Goodbye, Little Light Box

Only 90s kids will get this is one of the more common edicts pillared across the internet. Image macros of Walkmans, Swat Kats, and the ever menacing Furby dolls stay true to ensure the integrity and legality of this rule of law. Video clips of NSYNC and Seinfeld are regularly circulated just so that the internet reminds itself that yes, it is indeed, the 90s kids who get it. The fondness for the decade, which was well endowed with parachute pants and a thinner Mariah Carey, stems from a multitude of good reasons apart from the two listed previously in this sentence. Keeping today’s society under the lens, it’s easy to note that the majority of the workfoce-without-work enjoyed the best years of their life during the very same decade. The ill-fated children of the baby-boomers saw their lives head up the roller coaster, up into the clouds, at the very precipice of the steep fall that was to come.

Recent studies, however, indicate that the last of the most loved decade ever is now 14 years past the present day. As natural trends would have it, it is not long till a new generation, with their own tribulations find themselves reeling and yearning for the days of old.

From what is known, this has probably begun.

Just as floppy diskettes eroded towards mainstream obscurity and VHS morphed into a rare collector’s item, the point and shoot camera has become no more than an unnecessary electronic home and travel appliance, if it’s ever bought that is. With a growing industry of mobile photographers and an already established network of DSLR enthusiasts, the need for an intermediary photography unit is at a steady decline. From a purely technical point of view, the only visible intermediary per se would the toxic combination of teenagers, SLR cameras and Facebook accounts.

The point and shoot digital cameras were a marvel in its heyday as they provided casual means for photography. It was lightweight, compact, travel friendly and easy to use. It provided amateur photographers such as your every day Japanese tourist a way to make a running gag out of themselves on the internet. The first few camera phones, as hyped as they were, proved to be very diminutive competition for the little light box. The grainy VGA cameras embedded in the phone’s body accomplish very little as far as compelling a consumer to give up their cameras were concerned. At the same time, the market was rife with activity, innovation, and vaguely made advertisements as Sony-Ericsson and Canon began to launch high end point and shoot units.

Japanese Tourists
Courtesy Yuval Haimovits

And then, entered the duopoly of Android and iOS, putting an end to the peace and stability. They weighed even lighter, were more compacter, more travel friendly and easier to use. The effects of the two operating systems were not exactly as direct as one would imagine. The pictures taken with these phones were initially quite underwhelming but the amount of things that could actually be done with the pictures allowed the smartphone to claw its way up the technology ladder. As the quality of the pictures got better, the idea of networking with them surfaced. People could now take a picture, add some filters onto them as they please, put them up on a social network or just intimately send it to a friend. The traditional 2000s camera could take the first of the above steps and it would just as much end right there.

The trusty point and shoot was once a staple for capturing the happy moments of birthday parties, casual family nights, road trips and general every day events. Now though, this little light box is something which only the ‘00s kids will get.

 

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On Art

Express Ideas

The common notion among the bourgeoisie is that expression and meaning are deeply interwoven. So much so that it would be a near impossibility to define the two without each of these entities even existing. This ideology that is so firmly rooted in the minds of the general populous has largely to do with the evolution of language.

Looking through the eyes of causality and effect, language is a direct result of our need to express danger, the sight of prey, anger, and alertness. Beginning from basic guttural noises to the creation of a complex system of vowels and consonants, and creating a field of study of its own, is an evolutionary marvel in itself that deserves great appraisal, at least for the sake of the inner Narcissus in our species.

Communication is essentially a freedom of the soul as much as it is expression. Yet, the complexity and beauty of communication couldn’t have been fully appreciated had it not been for the development of poetry and the fine arts. The two challenge the institution of direct communication set up by conventionality and have brought with itself an element of allure to even the simple act of speaking.

The ramifications of such refinement brings more intricate forms of thought into light, and such thought require even more complex forms explanation. The human need to draw, to sketch, to illustrate, to paint, and every other stroke of the brush is a long-drawn corollary of language. Once the blatancy of a work of art is taken away, what most are left with is an overused umbrella term abstract art

So, what is this abstract art? Why does it have to be so abstract? More so, what makes it so abstract?

The lack of reason, for one, is a major outcry. In quaint contradiction, abstract art could be “open to interpretation”. Why is it that when one set of people sight no meaning while others sight multiple ones? Maybe, it is not the meaning that matters. Maybe, this reason that we search for is no more universal than any other cultural definition for truth.

The minds of the masses are so inclined to search for so much meaning and so little empathy. Art is a reflection of one person’s struggles and happiness mirroring that of the one who views it. It is not only an expression of language, but that of pure universal consciousness; A footprint of our existence in time. Even the solitary stroke of a paintbrush is the purest expression of feelings.

