Thursday, 31 July 2014

Nighttime musings

Oh night, what is it about you that gives me such pleasure?
Such forbidden pleasure
I know I should be sleeping by now
I know I need to be at work in 6 hours
But defiance feels so good
Even if it really only harms me in the long run
Sensible me has fallen asleep, leaving the rebel in charge
And this rebel is a strange 'un
Not weak, no
She rebels not by doing what she wants
She rebels by not doing what (she's told) she must
Simply, quietly, blissfully ignoring what she wants not
And instead just being
Whence comes the joy in such silent resistance?
Perhaps I'm still just a naughty child inside
A naughty nut
A nutty even

Friday, 25 July 2014

A story of a stalking

I have a lot of serious, scary decisions that I'm pondering this week. But I'm not going to talk about those here. Instead I want to write about a random memory that was triggered by a song today. Isn't it cool how a song can sometimes transport one back to a very specific time and place?

The song was Collective Soul's Shine. The place - IIT Madras. The time - early 00s, possibly '01 or '02. IITM's culfest (do people still use that contraction for cultural festival?), Saarang, was a yearly pilgrimage for me back in those days. I went mainly for the western music group competition, but also for the quizzes, JAM and general vibe. And I always went alone. That was somehow important for the experience. The couple of times I went with someone were the worst. Not sure why..

Anyway, so this one particular year, there was a very cute chap who was compering the western music competition. And I took it into my head to stalk him just because. I knew there was practically no chance of him being interested in me, and even if there was I was totally ruining it by being the creepy stalker type, but I wanted to amuse myself. That's usually why I do most things I do. For my own personal amusement. As long as I'm not harming someone else in any substantial manner, why not, I figure.

At first I was subtle about it. But as the day went on, I became bolder and more reckless. I was literally walking out of a room if he walked out, following him into the next one and glancing his way every few seconds. I was quite blatant about it. To the point where not only the guy in question but even his friends started noticing it.  I am pretty sure that at least once some of them pointed to me and whispered amongst themselves when I walked into an auditorium a few seconds after him. I must admit I rather enjoyed that.

But little did I know the guy in question was growing bolder too. Or maybe just impatient? Towards the end of the day, I had either lost sight of and/or interest in him and was standing by a notice board with the days competition results. Suddenly I became aware of someone who'd come up to my side and was also ostensibly looking at the notice board. At first I pretended not to notice, but no, he wasn't having any of that. He made loud remarks to his friend to attract everyone's attention. I got the distinct impression that he was giving me a chance to strike up a conversation.  I should have taken that chance. I didn't, of course. I never do.

His name, by the way, was Gaurav something or other iirc. Just putting that out there in case by some freakish chance, he or someone who knows/knew him reads this...

Because if you are, I want you to know that I am sorry.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Wake up call

I think I got one of these today. An eventuality for which I was completely not prepared at all suddenly loomed frightfully close indeed. I had fleetingly thought about it before, but never seriously enough to prepare for it. Almost had a panic attack when faced with this scary prospect. Thankfully, while I may not know the "right people", I know some very good people indeed. Friend talked me out of my worst fears. His calm and collected, and most importantly, logical and realistic way of looking at things helped me more than I can say. Thanks a ton, S! I may take you up on your offer if worst comes to worst. But maybe it won't. Maybe.

Either way, I'm at least mentally prepared now and won't have a complete meltdown if shit happens. Bring it on life. I ain't afraid of you.

(Okay, I don't really mean that, don't be too mean...)

((That last part was the superstitious me, who shall get her own piece by and by))

Friday, 18 July 2014


Taste, as they say, is subjective. So it's not terribly surprising to find that different people have different reactions to the same work of art. But still it shocked me to find that one piece of music got an overwhelmingly positive response among group of people and quite the opposite from another.

I'm talking about Nils Frahm's Says. I loved it on first listen. And so did quite a few others that I am very proud to have turned on to his music. But when, encouraged by this positive response on one forum, I shared the same song on another forum..ugh. "Boring", "Too long", "Too repetitive", "Strictly background music", "Is this even a song?"...

Listen to it and judge for yourselves. I think it's a beautiful song and one I can get lost in each time. But whatever you do, don't do what this one stupid person did and turn it off at the 4 minute mark.

P.S.: Gotta give a shout out to Taryn and Kelly over at Love Garden Sounds for introducing me to this wonderful music and many more. 

Friday, 11 July 2014


It's funny how important validation is to us. I fancy myself a fairly independent person. It's the only ambition I ever had. And yet, I find myself lapping up validation from the most unlikely of sources, with the best (worst?) of them. It annoys me. But I can't help it. I can see clearly that it's this very need that we silly humans have that all these social media things feed on and are built upon. The likes, the favourites, the retweets, the shares. Bah. Fuck it all. I wonder if it is time for another retreat into the old shell.

On the other hand, there is a tangible benefit to be had from participating in the circus. That's undeniable. I've already gone on in this blog about all the new music I've discovered, the out-of-the-way shows I've found out about, the movies, the books. That is worth staying for. Just have to find a way to not get too caught up in it all. Easier said than done with a personality like mine. Have always been one to obsess massively over something for a period, then get bored and move on. Hell, I can't even play spider solitaire without getting hooked. But that's the key. This too shall pass. Heh.

