Indie Music

Indie music is a pretty significant music market. I find it so even though the list of indie artists I listen to is very slim. I like to listen to music put forward by prominent commercial record labels instead, so imagine artists like Oasis, Britney Spears, Boyzone and Santana – these are music artists I have grown up listening to. Indie music, like anything ‘indie’ or independent, be it art, literature or design, is an independent venture and these music artists (and their music) is independent from big music labels, such as Sony Music and Universal Music Group. Artists, such as Adele started off by signing with an independent record label.

What I liked about independent record labels is that they basically help with combing through talent worth listening to for music lovers, like me, from vibrant indie music quarters. They do not have the financial means to distribute or promote their music artists as much as major music labels do but this mini-industry of sorts still exists today. Despite the obvious drawback, which music artists signed with independent record labels experience in getting their music heard, indie music offers artists more freedom to craft music as they would like. Because indie music is independent from that kind of music direction offered by big record labels, the music may arguably be termed as more authentic, although I wouldn’t classify indie music as anything of that sorts, myself, having been a fan of mainstream and popular music, my whole life.

Two indie music artists I really like to listen to often include Mumford and Sons and Goldfrapp.

Whenever I see music artists I do not recognize, unlike Whitney Houston, perhaps on gig lists, in the media, etc. I tend to think of them as part of the indie music crowd because the fact that they aren’t instantly recognizable would probably mean they aren’t really part of the whole mainstream/popular music culture. One thing that does concern me over indie music though is how if too many people choose to create records from scratch and contribute to the indie music market, it might make the industry appear largely valueless from the outside. But I would still comb through indie music to find songs more suitable to my taste because despite my burgeoning digital music collection, I feel that great music is always rare and precious.

India’s Page 3 Culture

Recently, the televised chat show Koffee with Karan concluded its fifth season, and the show had included some stars whose work I tend to like, such as Shahid Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan, in what seems like a growing sea of ‘Page 3’ random faces. But what is this ‘Page 3’? Page 3 culture in India is associated with tabloid coverage of parties and high society/high class activities. On the surface, it looks pretty normal (and even a tad bit mundane) – Page 3 is just India’s answer to tabloid journalism and all the stars who appear in it. But Page 3 has sensationalism attached to it and is regarded as something of a phenomenon, which is tough to grasp really – it’s just a colourful spread of gossip and stars in tabloid newspapers, and nothing else.

Page 3 is filled with celebrities, whose work or societal contribution has managed to grab attention, they need that recognition, and they also need to be entertaining enough for aristocrats, or for middle-class families, who deserve to be entertained every morning when they open their newspapers and turn to Page 3.

I think in India sensationalism is attached to what should simply be regarded as gossip journalism and nothing else, no matter how scandalous a star’s latest life story is. Sometimes it’s an eyesore: I don’t think it’s very interesting to learn about people I normally don’t like to work with on a regular basis. Another facet to the whole ‘Page 3’ story is that people aren’t always very candid and upfront about a large part of their lives that everyone may be able to see on Page 3.

I don’t like to go round and round with the same sets of confusion as lovers of that ridiculous aspect of Page 3 culture might: I think actresses, for example, really should be more open when their careers haven’t really gone anywhere, even though they began with a bang (somewhat). Is that really so hard to do – not pretend to be something they are not? I would guess not but some people really take fakeness to another level. In my world itself, composed of actresses I find interesting, not every actress in town has had the same lengthy (and legendary) career trajectory as industry veterans, such as Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan, and it’s so obvious.

There isn’t always a lot of clarity on every aspect of this Page 3 culture, however, which begs the question of what kind of a role model these celebrities really roll themselves out to be for people who like to tune into their glittering lives, round the clock. Stars, or successful people in the public eye, have the good life, they are well-known and they know how to balance a lot of work, with a healthy dose of fun – people want to incorporate all of that into their own lives, as well, which is why they are good role models. I doubt Page 3 appeals to readers for those exact reasons because it is really for people who want to appear on it to be heard, to be seen and to be famous; aside from that celebrity bandwagon, Page 3 is really truly meant for faithful followers of Bollywood gossip.

