5 David Bowie songs I like.

I used to devour those British music magazines in the 2000s. Q, Mojo, NME, ate them up and each of them always referred to David Bowie reverentially and most often as the thin white duke.  Unquestionably, discovering and exploring his musical catalogue was a damn odyssey in my life and though I couldn’t get into the Berlin stuff, I thought David sang with more soul than most people gave him credit for. Yeah, I just called him DAVID. First time I saw him I think was a video on MTV Classic of Let’s Dance. Young me thought in my little brain “That guy is on drugs.” I was mostly right but when I discovered Changesbowie in high school, it was a wrap. I felt then and now that that album is the single best Greatest Hits album of all time. And please know that I recognize this is a very serious claim.

This one is my favorite Bowie song to play on a jukebox. And an amazing live performance from the man I proudly share my birthday with. (Birthsake?)

Gee, my life’s a funny thing!

This is my favorite Bowie movie moment. With respect to The Prestige, Zoolander, and others, his musical accompaniment to the dance scene in A Knight’s Tale was pure gold. Puts a smile on your ole kisser every time.

Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel

For somebody who doesn’t change much and has had one “look” in his life, I still feel like Bowie and I are totally in sync on this anthem. I have sung this in the car countless times and that sax at the end, ooh boy. That’ll do, Bowie, that’ll do.

And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds

By far the funniest Bowie ever. He absolutely slayed it in what is one of the funniest tv scenes ever. And the song is actually catchy too!

The clown that nobody laughs at

This one is just one that always comes to mind. So rich with imagery and such a kick ass rock song. The lyrics are below the video and look like a poem, the gray letters on white. Memories of driving in New Jersey and ending the night with this on in my old Toyota.

We were so turned on and you thought we were fakers!

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Dear Fantasy Football

 

Courtesy of The Player’s Tribune.

 

Dear Fantasy Football,

 

From the moment
I drafted Terrell Owens with my first pick ever
And heard chuckles and whispers around the table
100 yard, 2 touchdown games

Flexing like a jerk after a 7 yard gain on a wide open slant route

making me feel like a champion
I knew one thing was real:

I wanted to keep believing I knew more about sports than everyone else.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a 22-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one with a ton of dollars in my hand.

And so I drafted.
I drafted on sight, on rumors, on hearsay.
Winners, losers, busts, sleepers.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as gambling has made me feel.

You gave a dude his goal of being a GM
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my soul/wallet knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that dude
With the cheat sheet and the
highlighter in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Mouse in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

“Hold up, I’m not ready yet.”

We had a time,
Siddharth

 

 

___________________________________________________

 

http://www.theplayerstribune.com/dear-basketball/

Maybe

One of my favorite things that happens in rock & roll is when a performer is a really shy person who just transforms into a champion tour de force who just grabs everybody in the stadium’s heart when he or she lets their talent rip. That burst of confidence that just lets them flow like pure steel in front of 50,000 people when they are doing their thing, when they can’t barely handle doing one sit-down interview because of shyness. I’m thinking Freddie Mercury at Live Aid. But I keep thinking that with these John Frusciante live clips too. He’s so good and the crowds at the gigs are so good I alternately fantasize about being him on this stage at Slane Castle in Ireland, or one of these swaying Irish in attendance.

I also love the song choice, homie is covering a 1958 song that critics call the emergence of the girl group sound that would become so huge in the 60s, it’s so beautiful lyrically but the standout feature of the song for me is the lead singer’s vocal performance – her voice – dang! Heartbreaking!

I still feel her pain 58 years after they recorded it, shoutout to Arlene Smith from the Bronx! The Chantels, ladies and gentlemen…a song I never would have heard of if not for John Frusciante taking a step forward in front of half of Ireland with an axe to shred and a soul to bear.

And the Oscar goes to

Spent Oscar evening how I spend every Oscar evening, watching old Youtube clips of Oscar speeches during the actual live event

Through my circuit of favorite Oscar speeches – Jamie Foxx, Russell Crowe, Matt & Ben, Cuba and more, I kept one ear on the 2015 festivities. The red carpet has always been ridiculously dollhouse and hard for me and my unfashionable brethren to watch, so yesterday my ears perked up when I heard people taking umbrage to the red carpet show & tell. Those people were mostly women in dresses worth more than my car. Not judging, but I was surprised.

