Thursday, June 25, 2009


Technology has changed the past few years that one could not imagine even ten years back the gadgets we have now could even exist. And in turn our lives have been changed drastically.

Cellphones with cameras/videos. I-pods. Laptops. Bluetooth. To name a few. And of course, the 20th century version of the wheel, the internet. The greatest single invention recent history has produced.

Because of it, globalization, where as before was an abstract concept of the world coming together through commerce and communication, has become a virtual yet tangible reality.

I could go praising on and on about this invention but I should just stick close to what matters more to me. Music.

When I was "younger" listening and "getting close" to the bands I love would mean going to music stores and go "sonic shopping." A more complete experience to window shopping. I would be there for hours listening to the music blasted from the speakers and at the same time browsing through (no, make it "breathing information" as if hanging on to dear life) the album in-lays. For me, everytime I do that the time just stops. Even until now, I couldn't resist the lure of the record shop. I will find myself staying there for hours. Friends and wife be damned.

At that time, you only submit yourself to what is available. Of course you can not really expect a small record shop in a small city to have everything. From the latest to the back catalogues and most especially from bands even the local DJs are not aware of.

But now, because of internet, my laptop has become my virtual record store. And I am constantly in nirvana. Fuck, even my wife thinks I should sleep with my laptop.

Even in my laziest days I can not stop romancing my laptop. How can you when you can now download songs from records that you have only dream of having when you were just a skinny little kid who does not even know what a bank account is for when money just barely grazes through your hand-me-down wallet?

Just like that, through a few fiddles in the keyboard, songs pop out. And it is for free! Wohooo!

Right now I am into "If I were a carpenter," a tribute album to (tada!) The Carpenters by bands and artists who were as unknown then as they are now. But it is such a visceral and orgasmic experience hearing the all-too familiar and depressing (almost suicidal) sound of the tragic duo through the unique voices of these bands. Try it but please don't kill yourself.

Without the internet, these songs would have been just peripheral experience. Just a faint soundtrack to the younger years. Of course there are moral and criminal issues to downloading songs to profit from it. But I am not. And many are complaining about information overload in the age of internet. But I am a news buff myself. So who's complaining?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Love Letter

You were swimming in and out of my mind. I have not realized that it has been close to a year since I saw you. We moved on with our lives yes, but I never really forgot you.

You are now a blurry afterthought but you keep creeping in like a one-night stand hoping for a wedding ring.

Ah, Singapore.

Your greenery is what attracted me the most, like a pair of china eyes. The quiet buzz of your city epitomizes the quiet harmony that your multicultural society nestles. No traffic and more importantly, no loudmouths whose ego seem directly proportional to the size of their cars--and indirectly proportional to the size of their grey matter. We got plenty of that here in Dubai.

You move about with grace and dignity. Your clean streets and corners are akin to a woman who is immaculately perfumed. To resist you is futile.

Your jewels--ah, yes your jewels. Sentosa island must be the diamond necklace. Quite lavish. No wonder all flock to see it. But for me it is the naughty Lorong that seduces. It shows your other side. You know perfect beauty is nice to view from afar but it is the little imperfections that are confidently carried is what attracts me more. It is the personality, dear not the image.

For now I must bid adieu. The city that I am married to is calling. In the event that one year must pass again before I find time to write you, I deeply apologize. It is me not you. But be content with the fact that in these fast times, for one fleeting moment I did find time to write you. I do remember you. Like one gentle yet fleeting affair.

Head Turner

(written the night before the Heads' historic reunion in August 2008)

Now it can be told. The Eraserheads are re-uniting!

Forget the most influential band in Philippine history. They are the most influential in my life.

Some say that you can measure a band's influence when you can remember where you were when you first heard their signature songs. It would be an understatement to say that this band's songs punctuated my teenage years.
When I first heard "Alapaap," I was in my friend's room as we attempted to do our own recording of our own songs. Needless to say I was blown away. No band before them attempted such ambitious song in every way-- is it about freedom or drugs?

Their albums were a staple Christmas gift by all my friends as the band released an album every December. Millions of memories intertwine with every song and every album. Girls. Heartbreak. Jamming. School escapades. Snippets of daily life.

And through the years, the band also went through their struggles being together. Success went to their heads (pardon the pun) and each one believed they can do better, bigger outside the band.

They were dead wrong.

None of the members' other bands and their incarnations come close to touching the speckles of dirt the Eraserheads stood on. The Eraserheads were shit playing live, yes. But as songwriters they were peerless. The songs they concocted simply tugged the strings of the Filipino everyman. They were storytellers par excellence.

This event was deemed impossible due to the fallout of the members of the band. When you get to be as big as Jesus (to borrow from John Lennon as he described his Beatles), egos are bound to clash. At a whopping P2 Mil each to play for one night, apparently money is a great ego massager. Fuck, if I had 50 gazillion dollars, I'd pay them to play in the most important events in my life. From birthday to wedding anniversary to my wake and burial.

So yeah, the guys suck it up to play one night. And images start sliding down memory lane for the few who remember.

And yeah, I remember.
This is after all the band who defined my teenage thru tweenage years. The band who inspired me to take a stab at poetry. Songwriting. Strum a guitar. Wear a converse all-star. Strut jeans until it fades--the older looking the better. Sport a moptop. Re-discover the Beatles. Wax philosophical about lines like "field trip sa may pagawaan ng lapis, mabagal at walang kahulugan." Attempted code-breaking (try reading through Bogchi Hokbu and you'll know what I mean).

So for one fleeting night, these guys will be back in one building, playing the soundtrack of my life. And I will be here watching--light years away.

Monday, June 22, 2009


why the name?

nothing much really except for the reason that i want this blog to be about music. not just any music, but music that matters. music that matters to me, at least. so why submarine, retorts the smug YOU while arching the brow in an impossibly incalculable angle.

well, most of the music i like are not out there. most of them are not FM-playable. not because it is pornographic or something. simply to put, it is not popular. or pop.

i would not categorize my type of music as subversive, either. nor preachy. the only revolution i believe in is in oneself. so there.

this would encapsulate what other things i may put in here like movie and record reviews, random musings and the like. i would be selfish in my attempt to capture snippets of everyday life.

my music is mine. it may be not of everybody's taste. i don't exist to please anyway. it may be out of most people's horizon. thus hidden.

thus submarine.