Sunday, May 31, 2009

SE1 Drag

V wanted to go for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Subsequent a nice lunch, it was happenstance that we came upon La Cage Aux Follies passing through the Golden Jubilee Bridge but J didnt fancy a musical.

We then trawled around SE1 for suitable entertainment i.e.another morsel of live music session at the NT and decided upon a main course of Sam Raimi's 'Drag Me To Hell'. Went through the wrong theatres (BFI and IMAX) and had to 'drag' ourselves to Surrey Quays to finally see it.

Boy, what a funny movie it was. Funnily frightening. Sam Raimi's despotic dark genius resurfaces once again in the vein of his 'Evil Dead' series. I'll never look at a handkerchief the same way again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

People Get Ready

"People Get Ready" was polled by Rolling Stone magazine as the 24th greatest song of all time. The song was included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Written and composed by Curtis Mayfield in 1965 for the The Impressions, it has become a standard in blues and rock and roll covered over the years by Bob Marley (as "One Love"),Dionne Warwick, The Everly Brothers, Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart (this version reached #45 in the US), Phil Collins, Jimmy Little, Eva Cassidy, John Denver, Steve Perry, U2, Aretha Franklin, The Walker Brothers, Margaret Becker etc.

The version I include here is Eva Cassidy's which is just as soulful as it is since the 60's.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Daily Billboard - March to May 2009

I think billboards are a great indication on what's on the minds of the British people and what's going on with the UK. Being such a poor newspaper reader, the only bit of news I'd get is the billboard on the walk to and from work. Talk about a 'sound' or in this case a 'sight' bite. In case you wanted to know what made the headlines in a particular newspaper in the UK (i.e. 'The Evening Standard') in the months of March to April 2009, here I present my personal project of 'The Daily Billboard' - self-explanatory

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bank Holiday Weekend

As opposed to the multitude of public holidays Malaysia, the U.K. has merely the 3 Bank Holiday Mondays, Christmas, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday.

The 25th May Monday was the Spring Bank Holiday thus the long weekend - spent in London with friends and parks as we were blessed with the sun after prior dreary days.


Kicked off with a Tudor and Stuart Southwark Walk from Betterbankside Community with A. We were briefed on the locations and history of the Bull baiting arenas and theatres. The highlight of the walk was the archaeologically-significant find of the Rose Theatre - a fascinating look at the entertainment of the Tudors and Stuarts. Apparently Southwark was the 'Soho' of London then.

Not having had enough of walking, A and I decided to have our own DIY walk of London. For some reason, A wanted to do 'Seedy' London i.e. Soho and then to Camden. We wandered around Soho and ended up in a gay bar and had a half-pint. Not far off in Tottenham Court Road while topping off our oyster cards at the Underground, we had a good look of the night-goers in London - a melange of people wandering around in all shapes and sizes. Groups of youngsters; boys and girls mostly drunk, women tottering on heels, dodgy-looking older men standing around and chatting, an odd older couple walking arm-in-arm, a lost and crying barefoot girl on the street. Take away the 20th century clothing and dress them in 16th century Tudor ones, the vibrations of the night would have been the same I think - a sort of chaotic desperation in it.


Amy, Bakthier and I went off to Oxford street for the Night at the Museum 2 launch on the streets. It was crowded as usual - one of the reasons I don't really like Oxford Circus. Amidst the carnival-like atmosphere nevertheless, we did a bit of shopping and topped it off with some photographs with some characters from the movie.

Later on, met up with D and friends for a Malay movie called 'Zombi Kampung Pisang'. It wasn't half-bad - 'campily' entertaining despite the fact that Sharon and Roz thought it was rubbish. Surprisingly the cinema had quite a number of people and everyone of them stayed till the end. I wasn't sure if the non-Malaysian audiences appreciated the 'Bintang RTM' and 'Siti Nurhaliza' jokes but I sure had a good laugh. Later on, it was coffee and tiramisu in a cafe on Leicester Square and we had an interesting discussion on Malaysia, race, politics and culture. The couples very kindly dropped me off home on the way back to the south.


