水曜日, 6月 30, 2004

Eh, lapar lah! (part II)

Haddock, chips and baked beans... what else could you ask for?

a fine british institution. i love my fish and chips. i'd go for haddock over cod any day. everyone has their own favourite chippy where they'd get their habuan. mine's called the broomhill friery which is a little distance away from where i live, but it's worth the 5 minute drive. i like my fish crisp and these guys don't go soggy by the time i get home. and i like 'em boneless. proper. some freshly ground black pepper. no salt. a squeeze of fresh lemon juice instead of the usual malt vinegar, although sometimes balsamic vinegar if i feel a little saucy. also some lingham/tomato ketchup/hp sauce combo for the chips. some baked beans would do absolutely fine. piping hot and eaten with the fingers, the fish still in its newspaper wrapper. bliss.

火曜日, 6月 29, 2004

G3... or should I say G2 and a half?

there used to be a time when i'd revise the back catalogue of a band/artiste prior to watching a gig. i suppose that behaviour is pretty commonplace. listening to some bootleg dylan on the motorway to newcastle, that's what we did a couple of years ago.

well, not this time. i've not listened to steve vai's nor joe satriani's current albums. i suppose i kinda prefer their older material. typical. i felt i should just wing it. let the music carry my senses to another level kind of thingy. heh!

i bought the tix for the G3 gig in nottingham a couple of months back and i felt lucky to have bagged myself a decent seat in the house. i've watched the fillmore dvd where they had yngwie malmsteen on the bill. i was expecting robert fripp to be a totally different kettle of fish.

Robert Fripp performing his frippertronically-charged soundscapesa different kettle indeed. fripp's soundscape was gently laid down just like as if an artist was painting on canvas. huhuhu. no, not trying to sound pretentious here. this was avant garde. of the relaxing kind. hypnotic swirls of colours illuminate the background while the processed sound of fripp's les paul fills the hall with an orchestral feel. fripp didn't appear to do much apart from stepping on a switch or two while holding a note. i have to say i wasn't expecting this on a G3 gig, although this progressive guitar playing was actually expected from this veteran from king crimson.

fripp's short yet interesting set ended to be continued promptly by steve vai. little stevie vai, such a nice little boy. with billy sheehan on bass and jeremy colson on drums in tow, they kicked off with sheehan's shyboy. sheehan's mic wasn't switched on which was an absolute fuck-up by the front of house engineer. sheesh.

vai's guitar acrobatics were simply astounding. how the hell did his ibanez jem stay in tune with all that whammy abuse? vai does have long fingers, and i bet he could spread them up over 7 or 8 frets. i knew i was enjoying myself immensely as i was mouthing every single note that came warbling out from vai's guitar. *sad* but i didn't care :P

tony macalpine and dave weiner formed the rest of vai's entourage. macalpine also doubled on the keyboards (he is an accomplished pianist in addition to being a guitar virtuoso). they rattled on with tunes like the animal and bangkok, with weiner handling the oriental sounds on the coral sitar.

Vai and friends showing off!

whispering a prayer was superbly done, with vai playing the notes with every available ounce of energy. and for the love of god. how can you top that? i saw vai 11 years ago on the sex and religion tour, and bloody 'ell, he's definitely not lost that touch. if you think you've seen it all before, live or on dvd, well i saw it last night.

there was a 20-minute break while the road crew sorted out satch's set. with a synthy intro by robert fripp, joe satriani, jeff campitelli, matt bissonette and galen henson came on stage to rock us with satch boogie. the actual album lineup! stu hamm was on bass duties when i last saw satch at wembley arena in 1996. satch was clad in his (?)funky red sunglasses and this lampshade-ish fishing hat. though with his guitar playing, he could wear a hula skirt for all i care!

Satch and Jeff

cool #9, always with me always with you, war and is there love in space were some of the song titles that i could remember. that's what happens when one hadn't listen to the current material. unlike vai's set where the entire band were able to showcase their fret-wanking skills, satch basically ran the show on his set. whilst bissonette is a brilliant bassist, i felt sorry for henson who quietly played his g&l and les paul in the background. the finale came with 'flying in a blue dream', which words just couldn't describe. probably one word. excellent.

the G3 jam went on with satch's band providing the backbone of the set. i wondered how robert fripp would fit in the grander scale of things that is the G3 jam. i've seen how malmsteen arpeggiated his way through voodoo chile on the dvd. but fripp? the jam commenced with satch's own ice 9 from his surfing with the alien album. nice touches from vai in the licks section i should say. i wished they had brought in billy sheehan for the jam as well. oh well, too many bassists spoil the mix (?). they went on to perform red from king crimson's 1974 album, well, red. to be honest, i've only listened to a king crimson album only once in my life. like 7 years ago, and that was the court of the crimson king lent to me by my professor who used to be this hippie dude when he was a student in cambridge.

