Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

Puppy Power: The Top 10 Dog movies

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ello All,

Readers who have read my blog may know that I have a huge respect for Dogs and the things they do. They may even know, that some of the most memorable moments, we the writers have shared have been with dogs, and so I figure it's about freaking time we list out some of our favorite on screen canines. Bear in mind the list is the top CHARACTERS and not films. So without any further ado....

10. Old Yeller (1957)
As a movie this is one of those old classics that you completely love but can't watch more than once, unless you're you know, Kyra. But the golden lab they got to play the mongrel in the movie will certainly always be one of my favorite on screen characters. He was the ideal dog. He was loyal and loving and sacrificing and the kind of guy you'd grow up to write a book about. I don't know about the book, but the movie certainly delivered to an entire generation of parents, one of the greatest Catch 22s a kid could lob at you- 'Mommy, can we get a puppy?'

9. Top Cop Dogs:
The idea of a dog as a cop's partner has sort of been run down by now, but there are two utter classics for me, which feature two actors from my favorite generation of hollywood humans.
The first is K9 (1989). James Belushi and his trusty sidekick Jerry Lee were the ultimate bachelor crime fighters. Replete with the 'HE'S DESTROYED MY HOUSE' scenes and the ultimate sacrifice in the end, Jerry Lee was one bad ass dog. He was one of those few dogs with a real personality that totally deserved to be on the tonight show.
The second is Turner & Hooch (1989). Somehow this movie didn't do well, but this was the film that sparked my love for Tom Hanks. Hooch, is the slobbery cuddly lump of stud sniffer dog pal of Turner played by hanks who is trying to crack down on a a huge case in a little city. The film features one of my favorite canine-human bonding moments, with Hanks and Beasley the dog on a stakeout.
I should also mention the giant sheep dog from Christian Slater's excellent Cuffs.

8. Cats and Dogs (2001)
Now here was a movie with a great idea, executed horribly, but featuring some of the cutest animals on screen. Frankly, you don't need much more than that to get by. For me the stand out performance from a dog was Lou the beagle voiced by Tobey Maguire. Mr Tinkles, the evil white cat voiced by Sean Hayes deserves credit, but I'm going to stick to one species here.
Lou was like the Michael J Fox of the dog world. Cute, cocky and boyishly charming. Certainly, the beagle must be the most under rated breed of dog in movies.

7. See Spot Run (2001)
The English Mastiff (I may be wrong...) Spot is easily one of the most complex character metaphors I've seen yet. He's a dog who's not a dog. He's been in the FBI so long he's lost his doggy nature and become a run down hard ass. The chemistry between him and David Arquette is amazing, and I was quite amazed to see the film pull off the story line as well as they did.
That dog made me think.

6. Homeward bound (1993)
It's so very typical for studios to take anything cute and stretch it till it's no longer cute, so I'm not even going to mention the sequel to the film. The old wise Lab and the goof ball boxer with the cynical cat combination was so delightfully perfect, only Disney could've accomplished it. One of the most moving films in the genre, but more than that the role of the Lab as the wise old man was stunning. His chin was always up and his mane always perfect, just like his posture. I wish I was his nephew.
That and the boxer and the porcupine scene, make these two, for me, one of the best canine chemistries on screen.

5. 101 Dalmations (1961)
If Walt Disney ever wanted, he could have become one of the greatest advertisers of all time. The man knew people like nobody's business. He knew what people wanted to be. He understood personality and he understood love like very few other film makers. There is not a single puppy in 101 Dalmations anyone will forget in a hurry. Rolly will forever reduce even the most serious of people into a puddle of 'habubucheebu' when they think back to his fat little bum stuck in the hole. And Roger and Perdita will always be the ideal parents everyone will want their kids to see them as.

4. Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Who here has never actually tried the spaghetti kiss or atleast wanted to? Scooby Doo may be the highest grossing animated dog, but face it, nobody drew dogs like Disney. Lady is undoubtedly one of the classiest dames there is and the Tramp is one of the coolest men there is. The Audrey Hepburn-Peter O'Toole of the animated world.
Oh and let's not forget the smoothest dog around- Billy Joel's role as Dodger in Oliver and co. (Thanks to Kyra for the correction)

3. Lassie (1954)
Here's the thing. Lassie movies may be seen as trite. They may be seen as contrived and cheesy, but Lassie was one of the most beautiful creatures to ever grace a television screen. I could try for hours to compare her to an actress but I'd never come close, because the truth is, nobody could match up to not just her stunning good looks, but her utterly pure, inimitably beautiful personality. If I make it to heaven, she's the first celebrity I'm looking up.

