Saturday, 29 December 2007

10 Second Rule - Sneak preview of the new album

This is very exciting stuff. The first song, "Monsoon Sunday", of the upcoming album is now ready for a bit of a sneak preview. You can find it at www.reverbnation.com/10secondrule .

Please feel free to go have a listen, but pump up the volume first. Let us know what you think!

More tracks to follow.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Religion and bollocks

Religion - To me, religion is more personal than my underwear. My boxers might show when I wear my jeans, but the strength of my faith and belief is only for my eyes. I'm a Muslim. I was born one. Much like your school friends, you have no choice in the matter. If I was born to another religion, I'd be of that. If you take religion as a faith or belief in a deeper meaning to life, then I'm religious. If you take religion as a division, such as Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, blah blah, then i'm not so religious. But I still do the basics. Does that make sense?

So there I was at mosque on a Friday, performing my basics. As usual I was drifting off to sleep as I couldn't understand a word of what the preacher was saying as the sermons are always in Tamil. I woke with a start when I heard him switch to English. But soon enough I wish I hadn't woken.

According to this guy, there are two evils in this world - Listening to music and, what he calls, injustice. He kept telling his "respected elders and brothers" that music was bad and so is "injustice", and to avoid the wrath of god we must avoid those two evils. Injustice he defines as sexual behaviour outside of marriage, homosexuality, alcohol, etc., most of which is looked down upon in most religions. I'm not going to look into that this evil too much as that deserves another post altogether. Suffice it to say, I have nothing against sexual behaviour outside of marriage, homosexuality or alcohol. That doesn't mean I practice all that.

So what irked me about his sermon was that he started talking about the tsunami. He started by saying that even pious people died in the waters of the rising sea. But then he was quick to add that the people who died, suffered their fate because they listened to music and were practicing social injustices. I found that utterly disgusting. The only thing that stopped me from getting up and walking out was that I was there to perform my basics, and I wasn't going to leave till I had done so.

I did not want to go to mosque to have some uneducated, misinformed idiot tell me where I'm going wrong. I go to mosque for preachers to tell me the beauty of god, not for them to instill in me their belief or faith, which is incidentally my definition of religion. Moreover, I do not go to mosque to have so-called learned people pass judgment on other humans. One of the fundamentals of Islam is the belief in the day of judgment, where god, and god alone, would pass judgment on the way you've lived your life. No one else has the authority. This is where we should ask "who died and made you god?"

The Quran is read in a poetic, melodic manner. If a tune is carried out in reading the Quran, wouldn't that make listening to god's verse wrongful?

My faith and my belief is just that - mine. It's my personal business as to how I live my life. I don't pass judgment on anyone else, so I don't want anyone else passing judgment on my religious commitment.

Here's news for you mr preacher. I make music. Now does that make me the devil?

Bollocks - Religion. That's what's bollocks.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Love hurts, but sometimes it's a good hurt

Everything's been looking up since that disastrous Saturday. The mistakes are in the past, but the lessons learnt are for the future. Music is my love, but I won't let it demoralise me.

So on Sunday I went to the beach with friends. We decided to go to Negambo for a change from the usual down south trips. I hadn't been to Negambo in years. All I remembered of it was that it was a lot hotter than down south. Unbearably hotter than down south. I wasn't prepared for the surprises in store for me!

We went to this lovely hotel called "The Beach". The name alone resulted in a lot of frustration in a 'Dude where's my car?' sorta way when trying to explain where I had gone to others who couldn't make it. It went something like this.

Friend : oooh you guys went on a trip? where to?
me : Negambo. We decided a change would be good.
Friend : oh really? where did you guys go?
me : This place called The Beach
Friend : No really? How smart of you. Which hotel you idiot!?
me : The Beach you cow!
Friend : I KNOW YOU WENT TO THE BEACH. BUT WHICH HOTEL DID YOU'LL GO TO!?
me : IT'S A BLOODY HOTEL CALLED THE BEACH DAMNIT! IT'S THE OLD ROYAL OCEANIC.
Friend : Oh, why didn't you say so.
me : sigh

So the hotel gave us a room for the day too, which was very nice of them. The room was lovely, one of the best I've seen at a Sri Lankan hotel (if you discount the boutique hotel rooms I guess). The bathroom walls were made of glass, even the door, which would be quite interesting for couples and not for a boisterous group of 10 like us.

We headed out to the beach (the beach, not the hotel. Although we were at the hotel. So that would make it the hotel's beach. Comprehendo?). The Negambo beach is beautiful! It's so wide and the water was calm! It's the first time that i've seen yellow flags on a Sri Lankan beach! The sand is soft, unlike down south. Did I tell you how wide the beach was? It was as wide as half the length of a football pitch! So after many thrills and spills on the calm waters, and a joint effort at making a sand-car (castles are just boring) that we sat in, it was time for lunch!

Lunch deserves a whole post on it's own. But I ate too fast to even remember what I was eating. But I do remember there was sushi, smoked salmon, cream cheese, chillie crab, lamb chops, roast chicken, batter fried prawns to name a few. The buffet was definitely as good as, or even better than, Blue Water Wadduwa. Slightly cheaper too. It was a big spread, so I was a happy child. It's a must have!

After a lunch like that, the only thing to follow is a nap. So there we were, 10 of us cramped in one bed, but all knocked out from stuffed belly syndrome. A drink, a dip in the pool, a broken bead bracelet, a sprained ankle and we were on our way home.

Last morning I caught up with a good friend, and spent the afternoon shopping for Christmas presents. Came back home and I was ready to drop. But not before I attended to important business. A passport, a credit card, a few clicks and a smile was all that was needed! What was all that about?

7th March 2008. Singapore. Incubus.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Of highs and lows

If ever I've hit a low as an amateur musician, this is it.

Two vastly contrasting evenings. The christmas party was absolutely crazy! I've not had so much fun in such a long time. It was just pure entertainment, so much so that I felt like I had to be the dancing queen's king. Good food, great company, lots of booze, fun and games, a super DJ, all of which added up to be the best retro party I have been to. When the fun and games were over, most had left, the good food had been cleared, the super DJ decided to belt out some slow tunes to which the great company decided at 3 am that they should add their vocal talents in unison as there was still lots of booze left. By 4am the waiters had had enough, and had surrounded us, albeit subtlely (or not so subtlely, as we noticed), as if to say 'enough!'. We didn't sound all that bad though.

When I got home at 4:30am, with 6 bottles of left over booze, I was indeed a happy man. Until I realised I have to be up by 7.

At 7:30am the day from hell began, where the night from heaven had ended.

By 9 am was at the studio, where the album is in it's last stage of production. By 11 am I was falling asleep, and my attention span was as short as Jehan Mubarak's longest innings. I was craving for some sleep. But it was not to be. I ran home at 2pm, ate, showered, ran out again carrying a 40kg amplifier, my guitar and a man bag of necessities for the gig. We had another drummer playing with us tonight as Jim is out of the country, so I had to run to his house and make sure he was tight with the songs. By 4pm that was all sorted. Got to Rockapoluza 2 as fast as we could. It seemed nice and chilled out. But my confidence was lagging. We hadn't practiced as a band in a while; the bassist hadn't even met drummer-for-the-night properly. To cut a long and horrible story short, when we came up to play we fucked up. It made us sound below amateurish and there's no one else to blame but ourselves. This was the perfect opportunity to dish out some of our music to an audience who had never heard us before. Our song selection was poor, our co-ordination was shit, and we went right after Powercut Circus, probably one of the top 3 alternative bands in town. We really missed Jim this eve. He definitely brings out the best in us, and is the key ingredient to how tight we are as a band.

I had a bad day as a guitarist. I kept missing my notes, and my guitar tone was rubbish. Live and learn they say. One thing's for sure; the bitter lesson is that you should never take any gig too lightly. I swear to you now, I will never play another gig without adequate prep. There's too much embarrassment and humiliation involved in fucking up live.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

So this is Christmas

Christmas. The time of year when the ducks fly south for warmer climes and stronger liquids. Colombo seems a little more over-populated than it usually is, especially at night. But that's a good thing, cause at this time of the year everything is a little more bright and chirpy. Almost makes you forget how dead it usually is.

Met up with the clique last night, most of whom, like the ducks, have flown in from all parts of the world. Actually some have flown north, contrary to regular duck behaviour. Not that ducks don't fly north. Just that popular belief tells me that they don't fly north during winter.

It turned out to be quite a fun night. A little bit of booze, a lot of Flower-drum food. A little song, a lot of filthy jokes. A lot of frazzled nerves thanks to north-flying-duck's driving skills. Fast disappearing dessert at Coffee Stop where a pretty decent band was playing No Woman No Cry. Well they played other songs too, but that was the pick of the lot. And more frazzled nerves as she dropped me home. It's nice to have old faces back.

Still to come this week; 2 Christmas parties (including the office one. oh bummer!), a gig (Rockapoluza-2, 24 bands?:O) which we are probably gonna play with Anik as Jim is out of the country temporarily, and possibly a trek down south for the day on Sunday! To add to all the excitement, I found out that I might have the chance to catch two wonderful acts pretty soon. But more about that later.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, 14 December 2007

You can't fire me...I quit!!!

If not for the air conditioning and (almost) working computers, I would've thought I was working in a government department.