the jam went on with a vai song (sorry. don't know this one). rocking in the free world which for me is a staple ditty of a pearl jam set list as a tribute to the godfather of grunge, neil young, was the finale of all finales of the evening. fripp's solo was bizarre albeit refreshing as opposed to vai and satch's solo that we all know and love. after more mind-boggling shredding, the gig was finally over. apparently i could've met vai and satch if i had waited in the concert hall. it was a school night. i had work the day after. perhaps in the foreseeable future.

one thing i have to say, whatever your inclination as a guitar player is, experience a G3 gig once. it's simply an unbelievable experience.

for more pics of the gig, click here.

日曜日, 6月 27, 2004

Eh, lapar lah!

Tagliatelle bolognese, cincai style

i felt hungry. and i need to stop having bastardised indomie goreng. headed off to good ol' yafai for some minced meat and other provisions, and i spent about 20 minutes preparing this souped up bolognese. do the sauce just like your sicilian grandmother taught you (really?). add the meat. put a fistful of garlic and herb fresh tagliatelle (sainsbury's best lah) in boiling water, add a dash of the extra virgin, and let it simmer. spruce the dish up with a dollop of mozarella, some salad (no rocket today), freshly ground pepper and some ciabatta (soaked up with more olive oil). i'm good to go!

esok malam jangan lupa pegi gym.

What's your poison?

for a music lover, i found that i've not paid a visit to good ol' play.com in a long time. in the good old days (no, it wasn't 20 years ago), i'd buy cd's on a whim. reasons i'd use to justify my purchase were innumerable.

This is just one rack!

my friends keep raving about it. buy it.

kerrang! says its good. buy it.

the chick on the cover/in the mag looks gorgeous (read: avril's debut). buy it.

oh, we got tickets to see the gig? buy it.

that one song is good (err... the rest must be good). buy it.

i can go on. really.

my amassed cd collection is impressive. numerically. there are more gems than there are duds, though, i have to say. i started buying cd's way before owning a cd player (didn't buy one until i started earning, as dosh from parents were used strictly for... food! yum!). when i finally got my pioneer pd-s703 (not much by today's standard, but it was the dog's bollocks in its heyday), the rest is history.

rock music forms the bulk of my audio optical media repertoire. from metallica to pearl jam. from nirvana to train. and to (pause) the calling. everyone has a soundtrack of one's life. i can pause and look at the cd's on the rack, and little segments of old memories would come flashing by. before you think i am waxing lyrical on sentimentality, worry not. the music, for me, is played to rock.

in many sense of the word.

With friends chillin' in the dormsin my adolescence, rock epitomises coolness (it still does now i'm afraid. yeah!). i got to be on the cool side of the kutus in school (having a quasi-encyclopaedic knowledge of metal bands was useful then :P). the double-sided imported (rm50 was then the norm, and this was 1986) rock tees were also the shit.

as i grew older, my musical tastebuds evolved. in university, the seattle sound was new (i once dismissed a friend's invitation to see nirvana for a mere £8, something which i have regretted to this very day) and i was still in my metallica and guns 'n' roses phase. the (so-called) elitist attitude to all things rock in me yielded finally, and my staple was then the likes of pearl jam and alice in chains.

by that time the guitar was something i began to learn playing. i have also found that i had a peculiar way of listening to tunes. i discovered that quirk when i noticed i had a hard time remembering lyrics. bud, my then housemate, was already warbling fountain of wayne tunes while making dinner in the kitchen after a mere second listen.

i found that i was only subconsciously listening to the instruments that were being played, whilst the lyrics only went yadda yadda, over my head.

i then realised why it took me 6 years to know enter sandman by osmosis.

my guitar playing was improving over the years as i would religiously sit down learning a multitude of tunes from a cd playing in the backgound. when i don't have family/friends/a band (delete one) to jam with, i'd jam with the bands. there had been nights when i was the third (fourth if you include ed) guitarist along with messrs. mc cready and gossard, playing an entire 2 and a half-hour setlist 'in front' of a crowd at the seattle key arena (among other venues!) on a winter's evening. now, that's what a good sound system and some imagination can do.

the cd collection then grew as my ears now yearned to appreciate the world outside rock. my reading of the subject had shown me music's evolution. also, i have friends who suggest to me material that i must check out.

i needed to listen to other genres.

rock and jazz wouldn't be around if it wasn't for blues. many rock guitarists cite other influences to be where they are now. and pop music actually is good when written well.

