Friday, July 18, 2008

Yet another piece on Schoenberg

Music Lesson

A Guardian piece sent in by YS reminded me of someone on the opposite end of the spectrum -- someone who finds listening to Mozart absolute torture and reaches out to Boulez and Birtwistle for relief. Norman Lebrecht has been described as a "sloppy but entertaining British muckraker" and his musical chops are quite questionable at least judging by his columns, but the article is "spot on" in its description of listening to Schoenberg closely for the first time.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I like the way he moves

Opinion might be divided regarding the dancing skills of certain intrepid men but let us leave all that rancor aside and direct our gaze, for once, at a different kind of dance floor:

Wild Animals and Nymphs

I can't speak for you highbrow folks but the clip above was my first exposure to a complete classical dance performance. It features Nijinsky's original choreography and of course Debussy's Faun, a sublime piece of music that shines through despite the poor audio quality of the clip.

I was surprised to learn that ballet is not all tutus and pirouettes and what's more, there are some moves in there that should be in the repertoire of anyone planning to visit the Funky Buddha*. Just my opinion.

*and a registered chiropractor soon afterwards

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's not lo. It's l'eau.

L'ea Du Robinet

The appreciation of finer things in life is a tricky business and yes, a serious business too! And I'm not talking about people who have finally figured out a way to be moved by Rauschenberg's masterpieces, but you who buy bottled water.

And honey, do the other one. Yeah, I'll gladly do the other one. Swirl, sniff, sip. It has a strong after-taste. It's definitely not fruity. It has a feathery texture. And it has an uncompromising attitude, like something that might wake you up right in the morning. And wait, I even sense just a hint of le roasted-bird du some-kind.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

American Talk Show Eccentricities

Beckettian Depiction

I always thought that American Talk show hosts are an eccentric lot. It is very hard to appreciate Letterman, O'Brien or Rose on a first viewing. Leno, being less eccentric, is more watchable in the short-term but more boring in the long-term.

First-time viewers of Charlie Rose are often unnerved by his affected and ponderous pauses, ill-timed interruptions and abrupt change of topics. Whenever he pauses himself deliberately, it is never clear if he is struggling to articulate a nuanced insight or if he simply has nothing to say. And often, these pauses are broken not by a better articulation of his thoughts but simply by an inscrutable stare solely meant to indicate that he's finished. And when he has to switch topics, he has the habit of loudly and abruptly saying out a single keyword from the next topic followed by well, a pause and a stare.

But, over the years, I've learnt to overlook and even enjoy these eccentricities in what is a very fine talk show. The link points to a hillarious Beckettian depiction of Charlie Rose pausing, interrupting and deliberating with well, himself. As unfinished and awkward the conversation seems, I bet you'll actually agree that they seem to have had a complete and a meaningful chat!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Baby's first experience with chinese propaganda

The Olympic flame was to pass through San Francisco today and watching that undying flame of world peace have to hide out in warehouses, take alleys, and flee to the airport, couldn't be a better metaphor for where that flame is finally going! Even in protests, does that flame serve as a fine symbol!
But, having seen protesters do everything in their might to stop the flame right outside my own office, I was faced with these two news reports
The Telegraph covers it or check any other major newspaper
Xinhua covers it with 20 freakin' pages of photos with smiling people waving flames and chinese flags

The contrasts were shocking!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not Yet Another Politician's Speech

Advani on India's political leadership

You tell me that you are tired of politicians' speeches. You say that you can't take in another Obama speech that will make you cry. You say that you can't take in another Hillary speech that will make her cry. You say that you can't take in another McCain speech that will make no one cry.

I say, you are a dimwit. I say, you need some Advani-speak.

Advani in this brilliant speech reminds us who India's true leaders are. If you can tolerate Prabhu Chawla's embarassing introduction, you will witness one of the most fascinating expositions on the past and present Indian political leadership. Do watch this one in its entirety.

Friday, March 14, 2008

An idea worth spreading

The right way of thinking

Fantastic presentation by a neuro-anatomist on the left and right parts of the brain. The presentation is part of the TED Talks series which is a great collection of ideas.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

comedy gold

My mission: To proactively defend this blog against getting too high-brow

mr chhedu

Whenever there is a joke that isn't good enough, they sound the gong! Just hotness, all around.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

First there's examination and then there's...

... Crass-Examination

The whole thing has more rhymes than our man Busta could've whipped up. Now, if only the judge had a ready pair of turn-tables ('dem ones and twos) under his desk and had given them a B'...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How does newness come into the world?

