Thursday, 29 August 2013

REEL USEFUL at Bugis +: my new favourite shop in Singapore!

It's a chewbacca backpack!!!
It is my opinion that Singapore has way... way... WAY too many shopping malls, all these malls all have the same stores in them. They all sell the same crap, the same food and the same clothes. It's almost like shopping in Singapore has nothing unique to offer... Over the years, I've seen most of my favourite stores close down one by one, due to rising costs of rent and living.... there's just no place for subcultures and niche markets. To quote Palahniuk's Fight Club, "Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy". 

Over the last couple of years, all my regular haunts: book stores, comic stores, music stores, basically, just any kind of subculture niche thing I dig (the kind that isn't targeted at the wealthy) have folded. Cool little small businesses that cater to subcultures just can't survive with Singapore's crazy retail rental prices. This sad state of affairs is very much turning me into even more of a hermit.  :(
BUT the other day, after watching Pacific Rim, I found a ray of hope... this gem of a store in Bugis + called, "REEL USEFUL".  I wanna mention that this blogpost is in no way a paid blog ad or anything like that. I'm just a customer, that wants to tell everyone about this place. We need more cool stores (that aren't catered to the yuppie crowd) here in Singapore.

REEL USEFUL is at level 2, Bugis +, Singapore.

I fell in love with all the pop culture/ geeky/ nostalgic/ comic stuff in there.. they have t-shirts, sweat shirts, hoodies, earphones, mugs, flasks, pillows, clocks, posters, bags, magnets, bath robes, games, display items... plenty of stuff for a small store. I really didn't wanna leave, so I asked the shop owners if it was okay if I blogged about the store. They were very cool about it, so here's some of my favourite things from REEL USEFUL. 

Hoodies, tees and there's a whole lower rack that I couldn't fit in the shot.

Clocks that make the time pass faster, I dig the star wars one and the Homer one!

 I had one of my best friend's birthdays coming up and I really wanted to get him something from this store. I was choosing between this fashionable ninja turtle hoodie (Raphael's my favourite one)... and a bathrobe.

I really almost bought this for myself. I can't not laugh and be happy when I see my reflection.

They've got all the characters' hoodies for sale. But i was only interested in the Raphael one.

 but I decided to get my buddy this super awesome Chewbacca bathrobe. He works in his art studio at home and he likes to keep the airconditioner set to "arctic" so I think this would be more useful for him.

This is brilliant! the bathrobe is nice, thick and fluffy too.
There's a whole bunch of super hero aprons but I dug this the most.
PVC leather type DEXTER apron is a really good way to cook your prey, I mean, food.
Storm trooper backback!!!

These Vader bags are a hit, I'm sure. This character sells the most number of action figures.

He was telling me, "Choose this back pack... you must"
I liked the chewbacca backpack most, he had his bandolier and everything.
This Stormtrooper robe was pretty far out.
I'd go with the Targaryen mug, Daenarys is way hot.
"My spidey sense is tingling!!!"
Zombie/machine gun/ grenade ice cubes mean FUN.
I really, really, really want this set of beer pint cups.
of course, I would need this to help keep the beer extra cold. Can't help myself, I 'm a hardcore Simpson Fan.
You might think you can't see when you're all zipped up. But you can!
My favourite is really the ninja turtle Raphael Hoodie, but this is pretty nifty too.
A pizza cutter that makes R2D2 sound effects?? hahaha! great gift idea.
I didn't get to try out the sound quality, but I'm sure a star wars fan would dig these.
If you wanna go check out the store and all the other funky dandy stuff for yourself, here are the details. Lots of fun to look at, own and wondeful gift ideas for boys and girls who're cool.

REEL USEFUL- 201 Victoria Street #02-71, Bugis + Link Bridge Singapore 188067.

Here's the husband and wife team that opened the store, nice people. I'm holding Thor's Hammer!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Behind The Scenes part 2: Colours, Needles & Stories

I hope everyone here is looking forward to the weekend. Me, I've been busy rehearsing for my virgin gig at AQUANOVA Clarke Quay, working on my new website, making the final edits to the music video and checking on the final mix for my upcoming song, "Colours, Needles and Stories." Last week, I posted a little preview to this music video that I shot and cut.  Here's more!

The music video and the song will be out 1st July 2013! I'll be giving out the song free via if you sign up for the mailling list, don't worry, no spam!

My buddy Ernesto who helped me shoot the moving vehicle secnes.
This was shot before I quit smoking, Smoke breaks were precious!

Toshi checking up on our GOPRO cam
Ernesto checking up on our other GOPRO cam
The lovely Louise from Galaxy Tattoo 2
Boss man Niccku of Galaxy Tattoo 2 sketching while we set up the shot
Augustine, head honcho of GimmeloveTattoo. Sick Japanese style artist.
June from Gimmelove sketching. Check out her candy sleeve, it's awesome.
A funny little sign from one of the shops, LOL.
Jaws, boss man of Johnny Two Thumb Tattoo hard at work.
Elson, Think Tattoo checking on his tattoo machine
Lionel of Black Temple Tattoo tattooing fellow artist and buddy, Elvin from Elvin Tattoo.
Elvin of Elvin Tattoo was in a good mood when we shot that day.
Lionel of Black Temple making a kissy face while he inks

I really hope you enjoy the song and the video when you hear it. :)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Sneak Peek #1: Rehearsal Video

I will be performing a stint with the superb band A-LIST at AQUANOVA, Clarke Quay every fri and sat for a couple of months. This here is a sneak peek at our first round of rehearsals.

