After a long hiatus, Kpopalypse dreams is back! The reason for the slow pace of this series is that I don’t have dreams about k-pop very often these days, but when I do, they’re still pretty fucked up. Now that the ultimate in “wow, Kpopalypse really doesn’t give any fucks about popularity, self-respect or being liked” series is here again, it’s time now to delve deep into the subconscious of Kpopalypse, with sixteen bite-size fanfictions that I probably wouldn’t have thought up if I was awake at the time!
WARNING: this post is highly disturbing and contains content that should not be read by anyone. Probably stop reading now.
KPOPALYPSE DREAMS VI
I’m at my old audio engineering school. I ask the lecturer if I can film a documentary there. The lecturer, a middle-aged man, seems a little bothered by my question, he doesn’t make eye contact and says “come back with a camera and we’ll tell you then” while staring at something on the computer in his office.
I figure since he doesn’t seem to care that much, nobody will notice if I just go ahead and film the documentary on my phone without telling anyone. I walk out to a lake and talk to one of the audio engineers sitting on a concrete bench by the lakeside and start filming. Before I can even ask him anything, some random guy that he knows shows up and starts yelling at me that I’m a pedophile because I write about k-pop. He has a styrofoam sign that says “go away” that he waves at me, I film this as well. The sign is brittle and crumbles in his hands. I put the sign back together without the letter A, so it says “Go, Way”. I tell him that Way from Crayon Pop has approved my presence to conduct the interview. He leaves me alone after that, wandering off muttering to himself.
The audio engineer guy on the bench starts talking to me about enrollments to the school. He has a bunch of applications in his hand, they look like resumes for job interviews. I see a name on one of the application forms and it looks familiar. I ask him “is that the one true name of Asian Junkie?”. He looks nervous and shuffles the papers a bit more so that name is no longer on top, then changes the subject.
I’m running an interactive art exhibition of notoriously bad debut songs by k-pop groups, in a large gallery. I’m exhibiting an unknown debut song on a projected video screen by Stellar which is called “Playdis”. The song sounds similar to “Tilt Your Head” by Girl’s Day, and the music video is also similar, shot on a plain white background, with the girls doing dances while dressed mainly in black and purple. The dancing is also nearly identical to the Girl’s Day song, with really basic and simple robotic movements.
By the projector I have a blue capsicum on the table, each song in the exhibit has its own assigned fruit or vegetable that sits on the table while the video plays. As I play the video to the art gallery visitors, my cat keeps jumping up on the table and trying to eat the capsicum, I have to periodically stop the video and put her back on the floor so I can continue the exhibit. This starts to get a little frustrating as my cat really likes the capsicum and doesn’t understand that she’s not supposed to be up there.
I arrive by bus at early evening at a six-week k-pop camp, which is held in the Riverland in South Australia (a rural fruit-growing region fed by Australia’s largest river). Even though the camp is six weeks long, I intend to stay for one night only, because T-ara are performing on the opening night of the camp and I just want to see that. I don’t think I’d have the tolerance to live with a bunch of k-pop fans for six weeks so I’m looking forward to leaving the camp as soon as possible after the show.
I walk into a small theater where T-ara are about to perform. There aren’t that many fangirls – most of the audience are middle-aged men who are already drunk – I guess there’s not a lot else to do in the Riverland. T-ara appear and start performing. For this show they are a three-piece only – Eunjung, Hyomin and Areum. They work through all of their most recent songs, but are only doing songs from “Number Nine” onwards, they don’t sing any of their early songs at all. Areum has never looked better, she looks a bit chubbier than usual, I think to myself that this is good to see as the last few times I saw her she looked painfully skinny. Eunjung and Hyomin dress in the same clothes that they were wearing in the “What’s My Name” video.
Later that night, I’m in the camp dorm, looking at fancams that people have taken of the event on their phones. None of the fancams are any good, as they have all been taken by extremely drunk people and are horribly shaky, plus the sound quality is hopeless and the group can barely be heard over the drunken yelling and conversations. As I’m watching I start packing and getting ready to leave early the next day
I’m in the back seat of my car, making out with T-ara’s Jiyeon. Appropriately, JYJ’s “Back Seat” is playing. I feel bad about doing this without my girlfriend’s knowledge, so I decide to text my girlfriend about it. I write her a text: “I’m making out with some k-pop girl, should I bring her over to our place?”
Soon the reply comes back: “I don’t know if I want to put up with any k-pop bitches in my house. Is she annoying?”
I attach a photo and send it to her, with a message: “this is the girl.”
