trešdiena, 2009. gada 30. decembris

The year is almost over. It started strange and pretty stupid and for some time it seemed that the whole year would be crazy as well.
And it was… Full with difficulties, hard moments and stresses, but of course with nice feelings as well. And despite the predictions on January 1st – there were more positive things and happy moments this year than I thought! But as I said – this year is OVER!

What to expect from the next one… and probably from the next decade as well?
As I wrote in my radio review of the year, nobody can be sure about the forthcoming events neither in our lives, nor anywhere around us. Who knows... Probably we’ll have some new economic crisis and probably Latvia won’t be in the worst situation in Europe (Greece is „threatening” to take this title away from us), probably some new viruses will emerge (maybe we’ll even run out of the names of the animals?) and probably, we’ll even have a new ice age? I’m not talking about the 4’th part of the movie but about a real cold (as some scientists predict – there won’t be global warming, but the cooling of the planet has already started)
But actually – do we really care much about all these things? Yeah... „SURE”… we want to be informed about everything, because everyone just likes to comment everything (but not many of us are willing to change something)…

Somehow my job is to comment… And I will and will have to do that... And I like that! But what can I change? The easiest answer would be – I can’t influence anything, so I won’t change anything… NO, I’m not gonna say that!
And the first thing I’ll try to change will be ME! How? I’ll keep it in secret, because otherwise my determination might not succeed (Yes, I’m superstitious!)

So, 2010… here I come!

svētdiena, 2009. gada 27. decembris

It's time to face the music!

Have you ever been asked if you liked some certain kind of music? I suppose everyone has! And the most common answer to this question is also very simple – different kind of music!
I have to admit, that I’m one of those persons as well. However I can somehow describe what kind of music I like or, let’s say, it’s easier to describe, what kind of music I don’t like (because my preferences change from time to time, but the music I don’t like – almost never).
So I started to think, what are those qualities, that define Good music?

For centuries, people and musicians have done everything they could to combine two main things – melody and lyrics. That’s the basics!
I used to say that the text was the most important for me for a very long time, because I really was trying to understand and sometimes even to remember the texts. Just for myself. This kind of attitude made me love hard rock, metal, and sometimes even the death metal… Sometimes it even helped me to „like” some poor music… For example, some rap…
But then somehow it changed and I understood that there is no use of good text without good music (rap, again). And, of course, the best combination is when melody and lyrics complement each other. Unfortunately, the text can kill the melody and vica versa. So, probably it’s better to choose just a melody? … and read poems while listening to the music?
However, the two factors I mentioned before doesn’t play the main role in the modern music any more. At least I think so. Damn pop-culture has put it’s own stamps – Pr’s, money, charts, sales, sensations, rumours etc, etc…. It just seems that you don’t need to care about the quality anymore: if you can’t sell your records – do something stupid, get drunk, make a crash with your car, sleep with someone famous, get married with someone strange, get divorced or even… die! (sorry, but, that’s so) And people will buy the record even if it’s a crap – but it’s damn famous crap and even more expensive, so it puts you on some sort of a different shelf in the eyes of society!

But yesterday I realized one thing… All those things don’t matter much, if you have no feeling for it! You don’t need a high quality performance with extra quality sound, you don’t need super-deep-and-thought-challenging texts. All you need is a good company and good emotions! That’s what matters the most! I had experienced this feeling at least 3 times lately and that has made me feel happy... And all of these times were different... the music was different!

If someone would ask me now, if there is some concert (let’s say – of some world famous band) I would like to attend, I couldn’t choose a single one! Because I think there is NONE! Well, ok, maybe 1 or 2...

Yes, I would probably sell my soul to see Pink Floyd live, however It’s unrealistic early morning dream…

trešdiena, 2009. gada 16. decembris

FWD messages... just this time!

I hate Forwarded messages! And most of the people feel the same, seeing their mail boxes filled with Fwd: Fwd: Fwd-like messages.
I suppose, usually most of the people, including me, in such situations act the same – just delete these kind of messages without reading.
Last night I received 7 such messages.. All the same! And I couldn’t help myself not reading at least one of them (Why the hell did I do that?). But somehow – I didn’t feel bad at all….

These mails were about a Christmas market, where anyone can buy some nice gifts made by disabled and old people. And about the situation, when such a market has no other advertisement (The authors of the original letter tell, that it’s forbidden!) than some good words forwarded from friend to friend. The idea is just great and I think I will visit this market as well and maybe even forward this message to other people. And probably all together we will make someone feel better this Christmas…

But all this situation made me think about something else.
Lately there have been a lot of activities connected with charity, for example, the initiative I take my hat off in front of these people, who sacrifice their free time to make kids feel better. And I’m really glad that all this started not just before Christmas… Because from time to time I have the impression, that „we are getting better towards others” only before Christmas. Because we HAVE TO, because it’s recognized as being good… Ok, some may say, that we do something good not only before or during Christmas. Let’s say, two charity campaigns organized by LNT (Latvian Independent Television) – yes, lot of people call and donate their money to help sick children… But some may say, I won’t pay, because it’s not possible to help everyone…
And that’s the problem… We (I have to admit, that I’m one of them) somehow forget about people in needs after all these campaigns are over. Because it’s easier not to notice the problems around us but to say that we are helping to solve them from time to time… And it’s always difficult and hard to do something for someone without asking anything for that… We’re living in a material world, as Madonna used to sing

But still, I’ve noticed one paradox… Mr./Madam Crisis has somehow affected everyone of us and I guess there won’t be much people, who would say their financial situation has improved during last year. But despite this, people are participating more and more in different charity campaigns, helping others and donating money… ( I suppose they could afford much more, if not spending so much for voting on different TV shows)

Have we really changed? Have we become better persons?

