Music

Rani ‘Blue Scholars’ Mukerji

Her Huskiness has sure come a long way from her Ghulam days!

She is currently masquerading as a resident muse for a Seattle-based hip hop crew 🙂

Good catchy stuff, Blue Scholars! Especially that bit, tumi aamake, ja ja jaano naa…. Probably some Seattle-based Bong kid with a bad Shahrukh Khan hangover. Seriously deadly combo that 🙂

Personally prefer Hussein though.

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On Movies

Caught the trailer of Conviction recently. The background score for that (tres cult as that is) has been lifted from here. And here. Which is just a wee bit sad!

Maximus Decimus Meridius might have put on a fair bit of fat. And, a double chin. And, have been reduced to browsing Youtube tutorials. But for all that, the man still packs a mean enough punch. 

The 39 Steps. Criterion. Farce. Genius.

P.S. Something I was reading recently suggests the best way of combatting a vampire is to steal one of their socks. Point being that vampires are insanely anally-retentive, and would therefore be unable to function if they can’t locate that sock thingie. Well, I have lost two socks, heck, two friggin’ differently-coloured socks, in the last month or so. And it is BLOODY pissing off. Wonder if people would notice me tramping around in mismatched socks!

P.P.S. Is currently involved in a full-on battle of attrition with his cellphone. I currently enjoy a slim lead but Motorola’s catching up fast!

P.P.P.S. Istanbul’s good. But I still prefer Snow.

Eeks, Ooks and Eegregs

Finds it just a wee bit ironic how some people can catch a Prius back home after having decimated a goodly rainforest (or two) in the course of a day’s work.

Vile’s not a word I use in vain. Dr. Pepper, though. Is. Vile. Perhaps not quite in the same category as lizards and brinjals, but pretty darned close nonetheless. Not to mention that it probably has the stupidest ad I have ever seen.Which, given the general quality of ads in this part of the world, is saying something!

Thought I always knew what would be the first novel I’d read this side of the Indian Ocean. As it turned out, ’twas the fourth. Good stuff though. Good, good stuff!

Pachelbel’s Canon is Cult. As for that matter, is the video below 🙂

Shall. See. Inception.  And perhaps, The Concert as well.

Of Churches and Burritos

Haven’t blogged in like, ages.

Somehow, I don’t think I have a taste for burritos. Calamari though, is an entirely different matter.

Had gone down to Greenwich yesterday. Which, in my considered opinion, is one of the loveliest areas in/around London. I also kinda figured out why the Lightning-Man is so reluctant to leave that place 🙂

Got my tennis racket re-stringed. Had busted it while playing against the Architect. There happens to be this shop in the upper reaches of London called Gefen Sports. Just off Queen’s Park. Which deals almost exclusively in racket sports. And the chaps who man the store are exceedingly nice and watch IPL on TV. All of which is much good 🙂 Not too mention the fact that I think I got a pretty good deal with my strings as well.

Had recently gone for the evening service at All Souls, Langham Place with the Jacobean. ‘Twas beautiful. For a moment, I thought I was back in school (doosrawala).

Had out first NUJS London Reunion thingie about a week back. Some enterprising sorts even made it out down from Oxford to attend this gig. Some non-enterprising sorts didn’t even make it down from London 🙂 Which was kinda sad. For Maida has this amazing dish called Chicken Tai Pai. And, that, is just friggin’ awesome.

Had gone gallivanting in Camden when Yellow Bags had come down to London. Its essentially like a bigger, more psychedelic version of Portobello market. With lots of tattoo artists. And some dirt-cheap basement-rate bargains. Not bad at all.  

Go. See. I Am Love. Or lo sono l’amore. This is probably as European a movie as they come. Lush colours, ridiculously awesome cinematography, cult camera angles, the works essentially. But then, that is precisely what has been the bane of European Cinema for so long. These auteurs tend to get so carried away by the brilliance of their art and technique that they forget that there is somebody else who would be watching their product. Pithily put, form often trumps substance 🙂 And even here, while walking out of Cineworld, I heard at least a few people go on about how they couldn’t make head or tail of this flick. In this case however, I’d beg to differ. And Tilda Swinton is amazing.

I have a new favourite piece in classical music now. Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor by Vivaldi. Watched it being performed by the Belmont Ensemble at St Martin-in-the-Fields last night. Much, much good. Dunno if you will find this on Youtube, but probably worth a shot.

