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 .

Thursday, December 25, 2008

...A Charity Appeal Of Sorts.

          One of the few things that Lahore used to lag behind Pindi was that you could find Wodehouses in Pindi. In my half a dozen trips to Lahore over the past three odd years,I'd searched every bookstore I'd gone to for Wodehouse. They either didn't stock him, or had only his school stories, or rarely, a novel that I already had. Pindi on the other hand, takes the cake because every old book shop has at least one Wodehouse. I'll grant that 98.5% of the time, they're the ones I already have, but still ....

          On this past week's Lahore trip however, the pattern changed. Not only did I find two new Wodehouses, but also a book I was looking for for a long while (Is two 'for's correct?), namely Richard Usbourne's "Wodehouse At Work To The End". This has stopped me from losing all faith in humanity, and has made me think up a plan. At last count, I have 53 Wodehouse books which leaves me (according to David Jasen's brilliant "P.G. Wodehouse,A Portrait of The Master") with 47 more before I break even.

          Judging from the time it took me to get to 53 ,plus factoring in the decreasing odds of finding one I don't already have, I figure it'll take me 15 odd years to get to a complete set. And even if I count the 25 odd ones I can find online,that's a bit too long a wait.Drastic measures are needed if I'm to get anywhere near my goal of reading all of Wodehouse, and I've thought of one that might go some way in helping me ...

          This is a Wodehouse appeal. I'll list all the Wodehouse books that I haven't got or I can't find online, and if anyone has any of these books, printed, as part of an omnibus, in e-book form or otherwise I'd be ultra-indebted if they could share it with me. A photocopy, an e-book, a book-in-the-mail which I'll solemnly promise to return, or an old fashioned sale (at an extra 10% commission), anywhichway it may be, it'll be immensely appreciated.

             Bill The Conqueror
             If I Were You
             Louder And Funnier
             Doctor Sally
             Mulliner Nights
             Young Men In Spats
             Nothing Serious
             The Old Reliable
             Bring On The Girls
             Performing Flea
             French Leave
             America,I Like You
             Something Fishy
             A Few Quick Ones
             Service With A Smile
             Galahad At Blandings
             Plum Pie
             Do Butlers Burgle Banks?
             A Pelican At Blandings
             The Girl In Blue
             Pearls,Girls And Monty Bodkin
             Bachelors Anonymous
             The Uncollected Wodehouse
             Sunset At Blandings ........

            Here's to a successful experiment

Saturday, December 20, 2008

...In Memoriam

    There was only one place in Pindi worth spending time in, and now that's burned to the ground.
    There were at least a hundred odd shops and businesses in Gakkhar Plaza, and many people that I used to see on a monthly if not weekly basis, like the bloke who would sell us a new stage play every week and promise to find the old NTM/STN comedy shows if he had to dig Rainbow Centre Karachi inside out and who found out that I had a counterfeit 500 bucks note and told me to go spend it somewhere else before anyone found out.
     Cheap chinese shoes,occasionally a decent pair of denims and the Garden Grill on the top floor (which I'd been to only once) were all reasons to go to Gakkhar. But the one thing that made Pindi worth living in was on the 3rd floor and it was what they called "The largest DVD store in Asia". Sadaf CD was the centre of all my excursions and 3 or 4 days wouldn't pass without me taking a peek up there and leaving with a shopping bag full of (grossly overpriced) CDs or DVDs.I figure I've spent more than 60% of all my money in that one place.
     The screwed up internet (a result of some undersea cables being cut, so they tell me) prevents me from waxing too lyrical about the place.Suffice to say that without everything I've bought from that place over the last 4.5 years, I don't know where I'd be...
       I bought my first Dylan there. I bought my first Bergman there. First Kubrick. First Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Hell, first of almost everything...my entire education. I'll end by going to my DVD rack and writing down everything I bought from Sadaf and sparing a moment to thank my lucky stars that I got here 5 years ahead of the game.
     In no specific order,
                        Fantasia
                        Wild Strawberries
                        Smiles Of A Summer Night
                        The Bicycle Thief
                        Porridge (Season1)
                        Yes Minister,Yes Prime Minister
                        Red Dwarf
                        The Monty Python movies
                        Kind Hearts And Coronets,Passport To Pimlico
                        The Birth Of A Nation
                        Metropolis
                        Chori Chori
                        Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
                        Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro
                        The Haunting
                        All Quiet On The Western Front
                        Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
                        The Adventures Of Robin Hood
                        Citizen Kane
                        All About Eve
                        Sunset Boulevard
                        Stagecoach
                        Judgement At Nuremberg
                        A Streetcar Named Desire
                        The Maltese Falcon
                        North By Northwest
                        Strangers On A Train
                        Spellbound
                        A Clockwork Orange
                        Easy Rider
                        Blow Up
                        The Producers
                        Dr. Strangelove
                        Woody Allen's Sleeper
                        Being There
                        The Big Lebowski
                        Ed Wood
                        I'm Not There
                        Masked And Anonymous
                        Walk The Line
                        The LastWaltz .....................