2. Beethoven (1992)
I think till about age 14, this was actually my favorite movie ever. Sure the studios sucked it dry with the most ridiculous remakes, but the first one is genius. The single shot walk through the park scene where he licks the little girl's ice cream and the perfectly juxtaposed 'Roll Over Beethoven' scenes are brilliant, but for me the greatest part of the movie, is the look on the St. Bernard's face when they walk into the mud covered room and he's sitting on the bed. You may not be able to teach a dog new tricks, but when the guy's a born actor you've hit the jackpot...

1. Marley and Me (2008)
I realise I'm alone in this view, but this movie deserved an Oscar. Not only is it one of the greatest depictions of married life, it also features the greatest final farewell scene I have ever seen. The part at the end when Owen Wilson runs his hand over all of Marley's soft parts made me ache, it was so perfect.
But the undoubted star of the film was the dog/ dogs they got to play Marley the Dog. I'm yet to read the book, but everything I've heard about Marley in it was perfect. In particular the scene where Marley's taken Jennifer Aniston's necklace in his mouth and he's just staring at them as they slowly approach him. I was convinced that was CGI. just brilliant. Even the look on his face when he realises her water's broken and the time he puts his head on her lap after the miscarriage. As far as performances go it was perfect. There was no contrived scenes of 'cute pooch' gimicks. It was all real, all believable and all incredibly moving. A feat impossible without the tremendous performance of Jonah the lab.

There you have it. My top ten dog stars. Mention anyone I've left out, and don't count on a list of top ten cats. Let's face it- cats are evil.

Gilmore Girls effectively ended two years ago. However, thanks to the fact that it doesn’t seem to air in India (except for a while at an abysmal hour on Zee Café) and erratic Abu Dhabi visits (when a season would never be on air) I only got to catch up with the last two seasons now.

It was heartrending, all the memories that show brought up. Ive been watching Gilmore Girls since I was in High School, back in the good old days, when Wednesday nights were primetime viewing because Thursday/Friday still constituted a weekend. It was a mommy and me tradition and we never missed an episode.

Rory: What's with the carrots?
Lorelai: I was afraid you weren't eating well at school.
Rory: Ohhh.
Lorelai: Marshmallow?

I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a mother-daughter (those that get along as well as those who don’t) who don’t fall hook, line and sinker for this show. Yes, the characters talk too fast, yes, Stars Hollow doesn’t even exist (and a town as awesome as that really should), but a show as warm and as intelligent as that deserved to run for years and years and years.

One of the main reasons I loved this show was an inherent theme that ran throughout the show from episode 1 to the Bon Voyage episode in Season 7 – Books. The writers of Gilmore Girls (the Palladino’s are GODS) made sure that every other sentence had a cultural/literary reference. They understood, how underrated books were in American teenage television. In the O.C, in 90210 – it’s all about sex, breaking up and hooking up. In the Gilmore Girls however, a book is a symbol of your identity, an understanding of whom you are as a person as well as whom you want to be. “ I live in a world of books. I’ve been a resident of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina, and strolled down Swann’s Way” – Rory’s High School Graduation Speech. There have been at least a dozen books Rory Gilmore has introduced me to, that will remain favorites forever.

Lorelai: Rory never even shoplifted. Not a candy bar, not a lipstick. She forgot to return a library book once. And she was so guilty about it that she grounded herself. I mean, can you imagine? She's just sitting there in her bedroom yelling at me, "Now no one else got to read the Iliad this week because of me!"

For the Gilmore Girls, unlike the characters of The O.C/90210 etc, high heels and handbags aren’t the ultimate accessory. Books are. In the first episode, Rory meets her first boyfriend, Dean (Jared Padalecki), when he spots her reading Madame Bovary and later Moby Dick under a tree: "I thought, 'I have never seen someone read so intensely before in my life. I have to meet that girl.' " In a later season, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) borrows Rory's copy of Allen Ginsberg's* Howl and returns it with notes scribbled in the margins. The two soon embark on a typically angst-ridden romance, where the exchange of books plays a large role.

