Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Hate Java Jones

"But why RD? I thought you were quite friendly with the old fellow?" I hear you asking.

Could it be because old Java's way too cool for school? He's slinky, like a cat, and cool, like a cucumber. Or a fridge. But he doesn't look like a fridge, unless Smeg now do a fridge that looks like Java, something that's quite likely.

Could it be the way he walks into bars, restaurants and the like and usually has a fleet of sexy women following in his wake?

Could it be because Chuck Norris seeks his counsel?

Well it could be any of the above, but it's not.

It's because I can be sitting there, well here actually, at my desk, casually pretending to work whilst in actuality I'm perusing the Lankanosphere and the drum world, which is distracting me from getting down to the serious business of writing a blog post about the state of the Lankan blog world, when I get an email from Mr Jones.

It's not just any email though. It's one with a link. It's not just any link either. It's this one.

It takes me to a blog, one with a collection of those gorgeous old postcards of the motherland.

There I was, feeling rather pleased about the fact that I'd booked a ticket only a few hours before for the New Year period. Then the link Java sent me made me go all yearning and whatsitcalled, all you know and whatever.

That's why I hate Java Jones.

Here's the link, one more time:


Check it out. Tell them RD sent you, but that Java sent him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Too Many Books Spoil The ?

Sadly and much to my dismay I couldn't think of a witty and clever rhyming word to chuck in the title. If I was prone to dressing in dark clothes and listening to Joy Division a lot I could have used the word "goth" and you'd have no doubt chuckled at my wordy dexterity. Nor am I a moth. or a cloth even, so we're left with a question mark. Feel free to submit a suggestion if you have one.

Reading is one of my most enjoyed activities. I do it voraciously and have done for many years. I read all sorts of things; books, both fiction and that other boring type, magazines, blogs and just about anything else you can think of that displays the written or the virtual word. There's rarely a point in my life when I don't have at least one fictional book, one non fictional one and a couple of magazines on the go.

My Kindle has been one of the best presents I've ever received, enabling me to carry around a huge volume of books wherever I go. Currently it has forty one of the virtual books on board and, according to those nice Amazon people, that means it will hold another thousand or more before it gives up the ghost.

Yet lately, say in the last month or so, I've been struggling to find that enthusiasm to read. I've munched my way through a few decent novels, Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby and Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh are two that were particularly memorable, but am now failing to feel that attraction, that can't put it down because I NEED to find out what happens next feeling that a good book instills.

As well as the Kindle I've got more than twenty proper books, those ones made out of paper, wood and the environment, waiting patiently on the shelves for me. The Chinaman is firmly placed at number one in that group, yet all I've done so far is read a couple of pages and thought that it sounds as fantastic as all you lot say it is.

I've been wondering why I've failed to find the big motivation to read. I don't think that lack of time is a viable excuse as I often read in bed or in those in between moments and I do get quite a lot of time alone, when C or the girls aren't around.

Earlier today I discovered something on the Kindle that I didn't realise it could do; collections. Yes I can make a collection, give it a name and then chuck books into it. Until my discovery I thought that all the books had to be listed individually, though I knew that they could be sorted in several different ways.

I played around with the feature for a bit, making a Terry Pratchett collection and bunging the TP books in there. Then, getting a bit more confident and serious about things, I made two more collections. One is called "Fiction Read" and the other called "Currently Reading". Why I called it "Fiction Read" instead of "Read Fiction" I'm not sure about, but it made sense at the time.

As time marches on I reckon I'll categorise a bit more, perhaps making a management collection, though I might call it "Mgmt" or even "Mgmnt" and maybe a self help section. I might throw in a "Fiction not read" and might get rid of the Terry P section as the principle of filing by author runs in contradiction to that of filing by genre. It seems that each book can only go in one collection so the five TP books I have, though read, nay devoured, are in the TP collection rather than the "Fiction read" one. I'm a rebel like that.

