(This month, Underworld was fined NT$120,000 within a ten day period - two fines of NT$60,000 each - by the Taipei City Government, with more expected to come. The embattled livehouse was fined despite support from the Taipei City Department of Culture, despite passing every fire inspection for 15 years, despite a pledge by the city government to help build an additional fire escape, despite a groundswell of public support and despite growing momentum for the legal recognition of music livehouses in Taiwan.
The self-appointed arbiters of social order known as the Shidahood Association have seemingly put the full-force of their influence towards eliminating Underworld.
Underworld is planning a protest at Taipei City Council this Friday, October 26 at 9 a.m. For the most up to date information on exact times and location, please refer to the Underworld website or on Facebook)
You read GigGuide.tw because you love music. And once again, our love - music - is under threat , a very real and very evil threat.
The assholes who have proudly destroyed hundreds of businesses on ShiDa Road, the assholes who compelled Underworld to shut its doors in July, the assholes who equate the sublimity of music with carnality of pole dancing - they are back. With a vengeance.
This is not scare-mongering. This is not crying wolf. This is real and this is happening.
This is dirty politics, designed to be the death blow to Underworld.
This is an extreme minority of people with extreme views & a fake morality hellbent on dictating the very real terms of other people's lives and livelihoods.
This is an extreme minority, with politicians and bureaucrats in their pockets and a city under their thumb.
But get this: They have no popular mandate. None. Did you vote for them? No one did.
Their intimidation tactics are obvious.
Their giant screaming banners, draped along the sides of area apartment buildings, blemish the neighborhood, evoking the slogans and propaganda that pervade the cityscapes of China, an absolutely disturbing allusion for all who value free thought.
Their slander and manipulations are an insult to the very community they profess to protect.
Oh, and they are wrong.
In every way, they are wrong.
When we're very young, we're taught to play fair. Then, in almost the very next breath, we're told that life ain't fair, and we generally spend the rest of our lives having that notion confirmed, if not beaten into us.
This writer, however, is a bit of a sucker and it felt pretty good thinking that there ought to be some balance and order to how we humans conduct ourselves. And I suspect that's true for many of you, too. I think that's why it hurts so much every time our sense of justice and fair-play gets abused.
In our hearts, we know what is right.
Closing down Underworld because a few grumpy neighbors don't like the place, that is not right.
As one GigGuide.tw reader commented, "What the hell did Underworld do in Taipei except provide a cool bar for people to hang out and listen to music..?"
When Underworld shut its doors in July, it was the most disgusting feeling I can recall. The week-long funeral that preceded it was the most miserable countdown ever, watching and waiting helplessly as my best friend died.
A month later, when Underworld said, "Fuck it, let's reopen," I didn't celebrate so much as I simply enjoyed breathing again (as ironic as that image may be).
And now, the assholes are back and in for the kill.
I, for one, don't want those bastards to win.
No matter their "friends" or fines, what these people are doing is wrong. That much is clear.
And there's also this: there are more - much more - of us than them. That much is clear, too.
Politicians gravitate and salivate to power. We have the strength in numbers to match the rightness of our beliefs, which is simply this: we have the right to exist.
There ARE more of us who love music and freedom and fair-play. We CAN do something about this.
These assholes, they want us to give up. They expect us to quit. They want us disillusioned and hopeless.
No fucking way.
These assholes, they believe in an insulated, joyless world. I believe in something very different. I believe in an open and loving life, one filled with creativity & compassion, respect & dialogue.
We only live one life and I think we owe it to ourselves to honor our values and fight for what we believe in.
Friday morning at 9:00a.m., rain or shine, come hell or high-water, I will be at Taipei City Council standing with Underworld for what I know is right and against what I know to be wrong.
Let's show our "leaders" who we are.
Let them count our numbers.
Let them know what we believe.
Let them know we have the right to exist.
It may be our last chance.
I hope you can join us.