I am very much looking forward to this gig. The sound is awesome, the band is great and I get to sing my own, and my favourite songs. See you there, everybody!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Funny stuff

These 3 videos about men and women made me laugh non stop. Awesome.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Behind The Scenes part 1- "Colours Needles & Stories"

In exactly 2 weeks, I will be putting out my brand new song, "Colours, Needles and Stories".

The song's about my memories living life in Singapore and about why I get tattoos.

Here are the lyrics: 

Colours Needles and Stories

"Colours Needles and stories
Memories I’d like to keep
Forever close to my heart now
Always following me

Pictures people and troubles I meet
Fables I’d like to believe
Inking reminders I keep on my journey

Whatever the shade of our skin
No matter the tools in our hands
However big our burdens be
Everyone needs to be free

Pictures people and troubles I meet
Fables I’d like to believe
Inking reminders I keep on my journey
There’s some things in this life I try to forget
These markings on me keep me going
Every man dies but not all men live
The road’s been long in the lion city
But they’re all the pieces of me

Oh I want to remember
Oh I I need them close
Oh life I know is for the living
But there’s some things on my road I’ll want the same

Pictures people and troubles I meet
Fables I’d like to believe
Inking reminders I keep on my journey
There’s some things in this life I try to forget
These markings on me keep me going
Every man dies but not all men live
The road’s been long in the lion city
But they’re all the pieces of me"

I've also made a music video to accompany the song with the help of two of my buddies, Toshi & Ernesto who also know their way around the camera, actually, they know plenty more than me. So with 3 guys cameras, a van, my motorcycle and a lot of time and love... I've now got this video shot, edited and ready to go.

The music always gets done first, here are some photos of the sound recording process.
This here is a Neumann U87 microphone. I used this classic recording mic to record the vocals on "Colours, Needles & Stories." It's got a beautiful warm sound and for this laid back, pensive, nostalgic song... I think it works with my voice.

The Classic Neumann U87 Condenser mic.
I am not a very technical musician, I leave most of this stuff to the pros but I learned a fair bit about mixing, compression and all that boring stuff that's so essential to an audio recording.

Solid State SSL console.

it really is as confusing as it looks.

 After the music was recorded... the filming began. I decided to make the video that had a feeling of traveling, nostalgia, and tattoos, so I called a couple of friends from the tattoo scene here if they wanted to be part of this project. Thank goodness they did!

I borrowed a car & 2 gopros to try out a gopro setup
Toshi & Ernesto getting their cameras all prepped  & ready to go.

First stop, Visual Orgasm Tattoo studio on Arab Street.
very cool Visual Orgasm Tattoo signage.

Visual Orgsam's main man, Joseph.
Tattoo shops always has cool shit lying around. Check out this ram skull!

joseph was working on this owl.. it's off the self titled album from Norweigian metal band, Kvelertak.
I saw this skeleton in LASALLE & really wanted to use it some how but I couldn't find any where  to film it.

a nice sunny day for an outdoor scene shoot. Here's Toshi with my bike.

I'll put out the second part to this behind the scenes next week! :) Have a good week ahead, all.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

I believe in Lifelong Learning

As I write this, I am eagerly awaiting my results... I've spent the last year reading and working my butt off pursuing a music degree at LASALLE College of the arts and I think the results are due any day now. Honestly, I don't think I've ever worked as hard on anything academically before. I do hope that my efforts translate into good has to make the most out of the school fees, no? Especially when I had to pay for it out of my savings (El Cheapo strikes again). I have a phobia of looking at how low my funds are in the bank account now. (I tell myself it doesn't matter, money can always be earned lah, no problem.)

I remember telling myself after I had graduated from NUS that I would never voluntarily go back to school again... but 5 years later, I find myself pursuing another undergraduate course. LOL. the irony.

This time, I must say, it was different, maybe it's because I've actually found what I am passionate about. An all consuming interest. I kind of wish I could spend more time learning and you know, forget about earning money and paying mortgages.  I'd love to just keep learning, improving myself and creating.

My time in LASALLE really made me realize that education is the best investment you can give yourself, if you put in the effort. It's really about what you put in. You get what you put in.

The pursuit of creating music, making videos, singing, writing lyrics, recording, performing, is a never ending pursuit. There will never come a day where you would know everything about it... I think that's what makes it so fun for me. You will never be able to master any of it. 

This was my last gig performed in LASALLE a couple of weeks back for the LASALLE graduation show. I will miss my time there. Who knows? I might return there in a couple of years...

Rehearsing for the COLAB: the LASALLE grad show 2013.

In the mean time, I've got a whole bunch of new songs that I've written, I'm motivated and I'm excited to take them in the studio and put them out for all of you to enjoy... on my soon to be spanking new awesome website! Also... I might be starting a sort of regular gig where I might get to sing all my favourite songs from the 80s and 90s! more updates soon!

Also, I just had yet another birthday. I'm another year wiser, but another year of metabolic slowdown...  I've got a nice workout regime that I absolutely have to adhere to. The flipside about putting all my energy into my coursework... I get out of shape. :(
Happy birthday to me! I'm not a big fan of cupcakes but these were custom made for me, so I really appreciate it.