Wednesday, August 17, 2005

original spaceboy



The Great Pumpkin's new solo record, The Future Embrace, threatens to herald a new era of Billy Corgan-reckoning, and blog tributaries could never be anything more than just commonplace...or so it would seem.

I found this discovery (excerpted from his blog [yes, his blog] at billycorgan.com) mildly mind-blowing:

"...Each morning at 4:45 is the first call to prayer...the hotel islocated just next to the Haga Sophia, which is one of the most famous mosques in the world...so it figures that the man doing the sing-song call to prayer in the morning would be one of the best in the land...it is so hard to describe, but this man singing is like JimiHendrix (playing the national anthem) with his voice...when he starts up, so do another 100 mosques as well...the whole city lights up with sound, and in my half-awake state, I feel this man singing to me right thru my soul...he is distorting his voice with the colour of 2,000 years...and then it hits me, the sound I am seeking for the record...the ancient sound of life and love mixed with a overloaded distortion that is earthen...the sound of this man singing becomes my template for the sound of Adore...now I know why we are here..." -- Billy Corgan, reflecting on first hearing the azan (Islamic call to prayer) whilst in Turkey, and the unlikely (but true) inspiration for the Smashing Pumpkins' fourth studio record.

Adore remains a severely underrated -- a dark, unpopular sibling of its strapping predecessors Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness. To learn of Billy's (yes, I'll damn well call him by his first name as I damn well please, whether he likes it or not, and whether anyone else likes it or not...with all due respect it is, after all, still my blog) reasoning and real inspiration behind that black, yet beautiful record is like reaffirmation worth a thousand squandered moments.

I have invested a sinful amount of time pointlessly pondering this reality -- the jarring effect of dogma (what to me has been a thoroughly distrubing anomaly, in the context of the effect it brings on music) on art, which is to me, is and should always be preserved to be, one of the everlasting symbols of human purity and non-judgement.

...so it's just as well that only a dreamer like Billy could dispel this reality with such grace, magnitude and conviction (credibility? critics and detractors will have other thoughts).

Me, being born a Malay muslim, God-fearing, primary school-going Malaysian male morphed into unintentional scribe & default/helpless alternative rock child -- your "Asian in a cold country" -- as opposed to Billy, being born a white, American male morphed into free-thinking, God-damning androgyne poet/alternative rock child.

The two shouldn't ever have anything to do with each other, in a PC world...but who woulda figured? How's that for mind-blowing...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

thru the eyes of ruby



...or "earthly muses (cont'd)".

both are fitting titles for this post, of which I'm designating as a long overdue appreciation/love letter-tributary to one other being who, upon landing, would never have dreamed existed, seemingly just for me, or let alone meeting.

"thru the eyes of ruby"

that is the title of the smashing pumpkins song that was and forever will be one of the purest, untarnished documentations of my tumultuous, tragic (yet frequently joyful and revelationary, in retrospect) adolescent/teenage existence.

that is also the string of words that remind me of what loving and being loved is all about, and to see things from the other's perspective, when it comes down to it and when need be.

me and ruby are almost too different ... a classic, cliched case of opposites attract. she deals in medicine (pharmaceuticals, drugs) , marketing and business; i deal in arts. and yet we are one, for the time being.

earthly muses



I've been meaning to allow a little introduction to some shall we say, creatures, of God's creation, who have been instrumental to whatever channeling of creativity I have put forth into Earth's atmosphere in recent months.

The first would be Peep, bless her dear soul, who was my dearest muse of feline ancestry. The keyword being "was" ... she sadly disappeared in May to, I imagine (and hope to God), greener, more pristine pastures. If she is truly no longer on this plain ... it would be with all my being that I pray for her soul's contentment and well-being, even in the animal afterlife.

May her spirit continue to inspire wherever else she goes. Such purity embodied in a graceful, earthen body. She was nature's beauty personified ... and many a silent, lonesome night went by, birthing a song, a poem, with only Peep beside me, over my shoulder, perching, almost scoffing on her favourite chair (cats love high places).

Peep, my favourite muse, is survived by Spike, a portrait of whom I will place here if and when, he decides to behave himself enough and quit dragging in the myriad lizards, bugs and assorted creepy crawlies into the living room.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

briefly m.i.a.




