25 August 2008
Merdeka Cafe @ Art For Grabs
I'll be performing. Woohoo! At Merdeka Cafe @ Art For Grabs, The Annexe Gallery this weekend. On 31st August, from 4.30pm to 5pm. I'll be performing six songs on the guitar, three from the album, three new.

Ze tentative tracklist. Subject to change.
1. I Like
2. The Dreamer & The Tombstone
3. The Magic Word
4. A Good Lover
5. You Will Be Mine
6. Tomas

There's lotsa other folks performing for Merdeka Cafe. Poets and singer songwriters, celebrating 51:45 in verse and song. All of them are wonderful.

Here's the flyer.

And here's the full performance schedule.


Sat 30 to Sun 31 AugAnnexe Gallery 1,
2nd Floor, Central Market Annexe

Sat 30 Aug
1pm to 3pm: Gemerlapan, Izzy Mohamed, Priya Kulasagaran, Zalila Lee
3.30pm to 6pm: Sherry, Black, Azmyl Yunor, Alina Rastam, Meor

Sun 31 Aug
1pm to 3pm: Peter Hassan + Markiza, 13 Voices In My Head, Liyana Yusof + Alia Ali, Mei Chern
3.30pm to 5pm: Fathulistiwa Soundscapes, Bernice Chauly, Jerome Kugan
6pm to 7pm: Malaysian Artistes For Diversity featuring Ning Baizura, Ida Nerina and more!

Look for the Facebook entries for Art For Grabs and Merdeka Cafe! Plus don't forget to check Seksualiti Merdeka. Very important that one!
02 August 2008
Tubed: Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Bjork and Jacques Brel
YouTube is addictive definitely and more so when you can find performances like these on it. Wickedstein!

I fell in love with the song after I saw this live performance of Joni Mitchell performing "California".

Nina Simone performing "What You Gonna Do?" Back then, she was the Internet!

Bjork performing "Generous Palmstroke". She's so adorable.

There's another video of this song on YouTube featuring an older Jacques Brel that's just devastating but since the embedding for that was disabled, I'm posting this younger version of the Belgian-French singing legend instead. My ex introduced me to "Ne Me Quitte Pas". It's a beautiful song, yet so sad.


The Little Cat Song + Updates
Hey ho! Sorry for not posting for the longest time. Since taking on the full-time job at The Annexe Gallery, I've been quite busy with stuff, managing and organising, writing press releases, and attending meetings that last longer than the events. But I wouldn't be working so hard if I didn't like it! :-)

Anyway, lotsa lotsa things have happened since the last post.

Aside from those "sodomy charges" (which I have nothing to do with, I swear!), I performed a set of new songs at Urbanscapes on 28 June at KLPAC. I celebrated 33 on that day. I was really proud of myself for having pulled off the slot because I was so hung over from a drinking binge the night before.

San Jose singer songwriter David Knight and I got to perform at Acoustic Jaya @ Jaya One. It went down OK. I sang solo for 20 minutes, David took his solo turn, and then the both us collaborated on a mixed set of each other's songs, plus two covers including "Across The Universe". The organisers called the show Kugan Knight! LOL.

And of course KL Sing Song 2008 which was nice (yet again!) but tired me out completely. (God I really have to update the Troubadours blog...).

plus I did a set of the same electronic songs I sang at the Junk Impulse event sometime back... (oh I have to post the Junk review about that one of these days...) at the soft launch of Cloth & Clef on 27 June.

Coming Up...

Saturday, 16 August, 3 pm, at 72-13
Private event. Register at http://www.plu.sg/indignation/?p=473

Me and my fellow Malaysian hotties Pang Khee Teik, Jaclyn Kee and Farish Noor are going down to Singapore to read our works. The reading is entitled Heartbreak Heroes: Four Malaysians on surviving love, loss and a hostel in Singapore. It's happening as part of IndigNation 2008, Singapore’s 4th Annual LGBT Pride Season. You have to register at the site to find out where it's happening because it's a private event, meaning there's soupy adult content.

Direction to venue: http://www.plu.sg/indignation/?p=408

Find out more about Indignation at http://www.plu.sg/indignation/

Did I hear you say, "Who the fuck are these people?" Presenting the Heartbreakers!

DR. FARISH A NOOR is Senior Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; and Affiliated Professor at Universitas Muhamadiyah Surakarta (UMS), Surakarta. He will present the titillating academic study on “Our Very Own Bisexual Superhero: Rereading the Hikayat Panji Samarang.”