it was time to step outside the box.

i took baby steps, by still listening to guitar-oriented material. bought cd's that were highly recommended like passion, grace and fire by messrs. de lucia, di meola and mc laughlin. robert johnson's king of the delta blues singers. the who's live at leeds.

and singer/songwriters. cat stevens and bob dylan are simply superb. wouldn't have listened to joni mitchell's blue if it wasn't for travis. also, the current crop of women songwriters are really good (mc lachlan, jewel, to name a few), in my humble opinion. i know. i am a late starter, but i will get there soon enough.

currently i listen a little more of blues, like clapton. to mention the blues as one example, i began to really appreciate why rock music is played the way it is. trabye and the neon have also given me some tips in blues playing. a real eye opener. and not to worry, just because i have the muddy waters' chess sessions and a couple of stevie ray vaughan cd's, i won't be citing them as a major influences! one day, i would love to, though.

so, what have i bought this past month?

miss lavigne's new album has suffered the curse of the sophomore effort. she's playing sheffield this october. wanna come with me?

maroon 5. hmmm. they have a fresh sound for rock band, although i'd describe them as justin timberlake on guitars with a touch of gloria gaynor.

in flames' soundtrack to your escape showcases exceptionally precision metal playing as a band, although you have to excuse my untrained ear that i've heard this all before in the guise of bands like fear factory.

the corrs' borrowed heaven. haven't listened to it properly yet. one thing for sure, though, the sisters still look great.

i never despair if no gems are found in a month's purchase. i have a back catalogue the likes of zeppelin, hendrix and pink floyd to fall back on. on vinyl to boot. but that's another story.

so, what's your poison?

土曜日, 6月 26, 2004

At last we will reveal ourselves to the jedi, at last we will have revenge...

thanks to trabye, i have found my new true calling.

as a star wars fan, i'd recommend you to try this and find out!

金曜日, 6月 25, 2004

Drifting to heal

Neil Peart's Ghost Rider i am such a slowpoke when it comes to reading. it took me 9 months to finish tolkien's lord of the rings when i was 18. well, i did have my a levels then to concentrate on. nevertheless, i don't read fast. unless it's a compelling read.

and in my case, a very compelling read. which is pretty rare, by my standards.

i've just finished reading neil peart's ghost rider: travels on the healing road. peart's the drummer for canada's progressive rockers, rush. he's the lyricist (nicknamed the professor due to his prolific lyrics) for rush and is one of the greatest drummers of all time. the book (which is a sophomore effort for peart) is about a tragedy he endured in 1998.

in the space of 10 months, he lost his only daughter, selena, and later, his wife, jackie.

how does one cope with such personal tragedy, i wondered. he blamed 'a broken heart' for his wife's death even though a diagnosis of cancer was given by her doctors. as a form of therapy, peart chose to take his bmw motorbike and get on the road. a road that went on for 55,000 miles from quebec to belize, via alaska and the west coast of the united states. he called himself the ghost rider, a ghost of a man. nothing but an empty shell with no hope. no meaning to continue on with what is left of his life that he's had with the ones he loved dearly.

as peart makes his way through the various landscapes, i could feel how he had to endure a myriad of emotions, from anger to the incessant sadness, reliving his loss. at times hilarious, his journals were also filled with the sights and sounds of the places he visited as well as the various characters he encountered. as the journey reached its destination, i also appreciated how his views on life were slowly evolving into acceptance of his personal tragedies, finally getting on with his life. the book ends with a happy ending actually, where he finally found someone who would be his current love of his life.

throughout his ordeal, peart considered himself 'retired'. rush was in a hiatus, during which time they released their triple cd live album, different stages. peart finally regained his courage and confidence to return to work and they released vapor trails in 2002 after which, they completed an american tour. this year marks their 30th anniversary, in which they are touring again (got tickets to see them in september!). all's well that ends well, as you can see here.

Alex Lifeson (guitar), Geddy Lee (bass/vocals) and Neil Peart (drums)

the book ends with these apt words from bravado, a track from their 1991 album, roll the bones:

and if the music stops
there's only the sound of the rain
all the hope and glory
all the sacrifice in vain
if love remains
though everything is lost
we will pay the price
but we will not count the cost

木曜日, 6月 24, 2004

Sakit unta

short hiatus due to an infective disease called writer's block. so, i'm just gonna do a couple shoutouts:

check out trabye's tantrums if you are into music (viva la nepotism). a new(ish) blog where you can add in your two cent's worth about the malaysian music industry.

also, i should applaud ash's brilliant blog. i just enjoy to see how the page evolve into what it is now. check it out, as it's well worth a visit!

doc del is leaving for malaysia tomorrow and we hope she would still keep her blog running for the next couple of months. have a safe journey!

the neon. bring us back a couple of cheese scones, will ya? make sure they aren't the same (ehh).

lamson radius/cicatrizRG... i await your 1000-word essay.

hehe. have a good day.

