Monday, October 13, 2008

The Idiot Box at its Idiotic Best

So I've been drowning my sorrows in reality, comedy and lifestyle TV :) In the past 3 days, I've watched the following:
  1. America's Next Top Model: Very interesting show, bitchy as usual. The women are all rather ugly, the slightely pretty ones have no character and there are some really entertaining moments! All of them have issues with everything. Highly recommended!
  2. Ballroom Boot Camp: Its a sweet kinda show, it picks out three women who can't dance and allows them to 'discover themselves' by learning some dance form, which they have to present in the end. There's some nice dancing involved, but there's not too much bitching (which is the best party). See it if you have nothing else to do.
  3. The Fabulous Life: One seriously awesome show! Today's episode was on 'Young, hot Hollywood". The Lindsday Lohan, Paris Hilton, Olsen Twins types. The narrator or whatever he's called is really good with his super sarcy (somtimes overdone) voice. Other awesome episodes include the one on 'Celebrity Wives' and 'Celebrity Relatives'! You must totally watch this at some point :)
  4. Project Runway: Another show that I've grown to love, Heidi Klume is at her dumb best, the designers and their sliming is always fun to watch and some of the designs are actually really good. Another show in this category is Shear Genius about hairstylists, but I haven't seen it for a while.
  5. Great Hotels: I like this show for its host Samamtha Brown. She's warm, humorous and fun and has nice interesting observations about the hotels she stays in. And the hotels are gorgeous of course, the presidential suites are jaw-droppingly awesome and you wish you could stay there. Sigh, may be some day.
  6. Saturday Night Live: its funny in parts though sometimes the humour is very localised (in jokes about American icons and all) and slapstick. They usuallt pick hosts and the entertainment I've seen so far is Christina Aguilera and Kanye West, so I'm not so sure about that...But its good time pass.
  7. Nigella's Feats: of course, I've saved the best for the last. Her recipies vary from interesting and innovative (ice cream cake!) to "oh what a scam" (bread and milk..excuse me!!) to "oh those are a LOT of carbs makin' their way into mah system" (I've lost count of the numbe of these). But some of the most effective camera work I've ever seen, everything looks oh so tasty (not to mention the host herself for most men). My favourite of the lot :)
Another bunch of recommended shows, which I haven't seen in a while though are My Super Sweet Sixteen (this is entertainment at its best!!) and Million Dollar Agents (about a real estate firm that deals with celebrity clients. Its funny cuz of the eccentric owner of the firm).

I think its fitting to end this post with a cool description of Paris Hilton's new chopper:
"So Paris got like this totally awesome chopper, which is like hot pink...and encrusted with swaross-ski crystals! And its so cool cuz its got this really wack video i-Pod attached. AND the top of its petrol tank doubles as a compac mirror!!! Now that's totally hot!!"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Aaah Paris

No matter what I say, I can never get tired of this city...It always has something new to offer (this time it was a whole new look for the Eiffel Tower). Time moves on and yet the city seems unaffected, always enchanting, always exciting, always beautiful.
During World War II, General von Cholitz was ordered by Hitler to destroy all monuments of Paris but refused to do so. God bless him!

Nothing but a Tune

There are those songs and then there are those songs. The types that strike you suddenly while playing randomly on your playlist. The types you come across in a movie which impact you more than the movie itself. The types that get buried in the B-sides of albums, lost to the more superficial world of glittering singles and music videos. And the types which are simply too old to be paid any attention to! Here are a bunch of those striking songs that I have come across in the recent past. Have a listen and tell me what you think! (For some reason, I'm unable to embed the videos, so I am posting the links).