We've got the works.
Nosy secretaries who want to know everything about everyone and then spread malicious rumours surreptitiously to carefully selected allies faster than a Minister's convoy.

Managers that openly bite each others arse off, in the hope of climbing the corporate rope-ladder.

Staff who sing baa baa black sheep each time a superior walks by. Well not really. Only the 'yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir' bit.

Peons who refuse to deliver docuements to client's in rajagiriya cause they 'only deliver in Colombo'.

And, to top it all off, a director who laughs like a hyena on weed, talks as if she can't be heard, and acts like she doesn't know what she's doing!

To think this is supposed to be a multinational organisation. But don't get me wrong, this is the ONLY department of it's kind in this office. The rest of the people are normal. Too bad my qualifications meant I only fit in here. I'm just glad i'm into my final two weeks.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

The show must go on...

Monsoon Sunday is finally over. For now.

It's been a hectic two weeks in which we put on this show. But the 50 minute set was well worth it. We might've not made any money, but hopefully we have a few fans now.

I'm thankful to all of you who turned up, especially those of you who stayed till the very end! Also to the bands that played, great job guys.

We set ourselves a high bar to jump over by opting to play right after Hollowpoint Halo, who, incidentally, were super as always! If any of you caught 10 Second Rule at Monsoon Sunday, I'd love to hear what you thought.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Hollowpoint Halo @ Monsoon Sunday (on a Saturday)

Ranil's got a couple of new babies: An Ibanez Steve Vai replica guitar, a 500watt Marshall stack and a Takamine semi acoustic. The new goodies coupled together with the seductive vocals courtesy of Marsh, the awesome bassist Roshan and the chance of hearing some of their music with drums (a possibility to be confirmed) is reason enough to be at Monsoon Sunday. Happens tomorrow (the 8th) at 8pm @ the Zetter. Also featuring 10 Second Rule, Anil Balasuriya, S.A.M. and Cynosure.

Be there...or be a coconut.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Monsoon Sunday : Tickets Out

It's been a hectic 10 days. Finally got the tickets to hand today. So if you need any, give me a buzz on 0776029141. About 50 have been booked already out of a 150, so get em quick!

I shall return to normal blogging once this gig is over. I solemnly swear not to prostitute my blog, and it's tiny readership, as I have done in order to promote Monsoon Sunday. At least until the next gig.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Cynosure at Monsoon Sunday

(Monsoon Sunday - 8th Dec, 8pm, the Zetter. ft Hollowpoint Halo, 10 second rule, Anil Balasuriya, Cynosure and S.A.M.)


(write up courtesy Cynosure)
Cynosure is a group of 6 musicians between the ages of 18-21, concentrating mainly on the genres of alternative/slow rock music. They have been in the music industry close to 3 years and have performed in many events and competitions and the highlight of which is Sri Lanka’s premier event for local artists, TNL Onstage.

This group of individuals first formed in school as teenagers and from there on developed into one of Sri Lanka’s well known alternative bands. Some of the band’s highlights have been competing and entering the finals of TNL onstage in the year 2005 and also in 2006.
Another major highlight of the band has been the releasing of their first Original "On a Road" which received very good reviews from various radio stations here in Colombo and also large amount of air play. Other than the Usual guitar and drums this band also emphasizes the importance of the piano be it in the originals or the covers they play. This Fusion of guitar and piano brings out a sound that is unique to the band.

Currently the band has taken up the Endeavour of releasing an Extended Play (EP) better know as a miniature album which will comprise of 4 songs composed and written by the band itself.

Band Members
Shezri Junaid - Vocals
Ruvin de Silva – Drums
Shivane Wickramasekera – Guitar
Ahmed Nuski – Bass
Shehan Michael – Keyboards
Peter Vittachchi - Guitars

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Road Rules 101

A little while ago, I stepped out of commons with the missus after gorging down one of those delightfully sinful chocolate things. You know, the one that's slightly hard, but is made of a brownie casing, with chocolate mousse in the middle and icing sugar sprinkled on top. Wow!

So anyway, as soon as we stepped out, a plain-clothed policeman stopped us and told us to move back towards the door. He said the road was closed. The road was indeed deserted in a way that only Mahinda Rajapaksha can have done on a busy Thursday afternoon. So then the motorcade swept past, at which point my days of reading the Highway Code flashed before me. I've never seen the convoys go by so fast! Here are a couple of the road rules that I noted were broken in the minute of officials flying by at high speeds.

1. Excessive speeding - the convoy was easily doing well over 130km/h on flower road. How dangerous is that?
2. Driving on the wrong side of the road.
3. Driving without a number plate - almost all the vehicles had no plate!
4. Overtaking on the wrong side - a backup jeep over took one of the black beemers from the left!
5. (W)reckless driving - goes without saying. Put's a whole load of pedestrians and road-side buildings in jeapordy.
6. Exhaust emissions being over the allowed limit - the emissions were black. Just the other day I saw a cop stopping a vehicle for the same offence at Maradana junc. Wonder where he is today!

These are the days I wish we had the services of Kiran Bedi, the first female offer of the Indian Police Force, who is famous for being a tough cop - a reputation she earned by even booking the prime minister of India's vehicle for illegal parking.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Monsoon Sunday : The Gig


With all the confirmations finally in, we have a gig on our hands! 8th Dec, 8pm, at the Zetter (formerly known as Tabu). This is exciting for a whole bunch of reasons!

We paid a visit to the Zetter today and it looks abso-fucking-lutely super! Pristine white interior, with a bar that runs all the way through the club (you'll never be too far from the drinks) and the fanciest sound and lights system i've seen at any venue in Colombo! This is a far cry from the dark and intimidating interior and atmosphere of the old Tabu.

Hollowpoint Halo, probably the biggest band in the Sri Lankan underground scene, confirmed to play, and are promising a new sound, which would be a step away from the acoustic sessions they've been known to play. S.A.M. was one of the most exciting bands at Onstage this year, and we were more than happy to invite them along for the ride.

10 Second Rule will feature a new drummer: The fabulous Jim Sykes, the American that you've read about previously here. Our line up is also likely to include percussionist Ravihansa, which should add to the new flavour that we plan to introduce at the gig.

Over the next 14 days watch this space for more information about the gig. For now, make sure you keep the date free!

Monday, 19 November 2007

The Thing About Accents...

...is that when it's not your own, you tend to laugh about it. This is true wherever in the world you are. I spent three years in Hull, where the locals probably have the worst accent in the whole of the UK, if not the world, and yet they'd laugh at people who spoke more 'normally'. This coming from people who would cry out "hunnaaay, fern curl fer yoooouuuuuuuz!" and "errrr neeerrrrrrr it's sooondeeeeey meeeernin".

So anyway, in Sri Lanka this accent thing is a big issue. I was at law college the other day, trying to cram in as much as possible in the 15 minutes prior to when the exam started when these two girls who were also about to take the exam started talking in raised voices and varied accents, one american, one british, disrupting the blissful silence. The deafening cackle of foreign voices disrupted the orderly exam preparation that was taking place along the corridors, which made the students sit up, peer at the cacklers, giggle, sneer and then try to concentrate again whilst the conversation continued. However, it didn't stop. Which made me stop studying and ponder.

How is it that when some Sri Lankans go abroad, they develop an accent that they can't seem to lose even when they come back?

While you live abroad, it is invariably true that you develop a particular way of speaking in order for the locals of that country to understand how you speak. That sort of adaptation would avoid the weird looks you would get if you break into "ado that kaalla was bloody hot nuh you bugger?". I worked in call centres for the entire three years I was abroad, so at first people could not understand me over the phone. So I had to adapt my ways of speaking in order to be more clear, and it worked. But i'd lose the 'accent' as soon as I got talking to people who would understand me normally. Hence, when I came back, it was easy to shake off.

But, some people who go abroad for a short period of time, come back with a stunner of an accent that just doesn't seem to go, and sometimes doesn't even fit in the locality where they were based. For instance, a friend from school studied in Durham, but instead of the Newcastle-ish drawl, he came back with a perfect, high class, essex-ish accent. Another example would be the medic who studied in Nepal, and now has an American accent. Maybe my geography just sucks and I don't know what the hell i'm talking about.

But, my question is, if you can acquire an accent by being around foreigners and speaking like em, how come you can't lose it when you're back and speaking with your own kind? For one, you tend to be the laughing stock of the town. Secondly, a foreign accent is not something that makes you cool. Thirdly, I just can't understand you when you go "eeeeeeer i gotta geeeeeeer, fern curl".

Sunday, 11 November 2007

TNL Onstage - The Finals

Onstage comes but once a year. Some say it's a good thing. But it's definitely a great platform for young and emerging musicians to get out and play in front of which was probably the biggest audience you get at a gig out here. Last night were the finals; 6 bands, 6 solo artistes and 4 from the hip hop and rnb category made it. I'd say there were roughly around a thousand people there, maybe more. However, I made the mistake of thinking that this year will be pretty much like last year where it started 2 hours late, the changes between the acts dragged on and it finished at 5am! So by the time I managed to get to the Convention Centre, Thriloka had already finished their opening act, which was a real bummer for I really wanted to see them! TNL had got their act together this time and started sharp at 9pm, and I must add the show was slick!