               I shudder to think what I'd be without any of these.
                May God grant those who died eternal rest, and those who lost their loved ones or suffered monetary losses, the composure to overcome their grief and their loss.

Friday, December 19, 2008

...Of The Best Neighbor I Ever Had

I don't know how,seeing as we didn't receive PBS in Pakistan,but one of my fondest memories as a child is watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on the telly.Any redeeming quality that i may have today may well be due to a thousand factors, but a fair share fo the credit goes to Mr. Rogers.I remember actually crying when I heard of his death, and would give anything to get to watch all the 23 years worth of shows that Mr. Rogers made.

They say ,"Compared to Johnny Cash,every man knows he's a wuss." And they say about Mr. Rogers,"He made being a wuss cool." Was he a wuss,or can it be that the quote about Cash can apply to Little Ol' Fred Rogers too...

Take a look at this and decide.Only the second time that something I've found online has given me goosebumps. God bless youtube, and God bless Mr. Rogers for "liking me just the way I am"...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

...Of A Great Social Experiment

    The Last Waltz is playig on my iPod as I write,with Paul Butterfield wailing on the harp.Wow.

    Anyway,this post is not about the Last Waltz,although that's a great idea.This post is about my effort to get off my tush and get things done. With four days of  holidays left and a new phone expected later this evening (fingers crossed), I got an idea that I should've had ages ago.
 
    I think the fact that I'm socially awkward has been established.I make few friends, which is acceptable, but I keep in touch with none, which is not. The number of friends and acquaintances that I've lost contact with over the years is in the dozens. And all because of my laziness.Not answering phone calls, text messages, even letters (yes dear kids,I'm old enough to have sent and received letters) and avoiding contact wherever possible have left me with precious few close friends.
 
   And with me turning 22 in March next, that's not an enviable situation (Clapton.Wow !!!) So going against my nature ( and better judgement),I've decided to take steps.A plan has been formulated and let's see what happens if I carry it through. The salient feature include :

    1.Find all my phone contacts that I haven't contacted in the last three months and text 'em.Three months because that's the first thing that popped into my head, and text cuz I can't be bothered to call such a long list.

    2. Look up all my social networking "friends" and send em some sort of generic message to see if they respond.
  
    3. Try to meet everyone I know who lives in Pindi-Islamabad.

    4. Actually make an effort to track down all the "best friends" I've ever had,and there were about half a dozen of those.

          I wanted it to be a five point plan,but can't think of a fifth point. If anyone reads this( chuckle,right ) and can think up something else I can do, do let me know.Alright then......Thundercats Are Go !!!!

    Movies Of The Week,"This Is Spinal Tap","The Other Side Of The Mirror"
    Music Of The Week,"One Kind Favor",B.B. King
    Book Of The Week,"The Good War",Studs Terkel