Thursday, December 29, 2005

How to Fire Your Band

You're right, this picture needs a better caption. Come on, people! All the bright minds who read this blog can certainly come up with something to go with this picture. Winner will get 10 Jon Bon Jovi Have a Nice Day promo stickers. (Fortunately, these stickers have neither Jon Bon Jovi's face nor his name on them, so you can stick 'em anywhere--yes, even where the sun don't shine!--with no shame).

And, in case you're wondering, this picture came from here, under unexplained circumstances.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Up Your Chimneys

From The Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer #1 (1985)

"Santa, with my nose so bright, can I guide your sleigh tonight?" "SHADDUP! I'm sick of milk and cookies! I'm sick of the North Pole! So up your chimneys!" Click on the image to reveal... a bigger image. It's like a magic! (copyright The Ciudad Band)

And Happy Holidays to y'all. Ho ho ho!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I'm the goddamn Batman

Because even heroes can be dicks sometimes.

ROBIN: Who the hell are you anyway, giving out orders like this?
BATMAN: What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something? Who the hell do you think I am? I'm the goddamn Batman.

Ladies and gentlemen, an actual excerpt from All-Star Batman and Robin #2, by Frank Miller and Jim Lee, both men who have done much better work elsewhere. This classic exchange of dialogue is old news to comics fans, but I just felt like posting it now. Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Fergie is Sally

Despite the brain-melting badness that is the Black Eyed Peas song My Humps, Fergie will always be aces in my book. The reason why is in an interview from the August 2005 issue of Blender:

FERGIE: Being the voice of Sally for a Peanuts cartoon. I actually have a thing that Charles Schulz wrote me. He drew Snoopy and it says, "To our best Sally ever -- Schulz." That's cool! Schulz called me the best Sally ever.

It's not just that she was the voice of Sally Brown once upon a time, it's that despite becoming an international pop star with BEP, she still counts voicing Sally as "the coolest thing she's ever done."

That is why she is awesome.

Incidentally, one of the Peanuts specials Fergie did -- "It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown" -- is one of my all-time favorites, despite the fact that it's horribly, horribly dated now, as you can probably guess from the title (then again, the 80s are back...). Who could forget such timeless tunes as "The Pig-Pen Hoe-Down," "I'm In Shape" and "Lucy Says"? Listen to Lucy, listen to Lucy!

PS. The new installment of my column, "The King of Nothing to Do," should be in the i section of today's Manila Bulletin. It's a Christmas story for children! Well, sort of.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My Humps My Humps

From Slate:
"My Humps" is a moment that reminds us that categories such as "good" and "bad" still matter. Relativism be damned! There are bad songs that offend our sensibilities but can still be enjoyed, and then there are the songs that are just really bad -- transcendentally bad, objectively bad. As a piece of music, "My Humps" is a stunning assemblage of awful ideas.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Radioactive Dharma

Yay! It's the Warning Label Generator! As always, my capacity to discover new ways to distract myself knows no bounds.

Last Saturday night after the Siglo launch, Yvette and I found ourselves at 6underground, where we enjoyed sets by bands like The Happy Meals (who were apparently recently dropped by Viva, the label that was supposed to release their first album -- a real shame, they're a good band) and recent In The Raw winners Up Dharma Down. For those of you who have yet to hear UDD, there are some samples here. When I say 'samples,'I mean samples: the excellent "Maybe," for example, fades out all too soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Passion! Power! Piction!

It's December 10, Saturday, today, right? That means alla youse who are interested in comics and/or speculative fiction should go to the Greenhills Promenade branch of Fully Booked later at 6:30 PM, where they're launching three books: Siglo: Passion (from Nautilus Comics), Project: Hero (Quest Ventures), and Philippine Speculative Fiction, Vol. 1 (Kestrel).

I'm one of the writers of Siglo: Passion -- I wrote a script set in the future, involving artificial realities, real friendships, and a giant guinea pig, that was illustrated by the very skilled Jonas Diego. Other contributors include Gerry Alanguilan, Quark Henares, Dean Alfar, Reno Maniquis, Jeremy Arambulo, Lan Medina, Carlo Vergara, Marco Dimaano, Leinil Francis Yu, etc. According to Click the City:
Siglo: Passion is the sequel to the National Book Award-winning anthology Siglo: Freedom. This time around, the book explores the passions of the Filipino people, from food to family, from religion to nation, through twelve stories set across one hundred years of history and beyond. With a roster of award-winning writers and artists, Siglo: Passion promises to be an unforgettable experience, and yet another milestone in Philippine comic book history.

The launch price is Php 500, and it will apparently sell post-launch for Php 850. More on Siglo: Passion at the Nautilus Comics site and Dean's blog. Project: Hero (Php 120), as the name implies, is a comics anthology featuring new Pinoy superheroes, and Philippine Speculative Fiction (Php 300) is a collection of mind-expanding short stories by Cyan Abad-Jugo, Gabriela Lee, Ian Casocot, and Sarge Lacuesta, among others. See ya there!

PS. Happy birthday, Fran! :)

Monday, December 05, 2005

The NU Rock Awards, part 2

The Official List Of Winners


VOCALIST OF THE YEAR: Bamboo Mañalac of Bamboo

GUITARIST OF THE YEAR: Cynthia Alexander

BASSIST OF THE YEAR: Niño Avenido of Greyhoundz

DRUMMER OF THE YEAR: Jeross Dolino of Sheila and the Insects

BEST LIVE ACT: Kamikazee

RISING SUN AWARD: Orange and Lemons

IN THE RAW AWARD: Up Dharma Down

SONG OF THE YEAR: "Ako si M-16" by Junior Kilat

BEST MALE AWARD: Yael Yuzon of Spongecola


ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Light, Peace, and Love by Bamboo

BAND/ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Orange and Lemons

BEST MUSIC VIDEO: "Akap" Of Imago (Directed by Marie Jamora)

BEST ALBUM PACKAGING: Claude Rodrigo for Strike Whilst the Iron is Hot of Orange and Lemons

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR: Cynthia Alexander and Angee Rozul for Cynthia Alexander*

[*Can somebody help clear this up, please? As far as I know, Angee Rozul and Cynthia Alexander who won Producer of the Year, but most online accounts like this one from ABS-CBN Interactive say that it was Noel de Brackinghe for his work with Greyhoundz. Help!]


Surprise! Hale aren't Best New Artist of 2005, and do you know why? Because they're NOT! HOORAY!

I'm not even going to complain that O&L are Artist of the Year, because I will grudgingly admit that they've made quite an impact on the industry, having suddenly made acceptable bad haircuts and faux-English accents. Okay, I know when I've been defeated. You win this round, O&L, but the battle is far from over.

Now, to answer some fan mail:

Aki asked:
Juz wanna ask why are you so mad to Orange and Lemons?...

Dear Aki
I am so mad to Orange and Lemons, because they are suck. Okay, that's not right! Orange and Lemons are not suck, but they are, how do you say, annoying. With their haircuts and their accents which are not real. They are annoy to me.

I hope that clears things up...


* * * * * *

Andrea asked:
I'm just curious and I hope you don't mind me asking this.

Who would you choose among the three, Hale, Cueshe, and O&L? I know you don't like them. But sino sa kanila yung mejo matitiis mo pa?


Dear Andrea,

Oh, good question! This reminds me of the old game we used to play in the Pulp offices. "Who would you..." (e.g.,"Who would you watch if you could only watch one, Smashing Pumpkins or Pixies?" "Who would you date, Jerome Abalos or Joey 'Pepe' Smith?" etc.)

Actually, even with all my nasty comments about O&L, they're the ones I could listen to. Cueshe are boring, and Hale just aren't great musicians. Which only proves that, hey, looks aren't everything to me. O&L are pretty homely, and I picked them. See? I'm deep.


+ + + + + +
NOTE: I've updated the winners list several times, as no official list of the winners can be found anywhere online. My apologies for the initial mistakes, and I would appreciate it if anyone can point out any additional ones. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Shake Yer Heads

So the Ultraelectromagneticjam concert is tonight, and I'm going to miss it, because I'll be stuck at home, working on overdue freelance stuff and last-minute scriptwriting for the MTV Summit. Sigh. At least I got the E-heads tribute album itself, yesterday -- it's currently selling like hotcakes in record stores all over the city, apparently. (Sudden thought: wouldn't it be cool to be head of sales of some hotcake company? Whenever anyone asks you how business is, you can always shrug and say, "Well, you know... they're selling, like the hotcakes they are." Okay, maybe it wouldn't be cool).

Overall, the Ultraelectromagneticjam CD is worth getting, but have your Eraserheads albums nearby when you listen to it, because you're going to want to re-immerse yourself in the originals right after. The collection gets off to a weak start: 6cyclemind doing "Alapaap" is far from a disaster -- 6cyclefans will be happy that their idols are performing such strong material -- but since their basic sound doesn't appeal to me much and they don't take the song in any interesting new directions, their cover just kind of sits there, in a limbo between excellence and offensiveness. (Other examples here of bands failing to overcome their inherent limitations -- and by "inherent limitations," I really mean "my prejudices" -- are Orange and Lemons' version of "Huwag Kang Matakot," Cueshe's "Hard to Believe," and Sponge Cola's "Pare Ko").

And then oh my God there's track 2, "Magasin": honestly, I have nothing against Paolo Santos personally -- that interview/field trip to Quiapo we did with him for PULP way back was fun; he's a nice guy, and not untalented -- but he fucking murders this song, singing it in a style more suited for the throwaway novelty hit of your jeepney-riding nightmares. It may be the worst artist-song pairing on the whole album.