The thing is though, the "Currently Reading" collection has eleven, yes eleven titles in it. Four of them I'd class as self help, three I consider "Mgmnt" and four are firmly in the fiction category.

As I look at them I realise that there are too many, that's the crux of my problem, I'm spreading myself too thinly, with the result that I can't focus on one book. Compounding the problem is the fact that I'm quite enjoying every single one of them and therefore reluctant to put any on the back burner.

Do I persevere with the magnificent eleven, knowing that I may well end up not remembering any of them that well, or do I choose a few to put on the back burner and come back to later?

Vut too doo?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some Friday Fear

And you thought your commute was tough!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Of Passion, Creativity, Work and Muse

One of the things I've been thinking about recently is these people who follow a passion and are lucky enough to do it for their livelihood.

As I watched the truly stunning performance by Muse at Wembley Stadium the other night I felt conscious that I was seeing three talented beyond belief musicians at the very top of their game doing something they love and gettting paid hugely for it in every way possible.

There are musicians, artistes, writers and vocational types like Doctors and teachers, many of whom have chosen to pursue the thing they love to make a living. Some of them succeed and become the Muses, the de Niros, the JK Rowlings and the, well, Gregory Houses of the world, making fortunes, gaining wordlwide recognition and of course doing lots of work for charity, though not talking about it.

Others, the vast majority, play in bands in pubs and clubs after work (something I know quite a lot about), write books and blogs or act in fringe theatre and spend most of their money to do it. We dream of that big break, yes even at my age, yet know it's unlikely to come.

Here in the UK the music scene is so stark that the only musicians making any money are the ones who suddenly wake up to find themselves in a famous band, often talented but rarely the most gifted and brilliant musicians around. A couple of rungs down the ladder we find the world of the top quality session guy. There are ten, perhaps twenty, amazingly good drummers here who get most of the work going.

They're the best around, hard working, with interpersonal skills that Bill Clinton would admire and they have the respect and admiration of all their fellow musicians. Despite all that, despite the fact they probably earn a "comfortable" living, few of them are truly well off in financial terms. Perhaps their richness is measured in their job satisfaction, perhaps they're less motivated by money than the guy playing drums in the Manic Street Preachers is.

So, excepting the rare millionaires, it does seem that for the rest of us we have to decide between following our passion and making some money. In my case I didn't even find my passion until I was thirty one. Until then I hadn't even sat behind a drum kit, let alone found out that I might be able to play a bit.

I often look at people who've been playing since they were young kids and feel a sense of envy. There are teenagers who've been playing the drums for longer than I have now, who are much better players at that young age than I will ever be. But then I realise that I've made that trade with the devil, I've tried to build a business, to make some money and live a certain kind of materialistic lifestyle. One that I do enjoy.

Had I found my passion when I was a kid I feel sure I would have tried to pursue it professionally. Then the chances are that I would have ended up as one of the thousands of penniless musos here. I'd have loved every single split second of my work, I'd have got more satisfaction out of it then a nymphomaniac porn star gets out of his job.

And I'd be struggling to pay the rent. I'd probably only have two or three pairs of designer jeans, maybe even a smaller engined BMW 3 series, that's how bad things would be.

But would I be happier?

I really think not.

But I admire the passion following chaps, I really do.

What about you?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Music, Excitement and Eid

Firstly I'd like to wish Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim readers. May it be a happy one.

I'm all excitement here, that butterfly in the stomach, there's too many good things happening to be excited about kind of thing.

Last night's Solskala gig was good, though the audience was small, and I don't mean that in a Sri Lankan average height was less than five foot sort of way. It was a club night in a highly trendy central London bar, with three other bands and a crowd who mostly looked like they'd just strolled in from a photoshoot for an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue.

We were first on, always a precarious position, but we went down well and grooved hard and deeply. My first lesson last week with my new drum teacher has made me concentrate much harder when I play. Concentrate on the issue he pointed out to me about my groove. This is a slight bummer, my playing is better already but I'm at the conscious competence stage, during which I'm thinking about things, not yet flowing gracefully and naturally.