Season 7, the final season of Gilmore Girls plainly showed the absence of the Palladino’s. As soon as I watched the first episode of the season, I knew something was wrong. The dialogue was as wordy as ever, but no longer witty. Overall, it was a disappointing season – made up for by the last episode. I didn’t just cry, I blubbered. I wept and wept till I ran out of tissues. Once I got another box of tissues, I wept some more. It was beautiful, because the Gilmore Girls themselves, didn’t cry once, despite the fact that they would be separated for months, if not years. They ironed tshirts, they shopped, they didn’t talk, they talked, and the show ended the same way the show began 7 years ago – at Luke’s diner, in the early hours of the morning, just before Rory Gilmore takes off to be a political reporter on the trail of Obama’s presidential campaign.

Rory: Who are the rosary beads for?
Lorelai: They're mine.
Rory: What do you need rosary beads for?
Lorelai: They're cute.
Rory: They're for prayer.
Lorelai: Well, pray they match my blue suit.
Rory: They've just upgraded you to a queen-size bed, jacuzzi tub, junior suite in hell

Cliché, though it may seem, I always felt prettier, and wittier and wiser after watching Gilmore Girls. Not only do I talk (much) faster than normal, I’m chirpier and wiser. Ask Harry. He has spoken to me pre-Gilmore Girls viewing and post-Gilmore Girls viewing and can tell the difference by now. It wasn’t just about the books, or the addiction to coffee, or the compulsive eating, or even the witty dialogues. It was them. You fell in love with the Gilmore Girls, because they were awesome. End of story. They were funny, and smart and brave and had pretty much no-one else but each other. And I, for one, am a better person for knowing them intimately for seven years.

Lorelai: Tell me a joke.
Rory: Knock knock.
Lorelai: [giggles] That was a good one.

Ello All,

So a couple of nights ago I watched a movie called "Jack and Jill Vs. The World". Easily one of the worst films I've ever seen (Until I saw Wolverine a few hours later...). Predictable plot line, self righteous sub texts, and the annoying facial contortions of Taryn Manning.

But the one reason I put myself through it was because it starred Freddie Prinze Jr.

Around 2001 when I moved to Dubai and got my first taste of cable television (I was in boarding school and in the summers,on a farm) I caught a romantic comedy starring Julia Stiles and FPJ(He totally deserves an abbreviation). It was the quirky 'Down To You' and it left a huge impact on me.

Thing is, I was just hitting puberty and the only thing more embarassing than a cracking voice at that age, is admitting to watching chick flicks. A couple months ago I was lucky enough to watch it again, and I've got to say, screw guilty pleasures- Freddie Prinze Jr. freaking rules.

There's something about the way he'll bobble his head and pronounce his 'S's which is instantly appealing.

Not just that, but that string of 'Boys and Girls', 'Head over Heels' and 'Summer Catch' along with the earlier 'She's all that' are easily some of my favorite movies of all time.

I'd put them right up there with 10 things I hate about you, in my list of 'Top Movies to show to my kids when they still listen to me'.

The movies he picked were usually smart, slick and extremely funny with great sound tracks. And honestly, other than his usual boyish charm, he's never really done the same character type more than once. Even in the movie that instigated this post, Jack and Jill, he plays a bogged down Ad Exec and while the role instantly calls for stereotypical introspective glances, he played it entirely differently. (I'm not saying you should watch the film. If you're reading this blog we probably like you, so don't put yourself through it!)

The last I saw of him was in Boston Legal as Denny Crane's son and you know what, that's just not good enough for me.

The greatest thing to come out of that spurt of excellent Teenage Romantic Comedies between '95 and '02 was for me, the arrival of Freddie Prinze Jr.

Here's to more Freddie, or atleast a worthy replacement. And less of the mindless bullshit on offer nowadays.

