Dig It!: Ben Liew

Every month JUICE gets down with a trendsetting, jetsetting type and asks them to unearth their favourite people, places and things. This month, since it’s our birthday, we pick the brains of our own irrevent music editor Ben Liew. He hates cakes by the way…

1. David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed
Okay, I have a fascination with junkie musicians. But let’s face it, all creative types of the 60s and 70s were “on” something. For this unholy trinity, it was fueled with their madness which subsequently fueled their music. The prototypes for punk, new wave and glam; David, Iggy and Lou we rebels and gutter-saints way before the Sex Pistols or even The Ramones.

2. Vang Vieng, Laos
There are too many songs about Amsterdam, Kingston Town and New York. I want to write one about this dingy little backpackers’ stop somewhere in the woods in this Communist country where I made a deal with the devil…

3. South Park
I guess you could call this a guilty pleasure if there is such a thing (we’re all guilty of something, anyway). But South Park has actually evolved from this crude, DIY cartoons about dicks and farts into an authority on American satire-tackling pop culture and global issues with CNN speed. Scientologists, the American Government, Radiohead, Kim Jong-II, Tiger Woods, Tom Cruise, Indiana Jones, WoW, The Jonas Bros… No one is safe from the axe of creators and provocateurs Matt Stone and Trey Parker and their 4 little friends.

4. Insomnia
Sleeping is for sheep.

5. American ’91 Fender Strat
I bought this off a Japanese dude who didn’t have enough money to get out of the country. Initially it had a lot of lame a$$ ah beng racing stickers on it. I tore ’em off and stuck my own lame stickers. Now it truly looks like a tortured instrument.

6. Charles Bukowski
He suffered in a post office for 15 years, drank furiously, gambled, and gave up on his real passion until he put it all on the line and wrote his 1st bestseller Post Office. Bukowski kept it real, for me. Anyone who’s interested in writing should get into his stuff. As do those who question the need for this thing we call “work”.

7. Sublime’s 40 OZ. To Freedom
People remember Green Day, The Offspring and Rancid. But Sublime were the band that broke me out of my punk rock high school mould. Their debut album was a mash-up of hip hop, gutter punk, dub, reggae, ska, rap and psychedelic jazz. Too bad frontman Bradley Nowell got into junk and ended his life prematurely.

8. Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas
I swear I got high after watching this for the first time. And I wasn’t on anything! It takes a while to get into the movie and even then, you won’t know exactly what’s happening. Try reading the book by Hunter S Thompson before watching this. You’ll probably get higher.

9. Writer’s Jacket
Every good writer needs a good jacket. Nothing fancy, unless you’re something of a fashion writer (don’t hate me, Mira!). But something that’s cheap, durable (read: able to withstand drinking stains and occasional fist fights with rempits) and classy. I got mine from The Summit in USJ for RM20. It’s got to say, “Hey, I may not be earning big bucks like a CEO or an oil & gas merchant but I’m a free enterprise, baby!”