Sunday, 27 August 2017

Secret Pleasure #6. - Conjuring up MTVs in My Mind

"A lady singer comes on stage dressed in a baby blue dress and sparkling jewellery.  The patrons in the Jazz bar start to quiet down (we can see some stealing a few quick glances at each other, others blowing cigar smoke into the air.  They are all dressed like characters from a F. Scott Fitzgerald story).  She takes hold of the standing mic and we see a close-up of her red-stained lips drawing closer to the mic.  The camera pans out to capture her singing and the stage where the rest of the performers - a band (piano, bass, etc.) were spread out.  Next, we see a young man enter into the bar and he looks intensely at the singer who notices him almost immediately.  She does not show any special emotion, but there is a look in her eyes and gestures as if she is now singing to the man who had just joined in the audience.  We see the young man leaning casually in his seat, a finger to his mouth as he keeps eyeing the lady singer on stage.  Then suddenly he gets up and joins the singer in the song.  The crowd seems shocked and a little upset, but some are evidently amused and cheer him on.  The two of them now sing on stage and continue on until towards the end of the song, the man hops off stage and carries the lady singer (by now we know to be his woman) down in his arms and leaves the bar while the crowd cheers and whistles."

This is the MTV I had imagined to a Lauryn Hill song, "Nothing Even Matters".  This scene literally "popped"  into my head as soon as I heard the melody because it sounded so sultry and jazzy.   

One of the secret pleasures that I enjoy doing - conjuring up MTVs to songs I listen to.  Perhaps because I grew up watching a lot of MTVs on television, I was, during my teenage years, inspired to film some MTVs with my then best-friend and now to imagine them in my mind.  

Maybe one day I will be motivated again to start filming them, but until then I am deeply satisfied just by the experience of having them play out in my mind's eye.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Secret Pleasure #5. - Queuing at MacDonald's for Hello Kitty Plush Toys

I looked at my watch for the umpteenth time - another 10 minutes to go before MacD changed the breakfast menu into lunch.  I was a ball of emotions -excitement and nervousness all rolled up inside of me.  I was waiting in line with others (not a lot this time 'round) to get my hands on the limited edition Hello Kitty that came with every extra value meal.  I was excited to purchase the melody version, but also a little worried and anxious if they'd still have stock of it.
Finally, the doors opened and the staff greeted us with smiles, but nothing could beat the smile that was on my face as I placed my extra value meal and got my Hello Kitty Toy!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Secret Pleasure #4. - Eating Ice Cream in Winter

Early in the morning, the air was cold and I could see my breath formed into little white swirly clouds as I talked, but how I craved for an ice-cream.
I ran excitedly towards the vending machine (one of the thousands in the country) with the coins firmly grasped in my palms.  I slotted the coins into the machine, made my choice of a chocolate ice-cream with a cone, and waited expectantly.
As soon as the machine released its prized good, I started gorging into this humble yet essential snack.  It tasted so good!  And especially in this weather, eating an ice-cream is definitely a special experience.
Snow came down at a leisure pace and when I have finished savoring the ice-cream, I found a tiny snow flake fell on my nose.  What a great start to the day!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Secret Pleasure #3. - Singing Karaoke with Strangers from Around the World

It's always been a pleasure to sing karaoke with my friends and family.  Recently my karaoke singing has been taken to another level - I'm singing it with total strangers now!  All thanks to a phone app. called, Smule.    You search for a song you want to sing and then you get to choose who to sing it with.  It's been a kinda strange experience to sing with someone you don't really know and sometimes you wonder if you've ruined the song for the both of you, but when that stranger you sing with likes your partnership on the song and even gives you a positive comment, the feeling is incredible (to say the least).
Try it, you might enjoy it too :)

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Secret Pleasure #2. - Enjoying the Ambiance at the Cinema

