Monday, December 27, 2010


When my father was alive he used to tell me about the music he loved. He enjoyed listening to all kinds of music.I learned from my eldest sister that my father would play his favourite records every evening after dinner. I wasn't even born then but I could imagine the smile on my father's face as he enjoyed his favourite past time. Even though we were not rich, those were truly the happiest moments for him.

I can remember that he always talked about a group that he loved so much. He not only knew the history of the group but also the life story of each of its members-John, Paul, George and Ringo.of The Beatles from Liverpool, England.

I wish I was a teenager, like my dad then, back in the early 1960s to see what he saw and listen to what he was listening.He told me that there was a craze then called Beatlemania where teenagers around the world went ga ga over the four lads from Liverpool. I wish I was in Liverpool to experience the excitement of it all! Liverpool was the scene then for beat music that was called Merseybeat (for bands from Liverpool beside the River Mersey), like Seattle was the scene for grunge, Manchester was the scene for Indie and West Coast the scene for rap.

My father was crazy over the Mersey sound and spent much of his hard saved money purchasing records of groups from Liverpool. I guess I can still recall some of his favourite groups other than The Beatles, they were The Searchers, Gerry & The Pacemakers and The Swinging Blue Jeans.

When he was at high school, my dad would save his daily food money to buy the black & white promotional photos of The Beatles, The Animals, The Hollies, Freddie & The Dreamers, Herman Hermits, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Johnny Lion & The Jumping Jewels, The Tremeloes, Procol Harum, Dick Clark Five, The Zombies, The Kinks, The Who and a whole lot of other groups. He must have been a cool guy then.

My dad never told me of his girlfriends at school. All he ever talked about were the albums, the groups and the music that he listened to, that were all so special to him.

My dad could never play any musical instrument but he always had this dream of strumming the guitar. One day I accidentally came across something he wrote, which was kept in his drawer. It was a song. I was so surprised by that and he signed at the end of the lyrics with his secret pen name- Blue Boy Lewis & The Backstreet Blues Band. I never knew he had this imaginary band in his mind! The song he wrote was called 'Listen To The Night Wind'. Reading the lyrics, I guess it's something sad, about a boy who broke up with his gal and now miserably lonesome in the city, looking for love. 

By any standards, of course it cannot be compared to the writings of  John Lennon & Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen or Paul Simon! I have no idea how the tune of the song goes, as my dad had passed away when I discovered it.

Of all the albums that my dad raved about, one special one was always mentioned. And that was 'Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles. That album was released in June 1967 and is considered one of the world's best selling album. The album caused a major sensation and shook the music world out of its deep sleep. 

You could say , in later years there were other exceptional albums too, like 'Never Mind The Bollocks' by The Sex Pistols, 'The Joshua Tree' by U2, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' by Nirvana, 'Siamese Dream' by The Smashing Pumpkins, 'The Bends' by Radiohead, 'The Queen Is Dead' by The Smiths, 'What's The Story, Morning Glory?' by Oasis and many others.

My eldest sister told me that the day my dad brought home 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band', our house was never the same anymore. Every evening at dinner time, the whole Side A and Side B of the album was played continuously for many many months without fail. I guess I know every song on it, to this day. I am proud to say I love it.

'It was twenty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style, but they're guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to you, The act you've known for all these years.......
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.'

Friday, December 24, 2010


Christmas is here again. Time for forgiveness, time for giving and also time for resolutions too, as the new year is just around the corner. I very much look forward to the new year as there are new challenges ahead. New friends to meet, new and better way of doing things, new thoughts and maybe new places to be.So everyone out there, do not be stuck in your miserable single room. Let your thinking lead you on to better times. Come on people, winter will soon be over and spring is coming... flowers in bloom!

Before that, I wish to say something about today, Christmas Day. Whether I am a Christian or not. I still think there is something special about today. Somehow this day brings me back to the times when I was just a child. Always wanted to stay up late on the night before Christmas, looking out the window of my dark room at the roof opposite my house. Hoping to see Santa alighting from his sleigh with loads and loads of presents for every kid. Although that never ever happened, just the thought of it would make me happy throughout my years as a child.

Another thing that seems to be magical, are the Christmas carols. Whenever I hear Jingle Bells, I always get a picture of riding on a sleigh through a white snow covered forest on a white snowy Christmas afternoon. Children playing everywhere, some are making a snowman and others are throwing snowballs at each other. But when I hear the song at night, I always imagine that Santa is approaching the town , flying over our houses and ringing his bells. What a long way he has to travel, from the icy cold of Iceland to this warm and heaty part of our town.

A song I always find magical is Silver Bells. Hearing it will remind me that Christmas is near. Funny thing is that I am always in a shopping mall whenever that song is played.

Of all the Christmas songs that I know, one in particular will always remain special and that is Do they know it's Christmas? by Band Aid. It is not often that a group of talented and unselfish musicians come together to donate all the proceeds from that song to help people dying of starvation in Ethiopia, Africa.

This brings to mind that you and I are so lucky that we are not them. So, as we celebrate with joy this wonderful day, do not forget to give a thought to those who are not as lucky as us.