Regrets

I was thirteen when they came to Bethel in droves– hippies, freaks, artists, sexpots. It was a beautiful, colorful sight to see. Every time they came the world turned into a bright shade of sepia, as though signaling the beginning of a welcoming eternal summer. 

I remember climbing to the roof when I heard the music start from the farm. It may have been far but I could see the white woman onstage, and I could hear her drawl. It was a beautiful, sexual drawl, one filled with years of torment and pain and sadness and longing. I felt for the woman, and I loved her sad, sensual song. 

By the time it was all over I wanted to get rid of everything. Before they came, I wanted to be a doctor– I had plans to go to college and study medicine and marry and make love to only one man. Now I felt like I wanted to leave that all behind and just be something else… something more. So I ran away from home and wrote songs about what I had heard and the people I saw. I learned how to send them in and wait for feedback. Sometimes, I would sing them and hold out a jar people would fill with dollar bills and letters of love. 

It was a beautiful, blissful time, and I wish it had all come true. I wish it had happened. I wish I hadn’t woken up and let all those silent dreams never come true. I wish I hadn’t studied hard and gone off to medical school and married the first man who promised me he wouldn’t leave. Because he did. 

And here I am now, writing this… in the middle of the house where all those happy dreams first came alive.

There’s rope on the table beside me and a knife under the carpet. 

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9 Definitive Beatle Reads

I started collecting Beatle reads about four years ago, around the same time that I began amassing a hipster-inspired shirt collection which featured the legendary band. Here’s a short list of some of the books that I have had the pleasure of reading, and others that I hope to have in the near future, complete with mini-review.

I consider these books ‘definitive’ because even if you aren’t a die-hard Beatles fan like myself, reading at least one of these books gives you a full idea of the Beatles history in the most comprehensive way possible. I chose to write about 9 books instead of the ideal ten mainly because of the significance of the number 9 in Beatle lore. If you’re as die hard a fan as I am, then you’ll know what I mean. Anyways, on to the countdown (not in any particular order).

DISCLAIMER: Forgive the bias on Lennon-centric works. 😉

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1. John Lennon: The Life  By: Philip Norman 

This was the first (and the longest) book in my present collection, spanning almost 900 pages in length. It tells a complete and detailed story of Lennon’s life, starting from the birth of Alfred Lennon (John’s father) right down to the faithful day in 1980 when Lennon passed. Unlike other biographies written about Lennon, this one is particularly credible because of the thorough research work put in by its author, also the author of a definitive Beatles biography entitled Shout!

It’s an ambitious read for any non-Beatle fan, but will prove to open the eyes of die-hard Lennonnites eager to know more about their idol.

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2. Beatles Gear: All The Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to Studio  By: Andy Babuik 

A complete account of all the instruments used by the group written by the official technical consultant to the makers of Beatles Rock Band, Beatles Gear is the ideal book for the more musically-inclined Beatles fan. For less musical Beatlemaniacs, Beatles Gear offers a particularly unique perspective to the band’s history told through the progression of the instruments that they used during the decade of their prime.

I have yet to have the good fortune of encountering a copy of the book, although it is one of the top books on my wish list of Beatle reads to collect in the near future. Other notable books by Babuik include a definitive history of the instruments used by another legendary British rock band: the Rolling Stones.

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3. The Beatles Anthology 

One of the more definitive works on Beatle history, The Beatles Anthology book accompanied the documentary series that was released in 1995. It paralleled, in book form, the content of the documentary, a three-part series that chronicled the history of the Beatles through archival footage and actual quotes from all four band members. The book, the documentary and a three-volume set of double albums were collectively referred to as the Anthology project back in the mid nineties.

This is one of the more expensive (and particularly rare) Beatles books out there. But it is probably one of the most definitive works as well, considering the fact that it involves extensive input from members of the band and their entourage. Definitely an investment for any Beatle fan interested in amassing a valuable collection.

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4. The Beatles  By: Hunter Davies

Another particularly elusive find is The Beatles by Hunter Davies, the only authorized biography of the band which was released in 1968. Although it does not hold other notable value besides being the sole authorized work about the Fab Four, the Beatles is still one of the first books that have been written about them. It makes for a perfect read for the new Beatlemaniac eager to know more about the band in the most non-biased way possible.

