Monday, September 19, 2016

Roddy Frame's "Surf" And Some Bruno Mars Songs


       “Play some love songs,” somebody requested while I was listening to some old progressive rock songs in my cell phone (which was connected to the stereo). I stopped what was playing and searched for love songs on YouTube, saw a previously played video of Roddy Frame, Surf, and played it again.

       Surf is of course the title track from what I think is Roddy Frame’s best solo album, Surf. High Land, Hard Rain is his best Aztec Camera album, in my book. Surf is the best song in the album, it’s slow and quiet, like most of the (love) songs in the album, and utterly beautiful.

       "Play some Bruno Mars songs," the requester said when the song finished. I searched for some Bruno Mars songs, played it and then went to my room and slept.



Surf
Roddy Frame

Amazing, grace-filled guiding light
See her safely home tonight
The east-end squares've grown cold and loud
Since I lived there with the twilight crowd
The west end lights have lost their wow

Trail my thoughts, show me the way to the heart of her
I'm half-lost, wondering if I should follow
Or lay low

Sweet, slight arresting bright light smile
Peels back the layered big city style
And reveals me in the mystery of what her world could mean to me
She's an island girl
I'm lost at sea

When I was young the radio played just for me, it saved me
And now I don't want anyone who wants me, baby
Tuning out the darkness
Turning on the dawn
If life was like the songs, I'd surf across the curved horizon
And forget her and be gone

So I check my map for tiny signs
Of where she's at and where she's been
But it's made from scraps of stupid lines
From songs and scenes and magazines
It doesn't tell me what it means

Take her face out of the start of the day for me
I'm half crazed, wondering if I should follow
Or let it go

Can't get straight
Lost my way
I'm overcome by her spell

When I was young the radio played just for me, it saved me
And now I don't want anyone who wants me, baby
Tuning out the darkness
Turning on the dawn
If life was like the songs, I'd surf into the waves
And in a splash of silver she'd be gone


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Roger Waters, The Final Cut And His Three Pounds Of Potatoes




       "I was just a child then, now I'm only a man..."
                                                          Pink Floyd, "Your Possible Past"

       A genius and absolutely one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd bassist, singer and songwriter) celebrated his birthday yesterday and here’s one of my favorite stories about him:

       When The Final Cut (a very underrated anti-war album dedicated to Roger’s father, a soldier who died in World War II) came out, it didn’t sell as much as the other Pink Floyd albums, prompting David Gilmour (Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist) to quip, allegedly, “I told you, it (the album) was a piece of shit and nobody bought it.”

       At that time, there had been bad blood between the two Pink Floyd  frontmen—Roger was accused of controlling the band creatively; he'd been writing all the lyrics and almost all the songs for the band and rejecting the other members' contributions.

      Roger Waters responded by recalling this little anecdote: “It's absolutely ridiculous to judge a record solely on sales. If you're going to use sales as the sole criterion, it makes Grease a better record than Graceland. Anyway, I was in a greengrocer's shop, and this woman of about forty in a fur coat came up to me. She said she thought it was the most moving record she had ever heard. Her father had also been killed in World War II, she explained. And I got back into my car with my three pounds of potatoes and drove home and thought, good enough.”

       It’s certainly one of the most rewarding perks of being a writer, being approached by random stranger/s and being told that what you created touched or moved them, that it helped them resolve some personal issues, although your work didn’t sell that much or that only few people appreciated it. Who cares about sales? That’s the publisher’s (or the record producers’ if you’re a songwriter) problem. LOL.  You’ve got to touch hearts, first. Of course, it’ll be better if your work sells, too.  Because you’ll be allowed to create more, and with more creations,  the more hearts you’ll be touched.

      Oh, and the woman in the greengrocery aptly described The Final Cut, it’s a very moving album, though a bit dark and depressing.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Night Of... Drugs, Sex, Death And Great Entertainment




A gentle college boy accidentally met a young, enticing female stranger.
They had drugs and kinky sex in her house, and when he awoke the next morning, still reeling from the drugs he had taken the night before, he found her dead.
She had been stabbed repeatedly.
College boy, accused of killing her, went to jail and an eczema-stricken lawyer, sleazy but sympathetic, defended him.
While incarcerated, naive college boy became a hardened drug addict and an accessory to a murder.
Meanwhile, the trial to determine his innocence or guilt continued...


       Not the most original of plots, but The Night Of, HBO’s limited crime-drama series which starred Riz Ahmed and John Turturro, stood out because of how it presented its story—the critically-acclaimed, eight-episode series was dark, realistic, depressing and gritty.  The satisfying season finale aired a few days ago. Its last shot was fascinating: the lawyer going out of his flat to meet a new low-life client and his cat, to which he was allergic but which he kept bringing home,  sashaying across the screen afterwards and Roberta Flack chiming in…

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies my love
To the dark and the endless skies…

       The Night Of is highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ang Buwan Ng Wika At Ang Kadahupan ng Pagmamahal Ng Maraming Pilipino Sa Sariling Wika



       

       Nagkaroon ako ng isang may kasinsinang pakikipagtalakayan sa isang punong-patnugot ng isang malaking limbagan ng mga Tagalog na aklat ilang araw na ang nakakaraan at nabanggit niya ang tila kawalan ng interes ng maraming kabataang Pilipino sa malalalim na wikang Tagalog, na isang paksang may kabalintunaan dahil Buwan ng Wika ngayon. Marami raw kabataan ngayon ang walang pagnanais na matutunan ang maraming malalalim na salitang Tagalog.