I Dig Love - George Harrission
Bob Dylan was undoubtedly the creator of the most enigmatic music. But someone who in my opinion can actually come close to his stature is George Harrison. While the innovations of The Beatles were of a playful and outrageous variety, Harrison worked on these techniques and moulded them extremely effectively to a level of music that can only be called intriguing. Behind the lovable and straight-forward facade of 'My Sweet Lord', his album 'All Things Must Pass' contains a bunch of highly interesting songs. 'I Dig Love' is my pick of the lot. The lyrics on first glance evoke another happy-go-lucky Beatles number:
I dig love
I dig love
I dig love
Hm, I dig love in the morning
I dig love in the evening
I dig love and I want you to know I dig love
The tune to the song however is strange, it sounds ironic and skeptical (don't ask me how, it just does). It seems to move up and down representing varying levels of enthusiasm in a relationship. And these same lyrics are sung in a deadpan, indifferent manner. At the end of the song, you don't know whether its supposed to be about a man who's in love with the idea of love but never found it...or a man who's felt it so many times that he doesn't care anymore. Harrison then adds another random lyrical twist in the next verse, singing 'I love dig' with the same above lyrics instead. Again you're confused as to what he's trying to say and wonder whether he's just playing with those who are jobless enough to interpret his lyrics (kind of 'I Am the Walrus'-esque). Whatever be the case, its one song that has stayed in my head after just one listen..certainly one of the most interesting songs I've heard.

Little April Showers - Some Amazing Choir..from the movie Bambi
A rather radical departure in genre you might think, but that's the power of music. It can move you in any form if you appreciate it enough. This song is in my opinion one of the greatest achievements in choral singing. It is picturized in the movie 'Bambi' on Bambi the young deer's first experience with a thunderstorm. Its introduction into the movie, the synchronization with the various images represented, the amazing vocal effects which convey the sense of a high speed gale, the layering of the harmonies...I have not heard a more perfect song in a very long time! Even more impressive is the speed at which the song is sung. The singers (God bless them, whoever they are) have still managed to get their timing and coordination perfectly. They would have had a lot of retakes I'm sure, but still..this song is definitely one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard...a song that can actually be described as 'pretty'. (for those interested, the musical score of Bambi is quite a marvel by itself)

Loveless Love - Billy Holiday
This would fall in that category of songs too old to be remembered, except perhaps Billie Holiday fans and some American old timers. But 'Loveless Love' is a song that is both suited for and way ahead of its times. In its lyrics, 'Lady Day' paints a picture of a cruel, heartless world which has become used to 'souless soul' and wishes she had 'wings like a aeroplane' so that she could fly away from it. Its a song that must have undoubtedly rung true during those war stricken times of the 30s the 40s and its lyrics have relevance even today. Because, while in those times there was still some hope, some positive feeling that after this war, there would be no others, these current times seem pretty hopeless (Don't they? Or is that just what I think). The music is poignant and melancholy and Holiday sings with feeling and a yearning totally 'hits the spot'.

Love Reign O'er Me - The Who
When you think of over-the-top emotional songs, your mind probably goes to Meatloaf or Whitney Houston type people. But The Who surprisingly has made a rather effective contribution to this genre, the pricipal differnece being, its not about love..and its a masterpiece of rock opera. The song is the last to appear in the album 'Quadrophenia' and talks about the hero 'cleansing his soul' as it were, in the rain on a rock in the sea. Everything in this song seems designed to convey the raw emotion and desperation of a man who is disillusioned and finds his world shaken, the things he held dear snatched cruelly from him. Roger Daltry delivers a bravado vocal performance letting his voice frequently crack while singing and Keith Moon as always goes crazy, pounding the drums to signify on one end, the crashing of waves on the sea-shore, the crash of thunder and the hero's own frustration. Pete Townsend's orchestral arrangements are once again fantastic; he uses horns and violins to give the whole song a feel similar to an operatic climax. Never have I heard a song more designed to make an impact, and that it certainly does!

There are many other songs, but these are the ones which came to me first and have hence affected me the most. The experience of finding a gem of a song on your playlist is exciting and enriching , it constantly serves to reaffirm the fact that the world of music is indeed vast, most of its territories uncharted. It lets you know that, no matter how much you may have heard, there's always something out there that eludes you...a piece outside your preferred genre that is worth a listen, a song that defined songs of its genre for generations to come...another tune that captures your imagination in fascinating ways. Music is undoubtedly the loveliest creation of man (apart from the Eiffel Tower) and I would say, his single redeeming factor.