#AskHerMore is a hashtag popularized to make Red Carpet “reporters” take heed to ask more important questions than what designer an actress is wearing. Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette talked about how Hollywood had to change this. I empathized because I could never have the patience to do a red carpet, but I also wondered who is that question being asked for? Is the suggestion that it’s sexist? Men don’t care one iota who designed a single actress’ dress. That, you can take as gospel. Also, the dresses don’t do as much for male hormones circa 2015 as they did in the 1940s. The entire fashion aspect of the show is done for women (consumers) and the labels. It has nothing to do with us! (red-blooded civilian males). It’s big business, and every woman in the world knows that.

I thought the #AskHerMore thing was similar to how Marshawn Lynch or other athletes have been thinking in the recent past. Remember him getting in trouble for wearing his own hat at the Superbowl presser? And him saying he wanted to wear his own shoes? And refusing to answer questions. That’s because he got annoyed with the fact that someone else was profiting over what he was forced to wear. That seems like a possible cause here, actresses essentially feeling like they are walking the world’s most viewed catwalk, and not being compensated with anything other than a free dress rental.

One argument I heard is that if these actresses didn’t want to hear that question (“Who are you wearing?”) then they should dress down. That makes zero sense, they are at a work obligation that requires a certain level of attire. If an actress wore jeans, they’d probably bar her from entering. The dressing up is part of the game. It’s the prom. And if you are not paying for your own clothes then the person who clothed you is going to want a shout-out or twenty. I wonder what would happen if the actress refused to answer the question? Would the label be offended? Would she have to buy her own clothes now? With the media and business line getting blurrier every day, It’s increasingly interesting to me when these new grievances come up. I understand the frustration but I don’t think it’s a sexism issue personally. Apart from those few actresses, I saw a parade of women who were only too happy to name their designer and jeweler and make up people and Serena Williams even answered by saying ” ____ _____. They dress me every time.”  Being dressed? She is literally ceding control like a toddler. She probably sees this as some sort of Cinderella deal, get dolled up by the fairy godmother and go out on the town till midnight et cetera. I think it would be a very tempting offer.

Favorite Speech of the Night:

Graham Moore, screenwriter of The Imitation Game. He got personal as you can, but still somehow kept it light and inspirational. Good guy Graham was a much-needed dose of caffeine in a lagging part of the show. Another great speech was given by Lonnie and Johnny better known as Common and John Legend. Their performance and their speeches (seconds later?) were powerful.

Favorite Joke of the Night:

Not many. My favorite was by far the comedy stylings of John Travolta. The hapless former ballet dude and disco god put his foot in his mouth last year by mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name while introducing her, and he spent the whole telecast yesterday trying to tapdance his way out of that. Seeing how insecure a big star can be is really charming in a way, getting all sweaty and nervous and making jokes that don’t make sense, it’s the first time I’ve empathized with Travolta. Not your fault that she’s got a tongue-twister of a name Johnny!

The Awards:

My favorite of the nominated films was The Grand Budapest Hotel though I wholeheartedly believe the best movie of 2014 was Nightcrawler which was criminally under nominated. Jake Gylenhaal deserved a Best Actor nomination at the very least. He also came up with the concept for this trailer for the film:

Another overlooked performance was Chadwick Boseman in Get On Up. He was a mesmerizing James Brown, a top-notch song and dance man who also captured the exuberant joy and tortured genius of the Godfather of Soul. I also especially loved A Most Wanted Man, the very last movie Philip Seymour Hoffman made. His portrayal of a beat-down by life German spy carries the film and his German accent is great. Another performance that stayed with me is Miles Teller in Whiplash, he was in my tempo and I thought as deserving of a nomination as the abusive JK Simmons. The two things the Oscars made me want to watch even more than I wanted to before were Selma and Citizenfour. By the way, pretty ballsy moment by Ed Snowden’s girlfriend picking up the Best Documentary Oscar onstage for her boo.

Quick points:

-Eddie Murphy has not aged in twenty years, that’s what no booze or drugs and a lot of money and a healthy lifestyle gets you.

-Lady Gaga killed it, I expect she’ll be doing The Sound of Music on Broadway in a few years.

-Rosamund Pike is gorgeous when she’s not killing dudes.

-Bradley Cooper’s third straight Best Actor nomination! And that’s not even counting my favorite performance of his, as the voice of Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy.

-Meryl and J-Lo in a film adaptation of Broad City? I’m in.

As usual, the Oscar show was so overblown, I started wondering about the director of the Oscars, he’s under major pressure and he can’t even direct these actors! Wondered how they manage all these shots and movement…Check out this clip of what it looked like behind the scenes during my favorite Oscar moment in history and you’ll get an idea.

Dennis Rodman, who are YOU wearing?  

Proust Questionnaire.

