OpenFest 2006 - Share the Freedom

September 10, 2007

“Count your life by smiles, not tears…”

There's a beautiful poem that seems to be quite popular, even though I only found it recently:

Count your garden by the flowers,
Never by the leaves that fall -
Count your days by golden hours,
Don’t remember clouds at all.
Count your nights by stars – not shadows,
Count your life by smiles – not tears -
And with joy through all your lifetime
Count your age by friends – not years.

However, I cannot seem to find any kind of attribution anywhere, no mention of an author, no anything. Well, in a couple of places I've found references to someone named “Dixie Wilson”, but not much more.

So… does anyone recognize this poem? Who's the author? What's the poem itself called?

Posted by roam at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2006

Slowly I awake, slowly I rise…

Where I was
I had wings that couldn't fly
Where I was
I had tears I couldn't cry
My emotions
Frozen in an icy lake
I couldn't feel them
Until the ice began to break

I have no power over this
You know I'm afraid
The walls I built are crumbling
The water is moving
I'm slipping away

I throw myself into the sea
Release the wave
Let it wash over me
To face the fear
I once believed
The tears of the dragon
For you and for me

Posted by roam at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)

July 02, 2006

A man only sees what he wants to see…

A man only sees want he wants to see
When he's in his mind
Where he is that he wants to be
Living in a world where he's safe from reality
Won't you take a chance on this night
And follow me

There are times when I feel like saying something for months — and then find out that somebody has already put it much better than I could.

Posted by roam at 09:09 PM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2006

Music for the masses

[на български]

But I promise you, my judge and jurors,
My intentions couldn't have been purer —
My case is easy to see…


We're flying high
We're watching the world pass us by
Never want to come down
Never want to put my feet back down
On the ground


They didn't play “Somebody” — which was actually quite all right for that particular night… though I still nurse a dream that I will hear it played live some day.

They didn't play “Nothing”, either, which might have been just right.


Well, maybe this wasn't quite what y'all expected to see… yet it is all that I am going to write about this concert, this performance, this experience. And yet again, as usual, it isn't just about the music — and yet again, as usual, it isn't just about the games Fate plays with us all — and yet again, as usual, it isn't just about the way sometimes everything seems to happen at once…

And after all:

Words are very unnecessary,
They can only do harm…

Posted by roam at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2006



[на български]

Wait! Wait! Look at me. Look at me. I'm life. I live… I, I breathe… I feel.


I only have one thing to say about this movie. After the closing credits, when Velin arose with a heavy sigh, my comment — through pretty much clenched teeth — went something like:

Now I'll make an effort and I'll get up. Yes, I'll get up — because I've only felt this way once before in my life. Just after watching Blade Runner. Yes, the director's cut, of course. I didn't get up then — I picked up the remote, thought I'd just watch a couple of scenes — and an hour or two later I realized I'd seen the whole movie, all over again. This time… this time I'll make an effort and I'll get up.

So I got up. Velin laughed.

And just in case you're wondering — no, his laugh did not destroy the atmosphere and the feeling.

Posted by roam at 02:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2005

Carpe diem!

[на български]

No, no, time doesn't wait for you
No, no, leave it alone
No, no, your days are far too few
This thing I have always known

When your time is up it’s true
They never give another day to you
When your time is up it’s through
No one cares how

Can't keep it
Can't save it
Can't take it away with you
So I say we use it now

SavatageThe Wake of MagellanMorning Sun… This relates to the lengthened week in so many ways, I'm too scared to even begin counting; so let's just leave it as it is - an out-of-context quote straight out of the "Unforgettable art" fund.

Posted by roam at 04:22 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005


[in Bulgarian]

bulgariatek Just a note about something that might interest some people out there: Georgi Penkov has recently been busy as one of the guys setting up the Bulgariatek'05 teknival - an outdoors music event that is going to take place near the town of Chernomorec (between Bourgas and Gradina at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast) from August 19th to 25th. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it - if I do, it will be pretty much just Friday night, Saturday, and maybe early Sunday morning - but still, it sounds like fun.