Art, is essentially, mankind’s ode to existence.

 

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On The Rise : The 1975

I’ve come across a lot of people over the years who deeply yearn for a time machine just to go back and revisit the good ol’ days of music. If you’re one of those people who’ve been the victim of such a heinous crime by the limitations of technology, there’s nothing to worry about. Why? Because a Manchester-based band have been rising through the underground music scene with a sound that echoes the heydays of the ’80s music scene, richly doused with their own special blend of flavour.

Their lead singer, Matt Healy, was never one to be shy away from the entertainment business as his parents are well known British actors - Denise Welch and Tim Healy. With a bit of foundation in showbiz already imbued in the band via biology, Matt and Co. have established their own brand of smoothness in their live performances which is in perfect synchronicity with the style of their music. With a sudden yin-yang aesthetic being followed, enter George Daniel - The ferociously energetic drummer whose facial expressions while at work are not for the faint of heart. With the vocals and percussion in place, bassist Ross MacDonald and lead guitarist Adam Hann complete the exquisite foursome.

A fundamental aspect of The 1975 is that they do not simply create music, they create an artistic atmosphere for each and every one of their setlist. Their fourth EP, aptly titled ‘IV’ is a prime example of their craft. Their debut single, titled ‘Sex’, is as energetic as it gets with the band applying a modern touch to the late 80s post-punk undertones which can easily be noted. Adam Hann’s heavy use of distortion is the most distinctive feature of the song that initially set them towards YouTube stardom. However, it’s their more mellowed down tracks such as ‘Haunt//Bed’ and ‘Undo’ where they’ve excelled brilliantly. The band have projected waves of auditory melancholia so intricately boxed down within the suppressed rage of pure ambiance. Lyrically though, the group have stuck towards the more standard themes of sex, drugs, intimacy, and death. However, their vision for storytelling through sound makes up for their limitations with regard to topics.

So far, the band has released four EPs with a full length eponymous album set for release on 9th September. So, for all those bustling for a wave of nostalgia, go ahead and YouTube these amazing artists.

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Mario Gomez-20 Million for That Hair? Yes, Sir!

mario gomez

Transfer season is upon and the incessant churning of the rumour mills are already at it’s peak. Holding true to tradition, transfer sagas involving a wantaway star, a recently triumphant club, and a host of suitors are in full swing. One that has carried on for the past two years has finally come to end with Neymar making a move to Barcelona. Definitely did not see that one coming.

The latest transfer story to bestow our favourite football forums and websites is the alleged end of Mario Gomez’s four year tryst with the Bavarians. Yes, the striker with a hairstyle as impressive as his goalscoring record, looks set to move to another club. All for a mere 20 million euros.

The recently crowned German and European Champions, Bayern Munich, is now under the managerial dominion of Pep Guardiola. Along with him comes his philosophy of hard pressing, possession based football of which Gomez is likely not to be a part of. Old Pep does have a history of selling major players - His first activities as the coach of Barcelona were the sales of Deco and Ronaldinho. What followed after was the creation of arguably the most dominating team the world has witnessed since the heydays of bitter rivals, Real Madrid. With Bayern Munich decimating Pep’s previous team in the Champions League semi-final, the ‘superclub’ titled seems to have relayed into the hands of the Bavarians.

Of course, this will be of little concern to Mario Gomez come the dawn of the new season. Fiorentina are reportedly the frontrunners to bag the German to spear head their attack, with Jovetic likely to leave. It would be a great boost for the Tuscany-based club if it falls through, having secured a Europa Leage spot with an impressive season finish of 4th. This would also make him the second German striker to join an Italian team after Klose’s arrival at Lazio the previous year.

Until then, Mario Gomez enjoys his vacation polishing his impressive trophy cabinet.

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Revisiting A Forgotten Universe

There comes a point of time in the life cycle of any person or concept when it is clutched tightly by the grubby hands of self-doubt and consequently finds itself stranded in an identity crisis. A decade ago, Cartoon Network had been thriving under the very same mask - Quietly experimenting and rehashing it’s programs to fit itself into the lives of a newer, younger generation of people. However, what it has effectively done is alienate it’s older fanbase and administer a weirder grade of programming for the newer ones.

Let’s have a look at a few of the current set of programs :

The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange :

What began as a web series is now mainstay on regular programming. The show follows the surreal adventures of Orange his fruit companions : Pear, Passion Fruit, Midget Apple, Marshmallow, and Grandpa Lemon. The supermarket where the show has it’s main setting is named after the cybernym of the creator of the show - Dane Boedigheimer.