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5. The Beatles: Stories Behind the Songs (Volumes 1 and 2)  By: Steve Turner

This two volume release by longtime Beatles admirer Steve Turner gives the reader a background of each and every Beatles song ever written. It tells the story behind the inspiration for some of the band’s most memorable songs, including “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “A Day In the Life”, and so many others. The songs are arranged chronologically and further categorized based on the years in the Beatles’ career: the Red volume takes on songs from 1962-1966, while the Blue volume takes on songs from 1967 onwards.

Stories Behind the Songs is the perfect book (or rather, books) for the Beatle fan wiling to delve beyond the lyrics for the deeper story behind the music. It’s also perfect for the lyricist looking for tips on how to write their own iconic songs! Unlike Anthology, the volumes of Stories Behind the Songs are relatively less pricey yet do not come in a single set. Yet trust me when I say that the content of each volume is priceless.

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6. The John Lennon Letters  By: John Lennon Edited By: Hunter Davies 

There is no better way to get to know the legend himself than through reading this compilation of letters Lennon sent to family, friends and loved ones throughout the course of his life. Edited by Beatle biographer Hunter Davies, the book is the practical definition of a ‘definitive read’ about the man the world has come to know and love.

Another pricey read, another die-hard fan worthy investment, the John Lennon Letters is a book that should be on EVERY serious fan’s wishlist. Thankfully, it happens to be one of the more common reads easily found in bookstores around the country.

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7. The Beatles: 10 Years That Shook The World  By: DK 

10 Years that Shook the World could almost pass for a textbook on the history of the Beatles. Complete with everything from essays on Lennon and McCartney to reviews of their iconic studio albums, this book is second to the Anthology in offering the new Beatle fan a comprehensive history of the Fab Four.

I was fortunate enough to receive a used, yet still extremely useful copy of this book from a dear family relative, and I have to say it is definitely a priceless read. Although not as extremely comprehensive as other Beatle works, The Beatles: 10 Years that Shook the World offers a treasure trove of new perspectives to aspects of the band that made them iconic. Examples of such include the Lennon and McCartney songwriting partnership, Apple, and George Harrison’s interest in Hindu music and culture.

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8. The Mammoth Book of the Beatles  [Edited By: Sean Egan] 

‘Mammoth’ is the perfect word to describe this book. With over 30 written accounts about the band, this book offers a wide perspective that does not center solely on praising the Beatles. In fact, it also happens to include accounts written against the Beatles and their music. It even includes the infamous article by journalist Maureen Cleave that got John in trouble back in the mid sixties, wherein he claimed that the band was ‘Bigger than Jesus’. Now, you can read the article for yourself and decide whether or not the backlash John received was even worth it in the first place. But that’s not all. The Mammoth Book of the Beatles also includes accounts post-Beatles and memoirs written by people who were close to the Beatles during their heyday.

Any fan looking for a comprehensive collection of past articles written by the band will find this book particularly entertaining. It also proves to be handy for anyone who might be doing Beatles-related research because of the vastness of the pieces included in this volume.

On a personal note, this was one of the ‘treasure trove’ books that I had the fortune of finding. The fact that it’s jammed with useful content yet is not as pricey as more iconic releases makes it nothing short of valuable in its own right. The Mammoth Book of the Beatles is a worthy addition to any Beatle fan’s book collection.

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9. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions By: Mark Lewisohn 

Written by one of the leading authorities on the Fab Four, the Complete Beatles Recording Sessions outdoes the word ‘extensive’. The book presents every single recording session that the band ever did, from their early days recording Please Please Me, to the recording of their final release Let It Be. It also includes remarks from all four band members and an introduction written by Paul McCartney himself.

Another elusive find that I have yet to see in local bookstores. In case you’re wondering, YES: already on my wishlist. 🙂 This book combines definitive with extensive: it’s a comprehensive book written by an expert on the Fab Four… what more could you ask for? Any fan looking to immerse themselves in one of the most important parts of the Fab Four’s career should pick up this read for a better idea on how life was like in Abbey Road for the band that made the studio iconic in the first place.

 

Photo Source: Google Images and amazon.com 

Short Lists: 5s In 2013

5 Songs of 2013: The Memorable, the Momentous and the Moronic 

1. “Blurred Lines”- Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell and T.I.

