Archive for April, 2011

Royal wedding

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

I had a funny conversation with Naoko and Zen this morning:

Peter: (facetiously) Hey, someone very famous got married yesterday, do you know about it?
Naoko: Really?  Who?
Peter: You mean you don’t know?  It was big news.
Zen: Ohno from Arashi!
Peter: No, it was someone very, very famous.
Naoko: Are they young?
Peter: Of course they were young!
Zen: Justin Bieber?
Peter: How can he marry – he’s only 17 years old!
Naoko: Which one is more famous, the bride or the groom?
Peter: Well, the groom is much more famous than the bride, I’d say.
Naoko: Can you tell me what nationality?
Peter: The UK.
Zen and Naoko (together): Mr Bean??

Naoko finally guessed it, but it was a pretty funny conversation.

I had heard that this wedding thing was coming, but I didn’t realise that yesterday was the big day.  Then, in the late afternoon at work, some of my colleagues in the sales department were watching the royal wedding broadcast live on the internet and talking about it.  It irritated me, because I was hard at work putting a magazine together, and I was wondering why these people weren’t selling ads! Losers.

Last night I got on the internet and checked out the pictures. Weird to see all of these people in their cosplay clothes. Oh, that’s right – that’s not cosplay, that’s their real clothing. But the hats – the hats were very strange.  It’s like saying “ooohhh… look at me… I have a weird hat… look at me… I’m important, see, I’ve got a weird hat… ooh, look at me – give me some attention, I have a weird hat.” And then there was William’s bald spot.  Poor kid – only 28 and already about 50% bald. I guess now that he’s married he can really let himself go. Weird to think that he was once a heart throb (even weirder to think that Charles was once a heart throb, but those were different times, and everybody’s young once).

I remember 30 years ago being on my parents’ boat, tied up to a dock at an island somewhere in the St Laurence River, fishing for perch while they watched Charles and Diana’s wedding on a little black and white TV inside the boat. I was disinterested then, and I’m disinterested now, but at least it’s all good for a laugh. I hope William and Kate’s pairing turns out better than Charles and Diana’s did.

And so, here’s a picture from Naoko and my wedding of 14 years ago. Enjoy.

The Royal Wedding

The Royal Wedding

Suggestive ad?

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Maybe I have a dirty mind, but this ad seems pretty suggestive to me…

Do I have a dirty mind, or is this ad just very suggestive?

Do I have a dirty mind, or is this ad just very suggestive?

Peter ‘n’ Dieter

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Yay, Dieter came to Singapore today! We haven’t seen him since those mad days in Dusseldorf in 1997, only one year after we were in Taiwan together. Yay, Dieter, YAYYYY!!!! Come to Singapore again soon, and bring your family!

Peter, Naoko (Hoflich), Dieter

Peter, Naoko (Hoflich), Dieter

Duc ‘n’ Hana

Monday, April 25th, 2011

My friend Norbert’s friends Duc and Hana were heading to Singapore, so we met up for some pho, Vietnamese beef noodle soup. It was a nice evening, and I had a chance to try out German and Japanese at the same time, not so often I get a chance to do that. After we parted, they headed off to the Marina Bay Sands hotel; I just barely missed my bus, so I had to take the MRT home. Got home early enough anyway, so that’s okay.

Duc 'n' Hana

Duc 'n' Hana

East Coast Park

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Had a nice Good Friday outing to East Coast Park, yay. Brian and family came to pick us up at 9:30, we went off and rented our rollerblades and did that for an hour until the kids got tired. Then they did some scootering while Brian and I continued up and down the park on our rollerblades. I sweat a lot!

After that we flew the kite. There was a great wind and it was no problem to get the kite out to its full distance. Here are some pics!

Two men, four rollerblades

Two men, four rollerblades

Oooop!

Oooop!

Kiteman!

Kiteman!

giving the Kai guy a try to fly

giving the Kai guy a try to fly

Giving the Bri guy a try to fly

Giving the Bri guy a try to fly

Found a tree with a built-in seat

Found a tree with a built-in seat

Level 42

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

I normally wouldn’t trumpet the fact that it’s my birthday today, but I have just been reading up on the number 42 in the Wikipedia, and am surprised how much there is to say about it!

Level 42

Level 42

Meistermonday

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Monday was a helluva day – I got to work at 7:30, by 8:30 I got a call from the BBC, and at 9:30 I was on air. Went back to the office and polished off an e-newsletter and two articles. Sheesh.

Wunderweekend

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Great time this weekend. Friday I got off work, bought new headphones for my iPhone, got to band practice, headed home by taxi, and had a nice night getting a few things done on the computer (mostly listening to Humpback Oak, actually, for my big monster review of the Oakbox, but that’s another story).

