New World

Upto us to add that colour…

Lyrics to Hole’s Violet:

And the sky was made of Amethyst
And all the stars were just like little fish
You should learn when to go
You should learn how to say no

For all it’s worth, this may soon be

And the sky was made of Amethyst
And all the stars were just like little fish
You should learn when to go
You should learn to take a no.

#PostWeinstein

Relevance.

I just realised I’ve been blogging for more than a year.
It’s also true that this is probably the fifth time I’ve realised this.

What it also means is I’m not a baby blogger anymore!
I’m more like a toddler blogger now.
But I’m still crawling.
And I’m still breathing.
(And drooling and puking?)

I stole one of those lines off a moderately new Green Day song, and it’s not the drooling bit!

What do you think of Revolution Radio? Are Green Day back with a bang? I personally felt like Dos and Tré, their last two records (part of the Trilogy) went on a bit endlessly and were not the best Green Day can do. They’ve done better. For a band to make two major comebacks, two back to back concept albums, and still remain relevant is no mean feat, and it’s true, as Billie Joe Armstrong said in an interview last year that the band had nothing to prove to the world.

On the ‘relevance’ bit, you’ve got to acknowledge the fact that unlike many bands of the age, Green Day haven’t lost their sound to synths and computer-related experimentation. They’ve always stuck to their guns, the classic holy trinity, the guitar-bass-drums, although that could be used to argue against them. You can’t say they haven’t experimented with sound and genre though, that’s something you’d admire about Green Day ventures like American Idiot and Uno, which took Green Day into a delightfully funky upbeat, rhythmic-centric territory, sporadically sprinkled with a guitar solo. (I could mention Kill the DJ here.)

I almost needn’t mention the well-documented, almost famous (in related circles, of course) transition the band took from the (so-called) jaded Warning (’00)  to American Idiot (’04), ditching their would’ve-been seventh studio album, more generic and titled Cigarettes and Valentines after its mastertape was stolen, a retrospective blessing in disguise, to find a new sound, new look, and new direction with American Idiot. (Along with embracing the make-up and rockstar life, a marked departure from their punk Gilman street roots, Green Day also went political on this album, something they hadn’t done ostensibly uptil Warning.)

1093369984_f
Pre- American Idiot Green Day.

 

Such a band has nothing to prove, yet they keep proving, time and again, that they are relevant, a force to reckon with, and are here to stay.

(Just a tiny detour: it’s sad to see that artists who were once powerhouses of influence are struggling to remain relevant today. Take Beck on his new album Colors, which is a sort of resurgence on the maverick’s part, a cry of happiness at being, and a return to, relevance. (From an interview I read, an incident a few years ago where Beck, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and Paul McCartney weren’t considered “stars” enough to be let into a backstage event at some awards may have contributed to this fear.)
I’ve talked to people who have never heard of George Michael or of AC/DC. And now with Brian Johnson having stepped down due to hearing problems and original rhythm guitarist and cofounder Malcolm Young’s demise this week, I don’t know what dystopian future we’re headed for. RIP, Malcolm, in a decade it may be better up there!

…so, back to today if we will?)

A band like Green Day has nothing to prove. But looking at their latest stuff, whether it’s just the music, or the music videos, Green Day are more relevant than the morning daily even, which is honestly depressing at times. A lot of times.
Billie’s songwriting is spot on as always, Mike’s keeping a neat rhythm and Tré’s tight rhythm mirroring the guitar is only showing again why the band and fans love him so much.

But then again, that’s my opinion. What do you think? Is Bang Bang as good as I feel it is? Are Green Day back? Or were they never gone in the first place?

Link It To Yourself

I think we’ve lost our link with our past.

I think we’re subconsciously made uncomfortable by the unfamiliarity of everything around us, and that has been stressing us out.
See, most of us old enough to be reading and comprehending this grew up in a very different time. I don’t just mean this in the sense that we weren’t burdened with responsibility then, but also that we lived in a very physically different time. Most of what we were and had as kids is preserved in memory or is lost. Due to our carelessness, what physically remains of our memory may no longer conform with the fading, hazy images in our heads. The link is lost, we’re now spiders on Mars. We’re out there in this alien world with no friend or anchor, and there’s a storm headed our way.