 

 

Regular Show

Surreal being the theme of the channel, the Regular Show gives credence to the same. The show revolves around an anthropomorphic raccoon and blue, respectively,  Rigby and Mordecai, both employees at a local theme park, and their various attempts at slacking off from work. Later in the series, they befriend an intern named Thomas and help him adjust to life at the theme park.

 

 

Secret Mountain Fort Awesome

As the name would indicate, this particular show would’ve been best kept a secret. By far, the worst of the bunch has been heavily panned by critics ever since it’s inception. The show involves five monsters, called “Disgustoids”, who are unleashed into the earth through a freak magic portal. The bulk of the story contains their vain attempts toward finding a way for peaceful coexistence with humans.

 

Adventure Time

The one outlier in a sea of mediocrity. Adventure Time is the one series that has precisely tapped it’s potential in terms of experimental beauty and imagination. Created by Pendleton Ward and set in post-apocalyptic world, albeit subtle hints are made towards the same, the main protagonists of the show are Finn the Human and his best friend Jake, a talking dog with a multitude of magical prowess, including the ability to shape shift at will. Together, they set out on their adventures interacting with all the mystical forces and events in the Land Of Ooo.

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More Concerned Than Usual

Over the past two decades there has been a rather irking surge in the amount of paranoia that often pervades around parents. This sociological paradigm has given birth to a plethora of phenomena, the most apparent of which being helicopter parenting. Of late, however, the paranoia has been seething it’s way into human relationships. In particular, we have an unwelcome and quite toxic concoction of intimacy and schizophrenia.

As Woody Allen says in Annie Hall,

“Love fades”

More Concerned than Usual

A profusion of research and every day observations have accentuated this quote to something of an axiom for almost all fledgling relationships. This, of course, is coupled with today’s involvement of technology. If we were to rewind the clock by about 30 years, most human interactions would involve an introduction, either by themselves or a friend, and the consequent procedure of acquainting themselves and getting to know each other better. Everything else, would go on from there. On a very simple analysis of today’s social intricacies, there’s a middle phase of nonsensical text messaging that plays a massive role in making plans and the like.
As rapid and astonishing is the growth of modern technology, so is the briskness in which certain unofficial, yet glaringly important rules, for texting are created. “Would replying to Susan immediately after receiving her text make me seem too needy?” Or “Is it rude if I just wait a little and finish my work, then reply to Robert?”. A more heart-wrenching instance would be when the same Robert failed to receive a reply from Susan, yet she was reblogging posts on tumblr. Should he text her again? Is it right that he gets slightly perturbed?

The intense over-analysis of things on such a microscopic scale has left people being in a perpetual state of concern than what it is usual.

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Sensationalizing Media

As TRP and advertising revenues take precedence over actual content, there has been a gradual degradation in media quality. The in-your-face news and celebrity gossip only serve to entertain rather than inform. With the influx of dedicated Page-3 tabloids, even the most mundane incidents involving celebrities have been glorified to absurd extents. Here are a few incidents which would have fizzled out were it not for the undeserved media attention showered on the situation.

 

Sensationalizing Media

Kate Middleton prank call

 

As a member of the Royal Family, Kate Middleton has always been a media fixation.  A seemingly innocuous visit to the King Edward VII Hospital turned into a needless media spectacle when a radio presenting duo from Australia made a prank call to one of the nurses on duty. The call was transferred to Kate Middleton’s private nurse who inadvertently leaked out the Duchess of Cambridge’s medical details out on air. The fallout was tragic, the nurse in charge committed suicide amidst the outrage. The ensuing controversy also invited the attentions of a Member of Parliament. The inquest on her death will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of May.

 

IPL: Shahrukh Khan’s scuffle with the authorities

 

Being the perfect fusion of the inherent desires of your everyday Indian: cricket and Bollywood, IPL has become embedded in public consciousness.  Not without the help of a few odd controversies though, prime being the scuffle between ”King of Bollywood” Shahrukh Khan and the security guards of Wankhede Stadium, one of the premier cricket stadiums in India. This was followed by a barrage of accusations from both sides. Khan was subsequently banned from the stadium, although efforts have been made to rescind the ban.

Charlie Sheen’s meltdown

 

One of the highest paid actors in television, Charlie Sheen underwent one of the most startling and heavily publicized falls from grace. After his enforced divorce from his third wife, he committed a series of drunken debaucheries and made bizarre statements in public which culminated in his removal from the acting cast of the hit T.V. show, “Two and a Half Men”.  He now stars in “Anger Management”, a show based of the movie of the same name.