Posted by roam at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

Unequal Injustice for All

[in Bulgarian]

They came. They saw. They played.

Skin O' My Teeth and Symphony of Destruction live. Scratch one more off the list of things I never thought I'd see. Come to think of it, I might as well scrap the whole list, the way things have been going lately...

Sure, as Lina wrote, I had a slight problem this morning, convincing my legs that there actually is a need to move. Still, yes, even after a Megadeth live, there still are some things worth living for - even if only to spread the word and tell others about the experience :)

Posted by roam at 10:00 AM

June 17, 2005

Song of the day: Trouble

[in Bulgarian]

The song that best describes my day this Friday is most definitely Elvis Presley's Trouble, from the soundtrack to his King Creole movie.

If you're looking for trouble
You came to the right place
If you're looking for trouble
Just look right in my face

I was born standing up
And talking back
My daddy was a green-eyed mountain jack
Because I'm evil, my middle name is misery
Well I'm evil, so don't you mess around with me!

I've never looked for trouble
But I've never ran
I don't take no orders
From no kind of man

I'm only made out
Of flesh, blood and bone
But if you're gonna start a rumble
Don't you try it on alone
Because I'm evil, my middle name is misery
Well I'm evil, so don't you mess around with me!

And just in case you're wondering, no, I'm not whining or depressed or anything. If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that when I'm depressed, I should never write in public, speak in public, or do anything that will leave a lasting impression of my current state of mind - for it will pass, and any traces left will only serve to bring me down many more times in the future when I come back to them.

No, the reason I've picked Trouble for the song of the day is simply that today is one of those days that I either let myself get sucked into trouble on someone else's whim and suggestion, or, conversely, I play the fiddle to someone else's dancing right into an alluringly disguised trap.- pretty much starting at midnight with a visit to Vasil's (and Velin's) place for a quick game of Worms, then plodding on through an ICQ conversation in the early hours of the morn, then on with some weird goings-on at work, then wheedling a close friend into wasting a couple of hours for a quiet talk over a cup of coffee and a quick stroll through a park... and Eris only knows what the rest of the evening holds for me!

Posted by roam at 10:17 PM

April 27, 2005

Another Balkandji concert - still without Nikolay Barovsky

I've written about the music of Balkandji before, so it should come as no surprise to anybody that on Monday, I went to yet another one of their concerts. This one was a bit different though, and not just because of the "Set Nikolay Barovsky free - he is innocent" T-shirts that the band members were wearing - they've been wearing them at the last several concerts, ever since the decision to actually spread the word about the grotesque story of his detainment. What was different this time was that Lina, along with Ludmila (Nikolay Barovsky's sister) and a couple of others, managed to put together a surprise for the audience and the band alike - several sheets of paper where anyone and everyone, no matter how close to the Barovsky family or the band, could write down a line or three, or a page or three, that will probably be on their way to Thessaloniki very soon, in time for Nikolay's birthday on May 3rd. Here's hoping that this will brighten up at least that special day for him, that it will show him that he is not alone, not forgotten, that there really are people who have dedicated pretty much all their time to helping him, that there are many others who are trying to help in any way they can, no matter how minor, trying to bring a talented musician, a gifted architect, a wonderful person back to his homeland, back to his family and friends, back to his life as a free man.

For those who know what this is all about; for those who have not come across it yet; for those who know who Nikolay Barovsky is and what has happened to him, and think that this does not concern them; for those who have no idea who he is; for all Bulgarians - take a look at what this is all about, take a minute to understand what has befallen a Bulgarian who has been lingering in detainment for seven months now, not even charged with anything yet, as a result of a gross error (not to use much stronger words), find a way to help!

Oh, and the concert on Monday? Well, there are a couple of pictures in the gallery.

