15 June 2008

I am metal, hear me roar

I had a Chinese stand-up comedy gig tonight which I must say was quite fun.  I've come to realize that Hong Kong people really don't enjoy repetition. Most of the times whenever I hint at repeating one of my bits from my YouTube Video, I can see a lot of people's faces go dim as they prepare themselves to hear something they've heard before (probably a million times!). Well, in some ways I understand them because I used to feel that way before whenever I'd see the same comedian do a bit he did in another YouTube clip. But it's actually wrong to think that way, it's just that we've grown accustomed to people never saying the same thing in different occasions that now it seems that when singers repeat the same song over and over and over again, people love it, yet when a comedian repeats a classic bit, people don't seem to appreciate it. Well HK people so far. I have to admit, I'm not complaining here, I'm simply stating something I've come to notice after doing stand-up comedy for around 8 months now.

An old, old friend of mine came to watch the gig and it was really fun hanging out with her afterwards. We hadn't properly spoken to each other in...wow... like 3 - 4 years! Yet when we started talking, we had so much to just blab on about. Not so much catching up but more like just talking like we did before! :) Anyways, it was pouring cats and dogs tonight and I decided to walk home (without an umbrella... I hate umbrellas!) and just enjoy the rain. I dug into my bag and realized I'd left my MP3 player and headphones at home. At that moment I really realized how much I appreciate and love metal music. I won't go into specifically which kind of metal because I like a blend of all types, but boy oh boy do I love metal. I just started singing (in the rain) while walking for a good 40 minutes. People looked at me funny because here I was, getting drenched in the rain, singing to myself, yep, pretty crazy-looking I suppose. But hey, I love walking in the rain, seriously refreshing and the main thing I like is that the roads are usually very clear of people or at least they're trying to find the areas where there's some covering? Anyways, the point is, I love walking, I love metal and I love empty roads :).

So today is the lovely Day 10 entry for me. Ah, how far we have all come. Right before going on to do my set, I felt a weird mixture of comfort and nervousness. I've been doing stand-up enough so that I'm feeling comfortable going on stage that I only need to write down in note-form what material I want to tap into. Yet I feel a nervousness because there's an invisible layer of pressure on me to make sure I deliver. I mean, I know a lot of people who come to our shows do so because they've seen my YouTube clip or heard good things about us and it's important I/we don't let them down. Sometimes it's quite tough being the headliner because you don't really get to sit and enjoy the show. To be honest, I've never really got to enjoy our Chinese shows because I've always had to close the show being the last performer. I mean, again, I'm not complaining, I really appreciate the privilege of being put last because it's a kind of respect really. Speaking of respect, I've earned a lot of respect from people thanks to my comedy and well just me being me really. I mean, I don't try to put on an image for the world because I'm confident in who I know I am. I don't act like a metalhead so I feel cool, I am a metalhead!

My band had a gig on the 7th of this month and it was quite a good gig! We all had fun and the crowd was mosh-worthy. When watching some of the videos, I noticed some people in the audience had a weird sense of discomfort where they wanted to fit in with the other metalheads yet were putting on more of a show than really enjoying the music. I mean, I have no right to point fingers, but for me, being natural and being yourself is a very important thing/value. Of course, there are times when you have to put on a different hat, heck, when I'm doing comedy shows, I have to put on a different hat already! I'm not faking it, I'm just focusing on a different part of who I am. It'd be silly for me to put on a comedic hat when I'm meeting clients and having a serious discussion about a project. But going back to my point, I just feel that it's a shame that even in the metal community, there are what I feel can be deemed as posers. Metal music's actually one of the few types of music where it's not so much about fitting in, but more like being welcomed. You'll never see a true metal lover force someone else to listen to metal. No one forces people to enjoy metal because it's not like a religion we're trying to make people believe in, it's kind of like a lifestyle that we just follow and if it suits you, you're welcome as well. Sure you may say "yea, but what about the typical black t-shirt, silver chains, piercings, tattoos, etc.?" Well let me tell you, my favorite color is hot pink, I have no piercings and no tattoos. Yes, 99% of my t-shirts are indeed black and I always have a silver chain round my left thigh carrying all my keys, but in no way does this make me a metalhead and in no way does making sure you follow the above fashion pattern make you a metalhead. What I'm trying to say is that, in many ways, metal music has created its own kind of filter that forces people to really mean it if they say they enjoy it. The blasting riffs, the loud double bass drumming, the heavy bass lines all kind of drive a poser crazy after a while because there's only so much faking you can do with this type of music. A black t-shirt with the words "metallica" won't save your sanity after you pretend to enjoy the deadly tunes of say Cradle of Filth

But as my friend told me tonight, I really shouldn't judge. She's right. Who am I to judge whether another person is being true to themselves? It's like who I am to blame an audience member if they didn't laugh at one of my comedy bits that I think is funny? We've all got our own styles and I suppose I can give them the benefit of the doubt that they're giving metal a trial run.

