Thursday, June 25, 2009

F1, Save for Now.

So, F1 is save. For now at least. The meeting in Paris of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) has been fruitful. The teams and the association have come to an agreement to avoid any alternative series or championships. They will stick to the rules, as agreed upon, for the 2009 season. And some added regulations which were agreed before the 29 th of April this year. Part of those rules require the teams to reduce the cost of operations within two years. They will also need to help out the new entries in providing technical assistance. But I think the best news is that Max Mosley has announced not to stand for re-election in October this year. Hip Hop Hooray! I'm sure that was part of the deal set by FOTA. Good on them! Oh and by the hoo, there will be 13 teams in next seasons race. Sweet. Here's a list of the teams; 1. Ferrari 2. McLaren Mercedes 3. BMW Sauber 4. Renault 5. Brawn 6. Williams 7. Toyota 8. Force India 9. Red Bull Racing 10.Torro Rosso 11. Campos 12. Manor 13. Team US F1 Wow, that is going to be one very crowded starting grid. But that's alright, at least it is still F1. That is all we wanted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Music for the Masses

Moonlight Sonata. Photo, Some of the best music most people can relate to is during the Elvis and Beatles era. Most people will say that that was when modern music was invented. I wasn't around then. But I definitely won't doubt it. I, for one, am also a fan of true masterpieces. But then again, can anyone really resist Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik? Many a people would probably only listen to this kind of stuff when they are in the washrooms or toilets of some posh hotels or in some elevators. Maybe restaurants even while they are having some scrumptious dinners. My personal favourite is Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I first heard it when I was in primary school. I found it very sad, emotional, touching actually. It's very true when it's said that you can feel the feelings of the composers as they write the music. I heard it again, believe it or not, when Depeche Mode played it in their single Little 15. Alan Wilder made full justice of the original version. It's since been played all over. On TV shows like CSI etc. You can even hear it on Resident Evil if you are a fan of the movie. This brings me back to the fact that for me I have had the blessings of being around when some other great music was written. Yes I am very retro. And I love it. Some of the best music I know was written in the 80's. Allow me to go through them. Depeche Mode. Depeche Mode is a class of it's own, so I needn't delve further on them. As is Nine Inch Nails. So that leaves me with the rest. And the rest are just as great! Tears For Fears. Duran Duran's latest Red Carpet Massacre. Tears for Fears, Duran Duran, The Pet Shop Boys just to begin with. Erasure, with the original Depeche Mode founder Vince Clark. He also founded Yazoo. Then we have Aha, OMD, New Order, Thompson Twins and U2. All influential in my love for music as I know it. Howard Jones. Let's not forget Howard Jones and one of my favourite songs by him What Is Love. Nik Kershaw and his hit, The Riddle. Does anyone remember the original boy band The Bros? I never liked them initially, but when I realised that they can actually play their instruments and not just sing in studios only, I really started to appreciate them. Dire Straits and their Money for Nothing song was another hit too. And who can forget Camouflage and that anthem of a song The Great Commandment. I remember playing that again and again on the cassette player when I was at The Big Splash with my classmates in primary 5. Camouflage. Then there were the alternative bands like The Sisters of Mercy, Blur, Jesus Jones, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, and even Nirvana fronted by the late great Kurt Cobain. The Charlatans, The Farm, The Stone Roses. Wow this list is never going to end is it?! But this are the things I miss in life. When everything was as near to perfect as it could be. When the music and the lyrics was written by the singers themselves. Nothing like what we have today. Songs sang by so called artist who are so young , that it's obvious even they don't know what they are singing about. You can tell that they didn't write it. They sing about having their heart broken so badly, when we know that they have hardly reached puberty. When they start growing hair in the right places, they'll know better. I hope. Still for me, I can and always will cherish the great music that I got to grow up with. Even as I write this, I'm listening to Depeche Mode's Never Let Me Down Again. In fact I just tuned into a heavy rock cover version of Depeche Mode's World in My Eyes by a band called Sonata Arctica. It will bring you into a whole new world. My World. Go on, click below and listen to it. Listen how two worlds collide gracefully. I know you want to. Moonlight Sonata anyone? How fitting.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't Bull the World