When we were kids, we’d think of piling leaves that fell during the storm, and then jump in them.
We’d think of making snowmen and snow-angels in the remnants of the snowstorm.
Now, we’re thinking of the hours we’re losing, of safety (naturally) and of how we’re gonna lose WiFi signals in the storm.
By choice?
We’ve completely forgotten about what the kid would say, and there’s no one – no physical link – to remind us.
How lonesome must it be to be born an adult. How sad must it be to only recall high school education and life lessons, a few blurred faces, a few painful memories that can’t be forgotten, only because it’s so easy for the good to slip away?
When people generalise and say that schooldays are the best of ones life, but on trying to recall can only see the blood dripping down their nose, wiped on their hands from a run-in with the school bully, where did the peaceful days go?
(For some people though, these memories of being knocked around too, are a part of their peaceful blissful childhood. Don’t ask me. It’s all in comparison, I suppose!)

Often our scars find ways to manifest themselves in our lives. That ugly patch on your knee from when you fell off the bike that taught you to stand up again, that you always remember, that reflects even today in your corporate leadership. All those lessons that made us what we are today.
In between those lazy, slow shutter shots, the good was but a ghost wash, 0.1 seconds of your 6 second shot: but a minute frame.

With no one to remind us who we were, we truly born hardened— for where does the past exist but in the memory’s eye?
Manuscripts read in the present are not the past. History read today is something that has only begun existing for me in the last 24 hours – no matter that I have wandered the very lanes I read about, for it was a different time and hence a different place then.
We can only paint the walls of life with experience, and memory is all that can fill our brushes.
But when the winter freezes your paint pots and makes the paint inaccessible, you are back out there in the cold, with no warmth of remembrance to light your fire. Your hearth’s turned to stone, and you now begin your new stone cold, heavy, yet empty life, because the flesh was hollowed out and you can’t remember what it even was.

Eventually, you grow used to your new life and forget about feeling hollow, but something remains, a small, nagging voice of the back of your head – and even not knowing what it is, it invariably stresses you out.

Many a time we want to give in to that voice – we begin the hunt, but we are wandering aimlessly because we don’t know what we’re looking for. We can’t remember, actually. Often, we can’t even come to terms with that. The void grows larger and blacker.
We then tried to fill this void with “success”, and what we call our “drive” we often can’t pinpoint the source for, when what we’re really looking for all along is the cause, the thing that ripped open the void in the first place, the missing link that began the vicious cycle.

Some of us have been able to pause and identify our situation, I dilemma – there is something missing, that we are searching for.
We hold onto that so tight, build it up for such a crescendo, hold it so high, but we are prone to miss it. We may dismiss it.
We fail to realise that it is really such a small thing – we can get hands on it, don’t you gape in disbelief.
We fail to realise that what we are searching for all our lives is not a high unachievable ideal. It’s so small, it is in our grasp.
It’s the little link we’re searching for, the physical reminders, any reminders of the days of old when it was easier.
It’s hard when half our links have been destroyed – by us, no less – and the others are locked in trunks and attics, out of sight, out of mind, or do not resemble our memories anymore.
With a digital variant replacing all we had as kids, we are truly surrounded by a cold, bright, harsh, blue-lit world, and we don’t remember who we are.

I found an old Hotwheelz helicopter a couple of months ago (when I had meant to write this post, but procrastination kept winning), and an old miniature pack of cards I’d had as a kid, under a pile of mess.
(The mess? Completely normal.)
I swear. I was enraptured.
I’d seen the helicopter around a dew times before (I’d never had the heart to get rid of it because it was a favourite of mine), but just seeing it wasn’t exactly a trigger.
I realised memories are not so much about watching a movie in your head.
I picked up the chopper and ran its wheels over the floor, turned its blades some, listened for that spinning wheels sound.
Now I was really there.
I wasn’t watching my kid self play nor did I “see” our old house or whatnot— but for fifteen minutes, I was little me again, new time, new place, but I had the old attitude again, and for a while, I lost my responsibilities.
(Yes, you’ve guessed right if you did— it was before a test!)
I can’t say I was better connected with my past self or anything like that, nor did I have a sudden ‘Eureka!’ where this blissful experience would help me ace chemistry no sweat, nor make up for my then-large sleep deficit.
(I had days when I was crashing in the corridors. I may elaborate on it later.) But it was something to think about, somewhere to hide, for ten minutes, maybe the breather I needed, we all need, to regroup and soldier on.
What do you say, is it our own private T.A.R.D.I.S., our last link with the lost world?