Posted by roam at 11:25 AM

April 15, 2005

A bit more music

Revelations of the day:

  • ABBA in Swedish. Yep, I'm ashamed to admit that I'd never before heard either Lycka or Pa Svenska... Thanks a lot, Kate!
  • A Bulgarian group of people who had assembled around a worthy common goal some years ago, and decided they could play a couple of songs in the meantime. I'm not exactly sure how to spell their name in English, not exactly sure if they even *have* a proper name, but here's hoping their few songs will get some more exposure soon in a weird freely-distributed CD project that just might see the light of day in the next couple of months. Thanks a lot, Emerald!
Posted by roam at 06:53 PM

March 22, 2005

"I'll read your future!" "The future is right now."

Yep. Escape from L.A.. Yep. Yet again.

And here I was, just about to write "The more things change, the more they stay the same" - which they do, there's no denying it. Come to think of it, I did write it, too, didn't I now? Yet suddenly, it seems that the quote in the title (which I chose for this entry's title the moment I heard it in the movie, about an hour ago) seems much more appropriate; along with another one, of course.

"Welcome to the human race!" And what a race it is, indeed!

Posted by roam at 02:58 AM

March 07, 2005

Music and More (though it ain't '94)

It's been an amazing week - or rather, ten or eleven days - or rather, ten or eleven 24-hour periods, for some of what was technically termed 'days' was spent in more or less well-deserved rest and sleep, what with the holidays on and around Bulgaria's national holiday, the 3rd of March. For various reasons I put off writing this until the spree was over, and now I'll hopefully remember enough to have something to actually write down. The best thing, the most amazing thing, about it was the combination of wonderful music tightly packed into a somewhat short time period, and all the people I knew, people I thought I knew, people I got to know, and people I think I may have more or less got to know during that time... and if all that sounds crazy, just read on for the music part - it is usually the easiest part to understand ;)

It all started on a Thursday - February 24th. The original plan for the day was to let Vasil take me to a Bulgara live gig. However, for various reasons I decided to skip on that particular evening, and to go see some kind of movie instead. So there I was, strolling into the Multiplex cinema complex, walking up to the roster, looking for a movie - pretty much any movie - that would sound like fun -- and then... and then there it was:

(pity neither HTML nor JavaScript nor anything provide an easy and portable way to add a sound bite that would play, nay, strike, only when you get as far as reading this part of the page...) shall caress you...

I first heard some songs from the Phantom of the Opera back in, oh, something like '89 or '90, I guess - and immediately I was converted. An year or two later I saw one of the movie versions (not sure exactly which one), and the conversion was complete. In the next ten or fifteen years I would catch myself humming or outright singing "Music of the Night" every now and then, or drawing curious stares from people on the street when I'd just up and break into the "man and mystery" verse of the "Phantom of the Opera" song. The two Andrew Lloyd Webber cassette tapes are probably the ones most worn out around the house, since my parents and my sister share the addiction, albeit in a somewhat lighter form :)

Phantom of the Opera And then they go and make a splendid, a brilliant, an awesome new version of the movie! The orchestra... the singing... the sights... the feeling... Well, let's put it this way - if you've never seen this movie or play, and you have at least a little bit of patience for opera music, just go and see it. If you have seen some of the previous versions, or you're among the lucky ones who have seen it live, then - again, just go and see it. In any case, after seeing it, you might understand why I went to see it again a bit later (see below), and why I'm going to see it yet again come Friday or the weekend. Then, of course, there's the question of ordering the DVD when it becomes available - or rather, nope, there is *no* question about it.

On Friday, February 25th, there was nothing much music-wise, but a birthday party instead - Velko, a friend from quite some time ago, gathered a lot of old and new pals at the Cocktail bar (and if there's somebody in Sofia who is reading this and does not know which Cocktail bar I'm talking about... but this is best settled offline, with a visit to the establishment in question :). There sure were a couple of surprises there - some people I'd not seen for a long time and quite looked forward to seeing there, some people I'd not seen for a long time and had absolutely no idea they would be there - actually in at least one case I was certainly not alone in the (pleasant, mind you!) shock of recognition. That party also served as a kind of a finally-let-em-know occassion and a precedent in a way quite closely related to the reason why this blog has not seen many updates in the past month or three, and maybe a liberation of sorts.