After a minute a reply comes back: “actually she seems nice, why not bring her over… but she’d better not sing anything.”
I’m watching an American TV special on the most popular k-pop groups. Predictably, the show talks extensively about the recent success of BTS in the USA and their placement at #1 in the Billboard chart, the show specifically compares them to AC/DC also reaching #1 on the same chart with songs from the “Back In Black” album in 1980.
The TV show then displays footage of a satellite in orbit, jettisoning a package into the black void of space as it spins over the Earth. The narrator explains that the satellite is launching the most recent BTS album into space, and says that this happens with all albums that reach a certain level on the Billboard chart or achieve a large amount of sales. The album packages are not placed into orbit around the Earth, but are jettisoned at angles that are designed to break the gravitational field and eventually exit the solar system completely. The plan is that if the albums are picked up by other life forms in the outer reaches of space, the aliens will learn something about the Earth’s history and musical culture. I think to myself that it’s nice that we’re polluting the cosmos with photobooks but I really wish these shows would talk about other groups besides BTS.
I’m at Chuu’s house, in her bedroom, it looks a lot like the bedroom that I grew up in. We’re sitting at a desk and chatting and I feel really awkward about being there because I have no pants on, but I don’t know why. I’m quite embarrassed about it, and I hold my hands in my lap trying not to expose myself to Chuu, but she doesn’t care and just smiles and laughs. “It really doesn’t matter – I would have gone there eventually anyway”, she reassures me, in a way that is cheerful but completely matter-of-fact but also very non-flirtatious, i.e it’s quite clear that nothing sexual is actually going to happen. Chuu is fully clothed in the same blue suit that she wears in some of the Loona promotional material. Chuu then starts asking me to get items from the drawers in her desk – snow globe paper weights, push-pins and other stationery. I don’t know why she’s asking me for this, as she’s easily within reach of these items, she could get them herself if she wanted to. I decide that it’s easier to comply with Chuu’s request than to make a fuss about it or ask questions, so I get the items from the drawers. Chuu is happy with this, smiles and says thank you.
I’m on my way in a taxi to a Honey Popcorn fanmeet event, which is being held in a supermarket inside a big shopping complex. I talk to the taxi driver and tell him about Honey Popcorn, he’s never heard of them. The taxi driver doesn’t know where the event is either – he turns off too early, so I have to direct him around in a circle to the rear of the shopping complex. Eventually he figures out where to go and then I disembark.
Once inside the supermarket I meet the three Honey Popcorn girls. I say hello to Yua Mikami and give her some of her JAV DVDs to sign. I then give her some white ceramic bowls and get her to sign those, she’s really happy to sign them as well even though the bowls are just random ones from my house and they have nothing to do with Honey Popcorn or anything else really. We then all take some photos together, including one where each member of the group holds a bowl. The girls in Honey Popcorn are all smiling constantly, and have an infectiously bright demeanour, they seem to be genuinely enjoying the fan interactions.
I’m interviewing BoA. As BoA is a very busy person and access to her is difficult, I have to do the interview while she is out doing her morning jog as it’s the only chance that SM Entertainment have given me to conduct the interview. She runs through her local park and I’m running beside her with a digital sound recorder, keeping pace with her as I ask questions. We’re running around and around on a circular concrete course designed for endurance running, the course has some very steep inclines and a lot of stairs, it’s a exhausting trek and I’m having a little trouble keeping up with BoA as she’s very physically fit. Boa looks straight ahead with a determined, focused expression as she answers the questions.
Kpopalypse – You’re a professional across many fields. what does professionalism mean to you?
BoA – It’s very important to use time effectively. Do you play computer games?
Kpopalypse – Yes, sometimes.
BoA – Yes, well, you see – I don’t play computer games. I don’t have time for that. Every minute, every second, has to go into the business of what I’m doing. I can’t lose focus with something so trivial.
Kpopalypse – How do you feel about being a woman in a male-dominated field? Is it something that matters to you or does it? Should it even matter?
BoA – It’s not a male-dominated field, how can it be. I’m in it, for a start. Your interview with the SM trainee was fake by the way, I know this because I get to know all the trainees personally myself. We have a very good relationship, myself and all the trainees. It’s very good.
Kpopalypse – How do you describe yourself?
BoA – I don’t need to describe myself when there are other people there to describe me every day.
BoA doesn’t acknowledge me as I finish recording and leave her to continue her morning exercise.
AustralianSana is arguing with someone on Twitter about how Twice are better than BTS.