火曜日, 6月 22, 2004

Careful with that axe, Eugene (part VI)

"...i ask those who have something against mexican-made fenders, who did you think leo fender hired at his fullerton plant in the 50's and 60's?"

this is my fender standard series jazz bass. i bought it in 2001 because of a gig i was gonna play in. you heard right. besides, i really 'needed' a bass guitar anyway. i had my heart on the '75 jazzes but the american vintage reissues would've costed me an arm and a leg. in the late 90's, the japanese factory had a cheaper version of the '75, with block inlays and all. probably costed at about 25% of the american ones. well, it's too late for that as they don't make 'em in the land of the risin' sun no more.


the reason i chose the jazz over the precision was due to its slimmer neck. it was really comfortable to play those tunes that i had learn over the span of a week (entered a battle of the bands in leeds). it was a tad lighter than the american ones as the body was made of poplar. still sounded gorgeous. in later gigs, this jazz bass had been pummelled by the likes of liza and firr (suck and sun redd sun, respectively). hey, the whole band had to use branded gear, right? [i make no apologies here. if people can dress up in armani to look good, we do the same to sound good...hah!] riki the kiasu king of sun redd sun can attest to this.

like most of my other musical possessions, it hasn't been gigged for about a year now, although we do use it for the odd sesh now and then.

月曜日, 6月 21, 2004

Trust me, I'm a sensei

akahige (red beard) marked the end of the kurosawa-mifune collaboration that had existed between 1948 and 1965. it took kurosawa 2 years to shoot this ambitious cinematic piece. the set was constructed in its entirety to represent an entire town, a trademark of kurosawa that signified his attention to fine detail. after weeks of owning the dvd, it wasn’t until the recent weekend when i had a chance to sit down to relish another of kurosawa’s masterpieces.

set in the 1860’s, the story revolves around yasumoto (yuzo kayama), a young upstart fresh from a prestigious medical school in nagasaki, with aspirations to become physician to the shogun. he was assigned as an intern to niide sensei (played by the bearded toshiro mifune), the stern chief physician of a public clinic treating the hoi polloi of a small town. obviously disillusioned by the poor state of the public clinic, yasumoto begins his internship with much contempt and reluctance, trying to get on akahige’s bad side at every available opportunity. however, yasumoto's resentment for akahige’s unorthodox method of medical practice as well as his taciturn demeanour gradually subsides, as he learns akahige’s true nature as a great and kind physician who works tirelessly for his patients. the turning point in yasumoto’s attitude towards the art of tending to the sick was after treating an abused teenager, otoyo.

what struck me while watching akahige were the parallels seen in medicine of the past depicted in the movie with current day practice. the donkeywork of a newly qualified house physician today was reflected accurately in yasumoto’s tenure as akahige’s kohai. the day-to-day dealings with outpatient clinics portrayed here was not much different with those seen in an nhs district general hospital. human issues like poverty, child abuse and mental health were also elegantly illustrated (the child who stole for food, the teenager forced to be a geisha at the tender age of 12 and the daughter of a nobleman who hung herself after suffering from schizophrenia).

this movie made me wonder how this once arrogant graduate from nagasaki was transformed into the emphatic doctor, relinquishing all manner of creature comforts and the chance of becoming a successful shogun’s doctor, so as to treat those who really needed help. on reflection, i wondered what i’d really be like if immediately after graduating from newcastle, i was sent to the far reaches of malaysia.

selfishness over selflessness? i will never know.

日曜日, 6月 20, 2004

Press START to begin

"want to buy this game or not?"
"what game you got?"
"onimusha 3, ma. new one"
"good aa?"
"can kill thousand people one. good la..."

that was last february. it has excellent gameplay. true to his words, the feeling one gets from killing thousand people one was exhilirating. pity the whole thing was in japanese, including the text. as expected i didn't get very far due to language constraints! the good news is next week, capcom's english language version of the oni's blood-drenched exploits will be released on british shores. can't wait.

so i had to make do with onimusha 2, which i bought second hand from game. what i didn't count on was its addictive nature. the storyline was pretty basic. a warrior called jubei of the yagyu clan returns to his village to find it destroyed by the warrior-turned-demon, nobunaga oda. so, all i needed to do was go on a killing spree (demons, of course) whilst building up my skills, weapons (including upgrades) and solving occasional puzzles along the way. for all you role-playing gamers, this is usual fare. however, unlike the final fantasy series, onimusha is pretty much a no-brainer. its the square button all the way (including the occasional triangle and R1's). yeah!

