Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cricket, Sex And Humour

It's not often that Cricket gets injected with humour, unlike many sports such as football and basketball. The NBA especially has some of the funniest in-game commentary, post-game analysis and is almost as fun as the game itself. Click here, here and here for some proof of what I mean.

However, I stumbled across this article on the Cricinfo Page 2 Section, and I just HAD to share it. Click here to read the original article. Enjoy!




Some years ago I remember reading that FIFA World Cup footballers were told by their coaches not to have sex before an important match. Apparently lack of action in bed focused their attention on the field, or sent the energy flowing to their feet, or some such sundried-tomato theory. Now cricketers, it appears, work in opposite ways. Gary Kirsten and Paddy Upton (apparently his real name) made headline news last week with their injunction to the Indian team to get some before a game, allegedly in order to raise their levels of testosterone.

The news that sex improves cricket, if true, may have come too late for some. Sadly we will never know whether Sir Donald Bradman, had he been a bad man, would have been rewarded with those elusive few fractions of a percentage point.

The theory is in its infancy, of course, but one surmises that if this works for the Indians, other teams will follow suit, though hopefully they will also heed the wise advice of Professor Tim Noakes, who pointed out that while a good bout of rumpy-pumpy might be beneficial if followed by a long, sound sleep, hanging around in bars till all hours trying to find a willing subject is likely to have an adverse effect on performance.

Watching my home team get eliminated from the ICC at the hands of England last night made me wonder whether this latest piece of cricket lore might be in any way to blame. Did the English take Upton and Kirsten's instructions to heart, and did following it give them an advantage? Someone with the pre-Raphaelite good looks of Stuart Broad or the tousled cuddliness of Jimmy Anderson wouldn't have had much of a problem finding a participant. Could this have enhanced their already not inconsiderable bowling skills? Collingwood and Onions might have had more difficulty, unless they told the girls their names were Smith and Jones, but even they put up a sound show.

Which brings me to my next question: does a team's collective performance rest on the cumulative level of satisfaction experienced by the individuals in a side? Does some sort of critical-mass theory come into play, where the amount of good sex had by one team is weighed against that had by the other?

If so, the South Africans may need to brush up on their chatting skills. Although they put up a good fight, particularly our gutsy captain with cramp, the early dismissal of some of our finest hitters makes me wonder, since we're pursuing this line of inquiry, whether these players neglected to get their greens, or whether their state of play is perhaps related to their prowess elsewhere. Is it the quality rather than the quantity of sex that makes a difference at the crease? Is a premature exit from the field indicative of anything other than bad light or good bowling by the other side? I hope not, because if this is in any way proved, it opens the door to a dirty-tricks campaign not seen since the incident of the laxative-laced lemon meringue pie.

Just imagine it: a flotilla of beautiful women sent by unscrupulous nations to lure their rivals to their doom - letting them down at a crucial moment, or worse, making them feel inadequate - a fate made all the more excruciating by the fact that these players had been encouraged by their superiors to commit such acts. It's an awful thought.

We have to hope that no self-respecting female cricket fan would stoop so low. There are limits to what one will do for one's national team, or there should be. That said, whoever the skilled damsels were who helped South Africa to their historic 438-for-9 win over Australia in 2006, please would they come back?



Sue de Groot is a Johannesburg-based journalist, columnist and television scriptwriter

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Secrets

Hey you

Come here, stay a while

It's okay, that can wait

Of course I have time

Tell me about your day

No, let's talk about you first

I'm listening

No one else needs to know

I won't tell anyone

I promise

Give me your hand, open your heart

Show me your soul

Tell me everything

Tell me your hopes

Tell me your dreams

Tell me your

....secrets



... to be continued....?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shed Some Light

This is one of those songs that just stuck in my head the minute I heard it. To this day, it's still one of the first songs that comes to my mind if I'm asked to sing a song on the spot (which is what I ended up doing for the TNL Onstage interview). You may or may not notice the slight change in scenery in this video, and that's because due to the renovation that's going on at home, the room where I usually play is filled with sand, dust, and the odd passing mason. Not the perfect conditions for recording, you could say.


