Edward Piano

The Allure of the Piano



The Piano is an instrument that has been around for an awfully long time. Before the 'modern piano' was invented, there was an instrument called the 'harpsichord' which was very similar to it and was  very popular instrument during the 17th century . The 'modern' piano was invented by an Italian called Cristofori, and he was commissioned by Ferdinand de Medici, one of the most prominent patron of the arts during the time of the Renaissance. Now that is my short history of the piano. I just needed to get that out of my system....LOL.

I 've been playing the piano for a long long time, and I have to admit that I used to hate it with a passion. It was my Mom's dream, being a pianist. She basically sat with me through every lesson and made me practice every single day. I used to beg my Dad to help me quit my lessons so I can hang out with my friends and watch a movie at the mall.

Boy, I'm glad that my Mom made me persevere...otherwise, I would probably be struggling with piano the way I'm struggling with the guitar at the moment. I tried playing the guitar, for months and all  I ended up with sore and numb fingers. I could only play a few chords...and I'm very close to running to the nearby music school for private lessons or give it up altogether.

Playing the piano is a great way to escape the reality of life. You can pick a song, and you will be transformed to a different place and time. You can choose a happy, romantic or sad tune. Classical, pop songs,Jazz or any kind of song, actually.  When I play 'Bella's Lullaby', I imagine Edward playing the piano and Bella sitting next to him. When I play 'Dawn' from Pride and Prejudice, I imagined Lizzie Bennet telling Mr Darcy how much she liked him. Beethoven's pieces are emotional and intense. Mozart is playful. And Handel makes me feel like I'm at the English court.

Actually, I always find guys who can play the violin very attractive. It's something about the way they move....and the sound of the violin, of course. Maybe I should try learning the violin...and forget about the guitar? I'm sure everyone close to me would disagree. Having to listen to me...learning to play the violin... would be  a nightmare for anyone's eardrums. Maybe I'll just stick with the piano.


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Chris_Apple Viva La Vida

Time Passes By



Isn't it funny how quickly time passes? I never realised that, until I hit my thirties a few years ago. And now, the weeks, months and years suddenly pass by, almost unnoticed. Does it have something to do with the fact that I'm older...or am I doing things without paying enough attention to them? I must say that I find my thirties more interesting than my twenties. My twenties was full of angst and confusion. I was angry, bitter and confused. I was too busy being angry to realise what life is all about. I guess I'm still all that...and maybe even more confused than ever. But I've learnt to resign to the fact that life is baffling, and there's nothing I can do about it.

You can plan things...and nothing amounts to it. And out of the blue, something unexpected happen and you're taken to a completely different path. Looking back, I've never imagined I will be in this position. I wanted different  things in my life. But maybe, the life that I have now...is a better option than the one I wanted. Or maybe I've learn to accept it, since I'm stuck with it anyway.

I know many people in their forties who told me that life just gets better. I know many fifty-something year olds who are content and happy that their kids have grown up and doing their own stuff. But at the moment, I just have to enjoy living through my thirites ( I still have a while to go...unless, life passes me by..and before I know it...I've turned forty!).

Marion -3

Francois Ozon's movies


I just watched 'A Time to Leave' (Le Temps Qui Reste) on DVD yesterday. This isn't a new movie, in fact it was released in 2005. But I haven't had the chance to see it before. The movie doesn't have an extensive, fast moving plot (seems to be the 'norm' for most of Francois Ozon's movies)...but it usually has a general theme, a certain level of sexuality and it's always beautifully done. This movie tells the story of Romain, a homosexual who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He needed to examine a few things in his life, and decide how he wanted to spend the last days of his life. The main actors, Melvil Poupaud and Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi, are marvelous in this movie.

Having said that, 'A Time To Leave' isn't my favourite Francois Ozon movie. It can be a bit sentimental (pushing the point too much) and drawn out..towards the end. I liked 'Swimming Pool' better. Maybe because of the 'air of mystery' surrounding the movie. Also, the contrast between the uptight middle- aged English writer (played by Charlotte Rampling) and the beautiful and young French woman (Ludivine Saigner) sharing a house in Provence was really well-done. There are a few 'shock' factors in this movie, and it really help keep you interested (despite the slow-moving plot).

'Eight Women' (8 Femmes) was also really good, although it feels more like a musical than a proper movie. It was star-studded (Emannuelle Beart, Fanny Ardant, Catherine Deneuve..and a few others) and very colourful. The 'colourful' part is hard to describe. I think the way he used the 'bright' colours (mainly pink) really brought out a certain atmosphere. The movie was set in a French mansion, and the whole cast remained inside the house, for the entire length of the movie.

