Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tommy Emmanuel - Classical Gas

Like, Seriously

Tommy Emmanuel is a freaking GOD. I mean, if you think he’s cool and all on youtube, sure he’s talented and pretty damn amazing but it’s nothing till you’ve seen him in the flesh, standing five metres in front of you and cradling his worn guitars. For one, we were seated two rows from the front (thanks to yours truly who went batshit and demanded that we buy tickets at once) which was pretty kicky in itself because I swear, he turned and smiled at us at least four times and dayum! that boy can smile.

For another, his playing is just ri-friggin-diculous. He told stories about how he discovered Chet Atkins’ technique on the radio and showed us how he played bass, rhythm and melody on the same instrument but I still couldn’t pin his fingers down when he moved. He flicked, strummed, picked and hit the strings effortlessly, making some of the most weird and amazing sounds I’ve ever heard and he actually played drums on the body of his guitar and fretboard using his hands and drum brushes. That dude plays drums on the guitar better than some drummers play drums on the well… drums. And he did it all on his feet for two hours.

I could see the little grey licks of his fringe from where I was sitting and the spot worn clean off his guitar from his drumming on it. I could make out the little details of his wristwatch and even the tiny hole on his Taylor where his finger had punctured it a few gigs ago. The acoustics were absolutely amazing and when he played, the vibrations went right through the hall, into my ribcage and down to the tips of my toes. When he played Mombasa and Classical Gas, I practically screamed till I was hoarse and when he whipped out his famous Beatles medley, I nearly peed myself. But it was during Somwhere Over the Rainbow that my hair actually stood on the back of the neck as the harmonics seemed to float in the air right above my head.

Basically, it was an almost transcendental experience, better live than on the record, better close and in the dark than tinny and distant through cumbersome earphones.

At the end of the whole concert, after we’d shouted him on for a last encore, my brother turned to me in disbelief and said, “I’m going to go home and burn my guitar right now.”

Which was exactly the way I felt.

Except that I don’t really have a guitar and even so, I’m not all that great at starting a fire.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Love These Goon Shows!

It’s been 4 days thus far, but I still can’t get over the trip I just got back from, the last and most surreal of the island hopping trips that I’ve indulged in thus far. It all started with the comments in the sidebar of this here website, when we joked about just leaving our little universes to “smoke the days away into the evening” for a small slice of time. I never actually dreamed that the joke would materialise into a full-fledged series of madcap planning and emails flying across (and sometimes missing) continents.

So we actually made it to the Gold Coast in one piece – a major feat considering that we came from three separate locations and each have about half a brain. The smoking bit never actually materialised but what did follow was four days of lazing about in bed, jumping around on a huge inflatable mattress, falling over each other in Warner Bros. Movie World and living it up in Hard Rock Café. In between, we managed to find time for tennis, learning self-defence and standing on a frigid Surfer’s Paradise beach in the dead of night.
We flew on rollercoasters (them physically, me in spirit), rode through Looney Tunes land in a little boat and screamed our way through Scooby Doo’s haunted house. Ya know, Scooby Doo may seem all cute and fuzzy in the cartoons but when you’re sitting in a haunted car, looking at a Scooby Doo statue with glowing red eyes just before you plummet backwards off a fifty foot cliff, he’s not so sweet, okay? We bowled in a neon alley at the only place that was open till midnight on a Friday and actually did very slumber party-ish thing of practising hairstyles on each other. For the record, my bun ponytail is quite good, my chignon absolutely sucks balls.
Despite all this, the sweetest moment for me was the night we lay, three-in-a-bed, talking quietly about all and all that lay between. The covers were pulled right up to my chin and every now and then my foot accidentally grazed Sera’s. We must have lain there for four hours. Just chatting and giggling like we used to when we were young and didn’t know and better. I couldn’t believe that it was nearly eight years since we had been that near, seeing each other everyday and spending the whole of recess holed up in stairwells together.
That we had moved in many different directions, but had managed to make the time and effort to come together, just to lie in a bed and talk to each other spoke volumes about our friendship. It’s such a cliched thing to say, but no matter how big the world may be, there are people in it who make it feel like all the seas close up and you meet everyday.
Maybe next year’s reunion will be a much more crazy one, maybe we’ll do something much more exotic and maybe I’ll actually keep my eyes open all the way through Scooby Doo’s goddamn Spooky Coaster. But for now, I’m fully content with the opportunity just to be the way we were, just lying on that bed and touching souls.

And now! For something completely different! They say a picture says a thousand words; well, nothing really says a thousand (profane) words like a collection of ASSES! Please, enjoy the sASSy TAIL of this post, BUTT don’t ASSK me why I did it!

