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Sport 21: Spring 1998



It is October 1997 and I am collecting the Japanese avant-garde electric guitarist, ‘psyche monster’ and ‘noise terrorist’ Keiji Haino—also known as ‘The Prince of Silence and Noise’—from Wellington airport. His concerts are notorious for their extreme volume and the violence of his approach to his instrument. Haino is accompanied by an interpreter who knows only fractionally more English than he does. Driving past the end of the runway, I hear a guttural murmuring from the backseat (Haino, I am told, prefers speaking an ancient Japanese dialect), then the interpreter beside me gestures towards the runway and asks: ‘What … is … that?’

‘A windsock.’

He translates that for the backseat passenger and I hear them both laughing and saying, ‘… wind … sock …’

The following day, delivering the two men back to the airport, as we approach the runway I notice their conversation in Japanese is punctuated by the English word ‘windsock’, which is accompanied with a breathless laughter and an enthusiasm counter to their usual cultivated gloom and high seriousness.

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