2. “Royals”- Lorde

3. “We Can’t Stop”- Miley Cyrus

4. “Wrecking Ball”- Miley Cyrus [notoriety of this song was boosted by the video <- no doubt about that]

5. “Suit & Tie”- Justin Timberlake

5 2013 Moments: The Stupid, the Sad and the Strange

1. The Miriam vs Enrile Feud

2. Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom’s Breakup

3. The Birth of North West

4. The Birth of the Royal Baby

5. The Romualdez- Roxas Post Yolanda Feud

5 Memorable Films of 2013: The Tearjerkers, the Top Sellers and Everything in Between 

1. Hunger Games: Catching Fire

2. Frozen

3. The Great Gatsby

4. Thor 2: The Dark World

5. Star Trek: Into Darkness

5 Annoying Moments of 2013: The Woahs and What-the-Hells

1. Miriam vs Enrile featuring Catching Fire References

2. Amanda Bynes: ‘Nuff Said

3. Anne Curtis and Shopping for Club Real Estate

4. Napoles at Malacanang: “Hindi Ko Po Alam”

5. Presidente Blame Game and Sisihan Sa Storm Surge

5 People Who Mattered In 2013

DISCLAIMER: Once again, this kind writer would like to remind everyone that the choices made here are strictly based on personal opinion. I may provide my reasoning for each choice, and you are free to agree or disagree as you choose. Happy New Year!

1. Pope Francis 

It may be too early to say whether or not Francis has already made a lasting impact on Christianity as a whole, but if there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that he’s on his way to doing so. In less than a year as pope, he’s made some radical moves that are set to usher Christianity into the modern age. It is said that he’s managed to encourage doubting Christians to go back to Church, restoring their faith in a religion that has been marred with child abuse accusations in recent years.

2. Miley Cyrus

I feel like a total dolt putting Miley on this list next to someone like Pope Francis, but there’s no denying the fact that 2013 was quite the year for the ‘Milester’. From her controversial VMA performance to her stark naked music video for ‘Wrecking Ball’, Miley’s doing a particularly fine job of breaking away from the persona (and the market) that made her a household name. Love her or hate her, Miley Cyrus made her mark in 2013 (there’s no doubt about that).

3. Janet Lim Napoles

Her name has become synonymous with one of the largest news stories of 2013– the pork barrel scam. Some people even know her much better than the list of public officials allegedly involved in the PDAF scandal! Her face was everywhere during the momentous Million People March in Luneta. Yet, unlike other previously unknown individuals (remember Amalayer?) Janet Lim Napoles is a name that’s going to have staying power.

4. Anderson Cooper

Filipina fans of veteran newscaster Anderson Cooper were nothing short of giddy upon hearing the news that the CNN reporter would be traveling to the Philippines to cover relief efforts in Tacloban. Cooper’s fanbase most likely expanded following a minor ‘feud’ involving Korina Sanchez, wherein he managed to rebut Sanchez’s accusations in a manner befitting his years of experience in broadcast journalism. Plus: Cooper’s report on his experiences in Tacloban proved that he was very much moved by his experience in Leyte. On the one hand, we were embarrassed because of Korina. On the other hand– we were proud.

5. Beyonce 

Just when most of us thought Beyonce was on hibernation from the music world (at least I did),Queen B surprised both fans and the music world alike by releasing a one-of-a-kind visual album that featured 14 songs and 17 (yes, you read it right), 17 music videos. Read the article below for a better idea of how Beyonce’s album did in music charts since it’s surprise release: http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/5839818/beyonce-breaks-us-itunes-sales-record-sells-617000-in-three-days.

TIP: If you’re looking for more fun Beyonce posts, search her up on Buzzfeed for some articles about her new album.

A Year In News: Slices of Life’s Year In Review

I have come to the conclusion that if I am fully intent on pursuing a side career in blogging, I should practice myself in the art of writing year enders. This is probably due to the fact that I’m a firm believer in the saying that has been oftentimes attributed to the Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan…” [forgive me, the verbatim quote escapes my memory at the moment]. Basta, the gist is there: moving forward will always involve a certain level of ‘looking back’ and ‘reflecting’ on the past, and that, my good friends, is the reason for this entry. 😉

Disclaimer: I’m basing the significance of events on personal opinion. I’ve seen and read my share of 2013 Best Ofs, and they’ve helped me in one way or another, but this is purely all me. Agree and disagree if you please, and if you want, do share your own list of the most memorable events of 2013.

1. Typhoon Yolanda + The Philippines, on the World Stage 

While some of us lost a day of class on November 8th, many lost homes and others lost lives. Words cannot express how devastating Typhoon Yolanda was to the Visayas region– in fact, it’s going to take some time before things can even go back to the way they were. Will things even be able to go back? Definitely not.