The stage was magnificent and was made up of probably the best lighting system I've seen at a local venue. The hall was decorated in black tapestries on which there were tiny lights which gave the effect of the night sky, but not so well. There were 2 drum kits on stage, instead of one, which was a great move, and helped reduce the loss of time between the acts! TNL also mixed in the order of performers so that the bands, solo singers and hip hop artistes were playing in random order. Last year the solo singers went first, then the bands. By the time the bands came on last year, everyone had left. So kudos to TNL.

I walked in to the sounds of S.A.M. (which stands for, believe it or not, Surface to Air Missiles!) who play a John Mayerish groove. They did an original of theirs and then did a medley of covers which included a bit of Cannonball, Calabria and ended When the Sun Goes Down (Arctic Monkeys). They were super! I had only been there 5 mins but I was jumping around. However, I still think their name doesn't match their genre.

Gray Mind Domain played a cover of Eric Clapton's Layla, but they failed to impress. It was just another cliche-ic rock band with nothing new about them. Merlock were technically sound, but a tad too heavy for my liking cause I'm not a death metal fan. But they were good in what they did. Could've had better vocals though. Wagon Park played a killer version of Comfortably Numb, and they looked the part of stoner rockers! Icarus started with Snow Patrol's run, which lacked oomph and zest. But their second song was brilliant, and it was an original! I could not understand why they did not play both originals, they would've had a better chance of winning. Hollow was the last band, again a little too heavy for my liking but boy were they good! Their drummer was off the hook! The guitarists had a great understanding and played great licks and leads and combined together very very well! They played The Final Countdown and that just blew the roof! However, being heavily influenced by my musical taste, my favourites were S.A.M. They need a new name though. Did I say that before?

Most of the soloists were nothing much to talk about. But Mariam, who opened by dedicating her first song to the late Ruwani Seimon, was great! She had lots of stage personality and, by the end of it, plenty of young male fans thanks to her gyrating grooves with an umbrella! CC, who was a classmate at school, brought with him a refreshing energy to his performance, which most of the others lacked. I have never seen him sing like he did last night and everyone was stunned! Two thumbs up!

Their were two hip hop groups, Dirty 4 Four and Nouty Coast (sic), who were quite good. The others didn't deserve a mention.

So any guesses for who took it away last night?

Well, I really can't remember who took the hip hop category, but it was one of those two groups. Wow, aren't I helpful!!!

Mariam was the first runner up of the Solo category and CC took away the honours for his scintillating performance! Great work! I hope we'll see more of the two of them!

In the band category, Merlock emerged runners up. The winners for 2007 are Hollow. Doesn't my opinion count though? Maybe it was the name.

Link here for pictures posted by Shehal.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Doctor of Drumology

5 papers down as of today, and lucky number 5 had to be the worst one. Who bothers with the constitution anyway? Bah!

So after trudging away from the exam hall looking and feeling all too glum, i headed toward the infamous green path hangout. The plan was to jam. On the way, I stopped at Colpetty junc and got a yummy egg bun and a chinese roll. Food always hits the spot right after an exam. Actually food always hits the spot, period.

At green path you always meet new people and, more often than not, they are fascinating! Today was plain ol' Jim, who is doing a PhD in drums and percussion! Now how fucking cool is that? It gets cooler. He's in Sri Lanka for a year to learn Sri Lankan drums as part of his course. So here he is, learning the language, suffering in the heat and playing everything from gata bera to hak gedi to kala, all the while earning more credits towards his PhD. So at the end of all this he's gonna be a doctor in drumology? Woah! Not only that, as soon as we started jamming I realised he's fucking brilliant!

Over the course of a couple of hours, about 8 of us switched between guitars, bass, drums (not me:D) and percussion. Probably the best impromptu jam session I've ever had! I'm still buzzed about it.

Tomorrow, 10 Second Rule heads off to record some new material in a strangely unusual way. I'm excited, but I hope it goes off well. Fuck exams. I know what i'm gonna do my PhD in!

Sunday, 28 October 2007

40 - 0

For the first time in the history of the Royal Thomian regatta there was a white wash. Royal took home all the silverware, including the coveted Boat Race Trophy. 40 - 0 was the end result. Here are a few highlights.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Roy - Tho Regatta

There's no shortage of tensed excitement at home, and it's kind of unnerving. Tomorrow is an excessively big day for all of us. Royal has not won the Roy-Tho regatta in about 8 years, if you discount the ties and the Thomians pulling out last year. But this year just might be it, fingers crossed! It's a big deal for the family as my younger bro will lead the team that carries on their shoulders an expectation that has been 8 years in the making!

Being the 3rd of 3 boys, I don't think he's expecting any hugs and good luck cards and the like from the older bros. But I'm sure he knows how immensely proud we are! Regardless of how he feels the night before the regatta, i'm having a severe case of goose-bumps!

It promises to be a great day for Royal rowing. It promises to be a great day for my family. Good luck bro:)

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Kelum

He used to come and play cricket with us when we were kids. That's the earliest memory I have of him. Being my maid's nephew, his visits used to be quite regular, and he would come and stay with us at least once a month and we always had a blast. He lives in Kantale.

Whenever we needed an extra pair of hands around the house he'd come down and help. He stayed with us when we moved house in 1998 and again in 2002. Kantale didn't have much scope in terms of employment, so in 2002 he moved to Colombo. Although he was working as a peon at some office, he didn't particularly take to the work. That was when my dad's office hired him as a driver. I had just left to uni at this point.

I saw him in the summer of 2004. He used to be in and out of our house as he was busy with my dad's work. On a day in October 2004, he was walking along the street in Homagama when a speeding lady driver ran him over. He survived, but only as a vegetable.

It's been 3 years since that accident. He now lives in Kantale, the only son to a family who have a shop on the road to trinco. Coming to Colombo to make a better living for his family was harsh, as he soon learnt, or didn't. He now lies in a bed, as he has been for 3 years, in his home, not knowing at all what is going on around him. My maid reminded me today that it has been 3 years since his accident. He must be 28. His name is Kelum.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Once

Darwin was right. I'm going to start listening to her more often.

Having read her review of 'Once', I thought i'd give it a go and see how it is, especially since she said that it's a must do for music lovers. I just finished watching it and I can't stop humming the beautiful melodies that spilled out during the last one and a half hours. I can't believe they aren't professional actors, but they most certainly have to be professional musicians. If they weren't, they certainly will be now!

The movie is a little slow running, especially if you don't particularly fancy watching what is in fact a bunch of jam sessions. But it was the slow running-ness of the movie that let you fall deep into the threshold of what's happening. The music has a feel of typical British/Irish folk coupled with blues coupled with light rock. Much much like Damian Rice.

Thanks Darwin. Great movie. Even better music. Now to find the soundtrack.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Law, Math, Music

I'm not made for these bloody exams. I've done jack all today! But i've already started with the papers so there's no backing down now. However, this cramming nonsense just doesn't work. I've already forgotten what I read in the last hour, much like Darwin forgot to shut off that Electro-thingamagig. How so? Well, probably cause it's as critical, since the paper is only a few days away and what i'm studying is completely new to me!

So yeah, I learnt a few things that might be helpful along the way, like how I can sneak into some land you own and if I can live there for 10 years without being kicked out, I can challenge you for ownership and also learnt how big, in terms of land mass, a paddy cultivation needs to be. It's more than obvious why I need the latter bit of information cause 63% of all Sri Lankan males under 25 take to paddy cultivation. Might I add 80% of statistics are bullshit.

My study pattern for today has been pretty simple. Study for an hour, then play guitar for an hour and a half. If I break down that 1 hour of study time, it'll be something like this:

  • Read the notes - 10 minutes
  • Stare at the ceiling blankly - 25 minutes
  • Realise that I'm really not reading the notes - 5 minutes
  • Re-read the notes - 10 minutes
  • Look forward to the end of the hour - 10 minutes
At least i'm getting better at the guitar.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

You know you're around lawyers when...

Yesterday began yet another series of wretched exams. So there I was, trudging back to Hultsdorf where the only form of life is of the kind clad in black and white sarees and suits. Well, not exactly zebra print suits, which you're probably more likely to find in Malaka Silva's wardrobe, but I mean black suits and white shirts. If you thought that was bad in this heat, these bloody lawyers top it off with a cape, much like batman, and batgirl (just to be fair) which weighs a ton and does not look comfortable!

In my hand i nervously clutched the short notes that I had finished preparing about 10 minutes before leaving for the exam. I was hoping that, if I clutched them hard enough, I'd absorb the content through an advanced form of osmosis straight from the future. In the midst of trying to put Hart, Pound, Darwin (the real dude, not the blogger:)), Dworkin, Austin and others into the right school of thought, I happened to glance at the notice board at Law College. A few vacancies, a list of failures at the last exam, the usual. But then I saw this notice that caught my eye, which made me realise that I was most certainly in the right place. It read :

NOTICE
An article has been found and it is in the custody of Mr. X.

The owner of said article can call over at his office and collect same.
Signed.
Principal.
Sri Lanka Law College.

Edit - Note to reader : Article, in this context and in lawyer-speak, means an object or item rather than a publication. Instead of expressly stating what was missing, they stated that they found something. It was up to the loser to prove that he had lost it.

