Thursday, April 20, 2006

Beaches brew!

Sorry Mon-mon, I couldn't wait till you gave me access to that site where dogs can howl to their hearts' content. This "beach" needs to see the light of day! I need to vent out something that's been weighing heavily on my Jazzmammary glands!

It's been some four weekends now since the launch of The Top Room and, for the most part, everyone who's been there [operative words being 'been there'] has gone away more than satisfied and content in the knowledge that good, live jazz music is alive and well in Kuala Lumpur!

Having said that, there exists the notion that the 2-drink minimum rule that applies to all who set foot in it is a tad steep and that it has been taken to mean that the RM50++ charged is a cover. A cover charge, from my understanding, is when you get charged a fee just to get in regardless. What this is is you have to consume at least two-drinks while you sit there and ENJOY the music. Period. You order two drinks also it'll come to around the same price mah! And it can be any drink of your choice from the drinks menu. Except, of course, the premium brands lah.

Okay. There are some who will argue that they only take non-alcoholic beverages. Well, if we wanted to sustain a business by selling soft drinks and entertainment, we should've opened a cinema. This IS a jazz club. And we still have overhead costs to pay. And, like it or not, part of the overhead cost is the music itself. So we feel it's only right that we levy a minimum amount for people to enjoy that. Especially when we're not compromising on the quality of the music.

Let's do some basic mathematics. Let's just say a glass of wine costs 20 bucks. If you have two of those you've already chalked up 40 bucks leaving 10 from 50. Now, kira the cost of the band, the staff's salaries, electricity, water, not to mention rental costs and the bar's stock, etc. You don't need rocket science to figure out that the margin of profit is actually very little given the whole package that's on offer!

We thought long & hard about this before we set everything in motion figuring that that was a comfortable price that, even we, wouldn't hesitate to pay for to get good, high-quality jazz in these here parts.

Of course there are those of us who are more discerning in our choices. Otherwise one can always go to other entertainment venues and not be obligated to pay for two drinks. But then you can also walk out halfway because you find that 1. the sound sucks [sometimes the band itself sucks too] and 2. the crowd is too damn loud cos they don't give a rat's ass about what's going on in the bandstand [which in the case of the bad sound/bad band might be a blessing in disguise]. But that's exactly why we impose the two drink rule - so we don't have to have the wannabes who don't really know how to appreciate good music but just want to be there to be seen. The ones that sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU... right at the top of their lungs in 8 different keys, all at the same time, and this is the best part, right smack in the middle of the band's heated, oftentimes played from the heart, solos.

It's quite sad because we find a lot of people don't seem to see the value of what they have here. It's a perennial problem anyway. We've been singing the same ol' song - just in a different key now. Musicians who've been in the business as long as some of us have been feel that its a losing battle. Especially when you're up against a mindset that adulates and celebrates mediocrity. Just look at Mawi. I mean, the dude can't sing to save his life! And yet, in Malaysia, he's the greatest discovery since keropok lekor! Definitely fishy, if you ask me.

Anyway, begging your pardon. I digressed. The point I'm trying to make and, I take liberty in saying this, The Top Room management has passionately upheld since its inception is this... it's high time that somebody took a stand for quality. It's high time that somebody took an effort to create a culture for something good. It's high time to say goodbye to mediocrity and hello to excellence. It's high time to stop apologising for the fact that we have got something good to offer. Something that's taken us years of hard work and passion to build, whether you choose to believe it or not.

It's so easy to sit back and watch performers on stage and judge them and say, "They are just musicians because they couldn't amount to anything else in life". Well, we'd like to get you on stage and we'll watch and see if you make the grade. And we're not talking Idol standards either. Sorry but compromise is not something that comes into our radar. All we want, to borrow that well-known phrase from Aretha, is a li'l R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And that's across the board really. It's not endemic to just musicians or any art form. It's a basic human need.

But I've gone off on another tangent altogether. Guess I've got more than one gripe tonight. Had some golden gripe water earlier but that didn't help. If anything, it magnified everything else.

Now back to the main issue before I get any more waylaid. What I'd like to say is, before you make any judgements about The Top Room, you gotta come at least once. Then you can tell me [and i'll listen to you when you say it because you'd have, at the very least, been there and seen and heard, first-hand, what we've got to offer] that 50++ is too much to fork out for two drinks and good music, good sound, good ambience and good company!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


read an ad from an entertainment venue today saying "...these are some of the more musical musicians you'll find around town".

hmm... i guess that makes my circle of friends "artistic artists".

oh, and i know a few "poetic poets" too.

and when i'm sick i take some "medical medicines".

and not forgetting, i'm also a "maternal mother".


it's late. i'm going to sleep. 'tis a "nocturnal night".

Friday, April 14, 2006

I'm still the same person...

The face is still the same... I just got bored with the name.

My Easter Wish

Hang on. Somebody tell me... Where has all the time gone???
It seems like it was only yesterday [sounds like a song...]
when we were singing carols and then auld lang syne
and now it's easter?? Man!

I remember easters from my youth. Coming from a huge family
[my dad had 11 brothers and sisters! there were originally
14 altogether but the twins died.] we used to spend
all holidays at my maternal grandmother's house. I remember
the lead up to easter. Mom would boil lotsa eggs and then
we would sit around the table painting them before they
kept by the adults for us small kids to find.

There'd be loads of food. Uncles would be drinking from lunch
all the way to dinner sometimes. Ok. I lied. Everytime. There
was a lot of singing and laughing! I have really, really
wonderful memories of those days and, somehow, I feel that
my kids have missed out in life because they have not
experienced such things. For starters, other than our highly
fertile reproductive systems, the rest of David's relations
have very few or no children at all. His sister lives in Brisbane
with her husband & two kids. I on the other hand have about 5,001
relatives but they are either in the Philippines, in the US,
Canada, Bahrain or God knows where. Secondly, because of our
busy schedules, the cousins hardly ever get to hook up, save
for the occassional wedding or funeral that they attend. Sigh...
I really should make more of an effort to get them to meet up. Ok.
That's my Easter resolution. New Year's resolutions never work for me
I'll try this one out and see if I have better luck.

Anyway, Have a Happy Easter!!!

Oh, someone sent me this via email and I thought it beautiful enough
to post for all to see... God bless you all!

It is amazing how two people can look at the same
thing and have very differing perceptions.

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son
on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of
showing his son how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of
what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his
son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh yes," said the son.

"So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?" asked
the father.

The son answered: "I saw that we have one dog and they
had four.

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our
garden and they have a river that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have
the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the
whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have
fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us, they
have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how
poor we are."

Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder
what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything
we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially
your family & friends!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Kids gone goofy