Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

If you can't do anything without money,
Don't you think you have already been enslaved?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

When you can't accept the truth
someone tells you.
You tend to payback that person
with some form of hurt.

Mackie: Love is Forever

Pets are for Life.
Be Responsible.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

How Music and Lyrics Saved my Life

I sometimes wonder if musicians, singers and performers know how much of power they have in their hands. I come from a time when there were only 2 TV channels with limited airing time, one English radio channel and Rediffusion, nothing even remotely close to what is known as the internet but arcades which had pinball machines, space invaders and foosball. Some of the best treats I remembered having was to buy a vinyl record only a few months once after accumulating enough pocket money to purchase it. Though my collections were few they were definitely precious. Vinyls was one of those things we used to give as presents on birthdays and celebrations. The thrill of owning a beautifully designed album cover with perhaps only a few songs of your liking was a gift better than anything anyone could appreciate. The idea of getting it home and playing it on the turntable while you sit in the quiet of the room listening to it was just perfect. It was also a time when we could not own, purchase or get every song we listened to because of its availability or cost. In my hometown the record shops had a service, which is now known as piracy, and copy our song selections on cassette tapes for a fee. Other than that the only other way to appreciate songs was from the radio and I always knew when Patrick Teoh, Janet Ambrose, Faridah Merican or Constance Haslam came on air to host my favorite programs. Every Sunday was a feast for the ears because I could spend hours listening to hits from the US, UK and some local favorites. I usually arm myself with a pen and paper to jot down the names of the songs as soon as the DJs read them out and go to the record shop to add them to my collection.

I can still remember the first time I heard ‘Another Bites the Dust’ and how ‘Funky Town’ was a number one hit in both sides of the Atlantic, when two songs with the same title ‘Woman in love’ hit the charts and that one of the DJs used ‘Pilot of the Airwaves’ for her theme song. And on TV my best times were the midnight movies which really did start at midnight or later. I would sneak to the hall and sit as close as I could in front of the TV and watch with the lowest volume so that I won't wake anyone up to chase me back to bed. But as I experienced life and found that I was different from the 'norm' I began to seek for answers everywhere I could find. Along the way, from an innocent kid to one that was filled with depression and confusion, I always went back to the songs to help me get through the day and keep my spirits up. As life got harder for me carry as an adult I drowned myself more into songs and sang along to get the madness out of my system. I guess that is one of the reasons why I love musicals as well because for one they were repeated almost every few months on TV and practically became part of my growing up ritual. And the other thing was the way lyrics were written that seemed to know what I was feeling; like fallinf in love, feeling on top of the world and sticking to one's own beliefs. Once 'I could have danced all night' was my theme song, not because it was a love song but because it was a song of celebration of  life as though one has been given a new lease. To me, it was the kind of song that I would sing when my wish came true, and I did. I still feel that life is a musical whether its a composition from Lerner and Lowe, Rodgers and Hammerstein,Andrew Llyod Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, Tim Rice, etc.

The thing about liking a song or feeling close to it is the magic it brings at that particular time because it all seem to come togther and make sense. While struggling to get out of myself when I was caught in between worlds I used to sing pretty loudly to Kate Bush's 'Get out of my house' from The Dreaming album aka I've Gone Mad album so says Kate Bush herself. The song was actually inspired by Stephen King's novel The Shining and the lyrics go like this.

(Get out of my house)
No strangers feet
Will enter me
I wash the panes
I clean the stains away.
This house is as old as I am
This house knows all I have done

They come with their weather hanging around them
But can't knock my door down.
With my key I (lock it)
With my key I (lock t)
This house is full of m-m-my mess
This house is full of m-m-mistakes,
This house is full of m-m-madness
This house is full of, full of, full of, full of fight.

It really made me want to kick down the door of existence down and grab it by the throat. The Dreaming is still my favorite beside Hounds of Love, which I used to play full blast on my Walkman while making a deal with God. And it goes like this:

(Running Up That Hill)
It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know, know that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?
You, It's you and me.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
Say, If I only could, oh...

And Cloudbusting always gave me hope.

But every time it rains,
You're here in my head,
Like the sun coming out--
Ooh, I just know that something good is gonna happen.
And I don't know when,
But just saying it could even make it happen.

When CDs started to flood into the market commercially I purchased my very first which was The Best of Pat Benatar. One of her songs was featured in an underrated movie, so I think, which was a box office failure that garnered a lot of negative reviews. But I loved it and after a long and endless search I found it and rewatched it again recently. The movie, The Legend of Billie Jean, had an anthemic song by Pat Benatar call 'Invincible' that served as the music score and eventually built up to the grand finale to a underdog victory a la Joan of Arc.

This bloody road remains a mystery.
This sudden darkness fills the air.
What are we waiting for?
Won't anybody help us?
What are we waiting for?
We can't afford to be innocent
stand up and face the enemy.
It's a do or die situation - we will be invincible.

This shattered dream you cannot justify.
We're gonna scream until we're satisfied.
What are we running for ? 

We've got the right to be angry.
What are we running for when there's nowhere we can run to anymore?
We can't afford to be innocent
stand up and face the enemy.
It's a do or die situation - we will be invincible.
And with the power of conviction there is no sacrifice.
It's a do or die situation - we will be invincible.

Each time I watch this movie I want to scream out and sing along with Pat Benatar and start a revolution. Well, that's saying so much about how songs really influence me. Heart is also my muse, or rather muses since they are Ann and Nancy Wilson. Just listening to their voices is enough for me to get by and believe since the sisters kickass like nobody's business. Whenever I hear their songs like ‘Never’, ‘What about love?’, ‘Alone’, ‘Who Will You Run To?’, and then some I know I can do anything.