Friday, 12 October 2007

:)

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Master of None

(Spotted in York, UK, about a year ago)

My name is confab, and I want to have lots of love affairs.
There I said it.
Sometimes I wonder, why I find myself wanting to do a million different things. The latest list includes owning an Austin Mini, acquiring a mother of a camera and wanting to travel the world. Oh and getting a new guitar. Live abroad again. Record an album. Learn drums. Ok i'll stop.
So anyway, yes, I'm quite happy being a jack of all trades and a master of none, as long as I can dabble in this and that. I love learning new things, and finding new passions. For that matter, I admire RD, who, being close upon 75, is still keen on improving on his passions, i.e. the drums, and learning new things, i.e. how not to put saffron in dhal.
I don't want to get to the age where I have to wear that t-shirt, only to wonder what I did with my life. And that's what drives me.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Neighbourhood Watch

Directly taken from the official website of (the apparently) Honorouble Namal Rajapaksa.

"ARMS GIVING CAMPAIGNS - ‘Tharunyata Hetak’ organized an arms giving for the elderly folk of ‘Tissamaharama’ on the 6th of May of 2007. The event was attended by approximately hundred elderly people."

Be extra careful. 100 armed senior citizens are on the loose.

Monday, 1 October 2007

The Long Road Home

Sri Lankan roads aren't all that confusing now are they? See, the longest drive within the city is going to take you about 30 minutes at most (add 10-15 more for traffic). So why's it that trishaw drivers always mess up a simple point A to point B trip?

Here's the deal. This morning, I walked about half a kilometer from home to where Kirimandala Road meets Nawala Road (point A). Found a bright blue trishaw there. Saw a man standing next to it. Went up to it and said I need to go to Braybrooke Place (point B). He thinks for a while, tells me to take the 176 from there and change at Borella. I look at him blankly and point towards the trishaw. He laughs and points me to the driver who is standing further away. I smile meekly and move on to negotiate with the actual driver. But that's not the story.

So having told him what the best route is and negotiated an apparently reasonable fair of 250 bucks from A to B, I get in and we're on our way. I still haven't gotten over the fact that in Bangalore trishaws charge only 6 INR (roughly around 18 SLR) per km while over here in SL i'm paying close upon 50 bucks a km! While heading down Kirimandala he suggests a different route which is slightly longer, which other trishaws have taken before, so I say to him "yeah ok if that's what you wanna do". So we head up Thimbirigasyaya Road instead of going down Baseline Road towards Kanatte. Generally, the Thimba route involves us turning into the lane opposite Sunethra Lane near the church on Thimba Road, then heading past CR&FC and towards independence square. While I was sitting there with my ipod plugged in I see that turn off pass us by. Then we turn right into Torrington Avenue. This was a new route! So when Torrington ended on Bullers Road I expected him to take one of 2 options, both of which ended up near independence square. But I was wrong, AGAIN! He goes towards Thunmulla along the one way, goes all the way around and comes back towards Lionel Wendt and the Museum and finally to Braybrooke place, adding at least an extra 10 minutes to a 20 minute ride.

I would've thought he might've saved more cash, and me more time, if he actually listened to me and went on the route that has been identified to be the shortest, at least by me! But these trishaws, they've got their own GPS which apparently you can't fool.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Update

I've been quiet. That's only cause all I ever read is about how gravity is a myth and that in actual fact the earth sucks. Living in Colombo, that's actually all we ever see too. So I've made a conscious effort to keep away from adding to the glum soup. That mindset stopped me pondering out aloud my horrible work place, increasingly irritating, irritated parents (I'm still to get used to living with them all over again), the fact that pay day is turning out to be a myth with the ever increasing cost of living and the horrendous exams looming up ahead.

So anyway, GF and I picked up a kitten a few days back. It was one of these fellows and boy is he cute! He's a little bigger than my palm and extremely playful! I shall put up a few pics soon. Any ideas for names anyone?

Wanted to head down to marine drive today for the Mini Rally. However, the damned guilty conscience, brought about by millions of loose sheets of notes all over my bed, kept me at bay. Another time maybe.

Had a crazy jam session sometime last week too! It ended up being 3 stoners and I, playing random riffs and chanting random lyrics and recording on the spur of the moment. Some of it sounded really funky! We might get together again, when the 3 of them are less stoned, to try and work something out of all that.

Anyway, enough of my mindless, meaningless verbal diarrhea. Carry on on your way then.

Friday, 21 September 2007

3 Chord Charlie

Inbetween mulling over world peace and the like, I actually got to debating the local music scene with a friend. Being a world class guitar hero (cough cough), and my friend a chart topping drummer (cough cough) (note to self - take something for the cough!), who is maybe only second to RD, we'd like to think we know a thing or two.

It started with Onstage, and the fact that only 12 bands are in the competition this year. Drummer loathes all things Onstage, whereas I don't mind it as it is a great opportunity for bands to get some gig-time under their belt in a city where there really is no scope or hope for original music. So, as you guessed, he was mighty pleased that there were only 12 bands (the number having halved from last year) and I obviously wasn't.

We soon got to this huge debate about the difference between potential and talent. Maybe I'm an optimist, but if I see a great guitarist who can, for instance play catchy leads and sing at the same time, or a bassist who has a great groove and lifts the song, I'm quick to label him/her as talented. However, drummer doesn't agree. He gives them a maximum rating of potential. He says he needs to see more of em to give them that esteemed compliment.

A typical Sri Lankanism.

I love being a part of live music. Not all have a great talent as musicians but it takes a lot of balls to stand up and be counted. Most, if not all, musicians will tell you there's no greater feeling than playing live. So if I do see a band live who are trying to make original music work, I try not to diss em. I try to see em for what they are doing as a collective. I admire them for the fact that they got up on stage.

But in Sri Lanka, our audiences quickly get bored if the bands are not as good as what they would expect from maybe a Counting Crows concert. They are quick to say the band is shit and walk out. There's no room for constructive criticism or scope for musicians to improve. But when musicians are as critical as the audiences are, then there is really no hope.

Oh well. Excuse my rant.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Chakde Bangalore!

Underworked and underpaid, so when a free ticket came my way I wasn't one to say no. Took off on Friday to Bangalore, India, having convinced my manager to give me Monday off so that I had a nice long weekend of 4 days. It's been almost a year since I boarded a flight and I almost had forgotten how much I loved to fly. Travelling alone and finding myself sitting at BIA waiting for the boarding call, I quickly glanced around to check whether there were any RDs satisfying a kink for people watching, only soon to realize I was doing the same. Oh well.

So anyway an hour later I was in India. The last time I had been there was 8 years ago as a scrawny schoolboy on a (wait for it...ahem) cricket tour with the College junior team. At the time, I was rather proud of it and when people asked me where I was going, I'd turn my nose in the air and say "cricket tour" in a too-cool-for-school tone. Now I realize junior cricket tours are a dime a dozen. Egad! I digress.

So 8 years ago I was staying at the YMCA youth sports hostel, playing cricket on 4 of the 7 days we were there, having to tag along to saree shops with other kids' parents who were apparently coming as 'chaperones', much like the lot from the sports ministry who were planning on heading to japan to support our only athlete. So yes, 14 kids, 20 parents, a coach and 2 masters in charge did not help make the trip a delightful one. So yes, my impression of India was not a very good one.

8 years on I was stunned. People portray India to be a tough place to live in, and maybe it's true. But it's a great place to visit. The myth of the land is no myth at all on the faces of its people. Coming from Sri Lanka, I'm quite used to people dragging their feet. But in Bangalore, there was such a spring to their step. Brigade Road, which became my favourite hangout, reminded me of Oxford Street where you'd have people piling through each other while the biggest brands stare down upon them from their vantage points. Much like Oxford Street, people were laughing and chattering and walking with such purpose. It's greatly energetic and that energy is infectious.

I was introduced to this quaint little pub off Brigade Road named "Peckos" which is dark and mysterious and plays the best alt rock at just the right volume; not too loud to drown you out but not too soft for you to lose interest. The place has murals of the likes of Elvis Presley Jimi Hendrix on the walls and ceilings and what not. I hear the food is great there, but I didn't try it, although I can vouch for their lime soda. I could fall in love with a place like that. Maybe I have.

Just accross the street from Peckos is "Le Rock" where the preliminaries to Nokia I-Rock XXII were being held on Saturday night. Who am I to say no to a chance to see some bands. The show was kick started by After Burn, an outfit that was very grunge, very in-your-face and very damn good. The guitarist was fuckin kick arse! The next 2 bands were rather boring. I was told that one of them was the biggest band in Bangalore or something but it was a death metal band and there's only so much of a screaming grandmother with a sore throat i can take. But I must say, the musicians were great in all the bands. Sri Lanka has a long way to go, original music wise. But anyway, digressions apart, the last band was Caesar's Palace. By golly, I kid you not, they were magnificently incredibly awe inspiring. Comprising of an 18 year old drummer who is undoubtedly better than any drummer I have seen in Sri Lanka, a fatty on bass who, i'm sure, plays bass faster and with more precision than he would devour a plate of burgers, a fender strat clad guitarist who I'm told can play anything put before him and a super, yet down to earth, vocalist. Kishan, Kenny, Anurag and Unni certainly were not unknown to the crowd as I found myself in the midst of a swarm that knew all the words and all the breaks to all their songs. Simply scintillating. Reminded me a lot of Incubus. Great stuff

On Monday morning I headed to 'The Forum' to catch Ratatouille on the big screen. You wouldn't believe it, but at 9:30 in the morning i'm almost positive that at the cinema I saw as many teenagers you'd see in the whole of Sri Lanka! Ok maybe not that many. But too many to count surely! The movie itself was great too. Pixar has created an animation masterpiece! A must-watch.

