火曜日, 5月 31, 2005

Life of Pi

The Neon has one!i've done it. on the train to london this past weekend.

i've finished yann martel's eponymous life of pi.

i started reading it on new year's day. the story, as reviewed by many, was well written. piscine patel was one intelligent kid. the kind of kid who'd probably do a theology PhD in oxford at the age of 15. he had a discerning approach to his understanding of religion despite his apparent naivete. although i don't agree with embracing all the religions at once (it's just a story lah), the point about understanding everyone's difference was superbly made. the story as it goes on is graphically narrated. being in a boat with a friggin' bengal tiger is something you need to see to believe. i have to say as a hypocritical animal lover (ie. non-vegetarian), i find the savagery towards cute animals like turtles and meerkats objectionable. if i was on a lifeboat, i'd probably die within 7 days. i did, in fact, stop reading it for a good month or so until i started to continue on recently.

i had mixed feelings when i read this tome, from fascination to disgust, after which i became curious when he got on the algae-ladened isle, and finally, an unexpected surprise. rumour has it a film will be made (just when i was about to say don't do one - non-vegetarian animal-lover talking here) by either shyamalan (as the king of film twists, he'll do nicely) or cuaron. i'll just say that i didn't exactly feel good about what happened in the story, apart from the ending which had me grinning like a right idjit on the train. this just shows, i suppose, what a bloody good writer martel is.

click here for the promo of the book.

日曜日, 5月 29, 2005

Bercuti di Kota London

Pada hari Sabtu ini, saya pergi ke kota London. London adalah ibu negara United Kingdom. Ianya agak jauh. Saya menaiki keretapi yang mengambil masa lebih kurang tiga jam perjalanannya. Saya sungguh gembira kerana saya akan berjumpa kawan-kawan saya yang juga datang dari tempat-tempat jauh seperti Lancaster dan Madrid (di negeri Sepanyol).Not available in Espana. Setibanya saya di London, saya menaiki keretapi bawah tanah yang dipanggil 'The Tube'. Saya tidak payah membeli tiket kerana saya telah pun membeli 'travelcard' di Sheffield lagi. Setelah menaiki 'Tube' selama 15 minit, saya tiba di daerah Paddington. Saya pun berjalan ke arah Kafe Nahar di mana kawan-kawan saya sudah lama menunggu. Mereka sangkakan yang ada lori kimia berlanggarLunch at Kafe Nahar. yang menyebabkan saya lewat. Mereka hanya bergurau rupanya. Hahaha. Mereka sudah makan, tetapi oleh kerana saya masih lapar, mereka pun turut menjamu selera sekali lagi. Anuar, kawan saya yang datang dari Madrid itu rupa-rupanya sudah memakan berbungkus-bungkus nasi lemak. Katanya di negara Sepanyol tidak ada nasi lemak. Saya hanya mengangguk kerana kasihan mendengar. Kami memakan juadah melayu seperti cokodok, karipap dan nasi campur. Saya meminum air kegemaran saya, teh ais, yang lebih lazat dari frappucino yang dijual di kedai Starbucks.

AF?


Selepas makan, kami pun bertemu dengan seorang kawan Anuar bernama Ja. Ja bercuti di London dan dia pun ingin bersama kami bersiar-siar di London.Oleh kerana Circle Line di tutup, kami terpaksa menaiki 'Tube' Bakerloo ke Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus sebenarnya bukan sarkis yang ada badut dan binatang seperti singa dan gajah. Piccadilly Circus sangat cantik dengan iklan Coca Cola lampu neonnya. Di tengah-tengah terdapat tugu patung Eros. Di situ juga terdapat ramai pelancong-pelancong yang bersiar-siar seperti kami. Kami berjalan ke arah Leicester Square yang mempunyai banyak panggung wayang, disko dan pelukis karikatur. Sewaktu di situ kami sempat melencong ke arah Chinatown di mana saya membawa mereka ke kedai CD dan DVD murah yang bukan durian. Saya membeli DVD Jimmy Eat World kerana ianya murah dan kawan saya, Jim, kata lagu mereka sedap. Sewaktu membeli DVD, kawan-kawan saya sibuk mengambil gambar pemandangan di situ.

Chinatown.


