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"If you come to California / be sure to wear a rubber / 'cause there's lots of nasty people down there."
The Bad Mintons, Snazzy Portland.

For a long time (what felt like forever) I stood on my soapbox and boldly addressed the world, every two cents feeling like a bold proclamation. Due to the electronic nature of my soapbox, naturally, what I considered to be "the world" amounted to the most privileged iceberg-tip cohort busy socially networking online instead of being otherwise occupied dealing with famine, floods and civil war. Largely, this amounted to Talking To Americans.

Over the past several years I haven't felt like I had a great deal to say, to Americans or otherwise. Mostly when I felt I had something to express I would sing it instead, typically in someone else's words.

But much to my surprise, this dual citizen (mother born in Palo Alto, hence aunts, uncles and cousins in Portland, Santa Barbara and Oakland) finds himself in a position, if not to talk to Americans, at least to sing to Californians... and to serenade them with an accordion. And so I thought I might try to rustle some up here (Californians, that is, not accordions), in case there might be some curiosity about what I've been up to since I put down my hard brackets.

For the next four days, if all goes according to plan, I should be performing five shows around the Bay Area with a stripped-down version of the Horace Phair house band which we shall here be referring to as the Slanted Floorboards. Our gimmick is that we play famous and unknown modern tunes on old-timey instruments, creatively re-interpreting the whole history of popular music and backing it up a century. I like to think that it can be pretty entertaining, and some noders here might be caught agreeing. (And, of course, if you want to exchange words (please no punches in the nose) with p_i, I can't envision a better opportunity this side of Horace Phair 2010 -- though my decaversary interview was pretty comprehensive. Was I ever anything less?)

You may not be located anywhere near the Bay Area of California; however, if you are online, there's a good chance that you're American -- and if you're an American, there's a good chance that you at least know someone who is nearby. (Odds are also excellent that you're a heterosexual middle-class white male, but I don't discriminate.) If you have any friends in The Everything People Registry : United States : California or on the NoCal /msg list, please consider drawing their attention to these dates:

  • Thursday, August 19th -- 8-10 pm at the Delta of Venus, 122 B Street, Davis 95616.
  • Friday, August 20th -- 9:30 pm 'til late at Toad In The Hole, 116 5th Street, Santa Rosa 95401... with Amber Lee and the Anomalies!
  • Saturday, August 21st -- 4:25-5:05 at the Cotati Accordion Festival in LaPlaza Park, 60 West Cotati Avenue, Cotati 94931. With, well, a glowing array of historical accordion stars and the new generation of alt-squeeze misfits.
  • Saturday night, August 21st -- 8:45 pm 'til half past midnight at the Revolution Cafe, 3248 22nd Street (btw Bartlett St & Mission St), San Francisco, 94110.
  • Sunday, August 22nd -- 9:30 pm 'til half past midnight at Peri's Silver Dollar Saloon, 29 Broadway Blvd, Fairfax 94930.
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India in general is not just an odd piece of land with sweaty, brown-skinned people who talk in a funny accent. It also doesn't always have snake charmers lurking at all street-corners. Most people are unaware of how the major cities are placed. 

Nearly all families belonging to the middle-class tier within the social frame, end up going to public gardens on weekend afternoons so as to frolick about and chomp on home-made Indian dishes wrapped in foil. This is closely followed by a customary tea-drinking session where everyone admires the mighty vacuum flask for being able to bottle up their treasure ever so efficiently.

I watched, transfixed as YouTube loaded the movie, Chashme Buddoor. It is the 80's and these three young men in college, share a measly cigarette in their tiny apartment. Amusement swept across my face, while I observed Farooq Sheikh share a friendly banter with the local paan-wala in the grainy sequence.

There's a scene where Ravi Baswani parks his Enfield motorbike in the Lodhi Gardens' parking area when the girl who he gave a lift, promptly runs off to the arms of her waiting lover. I have lived, breathed and loitered around that area. It hit me vividly as I retraced mental steps back to the day-dreaming young ViKi, how the lush lawns washed with green captured my very fond childhood memories. I can still clearly relive the agony of watching an ice-cream melt into brittle fingers as I sat in the same parking lot, waiting for the heat wave of Delhi to vanish. I have frowned, squinted and lost myself in the green bushes of Lodhi Gardens as my favourite Aunt discussed the latest politics in family circles; while we all sat around on a patterned sheet and picnicked.

A sad ViKi has looked outside the small car's windows as a wonderful day out, came to a slow end.

Chashme Buddoor 

 

There's been a lot of boys/guys/mens.. whatever you want to call them in my life. Always have been always will, but there's only been a very few select that during drunken nights will sober me up when ever I think about them. Mike Boyle was/is defiantly one of them. I met him in art class, this overly tall, pale boy with shiny, floppy hair. I thought nothing of him when he first said his name except "Man everyone named Mike is really tall". As the weeks went on during class, I noticed him sitting closer and closer to me. Until finally he was sitting right next to me and blowing in my ear when ever I was looking the other way. We became "friends" somehow, always chit chatting in class and giggling over nothing. But then again I was like that with everyone in class. Then one day he asked for my number,I gave it to him and he texted me later "Wanna make out?". Letting my pride get to me (and to this day I still do when ever he talks to me) I said no and that I would rather suck a pig's ass. Harsh but that's how the cookie crumbles I guess. But after as I was driving home, I knew I was falling for him and that sadly my heart would never be his and silently at night I would cry over the agony of it. That he would write songs to some amazingly beautiful girl,that would share her feeling with him and be everything that I never let myself be. Sometimes it really does suck being me and I think he actually thinks that I hate him. But oh well, all I'm left with now if just facebook stalking.

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