So what struck me the most is the fact that young people in Bangalore are so lucky to have such a lively city. Although everything shuts down at 11:30pm as per state orders, until that time the city is still alive, the streets are full and the lights on. Colombo on the other hand is fast asleep by sunset, and please don't blame that on our island culture. I had a blast. 4 days was not long enough for me to get bored of Bangalore, but not short enough so that I'd miss the essentials. I shall write more about it as and when I remember. Pictures shall come up at some point too. It's definitely a place I'd visit again. But nehi diya tho?

Friday, 24 August 2007

Thriloka - Live

Probably the most talented band in Sri Lanka, Thriloka will be launching their 2nd album on Monday 27th August at Barefoot. Show starts at 7 pm and entrance is 500 bucks which includes a free CD. You certainly don't want to miss out on this feast.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

5 of them and I

Music to me is like (if you'd permit the expression) cocks to prostitutes; more the merrier. What floats my boat also changes on a day to day basis much like a new monk having second thoughts. So I don't know what RD was thinking when he tagged me to choose 5 albums i'd have on a desert island. 16 albums made my initial short list. Here they are in alphabetical order:

  • Counting Crows - August and Everything After
  • Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience
  • Damien Rice - O
  • Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up the Girl (the pirated one with 'Name' as a Bonus Track - only available in Sri Lanka - woo hoo!)
  • Incubus - Make Your Self
  • Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams
  • Lifehouse - No Name Face
  • Live - Awake: The Best of Live
  • Matchbox 20 - Yourself or Someone Like You
  • Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York
  • Oasis - What's the story (Morning Glory)
  • Paolo Nutini - These Streets
  • Pearl Jam - Ten
  • Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
  • The Wallflowers - Bringing Down the Horse
  • Timbaland - Shock Value

I'm really struggling to narrow it down, but for the sake of fair play I will. But I will qualify my selection as something I did under duress. So considering the fact that i'll be stuck on a desert island, on my own, with just the albums, i'm going to have to choose them ones that are gonna keep me sane, although by the time i'm miraculously, and theatrically, rescued, i'll be sick of em. Here goes :

Gin Blossoms : New Miserable Experience - It's a Sri Lankan thing. Apart from the US, i'm almost sure the only other country The Gin Blossoms are so popular is in our very own. Some of their best music is on this album, ie. Hey Jealousy, Until I Fall Away, Allison Road and Found Out About You. This album can uplift my mood within seconds. There's this great energy about it and it's contagious. This'll already be in the discman when I wake up on a strange island.

Incubus : Make Your Self - This will be pounding in my ears when i'm building my tree hut, Robinson Crusoe Style. I often find my self analysing every groove, every off beat and every riff on this album. It's a musical masterpiece, at least in my opinion. It'll be like having a stock of ice cold Red Bull on the island. The smash hits Drive, Stellar, Pardon Me and The Warmth are all in here. Ever wondered where the catchy opening riff to TNL's Spinning Unrest was from? You guessed it.

Goo Goo Dolls - (Pirated) Dizzy Up the Girl - Ok, I'm sorry it's pirated and all, but Name is one of my fav tracks and it just adds a completely different twist to an already great album. Includes classics such as Iris, Broadway, Black Balloon and Slide. How can I say no to that? This is definitely coming with me.

Lifehouse - No Name Face - I fell in love with this album the first time I heard it. It's got such character to it and I find my moods changing along with each different song on it. I love every second of it From the infectious anthem Hanging By a Moment, to the mellow ballad Everything. This'll make me sad all alone on the island but it'll probably also give me hope. Tag, your in.

Nirvana - MTV Unplugged in New York - The sheer musical brilliance of the band finds me packing it away in my 5 CD carrier on my one way trip to the lonely island (although Pearl Jam gave it a tough fight for the last spot in my luggage). Nirvana has never been more convincing, more approachable, more real, or more sober. This session is undoubtedly legendary for the stark contrast it portrays of the band that changed the face of alternative music. Get in there.

All packed and ready to go! Well...not really... Why can't I take 16 albums?

Monday, 13 August 2007

Ass for youth?

Namal Rajapaksha has been photographed up and down the country playing the role of the incompetent dictator's benevolent son. I've seen pictures of him in the papers giving gifts to wounded soldiers and also playing rugby in Matale with some of the locals there in order to promote his programme, which is affiliated to his daddy's foresight (or lack of it), titled "Tharunayata Hetak". I came accross this group on Facebook (where else!) which is something like the group of supporters of this, dare i say, project. The title is priceless though.
"Tharunnayata hetak ( asspiration for youth)"
Need I say more?
Although I wonder whose ass perspires for youth once he tucks himself back at the University of Nottingham.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

The Mind-blowing KT Tunstall

Mixing some serious talent with a loop pedal, the gorgeous KT Tunstall turns out some amazing music. Check out this version of Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. One not to miss.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Rockapoluzza!

Although I never did quite agree with the title for the evening, it turned out to be one hell of a gig! In typical Sri Lankan fashion, the gig got under way at 9:15, a good hour and a quarter late, but that was mainly due to the fact that the crowd was slow to trickle in. But, by the time it got going, with 350 people packed into the onyx (including RD - Nice to meet you mate) it was sure to be a good night.

Daddy kicked off the proceedings with a tight, 3 song set, which included their song "Mage Massina". HollowpointHalo followed with Black eyed lullaby, Pardon me (incubus), The Pot (Tool) and Lost Horizon Star. Playing an acoustic set, the line up included Marsh, Ranil, the lil Bass guy and a guy on congos that i'd never seen before. They were tight. They were good. But, to me at least, they lacked the oomph they generally generate.

Next up were us, 10 Second Rule. 'Twas our first gig together and we had a blast. But i'd like to hear what people in the audience thought so please comment:D

Anil was supported by some great musicians and pulled off a good set, which included music from his album "Last few pieces of April". He also did quite a good rendition of Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars, which was well received.

I had been looking forward to getting a taste of Powercut Circus live and they did not fail to deliver. Picture funk mixed psychedelic melodies with an amazing drummer thrown in and some pretty interesting voice effects they were nothing short of different, if not entertaining. I love their compositions. I love how Shehan's bass gels with Dhinesh's beats. It's great! Can't wait to hear more from them.

When I think of Paranoid Earthling, I still think of them as the punk band that played a super cover of The Offspring's "the kids aren't alright" at the 80 Club. Back then their music was more punk, more grunge, and for the faint hearted, more listenable. However, they've taken a turn towards sounding extremely metal-ish. Even favourites such as 69 are sounding heavier than ever, at which point I had to get out of Onyx for some fresh air.

All in all, it was a great night for live music. Rumour has it that the next one is in Kandy.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Live tonight...

There's been a lot of hype about tonight's gig, which does not help calm my, already frazzled, nerves. This being at work is not help. Neither does it help that the closest guitar store does not have any G-strings, let alone E-strings, in stock when i desperately need one! (having broken a string last night at practices).

Well, all hitches aside, 10 Second Rule is finally about to hit the stage. But I like my blog title so I ain't changing it, although, technically at least, my search is over. I digress.

Excited? hell yeah! It's been 8 months since i've been on stage. it's been 4 years since I last played in SL, and that last time was also at Onyx (then known as MKOP). I digress again. Blame it on the nerves.

It's going to be a dive into the deep-end of a freezing pool to be playing alongside some of the biggest names in Sri Lanka, ie HPH, Paranoid Earthling, and, the soon to be famous, Powercut Circus. But it's a good challenge to take on.

See you all tonight!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

10 Second Rule Website

We're just about to launch the website for the band, where you'd be able to find music, pictures, info, etc. You will also be able to vent ur views on the band. It is built entirely on blogger and is still very much a work in progress. But pls feel free to venture into the unknown and let us know what you think.
www.10secondrule.co.nr

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

GIG!

10 Second Rule's first live performance will be on the 3rd of August at Onyx alongside HollowpointHalo, Power Cut Circus, Paranoid Earthling and Anil Balasuriya. We will also be releasing a 10 track album entitled "Monsoon Sunday 2: Storm" on the night. Doors open at 8:30-9 pm methinks. For those of you who are not familiar with venues and who will be down in CMB during that time (i.e. RD) Onyx is at the Taj Samudra.
Be there...somehow!

Monday, 16 July 2007

More 10 Second Rule Music

I've added 2 more songs from my band 10 Second Rule; "Lord Help Me" and "Still". Pls listen in on the flash mp3 player which can be found at the top right-hand corner of this page!

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Rajpal at it again?

Kaiser Koyabashi (on getting beaten up) and Pradeep Jeganathan (rambuttans in jelly i believe) also found here.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Rajpal Abeynaike and the last 24 hours

Over the last 24 hours I've been acknowledged, abused by and apologised to by Rajpal. The reason for this post? Just to make sure the blog sphere (and the ever intrusive and secretive Lakbima Reporter) is kept abreast of what went down.

