Wednesday, 26 May 2010

BBC Radio1 Big Weekend

Vaynol Estate, Bangor
Dydd Sadwrn Mai 22ain 2010
(Sat. May 22nd 2010)

What can I say. It was the big weekend. The weather has certainly made it big across the country. British summer is here at last and we hope here to stay for a little while.

I was at the Big Weekend for the Saturday line-up. It was long-time dream came true. I have applied for a couple of years now but never managed to get tickets til this year. I love going to summer gigs. The line up, as usual, was contemporary and fab! That's what we love about Radio 1.

This year it was hosted in the Vaynol Estate, Bangor, Wales. Hence my previous post about going back to Wales :) Main stage for Saturday was Scouting for Girls, 30 seconds to Mars, Chipmunk, all of whom we missed as we were still too busy with the outdoor stage w/ DJ Westwood. Kelly Rowland was also there with her new single "Commander"... A great comeback song. She's still as tall, slim and pretty with gorgeous big hair! Loved it.

I had wanted to try different tents but we didn't want to miss the Main stage line-up. I did manage to squeeze in Hadouken!, who was rock'n'roll and so good looking. We were listening to them while re-energizing for the main stage. We decided that we would go in to see Justin Bieber. I hadn't even know the boy until the line-up and I'm awfully surprised he made it there. That was probably the ten minute of satisfaction for the teens. To be honest he was the only act whose banners I saw (DJ Westwood had one from a cute twin). I was standing next to a lady who was holding up her kid so the babygirl could see her idol better. She wasn't a tall person but certainly did hold her babygirl up high for at least 10 minutes non-stop. Moms will do anything for their babies. Bless. I can't remember those days of mine.

Cheryl Cole was sweet, cute, sexy and extremely popular! She's truly the British sweetheart. Only afterwards when I saw the videos, did I realize her voice was really weak during the performance, something we didn't really notice then. But we all know from ages that her voice isn't her strength. I enjoyed her performance anyway esp with all her catchy pop songs like Parachute, Fight for this love, 3 words...

Lostprophets, the sons of Wales, had the biggest reception and energy ever! I have never really listened to their rock album properly. But they were great! Fab energy!

Alicia Keys was one of my highlights. Disappointingly her grand piano wasn't working so she came on stage late and had to played on the keyboard for the Empire State of Mind number (I wonder if it was really her grand piano shipped all over the place for performances?). Alicia was wearing a jumpsuit with low V-neck and somewhat baggy around the waist. From the beginning I could tell she was pregnant as you could really see her belly was sticking out! And come on it's Alicia, she usually doesn't wear something like that. I love her new album "Elements of Freedom" and she did various numbers from there. Her voice, despite the bad technical sounds, was amazing! True diva. Cheryl Cole is the little town-girl star next to Alicia.

After Alicia, it was hitting 7pm and it was another 2 hours to go before the next much awaited act Florence and the Machine. We couldn't stand anymore (it had been 4 hours by then), so we decided to enjoy it in the sunshine from afar. Dizzee Razcal was next. He was so full of energy. Not a huge fan of his but the boys were going crazy about him.

Florence and the Machine was the most magical. Flo was fab on stage, so theatrical. I love her music, her style, her voice, her songs... She's one of a kind. She opened with Dog Days are Over, which got the whole packed tent went wild!!! Surprisingly she did her own rendition of Halo (Beyonce), followed by numbers from her Lungs album. It was such a highlight for me! Not to mention we all went wild with Razcal on stage with her @"You've got the Love". Raz got into his rap ...

Everybody wants to be famous
Nobody wants to be nameless, aimless
People act shameless
Trying to act like entertainers

... then all of a sudden he lost his element and stopped the band and announced something like he couldn't go on. haha. So funny. Flo gave him a bit of encouragement and they restarted the whole thing. The last act was a lovely ending to the first day.

