October 9, 2014
Oct 4, Tokyo
Mariah is now in Asia and my excitement is impossible to contain. Tokyo is the first stop of the Elusive Chanteuse Show and all I could think of is how lucky the Japanese are in this moment and in life, in general.
But as it turns out, the opening night audience wasn’t very lucky. She didn’t sound very, very good based on several clips that surfaced. I have to be honest about how I feel upon hearing the botched Vision of Love and We Belong Together because where would I be if I don’t display honesty always? Those 15-second clips, posted by a ‘fan’, were difficult to watch.
Because Mariah has always been the object of sharp critical analysis mostly aimed at the legitimacy of her talent and sometimes, boobs, certain avenues of expression such as Twitter were set ablaze with fiery and foolish commentaries. Even people who don’t care about divas or concerts, or music felt compelled to comment on the imperfection in her vocals. But actually, these people are sort of blameless because really, criticizing great artists has always been fun and it’s extra-fun when certain admirers of these artists look visibly upset. Ours is a world where it’s fun to make fun of people who falter. It is maybe not human beings’s fault that they find hilarity, unexplainable glee when a popular, multimillionaire woman is battered and beaten and called a has-been, hag or ho. It’s a heart-stopping sport for most especially where divas and their fans are concerned. It’s the kind of sport that unites people of all race and religion.
As for myself, I surprisingly wasn’t as disturbed as some obviously were. I loved Mariah when I was 12 or 13 years old. Something I loved when I was 12 is something I love for the rest of my life, or something. I didn’t like her because in the 90s, she was liked by every living human being and I wanted to join the club. When you’re young, you don’t care very much about what you like. In fact, I’d like to have my taste in films and music back. My taste in things has been smeared with impurities and my innocence about what is enjoyable and what is shit has long been shattered. Maybe it was my copies of Entertainment Weekly that poisoned my critical sensibilities with their movie rankings and reviews and things that told me what piece of entertainment deserves an A+ or F.
More articles surfaced about the less-than-stellar performance. More social media personalities thought to bring out their inner music critic and all-around genius, in order to point out that something went wrong with the singing. It hurts to be on social media at a time like this. You can’t not take some of it personally especially when people do it stupidly which is most of the time.
When you liked Mariah at an early age, the sort of supposed devastating faltering is not something you could have prepared for. If you are now a 13 year old boy who thinks Beyonce is going to be the shit 15 years from now, you better be prepared for when she can no longer register interest in the hearts of many. That day arrived for Michael Jackson, Whitney and Madonna and it will come for her, you best believe it.
If I had known at 13 that this is what I’m setting myself up for, that this is what it means to worship Mariah, I might have thought twice. But the Butterfly era was just such a glorious period so I think there was nothing I really could have done.
For the first time, I will see her live and I don’t think I will care that much if she screws up We Belong Together or Vision of Love although I hope she does not. I think what I bought the ticket for is for the chance to be contained in a same room with her, to get the once in a lifetime opportunity to breathe the same oxygen in the same room at the same time.
Oct 6, Yokohama
The singing for the second show was still far form perfect but still none of other people’s faves could come close to Mariah Carey’s ‘imperfect voice’ and so the throne for greatest living vocalist alive still wasn’t relinquished and all is right in the world. The sport just got boring for people who played it so classily during the first show. They are waiting to retweet the first 15-second clip of Mariah singing Always Be My Baby shittily that they could get their hands on, because the second show was not going to give it to them. The moment never came and mean social media bores are still crazy.
Finally someone had the sense to record respectable clips of when she sang so gloriously. It’s so great to know some lambs are still capable of good, sensible deeds such as this because really, sometimes, it’s just so hard to fathom why some ‘fans’ would post unflattering clips. Maybe these are the lambs who are also fans of basic starlets? It can only be surmised.
Sometimes I don’t agree with some of the lambs. Sometimes, fellow fans can be stupid and needlessly shady, like as if it makes it okay for them to say nasty things about her because they’re fans, calling Me I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse (fantastic album) a flop flop flop. It’s irritating but if that’s how they deal with their grief, I’m left with no choice but to temporarily ignore their existence.
Much as I loathe some of the crazy, annoying fans, when our girl gets it right, we get to hold each others’ hands, sing praises for whatever she has done right in our own little ways, and heave a collective sigh of relief.
From now until the 30th, when she makes her last show in Asia, I will be very pre-occupied with thoughts of her. I will rhapsodize and romanticize fervidly and incessantly. I will relive the splendour of she and I because it’s not as if I have a choice.