Kami kemudiannya berjalan ke arah Covent Garden. Kedai-kedai di Long Acre masih belum mengadakan jualan murah. Kami pun tak membeli apa-apa. Tengok sahaja. Di Covent Garden, kami bergambar lagi. Di sinilah watak Eliza Dolittle menjual bunga dalam wayang 'My Fair Lady'. Saya tidak ingat sangat ceritanya kerana saya menonton cerita itu semasa saya kecil sangat. Ada lelaki ini menyanyi sambil bermain gitar. Kesihan pakcik cina yang bermain muzik tradisi itu terpaksa menutup kedai. Saya memberi lelaki itu satu pound kerana suaranya sedap.Di dalam Covent Garden hanya terdapat seorang lelaki melakukan aksi sarkis sahaja. Tidak ada orkestra kecil atau nyanyian aria dari opera. Kami pun terus beredar untuk pergi ke Trafalgar Square.

Covent Garden. Where Anuar finally learnt how to not confuse women's undergarments with eateries.


Trafalgar Square sungguh besar. Saya sudah dekat 10 tahun tidak pergi ke Trafalgar Square. Di sini ada tugu Lord Nelson dan banyak burung merpati. Hari ini sungguh panas sekali. Tetapi sekarang mereka tidak membenarkan orang mandi-manda di kawasan air pancut. Kami pun mengambil gambar lagi.No mandi-manda allowed now. Ramai juga orang lain bergambar, seperti seorang pelancong ini yang membuat aksi ala Superman. Saya hendak ketawa tetapi tidak berani. Lagi pun tidak elok jika kita ketawakan orang. Kami nampak satu keluarga melayu yang juga bergambar dan mengambil video. Di tepi Square itu, ramai orang memberi makan kepada burung-burung merpati. Ada seorang perempuan ini membawa satu beg besar yang mengandungi bijirin. Dia mesti sayangkan burung. Burung-burung itu pun mesti kenal dia sebagai seorang yang baik kerana mereka hinggap di kepalanya. Di sini juga ramai perempuan-perempuan lain. Oleh sebab cuaca sangat panas, mereka tidak pakai baju yang tebal. Mereka sangat cantik. Selepas itu, kawan saya iJun membelanja kami semua ais krim. Kesihan penjual ais krim itu nampak susah untuk mengira harga ais krim kami. Saya makan dua scoop coklat bersama flake 99. Sedap sungguh rasanya.

Chilling near Admiralty Arch.


Kami pun berjalan ke arah Admiralty Arch di mana kami duduk di atas tangga. Kami bergurau senda dengan nada amat bising sekali, sambil menikmati angin sepoi-sepoi bahasa. Di sini kami nampak lebih ramai perempuan cantik yang kekurangan kain.I just love the summer! Kami berasa gembira sekali. Setelah setengah jam melihat kenderaan lalu-lalang di The Mall kami bersiar-siar di St. James' Park dan Green Park. Sungguh ramai orang di situ. Ada yang bermain frisbee dan ada yang hanya baring menikmati matahari. Aktiviti ini merbahaya kerana mereka boleh mengidap penyakit melanoma, lebih-lebih lagi orang yang berkulit putih. Selepas Green Park, kami berjalan di Piccadilly. Kami mengambil gambar di Hotel Ritz yang pernah kami tonton dalam wayang 'Notting Hill'. Kawan saya kata dia nampak Natalie Portman tetapi saya tidak percaya (Natalie Portman ada tidur di rumah saya hari itu sebenarnya). Kami singgah sebentar di hadapan restoran The Wolseley. Harga makanannya boleh tahan mahalnya. Lagi pun kami tidak memakai pakaian sesuai untuk makan di situ. Kami singgah di sebuah pekansari kecil yang menjual kraftangan. Di situ kami berjumpa Jo, kawan kepada Ja. Semasa menunggu Jo, kawan-kawan saya bergilir-gilir menikmati lagu 'Kotek dan Puki Berbulu' dendangan kumpulan Ben's Bitches dengan menggunakan iPod saya. Lagu itu mempunyai lirik yang tidak elok tetapi kami semua ketawa keseronokan. Kami pun bergerak ke arah Regent Street.

Di Regent Street, kami pergi ke kedai Apple. Kedai Apple ini menjual banyak komputer canggih lagi anggun. Sebenarnya, saya mahu menggunakan kuasa Force untuk mempengaruhi iJun dan Anuar untuk membeli iPod. Tetapi iJun menggunakan kuasa Force gelapnya (yang lebih senang, lebih menggoda) dan mempengaruhi saya untuk membeli sistem speaker JBL. Saya ingat selama ini, penggunaan kuasa Force gelap ini hanya tipu semata-mata. Memang benar saya dipengaruhi silap mata Sith dia. Apakan daya, saya pun membeli sistem speaker JBL itu dengan perasaan riang gembira.

Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.


Oleh kerana kami lapar, Jim mengajak kami ke restoran C&R untuk menikmati juadah Malaysia sekali lagi. Kami berjalan ke arah Carnaby Street yang merupakan pusat fesyen kota London di tahun 70-an. Untuk kembali ke Chinatown, kami melalui daerah yang bernama Soho.Nice tee. Di sini banyak kedai-kedai yang ada perempuan menari bogel dan panggung yang ada tiga pangkah. Kami pun bergambar di hadapan salah satu kedai yang menjual barangan ganjil tetapi menarik. Di C&R, kami makan nasi goreng, tomyam dan mee hokkien. Air kacang soya yang disajikan segar, seperti yang di jual di pasar malam Taman Tun Dr. Ismail. Saya minum sampai dua gelas. Perut saya lebih buncit petang ini kerana makan dan minum terlalu banyak. Kami pun kembali ke rumah Jim di Bayswater untuk merehatkan badan. Di rumah Jim kami mendengar lagu-lagu dangdut, rock kapak cintan dan emo. Oleh kerana pengaruh kuasa Force gelap tadi, saya di psiko-analisa oleh Dr. Idlan untuk beberapa minit sambil berborak kosong. iJun pula memulakan perbincangan mengenai sistem komputer. Sungguh menarik sekali. Pada pukul sepuluh setengah, kawan-kawan saya pun semuanya meminta diri kerana terlalu letih. Saya pun tidur dengan agak nyenyak.

Pada pagi Ahad, saya dan Jim pergi ke Malaysia Hall untuk sarapan pagi nasi lemak, karipap dan teh tarik. Sejam kemudian, Anuar dan Idlan tiba dan kami pun makan lagi. Apabila iJun tiba dengan komputer bimbit Thinkpadnya, kami memakan brunch. Ketibaan iJun seumpama berada di Low Yat kerana Jim diberi software percuma untuk membaiki komputernya. Kami pun dapat bertukar-tukar gambar digital kami di situ juga kerana dia membawa sebuah pembakar cakera padat bimbit. Kami berborak mengisi masa lapang kami dengan berbagai topik perbualan. Ja tiba sedikit lambat dan kami pun makan tengah hari. Saya makan nasi campur kari kambing dan sambal belacan. Saya rasa selepas ini saya perlu melakukan latihan jasmani untuk merampingkan perut saya.

The mamak waiter with the rudest tee ever.


Selepas makan, kami pun kembali ke rumah masing-masing. Anuar perlu menaiki kapal terbang. Saya dan Idlan pula menaiki bas ke stesen keretapi masing-masing. Cuti hari minggu ini sungguh menggembirakan. Saya rasa bertuah kerana ada kawan-kawan seperti ini. Kami bercadang untuk ke negara Sepanyol pula di bulan Ogos ini.

Begitulah cerita percutian saya di kota London.

K. Udo
Darjah 4 Kemboja

_______________________________________
nota kaki: gambar-gambar ini diambil oleh saya, idlan, ja dan anuar. sila ke fotopages saya untuk gambar-gambar lain yang menarik.

土曜日, 5月 21, 2005

Like black holes in the sky



the longest Gm chord known to rock. and the sweetest.

©1974 pink floyd music publishers limited

木曜日, 5月 19, 2005

Of lightsabres and astro-droids

Battle of Yavin.


a long time ago, in a country far, far away...


it was 1978. i had heard of a movie called star wars. all i knew about it was that it was a tale set in outer space. kids in my generation then grew up on a dose of sci-fi telly programmes the likes of space:1999. a girl in my class saw the trailer in a cinema in singapore, which further fuelled my interest in the film. a few weeks later, i got to to see the trailer myself at cathay cinema near bukit bintang. i was blown away. totally. as an eight-year old, i loved to draw. i replayed the trailer excerpts from the death star battle again and again in my head, to conjure up images of what i thought the x-wing fighter looked like so that i could draw it. the TIE fighters were easier to draw as all you needed to doodle was an H-shaped spaceship.

