Friday, 26 September 2008

GUNS N' ROSES: "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"

Make ourselves a memory
Some footnotes in our little history
Far away from meaningless misery

No need for any plan or silly reason
No need to wait another season
No need to knock, no door was locked
Closed at most
By ourselves, foremost

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

ELVIS PRESLEY: "Are You Lonesome Tonight"

There must have been 8, 9 or even 10 stray cats surrounding him. They were like guards protecting their king, who himself was sitting on a plastic throne while browsing the web on his laptop. This must be the way how stall owners fight boredom nowadays, when only occasionally a rare passer-by approaches them to buy a drink or ice-cream.

The cats seemed lazy yet very spying. They were yawning in the hot afternoon sun, but their eyes wandered around and measured anybody who came near.

According to an old popular belief, cats are said to have nine lives. I have always found it contradictory how people would believe in reincarnation for an animal, while adopting another theory when their own species is concerned. Just imagine…The world would be a totally different place when we would know that we have exactly 9 lives to go.

How unbelievable it may seem, the concept of having more than just one life must sure make sense for kids growing up with computer games nowadays. The characters in the game have multiple lives, and there is always another round to play or a new game to start from scratch. “Game over” is an illusion in those dark modern temples, where school kids gather to worship their IT gods, pulling joysticks as ritual, chanting magical words which only hardcore gamers can understand. Candles are replaced by flickering computer screens; offers consist of coke and potato chips.

What a waste to spend hours inside these noisy cages filled with illusions, when you could be outside and feel the sun on your cheek instead. You could be strolling in this nearby park, where palm trees are like spectators on the grass pavement, waving at you when you pass by, as if you were a king indeed. Why prefer the cold blowing of an aircon above the cooling breeze along the shoreline? Only close to nature can you get closer to yourself.

Do you take care of these cats?” I asked. “Yes, I do”, he said. “They are my best friends”. I heard both sadness and happiness in those words, without knowing which of these feelings dominated. Was the weather turning bad or just better? Were rays of sunlight peeking through the clouds on a rainy afternoon, or had gloomy clouds just started to conquer the blue sky? What has happened to this man that he values the companionship of animals more than that of humans? We talked for a while. He claimed that he could understand his cats, and that they could understand him. I understood how reassuring it must be for him to have some living creatures around, who are always there, who make him feel never lonely; who listen to him without judging; to whom he can confide his secrets, while knowing that they won’t gossip afterwards.

One of the cats jumped away as I gently opened the sliding door of the fridge to take a can of drinks. It looked at me, sulking, and walked away in slow motion in search of new spot to lie down. I put some coins on the table and turned around to continue my walk. “Thanks for the conversation!” I said. “You too. Have a nice day. Goodbye!” And for a moment, I read gratefulness in his eyes. His smile betrayed a slight hint of sunshine, as he found out that there are actually other living creatures that make him feel less lonely, that listen without judging. And unlike his beloved cats, some do reply in a friendly manner when he speaks out loud.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Monday, 22 September 2008

SADE: "No Ordinary Love"

“When two people find in each other the same answer to their own different questions.”

This is a definition of Love that I came up with, but you could equally apply it to Friendship as well. For Friendship and Love are like one and the same drawing, that can be coloured in many different ways.

LINKIN PARK: "Crawling (piano instrumental)"

Perhaps that's just how it should be. A hesitant beginning, some painful silence, a first hollow note. Some trembling hands on a keyboard, not knowing how to start. Then, as inspiration fills the emptiness, the tones become more confident, more firm. They head where fingers lead them to, along an invisible but enchanting path. A melody is born out of nothing, like the goddess Venus stepped out of the washing sea waves. Let me close my eyes and inhale this sound for a while.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

DAVID JORDAN: "Sun Goes Down"

Lombok (Indonesia) As I look at the horizon over the sea, I realize that winds need other objects to make them heard; they would not be seen shouldn’t there be any other things to blow against. The winds are blowing ashore, just like they must be blowing a few miles off the coast line. But here, you can listen to them as a song that swishes through the palm trees; here you can see colourful plants waving at you along the walking path. I breathe the salty sea, always present, a faithful landscape patiently waiting for a painter to catch the beauty of eternity. Out there, the winds roll over the waves like a child steps unpredictably on a bouncy castle. Do we need to see something to believe it exists? Do we need to hear it to know it’s true? Aren’t distant winds just as true?

