Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"So wait for the stone on your window"

If I ever made a Hindi fillum in English and needed a song to play while the gundas do dishum dishum with the hero and chamiya hides behind, this would be it...

p.s. 1. The Decemberists are a Portland band and all the names in the video are references to Portland. Cool huh?
p.s. 2. I totally DIG how he sighs "dowwn...uh..ah..ah..uh"
p.s. 3. This will be my record breaking shortest/most idiosyncratic/most idiotic post!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Keyboard conversations

I wrote up this entire post and then blogger performed its magic and it's gone...here's my attempt to recreate it. So frustrating :(

Alright, not a post about instant messaging or chat rooms. No, this time it's an inspiration from a concert of the same name I had the pleasure of attending yesterday. My very first western classical live music experience!
It was a concert by world-renowned musician Jeffrey Siegel, who played the piano, interspersed with commentary and introductions into the 'stories' behind the pieces he selected. (Hence the name "Keyboard Conversations"). He played some Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Copeland, all names I've heard of and read of obviously, but never really listened to. It was so fascinating to learn a little more about the pieces - why Rachmaninoff hated the very piece that was his ticket to high-class Viennese musical society and world-wide fame for instance. Or why a piece might have gotten a name like "Rage over a lost penny". I learned what a rondo is (it's a piece of music where a particular tune repeats at intervals, like this).
I learned that a composition needs to be 'published' and how several now-famous and dearly beloved creations almost never saw the light of day because the composer decided not to publish it. Then a starving student sells it after his death for money, and so on and so forth. It was also enlightening to realize that published music is merely a framework - the art and genius of the musician lies in interpreting this music, not merely reading it, as I used to assume. Which obviously could go either way - I tried to relate it to my terms and decided that it'd be like the difference between a Beatles cover of a Chuck Berry song and a Backstreet Boys cover of the same. They are both perfectly entitled to cover it, but who could do it better than John, Paul, Ringo and George? Or the difference between an Instant Karma remix of a Kishore Kumar hit and a Baby Doll #47 remix of the same :)
Finally, it was just so refreshing to feel how beautifully music (sans lyrics, videos, orchestra and other crutches) - just one man and his fingers making sounds - can evoke a complete range of emotions. It's true! I really could feel the joy and the despair and the naughtiness in some nuances, and the heavy finality of some endings...it's remarkable, the genius of the composer who imagined it, and the genius of the musician who renders it so well.
I felt that music really does have the power to transform...and not just the audience. I've always thought performing music gives one an immediate aura, an instant makeover, transforming even dumpy, aging, crazy haired people like Siegel into glowing, passionate, beautiful creatures.
Well, regardless of whether this turns into a serious pursuit for me, or merely serves as an interesting peek into a world I may never enter, I'm perfectly glad I engaged in these keyboard conversations yesterday...away from the more mundane keyboard conversations I have eight hours a day with my computer at work!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Turn yourself around and come on home

She got out of town
On a railway New York bound
Took all except my name
Another alien on Broadway
There's some things in this world
You just can't change
Somethings you can't see
Until it gets too late
Baby, baby, baby
When all your love is gone
Who will save me
From all I'm up against out in this world
Maybe, maybe, maybe
You'll find something
That's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around
And come on home
That's Rob Thomas on the radio. As if he were singing with an aim, flinging those lyrics directly at me. As if he knew that the bright lights didn't receive me, that the New York minute (of course, my view of the New York minute is not as dim as The Eagles' view) was much too short, that Chicago was probably "my kind of town" but not my town, that I had my chance at the big city life and I blew it.
I just returned from couple of trips to these places and haven't overcome the hangover yet.
There is just no way around it - I'm a big city girl - I want the constant crowds, the public transportation, the street performers, the terribly-in-a-rush people, the museums and shows and big openings, the crazy traffic, the crazies, the melting pot of cultures, the languages I don't understand spoken by the people I can't stereotype wearing clothes I can't afford, the tall buildings, the midnight crowds, the ethnic themed restaurants, the celebrity sightings...and most of all, the energy. The sense that everyone has a purpose, a place to go, a reason to live and rush about. No artificially sweet hellos, no polite conversation in the park.
Of course, outside of Bombay, I've never lived in a 'real city'. And today, someone called me "Miss Suburbia" today. Not exactly a flattering term for someone like me. It's different if you have a family to raise and need to live in 'decent neighborhoods' with good schools, backyards, garage sales every weekend and more grocery stores around than movie theaters or cafes. Not exactly my priorities right now. And yes, I know, if I grumble so much I should just move closer to downtown - but then comes pragmatism and living close to where I work and not wanting to drive more than 40 minutes every day and wanting a larger 'modern' apartment instead of a crammed old 'loft with character' for which I'd pay twice as much downtown etc. etc. So as always in my life, head wins over heart, 'oughts' overcome 'wants' and I return from the bright lights to the quiet lanes of suburbia.
It's true you know, you can take a girl out of the city, but not the city out of the girl!