Pinoy Alternate History (Part 2)

Just like last year’s celebration of Independence Day, I joined RocketKapre.com’s Twitter discussion/trend/story telling about alternate Filipino history. By means of the hashtag #RP612fic, Twitter users shared their tweet-length stories about our country’s alternative history and realist micro fiction.

I decided to collate and post my #RP612fic tweets here in my blog because eventually, these stories will be covered with other stories, opinion, and whatnots on my timeline. I would like to preserve these precious tweets and let it reach a wider audience through Juan Republic.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I am presenting you the product of my love for history, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and Game of Thrones.

  • Before Jose Rizal was given a mercy shot in the head, the commanding officer told him “The Lannisters send their regards”.
  • Simoun/Crisostomo Ibarra’s plan to sabotage Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey’s wedding failed when Isagani threw the lamp to the river
  • “Di lang ako Presidente! Artista rin ako at hindi ako basta-basta artista! Ako si Da King at ang orig na Panday!” – President FPJ
  • The White Walkers defeated the Night’s Watch under General Gregorio Del Pilar. They later chased Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela.
  •  Andres Bonifacio sensed that something was wrong at the Tejeros Convention when ‘The Rains of Castamere’ was played by the Cavitenos.
  •  The last words of Captain Pedro Janolino to the bloodied corpse of General Antonio Luna: “And now his watch has ended.”
  •   Pol Medina Jr. declared National Artist for Visual Arts – much to the dismay of St. Scholastica administration.
  •  Bossing Vic Sotto unites with Peter Jackson! ‘Si Bilbo Baggins at si Enteng Kabisote’ eyed for the 40th Metro Manila Film Festival
  •   In the Battle of Manila Bay, the Americans implored the help of Tyrion Lannister to use wildfire against the Spaniards.
  •  The City of Manila was declared an ‘Open City’ to save it from further destruction from Khaleesi’s dragons and her unsullied army.
  •  The City of Manila was the second most destroyed city during the War of the Five Kings – next only to Winterfell.
  •  PNoy named Hannibal Lecter as Malacanan’s new executive chef. The palace received good feedbacks from guests at the Vin D’Honneur
  •  Bonifacio rose up from his grave and punched ER Ejercito in the face over the former’s ‘bad image’ in the movie ‘El Presidente’.
  •  Before Aguinaldo’s men could kill them, Procopio and Andres Bonifacio contacted USS Enterprise and shouted “Beam us up, Scotty!”
  •   In 1892, Jose Rizal was exiled to the planet Vulcan. There, he became friends with Spock and the rest of the Vulcans.
  • In the year 2080, due to the numerous archived pro-Marcos posts, kids believe that Ferdinand Marcos is a member of The Beatles.

I could have added other insane stories on my tweets but I didn’t want to flood my followers’ Twitter timeline and I was then in the middle of rushing (read: cramming) my diagnostic examinations for my students (Yes, I’m a High School teacher. Yey.)

It is said that there are no ifs in history. We cannot dwell on the past and try to change it. But we can always learn from its lessons. As what George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

But we can always use our imagination and think of a good and creative historical fiction. And have a good laugh.

Mabuhay ang Kalayaan! Padayon!

___________________


Elsewhere:

  • Pinoy Alternate History – My #RP612fic tweets from last year – inspired by pop culture, television shows, and conspiracy theories.

A Force-Driven Life

This is not a rip-off or a critique of Rick Warren’s classic opus, The Purpose-Driven Life. This is the story of my midichlorian-infused journey to the galaxy of far, far away aboard the Millennium Falcon with The Force as my guide.

Okay, that sounds too geek.

Every once in while, a great fictional saga is born and made. Classics such as James Bond, Indiana Jones, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Batman are just some of the well-loved series by different generations of fans, geeks, and movie buffs.

Among the above-mentioned series, there is one that always stands out for me among others – Star Wars. I am a Star Wars fan. Call me a geek but seriously, I am a die-hard fan of the universe created by George Lucas. I am also a Harry Potter fan but my obsession with Star Wars started when I was young long before I discovered the magical world of Harry Potter.

But I am not into the story of a dramatic young lady who is obsessed with a sparkling vampire. I will just leave it there for kids to devour.

