Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Coco Avant Chanel

Coco Avant Chanel

Which girl doesn’t lust for a piece of Chanel?

Whether it is the signature white camellia (so dear to the late Madamoiselle Chanel herself), the chic tweed skirt suit, the square bottle of No. 5 or the elaborately crafted and highly sought-after 2.55, an item from the House of Chanel is always something to be desired for many a squealing girl. After all, Mlle Chanel did change the face of fashion for women all over the world. The ubiquitous little black dress was a Chanel creation, as was the blending of masculinity in women’s wear.

But more than that, her life is intriguing, from the affairs that she had to the lies that she fabricated in order to protect her poverty-stricken past. And this is why I think Coco Avant Chanel, the movie starring Audrey Tautou, will be a very good watch.

The bonus is, of course, the casting of Tautou. I’ve loved her since Amelie and honestly, who hasn’t? Forget about her dreadful turn in The Da Vinci Code (urghs!), the gamine Tautou is a marvellous actress who is a wonderful mix of vulnerability and fierce pride.

I’m not sure when the movie will be out in local theatres but this is one biopic I will definitely catch.

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

The Time Traveler’s Wife movie

Four years ago, almost to the day, I wrote about a book which had left me completely enthralled and intrigued. Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife made me smile and it made me cry and I have carried a torch for it ever since.

Four years later, Hollywood’s adaptation has finally been completed. Starring Rachel McAdams as Clare and Eric Bana as the time travelling Henry, the news of the movie had made me ponder about how I would feel about seeing these characters on screen. It sounds mildly obsessive but it honestly pains me to see my favourite books mangled on the big screen (Harry Potter, anyone?). Elegant, flowing prose and a lively imagination can sometimes be a better companion than the loud explosions of Hollywood.

But from the looks of the trailer, I can honestly say that I am thrilled and looking forward to the movie. The casting is perfect – McAdams looks beautifully luminous and fragile and strong, all at the same time, while Bana is a compelling mix of masculinity and pain. I’m hoping that the movie won’t be a soppy, watery affair but will, instead, express the complexities of the De Tambles’ relationship and the intelligent writing of Niffenegger.

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Coldplay after one month

Okay, so the photos didn’t turn out very nice. Boo. And I am very late in recording this recap. But one month on, I daresay that I am still thrilled by the concert. It was like a huge karaoke party, with everyone up on their feet, singing along with Chris Martin and bouncing up and down on their seats.

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The group first appeared behind a screen, silhouetted by the bright yellow lights and waving sparklers. Little excited me screamed my heart out, wondering what song they would open their gig with. It was…”Life in Technicolour”, one of my favourite tracks on the album!

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Coldplay didn’t disappoint at all. Chris Martin said all the right (cheeky) things, did all the right (hilarious) actions and sang all the right (amazing) songs. He jumped, he jammed, he waved and he pranced. It was electrifying to hear him sing live and equally mesmerizing to see the band play live.

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Hearing all my favourite tunes live was just a fantastic experience. The changes they added to the melody and harmony, the charming stage presence of Chris Martin and the cool backdrop and effects all added to the experience. And of course, when bright yellow balloons floated down onto the audience for – you guessed it – “Yellow”, I cheered and cheered even though the balloons never reached me (I’m still feeling aggrieved) and the stunt was used for their previous “Twisted Logic” concert. Who cares? It’s still awesome, three years on!

And just like three years ago, I waited and waited for two favourite Coldplay songs to be played and they never did. Resigned to the fact that they were not part of the playlist, I jumped onto Mr Thick and almost burst into tears when I realised that they had left it to the end as encore: “The Scientist” and “Lovers in Japan”.

Was it any surprise, then, that nobody wanted to leave the stadium? Instead, we all sat around and sang “oh oh oh oh oh” and relished our Coldplay dream, almost as if we were sitting around an intimate campfire.

Viva La Vida!

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Do you hear the people sing?