She has a Twitter thread where she writes that Twice look more hyped for their remake comeback than BTS do, and it compares the facial expressions and gestures of various Twice members to those of various BTS members. In form typical for most of her SNS activity, the thread is generating a lot of attention and hate online for no specific reason other than AustralianSana having an opinion about something.
She also says in the Twitter thread that only three people in Adelaide are Twice fans but they all own skyscrapers with the Twice logo. To verify this claim, she provides a picture of a skyscraper with the Twice logo on it. The logo is partially covered by a tarp, many fans comment that this doesn’t count as evidence because you can’t completely see the logo and therefore it could be anything, but AustralianSana explains that they don’t show the logo in full because they don’t want to be as annoying about being Twice fans as her Twitter followers are.
I’m watching a Twice concert. There are only eight of them onstage, I’m not sure which two girls are missing from the original group but I figure it’s probably Mina and Chaeyoung as I can never even identify those two half the time anyway. There’s also a new girl called Annie, she looks like a young, shorter Laura Dern.
The concert finishes and I hang out with my brother and watch Twice as they come down off the stage and have casual conversations with fans in the front rows who have chosen to stick around. The fans are really happy that they’re allowed to get so up close and personal, and it’s a good atmosphere. The Twice members let the fans touch them around the waist to show how skinny their waists are. One of the fans is amazed that she can nearly fit their thumb and index finger around Jeongyeon’s waist.
My brother notices that there is a human fetus in a jar of liquid to the side of the stage, he asks me what that is for. I tell him that it’s Girls’ Generation’s latest member who is still being grown with a chemical process and will debut at a future date.
I’m watching some compilation footage of IU’s live performances. In each one where she first appears on stage, she does a little sprint where she runs quickly from the left to the right side of the stage. She always does this exactly the same way each time. Later during each concert, she explains to the audience present that she does this whenever she feels that she’s being unfairly judged by people online.
Later, I’m at home, cleaning my teeth in the bathroom and I notice that there’s a small square sticker inside my mouth, which is glued to one of my front teeth. I unpeel the sticker, take it out of my mouth and take a closer look at it. It’s a small picture of a hand giving someone the finger. I’m amused by the fact that when I’ve been talking to people I’ve been giving then the finger with this sticker and not even realising, I wonder how long the sticker has been in there. As I inspect the sticker, I turn it on it’s side. When the sticker is at a 90 degree angle, the outline of the hand and finger shows the exact path that IU took in her live performances that I was watching earlier when she runs across the stage at the start. It occurs to me that this is IU’s way of symbolically giving people the finger at her live performances, in a way that they can’t detect.
Crayon Pop’s Way drops in on my radio show unannounced. I don’t mind having a surprise guest, so I tell her to sit down and that if she wants she can be on the show. Way agrees and says that this would be cool.
Music is playing and we’re waiting to go on air. I tell her Crayon Pop should reform and do a Boyz II Men style song. Way doesn’t seem to know who Boyz II Men are, so I explain to her that they’re a terrible 1990s R&B group who would dress in suits a lot. She laughs and says that she thinks she now remembers them. We’re having a good conversation, so I tell her that we shouldn’t talk too much to each other right now between the air breaks while the songs are playing, because it’s better to get those conversations in the actual air breaks themselves.
Later, we leave the studio and start talking on the front step of my house. I can hear the toilet flush, Way asks who that is. I say it’s my girlfriend. Way asks me jokingly how many girlfriends I have. My girlfriend opens the door and I introduce her to Way, however I take a little while to remember my girlfriend’s name, a fact which she isn’t bothered with but she does notice it. I start to feel embarrassed.
I’m fighting in the war between the Near-Eyes and the Far-Eyes, although I don’t know which side I’m actually fighting for, this isn’t specified. I’m inside a school building, shooting at someone on the other side of a school oval with a bolt-action rifle. They are at the base of a tree somewhere on the far side and I’m firing bullets at their general direction. I’m not a very good shot at this distance (my rifle has no scope), and while I can’t see exactly where my bullets are landing, I know that I’m definitely not hitting my target as they’re giving me consistent return fire. Their bullets are also not very well-aimed as my cover is quite good – occasionally I hear bullets landing in the external wall of the school building. The aim of each side in the conflict is really not specifically to kill the other side anyway but to make them retreat so control of the oval can be gained, but so far it’s a standoff that shows no signs of changing.