I love to watch a good movie.  Who wouldn't?  Many of my friends watch their favorite movies online or on DVDs, but I am a bit "old-school" & prefer to do so at the cinemas (even if it's more expensive...ouch).
The main reason why I like to watch films at the cinema is not because of the big screen, the special effects or the surround sound (courtesy of Dolby - "all around you").
The real reason is because I like watching movies with the public.  Minus the annoying people who still refuse to turn their mobiles on silent mode or still talk to each other when the movie plays, sharing a movie with people you don't know can be quite charming.  I especially love the parts where we all laugh together at funny moments or simultaneously (as you know, laughter can be quite contagious).  Even if we don't normally see eye to eye and treat each other politely, we still have this something in common.  Something that we do so in unison.  Think "team spirit".
I remembered watching "Jurassic Park" (I can't remember which one) & the young man sitting behind me made a remark to something a character was saying on screen.  It was so hilarious and left a deep impression on me since then.  It had been a midnight movie and the spectators, some with their young families, were all snuggled in the cinema.  It was so convivial, I'd never want it to change.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Secret Pleasure #1. - Listening to Really Funky Music On the Crowded Public Transport

Got inspired by one of Philippe Delerm's books, "La Première Gorgée de bière et autres plaisir minuscules" and decided too to do a series of posts of my "secret pleasures" aka things I do that really bring that sparkle (and kick) to my otherwise mundane life.

"Secret Pleasures #1. - Listening to Really Funky Music On the Crowded Public Transport"

The train jerks to an awkward start.  I am pressed on all sides by fellow commuters eager to make their way home.  It's so crowded I could not move easily without risking stepping on someone's foot or having another person's elbow jab straight into my face.
The only thing I can do is to scroll through the song titles on my trusty Apple ipod.  Time to activate my "silent disco mode".  I scroll down the list and picked either a Blur, Arcade Fire, or Backstreet Boys upbeat track.  As the beat comes on, I start to dance crazily, nothing shy of  the characters in "Forever Fever", in my head.  My body is cautiously static, but in my mind, I am truly the dancing queen.  And the best thing is nobody can tell.  There is no outward tapping of feet, not even the bobbing of head. This is my silent rebellion.  At each jerk and movement of the train, I would synchronise to the rhythm of the music.  It is such a gratifying experience, whoever thought one cannot enjoy a ride even on a crowded train?

Saturday, 29 April 2017

こんにちは, 里美!

It was with much excitement and anticipation that me and my friend went for the concert of Ms. Rimi Natsukawa at the Star Vista (The Star Performing Arts Center) last Saturday night. 

This was Ms. Natsukawa's first performance in Singapore and I was so thrilled because the pair of tickets I had were given to me through a Facebook contest.

Her "band" consisted of a pianist and a guzhen (a Chinese stringed instrument) player and the stage set-up was minimal with strips of cloth hanging from the ceiling to the floor.

Ms. Natsukawa was dressed in a colorful outfit and had a big flower in her hair.  She looked refined and elegant.  
Besides her musical accompaniments, she also played a stringed instrument , the shamisen from time to time during her show (much to the delight of her audience).

This was also the first time at a concert that I was moved to tears by the artist's vocals.  Ms. Natsukawa's voice was so emotive and flavorful that when I closed my eyes whilst listening to her sing, I could see some images playing in my mind.  Although I don't understand much Japanese, the emotions in her songs transcended that language barrier and touched my heart completely.  

The lighting was also very refined and changed gradually without seeming disturbing.  During one song, the background also featured a moon in a shade of blue.  What a enthralling sight to behold...

I loved her interpretation of "Kanayo, Kanayo" & "Shima Uta" and also the song that made me teared was my favourite, but I can't find that on YouTube, so there's no way of knowing the name of it.  Alas...  

She did two versions of Theresa Teng's songs and also a Jay Chou song in Chinese.  A very good attempt, I must say.  

Towards the end of her show, Ms. Natuskawa requested the audience to stand up and dance a simple Okinawa folk dance to her song.  It involved swaying of our hands from side to side and up and down.  An interesting experience!  

I loved everything about her show, except maybe there could have been some interpretation from the Japanese to English as I didn't understand most of what she said to the audience.  Otherwise, it was a night of marvellous and endearing musical experience put up by one of the finest singers in the world.