Monday, August 21, 2006

Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young

There is this song that I have heard on the radio many a times. The lyrics always made me smile. I was never able to catch the name of the song or of the artist. I finally saw the video on TV yesterday. The song is called Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)!

The lyrics of the song is actually picked up from an essay that was written by Mary Schmich which appeared in the Chicago Tribune as a column in 1997. The title of the essay is the title of this post. Doesn't seem to have a very high opinion of youth, this Mary (Another Mary! The exclamation in reference to my previous post).

In 1999, the essay was read out by Australian actor Lee Perry to soft music and backing vocals and that's how the song was born. The song is credited to the Australian film director, Baz Luhrmann, who among others has to his credits the movies Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge (2001).


Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering
experience…I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you
imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes
you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with
yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you
succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe
you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t
congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your
choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body,
use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people
think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever
own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for
good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you
should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and
lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live
in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund,
maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one
might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will
look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.

Friday, August 18, 2006

There's Something About Mary

I hate anything that is ambiguous. I can't handle doubt. I like things spelled out. I like all the angles to be brought to closure in a logical way at some time or the other, before or at the end. Don't get me wrong, I love suspense but it has to be suspense that ends. It can't be left hanging. It can be a book, it can be a movie. There can be numerous threads that weave the story. In the end all the threads need to be tied up. I hate it if any are left dangling. I am ok if there are minor side stories or characters that retain an air of mystery even after the saga is complete but if the central theme is not explained throughly or if the hero of the story never ever leaves clues about the motives for his actions then I am left with a sour taste in the mouth. The suspense, it's like a lemon - sucking on one is no great fun but if one precedes it with a shot of tequilla and some salt the feeling is alltogether different, to say the least. tequilla - story, salt - the protagonist, lemon - suspense - the mix has to be correct to get the right package, to make one feel good.

Now we come across mystery books and movies all the time but then occasionally there are these songs we chance upon that ask one to do a lot of guessing.

I'd do anything for love (But I won't do that) - Bat Out Of Hell II:Back Into Hell (1993)

Our man Meat Loaf (Marvin Lee Aday) has claimed he would do anything for love except that. He may be a bat out of hell but what on good old Earth is "that"?! The debates raged. The imaginations went wild. Conclusions were reached but they fail to satify everyone. I am one of the not-satisfied people. Loose ends all around as far as I am concerned.
The title apart, the video was great - a beauty and the beast kinda thing, and whatta beauty. The video featured Dana Patrick who lip synched the female vocals (Lorraine Crosby was the actual singer if thats of any help). Dana also appeared in the video of the song I'd Lie for You (And That's the Truth). He does has a way with song titles!

Can I Touch you...There
- Greatest Hits 1985-1995 (1995)

Michael Bolton croons and asks if he can touch. Where, throwing caution to the wind, you may ask and he says there, deep inside. *sigh* I really don't want to try and get into what was in Mr Bolton's head. Its a good song and the video is very pretty. Again we have a case where the man doesn't make clear what he wants to say and that weighs on my mind.

Hazard - Rush Street (1991)

Richard Marx talks of a small village in Nebraska. There was this girl called Mary and this nameless young man. Noone in the village liked the man except Mary. They took walks by the river and she loved to watch the sun go down. Thats all plain sailing. You would expect young men and women to do some walking and watching. The song goes downhill from there. Mary disappears and the police accuse the man of foul play. The dude claims he doesn't know where Mary went. Now if she went walking all alone then why does he say that he left her by the river?! Did they go to the river together and then Mary went on walking and he came back? Why would he do that?! The police have a right to be pissed. Now I love this song, I really do, but theres just way too much lemon and way too little tequilla. The sour taste is strong.

The River - The River (1980)

Another melancholic song about another nameless man and another (we presume) Mary - and there's another river involved. Sweet. They did diving in the river, no sun gazing for this couple. Mr Bruce Springsteen delivers a lovely soulful song nevertheless. By the way, the boss' next album was called Nebraska. Mary, nameless man, river, Nebraska - I guess Richard grew up listening to a lot of Springsteen.

