Saturday, 30 November 2013

Comeback Answers

Dread the holidays? Still not settled down yet? Kinda broke but rich in other aspects of your life? A struggling artist? Waiting for the big break? Feeling insecure whenever you are at a relative's wedding or at an annual family gathering?

You are not alone.

A few days ago I shared a link on my FB page :

I am pretty sure some of you find it all too familiar. Well, as a struggling muso I have been through those familiar situations one too many times, which resulted in an arsenal of vicious comeback answers. I probably should write a big book of comeback answers but I settled for these instead :
(use them with caution unless you are like me where you just don't give a toss about nothing. If some of you find this offensive, I am so not sorry. okthanxbai.)

1. So, are you still doing that music thing?
YES. (Say this with a big smile, you could insert a nonchalant laugh if you like and a smiley-kinda-shake-of-the-head. I can make a video tutorial on this if you are unsure on the smile and the laugh) No need to get all worked up and defensive to explain “whaddya mean music thing??! IT’S MUSIC FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE!!” No need. They DON’T and WON’T understand the difference so it’s like playing the piano to the cow (Chinese proverb). And we don’t want wrinkles or high blood pressure over something so trivial.
2. When are we going to hear you on the radio?
a) “I AM on the radio!!! So hurtful!!!” (Stomp off and proceed to the nearest jamban and fake sob as loud as you can. If you have wing man/bitch to help you make that idiot feel awfully guilty about that remark, since he/she ‘did not get with the times’, even better. Kikikiki.)
b) “People still listen to radio meh?? You so jiakun ah?? I got Youtube channel and I am on ~insert desired online radio station~ constantly.” (you may tut or cluck your tongue a little bit for added Diva Power)
c) “Here you go! Now you can listen to it everyday on your car stereo. That’ll be RM25 please. Thank you for supporting local artists and the Malaysian music scene!” (I usually shove a few of the CDs to these people and stress on the importance of giving the gift of music to their loved ones. 4 pieces would do the trick because you can save them the hassle of finding small change for that RM100 ~lightbulb~ That’s why I am an excellent merch girl. Got that star salesperson quality from my father who can sell ice back to the person who sold the ice to him in the first place.)
3. Hey my neighbor’s kid plays guitar, I think. Seriously he’s really good. You should have him play with you.
a) “Oh, that’s nice! The guitar is really beautiful. But I play alone usually. That’s what my music is all about. It’s very deep, sometimes I don’t get it myself… I find solace in solitary, you know what I mean? It’s so deep…” (and then you can throw in several ‘deep’ quotes by famous people. Followed by a thoughtful stroke of your imaginary beard/moustache. Ladies. You can flash a super cute video of a kitten. That’ll change the subject altogether. Easy peasy.)
b) “You should speak to my manager.”
c) “Cool. I am actually auditioning 200 other guitarists to play with me next week, I don’t know if there any slots left though.”
d) “Ah, it’s okaylah. Thanks for the kind thought. Could you pass me the kicap please?”
4. Sing something.
a) “You should speak to my manager.”
b) “I am doing a vocal fast for a week to lubricate and protect my larynx. I would love to but I have a big show next week so I want to be ready for my fans.” 
c) “Can. You sponsor Neway or RedBox for tonight la, we go sing K, k?”
d) “Here you go! Now you can listen to me sing everyday whenever and wherever you want. That’ll be RM25 please. Thank you for supporting local artists and the Malaysian music scene!”
5. Did you hear the Nelson’s daughter is getting married this summer? Maybe you could play at her wedding. I think they’re on a tight budget so that could just be your gift. Btw, do you think you’ll ever tie the knot? Are you seeing anyone? (and the list goes on and on)
a) “You should speak to my manager.”
b) “Here is a gift of my music for their wedding.” (this is a good time to present your album as a meaningful gift. You are getting free airplay and you are making a positive impact on the newly weds’ lives.)
6. So, what else do you do for work?  I mean, like, during the day.
a) “I freelance.”
b) “I practice 8-16 hours a day daily.”
c) “I am an artist. I rest during the day.”
7. Have you tried out for The Voice yet?
a) “Malaysia got The Voice meh?? In Thailand and the Philippines got lah.”
b) “You should speak to my manager.”
c) “Cheh. I got album already what. Need to try out for The Voice meh? What for?” (tut and cluck your tongue as you please)
8. Did you hear that cousin Jason is going to be having a baby? When are you gonna get on that?
a) “Oh, good for him!! Can you please pass me the kicap, thanks.”
b) “Did you know that you need ~insert bodacious amount of money~ to raise a child in these times? I am not going to have a child unless I know that I am well prepared to support one.”
c) “My adoption forms are still being processed.” (they don’t have to know that the adoption forms are for the SPCA.)
d) “Oh, have you met mine?” (proceed to whip out your big album collage of your pet kitties/doggies/bunnies/reptiles/amphibians/lobster. Elaborate on their pet peeves, favourite treats and how you handle their droppings effectively at the park during your daily walks. Make sure you have something brown and mushy nearby, like choc fudge cake or mashed potatoes with brown gravy, when you are describing about the droppings. Be enthusiastic and don’t pause for breath. When you do pause, it is to excuse yourself to the jamban.)
9. Well, we should probably put the family reunion on the calendar now because Jessica always has her music stuff on the weekends.
“Can you pass me the kicap please? Thanks.”
10. Have you heard that new Katy Perry song? Why don’t you sing more Katy Perry?
a) In elaborate detail, yammer on non stop about vocal cords and vocal ranges. Yes, you may use terms such as ‘tenor’ and ‘baritone’ and other deeper musical terms. Make sure you do this without a pause. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t answer the question. Then proceed with “Can you pass me the kicap please, thanks!”
b) “Oh. I don’t like Katy Perry.” (even if you do, just say this so they won’t make you sing Roar. Or you could just roar and proceed eating.)
c) “Because I prefer Luke Perry.”
d) “Katy who..? Sorry, I only listen to avant garde Kitaro these days. Sometimes for a treat I might pop in a Clayderman cd but that’s just about it lah. Oh, you don’t know what is avant garde?” (then this is your time to freestyle about avant garde music. OTT is always the best way to go about this. Let your mind run wild and freeeeee)
11. Hey, when you open for someone big you should tell me and I’ll come see ya.
a) “I did. I opened for The Empress last month and you didn’t even know about it. I’ve got to be honest with you, I am utterly hurt by this. I thought you were family.” (You know the drill. Run to the jamban and feign tears. Pardon the shameless plug.)
b) “Ya okay. Can you pass me the kicap please, thanks.”
c) “You should speak to my manager.”
12. Can you put me on the list?
a) “You should speak to my manager.”
b) “Cannnn. Why not? You buy my album lah, for sure I put on the VIP list. You scratch my back, I scratch yours mah. 1 Malaysia mah.” (Wink.)
13. Your life always seems so interesting and fun. I wish I had fewer responsibilities.
a) “Ya hor. What to do. It’s really terribly fabulous and it can get pretty tiring but somebody’s got to do it.”
b) “Aiseymen. No lah, where got. Same same only bah.”
c) “I know right? Sigh. I wish I had a quiet and boring life. Just like you. Then I don’t have to use my brain so much. Everything is the same everyday. Predictable. I am so jelly right now.”