Hi. Hi everyone. I've not been able to log on courtesy of mine and everyone else's same shit-different-day-ordinary-waking-life, and I know, I'm sorry...it is a bit dusty.

I've always felt that laughter always works when it comes to the re-breaking of any proverbial ice...so, well, perhaps I'll leave you with a token of earthen humour, while I warm up the creative cables and jumpstart this online abode to the stars.

An ass-kicking hilarious excerpt (about, funnily, the sexual politics of Archie) from Chasing Amy, a most resonant adolescent classic by writer/director Kevin Smith, bless the tubby bitch.

Read on, and enjoy:

Scene 3 _ (After the comic con and the dartboardscenes)

Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) exits into the night. Holden (Ben Affleck) stares after her. Two beats later, Hooper (Dwight Ewell) and Banky (Jason Lee) enter, holding an ‘Everything’s Archie’ comic between them.

BANKY You’re insane. Archie is not fucking
Mister Weatherbee!

HOOPER Deny, deny, deny. (to Holden) Where’s Alyssa?

HOLDEN Huh! Oh. She left. She said she’d call you later.

BANKY (off comic) He’s just offering to help Archiewith his homework!

HOOPER Read between the lines.

BANKY (shoves book at him) Fuck this. (to Holden) Let’s go. Traffic. (no response from Holden) Holden!

HOLDEN (shaken) What!

BANKY Let’s go.

HOOPER (looking out window) D’jou see that dent in the hood of your car!

BANKY (looking out window) What the...! Son of a bitch!
Banky runs out Holden shrugs at Hooper.

HOLDEN (beat) Mister Weatherbee wasn’t really trying to fuck Archie, was he!

HOOPER Hell no. Weatherbee was Reggie’s bitch.

At the bar scene _ (At night)

Holden, Banky, Alyssa and Hooper sir around a table drinking, talking, and smoking.

BANKY
Archie, alright! Archie and the Riverdale gang were a pure and fun- lovin bunch. You can t find dysfunction in those comics, because they were just flat out wholesome.

HOOPER
Archie and Jughead were lovers. (sips his drink)

BANKY Shut the fuck up.

HOOPER It s true. Archie was the bitch and Jughead was the butch - that s why Jughead wears that crown-looking hat all the time: he the king, of queen Archie s world.

BANKY Man, I feel a hate-crime coming on...

HOLDEN He s got a point. Archie never did settle on Betty or Veronica.

BANKY Because he wanted them both at the same time, you assholes! He never chose one because he was trying to get both of them into a three-way!

HOOPER (pulls out a dollar and hands it to Banky) Here. I want you to go down to the corner store and buy yourself a clue.
Go on.

BANKY Eat it. Urkel.

HOOPER I told you to watch it with that Urkel shit. Face it, girl - Archie s a sister.

BANKY (getting up; to Hooper) That s it. You.

HOOPER Moi?

BANKY You are marching back across the street with me, and we re going to pick up a shit load of Archie books, I am going to prove to you - beyond the
shadow of a doubt that Archie was all
about pussy. Come on.

HOOPER (sliding out of booth) This boy is conflicted, I shall play mother-therapist for him. You two sit tight. We shall return promptly.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

stargazing in lion city



Neil Gaiman...in Singapore. Too surreal. Alas! I may just have that chance at finally meeting one of my all-time literary heroes after all. And in this lifetime, no less. To think that come next month, Neil will be just miles away. To think that, my copy (my copy!) of Stardust may finally recieve the brazen touch of its original author when he places his authentic signature on the full page illustration of Tristan Thorn leaving Faerie.


Hey, let's make an adventure of it. The Dreamkeeper visits the Lion City (to most likely plug his new book, Anansi Boys) on:

July 5th, 2005
4.30 - 6.30 pm Book signing at Kinokuniya391 Orchard Road Ngee Ann City #03-10/15 Takashimaya Shopping Centre Singapore 238872

Tel: (65)6737-5021 Fax: (65)6738-0487
6.30pm Neil Gaiman's talk at
library@orchard (Ngee Ann City's Podium Block, Fifth Leveljust upstairs from Kinokuniya bookstore) chaired by Peter Schoppert, Chairman, Singapore Writers Festival, followed by Q&A organised by the British Council and the National Library Board

July 6th:
6 pm: Borders Signing#01-00 Wheelock Place501 Orchard Road Singapore, 238880

Phone: 6235.7146 Fax: 6235.4981

Dream-hunters, let's brave the commercial hell of Orchard together ... It's clear, the time is now. Neil needs us.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

homeward bound...


