But then it takes a bit of a turn at the end. We see the narrator take this back a bit and Turner begin to doubt if he’s wandering on too much with the track itself. “So, I tried to write a song to make you blush. But I’ve a feeling that the whole thing, may well just end up too clever for its own good.” Describing it as too clever shows that he feels like he’s overthinking it all. With a track with an almost double meaning like this it is a bit easy to understand why it may be “too clever”.
SHE LOOKS LIKE FUN
Ah yes, the rock and roll song of the record. Or well, the rock and roll without the roll. IT’S ALL ROCK MUSIC TO ALEX TURNER DAMMIT. This track has been described as frenzy but controlled. The structure of the track itself reflects that, “It goes like 3 verses in this tune before anything else changes. And I think like by that third one you get this sense of like you shouldn't be doing it again, it's time to move somewhere else. And eventually it does happen.” (Radio X) The main idea for this track came from the fact we almost create these “characters” within the virtual world. You know, your online presence through social media. The title itself is refrained throughout the track as the chorus and refers to how we just look a photo and decide what people are like. In this case the female titular character of the track is described to look like “fun”. Furthermore, this is joined but what may seem to be a non-sensical string of words. But, it’s meant to represent scrolling through a social feed like Instagram. “As far as the “cheeseburger” line, I was actually watching an episode of the show “High Maintenance,” and there’s a part where the person’s taking their picture with a cheeseburger and posting it and all this.” (Pitchfork) The verses focus more on the internet culture and the behavior of those within. Whether this behavior be something like a VR experience of New Year’s Eve at Bruce Wayne’s Manor or being a dickhead to someone. It’s about how we can almost do whatever we want with almost no restrictions in this virtual landscape. The bridge brings it to a point where we realize, it almost feels like everything is online nowadays. This follows by some lines of Turner criticizing himself for constantly talking about marital arts to people in bars. This mostly draws from Turner’s frequent kickboxing sessions. “Maybe sometimes I put stuff into a song to stop myself from doing it - I think I’m just realising that’s true. Like there’s a line in the middle of She Looks Like Fun about waffling on to strangers about martial arts in bars, and that was definitely something I was doing a lot of and was aware I needed to stop doing.” (Mojo Magazine) Also this marks the second time within the album where he says something regarding the music and it happens. This time being in the form of a key change. The last chorus features a key change that is in time with him stating it in the track.
BATPHONE
The all mighty Batman comes into a focus theme upon this track! Okay... Barely. A “Batphone” in the sense of this track is a direct line to Turner via his phone. The track deals with analysis and criticism of technology all at once. Opening on Turner realizing that he can just use a search engine to find a more interesting word to describe what he’s trying to say. Which, it wasn’t always like this, there was a time where you’d have to go through whole thesauruses to find this interesting words or phrases. Now they’re just a click/tap/touch away. Moving along we see that the narrator in the track specifically is of high class, stating that there’s much to discuss over a game of golf. Of course, that is phrased better within the track itself but for simplicities sake I’m just going to leave it at that. Then he gets into the fact life is a “spectator sport”. Through social media we sit and watch other people’s lives unfold like watching a sport almost. Then we get to a line that may seem more polarizing that it is. “I launch my fragrance called ‘Integrity’ I sell the fact that I can’t be bought.” Upon hearing this line for the first time you may think “What the fuck kind of pretentious bullshit is this trying to be?” Well, that’s exactly where you’re wrong. The idea of a fragrance called ‘Integrity’ is literally just that. “With something like that, I can’t sit here and tell you I wanted to make some comment about integrity and my relationship to it, and then make a fucking perfume out of it and write a smart-ass line like that. It’s more like I see the shape of the letters of “integrity” on the perfume bottle in my mind’s eye—once you know what that font looks like, then it writes itself after that.” (Pitchfork) Yeah, the line came from the visualization of perfume literally called ‘Integrity’. (Which, hilariously, there is one now called that.) Back to the lyrics, we see Turner talk about how he got “sucked into a hole” through a handheld device, this means his phone. Of course, we do all get a bit sucked into our phones now and again. It happens. And now it’s easier than ever. This being due to things like updates to make it easier to access things. The glow of the low beams within this track may be the car lights of your lover. But we do know that he will be by the Batphone if you need to get a hold of him at all. With our phones so close to us at all times, it’s almost like we all have personal Batphones. Then we get into how phones have changed over time. Coining them as “re-decorated” with new lights and sidebars upon them changing. Back the chorus again we see Turner sitting in his living room, with blinds closed, watching the lights of cars going by, but knowing that he'd know those of the car of his lover. Ending upon the panoramic windows again. These are said to be “looking out across your soul”, this is simply just our phone screens. They’re glass, windows are glass. But we look and see things on display including our souls, you know, our lives. Thus, making your soul being put on display through these “windows”. Sure, it’s not just your own soul, there are other people in this world, but it’s important you know that it is yours first and foremost on display. Always remember, whatever you put online, others will see.
THE ULTRACHEESE
Our closing track is a something that could be called Turner’s “Default Position” at this rate. But that does not mean it’s a bad thing. This track in particular is one where we see the Pet Sounds influenced recording style come to life, with multiple drum kits, multiple guitars, and pianos within the recording. The track sees Turner reflect on his past and how things have changed overtime. The title comes from the fact that the track may be a bit too “Cheesy” for everyone except himself. Songwriting of course has changed over time the most for him, upon talking about old tracks he stated, “It feels like we’re doing a cover or something when we play the first album, really, but that’s fine. I don’t hate doing that. It’s just come to the point where I play ‘Mardy Bum’ or something like that and it doesn’t even feel like mine anymore.” (BeatRoute) He feels disconnected from his old lyrics, which is sad but true statement. Of course, this track also touches quickly upon the themes of technology and politics throughout the track. But overall, it’s more just a personal reflection upon everything. Turner even describes himself as not being deep in thought, even if it looks like he was. He’s just living his life, good or bad, it’s just how everything is going down. The track ends the album on the line “I’ve done some things that I shouldn’t have done, but I haven’t stopped loving you once.” We all have things we regret in our lives. Sometimes that shit gets us out of nowhere and ends up on our minds. But we also see Turner telling his lover that he just loves them throughout it. Throughout all the good, the bad, the dirty bullshit, he still loves them.

