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Six degrees

Mark Peters

 

Billy Corgan, the frontman and founding member of multiplatinum rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, will hit the AsiaWorld-Expo stage on Tuesday night with three new Pumpkins in tow, providing he doesn’t throw another of his well-documented rock-star tantrums. Corgan (right) also channels his passions into independent wrestling – in 2011 he started Resistance Pro, a wrestling promotion company. Previous to this he had stepped into the bodyslamming limelight when he took to the ring at an event following the withdrawal of a friend, former basketball star Dennis Rodman …

 

The flamboyant 52-year-old and former NBA bad boy, known as much for his excessive partying as his grappling skills, was raised by his mother after his father deserted the family. Despite that abandonment, Rodman himself has proved to be a less than perfect parent: last year he admitted he’d probably only seen his 24-yearold daughter “for a total of five days of her life”. Earlier this year Rodman travelled to North Korea to host a basketball exhibition and came away with a “friend for life”, fellow hoops fan and “awesome guy” Kim Jong-un …

 

North Korea’s supreme leader, favoured over his elder half-brother, Jong-nam, as the “Great Successor” following the latter’s failed attempt to visit Tokyo’s Disneyland on a fake passport, recently attended a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean war. In a monumental parade of military power, thousands of mini-skirted female soldiers marched in inch-perfect unison before their well-nourished leader. Last year, Kim’s glamorous wife, the 20-something Ri Sol-ju, was photographed carrying a handbag considered to be worth the average annual salary of a North Korean, from the fashion house of Christian Dior …

 

The French designer, famed for his voluptuous “New Look” creations, died from a heart attack while on holiday in Italy in 1957. The exact cause of the seizure remains unknown, with conflicting reports stating it happened after he choked on a fish bone, that it was brought on by a game of cards and that he had just overdone it in a strenuous sexual encounter. Christian Dior perfume has strategic importance in the novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Japanese author Haruki Murakami …

 

In 2011, Murakami won the Catalonia International Prize and donated his HK$820,000 award to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that had battered Japan that year. The writer had earlier slammed Japan’s nuclear policy in the wake of the emergency at the Fukushima nuclear plant that resulted from the tsunami, declaring that the country should have learnt from the atomic bombings of 1945 “just how badly radiation leaves scars on the world and human wellbeing”. In Murakami’s novel Kafka on the Shore, the young protagonist runs away from home and chooses a new name, in honour of German novelist Franz Kafka …

 

Now the world’s 39th most translated writer, only a few of Kafka’s works made it into print during his lifetime. Despite explicit instructions that upon his death, “Everything I leave behind me … [is] to be burned unread”, most of his manuscripts were published posthumously by his friend and literary executor Max Brod. Kafka’s writing strongly influenced the genre of existentialism and he was later referenced in the line, “I love life every day in each and every way; Kafka would be proud, to find out,” from the song Doomsday Clock, written by the existentially angsty Billy Corgan.

 

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