Monday, June 29, 2009

Buhay na buhay

In the Homily during yesterday's Mass, the priest made a good point regarding life. He explained that while death is the complete loss of life (though theologically and based on my Catholic upbringing I believe it can be regarded as the beginning of eternity - in St. Francis' Prayer "It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.") we actually lose part of our life force through the pain, suffering, sickness and other tribulations that we experience as we journey in this physical word. It is quite easy to imagine what pain, suffering and sickness are. What is too often difficult to realize are the small things, the minute losses that we experience that we tend to disregard as insignificant yet in summary contributes to a larger loss.

The bottomline is we should keep in check these "losses," both the obvious and the not so obvious types. I liked the analogy to the cell phone where references to being low batt and needing recharging should remind us of the healing power of faith and that it is by God's grace that we are restored. I would just like to add a personal note on this. We should also learn to "let go" if not most of the time (that it is necessary) then at least once in a while. As they say...don't sweat the small stuff. I myself am guilty of making mountains out of molehills and most of the time this occurs in my mind - a surefire way of getting stressed out with only oneself to blame.

Take the case of a meeting I attended last week. As we sat waiting for our room to be prepared, the lawyer beside me mentioned something. I had to ask him again what he said as it didn't immediately register what with our preliminaries on the contract we were to discuss as well as the work activities for our project. I must admit I was a bit surprised and pleasantly amused by his observation..."Ang ganda ng paintings. Buhay na buhay ang kulay." In my many previous visits to various offices such as the legal office where we had our meeting, I had always had my brain full of things we regarded as important yet in my preoccupation, I failed to see what was around...nice paintings indeed. These are but simple things we often disregard, we often assume are trivial and yet we lose something when we fail to appreciate such little things around us, forgetting that God is in these little things - we are restored in so many ways that we have always tended to diminish.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Freeflow Music

It's been quite a while again since the last post and I had wanted to write about recent trips to Davao and Baguio. I haven't been to Davao since 2000 (that's nine years) and Baguio since 2004 (five years ago) so I'm raring to describe these places as I remember them last time I was there. Baguio will always have a special mention as it was the city where I did my first gig after graduation. It wasn't as crowded then but all indications pointed to a problematic future. But that's another story and I promise to write about this soon.

Meanwhile, allow me to talk about the music I love to listen to. I must admit that I listen to a variety of genres and was hooked on Jazz and New Age for quite some time while I was living in Japan. The radio programs in Tokyo and Yokohama made that possible and they were more (much more) welcome than the J-Pop that dominated the airwaves. However, the CDss I purchased told a different story. Most were of artists who were popular during my high school and early college years.

New wave albums and recordings by bands like A Flock of Seagulls, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and the Housemartins alongside the more pop Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and Tears for Fears seemed too difficult to find when I was in Manila and the CD stores in Japan offered delight as I haunted the gigantic Tower Records in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. But most fruitful were expeditions to the smaller shops that also offered used CDs in excellent condition. I found that such CDs included imported ones from Europe, more specifically the UK, where the New Wave sound reigned supreme back in the 80s.

The result was a hoard of CDs taken home everytime I took a vacation. I just wanted to secure my own collection while I had the resources and the sources for the music I would play again and again and again. I've managed to rip some of them unto my MP3 player and get more music via friends and what used to be the popular sharing sites in the net.

On the FM radio back home in Manila, I have always looked forward to Fridays. 89.9 always had Friday Magic Madness on and it allowed for some reminiscing. Now I can put myself in my father's shoes when I imagine how it must be from back in the 70 to the present, to be missing the music of the good old days and loving times whe you can sit, relax and just listen to such music. Don't get me wrong. I also love standards and other "old" music. But let's be realistic, these are not the music that defined MY good old days.

These days, I've always looked forward to Fridays AND Saturdays. Friday Magic Madness is still holding steady but the selection can get quite predictable especially for one who's usually tuned in on Fridays. A welcome surprise is 88.3's Slide on Friday's and it would in my opinion give 89.9 a run for its money if people attempt to surf stations. The real deal of course is Freestate Sound on 88.3 Saturday mornings 9 to 12. The show distinctively features Manchester music and became quite amusing not just because of the lively (and lovely) DJ but the cuts that seem to have been resurrected from some old "baul". Indeed, 3 hours of bliss always made my day. But let's not forget the whole day treat that is Saturday's at 99.5. The 6 to 9 pm should be difficult to overlook and would complete the day if not save the week.