September 23, 2014
When we moved to Better Living in 1994, my brother and I made friends with the neighbourhood kids. We had to because our house was poorly furnished and the architectural lay out was ill conceived. Our bungalow was a box with two bedrooms – one small enough to fit two boys who haven’t been circumcised and one master’s bedroom which I didn’t see the masterliness of at all – and a bathroom that has drainage problems. Maybe it is a little early to be talking ill about a house that we still live in but someone has to document its history and right now I have time to do just such a thing.
Our mother, who was responsible for the house, was about to die and so it was a sad time for everyone, although I don’t remember any of us being very, very sad. We didn’t look forward to it maybe because we weren’t sure her death was imminent.
After she died, we moved on and made friends with the kids in our new neighbourhood. Kids in the village were nice, especially the girls who maybe found me and my brother intriguing. As children, we were very cute and we advertised ourselves as half-Chinese although the truth is that we are maybe only one-fourths Chinese. Being half-half is great because you get asked about your heritage by Filipino classmates and friends who are 100% Filipino and who have no other heritage to speak of except their Filipinoness which is something me and my ‘half-Chinese’ siblings wouldn’t ever be curious about. Being young and Chinese-looking is one of the best life stages ever. It makes you feel special, unique and attractive.
Mostly, the girls found my brother cute. I know this because they told me and also some of our boy friends. My brother truly is the cute one. Aside from being good-looking, he was also good in math, algebra, English, dancing, HEKASI and architecture. He was well-loved by high school teachers who made it a point always to emphasize that I am not like him at all in terms of interpersonal skills and smiling skills and maybe also dancing skills. He can wear Spice Girl drag in a cheerleading competition and still be adored, but if I had pulled a stunt like that in high school, my sexuality would have been questioned and that would have really hurt my feelings.
I used to like basketball because there used to be a basketball court in front of the house. Despite the presence of this mini-court I never really got better at it because my heart belonged to volleyball. Volleyball is such a beautiful, graceful sport and I loved it and I think I still love it now. But anyway, my brother and I used to play basket with the annex boys even though I knew in my heart that volleyball is my sport. My brother, my kuya, got better at it, although he looked really funny, like a flying hanger about to dunk.
One summer afternoon, I overheard my brother talking to some of the girls. The girls, apparently, found me a bit effeminate because maybe I played volleyball well or I played it with apparent glee and abandon, I can’t be sure. Maybe, they found me a little girly because I’m one of the two boys in the group who never got teased with a female. The other one is an obvious gay with quite a gay name so his effeminacy surely has never piqued anyone’s interest. It is very hard to imagine that gay’s gayness ever having disturbed anyone’s peace. Also, I got along well with the girls.
If you’re a second child, being the subject of discussion induces feelings of preciousness in you because it rarely happens. I didn’t exactly delight in being talked about but of course I wanted to know just how my brother would defend my honor. He didn’t defend my honor because maybe, to begin with, no one’s honor was being besmirched.
‘So, is he gay?’ was what I remember being asked of him. I don’t recall him disproving their suspicion. Instead, he described my character in a way that, even now, will be hard to refute. He told them that while I may not actually be totally gay, I do have a tendency to mimic the behavioural patterns of the group to which I attach myself the most, which during that particular era was the group of the volleyball-playing girls. It was classy of him. He knew that I could get very sore about being accused of homosexuality. He knew how much it would have wounded me. On our worst fights, I need only to be called ‘gay’ in order to lose my shit and lose.
I’ve always believed that my personality is special, magnetic and that in time, it will shine. Coupled with my exotic half-Chineseness, I used to believe that once I get out of school, I could dazzle people and employers with what I have to offer – my Catholic education and ability to describe people and things using big, Mariah Carey words. These didn’t happen very often. Instead, I became the dead of the party in most parties and my half-Chineseness has officially ceased fascinating people.
When I was in college, I bought a lot of CDs. Random albums that I thought I might enjoy. I bought Coldplay’s X&Y, Tiesto’s Just Be, and Sarah McLachlan’s Mirrorball and many, many, many others. I read somewhere that Mirrorball was Patty Laurel’s leave-me-alone CD. But who cares about Patty Laurel’s favorite album? Thanks to my mother’s fortune, I was able to buy all the albums I desired. Mirrorball was the album I played the most because it was gorgeous and her voice, indescribable. My brother said something about how Sarah McLachlan was one of those artists who sound as gorgeous in concert as they do in the CD. I agreed and that was when I became a super Sarah McLachlan fan. Even though I haven’t found the time to care about Shine On, hew new, I hope she comes to Bangkok very soon.
