Raggy’s Ramblings

not-just-music!

2011 ?

I’d sort of given up on this WordPress blog. Too quirky updating it and I hate rewriting stuff. So I started another blog on Opera, but I also have Facebook pages for myself and my band. It’s all too much, really.

Got to figure out exactly what goes where…..

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February 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 2010, I resume Blogging !

Perhaps it’s just me, but blogging in WordPress had become such a hassle using my Opera browser, and I just hate IE. Numerous failed logins and I reached the FI stage. Add in Facebook with it’s easy functionality, and this blog just died.

But my Facebook persona gets tangled up with my band’s persona and everybody’s ranting and raving on Facebook….I need a space all my own to rant and rave, so here we go again.

Too many things, too many issues, and too little time. That sort of sums up growing older I guess…I’m at the stage where I’d celebrate each birthday as another milestone reached, yet stop counting the years as a feeble attempt to deny the inevitability of time.

Music is still the main reason for wanting to make it to each coming day, though I’m increasingly aware that I’ll have many goals and dreams unreached. Oh, well. Better the dreamer’s pursuit than the defeated’s whining. More on that…

later.

August 18, 2010 Posted by | TokkKok | 1 Comment

No Guinness at Sunway Hotel : stupid Beer Wars in Malaysia

Dammit I’m sooooooooooo angry!!

 

Beer drinkers in Malaysia have a very limited selection : Tiger and Carlsberg dominate the scene,with Heineken, Anchor and a few other beers sometimes available.

Stout drinkers have Guinness,though the Guinness in Malaysia is not the same as the Guinness in Ireland, over here it’s “Foreign Extra Stout”, whatever that may mean.  And then there’s the “poor man’s stout”, Royal Stout, which imho is a truly shite drink.

So anyway, go into a pub and you just have a limited choice of beers.

But Guinness lovers could always get their fix, for even the crappiest little hole-in-the-wall bar would sell Guinness. And the truly-veteran Malaysian way to drink it would be “warm”, i.e. at room temperature.

So it came as a complete shock to me when last weekend, at the Seberang Jaya Sunway Hotel’s pub I ordered a Guinness only to be told they only have Royal Stout! And no Tiger beer either, it would have to be Carlsberg….

wtf???

Folks,this is Malaysian marketing stupidity at it’s height. Seems that Carlsberg and Guinness-Anchor are having a Beer War, so each company pays pubs/outlets to discontinue selling their rival’s beer…..

And so some pubs will only sell Carlsberg-Royal Stout, whicle other pubs will sell only Tiger and Guinness. The pub owners get payoffs from the marketing companies, and you and I are suckered into a limited choice.

I say: BOYCOTT THESE OUTLETS!!!  They are restricting our freedom to choose what we want.

For now, I am boycotting all Sunway Hotel outlets, and will refuse to attend any functions there, and also refuse to perform there. Until they give me back my right to choose.

*hic*

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

and so the year endeth

but some events of significance make other events  insignificant.

A big part of my world came to an end on Dec 5th when Grenville Pereira died following a massive heart attack. It was a totally unexpected,  sudden event.

gren1

 

Gren was my musical mentor and friend.  He’s been guiding me for the past 10 years or so, always there to share his incredibly vast knowledge of music and the industry.

In his time, Gren was the keyboardist for the best Malaysian bands, the Falcons and the Alleycats.  From playing stadiums and clubs and pubs and Japan and Hong Kong to doing concerts for the GI’s in Vietnam during the war there, he’d done it all.

RIP, buddy. Miss you terribly.

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Congratulations, the U.S.A. !!!

The news is just in, Americans have voted in their first non-white President. Is he Black or black-ish? Really, for isn’t Obama of some mixed parentage, but for me the fact that he isn’t White and yet got voted into what is arguably the most powerful seat in the world makes this a stupendous day.

Will he make a good President? I don’t know, and don’t really care. That’s for the Americans to hope for and for the rest of the world to find out in time.

So what’s the big deal about it for me? Well, the fact that someone from a non-mainstream, non-ruling-“class” segment of the population can make it to the very top of the mountain there is really stunning.