Guitar Firsts

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I teach guitar in my spare time, and in that time I learn along with my students. More than music, I learn what my students think of music, and what they hope to achieve by learning it. Some want to learn cause its 'cool', and its great to impress girls with (And I strongly agree, it is). Some learn cause they want to be 'rockers' and want to be in a band. Also the music they want to learn as well is quite varied. One of my students wants to learn all the latest stuff being played on the radio and television, so that whenever he does play for people, he knows its all updated stuff; while some want to learn songs they haven't even heard before, but know that they are popular numbers, just so they're 'with it'. Whatever songs they do want to learn, it all means I've got to be on my toes constantly learning all the new stuff too. But there are some songs that all new guitarists must learn as their 'first full song' so that in the beginning when people ask, they know how to play at least one song decently. I have compiled a list of songs that are usually 'Guitar Firsts' or just generally known by all guitarists who love modern music.

1.Nothing Else Matters by Metallica - I start with this because honestly, who doesn't? The seemingly simple song begins just by playing the the E, G,B,e- and I think everyone felt a sense of accomplishment after plucking those strings over and over again. It was really fun to ask people to play the bit after that, and see the lost expression on their faces (myself included).

2. Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple - By smoke on the water you all know I really just mean JHAN JHAN JHAN! JHAN JHAN JHAAANAN! Noone, it seems, even wanted to know past that. Knowing how to play arguably the worlds most recognizable riff for real, cemented your reputation as a rockstar in a way that even guitar hero could not.

3. Zombie by The Cranberries - I have to admit I learnt how to play this song before I even heard it! But this has become a staple song for budding bands to jam to.

4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Greenday - Another one for the current youth (ages 11-14). Greenday already having multiple generations of listeners can add the youngest one as another feather to their furry cap.

5. The Mission Impossible Theme - The only non-band song on my list (unless your counting limp bizkit's awesome version). I remember how my friend Anish would pluck this away to glory back in the day, to my other friends horrible sounding lead guitar, while I would thrash my out of tune drum kit, creating musical chaos much to our satisfaction. Ah, good times.

6. Hotel California by The Eagles - I had to add this to the list even though it is a slightly harder song to play, but only because every basic guitarist after learning most of his/her barre chords would learn to play this song. If you are a guitarist and you do not know how to play this, all I can say is shame on you, man. If you have recently learnt it, all I can say is "Brother/Sister, you have arrived".

Well those were the most deserving in my opinion, if anyone knows any real no-brainers feel free to add to this list. Other notable mentions were Californication by RHCP, Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down and the lesser played 7 Nation Army by The White Stripes. For me personally the first song/riff/cool-thing-to-impress-people-with I learnt was the second part of Fade to Black by Metallica.

Anyway, there you go, thats all.

P.S.- Reviewing my post, I realize that saying JHAN JHAN in your mind while reading, sounds nothing like Smoke on the Water. Also I'm extremely thrilled with the colours I just added.

Wolverine releases in India today, and I was lucky enough to see a preview show last night. First off let me say that, Empire Magazine posted a blog about how Movie Studios need to ignore the fans, and man, I couldn't agree more. What I saw was a contrived, compressed and overall insipid film. It follows Wolverine's entire journey from Weapon X on Alkali Lake (Remember X2?) right up till a little before X-Men (2000) and involves the strained relationship with his brother Victor Creed (Sabretooth) and Team X.

The movie in my opinion was as straightforward as they possibly could have had it. No Alpha-Flight or Japan or anything; or perhaps for later sequels. The opening sequence showing a young James Howlett's father being killed by Victor Creed's drunken dad was altogether lame and I felt like laughing when his tiny little bone claws popped out and screamed into the night. Post that is a pretty decent montage that showed all the wars that Logan and Victor had fought in including the American Civil War, WWII and Vietnam.

Both are recruited by Team X which includes John Wraith (Kestrel), Wade Wilson(Deadpool) and David North(Maverick) to name a few and is headed by William Stryker. What follows is simple: Wolverine leaves cause he can't handle the baggage, then Revenge, Revenge again and Plot twist and Finale. This all interspersed with Revenge dialogue and action.

The Wolverine potrayed in this movie by Hugh Jackman, is undoubtedly cool, but let's just get it straight- This is not the same Wolverine from the comics. In the comics he's short, twistedly funny (at times) and is really, the best at what he does (They screwed this line in the movie). Liev Schrieber is the most humane Sabretooth yet. The action is extremely Rajnikant style especially in all scenes with Maverick/Agent Zero in them. But screw all that; I just really wanted to see Deadpool, and boy is he awesome- for the 2 minutes he's on screen. I couldn't believe they didn't give screen time to one of the most awesome characters from Marvel in recent times. I have been a fan of Ryan Reynolds since Smokin' Aces where he infact, is most badass, and continues that run in this film, which is why I'm pissed that they failed to exploit the awesomeness of his character and himself.