Had a field day today with Jasmine coming down again for a visit. We did some baking with Jasmine's yummy Pine Nut cake and my Poppy Seed Bread for the afternoon. And being a Sunday as it was bank holiday or not; had a compulsory siesta before heading off to Battersea Park armed with crisps, drinks, cake, bread and fruits. The weather was glorious and we were warmly welcomed by P (who had arrived earlier) at the Bandstand and a blanket on the grass.

The scene: families talked, friends lazed, children frolicked and couples embraced amid the greenery of Battersea. Memories of Parco Sempione were also evoked (one of my fondest) - a blanket, some food, good company and laughs. The bugs were also out with some of them wandering up our nostrils and into the chips but it was all in the picnic package. We then got up for a stroll around the park and Jasmine said "What a luxury it is to walk with friends like this"

With that, we felt that summer had truly arrived.


What better way to end the bank holiday with a little razzmatazz pop-jazz with Julie Mckee and bassist Andrew Malloy. It was an ear-opener, an education in jazz standards and an inspiration for original piano compositions. Julie was a pro with clear-as-a-bell vocals and snazzy piano riffs. Her repertoire for the evening was carefully chosen with songs with beautiful lyrics i.e. Louisiana 1927, Invitation to the Blues, People Get Ready, Roamin in the Gloamin and her own songs: What a Woman Shouldn't Do,It Just So Happens, Eric Marlow, Mount Vesuvius and a few others. Absolutely mesmerizing

Friday, May 22, 2009

Life in London

Life is London sure is hectic. I came back from Lake District not too long ago and thought I'd have a little respite from the evenings after work but since then I've almost never had some time at home due to some friend coming over or doing this and that.

The team had a dinner yesterday and Jason asked me how I found life in London. My liner for this is "Life from one big city to another is not much too different so it's pretty easy to fit in" Though I'd never believed it would be possible without your own transport but living here has made me realise it is. London's transportation system is one of the most effective and efficient in the world and I'd have no qualms going out and worrying if I'd arrive at the destination wherever that was without wetting my underpants due to the long journey.

Inhabitants are spoilt for choice too with the variety of cultural activities. In the past months I've been to plays, musicals, a book launch, meetup groups, live blues performances, museums, a variety of restaurants - you name it, we've got it. Although the culture-lover might have to rein in or you'd find yourself skint at the end of the month. Information is also well channelled via newspapers, the internet,magazines - which is a contributing factor for I remembered once when some expatriate from Slovakia living in Malaysia once complained to me that nothing cultural ever happens in KL - though personally I felt that was an unjust remark as I myself was actively attending plays, open mics and book readings then. It was just that the information was not disseminated as effectively as they should have i.e. mainly though discussion lists and word of mouth and merely hanging out with the 'right' crowd.

The best bit I love about London is the free library service by the local councils. And the books, DVDs and CDs are top class too - no silverfish eaten pieces of scrap paper (which our National Library serves). The books starting with 'God of Animals' upwards which you can see on my left column on this site have been generously loaned by the Libraries of Ealing and Southwark Council - thus my gratitude to the taxpayers of the land for the opportunity to satiate my literary appetite.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where No Man has Gone Before

I'm glad I watched the new Star Trek movie. I'm quite a picky movie-goer in a sense that I'd hate slam-bang mindless action and movies with poor script would irritate me no end.

I had high expectations of this one since I've heard so many good reviews from friends who had watched it and I'm happy to say that they were equally met. A cleverly written story plot by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman(The Island, Transformers) and a very strong and funny script - this pillarizes the new Star Trek into another successful sequel for the franchise. Do not be fooled by it's sci-fi genre; yes, it does have it's CGI moments but it is very much still a character-driven sequel. The nuances and norms of Star Trek would thrill existing Star Trek fans and not side-line the non-vulcanized movie-goers thanks to J.J. Abram's intelligent direction. It's amazing how an old tale could still manage to be 'sexy' and 'cool' with a little thought and effort. If only all sequels were made like this.

