Saturday, 30 June 2012

Editing the video

Contrary to what Zed and Wei Wei thought, the editing was done within two days. It's now 11 p.m. and we have just placed the final scene.
We spent a few hours in the beginning before we found the flow and pace in the image composition. From then, it went very smoothly. I would hardly have to study every rush carefully, I would just follow my intuition and tell Zed what shot, what frame to select when this little voice in me would say 'go'! It isn't so different from my way of composing music. Zed liked the way we worked. He didn't feel we were editing.
"It's like music composing!" Indeed.  
We showed the first draft of the video to Ryan who loved it, but pointed out the fact that I didn't use my 'weapon' enough, ie. my eyes. 
"You stare at the camera, but you don't connect. It's your song! You wrote it. You sing it. So you shouldn't hesitate to connect more with the audience with your eyes, and that would be perfect." 
I agreed. I had focused more on what I wanted from Wei Wei and didn't take enough time to work on my own scenes. Zed and I mainly paid attention to the frame and the light but I 'forgot' about the intention. One take and it was done. Maybe I was avoiding the real confrontation... 
So we'll going to reshoot a few scenes and pay more attention to my performance. It will be easier because we know exactly what we have to shoot, since the rest of video is edited.
The next step will the fine-tuning of the image, which we will also do together.


Zed showed the video to his friend Carol who expressed the same views as Ryan. Now we really know what's left to be done! 

Doesn't it look like Sadako or the Grudge is sitting behind me...?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Shooting in the sun

First day of shooting. How do I feel? Good and satisfied. Cautiously excited.
It's now nearly six in the evening. Zed has just dropped me at my place after a whole day of shooting. I was almost dozing on the way back, and could barely do more than mumble back to Zed's conversation.
For a very first experience as a director, I am quite pleased. Zed has been the perfect partner and assistant for my first steps. He was attentive and responsive to my wishes. Because of my total lack of experience, I chose to focus on a couple of simple ideas and tried to explore them as far as I could. For Nothing comes to Light, I clearly saw images of Wei Wei slowly dancing and whirling against a white sky.
"I want long shots" I had told Zed. I also saw close ups of her face, with a spaced out expression, and a few indoors scenes.
We have most of the outdoor scenes in the can now. We will find a way to create the pace and rhythm of the video when we do the editing.
I was up early. We had planned two days for the video. I had hoped to do it earlier, but Wei Wei's schedule didn't allow her to be free before this date. I had had the time to think about what I wanted to shoot in the six months between the time I told her about it and today...
Zed was very excited.
"I went to bed at 5!" he said, almost proudly.
"Only three hours of sleep????"
"Yes, I usually get into that state the night before any shooting. I don't sleep more than a couple of hours. I think I over think, I prepare and get so over-excited that I can't find sleep before it's nearly time to wake up... But here I am!" His good-naturedness and happy disposition were communicative.

I had picked the TNUA in Guandu for the outdoor scenes. The location offered many possibilities - above all, this view on an open sky. Zed and I had spent some time listing all the ideas that I had for the video a few days prior to the shooting.  
We arrived to the spot. It was Dragon Boat Festival day, and still too early (but still very hot already) so the university was more or less deserted.
The shooting went smoothly. I found new ideas on the spot. I can't wait to work on the editing!

Many friends had been asking me whether I would appear in the video. My original intention was not to be in it, but I guess that it would be a smart move to show my face.
I will think about how to incorporate shots of me in the narrative.