I cannot remember the last time I tuned in to the radio. There are so many things not right with the stations that I don't even know where to start. OK there was actually one station I did occasionally tuned into but it wasn't local, it was the BBC. The local, all crap. I don't remember ever buying a record or a cassette, (I'm from the late 70's remember?), because I heard a song or a band on the radio first. Even now, the latest downloads or CDs I buy are mostly of bands I grew up listening to or I'm familiar with. I used to head down to the many record and CD shops at Orchard and randomly listen through whatever they had. Or I'd mostly get info from my many friends who like me were also musicians. Some of us shared similar taste so it was easier back then to swap stuff. Then there were these few CD shops that actually allowed us to rent CDs. One that I recall was called Recoil, I think. It was over at Midpoint Orchard. But coming back to the local radio stations, I never found them up to par with what was really going on in the rest of the world. Seriously, the first thing I couldn't stand about the local DJs (if that's what they call themselves) is the English used. Speak good English yes, some and I mean very few of them could, but what is with that accent? Is that really how they speak at home or with their friends? They sound like they were born in some foreign land and suddenly parachuted into the radio station. These people eat Nasi Lemak, Roti Prata and Char Kway Teow and here they come sounding like some Angmoh who were born in America. Do they ever look in the mirror? Listening to them speak sometimes is like listening to a very bad comedy. Very torturous. Like nails on a blackboard. And that's another thing. They keep blabbering on and on about some stupid contest or some comic sketch that they have come up with or some other load of crap. I didn't tune in to the radio to listen to them telling their personal sad stories to each other. Where's the music? And when they do start playing, there is that hopeless repetition of the same songs over and over and over and over and over and over and over and. .. . . . . . . . . . .(now you know how that feels). I understand that there is a certain protocol that they are required to follow, but don't they have a mind of their own? Do we have to wait for the song to be a hit in another country before we start playing it here? I can go on but never mind. I'm better off without them. We all are. Thanks to my 'experimentation' with music I now know of bands and music genres that would probably not have seen the light of day on these stations. It's strange but nice to know how a song or a band has become a hit a long time after I'm already bored with it. It's nicer to lead then to follow.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Problem with F1

Spot the dummy contest. £40 million if you get it right. Not! Photo,

You know the saying 'too many cooks spoil the soup' ? Well what we have with F1 now is just one lousy cook. And he's cooking up nothing but crap. Max Mosley, the boss of FIA, has stubbornly refused to bulge from his crazy idea of putting a financial cap on the teams. And the teams have responded. They have threatened to start off a new racing series. We are looking at the beginning of the end of F1 as we know it. The dictatorial nature of Mosley has basically hijacked the future of F1 racing. His insistence on maintaining his monopoly of power is but one of the reasons for this. But I'll go one better and hit the nail on the head as it should be. The real reason for this mess everyone is in is because we have a businessman who does not understand the technical aspect of F1 racing! Simply put, he doesn't know what he is cooking either. Remember KERS? Well it alone costs each team $5o million to develop for the cars. That alone has exceeded the $4o million cap that he is trying to instill on the teams! And how many teams do we know who are still using it? Only one now, Ferrari. So much for cost savings. During Friday's practice, McLaren had 1 car with Kers and the other without. They realised that the car without Kers was much faster. So for Saturdays qualifying they removed the Kers system on both cars. OK Hamilton didn't do that well but he has practically given up this year's fight already, so he is not even trying. And yes, I know the Kers system is still in its infancy. Anyhoo that was just one of his useless recipes we've had to endure. The Kers idea is good, don't get me wrong, but I think it still needs a lot of tweaking. And that means more money. So it's a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? (though I know neither will make it in his kitchen.) We need someone who can understand the insides of F1 to get things in order. That is the person who ought to be leading the FIA. Not some Nazi prostitutes loving cookoo. Someone, please throw him out of the kitchen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

There Can Be Only One

Like any hot blooded man, I love my football. The only thing is I don't particularly support any one club. No Manchester United, no Liverpool, no Real Madrid, non of that for me thanks. I find it ridiculous to support such teams when one day a player is playing for you and the very next season he is signed by one of your bitter rivals and playing against you. Even the money that's exchanged between teams to 'buy' players is getting stupid! But there is one team that I truly support. And that is Argentina. OK it's a country but I love their football. Ever since 1978 when I was just beginning to play football with the neighbourhood kids, I started hearing about them from the older boys. (Remember back then it was almost impossible to watch a game 'live' on TV). That was also the year they won their first World Cup. It was only in the next World Cup in 82 that I got to really keep track of the team. Then in 1986 all hell broke loose! Everyone I knew then were glued to their TVs watching every game 'live'. Argentina won their second World Cup with such class that they brought football to an all new level. Diego Armando Maradona was the name on every ones lips. Many adored him, a few despised him. All I know is he is the God that plays football! Yes, Yes. All the England fans out there will talk about the 'Hand of God' incident and call him a cheat. But they also know that in that very game, he made the England team look like a bunch of weekend footballers. And I love rubbing it into them every time I get the chance. So here I go again! He dribbled past half, YES HALF, the England team including the goalkeeper, YES GOALKEEPER EVEN, to score what will probably remain as the best goal in the history of football! Ever! This one goal alone erased the entire 'cheating' thing. Besides the English must really be that stupid to let a short guy like Maradona do that to them. That's their fault, not his. Some other players come to mind. Claudio Cannigia was the player I used to emulate when I was in school. He was one of the fastest footballers in the world. Being a sprinter in my school days, that was the one thing that I shared with him, speed. Sadly that was the only thing I could say I had in common with him. (I wasn't very good in all the other parts of being a footballer. My coach would tell me to get the ball from my goalkeeper and run like mad towards the opponents goal. Then pass the ball to my striker, who'll be waiting up there to score. Then he got all the credit. Crap.) Then there is Gabriel Batistuta, Osvaldo Ardiles, Valdano, Riquelme, Burruchaga, Goycochea, the list goes on and on. Lets not forget the latest sensation. They call him the new Maradona. His name, Lionel Messi. This young man went through bone lengthening operations in his shins when he was barely a teenager. He was told he was too short to be taken as a player seriously. He went through that very painful operation just for football. An operation so painful that it would have made most grown men cry! Today Leo is the greatest talent on the field anywhere. Never mind Pele, yes he was good too. So was Zico, Rummenigge from Germany, Platini and I'm sure a few more come to your mind. But at the end of the day, when the dust has settled and the grass has started to grow on the fields again, we look back and remember only one name. That name is Diego Armando Maradona. Because we know, there can be only one.

