Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Round Midnight

Weather's starting to dip here. It's been hovering a little below zero degrees alot lately. Guess it's a signal of the end of the mild weather we've been enjoying recently. The gig for the jazz festival went pretty well; I've so many thoughts about it running through my head now but I'm too tired to organize them and put down into words at the moment. Here's a short video clip of the first number we did.



Have to say though, apologies for truncating the video halfway. The camera toppled off my piano after some heavy key-banging towards the end of the sax solo! In more mundane midnight news, I actually managed to tidy up my table tonight. Kudos to me, I suppose. It's amazing how much trash you can accumulate in one short term. I was rifling through my stuff when I chanced upon the short but very sweet note which Foi wrote for me on my birthday in Switzerland. It definitely put a big smile on my face. I miss you, girl!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Onboard Serenity

It's just a couple minutes shy of one in the morning, and the perfect time to do some blog updating! Foi was in town for a surprise visit to Dong-young over the weekend, so that simply meant more gatherings involving Korean food and even more glorious takju. Of course, the surprise visit itself was really quite a joy, and it was really good seeing familiar faces again. Having Foi over reminded me again of the wicked times we all had and enjoyed during last month's Swiss trip.

Well, of course, good surprises have to be planned, I gladly played wingman in this cunningly crafted visit by Foi. Dong-young (along with the rest) had completely no idea that Foi was coming, so as you can tell, when all was revealed I definitely couldn't miss the opportunity to get it on camera. And here it is: my award winning, 2-minute reunion video! Filled with mistimed appearance cues, moments of shock and my terribly asphyxiated laughing in the background, this is definitely a must-see. Also, I don't quite know if the song fits, or if the Korean title is accurate, but who cares. We're going for 100% tacky here!



Not bad, eh? I quite like it myself as well. Heh! Well, Foi managed to squeeze out a grand total of 5 days for her trip, which will be repaid very much in kind when Dong-young, In-woong and Lee head off to Geneva on 3 Dec without me! No thanks to my killer term-end performances lined up during the Guildhall festival on the 5th.

I've just finished watching the entire season of Firefly on DVD, along with the follow-up feature film Serenity. Lee lent me the boxset of Firefly, and I've been stuck on it for two weeks since. It started out as a Summer Glau obsession (she's in it), but now I've become quite the fan of the series as well as the movie itself. Firefly is basically a western sci-fi series, modeled and influenced by Western movie themes with a little bit of Star Wars-ish elements thrown in here and there.

Given the very likeable characters, a well-picked ensemble cast, great story arcs and impressive set designs, it's every bit of what a good TV series should be. Personally, I love the witty humor found in every episode. It's created and directed by TV genius Joss Whedon, also responsible for the Buffy and Angel series. He also wrote and directed Serenity, of which the film itself is a rare occurrence in the industry: a short-lived TV show continued as a major motion picture. Back in 2003, Firefly was cancelled after 11 of the 14 episodes went on air, mainly due to poor executive decisions by FOX and not screening the episodes in its intended order.

Still, it's never too late to pick up a DVD boxset (or turn to torrents!) and give it a watch. Okay, I'm stopping before I sound like a deranged fan. In other news, I'll be returning to Singapore in the 2nd week of December before heading off to Houston and Taos for Christmas, and Vegas for New Year's. I'm really sorry if I won't be able to keep any commitments I've made (Cindy, Evelyn and Titus especially!), but Christmas plans are really difficult to shift around. Also, my next term starts early (first week of Jan 09!) so that means it's back to the UK pronto. Still, please call me out for a beer when I'm back. I miss Cuscaden. And some (badly-needed) gigs.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Woche Nr. sieben

It's been a rainy week so far, with plenty of rain falling faster than the temperature. Can't believe I'll be back in Singapore within a month, and that's the end of my first term. Time seems to have just flown by just too quickly! I really need work when I'm back home, though. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about not getting any gigs when I'm back. So if you have any, please give me a call! I look set to back in Singapore by 9 December.

The last weekend was completely tied down with a CPD training weekend course, with one more on the way this weekend. I had a great time though, and it was a great complement to the masters programme. Today was a day off from school, but I went down still for a rehearsal with Tyler Rix and the quartet for the London Jazz Festival. First gig in the UK, finally! That happens on the 22nd of this month.

