Sunday, July 23, 2006

Cycling in Mol

After Holland, Belgium must be the most bicycle-friendly place in the world. Not just the roads in the cities, but even the most obscure roads through the woods have cycling tracks. My colleagues told me that if I stayed in Belgium a full year and didn't do atleast one long trip on the bike, I deserve to rot in hell. So we decided to go to the sand-sculpture exhibition on bikes. These 9 kg bikes, with all their weight optimisations are great, but do they really have to have such uncomfortable saddles? That combined with deficient padding in the concerned areas ensured that I had to do the last bit of the journey without fully placing my butt on the seat. That apart, I'm feeling very satisfied. It was a fantastic route through woods and by some gorgeous lakes and canals.

Sand sculptures

Friday, July 21, 2006

Deppe recommends - 3

Movie: Monty Python's Life of Brian
I don't know how to understate this but Life of Brian is absolutely the funniest movie I've ever seen. I highly recommend this one to all the people whose religious sentiments are not easily hurt. Actually I recommend it to people whose religious sentiments are easily hurt too: you'll probably self-immolate and die which is not necessarily a bad thing. Sample this

Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand?! Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What?! Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now, fuck off!
Arthur: How shall we fuck off, O Lord?

I always knew Michael Palin and John Cleese were funny guys but here they outdo themselves. Only the poor technical quality of the film gives away the fact that it was made more than 27 yrs ago. The script and most of the funny material are timeless.

Song: Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues
This one is not as much a song as it is a poem. Its got one hell of a video too, which probably cost nothing to make.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My own HSBC ad

The power of local knowledge

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Do you know how many people were convicted in the Mumbai blasts of 1993? Exactly zero. I bet that number isn't any different for the Diwali blasts of last year.

Another blast. The politicians get their chance to use the word "dastardly". The phonies get to praise the "resilience" of the Mumbaikar. I get to sit on my high chair and get all acerbic. Life goes on. See you at the next blast.

The cup

Now is there ANYTHING left unsaid about the famous headbutt.
There are even those who appreciated the aesthetics of the act but mostly, there are people who are sad that their hero fell from grace and ask "why? Zidane why?". There are others who volunteer an answer. The fanciest of those explanations was from a guy (with his tongue firmly in the cheek) who speculates that Materazzi had a crush on Zidane, and asked him to "give a head" which Zidane took too literally. Don't discount this theory, because Materazzi pinched the frenchman's nipples minutes before he got rammed.

For days before the game the newspapers were filled with reports about the English crying hoarse over Ronaldo's "ungentlemanly" conduct. The tiny island with the highest density of hooligans in the world, was suddenly outraged by a wink. I bet they still think their ridiculously overvalued team would have walked away with the world cup if Ronaldo had not had those two words with the ref. Zidane, thanks for the headbutt. If nothing, it atleast shut those Englishmen up.

I am fanatic. Don't expect reason from me. For me, the man with that mysterious monk-like serenity just got a little more enigmatic. For me, Zidane is right up there, one tiny step behind the Maardonas.

Other random world cup notes

* South Koreans with blonde hair look ridiculous
* Nedved went home too soon
* The best fans award at our pub goes to the Irish waiters, who joined us in supporting Ghana. Close runners up were the French girls who cried at the end of the finals.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Knock Knock
Who's there!

The Who performed here last week. Pete Townshend started with an extremely corny line "Werchter, you are the European center of the universe." But he and his band went on to do a mean act. The performance was part of a 4-day rock festival in a modest belgian village called Werchter. It's like Woodstock, without the drugs and the impact. They tell me the 2003 and 2005 editions have won the world's best festival award .

Apart from The Who, there was Live, Editors (little known but very impressive) and Muse. Anouk was pretty good on the stage too. I had my moment in the limelight as well. During one of the breaks, some drunk dutchmen asked me for my autograph. They kept trying to convince me that my name is Wibi. Apparently I look like a Dutch-Indonesian pianist called Wibi Soerjadi. One guy insisted on getting my autograph. Since he had no paper, I had to sign on a premium piece of untattoed real estate on his shoulder. Wasn't pleasant, despite the rather sincere compliment he paid me about my piano playing. My friends were having a nice laugh in the meanwhile. I attributed that bit of mistaken identity to the dutchmen's intoxication, but later in the afternoon, sober looking girls walking in straightlines shouted out "Hi Wibi" to me! The closest I'll get to having my own groupies?

Separated at birth? You decide.