Only Lyrically

Tag: Quiapo

With A Heart That’s Full Up Like A Landfill



Right in the warm belly of our dirty, pretty city…

Rancid’s And Out Come The Wolves. Which means Nanay could now throw away my tape. But not the sleeves!

Coldplay’s Parachutes, X&Y (“still my heart and hold my tounge i feel my time my time is come let me in unlock the door i never felt this way before the wheels just keep on turning the drummer begins to drum i don’t know which way i’m goin’ i don’t know which way i’ve come hold my hand inside your hands i need someone who understands i need someone someone who hears for you i’ve waited all these years for you i’ll wait ’til kingdom come until my day my day is done and say you’ll come and set me free just say you’ll wait you’ll wait for me”… they sound like Johnny Cash!), and Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, and A Rush Of Blood To The Head.

Led Zepelin’s II, III, and Coda.

The Clash’s Sandinista.

Alice In Chain’s Jar Of Flies.

And I got Mga Gitarista (featuring Jun Lopito, Francis Reyes, Mike Elgar, Barbie Almalbis, etc.) and an Apo Hiking Society thing for my bro, who was with me by the way (he had to buy strings from Raon). Oh, and corn-on-the-cob! Munching on it while walking towards Espana.

But nothing beats the joy of seeing OK Computer at the shelf of M1 Glorietta last Thursday, after another exam. A heart that’s full up like a landfill. I guess I’m not that jinxed in Makati, afterall. I did spend my 30th birthday there, and singing The Rose. And with my dearest friends cheering me on and holding me close. Oh how quickly I forget!

That’s exactly why I need mister pen. He helps me remember. Like he just did, right now, here.

Thank you thank you thank you…

Catch Them While You Can: Cine Europa 11, Agnes Of God, Righteous Kill

Diwata (Razel Estrella), texted me today, informing me of something I’ll have to miss yet again.

Cine Europa is on, again, at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall, opening today. All screenings are FREE. One simply has to line up for the film one chose. Bring a friend you can talk to while waiting in line, and hey, drag the friend into the movie too! The festival runs until September 21.

Last year, I saw The Lives Of Others and a couple of others. But it was The Lives Of Others that left its mark. Copies can be found at the great Q mart. Just check with the veiled attendant if the characters are speaking in German (not Chinese), and if the subtitles are in English (not Chinese). Happy hunting!

For skeds to the Cine Euro, go to this link

And yesterday, as I passed through SM Manila, only to check if the play Agnes Of God is still on , I saw Righteous Kill being shown already. Pacino. De Niro. And I got no dinero. Hope that one runs until the 21st too.

As John Pielmeier’s Agnes Of God will. The play is being staged every weekend on SM City Manila (in one of the theatres, cinema 9, I believe – for inquiries, please text 09178011209). I haven’t seen nor read the play, and my only encounter with the material is through the 1985 film adapted for the screen by the playwright himself, directed by Norman Jewison, and superbly acted by Jane Fonda (playing the psychiatrist Dr. Livingston), Anne Bancroft (as Mother Superior), and Meg Tilly (as Sister Agnes). I first saw the film as a kid, during a Holy Week, screened through RPN 9, from our black and white TV that one has to hammer with one’s fist every once in a while to fix the vert-hold. The film, along with the score by Georges Delerue, never left me since, and as usual, when I saw a VHS copy of the film later as a high school student in an Astrovision, I was like a kid in a candy store, jumping up and down as I embraced the copy off the shelf.

Now, thinking about the film and the issues it gets to raise, I can’t help but ask, if there are priests who appeal for non-celibacy and marriage, perhaps nuns may be allowed to get pregnant too, right?

The play was supposed to be loosely based on an actual event that happened in the 1970s in a New York convent.

I cannot speak for the play, yet, but please do see the film. It’s everywhere, in almost every videoshop in the city. Hear Sister Agnes’ account of how He sang to her songs she’s never heard, and how He, on the seventh day, spread His wings, and lay on top of her.

You see, sane or insane, the song remains.


(ERRATUM: As of yesterday, as the author inquired about stagings of the play Agnes Of God at SM Manila, it was made known to her that today, 11 a.m., is the last staging of the play in the said venue. Tickets are at Php 300. -j.b. 9-14-08)

An Optional Prelude To A Review Of Nouvelle Vague

Didn’t I tell you you’re mine? You are mine. Now we go home.


* * *


Bossa nova to me used to be solely and strictly Antonio Carlos Jobim. I would want to include Astrud Gilberto but the only exposure I have to Gilberto is A Certain Sadness, oh, and Waters Of March which almost every jazz singer or instrumentalist has a version of. And I did not even get to listen to Jobim out of a curiosity for bossa nova. I got to him through Frank Sinatra. Just around that time when Sinatra just passed away, RPN 9 had a re-run of his 60s TV show, and in one of the episodes I saw, I was fortunate enough to catch that one where Ella Fitzgerald and Jobim guested. Jobim played acoustic guitar to a smoking Sinatra’s medley of Jobim’s compositions, namely Girl From Ipanema, I Concentrate On You, Change Partners, and Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars. It was so sexy. I never perceived of Sinatra as sexy until I heard him sing those songs. I got hooked instantly. When I learned that the two actually collaborated on an album, I sought the said record (Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim), and found it eventually.