I love Francois Ozon's movies. There's a certain style he always sticks to. I can't really put my finger on it. Even on his latest movie 'Angel' (a movie done entirely in English, with an English cast lead by Romola Garai) , you would still know it's his movie.
looking up to the sky

The Art of Dancing


How many women dreamt of being a ballerina when they were girls? I'm certainly one of them. And I can tell you many of my friends did, as well. Nevertheless, it usually just remains  a 'dream' - just like when boys dreamt of being Pilots or Firemen. How many of us actually became ballerinas when we grow up? One percent...or maximum two? Being a dancer requires great strength, flexibility, stamina and determination. Attributes I wish I possess, but sadly enough....sorely lacking. In my head, I saw myself being skinny, strong and jumping up and down (gracefully) wearing that ridiculously unflattering leotard and tutu.

I watched a rendition of 'Swan Lake' at the Sydney Opera House a few years ago. I loved it so much..and even though I've seen so many other performances before and after this, I couldn't remember any of them as well as this one. Graeme Murphy (the choreographer) is a genius. And the dancers were amazing.



Marion -1

Shakespeare & Co


During a brief visit to Paris in October last year, I was determined to visit “Shakespeare & Co” the legendary English bookshop in Paris’ Left Bank. It was located near the Seine, just a brief walk and you could see the river that is as much a part of the city as the Eiffel Tower.

Before I visited the bookshop, I saw the interior of the bookshop from the movie ‘Before Sunrise’ (one of my favourite films…ever) and it was very close to what imagined it would be. Owning my own bookshop was one of my most prominent childhood dreams, and in my dreams, my ‘ideal’ bookshop always looked and felt like this one. A bookshop for people who loved to read and write. Where there were books scattered everywhere. Not exactly organised, I must say…but it I really liked the selection they had there. They even have a ‘rare’ book section at the back…just in case you’re a collector.Another thing that I love the most about this bookshop is how much it is more than just a place that sells books. They have numerous ‘organised’ events for authors, writers and anyone who loves books. Poetry reading, Writer Talks and even workshops for ‘wanna-be’ novelists.

About three years ago, I read a book called ‘Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs’. This book was written by Jeremy Mercer, a writer who was lucky enough to join the company of authors who were sheltered under the roof of this bookshop by George Whitman, the owner. For quite some time, this bookshop was a refuge for ’struggling’ but ‘talented’ authors who needed someone to believe in them…and provide for them while they are plugging away on their masterpiece.

I didn’t end up buying a book from there, just because I was in a rush…and I didn’t want to just ‘pick’ anything. I was happy enough to have touched my foot on the ground of this bookshop, this legendary bookshop that used to be a place that was out of my reach. I did take a poster (of a Literary Festival conducted by the bookshop) though…and now it’s hanging proudly on top of my desk.


Wonderland -1

THE BEST OF 2008




FIVE FAVOURITE FICTION BOOKS:


"Most of the books on my list weren't released this year. I read Atonement before I watched the movie and really enjoyed it. When Ian McEwan came to Sydney for a talk, I went to see him and was mesmerised by what he had to say. After that I became a fan and bought almost all of his books. As for Haruki Murakami, I've enjoyed everything that he wrote. The 'Wind up Bird Chronicle' is a big book, and it's a really strange story. Nevertheless, I felt like a kid on a candy store. It was so much fun to unravel every page. He was certainly full of surprises."

1.Atonement by Ian McEwan
2.The Wind up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
3.The Post Birthday World by Lionel Shriver
4.The House in Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse
5.New Moon by Stephenie Meyer



NON FICTION

"On Writing is the best book on writing fiction that I've ever read. It is fun, straight to the point and useful. No other book on writing is comparable to it. And Elizabeth Gilbert's account of her travels to India, Indonesia and Italy is really engrossing and funny. I read a lot of travel literature but this is definitely one of the best ones I've read."

1.A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
2.On Writing by Stephen King
3.Eat, Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
4.Persepolis by Marjane Sartrapi
5.Books, Bedbugs and Mites by Jeremy Mercer



FIVE FAVOURITE MOVIES:

"I must say that I'm not incredibly impressed with the movies that are out this year. The last time I felt I really enjoyed a movie was when I watched 'Pan's Labyrinth'...many years ago.The movies I listed below are not in particular order. 'Burn After Reading' is a pleasant surprise for me. I wasn't expecting to like it that much. What's even more surprising was how much I loved Brad Pitt's performance. I never thought he could do comedy so well. Oh, and I know everyone loved 'The Dark Knight'...but I think I expected more from it. Although I must say that Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker was remarkable. As for the other favourites of film critics out there, I  haven't seen Wall-E, Iron Man or There Will Be Blood...so I can't put them on my list."