The unbelievable Flash Gordon (you might want to consider implants, guys).

Wonder Woman's best ASSets.

Cat woman was also pretty damn bodacious.

Daphne from Scooby Doo.

Some weirdo known as the Green Hornet or something. Goddamnit, I don't even remember his name, and while the comic book character is black, this dude is actually white. HELLO?! Authenticity?

And of course, the anatomical perfection of:



And Larry

What can I say? I'm an ass girl!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Class of 2007

Hey guys, I can't believe we finally did it.
And we didn't trip and fall onstage!

PS To *ahem* Ying Yi, Amu, Stas, Shah, Pearlyn, Colin, Jack, Johan, Mamta, Amelia, Sara, Aaron, Zat, Pei Yun, Lavinia, Spencer, Su Fei, Shobitha, Jia Yin and Diana: I know we were rushing around and didn't really have time to talk but I was really really happy to see each and every one of you. I'm glad to have had this journey with you guys and I look forward to sharing your company for a long time to come. I never thought this day would come, but now that it has, CONGRATULATIONS! And to my dinner date, ITWWW and baby, you know it.

Never, No More

Breaking news, people: On the 25th of June, I officially became the first person in the world to lick the Angkor Wat. Well, maybe not the first person to lick it (perhaps others before me have had the same strange urge) but definitely the first person to lick that particular pillar. I’ve got photographic proof, though I’m not sure anyone wants to see it. And for the faint hearted, don’t worry, M made me sanitise the spot with dettol before my tongue ventured within a germ’s leap of it.

So I’m finally back from roughly a month and a half of wandering around Asia, a boat on an anchor with the freedom to drift but a chain always tied to home. Seeing new places is great but living out of a suitcase not so.

There is a strange new-familiarity about returning. I walk the streets I always walk and drink in the sounds I have listened to since I was little but my hands and eyes feel clumsy and I’m still a little rusty at using a computer or sleeping alone in the dark. I’ve been through enough to know that not much will surprise me anymore. I’ve seen people eat cockroaches and drink wine laced with essence of gecko and pheasant. I’ve been crammed on an airless, oven-like minibus for six hours while half-naked drunk Britishers with nipple piercings shout over the rattle of the wheels. I’ve slept in the middle of a river, on a bed that smells like stale pee and I’ve sat on the edge of the River Kwai bridge watching the sun sink in the sky, feeling a rain-fresh breeze touch my skin.

Almost nothing will surprise me anymore. Almost.

One thing makes my stomach turn in puzzled wonder. Home no longer feels like home. My room is still my favourite place to be and Chip still curls up in his basket on the floor every night, jumping into my bed in the wee hours of the morning. My brothers are still chatty and comical and the kitchen door still creaks in measured evensong. And yet…

Perhaps it is the fact that we will be moving soon or that a milestone in my life, marked by school, has passed. But I find a wall slowly growing between myself and my parents. Like a falcon turning in its ever-widening gyre, our words choke and fumble at each other’s ears. There are things I want to tell them but that I know now I will never be able to say. Things that a child should be able to turn to a parent with; hopes and fears and quiet sorrows.

My mother, at least, makes an effort to understand and to support me in whatever I do. My relationship with my father, however – well, what is it with girls and their fathers anyway? We love and hate in the same breath, hate because they never understand or attempt to let go of their egos, love because we must and because we can’t help it. And slowly but surely, I’m beginning to believe that if my father knew who I really was, he wouldn’t like me as a person. Rather than accept me for who I am, he might choose to believe that he brought me up badly or I was led astray by wayward friends.

Our definitions and ideas of happiness have come to differ so much that I sometimes wonder if he is living vicariously through me, trying to find new life in my endeavours while happening to forget that it is really me I need to please now. I have spent so much of my life living in the shadow of other people’s decisions that I feel, perhaps selfishly, that my childhood passed by while I watched helplessly from the sidelines. The irony of feeling most comfortable with myself in places that are not my comfort zone doesn’t escape me and while I can’t go on travelling indefinitely, the pull to find a little place, all my own, where I can be myself grows inexorably stronger.

And this to me is strange, that once I lived in an ivory tower where I looked up to my father and truly wanted to be anything he wanted me to be while now, I want to be my own person but still beg his blessing. I am who I am now, and I can’t change that. What hurts most is that sometimes, on truly bad days, he makes me feel as if I should want to.

Coming home is meant to be a comforting experience, like sliding into water that is warm as a womb. But I cannot completely relax when disapproval and guilt hang like a mantle over us.

All I do is wonder why it is that being in your arms anchors me so completely where my own flesh and blood fail to make me feel complete.