after about 12 hours of gameplay, i finished the game this afternoon. if it wasn't for the fact i was given the option of changing the game mode to easy after completing about 75% of the game, i would never have felt like going all gung-ho, slashing up the difficult (not any more) bosses including the head honcho, nobunaga himself, to call it a day. even the final manifestation of nobunaga was pretty much laughable. kicked his golden ass real good. can't wait for the sequel.

i still have final fantasy x-2 to deal with (in between exam revision... huhuhu).

do you ps2?

金曜日, 6月 18, 2004

London calling

as promised, you can now check out the shots i took of central london yesterday afternoon. had some time to kill before catching the train to sheffield. touristy time of the year. wished the sun was out though. anyway, go here for the pics.

Bang bang my baby shot me down...

those of you lucky enough to still have your lives, take them with you!
however, leave the limbs you lost.
they belong to me now...

the bride

whaddaya think? the bride has arrived, filling the screen with haemoglobin-ladened body fluid. in glorious shaw scope. uncensored, region 2 japanese style.


oh, and here's another taste of (psychotic) japanese eye candy.

(I can't get no) Satisfaction

some may call it denial. but i would like to reaffirm that i really don't need any more guitars.

*pausing for cat-calls, laughter of ridicule et cetera*

i was in tin pan alley (aka denmark street) yesterday afternoon, standing in front of music ground, admiring all those carved pieces of mahogany and maple (with steel strings to boot!) on display. it made me think that i've got it all. why buy anymore? i shrugged the idea off as i made my way away from the already closed toko-toko muzik.

walked on down to macari's on charing cross road. the thought came up again. i can now move on. i am happy.

besides i only have two hands. and ten fingers.

[note: the author was probably high on monosodium glutamate after a portion of egg fried rice and lemon chicken devoured at chopstix, a halal chinese joint at tottenham court road ]

oh ya. i have some pics (loads of them are limau, in my opinion) from yesterday's walkabout. watch this space.

水曜日, 6月 16, 2004

Woo hoo woo hoo hoo!

as you can see, not only i've been tardy with updating, but content-wise it feels like the blog had been lacking in substance these past few entries.


strong words, like my previous entries had been so like profound. as if. now, now. before i start to sound like a bratty teenager who's watched too much mtv (i shouldn't be...the words that-would've-been-me-twenty-years-ago-so-just-grow-the-fuck-up should be reverbrating in that thick skull of mine!), i'd better stop.

well, not to worry. i've got a couple of things worth mentioning that'll be in the blog in the upcoming entries. so, watch this space. been busy with work. and helping with tee shirt designs (huhu). and i'm off to the smoke tomorrow. got the association of clinical pathologists' national scientific meeting at the commonwealth institute in kensington. i'll keep all you keen readers up to date with molecular diagnostic pathology (read: try, if anyone is bothered to take an interest) when i get back.

another thing. i still haven't received my special japanese edition of kill bill vol.1. i've got a feeling its with HM customs, as it's just over my £16 allowance of imported optical media goods. hey ho.

on that note, i'll leave you with some (psychotic) eye candy.

see y'all on friday!

火曜日, 6月 15, 2004

No pics today

i am not sure what is happening with the image host this morning. hope the pics will be back online soon!

月曜日, 6月 14, 2004

Bootleg tees

i don't profess to be a gadget freak, nor am i a technophobe. lately, i discovered that i could make this (see right).

with a scanner, adobe photoshop and (a mate's) pc. how easy can it be?

i could start my own fringe designer t shirt range. hah! no more thirty quid duffer of st. georges for me, mate! no wonder the cashier at curry's asked if i bought this for my own personal use. watch out, mambo! haha.

to quote an ad you see in malaysian cinemas: kualiti baik punyee...

日曜日, 6月 13, 2004

Careful with that axe, Eugene (part V)

i’ve been a metallica fan since i was 16. the great james hetfield was my idol, as i could never emulate kirk hammett even if my life depended on it. hence the choice of an explorer. as i was also in the market for a genuine all-american guitar, a gibson would do very nicely. i did think of getting an esp explorer, but they are made in japan and had a bolt-on neck. they also costed more than the gibson [note: esp has since stopped production of the explorer series after gibson brought them to court over the identical guitar design]. i opted for a cherry finish as i already owned two black guitars, an unusual colour for an explorer (dave grohl uses one :P).

it was 1999 when i bought this nitrocellulose-lacquered beauty. it has a mahogany body and its weight may break your back! the guitar is best played slung really low, and not only its looks rock, but its sound too. i did think of hotrodding the pickups with emg 81’s, but it’d be overkill. the pickups are already of the high output ceramic types, and its loud enough. i didn’t get to gig with the explorer until 3 years later at newcastle and the pria mambo 2 in sheffield.

