26 Aug 2004

Unpalatable verbizations

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 9:38am

"Do you tennis?" asked the painted wall advertisement, and I shifted uncomfortably. Not because I 'did not tennis', but because such an onslaught on the language was too much to handle at the end of a tiring work-day. It did not appear to come from an ignorant / illiterate source, in which case, it would have deserved all my sympathy. It appeared more like a half-baked attempt at creative sloganeering - and hence sucked big time.

By the way, let's give full marks to the Indian intelligence for doing a copy-cat job of the more widespread "Do you Yahoo?" line. In the original case, I can hazard a guess on the motivation for coming up with such a blasphemy. Google was becoming more popular and people even verbized it with all that talk about 'googling' their searches, similar to how 'xeroxing' became the norm. Alarmed by this development, Yahoo must have urgently wanted to insert its name into the English vocabulary and must have hoped that people will start 'Yahoo'-ing their mails and 'Yahoo' with their online buddies, after getting badgered with the "Do you Yahoo" line. Though that was not to be, at least the motive is understandable. Coming to our local version, I'm clueless as to what the advertizer hoped to achieve by verbizing 'tennis' (reduce his advertising expenses? 'Play' sounds such a tyrannically long word, taking up unwanted space and time - to paint, to read, to comprehend......... Best option - knock it off).

I shudder to think of the outcome of such attacks on the language. The advertiser, knowingly or otherwise, has spawned a generation of youngsters who will 'banner' their creative lines, 'computer' them, 'web' them, 'book' them and what not. And even before we realize, our lives may look like this: get up in the morning, 'Hindu' / 'DC' / 'NDTV' for a while, 'Kellogg' and 'Nescafe' to see us through till lunch time (while simultaneously 'Pink Floyd'ing / 'Slayer'ing), 'Yamaha' / 'Honda' our way to the office, 'Johnson' upto the right floor, IBM / HP thru' the working hours, 'Pizza Hut' / 'Subway' in between, 'Barista' for some time in the evening with friends, 'Lifestyle' a bit, 'Visa' our purchases............damn. Can we put a full stop to this kind of creativity before the world becomes an Alzheimer's paradise?

Current Mood: Worried
Current Music: -

13 Aug 2004

Music for the mind

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 12:44pm

OK, when I say music, i'm only referring to Rock and its derivatives...... and probably forerunners......... and probably siblings....... and probably counterparts..... (guitar-based genres is what i mean) All the Hip-hop, Hindustani, Carnatic, Indipop, film music fans please excuse :) You've got wonderful stuff going there, but I've not taken them up for my current dissection.

Ok, coming back to my narrow definiton of music - well, it's not that narrow, if you know what I mean - you've got Classical rock, Modern rock (this avoids the 70s, 90s kinda terminology), Jazz, Blues, Country, Reggae, Metal (you're asking which one?), Alternative / grunge (are they same or different?) - quite a spectrum, I should say. Btw, I deliberately left out one genre in the above sentence which is the topic of this post *a gong goes out* - Progressive Rock.

Kids world over had fun making music - they made really wonderful stuff. But then they were becoming too sweet and innocent and romantic for the real world to take in anymore and their time was running out. Enter the bad guys and their loud music. They convinced everyone that the only sensible thing to do was to destroy. And destroy they did - the ear drums of their listeners, their own vocal cords, sometimes their musical instruments, and even their on-stage reputation. While this was going on, another breed of musicians were obsessed with intellectual improvisations and were producing music that was too perfect, too boring, and too uneventful.

Luckily some mature adults were still left to restore sanity. They were producing good entertaining music and they enjoyed a loyal fan following too. The music they produced can be broadly termed 'Progressive rock' which combined elements of symphony, rock, folk and jazz, thereby making it entertaining as well as intellectual, with elements of tradition and nostalgia thrown in. I came across some Internet sources on Prog Rock and realized that some of my favorite bands are Progressive rock bands. More important, I came to know of some bands which are exemplars in this genre and i'm totally into them these days.