Earlier this week, I was humbled by one Susan Boyle. By now, everyone should know that she is the wonder woman who stunned all and sundry with her amazing rendition of “I dreamed a dream” from the musical Les Miserables.

I confess to being one of those who cast a glance at her frumpy appearance and wondered what she was doing on national television. But having spread through the Internet like a wildfire, I should have reckoned that she was nothing short of inspirational. From the moment the first notes floated out, I was wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Her voice is so beautiful and clear and pure. It was a voice that all choristers would love to have by the time we hit 40. And here is Susan Boyle, singing effortlessly under that curly mop of hair that reminded me of the hobbits.

It was brilliant.

Consequently, I felt ashamed that I had judged her by her looks alone. It was truly a lesson learned. In addition, her video also revived my love for this emotional and heart-wrenching musical. I remember watching it when I was 13 or so. I sat in those seats that could induce a nose bleed and watched intently as the musical unfolded.

I fell in love.

I cried when Eponine sacrificed herself for Marius. I sobbed when Javert couldn’t reconcile his upright ways with his morals after being rescued by Valjean and threw himself into the river Seine. I sniffed when cheeky Gavroche had his life snuffed out mercilessly. I wept when Valjean died with the ghostly Fantine, Cosette and Marius by his side.

It brought out emotions that no movie or musical or song had ever done and after that, the scenes of Eponine singing “On My Own” and “Don’t you fret, Monsieur Marius” kept replaying in my mind. I never did liked Cosette much, she was too dull and good and had too little personality or colour for me to like her. Eponine, on the other hand, led a wretched life and had an unfair ending to her life. She loved and lost and felt and cried.

We’re off to catch Cats this coming Sunday but honestly, the musical that I would really love to immerse myself into again is Les Miserables.

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Hearting Jason Mraz

It’s official. I’m naming our future son Jason.
Because when Mr A-Z came to town, he just about made me swoon with his gorgeous voice and extremely cute antics.

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Dressed simply in a long-sleeved white tee, jeans, sneakers and his trademark fedora hat, he stepped out into the bright lights about 15 minutes after 8pm. With a short “hello”, he launched straight into the songs.

He’s absolutely divine live and he didn’t need elaborate costumes and sets to impress the audience. Instead, all he relied on was his silky voice, sweet personality, charming wit and a great backup band. He pushed all the right buttons, said all the right things without sounding like an overly-polished superstar and sang his heart out. He’s a little like the Ting Tings – they sound great on their records but they sound even better live. His voice is so beautiful and he even sounded like he was classically trained.

When he performed “You and I Both” – the song from The O.C. that first got my attention – my heart stopped and I almost cried. Really. He did most of the songs that I liked, like “Mr Curiosity”, “Geek in the Pink” and “A Beautiful Mess” and I was a little gutted that he didn’t do others like “Wordplay”, “Clockwatching” and “Details in the Fabric” but that’s okay. Because for ALL the songs that he did, he really out-performed himself.

The funniest bit was when Singapore’s Joi Chua came on stage to sing “Lucky” with him. I think most of us were a bit let down by that choice and there was a collective “whaaaaat?” when she appeared. But what got us laughing hysterically was her wardrobe malfunction. Wearing a jersey tunic that has a tulip hem, the fabric bunched up into a knot at her crotch and from certain angles, she looked like she was sporting a penis. It, of course, ruined the song for me completely because Mr Thick and our neighbours couldn’t stop giggling and pointing at the offensive image on the big screen.

“Remedy” was brilliant and even Mr Thick was shouting along to the chorus. But the best had to be “I’m Yours” – the audience interaction was perfectly awesome.

Best $100 I have spent. I love you Jason!
Deja vu?
Yeah well, told ya I am naming our future kid Jason.

Everything Else

east end: going, gone

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When we got to east end this evening, the piece of paper taped outside our door made me jump in joy.