We missed out on a lot of great acts like Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, MGMT, Faithless on the InNewMusicWeTrust stage and didn't check out on anything in the Introducing stage. But I already caught up with it on the Radio 1 website here Big Weekend Videos

If there is anything I have learnt from this festival, it is that I do not want to be close to the stage. It's nice to see the artists up-close in person but the heat and the pushing was so not worth it. As long it was live music it was fine by me. I'd rather be able to dance along with it.

Unfortunately, that was also it for us. We didn't have tickets for Sunday, the line-up of which was also fabulous. We made our way back to Caernarfon. On our way back we were approached by some lovely locals who were pissed but friendly and very entertaining. Again I cannot stressed the beautiful spirit of people in this country of Wales!

Fantastic day!

Photo credit to my fab travel companion *h.o.a

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Journey back to North Wales

Our journey started with me sitting on the platform station at Euston eating Burger King waiting for the Virgin train service to Holyhead. It felt familiar. Only it was a familiar feeling from 8 years ago, coming on to 9!

I first came to the UK to study in 2002 and Llandudno, North Wales, was my first point of arrival. An eighteen-year-old girl totally ready for the challenge. Anywhere as long as it was in the United Kingdom. I have a life-long desire to be in this country again. Each month I would make this journey to Kent and back to visit my then sweetheart, of course changing at Euston. And I always remember that feeling of relief as I wait for my train at Euston. London was like a stranger back then. The only area I know was from memory.

I haven't been back to Wales ever since. I never had the chance to. I honestly didn't make much use of my time in Wales as I was doing my last year of IB (excuse). And I truly regret that. It was more of a place I had to be than I wanted to be.  Besides I was a bit of a scared little kitten back then. The first summer I was away from my parents. But for some reasons today I felt like a little girl coming home. After all this was where I started off my journey into adulthood. Girl from small town now trying to make it in the big city, cliché hollywood setting in the United Kingdom. I really have come a long way.

The Virgin train is comfy enough. It has gotten a lot busier during the last decade. I remember never having to worry about seats. These days you should book in advance if you don't want the floor to be your friend for a 3 hour+ journey to Chester. We chose the quiet coach but it was the same as any other. Absolutely nothing quiet about it! There were a few groups of ladies and their chatterbox was loud and annoying. On more than one occasion I had wanted to point out the Quiet Coach sigh to them. The British are generally famous for their politeness and I was surprised at how inconsiderate these women were. Maybe I have gotten more British than them as I minded my own business, put on my music and fall asleep.

The journey to Chester was fast. I had a good nap since I didn't sleep at all the night before. The platform to Holyhead was busy. Though I remembered it had always been busy with people going to Anglesey and all, only when the two-coach train arrived did I realize how manic it was going to be this weekend! We almost didn't have a place on the train. After much confusion and struggle we got on only to find our seating reservation totally irrelevant. I gave up trying to get to our seats so me and HH stood in the aisle like the rest.

One thing made it less painful of a journey was how nice people are in this part of the world! Gwynedd railway company certainly did not make a good welcome but the people made up for all the inconvenience. They were commodating and understanding to these spoilt & moaning Londoners, who of course voiced frustration immediately at the fully packed train and their staff who almost wanted to kick some of us off due to "safety reasons". But when we refused to, they proceeded on with the journey anyways.

People here talked to you. Give you advice on how to get around. Teach you how to pronounce Welsh station names. After a few simples like Rhyl or Llandudno, it was all llswannellifff ffisslll to me. I was happy to be back in a place where people seem content, nice and friendly. What a breath of fresh air! (Only at Chester it was really really distinct manure smell but that was still England).
We passed the beautiful landscape of the north bay. Green fields with sheep and horses roaming about without any care in the world. Golf course right next to the coast line. And then vast and vast of water land. Flat but serene. My travel companion noted how the water here aren't blue here. Well of course it's not. None of the coast in the UK is apart from maybe Cornwall is azure. I don't have an explanation to its geographical structure but this greyish colour has always been my impression of the british coast.