My friend Meng is in Taipei. I saw him yesterday and took him to the Tsai Ming Lian's café in Ximen after our lunch. He loved the quiet atmosphere and the retro feel of it. The café had been opened in the former city hall that the Japanese built in the 1930's. Now the venue is used as a theatre and also offers great space to spend idle time, away from the activity on  the street.
I was actually supposed to go YiLan for that informal presentation of FangYi's two pieces.
I had made an appointment with Fred to take the bus to Yilan together. As we were taking a cup of coffee before taking the bus, I learned that Just would not be performed!
"They wanted to work with a digital artist, but he didn't have enough time - they only started working on it two days ago!!!" Fred explained.
"So I don't need to go there, do I? The other piece is on Max Richter's music. So my presence isn't necessary..." I found the whole situation annoying and amusing.
Fred smiled apologetically. "I guess you don't need to... They're behind schedule so they will only present one piece... sorry..."
My collaboration with FangYi follows a very shaky path!
I walked Fred to the bus gate then decided to head for the gym before meeting Meng. I wasn't sure I would be able to see him but this new situation left me plenty of time for it. He was in Taipei for a change of mind and to kick off a new start in life after a painful break up with a lover he had followed from Singapore to Xiamen.
"Would you like to go out tonight? To the club?" he asked me when we were about to leave the café.
I hadn't been out clubbing for so long. The idea appealed to me. Only if I don't change my mind at the last minute as often the case...
And as often the case, I changed my mind although I was all ready to go. I felt much too tired after the shooting to picture myself in the midst of other sweaty bodies.

Yew Meng at the Tsai Ming Lian's café

 Day Two

Storm in the early afternoon. Zed and Wei Wei arrived much later than planned. Indoor scenes today. I visualised an empty classroom then realised that the vacant room left after Chubby's departure would actually suit perfectly. It had the bare atmosphere I wanted for the scenes. I brought the table from the dining room and placed a metronome, an ink pen and a old Italian notebook. There wasn't enough time to shoot all the scenes I wanted because of the limited time of remaining sunlight, but what we shot was very satisfactory.

Working with Wei and Wei is so pleasant because of their professionalism and easy-goingness. The mood is always lively and light, even if what we were shooting was more melancholic and thoughtful.
I asked everybody to come back the next day to finish the shooting. Fortunately they both had time.

Day Three

We have everything in the can!!!! We shot all the scenes involving me. I didn't quite know how to appear in the video and include it in the narrative. My one idea was to create many layers in the frame, with me as an outsider telling the story. We did some tests with Zed and it worked. It's so difficult to stare at the camera for long minutes without blinking! To include myself also meant that I accepted to fully carry the project as my own. Up until now, I would always find excuses to divert the attention on peripheral elements, or simply work for other people. So there's no surprise if people would find it hard to connect to my work. To show my face is an enormous step forward. Old demons from childhood can take winding roads to trick you!
It's such a pleasure to work with people like Wei Wei or Zed. Not only are they total pros, but they're also extremely focused without being heavy weights, not the prey of some internal emotional battle when it comes to work.
We shall do the editing starting Friday. I can't wait. The video is becoming clearer in my mind now.
I just... can't wait!!!!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Dancing in the dark till the tune ends...

2:30 AM. Lying in bed. Sleep is slowly coming. I can feel my heart beat resonating through the bed like reminders of  my solitude. I was wishing to live alone in this flat. I will be for the coming days before Ryan moves in. But now, I miss the company of someone. It occurs to me that this longing for solitude is a way to protect myself from it.  
HsinChin has moved out. All his belongings have gone. The door to his room is locked. No word from him. I briefly saw him this morning as he emerged from his room. It was already nearly 11 a.m. but after realising I was there, he went back to his room and closed the door. I had the feeling that I may go out of the house so I went to the gym. When I came back a few hours later, everything was gone. Now his absence was strongly present, as his presence was more an absence when we were flatmates. 
I have received a message from Jay who is devastated by his decision to end his relationship with Duncan. 
I wasn't surprised for I know how impulsive he is, I may have felt more sadness at the news. 
"Don't worry", he reassured me. "I don't see a break up as something sad. It's an evolution in my life. The same happened with Jienn Chiang. I'm quite fine"
It obviously hit him more violently in the silence of the night.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

