Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: A Fan's Opinion

Rey confronting the sorrowful shadow
of days gone by.
I finally got to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi today, and I've got some conflicting feelings about it. To begin with, it's a departure from the original Star Wars story line, wherein the Dark Side/Galactic Empire is portrayed as a well-oiled and efficient death machine, run by a fearsome, mysterious warrior-dictator, while the Light side/Jedi are portrayed by freedom fighters struggling for justice and peace.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

More Music Ranting

Further to my previous rant about bad music permeating the waves and music streams these days, I have come to the realization that on this Planet there exist two types of people; those whose taste in music mimics the rest of the crowd and those whose taste in music is 'discovered' as opposed to 'spoon-fed'. 

The former are usually newbies to the soft skill of 'discovering' good music, while the latter are usually more picky when it comes to what their ears are exposed to, and more inclined to a wider range of music to suite their different moods than the simple 'plain-vanilla' of the masses.

That much is evident from the increase in sexual innuendos and references, cursing and 'wild & carefree' themed lyrics that are coming out of relatively unknown bads, so-called DJ's and Rap artists. They bombard the masses so much that they become the 'de facto' premiere music scene, and they're almost all coming from so-called "Rap" artists, a term that has - sadly - morphed into a generalization made up of half-wits and non-educated delinquents who somehow consider themselves as 'artists' just because they can make a bunch of words rhyme with 'f&*k, 's@#t' and other curse words. 

I've always maintained that music is supposed to move you emotionally, and it's that motion that forces a need to physically move your body all over the dance floor like a Boss! But how is it emotional when you're describing in lewd details how your need for sexual gratification or  - worse still - the search for drugs is the precursor for an emotional expression?

Even teen heart-throbs like Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran are riding this wave too!

Imagine a father driving his daughters to school in the morning, with the car's radio tuned to Kuwait FM's 99.7, and some moronic Girl band called "Hey Violet" is on and singing "Boys my age don't know how to touch me"..?  

Yup, that poor sod was me this morning!

I turned red with rage, so I switched to the VOA channel (to my daughters' protest, no less!!) and this rap song was playing, and this rapper was going on like "My Bitch is bad and booji (?) cooking up dope with an UZI". I looked up at the rear-view as I reached to change the channel, and there was  my 6 year old bumping her head back and forth to that crap!

With my mind shouting "NOOO!" so loud I gave myself a headache, I swiftly but quietly switched to the AUX input on the radio and streamed music from Apple's Beats One, only to find Ed Sheeran singing "Last night you were in my room, now my bed sheets smell of you" and "I'm in love with your body".

I switched to my own playlist featuring "Foreigner's "Urgent" and Psi's "Gangnam Style" on my iPod instead, thinking whether or not I should go full-on "40-something" and play my Classical Music playlist instead!

There's supposed to be a overall general 'improvement' in Humanity's quality of life, its called 'evolution', and it seems to me that Humanity - driven by Music executives of ill repute - are doing exactly the opposite by signing on street-side thugs and high school dropouts of all colors, shapes and sizes onto major record contracts, simply for the quick buck that comes along with this destructive enterprise. 

Was that too much?  Am I being too protective of my children's media consumption? Let's consider the following lyrics:

"And you keep me in with those hips, While my teeth sink in those lips"

Now try convincing me that the people who came up with - and promoted - this tasteless misuse of the English language are actually promoting meaningful relationships among society.

(and yes, that happened in the car too...thankfully, there were other distractions like a crying 3 year old.)

Personally speaking, I still listen to (and still indulge) in PM Dawn's music. Their mastery of words in "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" or even their "When Midnight Sighs" songs is - as yet - unrivaled in my books...and they're both rap songs, and both speak of love. In fact, nearly all their songs are similarly themed, including lust, desire & want, yet none have cursing, swearing, objectification of women or drugs, unless you consider emotions as such.

More rap? Try Soul 2 Soul's "Back to life", or "Keep On Moving", again, both rap,  full of positive emotions and true desires, none of the garbage that's being produced today. I remember jamming to those songs like there's no tomorrow! Even their music videos were 'presentable', none of that waist-shaking/twerking crap (although I have to say, there's something quite artistic about it) obviously representative of the taste of those years. 