Chaar~max, a friend of mine, asked me to deal with Lakbima news about a post of his that had been published in last Sunday's paper without his permission. We decided that the best course of action would be to ask for an apology and an explanation as to why the author was not contacted for permissions. I called up Lakbimanews and asked to speak to the editor. I was put through to the business editor, Ashwin Hemawaththegama is the name I believe, to whom I explained the situation. He took my number down. When I asked why they did it, he got abusive, told me to fuck off and hung up.

I called back an hour later and asked to speak to Rajpal, and I was promptly put through. I explained what had happened and I told him that we were considering a few options, including taking legal action and also giving publicity to their ways through other media, including other newspapers. He got abusive and told me to publicise it in New York and the Great Wall of China (why he chose those two places still dumbfounds me). Again he swore at me and hung up.

I called back another hour later and told him that I thought the line got cut mid conversation. I asked him why the permission of the author was not sought. He said that since the article was on a public domain, ie the www, it was usable by anyone. At this point I asked him whether he steals articles off sites such as http://www.bbc.co.uk/ without their permission. He didn't reply. I then brought his attention to the fact that there was a disclaimer on Chaar~max's site stating that the material was not for commercial use. He said he had looked through plenty of blogs and had not paid attention to any licenses or disclaimers. How convenient. He lost his cool again and started shouting at me, at which I kept saying "all we want is an apology". Again he told me to fuck off and hung up.

Later yesterday, he posted a comment on a few blogs. Here's an appetizer of what he said:
" we tried to contact you, but it’s not possible in most of the blogs. We did contact some of the others though, who left contact e mails" - then why did he tell me that if it's in the public domain, he doesn't care who wrote it?
"It’s not as if any stuff was published without credits" - with all due respects, giving the name of the author of the article with the article is all well and good when the author is part of the team of journalists working for the newspaper, but when it is taken off a blog, or a website for that matter, sufficient credit is given only when a link to the website is provided.
"As for that one abusive caller…hh, well.. its difficult to tolerate that..to put it succinctly. Can we keep the abuse out of this?" - if I was abusive, why did he bother to apologise to me?

Last night, while I was having dinner, I got a text, the transcript of which is provided below.
"I think it was a bit of a heat of the moment thing. sorry about that. vil it b possible 2 talk 2 u 2morrow past 2pm. Rajpal."
I replied very abruptly "Call me.i'll see what I can do".

This morning he messages me again.
"in fact why i wanted 2 call u was 2 see if u can write fr us direct under yr psuedonym or name. if u do v vil pay u handsomely. Raj"
which was quickly followed by
"make that 'v will pay u reasonably'"

I ignored the first, replied the 2nd and told him that I don't discuss anything over texts and if he needs to talk to me he knows how to contact me.

So, after having lied profusely on his comment, he texted me apologising for his phone conduct and promising to call me today. I still await his call, but not with baited breath. I'm positive he is unable to keep to his word.

Blogs are where some ppl write in order to vent. Some of those ppl, and I admit not all, do not want their work published, especially in the mainstream. Sri Lankans are taken for a ride by their own kind almost all of the time. But I'm not one to put up with it, especially when it's my friends or I who are taken on the ride.

Rajpal, let me remind you, you don't get respect. You earn it.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

"unusual relationships"

So the coach (Aruna Shantha) and captain (Chandima Akarawita) of the Sri Lanka women's volleyball team were fired yesterday. Who gives you may ask? I personally don't. But the reasons for dismissal are hilarious.

The national women's coach has been banned for 10 years from all activities pertaining to the sport while the captain has lost her status for a period of 2 years. So it must be a serious breach of conduct don't you think?

Well, yes and no. The coach was found in a player's room, which, for obvious reasons, is out of bounds for a male when the whole the team is a bunch of females. Now I think it was fair that he lost his spot. I mean, if he wanted to get a fuck, he didn't need to go on tour for it. By letting his hormones get the better of him while on tour, he lost out on his professional judgment and thus should be penalised. Well done volleyball association.

Now the captain? Read this.
"Chandima lost her status for maintaining an “unusual relationship” with a team-mate Devika Kapilakumari who was severely warned and discharged."

What a bloody laugh! What I don't understand is why bring out the players' sexual orientation, which, in effect, should be personal anyway! The reason for the discharge should have been the same as the coach. Why go to extra lengths to disgrace the players and then name them as well? "Unusual relationship"? Bollocks I say!

A little tact would do them good.

Friday, 6 July 2007

10 Second Jam Session

After a lapse of 2 weeks, we managed to find time to get together for a jam in our trusted joint in Dehiwela. Since we're all working class, the sessions have to be in the night, and this joint is the only one we know of that'll let us play as loud as we want at that time of the night.

The place is not the greatest. It does have air-conditioning which is a big plus. Viran (the owner) has also done a bit of a DIY sound-proofing which adds to the ambience. The room is actually quite small but is big enough for the 3 of us + KP (KP came along to watch us and we ended up making him play percussions on a bass! haha. (yes we're still short of a bassist)). The drum kit could've been a lot better though, considering there's only half a high hat left (the last time we came the other half was there but almost falling off). But, we don't complain. We can't afford to.

So we set up quite quickly, as we play only for 2 hours on one night per week, and had to make the best of our time. We breezed through a 7 song set that included 5 originals and 2 covers (including All these things that i've done - The Killers). We were mucking up in style on maybe 2 songs. Decided to change things around and it sounded great! I decided to do a few things differently to see if it'll add a new flavour to some of the songs. Played around with my amp and put a little delay on the solo for Rain Come and I loved the sound I got. That's probably a change that'll stay!

This is definitely turning out to be a good thing. We're thinking of putting more songs out within the next week or so watch this space!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Jazz Sunday?

I've been dying to go for ages. But each month something always came up. I heard that this time it had been postponed from the 1st of July to this coming Sunday (due to the CR - Kandy match). Can anyone confirm that?

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

HTML help needed!

Bloggers, I need some help! I'm working on the website for 10 Second Rule, which i'm gonna have hosted on blogger, so that it's a band blog rather than a band website. The problem is i'm having HTML woes. I don't know the language at all, so I can't troubleshoot.



See, the issue is, I've uploaded the above picture as my header. On IE7 it sits perfectly, all centred and in the right place. But in firefox, as u can see above, the header jumps the container by about 5px (the grey bits being outside the container). How can i fix that? If any of you can help me, i'll give you the required permissions to the blog in order to rearrange it for me. If you can tell me here, i'd still be grateful!

Pls help! Pls comment if you can help!

Monday, 2 July 2007

A tribute to buffets...

A lazy Sunday afternoon is only truly complete when you sit yourself down at a nicely laid table and tug at the starched napkin, in preparation to feast for two hours. I hadn't done this in quite a while. But yesterday was THE day.

The Blue Waters Sunday buffet is out of this world. I can't even remember all the types of food that I guided into my salivating mouth, but my tummy sure does when it is still trying to process the hefty quantities, nearly 24 hours later.

So smoked seer and mutton korma apart, our table conversation revolved around buffet manners and etiquette. The girls, being all prim and proper, were not prepared to dig in with their fingers when needed. The boys, on the other hand, were adamant that a little farting and burping is required when stuffing yourself with copious amounts of food. See, the theory behind that is, when you swallow a mouthful, you swallow with it air which is already in your throat. So when the air gets into your tummy, it takes valuable space that could well have been attributed to food. So in order to make more room for the yummy food that the chefs took all morning to prepare, which would, in effect, go to absolute waste if we don't stuff more than what our tummy's can hold, we need to fart and burp a little to get rid of the wretched air in our stomachs. Comprehendo?

So Salads, bread, 2 servings of main course, a hefty dessert and 2 hours later, we were sprawled on beach chairs, unable to move, stuffed to the brim with food and no air, only to be told that tea was to be served in 10 minutes.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

X&Y

Enthusiasm is hard to find. Mutual enthusiasm, harder still.
But when you're looking for mutual enthusiasm, mutual interests, common tastes, individual specialities, impeccable talents, similar people, then you're fucked.

And this ain't even for marriage, for which at the end you would be.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Mud Slinger!

I was walking with a mate of mine along Dawson street, Colombo 2. The rains had resulted in lots of water laying stagnant in puddles on the road, coloured brown from the mud of the construction sites nearby. It's only a two lane road so here we were carefully dodging both mud and cars while making our way. We got to a place where the pavement was only one tiny ledge about the width of a brick. It was a little bridge for there was mud on both sides. There was no oncoming traffic so we quickly leaped on to the makeshift bridge and treaded carefully to get to safer, less muddier ground.

We were almost there when suddenly this double cab screeched passed, horns blaring while over-taking the line of traffic heading the same direction as we were. The idiot splashed us both with mud. I was covered up to my waist!

The dimwit, after his rather heroic attempt to hit the speed of sound, was stopped by the traffic lights 20 metres away. That was it. I was frothing. I was wet.

The width of a brick suddenly appeared to me like a sprinter's lane on a 400 metre track. I ran off towards the double-cab. Just when I was almost there, the light turned green and he turned on to union place.

Then to my surprise, there was a bus stopped just there so he couldn't get passed the junction. I started my running again. Caught up to him right in the middle of the junction and pounded on his window! I opened the door and god only knows what flew out of my mouth. He had the face of an angel who had done nothing. I noticed droplets of my spit flow out with my intricately selected words and onto his bald head. I noticed no one, even though I was smack bang in the middle of traffic, right in front of KFC on union place, at the centre of the junction. I think i heard an apology, and an offer to clean me up. I flung the door shut and carried on on my way.

