Sunday, July 22, 2007

Singapore Pt. II

Singapore is a fine city. In both senses of the word. It's my second visit to Singapore in a year, which makes that a personal record. One day I imagine I might work here, since I know more than five people and therefore shouldn't feel completely lonely, and also because it's a fine city. If you earned the same amount as you did in that country up its border (where I currently reside), all you'd need to do is multiply that by 2.3 and wahlau, you'd be rich! Your parents would be happier with the extra pocket money and so would you. Yes, I might work here one day. (I'd just have to deal with not being able to understand Mandarin-speaking cabbies and waitresses.)

What I have been doing since getting here on Friday night.
Eating fine food (had Jap and one of those real-meat-with-juices-flowing burgers today), tossing between getting a Macbook or a normal laptop or the office's Dell one, hanging out with my ex-colleagues Cheok and William who have been really angelic, walking in and out of shops, spending a bomb on stationery, shopping, getting fat, learning to surf the web on an iBook and discovering the joys of two-finger page scrolling, oversleeping (woke up at 1.35pm today; how absolutely piggish), and attending the TOMMY EMMANUEL concert at Esplanade.

I'd been wanting to see Tommy in action for some time now, but when I was in Australia for a month last year, he was shuttling in between some weird-named Scandinavian country and another planet. Then this year, while reading Mia Palencia's blog, she happened to mention that she'd been to a Tommy E gig last year. Lo and behold, a whim like a dim sum came ker-plonk into my brain, and so I googled "Tommy Emmanuel" and "tour", and excitedly found out that he was going to be playing in a few months in Singapore!

So who's this Tommy guy actually? Well, he's an oldish chap from Melbourne, Australia with two daughters and a few more kids via World Vision, who also happens to be among one of two(?) Certified Guitar Players in the world. He's most known as a fine fingerstyle player, which is a playing style that combines a moving bassline, rhythm and melody/lead section played at the same time by the same guitar player. He also does rather crazy stuff on the guitar. I mean, he doesn't pick strings with his teeth or salivate all over the strings, but what he does is beat it up real bad till it sounds pretty good. Like today, he used a drum brush to beat the guitar body below the saddle to create a purely rhythm jamming session. The pickup on the first guitar used today is also VERY sensitive, and each time he thumped over the soundhole, a heavy 'boom' akin to a kicked bass drum was produced.

But what THE highlight of the night was for me, by far, a song called 'Initiation', which he wrote after spending time with the Aboriginals in Alice Springs as a lad. I'm not sure of the time span between the inspiration and actualisation of the song, perhaps 30 years as he joked, but what he had wanted to do was to capture the sounds of the Aborigines and produce that on a guitar. Today, he did just that, immaculately, splendidly, magically. Using heavy delay effects and certain other effects (I'm guessing a Phase Shifter though I've never used that effect myself), he created a populated oasis in the middle of an arid bushland, where the calls of the original inhabitants of Australia melded with their droning beats, clucks, atmospherics and waaah-waaaaah didgeridoo sounds. It was the most amazing thing I've seen produced on a guitar, ever. (The Esplanade has wonderful acoustics too, which did wonders to the listening experience.)

With that, I'll end my adventures for today. Tomorrow, if I wake up on time, I'll visit Felix's church with him. Then on to more shopping! :D

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