Saturday, 24 May 2008


23rd May 2008

Putting the finishing touch to this year's biggest game, Grand Theft Auto IV, at 6.a.m. in the morning; after an(other one of those) all-night game sessions and a clocked playtime of 40 hours; only to look back and realize that "biggest" was a more-than-fitting term, yet hardly as flawless as touted by critics worldwide.

Reeling in shock of watching David Cook unexpectedly, but much deservingly, being crowned the all-new American Idol with the rest of the world at 10.a.m., after a 2-hour simulcast from the US.

Catching 8-hours of *ahem* ample rest from 11.a.m. to 7.p.m. as an excuse of escaping the daylight and the heat that it brings, further reinforcing my much heralded ""Vampire" moniker.

Taking a slow drive down to her humble abode in time for some company over a TV-dinner of the re-run of the morning's results show.

Speeding down to town for the 1.a.m. slot to discover that the latest Indiana Jones flick very much lived up to its legendary legacy.

Taking a slow walk down the uncharacteristically-deserted streets of Orchard Road to the sound of chirping nocturnal birds and the occasional sound of a passing motor; only to arrive at a familiar midnight-refuge in the name of satisfying a particular sweet-tooth craving over 5 scoops of Ice-cream at 4.a.m..

Chatting about the childhood memories of the all-too-familiar Big Breakfast and Sausage McMuffins until it materializes itself into an extremely-early breakfast at the neighbourhood McDonald's at 5.a.m.

Lying on the bed at 6.a.m. with arms entangled, and eyes staring at the ceiling, as thoughts of the day drift further and further away.......

It's simply amazing what one can accomplish in a matter of 24-hours, given the right motivation, the best company, a little cash and a little car.

It's even more amazing how much one can do on a mere Thursday, when the whole world is still running circles around the clock to put in their 8-hours worth whilst narrowing down the count towards the weekend.

It's simply amazing how much freedom one can have when released from the shackles of obligations, contracts and formalities.

The freedom to resume the Ways of the Vampire, to savour the tranquility and the serenity of the night, while the whole world lies in preparation for the next sunrise.

The freedom to shy away from the daylight, and sleep through the hustle and bustle of the world passing by around you.

The freedom to march at the beat of your own drum and ignore the "days" and the "ends" in the "week," making time an irrelvant factor and opening up dimensions of familiar places or activities.

The freedom to go where the wind, your stomach and your heart take you; to be able to gratify the wimps and the fancies almost instantaneously.

Such a freedom has been, and still is, too scare a luxury since I started being officially tied to the term commonly known as "work." No matter how fulfilling and rewarding it is, or used to be, at least; there are /were times when I simply longed for a life without shackles, one in which I can be entertained to death the night before, rest in peace with an exhausted smile on my face, and arise to the lyrics in my head that tells me that the following day is going to be the same old song and dance all over again.

Too long, I've yearned for this freedom, and after too long, I've finally gotten it. Perhaps "unemployment" in this sense isn't as "scary" as people make it out to be.

Yet, Time can only stand still for so long before Reality kicks in, playing her cruel hand to have me spinning along with the rest of the world again. Afterall, Reality demands that we all need to earn our keep as a right to feed ourselves, and I am no exception to this rule.

Regardless, an occasional oasis of escapism is always much-needed (and appreciated) from time to time in order to catch a breather in the spaces between the ever-advancing wheels of Reality. Afterall, as the old saying goes, "More haste, less speed."

..........Anyway the Wind Blows, Doesn't really matter to me.

Monday, 12 May 2008

We Will Rock You, Indeed

28th April 2008

"Ding, ding, ding, ding," the first bell rang as we entered the complex.

Instinctively, we all started running, bearing in mind the possibility of being locked out until intermission.

I dashed up two winding steps of escalators as I heard the second series of bells ringing in the background, seeing the girls trailing behind me as my lengthy brother played the fitting role of the fore-runner with the tickets in hand.

"Ding, ding, ding, ding"

A very flustered group of ushers directed us to our seats as the third and final bell rang.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to..." the host started as we reclined into our seats, breathless.


The opening sequence started with "Innuendo," as I looked around the Esplanade Theatre. Almost 6 years since its inauguration, and I still hadn't really found a good reason / excuse to actually patronize the local theatre for the class-acts (Phantom of the Opera came THIS close), left me rather wide-eyed as I looked around.

Semi-circular in structure with 4-stories high, the theatre was probably comparable to most international Broadway / musical-esque auditoriums, in terms of seating capacity and facilities, but what bugged me were some VERY questionable seat choices; seats orientated sideways and partially obstructed, as if deliberately placed to punish the *ahem* less extravagant, in the name of its semi-circular layout.

"I heard that the sound system in the Esplanade Theater is supposed to be really good," Christy turned to me and said.