We have moved away from ambiguity in songs to another theme just as complex. Mary. I wonder what it is about Marys and rivers that make the young men sad. I must say that she finds her way into quite a few songs. A quick search revealed the following.

Proud Mary - Tina Turner
Mary Mary Mary - The Monkees
Mary Mary - Run DMC
Mary - Scissor Sisters
Mary - Sarah Mclachlan

From nursery rhymes to songs, Mary continues to befuddle.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Right Ho, Ms Croft

I have just completed Tomb Raider Legend on the Playstation. Feeling immensely smug about it. There are not many games I have managed to take to the end. This one I did. Maybe it was an easy game to beat, maybe all the walkthroughs and strategy guides I downloaded from the net helped, maybe I couldn't get enough of Lara - maybe it's just all the above.
People can smirk all they want but yes I do get a kick out of controlling Ms Croft - she is a very pretty woman, is British, happens to be very intelligent, is as acrobatic as a chimp and has the curves one would love to slip and slide on. A lot of people think of Angelina Jolie when someone says Tomb Raider. I think that's sad. The virtual Ms Croft has an identity of her own. The first Tomb Raider movie came out in 2001 whereas the game was released in 1997. If one did have to pick a real life Lara Croft, AJ does pass the first and the last test with flying colours, we can forgive her for not speaking with the British accent and I don't know her well enough to comment on the other two. It seems that the other contenders for the role in the movie were Demi Moore, Linsey Dawn McKenzie (some UK nude model!), Elizabeth Hurley and Anna Nicole Smith. All in all, I feel that AJ was a good choice for the film.

On your left ladies and gentlemen is Karima Adebibe, the official model for Tom Raider Legend. I don't mind her starring in the next Tomb Raider movie, not one bit. She is no stranger to cinema either. She made her debut in 2004. She was a sacrificial maiden in the movie Alien vs Predator. She can move on. A big step up in screen presence and role it may be, but am sure with some effort, she can now be the one making all the sacrifices to an Inca god (The Tomb Raider games have had Lara doing her thing all over the world - Peru, Egypt, China, Tibet, Venice, India, Antartica, Cambodia, Russia, Ireland, New York, Rome, Paris, Japan, Prague, Nepal, Bolivia, Ghana, England, Kazakhstan)

Lara has undergone many changes to her appearance in the course of each release of the game (There have been 7 games so far and I dont think we have seen the end yet. Tomb Raider Legend ends with Lara finding out that her mother may not be dead yet. Am sure Lara will be packing her guns pretty soon and carrying on with the search). The changes have been made right from her ponytail to other parts that must have involved adding and removing silicon. Come to think of it, the real life Pam Anderson has a lot in common with the virtual Lara Croft. Anyways, I think the developers have got it just right. She looks gorgeous in Tomb Raider Legend.

The game apart from jumping across precipices, operating levers, dodging boulders, shooting and slashing bad guys, solving puzzles, wrestling jaguars, swinging on ropes also involves unlocking different costumes for Lara. How exciting is that! She has a variety of colours for the classic costume, ripped evening gowns (ripped so that it doesn't hinder her somersaulting), winter suit, biker gear (she rides a Ducati in the game), catsuit, snowsuit and a sport costume. There is also a swimsuit (choice of black and white) that can be unlocked but it requires one to finish the game completely - beating all the levels in a stipulated time, collecting all the rewards - basically would mean spending many many more hours on the game. (No, I don't have pictures of Lara in the swimsuit) (That's right. I haven't unlocked the costume) (No, I don't plan to) (Yes, I would love to but I dont have the time) (Yeah, Have searched the net but couldn't find the pictures. Do let me know if you run into them.)

Moving on, the enterprising chaps at Playboy have stripped a few virtual heroines for their magazine! Thats how popular these ladies of the gaming world are. Listing some of the hotties who made it to the magazine.