I decided to answer the Proust questionnaire in an effort to get to know myself better. Also, because I saw David Bowie’s and his answers were funny. Proust, being French, I thought there must be some sort of philosophical and tragically deep history to his question selection but alas, it is called the Proust Questionnaire only because he popularized answering such questions, and only because his daughter had an English book that came full of such questionnaires for youngsters to answer, common at the time – and Proust took great enthusiasm in answering. Even I myself recall our high school days being full of “Slam Books” and the like, an assortment of questions that tickled teenage fancys. I suppose that in a way we all like being interviewed. 

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Singing badly, loudly.

What is your most marked characteristic? 

Bringing great amusement to myself.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Finding strength in apologizing.

What is your greatest fear?

Terminal illness suffered alone.

What historical figure do you most identify with?

Siddharth Chander.

Which living person do you most admire?

People born into poverty or disease who still smile brighter than anyone coming out of a dentist’s office.

Who are your heroes in real life?

People who not only don’t speak ill of others, but don’t even think ill of them.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Roving mind, inability to focus.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Moodiness.

What is your favorite journey?

Getting my hair cut and watching it grow back.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Everyone’s always going on about Patience.

Which word or phrases do you most overuse? 

If you talk as much as I do, you’ll literally overuse them all literally.

What is your greatest regret?

Hopefully the greatest one is still ahead of me.

What is your current state of mind?

Foggy with chance of thundershowers at any time.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Their relationships with each other.

What is your most treasured possession?

My basketball card collection from 1993-1995, before I had watched a single game. The mythology of those cards and what I imagined from them dwarfs reality and will live forever.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being two-faced.

Where would you like to live?

A small place of my own, forever.

What is your favorite occupation?

Raconteuring.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Zest for life.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Zest for me, and life.

What are your favorite names?

Danny, Avinash, Arthur, Roger, Leo, Rafael, Olivia.

What is your motto?

The Secret…I don’t care what it is.

Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.

___________________________________________________________________________

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/07/10/david-bowie-proust-questionnaire-vanity-fair/

The Fall and Rise of Jonah Hill (in 48 hours!)

I found out today that some scummy paparazzo followed Jonah Hill down the street this past weekend until Jonah finally snapped and erupted with “S*ck my d*ck, you f*ggot.”

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And the Apology of the Year goes to…

I only found out because Jonah went on Howard Stern and The Tonight Show to promote his new movie and apologized very sincerely for his hurtful words. It surprised me that his apologies went viral and trended longer than his original slur-laden outburst had. In fact I still haven’t heard that once though his apologies have been making the rounds for days and are even being celebrated a little. This is a relatively modern phenomenon, wherein the public and social media takes it upon themselves to judge somebody for their mistakes and then (even more fun) – judge their apology. “DO YOU BELIEVE HIM? I DON’T! That said, I have not seen too many apologies met with the warm hugs and awkward kudos that have met Jonah Hill’s apologies.

The understanding/forgiving attitude extended to Jonah Hill suggests to me that people don’t really care about the sensitivities of other groups as much as the likability of the person who speaks the insults. If you were truly furious about the words someone used, would the apology and it’s quality really matter to you? If I were outraged, I wouldn’t even listen. When offended, people will act like the words/slurs said carry a weight, but the true weight and ultimate determining factor of the gravity of the situation and it’s repercussions is the messenger and more importantly, the likability of the messenger. If a muscled, monotone-voiced athlete without a sense of humour said the same phrase Jonah did to a paparazzo, people would say “Yeah right, you don’t just say that once. It means he says it all the time, but now he slipped up and said it in public.” See Riley Cooper. And although he’s a total scumbag and I’m happy he’s gone, that was the point that the charmless Donald Sterling made repeatedly on his way out. The charismatic Kobe Bryant and many before him HAVE said “f*ggot” on live television – and have escaped with petty League fines. Magic Johnson DID sleep with thousands of women while married and he got what amounted to a total pass from the public and press. Donald Sterling was recorded being his racist weird self at home – and was forced out of the league. I am happy he is gone but there does lay there something inconsistent. The point appears to be, be likable, be cute, be non-threatening above all, and you can turn your worst moments into instant redemption stories. A commonly held opinion is that money is the most absolute necessity for power, and it may be – but Sterling proved that there are certain situations that money can not get you out of, and there clout and connections are the currency that reign. To put it more simply, let me quote one Baratheon to another from Game of Thrones:

You never wanted any friends, brother. But a man without friends is a man without power.

This is something that usually becomes glaringly obvious to most in the similarly violently dark and dog-eat-dog Dystopian world of High School.

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CAN’T EVEN GET SOMEONE TO SIT NEXT TO HIM COURTSIDE.