What I though it'd look like


star wars premiered on may 25, 1977 in the 'states and europe. in those days, movies didn't get shown on malaysian soil at the same time as the 'states unlike today. i remembered then that over three weekends, the new sunday times ran an abridged version of the george lucas novelisation. with the little stills they had and the movie poster, i learned to draw an x-wing fighter (and darth vader, but in only one pose!) properly:

Finally!


i can't remember when exactly but the day i got to watch star wars i was excited as hell. from that day onwards, the 20th century fox fanfare was star wars to me.The poster that started it all. after being blown away by the magnificent intro of the blockade runner being attacked by the imperial star destroyer, every second was savoured with my jaws agape. like trabye's experience earlier this morning, i had the displeasure of sitting in front of a jabbering teenager going like: "waaa... that's dak weda. after that aaa...". damn idiot. may the fleas of a thousand banthas crawl up your ass. walking back towards the car, i was so looking forward to talk about it with my friends in school the following monday. recess time saw us playing star wars instead of the usual combat or police 'n' thief. which star wars character was i assigned to? R2 effin' D2. cilakak korang, mentang-mentang lah aku kecik.

in those days, the VCR was non-existent. i'd then get really excited whenever there's this late night TV show called that's hollywood! was aired on rtm1. simply because the end-credits had a shot of luke's x-wing being chased by vader's TIE fighter in the death star trench that leads to the thermal exhaust port (right below the main port. yeah, yeah.). i would wait every week without fail to watch that! i even had a 60-minute cassette which basically was a mini audiobook narrated by roscoe lee brown complete with dialogue, sound effects and score from the actual movie. i played that tape to death, literally. when the tape finally putus, i had to make do with a poorer version which had some other actor doing the voices.

A fraction of what Kenner released between 1978-1985


star wars mania was really big in KL at that time. we got a polaroid of us taken with darth vader, chewie, C-3PO and a stormtrooper at jaya supermarket. and then the toys. the kenner action figures was like $3 apiece. my first ever action figure was, err.. R2-D2. i think trabye got chewbacca. little did i know that in 5 years time, both of us would have all 98 of the 6" action figures ever released by kenner. the larger toys like the x-wing were a bit too pricey, so we were happy to have gotten the smaller die-cast metal/plastic versions. for example, the smaller millenium falcon toy was scale-to-scale more accurate like the actual movie model, allowing me to be able to draw the falcon from any angle possible. also, by the time bits of paint had chipped off the falcon, it looked more realistic, like all the starships seen in the latter 3 episodes.

drawing was my passion in those days.Infantino's interpretation of our favourite characters. i couldn't colour to save my life, but doing pencil drawings were pretty much my forte. not artistic sketches, but comic-style drawings. marvel comics had star wars titles which had stories set after episode IV. i literally copied the comic artwork which were then pencilled/penned by the likes of howard chaykin and carmine infantino. infantino's characters had ridiculously angular jaws and his version of princess leia was so like angelina jolie, lip-wise and, err, tit-wise. haha. it was from there, i started to do my own comics. i'd buy exercise books in school and started writing/drawing my own star wars stories. the stories were ridiculuously simple and written off the cuff. content-wise it was ever so random and you couldn't see a plot. in fact, one part of the story i could remember, because trabye keeps taunting me about it to this very day.

Click to enlarge comic.


see what i mean? the syntax was acceptable to me and my friends at that time. what do you expect? i was in primary school, dagnammit.

the sequels literally expanded the star wars universe. new planets, new creatures and new ships. and obviously new toys. by the time empire came out, video was widely available. when we bought our very first VCR, we had to be contented with pirated copies of episodes IV and V. by 1983 when jedi was released, rtm screened star wars as part of their dunhill-sponsored movie selections. yup, i had my VHS recorder out and got myself a better copy of the film. it wasn't until i was in university in the early 90's when i got to purchase original VHS tapes. i think to date, i have the original trilogy in fullscreen, widescreen and the remastered widescreen. it's a pity lucas didn't think of having the original unedited versions in the DVD.

like my recent interest in tracing the roots of modern rock music, i bought the DVD of akira kurosawa's the hidden fortress, the inspiration behind the basic storyline for a new hope. any self-respecting star wars fan should check it out.I still buy 'em. Hehe. do watch it and look out for the two protagonists, tahei and matashichi. like the two droids (the ongoing dynamics between the two are ever so similar, and there's also a general and a princess!), the basic premise of a story revolving around two characters who are caught in the midst of everything is ever so familiar.

