Monday, February 15, 2010

Sometimes life is just too much to try to capture. Oh but I try anyway.

Sunday was Chinese New Year, and to celebrate some colleagues and I spent Saturday evening up to midnight at a restaurant/bar in Padang, the nearest city.

It's a great joint with a good selection of Asian food, a bit of a drinks menu, and occasionally live music. The holiday occasioned live music for us on Saturday.

As I sat there watching the different characters performing on stage, and taking note of the random selection of people surrounding me in the audience, and the overall setting itself, I tried to take mental notes so I could later capture the sights and sounds in writing. Everything was colourful, diverse and somewhat unexpected.

But it was too much for my mind to capture and record. To catch it all I had to catch none of it well. To catch a few things well I had to ignore the rest. There's some merit to just sitting back and enjoying an experience, then letting the notables depart with the night. No camera, no notebook, just life.

But because it was so awesome, I did create nicknames for some of the most memorable figures of the night and I'd love to share them with you in this pathetic attempt at capturing life:

- Hair guy So named for his shoulder-length hair which were an indespensible part of his voice. Throughout the evening it was tied up, but when he went onstage to sing Cold Play - for the record, very well - he let the hair loose with his cigaretted hand and proceeded to bob his head such that hair covered most of his face. When it started to pull away he'd reach up with the cigaretted hand since the other hand was busy caressing the microphone, and fix it. Fixing it meant making it look a bit more mussed and ensuring that more of his face was covered.

- The one in the shirt The one in the shirt might have been a member of a reggae band which certainly was the highlight of the evening. Pause for a moment: Indonesian reggae band. Perhaps it requires no description, imagination can already do a lot. Then consider the prospect of welcoming in the Chinese New Year to Indonesian reggae. The band had countless members who all stood on stage together, even though at least half of them weren't performing. The one in the shirt walked onto the stage in the middle of a song early on and took over lead vocals. I guess that was part of the act, but I'm not sure. For the rest of the set, this character wearing a diagonal-striped brown, white and black button-down, was either singing or dipping to the vibes.

- The crossdressed I should mention that the reggae band was really quite good. Good musicians, good beat, and they all looked like real Rastafarians. The guitarist as a bit less Rasta but he more than made up for it with his skilled hands. The guy could play! It took us a while to decide for sure that he was a guy, though. Between his long hair and the effeminate way he held his instrument, we suspected his Indonesian batik shirt might actually be a dress. This mystery was solved as he walked out of the restaurant, when we saw he wore trousers and actually looked a bit less like a woman when not playing.

- The sound guy wearing a T-shirt with the Starbucks logo, but the word "coffee" replaced with the word "marijuana". Yup.

- The Indo-Valley chic This girl made the night. She was the DJ, host, backup- and sometimes lead singer, head dancer, and self-appointed official social butterfly. She talked a mile a minute on the microfone in between songs. While I have no clue what she said, she sounded like an announcer on one of those low-budget daytime music shows that the hotel staff here watch. Her laugh will take some work, though, before she can go pro. This girl wore skin-tight shiny gray jeans, a gray vest and a cabbie cap over her long straight hair. The cap covered her eyes, too. Much of the night was live karaoke: members of the audience could sing with the band doing back-up. So she sometimes sang back-up, sometimes grabbed a person out of the audience to dance with her, and sometimes sat with a cigarette to chat with her, uh, fans.

- The hunchback A man probably in his twenties, somewhat overweight, and quite hunchback, wearing a red t-shirt with a silly logo that I now forget. Clearly a shy guy on the average day. He was the Indo-valley chic's first victim to the dance floor and as people kept pumping him with alcohol, he grew more and more animated in the dance. After a few songs without the Chic asking him to dance he appeared on stage and grabbed her to dance. And his moves were not particularly chaste.

No comments:

Post a Comment