Monday, August 29, 2005


For us working folks...

by The Perishers

You don’t know me
But I’m sitting next to you
Every morning
On the bus or on the tube

You look tired
Would it help to hear me say
Don’t you worry
Friday’s not that far away?

On the weekends
We try to get our share
Of excitement and of fresh air
Trying to forget
Who we’re gonna be
When the alarm rings
On monday morning

If in the evening
All you do is watch TV
Cause your too tired for anything else
You’re just like me

Just remember
As you struggle through the day
Relief awaits you
Friday’s not that far away

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Orange and Joey

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With Orange and Lemons. I always knew they'd hit it big sooner or later.

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Joey Ayala and longtime bassist...damn I forgot his name. Saw him at Conspiracy last week. We didn't get to hear his immortal classic "Walang Hanggang Paalam," but he did play my request, "Habang Natutulog." Words are not enough to describe what a brilliant musician and human being he is.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Noontime obscenity

While slaving away at my desk at work, my gaze wandered over to one of the noontime shows on TV. I never paid much attention to them before; not that I consider myself above the inanity and insipidness of noontime variety programs, only that I never got the entertainment value of mostly mediocre comedians and even more mediocre actors trying much too hard to be singers and dancers when they clearly aren't one or both. But this time, I found myself transfixed at the sight: an old woman in humble clothes was standing in the middle of the brightly-lit stage surrounded by dancers gyrating to a steady beat as if their lives depended on it (which, when you think about it, probably isn't a farfetched idea).

No, that scene is hardly a first. On the contrary, it happens almost daily; countless people have joined similar television variety programs in the hopes of earning a quick buck. Maximum profit at minimum effort (maybe not so minimum, considering that many of them line up for hours just to get the chance to be studio contestants). But I'm not sure what made this old woman different, what made her stand out among all the others who've dreamed of winning big at contests designed to elicit fantastic expectations of instant wealth but can just as easily be a platform for similarly incredible frustrations. Maybe it was her facial expression: a mixture of disbelief, anguish, nervousness and anticipation. Disbelief, perhaps for making it to the much-coveted "jackpot round"; anguish, perhaps for carrying the enormous hopes of dozens of family members, relatives, friends and casual acquaintances; nervousness, which is a given, this probably was her first time to be in front of a live studio audience, not to mention being on national TV; and anticipation, of course, for the riches that may or may not come.

Watching that scene, one word entered kept going around in my mind: grotesque. Here was a hapless individual who, just like the rest of us, only dreams of having good things for herself and her family. But then I see her rub her tense face every few minutes with her gnarled hands; the beautiful co-host with immaculate hair by her side providing shallow and unwelcome relief; the dancing showgirls practically encircling her like lionesses about to pounce on a scared rabbit, and the main host that reminded me of a seasoned ringmaster in a circus, masterfully orchestrating a grand showcase of illusion. I couldn't help but think how awful and callous the people are behind this whole concept, for using individuals and dangling money in front of them, trying to elicit a reaction. I felt like it was entertainment intended for the truly sick and demented. How anyone could be amused by seeing someone's emotions being played with live on national television escapes me, and I felt sorry for her, for what she had to endure to get the "top prize."

I don't understand why I feel so strongly about it. The old woman probably won more than what I earn in six months. But even until now, I still can't explain it.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Life soundtrack

Like anyone would make a movie out of my mundane existence, but I got this off the net somewhere, and...what the hell. Just for kicks.

Opening Credits:
"Clarity" by John Mayer

Waking-up scene:
"On Saturday" by The Clarks

Average-day scene:
"Perfect Day" by Collective Soul (feat. Elton John)
"Perfect Time of Day" by Howie Day

Best-friend Scene:
"Jeremiah's Prayer" by Marc Broussard
"I'll Always Be There" by Lou Pardini

First-date scene:
"Hello Sunshine" by Super Furry Animals
"After an Afternoon" by Jason Mraz

Falling-in-love scene:
"All I Want" by Toad the Wet Sprocket
"Dreams" by Gavin DeGraw
"Comfortable" by John Mayer

Love scene:
"I Love You" by Saigon Kick
"Everybody Here Wants You" by Jeff Buckley

Fight-with-friend scene:
"Everybody's Changing" by Keane

Break-up scene:
"Best Deceptions" by Dashboard Confessional
"Why Did You Mess With Forever?" by John Mayer

Get-back-together scene:
"Warning Sign" by Coldplay

'Life's okay' scene:
"Into Your Arms" by The Lemonheads
"Slide" by The GooGoo Dolls
"Send It Up" by Vertical Horizon

Bumming around scene:
"Champagne Supernova" by Oasis
"Out of My Head" by Fastball
"Summer Girls" by LFO

Heartbreak Scene:
"Honey and the Moon" by Joseph Arthur
"Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley

Mental-breakdown Scene:
"Mr. Brightside" by The Killers
"Breathe" by Prodigy

Driving Scene:
"Tiny Dancer" version by Ben Folds Five
"Crush" by Gavin DeGraw
"Semi-Charmed Life" by Third-Eye Blind