Bishi Belle Bad

Of what fusions, translations, conjoinings is it made? How does it survive, extreme and dangerous as it is?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Anand Jon

Person to watch in 2007
The paid groupies idea

Living and toiling away in our little cubbyholes we tend to lose touch with what is truly important in this world -- fashion design. That in any case is my excuse for not having heard of Anand Jon till last week when I came across a news report of rape charges against this Indian born designer, involving at last count, 18 women.

Also, I am pretty sure all you confirmed geeks haven't been watching this man at all in 2007 despite Newsweek's fiat. Shame on you.

So it turns out his NYC studio was a creative hotbed in more ways than one, complete with casting couch, teenage models and sleazy artist. But one excellent idea he had, and one I am going to incorporate into my lifestyle soon, is to pay groupies to generally hang around him all the time and create a kind of... buzz, I think is the right showbiz term. Buzz is the thing. Buzz can take you places.

And the man has indeed come far. His only mistake was that he never delivered on the solemn promises he made on the casting couch. But then, could you expect anything better from a man named Anand Jon ?

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The creation of words

Word Spy

Came across a book called Wanted Words, that collated reader responses to create (if that is the word I want...) words for very common situations that do not have a word or term associated with them. Along these lines is Word Spy. From its description of itself: This Web site is devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases. These aren't "stunt words" or "sniglets," but new terms that have appeared multiple times in newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, and other recorded sources.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Creepers Jeepers

For them monday afternoons

Never been a big fan of the console games. But the web is abuzz about the addictiveness of this game. So, I hooked up my laptop to a projector while waiting in a conference room and tried the level one and mercilessly fragged all the creepers. Just when I was about to dismiss the game, a fellow lagger at work showed me this video. Fraggin' all the creepers at the toughest level, now this is just beautiful. Do give the game a try before checking out the link.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Atlas Drugged

This is just a plug for a great new entrant to the blogosphere. Asok is old hat and not half as funny as the real life saaftware/bpo baayz from the subcontinent.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hipster Doofus Part II

Allaboutjazz review

Kurt Elling's latest album came out last week -- it's his first in four years. After a quick glance at the track list the snob in me wanted to put this down as yet another of his misguided attempts at jazz balladry. That he had enlisted the services of a string quartet on a couple of tracks only furthered my anticipation of cheese.

But, as with the majority of his recordings, when I got around to listening to the whole album on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I couldn't bring myself to bash it. Elling plays his part with such sincerity and lack of pretense, laughing at his frequent pratfalls or pointing out his (many) technical shortcomings just doesn't feel right. Overall I think it is a fun album and worth a listen.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Neither concisely nor in French"

The Kafka Project

I found this site a few weeks back while searching for Nabokov's famous essay on The Metamorphosis. One virtue (among many others) of Nabokov's analysis is the use of the word "vulgarians", the humourous possibilities of which were recently brought to my attention by the Yangry Star.

One thing I like about sites like these is the sheer volume of material available -- this one has complete texts, critical writing, bibliography... even movie trailers. Unfortunately the English translations are not available for the longer stories but what the heck, you can't have everything. Those snickering at my insatiable appetite for an already overanalyzed writer I'll merely direct to the Hegel quote that headlines this entry.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Macchu Picchu !!!

Andes Photoblog

As in Holy Cow !!!

This link has been doing the rounds for a while... some great pics from the El Loco continent. I wonder how, and more importantly why, they built roads up there.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

You gotta watch these

The Errand Boy
A Jazz Dispute

We've watched pop princesses lip-sync their own songs but here are two guys with real talent, for a change, pantomiming some real music, for a change. I think Donald Trump should watch the first video and pick up pointers on how to really fire a guy on his show.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

wildlife

Exploring the Indian Wild


Gorgeous shots of wildlife and nature in India and some interesting first-hand narratives. Just good trip ideas all round.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Holiday Tradition

Festivus for the Rest of Us

That's right, us, the marginalized ones, for whom Christmas and Hannukah are nothing more than meaningless rituals. A festival whose patron saint is Thomas Bernhard, whose sacred metal is aluminium... Can't imagine why it's not more popular.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shoutout to a couple of bruthas

RamP and KS at Tachyon Technologies

Great job dudes. I guess these guys can strike off "To be quoted on Rediff" from their to-do list.

For those of you wondering who these guys are, they are a bunch fellow IITM folks, one of whom was responsible for a few of us in this group spending most of time in IIT playing Quake and not doing much else.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

VCAT

For them VKittens

It's official. When we have a VCAT, we know we are in a bubble.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Zeitgeist

Forget Google Zeitgeist. To know what time it was in, say,
Jan 1998, when you were over that girl from MCC playing basketball, see this.