A little note on the side:
I can't claim to be a Trekkie i.e. haven't attended a Star Trek Convention, owned a Klingon mask nor have a Federation spandex suit in my cupboard. Nevertheless I've been 'taro'ed left and right for being a 'geek' for wanting to watch it. If something has that much resistance, then it must be that good(has and will - even after 43 years. Star Trek, may you live long and prosper!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Little Dragon and The Forgotten Circus

More in my ambient music collection

This one is thanks to S again.

Music: Little Dragon
Song: Twice
Clip:Dreams from the Woods
Directed by: Johannes Nyholm

I saw this one at my first patronage to the Shunt and it has stayed in my mind, slinking serpentine in the pool of sub-consciousness

Music: The Irrepressibles
Song: In This Shirt
Clip: The Forgotten Circus
Directed by: Shelly Love

Monday, May 11, 2009

At the Ascot Races

The Hat:
And I thought I was colourful. Sat in the bag for sometime but when my mistress finally took me out, there were others who were more flamboyant than I was.

The Horse:
I like my name - most horses don't really care what their called but it gets my owner bets. I like it too that I'm running with the other horses but I get really disappointed when I end up last. Wish Ed would stop whacking me so hard on the butt too.

The Gambler:
How much do you wanna bet? I think this one's gonna win.

The Bookmaker
Look at these Chinese tourists. Sure get a laugh out of some of em. Asked for 'three way'....'Each way' he meant. Don't mind a 'three way' too ho ho.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Tell Me It's Not Over - Starsailor

p.s. Dear S you can stop harrassing me now - see I've done it already -next one please

Stepping out on the Right Foot with the Map of the Invisible World

Came full circle again at the Tash's book launch. Really looked forward to this new novel after Tash's highly acclaimed first novel "The Harmony Silk Factory". The discourse was also engaging and interesting with Kam Raslan leading covering subjects around the background of the story; Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, diasporic writing, ethnicity, geographical influences. Found Tash's answers very thoughtful and introspective as is his writing style.

Had an overwhelming sense of deja vu when I stepped into the little library where the launching was held. Sure enough I saw Sharon Bakar there. After 3 years of not attending 'Fiction and friends' back in KL, I see her here in London. It was somewhat surreal and I thought of all the others I left behind; KK, Muntaj, Jo-ann, Jessica, Sham, Alina, Shashi etc. My new book club kaki, Sejal was there too. It was strange to have one KL book club member on my left and a London book club member on my right.

Also met Kak Teh through Sharon, another celebrity Malaysian blogger - a very lovely lady who has agreed to let me link my unworthy blog to hers. We went to a new Malaysian restaurant on 19 New Cavendish Street called Selera .

Was warmly welcomed by Encik Hafiz who owns the restaurant - in no time an excellent mee goreng, keropok and also ayam goreng was whipped up. We had a good meal and a chat. Crazily enough, Sharon (who had never been to this restaurant and was just on a holiday back) found out that her husband was old schoolmates with Encik Hafiz back in MCKK. We were meant to come here - it was a 'langkah kanan' as Kak Teh mentioned.

Lake District Trip (To Live Like This)

Five travellers rollicking in the car

To go to the lakes and hills, 6 hours far

On a Vauxhall 5 -seater, word games we did play

Countries, nouns - Sat-nav guiding all the way

Garmin only 50% accurate

Luckily we were all graduates

Can find the way from Church Street to Hawkshead

The next morning adventurous breakfast with just bread

Then went to Grizedale forest - stepped on mud

Then to Lake Coniston where Donald Campbell's grave stood

Nasi beriyani dinner craving

Back to Hawkshead- roomate snoring

Next day off to see Keswick

Sun still shining but car sick

Checked into independent dorm

Pasta for lunch was the norm

Paid a visit to Castlerigg which is some other

Stonehenge's little brother

Climbed up Cat bells, highland utopia

Amy suffered acrophobia

Abandoned climb for high street walk

Played with leaf-race and just talked

Crashed in bed in the evening

Woke up raining next morning

Was promised trip to Pencil museum

If I came up with this Poem

After that to Beatrix Potter gallery

then had cakes, tea, coffee

Finally everyone - tired and done

Played word-games all the way to London

Bye bye Lake District you were nice too see

Keep for next time's memory