The relaxed and flow stage will come, as I practice more, I've just got to get through it. Still, the outward result is that my playing is better, even now.

The thing about these club gigs for originals bands, is the interesting variety of other music I get to see and hear. Some are great, some are terrible but, as a musician, albeit a drummer, they're always stimulating in some way or other.

Following us was a duo; a straight looking nerdy guy with glasses and the full Clark Kent look and a camper than a campsite singer with make up, effeminate clothing and dance moves that would have had Freddie Mercury and all the blokes in Village People drooling with admiration.

Clark played acoustic guitar, sang backing vox and took charge of all the effects while Freddie sang lead, danced like his life depended on it and rubbed his lycra at appropriate moments. They were like a cabaret act, with backing tapes and souped up versions of already well known songs. But they were fun.

One of the other bands was a bunch of well spoken posh Brit indi kids. They played slightly angsty indi rock and had a feel of well educated yet have no money, but only at the moment because we've all got loaded parents and are just pretending we don't have, about them. They were the kind of kids I'd quite like A or K to date, full of politeness, introducing themselves, shaking hands and being good eggs. Their music and vibe was fun and energetic, in a Coldplay on acid way, just not the sort of thing I'd opt to listen to.

I didn't hang around to watch the other band, for my need to get back was great.

The excitement builds as C is arriving tonight. I've tidied RD Towers, well P the cleaner has, and all is ready. And then tomorrow it's, yes, it's Muse at Wembley Stadium.

Oh lordy lord, things don't get much better for me. I'm going to Muse, at Wembley Stadium, with C, with A and with K.

So my weekend will be a top one.

Et vous?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Been A Long Time, Been A Long Time, Long Time...

Since those early days when I started blogging I don't think I've ever left a gap like this, during which I've had loads going on and just not felt like telling you about it. I apologise. Profusely and sincerely.

But it's made me see how these fellows blog daily for a long time and then suddenly stop, getting out of the habit and fading into the obscurity of real life and all that goes with it. I have no excuses, just that things have been going on, it's been busy at home, at work and at play. Yet strangely there's also been nothing going on and I've been bored too. How can that be? I don't know.

This week is a mental music one, mental in a busy way, not mental in a ranting about "a treason" and spitting while I rant way. The Breaks had a gig last Saturday, Solskala had a band practice on Sunday, to be followed by a gig tomorrow and on Saturday I'll be off to Wembley Stadium with the girls to see Muse. On top of those things I've started lessons with a new drum teacher, so have been hard at work practicing the things he gave me to do.

I decided that I needed to put my faith in a good teacher, to go to someone, tell him my objectives and aims, then let the person guide me and get me there. So I found a fairly well known teacher whose reputation came before him and am trying him out. The first lesson was a nerve wracking affair as he tested and appraised me to see where I am and if I was suitable for his instruction. Things look good thus far.

And while things in Lanka are going mental with the proposed 18th amendment I've been falling in love. Falling in love with my new phone that is. For some time I've observed iPhone users and felt nothing but scorn and derision as they bleat on about their latest apps and the way that their phone can remotely wipe the arse of their next neighbour just by pressing these two buttons.

I've seen people have their lives possessed by their phones, like an episode of Star Trek, as the phone starts to control them and run their day to day existence, from where they eat to where they shop to programming their TV to record episodes of the Gadget Show.

But my new HTC Desire is different. This one's got the weather on it, it's got apps, a torch and I've managed to get it to carry my diary. Hopefully my days of the old fashioned paper diary are numbered, not in a one to three hundred and sixty five way either. I've even managed to download a carrom app, though one plays with virtual cues rather than virtual fingers. No, I don't know.

