Saturday, October 01, 2005

We Don't Need the Fucking Water.

This is for you, centerpide. Don’t take it too hard.

I don’t go clubbing too often.

But when I do, really, I go out with Hani and we go out with a couple of her friends to a club or a show and what not.

She’s the one who taught me to club, see. I had never been to a club before with friends or alone until I met her, and she taught me several things about clubbing.

I’m going to talk about them now.

Dance motherfucker, dance.

They’re rules that apply to anyone—from newbie clubbers to old vets that have done this shit since god knows when and have seen shit come and go. They’re good rules of thumb. I like them.

Remember what you’re there for.

You might want to go clubbing for the music. You might want to go clubbing for the drinks. You might want to go clubbing for the chicks, or the dancing, or to pose around looking beautiful. Fine.

But know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it before you enter the club, and keep at it until you leave. While in the club, Doubt Is Not Your Friend.

Imagine—you’re dancing, and suddenly, you see your girlfriend laughing at you, or a bunch of people laughing at you, or something. There are two things you can do:

  • Feel self-conscious, and thus angst about it.
  • Ignore them.

The club is possibly the most forgiving environment you can be in. You don’t need to fit in; that’s something only the Outside World needs to think about, not you. Not while in there.

The rules apply when you dance and get laughed at, or when you flirt and get rejected, or when you pose and people throw paper umbrellas at you (and you probably deserve it as well, you bastard), or if you puke your guts out and get kicked out, or if you’re listening to the music and the music suddenly starts sucking, or whatever.

You’re there for a reason. The minute doubt starts, take a break; go outside. Relax for a minute. If it doesn’t go away, stop. Go somewhere else. Or go home.

You’ll be fine.

Pay Attention to the People Around You.

You really do need to. While ignoring people’s reaction to you is great, please try and remember, you’re not alone. Pay attention to something we call “personal space”.

Dancing is great, but don’t start hogging into people’s space. No one needs an asshole—least of all a drunk asshole who’s having fun at other people’s expense.

Go With Friends You Trust.

Friends are great. They support you, they bail you out of shit, they dance with you, you have fun with them. But who do you trust?

Clubbing is the acid test of a friendship. No matter how nice someone is, no matter how accommodating they are outside the club, they can be the worst piece of shit ever inside.

I swear—that nice girl outside who is nice until she’s in a club, and she disappears and you find out later that she spent hours dancing with complete strangers while you and your friends panicked, worrying if she’s the next Canny Ong or what, or that guy who’s great while sober but kept trying to sneak vodka into your drink, and you’re Designated Driver and the only thing that’s stopping them from taking a fucking cab home and/or a fiery death they probably deserve….

The worst thing is, really, that you’ve never clubbed with them before. Fine, so go clubbing with them once. If you enjoyed yourself, do it again. But if you don’t, then stop going clubbing with them. No, I don’t mean stop being friends with them. Remain friends! You can still be close to them!

It’s just that you’re not going to run around behind them and getting them out of trouble yet again, or you don’t really fancy getting fucking stood up while your friend goes and tackles that hot specimen of the desired sex.

Reward Trust

Mind you, if someone takes care of you while you’re smashed, and if they’re good at it, and patient… hold on to them. Be nice to them. Buy them drinks when they’re not being Designated Driver. Keep them, don’t let fate or ill fortune take them away.

Trust me on this.

Take Care Of Yourself

Practise a few precautions, and generally you’ll be okay. Going clubbing to dance? Remember to drink a lot of water along with that Red Bull+Vodka you’re having.

Going clubbing for the music? Okay, but don’t stand too near to the speakers if you value your hearing (then again you might not. What? Eh? Speak up!)

Going clubbing to flirt and score? Condoms and a small bottle of lube, and lay off the sauce. You’re going to need all the control you can get.

Going clubbing to drink? Learn the adage: “Beer before liquor, never sicker; Liquor before beer, in the clear.” Pace yourself. Don’t binge.

Going clubbing to not get raped? Go in a group of people you can trust. No, that cute guy you just met in Economics class is not someone you can trust. Your friends. Someone who has her head screwed in. Someone not stupid. I know, that last one is a bit of a tall order.

Have Fun, Go Somewhere Else Or Go Home1

Really, it says it all. If you’re not having fun, go somewhere else. Tapped out all the locations? Go home.

There’s no shame in it. So you’ve decided to spend the rest of the night asleep, or eating a tub of ice-cream and watching the Three Stooges, or online, blogging. So what?

Sometimes clubs suck. Sometimes it’s the music. Sometimes it’s the crowd. Sometimes the police have raided the place for more coffee money to catch people using drugs and shit. It happens. Place sucked? Go somewhere else. Clubbed out? Go home.


1 Well, doesn’t really apply if you’re being a Good Friend. Tough it out, mate, and I feel for ya. Hope they appreciate what they’re doing, or else you might be going out with some new clubbing friends….

Monday, September 26, 2005

100: Never Forget the Craft.

Well, post #100. Wow. I missed my 1-year anniversary on blogspot, but I still have this.

Shame to waste it.

On Priority

I’ve always wondered what is it I find most important about blogging. It isn’t the fame (I’m secretly horrified that too many people will know who I am, and I am often horrified when they tell me that they read my blog), or the potential of freedom of speech (I spent several years in USENET, which cured me of wanting that), or the potential advance in technology in the sharing and reporting of views that blogging allows us (as opposed to every technological advance before this?).

There are those who see blogs as a form of personal expression (I do, too). Or a vehicle for a cause. Or a technological wonder. Each of these have their adherents.

The Craft

But then it hit me—it’s not about the technology, or the political, emotional, or cultural freedom. None of that matters to me. It’s respect to the craft.

Come off it, Tariq, you might say. Blogging is hardly an established medium. It’s been around, what, less than a decade? We’re still experimenting!

So what? You don’t blog an entry, do you? You write it. That’s the skill you use, and just because you’re in a newfangled medium changes nothing. The medium isn’t even all that newfangled. It’s sobering to realize that the medium is not at all new—that it owes so much to older, more traditional media.

You’re not just a blogger when you’re writing an entry, you’re a writer. You agonize over word order or sentence structure, and whether your ‘voice’ will hold the reader, or what rhetorical device you can use to get your reader (who may just be yourself) to be interested in you and not just skim through your article out of sheer boredom or confusion.

That’s why I have certain blogs in my list and others I visit infrequently. There’s no point in naming names for blogs that I don’t at all read regularly because they suck at their craft, but there are those whom I read almost all the time.

And why? Because reading them gave me pleasure. Because they were accessible, and when they weren't they were works of art. Or, in this case, craft.

An Issue of Respect.

The blogs I love may not the most popular blogs in the world. They have a dedicated fan-base, but that’s about it. They may not talk about The Latest Hot-Button Topic. They may not even be regular, which the rest of this community treats as a deadly sin.

But that’s it, you see.

If you want to be a good blogger, learn to respect the craft. Technology can compensate for irregularity, rhetorical skill can reduce the ennui of mundanity, and nothing warms cold nights like being cult and not mainstream. But nothing replaces craft. Mastery of the craft may not get you the hits, it might not get you the newspaper articles or interviews, it may not even pay the bills, but it’s priceless for one reason—nothing else replaces it.

Writing, Even For An Audience Of One

Respect your readers, even if the only person who reads this is you and a small group of friends. Or just respect yourself if you don’t have friends.

It isn’t enough to have a clever, rational argument—you’ve got to present it clearly. It isn’t enough to just have a passion for blogging—you’ve got to tighten your rhetorical voice, your cadence. It isn’t enough to be famous—you’ve got to have a balance between introspection and observation.

It doesn’t matter if your subject is mundane or dull; it doesn’t matter that the thing you’re talking about is so far away from the cutting edge people wonder why you’re talking at all.

If you can respect the craft of writing, you’re worth reading.

Screws On It All

Screw freedom of speech. Screw the sharing of ideas. Screw new technology. Screw innovative, revolutionary ideas. Return to the base of it all, and learn the craft.

There are books out there that will help, and web articles—go out and find them, because they’re valuable resources (I'm a fan of William Zinsser myself—his book, On Writing Well, is one of my favourites). Blogging is a tool of communication—learn to communicate!

Because if you haven’t got respect for the fucking craft, what else can there be?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Blog Meet.

Did you know, Hani and I nearly missed the blog meet?

Honestly, we thought it was going to be held at the 3rd floor food court. It was fifteen minutes later did we realized that that court wasn’t called Oasis, and we went downstairs.

First impressions.

You know, you can tell when a grouping of bloggers are sitting together. When a bunch of people are huddled together in a food court, not eating but instead just talking about stuff and fondling digital gadgets, you know you’ve got a meeting of bloggers.

But yeah! I got to meet with Peter Tan (he waved at me! OMG! That’s so cool.) And I met Sashi for the first time. Man, he’s skinnier than I expected. Yeah, I guess he does write like a fat guy.


Oh, and I met Claire for the first time. Oh, oh, oh, and MENJ, I got to meet MENJ. That particular meet was surreal. See, the guy had apparently waged some kind of covert war thing on me when I first went on this blog. He took it the wrong way and there was some name-calling.

Yeah, it was surreal.

There was this other gir!! She had come from her ballet exam, so she was really sweaty and hot warm! I didn’t have a problem with that at all. Nosir.

So Many People, Cannot Keep Track

And then there were so many people! And two people shoved their recording devices to my face, and interviewed me. That particular bit was weird and scary.

But it was fun! I guess. Wouldn’t mind doing it again. Only, er, next time, can we do it somewhere other than a food court? Oasis had this weird smell, and there were all these people….