 

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I blame my obsession with Star Wars to my father. Back when I was still a little kid, he introduced me to the epicness of Master Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader. I can still remember how he brought home cutouts and scanned pages from the magazine about Star Wars (This was the time when scanners and colored printers were just a new technology, for common people at least.). He even gave me printout of all the characters – from the whole Jedi council to the Ewoks – pasted in an illustration board and covered with a plastic cover. The internet was a new technology then and the graphics were not as good as it is today so I consider those cut-outs as a priced gem.

That’s how my obsession for Star Wars started. I am thankful to have a geek and cool father (Sometimes I think he is a Jedi in disguise, a man conceived by the midichlorians themselves. Seriously).

And today, May 4, as what most of the Star Wars fan knew, is Star Wars Day.

Star Wars Day (also sometimes known as Luke Skywalker Day) because of the popularity of a common pun spoken on this day. Since the phrase “May the Force be with you” is a famous quote often spoken in the Star Wars films, fans commonly say “May the fourth be with you” (May 4th) on this day.

A few months back, I wrote about my obsession with covers and front pages of magazines and broadsheets. I decided to check the TIME Magazine cover archive and found this interesting covers on Star Wars and Science Fiction. What caught my attention was this favorite cover of mine which was released on 2002, when I was still in High School:

 

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This was released prior to the showing of the second part (chronologically fifth) of the Star Wars saga. This issue contains a complete guide to the Attack of the Clones – from characters to space ships and other vehicles.

Due to my obsession for the series, I made something, uhm, dark back in the day. I nenok-ed this issue in our library and cut the pages dedicated to Star Wars. I think the dark side of The Force forced me to do so (insert evil grin here).

So much for my mission to destroy the Death Star.

This particular installment came as a surprise for the fans of Master Yoda – myself included – when he, for the first time, used his light saber to fight Count Dooku. and I tell you, that was one of the most memorable sword fights in movie history.

Browsing the archives of Time Magazine’s website and the web for Star Wars-related stuff brings back good memories of my childhood as a little Star Wars fan, sharing the story with my father. And I think this will last until I grow old, and probably, when I have children of my own.

The acquisition of Lucas Films by Disney Pictures and the recent news about star wars episode 7 made me stoked and screamed like a teenage fan boy. And to add to my excitement, I heard that SciFi genius JJ Abrams will be directing the next trilogy. How cool was that? I can’t wait for 2015 to see that movie.

And just so you know, young ladies who know Order 66 have an edge to meShall we talk about Star Wars over a cup of coffee?

Happy Star Wars Day everyone! May The Force be with you!

 

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Elsewhere:

  • John Williams is the Man – In celebration of Star Wars day, here’s an a capella tribute of cinematic themes dedicated to composer John Williams – composer of the themes of Star Wars, Jurrsic Park, E.T. among others. The lyrics of the song contains some of the parts from the Star Wars series.
  • I Sense a Disturbance in The Force – Something that I made and wrote back in 2010 – my favorite Philippine Senator meets the Sith Lord of the Galactic Empire.
  • Star Wars Day Advertisement: Say No to The Force – A not-so-friendly reminder from the Galactic Empire

Kaleidoscope Memories

For twenty pesos, you can take a peek at a different world filled with colors, shapes, and patterns. Spin it, twirl it, shake it, and let the beautiful world unfold before your eyes.

It was the kaleidoscope. It was the twenty-peso kaleidoscope that my father gave me when I was about six years old. It was about six inches long whose tube has a green color with drops and sprays of other different colors that looks like the psychedelic variant of jawbreaker candies. Back in the days of my childhood, of simplicity, of actually exploring on real things, I considered my kaleidoscope as something of great value. I brought it to school, brag it among my friends, and played with it whenever I got bored with my action figures.

As I grew up, I shifted my focus on other things. From the small peephole of the kaleidoscope, I focused on other bright, moving, and colorful things of the real world. I got engrossed with other things that are “in” during my growing up years – action figures of Gundam robots, computer games, and mini 4WD race cars among others. I totally forgot about my kaleidoscope.