In my own country, Malaysia, it matters little if you are capable, you will never rise to the very top unless you are one of the ruling race. Which allows all manner of idiots and assholes to rule the country, and incompetent people to proclaim themselves Masters over the rest, which makes for a not-too-bright future for us.

You will therefore forgive my unadulteraed envy for minorities in the USA, and my heartfelt admiration for all the millions of Americans who chose to ignore racism and instead voted on issues.

Funny, as I type this I wonder if I will be arrested for airing my views in this blog. You will know if you don’t hear from me. That’s the reality in Malaysia 😦

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A Wonderful Night To Treasure

Saturday, 19th October 2008,  Jam Session at Frenz Fun Pub, Penang.

I struggle to describe this one. This night was more, much more than a jam session…..it was a wonderful moment in time that just happened to happen the way it happened….. it would take a much better scribe than me to put it to words, but I’ll still log this in my own inadequate way.

Jam sessions are always a bit of a hit-or-miss thing, since so many factors influence the outcome of events, but this night everything just fell into place.

A good crowd had filled Frenz pub, and the night got off to a good start when a bunch of young guys  started  rocking and rolling : Ming had brought along his friends, a drummer and a singer, and they had everyone tapping their feet with their infectious music.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder

I have been chasing Penang island’s reclusive guitar guru, Sivam, for many weeks, and tonight he turned up with his band, Panic Disorder, and they hit the house with some top class Rock…from classics like Led Zep’s “Rock & Roll” to virtuoso stuff like Eric Johnson’s “Cliffs of Dover”, these guys were fantastic, and you could see a lot of jaw-dropping from the other guitarists around when Sivam started doing some fancy double-handed tapping runs and all….pure genius, the guy, and a wonderful, humble personality too.

It was then the turn to invite Sam Ponnudurai to entertain us all.  Ahhhh, Sam P. The great Sam Ponnudurai. The undisputed King Of The Blues in the region, he is a master craftsman of the art of solo acoustic blues: his trusty acoustic guitar in hand, Sam will mesmerize the most critial of audiences with his fantastic guitaring and his rich, versatile vocals…..delivered with a generous spread of good humor and spontaneous improvisations.

They don’t make them like Sam anymore. He doesn’t just play the Blues,though. Many years spent on the road with his guitar, including some years spent busking in Europe, Sam sings you songs and tells you stories using music as a medium, and he’ll do it with the Blues as well as Folk and other styles if need be.

Sam Ponnudurai, the King Of The Blues

Sam Ponnudurai, the King Of The Blues

And this night, Sam was in fine form and itching to share some music with us all. And what a performance! He had the crowd spellbound as he weaved his way through a series of songs, from a totally-improvised off-the-cuff tongue-in-cheek bluesy piece to some stunning displays of vocals and guitar prowess.

Enjoy the hour, folks, you’re not likely to see such a  craftsman again. As with Elvira’s performance  2 weeks ago, the mobile phones and cameras were going crazy as everyone was trying to record moments for posterity.

Sam Tells You A Bluesy Story!

Sam Tells You A Bluesy Story!

Sam Ponnudurai. The King Of The Blues. And the Emperor of the solo-artist genre.

After Sam’s act, timeout had to be called, and the night could have been over, but I bravely gathered the boys for one last set, and we played some light, relaxed Blues to just allow folks to chat and mix around and of course share a drink with Sam.

Yek came up and joined us with his Blues harp, another bit of jamming started and we must have triggered some itch in Sam, for he came up and with Ming’s Gibson he led the band in a fantastic jam session. Trading guitar licks with Sam, I was in Heaven (who says sinners like me don’t go to heaven?).

2.00 am and mandatory closing time, the house lights came on, but Sam insisted we do one more song and he played Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend” and asked me to sing it as a duet with him….ha! what a joke, Sam and his rich, fantastically expressive voice and me with my gutter vocals, but Sam has enough heart to make anyone feel great, and sing with him I did, in a wonderful, wonderful goospimples-erupting bluesy version of the song.

Big hugs from Sam at the end of the song, euphoric faces from everyone in the house……

and how was YOUR weekend?

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Oct 11 Jam Session, Guitars Galore!!!

Well! Another magical Jam Session!!!