       Nakapagdudulot ito ng ibayong kapanglawan dahil kung ating dadalumatin, walang dudang napakarikit at nakakarahuyo ang ating pambansang wika. Narito ang ilang halimbawa: Matitimyas Na Mga Salitang Pilipino.

       Sa halip na hayaan lang na tuluyang anurin palayo ang loob ng ating mga kabataan sa malalalim at mga lumang salitang tagalog, hindi ba’t mas mainam kung pagsisikapan natin silang mabato-balani sa mga ito at himukin silang matutunan at mahalin ang mga katagang ito? Hindi sa nais nating gawing makata silang lahat, nakalulugod lang na marinig na ang maga katagang binibigkas noon ng ating mga ninuno ay patuloy na nanunulas sa dila ng maraming Pilipino.  Kung ang terminong Pak Ganern! ay agad nauunawaan at naisasapuso ng maraming mga kabataan, bakit hindi ang mga salitang tulad ng dagitab o paham? O sadyang lubhang marami nang pinagtutuunan ng kanilang mga pansin at panahon ang mga kabataan ngayon  at wala na silang oras para aksayahin sa pagtatampisaw sa ilog ng mga salitang ipinamana pa ng mga sinaunang Pilipino? Na kahit si Gat Jose Rizal ay hindi na sila mahihikayat? Ito marahil ang sasabihin ni Rizal ngayon sa mga kabataang minsan niyang tinaguriang pag-asa ng bayan: "Ang hindi magmahal sa sariling wika, mas pak ganern sa malansang isda."

       Don’t us! mabibigkas siguro ng mga kabataang hihimukin mong lagumin ang kahalagahan ng sariling wika, mababaw man o malalim.

       Yeah, don’t me!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Have You Seen Your Doppelganger Lately?





       I chanced upon an article about doppelgangers (described as  1. A ghostly double of a living person, especially one that haunts its fleshly counterpart. 2. Either of two people who physically resemble each other very much)  and it reminded me of a curious incident that happened when I was still in college (which was an awful long time ago). I was in a jeepney then when a pair (a girl and a guy who both looked probably just a few years older than me) boarded it.

       The girl (who sat in front of me with the guy at her left) instantly brightened up upon seeing me. “Have you paid your fare?” she asked me.

       I didn’t know her nor her companion who was also looking at me and smiling at me at that time, it was the first time I saw them, but I nodded.

       “Where are you going?” she then asked.

       I stared at her, puzzled, why was this lady stranger wanted to know where I was going.

       “Dave (not really the name she used), I asked where you’re going?”

       I smiled awkwardly, didn’t answer  and looked away. And it was the girl’s turn to look puzzled. “Uy, Dave!” she called me out, her voice a little louder now.

       “I’m not Dave,” I told her.

       And I couldn’t forget her reaction: her jaw dropped in disbelief and astonishment. The two looked at each other, the girl seemed freaked out. She didn’t ask any question again; they started talking to each other and I could hear them. There were other passengers in the jeepney, others were minding their own business, the others, I could see eavesdropping.

       “That’s not Dave?” the girl, in a low, skeptical voice, asked her companion.

       “He said he’s not “ said the guy.

       ‘Then who is that? Dave’s twin? They look impossibly alike, even the mannerisms and their voices are the same. And they’re both unbelievably handsome. (Okay, this last sentence is not true, she didn’t really say it, but I had a feeling that it’s already at the tip of her tongue. Lol.) But I know Dave doesn’t have a brother!” the girl exclaimed.

       “I don’t know,” the guy muttered, scratching his head.

        The other passengers were now looking alternately at the couple and me with amusement. Then, the girl looked at me again and she asked, smiling,( she had a pleasant face), “Hi,” she said. “if you don’t mind, what’s your name?”

       I told her my name.

       “Do you know Dave (she said Dave’s surname but I’ve forgotten it)?” she asked.

       I shook my head, and now, she looked totally amused.

       The jeepney traveled a few hundred meters more before the flabbergasted duo alighted, with the girl taking another glimpse of me—she even waved and smiled and made face at me as the vehicle scooted away.  The look of amusement never left her face.

       It happened eons ago but it still amuses me whenever I remember it.

       I haven't seen someone who really looks like me, but they say, one should not really look forward to seeing their doppelganger, human or ghostly. A doppelganger showing itself to you, they say, is not a good omen and is warning you of something unfortunate or tragic to happen. A terrible thing that will not happen to the people you love or you know but to you. And if other people see your doppelganger (the supernatural one, that entity that, like vampires, has no shadow nor reflection on the mirror, it means that you will soon meet your death.  Scary, isn’t it? Luckily, like our own manananggal, ghostly doppelganger belongs to the realm of folklore and legends. Meaning, untrue. Wait, manananggal is not real? 

       But back to Dave, my human doppelganger, I know that it is really not unusual for someone to have a look-alike, but it is still a puzzle to me why God has to burden Earth with two of my face.

       One is tedious enough.