Jonah Hill’s handling of his misadventure though, strikes me as a masterful example of modern media savvy. He screwed up pretty damn big for a guy who has officially been supporting the Gay and Lesbian cause for his entire career. To his credit, he recognized it immediately and went full-on into damage control mode. I personally believe his apology was sincere. However, I also believe Donald Sterling’s was sincere. The truth is anybody who gets caught on tape doing or saying something they shouldn’t IS SORRY. They’re sorry they are dealing with all these questions. They’re sorry their career is being effected by their personal mistakes. They’re sorry they got out of bed that morning and they’re most sorry that they got caught. The difference with Sterling is that he was just incapable of not putting his foot in his mouth in every interview after his tape leaked. That’s understandable if you consider who Sterling is. But while Sterling is an 80-year-old billionaire who has done exactly what he has damn well pleased for 30 years (at least), steamrolling families and communities through sh*tty business practices and an ever advancing army of lawyers, Jonah Hill is a 30-year-old actor, twice Oscar nominated. His entire trade is based on the ability to pretend to be something you are not. Angry, sorry, whatever.  Hill’s apology better be miles better than Sterling’s or it calls into question the entire Academy Award nomination process.

I’m not saying Jonah is a homophobe, if I had to bet, I would bet he is not. My point is that people so clearly WANT to forgive him and that’s what fascinates me. Why? Well, he is likable. People can relate to him. Not too handsome, sort of shlubby, quite a funny guy and completely non-threatening. Conversely, people have hated Tom Cruise more for jumping on a couch and Kanye West more for bothering Taylor Swift at an award show. If Donald Sterling had been in Superbad, I feel like he would have got a little more slack.

Alec Baldwin called someone a “f*ggot” in the recent past and his apology was viewed as an obvious publicity move that only an idiot would miss. It was less emotional and less moving, but does that mean it had any less merit? To me, it does not. Jonah Hill, in a deft and nuanced trick befitting the penny-stock selling broker he played in his last movie has transformed his mea culpa into a me-a-cool-guy, his snake into a ladder, his own screw-up into a cautionary tale penned by himself and only forty-eight hours later, one in which he extols the tried and true schtick of a person caught doing something they should not have been doing: “Do as I say, not as I do.” I particularly liked him saying (paraphrasing) “Learn from me. I am the poster boy of what not to do in this situation.”. He was that poster boy ever so briefly, but I would now name him the poster boy of how to cast a potentially disastrous mistake into an instantly sympathetic light. He is missing out on his destiny as the ultimate “Apology Specialist Publicist” for celebs. Jonah is so smooth that he could probably right the Bieber ship within a year.

I realize that comparing Sterling (with his proven dirty track record) with Jonah (off his first mis-step) is a stretch but I am still convinced by the largely non-plussed reaction to Jonah’s slur-dropping that the voices who yell and shout about these things are guilty of their own double-standards. Donald Sterling was in dirty sh*t up to his knees. He was too rich, unlikable and hard to relate to to pull off spinning his mistakes into redemption. He was a jerk and he probably got what he deserved.  Jonah Hill is a young up-and-comer and he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Still, what is most interesting to me is that the repercussions for mistakes in the court of public opinion are not as fair as most would believe. Similar to the courts of law round the world, the public’s is a deck that appears to be stacked against some from the beginning.

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Safe.

To Tom Drew, Wherever You Are, I Saw Tom Petty Last Night, So Screw You Pal

When I was 17 years old, I moved from India to America.

One of the most exciting things about this move was that I would now have access to attend rock shows. In the late 1990s, not many musicians toured India although I HAD had the pleasure of seeing a who’s who of one-album wonders from Inner Circle to Michael Learns To Rock to Apache Indian.

Upon arriving in New Jersey, what soon became even more exciting than going to concerts was trying to win free tickets to concerts through radio station contests. This was my idea of Heaven. In those halcyon days, I probably went to about ten to fifteen shows that either myself or a friend won by being caller number one hundred four or ninety-nine or whatever the hell the lucky number was. Through a complex, precise and ingenious system of frantically calling up the radio station as many times as possible from as many numbers as possible, we ensured our invitations to concerts near and far to see acts from Guns & Roses to Poison to Skid Row to Neil Young and Motley Crue.

One day, my friend Tom Drew and I were calling off the hook and finally he got through and we won a pair of tickets to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Jones Beach. Yay! So excited! High-fives ensued and I laid out my rock & roll plan. “Look Tom, we’re seeing Petty & the Heartbreakers next weekend. This gives us only 7 days to learn every song, every opening chord, every big riff. We’ve got to get to work. I have 5 Petty albums in my room, I will give you 2 today, get it done, then we’ll exchange albums mid-week et cetera.”

