Friday, October 17, 2008

The other man on the podium

During the Mexico Olympics in 1978, two black US athletes protested racial inequality. I had seen that picture before. What I didn't know was that the third guy in the picture, a white australian, had joined in the protest and paid a personal and professional price for it. Very brave.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7674157.stm

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Knopfler in Philadephia

Back in the day, when I was still a lad in school, when Azharuddin was captain, Kapil Dev was still playing for India, I was introduced to the music of Mark Knopfler. I was a complete tyro when it came to the music scene. Much of my musical knowledge came from my infinitely more sophisticated buddy ND. One day, he decided to share his wisdom with me, and show me the way of Knopfler. Said he : 'See da, normally no, in songs, the guy will sing and there will be some guitar solo maybe in the middle. But, in Dire Straits, you have long guitar solos in the beginning, sometimes in the middle and the end too. This guy is god da. But some of those songs are very long da.'.

So, with that stirring recommendation, I went out and bought my first ever tape: Dire Straits Love Over Gold. I was immediately taken in by the songs, and this attraction continued through college, listening to 'Money for Nothing and Walk of Life' in Ra42's then-new-and-cool discman and right through to the present day.

So, two years ago, when Kogi Kaishakunin asked me if I was interested in checking out Mark Knopfler's concert in philly, I jumped at the chance. We had nosebleed seats, but the concert rocked. This year, however, we had seats in the orchestra section with the stage no more than 20 meters away. The concert was in support of his album Kill to get Crimson.

It was with much anticipation that I went to this concert and my expectations were more than satisfied. Mark Knopfler has such a chilled out attitude, he looks and acts more like a friendly uncle than the musical god that he is. Totally understated presence, lyrics that seem to be more spoken than sung and absolutely virtuosic guitar playing. It's really as though he decided to generally chill out with some friends and play some music and oh, look, there's an audience watching too!


All the usual Dire Straits favorites were there, Telegraph Road, Romeo and Juliet, Brothers in Arms, along with his solo album work and songs from Kill to get Crimson.

I have since checked out his interviews online. The guy is clearly quite personable, thoughtful and has quite a sense of self-deprecating humour. Like Kogi said, the guy has mellowed out just the right way as he aged :)

In conclusion, Knopfler is a legend in our times, and I guess, I should be thankful to Mr. ND for introducing me to Dire Straits all those years ago, in his house in Chennai :)