Things are getting busier towards the end of the term, with the Guildhall Festival just round the corner. I was hoping to go back to Switzerland in the first week of December, but now I don't think I can make it, with the festival happening and all. I managed to meet up with Ben, Shoujie and John Chua for dinner and drinks a couple times over the last week; it was good meeting up with MDC folk again.

Guess where we are. Yep, eXchange Bar.

Ben's back to Manchester for now, but I'd love to visit one day. Still have yet to check out the Lake District, I've heard so much good things about it. Well, next year I suppose! For now it's back to gig hunting in Singapore, and job hunting here in London. I so need a damn job!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Chum-Churum

Chum-Churum soju's latest advertisement is out! Shot in both Korean and English on location at the Swiss Bernese alps, it's set to boost its sales all around the world. Remember, only drink Chum-Churum soju! Dong Young, Foi and myself having a blast at First, a summit located above Grindelwald in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland. As you can see, we were doing much more than just enjoying the gorgeous scenery. Like shooting this video, for instance.

Seriously, watch this. It's awesome.



If you want to watch an official Chum-Churum ad, click here. Theirs is only slightly better than ours by a very little bit because it features the absolutely gorgeous E Hyo-lee (이효리)!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Weekenders

It's been more than a week since I've been back from Switzerland, and I must still say I miss that place to bits! I've put up an album of pictures on Facebook here, so do check it out. Or just find it from my profile! I still have another half of photos (and plenty more degrading videos), but they're in Dong Young's camera and that brother only got back today after extending his stay for five more days! I'll be getting all of the good stuff from him tomorrow, hopefully.

This weekend has been an absolute blast, thankfully. Joanne was in town on Saturday and we spent the entire day tramping around the city eating, walking, shopping, drinking, then eating again. I also went to The O2 for the first time to join her for the Body Worlds & The Mirror of Time exhibition. The first time I caught a Body Worlds exhibition was back in Singapore in 2003, so this time round I was glad to see that they had more new and intriguing stuff. They had plenty of real exhibits and human specimens denouncing the detrimental effects of smoking, so Jo and me were looking at each other ominously throughout most of the exhibition!

Hansel joined us for lunch at Kiasu, where we gorged on authentic tasting food at not-so-authentic prices, according to Hansel. To see what I really mean, click here. Yep. Still, it was most satisfying and we definitely scraped our plates clean. Jo took me to A&F for some all-American shopping as well. I didn't even know we had A&F in London until she showed me where! It's quite a sizable boutique store, though, so it'll be sure to satisfy. After dinner at dim t, we headed to Waterloo where Hansel joined us again for drinks and much more laughs for the rest of the night. He's such a talented fella! I can't remember the last time I had this much random fun in a day, really.

Looking awesomely windswept outside The 02 dome. It looks great from afar,
but nearby it simply looks like an oversized tent!

Happy hour at Waterloo station!

Intoxicated smiles to end the superb night.

On Sunday I had a masterclass in school with Panamanian jazz maestro, Danilo Pérez. He really is such a musician with so much vision, someone who has a very clear sense of what his mission in life is. I think it's really important that, as a musician, you need to have a clear overview of what your mission is, and that was what he touched on most of the time during the masterclass. Of course, apart from being a great improviser, he was also very inspiring in terms of different ways of music interpretation, and how to approach it with a philosophical point of view so as to make it for engaging and fulfilling. It was a really beneficial masterclass, and I'm sure it's something I wouldn't have had the chance to experience back in Singapore.

I watched Quantum of Solace today, as sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing. Overall it wasn't too bad, but it did feel a tad lengthy at 106 minutes. I won't spoil the story either, but the ending seemed a bit hurried and rushed. I was, however, rather lost right after the Jack White and Alicia Keys opening theme song ended, as Quantum of Solace picks up right where Casino Royale ended, and I forgot most of the plot of the earlier film. There are less gadgety scenes in this movie, and definitely more cat-and-mouse chase sequences, making it feel alot like a film from the Bourne trilogy. So if you choose to catch Quantum, be sure to download Casino Royale or just wikipedia the plot for a refresher, unless you're just going in to watch Daniel Craig and his over-buffed body in a tux, or the gorgeous Olga Kurylenko.

Speaking of the Bourne trilogy, I recently downloaded all three movies again and watched them in reverse order, from the third to first. Thoroughly enjoyable; I'm a really big fan of the Bourne franchise. Even read the books and played the game! I hope the fourth film comes through. With Paul Greengrass directing, I'm sure it'll be great!