In life

Another of those heavy days. I hardly managed to emerge from my comatose state, but managed to complete the music for FangYi's piece, Just, that she will present to a limited audience next week in YLan. Just was created for a group of dancers that she's training and nurturing. They may not be the best dancers, but their vitality and dedication is compelling. 
The piece went through numerous changes and alterations. FangYi had told me a few months ago that the National Theatre had highly encouraged her to show Just  alongside her duo with Akram Khan and another work with dancers from the New York City Ballet for those two evenings in October. Sadly, that won't be. I don't know when or where.  
She asked me to attend a rehearsal the following day after I came back from Kaohsiung. Just was nearly finished and she was pleased to show it to me in its entirety. At last!!! I had missed the first performances in Macau last year - although it was still a work in progress then. With the costumes, the lighting and bien sûr, a good sound system, we may have something, if not deep and overwhelming, at least catchy and extremely entertaining. Whence the title: Just.
I will see what FangYi will say about the new ending of the music. I now expect everyone to request rewrites in the music. As I said to a friend this morning, I should consider myself blessed to have found someone like Jo Kanamori as an artistic soul brother. I can find some consolation in the thought when I start working with other people.
Another way to follow is to present my own work. Like this play, Before my Eyes.

I revised the mixing of O Verão, the first song I wrote with Bévinda some six years ago. I added some light percussion and a violin line for the chorus. But the song was quite fine the way it was. We now have seven songs for Fukaeri:
O Verão 
Ja fui
Voguer dehors 
Meu Goloso 
Boa Viagem 
Brothers (anh / em)  
and we decided to include Butterfly Rider after I played the song to Bévinda.
I still have to make the arrangement for Mon Amant, finish a new song, Black Monday (a title which is likely to change). Bévinda said I needed to sing another song. I had those ideas for it, Beautiful Loser. We'll see if anything comes out. But in my mind, this project would be better off as Bévinda produced by Aaken, as Charlotte Gainsbourg had her last album produced by Beck...

Listen to:
O Verão

Tomorrow, I shall take a dive and keep on with the music of Double Yellow Line. That is, if Chubby isn't home. I came back from the cinema tonight and saw most of the belongings in boxes and suitcases in the dining room. I had bumped into him before I left the house. He was with a friend who was carrying a big black suitcase. I didn't expect him to pack everything tonight. He said he would be moving out on the 21st. His room is practically empty, save for his computer near his bed and the bare bookshelves...
We hardly exchange more than two words everyday. I felt a tinge of sadness pinch my heart at the sight of all these boxes, waiting to be taken away to another place.
Our house sharing chapter ends on a silent, bitter note.
'Strawberry Boy' Ryan dropped by yesterday to bring his presents for Chubby. I had told him that Ryan wanted to see him, but he didn't seem to bother. He went out to see his own friends. Ryan was slightly disappointed. He really likes Chubby. I should stop calling him so. Now it's Tsai Hsin Chin, my former flatmate. 

The film I went to see was a beautiful adaptation of mangaka Yoshihiro Tatsumi's graphic autobiography, A Drifting Life. I was surprised to learn that the director was from Singapore, Eric Khoo. I didn't have any clue what the film was about. I only felt like watching a film. My friend and future flatmate, yoga-teacher Ryan vaguely said it was a mixture of (dark) stories about post-war Japan. Would I be interested? The poor selection at the theatres (mostly Hollywood blockbusters and local romantic comedies) left me no choice but to see that film, Tatsumi, despite the fact that the film was in Japanese with only Chinese subtitles... Yet I managed to understand most of it. Not the words, but the intention. The film was one of its kind and offered so much food for thought. But again, the theme that left a strong impression, was the struggles of life and the creativity.  
Nothing shows up in one's life for no reason...

Letter from Leon

Dear An

You have to find someone to confide in, or with whom to share your problems. Life is all about sharing whatever comes along, be it good or bad. I recall this small build guy who was so competent in solving problems that he had earned the title of 'Little Giant'. So no one thought it was impossible for him to solve his own personal problems. Guess what happened? One day I got a call that he took his own life because he could not cope with his family problems and no one was able to hear him out. His wife asked for a divorce but he was unable to terminate their relationship, the reason being that he was an orphan and deprived of love for a long time. He was earnestly seeking love in his life. So he could not bear to lose his loved one.