Gambit, again, was cool but wasted. He felt a little lost and seemed to be doing his own thing in the movie.

Basically, to sum it up, it really was a whatever movie, and felt too forced, cramming in scene after scene. The SFX, I'm suprised, were extraordinarily bad in some parts and the post-credit sequence I heard was an equally half-assed attempt, to save a dead character for future bucks-making.

I was really looking forward to this and it was thoroughly dissapointing. Here's to the Deadpool Spin-off.

Movie Review: Push

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ello all

I've never really been a fan of Heroes. The show always seemed to grate on me, and while yes, they EVENTUALLY seem to reach an interesting plot twist, I've always felt, it was a movie idea stretched over too much time. Entourage for example, is slick, it's funny, it's interesting, and yet there's no random soap opera type close ups with strange sounds in the background.

So today, as I sat down to watch Push, Paul Mcguigan's Cyberpunk 2009 release, I was kind of hoping, the film would validate my idea that some TV shows only exist because the movie deals probably fell through.

The story is that there's a whole bunch of government 'divisions' which deal solely with people with 'powers.' The difference is, the people with powers aren't called mutants or super heroes or whatever. Instead they're referred to by the powers they have. Considering there's only a handful of these powers, the names are essentially slang for what they do- so people with telekynetic abilities are movers, etc etc etc. The main protagonists are these American kids in Hong Kong, who refreshingly enough, SUCK at using their powers and are happy to admit it. Anyway, they have the power to stop and destroy the whole 'divisions' thing if they work together, and considering there are people who can make you believe lies and erase your memories, they have a pretty hard time doing it. Oh and then, there's the people who can read your intentions and predict the future. Tough spot.

The story line is pretty run of the mill. (Which is saying something really, because there was a time when super heroes and powers were pretty alien to film, but then that's a whole other blog.) The reason I labelled it Cyber punk, was because the director's primary focus in the movie has been on the characters rather than the abilities. In fact, there's plenty of super natural quirks and snippets throughout the film which aren't explained because it's just a waste of screen time explaining. He can make a peice of paper look like money? Yea sure whatever.

Interestingly enough, they only used green screens to make the scenes with traffic and even the scenes with effects are few and far between. In fact, most of the movie was shot with hidden cameras, so there's a very gritty, shaky feel to the whole movie, which is perhaps it's best feature. Honestly, I don't care much for McGuigan's work. Wicker Park and Lucky Number Slevin were very very ordinary films. Slevin in fact, would have been totally shit, if not for the fact that the film had Bruce Willis in it. In this movie though, he's really accomplished something very cool.

The two lead performances are amazing. Chris Evans has slowly become one of my favorite actors, and I suddenly wish he wasn't Johnny Storm, because there's plenty of other heroes he'd totally ace.

However, for me the most compelling performance was from Dakota Fanning. So much so, that this post was originally going to be a 'Rise and Rise of' take on her career. Honestly, I'm amazed that someone who got tossed into the limelight so young, has stayed true to the art form and still turned out to be, what appears to be a pretty level headed person.

She's not the cute blonde little girl with excess maturity in this one...oh no wait- she is. But there's something very different about this performance of hers. (Perhaps playing your own age DOES make sense sometimes.) She's grown into a 14 year old who believe it or not, CAN still act, and will, from the looks of it, go on to wow audiences for many many years to come.

Overall, I would recommend the movie to anyone who's into the genre, but beyond that, it's pretty 'Meh...' If we did the whole stars thing here I'd say 2/5 -maybe 3/5 if I was in a better mood. It's got it's moments and the guerilla shooting is cool and all, but when you pick a super natural theme, you must deliver super naturally.

Ps. It should be noted that Djimon Hounsou is in the film and while he is totally-undeniably-ultra-badass, it was by far his most under whelming performance. He does say 'Fuck Patriotism' though. Got to love that...