The first really good track is Imago's version of "Spoliarium" -- vocalist Aia de Leon is in fine form here, as are the rest of the band; it's a good example of how to make a song your own while not obscuring the source material. It's followed by a somewhat disappointing "Overdrive" by Barbie Almalbis, who sings like she's a three year-old girl. With big eyes. And pigtails. Purists may twitch upon hearing South Border's "With a Smile" and MYMP's "Huwag Mo Nang Itanong," but the fact is that both are quite well done: capitalizing on the strengths of each act, and showing us new aspects of two of the more beloved E-heads songs.

Other reasons to buy the album: Sugarfree's "Tikman," Isha's "Torpedo," Kitchie Nadal's "Ligaya" (gotta love that post-chorus chuckle, and the uncharacteristically dirty-fuzzy guitar sound), Rico J. Puno's "Ang Huling El Bimbo" (showing the whippersnappers how it's done), and Radioactive Sago Project's riotous version of "Alcohol," which I may actually prefer to the original.

PS. Excellent album cover design and illustration by Cynthia and Arnold, btw. :)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Electronica and Pizza

After 2+ weeks of stay-at-home, zonked-out uselessness brought on by a bout of intestinal flu, it feels good to be going out again, slight lingering dizziness be damned! That said, I almost didn't go to the launch of excellent electronica act Drip's "Sweet Cheeks" video last Saturday night, tired as I was from elbowing people in the gut and stepping on small wailing children while balancing armfuls of bargain books (I dropped by the National Bookstore Warehouse Sale earlier that day). Boredom and a sense of one's life slipping away unlived won out, however, and Kidlat and I met up at Green Papaya one hour later than the alleged start of the event, but just in time, as it turned out.

Drip performed an all-too-short set of songs: lead singer Beng's smooth, seductive croon was lovely and beguiling as always, Ian and Malek worked their beats-loops-and-keyboards magic, and Caliph8 on turntables was a very welcome not-so-recent addition. I was struck by how much I liked the way they've reworked numbers like "To You" and "Song Number 9" -- the songs are funkier now, more beat-heavy, catchier and more danceable. To be honest, I prefer the new versions to the ones on Far Side of the World; maybe someday something like a collection of remixes will be available. As Beng pointed out afterwards, they felt that some changes were necessary if the material was to remain interesting to them. Am quite happy about the direction they seem to be going, musically -- Drip has always been an act worth watching, but there were times when their songs seemed to invite a nodding and somewhat detached admiration rather than real, big-grinned engagement. As for the "Sweet Cheeks" video -- a work of hand-drawn animation -- it was a funny, quirky slice of life on an alien world, complete with killer plants and flying saucers.

Afterwards, we went down the street to our new favorite Italian place (I think it's called Fruili -- I'm not sure). For those of you who are at least a little familiar with Maginhawa Street, it's at a slight angle across that Persian place Ababu, right where Teddi's used to be. Fruili, if that indeed is what it's called, serves really good pizza, and anyone who knows me knows that that is not a statement I make lightly. I recommed the Venezia (sprinkled with ground sirloin) and Margherita (oozing with garlic and cheese).

The days immediately before and immediately after my bout with flu were marked by memorable gigs: last Thursday night, November 24, I caught the second set by Isha (a.k.a. Peach) at Mag:Net Katipunan, which was immensely enjoyable -- too bad I missed her first set, and Ace Cada's solo set (friends assured me that 1. both were great, and that 2. I am a perennially tardy idiot). I bought a copy of her Katakataka EP downstairs right after.

And, last November 5, some friends and I finally managed to catch a gig by The Bitter Pill at Ninja Kiss 12 ("Moshi Moshpit Ano Ne?") at Saguijo, and we were utterly blown away by their short sharp songs, their undeniable energy, and the sheer infectious joy with which they played. I missed the incredible Bitter Pill/ Pedicab/ Brass Munkeys lineup last Revolver night due to my illness, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing [Mikey + Diego + Diego + mohawked drummer + cute bassist] play again, and soon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The NU Rock Awards 2005

Some things you should know about the NU 107 Rock Awards this year:

1) I was not invited back to judge. Yes, despite my impeccable taste, the Judgment Bunny Waxy Seal of Judgment will not be put to use, like it was last year. DAMMIT!

2) Orange & Lemons are nominated in multiple categories. They did win last year, much to my dismay. Of course, my very vocal disappointment at the O&L victory over Cambio might be the reason for (1), but I still can't believe nobody's caught on to how annoying O&L music is. Hoy, NU, itigil na ang kalokohang 'yan.

3) Ex-magazine staff members nominated for an award this year: 2 Namely, Jason Caballa, who replaced me as music editor of PULP, and who, with his band Pedicab, is nominated in the Album of the Year and Rising Sun categories; and Bernie Sim, staff writer/illustrator/fashion diva of MTV Ink, nominated for Best Album Packaging.

4) -----. Ay! Secret pala! Due to some legal ek ek, I am obliged to tell you folks that nothing and nobody have anything to do with Nu107, their logo, or anything at all. NOTHING, I TELL YOU!

So there. And now, the nominees.

The Official List Of Nominees

Brownman Revival
Junior Kilat

Hale are this year's Orange and Lemons. Which means that they will probably win, and I won't like it.

Bamboo Mañalac of Bamboo
Reg Rubio of Greyhoundz
Aia De Leon Of Imago
Mcoy Fundales of Orange and Lemons
Jett Pangan Of the Dawn
Ria Bautista of Paramita

Tough call. I think Ria Bautista and Aia de Leon are amazing vocalists, and that Jett Pangan deserves an award just for still being around, but in terms of impact on the industry and sheer popularity, I think this'll probably go to O&L again, or maybe Bamboo.

Ira Cruz of Bamboo
Audie Avenido of Greyhoundz
Francis Reyes of the Dawn
Jethro Mendoz of Valley of Chrome
Giann Sotto of Nerveline
Cynthia Alexander

Cynthia Alexander fucking deserves this for her amazing work on Comet's Tail. And if she doesn't win, she will totally put a curse on you or something.

Nathan Azarcon of Bamboo
Buwi Meneses of Parokya ni Edgar
Niño Avenido of Greyhoundz
Mon Legazpi of the Dawn
Dondi Ledesma for his work in Joey Pepe Smith’s album Idiosyncrasies

Dondi Ledesma is the sentimental favorite here for his work on Pepe Smith's "comeback" album, but let's face it: it wasn't a very good album at all.

Vic Mercado of Bamboo
TJ Brillantes of Greyhoundz
Zach Lucero of Imago
Ria Bautista of Paramita
Mike Dizon of Pedicab
Jeross Dolino of Sheila and the Insects

Lotsa good ones this year. Zach Lucero's always a solid drummer (and also a recent birthday boy, having turned 30 on the 20th), and Mike Dizon is outstanding as part of Pedicab. But then again, are we truly going to deny Sheila and the Insects a long-awaited award, especially with the waves they created this year? Or ignore the amazing fact that Ria drums and sings at the same time? Take that, Meg White!

Parokya ni Edgar
Radioactive Sago Project

I vote for Giniling Festival! And Bagetsafonik! And Best Before! No? Okay, fine: Radioactive Sago Project.

Orange and Lemons
Brownman Revival

Orange and Lemons, Hale, and Cueshe nominated in the same category. Punyeta.

Kiko Machine
Valley of Chrome
Up Dharma Down
Daydream Cycle

Full disclosure: I've known bassist Paul Yap since he was in short pants and sported an "apple" haircut. That said, I think Up Dharma Down totally deserve the award.

"Hallelujah" by Bamboo
"Chicksilog" by Kamikazee
"The Day You Say Goodnight"[sic] by Hale
"Akap" by Imago
"Hanggang Kailan" by Orange and Lemons
"Ang Ating Araw" by Dictalicense
"Mang Jose" by Parokya ni Edgar
"Ako si M-16" by Junior Kilat
"Nice Place" by Juan Pablo Dream
"Tulad Ng Dati" by The Dawn
"Humanda Ka" by Sandwich
"Hari Nang Sablay" by Sugarfree

I never thought I'd see a song that goes, "I'm going to a nice place! A very very nice place!" nominated for Song of the Year, and yet here we are. Is there any good reason none of Kitchie Nadal's phenomenal crossover hits were nominated?

Bamboo Mañalac of Bamboo
Champ Liupio of Hale
Yael Yuzon of Spongecola
Diego Mapa of Pedicab
Raymund Marasigan of Sandwich
Pochoy Labog of Dictalicense

Bamboo is the best male! YAY! Oh, you mean best male musician.

Kitchie Nadal
Aia De Leon Of Imago
Lougee Basabas of Mojofly
Ria Bautista of Paramita
Myrene Academia of Sandwich /Imago
Wawi Navaroza of the Late Isabel

Kitchie Nadal, for her work with Twister Fries.

Apoy by Greyhoundz
Light, Peace, and Love by Bamboo
Strike whilst the Iron Is Hot by Orange and Lemons
Take Two by Imago
Tugish Takish by Pedicab
Harapin by the Dawn
Party PIpol Ur on Dub TV by Junior Kilat

I haven't listened to any of these albums in full and/or with full attention, so I will withhold comment.

Orange and Lemons
Parokya ni Edgar
Kitchie Nadal

Kitchie Nadal, I think.

"The Day You Said Goodnight" of Hale (Directed by Sigfrid Barros Sanchez)
"Same Ground" Of Kitchie Nadal (Directed by Avid Liongoren)
"You’ll Be Safe Here" of Rivermaya (Directed By Pedring Lopez)
"Hallelujah" of Bamboo (Directed by Topel Lee)
"Akap" Of Imago (Directed by Marie Jamora)

I would like to call everyone's attention to the interesting use of prepositions here: "Song" of The Artist. Interesting. That said, I've a weird liking for Marie Jamora's video for "Akap."