star wars still means a lot to me. it is part of current popular culture, where non- SW geeks know what a lightsabre is. as i grow older, it has stopped becoming an obsession (like listening to that audio cassette, i have lost count of how many instances i have watched all three episodes!). when episode I came out, i think i watched it like 4 times in a row. i was amazed to find that by the time i was viewing number four, i was falling asleep. some star wars fan, huh? as a big fan of the original non-digital episodes, i wasn't as bowled over as i was when i saw a new hope in '78. it wasn't the wooden acting (everything went downhill, acting-wise, from episode VI onwards). i just think that it is just not a pivotal part of my life anymore, as it happens when one grows older.

_______________________

*CONTAINS SPOILERS TO EPISODE III*

so, the circle is finally complete, as i watched the last instalment earlier today (in fact, it was sebelum subuh, to paraphrase p. ramlee.), less than one week to the day the first film was released 28 years ago.That fateful fight. the film included many scenes (and dialogue - "lock s-foils in attack positions!") echoing the latter 3 episodes, like the speeder bike/jedi genocide scene and the final looking at the horizon with the twin tatooine suns, G1 and G2, setting. in fact, one episode III scene appeared to be reminiscent of the crappy han solo-lando calrissian "just get going, you pirate!" dialogue in the hangar scene of jedi. i was already cringing in my seat that early in the morning! but lucas redeemed himself with the superb introductory battle scene together with the numerous lightsabre fights we get to see throughout the film. every question that needed answering was indeed answered, may it be in the form of a scene or a single line of dialogue. to make sure everything fits in the end is some feat, and it is nothing like writing my home-made comics.

Onboard the Tantive IV.as i write this, i have in the background, the episode IV DVD playing. watching it now with a renewed sense changes everything. everything is crystal clear. luke and leia aren't just two characters trying to rid the universe of the tyranny of the evil galactic empire. now, i see them as the children of a man who sacrificed his soul because of the love of life. after watching episode III, just put the a new hope DVD on. you will know what i mean.

to anyone who feels bummed that there'll be no more star wars, lucasfilm will be doing a 3D animated version of the clone wars followed by a television series set in the star wars universe. so, watch this space.

and may with you, the force be.

George Clooney tak mati

the circle is now complete.

*leleh*

hell yeah!

水曜日, 5月 18, 2005

Keep the wagons rollin'

it is a year today.

i vividly remembered that fateful evening. my friend was bumming at my place before his viva and i told him that i was gonna start blogging. blogging was a therapeutic escape for my tortured soul (due to certain life events - how very familiar). one year on, this soul's less tortured now and krik's stomach of chaos aka 無秩序のkrik の胃 is still here. for anyone who's wondering, SOC was the moniker of my first ever band, and this chap can attest to this. this was my first ever entry:


its been a while since i thought to myself, "must give this a try". venturing into the blogging world. moi? the malay adage hot hot chicken shit comes to mind. anyhow. the die is cast. i've now registered with blogspot successfully. i guess a couple of lines as my first entry will do.

i am pretty much knackered to say anything at the moment. probably its the khan's curry combo i had earlier this evening. or perhaps its the amount of glass that i shifted at work all day today. or perhaps the anticipation of more glass to shift tomorrow. the mind boggles!

shahid's in town for a couple of days, its his MPhil viva tomorrow. 'psychophysics: the fundamentals'. that's a recommended book title that's enough to scare you. thank god i am doing pathology. which reminds me, november ain't that far off. my ass therefore needs a little kicking.
sorry for my bizarre train of thought. never has been linear anyway. at least there's a couple of paragraphs now. may see a few more in the next entry, huh?


reading back this entry (along with the ones after it) made me laugh at how shite it was. i still think SOC is still not up there with likes of, say, organised chaos (hello, puan president :D ). looks like i'll keep up with the cop-out photos (especially that of food) to make up for the lack of substance! it has its rare moments, though. for example, this blog had inadvertently performed a little public service, which i dare say resulted in two souls to go ga-ga for each other. i've also made some new friends, some of whom i've met personally. and i'm honoured to have gathered a small number of readers (some of whom are established bloggers i kowtow to) who aren't on my take list. to all of you, thanks for still being here, reading the tosh that i churn out now and then. kerana kamu semua lah saya tak payah guna project petaling street lagi. hahaha.