Hence, I dusted off the old Yamaha keyboard which hasn't been in use for more than a year now, and set it up in my room. It was interesting, experimenting with it, because while it did provide more functions for recording, it was still a bit of a hassle.


Either way, enough rambling. Here is "Shed Some Light" by Shinedown, off their second album "Us & Them". Great band, great album, so try and get your hands on it if you can. As always, the original is here and if you want to download the audio, just click here.


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Also, for those who dislike blogger's video player as much as I do, you can check out some of my videos on my Youtube Channel. Click here to check it out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

... bugger...

... I just put up my last post about Onstage, and now I have to write one saying that I didn't make it.


Yes, I just got the call, and sadly I couldn't make it into the top 6. Disappointment galore, I must admit, but after it had sunk in I realised that I'm okay with it. I had a total blast, and perhaps last weekend was just that - a fantastic weekend. And God knows I needed it!


Once again, much love to everyone that supported me and were rooting for me! I suppose now, you guys will be the only ones that get to listen to my musical adventures.




.... for now!


Peace!


G


PS: Just uploaded the videos on Youtube. Click here for Cry Me A River, and here for My Sacrifice. The audio quality comes and goes, but it's pretty decent. Thanks to T for recording it!

The Darkside (Finally) Gets 'Onstage' - A Recap

Finally, I am safe and sound back in Kandy after hours upon hours of travelling spread over the last two and a half days. Yes, it was a very long weekend, but what a weekend it was!


Just to quickly summarize, I had my final rehearsal for the TNL Onstage Soloist competition on Friday, somewhere in the bowels of Thalawathugoda. I had decided to do my version of "Cry me a river" and Creed's "My Sacrifice" for the show, in an attempt to mix up some of my creativity with a 'safe' crowd favourite. The rehearsal didn't go well, but it was too late to work things out and I was much too tired from the travelling anyway. A few bus rides, auto rides and phone-calls-to-get-directions later, I was at my aunt's place, blogging from my phone.


Saturday saw me once again bussing it into Colombo for the sound check which was supposed to start at 2pm but, as I should have expected, was very very delayed. The venue was rather small, much like it was for last week's performances. So, while the sound people and the band set up, I chatted with a few of the participants to find out what I was up against. Turned out, this weeks performance was going to be just as ambitious as last week's, with the likes of Theory Of A Deadman, Daughtry, Fuel, Judas Priest making their 'appearances', alongside music from The Calling, Boyce Avenue, Eva Cassidy, Jason Mraz and - well, you get the general idea.


Finally, when everything was set up, we managed to run through the songs a little bit, which was really important for me especially after the previous day's rehearsal, but also because I was playing the piano and singing as well for one song, so I wanted to get the 'logistics' sorted out with regards to the mic arrangements and the keyboard settings. The stage was really, really tiny; so tiny that if anyone got a little too excited while performing, they'd probably end up off it, and I doubt they'd score much for stage presence if they couldn't even manage to stay on the stage in the first place.


So, I heard all the performers during their sound check, and it didn't do much for the nerves. They were all very talented, but one thing I knew from experience was that performing live in front of an audience is always a challenge, so I was hoping that my limited experience would still be enough of an advantage over the competition. After my sound check was over, I was taken aside by the 'musical mentor' so to speak, that TNL had gotten down to provide little tips and insight. Surprisingly, despite the lack-luster performance I had just put up, he was very favourable in his opinion of me, and apparently he was really excited about the cover of "Like a stone" that I had sent in for my demo. Yet, his parting words of "the judges are going to expect a lot from you" didn't really do much for the nerves (or whatever nerves I had left at the time).


