Saturday, August 25, 2007

Battered Skates

Crooning on my STEREO:
4 In The Morning by GWEN STEFANI

Figure skating is a bloody good sport; it tones your butt, it doesn't make you sweat like a pig and it puts your friends in awe of you. It is hardly dangerous (except when you FALL and another skater happens to skid through your fingers), it is socially condusive (chances is that you wont meet pervs within the ice area) and it trains you to be empathetic. (ie, feel sorry for the poor souls who stumble around you.)

I was once a figure skater during medieval times. Before you choke on your coffee, I am reminiscing approximately 7 years ago when I used to camp around different ice rinks and lugged my 5kg ice skates to various countries abroad. To prove it:- here's a stale photo I took on the frozen lake in front of Hampton Palace.

My supremity on the ice meant that I ended up giving free twirling lessons to fellow stumbling skaters. The kids worshipped me and the chavs fancied me. Glory.

I admit, if I had lived in the United States and began ice training when I was three, I would've made it to Salt Lake by last year. I would have participated in the Winter Olympics. I would have a hotter bod.

But of course, my existence was destined for another mundane purpose. Oh well...

I was at a competitve stage before I retired from this sport. 7 years ago, I was training religiously at the Nottingham Ice Arena. I was preparing for an exam where I have to compete against 12 year old pre-teen rival. (yes, I know: skaters are getting younger.) I had come to a level where I could jump effortlessly and spin without throwing up gas.

One fine day, I discovered binge drinking. I discovered clubbing. I found greater solace in getting myself highly intoxicated at parties than locking myself up in a refrigerator. Thats when I stopped turning up at ice trainings. And I did not renew my lessons. And I got fat, which obviously had its lasting impression on me.

My ice skates lay battered til today. I had ferried them from London, Spain and now, back home. And I hadn't put them on since Nottingham. If I were to stick my feet back in, I wouldn't remember the professional basics of lacing them up properly.

I used to think that my ice skates were so pretty. I even had my name engraved on them, and I even personalised my ice shields with different colours.

But why had I abandoned them so suddenly? Why can't the same kind of love be rekindled after its loss? I don't know if I will bring them with me when I move abroad next year.

My life is a slippery skating vacation; I have been so lucky not to have my fingers sliced up by the oncoming skaters.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Morning

Crooning on my STEREO:

This is indeed an unusual Sunday morning for me. I am awake at 10a.m, still in my PJs and dragon breath. No hangover. No miserly hole in my pocket. I sprained my back.

Or rather, I didn't quite go out the night before. I only had ONE drink at a friend's place where I mourned about how 75% of my friends are plastic fishes and how they should all be kept in an aquarium. This is a very depressing metaphor; a truth which I somehow always knew, but I never had the guts to press 'delete' on my social keyboard. You can have 500 friends on Facebook but only 5 would even care to know where your house is.

Consequently I dreamt of Giorgio Armani who urged me to buy a pair of sandals off him. His words of advice were, "start kicking pests out of your life." My thoughts were, " I will kick YOU for burning a hole in my wallet."

Just like any underpaid employee, I have financial issues. Eventhough I am so assured that 2008 is going to be a turnaround year, I still have 4 more months to plod through 2007. So its a matter of killing time and earning interest in my bank account.

Financial and social issues are the least of my concerns. The love issue is pivotal, and my life is more or less gauged by its strength. I watched Un Viaggio Chiamato Amore and I saw my personal fears rolled out before me.

Yeah, I worry.

I relate to Dino Campana's manic disillusion of love. And I also acquaint my great grief in Sibilla Aleramo's unrequited passion. The freaky bit is that the two characters constitute me, but perhaps, not my lover.

In any case that you are wondering, they are both great poets. In love.

I am trying to get hold of a copy of Orphic Songs, which will give us a breathtaking translation of Dino's poem below:-

In un momento
Sono sfiorite le rose
I petali caduti
Perché io non potevo dimenticare le rose
Le cercavamo insieme
Abbiamo trovato delle rose
Erano le sue rose erano le mie rose
Questo viaggio chiamavamo amore
Col nostro sangue e colle nostre lagrime facevamo le rose
Che brillavano un momento al sole del mattino
Le abbiamo sfiorite sotto il sole tra i rovi
Le rose che non erano le nostre rose
Le mie rose le sue rose

P.S. E così dimenticammo le rose.