Claude Rodrigo for Strike Whilst the Iron is Hot of Orange and Lemons
Ge Madriaga for Rhomboids of Monsterbot
Bernie Sim for Tala of Paramita
Orven Enoveso for Flowerfish of Sheila and the Insects
Ink Surge for Tugish Takish of Pedicab
Gina Pestano for Party Pipol Ur On Dub TV of Junior Kilat

I always enjoyed judging this category at awards shows. And it is also the category in which at least one magazine alumnus gets nominated in every year. I haven't seen half of the albums nominated for this category, but I did like the Tugish Takish design a lot, and Bernie Sim has never failed to deliver something interesting and weird.

Bamboo and Angee Rozul for Bamboo
Cynthia Alexander and Angee Rozul for Cynthia Alexander
Noel De Brackinghe for Greyhoundz
Kerryl Demetrio and Junior Kilat for Junior Kilat
Robert Javier for Orange and Lemons

Cynthia Alexander and Angee Rozul, because Comet's Tail was amazing. And while I never thought I'd say this, I think Hale's album producer also deserves an award. I mean, have you heard them live? Anyone who can make THAT sound good on a CD deserves a medal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"You want the day to fit to a soundtrack..."

Looking at the date on Blogger's saved draft of this post, it's shamefully obvious that I have been gone far too long. In the meantime, Eliott Smith has put out another album (posthumously), as did Liz Phair (post-attempt-at-a-pop-album); and Luis and I have started working on another show script and on a top-secret project. All we can tell you about those last two is that you all should watch out for: (a) more inappropriate incurable-disease-related jokes and (b) bastard-eating eagles. YAY!

Before I get back to the arduous task of bastard-eating eagle-raising and catching up on my blog reading, I feel I must complete this important tast, posted by Thor and then answered in this blog by Luis, who noted that, as music geeks, this is a bittersweet task that is both more enjoyable and more difficult than it normally would be. Of course, even normal (<--term here used loosely) music geeks don't fantasize about the movie that will be made of their lives. I do. It used to star Winona Ryder, until I gained some weight and she, a shoplifting problem.

Just kidding. I didn't gain weight (it's true! I used to be shaped like an amoeba when I was in college! they lied about adolescence and sports keeping you in shape!) and I never did get around to casting the movie of my life. I did, however, make a soundtrack. To wit:


If you were to create the sountrack of your life, this would be the song playing when you are...

"Sad Loved Girl" Scheer; "Maps" Yeah Yeah Yeahs

"Manna" Tanya Donelly. Because, at the end of the day, there really isn't a better declaration of love than the simple statement, "But I'm here now, and I'm staying put."

"How Am I Different?" Aimee Mann

I would prefer for there to be no music in these scenes, but if the director insists, threatening, for example, to put a 70s porn soundtrack in the absence of any choices, I would pick: "The Yard of Blonde Girls" Jeff Buckley; "Hey" Pixies; "Hotel California" The Eagles. Fuck you, I'm not explaining that last one.

"Holah" Mazzy Star. "Baby, won't you change your mind?"

"Think About your Troubles" Harry Nilsson

"These Are the Days" 10,000 Maniacs. And when the road trip's about to end, "Passenger Seat" Death Cab for Cutie

"Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" Eels

"Nirvana" Juliana Hatfield. "Should I end it all? Now, here comes a song I love so much."

"Waitress" Tori Amos. "But I believe in peace, bitch."

"Born Slippy" Underworld

"Mr.Zebra" Tori Amos

"Stars" Simply Red, for the high school prom scene flashback; for everything else, there is embarrassing hair rock and some classical music. I was kind of a strange and pretentious kid.

Choose any song from the following albums:Achtung Baby U2; In My Tribe 10,000 Maniacs; Ten Pearl Jam

The string quartet version of "In My Place" by Coldplay. Yes, I've thought this one out.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Charles Darwin Will Fuck Your Shit Up

I love Master Ninja. "Questionable Taste and No Regard for the Human Condition... Please do not betray us, or we will kill you while you sleep."

Here, from an article commenting on The Top Ten Most Harmful Books:

Chuck: Lenin only gets an honorable mention? They've got Mao and Marx up there -- why did Lenin get thrown to the bottom of the heap?

Fred: Kinsey beat him to the punch. He'd be up there if only Lenin had added "...also, sex is awesome. Do more sex."

Chuck: "Make the man sex and the group sex and all the sex you want because it's all good." That'd be a great addition to What Is To Be Done.

Fred: "Communism? More like Cummunism!" And then he high-fives Marx's corpse. And fucks it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Elephants and Visitors

Missed two events I would have wanted to go to yesterday, namely the launch of White Elephants, Sarge Lacuesta's second book of short stories, and the re-opening of Doi's bar, 77, on the very spot where Millennia used to be, along Kamuning (just after the Burger Machine, across the Pares place -- note that all my geographical reference points are food-related). Congratulations, guys, and apologies for my non-attendance; rest assured it was for very, very good reasons. :)

I did, however, manage to pass by the opening of Gabby Barredo's new show at the Ayala Museum last Thursday night. Couldn't stay as I had to rush off to a meeting, but I will say that it's definitely worth a look. If you pass by, don't forget to get a copy of the program; it's excellently photographed and designed, and contains "Visitors," a short short story I wrote, inspired by the exhibit. Congrats to Erwin, Yvonne, Juan and of course Gabby, and everyone else associated with the show.

In other news: apparently, the Earth-2 Superman has returned. Those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, just move along. The comics geeks among you, however, may have just experienced a slight but pleasant tingling of the spine at the news. And speaking of geeks, and tinglings -- along the spine and elsewhere -- the animated Ralph Bakshi/Frank Frazetta collaboration Fire and Ice is being released on DVD. Here's a true story from the Newsarama thread:
In 1984, I rented this movie for my 13th birthday party. While my friends and I were watching it, one of my friends said that the main girl in the film was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Another friend said something like, "why don't you just go hump Betty Boop?", and somehow a gigantic fistfight broke out in the living room. The point of the story is that I never saw the rest of the movie and now I finally get to buy it. Thank God.

And finally, Jessica Zafra's blogging. (Got the link from Budjette). "Yes that IS my real name, I AM the columnist slash talk show host, I AM the author of the seven Twisted books (eight if you count Twisted Flicks) and this IS my first and only blog."

Monday, October 10, 2005

In with the New

So I was with some friends a week and a half ago and Karlo asked me: what is your favorite New Order song? (Apparently Electronica Manila, of which Karlo is a member, is thinking of doing a New Order night). I experienced a moment of hesitation -- brought on by the idiotic music-geeky notion that I should name something earlier and more obscure -- and then told him what my tragically obvious first choice was anyway: "Regret," from Republic. Waya, sitting next to him, immediately asked me to sing it, which I refused to do: I once actually recorded myself warbling "Regret," when I was toying with a new tape recorder in college, and listening to the playback was an act of sheer masochism, the aural equivalent of deliberately stapling one's fingers (which, funnily enough, I have also done).

Anyway, through cosmic coincidence, it seems that Ninja Kiss 11 is going to be a New Order covers night too: according to Bernie, it's "going to be our biggest kiss and kick fest evah! see you next friday, october 14, at big sky mind, new manila as we pay tribute to new wave pioneers, new order with a banging six-band line-up starring: orange and lemons, morse, bagetsafonik, sleepyheads, isha, and watari's machine -- it's a night of electronica, britpop and new wave, kaya punta na! gig starts early at 10pm."

Ace of Bagetsafonik has told me that they're doing "Regret," so that's something to look forward to. I wonder if anyone will perform my other favorites, like "Love Vigilantes," or "Every Little Counts," a cute and twisted little song from Brotherhood (the same album the over-covered "Bizarre Love Triangle" comes from), or "Run Wild" from the fairly recent Get Ready. Maybe someone will do the happy-catchy "Krafty" and evoke the guilty giddy voyeuristic adolescent thrill of the video. And I wonder how great -- or awful -- a full-on rock version of "Shellshock" might sound! (Flash back to high school: I owned a Substance T-shirt I bought off one of those clothing stalls near the pier, and I wore it regularly until it was basically floor-rag material).

In any case, it looks like it's going to be fun. So: what's your favorite New Order song? :)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

OST: Luis is Listening

From Thor: "If you were to create the soundtrack of your life, this would be the song playing when you are..."


From a Late Night Train by The Blue Nile. Other possibilities: I Live To Fall Asleep by Manic Street Preachers, and the acoustic version of Everything But The Girl's Come On Home.


There She Goes by The La’s -- yeah, I know: it’s probably actually about heroin. But hey, love is a dangerous drug too, which, just like heroin, may result over time in scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses and other soft-tissue infections, and liver or kidney disease. Oh, and constipation. And then there's Cole Porter’s Looking at You -- Life seemed so gray/ I wanted to end it/ Till that wonderful day/ You started to mend it -- yay, suicidal depression and unabashed romanticism in bed together! And finally: As The World Falls Down by David Bowie.


Messy Shitty by The Spinanes. You Give Love a Bad Name by Bon Jovi. And Dare To Be Stupid by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Okay, I can hear you now!


Again, Dare To Be Stupid by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Just kidding. Almost anything from Portishead's first album, To Bring You My Love by PJ Harvey, and Massive Attack.


Buwan by Itchyworms. Far From Me by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: You were my mad little lover/ In a world where everybody fucks everybody else over/ You who are so far from me. And, for real wrist-slitting action, Broken Heart by Spiritualized.


Livin' It Up by Rickie Lee Jones, Don’t Give Up The Fight by The Magic Numbers, the Built to Spill version of Linus and Lucy, Try Again Today by The Charlatans, and Wrapped in Grey by XTC.