What I know, you should find on Youtube, is another track this piece reminded me of; Building a Family by Mark Isham. Come to think of it, I don’t think its that similar. Or perhaps, at all similar. But then, you really don’t have any control over the stuff yer reminded of, do you. And especially, when the ‘stuff’ in question is as unquestionably sublime as this!    

Go on, don’t be shy, google it. You can thank me afterwards 🙂

Beezee Busy (And South City Psychedelia)

Life’s been a bit busy these last couple of days. Might get a lot busier in the days to come.

Met Ambrosius yesterday. For the first time in around six years. Chap hasn’t changed a whit. The man’s sporting a mush now, and is up to weird and wonderful things in the auditing world, but that apart, he’s still pretty much the same.

Met quite a few NUJS-wallahs yesterday. The usual gang, up to their usual antics, at the usual place. Also saw Larry’s stealth techniques in action. Which was kinda redundant considering the fact that the person he was trying to hide from, had already seen him!

Had gone to South City a couple of days back, and there was this guy there who was trying to flog me some free trip abroad. To lay my hands on which, in his words, “Sir, you just have to answer a very simple question”. My natural query was obviously, “Which is what??”. To which the man replied, “Sir are you above 24??”. That, presumably was the question. Bleedy weird demographically-inclined freebie scheme.

Reminded me of another time when I was browsing at Starmark. Again at South City. Then this chap comes up to me, thousand-watt grin on his face, and muttering something which sounded vaguely like same, same, same….I thought I probably had earwax or something, and started ‘eh’ing and ‘umm’ing around. Same difference; more of the same, same, same…. And this time followed by exaggerated hand gestures. Then, I got it. Both of us wearing the same type of jacket. Which probably was cause for celebration. So we shook hands, and thumped each other on our jacketed (blue-striped rectangular on black) backs. I think I even remember my exact words, “Aah! You mean our jackets. Ok, lets shake on that then”.

And lastly, in terms of South City psychedelia, an honourable note of mention goes to the South City Phantoms. There’s this Wodehouse yarn about a chap called Blister, who proceeds to pop up at the most inopportune of times and places, and scare the living heebie-jeebies out of a chap called Plimsoll. The South City Phantoms are a bit like that. Almost everytime I go there, I’m invariably bound to find them waving at me. As a matter of fact, I am surprised only when I don’t see them now 🙂 The only obvious difference from Blister being that they are two in number. And, that the antics of the Phantoms are rendered even all the more remarkable by the fact that Mr. Phantom is off studying in Singapore.

Two current ohrwurms: Waqt by E.P., and Ud Chalta by Nitish Pires. Hadn’t heard those two in ages, and suddenly they are in infinite replay mode.

Ran-dom

I usually avoid going to multiplexes. I usually avoid watching Hindi movies. At times though, I tend to forget the exact reasons why. Then, after I’ve wasted some three hours on some random, nameless tripe (not to mention, being lighter by around half a thou in the process), I’m good for another year or so.

Well, tripe this time round was Abhimaan meets Amadeus in the Land of Union Jack. A land where a groupie-cum-background dancer is a bona fide member of a full-fledged rock band. A land where the rock band itself was formed by way of an impromptu jamming session at Trafalgar Square (They were just roaming around with all their heavy-duty muzeek artillery, you know). Bloody hell, a land where Salman Khan, his dudeness himself, is the best friggin part of the movie. ‘Nuff said.

Was just going through the longlists for the Man Asian Prize. Methinks they should call it the Man Indian Prize. The rest are outnumbered by a ratio of somewhere around ten to one. The only surprising bit is no Indian has won it yet. Well, there’s always next year. Always something called mathematical probability, na. Or as Godzilla would say, Size does Matter.

There’s this song you know; major, major staple at farewell dos. And its called ‘Good Riddance’. Damn, even if the song itself had been utter crap, this alone should have sufficed for cult-dom. Caught the video on VH1 today. And realized, I’d never seen the blasted thing before. Much good.

Derby and Other Things

Saw me first Derby today. The guys in red and gold versus the guys in green and maroon. At the second largest stadium in the world. Which incidentally, was almost full to capacity. Bloody AWESOME. There was me, the Redboy, the Homie-to-be, Bunts and Dandu. Bunts was feeling slightly hard done by, given that we were sitting in the Mohun Bagan section, and the chap himself happens to be a die-hard East Bengal fan. Thankfully though, apart from periodically muttering to himself, he kept himself well under control. Otherwise, instead of this post, you might very well have been reading news about us five being launched from the upper ramparts of the Salt Lake stadium.

