I've been maintaining this blog (for better or for worse) over the last eight years. Over these years, its natural evolution has led it into becoming something of a niche place for discussion of music in general and Qawwali in particular. Rather than trying to return my existing blog to its pre-Qawwali eclectic roots, I decided I’d start anew on Tumblr. So if you’re interested in music, Qawwali and subcontinental culture, keep reading/listening/watching/commenting here. For all of the above and everything else under the sun, head on over to my Tumblr page .

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Of Pity and the Oscars....

Watched the Oscars yesterday,or rather,woke up at six in the morning and bunked two classes to watch the Oscars yesterday!! Now,i don't mean to insinuate that i'm an award show buff or anything.Although getting to see Rachel Weisz,Cate Blanchette and Kate Winslet look ravishing,elfin and ethereal respectively,and seeing Jack Nicholson's new hair-do(or hair-don't,whichever's more apt)were attractions enough,there were deeper reasons...
It's just that the Oscars recall to my mind a conversation I had with myself a long while back(fortunately or unfortunately,most of my meaningful conversations are with myself).

A winter evening,many years ago.There I was,sitting in front of my fireplace,sipping my ovaltine(happy days...),when a thought occured to me.Who,I asked myself,do youpity the most?,Who,among all the inhabitats of this sorry world,deserves your comisseration and understanding??

Is it the impoverished widow that begs for your indulgence,all the while tugging two filthy looking children in tow?Is it the bearded,bespectacled old man,all toothless and senile,hawking candy at the bus stand in the hope of finding sustenance for his family??Is it the unfortunate ten year old,who playing with a landmine instead of a toy,joins the legions of mutilated children in some war-torn street???

All fairly destitute characters,and all deserving of a soft spot,but I ended up with a strange choice,quite strange indeed...

I came to the conclusion that the most pitiable object in my twisted mind is the faded star!!!
The matinee idol,once the pin-up boy(or girl)of every teen in the land,the staple of gossip columns and movie magazines...now just another face you knew long ago,another extra in the B-movie nobody sees,another worthless drop in the sea of trivia questions...

The beauty queen,once gracing the cover of every glamour magazine and advertisement...now just the topic of the "whatever happened to...." conversations in fashionable society,trapped in the endless cycle of botox and facelifts...

The grand comedian who once had'em rollin' in the aisles,repeating his famous jokes,re-enacting his deadliest routines...now just another gag-man for a new generation of clowns.Punched,pinched,gagged,shoved and ridiculed by the succeeding jesters in the public court...

The crooner who once belted out tune after lilting tune to the screaming,worshipping public...now just a distant memory,enshrined in dusty LPs and faded publicity photographs...

Pretty strange choice,inn'it?

Harp on it a while,form your own conclusions,and wait a while till i offer my own twisted reasons...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

...Of Drunken Bears and Debuts

Imagine the alaskan forests.Imagine the mating season of the Grizzlies.Imagine a big,furious male Grizzly,all muscle and sinew.Now imagine him drunk on moonshine.And finally,picture him growling across the wilderness for his mate !!
That's how Tom Waits struck me the very first moment i heard him!!
I concede the fact hat I have been criminally slow on the uptake as far as my musical directions go.I was 16 before I heard Springsteen,!17 when I heard Bob Dylan,and 18 before i got wind of B.B. King,Ray Charles,etc...I mean i had heard most of them before,knew bout them generally and so forth,but i hadn't had my kaboom moment.(That's when i hear or see or see or read something and something in my head just explodes!!)
But the gaffe of the century was not discovering Tom Waits till the twentieth year of my nativity!!Well,i've set forth to rectify this error by getting his amazing new box set"Orphans,Bawlers,Brawlers....."And I can tell you for sure,i haven't had my senses explode like this for a long time .....
Well,for anyone who mighta been interested in the goings on i mentioned in my last post,here's an update.My song went off without any catcalls and so forth,hence i'm satisfied.The movie,although with poor sound also went off tolerably well.so all in all,a pretty decent debut by yours truly....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

....Concerning Show Business

Lights,Camera,Action !!!
...not quite as simple as that,i'm afraid!A realization that came to me after one week of dabbling in the performing arts.