土曜日, 6月 12, 2004

Carpe diem

i had just finished watching kurosawa’s 1952 opus ikiru (to live) this morning. a moving and poignant tale of the chief of a city council public liaison office, kanji watanabe, played by takashi shimura, who had been in a dead-end desk job for the past 30 years of his life where all he does is sit, monotonously sifting through the daily paperwork and red tape, everything by the book.

the movie began with an x-ray image (a barium meal for those in the know!) which showed that watanabe has stomach cancer. watanabe knew full well that he had a few more months to live at the most. it was only then that he realised all these years he had never done anything meaningful in his life. he had thought by working diligently all this time, after the death of his wife, he could ensure the happiness of mitsuo, his only son. however, all mitsuo and his wife care about is getting their hands on his father’s money. and as far as mitsuo was concerned, all his father ever did is work, without a care for the world.

watanabe then began to wander around, fraternising with the dregs of society trying to drown his sorrows at the various sake bars around tokyo. it wasn’t until when toyo, a member of his office staff, came to his house requesting that she may tender her resignation, that watanabe felt that he had to change.

he needed to do something worthwhile before he dies.

in response to a petition from a group of women in a poor part of town requesting that the city council builds a playground for the children, he began to fight hard to get through the bureaucracy and red tape that beleaguered the system. after much persistence, he found gratification after successfully building the much needed playground. his life (which was coming to an end) finally acquired meaning.

this was one of kurosawa’s finest non-jidai geki (period drama) films,which i thoroughly enjoyed. apparently, ikiru was quoted to be one of spielberg’s favourite films of all time. after winning the accolade for best film at the venice film festival in 1951 for rashomon, kurosawa promised to introduce the world to see for themselves, post-war modern japan. this was takashi shimura’s finest performance, in my opinion, a far cry from his katana-brandishing role as kambei, the samurai leader in seven samurai. the most memorable, also heart-rending, scene was him singing forlornly (and badly) accompanied by the piano playing at a bar, reminding us all that life is short and to seize the day.

Fall in love, sweet maiden
Before your red lips fade
Before passion cools
For there will be no tomorrow
Fall in love, sweet maiden
While your hair is black
While your heart is still aflame
For today will never return

木曜日, 6月 10, 2004

Tyneside sojourn

last sunday, i was in newcastle. the company was brilliant, as was the lunch. the sun was out, snapshots taken. no tyne bridge pics, though. will do those some other time!

The day music lived

[photo courtesy of firr]

Waxing lyrical

jammed with imran last night. it all started with trying out my digicam's video recording facility. did a few songs, pretending to be clapton and fairweather-low. hazard a guess who was who. i had my tele while 'slowhand' here had his strats (note: plural). the songs we played really stood out, in my opinion, both musically and lyrically. that's because we didn't write them. hah!

so, at the risk of turning this blog into a lyrics.com kind of page, here are some words from last night's session which may hold some truth. for some people.

Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

Once I lived the life of a millionaire,
Spent all my money, I just did not care.
Took all my friends out for a good time,
Bought bootleg whisky, champagne and wine.
Then I began to fall so low,
Lost all my good friends, I did not have nowhere to go.
I get my hands on a dollar again,
I'm gonna hang on to it till that eagle grins.

'Cause no, no, nobody knows you
When you're down and out.
In your pocket, not one penny,
And as for friends, you don't have any.

When you finally get back up on your feet again,
Everybody wants to be your old long-lost friend.
Said it's mighty strange, without a doubt,
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.

When you finally get back upon your feet again,
Everybody wants to be your good old long-lost friend.
Said it's mighty strange,
Nobody knows you,
Nobody knows you,
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.