Several Josh Rouse songs come to mind, but I can't remember all their titles now, so how about Survival Car by Fountains of Wayne? And, for some reason, I've Had It by Aimee Mann has always struck me as the kind of music that would suit the beginning of a really early-morning road trip, like around 5 AM just before sunrise.


All I Need is Everything by Aztec Camera, Se a vida e by Pet Shop Boys, and Pussy by Brazilian Girls. Beach-tastic!


Discolite by Teenage Fanclub! The Robots in My Bedroom Were Playing Arena Rock by The Soft Lightes! And Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down by Toasters! Whooo! *trips over furniture*


Without You I'm Nothing by Placebo (tick, tock).


Grrr! Hulk Smash to the tune of: Speed by Atari Teenage Riot. Stockholm Syndrome by Muse. And One Man Army by The Prodigy with Tom Morello (also good for Tae-Bo workouts).


Speak To Me Someone by Gene is, in some parallel world, a bigger videoke staple than "My Way." And maybe that parallel world would also have The Pixies' Where is My Mind? on their sing-along machines. And maybe that parallel world is called "Japan". Here's hoping.


Lotsa stuff. Signs by Snoop Dogg and JT, Super Bon Bon by Soul Coughing, Music Gets The Best of Me by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and Cool as Ice (Everybody Get Loose) by Vanilla Ice with Naomi Campbell, not that I'd ever admit any of this in a public forum. Oh wait, I just did.


I don't believe I've ever been singing, dancing and drunk off my ass, at least not all at the same time (unless you count that wake I attended once). But I can totally imagine the soundtrack for such a scene: Don't Stop Me Now by Queen, 99 Luft Problems (a Jay-Z/Nena mash-up), and Le Tigre's version of I'm So Excited. I'm about to lose control, and I think I like it!


Basically, 80s hair metal: Slip of the Tongue by Whitesnake, Photograph by Def Leppard, Dreams by Van Halen. Although that last one might result in Air Keyboarding rather than Air Guitaring.


Life Goes On by The Sundays, Lonesome Reply by The Whiles, 1992 by Isha, The Build-Up by Kings of Convenience, and One For Sorrow, Two For Joy by The Innocence Mission (thanks to Robyn for introducing me to that last one).


Days of hanging out in the front lobby and the canteen, requesting songs on NU and dedicating them to girls we yearned after secretly, sharing mixtapes, discussing lyrics, paging through shitty yet compelling music zines. Gravity by Translator, Little Paradise by The Dawn (although, actually, anything from The Dawn's first three albums will do), and anything from The Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears. And of course, The Smiths, The Cure, New Order... all the usual suspects, for someone my age.


All of Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos and Automatic for the People by R.E.M., as well as Waiting for Somebody by Paul Westerberg, and the first three Eraserheads albums. Stayed too long in college, worried too much, did too little. Still, music, a handful of new friends (and a handful of old ones), and monthly installments of Neil Gaiman's Sandman saw me through.


I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness. At that point in the song which basically demands that people clap their hands above their heads in time with the beat -- you'll know it when you hear it -- I expect the congregation to behave accordingly. The priest can do the guitar solo. Alternatively, We Go Together from Grease. Shoowop shoowally wally yippity boom-de-boom!

What fun! And what fun to go through other people's soundtracks: like Thor's, Margie's, and Jovan's. Now I want to see lists from more people. Yes! That means you. ;)

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Should've Known From the Start

Going to the Alliance Francaise later for a group exhibit opening. You should, too. This is the same group of happily pop-culture-drunk lunatics who did Go Chopsuey Go! last year at Big Sky Mind, so it'll be worth it. Hell, the title alone should make you want to, as they say, check it out.


featuring works by: clint catalan | bernie sim | ronald caringal | marcushiro | brian vallesteros | dave yogore | jordan santos

opening night: oct3, monday | alliance francaise | total gallery | cocktails and good wine at 630pm | band performances at 8pm

performances by: bagetsafonik | chillitees | morse | enemy of the enemy

exhibit runs till oct 28 alliance francaise is at: 209 nicanor garcia st. (formerly reposo), bel air II, makati city

gallery hours: M T TH 9am-6pm | W 9am-9pm | F 9am-12pm | Sat 9am-5pm | Sun 2pm-5pm

From the press release:
Man's evolution has been blessed by "the gift of immaturity itself, which has enabled us to retain in our best, most human moments the capacity for play." So said Joseph Campbell, an author of mythology and comparative religion, whose work has inspired a certain George Lucas to create the Star Wars galaxy.

In the same vein, a group of seven 'gifted children' -- who moonlight as graphic designers, visual artists, independent filmmakers and illustrators -- present imagery which retraces their own childhood, and their penchant for everyday play. In Quit Playing Games with My Art, subtitled "Ay, Pwede Pala," the audience is encouraged to interact with Jordan Santos’ man-made toy pieces and Marcushiro’s unhinged interpretations of second-hand literature. Brian Vallesteros explores the randomness of art through an indiscriminate and mindlessly enjoyable play of found objects. Likewise taken with games of chance, Cubicle Gallery curator Clint Catalan lets the vertical tumble of a pachinko ball decide the fate of its willing vassal. Dave Yogore also toys with destiny, as he reinterprets the cards of Tarot with painted humor and childlike tomfoolery. In the end, while Cubicle Gallery curator Ronald Caringal’s favorite childhood characters invade each other’s worlds and wreak even more gratuitous pop art havoc on the canvas, Bru burrows herself in the soft shapes of candy-colored ponies, and dissects how play can awaken one’s sensuality through her installations of fancy fantasy.

Although play has its own structure, it exists to become our escape from logic and causality. In play, we are free to create our own endings and, in a roundabout way, our own realities. Needless to say, it's also a lot of fun.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Slice Like a Ninja, Cut Like a Razor Blade

Had a great time at Ninja Kiss 10: Ninja Ka Ng Ina Mo!, which, unlike most ninjas, struck in loud and nonlethal style last night at SaGuijo.

First up was mainstay band Bagetsafonik, who mark their third year together as a band today (congratulations Ace Doi Marcus etcetera!). As usual, they rocked the place with their electro-dream-hip-pop-rock-tronic music; old favorites like "Halogen" and "Song for the Sunlight (Back in the Day)" were highlights, and somewhat newer, almost alarmingly radio-friendly tunes were featured in their set too.

Reggae band Hemp Republic provided the production night's fantastic finale: mixing popular hits like "Pass the Dutchie" and No Doubt's "Underneath it All" (not to mention the obligatory Marley stuff, and a perhaps ill-advised cover of Sting's "Love is the Seventh Wave") with their own excellent material, they got everyone up and dancing by the close of their set, at around 3 AM.

In between, we had Switch (a decent industrial rock act that reminded some of my companions of Nine Inch Nails and "a more electronic Korn"), and Sino Sikat. I expected to appreciate the sets by Bagetsafonik and Hemp Republic -- both bands whose performances I've enjoyed immensely before -- but I was surprised, and blown away, by Sino Sikat. Despite their throwaway name, they're amazing to watch, and not just because of the good-looking members. Their brand of Pinoy soul -- spiced with dashes of funk, pop, jazz, and a strong sense of fun -- is sensual, skilled, beguiling, and will have you moving like a mofo. I was wondering why vocalist Kat looked familiar: turns out it's because of the striking photograph of her taken by Juan Caguicla, which takes up a whole page in the May 2005 issue of PULP. Rereading that brief feature on them, I'm surprised by how bland it is, how little it makes me want to go out and watch the band. Luckily, I know better now. (And lest people think I'm always bashing the magazine I used to work for, I will say that their recent Bamboo-covered issue was definitely a good one).

Aside from the outstanding music, it was great to see old friends. My cousin Carlos reminded me once again that I have yet to watch his new band, the Milagros Dancehall Collective. Joey D. gave me a mini-review of the movie he had just seen, Land of the Dead (so bad it's good, in a nutshell). Gracie enumerated the people from her batch in Ateneo who've ended up in the band scene. Margie kissed a complete stranger to bag her second Ninja Kiss T-shirt. And so on. Hitched a ride out with M., and had a Jollibee longganisa meal at around half past 3 AM -- a good end to a good night's gig-going.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Very Pretty 6-Minute Song

"I See You, You See Me"
by The Magic Numbers, from The Magic Numbers

I never wanted to love you, but that's okay
I always knew that you'd leave me anyway
But darling when I see you, you see me
I asked the boys if they'd let me go out and play
They always said that you'd hurt me anyway
But darling when I see you, I see me

And it's alright
I never thought I'd fall in love again
It's alright
I look to you as my only friend
It's alright
I never thought that I could feel there's something
Rising, rising in my veins
Looks like it's happened again

I never thought that you wanted for me to stay
So I left you with the girls that came your way
And darling when I see you I see me

I often thought that you'd be better off left alone
Well throw a circle round and ... with broken bones
But darling when I see you, I see me

It's alright
I never thought I'd fall in love again
It's alright
I look to you as my only friend
It's alright
I never thought that I could feel there's something
Rising, rising in my veins
Looks like it's happened again

You always looked like you had something else on your mind
When I try to tell you, you tell me "never mind"
But darling, when I see you, you see me

I wanna tell you that I never loved anyone else
You wanna tell me that you're better off by yourself
But darling when I see you, you see me

Oooh, oo-oo-oooh...
This is not what I'm like, this is not what I do
This is not what I'm like, I think I'm falling for you

This is not what I'm like, this is not what I do
This is not what I'm like, I think I'm falling for you

I never thought
This is not what I'm like, this is not what I do
I never thought
This is not what I'm like, I think I'm falling for you

I never thought that I could feel there's something
Rising, rising in my veins
And it looks like I feel there's something
Rising, rising in my veins
Looks like it's happened again

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Isn't It Ironic?