Curating Music

Finding a good song to listen to is always such a challenge: growing up, it was pretty straightforward because curating my music collection involved turning on MTV and picking what I love. Given the glamour associated with the music channel, there would be a lot for me to choose from this big ocean of music videos, and even till today they are what I like to call ‘the classics’. Nowadays, I like to do something I have always wanted to but watching MTV kept getting in the way: listen to the Billboard charts. It’s where I like to usually get my music from because the hottest singles and the hottest albums chart there every week.

I have to admit there is always a whole lot of deep ***t on Billboard that I have to regularly wade through to find music I like, and my music collection, even though enormous, is really completely peppered with my personal taste. I think that the music industry is so huge, it’s tough to even know where to begin to look for music I would like on some days: music magazines, such as NME are no good because it is littered with the ugliest kind of music you can think of – it’s all such an eyesore; except for NME’s very rare curations here and there like the best albums of the year, it’s not even worth looking at.

In the middle of all these bad sounds being flung all around, there is me and my love for music and my hunger for more of it, more of new sounds. I am still not really sure what genre of music I would like to call my favourite though but I like to keep my interests diverse: pop, rap, r&b, rock, OSTs, and classical songs – I love it all, so long as the sounds of the songs are good. Speaking of diversity, I don’t remember which ones were my firsts but I remember finding Latin music (sometimes in Spanish) quite addictive. I also went and broadened my horizons in music and began listening to Swedish music, K-pop and music from anime I love. Because of all that diversity in my music tastes, sometimes, even though it’s such a rare occurrence, I listen to Hindi music, from India, as well.

I know, I mostly like Hindi songs, which has some English in the lyrics, or really melodic tunes, or contemporary Indian pop songs – I think it is good to throw in a little bit of exoticism to all that diversity in my predominantly Western music tastes. In India, contemporary Indian pop is a rare thing so I think it would be safe to call it a ‘developing area’ because the best and largest music really come from Bollywood soundtracks, which is a shame because pop music is so good. As a music lover, I feel that the most important thing to do when curating a personal music selection is to plaster my music tastes all over it – no matter what, always be true to yourself and what you love.

Almost Married: Liam and Miley

When I first read the ‘Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth story’, that the two got back together I thought that Liam had hit a brick wall in his life and that he is now at a phase where he feels like he wants to ruin his career with some bad decisions in life. I have never been a big fan of Miley Cyrus – I mean, I think she sings awful, and looks-wise I try to avoid looking at Miley Cyrus on the cover of every magazine as much as I can because with age, she seems to be getting worse in the beauty department, rather than aging gracefully.

I think Miley is maybe trying to milk her Hannah Montana days for all its worth because conventionally she isn’t pretty at all anymore, even though she is only twenty four. Miley also sings really, really bad these days and her performances on stage is very unpretty. I don’t feel that it is the right thing to do but that’s just my opinion regarding all of that – not every celeb sings well or looks that great or performs glamorously on stage, but still cruise along in Hollywood like that.

I think that one can say the same thing over and over again, or one can simply zen out from totally mental tinseltown celebs sometimes propping up on the cover of every magazine and gossip sheets – I always want to, and like to zen out because what are you gonna do? Celebs are going to act a little bit mad, I think it’s a part of the game sometimes with all of them, just because they are in the public eye.

Sometimes I think that some people have a thorough misunderstanding of hairstyles and which one looks good in the flesh and Miley Cyrus is a very good celebrity example of that. And it’s not just that: I mean Miley is known for her “wild” ways and they are more often than not, a total sight for sore eyes. I really don’t know what got into Liam actually that he decided to “romance” the American music artist once more. Miley is actually engaged to him again, despite Liam’s family disapproving of his romantic equation with her. That is just pure shocking that Liam doesn’t even listen to his family over “the subject of dating Miley Cyrus”!