And this was firmly proven when "Radio Ga Ga" came up, to the very amusing accompaniment of some rather gay dance steps; only paling in comparison to the disturbingly-tight tights of the male dancers on stage.

The star of the show, Mig Ayesa, debuted to loud cheers of screaming women with a rendition of "I want to Break Free," which, in my opinion, was delivered very well. Backed with a nice talking voice and an even better singing voice, it was no wonder that he landed the lead role in the musical. But his biggest winning factor was probably his stage presence; with movements big enough to be distinctively recognized even from my second floor seat, and a generally smooth way of moving, it was probably justified that he was the obsession of the screaming fan in the front row that was carrying a heart-shaped ""Mig-stick."

"I hate her, she's practically screaming everytime she sings," Christy said, as Annie Crummer painted the vileness and the character of the "Killer Queen" with her vocal chords. On a personal note, I didn't particularly like her vocal style either, but I was a bit less extreme, as I believed that the sharp, shrieky tone suited her role very well.

The story of the musical was mostly a mish-mash of pop-culture influences, drawing inspiration from sources such as The Matrix and some other outlandish Sci-fi and digital references, (including an entire reference to Videogames in "Another Bites the Dust"); but the script was rather witty and well-written, filled with some genuinely funny innuendos and references that only those with a good knowledge of rock culture, in particular Queen's history, would be able to fully catch.

"I'm so glad I listened to all the CDs before I came to the show," I told Christy, mid-way through the show. As I personally found half the fun to be predicting what song would come up next in context of the plot.

While critics and musical-purists would probably pan the plot for being forced and contrived, all in the name of squeezing the next Queen song into context, I personally felt that the plot captured the main spirit of Rock Music, which was about individualism, rebellion, freedom and raw emotion.

Of particular note was the extremely heartfelt middle-scene where tribute was paid to all the rock legends who had died young, to the lyrics of No-one but You (Only the Good Die Young); bringing up waves of hands of the audience and appreciative cheers when the countenances of legends such as Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Elvis and (of course) Freddie Mercury came unto the scream, as the lines "One by one, only the good die young" were sang emotively by the cast.

Besides, half the beauty of musicals is in the music, and even IF the plot was contrived, it really didn't matter when the music was selected from a catalog as wide and as brilliant as Queen's. With hit songs such as "Under Pressure" and "Somebody to Love" fully represented, and lesser hits such as "Flash" and "Innuendo" appropriately partially represented, the song selection and context of the songs were mostly aptly place. The only *ahem* disappointment being the absence of the full-song of "Bicycle Race."

"I'd bet you that the story would be: So how do we get to the land of Champions? Let's take a bicycle. (Cue) Bicycle, bicycle," my ass-clown of a brother said during the intermission as I was gazing at the mostly well-dressed audience along the gallery.

"Haha. If that really happens, I'll laugh my ass off and stand up and shout, 'Yeah, that's my favourite song, man'," I challenged him.

Indeed, almost like a prophecy come true, the plot played out as the Assclown had said, but fortunately for the music-critic in me, only the first two lines of the song were played, saving me from some potentially unnecessary and disapproving glares.

The show ended with a somewhat predictable, yet still all-the-same explosive finale; with the title song "We Will Rock You" saving the day and bringing the audience unto their feet, transforming the auditorium from a Broadway-musical-theatre into what was closer to a rock concert hall; as the audience stomped, clapped, shouted and screamed to the addictive beats; before getting them to sing along to the finale of "We are the Champions."

Needless to say, almost everyone under 30 (me included) was on their feet giving a standing ovation as the curtains were called. As the claps grew louder and the screams continued, one question still lingered at the back of everyone's mind, where was the one song that everyone wanted to hear, the song that was so skillfully teased throughout the musical but never fully sung, Queen's Magnum Opus; where was... Bohemian Rhapsody?

In an utterly jesting fashion, one line of text came on screen after the curtains were drawn one more time: "Do you want Bohemian Rhapsody?" A question almost unanimously answered by the cheers of the almost-capacity crowd. And in the same jesting fashion, came a very non-chalant, "Alright then," as the all-too-familiar intro started to play, while the stadium sang along with smiling faces to the beautifully written words.

"Is this the real life, is this just Fantasy
Caught in a Landslide, No escape from Reality...."

If the faces of the couple that was covering their ears whenever the music got too loud were any indication at all, it would be safe to say that "We Will Rock You" is probably not a musical for everybody; it is probably an acquired tastes among musical-purists as much as musicals are an acquired taste among more mainstream forms of entertainment.

But for the fusion of the Gentleman and the Rock star in me, the musical was right up my alley, appealing to both sides of my tastes, and had me leaving the theatre utterly exhilarated and humming "Bohemian Rhapsody" for the rest of the night. It was definitely a more-than-fitting virgin experience of the Esplanade Theatre.

Not Exactly my Idea of "Big Air"