Eric Clapton, Unplugged (Reprise, 1992)
(J. Cox)

水曜日, 6月 09, 2004

Careful with that axe, Eugene (part IV)

a year after owning the strat, i saw this epiphone les paul custom black beauty at sounds live (again). i actually went to the store to buy some guitar picks. well, £349 later, i had myself some free picks! it was a chance to own the next best thing to an actual '57 gibson black beauty. i was also into pearl jam so much, and trabye conveniently reminded me then (on the phone in malaysia) that a certain mike mc cready uses this baby. i can't reiterate more that i'm such a sucker. gigging at warwick and london proved that the stock pickups were way too microphonic. in fact, this was my first electric that underwent the obligatory pickup hotrodding (the epi and xingxiao strats were hotrodded much later). a seymour duncan jb at the bridge and two 59's for the middle and neck positons did the trick. when i played my first pearl jam tribute set with mookie in 1998, the guitar sounded divine. the pickups were bare for a number of years. it wasn't until last month that i decided to retain the guitar's original appearance and re-installed gold plated pickup covers.

addendum: to all guitar freaks out there who are into imitating the sound/rig of your favourite heroes, i have found guitargeek, a site which has signal flow diagrams of a number of players out there. check it out!

火曜日, 6月 08, 2004

A murder of crows

after missing their performance in nottingham two years ago, i finally caught up with incubus' current world tour on sunday.

brandon (with his kit on, sorry girls!) with ben and the excellent jose

they kicked off with 'megalomaniac' and from the first note they were superb! a lot of their new stuff from their current 'a crow left to the murder' album like 'talk shows on mute'. to tell you the truth, i'm not so big on their current stuff. its when they played tunes like 'redefine', 'a certain shade of green' and 'make yourself', the crowd went absolutely mental!

dj kilgore and mike on his jazzmaster

apart from having ben kelley as the new guy thumping out the low notes, another noticeable change was that mike einziger was playing fenders. the man has now forsaken the nu-metal-associated paul reed smiths. good for you, mike! the songs were still heavy as ever, despite seeing mike using telecasters and jazzmasters.

they did a cover of prince's 'when doves cry' at the beginning of the encore. and yes, all you female readers of this blog, brandon had his top off during the latter half of the show.

月曜日, 6月 07, 2004

The needle and the damage done

I caught you knockin'
At my cellar door
I love you, baby,
Can I have some more
Ooh, ooh, the damage done

I hit the city and
I lost my band
I watched the needle
Take another man
Gone, gone, the damage done

I sing the song
Because I love the man
I know that some
Of you don't understand
To keep from running out

I've seen the needle
And the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie's
Like a settin' sun...

neil young, harvest (reprise,1972)

土曜日, 6月 05, 2004

Kinky afro

went over the peaks today, to get to a part of manchester called sale. imran had his strat set up. my strat had a new tone pot installed. to pass some time while waiting for the axes to be sorted, we decided to spend a couple of hours in manchester city centre. as usual, please go to the gallery to see the sights. sorry, no smell provided!

the guitars were done up very nicely. imran's strat set up even had a breakdown of the things that got sorted, a la MOT! to all you guitarists, i would definitely recommend this chap.

i also did a really clever thing today. like, i was so excited about testing the new tone pot on my strat that i left my satchel at sale. and the best thing was that i only realised about it on arriving in sheffield. the place is 38 miles from sheffield, give or take. you do the maths.

an excellent but tiring day!

金曜日, 6月 04, 2004

Wanna enjoy a spitroast?

in contrast to my last blog post, here's something more cheerful. basically, a taste of what we had last night for dinner:

it was so cheap, and tasty to boot! could barely walk after that.


i'm pissed off. to be exact, i'm fucking pissed off.

i have just returned from the post mortem suite where i did an autopsy on a young chap who was killed in a road traffic accident. in my line of work, i do not get my emotions involved. but, at this very moment i've never felt so fucking subdued.


the accident occurred on a stretch of road that i drive on every fucking day. he had just dropped his girlfriend at work. little did both of them know that was to be their last conversation of their lives. ever.

why do these things happen is beyond me. i shall not doubt the powers above. Allah giveth and Allah also taketh away. but it is so unfair.

what pissed me off more was i have very dear friends of the same age as his. i am not saying older people deserve to die because of their age (we'll leave the discussion about ageism another time).

that body lying on the table waiting to be eviscerated could have been mine.

our bodies are so fucking fragile. take good fucking care of it. if not for the sake of others who love you, do it for yourselves.

木曜日, 6月 03, 2004

A very short lunch break

today is busy, busy, busy.

*and here i am posting for the blog*

there's just one consultant and myself in the department. ain't that great? it's a good thing we're not inundated with meetings today. even had to postpone an autopsy till tomorrow. oh, well.

read in the local dailies online that all 128 students with the brilliant exam results got to go to medical school. i just wonder who's gonna teach them. the last time i was at klgh during my electives there were more than 20 students per teaching ward round. a 1:6 doctor to student ratio? who are you trying to kid, man!

on the local front, petrol prices aren't gonna go down soon. and the impending revised tax on fuel this coming september? hoho. better start booking train tickets to get to work.

egg sarnie gobbled. thirst quenched. better get back to cutting up boob resection specimens now.