Liam and Miley are instead talking about having a baby, already and adoption might be in the cards and you-won’t-believe-it, it may even be from Haiti, given Miley’s past track record of caring for children in the Caribbean state. Apparently, the couple have been on and off again for years but I seem to have missed it all. It had happened around 2010-2011 because the two began dating in March 2010 and Miley Cyrus reportedly even proclaimed in June 2010 that her Can’t Be Tamed music album was mostly scripted about her relationship with Liam. Liam never spoke about Miley actually once the two broke up in 2013 and now the two are dating again – I personally liked the romantic rumours circulating around Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence more. I think it was a little bit along the lines of the Katy Perry and Orland Bloom romantic equation – it was inspiring, to say the least.

The Mystery with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley recently won the ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ award at Harper’s Bazaar Women of the Year Awards. It was one of the biggest surprise wins: I was expecting to find people I had never heard of win but I guess Rosie managed to impress enough with her business acumen. She displayed it, at her best, for Marks & Spencer, for which she has designed numerous lingerie collections year after year. The collaboration ranks on the scale of ‘Topshop X Kate Moss’ somewhat because it has been there for so long but what is odd is that she actually has a directional approach to her business.

Rosie chose Marks & Spencer because she views it as a thoroughly British brand, recognized by almost everybody in the country – that is true because it is hard to escape the shopping experience in the British high street store for Brits. Fuelled by her love for vintage night-slips and lace boleros, and knowledge as a supermodel (having previously modeled for famed lingerie labels, such as Victoria’s Secret), Rosie’s contribution to the sales of lingerie at Marks & Spencer is noteworthy and it has even made her lose interest somewhat in modeling.

What does it really take to be a supermodel? How does one go about becoming one? Is it really any different from all other 9-to-5 jobs?

Rosie is inspired more these days in building her brand, conducting meetings, and piking an opinion on matters – it seems like such an early start for a British supermodel, who is really fresh from one long term collab. Granted she has done her homework in demonstrating that she can diversify her brand into offering cosmetics and as such but even then you can sense the uncontrolled eagerness in taking her brand to new heights. Having started out lighting people’s cigarettes as an intern at Profile Model Management, Rosie was suddenly picked up to be a catwalk model at sixteen. Rosie had to say goodbye to the classroom (and that God-awful internship experience IMO, peppered with humiliating tasks) for that, and went on to walk the ramp for DKNY and Ralph Lauren. I found it very strange how Rosie started out in modeling. There is no proper structure to the whole thing – what kind of potential did Rosie exhibit that made her standout amongst so many women around the world, who also probably had aspirations to be a supermodel just like Rosie?

It’s no joke. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley got picked up to be a supermodel because an agent simply saw she had potential to be a model, whilst she was interning and that also making coffee and carrying out other such scanty tasks, at the London-based modelling agency. There must have been something that impressed about Rosie for her to have that glittering modeling career but no clue as to what, and I have never been a fan of this lack-of-transparency-approach that surely props up in modeling. Having aspirations to be a model is certainly a grand thing but I think a certain level of transparency should be exhibited by supermodels, who should behave responsibly because at the end of the day, modeling is still a job, that brings home your bread, even though it is in the public eye.

Models start out by going to modeling agencies, preparing a great portfolio of modeling-materials and then depending on how much they can impress on their skills, an ordinary girl goes on to become a catwalk model or model for magazines, such as Harper’s Bazaar. It is all great that Rosie likes to have a directional approach to her brand – for cosmetics, which is aptly called ‘Rosie for Autograph’, she uses her familiarities with make-up as a supermodel to craft an enormous 51-piece palette, and she has also decorated the container with rose-gold touches. But when it comes to being a supermodel, I don’t feel Rosie should be regarded as a role model. Doutzen Kroes, started out by following the conventional standard of what it takes to become a model, and I feel that women like Kroes are far more inspiring than Rosie, and her non-transparent mystery as a supermodel.