In celebrating my recent revelation of discovering the greatest folk duo ever, Simon & Garfunkel, this post goes out to one of their greatest songs (thanks Eyeris, and Ling, a mutual colleague/friend of ours).

"Thoughts & Recollections On ... Home"

That's what I'll call this diatribe...yes, that'll do. Thoughts on home...

Having moved from Madison, Wisconsin just months before taking the UPSR (not
in time to skip the bloody test), and then hauling ass every other year since once I had settled back here in this country, I often wonder where my "real" home is.

Technically, this
should be home ... here, in Petaling Jaya Satellite City, this little 25km squared patch of largely privatised land, where corporate opportunities abound and clash with the penniless denizens of the arts world. Aesthetically, it has been, too, I guess ... to a certain degree.
For me, no sight in Wisconsin - as beautiful as that place is - was more beautiful than certain streets and parks and spots in SS17, Subang Jaya in 1995 (incidentally, the year I discovered music, I mean, real music, thru the famous and fabulous Beatles) in the evenings. So yeah, that certainly felt like home to me.

Years later, in 2000 (incidentally, the year my band, Auburn, was formed), I moved to a charming old apartment named Tiara Damansara in Section 16 of PJSC, and it turned out to be more bohemian and rustic than me and my Mom had bargained for, and it really didn't matter that the paint on the apartment buildings had already begun to peel with age because the tattered greys and browns of the walls really did give it a cool, classic antique sheen in the mornings. What made it even cooler and even more classic was that time and place saw the days I felt I was most creative, where we had written the most songs as Auburn, and had the most practices and songwriting sessions at. So yeah, that, too felt like home.

But five years on today, I drive by those places from time to time and they don't feel the same. I had lost what I truly believed was home - twice - and I've never really felt the same way at any other place since.

Will I ever really feel at home again? Or is it just another chunk of youth being terminally estranged, and drifting away, never to be relived again ... a mere sign of old age?

Oh, but you know what, it's getting late...and I probably shouldn't have started this rambling post.

But I promise we can share more stories (and ask the world more dumb existential questions) next time. So till then, remember...there's no place like home. More on Madison at our next juncture...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

spaceward bound!


Ten outer-space songs about escape that remind me of home ... some of what I like to call droid music, but with heart; a bunch of songs with stars in their eyes (incidentally, the image above conveniently depicts my star sign, aside from being a really cool outer-space image):

1.) "Supersonic" by Oasis

*Futuristic-sounding in 1995, for a chart-topping British pop/rock song, written when Oasis could still write songs. I hear their new record, Don't Believe the Truth, is a stellar comeback. Ya, I'm sure. That's what they all say ... every time. It never fails. But this is still one of their great early songs.

2.) "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" by Pink Floyd

*Pink Floyd + pretentious, verbose and totally obvious space-rock song title = cosmic aural explosion! What more could I say?

3.) "Stellar" by Incubus

*The best story about interstellar romance (or is it cosmic elation? orgasmic love sensations? the truth is in Brandon Boyd's head) put to song ever.

4.) "Glittering Blackness" by Explosions in the Sky

*Better than Mogwai? Screw subjectivity...hell yes they are! I just had to put this mob of beautiful noiseniks in the list.

5.) "Selamat Tinggal Dunia" oleh Butterfingers

*Note that the right word is "oleh", as opposed to just "by" the Butterfingers. That alone makes it an otherworldly concept for most bands. A great song ... nice and hearty with all the good gravy ingredients thrown in.


6.) "Nebula" by Incubus

*I don't know what about this band that makes them so outer-spacey. But this track's an awesome display of Incubus' musical prowess - taken off their 1997 album, S.C.I.E.N.C.E., this was recorded ... when they were 21! 21! God knows what drugs they were on.

7.) "Spaceboy" by the Smashing Pumpkins

*A lot of bygone adolescent memories contained within this song...a personal favourite. Recommended listening for any novice escapist out there.

