Sunday, January 23, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I received heartbreaking news today. I cannot elaborate further, it's all over the news.
Venson Evangelista is the dear brother of my former org mate, Mai. It could happen to anybody's son, brother, friend, loved one. Nobody deserves anything like this, except the very monsters who do this for a fucking living. Wherever justice is, it better come soon, because I AM TIRED OF SEEING PEOPLE DIE FOR NOTHING.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Due to lack of anything truly productive to accomplish, I preoccupied myself by going online to watch a lot of old music videos and read about artists that I practically grew up listening to. After some thought, it occurred to me that I am in fact a witness to the music industry's disintegration since the propagation of free music sharing via mp3 in the late '90s.
If you think that's sad, I feel a lot worse about this because I know I contributed to its demise by downloading my favorite music. Yes, I would rarely buy EPs and albums. And I would be a liar if I said I no longer do that, because I still do. But, it's just like what Bob Dylan said, "you better swim now, or you'll sink like a stone/ coz the times they are a-changin'...". Free music available on the internet is something we (musicians and listeners) have to accept, however painstaking.
The truth is, most record companies almost no longer give breaks to musicians with real talent and potential because they don't want to risk losing money on anyone. They would rather spend it on "sure hit musicians", which leaves us all with little variety to listen to these days. But, my saying this doesn't mean I don't listen to pop music. My point is, more of these other artists should be heard. Great music can be heard in the internet, all we have to do is know how to use this medium to find it. As listeners, it is our role to know more. It's not enough that we just take in what's laid down before us.
For struggling musicians, I imagine they earn more revenue in doing gigs and concerts than in actual record sales. I remember when Trent Reznor left his record label and boldly stepped out to distribute music directly to fans. You can read more about his opinion on free music here. I also remember a friend of mine once said, "Music, in the purest sense, should be free", and I honestly still believe in it. But, if making it free would mean real music will not be heard, then we have to find other ways to help the industry.
Here in the Philippines, I could still remember the days when local mainstream radio stations played good music back in the '90s. Playlists included music from Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Jeff Buckley, Morrissey, Jars of Clay, Moby, Filter, Blind Melon, Collective Soul, Barenaked Ladies, and it went on and on (along with some Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys, of course). Though they played selected hits from the said artists, radio stations were able to introduce good artists to listeners while still playing bubble gum pop. Back then, they were able to maintain balance to cater to every listener's taste, which I don't see happening much these days (save for a select few). There are stations that mostly play old music, but they don't really introduce us to good new music, except for this one (and I hope more people would go and follow).
After this realization that the music industry is really in bad shape, I've decided to make a list of albums I must buy. I'm not really buying them out of guilt, I'm doing so because: 1) I want to support these artists 2) I want MY own copy of their albums because their music has become part of my life 3) in the purest sense, I genuinely love music.
I will update my list soon. For now, I have listed below my top must have albums (in no particular order):
Radiohead - any, if not, all albums
R.E.M. - any, if not, all albums
Stereophonics - any, if not, all albums
The Cardigans - any, if not, all albums
Pete Yorn - musicforthemorningafter
Belle and Sebastian - any, if not, all albums
Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
Vertical Horizon - Everythng You Want
The Smiths and Morrissey - any, if not, all albums
Jeff Buckley - any, if not, all albums
Oasis - Definitely Maybe, any, if not, all albums
Fra Lippo Lippi - Light and Shade, Crash of light album
The Cure - any, if not, all albums
Tool - Lateralus
A Perfect Circle - Mer De Noms
The Sundays - any, if not, all albums
Feist - any, if not, all albums
Death Cab for Cutie - any, if not, all albums
Gin Blossoms - any, if not, all albums
Eraserheads - Cutterpillow, any, if not, all albums
Johnoy Danao - Dapithapon
Cynthia Alexander - Ripping Yarns
Urbandub - Influence
My Imaginary Friends
Barbie's Cradle (I gave away my CD to an old friend, I want my own again)
If you know these albums/artists I've posted, then well and good. Let's hang out some time, we have a lot of "catching up" to do. If you don't, why not try listening to them some time? I promise you, you won't regret it.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
So, where do I start? I've a lot to say, and at the same time, not mention about 2010. I'd like to forget a lot of things, but hey, let's not be too negative. Just trust me on this one, I don't even need to think about which parts to discard. But, as I go along, I know I will have to face specific facts. Yes, "they" will be included much to your amusement.