Last week, in my En210: Language and Literature class, one of my classmates reported on Verbal Irony. Today, Luis and I Spoke briefly about self-aware superheroes. Hey! That's a non sequitur! you might say, hoping to impress us with your knowledge of Latin expressions. Well, we're not impressed, particularly because you would be wrong in thinking that the two sentences aren't related to one another.

Behold, The Hero Santon, my favorite self-aware superhero ever, from the self-titled but woefully short-lived comic strip on Salon, taking on Irony. (How does this relate to music? Because the cartoonist was listening to Pavement while he drew this strip. And also because of Alanis Morissette, of course.)

Click the image for a larger, perhaps easier-to-read (but not any less ironic) version. Click here for The Hero Santon archives.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Rain, Darkness, and DVDs

So it's been raining nonstop here since yesterday, and I'm thinking, screw work. If floodwaters are rising outside my very doorstep, it's probably a lot worse over in farflung Padre Faura, and I'd rather not risk getting drowned, or stranded, or eaten alive by other stranded people driven to cannibalism by hunger and desperation. Admittedly, the last scenario is somewhat fanciful, given that I work near several decent Italian restaurants. But you just know that when the calzones are gone and all the carbonara is used up, my fellow strandees are going to look at me and think, hmm, that's enough meat to sustain us for a good number of days... So I'm staying home, and working on an overdue freelance writing gig -- a gig which, by the way, I would have finished last night, if the power hadn't gone out.

Strange to think that blackouts used to be such a regular thing in our lives. When I was a child, we always used to have a stash of board games and candles ready, but we didn't even have to use the candles much: when the power went out, my father would hook up a flourescent light to a car battery and give us decent illumination for however long the darkness lasted. Last night, I was alone and sitting in the sala when everything went black. Immediately I remembered every Japanese horror movie I had ever seen, and sat there quietly going insane for a few minutes before stumbling around and somehow finding a box of matches. Every time I lit one, though, the howling wind would blow it out, as if I were starring in some black comedy routine that would eventually end in my evisceration. Even when I managed to get a candle lit, it didn't help so much -- I imagined crouching, skin-flayed fiends in every corner a shadow danced. Yay.

And speaking of music, which I wasn't, Yvette and I bought a bunch of music DVDs recently -- a live performance by the Pixies from last year, a couple of Joni Mitchell docus, and Tears for Fears' Scenes from the Big Chair, all great stuff. Also, a collection of Sonic Youth videos and a set of performances from The Old Grey Whistle Test, but I haven't gotten around to those yet.

More than ten years after they broke up, the re-formed Pixies are still amazing -- all visibly older, of course (except for Joey Santiago -- yay ageless Asian genes), but still able to floor an audience with a tight, heartfelt performance. Kim Deal looks so cute and happy. Frank Black looks so fat and sweaty. All together, they, undeniably, rock. I wanna grow up to be, be a debaser! (Debaser).

Joni Mitchell rocks too, in a completely different way. She rocks because she's so smart and articulate and brave and artistically uncompromising, and watching her early life unfold on that biographical DVD almost made me want to cry, for all the hardship and tragedy she endured as a young woman. I'll never listen to "Little Green" the same way again.

As for Tears for Fears -- the DVD contained a docu from the 80s and a concert from the Seeds of Love era, which was late 80s/early 90s, and it was interesting to compare their live performances from the time of Big Chair, when they were still years away from breaking up, to the later stuff, when Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith never nod smilingly at each other or even, apparently, make eye contact, through the course of an entire concert. Also, funny how you can watch the whole docu and never quite figure out what Curt Smith contributes to the band -- Roland is obviously the main songwriter, and the more powerful singer -- but as any fan knows, the past decade or so seems to have proven that they're kind of useless without each other. Together, they had a certain chemistry, and watching the docu reminded me how much I like so much of their output. Made me want to listen to my copy of their recent reunion album, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, again -- maybe I missed something.

And now, back to work. Not work work, but myother work -- well, you know what I mean.

PS. The new installment of my column, The King of Nothing To Do, should be out in today's Manila Bulletin. I know, it's usually Wednesdays, but they're still retooling the 'i' section, I think.

PPS. Happy birthday, Kitchie! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


This may not have anything to do with music, but it looks like a good exhibit (hi, Tita Pep!), and besides, I know that many of you are tired of having Karl Roy's leer be the first thing you see whenever you visit this blog. ;) From the press release:

Recent works by Pep Manalang and Datu Arellano
September 13 to October 1, 2005

Pep Manalang and Datu Arellano merge their contrasting styles in their first exhibit together, titled Convergence-Divergence. Featuring their recent works in mixed media and in acrylic and modeling paste on canvas, respectively, the exhibit is on view at the West Gallery in West Avenue, Quezon City from September 13 to October 1.

Pep Manalang, who has been exploring textural possibilities in her abstract works, thinks it is quite interesting to do a show with someone whose style is so different from hers. She also likes the idea of collaborating with a younger artist, one whose point of view is different as a result of varying backgrounds and influences. She loves working spontaneously, and even finds that the act of painting itself can be so emotionally charged, especially when she just lets the elements fall into place. "I try not to think [so much during the process]," notes Manalang. "I want to try something different, see how paint settles, and then find a structure or framework to hold the paint."

Datu Arellano, for his part, draws his ideas from cluttered university bulletin boards. He collects as many magazine cutouts and book pages as he can, and composes them into a 'chaotic' collage, sometimes even adding his own drawings. Then he leaves the collage for a while until he decides on which elements to leave as they are, keeping only a few of them visible. He challenges himself even more by working on Pep Manalang’s unfinished pieces. Manalang has done the same to Arellano’s collages, resulting in a total of six collaborative works. "At the end you get something more interesting," observes Arellano, upon seeing what Manalang has done to his unfinished collages. "One similarity we have is that we both give importance to the process."

West Gallery, now part of the new Mary Santos Artcade, is at #48 West Avenue, Quezon City. For inquiries, call 411-0336.

West Gallery's website:
Datu's website:
Pep's website:

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pilipinas Pix; or, Why is Karl Roy Grinning?

We weren't able to take any pictures of the chaos backstage (or onstage, for that matter) at MTV Pilipinas. Luckily, there are some great ones over at Niña's LJ. :) Those looking for pictures of Juliana Palermo and Francine Prieto backstage, however, should contact the Furball people.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Wencing Cornejo; or, More Fun at MTV Pilipinas

Got a good laugh out of this entry over at Quark's LJ.
- HALE AND artofvalidation's all-time faves CUESHE PERFORMED ONSTAGE TOGETHER! holy moley! i almost wet my pants! and KC introduced their set by giving a definition of Pogi Rock. whoever wrote the show's script is a genius. does anyone have a pic of what Cueshe was wearing that night? brilliant! 'truly madly crazily' guy was wearing a trenchcoat and 'if you stay i'll understand' guy had A PIN ON HIS CROTCH. to quote GVSB, "amazing! sensational!"

- and then to cap it all off they both do a rendition of Pogi Rock Legend AFTERIMAGE's "we are next in line" and Champ was actually hanging his head in shame (i swear i have never seen him so wistful). the poor guy was wencing while playing the chords (wencing... get it? wency cornejo? no? fuck you.)

- Mitch said he saw Cueshe backstage and asked them if they were ok. and they said (well, according to Mitch) "siguro inaapi kami dahil mga Jeepney driver lang kami" whaat? are they inventing this whole 'jeepney driver' background to make people guilty about hating them?

BWAHAHAHA!!! :D In other news, apparently "SCREAMING ROOM is proud to present "Good Stuff"... a retrospective of music videos, short films, TV clips and other oddities by the recently awarded MTV VMA Best Director R.A. Rivera. Mag:Net Katipunan, Monday August 29 at 9pm. only 50 bucks to get in, and that's consumable." That's tonight!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Kristine and Luis are God

...well, okay, not really. But it was fun to be able to bend a stadium full of people to your will. Make fun of yourselves, Borgy and Georgina! Flirt with the Philippine Boxing Team, Phoemela! Dance for me, VJs! Make stupid jokes, hosts!

I remember sitting in the audience at the VJ Hunt, Luis, and you coming over once in a while to visit. I peeked at your script and was amazed to see how the words you wrote would actually come out (in slightly mangled form) of people's mouths onstage. Imagine--being able to get Sarah Meier to say a whole line about Wittgenstein.

Fortunately, I was able to share this power with you this year at the boxing-themed P ilipinas Awards. We were able to sneak in at least one Monty Python tribute (the other got cut), and got KC and Epy to poke fun at their receding hairlines. "If I've got a forehead, you've got a five-head! Or even a six-head!" I went to bed, about twenty minutes away from having my head explode from lack of sleep, still chuckling about the funniest parts of the awards script--which of course, never made it onstage. Why? Well, for common human decency, for one thing:

"For creating an entire career's worth of pop songs that stays in the heart of every Filipino; for his energy; for his integrity; for being an inspiration for us all, we present Mr. Gary V alenciano with...a cure for his diabetes! Just kidding. There's no cure for diabetes. We just have an award.

And speaking of diabetes, here to perform in a special tribute number for Gary--Sugarfree!"

We're kidding, of course. But you knew that, didn't you, discerning readers of this blog? The biggest frustration of the whole thing was having the cleavage-baring marketing team take a hatchet to our original script and fill it up with such helpful comments as "We're not sure what 'face-melting'means"[1] or "****WHY ARE WE WASTING TIME ON SUCH THINGS AS TOILET TRAINING AND FAKE MTV CERTIFICATES? THIS IS AN AWARDS SHOW, GODDAMMIT!!!!! LET'S FOCUS ON THE AWARDS!!!!"[2] and [3], (Come to think of it, it wasn't phrased like that. The original was much nastier, and had a few mistakes in grammar and spelling.)