Sadly, I can no longer find that kaleidoscope that my father gave me when I was a little boy. Maybe it got lost in our old house. Or maybe my parents gave it away, together with my other childhood stuff, during the time when I was away for eight years, studying. Odd as it may sound, I felt that something was also taken from me with the loss of that kaleidoscope. You may argue that why whine on that cheap toy when I can always buy a new one. But there is something on that green, psychedelic-looking, six-inch tube. It has a sentimental value. It has good memories with it. It reminds me of the days of me being innocent and carefree. It reminds me of the good old days of my childhood.

Then, there is this anthem by Francis Magalona called Kaleidoscope World. It was a song included in his 1995 album Freeman and later included in the compilation album, Best of FrancisM. Though I admit that it was already a bit late when I discovered this song (I think I was already in High School or about six years after it was originally released), I immediately fell in love its subtlety, catchy chorus, poetry, and its message.

The chorus, with its utmost simplicity, speaks of the vibrant and colorful message. Who would not love the lines “Every color, every hue is represented by me and you. Take a slide in the slope. Take a look in the kaleidoscope. Spinnin’ round, make it twirl in this kaleidoscope world..” ?

We all have different interpretations of songs. My understanding may be different from you or the composer. I saw Kaleidoscope World as a song of harmony and unity. It is the perfect example of “unity in diversity”. We may be different by race, color, social status, age, gender, intelligence, and power but we all form the beautiful and colorful shapes and patterns in the kaleidoscope. Together, just like the pebbles, papers, and other stuff inside the kaleidoscope we can form a beautiful world, a harmonious dimension, and a colorful humanity.

Perhaps, this is Kiko’s legacy not only to the Filipino people but to the whole world. This song, if only its spirit is lived and understood by most people, can be an anthem of change. This song can be a catalyst to inspire more people to accept each other despite of our differences. By this song, together with other great songs that speaks of peace, unity, and harmony, the world will know peace.

I first met Francis when I was about four years old. My kuya, an artist, was busy then painting a portrait of Francis Magalona in a one-eighth illustration board at our old kubo. The face was familiar. He’s the man behind the infectious patriotic song Mga Kababayan Ko. And I have watched him on the movie Mama’s Boys with Ogie Alcasid, Michael V., and Anjo Yllana.

I saw Francis as a revolutionary young face that will achieve great heights. He challenged the conventional music style of his age. His music paved way for the unification of the then-opposing sides of Pinoy hip-hop and rock by experimenting on the merging of rap with rock music. After all, music is the language that should unite us, not divide us.

But more importantly, I saw Francis as a young man, whose heart is united with his beloved land. He redefined patriotism. He made it easier for the youth of this generation to appreciate and understand. And he showed us how great a race and nation we are.

Pride. Identity. Meaning. Perhaps, he saw that before we can shout to the world that we love our country, we must first know what it really means to be a Filipino.

I saw Mga Kababayan Ko then as an anthem which promotes Pinoy pride and identity along with the songs Ako’y Isang Pinoy by Florante and Tayo’y mga Pinoy by Heber Bartolome (and later recorded and reinvented by the Man from Manila himself). These three songs, together with our regular Monday school anthem Ako ay Pilipino, were my first inspirations to love my country, to appreciate my Pinoy identity, and to be proud of my ancestry. And this was long before Pinoy Ako by Orange and Lemons and Noypi by Bamboo.

He may have gone at a young age but what is more important is that he had lived his life with meaning. He has influenced a whole generation. He has inspired many with his music. And with that, he is already immortal.

For the past months, I have always been stuck in front of a clean paper, staring at it for hours, unable to write. Maybe it’s writer’s block or lack of creative juices. Or maybe I fear that my readers would not appreciate my work. That is the reason why this blog has been “dead” for a long period of time.

As I have mentioned above, it was only during High School when I discovered Kaleidoscope World. the funny thing is, during the time when this song was originally released, it was also the time when I have been so engrossed with my kaleidoscope. I came up with this article earlier this morning when I tweeted about kaleidoscope and whether the kids of today know what this is. It is inspired, of course, by Francis Magalona’s song. I asked myself, when was the last time when I actually held and peeked at a kaleidoscope? What happened to my old kaleidoscope?

And then it came to me. I suddenly remembered the happy memories associated with my kaleidoscope. I felt young again, energetic, and full of dreams. That nostalgia brought me inspiration. And I didn’t realize, I was already writing this piece.