THE B-SIDE (Anyways)

Yeah I was not finishing this without talking about the B-Side that was released with the title track on the 7” single. The B-side is titled ‘Anyways’ and was cut from the album. “I had a song that didn’t make this record with lyrics that mentioned both Bing Crosby and Randy Newman. And I just thought, You can’t do that. You can have one or the other. Just fucking calm down! You don’t want to make a song too lumpy.” (Vulture) Anyways here means the topic of a conversation and trying to change it. The narrator keeps trying to change the conversation. This can be seen throughout the track with a change in subject seemingly every few lines. One minute talking about toga parties, the next asking about if Mum and Dad are doing well. It’s just topic after topic in this “race” to Anyways. Technology appears again, with a quick mention of oversharing, something that is prevalent throughout the world of social media. Going back the Four Out of Five video from earlier we have a quick mention of a double life. This of course being the public/personal personas or home/professional personas. Much of the rest of the track just shows Turner bearing his all out there for everyone to see and making light of this. “You sort of reveal a piece of something as you’re writing and recording it. Then you find what you’re attracted to, scribble away a bit more of the dust and discover a bit more of the picture. Gradually, it becomes what it is. Each time you reveal another bit of it, it commits you to take the next step.” (BeatRoute) Some argue that this would have made a more “fitting” close for the album than The Ultracheese, other argue that it could have fit in literally anywhere on the album. Overall, I’m just glad it did get released it in the end.

REFLECTIONS IN THE SILVER SCREEN (An Outro)

I first listened to the album when it leaked. Shit on me all you want but I was just so curious. The whole no singles thing intrigued me alongside the sci-fi theme. I was looking for something different and I found it with this album. At the time did I know this was going to be my album of the year? No. Fuck, I barely knew anything about AM at the time apart from Do I Wanna Know?. I coined it as something along the lines of “What Death of A Bachelor could should been.” Turner constantly describes this album as one where he wanted to take people to a place, to this imaginary hotel and casino, and I was taken there upon first listen. I felt like I was sitting, watching a longue singer belt out tunes about his life. Of course, now on the right night I can recreate that feeling, but not always. But the album has just stuck me. Sure, many upon first hearing it found it off putting, but I loved it since first listen. If anything, this album was what made me a fan. This is what me look at AM and go “There’s something here I was missing.” Sure, it did take me months to act upon that, but I’m glad I did. Do I know where AM are going to go next? No. I don’t think any of us really do anymore. This album proved how unpredictable it is to calculate Arctic Monkeys in a way. Maybe the next record will be guitar based again, maybe not. We’ll only know when it comes, no matter how far away that is.

GOLDEN BOY’S NOT IN SUCH BAD SHAPE (Nominations)

Album:
  • 2018 Mercury Prize Nomination
  • Best Alternative Music Album (Grammy Awards)
Four Of Five:
  • Best Rock Performance (Grammy Awards)
submitted by ResIsByTheBatphone to popheads [link] [comments]

