Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The women (in music) are here!

Since a long time now there has been a dearth of good female musicians, the key word here being good, across various genres of music. International pop music was dominated by female artists who seemed to be in the business solely to sing along on auto-tune and make videos in skimpy clothes (or so a friend has told me many times).

I mean, of course there are good female voices out there, but most of the time they're just turned into and/or drowned out by the cacophony of manufactured pop acts out there, with plastic faces, singing meaningless party lyrics and grooving obscenely in videos, while repeating variations what is known as 'the pop chorus' - which basically includes some random rhyming words. (Katy perry, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj....and well many more I don't care to find out about).

And now, well finally, finally, this past year, I have found female musicians I truly admire. With real talent, powerful vocals, meaningful lyrics, and looks that no one cares about, these women have broken into the music scene and changed the current scenario, and won many hearts and ears.

To start off the list, there is only one woman I must talk about, Adele. I mean, her voice has to be heard to be believed. And such powerful lyrics to go. Wiki tells me her latest album 21 has spent 11 consecutive weeks at number one in the UK, the longest ever by a female solo artist on the UK albums chart.

With 'Someone like you' I think she just outdid herself. I don't think heartbreak and vulnerability has ever been described better in a song. Don't let her vocal range put you off though, some may say she screams a lot. I happen to like the screaming. But this particular song has a couple of versions where she has varied pitches. I doubt there are many artists who can do that kind of a thing.

She hasn't even come up with that many videos for her songs, most of them are just live recordings of her singing in that magnificent voice. Other songs I would recommend are 'Rolling in the deep', 'Set fire to the rain', and 'Daydreamer'. This lady is made for great things, is already a legend in her own right, and I cannot wait to hear more of her music, while of course, listening to her older songs every single day.

Florence + The Machine
Then we have yet another English artist, Florence and the machine. She first shot to fame last year with their song 'Dog days are over' and to be honest, I didn't like her too much then. But now, with 'Shake it out' she has my full attention. With fantabulous lyrics like 'I am done with my graceless heart/ So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart' I don't know why I should listen to any of the other pop trash out there. Her music has been variously classified as 'mystical pop' or 'rock' and well I don't care much about the classifications.

I have been exploring more of her music, and I realize all the critical acclaim she is receiving isn't unwarranted. 'No light, no light', and 'Leave my body' are other songs by her you should check out. Though all her music may not appeal to me, there is undeniable talent here.

Lana Del Rey
Another singer I have discovered just a couple of days back is Lana Del Rey. So far, the only thing I know about her is that her music is ethereal and addictive. Listen to 'Video Games'. I haven't been able to stop listening since a week now. Don't get distracted by how she looks. She is the only good looking singer on this list. That track however may not appeal to everyone with its lazy meandering pace. Other tracks you should check out are 'Born to die' and 'Blue jeans'. This singer is just starting off, but there is something special here, no doubt about that.

Last on this list is the very (in)famous Lady Gaga. She has single-handedly transformed the International Pop scene, bringing in good quality music, infusing a new lease of life into music videos, and changing concepts of fashion forever. High time you stopped making fun of her and started respecting her. Have any doubts about her vocal prowess and let the song 'You and I' dispel them. I don't think I will ever be able to get over that song. Her music, in general is very get-stuck-in-your-head type and very danceable-to. And who doesn't love a great dance track? Her other songs I would recommend are 'Bad Romance''Telephone' and 'The edge of glory'.

Lady Gaga
Her lyrics may be obscene at times, but I assure you they are never dumb. Sample this: 'I don't wanna think anymore/ I left my head and my heart on the dance floor' (on Telephone). She doesn't look that good but hides the fact extremely well with her various get-ups. She has created an identity and an image for herself, which helps a lot to set herself apart and succeed in the otherwise sick frenzy of female pop artists out there. For that, I admire her. And well, as she herself proclaimed in one of her songs: 'I'm a freak, baby' (on Bad Romance), maybe we should just accept that and move on. Her videos are always such brilliant works of art, though often bordering on unwatchable. But listening to her music always feels good. In a bad way. Yeah.

Do let me know if there are any female artists currently making music that you really admire. Here's to hoping more of good music and more of female dominance over this world. Hah. Ladies and gentlemen, sit up, and listen. The women are here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Conversations from Psychiatry

I have only a short post for you, since I only attended parts of my already short Psychiatry rotation.Other than that, do let me know what you all have been up to, how are your rotations going, and for my co-interns, how bad is the exam fever?

An ongoing discussion about various ways in which funds can be used by the department.

J: Sir, we can get carrom boards in the wards for indoor patients, some entertainment for them. Both the side rooms are empty only most of the time. We can keep it there.
Y: Yes, that's a good idea, but who will take responsibility for taking care of the carrom boards, that is the question.
P: Oh yes, always good to entertain the patients. Tell me, is the TV in our ward working?
J: Yes sir, the one in the male ward is working, the one in the female ward isn't.
P: Okay, don't you people want to install a treadmill in the ward? Let's get a treadmill. All you junior doctors can work out on it, patients can work out on it, good for everyone.
J: <Says nothing>
J: (trying again) We should get some games for the patients to play and pass time. We can get something like playing cards.
P: Yes, let's get them Tarot cards.
Me: <mouth hanging open>
J: Sir, the psychotic patients will make predictions with the Tarot cards and become even more psychotic.
P: Yes, that should be great.
J: (looks at where I am sitting) All you interns, please go sit in the next room.

{J=Junior Doc
Y=Unknown in pyramid
P=Senior doc
Me=Bottom of pyramid}

Intern: (Shouting in the ward for a patient) ABC, ABC... ABC kaun hai?
X: Haan ji, yahaan hoon.
Intern: Aapka khoon nikalna hai, chalo so jao.
<proceeds to collect blood>
Intern: <handing over a bulb> Issme Urine collect karke table pe rakh dena.
X: Theek hai Doctor sahab.

<Intern goes and starts studying>

<After some time>


<Everyone gets scared and looks at each other>

Intern: <bravely gets up and goes out> Yes, sister. Kya hua?
Sister: <gives murderous look>Why did you collect the patient's relative's blood? And Urine also!!!
Intern: But, but, I was calling for the patient, and he came!
Sister: But, don't you know admitted patients are in hospital clothes?
Intern: But...
Sister: But what?
Intern: <shuts up and goes to collect the patient's blood now>

{Yeah, this story wasn't even related to psychiatry. But it happened during my Psyche rotation. You will have to just grin and bear it.}

I have had this love-hate relationship with Psychiatry since I joined MBBS. As a subject, it has always fascinated and intrigued me to no end. All the oppurtunities the field brings, to people-watch, and psychoanalyze, and counsel (which very ironically I think I would be good at, believe me or not!) had me in this excited state for a couple of years, and I seriously thought that this is what I would get into. But then, my family explicitly forbade me to even consider this an option, and gradually I realised the field is very sidelined in India, with most people looking down upon Psychiatrists as well as their patients.

But then, I was faced with an even bigger problem. I could not find a single Psychiatrist who would command some respect, in the professional sense, and in the way they conducted themselves. I found no one I could look up to. And I looked. But all of them seemed to have issues. When they came and conducted lectures for us, the lectures were huge embarrassments. None of them seemed to treat their own profession with respect and/or like a science. Disheartened, I gave up.

I know, I'm probably sounding like a demented snob right now. But I have nothing else to blabber about so bear with me. I eventually decided Psychiatry would not be a good career choice for me.

But then, during this rotation, I think I may have finally come across a sane Psychiatrist who commands some respect. Not too sure though. Let's see.