Lesson-learning scene:
"Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch

Party Scene:
"Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" by Jet
"Block Rockin' Beats" by Chemical Brothers
"Massive Crush" by The Barbs

Happy Dance Scene:
"I'm Shakin'" by Rooney

Regret Scene:
"All I Want is You" by U2
"Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis

Long-night-alone Scene:
"Trouble Sleeping" by The Perishers
"Man On The Side" by John Mayer

Death Scene:
"Fields of Gold" version by Eva Cassidy

Closing Credits:
"Quiet" by John Mayer

Monday, August 08, 2005

Tragicomedy and Real-life Melodrama

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R'meo Luvs Dew-lhiett

Tanghalang Pilipino's re-telling of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is a must-see. (An endorsement like that doesn't come easy, especially with all the crappy local productions lately, not just in theater, but moreso in film and television). If you haven't heard about it yet, the TP folks are staging what they call the "jologs " version of the classic tragedy at the CCP, calling it "R'meo Luvs Dew-lhiett." Went and saw it Saturday night and I gotta say, it's the most hilarious thing I've ever seen onstage since our own crappy excuse for a play back in high school. (Did I say crappy? Yeah, I meant crappy).

Of course, this is by no means the first time anyone's ever attempted to transfer Romeo and Juliet's ill-fated love affair to a contemporary setting. Robert Wise, Baz Luhrman and god knows how many others have done it before, but if I'm not mistaken, this is the first time the pair of star-crossed lovers is living in a squatter's area in Manila (Barangay Verona, but of course) infested with hardened criminals and obscenities-spewing, texting-obsessed, disco-dancing videoke enthusiasts.

R'meo has his semi-mohawk hairdo bleached, and wears the shiny, satin basketball shorts that every other tambay at the local plaza wears; Juliet, who wears pink all the time you'd think it was going out of style, is the daughter of a social-climbing mother and a spineless father; warring gang leaders Mercutio and Tybalt are the textbook kanto boys - loud, vulgar and crass; while Mercutio's trusty sidekick Benvolio is loud, vulgar, crass…and gay; Father Lorenzo carries rhum in his mailman bag and smokes weed when no one's looking while Juliet's maidservant, or rather, yaya is an old woman with exactly one tooth you'd recognize as a labandera in any damp or flooded street corner washing clothes or hanging out at the local sari-sari store, exchanging gossip with her neighborhood posse.

Remember that unforgettable balcony scene? In this version, R'meo gets to speak the following lines...

“Putsa! Ano ’yung naggli-glitter sa bintana nakatambay?
Oh my, para siyang diamonds in the sky.
Sige, tuloy mo lang ang pag-shine,
Kahit pa ang moonshine, kaya mong i-outshine.
Di hamak na mas maganda ka sa buwan.
Ay, peks man, kamukha mo si Paraluman!
Men, ang true love ko, kung alam niya lang!”

Dew-lhiett meanwhile...

Oh Romeo, Romeo, bakit ka pa naging Romeo?
Takwil mo nang pudra mo, kalimutan na pati apelido,
O ipramis mo lang na ako ang one and only,
Tatalikuran agad buong Capulleto family

Dew-lhiett goes on to say...

Nakita mo sanang pag-blush ko kung di lang madilim
Sa dami nang narinig mong sinabi kong sweet nothing.
Wish ko lang sana makapagpakipot—
Wish ko lang nabawi pa ‘yung love quote,
Pero what’s the point, pa-cute pa ba ang emote?

I know, I know, the lines are insipid and corny. But you know what, the play's so oddball and cheesy, it's funny. Damn funny. The whole thing actually works. I think people who have at least a general idea of the original script will find it doubly entertaining.

I imagine the Bard himself must be rolling in his grave. Rolling in laughter, that is. Go see it.


Later after the play I went to a friend, E's, birthday party in a bar somewhere in the metro. (I won't say where). The invite said to wear white, which I and most of my friends did. I had to wonder though why many of the celebrant's other friends chose to ignore the required attire and came wearing various other colors. Anyway, that's not really the point of this story. I went there expecting just another drinking session with some friends, nothing out of the ordinary. And it almost was, actually. Just as E was about to go home (she was really hammered), there was a heated exchange between two of the guys who had offered to take her home. The next thing I knew, punches were being thrown and my friend R was right in the middle of it. There was a lot of screaming and cursing; and after a few minutes, E fainted. Some of the other guys tried to stop the fistfight (yeah, call me a coward, but I stayed glued to my seat, I know better than to get in the middle of a physical argument between inebriated men). It got so ugly cops had to come in and "invited" one of the guys to the local police station for questioning. E, meanwhile had to be taken to a nearby hospital.

Later, after all the commotion had died down, those of us who were left downed the rest of our beers (now a bit warm) and treated ourselves to a couple of orders of crispy pata that somebody had ordered. Apart from a change in the topic of (almost drunken) conversation, it was as if nothing had happened. Go figure.