1.In Bruges
2.Burn After Reading
3.Australia
4.PS I Love You (Okay, this is my personal favourite and I understand it's not everyone's cup of tea. But I love Gerard Butler and the scenery of Ireland is breathtaking.I think I've watched it 3 times already).
5.Twilight (Well, I know it's not a fantastic movie..in fact, it's quite far from it... but 2 hours of Rob, well...that's the reason I've watched it soo many times).



FAVOURITE ACTORS:

"Anyone who knows me would know that Rob Pattinson is way way up on my favourite actor's list. No other actor has managed to be on top of my list for that long. But Rob just continues to impress me. And believe me when I say that it's not just about his looks. He is a lot more than that. He is a talented musician, he reads a lot and he is soft-spoken and self deprecating. Now that is definitely something incredibly rare in this day and age! On the other hand, there are other actors I admire and whose career I follow closely. All of the ones I listed below seemed to be British and Scottish actors, but I also adore Cillian Murphy and Jonathan Rhys Meyers...they're Irish."

1.Robert Pattinson
2.James McAvoy
3.Ben Barnes
4.Gerard Butler
5.Ewan McGregor





FAVOURITE ACTRESS:

"Juliette Binoche has been my favourite actress since I saw her on "Blue", many many years ago. She can play any kind of role and immerse herself into her character. As for Kate Winslet, she is amazingly talented and beautiful. I can't wait to see Revolutionary Road. Natalie Portman just amazes me. She is beautiful, intelligent and a devoted environmentalist. She is also a talented actress. She had her first starring role in "The Professional" when she was just a little girl, but she grew up normal and down-to-earth."

1.Juliette Binoche
2.Audrey Tautou
3.Kate Winslet
4.Natalie Portman
5..Keira Knightley

FAVOURITE SONGS:

"I don't know why I'm obsessed with 'Viva La Vida, bu t I guess I just am. Everytime I listen to this song I feel energised. I can't wait to see them in concert next year. As for MUSE, I don't think any other modern band have ever hooked me as much as they have. Their latest album, 'Black Holes and Revelation' is the only modern album I've throughly enjoyed. If I ever see them in concert, I will scream my head off like a crazy fangirl. Or maybe I'd just cry the whole time..."

1.Viva La Vida by Coldplay (this is basically my National Anthem this year)
2.Map of the Problematique by MUSE
3.Use Somebody by Kings of Leon
4.Let Me Sign by Robert Pattinson (I wish they'd released a full version of this song. I love it so much...it is so sad and haunting).
5.In My Arms by Plumb





Butterly

Charles Baudelaire's Poems


EXOTIC PERFUME



       WHEN with closed eyes in autumn's eves of gold
      I breathe the burning odours of your breast,
      Before my eyes the hills of happy rest
      Bathed in the sun's monotonous fires, unfold.
       
      Islands of Lethe where exotic boughs
      Bend with their burden of strange fruit bowed down,
      Where men are upright, maids have never grown
      Unkind, but bear a light upon their brows.
       
      Led by that perfume to these lands of ease,
      I see a port where many ships have flown
      With sails outwearied of the wandering seas;
       
      While the faint odours from green tamarisks blown,
      Float to my soul and in my senses throng,
      And mingle vaguely with the sailor's song. 

GET DRUNK

Always be drunk.
That's it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On  wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
"Time to get drunk!
Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"
 


In the first poem, Exotic Perfume, he potrayed the 'ideal' world, a paradise filled with beautiful women. In the second poem, Get Drunk, he has grown weary of the world and have resorted to alcohol to numb his pain. Baudelaire was a man of contradiction.  He was a Catholic, but he loved to be around women. He wanted to fall in love but in his poems, he often relates love to death and destruction In fact, he had been with many women but unfortunately, he was unable to sustain his relationships. He often thought of the world as a beautiful place, but he detested how much Paris has  changed because of the 'city rebuilding' which was instructed by Louis Napoleon in the 1850s.  He died when he was 46, due to a massive stroke, followed paralysis. He spent his last years drinking in excess and smoking opium.
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Edward Piano

TWILIGHT, does the movie live up to our expectations?






For someone who has been waiting for this movie since June, I was surprised at how indifferent I was about the thought of seeing the 'most anticipated movie' of the year.  I went to see this movie on the pre-screening session last week, where I had to queue up for 2 hours to get a good seat - but I didn't mind it at all.  It was really interesting to have a 'first-hand' experience of the Twilight phenomenon. The enthusiastic fans really knocked me out of  my nonchalance and increased my level of anticipation for the movie. While I was waiting to get in, I was a bit nervous, but not the kind of 'nervousness' I was expecting. I had been following Twilight and Rob Pattinson rose to mega stardom the past six months. I found out that after being bombarded with little snippets of the movie and endless interviews, day-in and day-out, my brain just couldn't take it anymore.