I must say you are a prolific writer, who always cares to punch in some brilliant expression. You may like to consider doing some inspirational literary works and receive royalties. The Tawaineses' love for reading should provide a good launching ground for the initial support. You can easily qualify to be an English lecturer in any university if you wished.
Having lots of creative ideas may not go down well with most people. Well, we life our lives. People who are easily contended face the danger of redundancy when economy slows down.

Have a nice week end. It's time to let your hair down, my friend!



Thursday, 14 June 2012

A brotherhood of men

Earthquake, typhoon, storm, flood... The elements are in tune with how I feel inside. Times of changes aren't times of restfulness and quiet. The dark mood that hovers day after day finds no release. I become touchy, irascible. I don't trust anything, anyone and amso prompt to jump into quick judgments! So I try very hard to not say anything, although my mind indulges in the game.

Musicwise... I have been hammering my head to develop a 25 minute long piece (that we entitled Rain Bow as a joke) for Huang Yi. Not Double Yellow Line, but another piece he has to choreograph for CloudGate. His concept-idea was to have a non stop piece on virtually the same beat and tempo. He played some music as reference: Steve Reich, of course. I don't know what goes through his mind as a dancer, but 25 minutes of snare drumming beating isn't my idea of composing music. Yet he said that I should follow my instinct, which I did. I started with the idea of having the drums banging the same rhythm, yet with the addition of various instruments to give the piece some highlight and momentum to the musical narrative. I had not finished the whole piece yet, but sent Huang Yi the first 7 or so minutes. In my mind, if he liked it, I would be safe and could go on and complete the piece. I had also worked on other sections. To finish the whole piece would take another few days. 
The first reply was neutral.
"I think that's a good start for [Rain Bow]. I have a rough ideas from the music." he wrote to me a couple of days ago.
So after all, I still managed to get something positive out of these tedious days. I felt relieved and kept on with the music.... until I received another message from Huang Yi the following day saying that there were now too many elements in the music. "Better focus on Double Yellow Line for the time being" he wrote.
Was it so surprising? Not really. 
I turned down the computer and played some Bach on the stereo. 
Certainly, any artist has gone through empty and low times in his life. I thought of my father. He would always keep everything to himself. My mother was the emotional one. Only much later (or more recently) did I discover the other facets of my father's personality. And I felt sorry that, as a child, I was so oblivious of his torments and woes. But he kept on.
I will keep on. Despite my current personal inferno. 

I decided to go out. Ryan had been trying to see me, but I had declined. I wasn't ready. I wasn't in the mood for cute and tender love. I took my bike and cycled down to Ximen Din. I knew where I wanted to go.
I crossed the nightmarket, bought some Chinese sausages from a street seller. Suddenly, I heard high pitched screaming and a rumble from a nearby street: the other street sellers must have seen a policeman and were running for cover. It's little game that goes on night after night between policemen and street sellers. Of course, the policemen are aware that their action won't change anything, so they 'hunt' them at a very slow pace with a bored (sometime amused) expression on their face... It's almost comical.

