Sunday, June 12, 2005

Study for my FRENCH exam or pubbing at "SOMEPLACE ELSE" - the last temptation of PRASANNA

I have a French exam this Thursday - I'm even taking 2 days leave from work (Wednesday for studies, Thursday for failing the stupid exam)

Someplace Else - the best pub in Kolkata. The only pub in this huge congested city where the DJ wil play you LINKIN PARK, METALLICA, NIRVANA, 70's rock, PINK FLOYD, etc. A rock pub, if there ever was one. The only pub in the city where there are live performances by the city's top rock bands every day of the week. A pub where the country's top bands come over to play live as well. Situated on Kolkata's posh Park Street area. In the premises of the posh Park Hotel. A pub which I love. A pub which has successfully turned me into a blob of alchoholic junk!!!

Saturday. Thought I'd study in the evening. Then my pals Diya and Aniruddh Sur call me up. Tell me they're going to SPE (short for SOMEPLACE ELSE), and do I wanna come along? And I wouldn't have to pay! Well I'm only human right? What could I do... I gave in to temptation!

So I joined them, and I was expecting a normal Saturday night with the booze and the babes and the blues, courtesy the SATURDAY NIGHT BLUES BAND (yup generally Saturday is a blues night at SPE)... but HOW WRONG I WAS!!!!!

We reach SPE and find out that it's a special night - the group SPAN are gonna be playing a set of alternative and modern rock tracks... SPE has named this the NIGHT FOR THE NEW FACE OF ROCK!!!

For those of you who don't know, SPAN comprises of Neel Adhikari (ex-Krosswindz and currently in the Saturday Night Blues Band), Stuart Munro (current bass guitarist of the Saturday Night Blues Band), Chirodip Lahiri (currently the drummer of Krosswindz), keyboardist Raja Deb, and super-talented lead guitarist Tajdar Junaid.

So what did they play and why am I so ga-ga after last Saturdays performance? Man, they played grunge, they played alternative, they played modern rock - they played just about anything that a person NEVER gets to hear at SPE. And for someone like me who prefers heavy metal/alternative more than the blues/60's-70's rock, it was like finding an oasis in a desert!! I was also struck by the sheer volume of the crowd that poured in - this was a mega successful night for SPE. And it also proved to me that Calcuttans love the alternative/modern rock stuff just as much as they love the Doors/Pink Floyd/the Rolling Stones, etc.

SPAN... I've been pubbing at SPE for god knows how many years - and I honestly never even bothered to come on the nights that SPAN played. But going by their performance this Saturday, well, maybe I was wrong! They used to play on Mondays, but now their slot's been changed to Thursdays, so I think I'll sample them on Thursday nights. Unfortunately they supposedly don't play the same modern rock set that they dished out on Saturday - but what the heck, I am a big fan of SPAN now!!

They started off with OASIS and Wonderwall, then followed it up by R.E.M. and Losing My Religion. Great guiatring and drumming... the music was slowly getting me high. Then they played Clocks by COLDPLAY (they actually played 4 songs by COLDPLAY, they love this band), and GREENDAY with When I Come Around... by now I was screaming my head off from the back of the pub - it was waaaay too crowded in front of the stage though, as usual, so I didn't try getting freaky with the crowd. Actually I never do - I'm alwayz at the back shouting like I've got a microphone attached to my voice box. Helps that I have a booming voice! Heh!

Anyway, then they played MAROON 5 and She Will Be Loved followed by RADIOHEAD's Creep... I love that song! With the intro of Creep I sorta lost my power to think straight. Shit, and it's only now I realise that 2 gorgeous women were standing right beside me, knocking my elbows while I was screaming out loud "I Wish I Was Special, So FUCKING Special"... I was so engrossed and high with the music that I just ignored them (Sorry ladies wherever you are, I hope you understand... I'll flirt with you 2 some other time! )

The opening bars of HOOBASTANK's The Reason - and I totally went bonkers. I left my unfinished drink and shoved myself all the way to the front of the stage, much to the astonishment of my pals whom I left behind!
Shoving your way to the front of the crowd during a rock show is an art which I am yet to master, and I stepped on the delicate toes of quite a few pretty dames on the way. My God, if eyes could throw daggers I would have been stabbed multiple times within that 30 second "SHOVING" time-frame... gosh I'm never ever gonna get a date now!!