Supertzar Acid Eater

Supertzar Acid Eater

Saturday, after a 30-minute lunch hour struggle to get a cab (it was peak time, plus there were heavy rains and traffic jams all over Singapore), we went off for lunch at the funky middle-of-nowhere apartment of my colleague, a newlywed, and his lovely wife – the place had a great, breezy, relaxed atmosphere. We had Zen along, and there were times that he was bored, but he got along well with five adults an we listened to funky music while eating great food. Thanks! Headed off to Orchard Road to buy a toy for Zen, couldn’t find it, I then went off to my band’s concert, again at Chocolate Bar. Things weren’t looking so great – the programme had become backed up by over 60 minutes because the rains had delayed the start of the day, and bands had also been over-playing their sets. Sheesh. And when our set started we had some drum mishaps – one of the cymbals kept falling over (the drummer was calling out to me to fix it but I wasn’t cluing in), and the bass drum was moving across the floor. Our drummer is too vicious, he destroys drum kits!! (Not really, though) But we had a great time, and hung out afterwards a bit to see the next band, who were pretty good – they did a great cover of “For Whom The Bell Tolls” (Metallica) and “The Trooper” (Iron Maiden). Going home, I had some problems getting a cab, so I took a bus. Naoko and Zen, who were coming from downtown after Zen’s Japanese lesson, then also had some problems getting into the apartment because Naoko had forgotten her key. D’oh! I had a key, but was running behind them, so rather than wait in the stairwell they went off to a local hawker centre to hang out and eat, and I joined them there. An anti-climax to an active day, but not a problem – we enjoyed the meal together in the end anyway. I then went off by bicycle to another concert that was playing nearby, which had been scheduled from 4:00 to 11:00 at a jam studio in the entertainment complex next to the old fire station that had been turned over to small businesses. I hadn’t been there in a while and was looking forward to checking it out for the first time in ages. Got there at 10:00, just in time to hear the last band play, they’re called The Bloody Rejeks. The vocalist, guitarist and bassist were all women, and there was a male drummer. They were all great musicians, especially the drummer, and the vocalist really knew how to scream. Very cool. Left after a few minutes of chilling out with some people I knew there, and then headed home. Seems like all the shops in the area are being shut down, meaning that the wonderful Raw Fusion restaurant is gone. What a shame, it was the perfect chillout place, even if the food was a bit pricy and skimpy. I wonder what kind of a crappy den it’s going to be re-developed into.

Sunday we chilled out in the morning, and in the afternoon we went off to Zen’s softball practice. With a lot of kids graduating from the junior team to go to the senior team, Zen has this season become the sub-captain, being now one of the two oldest boys on the team (the other, who has been on the team longer, is the captain). The team is very small now, with two very young kids from last year returning, and three new kids trying out. One of the kids is Chinese/Australian and speaks English, and the two Japanese kids both go to the Canadian school, so suddenly there are quite a few English-speaking kids and parents around. The afternoon was brutally hot and I sweat buckets. When we got back home, we went for a swim (felt great!); soon our friend Peggy came over for dinner and we had some beer (felt great!) with our gyoza (tasted great!), salad and soup. Fantastic weekend!

Here are some videos of the gig, and some pictures below the videos:

Sweet Leaf

Iron Man

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

NIB

Singapore Sidewalk

Singapore Sidewalk

Singapore Sidewalk 2

Singapore Sidewalk 2

Pictures of pictures of Peggy

Pictures of pictures of Peggy

Crystal balls: Bahrain, Singapore, Angkor Wat

Crystal balls: Bahrain, Singapore, Angkor Wat

the $5 tree

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Wow, great weekend.  Friday I went out with my drummer and bassist to watch my guitarist’s other band play, they did Deep Purple, Killers and some pop songs. It was a nice stage, and the beer was cheap. I don’t remember the last time I saw so many college kids at the same place, they were all having tons of fun. Young, beautiful, cool kids with a bit of money. After that, I went off to a music pub called Seven Inch, on Clark Quay, that has a big stage, and where we hope to play some day coming up. On the bus I saw some heavy metal kids wearing what looked like combination ski boots and hiking boots.  Ouch!  Clark Quay was full of the beautiful people, I was shocked and amazed. When I got to the place, they were playing Melvins!  I don’t think I’ve been in a place in Singapore where they play the Melvins, so I was impressed. Then at 10:00, the band came out and it was the heavy metal kids from my bus! They played some Bad Company-like songs, and then I headed off to the subway. Got luck with the bus, and did computer stuff until late at night.

Saturday we slept in, threw the ball, went swimming, pestered Zen about his homework, did a bunch of errands, wrote a few CD reviews, then dropped Zen off at his friend’s house for a birthday party/sleepover. I headed off into the city for my band practice.  We rocked!  Took a cab home with my drummer, who lives near me, and did work late into the night.  It was very quiet without Zen around.