That felt good.
(pls take more care while driving not to splash innocent passers-by with road water. After all, it could be me)

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Goo Kaapang, Goo Kaapang!

The Bradby shield is once again ours after a lapse of 2 years. This is in honour of the team that brought it home. Congratulations boys and thank you!

The heavy rains before the match didn't keep the crowds away. It was packed to capacity and then some. Royal played a better game today than the first leg. Even though the grounds were wet, we played less of a kicking game which worked well. Trinity used their captain Shaun as much as they possibly could. It was tough work to bring down that huge, burly forward who was steam rolling through our defences. But we did well to keep him at bay.

The final score of the match read 15 (a goal, a try and a penalty) to 11 (a try and 2 penalties) in favour of Royal. The aggregate score, 35 - 23.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

10 second rule - Rain Come. Listen first here!






The single "Rain Come" ran on radio on Sunday night. If you missed it, have a listen on this blog. Hit the play button on the mp3 player on the right. You might have to wait for it to load thanks to Sri Lankan broadband speeds. Please let us know what you think!
(thanks B for sorting out my flash player woes!)

Sunday, 17 June 2007

10 Second Rule debuts tonight on radio...

10 Second Rule's first single "Rain Come" airs this evening on TNL. The band comprises of Aadhil on vocals/guitars, Myself on guitars, Naveen on drums.
Watch this space for more news.

Royal Up...Shakespeare Down...

What an eventful day was yesterday! The highlights of which were traffic jams, the rugger match, and the shakespeare girls finals.

I was just about to leave for the Roy-Tho rugger match when i got news that the authorities were checking every vehicle entering Colombo! So an hours delay later I managed to find myself at the CR&FC. Not so surprisingly, thanks to the checkpoints, the stands were far from full.

Great game. Well it is always great when your team wins. It was close at 22-18 at the final whistle. I thought Royal had the opportunity of scoring atleast 2 more tries, but as has been evidenced right throughout the season, Royal lacks the capability and capacity to add the required finishing touch to their plays. Much to the disbelief of Royal fans, the ref didn't see a blatantly obvious forward pass by the Thomian three quarters which led to their second try. This was followed by hoots of "referee horaa!", "referee mahindata puka denava" (incidentally MR's son played the match for Thora), "okath mahinda chinthanayeda?" "heta thamuseta ministry ekak!"...oh well:)...

The Shakespeare finals ended in a farce! The plays were great. But the comedy began when the judges and the organizers took the stage to make the presentations. They made the nominees for each award come up on stage, then picked the winner while the others had to walk off like idiots! The actual result nearly brought the house down. Ave maria walked off with first prize while LC came last. SBC strode in at 2nd place. The general reaction was that LC's performance was a cut above the rest and they deserved to win. The judges thought otherwise. SBC on the other hand were rubbish, and nevertheless ended up 2nd.

hmmm. Hoping for a better performance by the judges tonight.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Two Cents.

Won Bradby. Super Kandy. Into Shakespeare Finals. Look forward. First Jam Session. New band. 10 second rule. Roy-Tho Rugger. Shakes finals. Good week. I like.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

10 ways to keep yourself occupied at work...

10. Let your thoughts wander outdoors as your stare at a gorgeous day through the window from the confines of your seat. Think of where you'd rather be.
9. Email colleagues and ask em if they want to have a break. (after all it's been a tiring day!)
8. Chat on MSN, on which you will find other friends also lost at work.
7. Take a peak at your colleague's screen. Find out what he's/she's doing. Anything interesting?
6. Daily Mirror - find out which of our political babies wet his nappy today.
5. BBC - for more readable news.
4. Kottu for your daily dose of Sri Lanka bashing.
3. Check your emails...if you haven't got any new ones, read your old ones.
2. Let out the nosy, cough i mean intrusive, choke no i mean inquisitive side in you on Facebook and find out what everyone is upto, who is messaging whom, what the new goss is, who broke up with whom, etc. You know you want to...
1. Keep hitting refresh on your browser while signed into either Kottu, Facebook, or your Inbox and hope for the best...

Disclaimer - This is a work of fiction. I sell kimbula banis at tea time to office workers, and they share their stories with me. Hence this list. I do not in any shape or form have access to a computer at work. If I did, I would never indulge in any such unproductive activity. (it really isn't me boss!)

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Band Names Anyone?

So we're looking for a band name. We're not too fussed. Funny, witty, creative, stupid, dark, etc., it doesn't matter. Have u got any ideas? Please share:)

Monday, 28 May 2007

"Acoustic Jams", what went down...

Last evening I headed down to Sugar (the new bar above H2O) for the acoustic gig organised by Yes FM. It was a gig that was different in ways, yet plainly stereotypical in others.
It was great to see Yes FM get in on the act in a market usually dominated by TNL, gig hosting wise. Entrance was by invite only, which was great cause there was no cost involved, and the show was scheduled to kick off at the sundown hour of 6; a nice change from what we've come to expect of such gigs which generally start late. Early start meant early finish; perfect for when monday blues are what's left to expect.
The show actually got going at 6pm Sri Lanka Standard Time (note to reader: generally when this is used expect a delayed start. This time please add 30 minutes to the given time) which wasn't that bad. The crowd was trickling in at that time and there was plenty of space to walk around. USB (Usually Sounds Better) played a few great covers to start things off. Ben Harper's version of Sexual Healing was nicely pulled off. This was followed by a mediocre Cynosure. The band has potential, but a lack of creativity amongst their ranks has ensnared upon them the curse of predictability. They pick obviously hacked songs that have been played over and over again and play em as close to the original as possible. I'm sorry but I don't have much respect for such musicians.
Next up was Ranga accompanied by Shafi. Seemed like they hadn't practiced much, which resulted in a so-so performance. Soul Skinner were good, the first band to actually play an original on the night. They are lucky to have amongst their ranks too amazing guitarists who suddenly spring out into dazzling solos.
Azlan took the stage next with his 12 string accompanied by Joel on bass and a bloody amazing lead guitarist. I haven't the foggiest what his name is but I wish I knew. He's the guy who played lead for the soloists at TNL Onstage, as well as at Simplicity. Now you know who he is don't you?:) So anyway, wow this band was nothing short of entertainment! They got the crowd going really well. Again it was all covers, which was slightly disappointing, but done differently so Yay. The highlights of their performance for me were their cover of "What goes around comes around" (JT), when the whole crowd started singing "Time of your life" together, and finally the scintillating and mezmerising leads! This guy has the most humble look on his face when he plays the most riveting lead parts, as if to say that he is too shy to handle everyone's awe inspired appreciation. Top marks.
It was plainly too obvious that everyone was waiting to catch a glimpse of the ever elusive Hollow Point Halo. Ranil, Marsh and Roshan took the stage carrying the burden of everyone's expectations. They started strong with a track that I hadn't heard from them before. This was followed by "Lost Vegas Star", which was nothing short of amazing. Having heard them play the same song at Simplicity, I think they've improved on greatness and achieved what they played yesterday. Next up was "Sacred Ordinary", one of my favourite HPH songs. I can't understand why they've taken it off their website. Finally, and to meet the anticipation of the masses, they belted out their rendition of TOOL's "the pot". Special mention must be made of the pint-sized bassist who matched Ranil's brilliance, off-beat for off-beat.
Having stood for 3 and a half hours straight for lack of seating, my knees couldn't handle another copycat cover and walked out while Jada performed. However, I heard from a reliable source that Shaun (formerly from Jacob's Ladder) had rocked the house towards the end.
All in all, great show. However, I was disappointed with the choice of venue. Sugar is no doubt a great bar. But that's just it, it's a bar, not a live music venue. The stage is set in an awkward angle, most of it is blocked by the imposing bar which looms a few feet away and directly infront of it. Add to that the looming speakers being placed right infront of stage covering half the band, and 80% of the crowd could not see who was playing. Luckily I went and stood my frame right infront, making sure that the remaining 20% had to crane over my shoulders to get a peak. Selfish? damn straight!
Now, what i'd like to see is a great gig, but this time with music the way it's meant to be. Enough of the acoustics, bring on the big guns!

Sunday, 27 May 2007

I love the country, I hate the place.

Recently, in the course of conversation I asked a foreigner what he thought of Sri Lanka. He replied "I love the country, I hate the place". I can't remember who the man was, but these words are etched in my mind and eerily haunt me.

When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that Sri Lanka is no doubt a country to love, and for all the right reasons too, but then it's such a difficult place to live in for many more reasons than one. You know what? He could not have been more spot on.

Everyone knows we live on a gold mine of opportunity. But everyone has known that for the last 50 years. We can keep blaming the war, but that's not just it. I have my own reasons as to why we are what we are. They centre mainly around you and I and everyone else. Instead of digging out the gold, we've done well to take out the rocks and then gloat over our accomplishments, sit back over a nice rice and curry, and fatten ourselves just before dozing off for our afternoon siesta.

Living life here is a struggle, and the people, our people, don't make it any easier. To me, the mentality of the public is the main reason for our shortfall, and we don't seem to know how to cut our losses. I'm limiting myself to a few things that irk me as I don't want to be typing this post till stupid-o-clock in the morning 3 days from now.