JEROME KUGAN is a writer and musician who recently released his electro-acoustic debut album “Songs For A Shadow”. JK also edits Poetika, his pet poetry journal, co-organises Wayang Kata, KL Sing Song, Troubadours, was sub-editor of KLue and Junk magazines, and now works as the media whore for The Annexe Gallery. He will read a short story called “Alvin”.

JAC SM KEE is a feminist writer, activist, poet and occasional painter. She has written column pieces for several Malaysian newspapers, and numerous articles for both online and offline journals. Jac has also self-published a collection of poetry. Jac will be reading “a bunch of words and sentences strung together to make a shape of loss”.

PANG KHEE TEIK is the Arts Programme Director of The Annexe Gallery. He was formerly the editor of the online arts magazine Kakiseni.com. As an arts practitioner, he has been involved in theatre, independent films, photography, graphic design, writing, editing, plus a spot of experimental dancing, not just on the podium. Pang is reading an autobiographical story about being bullied in a hostel in Singapore.


On 30 and 31 August I'm co-organising Art For Grabs + Seksualiti Merdeka with Pang and Chung Wei at The Annexe Gallery! That's set to be a whole lot of fun! Look out for it on Facebook! The event page for it should be out by next week.


As if you haven't already had enough to read...

The last post in the series of posts about songs from the album... Jeez, not another one!

The last song on the album, song # 11, is "The Little Cat Song". :-)

I wrote this song during one my trips back to my hometown KK, sometime in 2002 or 2003. Basically what happened was that I was trying out songs from a book of songs that my brother had, just learning the chord progressions of other songs that I knew how to sing but didn't know to play... like "Scarborough Fair" and "Bird On A Wire".

I don't like playing covers... but I don't mind adapting other people's chord progressions... heh heh heh... and writing new songs from them. That's basically how "The Little Cat Song" got written. The chords are... like any other song I write... terribly simple and straightforward. I guess it's probably my strange strumming that makes it sound different... LOL.

The song itself doesn't really have a deep meaning. It's a pretty simple song, almost childlike, about the narrator asking a cat that can see the future for some advice. Of course, the cat, being a cat, doesn't really reveal anything... the future doesn't matter, and so bla bla, just live for today, and be yourself ... bla bla bla, bla bl abl al alb alba la ba ba...

It's probably my friendliest song. Suitable for kids, even. Not overly poetic. Nothing too weird. Just a talking cat!

The only thing that stops it from becoming totally friendly is that it has no chorus... and it's way too wordy (another long-winded song... LOL). Which is why I don't really perform this song live often. Too many words to remember! I always fuck up the beginning of the second verse. But I'm going to try to include it in some of my future performances.

And the one thing that gives the song its little sprinkle of magic is the cat... of course...

Anyway, during recording, I sort of knew I wanted a cute little arrangement to go with the song. Hardesh tried a few things at first. But it became an overblown arrangement that we had to scrap. The music had to be light to match the cuteness of the lyrics goddarnit. LOL. So we tried it again, this time with a simple beat. And instead of strumming the song like I usually do, I plucked the chords, to give the arrangement a bit more space. After we found the right beat, it made the song a lot easier to do.

Hardesh came up with a very nice bridge section, guitar parts. And to end the song, I did this aaahhh outro. LOL. Corny but good. Ta-da! The end!


The Little Cat Song

There once was a little cat who could see the future
And he lived just down my street
So I asked him one fine day
What my fortune had in store for me

Cause I only see a mirror’s reflection
Of everything moving further away
And all I can feel is a fleeting connection
Emotional threads as thin as my hair

Then he rested his paws on my hand
Saying, “Sweetie, I understand
The world gets crazy sometimes, just look at me
I mean, cats shouldn’t really speak

“I know you feel sad and at times you get angry
There’s never enough and always too much
Even when life has opened its doors
You just keep fussing ‘til you mess it all up

“And if I were a dog
Then maybe I’ll tell you something else
But I’m not about to sink that low

“Cause I’m just a little cat
Who’s seen too many wacky things
And some things no one should really know”

So with a twitch of whiskers
The little cat told me to go on home
“Don’t be scared, you’re only human
It happens to all creatures big and small

“Your path may be treacherous
With all sorts of animals
Whose viciousness may be fiction or fact
But there’s just no way to really be sure
You just have to wear an extra eye on your back

“And all I can say is that I hope you’ll be wise
To realise that you can be what you want
Cause self confidence is really sexy
No need for fortune, just be yourself”

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