Nine Inch Nails in Singapore

Twenty years ago. That was the first time I heard of NIN. That was when they released their first album, Pretty Hate Machine. I was an avid local musician at that time and this band was one of my influences. Frankly it's not much of a band as more of a soloist who brings in a bunch of other musicians to play in his band. His name is Trent Reznor. You can simply say he is the godfather of cyberpunk. Well here is the best part. As a farewell world tour, he is coming to Singapore! It is called the Wave Goodbye 2009 World tour. He is calling for an indefinite hiatus to his band. Needless to say, I'll be there on the 10th of August! His Asian tour also consists of Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan. The Singapore leg will be held at the Fort Canning Park.
Click image below to get your tickets now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

'I Want To Go To There'.

Yeah Yeah! So Ling has finally got a day off and she would be going with me for this years F1. She got the ticket for Friday's practice walkabout just like we did last year. Which is one main reason why I'm so happy. Going to the F1 last year with Ling was the best fun I had for as long as I can remember. We only got the Friday's tickets because of time and money as well but I believe we were the luckiest people there. We met the drivers remember? The funniest thing was we didn't even need tickets! Sometimes, Ling and I still talk about that night and we still laugh with amazement! How lucky we were! We went there on the Thursday before the race and we ended up on the tracks and met the drivers! No need for tickets! Then we ended up being interviewed in the papers because we met Lewis Hamilton. How cool is that! We are hoping for the same this year but I highly doubt that it would happen again. I'm sure the authorities would be a little more vigilante this time around. But anyhoo, never mind. As long as she is going with me, we'll relive that night and remember the memories. That's all that matters to me. I'm just so very happy! Saturday and Sunday I can go there and focus on the actual race. Friday I'll be there 'walkingabout' with my baby Ling. Perfect!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who Says F1 Is Boring?

Jenson Button giving his 2 wheeler a check at last year's Singapore Race. Quite a few naysayers have started to say that this years F1 is getting boring. Because it's always Jenson Button and Brawns in the front. To a certain extend, they are quite right. I, for one, believe that this years championship is all wrapped up. Unless any of the other teams begin to improve themselves, it's over. Maybe with the exception of Red Bull. I feel they still have it in them to spoil Team Brawns party. But, personally I'm enjoying this years F1 so far. For me it would be boring if the usual guys were in front. Raikonnen, Alonso, Massa and in just 2 years Hamilton have made it the usual suspects. If they were in the front again this year then it would be boring. It started to get boring when Schumacher was wrapping up the championship with still a lot more races to go every year! It's nice to have someone different leading the pack for a change. And with an all new team to boot! Shocking that Alonso recently made the comment that it's not healthy for Formula 1 with only 1 driver winning all the time and that his nearest challenger is his own teammate. I wonder if he'd say the same if he was leading the championship. Well Button did say that there is nothing he can do about it. And he proved it again in Turkeys race. Jenson ran a flawless race and like second place Mark Webber said after the race, ' Button was on another planet.' I couldn't agree more! Actually I would want Rubens Barrichello to start winning some races. The veteran of F1 deserves it. He had a bad outing yet again in Istanbul. It's really sad how he always ends up playing second fiddle to his teammates, no matter which team he drives for. He probably has a year or two left in him before he hangs up his helmet for good, so I wish he'd get one championship as his swansong. So, F1 is getting more and more exciting the way I see it. Now we know who the really good drivers are and who only had good back up from their cars. It's frustrating to see how some so called champions practically give up just because they think their cars are crap. They don't even put up a fight! And yet they are paid obscene amounts of money! Now we see the men from the boys, the haves from the have nots, the Champs from the Chimps.