Here, have some music to make up for that too-boring-to-even-be-called-a-rant rant. Stumbled on this quite by accident (I mean to write up a proper post about said accident and this show before long), and fell in love with it - Free Music Archive: Le fruit vert - Live at Casa del Popolo

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Free State Festival

I wasn't even aware of this festival before now. Apparently it used to be a film only festival but this year they made it more of a general arts festival, but still with a focus on films. The only film I really knew about and was interested in was the Nick Cave documentary feature - 20,000 Days on Earth. I also saw Manhattan listed as one of the films to be screened and assumed it was the famous Woody Allen film (turned out to be a film set in Manhattan, KS - which is ironic as anyone who knows me irl would know). So with two films I really wanted to see, and some others that sounded promising, I took the plunge and got myself a movie pass well in advance. Then I promptly fell sick the week before the fest.

Still, I wasn't going to waste my pass. Plus being cooped up at home all day only made me more eager to get out and do something fun in the evenings (probably not the wisest decision). So I managed to catch quite a few of the films, though far fewer than I meant and wanted to. Here, then, is a round up of the ones I did watch:

Johnny Winter: Down & Dirty - About the (apparently legendary) eponymous blues musician. I'd never even heard about this man before and my familiarity with blues music is very minimal, but this documentary held my interest all the same. And it made me resolve to get more into blues. A resolution that faded some the day after, but still. Really enjoyed the free concert that he and his band played right after too. The man is 70 years old but still plays incredibly and sings too. I was glad I got the chance to see him live.

Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart - This one's about Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü fame. I had at least heard of the band, if not about the man himself. Punk is again not at the top of my list of favourite genres, so I'd never actually listened to anything by Hüsker Dü. Very good docu with an interesting structure, and really cool idea for bookends for the scenes. In the Q&A after it came out that Grant Hart himself came up with the idea for the sequence they used for the latter. He was a fascinating character, and still makes good music, some of which he played with some local musicians later that night.

American Interior - This probably doesn't count as music documentary per se. It's maybe more a musical documentary, in that it's a documentary with music used like in a musical film. It's made by Gruff Rhys, the Super Furry Animals dude, and it's about one his Welsh ancestors who came to the US back in the 18th century looking for a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe. It starts out as ridiculous as it sounds, but then the tone shifts halfway through. The wry sense of humour remained throughout and yet it highlighted some serious issues as well. Really enjoyed this one, and highly recommend it.

The Story of Children and Film - Quite possibly my favourite part of the whole fest. A documentary about children in film, with clips from a wide range of movies from around the world. I don't even like children, but I really enjoyed this film. The narrator/maker is apparently a well-known critic from Scotland. I loved his exposition and choice of scenes/movies. Made me want to watch every single movie that was featured. I mean to hunt down a list of these and do just that.

Trap Street - A Chinese film based in contemporary China. Really good movie. Eye-opening even though we all theoretically know what it's like over there. But that aside, it's just a really good movie, with great performances, absorbing plot and an interesting visual style. The producer was there for a Q&A after the screening and he wasn't sure if there would be a wide release. But, if it does happen to play near you, I highly recommend checking it out.

I Put a Hit on You - A dark comedy about a woman who has to team up with her ex to stop the hit she accidentally put on him after he dumped her. It could've easily turned into a "quirky" film, but thankfully didn't. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Was originally planning on slipping off halfway through because I really didn't want to miss even a little bit of 20,000 days, the one movie I really wanted see (it was playing at a different venue and the movies at this venue were running behind time due to technical issues). But, it drew me in, and though I walked to the door before the final act, I ended up watching until the very last frame (standing by the door).

20,000 Days on Earth - Semi-fictional account of Nick Cave's 20,000th day on earth. I'm a fan of the man and his band, so I was really looking forward to this one. It did not disappoint. The makers are visual artists making their film debut, and it showed. Not the debut part, the visual artistry part. Very different from the other documentaries (actually, they were all quite different from each other - kudos to the film selection team), but just as interesting as all the rest. Quite the perfect end for a lovely festival. One that I'll be sure not to miss from here on out.

Other (non-film) highlights were - An incredible double bass performance in the art gallery by James Ilgenfritz; a rocking performance by the KC band Monta At Odds, with some really cool visual projections by Barry Anderson; a screening of Wizard of Oz synced with The Dark Side of the Moon and Kid A, which was a wee bit half-assed with some parts that went completely quiet, including about 5-10 minutes of the climax (I tried to think of some song/piece that would work well with that part and play it on my phone. Only song I could come up with was Alisha's Attic - I am, I feel - because when Dorothy clicks her heels together that part of the song "Clicked my heels together three times.." started playing in my head - but the stupid youtube app on my phone took too long to load and then insisted on playing an ad first and by then the movie ended already :( - Oh well)

I also sneaked off to KC Saturday evening for an amazing collab performance of Helen Gillet's music choreographed by Owen/Cox Dance Group called Memory Palace. But that deserves its own post, if/when I can get to it.

Here's a bit of the Monta At Odds performance