I knew that we were going to have to compromise to make way for MTV marketing's wishes, of course, but I think things would have been much more pleasant had they just stuck to their jobs and left us to ours. Tell us what you want to achieve, and we'll do the writing for you, kiddies. That's why you hired us. When you try to rewrite entire parts of the script for us, the director just sends it back and tells us to put in the original. Look at all that wasted computer time and printer ink. Tsk-tsk.

Other than that, it was a great experience. It was wonderful to work with a talented professional like Kokoy Jimenez and his staff, and be able to sit backstage and see the entire crazy carnival before it goes and puts its makeup on. It was absolutely mindbending to see Champ of Hale conferring with Pepe Smith ("Tell me, Pepe, how do I get rid of my good looks and end up looking like a dessicated corpse like you to earn respect in this industry?"), or Francis Reyes standing straddle over Marc Abaya lying prone on the ground, or Radioactive Sago Project's brass section playing sexy-comedy music when Francine Prieto and Juliana Palermo walked by. Onstage, more presentors surprised us pleasantly than those who disappointed us. Hats off, in particular, to Phoemela Barranda for talking the entire national boxing team into doffing their shirts and training jackets; to The Late Isabel, for injecting so much sincerity into their presentation that what I feared would be an overly serious portion of the script became touching and memorable; to Parokya ni Edgar, for being able to pull it together despite being (as far as I could tell) very, very drunk.

On a more personal note, Lourd de Veyra came over to apologize for a little email tiff we had years ago (already forgotten, but it was classy of him to apologize anyway), Kitchie Nadal expressed surprise that I wasn't taller and more-evil looking than she envisioned, and Lizza N and Rico Blancoldplay exchanged a few words with me before they remembered that they hated me. In all, a good night.

Of course, like any great god-like power, it was not without its share of responsibilities and frustrations, but on the whole it was at least very interesting, if not 100% percent fun. Would I do that again? Hell, yeah. But only if you were there, too, Luis! YAY!


[1] A well-known term applied to really good rock guitarists, unknown only to people who don't know anything about rock. For example, the marketing people at M T V.

[2] Part of the beginning spiel, with a tiny bit stolen from Monty Python's "Fish License" skit. Apparently not funny, since, you know, what the hell do Monty Python know about funny?

[3]"Okay," I said, ever helpfully. "What do you want me to write in about the awards?"
Replied marketing woman, "That it's the coolest, hippest, biggest."
"Hm. How about something quantifiable? Do we give out the most number of awards? Is this the oldest awards show? Broadest?"
"Just write, 'coolest, hippest, biggest.'"

and the follow-up:

"We're the only awards show to honor music videos. Focus on that."
"I've been requesting a copy of the nominees reel. Can we have that? So we can write in a bit about the nominees?"
"That won't be necessary."

YAY! My brain hurts.

"Knockout Ito!"

"Joey "Pepe" Smith, Ely Buendia, Francis Reyes, Karl Roy, Nino Avenido, Mike Elgar, Wendell Garcia and Marc Abaya all jamming together on "Tao". HOLY CRAP." -- from a text message I sent to Yvette and some other people

Has it been over a year already? As I write this, the latest installment of the MTV Pilipinas Awards has just ended -- well, give or take a handful of hours -- and I'm tired but still sort of buzzed, and happy that it's all over and that things went smoothly for the most part. I had almost forgotten the excitement and frustration and exasperation and satisfaction that all comes with working on a big event. I really didn't feel that I was up to doing Pilipinas again this year, what with my gotta-wake-up-at-5:30 AM full-time job at the Supreme Court, but thanks for deciding to take the scriptwriting gig, Kristine, and for insisting that we do it together. :) Writing and rewriting spiels and speeches at the last minute and zipping around like a wind-up toy gone berserk would have been a lot less fun without you.

Will blog more about this night later. For now, the nominees, and the winners:


1. Hale - Broken Sonnet
2. Juan Pablo Dream - Nice Place
3. Kitchie Nadal - Huwag na Huwag Mong Sasabihin
4. Kjwan - Daliri
5. Urbandub - A New Tattoo

Who I thought should win: Kitchie Nadal
Who actually won: Hale

Had the Pilipinas awards been held a couple of months earlier, Kitchie would have ruled this category, no contest. But the pop-rock princess* has been overtaken, at least in this instance, by the relatively recent rise of Hale, a band whose popularity has the power to transform the crowd of a place like, say, Saguijo, into a bunch of frenzied screaming kolehiyalas.

*Earlier, we were discussing when this label was first applied to Kitchie. I thought Bernie came up with it for her Ink article. Am I right, Bernie? :)

1. Arnee - Araw Gabi
2. Kitchie Nadal - Huwag na Huwag Mong Sasabihin
3. Kyla - If the Feeling is Gone
4. Nina - I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend
5. Rachelle Ann Go - Love of My Life

Who I thought should win: Kitchie Nadal
Who actually won: Rachelle Ann Go

Man, I'm glad I didn't place any bets here. I seriously underestimated the voting power of Rachelle Ann Go fans. I mean, seriously. She would have been my last guess to win. Well, her or Arnee.

1. Artstrong - Jazzy Monday
2. Christian Bautista - Hands to Heaven
3. Erik Santos - Pagbigyang Muli
4. Luke Mejares - 214
5. Paolo Santos - Coffee Cup

Who I thought should win: Artstrong
Who actually won: Christian Bautista

Artstrong didn't win anything tonight, which is a shame, but that's okay, since I'm sure there's no room on his shelf anymore what with all the Awit Awards he won last summer.

1. Bamboo - Masaya
2. Radioactive Sago Project - Astro
3. Rivermaya - You’ll Be Safe Here
4. Session Road - Suntok sa Buwan
5. Sugarfree - Hari ng Sablay

Who I thought should win: Sugarfree
Who actually won: Rivermaya

Big cheers from the crowd for Bamboo and Rivermaya, but as they say, there can be only one. Wish it had been Sugarfree, though. ;p

1. Rivermaya - Balisong
2. Sugarfree - Hari ng Sablay
3. Kitchie Nadal - Huwag na Huwag Mong Sasabihin
4. Dice & K9 - Itsumo
5. Sandwich - Two Trick Pony

What I thought should win: "Hari ng Sablay" or "Huwag na Huwag Mong Sasabihin"
What actually won: "Balisong"

"That's my ringtone!" host Karylle said, as she went up the steps and onstage to deliver her next spiel. Rico Blanco trivia learned from the hosts: Rico is, apparently, starring in an upcoming movie. He was also, apparently, crowned Prom King at some prom Karylle attended.


1. Monsterbot - Epekto
2. Valley of Chrome - Forever Young
3. Orange and Lemons - Just Like a Splendid Love Song
4. Juan Pablo Dream - Nice Place
5. Drip - Song No. 9

Who I thought should win: Drip
Who actually won: Drip

Yes! I kind of like the Juan Pablo Dream video too (fun song, funny cameos), but I really like the Drip video. My only small complaint about the video (which I believe Waya echoed, once) is that we should see more of Beng and less of the female extras lounging around the sala. Still, great song, great video, and, hey! free recipe.

1. Boom Dayupay - Artstrong’s Jazzy Monday
2. Diego Castillo - Cambio’s DV
3. Marie Jamora - Kjwan’s Daliri
4. Pedring Lopez - Rivermaya’s You’ll Be Safe Here
5. RA Rivera - Radioactive Sago Project’s Astro

Who I thought should win: RA Rivera
Who actually won: RA Rivera

The sad fact is, I have yet to see the DV video in its entirety, but I hear good things about it. Was impressed by Kjwan's video too, but the serial-killer angle was perhaps not as interesting as it could be (great shots of the band in action though). Astro with its quirky cinematic humor is enjoyed by most sentient beings, and deservedly so.

1. Radioactive Sago Project - Astro
2. Kjwan - Daliri
3. Cambio - DV
4. Artstrong - Jazzy Monday
5. Rivermaya - You'll Be Safe Here

What I thought should win: "Astro"
What actually won: "Astro"

See above. Isn't it strange when whoever wins for Best Director doesn't win for Best Video as well? That didn't happen this year. Yay!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Wolfmann, fondly remembered

My only substantial meeting with Wilfrid Hernandez--known to the music scene as "Wolfmann"--was a comedic pool table faceoff for MTV Ink, but since then he'd never failed to wave me over at gigs and exchange a few words. Wolfmann was, as Bernie texted me while she was at the hospital visiting him, a "good good guy."

We're going to the wake later today, to pay our respects. I've also written in a short bit in the MTV Pilipinas Awards script (more on that later) to give his fellow indie musicians the opportunity to salute him. I hope they keep it in.

Wilfrid also shares a couple of close friends with K2, and she sort of knew him from high school, and so we'll pay a visit together. She's put off breaking the news to their mutual friends (although Luis helped take the task off her hands), not knowing what to say.

Keep it simple, I guess. This short tribute from Myrene Academia of Sandwich, posted on their band's mailing list, is so touching and poignant because it's so simple and therefore so true. It's a good goodbye.

I want to start off by thanking everyone who came out to the Folk Arts Theatre to see Rockestra. Hope you were as thrilled as we were to be playing with the MSO on such a historic stage. we could feel so much love from the crowd. It was unforgettable and it was special. Thank you.

