Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tribute to Kuya Toni

My mother's youngest brother died yesterday. This is my way of saying goodbye to him. Why you might ask, is he close to you? In the last few decades of his life, not really, to be honest. But I do remember well growing up with him always around. He came to stay with us as soon as he started high school in Arellano High School in Pasay City. Even when he started working he stayed with us on weekdays and went home to my Lola Ebia on weekends. Most of neighbours thought he was our eldest sibling. It seems like it because he's always there especially in our younger days.

What he really imparted to me is appreciation of the contemporary music scenes during the early 70s. Firstly, me and my younger siblings would line up behind Kuya Toni and we would copy all the funky moves of the Jackson 5 whenever we see them on the telly.

The young teenage Kuya Toni was really cool in his choice of music. He definitely influenced me in my appreciation of folk and pop music. I believe the first album he bought is After The Gold Rush (Neil Young).

Then he bought more of Neil Young's - the Harvest album. At first I love it but after a while I was given to stuffing my fingers in my ears from constantly hearing the same voice singing the same songs over and over again. Arggghhh! I have to console myself that at least Neil sings in tune unlike Bob Dylan. Now that would have driven me over the edge.

Thankfully, he bought a more 'girly' album next that was as excellent as the two previous ones. I know this is not Carole's original but it is nonetheless my favourite in that album:

What's funny when I was assembling the above videos I was singing along to all of them even though I haven't heard them for decades. Funny what can be embedded in a 7-year-old's head with the constant repetition of Neil Young's music and the memorisation of all of Tapestry song's lyrics simply because they were at the back of the album cover!

There's also one other album I remember - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Deja Vu album. That one I didn't appreciate it at the time. It was only later in my teenage years that I re-discovered it. This is only 1 of the songs that I like in it:

That was just the start of it. Did I tell you of his (and subsequently mine) Beatles phase? He pratically bought all of the Beatles albums and like before I was there to sample and adore them wholesale. The one track that gave me second thoughts in playing again was A Day In A Life in Sgt. Pepper's album. I decided to chill out after coming home from my 3rd year high school classes. So I put on that Beatle album and set the stereo volume to VERY LOUD. But when it came to the A Day In A Life song I became quite agitated. Towards the end of the track as the music became louder and louder and the pitch going higher and higher I was convinced that it was going to explode! So I turned off the stereo right there and then. Hahaha.

Thank you for the music, Kuya Toni. You will always be in our hearts. Bon voyage on your journey to the great beyond. We love you ...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Formula One Debacle

I have to admit I have been watching Formula One racing only for the last 4 years. Actually only when Lewis Hamilton emerged in the series in 2007. During the mid-1990s I tried watching but was just bored to tears of the endless processions of cars and constantly hearing Michael Schumacher declared as the winner. I thought, screw that I'll just follow some other sports.

Now, especially the beginning of the 2010 season, F1 has become immensely exciting due to the emergence of three contending teams at the top (Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren) and most of all the unpredictability in the driver championships with a possibility of a five-way battle to the top (Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Vettel, Webber).

Normally I would get really excited and be trawling the F1 forums whenever my favourite driver (Hammy) is involved. Knowing how aggressive he is in the car controversy seems to always follow him. Surprisingly, the just concluded German Grand Prix in Hockenheim produced no less than a furore about the apparent team orders to Massa to let Alonso pass. The blatant way that this was executed really incensed a lot of the fans including myself.

I've read more than a dozen articles about this brouhaha but the best one that I believe analysed it well and most reflects my stand is Joe Saward's Blog.

Maybe I should start watching Moto GP or GP2 or Touring car races.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Jim Richardson on Landscape Photography -- National Geographic

Jim Richardson on Landscape Photography -- National Geographic

So that's how they do it !
Boy, I didn't know these beautiful landscape photographs took A LOT of effort. But just look at it ... so so gorgeous.