Another thing that happened there was that in the end, there were just four or five of us left, mostly people whom I hadn't seen for a while, and it was quite the natural thing to do to invite them to the Bulgara gig on Sunday... once again, see below. This touched off a series of events which ended up as this whole amazing week-or-ten-days-or-ten-24-hour-periods thing :)

Saturday, Feb 26th, was spent in a mostly harmless way - resting at home, listening to this or that CD, fooling around with a couple of FreeBSD ports, reading Neil Stephenson's Quicksilver which I believe I've mentioned before... until the wee hours of the night, when it was time for another piece of music...

Drumline A couple of months ago, my cousin Ralitza told me about a musicish movie she'd recently seen - the Bulgarian translation of the title was something like 'The Drummer'. I was like, okay, I'll get 'round to watching it some day. On that Friday, I'd picked it up at the rental, just in case it turned out to be good... and on that Saturday, I opened up the DVD case, took one look at the DVD, and almost screamed - why'd she never told me the original title of the movie! :) That was one that had been on my oughtta-see-real-soon-now list for almost as long, if not longer - but never really got around to asking about it at the rental. The movie is excellent, the acting is excellent, the music is great - if you're into... mmm, okay, pretty much any kind of music that includes drums and particularly drum solos, what the hell *are* you waiting for?

February 27th - Sunday bloody Sunday... Well, okay, this one was not as bloody as the previous one, the 20th, when the final exams for the Perl course were quite an experience to remember - both for us and the, erm, *other* students :P Still, it was kinda related to that occassion, since the afternoon started with a meet-up of a couple of people in my class at FMI - a kind of survivors' party after the finals session :) Then, again, I used my awesome powers of mind control and convinced two fellow students to come along to the Bulgara gig - when I'd actually never seen the band before! And once we were there... Again, I don't know what to say. If you've never heard them, then any description I can give will be awfully inadequate. They play traditional Bulgarian folk instruments - kaval (a kind of a wooden pipe), tambura (something almost like a mandolin, but not quite), gaida (a bagpipe), gydulka (I don't know how to explain that one... but it's a string instrument with a really nice sound), typan (a large drum, usually a goatskin one, I think), other percussions, and a bass guitar. They play variations on traditional Bulgarian folk motives - with a twist, and it's that twist that makes them different. It's not exactly a taste of hard rock, it's not exactly a taste of classical music, it's something more - you have to see it to believe it. As Vasil said, it's pure music for the soul. Suffice it to say that after the end of their first set, nobody had actually noticed that they'd been playing for forty minutes straight - all we knew is that they'd been playing and we'd been listening and now we'd have to wait a couple of minutes until their next set and that'd be a *very* long couple of minutes...

Oh, and when I say nobody, I mean nobody of the people I knew in the audience - the five-sixish ones that'd come since I'd managed to convince them, pretty much bluffing blind, that they'd like it, then there was Vasil, and then - I was surprised, though I shouldn't have been - he'd recruited Emerald and Lina. Actually, I believe it was Lina who first mentioned that on Monday, the very next day, we really ought to be at the Fans club to see Balkandzhi - another band that I'd heard a lot about but never actually seen live. So that's where we ent up on Monday - after I'd pulled another trick at the Network Security lecture and rounded up Drumev (hey, he doesn't have a blog yet, does he now?...). On the way, my cousin Ralitza called, and so the Balkandzhi virus spread even more :)

Ah, you wonder about their music? Well, it's also based on Bulgarian folk motives, but they've definitely added a hard rock feel to it. It's... strange. It's... pleasant. It's... rock. It's... beautiful Bulgarian folk music seen in a new way. It's... worth listening to, over and over again.

