Monday, May 21, 2007

She Bop

Nostalgia usually comes with background music, and for many of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s, Radio Bahrain 96.5 FM played a significant role in making that happen. Long before MTV, Channel [V] and other music channels, it was Radio Bahrain and it's army of DJs that energised our musical universe. Who can forget Tim Manns' Breakfast Show, Mark Morrell's Mid-Morning Show or Bob McCready's Afternoon Delight? It wasn't just the music, it was also the competitions and the sense of community one experienced by listening to the same songs at the same time.

Most teenagers and 20-somethings today will be surprised to know that in those days we hardly 'saw' any of the pop idols on TV except for those occasional James Last StarParade, Dionne Warwick's Solid Gold (on Aramco) and... Top of the Pops videos that we'd rent from the video shop and share with our friends. Those memories amuse me now especially how the latest TOTP video was usually such a big event that we'd clamour to get hold of one.

Sometimes there'd be some TV channel that would show some 'real' music videos and they were quite a treat since there were quite a few gems though not many. The 80's may have been great musicwise but they definitely spawned bad fashion and corny videos... ahhh well, it didn't seem so bad back then though.

It's funny how Boy George seemed such an outrageous performer those days even though he seems so tame in comparison to others today. And who can forget Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood? It was banned by the BBC but Radio Bahrain didn't think it was bad enough, and so we felt extra privileged to be able to listen to it, and figure out for ourselves what the fuss was all about.

Cyndi Lauper -- wonder what she's upto these days? -- was one of those singers who wowed us for her effervescent charm, energetic sound and powerful vocals. Her colourful hairdo was so 80s, but it seemed so sexy back then that it feels embarassing to even think that we found it attractive. "Girls wanna have fun" may have earned her some degree of notoriety for all the wrong reasons but one has to admit the song was extremely catchy. However, the Cyndi Lauper song that I really like has always been "Time after time". I like its brooding quality and the way her voice cracks while she belts out the vocals.

Of course, "She Bop" is a song that I like for reasons that I cant put my finger on, but it does bring back some very pleasant memories from the 80s. I dont know if it's because of those memories that I like this song, or is it because of the rock n roll sound that I like it, but frankly, I don't care. However, one thing I do have to admit that it's one song that never fails to put a smile on my face, set my foot tapping and my body swaying... and make me go wistful at the same time because it reminds me of those innocent teenage years that will never return.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blog block

I've been trying to blog for the past three-four weeks, but somehow am unable to do so. It's getting frightfully impossible to get the right words together and form meaningful sentences and paragraphs. It's not like I have nothing to say. In fact, there's so much I want to talk about, to rant and rave, to complain, to get cheesed off with, and just let off steam.

But at the same time, there's a part of me that wants to just throw my hands up in the air and say, what's the point anyway? And it's this sense of futility that worries me.

I don't see the ranting and raving as a problem. At a certain level, I guess, it is simply a knee jerk reaction to the things that irk us, an almost instinctual response to irksome things. As human beings, it is part of our nature to react, and it begins from the moment we are born and continues till we reach that singular moment when we breathe our last. We react either on the emotional or the physical realm, but we react all the same... and in some cases, we use words when we wish to react to those irksome things.

But then, sometimes, in more reflective times it is natural for us to wonder whether or not there is any point to all this. Is it worthwhile to use words as a medium for our reactions? Do our words make any difference? Does our tongue-lashing actually shift the earth from its axis and bring about changes to the eternal scheme of things? Do we really have to say something anyway? Or is silence preferable to the cacophony of words that, sometimes, disguises itself in the garb of 'meaningful conversations'?

I suppose there are no quick and easy answers to these questions. If there are answers to be found to these questions, then, they are most likely to be found in some existential quarry from where fundamental issues could be unearthed and examined. But that may not always explain why certain things bother us while others don't register even a pipsqueak in our mental radar. The quarry will only give us a broader picture, and skip the micro-view that is, often, the one that matters. The irksome things are found there in tiny dust fragments that grow larger and larger with the importance we give to it.

And here's the problem. Ignorance might stunt its growth, but will not altogether eliminate it altogether from the scene. It will remain there as a reminder of things that are bothersome. It will remain there to force some sort of reaction. So the choice is, rather, limited. If we give it the importance that, we feel, it deserves it will turn into a crisis of global proportions and swallow us up, but if we ignore it altogether it will not disappear but will seep under the surface and grow slowly but surely.

So the only thing we can do is just speak up, and leave it at that. Adding emotional inputs will only aggravate matters, and so it's best to avoid them altogether. It's best to go back to our instincts, and to the basic responses that rise from our guts. It may not be easy to keep emotions out of the picture, but sometimes, it's the only thing we can ever do... the only necessary thing we can ever do if we wish to preserve our sanity... the only possible thing that will produce the response we so earnestly desire.

So what has this got to do with my blog? Will I now start reacting to things that irk me left right and centre? Or will I use this point to justify a new reactionary 'me'?

I dont know... only time will tell. All I can do right now is to simply admit that I need to write and not remain silent. It may not make a difference. It may not change anyone. It may not alter anything. But at least, I would have done my part. I would have said something, that's all.