Sunday morning we woke up, had breakfast, went by cab to fetch Zen and then go to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules. We were joined at the Orchard Cineleisure by one family (mum and two kids), and our Taiwanese friend Peggy. After the movie we went to the Singapore Botanical Garden to have a picnic lunch, with egg salad and tuna salad that we had brought from home, and some bread, cheese and cold cuts that we’d bought at the supermarket. Great meal! We played badminton, hung out, kicked the soccer ball around, threw a little yellow ball around, and chatted, enjoying the sunny afternoon, the shade of the big tree, and the laughter of other people who were also having a picnic. After that, Peggy headed off to Orchard Road while the rest of us went back and had a nice swim in our pool.  And we had beer. Yummy!!!

Here are some cool tree pics of the afternoon:

Party on a tree, part 1

Party on a tree, part 1

Party on a tree, part 2

Party on a tree, part 2

Party on a tree, part 3

Party on a tree, part 3

Party on a tree, part 4

Party on a tree, part 4

Party on a tree, part 5

Party on a tree, part 5

Party on a tree, part 6

Party on a tree, part 6

Party on a tree, part 7

Party on a tree, part 7

Party on a tree, part 8

Party on a tree, part 8

Movie review:

DOAWK:RR

DOAWK:RR

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules – The book was great, and the movie was good fun too, being a bit more plot-driven but with strong deviations from our visual/mental image of the characters. The interesting thing about the movie is that the people who play the characters are all the ages that they’re supposed to be: the kid who plays Greg is 13, the kid who plays Roderick is 19, the woman who plays their mom is 43, and the guy who plays their dad is also 43.  Good casting, in other words.

Lots of funny moments, and Greg and Rowley’s magic show is pretty classic: Rowley wants to make it serious, but of course with class clown Greg as his assistant it will never be that way. I like also the Loded Daiper song. But what I don’t get is the fear that the kids show for their parents – these people are not scary parents!

The Sandy Denny Box

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

Box set review:

Sandy Denny box

Sandy Denny box

“Sandy Denny box”, by Sandy Denny - Sandy Denny barely had a recording history of nine years when she died on April 21st 1978, and this box collects the 316 songs that she committed to posterity in those years (although this figure drops to only 160 unique songs – 154 songs are repeats, from once to up to six times: “Who Knows Where The Time Goes?” appears seven times on this set, “I’m A Dreamer” appears six times, and “No More Sad Refrains” also appears six times). The set contains songs that she sung on 19 releases with the likes of Alex Campbell, Johnny Silvo, Fotheringay, Strawbs, Fairport Convention and solo, whether live or studio releases. These official releases are gathered on 11 box set CDs, while there are eight “bonus” CDs that contain demos from most of the main studio releases, for a total of 19 CDs in the box set itself. There are two songs that have never been released before: “Lord Bateman” and “Twelfth of Never.” The only song that I can tell is missing is “The Battle of Nevermore,” from Led Zeppelin IV. Sandy is, of course, the only guest vocalist to have ever appeard on a Led Zeppelin release, and the only woman to have duetted with Robert Plant until his 2007 co-release with Alison Krauss.

The box has a great, jugendstil cover, and also contains a monstrous 72 page 11″ square hardback book containing over 100 rare and mostly unseen photographs, Sandy’s handwritten lyrics (many of which are unrecorded songs) productions of an original Island press pack, a rare A3 promo colour poster for Sandy’s solo release “Northstar Grassman And The Ravens”, a set of postcards, the receipt for the purchase of her first piano and one of Sandy’s handwritten notebooks. Wow! Unfortunately, although the box set was only released on November 22nd 2010, by early January it was already sold out (either demand was overwhelming, or they just didn’t print enough). Pity.

By the way, here is a picture of Sandy with one of her bands. These guys went under the name “Led Zeppelin.”  Have you ever heard of them?

John, Robert, Sandy and Jimmy

John, Robert, Sandy and Jimmy

Most of the songs are written by Sandy, and many are written by or co-written with band collaborators. There are also plenty of covers, mainly Bob Dylan (13) and Buddy Holly (four), but also one each from Alex Campbell, Chris Kenner, Chuck Berry, Elton John (“Candle in the Wind”) and the Everly Brothers. Many are also marked as “traditional,” but this concept is fluid – some versions are traditional, others are highly stylised (i.e. rocked-up).

The songs are largely folk, folk-rock, traditional and singer-songwriter, but also there’s a bit of jazz and mid-seventies rock. Sadly, her last album is also her weakest, as it goes for a weak soft rock sound, and it features a voice dimmed by touring and heavy smoking and drinking, but nearly all of the songs are stunning.