It's even more meaningful now that it was the last show that Wolfmann saw. It makes me smile to remember how pleased he was as he greeted each and every one of us as we came out of the theatre. we all take some comfort in the fact that we had the chance to share that with him, and that he was celebrating with us before things took that fateful turn.

What do i remember most about Wolfmann? That he loved music, and he was a generous friend. He was my Gameboy buddy. He was a member of Subsandwich--he played guitar for us once for a gig in Bulacan. He made fantastic remixes of our songs. He never turned down a chance to jam and he could play any song you can think of. And he would go to the ends of the earth to come out to see you play.

This weekend has been a rollercoaster of emotions for Sandwich, and all of our friends. I've been trying to write this post for the past couple of days but it's hard to get it down. It's a little difficult to express how in one minute you're heart is soaring and then in the next it's breaking. And after that your world as you know it is changed.

I will miss you Wilfrid. We all will. Rock on Wolfmann.

Wilfrid: still (slightly) better than me at pool

Bye, Wolfmann! I'll enjoy the thought of you in the Great Gig in the Sky, remixing the Buddha's original compositions and urging Jesus to come to your next gig. Save me a seat.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Orchestral Manoeuvres

M. on Rockestra:
Last night may have been the most musically moving experience of my life, which is saying quite a bit. This means that last night surpassed the Sting concert, which I watched standing on a rickety rattan chair, eight months pregnant and having contractions from the sound of the bass. Last night was more bittersweet and more poignant than watching Radiohead perform in a tent in Wales, with a husband who it turns out would leave me in a few weeks’ time. Last night, emotions surged and churned within me and I realized fully what inadequate forms of expression applause and screams and laughter and tears are.

(Read the full entry here).

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Abusing Google, Part One: Stylistics

Betcha By Golly Wow:
The Stylistics as a Semiautonomous Discipline Beyond Normative and Prescriptive Descriptions of Styles and Towards an Analysis of Language

Treatises devoted to the study of style can be found as early as Demetrius's On Style (C.E. 100). The Stylistics, however, were formed in 1968, from the fragments of two Philadelphia groups, the Monarchs and the Percussions. At their peak, the Stylistics were perhaps the most consistent hitmakers in Soul Music: while most pre-twentieth-century discussions of style appear as secondary components of rhetorical and grammatical analyses or in general studies of literature and literary language, the Stylistics definitely staked out their own musical territory, largely due to the fact that they had the best producer in the business in Thom Bell, some of the most infectious material of the early 70s, and perhaps the smoothest falsetto lead vocalist in Russell Thompkins, Jr.

The appearance of the Stylistics as a semiautonomous discipline is a modern phenomenon, an ongoing development in linguistic description that is closely tied to the similar rise of literary criticism and linguistics as academic subjects and departments, as well as the American public's need for some sweet, sweet Soul music. The Stylistics first achieved some regional attention in 1971 with the simplistic “You’re A Big Girl Now,” most notable for its contrast to the luscious work they would record a year later with Bell. Whatever the limits of previous approaches to style, or the difficulties that have arisen from the practical application of linguistic methods to stylistic analysis, the desire to begin with a set of well-defined terms and procedures lies at the core of the initial formation of Stylistics as a discipline, not to mention a set of individuals possessed of sufficient talent and experience to deliver the goods to an eager listening public.

Their Avco Records eponymous debut was a masterpiece, containing marvelous compositions by Bell and co-writer Linda Creed that would become soul standards covered by other artists for the next 30 years. “You Are Everything,” “Betcha By Golly Wow,” “Stop Look Listen” and “People Make the World Go Round” all rocketed up the Pop and Soul charts, and immediately made the Stylistics the most sought after Soul balladeers. The group’s seamless harmonies and Thompkins' silky falsetto blended magically with Bell’s lush production. Such work in Stylistics reflected a larger trend occurring within literary criticism as a whole during this period: Riffaterre's particular interest in a systematic, formal description of literary style mirrored a growing awareness among literary critics in general of the possibilities provided to literary study by trends and theories available from formal linguistic study, as well as the infectious Philly Soul sound.

Material for this nonexistent term paper was stolen from here, here and here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The King of Nothing to Do #8

Yes, it's time once again for my twice-monthly column to come out in today's Manila Bulletin! (Assuming you're reading this on Wednesday, August 17). What happened to #6 and #7, some of you may ask? Well, my full-time job happened, is my reply. While those installments did come out in the paper, I didn't have the time to blog about them. :p Anyway, #6 was basically a reworked version of my "Imaginary Indie Awards" post, and #7 was about "the internets" and how it's changed our lives without our really noticing it. For reals!

The more observant amongst you may wonder why my column is coming out on the 3rd Wednesday of August, since it's usually scheduled for the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of any given month. All I can say is, life can be confusing sometimes. And so we just shrug, saunter down to the newsstand, buy the Bulletin, turn to the "i" section, read my column, and trust that the old schedule will be reinstated next month. Today's theme is, oddly enough, Men's Fashion, and the title of today's column is "Fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion; or, The Cartoon Bear Wears No Pants".

You know how in cartoons or comic strips, everyone always has the same outfit, day in and day out? I mean, Charlie Brown always rocks his jagged-stripe T, Bab of Pugad Baboy always has his amusingly outdated peace-symbol necklace and sleeveless thingie ensemble, and Winnie-the-Pooh has no pants. There was a time I wished that was the norm: not the pantslessness, but the idea that each of us could somehow determine a single outfit that best represented us, and wear just that, perhaps with minor variations in color or cut, day in and day out. No more fuss or bother or fashion faux pas: just the everyday paradox of an individualized uniform.

I was not alone in harboring this notion: in fact, a couple of people I know took it further, into actual practice. J., a college friend of mine, had a closet full of plain navy blue T-shirts. He claimed that every morning, he would just reach in, pull one out, and pull it on: no thought, no worry. He could then free up his mind for other, more important stuff, like trying to guess winning Lotto numbers or fooling girls into going out with him.

Yay Comics!

1. Sir, step away from your nut sack
2. I drink because I'm too scared to kill myself by traditional means
3. The gang was so close back then
5. Is it truly as erotic as advertised?
6. You ain't got to imitate Jack White
7. Don't make me count to three!
8. Someone owes science an apology

Monday, August 15, 2005

Faded Bowie

Here's a sad panel from Peter Milligan's Shade, the Changing Man #50. May this, or something similar, never happen to any of you, or to me, for that matter.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Songs to Make You Smile

Maybe their stuff is too fluffy and sugary-sweet to hold up under repeated listens, but somehow I couldn't suppress a smile while listening to The Simple Carnival's show tune-like "Super Robot Toy". (Those who are put in mind of childhood Transformers yearnings will be gratified by the squelchy Transform-ing sounds about 01:22 minutes in).

More musical goodness with the jangly-guitared harmony-happy Magic Numbers, and the driving poptastic rock of The Deathray Davies (scroll down for the link to their song "Plan to Stay Awake"). Yay!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Musical Games with Neil and Clive

Here's something fun from a Clive Barker interview by Neil Gaiman (from the anthology Shadows in Eden: a most informative, entertaining, and gleefully twisted volume -- thanks to Anna E. for helping me make my mind up about buying it, lo those many years ago):
BARKER: I have a game I play with dear friends. It's a great game, you need to be slightly drunk to play it. All you say is, "Do you trust me enough to tell me the truth?" and they say, "Yes" and you say, "I want you to play for me (you're in this other person's house) the song, or the three songs, that you only play when no one else is in the house; the three songs you are so ashamed of liking or being moved by that you have to be in a state of inebriation to offer up the truth to the rest of us playing here." It's a very telling game. It's a great game and great way to cut to the chase as far as emotional responses are concerned. You find people will suddenly admit to liking John Denver or something wholly outlandish...

[A lengthy digression by interviewer and interviewee concerning such musicals as It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman!, Paint Your Wagon, Camelot, South Pacific, and Guys and Dolls has been deleted here in the interests of street credibility.]

Reading about this game, I realized that even someone with a well-documented love of the Pet Shop Boys' oeuvre (i.e., me) still has music-listening secrets to hide. ;p

Half past two and it's raining and lovely outside. Have to get up in a couple of hours but who cares; not as if my new job requires me to be quick-witted or even fully conscious. Listening to a Nina Simone remix and enjoying the moment.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Luis is Reading

Been reading through local music news bits. Some random thoughts:

1. Rockestra could very well turn out to be an amazing show, or, conceivably, the musical equivalent of the Hindenburg disaster. In either case, it'll be a gig to remember. I, for one, want to be there. Who's with me?

2. Following the departure of hypno-guitarist Jerome Velasco (not to be confused with the Hypno-Hustler, from Spectacular Spider-Man #24), The Mongols have renamed themselves Pupil. While there are certainly worse names for a band* than "Pupil," I would have to say that "The Mongols" is not one of them.

*For example, Hoobastank. Or Fulflej. Or Penis DeMilo. Or Shitty Shitty Band Band. No, wait. Shitty Shitty Band Band actually sounds like an act I'd like to see.

3. Am looking forward to the release of Parokya ni Edgar's newest album, even if "First Day Funk" makes me want to take a claw hammer to my skull whenever I hear it. After all, Bigotilyo was a lot of fun, arguably even brilliant, so maybe the PnE peeps made their deodorant-shilling single irritating on purpose: as a way of making a point, perhaps, as a comment on the whole idea of selling out. Maybe.

On a somewhat related note, thanks, Kristine, for pointing out that a photocopying shop near my house is named "Pakopya ni Edgar". He he.