Finally, the hour had arrived and bang on time (meaning an hour late) the show got under way! The ReBels opened events for the evening, performing a fantastic cover of "Time After Time", one of my favourite songs! As luck would have it, my performance was slated for the last of the evening, meaning I had to sit through all seven performers and 14 songs before I would get up on stage. However, I had some company in the form of my parents, my ever-enthusiastic brother (who kept finding me during the night and telling me I was better than whoever was singing at the time, as well as asking if he could shout "Go Kandy!" during mine), and some of the blogger crowd in the form of Papare Boy, Hisham, Sabby, and even the elusive, reclusive and mysterious T.


Again, as luck would have it, I followed a contestant who in my opinion was the best of the night! Yes, so when they called my name, I was slightly more nervous than I usually am when I step on stage. A few mic adjustments, and I began the piano part of "Cry me a river". I think I made a few mistakes in the beginning, but I can't really remember. All I know is, when the band came in during the bridge, the adrenalin kicked in and the rest was a blur. We moved onto "My Sacrifice" and by that time I had resigned myself to the fact that it was too late to worry about anything, and so I threw my heart soul and voicebox into it, so much so that I hardly noticed the audience or the judges. It was just me, bright lights, tired vocals and a very good band behind me.


At the end of it all, I remember there was some applause at least, and that was a relief! My brother was pretty damn ecstatic, and since he is usually very critical when it comes to music, I took that as a good thing. To be honest, most of what happened next was a blur because I was on such a high after the performance. The ReBels then took the stage and played some very 'dancey music' in the form of "Sex Bomb" and "You Can Call Me Al", which honestly almost had me pulling the nearest girl to the dance floor!


To round it all off, it was by far one of the best nights I've had in a long long time. The final six will be receiving a phone call some time during the day today, so let's just say I'll be staring at my usually silent phone with earnest. Either way, like I said before, my main goal was to 'leave it all on the stage' so to speak; I didn't mind not making it to the finals as long as I had really given it my best shot. As of now, my adrenalin-adjusted memory tells me that I did, so until actual video footage comes out to prove me wrong, I'll just assume it went pretty well!


Last, and definitely not least, I want to thank everyone who wished me for the performance, via Facebook, email, twitter and text message. I was truly surprised and touched by all the comments on my last rushed post, and reading them out on my phone actually helped a lot! After all, if it hadn't been for the headless videos, I'm quite sure I would never have even considered sending in a demo for Onstage, and if it weren't for the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) encouragement from my 'adoring fan base', I'd have missed out on what has turned out to be a pretty cool experience.


Enough mush. Stay tuned for whether or not I make it through to the next round! Also, I'm trying to get my hands on the video, and that will be up soon hopefully.



Peace!



G


Friday, September 18, 2009

T Minus 24 Hours!

This post is coming to you via my phone's web browser, not in an attempt at tech-savvyness, but because I just wanted to type this out right now.

So as some of you know, I'll be singing for Onstage tomorrow at the Holiday Inn. Today was my final rehearsal and boy, it was NOT good!

After travelling 4 hours from Kandy and taking 3 buses, I reached the rehearsal place a good 45mins late. Hence I had the misfortune of listening to some of my competitors singing and they were VERY good! I was instantly reminded of the words from my earlier post - SONG CHOICE! SONG CHOICE!

Anyway, when it was my turn to practice, not only was my self confidence shaken up but my voice decided to take a paid vacation, thus giving rise to more flats than those that exist in CharmBracelet's shoe cupboard. Weak joke, but give me a break, i'm depressed.

However, a few panicked phone calls later, I was reassured and at ease. I was reminded about how much I actually love to sing, and that should be my focus tomorrow night. These opportunities don't come often, and I should make the most of it and have some fun! Also, a nice hot cup of tea seems to have revived my vocals temporarily, but I've decided to not utter a word till I step up on stage tomorrow evening!

Watch this space for the details! Whether I make it or not, I'm going to have some fun tomorrow!

Peace!

G

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Expression

One of the many things we have grown accustomed to is this supposed need to express ourselves. I blame the ridiculous number of movies that make up our diet these days, filled with witty one-liners, poetic last words, snappy dialogue and stirring verbose speeches. Oh how we long for those moments where we get to use just the right analogy, just the right dip in tone to convey some deep emotion.