Shahrukh Khan’s detention in US

Not far away from the public limelight, on this occasion Shahrukh Khan was unwittingly cast into the spotlight after he was detained in New York on grounds of his ethnicity. In an issue which sparked a mild diplomatic outrage, Khan was surprisingly nonchalant instead opting to joke about it in his speech at the Yale University.

M.F. Husain’s exile

 

In one of the most unfortunate incidents in India, celebrated artist and film-maker M.F. Husain voluntarily exiled himself to Qatar amidst death threats and glaring media coverage. Incessant coverage of his painting had bought about the attentions of right-wing Hindu groups. Cases were filed against him and his house was attacked. This forced him to set up camp in Qatar where he lived till his death.

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Unfinished Letters

The fledgling hours of slumber sees the mind being lead onto a flying carpet of dreams and further contemplation. It is that brief period of time as one introspects whilst being bombarded by a flurry of ideas and thoughts of how things could’ve otherwise been, rather dizzying enough to be quietly lulled to sleep. Dreams that delve into one’s own bits of surrealism and psychedelia. And dreams, with their own interpretations - of happiness, of wealth and of course, eventually of personal completion, a rarity in itself.

This path to completion is probably most profound in the life of a writer - A very common sight being a messy desk full of papers containing what was once a plethora of exciting ideas, now left stale and stagnant. Characters and plots that surfaced from a creative explosion now left unfinished in the confines of dead imagination.

A writer’s mind - A messy desk

Achieving completion is futile. Dealing with in-completion, on the other hand, makes a lot more sense.

Penning an idea is, in many ways, like a relationship - Mysterious and full of passion in it’s consummation. But, in due course of time, the appeal and novelty decays. As the idea takes it’s shape and becomes ever stronger, the writer is increasingly bombarded with a continual furor of new ideas, new plotlines, new protagonists and new antagonists. Eventually, one bond breaks, incompleted, as a new one begins to blossom.

A new, shiny idea is always more attractive than the old one which has eventually found it’s way to become something of a difficulty. Being human, it is a completely natural phenomenon, and one could argue that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. The only problem arises if the work at hand is thought to be self-sustaining, which it never will be.

As long as one is inclined with an idea, it should be continually worked on, redressed ad reshaped. The idea becomes a part of the writer’s life. This is when it gains personality, a tangible entity. No matter how arduous the project would’ve been, the toils eventually translate itself into the reader who will leaf through it with great excitement. The same fervor that the writer once had.

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The Elegance of Diversity

It is often irksome to find the difference between what is pure fact and blatant snobbishness – A line that is already quite blurred in the realm of music.

A brief analysis of mainstream music over the past decade would probably lead to a delicately flourishing case of dementia, among other inhospitable results.  The term ‘freedom of expression’, on the other hand, could be seen placed atop somewhere in Manor Farm in as much of an Orwellian fashion as one could fathom.  And as a natural consequence to all things that has ever happened, the embers of rebellion begin to grow - A forced reprise of the old. Thus, ends the rant of the snob.

Reading through pages upon pages of YouTube comments can prove to be a rather insightful source of information in an enchanting journey towards understanding the intricacies behind musical chronology. That, along with a slurry of other things which are best kept aside for another article, or probably not. The ensuing debate after a new Lil’ Wayne music video would provide the most food for thought - In one hand there would be a group of people throwing words and phrases such as ‘Rock is dead’, ‘Hendrix, Floyd, Zeppelin…etc’, ‘Psychedelia’ and the like towards another group whose motto lies in the quaintly put ‘accpt chngz plz!’. The most futile of wars.

So, here we are then, dwelling in era of embarrassing music.

However, this supposed degeneracy is just as much as contrived as it is fact. We live in a global culture that is bustling with excitement. The ability to explore and discover has never been so profound, especially when it comes to music. Never before has there been such immense diversity to extrapolate. Every attempt at experimentation could lead something beautiful, almost. The surge in indie music, the reprise of different genres, the sudden creation of even more, and Cinema playing such an important part in musical experimentation. The ethereal, new wave oriented music used in the movie Drive has given the limelight to artists such as Kavinsky, College, and the composer Cliff Martinez. For once, there is an ability to pick and choose our favourite playlist that comprises years of art, carefully interwoven through the ages.

Whether the grubby hands of mainstream media extends it’s clutches onto this bastion of music is yet to be seen. However, for as long as time has bestowed unto us - It is only in diversity that music is appreciated.

Photo Credits : Pleated Jeans

5 stages of Pop Music

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