Nothing happened on Tuesday ;)

Wednesday... Wednesday is somewhat difficult to describe, what with the way it almost blended into Thursday. In the morning, a sprint across Sofia - FIBank for the university fees, the Musical Theatre for tickets for something you'll read about further down, FMI for the university fees, the Faculty of Physics to shed some of the tickets... The afternoon was a bit quieter - most of it I spent at Bulgaria Online, where Vlado Karavelov shot some trouble with a colocated machine (*grumble*SATA*growl*). We went on to the LUG/FSA/IBB weekly meet-up for a couple of beers and some talk of the "no, we're *really* not going to talk about computers tonight, honest!" type ;) Lina and a friend joined us there, since it had turned out that she'd never actually visited the Cocktail bar and, for various reasons, was interested in giving it a shot (pun almost intended). So on we went, while a couple of friends were already there... then some more came, and the whole thing ended up with a couple of rounds of cards at a friend's place until the not-so-wee hours of the morning. It was a funny feeling - on Bulgaria's national holiday, we watched the sun rise on our way home...

Thursday was peaceful, at least for me, although I turned down a couple of invitations - my mind was made up to rest for the Andrew Lloyd Webber marathon the following day. For Friday, March 4th, brought us - in the Musical Theatre - the first night of...

Being used to trouble I anticipate it...

Yes, that's right, Evita was about to open at 6pm. Before that, though, there was another one - it didn't take me long to convince Drumev, Lina, and a couple of others, that they really, really wanted to see the Phantom of the Opera (remember when I said I'd watch it again, and again, and again...) So on Friday I got up early, got a lift as my father went to watch the Bulgaria - Georgia tennis match for the Davis cup, then walked the other half of the way to the Arena cinema complex at 1:20pm, so I could get in and grab a handful of tickets for the 2:20pm show... and that's when I found I had a Situation Normal on my hands. Drumev and I had spoken about the Phantom on Wednesday, and had settled on going to see it on Friday - and it crossed neither of our minds (or at least what would pass for a mind in a normal person... not so certain in our cases) that Friday is the day that most Bulgarian cinemas pick to change their schedule - and guess what? There was no 2:20pm show, and I don't mean that in the Matrix sense!

After a bit of a discussion and a bit of nagging the (extremely polite) lady at the box office with stupid questions about the number and length of the trailers, we decided to bite the bullet, see the 3:10 show, then run for it. Well, we bought the tickets, we saw the movie, we heard the singing, we loved it - and Drumev accused me of ruining any chance of him going to a live opera performance in the next month, after the bar was raised *that* high.

Evita After that, it was a mad rush to get to the Musical Theatre on time - and we made it! "Evita" was excellent, although there is, as usual, a thing or two to grumble about - like the occassional sluggish acting of the crowd, or a couple of false starts in Ludmila Kozareva's high-pitched songs. But if one starts looking for things to grumble about, there are always a couple to find - and in my opinion, this show was indeed excellent. Afterwards, we - or rather, Drumev and Elen - got a couple of false starts of their own until they hit upon the right ATM and the right street to join us at Krivoto, where Lina was wondering what had happened to Asen's mobile phone. Eventually, he and TheFlash also came along, and the conversation started veering in all kinds of weird directions - and the beer and the rum kept flowing - and we all saw that it was good ;)

Saturday... Saturday was an easy day with a big fat "Tortilla Flat" label on it. No, not exactly Steinbeck's, not the Sofia restaurant, either - I mean the rock band. The band that Elen had been speaking of for a long, long time; the band that I'd heard play once for about half an hour, but I'd been dog-tired by that time and went home, although I liked their playing; the band that can play so many different kinds of music - rock'n'roll, reggae, hard rock, blues, and play them all in a style of their own; the band that was able to get all the people at the Fans club to shout madly for an encore; the band that was able to get all the people at the Fans club to stare in awed silence as they picked up their guitars again and played a faultless "Another Brick In The Wall"; the band that was able to merge "Twist and Shout" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" into a single intense performance; the band that has to be heard to be believed (hint: the Fans club, March 26th ;)