If it's not using the right words at the right time, then we have other forms of expression. There's dance, song, music, art, prose - really, almost anything can be used to 'express' ourselves. Even blogging, for what is blogging if not another way for us to get those murky 'feelings' out in the open for everyone to see and share and comment on? Sure, many of us don't write for the feedback but rather for the 'therapeutic' effect it has on the writer, but either way it is a form of expression.


I am not really a man of words. Honestly, there are many times when I wish I were, but for some reason the words never really come out right for me. I guess that's partially why I resort to sitting behind my piano and playing other people's songs, as my good friend St.Fallen so eloquently put it. I'm just not that great with the emotion. However, I can't be called an unemotional man either.


But perhaps there's more to it. I have been through so much in my life; nothing of the life-shattering nature, yet so much has been squeezed into my 24 years on this Earth that sometimes I feel like I've been here much longer. The highs and lows, the joys and pains, the scars, the sorrows, the victories and the failures - it all culminates to make me the person that I am today.


And as I stand outside my home in Kandy, listening to the silence that often pervades our surroundings in the evening, I think of all the people in my life. I have let so few of them inside, so few of them have had even a glimpse of the actual person I am, and yet even with these few special individuals, I have never fully been able to explain the intricate workings of my life. How I wish I could write a song to explain things to you, or a poem to show you the overpowering helplessness and loneliness I feel. How I wish I could paint you a picture of what it feels like to be left behind. Even this post is hopelessly inadequate, despite the almost physical effort I am putting into it to express what I mean.


So what DO I mean? Well, perhaps we have all gotten too used to expressing ourselves. Maybe freedom of expression is over-rated. Maybe we've forgotten what it is to be silent. Maybe there are some things in life that cannot be explained in words, that cannot be illustrated on canvas or labelled and categorised. Maybe we should learn to accept those situations, feelings and emotions as such - undefinable. Perhaps you will never understand, perhaps I should stop expecting you to. Perhaps, somewhere in there, I will make my peace with that and move on.


This is the part where I'd add some wise and astute saying, phrase or poem but sadly I know none. So let me just end by saying - you don't understand. But I'm okay with that.






Monday, September 14, 2009

The Darkside Scouts TNL Onstage Round 4

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I had got selected to sing for the preliminaries of the TNL Onstage Solo competition this year. Much has happened since then, and as I publish this post I will have 5 days before it's my turn to get up on stage! Like I mentioned in my earlier post, I had to make a few trips down to Colombo where I met the girl-with-the-nice-voice that I had mentioned, who promptly informed me that she had read my blog! Yes, apparently a friend of hers had read my earlier post about being selected for the Onstage gig, and had been kind enough to forward the link to her, thus leaving me with no choice but to be terribly biased in all my TNL-related posts from now on (whoever you are, many thanks).


Soon after that embarrassing revelation, the fabulous people of TNL radio (too obvious?) interviewed me not just once but twice (the sound quality in the first interview wasn't too good apparently), as well as made me fill out a questionnaire and pose for photos! Now, those of you that know me personally know that I'm as photogenic as Gollum's left butt cheek, so I'm just grateful that it turned out the way it did. Click here if you want to check out my profile page on the TNL Onstage site (the audio hasn't been uploaded yet, but I've been told it will be done during this week).


There are 16 singers in the preliminaries, and 8 of them sang last Saturday at the Zouk Galadari. Now, while I am blessed with a lack of stage fright (traumatic school performances may have deadened my sense of shame) I was still rather uncertain about the talent level I would be faced off with. So, after making a few travel arrangements (nothing new when you live in Kandy, unfortunately) I turned up all alert and attentive with my pen and notebook ready to scout out the competition. As soon as I got there, it became evident that I wasn't the only competitor to come up with this novel idea, as right outside the entrance I spotted two singers from my group buying tickets as well. I tried to hover around them for a few minutes, in case they suddenly decided to burst into song, but when they didn't I gave up and entered the venue.


