Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Grunge factor.....

Nope, I'm not gonna rant about Nirvana here, nor any of those history lessons where the origins/roots of grunge music in Seattle is explained in detail. Those you can read here....or here, just to name a few. What I'll scribble next (or rather type) is in reference to what makes my musical inclination ticks....yeah, it may sound cliche but I personally feel the 90s gave birth to an important; if not THE most important music genre since the Beatles re-defined the 60s with their dynamic/progressive style of music. Grunge!
Ok, just to satisfy the masses (grumble, grumble, grumble...) we can't possibly ramble on about grunge without mentioning Nirvana. Though I strongly disagree with a lot of people when they insistingly maintain that Nirvana single-handedly created the grunge frenzy which resulted in a whole new generation of rock music up till today. As a matter of preference, I listen to a lot of other grunge bands (tho' at those particular point of time, 'grunge' wasn't even an official terminology for the genre!)....and I feel that THESE bands had directly influenced Nirvana. But one can't deny the importance of the band itself. Who can say that they weren't flabbergasted upon hearing that 4-chord chugging intro riff to 'Teen Spirit back then?!

Soundgarden, on the other hand, infused punk, metal and hardcore into their style of music....and resulted in a whole different kind of grunge music! It was too bad that their best album, Badmotorfinger, was overshadowed by Nirvana's Nevermind in 1991. And hearing Chris Cornell chugging chords on his Les Paul, Ben Shepherd thumping his basslines, Matt Cameron pounding the skins, while Kim Thayil mesmerizing us all with his meditative guitar licks on his SG; makes you wonder whether is this the perfect definition of 'heavy-grunge'. Absolutely brilliant.....I still have Badmotorfinger and Down on the Upside in my car nowadays, listening to them every now and then.
Next, I don't think grunge's humble beginning is complete without mentioning Mudhoney. With their raw sound and their vocalist, Mark Arm's unique (well, not as unique as Joey Ramone's sour vocal style!) scream-like vocals, Mudhoney made some good music to help define grunge form the 80s right into the 90s. My personal favourites are Touch Me I'm Sick!...Ghost and Suck You Dry (talk about song titles!). Listening to this band play makes most of us wonder whether garage music started from these guys! Heh...

Okay, one of 'THE' influence on Kurt Cobain and most of the aspiring grungers of the 90s is a singer/guitarist aptly named J Mascis from the band Dinosaur Jr.....also one of the bands whose music CDs are most spunned in my car CD player. I absolutely love Mascis' spidery guitar solos...makes me dizzy sometimes...hahahah! But its pure power defines Dinosaur Jr's music....and not to mention their excellent drumming style; which frequently feature Mascis on the skins every now and then! Wow, before Dave Grohl did it for the Foo Fighters (refer at the end of this article), J Mascis had done it before for Dinosaur Jr! Too many good songs from this band to recommend...but if I'm forced to name a few, I'd say Feel The Pain, Out There, In A Jar and I Don't Think So. Absolute bliss....sheer indie-rock!

Hmmm...yet another band which Nirvana named as their main influence; Sonic Youth. I initially wasn't really into these guys, but I was checking out current space-rock bands like Mogwai and Explosions in The Sky, and made me realise that there is an earlier band who did it all even back then in the 80s! Sometimes their song run into 7-8 minutes....a bit tad too long to my liking, but those good ones are really good to say the least. I'm not too keen with their experimental albums though.....

The Stone Temple Pilots...or STP for short, produced some very very good memorable songs.....either through the melodic singing by versatile frontman Scott Weiland or through some hard-to-forget guitar riffs. Darn, I'm already humming to songs like Plush, Interstate Love Song, Art School Girlfriend, Lady Picture Show.....the list goes on! Some critics had openly said that STP does not fit the grunge mould, simply because they are more 'poppy' than the rest of the grunge bands mentioned earlier. But what the heck, they rock anyway......and their emergence amidst the grunge frenzy period admits them into the grunge hall of fame!