Perhaps, all I need is a little push from Kiko. Or his song for an inspiration. And just like a kaleidoscope, all I have to do is to spin it round, make a twirl, to see different patterns, colors, and shape.

I now see things from a different perspective.

Mabuhay ka at maraming salamat Kiko! Maligayang kaarawan!

Kickass photo courtesy of scarypet.deviantart.com 

Handog

Parang kailan lang ang mga pangarap ko’y kay hirap abutin. Dahil sa inyo napunta ako sa nais marating. Nais ko kayong pasalamatan kahit man lang sa isang awitin.

Parang kailan lang halos ako ay magpalimos sa lansangan. Dahil sa inyo ang aking tiyan at ang bulsa’y nagkalaman. Kaya’t itong awiting aking inaawit nais ko’y kayo ang handugan.

Tatanda at lilipas din ako nguni’t mayroong awiting iiwanan sa inyong alaala dahil, minsan, tayo’y nagkasama.

Parang kailan lang ang mga awitin ko ay ayaw pakinggan. Dahil sa inyo, narinig ang isip ko at naintindihan. Dahil dito ibig ko kayong ituring na matalik kong kaibigan.

I first heard and learned this song when I was in grade two (mid-nineties). It was the celebration of teacher’s day in our school and we were asked to sing this song during the program. As what most of the students that age would do, whether we liked it or not, we sung in unison, swaying our heads and our bodies, because the teacher told us to do so. Never mind if some aren’t actually singing (and just a mere chuwariwap on the background). Never mind if some are out of tune. Never mind if some are horsing and laughing during the presentation. We learned the song, we performed it on stage in front of the teachers, and we went back to our usual activities.

There are some who would say that kids that age would never truly understand the meaning of the song. It is the period of early childhood where thet usually devote more time on playing above any other else. Yes, it may be touching to see them singing this heart-warming song but from their perspective, it may appear as just a mere presentation, some activity forced by the elders to do.

I may have not appreciated the whole meaning of the song when I was in grade two but I haven’t forgotten it. And growing up, I had other different encounters with this masterpiece. I came across an old movie on Pinoy Blockbusters (pre-Cinema One channel) with Subas Herrero and other famous actors and actresses of that time. I forgot the title but on the end part, they sung Handogand Subas adressed the viewers about the dedication and legacy of the artists, movie makers, and workers. (I tried searchig the internet for the title of the movie but I don’t know where to start. Please drop me a message if you know the title.) During the ‘band explosion’ of 2006, the group Join The club made their own version of the song and it was included in the The Best of Manila Sound: Hopia Mani Popcorn compilation. And in 2008, Kenyo used the chorus of the song in the mash-up of their carrier single Sana in their debut album Radiosurfing.

Handog was composed and popularized by folk rock singer Florante de Leon (who is popularly known as Florante). He was one of the pioneers and exponents of Pinoy folk rock during the musical boom of the 1970’s. His songs are part of the famous musical genre of that time called Manila Sound. Such was the beauty of the song that other artists and groups revived it and used it in movies and other productions.

There is something with the Filipino songs of that time that puts a smile in our faces aside from nostalgia. They are simple yet full of meaning; subtle yet they touch the hearts even of the simplest Filipinos; gentle without trying to be mushy; and you can easily grasp its soul and pass it to the next generation. What’s the evident proof? Those songs are being revived by solo singers and artists of today (even just for the sake of releasing their own record – of covers).

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On the evening of July 10, the Philippine cyber space exploded with a shocking news: the Comedy King, our national treasure, Dolphy Quizon, passed away. Almost all of us, even our parents and grandparents, grew up watching and laughing with Mang Dolphy. The whole nation wept and grieved on the loss of one of our (if not the) finest jester and painkiller. If laughter is indeed the best medicine, then we have lost the pill that cured millions of Filipinos.

It wasn’t until then that I found out that he also has his own version of Handog. Almost all TV stations played the song in remembrance of the man’s legacy which spanned for almost six decades. Or thirteen Philippine Presidents (fourteen if you will include Fernando Poe, Jr.)

Suddenly, the song has another meaning, impact, and spirit. The song’s poetry fits Mang Dolphy. Perhaps because of all the features on the news programs, we are now familiar with Mang Dolphy’s journey from humble beginnings to being the Comedy King that we know today.