The venue turned out to be pretty tiny, but when the competition (finally) got started, the small area made the crowd look much larger than it probably was. Either way, the atmosphere was pretty charged up and it started off on the right foot with a solid performance. One thing I noticed throughout the evening, and that was the broad choice in song selection. There was Billy Joel ("Piano man"), Oasis ("Don't look back in anger"), Amy Winehouse ("Valerie"), Sarah McLachlan ("Angel"), Faith Hill ("Breathe"), Ne-Yo ("Miss Independant"), Jeremiah ("Birthday Sex"), System Of A Down ("Toxicity"), Pixie Lott ("Mama Do") and even my beloved Shinedown ("45"). While they are all fantastic songs, perhaps some were a bit of a stretch, and if American Idol has taught us anything in the last 10 years, we should know that it's "all about song choice".


All in all, an interesting night. While I was there purely on research purposes, I must say I had a good time, and not because I ran into some fabulously mysterious girl in a dark corner of the club. The vocalists were good but they were really outdone by The ReBels, the band that was backing them up. They handled the wide musical demands extremely well, the highlight being "Toxicity" which came out pretty near perfect! While I won't be attempting anything that brave, after seeing them perform I'm pretty eager to get my practice under way this week.


So yes, it's all about song choice - and crowd support! Each singer seemed to have brought their only little contingent for support, almost like a small army of personal Paula Abdul's, and I suppose that goes a long way with the judges too, who I am sure give out marks on crowd reaction as well. So, if anyone happens to be in the vicinity of the Holiday Inn this Saturday around 730pm, please do drop by! While I can't arrange free passes, or promise a stellar performance, or promise to perform with a paper bag on my head (har har) - actually come to think of it, I can't promise anything at all! But do drop by anyway, perhaps we can all go for a "blogger meet-up" and be featured in one of those A-Day-In-The-Life-Of-Jerry posts.



Monday, September 7, 2009

My Life According To Incubus

Surprisingly, I stumbled upon an interesting note-tag-thing on Facebook. It's rather simple; you're supposed to "cleverly answer" a set of questions using the song names of only one artist, without repeating song titles. While I cannot confirm the "cleverness" of my answers, I can at least demonstrate that this tagging business can actually be interesting rather than mundane and pointless.


Or perhaps not. Either way, enjoy, and have a pleasant Monday!


Pick Your Artist:
Incubus

Are you a male or female?
Redefine

Describe yourself:
Priceless

How do you feel:
Punch Drunk

Describe where you currently live:
Under My Umbrella

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Mexico

Your favourite form of transportation:
Paper Shoes

Your best friend(s) is/are:
Rogues

Your favourite colour is:
Blood On The Ground

What's the weather like?
The Warmth

Favourite time of day:
11am

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called:
Talk Shows On Mute

What is life to you:
Just A Phase

Your current relationship:
Nowhere Fast

Breaking up:
Love Hurts

Looking for:
Southern Girl

Wouldn’t mind:
A Kiss To Send Us Off

Your fear:
Agoraphobia

What is the best advice you have to give:
You Will Be A Hot Dancer

If you could change your name, you would change it to:
Zee Deveel!

Thought for the Day:
Beware! Criminal

How I would like to die:
Here In My Room

My motto:
A Crow Left Of The Murder

Friday, September 4, 2009

Let Her Cry

Yes, we're going way back in time to the mid-90's with this song. Remember the time when music wasn't complicated? We didn't have a bazillion different music genres or sub-genres, where no one listened to 'indie' music because all music was either just 'good' or 'bad', when sepia toned music videos were 'in', when Aerosmith was still young(ish) and Bon Jovi was 'cool'? Yeah, hardcore 90's! Well, this is one of my all time favourites and I'm surprised I didn't cover it earlier. Unfortunately Hootie and The Blowfish didn't go on to achieve much success after "Cracked Rear View", but that album still makes it onto my g-pod now and then.


Here's "Let Her Cry" by Hootie and The Blowfish. As always, the original is here and if you want to download the audio, just click here.




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