Last but definitely not least, the Foo Fighters. Most of us are aware that these guys (mostly Dave Grohl)were wrongly accused of riding on the grunge popularity started by Nirvana. Who can blame them when Grohl started the band almost immediately after Cobain's demise. Grohl's expertise as a drummer were heavilty utilised during the inception of their debut album....marking him as one of the most versatile rock musician out there! Musically, these guys effectively combine melodic style of singing, very Beatle-esque; and coupled it with very tightly played rock music. To all you newbies to the band, get ALL of their albums! That's all I can say....

Okay, the Foos weren't my last rant on grunge music. It's only fair to admit Butterfingers, a well-known Malaysian band into the list. Though I hardly doubt it when people say that this band is still into grunge-infused music at present. Earlier albums saw them capitalising the grunge phenomena with great success. So great that some hardcore fans refused to budge and still demanded the band to maintain their grungy influences for their future release. As progressive as they are, they marched on, bringing in new songs and styles as their albums continue to grow. Their latest offering, Kembali sees them dwelling into the realm of infusing traditional Malay folk tunes with modern rock sound.....and the results are brilliant! This guy here knows what he's talking about.
Ok, I'm done...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Action-figure/movie memorabilia/collectibles enthusiasts!

What's up with grown-ups that collect toys/action-figures/collectibles/movie memorabilias etc.? Can anybody justify this weird phenomena or anomalities? Are these wonderful recreation of our favourite characters limited to kids alone? Are there really any rules cast in stone or hard-and-fast rules that says "Persons above the age of .......... shall not be allowed to enjoy the sheer marvellousness of the art known as action-figures"?!! Hardly.....in my opinion, it ultimately falls down to the perceptions of the respective societies that we live in.

But I must ask you, should we bow down to the norms that these status-quo-concerned-societies demand from us? For example, it's considered as a norm when we see an elderly person collects vintage watches (i.e. Rolex, Patek Phillipes etc.) or vintage cars to some extreme! Other 'normal' collectibles include stamps, lighters, matchboxes, frames, first-day envelopes, tobacco pipes, pens, vinyl, carvings, statues, vase, paintings, abstract graphics, concert programmes etc...etc....and the whole smorgasbord of other examples which I could not list here. But when these so-called 'normal' people sees a grown-up who collects action-figures, they'd go like...."What a childish hobby!"....*sigh*

In my honest opinion (and also largely due to the fact that both my wife and I have been ardent collectors since 1999!), action-figures are mere 3-D representation of the characters that we love oh-so-much from whatever TV series or movies or comic books or even from non-illustrated books. This form of 'art-collecting' is oftenly misconstrued as being a wasteful hobby since the collectibles itselves are deemed 'childish' or not up to the par of the normal memorabilias such as the ones I've mentioned earlier. In the United States alone, most toy-collectors are professional people ranging from lawyers, doctors, engineers, board members of large corporations (?!), senior management staffs.....and the most interesting fact remains that these people need NOT be from the art/graphic/media/design industry to fully enjoy these wonderful crafts.

Well, one thing for certain, I ain't gonna attempt to change any of these perceptions. I'm gonna enjoy what I find gives me the most relief from the stress/hustle 'n bustle of everyday working life...God knows I need it!
As a parting shot, here a few of my favourite toy-enthusiasts' blogs, where "grown-ups" get to talk and rant about their worldly posessions. Some talk solely on 1/6 figures, some extending beyond the realm of figures per se, some dwell into the wonderful world of mechas.....you get the drift! :

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why in the world do I support Blackburn Rovers?