I can't stand the fact that we lack pro activeness. Ok granted we're not go getters by nature and we love to blame it partly on our island culture, but that's a load of bollocks. What i'm talking about here is we'd rather sit back and sip our plain tea if we can have someone else do the dirty work for us. To use simple examples, how many times have you felt like you wanted a drink but you were too lazy to go to the fridge so you shouted for someone else to get you one? If you wanted something from a store, how many times have you asked someone to get it for you on their way, never wanting to go out of your way to get what you need? It's frustrating to see people just sit and ask others to do their dirty work. It's even more frustrating when the people who help you don't get their due share. Peons, drivers and maids come cheap but are also used like cheap whores. Paid almost next to nothing and then treated like dirt, just so that we wouldn't have to sweat that extra drop to fulfil our very own needs. If only we were just that much more proactive in our own lives, we'd frustrate ourselves and others less, which can only be a good thing.

It's a dog eat dog world out there, and Sri Lankans are real bitches. We're marketed as a friendly nation, but how much of that is true? We wouldn't give the time of day to others with a smile on our face, let alone their right of way. We couldn't care much for the success of others. A simple compliment is something you have to slave for. Respect is never heard of, especially from the top of the social ladder towards the bottom since everyone expects the smaller folk to kiss their bums with the wettest of lips at every turn. We'd always be the first to talk shit about others, always looking for misgivings rather than achievements. "my god do you know what that girl is doing?", "that bugger is making so much money, what an arse hole", "do you know that she has put on so much of weight?". If only we'd be nicer to people, they'd be nicer to us. But then again, us being as un-proactive as we are, we're always waiting for the other to make the first move eh? A little humility would go a long way. But that's too much to ask. A little respect, well, that's unheard of.

Sri Lanka is beautiful. It's home. But it's increasingly frustrating to live here and I blame the people. Sri Lanka has the potential to be great. But we, as it's people, just have no direction. I love my country, I just hate the place.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Bassist Anyone?


Bassist wanted for an alternative band. Preferably someone who can slap bass and also who has fast fingers. Even if you can't that's fine:) Influences include Pearj Jam, Dave Matthews, Gin Blossoms, Incubus, Alice in Chains, Muse, The Wallflowers, Goo Goo Dolls, etc etc. The band plays mainly originals with a few covers thrown in.


Whatever your capabilities, we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here with your contact details or email aftab_aziz@hotmail.com.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

"i'm sorry for when i have fallen short..."

Tony Blair announced his resignation today in front of 250 party activists in his constituency. 27th June will be the day he steps down. A little over 10 years in power of the United Kingdom.

Of everything that happened over the last 10 years he will, unfortunately, be remembered for being the British Prime Minister who kissed the arse of American Idol (pls note sarcasm) Dubliya. It's a real pity that everything else that he achieved over the last 10 years would be overshadowed by that one decision he made.

To me he is a great leader. One that actually stood by the choices he made. One that stood up tall to the strongest winds. One that could still win elections when everyone had written him off. One that saw many an opposition stand up to him and fail. More importantly, one that could apologise for not being perfect.

I've got nothing but respect for him.

Maybe in his retirement we can persuade him to conduct "winning elections for dummies" - crash course to election success.

In other news, blowjobs lead to throat cancer. Eat your 5-a-day vegies boys.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Exam Baila?!

mai, juni, juli kaale
magul wadi lu,
ey kaaleta mey loke dhan
thavath ledak lu,

uthsava kal athurin
thavath jaramarayak,
aiyo, budu ammo! mey
vibhaga kadayak!

umbe mey exam ekata hondata
paadam karapang,
kivwa ne appachchi
sarama andina gaman.

paadam kalath mokuth
hithe hitinne na!
nidhaganna puluwan kota
pothak balanna ba!

"vibhaga liyana kota
copy karanna ba bung",
ehenang invigilator sir
ugannala deepang!

vibhaga liyala kollo
katadha hari giye,
gedara indang ice gahanna
niyama jeewithe!

(the author is suffering from extreme insanity induced by the sri lankan examination system. apologies.)

Sunday, 29 April 2007

One country...one people

I've never been through anything more surreal.

I was at the CH & FC watching Sri Lanka bat when suddenly we heard what sounded like a couple of explosions. The electricity was shut off. 1500 people were stranded in the dark. No one was let out. No one was let in to the grounds. Then there was gun fire which was followed by a burst of flares from all directions of Colombo's night sky. Surprisingly everyone didn't panic. We got news that Colombo was under attack. No one knew exactly what was going on though.

Then everything quietened down.

About an hour after the lights went out, they were turned back on again. The screens were still turned off so no one knew what was happening to the match. At that point i'm not sure many people cared. People were too busy finding out whether their loved ones were ok, if they could get on the already congested mobile networks. But a little while after the lights were turned on, there was another burst of a million flares that lit up the night sky. It would've looked gorgeous if not for the emergency of the situation. There was more gun fire. And then we saw a plane in the sky. Everyone panicked. The main ground lights were turned off. People were breaking the bulbs of the lights in the food stalls in order to get the whole place dark again. Then the electricity was turned off again. People started running everywhere. Some were crying. Some were just sitting there.

I'm proud to be from where I am. We, as a people, have been through a lot. Alot more than what others have been through. We've grown up through war and strife. We've gone to school amongst bombs going off and people being killed. I'm proud of what our people have become. I'm proud of the fact that everyone at the CH, whatever their religion, race, caste or creed were worried about each others families.

What happened to the world cup? I don't really care. I'm proud of the way our team played right throughout. We're an island nation at war, but we still conquered the world in my heart. I'm proud to be Sri Lankan.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Virginia Tech Massacre - Our Government's Fuck Up

It's common knowledge that Cho Seung-Hui killed 32 before taking his own life.

Doing the dutiful diplomatic doodah resulted in our government offering condolences to the US by way of the following statement (which can be found as reported in the Daily Mirror here).

"The Government of Sri Lanka condemns, in no uncertain terms, the appalling, senseless killing of 31 innocent students and teachers, at the Virginia Tech University in Virginia, USA recently.

As citizens of a country deeply conscious of the value of non-violence, we share the feelings of grief borne by the people of the United States of America.


We convey our deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this tragedy and to all those who were, either directly or indirectly, affected by it."

Wouldn't a little bit of the professed "chinthana" have gone a long way and prevented causing considerable embarrassment to the Sri Lankan people?

I also wonder whether our government sends out condolences to Iraq, Sudan, and other places where such numbers and then some are killed on a daily basis by disturbed suicidal people.

I guess it's a case of lust after the sexiest arse. After all, kissing a miserable, unshapely one is not gonna be of any use.

Monday, 23 April 2007

...until the next time

An ode to the friends and memories I left behind in Hull, UK. How I miss it...



Friday, 20 April 2007

Death by Bureaucracy

What a bright and sunny morning. Stark contrast to the heavy rains of last week. But the gloom of exams still hangs over. Short of notes. 5 days to go. Headed over to the Open University first thing in the morning so that i could buy a few books and then head to work.

I get there at 2 minutes to 9. Obviously, the shop was closed. My private sector punctuality was a mismatch to his public sector career. The King of the bookshop entered his court at a quarter past 9. Smart looking chap. I underestimated his insight into his job. See, he manages the bookshop for all the subjects taught at the Open Uni, so there are a bloody lot of books there. So i never expected him to know what I was looking for. But lo and behold, I had to only mention the subjects and he swiftly pulled out what i needed. Maybe government servants were on the ball after all. hmm. He starts writing out what I thought was a receipt.

I pull out my wallet. Count out the cash. He hands me the paper he was scribbling on. Tells me to take it upstairs (which is a bit of a distance away considering his throne was at the back of the building) and pay it at the finance department. Sweet. Maybe I shouldn't have underestimated him cause he was only following orders and he did what he had to do well. But I should've known his department was going to spring this one on me. But I made the mistake of underestimation again.

See, I thought I could stroll into the finance department, pay the thing, come back, get my books and go. How wrong I was.

So I go up to the cashier and surrender the paper. He takes one look at it, gives it back and tells me to get it signed from an office "over there". So i head "over there" and ask the first guy I see who should I get this signed from. He points me over to a table which is surrounded by many eager ladies pulling at goodies that lay on the table as if it were a screaming nugegoda vedor's ware on a saturday afternoon. So this lady seated behind the desk, who was the nugegoda vendor's substitute, quickly puts away a saree and jumps when she sees me there with my paper. She quickly signs it, obviously embarrassed like a nugegoda vendor when caught selling fake goods. Then she points me to another "over there" and tells me to get it signed again by a manager. At this point I'm thinking WHY? So I go to the manager. He pulls out a calculator and checks to see whether the King (remember him?) has got the amount right. He signs it. I heave a sigh of relief. Head over back to the cashier who takes about 15 minutes to write out the actual receipt. Finally I get it and head back to the King who is in the middle of a long chat about the cricket with 3 others in his court. He takes the receipt without looking at how much I had paid, hands me the books, and finally i'm on my way...

Why couldn't he have taken the payment in the first place? Wouldn't that make the whole process alot more productive for both myself and the department?

Bloody red tape...You'll be the death of me.