HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 30, 2017 – 12:00am
I was delaying writing about it until I actually experienced it. But then again, the actual experience could be another article all together.
While I was in Australia last month, Sir Paul McCartney announced that he would be doing a concert in Sydney in December. I eagerly awaited the announcement when the tickets would be available.
I called a friend who I knew was a big fan of the Beatles. He said he would purchase the tickets for us since he was a member of an organization or club that had priority access to concert tickets. On the day the sales were announced, he discovered that he could only get one ticket. Tickets went really fast. We felt really bad.
Luckily, Paul McCartney announced a second concert the next day and yes, we were able to get 4 good tickets.
I grew up listening to the Beatles. A great part of my musical knowledge and instincts were influenced by them, especially Paul. The soundtrack of my life were their songs. I studied and learned practically all their songs including lyrics and chords which I can sing and play to this day. One might say I know their music intimately.
But It wasn’t just their music that influenced me. It was also their boldness in doing things differently. They were daring and progresive. They were fashion and style icons. They even learned mediation in India. They spoke the thoughts our generation could not say. They had wit and pizazz. They set the pace in many ways. And they were really cool. The songs they wrote explained my own inarticulate awkward angst to myself. And they often outdid their previous work each time they came out with a new album.
Every time they released a new record in the market, i bought them and eagerly rushed to the house to listen to them. I would listen to them for hours and hours each time learning something new. I often bought 2 copies of each of their vinyls because I played them so much that they often got too scratchy and began to skip.
Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was my favorite album. I am not even sure if that is an accurate statement because I loved almost all their albums. Perhaps what I mean is it was the most played album in my stereo growing up.
I saw the Beatles when they performed in Manila on July 5 1966. My brother Raffy and I sat in the cheapest section. We could hardly see them since we were sitting so far. It was all my Ate Tictac could afford to buy for us. Despite the bad sound system, the long delay, and the short show, we loved it.
When the Beatles were beaten up by Marcos goons upon leaving the Philippines because they did not attend an invitation sent by the Palace the day after their show, it was the day I began to look at the Marcoses in a bad light.
Now, some 51 years later, I will watch one of the two remaining Beatles do a live concert. This time we will sit in better seats closer to the stage. The sound system will be infinitely clearer, the lights more dazzling and the show much longer than what we watched in Manila.
To watch Sir Paul McCartney has always been on my bucket list. Finally, it will happen. I have bought my plane tickets this early. I will finally have the privilege of seeing my greatest mentor and I will have the chance to thank him with wild applause and a standing ovation. Sir Paul! I am looking forward to finally watching you in concert. This is a dream about to be fulfilled
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I like surprising myself. One of the ways I do it is by inviting complete strangers to dinner and asking them to talk about what they are passionate about, or what makes them feel alive. I have done these dinners 5 times in the past. They have been great successes. I have noticed that people can find themselves in a comfortable safe setting even among strangers. Why? Because there is no judgment. No one really knows anyone so people become kinder and give each person a chance. Everyone is more open.
I normally post the invitation on social media. I ask those who are interested to write me an email. I read all of them. I take out a few from the list of possible invitees. They are those who I feel come on as too narcissistic, or those who seem to flaunt victimhood, or those who are plain crazy. I do so because they tend to be poor listeners and they end up monopolizing the conversation.
I choose 10 people randomly with the hope of getting a good mix of men and women of different ages and backgrounds. In the past, we have had people fly in from abroad or the provinces. We have listened to stories of a child of an NPA rebel who spent his childhood in the jungle. There was also this jolly young man who had cancer and was undergoing chemo.
One of the things I realized after doing 5 of these passion nights is that everyone has a story to tell. People are indeed amazing.
If you are interested, I only have a few conditions. One is, we must have not met yet. Another is that you are not a stalker.
Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be accepting applicants for the next two weeks. The dinner will be held sometime this August. You will be informed of the date and venue via email.
If you are ready for something exciting, unpredictable and new, join me.