On Sunday I didn't quite manage to wrap up a bit of FreeBSD work in time to visit Drumev for a game of Scrabble, but I did get there in time for the party - and then so did Marin, Velin and Sve, although they were kinda tired and left pretty quickly, and Elen and Lina, who didn't, and a lot of others... That made for a couple of weird moments, when pretty much half of the people at the party had attended the Perl course, and there were a couple of "Aw, no escaping y'all, is there" lines thrown mine and Marin's way, but it all added to the overall experience :) There were a couple of interesting discussions about music, movies, school (not just university level, either), fantasy, roleplaying, and whatnot, and then of course there were the cats, which also served as a great conversation-starter and -shaper (nope, not in the traffic sense... although, come to think of it, pretty much all traffic would stop when a cat would stroll nonchalantly in, so he would get all the attention he wanted, which was exactly as it should be with cats and people). The whole thing ended, at least for me, somewhat unexpectedly, with some Perl course work, and much later, absolutely unexpectedly, with two Helloween hymns in the strangest setting and context.

And that, folks, is what happened to me over the last ten or so days; and to paraphrase a programmer's complaint about documentation, "If it was long and intense to experience, it should take long to write about". Now those who have reached this point have probably noticed that the main theme throughout seems to be music - and music is what kept me going through the working day today, the '96 recording of Jesus Christ Superstar (yeah, yeah, Andrew Lloyd Webber again... and thanks, Lina!), and the Deep Purple Anthology, the two CD's of which I was quite amazed to find, still in working order, waiting patiently in my CD-case to be remembered and... no, "listened to" is not right - neither for them, nor for Jesus Christ Superstar... "experienced" is more like it (and thanks, Drumev, for reminding me to dig up the Purple anthology!)

Oh, and - kudos to those who figure out the reference in this entry's title; pluskudos to those who actually *remember* the motto, and doublepluskudos to those who can name (from memory! no Googling or site-seeing allowed!) the previous and next ones!

Posted by roam at 05:15 PM

February 24, 2005

"Have you ever retired a human by mistake?"

Blade Runner Blade Runner. Dark. Ominous. Depressing. Brooding. Haunting. Yet still - brilliant.

Yes, I ought to have watched this one a long, long time ago. I'd seen the "like tears in the rain" monologue in a dozen different versions in about a hundred e-mail signatures. I'd seen it top various charts, including 'best of the 20th century' and stuff. I'd read maybe a thousand reviews that mentioned it. I rented the director's cut with an uneasy feeling - would it be just another case of a hyped-up movie which turns out not to be quite all that great?

Last night, a couple of minutes after midnight, I slipped the DVD into the player. Two hours later, after the last copyright message had scrolled off the screen, it was *very* difficult to turn away from the TV set long enough to reach for the remote. Another hour later I'd pretty much seen half the movie again, in various bits and pieces - and the neighbors had probably learned the monologue in question and the "but then who does?" finale by heart by then.

So... If you are looking for a flick to give you two hours of mindless action, then Blade Runner is not, repeat not what you want - try droppping the "Runner" part ;) If you want to see Harrison Ford as a dashing beau, or Darryl Hannah and Sean Farrel as empty-headed bimbos sporting their charms - again, you've got the wrong movie. If, on the other hand, you are in the mood for a serious questioning of most of your judgements, maybe a sleepless night or three, and a couple of days of pensive moods, then run, don't walk, to the nearest DVD store, and pay homage to Ridley Scott and Philip K. Dick - you won't regret it.

Posted by roam at 05:52 PM

February 13, 2005

A not-so-random quote...

Something I heard for the umpteenth time today, only this time it did strike home (no pun intended):

If only tears were laughter
If only night was day
If only prayers were answered.
Then we would hear God say:

No matter what they tell you
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach you
What you believe is true

Just a quote from Meatloaf's wonderful Home By Now/No Matter What song.

Posted by roam at 01:15 AM

January 29, 2005

The Moor at the Opera

At a practically last-minute tip-off from a friend, I went to see Otello[1] at the National Opera and Ballet - Sofia yesterday. It was great. No, it was amazing!