Indigo Prophecy's Carla Valenti
Darkwatch's Cassidy
Darkwatch's Tala
50 Cent: Bulletproof's Alexa

I haven't played any of the above games, yet. Maybe I'll just pick up that edition of Playboy (Oct 2005!) and save all the time.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Go Lola Go

Channel V has an office in the building next to the building that houses our office. They (Channel V) moved in recently (a couple of months ago). Since then I have caught sight of funnily dressed people many a times - the odd kurtas, rings on the nose/ears/eyebrows, long curly hair etc - you get the picture - these are people you pass by on the street and you know for sure from the one glance that they don’t work for a software firm or a bank. Funny how ones appearance most times is linked to the kind of work one does. Saw the VJ Luke Kenny chatting to his phone one evening. Was exciting stuff. He's one of my favourite VJs. As far as I am concerned, a VJ need not look good, need not crack jokes, need not dress well - as long as he plays good music, provides the odd trivia, caters to a varied audience I will love him/her. Luke did that. He had amazing body language. No overly waving of the hands, no sashaying to and fro, no pumping the eyebrows, no widening-dewidening eyes. He stood with his hands in his pockets and delivered. Nowadays he's stopped appearing on TV too. His program Luke's After Hours is non-stop music videos picked by him. I think that shows tremendous confidence. He knows he doesn't need to woo the audience. They see and listen to him through the videos. Anyways that's enough of the eulogy. That evening, I couldn't pluck up the courage to go pump his hands - I like to think it was because both his hands were indisposed - one as always was in his jeans pocket and the other holding the phone. It's also rude to interrupt someone when they are on the phone so I just happily gawked for a while.

The day before yesterday was a good day. Lola Kutty of the Lola T[V] show was outside the office getting ready for a shoot. She was to interview Vidya Balan (of Parineeta fame). A colleague spotted her on his cigarette break and he spread the news. We rushed down like school boys setting off on hearing the bell for recess. This time we went up to her and chatted. I told her I louve her wark (mallu ishtyle). I am not sure she appreciated the attempt at humour, partly because she may not have heard it. I get cold feet easily and I was looking at the floor when I said it even though I had rehearsed that line about 10 times before we went up to her. Anyways, we also had a photo taken. She was cool. She said on seeing our camera phone "You not going to send out MMS no?". I think she's a great TV personality. A friend of mine said that everything about her except her is real. He's a deep thinker, this friend of mine. Yes, she does put on a phoney accent, she actually may not need those huge glasses; am sure she wouldn't be caught with all the jewellery, bright silk saris and jasmine flowers on her hair at places other than on the TV set but I just can't picture her in anything else. To me Lola T[V] was radical. I enjoy watching the programme - I normally hate chat shows. I find them phoney. Maybe that's what sets this show apart. They know that the whole show is a sham and they make no effort to cover that up. The objective is to have fun, the chatting is secondary.

I have always liked Channel V as compared to MTV. Their VJs - Luke, Trey, Sophiya, Laila Rouass, Sarah, Gaurav, Ranvir, Yudi and Purab - they all had class. To borrow a quote from a friend (the deep thinker), if MTV was Jim Carrey, Channel V was Woody Allen. Its true though - the former is good only in small doses. I have nothing against the MTV VJs. They are a perky bunch and no doubt very talented but I find them too loud most times, a little pretentious and over the top. Sedateness appeals to me.

Channel V too started playing Hindi movie songs, just like MTV. I really don't know the reason why MTV and Channel V started showing more and more of the latest Hindi movie songs, showing promos of newly released movies and leaving the music videos to a few select shows that were peppered with lengthy advertisements and telephone calls between VJs and teenagers who wanted to be heard giggling on TV. I am not sure about the economics but there probably is more money in airing new movie songs and charging the producers than just broadcasting music videos. Whatever be the reason, it was with a heavy heart I saw the transformation. VH1 was brought on air by MTV and ZEE Turner in Dec 2004. That warmed the heart and brought a lot of cheer. In the beginning it played only music videos, it was also being promoted as a commercial free channel. It was awesome. That has however changed. But it still remains the channel that shows the maximum music videos and it occupies channel number 1 on my TV. MTV is now a lifestyle channel whatever that means (It unfortunately means talk shows, candid camera type shows, movie previews and more advertisements). Our cable network decided to take Channel V off their menu of channels sometime last year. Not sure how much of a loss that is since they anyway were following MTV's footsteps.

Video killed the Video star.