I cycled past that animated part of Ximen Din and made my way toward my destination - coincidentally named Rainbow as well. It was already half past ten, so I didn't expect much.
I climbed up the stairs and went past the entrance sliding door. As usual, the lights were dim. Some tacky club music was playing from bad speakers. The man at the counter wore an expressionless face and stared at me between two piles of neatly folded orange coloured towels. A young man in trendy black underwear walked past me and stopped for a second.
I undressed and headed for the shower. The weather had been so humid, just sitting still would have you all sweaty and sticky. There weren't many people.
"Was it a good idea, after all?" but I went on. I enjoyed sitting in the pool, then the dry sauna. I didn't have the courage to step into the steam room.
After a little while, a couple of young guys in their early twenties came to the shower area and washed themselves. They were chatting exuberantly. The evening was old. It wasn't far from midnight. I didn't try to speak to them but I enjoyed the light-heartedness they brought with them.
I stood nearby. Another guy soon joined them, though he kept glancing back at me. I made my way to the changing room. "Should I stay any longer?" I asked myself. 
The boys were now standing not far from me. I found it hard to compose myself. Here I was, in my underwear, with a minuscule towel in my hand, compelled to feel as if it was the most natural thing.
One of the boy came toward me and started to talk to me. After a few exchanges, I apologised for not knowing more Chinese to carry on the conversation. His face brightened up when he learned I wasn't Taiwanese. His two other friends joined in the conversation. None of them could articulate a full sentence in English, but we managed to understand each other.
"We're going to go out to eat!" one said. "You there later?" I nodded that I would be.
After they got dressed and left, I went up upstairs where the action usually takes place. But there was hardly anyone there tonight. I sat on one of the worn out sofas (better not have a look at it in broad daylight) and pretended to get interested in the porn film they were showing. Another young boy was sitting in nearby sofa against the left wall but didn't dare to approach me. I didn't make any move either. I just closed my eyes and relaxed. Soon I felt a shadow coming near. He stopped and gave me a long stare. Then I felt his hand touching my left nipple. Even in the darkness, I knew he wasn't quite my type. But the way he used his fingertips gave me pleasant feeling, so I  let him go on. He came closer and let his hand run along my chest. I didn't move. Usually I'm the one doing all the work but this time, I felt like I should just accept and receive it. He was very skilled! Another shadow stopped and stood for a moment near us. Then he extended his hand toward me. In the darkness I could make out a lean and tanned body. My partner and him exchanged a few words. He guided his hand to my crotch and I heard a soft cry of exclamation. A few minutes later we were in one of those small dark cabins that I dislike so much. Who was to do what? I quickly learned the the two blokes could only be top. When they both looked at me with questioning eyes, I smiled and said that the other role was fine for me.
The affair was quickly concluded. The younger of the two was so impetuous that he couldn't hold it for a very long time. The first one had already came, just watching the action. I went down to take a shower. I felt better than earlier in the day. To just to make someone enjoy himself brought me a sense of satisfaction.
I went downstairs to take a shower. There were slightly more people now0 even if it was nearly half past midnight. The trio of young boys came back. The cutest of them (and the only one who could speak a bit of English) gave a broad smile when he saw me.
"Oh you are still here!" he said in his broken English. "You want to go to room and have chat? Together" he asked. The other two were looking at us silently. Expectantly. I've had my little threesome but their energy rejuvenated me.
"Okay!" I said and added: "With everyone?" They all nodded as we climbed the stairs up to the second floor. The other men turned their head when they saw our group of four walking through the dark corridors in search of a decent room. We finally found one. The smallest of the boys went to take a few blankets and we locked ourselves in the largest of the cabin.
The first questions were asked in an timid, embarrassed tone. What did I do, where did I live, how old I was  (the answer to that last question brought gasps of surprise, as usual). We were all sitting rather uncomfortably in a circle, so I suggested that we lied down for a cuddle. They promptly accepted. I thought how perfect the moment was, how nice it was to spend some time with these young kids. They were enthusiastic, carefree, innocent in a way, and so uncomplicated. Their youthful energy was a gift for me.
The cutest one started to pretend to explore my body, asking permission to touch this part then another part. I laughed. It was so adorable.
"I was bottom with three men. It was wild!" I was amazed at how wild, indeed these kids were. I guess it was useless to compare it to my own experience. I was so chaste and still struggling with my Christian guilt then!!!
"You always bottom?" I asked him. He nodded. "You'd never like to try the other way?"
"Never happened"
"Why not try tonight, then?"
He looked at me in bewilderment. "With you?"
"Yes, I want to do that for you!!!" I had no clue what just passed through my mind. I only felt it was the right thing to do. "But we can take all our time and have fun before. No pressure!!!"
The foursome resumed and went on for a while until the fateful moment arrived. The two other boys gave their companion a few tips about how to do it, as they would have showed him how to do a dance move or how to solve a maths problem. "I feel like an old prostitute from an Emile Zola novel who gives a young man his first chance." The thought amused me.
I appreciated the playfulness and gentleness of these boys. They were not yet disabused and crushed by adult life. Theirs was still in front of them, and it was refreshing to be in their company. I felt thankful for that.
It was past four in the morning when I left the place. I gave my young friend a big hug and cycled home.

