Poor Paul

Today, I dug up my old, purple, 5th generation 16GB iPod nano — this Jurassic music artifact is still alive hurrah! — in one of my stuff-I-haven’t-used-in-years boxes. This was actually sold to me by my friend, Ahmad, at a very good deal. We met one rainy evening 3 (or 4?) years ago in a mall which, coincidentally, is just across where I’m living right now. Save from some minor scratches, I was delighted when I saw that the iPod was still in good condition and that it’s filled with lots and lots of good music. Ahmad is the vocalist of one of my favorite local bands, We Are Imaginary, so he’s got good taste. This pocket gadget helped me discover Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, and The Strokes, to name a few.

Yes, I tend to remember these small things. I wish I could do this for the more “important” adult stuff but I can’t. As I always say to my friends who are amazed at this accidental “talent”, “I tend to have a sharp memory for the unimportant stuff”.

Ok. Straying from my topic. Going back…

Cute how you tend to discover small ticks about yourself when you are not pressured by your everyday activities. Now that I’m on medical leave, I am more attentive to what I do outside of work. And one tick that I recently discovered is musical monotony. I listen to the same type of music day in and day out. Most of which are music from the 80s and the 90s. As such, I’m unable to discover new bands and genre on my own. It’s almost always a recommendation from a friend, a Facebook post, or an over hyped concert announcement (still on Facebook).

There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia; nostalgia is OK. But sometimes this same nostalgia is the one that keeps us from unearthing something good and new. This same nostalgia that makes us:

(1) wrinkle our noses at this techno-laden new generation music, tagging it as musical degradation 

(2) blurt that a certain type of music is dead

(3) arrogant enough to claim that our generation’s brand of music is so much better than what we have today

When in fact, these are not entirely true. We just need to have an open mind and a true appreciation of music to brush off this greater-than-thou attitude. Made me think of a certain scene in La la Land where Keith told Sebastian, the overly passionate jazz purist,

“How are you going to be a revolutionary if you’re such a traditionalist? You’re holding onto the past , but jazz is about the future”.

Ouch? Ouch!

So, throughout all these ramblings and what-nots, I would like to conclude this writing by saying that I should discover new music more. And not just limit my knowledge to what I already know by heart. I would also like to categorize how I listen to music daily just to keep me from my, as I’ve mentioned, musical monotony. This is what I have in mind:kirstene's guide to breakingmusical monotony



I will try to focus on only one artist or band per day, except if they only have one EP released and I’m already tired of listening to six songs by mid-day.

And since this was written in between the hours of Monday and Tuesday, I typed away with The xx’s  self-titled album for Brand New Mondays and We are Imaginary’s (formerly Your Imaginary Friends) One Dreamy Indeterminate Hum for Tagalog Tuesdays in the background.

Also, concluding my conclusion, I have decided to rename my Ipod from Lyla to Poor Paul as a reference to its color and Paul McCartney. Must love word plays, yes?

Is Monday Really That Manic? 

What is it with Monday that makes majority of us cringe? Is it because it’s the end of the weekend and signals the start of our usual stressful work week? 

I was about to relate this article to a song I heard last week on Spotify just to help me kick Monday in the ass. It’s called “I Don’t Like Mondays” by The Boomtown Rats. The song has a comic tune — the kind that you hear in children’s shows like Sesame Street. I actually had a vision of it being sung by a puppet. If you plan on finishing this, I urge you to listen to the song first: 


Playing it again today and reading about it (yes, I read about the songs that catch my attention), I found out that the song has a very dark background. 

It was inspired by a 1979 school shooting in San Diego. A crime committed by a 16-yo girl who doesn’t like Monday. How freaky. To be able to justify the monstrosity all because you hate this specific day. Now I’m thinking twice of having this song on my playlist and singing along with it. The equally freaky video doesn’t help either. 

Oh well. Will try to listen to a cheerier playlist to jumpstart my day and push this off my mind. 

Let’s all try not to hate Monday too much so it’ll be equally good to us. 

U to the ke to the lele

Yesterday, I attended my first ever ukulele night hosted by Ukulele Manila. Not as a player, but a mere spectator. I’ve always had this small fantasy of being this kick-ass musician in an alternate universe, but you and I both know that it’s never gonna happen. Nevertheless, I am very much of a music lover and watching and listening to legit musicians do their thing gives me the fulfillment of my otherwise ‘musical me’ delusions.

Going to a bar where you only know 2 out of almost a hundred people can be intimidating. But one thing I learned about going to these kind of gigs is, IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER. The musical community is a cool and friendly lot, and Ukulele Manila is no exception. I remember smacking a guy’s arm, a total stranger, because I was laughing so hard at his antics directed to his friend. In another scenario, I would have gotten the stink eye. But in this, I just got a laugh in return.

What made it more awesome is the fact that it’s The Beatles Night. Who doesn’t love The Fab Four, really? Even if you were born yesterday, chances are you will still grow up surrounded by people who listen to and love their music.

The night ended with me and my friend, Val, contemplating on getting our own ukes. Not until last night, my knowledge of ukulele has been limited to that of Zooey Deschanel and her 1950’s singing, blunt bangs, doe-eyed and all, strumming this mini guitar thing. But after last night’s jamming session, I had a better appreciation for the instrument.

What more, my other friend, Ahmad, who also played some tracks last night was very much encouraging us to try it on our own. He said that UM is hosting free ukulele tutorials every Saturday around the BGC area, which is really cool, BTW. It not only give other people a venue to learn more about the instrument, it’s also a fun way of introducing the ukulele community to them.

If you have time to spare and want to learn something new, why not give it a try? Who knows, we might bump elbows there one Saturday. 🙂