Given, some of the Rap music that was generated back when I was growing up younger (!!) was in-your-face blunt force lewd, like Salt-N-Peppa's "Push It" "Let's Talk About Sex", but they had a few endearing virtues; They had a message to communicate (it's ok to 'talk' about the good & bad things about sex, relationships, partying responsibly, etc..), they used - mostly - original music score, and not recycled music on a loop, they featured actual spin doctors, DJ's and Rap Artists who actually to make good (and clean) rhymes, and last but not least  (drum-roll.....wait for it..) Synchronized dancing!!!

Of course there were a few earlier (and bolder) versions of disgusting rappers back then, like 2 Live Crew, who had some of their songs banned, creating a Freedom of Speech firestorm. However, 'few' being the keyword here, they were - in fact - exceptions, and not the mainstream like they are today. Even their fame was attributed to the fact that they were fighting lawsuits, and not because they were 'good' or even artistic!

Even the seemingly-considered lewd Rap groups would have an actual message to society, like Naught by Nature's song, "O.P.P.", which warns men to stay away from extra-marital affairs, their friend's women, cheating in general...and not a single curse word!

Tell me you wouldn't be moved by these lyrics from The Cure;

"I kissed you in the Water,
And made your dry lips sing.
I saw you look like a Japanese Baby,
In an instant I remembered everything".

This beautiful and emotionally bountiful tapestry of words is taken from The Cure's "The Walk", a song remixed at least three times, and in each iteration of it sounds as amazing as the original radio edit version. The Cure's got an entire album filled with such remixes, nearly all of them as melodic to listen to. How many rap songs can you think of today that fit this description?

And before you say it, I support the view that there is 'good' art and 'bad' art, but NO, it's not all Art! Talking about your desire to have a shallow sexual experience while high on drugs is NOT art, it's a crude and tasteless waste of time.

Dare I say it, even Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer's Rap music were great back then !! As for today, I'm pretty sure than none of these so-called artists can have their work blended so perfectly like this!

..or maybe it's just me?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Music with expletives is not music!

I don't like listening to music that contains, or even references, sexual content, or swearing of any kind. I'm not being a prude, or defending my 40-something age or worried about poisoning the minds of our young and impressionable kids, or anything of the sort. I've always been this way, and that's probably why I've always been put off by the majority of Rap music, and some so-called R&B too. 

Monday, November 07, 2016

Kuwait's New Cultural Center is a Success!

Sh. Jaber Al Ahmed Cultural Center
Seven days ago I had the privilege of watching the inaugural  ceremony of Kuwait's latest cultural achievement; the Sh. Jaber Al Ahmed Cultural Center, encompassing an Opera house (a first in Kuwait) and a number of other related facilities which - I imagine - will be of immense benefit to the local Performing Arts movement.

Friday, November 04, 2016


I'm 40-something...been so for some time.

In some circles that sentence would naturally elicit a compassionate look, or a sympathetic expression of some sort. In the West, for example, they would say, "Aw come on, you're still young, there's lots that life has still to offer for you". 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Vaping & Lovin' it!

Vaping is a Lifestyle
I started smoking relatively later in my young life. I say 'relative' because most people in this part of the world start smoking at around 17/18 years old, and in some instances, earlier than that. For me, my entrance to the smoking stinky-poo category began when I was 20/21 years old. 

Before I go any further, let me be clear; I am by no means endorsing Vaping, I'm just expressing my opinions, and showing you where and how I came to those opinions. Smoking and nicotine are still considered dangerous, so just be cautious. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kuwait Airways and the World

A few members of my family are, or have been, employees of Kuwait Airways, and as a consequence, I've been privy to some of the perks of being related to an airline employee in the past (special treatment discounted tickets, etc..), but that was a different time, and the airline world was quite a different one as well. 

Back then, Kuwait Airways 'loaned' some of their aircraft to the likes of Emirates and Gulf Air, the quality and skills of Kuwait Airways' Engineers (real engineers, not licensed mechanics, although even they were quite proficient) were neck-to-neck with the most intelligent and successful people in the industry - it was that good, and it was the '90's...before the Iraqi Occupation.