(P.S. I know what this looks like, but I did not just spend six pages (my drafts are mostly physical) secretly advocating for hoarders or messy rooms. Nor does this change the fact that my messy room, and mum, will catch up to me someday. Sigh.)

The Augmented

Pruned and preened
Glisten gleam
You’re a polished, upright grand
I could just sit before you
Run my fingers through
Over smooth black and white ridges

I could tower, smash
Power brash
Or slip a slow tune underwater
Just let your music play
Too long we’ve been away
And would I love to sustain

Apple cherry
Rosewood teak
With a streak through the hair
Sugar plum
Sweet rich high note pie
Crystal clear cold stream

Dusty unkempt vandalised
Head turner but I think you’d like it
Dishevelled sprayed personalised
The many hues that make a life, yeah

Apple cherry
Maple creak
With a splinter through the hair
Saccharine
Rings hollow from within
Do I still sound a dream

Sound within
Still pulls us in
Thundering of strings
Pianissimo
Andante take it slow
And we’ll take our bows.

 

 

The Black-and-White Rainbow That Music is Becoming.

Millie makes her way out of the stuffy Tube and weaves into the crowded streets of London. It’s been a rough day and a tiring ride home, but she’s doing fine, now.

Twenty minutes Underground with the white wires going into her ears, blocking out the noise of the crowds, replacing it with the pristine voice of her favourite artist- she’s got her daily fix of music.

It’s nothing new. From the wandering blues musician in the early days before recording technology to the kids furtively guarding their vinyl collection to the twenty four hour radio to the anywhere-anytime streaming, only the platform has been changing. The music itself, has been a definitive part of human history ever since Homo sapiens discovered that shouting in two different pitches could sound good.

For some, music has been part of their unwinding, de-stressing, relaxation therapy. It’s motivational for some. It’s a form of energy, of expression.

And it has influenced the course of human history.

That’s what makes traditional music such a force to reckon with.

Ever since oppression has been known, protest has been too.

And protest has invariably found itself manifested, to some degree of other, in the music of that time and place.

The folk protest songs of the sixties, complete with the Dylan’s and the Baez’s, come to mind.

Patriot songs in any freedom struggle, national anthems, preservation of ethnicity in the form of niche instruments and distinct music, are all, in the end, a link with history, a link that mustn’t be destroyed.

One reason for this is that freedom was not always, well, a free commodity. This makes the worldwide struggles to lift us all up to a state of being equally free and unoppressed all that more unforgettable, and here music has played its part, in a different hue and shade in every part of the world, but there, because to fearlessly open your heart and sing out loud has always been an expression of freedom.

Protest through music lives, even today.

In light of these deeply rooted, meaningful, varied links, to simply paint the entire world with the monochromatic wash if standardised ‘International music’ (most of which, ironically, is American alone) is to do injustice to the history that has shaped our very state of being, today.

The Māori haka dance.

This isn’t an attack on International music, however. Even monochrome, after all, is bit one of the many colour schemes employed to make the colours of life more vibrant. The emphasis here is on the importance given to each.

We can’t disregard the traditional music of a country, a state, a time, for sure me standardised computer generated generic (which in history, would come to mark this digitalised ago, nonetheless).

The trick is to hold up both without comparison, one representing our present, and the other, our past, and incidentally, our future.

Fahrenheit

Cigarette smoke billowed from her hair
The brightest shadow in the glare
Of sparks of light momentarily flickered
Every now she danced and wavered
Fahrenheit and tempered steel
Worn, gritty arcane appeal
Distant flame that fire dame
A picture speaks a thousand words;
Not much this one reveals.
Her outward calm and fluid walk
A different scene in her mind locked
Enter slashing fire flash;
Any moment system crash,
Running, shrieking, fire’s cooled
Drown in her wide black pools,
Of others now reflected her candlelight
Persevered and won half a fight
She’s the calm after the storm
And she is the brewing maelstrom
The brewing storm in her own private teacup.