Part of the reason I went was to see (and hear, most definitely hear!) Radostina Nikolaeva as Desdemona[2] and Niko Isakov as Iago, both mentioned here already for their performance in Carmen some time ago. It turned out that the lead singer - Kostadin Andreev as Otello - was not half bad either ;) The love duet with Desdemona in Act I, the "by the dark, murderous sea" duet with Iago in Act II, the "swear and damn yourself" lovers' quarrel in Act III, the death scene in Act IV... all those definitely struck a chord in more than one soul in the audience. And then, of course, Iago's "cruel God", Desdemona's "Willow"... I don't know, I'm just lost for words - you had to be there!

All in all, these four hours seem to have been the most worthwhile four hours of this week; thanks, Tony, for the tip-off!

[1] And for the benefit of our English-speaking readers, no, this is not a typo - although Shakespeare's drama is called Othello, Giuseppe Verdi was Italian, and Italian was pretty much the official language of the opera at the time and ever since, so Otello it is.

[2] Unfortunately, the National Opera's gallery does not have photos from Otello performances, so those are still from Carmen and others.

Posted by roam at 12:44 PM

October 19, 2004

"We're on a mission from God."

The Blues Brothers A piece of advice, if I may: if you have not had enough sleep for a couple of days, yet you are strung up from a rock'n'roll gig, picking up a copy of The Blues Brothers and watching it after midnight is a bad idea, mmkay? Not unless you want to stay up pretty much all night, tapping with the beat, singing along, and generally giving the neighbors a bit of a scare and having a hell of a good time.

Posted by roam at 05:06 PM

October 18, 2004

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On at the NDK

Updated Oct 19th: moved to the Art category.

Yep, the NDK - the Bulgarian acronym meaning the National Palace of Culture - was really shaken by a rock'n'roll star, no, a rock'n'roll legend, NO, a rock'n'roll idol today - Jerry Lee Lewis came to Sofia! Not alone, either - he brought a band of merry men from Memphis, Tennessee, who did a great job of building up the mood with several songs, some old, some new. And then, the moment we'd all been waiting for - the side curtains parted and quietly, nonassumingly, the Killer walked on stage, sat down at the piano, his hands caressed the keys, and...

I think it was not just me, I think I'm speaking for most of the audience here when I say that we were more than half expecting him to open with Great Balls of Fire or Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On. However, the moment he struck the first chord we knew he'd done one better - in the hall that had hosted countless symphonic concerts and opera performances, Jerry Lee Lewis had the nerve to call out to Beethoven to roll over and tell Tchaikovsky the news; and judging by the applause, there *was* news to tell, too!

Y'know, the man's still got it in him - well, okay, so he slurred a little bit when speaking (not when singing, though!), so he called it quits after barely an hour - but one thing I know, I'd *love* to be able to sit at a piano and play like this "when I'm sixty-.." - no, not sixty-four, but just a couple of months short of seventy! A couple of times he even got physical, and even though those were none of the assaults on the piano of Way Back When, he did jump up, kick back his stool and do a couple of rock'n'roll steps, and he kept on playing all along.

I don't think there's much more to tell. I was raised on this music, on Balkanton LP records of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis, Mungo Jerry; the mere thought of actually hearing "Sweet Little Sixteen" and "Roll Over Beethoven" live, here, in Sofia, was - I dunno - not even a dream, but pure fantasy. Apparently I was not the only one, since the audience was pretty much evenly distributed among all age brackets, and when the lights went down at the beginning, there was even a bit of shouting from a small child whose parents obviously want to start him or her on the right track early on! Just behind me, there were a couple of Americans; next to me were three ladies speaking German; I think on the way out I passed a group speaking Dutch; but every time Jerry Lee Lewis broke into one of his wild solos, we would all shout and beat time as one. Yes - it *was* a dream come true.

Woof, it's been some time since I wrote a blog entry this long. Oh, and just for the record - he did play "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".

Posted by roam at 11:31 PM

August 27, 2004

The Guardian: Best SF authors, Best SF movies, etc.