Top Stuff

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Real Kramer

Old Larry David Interview

Surfing the internet on the Michael Richards affair (which seems to be getting more sordid by the day) I came across the the above interview on the website of the "real" Kramer. Pretty funny.

One a related note, I've been re-listening to some Richard Pryor CDs of late (That N****r's Crazy is an old favourite) and I'm struck by the enormous gulf between between his stuff and the faux comedy peddled by the insult comics. Pryor's one of the few guys I've heard with a real talent for the edgy stuff. I haven't found a lot of it on youtube but there's a clip on pets that had me in splits.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hipster Doofus Strikes Back

Standup Comedy

Good to see ya again. Where you been, buddy?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Rite of... passage

There are a few common bonds that the group on the right column of this page have shared and cherished. One of them is that look that we gave Crp, when first exposed to the explosion of modern music in his darbar. I'll never know, but the look was halfway between shock that Parisians felt when they first heard this stuff and amusement that masked concern for the impresario's hitherto shiny musical marbles. While Parisians could safely break into a riot when they heard Stravinsky, what could the poor student do. Trash the room like a rock star?

But, unbeknownst to me, the discord occupied a small place in my mind, clearly. When, this fall, I listened to the 'Rite of Spring', it was a moment whose time had come. I could think of it as nothing but the most interesting thing I had heard in years. Was it the years of apprentice-ship with jazz records? Or, have I just seen enough discord in life to simply get it now? I know its a combination of both these factors. And for a practising Hindu, the inherent Paganism in the 'Rite of Spring' makes it so much more attractive and juicy (that's the best adjective I can come up with).

Just like growing up, appreciating it made me feel different, mostly better but somewhat concerned.

Two BBC pieces that made me enjoy the 'Rite of Spring' tremendously:
BBC discovering music, Rite of Spring -- part 1
BBC discovering music, Rite of Spring -- part 2

Also worth checking out the other pieces in the BBC discovering music archive

PS - To those of who think I'm over-compensating for linking to Hemachandra's videos on youtube... you just get me!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Weekend Dos

Flavorpill

Here's a pill for those who are spending weekends on their couches for the lack of anything better to do. It's a weekly email magazine "covering a handpicked selection of cultural events" in select US cities. A few friends swear by the quality of these "weekly cultural stimuli".

Personally, I'm more intrigued by the concept than the content. It is clear to many that websites like citysearch and fullhyderabad, which often trade quality for coverage, are no longer relevant. These days, it is exclusivity of intent and selectivity of content that creates small yet faithful readership. This explains the growth of tech news sites like GigaOm and TechCrunch (as opposed to say, CNET).

For those who haven't figured it out yet, OG was created with a similar purpose - not so exclusive but selective definitely. Moving onto round two, given the lack of any good event calendars in most Indian cities, why not create an OG (bi-)weekly email/website that would discriminatingly pick and recommend a few weekend events from Indian cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi etc? If it succeeds in getting a sizable readership, this kind of exclusivity can potentially score us some worthy perks and invites. Or, at the least, some community service related resume points. What say?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Money money...it's always funny

Mind the gap

Living in India opens one up to a few dilemmas, one of which is the following. Is it fair that I should be making as much money as I am when other people out here are suffering for their daily meals.

Bridging the income divide seems to be the favourite topic for many people here in India and there are several ways of doing it. Here's an interesting take on this subject.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Imitation is the Sincerest Form

Malamaal Weekly

Could somebody please stop the Bollywood auteurs from sinking into artistic irrelevance by being so apologetic about copying the West? After you add the jhankar beats, after you hand over a Fender Strat to Sush (Zindaggi Rocks) and a 1719 Strad to bikini clad Chinto Jaitley, you're operating on a whole new level sonny boy!

A particularly egregious case came to my knowledge a couple of days back when, on a road trip, I managed to catch a not unenjoyable flick by director Priyadarshan. In true Bollywood fashion, he claimed that the story was brand new, and also announced a cash prize for anyone who proved that it wasn't. Well, further research reveals that the story is indeed stolen from an Irish movie but the director isn't paying up...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Photo Psychology

Like Better

There's something delightfully charming about this idea. Maybe it's because I'm been reading about the Kolbe indices, Myers Briggs Types and the like lately. Since their company boasts of exactly two employees, both programmers, I wouldn't bet on their analysis being anywhere near cutting edge scientific. But remarkably enough, the "brain" predicted that I had a graduate degree. Not a PhD, not a high school diploma, but a graduate degree. I'm waiting to see how the rest of you fare on it.

If done right, I can see it evolving into the solitaire of this generation. I like the prediction idea, however, there isn't much repeat value in its current state. And scaling the database is going to be fairly time intensive. The better idea might be to open it up to the community and see where they take it.