She innocently plays
There’s something about the beautiful sounds of alternative rock that is so nostalgic, so exhilarating, that it has the capacity to literally to turn someone’s day around once it’s on.
With their debut album, Lebanese alt-rock outfit Lazzy Lung have created an homage to the true spirit and grit of those incredibly sweet bands that emerged from the height of alternative rock music in the mid to late 90s.
Strange Places is packed-full with memorable catchy tunes that will find their way into your subconscious, and stay there. It’s the kind of music that give you that comforting feeling, as if you’ve heard before, but yet it has that fresh sound.
With influences ranging the versatile breadth of alternative music, Lazzy Lung somehow combine the riffs of Stone Temple Pilot with the melodics of Nada Surf. And when frontman/songwriter Allan Chaaraoui sings “I can’t help but feelin’/left out again” on “On Standby” when all know exactly what he’s talking about.
The simplicity of the songs is what makes them more appealing. Allan sings about things like the pressures of a new job, or being in a long distance relationship, or simply getting over a massive hangover.
As I listen to it, I keep imagining how these songs would sound played live. It just seems that they are meant to be played live, the sound is pure and the harmonics clean, and almost every chorus is memorable enough to be wanted to be sung along, like in the kick-off track “8 Hours To Get Home”
On tracks like “21 Below” and “Ridin’” the band really puts on a show to prove their capacity to produce rock anthems that can echo through radio stations and concert halls. There’s even a sweet little folksy tune in “Rains of October”, the mellowest track on the album.
All in all, a very impressive debut from an all-out alt-indie rock band that has the potential to make it big, if Strange Places is anything to go by.
Standout tracks: “21 Below”, “Ridin’”, “Onstandby”, “Rains in October”, “8 Hours To Get Home”
Up until three days ago, I was almost certain I wasn’t going to vote in the 2010 municipal and parliamentary elections.
Part of this was from the bitter taste the last elections left in my mouth – four years ago I had high hopes when I voted for one candidate, who ended losing out marginally - and partially it’s because I had my doubts in the process.
But I’ve come to realize, as I stood in line waiting for my turn to hand in my ID, that deep inside, I’ve always wanted to vote.
There was a buzz, excitement, and even tension around the polling station, but the sight of men and women of every age and background but me at ease. Smiling parents turned up with their children, groups of friends wearing matching colored-shirts, retired elderly men in the thobes and young women, were all here for different reasons, but they also all had one thing in common. They had hope.
No matter which way you looked at it, and in spite of all that’s said and done, these elections are a monumental step towards a brighter Bahrain. It is a slow process, but as a people and a nation, we must stride side by side, step by step, together towards it.
As soon as I went through the registration desk, I was handed the two ballots (for both the municipal and parliamentary candidates) and I made my way to the booth.
A felt a little nervy as I held the pen and stared down at the ballots in front of me, thinking, that with one simple tick, I could have a significant say in deciding the future of my country, at least for the next four years. After a moment, I ticked my choices, with confidence and convection.
I realized that there is no wrong or right answer to this. It wasn’t a test. Whichever choice I made, it must be one that I believed would contribute positively to the wellbeing of my country, and to my hopes and expectations, and addressing the issues that concern me.
Taking the two ballots in my hand, I approach the box where the young lovely Bahraini lady supervising it gives me a nod and a smile, and motions to me to slip the papers in.
I do and smile back. And as I walk out of that polling station, with a spring in my step, I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself.
Things may not be everything we want them to be, and we are surely far from having a complete perfect political system, and we certainly have different opinions, but we’ve come a long way over the past decade or so.
What we must now understand is that our participation does not end at those polling stations. It’s just the start of another chapter. Let’s hope it has a great ending.
Every weekend mom would drive us to Jasmi’s Exhibition Road, which had the best arcades in town. It used to be the only place that had the latest and best Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat arcades (Ah, the beauty of ripping someone's head off, burning them into smithereens or pulling their spine out!). There was this cool dude who no one could beat, anyone who would challenge him couldn’t last more than a couple of minutes. And he never uttered a word. He’d just stand there, staring into the screen, doing what he does best… kicking-ass.