The Opposite of Valentine's Day

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I was going to blog about something else today, but last night I had dream about my ex-girlfriend. She usually seems to pop inside them now and then. We got back together, and I was the happiest I have ever been in a long time, until I woke up. So for the rest of the morning I sat wallowing in whatever it is I am wallowing in, and in typical fashion I further forced myself into more of that tasteful sorrow, by listening to all the heart-rending songs that I could find. Today I am part a large group of people that seem to have many names some including ‘losers’, ‘the pathetics’ etc.

But I say no! Mostly because I don’t want to be named those things, but I think it is time we celebrate those people! I want to celebrate Romeo and Juliet, I want to celebrate Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, I want to celebrate the doomed lovers, or all the failures. Today should be the opposite of Valentine’s Day (It only shouldn’t because it’s my friend’s birthday and she would hate that). Why did it go wrong? No one knows. But we tried. We should be together, but we aren’t. That is the sentiment. Sorry guys.

There are so many people out there just looking for something. Yes it sounds cliché, but it just shows that people want it so bad and that it’s repeated so often that it has become a cliché. I write all these things and it’s hard, but I hope someone out there can relate, so I feel a little better.

So once again I find myself aimless in the middle of a post, on what I hope comes off as a professional blog. Why do I do these things?

Might as well make a list! Here are 5 songs I’m listening to right now.

Lovefool – The Cardigans. You know how people say ‘the singer is speaking to me’? Yeah, well how about that?
Hanging By A Moment (Acoustic) – Lifehouse. I love this version way better.
Slow Dancing In A Burning Room - John Mayer.
Colours – Amos Lee.
I think this guy is really under-appreciated.
This Never Happened Before – Paul McCartney.

Yup. That’s all.

The Unmasking

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ello all
Just a short one to let you all know that I've finally mustered up the courage to officially launch the web comic.
A few disclaimers are in order though. Firstly, the layout is rubbish but I'm working on a new banner which may take some time considering I have an exam in 2 days. Secondly, the image quality is equally rubbish and I think it's a glitch in my camera. I'll probably have to end up scanning though. I'm still in a testing phase. Thirdly, I've never done this before so if the actual strips themselves are rubbish, well let's hope and pray I learn soon.
This isn't something that'll grow into anything commercial, rather something I desperately want to do and figure it's worth the effort. At the moment it's all very rudimentary but I'm hoping I can make some progress and fast.
Anyway with much trepidation I present to you- - a webcomic.
Credit to Anish for somehow locating the damn thing and commenting on it two whole days before I even told anyone I'd come up with a name. He is, in fact, the best.
Be gentle...

Selling Stories, Not Just Clothes

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The time has come. To think not of cabbages and kings, but of what the future brings. Now that I am "officially" a graduate, my sole reason for procrastination has faded. In a little over a month’s time, I will be armed with transcripts, resumes and recommendations – all that anyone needs to make themselves official in the big bad world of employment and you know…reality. Which brings me to J. Peterman.

Stealing a quote from You’ve Got Mail, J. Peterman "is a lone reed standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce." In a world that has become scarily cookie-cutter, this famous catalog company don’t sell just products, they sell stories.

For example, when selling a shirt, as opposed to just giving the size, color and price (ie Banana Republic, Gap etc), J.Peterman chooses to describe it like this: Thos. Jefferson disliked stuffy people, stuffy houses, stuffy societies. So he changed a few things. Law. Gardening. Government. Architecture. Of the thousand castles, mansions, chateaux you can walk through today, only Monticello, only Jefferson’s own mansion, makes you feel so comfortable you want to live in it. I think you will feel the same about his 18th-century shirt. Classic. Simple. Livable.

You see? Its not just a shirt, it’s a story. You wear a story everytime you put the shirt on. And honestly, who wouldn’t want that?

Most people remember Jacopo "J" Peterman, from Seinfeld (Elaine’s boss?) In fact, Seinfeld helped make the catalog company a household name. Seinfeld and J. Peterman forged such a strong bond, that when the company faced bankruptcy, takeovers etc, the actor who played J. Peterman in the show (John O' Hurley) helped the original John Peterman bring his beautiful company back to life. Apart from being a major investor in the company, O' Hurley sits proudly on the Peterman Board.