Monday, 15 September 2008

Thursday, 11 September 2008

SIMPLY RED: "Holding Back The Years"

Sunday morning, 7 AM. East Coast Park. This is why I run. The glittering of the rising sun on the water; a gentle breeze that whispers a morning song into my ear. A few more crazy people like me endured the teasing of the alarm clock. In those few seconds immediately after that terrible sound woke us up, painfully punctually, we conquered temptation, and in a state of daze, decided not to give in to that devilish snooze-button. So here we are, brave in all our (morning) glory, going to battle in a fancy sports attire, secret conspiracy members running united under the waving palm tree leaves. "Beware of falling coconuts". I still have to laugh, even six years after I first read the signboard. Funny, how warnings like these depend from country to country. I have seen all kinds of signboards: beware of crossing camels in Egypt, beware of kangaroos in Australia, beware of koala bears in New Zealand, beware of cows in Europe, beware of pinguins in Argentina, etc. How come they never put signboards for the most dangerous species of all: "beware of humans"...

I see a dozen of people in this chilly morning park. Even more silent than the birds, who seem to find it too early for them to whistle the silence of the night away. A thousand of life years united in a circle, a solemn tribute to a new day.

You all have lived your lives. Things have happened to you, and you have made things happen. People have crossed your path, people have followed your path, people have left your path. You have been restless, you have been impatient, you searched for happiness, you searched for joy, you did good, you did wrong, you were fortunate, at times, unlucky, at other times. But there you are, wise, dignified, contented, even more motionless than the statues in this park.

And while you continue doing your morning exercises, I run by, and realize that, to a certain extent, my memories of tomorrow will be how I want to shape them today.

THE BANGLES: "Eternal Flame"

"One candle can light many other candles without becoming any weaker". I picked up this buddhist line of wisdom a while ago. Actually, whether it has buddhist origin or not doesn't really matter. It's universal. When you are refreshed by a dive in the cool river water on a hot summer day, the location of the source is irrelevant. More even, is there any source even? There's no source of the ocean. Water has no end or beginning.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

JEM: "It's Amazing"


No matter their history
They all write their own story

Monday, 8 September 2008

SIMON AND GARFUNKEL: "The Sound of Silence"

I see a man with a beard in the departure hall of the airport. On his way from somewhere, to somewhere. He must have been fashionable a few decades ago, and I’m sure he will be hip again if he waits a few years more. Fashion trends always return. They are like seasons in a year. I forgot the conclusion of that scientific research they ever did, whereby they found a relation between the average length of the female skirts and the business cycle. I believe that the fashion industry seemed to dictate shorter skirts in good economic times and longer skirts in times of economic depression. Generally speaking, dear female audience, no offence. Don’t draw the conclusion that girls in a mini-skirt are generally doing well or vice-versa.

Anyway, the man with the beard. I see him, and he makes me think of an old colleague of mine. When I visited my hometown years after I had left the company, I heard the news about him. He decided to give up on life. He looked for the emergency exit. He took the easy way out. He had a wife, two kids. But above all, he lived in a world full of thoughts, all on his own. He learnt a wonderful language, all for himself. No one spoke his language though. Babel.

Thoughts must sure be all related. The brain is a formatted disk of associations, a registry of books amidst the chaos of library racks. I watched the movie “Babel” two days back, for the second time. More times will follow. A deaf girl steps into the disco. Sounds are all around, but then the music stops. People are moving like wild animals in the dark, but … no sound. Everybody seems to have the time of their life, but … no sound. Stroboscopic lights, excited crowd. No sound. No wonder she feels misunderstood, when she can not even understand others. No wonder she can not make herself be heard, when she can not even hear others. And when the camera pauses on the empty balcony, a few seconds, all too long, you fear the worst. But when you finally see her silhouette, standing naked in the neon night, you imagine hearing her voice, and wish you could hold her tight.

My ex-colleaugue with the beard. Who held him tight?

Saturday, 6 September 2008

BEYONCE: "To The Left"

Beijing (China) I saw these phone booths in Beijing Airport yesterday: one is installed lower than the other two, especially for use by wheelchair users. Very considerate.

COLDPLAY: "Life In Technicolor"

So what if time is merely a pencil
That colours our days
And hides the monotony of our existence
Like a mask of infinity
That whirls on the floor
Like an autumn-leave on a forgotten afternoon
You should be there soon
When you thought you had already been
A print of your sin
Left within
Shine on
And colour
With the innocence of a child
Flow and let us be
Hold and let it be
A breath, a wink,
A click, then sink
Into a cloud of thoughts
No matter the fights you fought
Look up, and ahead
Don't hold back