Before I go into specific bands, I wish to ramble on about the charecteristics of this music - high pitched vocals (ok, not always), unpredictable sonic movements of the instruments - be it the strings or the percussions - which could have a halucinatory effect on the listener ('psychedelic rock' is an alternate name given to this genre), complex arrangements and rhythmic structures that throw a challenge to your power of understanding music, "unheard of" sounds to add to the unpredictability - made using highly customized instruments / techniques, melody or pleasantness of music - you generally don't hear screams or growls or jarring noises - but most important of all, virtuostic playing by all the musicians - they need to be highly talented to be playing progressive music. No wonder we have some of the best guitarists, best bassists, best keyboardists and best drummers in the world playing for progressive rock bands (please read this sentance again in case you weren't paying attention). And the length - this is not a genre for people with short attention spans - So no 3-minute numbers. You get to experience a song for at least 7 minutes or more - the time needed for all the musicians to realize their potential and get a sense of accomplishment. Well, there could be exceptions when the bands had to please their labels.

Some progressive rock bands that need no introduction - Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Queen. These are household names and I wouldn't go further describing them. Some other interesting prog bands are: Rush (divine drumming), Wishbone Ash (twin attack of two-parts guitaring), Queensryche (one of the best vocals i've heard), Kansas, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis (which had Phil Collins as their drummer / vocalist).... But the 'Metallica' of the genre would have to be Dream Theater. Their guitarist (forgot the name) is an inspiration to many a budding guitarist. Listening to their songs is an experience that transports you across many worlds. Then the bands which had their roots in Jazz, but produced what's called 'fusion', which is in any case Progressive Rock from the sound of it: Mahavishnu Orchestra (fronted by guitar god John McLaughlin), Weather Report (which had Bass ace Jaco Pastorius among others - if you havent tripped on his solos, you havent lived life to the fullest), Return to Forever (Chick Corea, Al Di Meola - the divine powers of the world)....... Indian band Mother Jane is walking its baby steps in this genre and a few numbers I heard of theirs are good. Apparently, their album was a sell out in places like Bangalore.

Not sure if we have many proggers here. I wish we have many more in Hyderabad - i'm not getting the records I want coz there aren't many takers here. May the proggers multiply - not biologically, but through baptizations :)

Current Mood: Grand
Current Music: Progressive rock

11 Aug 2004

Equal opportunity

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 12:58am

Current Mood: Cheerful
Current Music: -

9 Aug 2004


Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 10:35pm

While you're breaking your head wondering which commonly used sentence does this abbreviation stand for (in the league of LOLs, ROTFLMAOs, AFAICRs and ASAPs), let me just gather my thoughts on what exactly I wanted to say under this heading.

Ok, it's about 'vision' - the ability to 'see'. Not just the present, but also the future (and more of the latter). No, not predicting it, but seeing it. Knowing exactly how you want it to be, including the finer details. Like looking at a picture, carefully observing all its elements. Once you've seen it well enough, you know what to aspire for. You get an idea on the quantum of effort required to reach that destination that you've defined for yourself so clearly. Seeing is believing. The more you see it, the more you believe in your image of the future. See it when you are awake, see it when you are asleep (Dream on!).

Incidentally, the abbreviation in the title stands for 'What You See Is What You Get'. It's more of an IT / technical jargon pertaining to Graphical User Interface (GUI) design tools. Trust me to give it a philosophical spin. (Btw, the FH blogs Editor is unfortunately not WYSIWYG and I had to do HTML formatting to make this post.)

I see what I want, i'll keep seeing it day in and day out........... and yes, i'll get it someday. (couldn't help adding that self-motivational bit)

Current Mood: Grand
Current Music: Dreams / Dream on by Aerosmith / Nazareth / Fleetwood Mac / Corrs (Fleetwood Mac cover) whichever suits you ;)