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Arbeitstag

January 20, 2007

pict0981.JPG Well, this is why I love my job: look at what came in the mail today! A review copy of Kylie’s Showgirl concert recording. We loves. And what a great CD it is! Kylie has never sounded better. Her vocals are absolutely stunning – especially on the exuberant “Spinning Around”. To think she’s just recovered from breast cancer. Have I mentioned that we loves?

Friday was a crazy day. I was busy recovering from Thursday night’s preview or Little Children, which was a tough cookie to chew on. It reminded me a lot of Babel, but better. Though both films touched on how convergent lives can affect each other through coincidence – a light brush here, a slight crush there – Babel‘s problematic pacing paled in comparison to Little Children‘s dry ironic wit. I’m probably going to do a comparative review to kill two birds with one stone. Oh and btw – Patrick Wilson is. So. Hawt.

Friday evening I interviewed Addie, owner of Taboo. A real dear if there ever was one. I wish I had his zen-buddhist life-philosophy. Then I rushed down to the Pump Room (at Clarke Quay) for a party in aid of AfA. There I got into a bit of a kerfuffle with the staff. I tried to bring Jinesh in, and she was so incrediby uppity and snooty about it: “How many people you wanna bring in? This is 40 bucks a head you know? And you get to drink wine and have food.” I gave her a piece of my mind. It was not pretty. But I was. Then we rushed down to Cafe del Mar’s opening, and I was shocked at how many white people there are in Asian Singapore. Yum.

pict0996.JPGWell I’m exhausted from the weekend’s proceedings. I leave you with a picture of the adorable Tim. Who is as usual eating. We went to Max Brenner’s. I had a rather delish crepes suzette.Perhaps he is grimacing because of the loss of his beloved Zul. Perhaps he is grimacing because the chocolate has given him a heart attack. We shall never know. Here is Tim, with Belgian waffle:

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January 7, 2007

There’s something about Ciara’s “Promise” that really gets me going. I’ve listened to it like 47 times in a row and it’s still going on repeat. I can hear Prince (when he was good) and Janet Jackson (when she was sane). There’s something distinctly gorgeous about the direction in which she’s taking her crunk. The slightly dissonant harmonies hypnotise. It’s a really strange lovesong – you don’t really get a sense of the beloved at all – perhaps there isn’t even one. But Ciara dominates and takes over the song with her sultry declarations of love. Maybe that’s why I love it so much – like all good lovesongs it really is an exercise in self-aggrandization.

Hm.

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Full of Sound and Fury/Signifying Nothing

October 20, 2006

This makes my blood boil. What an idiot.

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The Beautiful Room Is Empty

October 19, 2006

“Ah! Do you have to be sensual to be human?”

“Certainly, Madame. Pity is in the guts, just as tenderness is on the skin.”

Anatole France, The Red Lily

When I was about fifteen, gay in an single-sex school and deeply unhappy, I discovered the works of Edmund White – more specifically the “A Boy’s Own Story” Trilogy (beginning with that book, followed by “The Beautiful Room Is Empty” and “The Farewell Symphony”). I remember sneaking off during PE, tormented by both the boys and their beauty, the telling pink cover of “A Boy’s Own Story” in my hand. I’d sit and read in the library. There was the illicit thrill of discovery – of realising that I was not the only one who had felt what I felt, and wanted what I wanted. And that was oddly comforting, in a way.

As I grew up the works of White began to languish on my shelf. Who needs White? How irrelevant he was, and is, and how dreary! How else could they be, as the autobiographical works of an unhappy closeted gay adolescent growing up in the dull Midwest, whose final coming out coincided with the onset of the AIDS epidemic? No – now we have counselling to blunt the edge of difference, drugs to help with our unhappiness and our disease. Better to leave White – depressingly ironic – on the shelf, back in the closet.

We gays have had, and have, a short lifespan. We place heavy emphasis on youth and beauty – how many years do we have before our societal clock runs out, before we become bitter old queens, or settle down into pairs as bitter old dykes? Likewise, from birth (the liberation of the Stonewall rebellion) to death (the cruel plague of AIDS), the halcyon days lasted barely 30 years. And so it goes – no time even for thought. We don’t look back on the past – instead we look forward to the future (to the next Sunday night, the next trick, the next text message from so-and-so) with our credit cards, industrial-strength lubricants and razor-thin handphones.

But has this brevity led to a levity with which we treat ourselves? In our high-speed world, made higher by drugs, cigarettes and alcohol, have we lost the ability to feel serious things? And is this loss, well, serious?

Yes, and yes. We blunt the edge of sorrow and loneliness by surrounding ourselves with the sedating influence of bright disco lights and comforting chemicals. But in the long run this can only do ourselves harm. We become caricatures of ourselves – smiling, bright, beautiful, happy things. But empty things. And empty things with dangerous tendencies. People who don’t feel pain eventually grow numb to it, and stop realising that something is wrong – frogs boiled alive not knowing that the temperature of the water has slowly increased.

There is nothing wrong with living an accelerated life. But it is essential that we stop, and feel. When I reread The Beautiful Room Is Empty, the epigram struck me as particularly relevant. We enjoy what is on our skin, but our guts are unfeeling. And certainly we need to feel our guts wrench, from time to time, in order to retain our humanity. And that is why I am now rereading the works of Edmund White, to feel that pity in my guts, to innoculate myself from states of unfeeling.

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You Take the High Road

October 4, 2006

‘You won’t understand, you’re not in a straight monogamous relationship,’ she said. And with that I knew that we weren’t friends in that sense of the word. I have been objectified over and over, not least by people I (used to) love, but this was treachery of the deepest kind – why, just because I offer a dissenting opinion, must it be attributed to my sexuality? This is the new homophobia. The idea that, at some base level, we are different because of the genitals we prefer. A new, more dangerous and insidious form of homophobia – for it disguises itself under a veneer of openness and tolerance. But there, the sting in the tail – ‘oh, you won’t understand, you’re not like me.’

I like my bigots where I can classify them – Republican, fundamentalist Christian, gun lobbyist, these I can handle. But friends who understand that you will never understand – this is something new that I have not yet come to terms with. I can’t imagine how this is any better than introducing me as ‘the gay Asian guy’.

Because I am more than just a label. Hell, I am more than just a labia. Hell, I don’t even have a labia.

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Move Along Like I Know You Do

September 27, 2006

Walking back into camp after all this time has given me such a distance and a perspective from where I was a few months ago – so many things have changed, or perhaps, I have changed so much.

Walking back to the bunks I felt a huge sense of anger and relief, relief that all that time had passed, anger that all that time had passed. It’s not that bad, I tried to tell myself, two years is only two years, and if you could have survived this you will be able to survive anything.

But sophistry cannot triumph over logic and emotion – so many things have crumbled apart in my life in the past two years, I barely recognise myself anymore. But it’s time to move on, pick up the crumbs and cobble them together and hope that somehow just somehow things will all work out. Because I have a knack for making things work out – a crazy sense of self-belief coupled with a modicum of ability always gets you some places, sometimes not where you want to go but what more can you ask for?

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Captain and Chenille

September 26, 2006

So I signed up for a gym membership. And am allowed to go in for all lessons at all outlets. And today I decided to go for the hip hop class for beginners.

Long story short, I slipped and fell on my left ankle. It is now sprained and it is so. Not. Funny. And I am really, really, really annoyed. Damn my lax joints!