December 21, 2013
It is with so much delight that I’m announcing David Sedaris’s Barrel Fever as my new Catcher in the Rye. This is great news for me, for you, and for my very, very few friends. Congratulations, everyone, we no longer have to suffer the Holden Caulfield affectation, a spectacular achievement in execution failure though it may have been. I’ve also just finished David Shields and Shane Salerno’s ‘Salinger’ and read with great interest the Assassination section, specifically Mark David Chapman’s, and I’m symbolically cowering in shame for being guilty of the same crime as him: overlooking the humanity behind Holden’s profanity-laden but sobering view of humankind. My misreading, though, is not as total as MDC’s. My love for Holden stemmed (yes, stemmed) from his unfamiliarity with his own person (yes, person) the loveliness of which I feel strapped itself to my very own unfamiliarity with mine. We didn’t/don’t know the world, our place in it, and that was lovely in a movie, literary setting kind of way, but in your late 20s, not knowing your place in the world is just infuriating. Yes, I’ve already proclaimed freedom from the clutches of JD Salinger’s penetrating worldview, but if Mariah Carey can proclaim emancipation three times, why shouldn’t I?
When JD Salinger died, I rushed to Fully Booked and bought a hardcover Catcher in the Rye because I’m not the kind who idolize properly and sensibly. I might be sick with a disease characterized by uncontrollable urges to spend on things as a sad gesture of undying admiration. I might be suffering from a kind of psychological disorder that does not let me rest until I physically own something of the worship-figure. The easiest, most obvious explanation would be that I am a goddamned fool.
With Barrel Fever, there can never be a misreading, a misinterpretation, not even a silly attempt to embody a persona of an esteemed literary character. Maybe one: Adolph Heck, named after history’s most vicious imposer of viciousness, in the collection’s funniest story, Barrel Fever. A mother naming her son Adolph is guaranteed a slayer of me. I love Adolph and his mother. I love that Adolph’s sisters are named Faith, Hope, Joy and Charity. I love how he mocks his friend who once was his closest ally in mocking the mockable but who now has clung to nice persons.
Barrel Fever has become essential reading, a warder of the blues, a pair of shades in a dessert storm, a pair of truly dependable earbuds for Metro Manila life, a pair of balls in your ballsless days, etc. A Barrel Fever is a best friend.
Each reading of Barrel Fever for me is fresh. Sometimes I want to live in it and lap up the freshness.
If one day you find yourself in the pages of a Barrel Fever-like publication authored by myself, and you feel like pressing charges for character defamation because you Feel like I have cruelly borrowed and repackaged one of your least attractive characteristics and turned it into a bestseller, I’m sorry but I’m not sorry. If you decide to press charges, sue me for libel, you will find me in court carrying a tattered copy of Barrel Fever, with the words, ‘This is my statement!’ scribbled beside blurbs that proclaim it as ‘breathtakingly irreverent’. ‘This is my statement!’ — the very words written in Mark David Chapman’s copy of Catcher in the Rye, a piece of woeful evidence that was brought to court for the trial of the crime of gunning down one of the world’s most famous Beatle, 1/4 of Mariah Carey’s Billboard Hot 100 nemesis, John Lennon. I do not ever wish to reach the same level of insanity but there is a need for me to make friends with things whose reason for existing is to supply me with joy.
I may have already confessed an attachment for this Sedaris book, and even though the retelling of this attachment seems to go against what Adolph Heck feels about saying the same thing twice: ‘…nothing gets on my nerves more than someone repeating the same phrase twice. I think it’s something people have picked up from television, this emotional stutter. Rather than say something interesting once, they repeat a cliche twice and hope for the same effect,’ I feel it’s a necessary retelling. This is my statement!
November 2, 2013
If I had ever thought or said before that Ke$ha is not a pop star worthy of my time, whose album I won’t even bother to steal from the Internet, I have Gawker to thank and all those ‘Kesha Is Not An Idiot’ type of articles that this animal sent me through the years, for turning things around for me, for letting me see what I’ve been missing all these years: glitter!
I may have professed loathing for her when she first came out but I wasn’t so loathy as to ignore Tik Tok, her catchy first single which I DID bother to steal from the Internet. I thought, that was it! No more stealing Ke$ha singles from the Internet because I have a musical reputation to uphold and it will not be tarnished by some low-rent Lady Gaga whose main gimmick is a dollar sign on her name.
But then Your Love is my Drug was released as a single and it tore through the fabric of my undeniably classy musical taste. It absolutely ripped it apart, my classy taste, the one I have so long cultivated. With the arrival of Your Love is My Drug, I seriously thought about the importance of having classiness in my taste and quickly came to the realization that I should not have classy musical taste anymore. I love a Ke$ha single, fuck a classiness. But even with the release of this song, I still wasn’t convinced. Even with all the ripping apart, my Ke$ha appreciation hymen remained intact, or tried to be.
And then Warrior came. I liked Die Young. At this point, I was positively ready to take my place in the Animal kingdom. The album Warrior turned me into an animal. Specifically, a pretty pony. But despite finally converting into some sort of animal, I wasn’t sure I wanted to see her live. When it was announced early this year that Manila was included in her Warrior tour (with only two cities in Asia), I had to be hypnotized by two animals who have long seen the majesty of Ke$ha’s music, to see her live, and since I have almost no care for reputations anymore, I acquiesced.
I loved it.
Sadly, the Philippine animals seemed too tame. I simply didn’t comprehend the non-wildness of the crowd at some of the big hits. Save for a few groups of girls, I was not comprehending the lack of hysterics at Blah Blah Blah and Dirty Love. There was golden opportunity to reach for Ke$ha’s panties and it was squandered by the iPad-waving jerks nearest the stage. All that those iPad-wavers managed to do was take a million pictures of this gorgeous pop star who was live-singing her ass and vag off in front of them. I hope those people’s iPads had a great time!
Ke$ha is not a wig-snatching type of pop diva. I don’t think she has great, grand delusions about placing so high atop in pop music royalty. When you Google ‘pop music’, her name doesn’t even come up on the first search page; it comes in the second just before Chris Brown but just right after Adele. It’s not a woeful place to end up in but you get the feeling that she could get to the first with Britney, Madonna, Katy, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. With much better songs and marketing in the future, maybe she could totally evade the fate of Willa Ford.
It wasn’t quite the spectacle that bigger divas like Beyonce and Kyle Minogue are capable of; there were two scruffy, buffish backup dancers, lots of glitter, disco balls and some balloons, but no stage backdrop and very little wig and costume changes, which are what we/I expect from my crazy divas. But being in such close proximity with a wild-dancing pop star and her two pelvic-muscle baring dancers, it felt like my face and senses have had enough but can’t help but want more: more glitter, more pelvic thrusts, more underwear-only costume changes, more getting-laid pep talks.
Just before her concert, I tweeted her, told her I’m ready for her cock pop. Minutes later, I was followed by a Ke$ha-looking account which I thought was the real Ke$ha. I was ecstatic. But now as I type this, I have recovered from my great, grand delirium; it wasn’t Ke$ha who followed me but a fan account that does not seem to understand that to describe one’s self as a ‘parody account’, one must parody. I thought me and Ke$ha had a chance at real friendship. I was very close to her during Warrior Tour and I had very soft feelings about the modesty of the concert’s attendance, but it turned out she didn’t actually follow me. This is a good thing. I do not want the baggage that comes with a pop star Twitter follow. I’m happy to leave those types of baggages to actual pop stars. I can sleep at night just knowing she and I share the same fascination for strip clubs.
June 16, 2013
I hate you all!
May 8, 2013
Things happened today in Manila, Philippines: a person who has had it with this world committed suicide via the trusty killing machine, the MRT, and caused traffic along EDSA where I pass by daily, and it allegedly happened around the same time I was on commute (In my opinion, people who commit suicide in public places, especially in Philippine public transportation, and in rush hours, are not thinking very reasonably) — totally unnoticed by me; blackout in the gloriously hot Metro Manila and I wasn’t as affected as affective people who are highly affected by all things that happen in this world and maybe also elsewhere, because I was using a laptop (so my work went uninterrupted) and I was spared from possibly grave air-con-related inconvenience because I was fine with the combination of early morning extreme air-con cold and sudden mellow, moderate office heat; and lastly, there is a election-related liquor ban being imposed because, maybe, the people who think about these things (congressmen? MMDA?) are very simple-minded because I, also sometimes insufferably simple-minded, just fail to see the sense in this, although I don’t feel like this ban is going to affect my being because there is leftover liquor in the ref and I’m lately not caring so much about being very drunk as to be roused from what I humbly think is a very senseless, snicker-worthy reason and occasion to ban liquor.
As the second child in a family of the kind that I have, there is strong evidence to support the occasional suspicion that the universe is evidently, undoubtedly indifferent to the idea of me. Maybe of you, too. Based on these observations of mine, too, I seem to be indifferent/want to affect an air of indifference to many disgraceful, mind-blowingly senseless events, but the universe, which would not suffer to be out-indifferenced by any fool, is way more indifferent and don’t I forget it.