水曜日, 6月 02, 2004

Careful with that axe, Eugene (part III)

in 1996, my epi strat copy was holed up in kl. and after a 3-year hiatus, my interest in guitar playing was rekindled. fortuitously (and excellent timing, too), i saw this three-tone squier stratocaster at sounds live in newcastle.

it was a 1996 make which means it has the fender 50 year anniversary mark at the back of its headstock. fell in love with it straight away. the neck felt really good for a budget strat and its clean tones were glassy enough. it gigged for the first time with s.o.c. at the unl gig in 1998. thereafter, it went through a complete makeover. pickups were hotrodded, again, with seymour duncans (a duncan custom at the bridge and two vintage staggered for the middle and neck). to top it off, the guys at sheffield (namely at 27 filey street) had a 'fender factory', where we converted squiers into fenders!

[disclaimer: in no way were we making fake fender instruments for profit. at that point in time, we were merely too impoverished to afford quality instruments by fender!]

with some aged pickup covers and a black pickguard, the strat was then transformed into what you see now. i call it my '54 strat' although some of my friends begged to differ (thus the moniker 'xingxiao strat'!). the revamped strat didn't get gigged way until 2002, at the malam temasya pria mambo 2 gig in sheffield.

火曜日, 6月 01, 2004

Praaaap praaaarp praaAAAAAARRRRP

today i have been a brave chap. i have ventured into the unknown (well, for me, that is) musical territory known as...


i remembered as a kid listening to ABBA in the 70's, then evolving briefly into the the realms of 80's new romantic stuff (duran duran... yeah!), subsequently moving out to the angst-fuelled, riff-ladened music of hard rock and heavy metal. rock music was pretty much my staple for such a long time and it wasn't until recently that my appreciation for all things rawk was more discerning and matured.

for the past two months, i began to drift into the most unvisited section of hmv. i tried out the qawwali of nusrat fateh ali khan. real old school blues from the likes of masters such as son house. since i also knew that blues evolved into, among others, jazz, i have now decided to tread that path.

in the 80's, i've listened to ayah's cassettes of fusion artistes in the vein of grusin and ritenour. don't get me wrong, they are great musicians, but i just can't help feeling that kind of music was more suited to commercials and background music for soft porn flicks.

so, i decided if i wanna try jazz out, i'd go get the classic ones.

i don't know anything about jazz. i know jack. i've heard of greats like thelonius monk. john coltrane. and who's not heard of miles davis. i knew who they were. but no idea what they sounded like.

i was first exposed to miles davis' genius while watching 'finding forrester'. "oh, so that's what miles davis sound like", i mused to myself.

probably that was why i chose to buy miles davis' 'tutu'. saw it on the cheap at fopp, i simply bought it. only to realise that it was so 80's! damn! i dared to call the album a limau. much to the chagrin of my mate, imran. "go get 'bitches brew' and 'sketches of spain' lah!". ok. i got the picture. should've done a little research.

on the way home from work, via hmv, i endured 20-odd minutes of 'pharaoh's dance'. damn. that was some serious shit. now, was that free form? i don't believe that the piece was actually written in the conventional way. it felt like that they just jammed. and recorded the whole thing.

however, i do believe that music is to be enjoyed rather than endured.

i suppose sometimes you endure to understand why music is the way it is. like the day when i first listened to the raw blues of robert johnson to understand where the trademark licks come from. in the words of the one, "whoa". or the neon, "gila. sakit otak sial...". in all honesty, i change the cd after listening to just three tracks.

on reading the cd liner notes of 'bitches brew', i found familiar names. john mc laughlin. joe zawinul. chick corea. i immediately smiled to myself knowingly. no wonder these people are jazz greats.

i simply sat back and just let the music take me for a ride. in fact, while writing this blog post i have his 'sketches of spain' cd playing in the background. have i converted yet? probably not.

but i can tell you my ears (sic) have definitely opened. wider.

Rehash of the jedi

if you noticed, i have now replaced the blogger-run comments with the one from haloscan (don't worry, blog*spot, me still love you long time). after reading many a blog, i just realised that the haloscan version allows everyone to put their name/ email address/ site url on it. unlike the blogger version which only allows either registered blogger.com users or simply as anonymous.

the snag is we can't read any of the old comments unless i insert the appropriate html code back in the template. but that would be confusing the matter, innit?

anyway, keep 'em comments coming, folks!

YOU CAN VIEW THE OLD COMMENTS. click on the time (e.g. posted by kudo at 9.15 am) or the link to the articles on the right sidebar.