Someone on my side hands me a scope and I spend a few minutes attaching it to my gun, I’m happy because this will make it easier to aim. I get annoyed that it’s a complex process to attach it, it’s not instant like the computer games make it look. Once the scope is on, I peer through it to the other side of the oval where my adversary is still firing at me. However I can’t see anything, some blurry yellow and blue object is in the way. Then I realise that Loona’s Gowon is on the oval and her head is getting in the way of my aim, she has blonde hair with a blue bow around it. I’m not sure what she’s doing there, she looks like she’s practising dance routines with some of the other Loona members. They are all happy and smiling, none of them seem to care that there is a war going on and bullets are flying past, but I definitely don’t want to shoot Gowon in the head by accident. She looks over at me and I motion to her to move over to the side a little. She points at me as if to say “do you mean me?” and I nod. She walks a bit over to my right side and I give her a thank-you wave, as the battle for the tactically important Loona oval continues.
Each time I upgrade my computer, I take the old hard drives out and keep them stored separately. I decide that it’s time to throw out the old hard drives because they’re taking up room in my bookcase, but before I do that I decide that I should look at what’s on them to see if there’s any documents that I would like to preserve that I haven’t transferred over to my new computer system yet.
I’m sorting through my k-pop folders on one of the old drives and there’s a video of IU that I don’t remember owning. I watch the video and it’s IU starring in a Japanese adult video, it’s a fairly typical JAV scene where she’s fully clothed and masturbating a large group of men who stand around her. IU doesn’t smile or show much reaction at all to what the guys are doing other than to look at their faces occasionally, she maintains strict “Bbibbi” style “IU bitchface” throughout. Only a few of the guys who are with her end up ejaculating on her, the majority are too intimidated by IU to maintain an erection, they give up and politely excuse themselves from the scene. One guy who wasn’t able to orgasm leaves and then comes back with a pen and a photobook for IU to sign, he apologises to IU for not ejaculating and says that he’s a big fan and it would mean a lot to him if she signed his photobook. IU briefly stops what she’s doing, wipes the jizz off her hand onto her dress so she doesn’t get any stains on the photobook, takes the pen, signs the book, gives the guy a quick smile and then continues as before.
I’m trying to interview CLC’s Sorn. She emails me an interview application, and writes to me that I have to include the attached form B723-f correctly filled out with all interview requests to Cube before anything will be approved. I take a look at the form that she’s sent through, it’s a completely incomprehensible jumble of symbols. Some of it is in Hangul but most of it has directions in a hieroglyphic-style language that doesn’t even exist. It’s not even clear which parts of the form need to be filled. I email her asking how to fill it out. A few minutes later she emails me back: “that’s not my problem, you’re the interviewer – shouldn’t you know?”.
I’m in a subway. Several After School fans, mostly female, have gathered here because they have heard that After School is coming back soon, they’ve been told by somebody to all come down here and wait around and they’ll be told what to do when the time comes. The wait is lengthy, many of the fans have anticipated this, and have brought packed lunches and sleeping bags. They talk to each other loudly about various fangirl things and drift in and out of the communal subway toilets while they wait.
Eventually, Lizzy and Raina appear in the subway, and everyone excitedly congregates around them. They tell the gathered fans that the After School comeback is starting soon, and that to participate they need to exit the subway through a certain set of stairs where there is a place prepared for them to watch the video shoot. Everybody follows the directions of the After School girls, and we emerge from the subway onto a small soccer pitch. There’s a few rows of benches by the pitch where we’re directed to sit down and watch as the new music video is filmed.
Everybody in the fan group takes position in the stands, and a logo appears on a TV screen above the soccer pitch – the word After School but it’s written as AFS♤♥CHL in bold red text. The members of the group emerge onto the sport pitch and start singing and dancing to their new song. The stage is very crowded – all of the original members of After School are there, including ones who have previously left the group, there’s also two new girls I’ve never seen before, and a guy. The guy is really tall white guy with a very square jaw, dressed in a grey suit and has a curly Kenny G style mullet, he smiles as he dances. I look to my left and I recognise Siyeon from Dreamcatcher in the fan audience. She is staring straight at the guy, making constant eye contact, and her mouth hangs open in a very non-Siyeon-from-Dreamcatcher style way. She can’t turn herself away, it’s quite clear that she’s falling in love with him. The female fans in the crowd all scream like crazy whenever the guy sings a line or does a fancy dance move. I look at their reactions and think to myself that making After School into a co-ed group might just be the revitalising stroke of genius the group needs.
That’s all for this episode! Kpopalypse Dreams will return to disturb and emotionally traumatise you again at a future date!