J. Peterman gives life to the most mundane of things. Pants, shirts, bags, stuff for the house. Everything. The descriptions make you laugh, or smile or feel. You feel like you KNOW, and know intimately the product you’ve never felt between your fingers. Also, to enhance the personal tale-telling atmosphere, there are no photographs in the catalogue – only handmade illustrations. Thus, no-one in their right mind would ever consider this to be just a catalog. Its art, through and through. And yes, in my current post-graduation phase I would give up my right…ear or leg or something to work for them. After all, theres nothing *official* about them.

My personal J. Peterman favourites:
1. Vintage Tshirt
2. Linen Safari Dress
3. Thinking Pants (yes, seriously! They invented "thinking" pants!)
4. Seersucker Shirt
5. Knockabout Dress (teehee)
6. Authentic Baseball sleeves

Oh and also check out their new website : Peterman’s Eye. It is most awesomess.

An AR Rahman Weekend

Monday, June 1, 2009

Theres a lot we can say about AR Rahman. Most of the comments are usually about his wonderful talent of making excellent soulful and melodious music or about how simple and unassuming he appears to be. Yesterday was the first of the 'Jai Ho' world tour, which was in my hometown of Pune which I did attend, but I'll get to that later. I first want to recap what I did this weekend in regard to the maestro, so I can read about the hectic-ism and feel happy.

Working for a radio can be very rewarding and eventful, and when I received news that my colleague Surya and I would be interviewing AR, I couldn't believe it for a second. It was Friday and we were both shaking with delight considering the fact we would be meeting a legend with the awesomeness level of 10^kickass. In the end it was too good to be true, because he cancelled on us and pretty much everyone, but someone did say he would be holding a 'press conference' the next day. In all this excitement, we also kind of swindled the accounts guys into paying for our tickets to the show; that was really sweet. The programming heads also decided to have an AR Rahman Weekend Special which meant playing only his songs for the next two days. So recording, producing and editing the promos seem to take most of the time after that with numerous distractions in the middle. We finished the 'day' at 4:30 in the morning with the radio going live again at 6. Some people would say "Wow, you did it with two hours to spare!" I say "Balls to that."

Tired, sleepy, hungry and altogether mentally screwed, I had to set the alarm for 11 to get to the Rahman conference. Suddenly I found myself on Surya's bike on my way to Baner, which is damn bloody far from home. It was held in a cafe in the lobby of the hotel he was staying at, the Courtyard Marriot, and the place was packed with countless journos all waiting for snaps and soundbytes.

The tension was building. One of the world's greats would soon be in our presence. Suddenly, news arrives that he has entered the lift! He is slowly descending to the level of us poor mortals...and then! He arrives! He is really short! Oh. Everyone is insane. Some suits are introducing him and talking about his exploits and accolades. And thats all. He cuts a piano shaped cake, says precisely "Thank you, thank you very much" and leaves. So much for the 'press conference'.

I was so thoroughly under-whelmed. Then we had free food.

Cut to the next day. The concert itself started on time-ish, with 'Mausam & Escape' kicking off the show in most bad-ass style. The shitty part was that the concert wasn't arranged like a rock show, with the standing tickets in front and seated at the back; in fact it was quite the opposite. As a result when the most jhatak songs were going on Surya kept having the urge to stand and dance much to the frustration of the people seated behind us. The deal was that ARR is not really a performer; he's an amazing musician to say the least but most of the times he was on stage and not playing an instrument, it seemed like he felt of out place. Apart from that the show was really good, with amazing visual backdrops bringing back fond memories of Redial Entertainment. The highlights were the sufi songs (Khwaja and Arziyan), ARR playing grand piano-acoustic versions accompanying the vocals of Hariharan and Roop Kumar Rathod, and finally 'Rehna Tu' from Delhi-6 which was the song I was waiting to hear personally. Lowlights were just the missing numbers from Swades, Lagaan and Taal. Also the song 'Jai Ho' was quite insipid.

However, it was overall a really good standard of performances from a man you can't help but admire. He is one of the few seemingly incorruptible figures of India, whom people can look up to and feel proud of. I realized how versatile he was, creating beautiful music in such a variety of genres, that I felt satisfied. I felt that the whole weekend seemed worth it.

P.S. Sorry about the lame photo, I was compelled! Its me buying the tickets to show. For those who care.

The All of us.

The All of us.