Tom’s face however was bereft of the enthusiasm I carried on mine. He looked like I was assigning him a heavy load of homework during the last class on Friday afternoon. Goddamnit Drew, where is your passion? I wondered. Either way, I had enough fire for both of us. While I listened to more Petty that week than every one of his roadies combined, I also found time to put on a shirt and tie and walk two miles to a liquor store where I proudly and underage-ed-ly purchased a bottle of rum to help us get “in the mood to rock” on the day of the show.

The day of the concert came, and I was PUMPED. I had listened to Freefallin’ a dozen times in 3 hours but in the meanwhile, Tom Drew had disappeared.

Unreachable.

Scumbag.

I called him repeatedly and after destroying my Swiss-watch of a plan (which demanded we leave my place at noon so we could “soak up the atmosphere in the parking lot for at least 4 hours”), he called me back at about 4 PM. The show began at 8 PM at a venue that would take more than an hour to drive to. He very casually said “Hey, I don’t feel like going.” My initial thought was to rip his soul out of his head and kick it in with my high-top Nikes. But I instead replied “Are you f*cking kidding, dude?” He confirmed he was not joking and that not only was he not going, screwing me completely because I didn’t have a car and now I would have to take about 3 hours of taxis, trains, subways and a bus to get to the venue but for the ultimate measure of the sh*tty man he was, he added that he would “give me a good deal on the tickets”. To this, my ears instantly burned as if they were bleeding profusely while being doused in barrels of after-shave. I said “F*ck you, Drew” and hung up.

I knew he was a worthless waste of skin and blood and guts right there but he confirmed it in Boston six months later when he unbeknownst to me made a deal to get my roommate a sh*t load of mushrooms. I only found out when lying in bed one night and my preppy roommate walked in, turned the light on and with the most frustrated look of sobriety I had ever seen – yelled – “Tom Drew’s Mushrooms are f*cking bullshit! Your friend f*cked me!” This brought a huge smile to my face because firstly, had I been consulted, I would have vouched for growing your own mushrooms in a septic toilet versus counting on Tom Drew and secondly, I was now just one person among two in my room who had been burned by the disease known as TD.

Well, it took almost 15 years but you got yours last night Tommy boy. I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and sure, they were 15 years older, and sure it wasn’t a beach. And sure it wasn’t free. But it was good, and it was loud and when the sticks hit the drums, it felt like landing an overhand right to your jaw you lying sack of sh*t.

A beautiful day to avenge my greatest defeat. Choke on that blue sky, Tom Drew.
A beautiful day to avenge my greatest defeat. Choke on that blue sky, Tom Drew.
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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Forefathers of Chandelier Rock
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Marking the Spot I would need Tom Drew to stand on to ensure this chandelier falling would crush him
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The Stage at The Beacon, pristine venue, too classy for the likes of Tom Drew
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Set List For Night 1 at The Beacon Theater. Personally delighted he did “Billy The Kid” and “Rebels”.

I enjoyed the concert and it delved deep into their catalogue. As expected, I somehow managed to make a direct association between every song’s lyrics and that horrible SOB Tom Drew. When Petty began the seminal classic Refugee and sang “Somewhere, somehow, somebody musta kicked you round some”, I yelled to the horror of everyone in my row “Hell yeah! But no more Petty! I’ll kick his ass now!” When Petty sang I Won’t Back Down and Billy The Kid, I zoned out of the concert for those ten minutes as I vividly imagined me shooting Tom Drew down in a duel of pistols at thirty paces at high noon on the streets of a ghost town with no name. Eat lead, Drew!  Songs like American Girl fell flat because even I couldn’t misconstrue their lyrics into my revenge-filled vengeance-soaked violent fantasy.

Walking out of the theater, I thought I saw a familiar face in the crowd shuffling out. I pushed my way past some giddy middle-aged blondes and spun around this lanky brunette dude. I was sort of disappointed that it wasn’t Tom Drew. I wanted my revenge gift-wrapped with a big bow on it. To be thorough, I planted myself outside the theater and scanned every face of the three thousand in the audience as they exited. When the security guards eventually locked the doors, I had to accept the fact that my revenge would have to be a metaphorical one versus a physical and vocal assault on an unsuspecting prey.

In the end, I was delighted by the show. Music has healing powers and with each bass line, piano fill, drum roll, the load on my heroic shoulders was lessened as I slowly convinced myself that living well is the best revenge.

Still, I did come home and do a search for “Tom Drew” on Facebook just so I could send him a triumphantly nasty message or perhaps even a photo of me under the marquee. Sadly, it is such a common name, that I gave up after the first two dozen.