Jam Session in Progress at Frenz, Oct 11 2008

Jam Session in Progress at Frenz, Oct 11 2008

This would be the night of the Guitars, really, though Idris did steal some of the thunder with his Hammond keyboards too.
Durvan was noticeable by his abscence, and good old Lan came in to help, and ended up playing the drums for everybody the whole night! Thanks a million, buddy, we owe you big-time for this.
We had a number of guitarists this night, and some fantastic guitars on display. Rizal brought along his Gretsch, a Brian Setzer signature Nashville model worth about a kidney or two…. Ming brought his Les Paul Custom, the sweetest tone imaginable. Made my 70’s strat seriously jealous!
There was also Kamarul who brought along his 5-string bass, Nain with his beefed-up Stratocaster, Joel who hid his guitar (!!!explain that, Joel!) .
Great jam session. Great crowd. Great night 🙂
Rocking away!

Rocking away!

October 13, 2008 Posted by | Music Stuff | 3 Comments

Elvira Brings Down The House!!!

Our first weekend with Melvin on bass, (we’re back at Frenz Fun Pub), the 1st Jam session night in our planned jam-every-Sat-nite series, and really,it’s pointless talking about anything else but Elvira from Kuala Lumpur.

The lady who brought the house down at Frenz

The lady who brought the house down at Frenz

We were just fortunate that Elvira was at Frenz that night, she sings in KL but was in town for a wedding (not hers!), with this large group of Melvin’s relatives/family who dropped into Frenz to party.
It would be totally understating things to say that it was a magical and momentous occasion when Elvira came up to sing. We got her to sing “Proud Mary” as a warm-up number, and it was obvious that we had a SERIOUSly good singer there, so I persuaded/pleaded/begged her to do “Summertime”, a song which holds special meaning to me for reasons I’d rather not go into here, and so……
Folks, if you could imagine sharing the stage with the likes of Randy Crawford, Tina Turner, Ella Fitzgerald…… Elvira is all of them and more. Superb, commanding vocals, beautiful voice singing the Blues with passion……ahhh, it was the greatest vocal performance I have ever witnessed! It was only way after the song had finished that I realized I was playing the guitar too, but I can’t remember anything about what I played, all I know is that I’d played for a Superstar.
When the last notes of the song had died, there was this totally electric atmosphere in the pub. Almost everyone who had a mobile phone had turned it on to record the audio/video, it was like everyone knew they had just witnessed something totally remarkable and rare.
It was pointless trying to play anything after that so I called for a break. It would be a long 30 minutes before we dared step up onstage again, and the night continued in party mode till way past 2.00am.
Biggest reward for me was seeing Elvira’s happy and smiling face throughout the rest of the night, she looked like she had enjoyed herself too.
Elvira, thanks!!!

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Music Stuff | 2 Comments

She’s Screwed Again

They had to haul her out in full view of my snickering neighbours. That old bitch of a Volvo wouldn’t start this afternoon, and the mechanic seems to think it’s something wrong with her fuel pump or something, but he had to tow it to the workshop.

Shit happens, but when it happens to a Volvo, then it’s SHIT happening, ‘cos you’re basically on you own with your local mechanic, ‘cos God only gave us 2 kidneys and we’d need to sell both to be able to pay the bill if we took it to the official Volvo dealers.

Why do I drive a Volvo, I keep asking myself. For the safety. Very safe these Swedish bricks. Stands to reason, after all how many accidents can you get involved in when you’re unable to go anywhere ‘cos your car’s in the workshop (again) ?

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

World’s Best Athletes Stoned In China?

Seriously. Do you think they just started fiddling with their milk last week?

They take their development seriously in China. Nothing matters but the development of their bank accounts’ balances.

But you and me are to blame too. We’ll happily buy shitty products built in dangerous factories using dangerous chemicals and tools,  just as long as they’re cheaper than something made where the cost of proper quality and safety regulations/inspections/enforcement gets added to the product price.

I’m just waiting for that Jamaican sprinter fellow to slow down next year cos he had to stop after 50 metres to piss out a stone.

Or do you think the athletes brought their own cows to Beijing? (And their own cow feed?)

The million-dollar-question : just what ISN’T poisoned there, does anybody really know?

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment