Mumbai in chaos

I avoid deliberately watching or reading news wherever possible. I don’t read newspapers. I don’t watch the evening news. I get more than enough from accidental glimpses and helpful friends and colleagues. More than that and I get bogged down and overwhelmed by the pain and distress that is the usual news fare. Too much and I cease being able to function on an acceptable level on a day-to-day basis, either because I’m too immersed in the news or I’m too affected by it.

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid major news stories. The visceral horror of watching the towers crumble on 9/11. The mind-numbing death toll of the 2004 tsunami. Bombings here, Mother Nature gone wild there, man-made disasters somewhere else. It’s everywhere you turn.

This week, it’s Mumbai. Suketu Mehta’s article in today’s New York Times, What they hate about Mumbai, is one of those things that makes me glad that trickles of news reach me despite my best efforts.

“But the best answer to the terrorists is to dream bigger, make even more money, and visit Mumbai more than ever. Dream of making a good home for all Mumbaikars, not just the denizens of $500-a-night hotel rooms. Dream not just of Bollywood stars like Aishwarya Rai or Shah Rukh Khan, but of clean running water, humane mass transit, better toilets, a responsive government. Make a killing not in God’s name but in the stock market, and then turn up the forbidden music and dance; work hard and party harder.

If the rest of the world wants to help, it should run toward the explosion. It should fly to Mumbai, and spend money. Where else are you going to be safe? New York? London? Madrid?”

Anything less gives terrorism the upper hand.


John Barrowman sings

jb_frontWatched him on Thursday’s Paul O’Grady show. Can I just say again how much I love him? He is such a funny, cool person. With such an infectious laugh.

And he has a lovely singing voice. He sang the new single from his latest album (Music Music Music, which was released on Monday), called “What About Us?” (written by Gary Barlow of Take That). The album isn’t available on iTunes Canada. Too bad, though having heard some of the songs on the album already, I suspect that “What About Us?” owes most of its charms to Gary Barlow’s writing skills, not John’s singing. Don’t get me wrong. He has a nice voice, but it’s a very ordinary, lovely voice when he’s singing covers, which is what most of his albums are. It’s a Broadway musical voice that is only elevated when he’s singing something original.

Continue reading “John Barrowman sings”