Sunday, June 28, 2009

Movies on fast forward

If someone had told me 10 years ago that one day I would do such a sacrilege to watch movies on fast forward,I would have probably been outraged. Who, me? People, I practically grew up in the cinema hall, as my parents worked their entire life in a cinema. My oldest memory IS from a movie: a cut head rolling down a hill. I guess it was Richard III with Lawrence Olivier. Every important moment of my development is tagged with a movie. I am a flick marathonist. I cherish and breath films and I have a great respect for everybody in this industry, from the extras, cameramen, props, to the directors, producers and actors.
And here I am in 2009, watching movies for maximum 1 hour and if they do not grasp my attention, I use the FF option on the player. Is it because I do not have patience anymore? Is it because the number of released movies is too big? Is it because of their quality? Is it because there are no new stories to be told? Or is it because time is too tight?
Sometimes I feel ashamed, sometimes not.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A tribute to Michael

I remember the times, when listening to Western music was a crime in our country. When communism used to block everything that came from outside. When the tapes and cassettes represented hard currencies. Michael Jackson managed to push away all these barriers and charmed our lives for good.

I was in love with him... His music and his performances helped me a lot during the teenage hood hardships. I grew up sane and responsible due to his values, kind soul and professionalism - though at that time I did not know this word, I understood the seriousness of each and every effort he made to meet his fans’ aspirations and expectations. He did not spare any tear, any sweat drop to reach perfection.

Like many others I thought I had a special connection with him and that is why, in spite of my friends' mockery, I always used to tell them: "Just wait and see, one day he will come to Romania". Of course the idea was utterly absurd, given the communist circumstances. But my dream and my conviction proved stronger than anything. December 1989 Revolution took place and we became free. In the beginning of 1992, first rumors appeared about his presence in Romania.

The miracle happened and I smiled. The feelings and emotions in the concert Michael put up for us cannot be described as words are too weak. Jacko had this incredible gift to split himself in thousands of pieces and giving himself to every person cheering for him. You could feel him hugging you and sharing his being with you. It was an incredible experience that marked my entire life. I saw then children, young people, old women, old men, from all walks of life, crying like babies.
I am so sorry for those who could not see him in flesh and blood, as the blessings of such magic moments cannot be bought.

Shortly before his death, Fred Astaire said: “I didn’t want to leave this world without knowing who my descendant was. Thank you Michael!” In a black June day, The King of Pop said good bye to Earth and joined Fred in the unknown. Let us imagine them both doing a tap dance for show must go on, even in Heaven.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iran and the right to a better life

In the beginning I watched the Iran elections just as another happening. It was not like people were waiting for a huge surprise. The change was in the air and Moussavi seemed to be the natural choice of Iranians.
But no way. We have been reminded that human race is still a wild beast. When things were getting worse and first news of protesters in the streets hit the Internet I turned to CNN. Bang! CNN was quiet. Just cold and neutral articles, no passion involved. At that moment Twitter went on fire and it still is on fire. The entire twitterverse became green.

There are several tweeple from Iran who keep us updated as journalists and TV channels cannot keep up the pace with the events. UN and the other big international organizations are almost driving people crazy with their silence and lack of action. The governments adopted the policy "If I ignore the problem it does not exist". Waiting probably for Obama to be more than "deeply troubled"?
Lives were taken, but Iranians chose the right to a better life so now they are simply joining their hands in the street, without shouting, without violence.

Fear and hope are the only things left for them at present. Let's not close eyes and be by their side at least with our good thoughts and prayers. Let's keep #iranelection a trending topic until the sun will shine again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

An Ode to Mumbai

Why the hell anyone from Eastern Europe will dream of a city in India? Usually everybody here speaks about US, France, Germany, Spain (and I must admit Barcelona is my second runner-up), Italy, Canada, but never about the Asian part of the world (maybe as an odd curiosity, they would give a try to Japan, Singapore or Hong-Kong).
But for God's sake…India? And Mumbai? Where all the slums are? With dogs or without them... Where people wear all those funny clothes and do nothing else but watch TV in the streets, sing, eat spicy food, dance (via the Bollywood movies we used to watch as greatest hits in childhood, but now disregard them as being silly)? Brrr...

Come on, admit that these are the first images which come to your mind. But how many of us really try to understand or read more about a city that hosts approximately 19 million inhabitants (including the suburbs)? How many of us had a look at one of the most beautiful mosques in the world, Haji Ali? Oh, yeahh, now we probably know about the splendid Taj Mahal Palace or Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the incredible railway station, cause they had to be attacked by terrorists so that we could acknowledge their existence.
And of course we had to wait for Slumdog to get all the Oscars to turn our heads to the East and remember that Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra state and the financial core of India. And those more economy oriented maybe managed to have a glimpse of the oldest Stock Exchange in Asia when couple of weeks ago, right after elections, the Mumbai market sky-rocketed and made brokers all over the world turn yellow with envy.

I have never been there, but yes, I dream of Mumbai with all its ups and downs. I dream of the busy streets, the traffic, the old and new restaurants, the markets, the Chowpatty beach, and the noise, the mix of people buzzing and walking anonymously and maybe dreaming in their turn to live somewhere else. Why? Because it feels like home. And as I told someone few days ago, for Mumbai I would fight even with the dragons.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tweetship - a new kind of friendship?

Before phone, trains, cars, telegraph and photos changed the world completely, people from all corners of the world used to stay in touch through letters and little painted portraits. Most of them never got the chance to meet face to face.
Unbelievable as it may sounds today things are not so much different. Yes, we do have some pretty fancy tools to cut distances, but how many of us manage to see in flesh and blood the ones with whom they exchange ideas, projects, thoughts or feelings, especially now when social networking sites are flourishing?
Out of them, Twitter is the latest hype in town and not in vain. Twitter reminds me of Matrix, but in the good sense. The permanent buzz, the vibes,the laughs, the egos, the links, the connections, the virtual bridges on which you can walk and have a glimpse of what a New Yorker or a Mumbaikar is doing in that very moment you keep your eyes on the screen...
In time, reading practically haiku-like live journals, you cannot but get closer to completely strange people. As I said today to one of my twitter friends I love the mundane part of Twitter. Besides the information purpose, it is the human side that makes me come back every day in twitterverse. Yes, I like to read when someone has no parking place, or lost his byke keys, or is going to the dentist, or has a bad day in the office as much as I like to listen to their opinions on elections, movies, books, iPhone or the movements of Stock Exchange. This is what we do on a daily basis with our real friends. Sharing everything that surrounds us.
As in real life, you come to have close friends, friends, pals, acquaintances and for one and each of them you start to develop feelings: acknowledgement, respect, care, admiration, warmth, concern, tenderness...depending on the depth of relationship.
Tweetship is still the old kind of friendship but dressed up in 140 characters.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Epiphany in Munich

Yesterday I went for a second day "tourist" in Munich. The weather forecast was bad - heavy rain. But I was lucky and the sun was shining for couple of hours while I was wandering around. Heading to Asam Church (which is quite impressive, if you like late baroque or rococo architecture), my colleague wanted to share with me a view of a great garden (Hofgarten if I remember correctly, if not spare my mistake).
Approaching one arch side-entrance, the perfect quietness was broken by the notes of a violin. In the beginning, I thought there were some hidden loudspeakers, but I was so wrong.
Somewhere under the columns a man was playing Paganini. I went closer to him and I listened. The beauty of his interpretation made me cry. I experienced a rare state of grace. Time stopped and the world seemed to have become a concentration of sounds.
My tears were genuine and I did not wipe them away. They were a gift for a man who managed to touch my heart with such a force.