Jim Steinmen is so far the one and only songwriter that I love best for his lyrics but I occasionally would buy into a Diane Warren’s compositions. His usual mouthful of poetic verses is quite a challenge to sing but if you love his creation you'd do anything for love.

(Tonight is what it means to be Young)
I've got a dream when the darkness is over
We'll be lyin' in the rays of the sun
But it's only a dream and tonight is for real
You'll never know what it means
But you'll know how it feels
It's gonna be over (over)
Before you know it's begun
(Before you know it's begun)

It's all we really got tonight
Stop your cryin' hold on (tonight)
Before you know it it's gone (tonight)
Tonight is what it means to be young
Tonight is what it means to be young

‘Tonight is what it means to be young’ was featured in the movie Streets of Fire: A Rock & Roll Fable, which again is cheesy and a little out dated but worth a watch.

After having gone through life's many complicated facets with the help of these god-sent angels, I have now mellowed down to Sting, Peter Gabriel, Bryan Ferry, Kim Carnes, Andre Bocelli, Fleetwood Mac and other veteran crooners, although I still get disco (yes I actually like these kitschy songs), new wave, rock, R&B, oldies and instrumentals in my random play. Depending on what I feel like at the moment I could be baptized by ambient music, soundtracks or show tunes and then go on to classical and opera and jump to a completely different genre. The impact of songs is so great I can't imagine a world without them whether they are ridiculous or superficial or morally guided. I'm sure many of us cried our eyes out, danced like monkeys, sang like there's no tomorrow, dedicated songs to each other or made them theme songs in our lives at least once.

If you were an artiste and you know that your songs change lives would you hesitate even for a moment to showcase your best works for the world to hear?

Quote of the Day

If you are living a miserable life
you know deep in your heart
you still haven't forgiven yourself
for what you've done in the past.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Dearest Friend

I'd like to let you know that
I cannot be your friend anymore.
I hope you are alright with it
since I am going to be truthful and sincere.
It's not that I don't like you or
find you unpleasant.
But I realize I have grown
and change with the times.
I no longer wish to discriminate anyone
for being who they are,
I am through with comparing
the color of my skin
and the greatness of my religion.
I don't want to take any political stand
just because someone wants me to,
I can make that decision on my own.
I know we used to find stray animals disgusting
and how we sometimes hurt them for fun.
I have grown out of that ignorance
and I love animals more than I ever had before.
I am gradually moving into vegetarianism,
I don't need meat to satisfy my hunger anymore.
I can do without steak or bacon or pork roast
for I simply enjoy vegetables as fresh as I can get them.
My career days are over since I no longer
need an expensive lifestyle.
I don't want to chase something that isn't making me happy.
And I have no need for wealth beyond my dreams
because I have no intention to claim
a piece of earth and call it mine.
My weekly shopping days are no more a necessity
and my collection of bags and shoes and dresses are long gone.
I do with what I can and prefer to recycle hand me downs.
My taste for the nightlife has simmered down too.
All of a sudden I have no need for noise in the nightspots
and I prefer the peace and quiet in the home.
I have also learned to love the silence of good company,
I guess we have grown apart
and I appreciate your friendship all these years.
But I don't want to compromise myself
for the sake of keeping a friend.
I may have enjoyed dissing someone we knew
or cutting a stranger down to size
but it doesn't make sense to me anymore.
I don't need to do all those to be happy,
I don't have to follow a set of rules
created by people who doesn't know me
or understand me or think of my well being.
I know it's not my place to tell anyone to change
that's why I have to move on and tell you
I can no longer be your friend.
It was great while it lasted
but I need to find my way
through this sometimes bleak and demoralizing world
with an open mind and a heart inspired by
the very core of my spirit.
I enjoy beautiful things more than I wish to see them ugly
if you know what I mean.
Maybe someday our paths would cross again
but until then I wish you well
and I wish you everything that you ever ask for.
who used to be a friend.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Look Up to the Night

I watch the sky at night,
looking at the stars,
the constellations,
the wonderment.
Observing the lights
that twinkle,
that are stationary,
that passes.
I look at the clouds,
the moon,
the darkness.
Beyond reach
from the stains
of people down below.
No one,
not many,
looks up

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Into the life of the Living

As I walk along Gurney Drive
I hear voices
and sounds
people make to
be understood,
to be accepted,
to be comforted,
to be a part of that whole
business of belonging.
Talks of devastation,
discussions of passion,
calls for trades,
exchanges of ideas,
proposals that matter
and disposals of troubling anguish.
Through cell phones,
with lovers,
among friends,
a nod to strangers
and a gesture all alone.
The sea is calm,
the tide is out,
the moon hangs down
like a lantern
in the ebony sky.
Everyone had their meals,
everything's in its place,
everybody's walking
to wear away the excess
of their baggages.
They didn't see it
although they knew it.
They didn't hear it
although it was jarring.
They didn't feel it
although they scratch themselves silly.
But they will soon taste the saltiness,
and smell the fear
that they have buried
in the shallow graves
of their unrest.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quote of the Day

For the self-righteous:
What you do now determines who you are today,
What you do tomorrow has yet to determine who you are

For the ignorant:
Shut the fuck up and do it already!

For those who already know but need a gentle reminder:
What you don't do today will still not get done tomorrow

A Glimmer of Hope


As bad as situations are in the whole world, thank goodness
there's still a glimmer of hope from the heavens.