But personally, there is more than this song. Listening to the song, I remember the old days when we are singing this song in front of our teachers. I may have not understood its real meaning then but what struck me is the age when I sung it. It was the age of innocence and carelessness. It is also the good old days when the whole family, and perhaps the whole nation, laughed and cried with the Cosme family in Home Along Da Riles. It is good to remember those days once in a while to remind us of our innocence, dreams, purity, and happiness. It serves as a reminder or a pensieve whenever we are down and weary with life’s hardships.

Some would say that comedy is just an opium, a temporary escapism from the realities of this life. But it is with the laughter that we get our strength, our positivism, and good memories.

Perhaps it is Mang Dolphy’s eternal handog to all of us: That from time to time, we must laugh, forget our problems, and face this life with an uplifted spirit. His death is not the end because he has already been immortalized by his legacy to the Filipino people. He even left us a line that pertains to his immortality and I quote: “Hinding-hindi ako mahihiwalay sa inyo. Pindutin niyo lang ang play at siguradong magkakasama-sama tayo.”

Maraming maraming salamat sa inyong handog at paalam, Mang Dolphy.

Elsewhere:

Ringo’s Octopus

It has been repeatedly told that the men behind the most successful writing partnership, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, often dismissed Ringo Starr’s songs. Though it was a popular joke among Beatles fans, there are no actual records to prove Ringo’s rejection by John and Paul. But it may actually have a grain of truth since only two songs of Ringo Starr were included in the albums of The Beatles.

Between those two songs of Ringo, one stood out as my personal favorite – Octopus’s Garden. It is the song written by Ringo Starr (published under his real name Richard Starkey) from their 1969 album Abbey Road. though I am a big fan of the songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, there is something with this song, something cosmic, upbeat, and lively beat even though it deals with an underwater creature and not the usual Beatle theme about love, life, and friendship.

The Quiet Beatle, George Harrison, helped Ringo with this song. George said that is is a song by Ringo and I quote: “Octopus’s Garden is Ringo’s song. It’s only the second song Ringo has ever written, mind you, and it’s lovely.”

Ringo Starr shared how he was able to write this magnificent song:

I wrote Octopus’s Garden in Sardinia. Peter Sellers had lent us his yacht and we went out for the day… I stayed out on deck with [the captain] and we talked about octopuses. He told me that they hang out in their caves and they go around the seabed finding shiny stones and tin cans and bottles to put in front of their cave like a garden. I thought this was fabulous, because at the time I just wanted to be under the sea too. A couple of tokes later with the guitar – and we had Octopus’s Garden! (Beatles Bible)

And today, the whole world (or maybe the Beatle world) is celebrating the 72nd birthday of the man behind the Octopus, the one quarter of The Beatles, Ringo Starr. Ringgo may be considered by some as the luckiest no-talent in the history of music but that will not change the face that he is the drummer of The Beatles.

No-talent? How come? Let me share with you one of the best piece describing Ringo Starr’s incomparable talent. It is entitled Thirteen Reasons to Give Ringo Starr Some Respect by John Bryant.

Ringo Starr, the luckiest no-talent on earth. All he had to do was smile and bob his head. Oh yes, and keep a beat for three of the most talented musicians/songwriters of this century. What other impression could one have when judging the role that Ringo played in the success of the Beatles? Did Ringo really make a difference? Upon listening to the latest release by The Beatles, Anthology 1, you get a chance to listen to Pete Best and two other drummers play on over twenty songs. Was Ringo simply in the right place at the right time? The following items may help in going beyond the image:

  1. Ringo was the first true rock drummer to be seen on TV. All the Rock & Roll drummers featured with Elvis, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis were mostly R&B drummers that were making the transition from a swing drumming style of the 40’s and 50’s toward the louder and more “rocking” sound that is associated with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. They were dressed in tuxedos and suits and held the drumsticks in the “traditional” manner of military, orchestra, and jazz drummers. Ringo showed the world that power was needed to put the emphasis on the “rock” in Rock & Roll music, so he gripped both sticks like hammers and proceeded to build a foundation for rock music.
  2. Ringo changed the way drummers hold their sticks by making popular the “matched” grip of holding drumsticks. Nearly all drummers in the Western World prior to Ringo held their sticks in what is termed the “traditional” grip, with the left hand stick held like a chopstick. This grip was originally developed by military drummers to accommodate the angle of the drum when strapped over the shoulder. Ringo’s grip changes the odd left hand to match the right hand, so that both sticks are held like a flyswatter. Rock drummers along with marching band and orchestral percussionists now mostly play with a “matched” grip, and drum companies have developed straps and accessories to accommodate them.
  3. Ringo started a trend of placing drummers on high risers so that they would be as visible as the other musicians. When Ringo appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, he immediately caught the attention of thousands of “drummers to be” by towering over the other three Beatles. Elvis’s drummer was looking at a collection of backs
  4. These same “wannabe” drummers also noticed that Ringo was playing Ludwig drums and they immediately went out and bought thousands of these drumsets, thus establishing Ludwig as the definitive name in Rock & Roll drums at that time.
  5. Ringo changed the sound of recorded drums. About the time of Rubber Soul (released Dec. 6,1965), the sound of the drumset started to become more distinct. Along with help from the engineers at Abbey Road studios, Ringo popularized a new sound for the drums by tuning them lower, deadening the tonal ring with muffling materials, and making them sound “closer” by putting a microphone on each drum.
  6. Ringo has nearly perfect tempo. This allowed the Beatles to record a song 50 or 60 times, and then be able to edit together different parts of numerous takes of the same song for the best possible version. Today an electronic metronome is used for the same purpose, but the Beatles had to depend on Ringo to keep the tempo consistent throughout the dozens of takes of the songs that you know and love so well. Had he not had this ability, the Beatles recordings would sound completely different today.
  7. Ringo’s “feel” for the beat serves as a standard for pop-rock record producers and drummers alike. It is relaxed, but never dragging. Solid, yet always breathing. And yes, there is a great amount of musical taste in his decisions of what to play and when to play it. In most recording sessions, the drummer’s performance acts as a barometer for the rest of the musicians. The stylistic direction, dynamics, and emotions are filtered through the drummer. He is the catcher to whom the pitcher/songwriter is throwing. If the drumming doesn’t feel good, the performance of any additional musicians is doomed from the start. The Beatles rarely if ever had this problem with Ringo.
  8. Ringo hated drum solos, which should win points with quite a few people. He only took one solo while with the Beatles. His eight measure solo appears during “The End” on the “B” side of Abbey Road. Some might say that it is not a great display of technical virtuosity, but they would be at least partially mistaken. You can set an electronic metronome to a perfect 126 beats per minute, then play it along with Ringo’s solo and the two will stay exactly together.
  9. Ringo’s ability to play odd time signatures helped to push popular songwriting into uncharted areas. Two examples are “All you Need is Love” in 7/4 time, and “Here Comes the Sun” with repeating 11/8, 4/4, and 7/8 passages in the chorus.
  10. Ringo’s proficiency in many different styles such as two beat swing (“When I’m Sixty-Four”), ballads (“Something”), R&B (“Leave My Kitten Alone” and “Taxman”) and country (the Rubber Soul album) helped the Beatles to explore many musical directions with ease. His pre-Beatle experience as a versatile and hard working nightclub musician served him well.
  11. The idea that Ringo was a lucky Johnny-on-the-spot-with-a-showbiz-stage-name is wrong. In fact, when Beatles producer George Martin expressed his unhappiness after the first session with original drummer Pete Best, the decision was made by Paul, George, and John to hire who they considered to be the best drummer in Liverpool – Ringo Starr. His personality was a bonus.
  12. The rumors that Ringo did not play on many of the Beatles songs because he was not good enough are also false. In fact, he played on every released Beatles recording (not including Anthology 1) that include drums except for the following: “Back In The USSR” and “Dear Prudence”, on which Paul played drums due to Ringo temporarily quitting the band, “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, again featuring Paul on drums because Ringo was off making a movie, and a 1962 release of “Love Me Do” featuring session drummer Andy White.
  13. When the Beatles broke up and they were all trying to get away from each other, John Lennon chose Ringo to play drums on his first solo record. As John once said, “If I get a thing going Ringo knows where to go, just like that..” A great songwriter could ask no more of a drummer. Except maybe to smile and bob his head.

He may not be my favorite Beatle (of course, it will always be John Lennon), He may have written only two Beatle songs compared to the hundreds by Lennon and McCartney, but he will always be the best and respected drummer.