With this tragedy came the international media, which put the Philippines on the world stage for the second time (the first being during the Quirino grandstand standoff). Premiere news networks like CNN and BBC flew to the country in order to cover relief efforts, exposing a large number of the Philippine government’s response issues in the process. Yet despite the negative PR, there came the overwhelming positive response from the rest of the world. Donations flew in from anywhere and everywhere– even standoff rival China offered aid in the wake of the devastation. The world may have gotten the chance to see the negative side of the Philippines (Korina Sanchez, I’m looking at you), but it also got the opportunity to see the Filipino spirit at it’s finest. This spirit went beyond Manny Pacquiao and Jessica Sanchez and Charice, this spirit was exemplified in how the average Filipino braved one of the strongest typhoons in history and prepared himself/herself to move forward in the wake of unparalleled devastation. Let’s hope that in the months that follow, the Philippines (specifically the central Visayas region) will be able to move forward from what happened. Let’s also take part in making sure that relief and restoration efforts will be monitored fairly. Just because the media doesn’t focus on monitoring relief efforts, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t as well.

Postscript: The Anderson Cooper- Korina Sanchez Snafu: Best Lesson for Journalists-to-Be on what NOT TO DO when on the air.

On a personal note, I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to participate in full-scale relief efforts for the first time in my college life. It was a tiring, yet fulfilling experience. I can only hope and pray that the bags we packed were received by those who needed them the most. 

2. Hope for Christianity: Hello, Jesuit Pope! 

Pope Francis’ election as pope following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI marked the beginning of a surprisingly positive year for both the Church and for Christianity in general. Okay, maybe not just yet– there was a point during the year that the Christian world was stupefied by Pope Benedict’s sudden resignation, but all of us have to admit that Pope Francis definitely closed out the year strong. His outspoken opinions on gay marriage, coupled with his manifestations of simple living presented the Christian world with a new and hopeful picture of a church leader willing to be open and willing to allow the Church to adapt to the modern world (remember that much talked about selfie?). Let’s hope and pray that history’s first Jesuit pope will have more prosperous and progressive years on the throne of Saint Peter’s.

P.S. We forgot to mention that he’s probably the first pope with a Twitter account. 😉 Talk about progressive!

3. Pork Pork Pork, and Public Enemy Number One 

One could almost give Janet Lim-Napoles the moniker “The Most Hated Woman in the Philippines”, a title that is well-deserved following the discovery of her involvement in the pork barrel scam. Napoles is said to have been the point person for the accused lawmakers, aiding them in funneling pork barrel funds into false NGOs and later giving said lawmakers a cut of the money. As of this writing, she is currently facing charges not just for money laundering but also for illegal detention of one of her former employees, Benhur Luy.

Needless to say, Filipinos were nothing short of outraged at the news that their legislators were pocketing money intended to be spent for infrastructure and government services. This prompted one of the biggest protests of 2013: the “Million People March” against pork barrel held in Luneta Park (as of writing, succeeding protests against pork have followed this).

I was fortunate enough to have been at Luneta on the day of the Million People March, and I have to admit it was an unforgettable experience. Never in my 19 years of existence have I been fortunate enough to be a part of a group brimming with solidarity and collective outrage. Yet we have to remember that this does not end with continual protests, we need to be on top of this issue, always remembering that we must push the media to keep track of the developments of this issue. 

4. Sad Losses: Cory Monteith and Paul Walker 

Both were unexpected, both had promise, both were unfortunate, unfortunate ends. God Bless to both of them, and Rest In Peace. Until now, my heart is with Gleeks, Lea Michelle and the cast of the Fast and the Furious franchise. For the sake of loyal fans, let’s hope those rumors of Justin Bieber replacing Paul Walker won’t be true. Hehe. As for the status of Glee, it’s going to be really sad to see the show end, but it won’t be the same without Cory (I’m sure fans agree with me on this).

5. Goodbye, Mandella 

The world lost an icon when anti-Apartheid activist and former South African president Nelson Mandella passed on in late 2013. His vision, his legacy and his mission continue to serve as an inspiration for South Africa and for the world. May his legacy live on even though his physical spirit has passed.

These are just some of the events that made 2013 one of the most memorable years in the history of the world. In fact, my countdown isn’t complete. [The truth is, I just can’t remember any other events hahaha!]. I invite everyone to make their own top five lists of notable 2013 happenings. I propose making it a tradition every year.

Happy 2014, all!

x Colleen