Unfortunately, I think – not much… However, you have to start from something! And probably Christmas is the right time for that...?

svētdiena, 2009. gada 13. decembris

Lichen-beard VS Ruler of The World

Almost a month ago my friends gave me a great present – took me to a film-concert by a group of Latvian musicians „Dabas Koncertzāle” (Nature’s Concert hall). It was a film about a music concert in forests of Latvia - a successful combination of science, music, poetry and visual arts. It was unbelievably relaxing and impressive!

I watched the record yesterday once again… And started to think about the fairy-tale which was told there… In short, it was something like that…

Long time ago there was a tribe living somewhere in the forest. And there was a clever but strange old man, living seperate from the tribe. People called him Lichen-beard (Ķērpjbārdis). The man was really strange, going around the forest, murmuring some magic spells and drawing some strange signs on the stems of the trees.
One day Lichen-beard came to the chief of the tribe and asked him to give some young man to whom he could pass his knowledge. However, the chief was so busy, self-satisfied and uninterested about the strange offer of a strange man, that the answer was negative. The old man walked away and some time later died…
Then real natural disasters struck the Earth putting the tribe in real despair. Besides, the big floods and heavy rains washed away all the signs from the trees left by a Lichen-beard.
One day the chief of the tribe prayed for the gods to send his tribe some help. And really, some light persons came down from the heaven and told that they would like to help, but they have to talk to the old Lichen-beard. „He’s dead”, replied the chief. So they asked for the person to whom the old man has left his knowledge. „There is no such person”, answered the chief…
And Then the „people” from heaven said that the old „Lichen beard” was the last wise man left, who knew the language of signs and who could translate the great wisdom of life hidden in them….

This was a really short version of the fairy-tale (I’m sorry to the authors about such a sketchy interpretation of it!). But I hope you got the idea…

At first, it was just a fairy-tale, but then… Suddenly I realized that there are so many strange and weird people around us, to whom we just don’t listen, because we somehow don’t accept them. Who knows, what kind of wisdom they carry and what could we learn from them?

And there was a certain man I remembered… He was a tall man with a beard who used to walk in Riga streets with a wooden stick, singing folk songs and shouting patriotic slogans in his thunder-like voice… I used to talk to him. He presented himself as a Ruler of The world (Pasaules Valdnieks). I guess everybody knew him exactly by this name….

Few people knew that this stranger was a simple man named Pēteris Seņkāns, who sometimes made even politicians feel uncomfortable because of his sayings, who talked to anyone he met on the street – no matter poor or rich, a local one or guest… Towards anyone he was open and sincere. Some called him a wise man, some called him sick one, some just listened and answered him with a handshake.

Just at the end of October The Ruler of The World passed away… As a simple man. But contrary to the Lichen-beard, he was not forgotten – Even some newspapers and magazines wrote about his death, internet was full of condolences from different people who just like me – met him some day somewhere on the street… And believe me – I didn’t read a single bad word about this man on internet…

Who knows how many such strangers are still among us and who knows, if we won’t be the same at the end? No matter what happens, but I realized how important is to leave something after you…
I’m still looking for such a thing… Actually, writing a blog is almost like writing some signs on the trees, and the only hope is that someone will read and understand it…

otrdiena, 2009. gada 8. decembris

Ireland - the land of my "dreams"

I just came back from Ireland – the „green island” that used to be the land of my dreams!
I might say I used to be obsessed with Ireland some 10 years ago: Celtic and Irish music, poetry, nature, art, weapons, jewelery, tattoos, beer… Almost everything! I even had a thought of learning Gaelic without any need to use it in the future! Later on, when taking some quiz, Ireland was named the country where I should live.
This was the second time I visited Ireland and I realized that SOMETHING HAS CHANGED!

I still love all the things I mentioned above, but somehow my attitude has changed and I wouldn’t say this is my dream country any more. Why?

During this week I spent in Ireland, I didn’t see much of all the things I like, but I saw some things from the real life not just from imaginations. Probably not from the point of view of an Irishman, but from a point of a tourist and from the point of some Latvians who live there.
I had a chance to have a ride around Dublin region without concentrating on cultural objects. So I paid attention to some other things: I saw a lot of nice houses and farms, but at the same time I saw a lot of ugly architecture (I mean REALLY UGLY) and a lot of mess around these houses. I saw a lot of luxurience and vulgarity at the same time. But that’s ok – every country can „BE PROUD” of such things as well!
But I guess the people impressed me the most! And not in the best way! Didn’t have a chance to meet much of them, but got the impression for sure. It seems that they just don’t care about anything, about the way things look around them… and the way they look themselves! Probably the only thing they do care about is pub and few pints of beer… I also heard a lot of stories about the attitude of authorities towards different groups of people and believe me, it seems that there is even a bigger mess than in Latvia, but all of this is worth a longer story or even a research.
Despite all this, from now on I will respect more and more those Latvians who have gone there working and living. Because they are not getting everything from the ”RIVERS OF MILK AND HILLS OF PORRIDGE”. Their bread comes out from the sweat and sometimes tears. But despite all this they struggle… And that makes me respect them even more! And specially the young people, who have to adapt to the cruel reality of Irishness!
Yes, THE REALITY IS CRUEL! As everywhere, I guess…

And I don’t think that everything I saw during last week will make me love „Clannad” less or adore „Lady of Shalott” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson less. However, I don’t think that I will consider moving to Ireland to live or work in the nearest future… But I’m looking forward to going there again… soon – to see more!

P.S. Well, maybe just shopping is worth going there! Even if I hate it…