"You know my younger brother has become a fan of your music?" he told me the next day. I had requested permission to listen to my music so I gave him the link to one of 'easy'songs, Second Breath.
"My brother has listened to the other songs and give me recommendation!!!"
And I smiled.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

No Signal

So empty and lifeless today.
Sleepless night again.
I'm hearing in my head the music of this untitled piece for Huang Yi and CloudGate that I am currently penning. There's no full moon or any lunar knot, but I feel restless. I was lying in bed, exhausted and sleepy, yet sleep would not come. 
A mosquito was raging around me in the dark. I felt something in my arm so I used that lethal electric racket, only to find out it was my friend the spider I had just slain. 
At 5a.m. the bed started shaking. It was not my heavy heartbeat pounding through the bed, but an earthquake. The usual effect of earthquake in Taipei is that it feels like someone is gently rocking the house for a second or two. This time it lasted longer and the rocking was more violent. 
"Should I stay or should I go?" 

Since I couldn't sleep, I kept on reading a book about Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn, Dernières Séances (Marilyn, the last sitting) by Michel Schneider, which focuses more on her relationship with her psychoanalyst, Dr. Ralph Greenson during her last years. 
It's amazing how this woman continues to inspire so much literature and yet remain untouchable. We can only project something of ourselves on her.
What I get from myself from the reading is that, like her, I use my music and my look to find love from others. The wounds from childhood have never really ceased to cause pain and have structured the person I am now. Of course I can stand on my own two feet, I can live, feel happy and even carefree. Being creative has been my salvation. But what do I create? I know it's all illusions. I no longer care to leave something. I do enjoy the long moments spend writing and creating this world of mine. But what for? Hardly anyone listens to my music. Looking good? Yes, I'm nearly 42 and maybe more attractive now than I was when I was 20. All these efforts.... I may claim it's for my personal balance. Body and soul. It's a very well oiled survival mechanism. To be so different that no one could even say anything. By being different, I automatically reject myself, so I do not fear to be rejected. Thus, working on an attractive appearance, I can create the illusion that people may want me. To be desired. To be wished for...
On the last night before Jay left for Kaohsiung, he told me, no, urged me to reconnect to the feeling of love. 
"I know you have been hurt more than once. I know you have not been treated well by your lovers. They were like executioners and that's how you view love now. It cannot come without this suffering. But you must, you MUST try to (re)connect to this feeling of love. You don't want to end up in bitterness."
I heard all he said. I understood. But I don't feel it. I don't believe in it. I do believe in love, I hope for it. But not for me. Not anymore. 
Ryan is coming back tomorrow after half a year. But I had written to him that I didn't see any future in our relationship. There wasn't any relationship. We only started to date for a month, then his premature departure to the US forced him to speed up the wooing process and the 'I love you' came out too quickly. I saw pictures of him on Facebook and they seemed to belong to someone from another world. So much innocence, happiness and fresh spirits. I can't be in there.
Jay insisted and insisted. 
"Ryan is different from the others. He's not there to hurt you." 

I keep myself alive from day to day. Music does the trick. Just like Marilyn and the camera, I don't need to feel or say anything when I compose or play music. It just is. But it's not me.

Now I feel no point at all in going on. I will try to finish the current projects (so many of them). Until Berlin...
Maybe the feeling will give way to something positive. I do wish so. Even if I don't mind the challenge, there's no need to make it painful!
I agree with the idea that suicide may not be the desire to die, but the wish to end a painful life.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Muffled symphony