8.) "Joy Opposites" by Cave In

*Okay, this song doesn't really have anything to do with epic space themes in the least, but Boston's Cave In makes the list just on sheer intent - their record Antenna, which this song is taken off of, tunes in to its own planet of dust where modern rockers can pretend to be prog.

9.) "Tonite, Tonite" by the Smashing Pumpkins

*A boy and a girl meet and wither the assault of kooky but hostile alien lifeforms, the disapproving stare of a crooked, crusty moon, and various other galactic hazards to find a cardboard rocket which lets them take off and escape into the cosmos. Then our stars embrace, and the curtains of the universe close. The End. What a great video. Love the 1920s top hats.

10.) "To Be Continued" by Auburn

*And yeah, sure why not, this is a song from Auburn, *SMIRK* written when I was 20 and wanting to leave this temporal plain more than anything. *GAG* (I must put the song up by next week...)

tribute to greats

Both to avoid writing something really dumb ever again and also to complete my self-initiation into the blogging world ... I've decided to pay my deepest gratitude to those who've been all too responsible for the completion of my crossover from Couldn't-Be-Bothered Paperback Writer to Darth Blogger:
  • Ron's Kehpohchiville (witty, candid, articulate, learned, original - brilliant!)
  • The Visitor's (he'd kill me if I revealed his identity) Clouded Moon (dark, with a funny-ass profile picture of the author)
  • Eddy's Faith In Ink (what can I say? a cool blog from one of my closest, coolest friends)
  • Daph's The Places You Will Go (take a whimsical ride into the realm of great tasting literature)
  • Eyeris' Eye On Everything (thoroughly Malaysian perspectives on ... everything)
  • Zack Cherry's Sigh (hip, heartfelt, honest ... and often moving)
  • Kubhaer's Adventures of Captain Karat (a true thespian - perhaps an alien, too - showing us mortals the person offstage)
  • Jeff Ooi's Screenshots (notorious, essential - no introduction needed ... has achieved cult status without dumb endorsements by the likes of me. sharp, comprehensive, ballsy and yeah, kick-ass. the most on-the-ball blog any Malaysian could ever choose to stumble upon)

Till then ... Peace, love and blogging.

a second impression


Hi.

Let's start over. Okay, I'm not really an alien or an erstwhile human being or a confused extraterrestrial wannabe - but a series of events over the past two decades have helplessly led to me to feel like ... an Asian in a Cold Country. (Even more recent events have led me to feel like an alien in my own goddamn country, no, my own goddamn town ... but that's another story.)

An erstwhile hopeless romantic? A devout existentialist? A closet misanthrope? I've been accused of worse things, but many friends and companions can attest to such qualities and have grown content with such descriptions ever since first contact was made.

On this plain of existence, I've led alternate lives by day and by night ... a lowly scribe by day; a simple (and perhaps even more lowly) minstrel by night. I've learned that these are utterly disparate lives at the worst of times, but have been quite content to fulfill the two purposes.

So again, it was nice to meet you. Till next time ... farewell, goodbye.

P.S. Still dealing with the totally impotent feeling of not being able to write a worthwhile first blog entry. How could it have been meaty ... tasty? How could I have announced my giant leap into the wonderful world of blogging in a way that was kick-ass and memorable forever?

first contact

Hi.

I arrived 24 years ago. I am an alien. I have lived and functioned in this walking cavity since and am now as frail and mortal as the next person. I am also brown for some reason or other, and of the Malay ancestry, which forks from the ancient Mongoloid line of humanoid beings (hence the flat, yet angular features made famous by that other, dumbest, most notorious, crazy mofo of all aliens, Genghis Khan).

Others of my kind (friends, companions and kindred spirits I have come to know and love over the years) have to some extent inspired me to devote this fraction of cyberspace towards chronicling my humble observations on the waking lives of random humanoid types.

This blog (as I have been told they're called) means to be sincere, but is completely capable of sarcasm, mocking behaviour, playing the fool, taking the piss, and plain unadulterated cheek, too. This blog reserves the right to be as utterly verbose or as vaguely liberated with brevity as it pleases.

Till next time. Nice to meet you, goodbye.

P.S. Could anyone out there please tell me how to write a decent, corn-free first blog entry?