Now this is a million-dollar question. Friends and colleagues alike would sometimes ask me "Why the heck are you supporting a mid-table team?!"....
The answer is simple. I am definitely NOT a glory hunter i.e. I do not believe in supporting a team just because they are ALREADY "up there"! No disrespect to all my Man-yoo/Chelsea/Liverpool/Ar**nal friends (altho' Liverpool's status as an 'up-there' team is very-very-very questionable).....but some of us football fans really do believe in supporting other teams apart from the top-4.
Sadly to say (and I do firmly believe) that MOST of the newbie footie fans today supports their team because the respective team is already a force to be reckoned with in the league. Ask anyone in the street, and 9 out of 10 would definitely say either "ManYoo", "Chelsea" or "Ar**nal" as their favourite team. Whatever happened to Liverpool supporters you ask? Well, Liverpool....err, haven't won anything 'league-ish; aka the EPL since....errr.....since......errr....well, you get the drift! For argument sake, let us concentrate on the Manyoo/Arsenal/Chelsea influx of fans!
Back to the impending question, why the heck Blackburn Rovers?! Why would I waste my time supporting a mid-table ensemble and a bunch of has-been players? The history goes back a long way....in fact a long time before the days of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton first graced the blue/white halves of Ewood. 'Twas the season of 92/93.....Rovers had just been promoted to the EPL....and all they had were Mike Newell and Kevin Gallacher.....as the attack force. And i can remember myself saying "Hmm, this looks like a decent team....very full of potential, just been promoted....". And that began my Blackburn Rovers adventure. Of course the very next season they went on to sign more illustrious players like Shearer, Sutton, Sherwood, Le Saux and the likes....but for the record, the real heavyweights during those early 90s were Man-yoo (no surprise there!), Norwich City (?!), Sheffield Wednesday and not your customary Chelsea and Liverpool.
And for comparison sake, i do not believe in be-littling smaller-funded teams whenever they lose to much glorified-cash-rich teams. Say, when Chelsea hammered 'Boro a few weeks back, everybody (even those other top 4 team fans) were saying on how Chelsea is very strong and 'Boro can't match Chelsea technically, can't stage a fight because they have crappier players than Chelsea.... and all. What a bunch of hogwash! Let us analyze.....Chelsea have abundant of cash to splash around to get the players that they want, where else cash-strapped teams don't enjoy the same privilages. The same applies to Man-yoo, Ar**nal and Liverpool folks! Can any other team outside the so-call top 4 dominating teams afford paying ridiculous amounts spent for Torres, Shevchenko, Ballack, Nasri, Berbatov and the likes? Hardly...they'll be doing more than breaking their piggy banks to do so...might as well re-mortgage their home stadium in the process (and still can't afford!).
Let's not stray from the main argument. Blackburn Rovers is by far to date, the smallest ever 'town' team to have ever graced the EPL. Yeah, they have actually won it ONCE in 1995, making them the only team so far to have won it apart from the other top 4 teams. Wait a minute, what's that...Liverpool has not come close even? This is quite commendable dontcha' think?...and I'm proud to be called a Blackburn Rovers supporter for the reasons i have laid out above. So all you fans of smaller teams, be it Southampton (i actually know a dude who fancies Southampton!), Wigan, Hull (who's gaining more and more fan every single day!) or any other team apart from the top 4, be proud of the teams you support!!!
Forza Rovers!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wilkommen to my online rants/reviews/criticsms/whatever.....

Ok, let's get things straight....this is NOT a typical stereotyped/cliche online journal/diary where people can just keep tab of whatever's happening to my daily life nor any of the mishaps/incidents/daily entries. Unlike those I've just mentioned, there won't be any of those "Dear-diary, Today-I've-experienced-the-most-beautiful...." kinda stuffs. Therefore, if you're looking or expectin' any journal-like entries for you to read and giggle about....sorry bub, this ain't the place!
This is where I'll pour out my views on the the issues/things/objects that I fancy....whatever/whenever I feel like it. Like a great friend once said...."Refrain thyself from talking about religion and politics in public; and thou shall prevail!" So it's obvious I'm gonna avoid those no-no subjects on my page.
'Nuff said.....have fun if you can!