The Guardian's online edition has published a couple of "best of" lists - top ten sci-fi authors and top ten sci-fi films (movies for those weirdos across the Atlantic Sea ;). What makes those lists particularly interesting is that they were compiled by about sixty top scientists, at least some of which ought to know what they are talking about :)

I heartily agree with all the authors chosen and with pretty much all the films. The only thing that leaves me just a little bit sad is that Robert A. Heinlein did not make the authors list, but then there were only ten places after all, and there are certainly a whole lot of other authors in the 'would have been nice' category... All in all, a great job by the Guardian's editors!

Posted by roam at 04:53 PM

May 15, 2004

All these worlds are yours except Europa...

I've gone on a kind of SF movie spree this week - and I like it! :)

2001-movie.jpg 2010-movie.gif

It started with an Arthur C. Clarke night on Wednesday - first Kubrick's masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, and then Peter Hyams's 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Although 2010 was filmed much later, with much better technology and somewhat more realistic-looking props, it still feels like a sequel - and not to disparage Hyams's directing, but for me, 2001 will always carry a much stronger impact. Even the musical ouvertures actually serve a purpose - not to mention the silent close-ups of Hal. Or maybe this was because I'd read the 2001 book much earlier than the sequels, as one of my first encounters with science fiction. And if you've read the books, and you don't like them, well, "it could only be attributable to human error" :P


Yesterday, it was time to move on to another universe - or was it really another one? Well, Battlestar Galactica might be set in the same universe as the monoliths, but I think it's highly unlikely. Still, it was amazing, and it just served as yet another reminder that cinema and even special effects did not begin with computer graphics. If I'd not read about the "problem" of the Cylonians' chrome armor 'reflecting every single stage-light' in the film-making notes, I'd never have noticed - it blended wonderfully in the environment!


And tonight, I think I'll top it all off with yet another look at Escape from L.A.. Okay, so it's not taken any Oscars for deep plot or character development or whatnot, but it's still a movie that I can watch any time, any number of times. Back in '97, I saw it five or six times within two weeks - about as many times as HBO would run it... And Snake's theme in the soundtrack is a killer in its own right, too :)

Posted by roam at 12:43 PM

May 12, 2004

C'mon. C'mon. Do it. Do it.

Starsky & Hutch. Enough said. Go laugh.

Posted by roam at 03:52 PM

March 30, 2004

I've conquered my past, the future is here at last...

Jeremy waxes poetic about an 80's weekend on a radio station, and in a comment Nelson links to one of the best things I've stumbled across on the web lately - an 80's lyrics quiz.

Did great overall, although, just as Jeremy says, I'm now kicking myself for a couple of quotes that I got wrong... when I've been humming along at least 15 of those songs over the past week alone, not even mentioning the past 15 years. To steal a catchphrase, Just Do It!

Posted by roam at 12:03 PM

March 29, 2004

Si je t'aime, prends guarde à toi!

Went to see Carmen on Saturday at the National Opera and Ballet - Sofia. The performance was great, and not just because of the guest star, Dragana del Monaco - our own singers were wonderful, especially Radostina Nikolaeva as Michaela and Nasko (Niko) Isakov as Don Jose (yes, I know the Isakov picture is from another opera :)

For some of the people I went with, this was their first visit to the opera, and they were impressed - a lot of people think that opera is all about standing still, hands behind your back, and singing long and dreary arias, and tend to forget (or have never even considered) the acting and the dancing, which is all part and parcel of the performance.

And, as usual after going to a concert, theatre or opera, once again I got the urge to revive my piano playing... let's see if this urge will last longer and be more successful than the last dozen or so times :)

Posted by roam at 12:44 PM

February 26, 2004

Sand sculptures

Sand. Sand? Yeah, sand - the silicon dioxide that we all know and ignore, except for the summer months, when it's a good thing to roll in. Now who'd have thunk that people could do really amazing things with it!

Via Kev.

Posted by roam at 02:33 PM
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