2010 started rather well for me. It was steadier than I expected. I left my previous job as a program researcher at a television network and began my career in the BPO industry a.k.a. call center. It was the month of February and I aimed for any kind of job that would let me write. Hence, the job title: Web Copywriter
It wasn't exactly the kind of writing I expected, but it was worth the run. I'm quite surprised companies pay that much for that kind of position. In my opinion, it's the best pseudo-writing job ever. The job description entailed doing night shifts. I became a daysleeper for an estimated 6 months this year. To this very day, my body clock remains quite fucked up. But, never mind that. There were days I got to go home to see the sun rise and feel genuine goodness from people I hardly knew. I got to work with the best office mates, and this is the first time I can say I found real friends at a work place. Now, that would be hard to top.
Other than the fact that it paid the bills and I had a fun working environment, it gave me time to think about what the hell I really want to do with my life. Well, not exactly for the rest of my life, but it definitely helped me know myself a little bit more.
I finally figured out one thing worth doing. More importantly, I realized I'll regret not doing that one thing if I don't do something about it soon. Yes, regret is enough reason for me to do this, and I look forward to pursuing that great perhaps in 2011.
Other highlights for 2010 (in no particular order):
Waps won 2nd place in the Palanca this year
Random nights with Helen
Pagudpud / Ilocos trip with my office mates
I officially left the company last December 17, partly to pursue what I want, and mainly to spend more time with my family. I would have wanted to stay longer, but the working conditions didn't prove very favorable for the situation I was about to face.
Last September, I accepted a different position in the company for better, more promising "compensation". The job entailed editing websites by answering calls-- yes, this is the part I truly hated about my job. I joined Helpline. Honestly, If it wasn't for the people and the money, I wouldn't have second thoughts about quitting. I decided to stay. Then again, I just had to brace myself for more serious news.
My father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last October. It really was a kind of wake-up call. But I have to admit, news like that can really be paralyzing. I mostly don't know what to feel or what to think these days.
This is the strangest Christmas season of my entire existence yet. Now, I wouldn't exactly say everything went downhill from there, because frankly, I've had to face other dreadful news from the very start of 2010. I guess all the depressing stuff just had to pile up by the end of this year. Nevertheless, forward I must go.
For you, my dear friend, I'd like to share a poem by Mary Oliver to help get you through your days.
It is possible, I suppose that sometime
we will learn everything
there is to learn: what the world is, for example,
and what it means. I think this as I am crossing
from one field to another, in summer, and the
mockingbird is mocking me, as one who either
knows enough already or knows enough to be
perfectly content not knowing. Song being born
of quest he knows this: he must turn silent
were he suddenly assaulted with answers. Instead
oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece, their -- if you don't
mind my saying so -- their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know?
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example -- I think this
as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch --
the suitability of the field for the daisies, and the
daisies for the field.
I wouldn't say 2010 was all that bad, to be fair. I have so much good things to write, I just can't fit them in to one blog entry. This year held great moments, and no doubt, there were a lot of tough and painful times too. I don't know how I'm holding up really, I'm just surprised I haven't folded in yet. And for that, I am truly thankful.
It will suffice.
Everything I've been through makes me just as much as they break me. All I really want to say is, I am very grateful. I'm just glad to welcome another year into my life. And from the bottom of my heart, I wish everyone a smashing new year! Cheers to 2011!