We then somehow convinced our parents to splash out on a Neo-Geo, which was the coolest, most powerful and awesomest console of the early 90s. Bring on the brilliant fighting game Samurai Shodown and the likes of King of Fighters and Fatal Fury. We actually had to drive to Saudi Arabia to get the cartridges – there was only one store we knew of that sold them, and they were expensive at the time. At home, we used to stage “Samurai Shodown tournaments” – my brother always kicked our asses with his Charlotte. Shortly after that, we had another gaming revelation – the Mega Drive! The Mega Drive had the best arcade games on the console, and even though the selection was pretty limited, we needn’t more than SF and MK to enjoy it.
When the first PlayStation came out, the world was never the same again – we would go to Souq Almagasees to get the copies CD’s for dirt-cheap, at first it was BD1 but then it dropped to nothing more than 500 fils! Imagine that. And god, how many times have we bought corrupt copies, go back to the vendor and ask, fruitlessly, for a refund or an exchange. And I know what you’ll say, how on earth can you forget the FAMILY GAME! Are you kidding me? A console with 3000 in-built games!!! Not that you’d ever need any of them, all you would play is Super Mario.
It’s amazing when you think about it, and look how far video games got nowadays with the technologies of the PS3 and Xbox. I have played a ton of games on my PS3 and some of them have been memorable experiences.
My top 10 PS3 video games:
Once the elevator doors closed
I was in the dark alone
Is that a whisper I hear?
I could’ve sworn it was your voice
Cutting the air that stands between us
I’ve got a blue lights in the palm of my hand
It casts a weak glow around me
But all I see is numbers
Between you and me
Thirteen floors sounds like a long way
To go down in the pitch darkness
One by one, there no light in sight
Maybe you should reach a hand out for me?
I promise I won’t bite
My parents lived most of their young life in the old part of Manama. But like many of their generation, they opted to move into the city, to find a better home in the new suburban areas of Bahrain.
As years passed, most of Manama’s original inhabitants departed, leaving their homes behind, the homes they grew up in, the homes their parents had lived in, leaving them to their fate. Most of those old homes are demolished to make way for apartment buildings.
My aunt remained in her dilapidated home and every time we’d visit her, she’d complain about the new neighbors whose names are either too foreign or too long for her to remember.
From every angle and corner, a new apartment building leers over her ageing house, bullying it, waiting for it to finally fall and crumble; to be erased along with all of my aunt’s and my family’s memories.
Even to this day when I visit, I still get excited by the prospect of seeing my aunt and her home. As a kid it was almost like an adventure every time we visited, on the usual occasions, because it was different, it seemed like a completely different world compared to where I lived, a house in the suburbs of Isa Town.
When we were little, my aunt would always sneak to the “other room” – which we wouldn’t dare venture into – to fetch us some treats. The house always smelled of aromatic scents and spices.
Howl for me
Howl for me my baby
Get down and dirty with me
Moan like a crying wolf
Spread your dirty evil on me
Soak the sheets with your sweet sweat
Baby make me beg for more
Make me grovel and groan
It ain’t worth a dime if I ain’t got the time
To watch you bend and curve snake-like
Then howl for me baby,
Howl down and dirty
Touch me where you don’t touch them other guys
They was as pure as rain falls
Until they heard your howl
Make’em grovel and groan
It ain’t worth a dime, I say
It ain’t worth a dime
If you don’t take your sweet sweet time
Getting’ down and dirty with me baby
Still, I was as excited as a bunny in a free-range carrot field when I stumbled upon an entire stack of brand new CD’s at Geant, going for as low as BD1 only each! I spent the better part of half an hour rummaging through the stacks.
I found a couple of gems, a few old records and some new ones. I couldn’t get all the ones I wanted to go, because that would’ve been silly. But I’m happy with my new collection, which includes Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Rolling Stones, Fastball, Razorlight, Radiohead, Weezer and BeastieBoys among others.
I’ve currently got a little over 600 CD’s on my shelf. These don’t include the ones I got tucked away, the ones I lost to ex-girlfriends, and the ones I left behind in my travels.
Also, don’t tell anyone, but I’ve got hundreds of “cassette tapes” in my closet!
Now, let the “importing” begins!