As for the 'nervousness', I was mainly anxious to see Rob's performance as Edward.I have watched him on hundreds of interviews, talking about this role and explaining what he went through to be the best 'Edward' he could be.  When I finally saw the movie, I have to say that I felt slightly disappointed with Rob's performance. I've seen him in other movies where he just 'blew me away' with his acting. Don't get me wrong, he did a great job, but I could only focus on the small bits that might benefit from improvement. I have a feeling that this could possibly have something to do with my expectations. The movie had been 'hyped-up' for so long that it could never live up to my expectations.

This doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the movie. I have watched it 4 times now, and every time I saw it, I enjoyed it even more. The first thing that impressed me about the movie was Kristen Stewart's acting. This came as a complete surprise to me. She was the perfect Bella and there wasn't one moment where I felt that she's an actress, playing Bella. For the entire movie, I felt that she WAS Bella. As for Catherine's directing, I thought she did a very good job at interpreting the wildly popular book into a 2 hour movie. All the important scenes were there, and even a lot of the dialogue remained true to the book. The movie was dynamic and fast-paced, very much like how a teenage movie should be. One of my favourite scenes was the baseball scene. There was just so much fun and energy depicted in that scene, and the music was perfectly placed. In fact, I was really pleased with their song choices and their placement. One of Rob's songs, 'Let Me Sign' really intensified  the scene where Edward had to suck Bella's venom. The song was haunting and painful, which was what Edward Cullen is all about.

I've watched the movie twice and I'm thinking of going again to watch it for the third time. The second time I watched it, I enjoyed it considerably more. I was a lot more relaxed in my judgement, and I was determined to just 'go-along' for a ride. It was nice to pretend that I am a part of a 'mystical' world where beautiful vampires and  werewolves exist. And of course, staring at Rob's perfect face for two whole hours wasn't too bad either.

Chris_Apple Viva La Vida

PERSEPOLIS



What makes PERSEPOLIS such an interesting read? I've watched the movie and read the comic book and I was very impressed. The movie (and the book) were both very artistic - and the best thing about them was that Marjane Satrapi, the author...is also the director of the movie. And what is PERSEPOLIS about? It is about Marjane Satrapi's life when she lived in Iran..and who can tell this story better than herself?

I have a really close friend who is Iranian, and she told me that Marjane's version of the revolution in Iran at that time was accurate. I felt like I learnt a lot about her and where she came from. But even though PERSEPOLIS covers a very grim subject (the civil war and Sadam Hussein's attack) it is done very cleverly through funny and interesting animated characters.

Marjane is now a filmmaker in France but she's never forgotten where she came from. She is still an Iranian at heart, although when she returned to live in Iran for a short while, she never felt like she belonged there. I can relate to that, because I never feel like I'm fully Australian. But when I come back to Indonesia,the country of my birth, I don't feel like I fit in anymore. My old friends think I'm strange and I often disagree with what they believe in. That was what Marjane felt, but she made a mistake of marrying an Iranian man - which of course, ended in divorce and heartbreak.

PERSEPOLIS is definitely a movie no film-lover should miss. Movies like these don't come along very often. It is funny, insightful and you don't even realise that you're actually getting a history lesson because it's so much fun to watch.

Evening standard

New Moon



I'm sure that almost everyone has heard of the Twilight book series by now. The second book in the series is a combination of sad, depressing moments and uplifting messages of hope. Personally, Edward is my favourite character in the series. Therefore, it is hard for me to flip through the pages of the book, realising that Edward and his thoughts are somewhere else. I desperately wanted to find out about how he feels. Did he feel as bad as Bella...or maybe even worse?

I must say that Stephenie describes Bella's pain extremely well. We all feel like we're inside Bella's skin, shedding every little tear and going through every little detail of her painful emotions. I really like the developing friendship between her and Jacob...her personal sunshine. Jacob was there for her at the worse of times, and I understood why she was drawn to him. He was a lot of fun to be around, and she needed that. He was also completely different from Edward, he was hot-blooded, reckless and very down-to-earth. He was excactly what she needed at that time.

The first time I read New Moon, I read it as fast as I possibly could, skipping some of the pages to make sure I quickly get to the part where Edward reappeared. The second time I read the book, I was finally able to see Jacob more clearly. He is not Bella's soulmate, but he's the one who helped her see the light at her darkest days, and because of that - she will always have a bond with him.

Some of my favourite Edward and Bella quotes are found in New Moon. Maybe all the sadness and despair brought out the romantic side of me.