d) “Ya okay. Can you pass me the kicap please?”
May the Force be with you. 

Or you could just have a laugh about it over some fried chicken. And watermelon. 

Peace out y'all.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Next Episode - Part 1

It is 3 am and I should be sleeping. But I have to learn up songs for a wedding this Sunday and find my keys so that I can let the rest of my bandmates know in order for them to be ready for this Saturday's practice. I also have to set a new setlist for my other bandmates for another show next Friday and I was supposed to be done with it hours ago but I was hungry so I fixed myself a little snack of dinner rolls and chocolate and banana spread with some chamomile vanilla tea. And the reason why I should go to bed earlier is because I have to collect Miss Saffron, my yellow M50 from the 'music workshop' and why am I still up is because I am busy typing this.

I couldn't do everything that I am supposed to do because I am a little bit heartbroken.


Not that kind of heartbroken lah but also that kind of heartbroken lah.

Confused much?

Sorry. Let's try this instead :

"I resigned from Artisan earlier yesterday."
Over my favorite kopitiam lunch of dry pork noodles 
and teh C. 
Via whatsapp. 
How grand.

As I was typing the reasons why I had to resign from Artisan to my supervisor, I could feel my heart hurt. There was that big swelling from my chest and I could feel pins and needles poking through my ribs. Somehow I could feel my little heart cried a little. Because this is officially goodbye. Not to coffee but to a place that I call was an escape from being a musician sometimes...a tranquil place where it was my own Shaolin temple...for me to meditate and practice my kungfu skills...for me to practice my people skills...for me to join my barista comrades where we 'battle' together during peak hours of coffee war zone with them irrational, angry customers...and endless dishwashing...and cluelessness of what to have for lunch breaks...

I am moving on with another new chapter in my life and the decision to resign deemed necessary. And at the moment I am finding it hard to cope with the new changes. There is so much to do yet so little time and more often than not, not enough money to do so. I wasted a lot of money unnecessarily on bad decisions and lacked the discipline to fulfill the things that I should be doing. Gahhhhhhh. 
Woe is me. Lesson learnt. So much to learn. Always always.

Okay. So I am very sad about my resignation and I have until the end of September to make coffee at the Artisan BVII. I will miss all of my colleagues and the smell of the awesome coffee and the taste of the freshly baked pecan pie. I will miss walking (actually, running while panicking is more like it) to work and wearing my barista uniform with its witty caption at the back of the faded black polo tee. And since this is slowly coming out of my system, I should be able to resume back to my original task of the day. 

I am now officially a Novice Barista. 
I passed my exams on the 15th of August 2013.
I also like telling stories with pictures. 
Hence my active Instagram account.

My first day of training at the Artisan Roast TTDI, Aug 2012.

My very first latte art attempt on a red latte.
 (Question of the century : What's a red latte?)

I am very good at creating 'different' latte art patterns.
Halloween themed latte art is my specialty.

I think I can safely say that I am still the fastest dishwasher at Artisan BVII (and maybe for all three Artisan outlets) but this title came with a price. After the first 2 weeks of intense dishwashing at the newly opened Artisan BVII, my hands were starting to die.

You can call it what you see it. 

Initial attempt at the rosetta.

I have very kind friends who visit me at the cafe and drink my lousy coffee. That was my first attempt at a tulip latte art.

Who knew dishwashing could lead to this???

I found myself getting foot massages at least once fortnightly because I wasn't used to standing for 8 hours straight on my feet for 6 days a week. And body massages once a month. My back hurts really bad now. 

This was me on the first day that Artisan BVII opened. My boss took a photo of me because he was so impressed with my dishwashing speed and skills.