Saturday, May 28, 2005

Love for Tokyo

Isn't it a bit eerie that three of my favourite films have Tokyo in it? Lost in Translation and Kill Bill Vol 1, I'd already seen. But what really blew my mind was Tokyo Story.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


It's been two extremes for me in the world of sport recently. Liverpool did the impossible by snatching victory from certain defeat in last night's thriller - the stage being the Champions League final (Europe's top club football tournament) against A C Milan in Istanbul. It was quite easily the best football match I've even seen. Liverpool three goals down in the first half, quickly found their feet to equalise with three stunning goals. That led to the penalty shootout, which the English club won.
Simon Barnes, Chief Sports Writer of The Times writes about it evocatively here.

And the other extreme was watching Andre Agassi sink further into inevitable retirement. His painful exit from the French Open thanks to an inflammed sciatic nerve reminded me of World Class, which is a must-read for any tennis fan. Agassi has been a favourite and it's getting difficult for me to face the fact that he doesn't have the speed, stamina, and now the body to compete professionally. I suppose Agassi is beginning to swallow the pill himself.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Quite Keane

We all buy the music we do for different reasons. Traditionally, I buy only on recommendation. But I do understand there are brave people who buy music off the shelves on impulse or thanks to curiousity. My latest acquisition falls in this category. Keane's Hopes and Fears sounded like a boy band with an inane album title to boot, but I still went ahead and bought it, because I read somewhere that it was doing brisk business (not the best of reasons to buy music), and that is was well, quite good. (Ah, so it WAS a recommendation that spurred me on!)

One thing which struck me as interesting is that Keane is a 3-member band, with NO guitar. The last and only time, I've listened to a band without possibly the most popular instrument in the world was way back in Bangalore, when Criminalenglish introduced me to Morphine, a band with drums, bass guitar and a saxophone. Keane is not quite so exotic or dark, but their simple three chord progressions (or what passes for it, in a band with no guitar) makes it easy to listen to, and I suspect the music isn't that easy to replicate. Hopes and Fears though is very much for a particular mood - in turns, I felt nostalgic for no reason, wistful without cause and sweetly alienated. Such can be the power of a band. The songs did blur into one another, without any number standing out. But what I did appreciate a lot are the stretches of silence between songs, which is an underrated courtesy to the listener, and not to be found in many albums.

I've a feeling Keane will grow on me, but it's more for the lyrics than anything else. I leave you with words from a song you just might have heard - Somewhere Only We Know.

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete
Oh simple thing where have you gone
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

The rest of the lyrics for the album can be accessed here. My favourite news site's reviewer however, thinks the "radio-friendly simplicity of the lyrics grates". Maybe I just liked singer Tom Chaplin's style!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Wickets and the Windies

It's eerie. I've only watched the West Indies playing at home twice in the last year. The last time was during England's tour. And a short while after I tuned in, Steve Harmison ran through the batsmen, getting four wickets in two overs.

And yesterday when I thought I'd catch the Windies hopefully win, it was Charles Langeveldt who smoked the Windies batsman out - this time with a last over hattrick.

And to think the West Indies were once my favourite team. I even used to proudly support them over India.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Beeb

BBC World's coverage of the UK elections was truly stunning, from a tv professional's point of view, that is. Their use of gfx, especially when counting began, had me lusting for more. After the exit polls were released, all the arithmetic was done with the help of a large virtual 3D studio. That meant the presenter could 'walk' from one bar graph to another, 'move down' corridors in the Parliament and so on. It connected with me immediately, and didn't even have the decency to look gaudy! It's a pity that our channels don't have the budgets to mount something as good. Doordarshan could do it, I'm sure, but it will probably take it 10 years, if ever.

For long, the BBC has been the world's best tv news network, and that's because it's funded by the government, and because it's been headed by a succession of true-blue journalists. Alas, even 'aunty' as the BBC has been called before, is cutting costs. Read this.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

World Wide Weblogs

Like the proverbial frog in the well, I'm now discovering a brand new world. In January 2004, when I started blogging, I thought I was a frontiersman, like a Sackett in the wild west or something. And now, thanks to Chandrasutra, who pointed me there, I've discovered that there was a weblog at about the same time I was boasting of being one of the 'first' to get an email id! (late 1998-early '99) Read Rebecca's Pocket's article on weblogs: a history and perspective. It's an eye-opener. Apparently were just 23 blogs sometime in 1999. The article goes on to explain the blog's evolution from a basic device to link, to a personal journal. It also reminded me why I took to blogging in the first place - to polish my writing skills, to ventilate my thoughts and of course to be part of this cool online community!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Sting Operations

Yet another sting operation. There's something vaguely disquieting about the way tv journalism in India is headed. Why so? After all, footage of cops accepting bribes on hidden camera cannot be a bad thing; we're only exposing the rot in our society. I suppose the danger is in letting the whole thing go too far when such stories are used to further the channels own interests, like for example the -Shakti Kapoor episode.

Thoughts, anyone?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Want to blog but don't know where to begin? Of course, there is a bewildering array of jargon that you will encounter on the way to establishing your own corner on the web, but here's a link that will tell what the Ten Commandments (?!!) of blogging are. Instapundit, a blogging sage pointed me there. Incidentally, it was India Uncut, who pointed me to Instapundit in the first place! So if you have the time, just check his blog out as well, it's cooo.

Needless to say, I will be tinkering with the templates of cosmicdebris now. There's a fair bit for slightly advanced bloggers as well.