I have never travelled past Colwyn Bay so I was pleasantly surprised how much more beautiful the landscape becomes. The Snowdonia arrived mighty on one side and on the other vast bodies of water. As one of the welsh native pointed out, there was Anglesey, from my view was a little floating island. From afar you can even see the light house, standing tall and majestic on its own at the coast. Just beautiful. The sky was clear and even though it was approaching 8pm. It was still sunny. We had the most peaceful moment. We arrived at Bangor and continued the journey by bus to Caernarfon!
So far so good!
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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

ENRON the Play

Noel Coward Theatre, London
One sunny London afternoon, my lovely friend, Erin, kindly offered me her matinee tickets to see Enron the Play. I can tell you I jumped with joy at the opportunity as I have been wanting to see this play for a while. THANK YOU ERIN!

Enron is a play based on true events of an infamous financial scandal at the end of last century in the capitalist hub America. I know of Enron, the company, since I first studied management and the name has been an echo in my business educated mind since (especially later working at McK). Having read Barbarian at the Gate and the Firm but not seen the movies, I have actually never seen anything theatrical about the so-called dry, dull and boring world of finance  has always been portrayed more as  a villain than a hero in our societies.

I heard of Enron the Play through the FT Life&Art section a while ago. I'm more of a musical theatre, opera, ballet type of person, plays are not always high on my list.  But Enron grabbed my attention immediately. One. Because Enron the Firm. Two. Because of Lucy Prebble, who is only 27 but has already won the George Devine Award and the Critic Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright for her debut play "The Sugar Syndrome". People's genius is something I can't help but admire! (Though had you read my previous post on Elizabeth Gilbert's nurturing talents, you'd know that I am taking a different take on genius now).  And Three. What a relevant play it is to appear in the West End while we are still in the middle of a recession, the culprit again... was the finance world.

Funny enough I couldn't convince any of my finance-sector friends to go and see the play! Most of them didn't even know there was something like that out there. I have to stress that not all of them are oblivious to culture.

Anyhow I thought the play was brilliant.  Director Rupert Goold has done a great job creating a melage of music, dance and video. He has certainly brought the dull finance world a bit closer to people less familiar with that working environment. People outside the circle never know what the hell people in finance do. Even people from within the circle don't know most of the time. So I thought the play in a way does casts new light & explanation on the current financial turmoil we are in. And yes it is still nothing more than people becoming over-greedy for money, aggressive and vulgar traders doing their things and their downfall... Most of the time taking the rest of us down with them.

Having a background in business I found the content easy to understand. My friend, who saw it with me and who does not have a business background, didn't find it difficult to understand either. I loved hearing the jargons being played around on stage & in an artistic environment!!! And found it incredibly exciting to see a list of financial terms explained in the programme (people will go "how sad!" of me)... I really felt so at home and cringing at the same time. I felt proud and embarrassed. What a weird sensation. However, the sense of humour was brilliant, the irony always present and the Lehman Brothers were just painfully hilarious. The cast is also fantastic - with Corey Johnson as Skilling, Paul Chahidi as Fastow, Clive Francis as Ken Lay and the beautiful Sara Stewart as Claudia Roe.

The play also raises a lot of question for me, personally.. I could see the genius minds of the finance world, many of whom I believe are not understood and as well known as those in creative industries (but they are rich!). But I cannot get over the fact how many of they could get so carried away, delusional, greedy and stupid? If there is anything I have learnt in academia, it is that we do not learn from past mistakes, we merely just disguise them in other forms. Every economic crash has been more or less based on the same fundamentals but people are so greedy and caught up in their own success that they cannot stop until it is too late. There is something fundamentally wrong but I doubt much is being done to change it now.

Instead of going on and on about this, I just want to say that I highly recommend this production. It is a great opportunity for those who are in finance and business but rarely care about the theatrical world to be re-connected to the arts. Or just for anyone wanting to see a good piece of work on stage!