Vegas: The Final Chaptering

Waking in the morning to find out you are President of the United States is not so much a shock as a real world class bummer. My plan that day was to get coffee and take a cab over to Mandalay Bay and see how the 30 or so parlays we had made had paid off. Instead, I was greeted with a security briefing about a bunch of shit hole countries I didn't care about.
"Yes, but can I just run down and have a cigarette?" They all shook their heads. I demanded "As President of the United States I demand to go downstairs and smoke a cigarette while playing Pai Gow!" Their demeanor changed. I was told I could go downstairs and smoke a cigarette and play Pai Gow if I promised to come back upstairs and join the briefing.
Downstairs, with 39 bodyguards, I went and played Walking Dead again. I could not lose. It was almost as if I had absolute power over everything and no checks or balances to tell me what to do. I got a coffee, ditched the security and grabbed a cab. The man driving it, a Mr. Mueller, tried to drive me back to my hotel, but I was able to fire him and hire a taxi driver that would drive me anywhere I wanted. Including Russia.
Back at Mandalay Bay, things had not changed. I was searched, even though I told them I was the President, and then searched some more. Inside, the buffet had gone cold cuts and whatever ground beef they could wipe on a tortilla. The crowd had thinned and it was easier to get a drink and chat with folks.
For reasons unknown to me, one of the waitresses was making a habit of having half hour to an hour one on one conversations with the crew. I tried to figure out the angle, but couldn't. She was at work and no one was yelling at her for doing it. Meanwhile, the tip was included, so all I could figure is she was risking her job to hear about my buddy's divorces or she was a prostitute of some kind. Like maybe the kind that just makes you a Hot Pocket and leaves a condom next to it. Maggie, NEVER AGAIN!
There were rumors of a strip club run, but I don't think it occurred. Not with me, anyway. I had my phone and oodles of porn networks to waste that kind of fun on.
I didn't get out of the hotel until noon and spent the next four hours drinking coffee and shaking. I had a feeling I was not the President of the United States, but that passed. I made my way out to the casino and outside to take a deep breath of the desert. I realized then something that I wondered during the Vegas shooting: Mandalay Bay is at the very end of the strip. I kept looking at the footage and thinking "Where did they fit a concert?" Outside that area there are signs and plaques and stuff to remember those that died.
Back in the casino, I tried my luck at video poker. If you are going to gamble it's the way to go, simply because it's at the bar and the bartender is there at all times to give you a free drink. Not like on the floor where you have to test your luck with the waitresses.
Next to me sat a couple in what looked like drag. The man was short and wore a pair of Groucho glasses with the big nose. The wife was Asian and wearing a Bowler hat. They were discussing plans to flee the country. Something about Cambridge. Something about stolen data. I inquired and they told me they sold Amway and quickly left. I had the feeling I had missed out on a great opportunity. Something even more Presidential than being President: treason.
Back in Light the bouncers had just beat a man to death with his own shoe for trying to order a twelve year old Scotch on the per diem. This attracted the Secret Service and I had to leave. I went back to the New York, New York to meet my Russian spy friend. He had come in for a conference on baiting, blackmailing, and gaslighting. He was also drunk as all hell and demanding American riches from the spoils of war. "We vin! We vin!" He would say as he casually gave the other drinkers the finger. I had to agree with him - they had won. It was now a Russian continent and we better start acting like it.
So, I got drunk along with him.
This lead to a lot of Annexing. First, the MGM, then the Tropicana, then all the way down the strip passed Aria. The American President and his Russian Uberlord were making up for the Cold War. For too long the poor have gotten a dollar raise a year and the Russians have had to suck eggs. It was time to whip up the fury of the Economically degenerate and the Authoritarian comrade. By the time we got to Old Time we were both wiped and called it an evening.
I went back and played more Walking Dead. There's this thing where the black chick comes out and slashes the screen and you get a ton of money. The machine shakes and everyone in the casino sees you and applauds you for your winnings. That's all the Preside - I mean me, wants.
After that, 2000 down, I purchased two slices of cruddish pizza and a Twix bar and went to bed. It was a long day of being President. The staff was gone, most quit, and I was alone in my room with my thoughts.
I thought about what I could do to make up for all of this irresponsible spending. I came up with nothing. I would simply sleep and hope that God or the banks - well, the banks first - would forgive me.
But God is vengeful, unless you sleep with porno stars and pay them off and then God just starts talking with golf terms. God spent the next two days making sure I was hungover. That's what God does. He's sneaky like that. He didn't hit me in the wallet, he hit me in the digestive system and the blood stream. So, God is really like a drug. Yes, God is a drug. That's what this is all about.
"Could I get a brownie sundae and a toasted cheese?"
"What room?"
"Uh, let me check."
"Sir, it's on the phone. On the receiver."
"Where?"
"On the phone. Take the phone off your ear and look at the phone."
"702 632 4422"
"That's the phone number to the hotel! That's my number."
"But you said!"
"OK. OK. YOUR ROOM IS 394! I REMEMBERED IT FROM LAST NIGHT CUZ YOU WERE SO DRUNK! I'LL SEND THE FOOD YOU FAT FUCK!"
"President Fat Fuck."
submitted by levilarrington to freeforallwriting [link] [comments]

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