Grief turns one into insanity. Madness turns one into a genius. I can only cry at the sight of these eternal words. And how it aptly describes my current crossroads; I really cannot handle love.

And I am sure that this is the same for many of us.

Okay, on a lighter note. Just when I thought that my acting career was on the decline, I found this pirate DVD.

Sorry about the boobies. Its an art film, y'see?

You may remember that I worked as a film extra in London 3 years back. (Oh, how i miss those days of lunching in trailers with other fascinating stars-to-be. During this shoot, I even fancied the casting assistant...)

Back to my self-indulgent point, the kind director DID NOT remove my cameo, so try and spot me !!! (eventhough i resemble a downtrodden Chinese immigrant. Don't worry, I am not naked.)

Oh, this feature is going on the big screens in Europe, Singapore and other liberal Asian countries.

And hey, this is not porn.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

We will meet soon.

Crooning on my STEREO:
Last Night by DIDDY feat Keyshia Cole

I've been in this rotten TV industry for too long; I've forgotten what constitute great films and I've also disregarded their crucial existence in my mundane life. You see, I've recently been watching so much of telly trash that I am led to believe that either this world is stupid, or the tube is stupid. Or both.

It's all in the name of work. It has made me benign. I think that I was a lot smarter when I was a student. My Phd hormones are kicking in.

Sit tight. I am going to lament over the deaths of Antonioni and Bergman. Not that they were my favourite directors to begin with, but one cannot deny that they were the last surviving European legends of a bygone golden cinematic era. Initially, I thought that both dudes were already dead 20 years ago simply because they hadn't produced any significant work since their glorious 50s and 60s, hence I would assume that they shouldn't be alive for another half-century.

Forgive my miscalculations. I suck at maths. I am trying to say that their lives have outlived their peaks.

First of all, Ingmar Bergman and Ingrid Bergman are NOT related to each other, although I reckon that itd be more interesting otherwise. Their only similarity is that they are both Swedish. I mean, they are from the land of Ikea and meatballs.

Ingmar Bergman is VERY nordic. So, expect alot of blonde characters and long winter nights in his films. His most famous work is the Seventh Seal; featuring the infamous scene that frames an aptly dressed knight playing chess with a figure of Death clad stylishly in a black cloak. Trust me that you would have seen this image; it has been exploited in all media forms after Bergman's death last Monday.

This is one of my favourite scenes from the film, where the poor knight is suddenly overwhelmed by the surprise visit of Death in his confession box. I think that this is very hilarious.

Malaysians can easily obtain a pirate copy of this film through your local DVD vendor. Just ask for Cerita Hantu.
Although I must stress that this is FAR from a horror flick.

My favourite Bergman work has to be Fanny And Alexander, a TV miniseries totalling 318 minutes. This has to be the longest viewing I have done in one sitting, but enough to instil great hopes in 1980s television. Every frame is simply breathtaking.

Michelangelo Antonioni is Italian. But not conventionally Italian as what you would see in La Vita E Bella nor La Dolce Vita. In actual fact, I highly regard him as boring. And slow. But not as painfully boring as Tsai Ming Liang.

If you would like to acquaint with Antonioni, L'avventura is a great start. It is the first part of the director's infamous trilogy that comprises of L'eclisse and La Notte... and for your info, all had done worlds better than the LOTR trilogy in critics' circles.

I am not a fan of films that subscribe to 'time suspended' narrative (aka. long windedness).... but this is what Antonioni is all about. You can have a storyline that can be compressed into 15minutes of whirlwind action, but only a great master can stretch it to 146 minutes in such an unforgettable and non-frustrating manner. (think: Tarkovsky)

In this old style 'survivor' tale that explores the strangled nature of relationships, Monica Vitti's performance on screen is certainly worth admiring. After Giulietta Massina, she has emerged as my second favourite Italian actress of all time. Watching her strengths portrayed on Antonioni's visuals makes me somewhat bitter that contemporary cinema no longer carries such quality performances.

Okay. Enough of whingeing. If Fellini had died within my era, I would have written his tribute in the form of a massive literary text. But alls hath passed and we, the surviving beings, are here to stay to indulge in their legacies.

Let's pray for the emergence another generation of awe-inspiring filmakers.

God bless Ingmar and Michelangelo. Rest In Peace.