4. Somebody please explain 'soul siren' Nina's chart domination to me. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the woman, and I think she's a good performer, and is probably kind to children and kittens and all that. But why does she outsell everyone from fresh-faced pogi rock bands to novelty popsters to a legion of other sirens who also possess a tragic tendency to cover jeepney classic love songs? Am reminded of that scene in the movie "Revenge of the Nerds" where the nerds run a pie-selling booth that enjoys phenomenal sales despite the fact that their product is basically just a mass of whipped cream, because underneath the cream is a photo of a hot topless woman. Not that I'm comparing Nina's music to whipped cream, or implying that lifting her CD from its jewel case tray reveals a picture of her topless. No, it's probably just free LSD tabs tucked into the inlay card.

5. The first time I watched Mojofly's retro new (retro new -- whatta concept) video, I had no idea that people actually did have drag races in front of the Greenhills Shopping Center back in the 80s; I thought it was some odd James Dean movie tribute. Of course, in those days, I was more concerned with Chrishareth's and Filbar's than flashy clothes and fast cars. (The most embarrasing thing about the previous sentence -- which, by the way, still holds true today -- is that I'm secretly proud that it sort of rhymes).

Funny thing is, I don't think I've ever seen the new Mojofly live, but Adam and I did get to watch vocalist Lougee Basabas two years ago at Mayric's, when she was performing with her old band Superlooge. If I remember correctly, our assessment of her then was: not quite there yet, but not bad. Also, cute.

And now, time to sleep.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Before I get back to the business of blogging...

...first, a commercial break. More CDs to clear from my shelves (having cleared out the last of my stuff from my former table over at Pulp/MTV Ink, now also known as Wolfram & Hart). Real blogging to follow soon.


12 GIRLS BAND, Romantic Energy (Pop-Classical, Traditional Chinese) P150

THE BARBS, Lupine Peroxide (punk) P150

BATTERY, Battery (Hard Rock, Hard-to-find) P150

BOY2, Biyaheng Reggae (Reggae, OPM) P100

BILLY CRAWFORD, Ride (Hip-hop) P150

CHICOSCI, Icarus (Rock OPM) P150

FEEDER, Pushing the Senses (Britpop) P150

GHOST 13, Ghost 13 (Rap OPM) P100

HEFNER, The Fidelity Wars (Indiepop, Hard-to-find) P200

JA RULE, R.U.L.E., (Rap) P150

JESSE MCCARTNEY, Beautiful Soul (Pop) P150

JOHN LEGEND, Get Lifted (R&B) P150

LILLIX, Falling Uphill (Rock) P150

MATILDA, Matilda (Alt Rock OPM) P150

MUDVAYNE, VCD: Video clips, “Dig” Video, Live at The House of Blues (Rock) P100

NEWFOUND GLORY, Catalyst (Pop Punk) P150

NINA, Live! (R&B, Pop OPM) P150

PEPE SMITH, Idiosyncrasies (Rock OPM) P150

SIX O FOUR, Bringin’ It (R&B, Pop OPM) P100

SKRAPE, New Killer America (Nu-Metal, Hard-to-find) P150

VELVET REVOLVER, Contraband (Rock) P150


ACOUSTIC BREAK compilation album, with Mute Madness, Migs, Jaycie & Honey, Mac, Project Fusion (OPM Acoustic) P100

THE CHILLOUT PROJECT House Sessions (chillout, electronica), P150

GRAMMY NOMINEES 2005, songs by Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Evanescence, Norah Jones & Ray Charles, U2, Seal, Alicia Keys, etc. P150


EVERLAST, White Trash Beautiful (Rock) P200

HALE, Hale (Alt Rock OPM) P200

FAITH EVANS, The First Lady (Pop) P200

FILTER, The Amalgamut (Hard Rock) P200

GHOST 13, Ghost 13 (Rap OPM) P150

ROK ON: MUSIC INSPIRED BY RAGNAROK ONLINE, with Moonstar 88, Kamikazee, Kjwan SVC, Typecast, 7 Shots; includes installer disc for Ragnarok: A tale of two cities P100

NU 107 SUPERSIZE ROCK compilation album, featuring Kjwan, Kitchie Nadal, Rivermaya, Orange and Lemons, Urbandub, Sandwich, etc. (Alt Rock OPM) P200

SIMPLE PLAN, Still Not Getting Any… (Pop Punk), P200

SLAPSHOCK, Novena (Rock OPM) P200

SPAN, Mass Distraction (Hard Rock) P200

VIENNA TENG, Waking Hour (Pop, singer-songwriter, piano) P200


AIKEE, Ang Bawat Bata (Rap OPM), P50
BLUE, True Blue Quiz installer CD (computer game), P25
GENERATED X-ED, Protest and Survive (Rock/ Electronica)
SPIRITUALIZED, Pure Phase (Rock/ Electronica)
SQUEEZERS, Scramble (OPM, demo) P25
VELVET, Velvet (OPM, demo) P25
WILLIAM HUNG, Inspiration (w/VCD), P50

ALPHA MUSIC SAMPLER 2005 Vol 1, with Bayani Agbayani, Session Road, Najah, Aikee, Mac, Project Fusion, Ronald Navarro, Pseudo Echo, P25
ALPHA MUSIC SAMPLER 2005 Vol 2, with Pepe Smith, Baywalk Bodies, Session Road, Acension, Retrospect, Migs, Jaycie and Honey, P25
ALPHA MUSIC SAMPLER 2005 Vol. 3, with Session Road, Jhego, Selina Sevilla, Aikee, Baywalk Bodies, Pepe Smith, Mac, Retrospect, P25
MULAWIN: Songs Inspired By Mulawin, with South Border, Jolina Magdangal, Lani Misalucha, Jennelyn Mercado, Dingdong Avanzado, Janno Gibbs, Tux, Sipol

Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!

Have been asked to write an article on the influential, now-defunct local music magazine known as Jingle. Way before PULP and Philmusic, Jingle was warping the minds of a generation, steering them away from the pitfalls of profitable careers in actuarial science and towards New Wave and punk and heavy metal and music writing and misheard lyrics. Like myself, many of you probably have fond memories of that publication.

The problem is this: I don't know who the editors of Jingle magazine were, much less how to contact them. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Other Stories

"When oh when is your next book coming out?" That question, from a comment on my last post (hi Corinna!), is something I've asked myself a lot since the turn of the millennium. My first book was basically a gathering of the least embarrassing stories I had written since my teens, almost none of which were produced with an eye towards a possible future collection. The second one is taking a bit longer than I thought it would. Maybe I'm dreading the legendary sophomore slump that can strike writers, bands, directors, and basically anyone who ever made a fairly well-received anything. Of course, looking at it another way, I'm very happy to be in the position of dreading a sophomore slump at all.

I have a good idea what the second book will look like (see cover study, above), but the problem is coming up with more of the other stories referred to in the title. I do know that I want it out soon, perhaps even by the end of this year. While some works may be ruined by rushing them, the same result can come from lingering too long on something, revising and revising it until it's spoiled. Perhaps a Clive Barker-like writing frenzy will overtake me -- I remember reading somewhere that he wrote the Books of Blood in an astonishingly brief span of time. (I may be misremembering, though). Subterrania should be markedly different from Happy Endings -- otherwise, what's the point -- but exacly how different and in what ways is something I'm still figuring out. But anyway, thanks to Corinna and other friends (and some strangers, bless them) who have been interested enough to ask me the question that begins this post.
"I do have a specific way of writing, in that I put it off as long as I can and make it as difficult as possible for myself before my impending deadlines force me to overcome my self-loathing just enough to sit down and write something. Once I’ve started writing, though, I’m always surprised by how engaging it actually is." ~ from an interview with Allan Heinberg, writer for The O.C., Sex and the City, and Young Avengers

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

For another hour and a half, at least, as I write this. Thanks to alla youse who texted or called with greetings! Special thanks of course to Yvette my love, who I was talking to as midnight came and went, and I turned a year older.

Couldn't sleep last night -- had a lot on my mind; too many changes going on it seems, what with the new job and the possibility of moving out of the house I've lived in for almost a decade -- and at around 4 AM I decided I wanted to listen to some music, to start the day off. But I was just tired enough to not want to have to choose it myself, so I set my Winamp player on random, loaded all my mp3s, and pressed Play.

Many of us like to read significance into the random, try to divine some meaning or guidance from a throw of dice, a spread of cards, or a book flipped open, a set of words jabbed at blindly. I thought: this will be my musical version of "Book Magic," as we used to call it back in high school. Somehow the first five songs Winamp chooses will contain some sort of message for me. So here they are, unchanged, uncensored: the First Five Random Songs Winamp Played On My Birthday, 2005, at 4:14 AM:

Nick Drake - Pink Moon
The Strokes - I Can't Win
Ciudad - How Did You Know?
PJ Harvey - This Mess We're In
R.E.M. - At My Most Beautiful

Since I silently promised myself that I would blog honestly about my Birthday Five, you don't know how relieved I am that nothing really embarrassing popped up out of my music files... Um, not that I own anything really embarrassing, having impeccable musical taste and all that. Yeah.

The fact that song titles like "I Can't Win" and "This Mess We're In" came out of the shuffle is kind of alarming, though I take comfort in the fact that I actually like those songs a lot. I've only recently started listening to Nick Drake, thanks to a CD from Indira, but "Pink Moon" sounds pretty good. Ciudad, of course, is always a hoot. And "At My Most Beautiful" is just beautiful; funny, as I celebrated another orbit (as Kidlat would put it) last year, I was listening to R.E.M. too, as I recall. I like to think that the five songs taken together can be said to possess an overall mood of guarded optimism, with the notes of dark anxiety being balanced by notes of happy romanticism. It's not a perfect or even a particularly bright world, these five songs seems to say, but what the hell, there's fun and even love to be had. (No Bowie or XTC in my Birthday Five, but still, not a bad way to start the day).