The last two years actually saw a rise in the number of bossa nova acts and the release of their recordings locally. Former mainstream artists, say, Agot Isidro, even came up with bossa nova albums. And the record shelves are always stacked these days with bossa-fied versions of Bacharach and what-have-you.


Quite a what-have-you is what I got upon scoring a copy of Nouvelle Vague’s self-titled album. If before my perception of bossa nova is simply Brazilian jazz or 60s jazz or beach jazz, Nouvelle Vague turned it to what it should be – rebellion. And Nouvelle Vague is, as bossa nova is, rebellion.


Bossa nova came around during the late fifties as a new, hip form of jazz. It literally means ‘new wave’ or ‘new beat’ in Portuguese. Nouvelle Vague, as I would later learn, plays only punk and new wave/post-punk songs in bossa nova arrangements. A typically close-minded punk or new wave listener would probably raise eyebrows at the thought. I did not. Actually, having heard them now, I can’t wait for them to make covers of, say, I’m Not Down, or Brainstew/Jaded, or hey, Hey.


* * *


In the film A Mighty Heart by Michael Winterbottom, just right after the character of Mariane Pearl played by Angelina Jolie gave birth to her son Adam, just as she cradles the baby in her arms, the strains of a classical guitar can be heard. This plays on in the next scene, supposedly a few years having passed, where the mother is shown walking hand-in-hand with her boy in a European city street. The song blooms at this point, and the words, which speak of yearning, fittingly brings the film to its close –


            “ … In a manner of speaking, I just want to say

                  That I could never forget the way

                  You told me everything by saying nothing…


              … So in a manner of speaking, I just want to say

                  That just like you, I should find a way

                  To tell you everything by saying nothing.


                  Oh, give me the words, give me the words

                  That tell me nothing.

                  Give me the words, give me the words

                  That tell me everything …”


The song is In A Manner Of Speaking. It was written by Depeche Mode’s Martin L. Gore. Yes, the same guy who wrote the Depeche Mode classic Enjoy The Silence. Apparently, he seems to have quite a fix on silences.


In A Manner Of Speaking as played on the film was not performed by Tuxedomoon, though, the group which originally recorded it. The version in the film was by Nouvelle Vague.


* * *


The song was so haunting and heartbreaking I was immediately sorry that I could not wait for the film to be shown in the theatres – I had to be listening to it through my supposedly-stereo-sounding TV, as played off my Quiapo copy of the film. But if it had that effect on me despite the circumstances, what more had I been listening to it in a dark, cold, sonics-friendly theatre? I would be welling up tears, I bet. I had to wait for the song credits to be shown, then zoomed in the title of the song to see the performer: Nouvelle Vague. Consoling myself, I just made a commitment that from hereon, every time I go into a record store, I would always check the jazz section for a Nouvelle Vague record.


And then one night, after seeing a fashion show for the first time, and after I had to leave the venue quick because they were through playing Bjork and I couldn’t find the cocktails and I felt timid asking about it and I just basically suddenly felt out of place, I decided to go to the nearby mall, Rockwell, and check out the Fully Booked there. Freezing in my halter dress, sore in those killer heels, and carrying my Saturday book load, I climbed up to the mezzanine floor of the bookstore which housed the record section. The new releases shelf was right up front, and I quickly cussed as I saw a copy of Radiohead’s The Best Of, because I knew I couldn’t buy it, along with some other poetry books I saw downstairs. I looked further on, hoping not to see another goodie.


But there she was, the fair woman on the cover with her chin up, staring right at me, the words Nouvelle Vague right below her neck, so readable despite the purple and close-knit layout. She, along with a twin, was stacked right beside Massive Attack. I grabbed her immediately, held her close to my heart like a loony, and turned her over to see if indeed this was the Nouvelle Vague that sang In A Manner Of Speaking. It was! And along the titles in it were I Melt With You, and Love Will Tear Us Apart. Interesting, I thought. An even more interesting was that it cost only 350, a hundred lesser than Radiohead, but still I couldn’t afford it. All I really had was taxi money, and if I insisted on buying the disc, I would have to risk waiting for ages in Rockwell for a jeep. That could take me the whole night, all the way to dawn. If only I brought slippers, if only I didn’t eat in that coffee shop before the show…


So I laid her back down in her place. But not without saying you are mine you are mine you are mine


It always works, you see.


The next time I saw her was August 18, 2008. I was in really good spirits, having finished an important personal project. I wanted to reward myself. It felt to be the right time to look for Nouvelle Vague. And because I couldn’t afford taxi fare all the way to Fully Booked Rockwell, I had to decide to go to the nearest good record store which was merely one jeepney ride away, Music One at Quezon Avenue.


And there she was, erroneously classified under electronica when she should be in jazz (I first looked at the jazz section but did not find her, so good thing I remembered the disc as laid next to Massive Attack way back in Rockwell, I actually thought of looking for Nouvelle Vague’s right there at Music One in electronica, just in case).


So I approached her, took her again for good this time, and in my head said, as I cradled her, didn’t I tell you…

I had to be cut off quickly though, for as I embraced the disc while lining behind a few other people towards the counter, I saw the concerts section. And there was another lady there who I had to approach. Suzanne Vega Live In Montreux.

For 395. More than a week’s lunch. Caramel was in the listing.