I also realized when you go to watch an East Bengal-Mohun Bagan match, esp. at the aforestated location, and even more esp., barely a few days after Diwali, it might be advisable to wear a helmet to the stadium. You know, there are people who have nerves of iron and sinews of steel. Who can look impending doom squarely in the face, have a good laugh, and then go do a hula dance. Proper Mithun ishtyle. I though, am most certainly not one of them. When my immediate surroundings are lighted up like a bloody Christmas tree by assorted delights such as chocolate bombs and kali potkas, I don’t like it all that much. On one prize occasion, one rocket got its alignment slightly wrong, went straight up, collided with the roof, did a nifty U-turn, and landed on some poor bugger’s head in the lower tiers. Simply put, each time Mohun Bagan scored, it was a blanket signal for all pyromaniacs to let loose. Which, to be frank, was slightly off-putting.

For those interested, the final score was 5-3. In Mohun Bagan’s favour.

Had a batch reunion of sorts today. Actually, a birthday party, or make that a couple of birthday parties, but I caught up with some fifteen, sixteen of my batchmates today. At one time, and in one place. Hell, it felt like college all over again. That, and Appu’s an awesome cook. Cheese Aloo zindabad.

A long time ago, I’d read something I’d liked a lot. Then, I lost track of it. Today, I rediscovered it. Ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure, I give you the Lenski affair.

A long, long time ago, a soul singer composed a track for another group of performers. They mustn’t have liked it too much and they turned it down. So, our singer released it on his own. It languished on the singles circuit for a couple of years, and then sales suddenly picked up. It even became a bona fide Top Ten hit.  Lennon did his version a couple of years later, which again I think, did pretty well. Now, Playing for Change has come out with a video version of the track. Stand By Me.

Conversation of the Day:

Bunts : Chal Dandu, Derby dekhten hain.

Dandu : Haan, haan, kyon nahin…….arre, Cal also has horse-racing, huh.

Ze World (And How Rahman Pulled a Fast One)

(Cross-linked from here)

A.R. ‘Oscar’ Rahman’s busy pulling fast ones these days. Just try listening to the Champions Trophy theme song. Hell, its even worse than Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re, and I can’t go any lower than that. Pits, absolute pits. Or perhaps, I am being just a wee bit unkind. The poor chap must’ve thought, I compose Roja and what do I get for that, zilch. I then pull out all stops for the Bombay theme, and nobody even listens to the blasted thing. Then some Brit comes along with a punk game show-cum-exploitation musical, I compose possibly the sorriest soundtrack of my life, and whaddya know, they give me a friggin Oscar. How awesome is that? Last heard, the man is composing soundtracks for low-brow Hollywood rom-coms and giving lessons on how Blue is actually pronounced Booloo.

A few days back, I had gone to the Air India office here in Cal. Pretty commonplace stuff, should have been over in a jiffy. Well, I WAS wrong. You can’t possibly fathom how singularly brilliant it is to have a vendor-consumer experience where a consumer informs the vendor about the quality and the particulars of his wares. My interactions were more or less along the following lines:

Me: Do you have XYZ??

AI: Most certainly not! What could have given you such an idea??

Me: But your website say so!!

AI: But I say not!!!

Me: (Sputters Incoherently) But can you at least go to your website and check it out for me??

AI: What’s the point??

Well, we carried on in like vein for about a good ten, fifteen minutes. At the end of that though, AI finally figured out that they actually had XYZ. Which was awesome. Sunshine and happiness all round. But then, when I asked them if I could call them up just in case I had any subsequent queries, I ran into another insurmountable infrastructural flaw:

Me: So, can I call you up if I have any queries and all??

AI: Sure, but it wouldn’t be of any use.

Me: $#@%$, WHY??

AI: Well, see the information is all stored in these computers, you see. The phone however is there in that room, all the way over there. Sorry, but no can do.

(I left. There’s only so much that a man can take.)

P.S. The papers have been going gaga over the last couple of days about how awesome it is to have an Indian win a Nobel. Well I got news, the chap’s American, and he works in Cambridge. Period. In his own words, “nationality is simply an accident of birth”. Go Venki.

P.P.S. Obama Rocks. As does the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. So how exactly did he manage to snag the Nobel in 12 days?? Check how FOX and Foreign Policy answer the same bloody question with two completely different spins. Check esp. both their last paras 🙂