Such a harrowing,tiresome and mind bending experience is not for the weakof heart like me.A simple ten minute flick for the Class Function exposed me to the complete show-business menagerie;the meddling busybody,the prima donna,the harrowed director,the overworked editor and the pessimistic producer(that's me...).
Comprising a ragtag band of first timers,our lot managed to patch together a ten minute opus in four dreary,tense,but nevertheless exciting nights.The fruits of our labour will be shown tonight in front of a restless,hungry and entertainment starved captive audience.The final hours before the moment of truth....

And that's not all !!
In a fit of overconfidence(read insanity) I offered up my services to sing to the teeming masses.The song is the Bob Dylan tune "Knockin' On Heaven's Door",covered(mutilated) by many before me.An ironic choice of a song considering my imminent demise at the hands of yon audience.And to top it off,it's the first song of the night!!
And so,our unlucky hero finds himself caught between two mighty perils.Danger lurks at every step...
Will he survive?,Will the adoring public plead for more?,or will he return a mutilated,tomato tinged wreck??

All this and more in the next installment !!

Song Of The Week:Knockin On Heaven's Door

Movie Of The Week:Ours,of course !!

Discovery Of The Week:There's No Business Like Show Busines !!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Of Footballing James Deans And Blood Donations....

One of the greatest allures of James Dean is that he appears to us as a sort of handsome Peter Pan. A screen god who never grows old.Just as James Dean is preserved in memory ,in a glorious Time capsule of the Fifties,complete with his camelskin coats and the fateful Porsche Spyders;There is another giant.

A Giant in every sense of the word ;he is also remembered as a flower cut off in it's prime,a colossus that never was.I am talking about Duncan Edwards.
Most would try to rack their brains to think out that name from their memories,but don't fret. Those of you who know a bit about English Football might know his name.Those of you who don't,well here is a brief bio :
Duncan Edwards was born in the town of Dudley ,where to this day,his statue stands.He signed for MANCHESTER UNITED at the age of sixteen and played for five years.A stocky left back,he was the epitome of a perfect footballer.With two good feet,marvelous crossing ability and superb ball control ,he was almost a one man team;a stand-out in Matt Busby's galaxy of stars.
And then ,tragedy struck in 1958,when a Manchester United chartered flight crashed while taking off at Munich.22 people,including seven of the best of English football died instantly.Young Duncan fought valiantly for his life;but lost the battle.And aso passed away the player that Sir Bobby Charlton said,was the only player he felt,and still feels ,that he was inferior to.

Yesterday I donated blood.Not for the first time,but well,every time is a new experience.I had to wait three hours to complete my registration.Then half an hour more for the donation.And then had to trudge back to the hostel all bleary eyed and weak.
Now I know that blood donations are a noble deed,you are donating life to someone and all that,but the thing that caused me to give blood four times in the last one year is twofold.
Firstly I am in an Army institute and blood donations entitle me to three days bed-rest.And for a lazy bugger like me,that's enough of an incentive to donate blood.
And secondly,my flimsy ego gets a huge boost when a grateful ,teary eyed man comes to me to thank me for saving his wife's lifeall the while pressing on me the greatest accumulation of grub i've ever seen !!
Those of my pals who know me intimately ,know that I am no superhero or anything,and seldom do I find chances to ,well ,do something noteworthy.So,everyopportunity's a godsend !!

I did manage to get the gratitude part alright,but the bullshit was that I didn't get the bed-rest.Well ,you win some,you lose some.

Movie Of The Week:Judgement At Nuremberg

Song Of The Week:Motorpsycho Nitemare (Another Side Of Bob Dylan)

Discovery of the Week:Tom Waits (and what a discovery....) !!