I took Trevor to his first classical concert. I was surprised when he told me that he had never attended one. I had got two invitations from a friend to see a youth orchestra from an American music school. They were to perform a concerto for two pianos by Mozart and Mahler's 5th Symphony. The concert took place at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. I had never been to any concert there - I had never been to the Memorial at all, only walked past it. Such kind of monuments never attracted me, whatever the country.
Trevor was very happy to be there. I was happy to bring him to his first symphonic concert. I had never heard of that music school. Those two pieces were famous, so they were risking lots of harsh comparison.  
As soon as the piano concerto started, I knew we were in trouble. Much less because of the musicians than the acoustic of the venue. It was simply awful, better suited for conferences or meetings. After all, it was the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall not a concert venue... We were sitting on the 25th row and could barely hear anything. The sound of the orchestra was muffled by the heavy curtains at the back of the stage which considerable altered the timbre of the instruments. I took advantage of the intermission to hop down a good dozen rows closer to the stage. Trevor hesitated at first (were we really allowed to do so?) but was glad we did so. I called my friend who works as an agent for the orchestra, whether there would be any possibility to The sound was only slightly better, but that was already a huge improvement. 
The conductor didn't merely give the tempo and hold the orchestra. He had some personal ideas about how the music should be played. The prominent French horn part of the third movement became a solo part, so he invited the player to come to the front stage. The orchestra was clear and precise, beside a few occasional ducks and the fact that the winds and brass were much stronger than the strings, which sometime would make it sound like a harmony band - which wasn't unsuitable to some aspect of the symphony. I had been telling Trevor about the fourth movement, the famous adagietto which had enchanted so many music lovers and cinema goers alike. I was impatient to share the moment with him. But the conductor had other ideas. He obviously wanted to avoid any sentimentality and from adagietto, the movement became allegretto. Instead of the usual ten, eleven minutes favoured by the likes of Bernstein or Karajan, the whole affair was executed in no more than seven quick minutes. Worse than a coït interrompus. 
But Trevor was happy. He genuinely seemed to enjoy the music. The orchestra played a few encores. While the audience was applauding, I heard, for no apparent reason, the opening bars of Strauss' Radetzky Marsch. The reason was clear a few seconds after when the orchestra played the march. "Why are people so predictable?" I thought.

My way of communicating with Trevor is odd. Since I can't speak Mandarin, and his English is limited, we have to use his i-Phone for the translation. He even tried the vocal translator, but the results were as hilarious as they were unconvincing. 
I want to bring him to more concerts. Hopefully, better concerts.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Next page

We just signed the new contract with the landlord. After a year and eight months living with my flatmate Hsin Chin aka Olivier, aka Chubby. It was a good flat sharing experience, even if turned a bit sour in the end.
It's Ryan who will share the flat with me. Not Strawberry-Boy Ryan, but Yoga-teacher Ryan. I can only hope it's going to go well. Of course, the ideal situation would be to live by myself. Unfortunately, the little proposition that Jay had in mind will not work out: he wanted to use Chubby's room for his teaching sessions in Taipei. He would only need it four days a month. But the money he would get out of the training would have been sufficient to pay half of the rent... Quel dommage!

Chubby seems relieved now. So it seems. I guess it will do him good to be in a new environment. My vanity would like me to think that he will miss this flat on JiuQuan Street. But maybe he doesn't care as much as I do to live in a nice interior. He may have enjoyed it, but it's not vital. As for many people in Taiwan (and many other countries in Asia) functionality rules.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Berliner Symphoniker

Maybe it will come out more easily if I say in the most matter of fact way:
I have been asked to write a 25 minute orchestral piece for the Berlin Symphony. The premiere will take place next year in February. 

The news came from Tuân Le. He's the one who suggested me to the orchestra. They were looking for a Vietnamese composer. 
"How are you going to do that? You never wrote for orchestra!" my father exclaimed when I told him. 
"If I only knew.... I will do as I have done until before each new project. I will go with the flow and listen to my intuition".
My father couldn't help feeling worried.
"Listen, I had never written for contemporary dance before Régine Chopinot asked me to write that full scale piece. Same when I wrote for Jo Kanamori. I had no idea how I would manage. But I did! That's how I go in life."
That had been my weakness and my strength.
My father was the one who said that by being a self-educated composer, I don't have the frames and limits of one who graduated from any music conservatory. That allows me boundless possibilities.