I still remember the first time it clicked in my head that I really, really loved metal. It was thanks to a Slayer album called Diabolus in Musica. After hearing the tracks on that, I knew this was my music. I saved up all my money and bought that album and till today never regret it one bit. I proudly have a shelf housing all my metal CD's and that shelf keeps growing. My taste has evolved the more I learn of what's out there but in the end, I still love all the albums I own and even if I get tired of them, a few months of different tunes and I'm back to loving the good old albums again. Just tonight I reloaded my MP3 player with all my classic favorites for example Chimaira's the Impossibility of Reason. That album has gone with me through a lot of tough times. It's given me that energy to run that extra mile when my legs were burning up, it gave me the power to focus and get things done. Ah focus. Sweet, sweet focus.

Recently, I've been having a tough time focusing because I think I've actually developed more skill at multi-tasking. It's really weird but in some ways, I feel like I've developed this ability to think simultaneously, like I've noticed that very often I'm working at 2 things at the same time. My computer set-up involved 2 screens and I always find myself with 2 applications running on each screen so that when one of them is working, I'm busy in the other application getting stuff done. Earlier on, someone on FaceBook asked me about how I manage my time so that I can do so much stuff and I confessed that in many ways, I find myself near burnt out because of trying to juggle so much at the same time! However, when I was telling her the way I work, I actually realized that it's no longer a chore for me to try to find the best solution to everything I do, but instead, it's like a normality for me. I automatically try to think of the best ways to use my time now. For example, I was walking home and during that time, while my feet were moving, I was planning what I'd do once I came back. I thought about stuff like if I was hungry (which I kind of was) and immediately my brain started thinking what is the most efficient way I could eat and still get stuff done. Ridiculous! In a good way though.

So here I am, with a habit to GTD, with a habit to constantly find the best method for whatever I'm doing and with a habit to maximize my life. I have to say, it isn't easy and I do still find myself at times feeling burnt out from constantly trying to think of my next move while working on my current one. In fact, my friend tonight did tell me that and I agree. Sometimes I really just need to let it flow. In a previous post I talked about how letting it flow can work! And even tonight, during my stand-up comedy performance, I tried my best to just let it flow. It's hard because while you're on stage, you need to be in 110% mode and you're really over-revving your brain in many ways. But that's the price you have to pay. :)

Well, all I can say is good habits make you a better person on auto-drive. It makes what was something you had to constantly work at, a normal part of your life and you feel less and less strain at doing it. So the next time you're finding something quite a challenge, keep at it, chances are the more you work it out, the more it'll feel normal and before you know it, it'll even feel good when you can do it. When you reach that point, you know you made a habit. But never forget to make sure that it's a good habit.

Ahah 7:20am. Man I need to fix my bad habit of sleeping so late.. well early... but late nonetheless. Have a good day! Can't wait for tomorrow! :)



Blogger Daniel K said...

What a journey it has been for you! It's acceptable to hear a few jokes again. As for the Indian Made in China show, it was totally worth hearing them in person. The whole atmosphere and reality of it was great - everyone was there for a laugh! It's really not the same on a pixelated screen on youtube (despite the advances in HD display) however those videos were enough to make a case for me to consider it worth taking the day off work and fly down for the show! Some of my friends and family thought I was going to an extreme length but hey, it was my journey to get the best medicine! It was so funny as an audience member seeing the five 鬼佬 adamantly entering and seating themselves thinking they were in the right place before they realised they were the odd ones out!

23 April, 2015 12:14  
Blogger Vivek Mahbubani said...

Woah it is so weird re-reading this entry! I've changed and grown so much ever since! Well all I can say is the journey has been well worth it and yes ahah having the poor foreigners walk in only to realize it's not an English show was funny. I mean, it was in the title!!!!
Well thank you again for coming down and enjoying the show! I guess at the end of the day, everyone's going to judge you on what decisions you make until they realize it's a good one..but hindsight is an easy thing to discuss...
I guess being the odd one out just means you can stand out more ;) hahaah

26 April, 2015 19:32  

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