So there I was, somehow managing to slither myself to the front row despite my portly shape (I guess people get intimidated by pony-tailed guyz and just move away!), singing my voice hoarse and even head-banging (The only one in the entire crowd who was head-banging actually, much to the utter amazement of the lead guitarist who I was standing in front of!!). But can you blame me? I loved the music they played. So after the excellent HOOBASTANK rendition, came THE RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS with Californication, PEARL JAM covers of the Last Kiss and Even Flow (the latter being the last song of the night - but I'm mentioning now anyway). COLLECTIVE SOUL - Gel and December, FASTBALL's Outta My Head, JAMIRAQUOI (yuck!! they coulda skipped this artist), EAGLE EYE CHERRY's Are You Still Having Fun, COLDPLAY galore like I previously mentioned - Yellow, In My Place and Trouble, a souped up modern rock version of TOM PETTY's Free Falling, and finally, the song which I hoped they would play, and which made me head-bang so much I have a dislocated neck bone now... NIRVANA and Smells Like Teen Spirit. Whew - what a night!

About SPAN and the set they played. I believe in most parts of the country rock bands get to play similar sets, and on a pretty frequent basis too. Places like Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Delhi obviously have more pubs and more indigenous rock groups. Plus at mopst colege fests u will the bands playing these songs. But the fact is, the scene is a lot different in Kolkata - bands hardly do this stuff over here - and at SPE, this was a 1st. So SPAN - u guys did a realy commendable job. Hats off to you folks.

I know a lot of you reading this are thinking "Big Deal" - well let me tell you, it is a big deal. I am seeing the face of modern rock/metal/alternative finally coming into the open in Kolkata. Before my very eyes. And I am absolutely thrilled - it's like a dream come true for me.

The new manager of SPE, Gautam Singh, is doing a good thing by trying to change the music scene at SPE. Change is inevitable, and changes such as these I warmly welcome with open arms.

Shit, I forgot... French... I wasted an entire evening screaming my guts out and head-banging, and I forgot all about my up-coming exam!! I am DOOMED!! :(

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

For Mz. Poodle Lahiri!!

Well, as promised - a silly poem for a special woman!! Hope she likes it....

There is this cute woman, as sweet as a poodle,
Chirpy and pretty, and who loves to doodle.
So sit back you all and read her grand story
Of how she has struggled to gain fortune and glory.

She was born in the hills of the north and the east,
Where lived the magical joogoogoojoo beast.
Now, this beast fell in love with our pretty lass
But his heart of stone broke into fragments of glass,
The day she left home and went to the South
And started to stuff idlis into her mouth!

For years did she study 'till she got her degree
For years did she live on just idlis and ghee
For years did she long to be wild and free
But all that went boom when she became a YUPPIE!!

So now our dear poodle is a workaholic
And sketching and shoes are her only tonic!
Sometimes she splurges on hand-bags and clothes
And dreams to go PUNK, and get a ring on her nose!!
She works and she works and goes home late at night,
Too tired to be cooking or to fly a kite.
Too tired to meet friends or handsome young guys,
Too tired to eat pizza or crunchy french fries!
Too tired to go pubbing or even to SNOG!!
She just seems to work or occasionally BLOG!

But along comes the eccentric beast of the hills...
Once high on the booze and the fags and the pills -
He's changing his ways - no time for cheap thrills,
He's working his ass off to pay all his bills!!

From afar (i.e. Kolkata) he sees the girl of his dream,
And he's thinking to woo her with some crazy, cool scheme.
He logs into orkut and starts driving her silly,
Our very own poodle, Miss Ritu Lahiri!!

Who knows what will happen to the joogoogoojoo beast!
Will he find success with his scheme from the east?
Or maybe he'll fly over and live down in the south,
And stuff his fat gut with idlis into his mouth...

Well whatever he does, he is on a mission
To save a sweet poodle from her current position.
He's gonna make sure she don't work off her ass.
He's gonna try hard to save this cute lass.

So this, my friends, is the saga of Ritu
And how she's been tormented by the beast joogoogoojoo
Who knows what will happen at the end of this story...
Will she keep on working for her fortune and glory?
Or will the beast from the east have his own way?
Corrupt and brain-wash her... well, we'll find out SOME DAY!!