Favourite Golden Globe Moments

I don’t know which was more surprising – Zootopia winning over Moana (I love both!) or La La Land winning that many number of times

The Golden Globes have always been a grand celebration of the best films of the year. It must be such a tough job to sift through so many good films annually and pick the best of the crop to hand out that coveted Golden Globe to a selected few but every year this hard job happens and what follows is a day to look forward to.

Stars sashay their carefully chosen gowns on the red carpet, the host likes to bust out his comedic sketch or the other, and then there are the nominees who must be teetering on a nervous breakdown, but still manage to keep their composed self together with poise and grace.

I don’t know how the stars manage but I found it so hard to keep my anxiety level to a bare minimum. I mean, especially when the winner for the Best Picture, Musical or Comedy was going to be announced – I tried to be fine with it if La La Land wouldn’t win even though I was secretly rooting for it.

I mean, come on, that was the strongest film amongst the nominations so it deserved to win. I was half-hoping it would be rushed up – the announcement for the winner, and half-reminding myself “It is always like this! Just enjoy your veg and mayo sandwich!”

But who was I kidding? I am so glad the night has come to an end now and what I am left with are just good memories, like these…

Beautiful!

This was one of my favourite moments of the night – actually anything with ‘the Golden Globes and Atlanta’ in it just spell amazing to me!

Oh! I hope Leo’s funny face here whilst reading the beautiful golden card was for something else because I actually wasn’t pleased with this win!

Wow wow! I didn’t even know that confusion-thing was spreading everywhere!

…Indeed! What memories they were!

I think the highlight of the evening was seeing so many wins for my favourites amongst the Golden Globe nominations this year. It is an amazing feeling when I see my favourites win at the Golden Globes. It is incredible, a little bit indescribable and a whole lot of happy moments, rolled into one!

That and the filler moments during the Golden Globes where you enjoy crew-funnies like these…

The Indian Chat Show Brigade

I think Karan has finally woken up whilst interviewing “his celebs”…

Koffee with Karan seems to be getting livelier by-the-minute. I say ‘seems to’ because I have missed a dozen episodes already of season five and that’s like the cherry on top of another thing about how I never really watched Indian chat shows growing up. It wasn’t like it was Oprah or something, even though everything looked so glitzy and mad. o_O

I have to say I think it was a little bit mad and I am pretty sure all of that is still there being mad. I can actually vaguely remember Kareena (Kapoor) being such a hot favourite on chat shows back in the day. For Kareena there, once in particular for this “seriously celebrated episode”, I think it was something like about stars’ families (hers and all the people in it), and this movie role she did – she would like have a blast putting on what it felt like to be that woman in the movie actually in the chat show and the moment you get to this point, I instantly remember why I would avoid watching Indian chat shows altogether. 🐱 🐱 🐱

I don’t really quite enjoy that aspect of Bollywood culture where sometimes people adore a role Kareeena has played on screen so much, they want to dress, talk and (heaven forbid!) maybe even dance like her in real life because I don’t really get why would anyone want to willingly be so uncool. Kareena had so much adulation in chat shows, I think, but yet when that time came in her life in the early 2000s where she had a string of flops, there wasn’t really anyone there for her emotionally. I don’t think anyone ever pronounced it to be so but the chat shows had almost made it look like those were her industry friends back in the day. So tragic! 😄

I think coming back to Koffee with Karan, I am quite happy to see Karan getting lively after putting on so much weight. It made me happy. One of my favourite moments from his chat show (of seasons past 🙄 ) was the little spat that had brewed inbetween Kareena and Bipasha. I think Kareena and Bipasha like to put their foot in their mouths sometimes: once both the actresses took it upon themselves to take potshots on the acting abilities of fellow stars, which I am pretty sure they are equipped to comment on as actresses (I mean, they also act) but it was like a moment where the idiot box was really being just that so well – an idiot box.

I want to say thank you for the fun times, Karan…keep on rolling!