Anyone care to explain why ENRON, the Play was rejected so quickly on Broadway! ;)

The Trading Floor

The Lehman Brothers

Clive Francis as Ken Lay

Sara Stewart as Claudia Roe

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Ole!to you.Nonetheless

I was totally happy to come across this TED video today. Thanks to my little sis, @hoapham, for telling me that it was out there. I have read many Elizabeth Gilbert interviews but did not realize there was even a TED video of her.

Liz talked about genius and how we have somewhat ruined that energy. By the look of the comments, there are people who do not get what she's trying to say... But it totally makes sense to me. In fact it makes so much sense.

I have been trying to write about Ashile Gorky in my other blog
But I am experiencing writer's block. That period has a generation of all those genius and creative people who died, mostly by their own hands. I kept trying to find explanations through biographies (currently reading Rothko's) and thought about their times, the traumas in their lives? But it is only until today that I thought of: could it also be our approach to their genius that has partially led to their demise? The pressure to be somebody, to keep being somebody --- aren't we all are SOMEBODY already?

Of course I'm simplifying the reasons with these specific artists that I mentioned... It's just a theory but it is true that the more accomplished people become, the lonelier they are. Does it really have to be so lonely at the top?

Anyhow, I am constantly being "mesmerized" by this lady. She's so truthful, simple, inspiring and has a great sense of humour. A really no-nonsense type of person.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Picture @cameleyelashes

To those I know who are going through one of these.
And a few who are contemplating...

This is a bit of a depressing post but I feel I want to share something I came across while looking up some woman problems of mine (lol... no, I wont tell you what it is :P). I know some people who are going through it/contemplating it. I hope you will find some comfort in the article below.
As Damien Rice sang in Old Chests
"Like time... there's always time.  
So pass me by, I'll be fine. 
Just give me time"

Just keep believing in yourself that you will get through all heartaches & heartbreaks. And watch "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"!!!

An article from somewhere... I found it on a website for women called You can look up almost any problems there and share your own with millions others out there who won't judge you!
Please don't feel that we have to be strong all the time. Vulnerability is what makes us most human.

How can something that made me so happy now cause so much pain? One of the greatest fears about ending a relationship is that our feelings of loss, rejection, hurt, loneliness, and pain will be overwhelming and unbearable and we will never get over it. Another fear people commonly express is that they will never love or be loved again, that they will never be known as deeply by another person.

Remember the Stages of Grief?When a relationship is lost, you may go through emotional processes similar to those we experience with the death of a loved one. The difference with a romantic relationship, however, is that the resolution is messier—often during the process we are plagued with thoughts of doubt—thoughts about trying again or getting him/her back. These stages might include:

Shock/Denial: “This can’t be happening”.
Anger: “You can’t leave me. How could you do this to me?”
Guilt: “I feel so bad to have caused this hurt.” or “It’s all my fault.”
Bargaining: “I’ll do anything—just come back to me.”
Depression/Loneliness: “I can’t stop crying. I feel like a total wreck.”
Acceptance and Hope: “It’s really over.”
How to survive the pain: Acknowledge that the day will come when you will feel better. Rely on habits and old friends—try to maintain a regular routine. —sleep, exercise, healthy food, don’t numb out with alcohol or marijuana. Let others support you and find ways to spend time with others. Surround yourself with the things you enjoy. Start something new—a class, a hobby, a club. Put away the reminders and the pictures. Avoid the places (for the time being) that were “special”. Write a “poison pen letter”, letting out everything you’ve been feeling, no holds barred...or a a letter of forgiveness. Keep these private—they are a private communication just for you. Discover parts of yourself that you set aside during the relationship and nourish them.

Some questions you might ask yourself: • What did I like about myself in this relationship? • What did I learn about giving to someone else? about receiving from someone else? What were the conflicts in this relationship—what needs of mine were not being met? What needs of my partner were not met? (Avoid assuming that all needs should be met by your partner). • What was your first clue to the problem that would eventually end the relationship?
Are you done processing? Are you ready to move on and stop thinking about it?