Happy 72nd birthday. Ringo. Thank you for the music. Thank you for bringing us to the octopus’s garden. I will always be a fan.

Elsewhere:

  • Octopus’s Garden (Live) – I was browsing Beatles songs on YouTube when I came across this video. this was performed in 2005 – thirty-six (36) years after it was recorded. There is not much difference between the original recording and this live version. Just, wow. I have nothing bus respect to Richard Starkey.


Photo sources: Octopus’s Garden by Loris Lora and the Seven Faces of Ringo courtesy of Shannon McDonald.

My Journey in Space with Paul McCartney

It was a boring weekend sometime last year. I was lazily browsing music videos and concert footages of The Beatles on YouTube when I came across this amazing video – Please, Please Me performed by Sir Paul McCartney and his band during his The Space within US concert tour last 2005.

I hate doing comparisons when it comes to music but I thought to myself that Paul’s performance of Please, Please Me in this concert is better than the original recording on the 1960 album of the same title. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of the four Beatles – Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Starr – and their music but I think, this performance brought the song to a new level. Maybe because of technology (musical instruments, gears, effects, production) or maybe because of the diverse crowd that the song became livelier. I may be wrong but I think Paul and his band made this 1960 song apt for his 2005 audience and listeners.

After repeatedly raping the replay button of the abovementioned video, I searched and watched the other videos from the same concert that were uploaded by the same user. I got goosebumps when I heard the head-banging guitar riff of Helter Skelter (which, they said, is the best live version of the song); I felt that I was with the crowd when I watched the opening song Magical Mystery TourI felt like floating in the air with the love anthems I Will and Till There Was Youand I immediately went in front of my piano and play the song a la McCartney after I heard Penny Lane.

After seeing the videos, I told myself that I should wath the whole set of that concert. Unfortunately, the YouTube channel didn’t upload the other songs from the concert. So I find a way to obtain a copy. It took me more than two (2) weeks before finally getting myself a clear copy (you know, connection and seeders issue, if you know what I mean) but it was worth the wait. After repeatedly watching the whole concert, I never looked at Sir Paul McCartney the same way again.

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The Space within US is a concert DVD by Sir Paul McCartney released in november 2006. It is composed of the footage from his ‘US’ tour in 2005 in the United states in concurrence with the release of his chaos and Creation in the Backyard album. Joining him in the tour are his band members Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Paul “Wix” Wickens, and Abe Laboriel Jr.

The DVD gives us a close and personal view on what Paul McCartney’s 2005 tour looked like. It showcases his music, behind the scenes (backstage, the soundcheck, trips inside a private jet and a touring bus, and his surprise visit to a family whose three generations are fans of his), and interviews with some prominent persons such as Jay-Z, Paul Stanley of Kiss, former US President Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett, Cameron Crowe, and Steve Jobs.

The song opened with the Beatles classic Magical Mystery Tour and Paul played his his other hits – from The Beatles, Wings, up to his solo career – throughout the whole set of 28 songs and ending it with a bang with the abovementioned video Please Please Me.

Paul McCartney is a great and talented musician – there is no question in that. But what struck me most is how his influence spanned almost three (or four) generations of fans and musicians. Watching the concert video, I see families watching his show. There are also teenagers and young kids who were born long after Paul’s heydays in his stint with The Beatles and Wings. One writer remarked that the same audience who went screaming at The Beatles’ performance at the Ed Sullivan Show in the 1960’s (during their first visit in the US) were also the same audience watchin Paul’s 2005 tour – together with their children and grandchildren. A musical career spanning for almost fifty years? That is just, wow.

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My other favorite part of the concert video was when they did a live broadcast at the International Space Station. Yes, a live broadcast miles above the earth when Paul serenaded two astronauts, William McArthur and Valeri Ivanovich Tokarev, with the song English Tea as their ‘wake-up call’. One of them even described Paul as an ‘explorer’ just as they are because all of them are ensuring a bright future for all the kids of the earth.

I may have not watched the concert with the crowd at Anaheim, California but watching the video felt like being one with them, traveling in the vast space with Paul’s great music. Watching and listening to his concert felt like being carefree and floating peacefully in outer space.

