Saturday, March 03, 2007
One good thing about the digital age and mp3’s is that you get to have fun preparing your playlist to help you during long traveling hours. And thanks to the great minds of Steve Jobs et al Ipod has been the great reprieve of all the commuters who just can’t leave home without their entire Album collections.
I mean who would have though 15 years ago that one can bring 1000 of their favorite songs to everywhere they go minus the heavy baggage. It’s pure genius if I may say so. And just like the saying “you are what you eat”, I’d even extend that to “you are what you listen”.
I remember one time, DJ MoTwister was tinkering with my Ipod during a shoot and was surprised with the tracks in my collection. “What? No Beyonce’s?” “You must be an artistic dude.” He gamely concluded. It’s this labeling that I didn’t really liked, I just felt that the rationalizing was a bit off. But I took the comments with a grain of salt, didn’t bother to explain myself.
No Beyonce’s because I just didn’t have time to upload her songs really. But if I had the time, a track or two would end up there I’m pretty sure. Not a lot of pop songs in my Ipod simply because I get to hear a lot of them in the radio anyway so no use for me to rip them off and clutter my playlist, there my reason.
I’m really quite eclectic when it comes to my list – from let’s say artists Opera Diva Maria Calas to Marylyn Manson, or from Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain to Aegis Basang-basa Sa Ulan. I like the tracks simply because their great to listen to and not because of the genre that they belong to.
I love listening from Jobim’s Bossa Nova to Hotdog’s Bossa Manila, I dig British Alternative Rock and French Hip Hop. I love world music a lot because I get to sample and experience their culture by doing so. It’s almost like traveling aurally.
The coming backpack journey is definitely a great excuse to spend time preparing the songs that I’ll be listening to. The film buff in me is so excited to come up with the tracks for my bohemian diary. I mean a lot of great Road Movies owe a lot of their success to their classic soundtracks – From “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” in THELMA AND LOUISE, to “I Will Survive” in PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, to the cult movie classic EASY DRIVER theme song and 60’s battlecry “Born to be Wild”, these tracks have cemented their claim as the best soundtracks of our lives.
I’m a sucker for Road Movies so it’ll be orgasmic to prepare a soundtrack for this journey. I’ll name it – BOHEMIAN EARCANDY. And it’ll include in no particular order:
PAO'S BOHEMIAN EARCANDY
1) “Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it's all right…”
HERE COME’S THE SUN by NINA SIMONE from the album HERE COME’S THE SUN
Great when on the beach and while basking under the glorious heat. Summer lovin here we go...
2) CARNAVAL DO SAO VICENTE by CESARIA EVORA from the album HOTEL COSTE: LA SUITE
I mean really, who would have thought that latin diva Cesaria Evora, who was a hit during the 50’s would be goddess to clubbers from Ibiza to Sao Paolo. Thanks to Superstar DJ Stephanie Pompougnac, the diva legend lives on.
3) SUMMER BREEZE by SEALS AND CROFTS from the Album SUMMER BREEZE
I don’t care if they tag it as a stoner song, I really think that it’s one of the best songs that represents the carefree era that has long been gone. This 1972 track has been covered gazillion times by countless artists
but the haunting rendition of Seals and Croft is definitely still the one to beat … every body now “Summer Breeze, makes me feel fine… blowing through the jasmine in my mind…”
4) “And I'm high enough from all the waiting to ride a wave on your inhaling…”
BREATHE IN by Imogene Heap of Frou Frou from the Album DETAILS
Aside from Moony, Imogene Heap is up there as one of my favorite female musicians. This enigmatic vocal lead of the group Frou-frou became mainstream idol thanks to TV’s Grey’s Anatomy. I’d even include “HIDE AND SEEK” here on the list but I’m limiting one song per artist.
5) “Last night I had a dream about you… In this dream I'm dancing right beside you”
DIGITAL LOVE by DAFT PUNK from the album DISCOVERY
I’m so in love with this song, I’m so in love with the artist, I’m so in love with the music video… heck I’m so in love with the commercial of Sony even, all just because they’re using this as a soundtrack. It’s playful, bubblegum, and it just basically brings the kid in you.
6) SPIRIT by CHICANE featuring JEWEL from the album EASY TO ASSEMBLE
This is one of the few tracks that makes me teary-eyed every time I hear it. There’s just so much history between me and this song that it will always be a staple song for me everywhere I go. It’s up there in my very own compilation if ever I do get to assemble a soundtrack for my life. It’s sad and hopeful at the same time. And Jewel is just amazing, I was so looking forward to this album. It’s probably one of the most highly anticipated electronic album that didn’t get to be released. I remember that there were samples from Warner floating before on some stores but for some reason they pulled it out and decided not to release it anymore. Strange.
7) CUCURUCUCU PALOMA by Adolfo Agustin from the album HAPPY TOGETHER SOUNDTRACK.
This is an example of a great track that helped a movie a great deal. I’m a fan of director Wong Kar Wai, and probably, a lot of his fans will agree that one of the most haunting images in his long line of films is when he beautifully captured the magnificent Iguazu Falls of Argentina while Adolfo Agustin’s CUCURUCUCU PALOMA plays on the background. That alone, and if I had the budget, I’ll get a ticket to Buenos Aires and fly there tomorrow just to marvel at the great river.