Summer of 2000, Manchester.


lagi setahun. amacam?

金曜日, 5月 13, 2005

Ol' black eyes is back.

Wes and his PRS.they are back. back with good ol' mr. borland. the band was just not the same without him. imagine the 'stones without keef or aerosmith without joe perry. heck, just look at G'n'R (shame on axl for still calling the band that)!

the new material sounds rawer. sounds like they were recorded live. gone are the hip-hop leanings. can't seem to hear dj lethal. in fact, where is dj lethal? the guitar tones are more guttural. at times, the stuff is reminiscent of those in the three dollar bill$, y'all album. wes doesn't seem to do any fanciful effects-ladened guitarwork this time. his trademark whammybar work is there though. lyrics are somewhat catharrtic. just listen to the channel. the unquestionable truth (part 1) is a little on the small side, song quantity-wise. sounds big. let's just see where fred et al. are taking us with this.

most importantly, great to see you back, wes!

木曜日, 5月 12, 2005

When name-calling isn't rude

got this in my e-mail from a friend this morning (thanks!). i thought it was funny.


水曜日, 5月 11, 2005

Many happy returns to the day

How blue can you get, The Neon?

I gave a brand new Ford, but you said I want a Cadillac
Bought you a ten-dollar dinner, and you said thanks for the snack
I let you live in my penthouse, you said it was just a shack
I gave you seven children, and now you wanna give 'em back
'cause I've been downhearted ever since the day we met
I said the love is nothin' but the blues
Baby how blue can you get?


as recorded by B.B. King (Live at the Regal, 1964)


jangan cuba try-try soundtrack The OC pulak, dude.

土曜日, 5月 07, 2005

Oooh! Suits you, sir.

it's not surprising. internet shopping is pretty much the norm today. now, you can design (using a limited number of parameters, but still good enough!) your own bespoke trainers. check this out, if you wanna own the only pair, unique to yourself, on this planet:

Something to replace your ailing Vans, sir?


compared to the UK, the choices available are so much better in america. the price is not too bad, considering what you pay at the likes of footlocker.

水曜日, 5月 04, 2005

The definition of full

You would then know what almost full means :)


inspired by a comment by idlan in my previous post.
______________________________

an addendum for any creamheads out there: when we were queuing at the door, i wondered if we would be able to do a bit of celebrity spotting. we saw some "artiste"-looking characters but didn't recognise any of them. there were also the types who would probably pass as tour managers way back in the late 60's. anyway, we didn't see any, although from the forum at the official reunion site, the turnout by celebs weren't too bad. andy fairweather-low was there on monday, but we saw nada. so, here's stomach of chaos going all HELLO/URTV:

roger daltrey, brian may, roger waters, jimmy page, cilla black (!), gary kemp, ray cooper, steve winwood, gary moore, sir paul mc cartney, chris squire, bill wyman, bryan adams, alice cooper and tom hanks (yes, the actor).

月曜日, 5月 02, 2005

No, I didn't go see Siti at the Albert Hall

one evening (early morning, rather) in uptown with some friends enjoying some nasi goreng padprik yang tak sedap.

me: eh, aku misplace aku punya wheels of steel CD lah, sial betul.
the neon: wheels of steel? WHEELS OF STEEL? and this is the person who gets to watch cream. wheels of steel...
me: [silence]


_______________________________
tonight i saw a historical event that will only be repeated exclusively for the next three evenings at the royal albert hall. after 37 long years, eric clapton, jack bruce and ginger baker reformed cream. in fact, their last ever gig was at the albert hall on november 26, 1968.

Cream is back!


to tell you the truth, i started to listen to a little bit of cream after hanging out with the neon, an all-time clapton aficionado. i knew who cream were and of the more popular material the likes of sunshine of your love and white room. whilst i know of cream as one of the first jam bands (they pretty much do 15-minutes improvisations of their stuff), i don't pretend to know all of their stuff from their short four-album career which spanned 2 years. it was then, shamefully enough, i got to know that badge was a clapton-penned cream song and crossroads was only available on the wheels of fire: live at the fillmore record (polydor, 1968), the vinyl of which is the only cream record i have (i only have CD's of the 4 albums). we'd listen to strange brew repeatedly in the car on our trips to guitar shows (and one britney concert), commenting on how sakit otak the playing was. truly the best power trio to this day.

Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.thanks to jimmy "aku ch-yeck" cornell, we managed to get two 75 quid tix for the first show. we were delighted to find out that we were upgraded to the pricier (and better) seats on receiving them in the post. today was such a glorious day to walk down to kensington. hyde park was amassed with people. the angin so cool. and we saw the crowd.

the demographic of the crowd was as expected. people old enough to be my folks. what do you expect? it's the people of the hippie generation who are pretty much running the country now. there were loads of americans. buying the merchandise before the show was simply a waste of time, with the aggressive pushing and pulling. it's only when we look at the back of the programme that souvenir tees are available online. oh well.

Eric Clapton.we were ushered to our seats which was actually very close to the stage. it was behind the band, though. which meant we only get to see clapton's butt all night long. well, at least i get to see them close (he did turn around many times) as opposed to just a speck on a stage a zillion metres away. the stewards were fine with us taking photos. heck, the guy in front of us had a frickin' digital SLR! people were posing in front of the stage, with ginger's double-bass drummed green DW kit in the background. clapton had four fender tweed 2x12's and this large custom (?)rotary cab (the neon, help me out here!). lee dickson (clapton's tech) had his little workshop just below us and we could see him tinkering around with clapton's black and white strat (thank god he wasn't using the gawdy antigua/parrot blue-red-yellow abomination that he used in his recent tour. hehe.).

the lights dimmed and the crowds rose to applaud the arrival of clapton, bruce and baker onstage. they kicked off with i'm so glad from their debut album, fresh cream. already, barely a few minutes in to the song the solo erupted into a typical cream jam sesh. bruce appeared a tad emaciated (he had a liver transplant in 2003) yet his powerful voice still holds. bruce got his harp out thereafter and soulfully did willie dixon's spoonful. his illness must have taken its toll as he took to sitting for most of this song.

Long jams.


as i've mentioned, since i was the man who knew cream's third LP as wheels of steel, i just sat back and enjoyed the trio's performance without really knowing the song titles. the first song that i really recognised was badge. clapton strutted out the staccatto-ed riff whilst bruce's running bass line simply made the crowd go mental.

"then i told you about our kid, now he's married to mabel..."


and then they just stopped playing.

a silence which was followed by that lick. GOD!!!

Rollin' and tumblin'muddy water's rollin' and tumblin' saw bruce leaving his bass behind, concentrating on the harp while clapton did the slide work. ginger baker, whom i thought died much to the annoyance of the neon, was just spot on with his drumming (ginger was right cool, narrating (and drumming) pressed rat and warthog later in the show). at the age of 66 (he looks 96!) he rocked. my foot was tapping all the way during this one. i have to say clapton's slidework was a tad inaudible then.

from their wheels of FIRE album, booker T's born under a bad sign started with that riff made well known to metallicaheads as the lil' jam jason and kirk did in one of their tours (typical, coming from people like yours truly). only to be followed later with another bloose number, crossroads (funnily enough, clapton was quoted by guitarist magazine to have hated this version of the robert johnson seminal piece) which was simply mindblowing. just like the 1968 winterland recording, man. i'm sure many clapton fans have heard him sing that, but as cream? gila sial.

Bloose all night, siut.


white room, another staple from wheels, shook booties. there was this row of what looked like 50-something MD/GM/CEO-types really going bananas, shaking their heads like there was no tomorrow. i shuddered to think that in 20 years time, that'll be me seeing pearl jam performing their 37th world tour. they left ginger on his own, solo-ing on toad. after which they came back, but only to leave again. i was like, huh? it only meant one thing, though. i knew what was coming next.

sunshine of your love.

everyone, even in the rafters, where on their feet by then. my written words will never do their performance of that song justice, man. unbelievable.

the show was perfect, as far as i was concerned. a few diehard fans were arguing in the online fora on the fact that clapton's all fender rig were not up to the gibson-marshall stack combo he used in their heyday. i'd say, be happy they got together again, man. many fans were also upset at their decision to just play london for four nights. i'd say, buy the DVD lah. *evil grin*

Rock 'n' roll history.


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may 2, 2005 setlist
i'm so glad / spoonful / outside woman blues / pressed rat and warthog / sleepy time time / NSU / badge / politician / sweet wine / rollin' & tumblin' / stormy monday / deserted cities of the heart / born under a bad sign / we're going wrong / crossroads / sitting on top of the world / white room / toad / [encore] sunshine of your love