This concert changed the way I view Paul McCartney. Yes, he may not be my favorite Beatle (it will always be John), but his music and legacy puts him on a certain, special place for my musical heroes.

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And today, on his 70th birthday, I salute the ‘greatest composer of the millennium’, the ageless Beatle, the Knight, and the other half of the Lennon-McCartney musical tandem. Thank you for the music. Thank you for the great anthems. I salute your legacy, good Sir.

I will always be a fan.

Ecce cor meum.

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Let me share you a personal experience on why we should teach today’s generation the difference between great music and crap. During one of my classes with my third grade students, I showed them a picture of The Beatles and asked them if they know who the Beatles are. After a few seconds of silence, one of them raised his hand and asked me,“Sir, are they trying to copy the hairstyle of Justin Bieber?”

Pinoy Alternate History

Last Wednesday, Independence Day, I joined RocketKapre.com’s Twitter discussion/trend/story telling about the alternate Filipino history. By means of the hashtag #RP612fic, Twitter users shared their tweet-length stories about our country’s alternative history and realist micro fiction.

The discussion started on the eve of the independence day and I can’t help but laugh my ass off over the creative, insane, and funny tweets about our country’s alternate history. And being one of my favorite topic is history, I decided to joined the discussion and created my own stories.

I decided to collate and post my #RP612fic tweets here in my blog because eventually, these stories will be covered with other stories, opinion, and whatnots on my timeline. Ladies and gentlemen, I am presenting you the product of my love for history, pop culture, conspiracy theory, and TV shows.

  • ‘Ibong Adarna’ was replaced by ‘Amaya’ as a required reading in Middle School Filipino subject by DepEd Secretary Marian Rivera
  • Tiyang Amy, in Face to Face’s 25th anniversary, proved that J.Rizal was the real father of A.Hitler. And Luke and Leia Skywalker.
  • Bimby Aquino-Yap became the Supreme Chancellor of Ladlad Party List, His Ninong, veteran TV host Boy Abunda was very proud of him.
  • During WW2, Jose Rizal went to Germany and told Hitler: “Adolf, this is how I met your Mother”. That led to the Fuhrer’s suicide.
  • Tyrion Lannister helped the KKK to defeat the Spaniards with wildfire. Unfortunately, Aguinaldo ordered his men to kill him.
  • Jon Snow is the real hero of Tirad Pass. Unfortunately, he fell in love with an Igorot who later betrayed him and had him killed.
  • Unknown to many, Ferdinand Marcos sung ‘Careless Whisper’ in his sex tape with Dovie Beams, not ‘Pamulinawen.’
  • After the successful murder of Kingpin Asiong Salonga, the Soviet Union and the CIA recruited Erning Toothpick to kill JFK.
  • There is a hidden passage in Malacanang Palace that leads to Divisoria (just like the hidden Hogwarts-Hogsmeade passage).
  • Andres Bonifacio did not die. Since all of the members of KKK are infected, he became a walker and ate Aguinaldo’s guts and brain.
  • Since he cannot afford the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, Juan Luna resorted to canvas and blood to paint the Spoliarium.
  • Asiong Salonga was imprisoned for violating the Anti-Epal Law. Lawmakers did not want his picture plastered all over Tondo.
  • Antonio Luna and Andres Bonifacio are laughing their asses off over the failed assassination attempt by Emilio Aguinaldo.
  • Last known tweet of Andres Bonifacio: “Having a good time with my brother, Procopio here at Maragondon. Aguinaldo’s men are Lulz!”
  • ‘The Rains of Castamere’ was played during the declaration of Philippine independence due to the persuasion of the Lannisters.
  • The lead role for the movie ‘Casanova’ was originally given to Gregorio del Pilar. He turned it down and gave it to Heath Ledger.
  • Gregorio del Pilar failed to send the tweet of a distress call for reinforcement. Globe’s 4G signal was very poor at Tirad Pass.

I could have added other insane stories on my tweets but I didn’t want to flood my followers’ Twitter timeline. And I am planning to use them in my ambitious, long-overdue, personal project. (It has something to do with political satire/parody and books. There, I said it.)

It is said that there are no ifs in history. We cannot dwell on the past and try to change it. But we can always learn from its lessons. As what George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

But we can always use our imagination and think of a good and creative historical fiction. And have a good laugh.

Padayon!