Because this means that what was essentially this, is now this:

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We’ve decided to remove the yard door and tear down the windows between the kitchen and the yard because of the lack of space. The door made the yard tinier and we couldn’t figure out a way to place both the dryer and washer in it without one of the doors banging against another. So goodbye door and well, since we are at it, we might as well tear down part of the wall so that the kitchen space is enlarged a little.

The false ceiling is also up but the lights are not because the painting has not commenced.

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In other news: all our bedding needs have been satisfied, thanks to the Aussino sale. I bought two bolsters, two single quilts, two 400 thread count quilt covers and some towels for less than $200. A bargain, if I may say so myself! Well, why do we have single quilts, you ask. It’s because although we share the same bed, everything is kept separate and individual. I refuse to tolerate another false accusation of being a duvet thief.

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I love sitting at the balcony and enjoying the breeze. And I have ugly feet.

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Lucky

Things are a’changing around here but I don’t really want to spill the beans as yet. Let’s just say that it’s going to take my life into a whole new direction. I’m excited and most of all, I feel extremely lucky to have gotten this opportunity. I’m not doubting myself anymore and am looking forward to it with a measure of calmness and anticipation.

Meanwhile, I am brushing up on my Jason Mraz songs because, yes, this lady’s going to hear him live! Can’t wait!

Here’s one of my favouritest songs from his latest album. Min once said that the song reminded her of me and Mr Thick and it made my day. Enjoy.

Arts & Entertainment, Everything Else

Entering Twilight

This is going to do nothing for my street cred but I have to be honest: I took a deep breath yesterday afternoon and plunged into Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.

Go on, launch those brickbats at me. I had sworn not to read the book but somehow, when Beks left it lying carelessly on her desk, I decided to just borrow it to see what the big deal about the book was. With the pocket of time that I had between appointments, I parked myself on a comfortable armchair at Bakerzin and started reading, a pot of tea lying within reach.

It was horrible. The writing was simplistic and incredibly banal. Do I really need to know the details of what Bella was eating or cooking or wearing? The conversations were mindlessly protracted. The romance of Bella and Edward was abrupt, the explanations carelessly given. There was not much suspense or climax built into it – the structure of the plot was not laid out properly. Meyer makes J K Rowling look like Jane Austen and I worship Jane Austen.

A quarter into the book, I texted Beks: “Reading Twilight makes me feel like I am reading someone’s badly written blog.” But she was right, as irritatingly trivial as it was, I couldn’t put it down.

Maybe it’s that romantic in me. If I were 10 years younger, I would probably have swooned and longed for a vampire lover like Edward Cullen. And why not? He’s depicted as a perfect angel, and gentlemanly and chivalrous to boot. He saves her life (not once, not twice but thrice), plays the piano like a pro, writes romantic music and even opens the car door for her. Even his vegetarian vampirism works in his favour since he finds his lady love so oddly and enticingly attractive but has the willpower to stop himself. And though he has been single for almost a century, he still knows how to say and do the right things to make her heartbeat jump to manical levels.

In short, he is the perfect man that every idealistic girl dreams of.

The premise of the series is interesting and I think it’s great that Meyer dared to step out of stereotypical lines to create a new generation of vampires, mocking traditional beliefs at the same time. But her execution needs a hell lot of work and under the care of a more talented writer, the story may just be more engaging.

Poor Mr Thick went to catch the movie with me last month and though he survived to tell his tale, he has sworn to never watch its sequel. Pity, because I think director Catherine Hardwick actually did a fantastic job bringing the two cardboard characters to semi-life. The blue/grey-drenched visuals brought the dreary rainy Forks town to life and Kristen Stewart was great at portraying the gawky, ill-at-ease Bella (no comments about Robert Pattison’s acting).

I may just buy the rest of the books but that would seriously damage my street cred. I mean, I was almost embarrassed to be reading it in the train. To salvage that, I leave you now with my favouritest scene from the movie: the baseball scene, accommpanied by a great song. Dark, edgy and adrenaline-pumping, just the way I like my vampires.