8) “Ecstasy's the birthright of our gang.. free your heart of guilt and shame
come and claim what's yours - the whole shebang”
THE WHOLE SHEBANG by GRANT LEE BUFFALO from the album VELVET GOLDMINE SOUNDTRACK
Another great song from a movie soundtrack, this is glam rock homage at its best. I always listen to this just before the start of a long day. It’s one of those great mantras that tells you to seize the day and claim the great opportunity that’s presented to you. If yah work for it… then have fun with the taking.
9) “Can you hear me calling? And I … I wanna be with you everywhere”
EVERYWHERE by LNM PROJEKT featuring Bonnie Bailey from the album HED KANDI: WINTER 2004
This is a bit old and I’m pretty sure has been in everyone’s list two years ago, but it’s one of those that’s quintessentially a “journey” song. It’s like a Christmas song that gets to be played every time the season sets in, this time for summer. And I mean, Bonnie Bailey, who would have thought, the great artist really breaks down barriers. I can see the Chi-chi Makati crowd dancing to her other track “Firefly”, then you open your boobtube you see the Sexbomb dancers strutting to “Ever After”. “Everywhere’s” right down the middle I would say so.
10) “Revolutions in my head…”
SOUTHSIDE by KALA from the Album MANILA HIGH
I love the Special K mix of this track. I remember asking JP, their bassist about the title of the remix, and I remember he just gave me a naughty grin. Kidding aside, this has gotta be one of the coolest local Chillax. The original mix is great too. Dirty Southerns unite – this is the national anthem for people living in Paranaque, Alabang, Las Pinas, Santa Rosa… it’s great to listen to if your heading down south and it’s rush hour.
There you go… 10 sweet ear-candies that I’m happy to share with you.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Packing is a serious thing. I’m so used to cramming things when I’m traveling that I usually put packing in my least priority, only to find out that I’ve forgotten something important when I’m already at a certain place. This year I’m actually taking packing seriously. So serious that I think it’s a bit O.A. already. I’ve started packing three months ago.
No joke. I started buying stuff, just before Christmas. The hair wax that I’m bringing for example, not that I’ve used for it now, I just bought it in a whim thinking that my hair would grow to an unmanageable length when I’m traveling. It's difficult to get a haircut if you cant understand the language of your stylist, in Bangkok for example I ended up with dreadlocks.
I bought two flip-flops, just in case I loose the other - during my last travel, while on a boat trip to another island, one of my flips fell off in the sea. Stupid me I had to walk the sandy beaches of Nha Thrang with my sneakers. I bought a cool tiny flashlight which I think will be very useful. I was in this small village in northern Laos last time and they usually turn the electricity off at 12midnight. I was in a bar that night and I had to take a pee, tipsy, I had to find my way in the dark, ended up in the ladies loo, was so embarrassed. Moral of the story, don’t drink in dodgy bars with no generator.
I bought a couple of drab t-shirts, don’t really have enough money to spend this time for my travel so I had to contend myself with sizes bigger. Those shirts that are usually the last to go off-the-rack. Good thing that they're buy-one-take-one. I had to cut them with scissors just below the waist and the neckline to funky them up a bit... I saw this DIY tips in V-Man mag so I knew that I’m on the right side of fashion. Accidentally cut my finger though, so there were blodstains all over. All this trouble to salvage the drab shirts. But then again, style before comfort I keep telling myself, as if it really matters to where I’m going.
My friend Nathan told me to bring a toy or a small doll that will serve as my alter-ego, a mascot or some sort. Strange that I’ve read this on a travel journal, and apparently a lot of backpackers usually do this more like as a good luck charm or something. He told me to bring a teddy, but I find it too queer really. And I mean it’s too predictable. He suggested to bring the voodoo looking dolls that I got the last time but I felt that it’s too creepy. The last thing I'd want to do is to scare off my fellow travelers.
So for the last week I was actually on a search of a toy that I’ll bring around. I want something light and something interesting. It’ll be fun to shoot this toy during the entire leg of the travel think of it as a jetsetting toy ala the garden gnome in the movie Amelie.
I was picking-up the toys of my niece one day when I saw this weird looking rubber ducky. That gave me the idea, a rubber ducky that travels, how uncanny I told myself. It's so iconic. No kid's growing up years will be complete without the rubber ducky. Thanks to Ernie and Bert, heck rubber duckies have been great alternatives for childless homosexual couples. My niece’s rubber duck is a bit big and I want something small that I can keep in my pocket… so I went to the mall to look for a toy duck.
And by stroke of luck I found this cool violet rubber ducky. It’s so unbelievably campy. Just the right size to keep inside my pocket. I've never had a duck when I was growing up and I believe that it was responsible for the lack of my cognitive growth. I’m gonna have great fun with my new mascot I told myself… it’ll be a great conversation piece with the travellers that we'll meet… a small violet duck inside my pants… grins*.
So… three months of packing brought me a hair wax, two flip-flops, a couple of drab-turned-fab shirts, a flash light, and a violet duck… boy am I so prepared.
I guess cramming is really the way for me to go… oh well.