The wedding last Friday was good. My gamble on the suit paid off. I looked good, even if I say it myself, but I failed dismally in my target of making the two mothers cry with my speech. It turned into less of a speech, more of a quick toast. It was okay though.

The Chinaman sits on my shelf waiting to be read, I must get a move on but books have become my latest best friend and worst enemy. I can't get enough of them and I can't get through them quickly enough. The Kindle proudly carries more than I care to count and the good old fashioned wooden shelves continue to fill, mostly with Sri Lankan books.

Is there a chance that the proposed 18th amendment won't get passed?

We'll see. We doubt it though.

Speak soon.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Getting Married In The Morning

Gosh it's been a long time since I last wrote a post, sorry about that. There's been a lot going on, not that that's any excuse of course.

So what's been happening in these parts?

I must confess, for I know I can trust you, that I found it quite hard to be back in London after the holiday in the motherland. The two weeks (almost) spent there, with C and the girls, was full of joyous laughter, fun and frolics. When we returned, without C, who stayed on and is now busily filming elephants in the jungles, I dropped the girls back at their place quite literally on the way back from the airport, then arrived at RD Towers entirely on my own.

The silence hit me like a herd of elephants flying out of a belfry in the dark stillness of a dodgy old horror film. No girls, no noise, no swans except for real ones, and no arguments. It took some getting used to. The hugely positive side is that the time together seems to have really helped my relationship with A. We're closer then before the holiday but I don't want to overthink it or get carried away.

After a couple of weeks life took over. There were the exam results, some band practices and a gig and there's more to come. Life has lapsed back into the regular things and, like all men, my search for the perfect pair of jeans and the ultimate pair of trainers continues with earnest.

Also there's a marriage happening, but calm down and panic not girls, it's not mine. It is Academic Bro's and, by the time you read this, I'll most probably be trying to put on my pristine new CK white shirt and tie and desperately trying to think of words and phrases to throw into the toast I've been asked to make.

Of course it's a toast that my Mum has asked me to make, not Academic Bro, so I hope he doesn't decide to have a read of my blog before his "I do" bit. I'll take the Monica Geller approach and aim to make people cry, that always keeps it in the memory. It's going to be a small wedding with just family present and my most important objectives are to make both mothers cry and to look good in the photographs.

As in any Sri Lankan parents' house there are some wedding pictures of the children on display and the one of Music Biz bro's wedding, that has been up for about ten years and will I'm sure be there for many more, shows me in what was not my best dressed day. At the time I'm sure I must have thought I looked good, something that astounds me now. Each time I look at the picture, placed proudly on top of my parents' TV, I see a baggy suit, a me who looks like a twat and I feel embarrassed.

For this wedding I'm determined to make amends. I want to look good in the pictures and I want fellows to look at the one that will surely be framed and displayed and gasp with admiration at my style and panache. So the suit is a la mode, the shirt is classic and the tie is trendy yet timeless. I'm taking a risk with the suit, it being thin, slim and black whereas I'm round, roundish and brown, but I reckon I'll pull it off.

There's lots more to tell you. I have a new phone, one of these HTC Desire android ones, and it's the dog's bollocks. It connects to Facebook, it has spirit levels, mail and maps. It's got Twitter and the net and all sorts of shiny things that you younger types take for granted. I reckon I'll just about have figured out how to work it by the time it's due for an upgrade. The main thing is that I no longer have iPhone envy. I can hold my weapon with pride, as long as I don't press the wrong part of the screen whilst doing so.

Oooh, ooooh, the other thing is I can read my blog on it. Which would be nice if I liked reading my blog, only I don't.

Happy birthday too to two of my favourite bloggers. Did you like the little "too to two" there? I think it was wholly grammatically correct. Today it's the birthday of Mr Kottu himself as well as good old, well even older now, DramaQueen, the funniest blogger by far. She's given us some valuable words of advice on the grand occasion here.

Happy birthday to them both, may their years and days be full of good things, perhaps a few rude ones too.

Bye then.