In my household, Sundays find the teenager in the house glued to FM radio for the usual rundown of the top ten hit songs of the week. Although the cynic in me tends to suspect that the ranking of the songs is arrived at through very subjective selection processes, I grant that listening to the weekly countdown simplifies lives. One gets instant access to the hit tunes without having to wait for them played in between the usual warbling, crooning and preaching that some people dare call music.
Listening to the countdown over the weekend got me thinking about the other top ten lists in my life.
First, books. Topping the list would be Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, then Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, then State of War by Ninotchka Rosca. And then there’s The English Patient (in the novel form) which is brooding and sad but oh so beautiful - I have read it twice already. The other books would be God of Small Things and A Fine Balance, both written by Indian authors. Love in the Time of Cholera or 100 years of Solitude (Gabriel Marquez de Garcia), The Redundancy of Courage (Mo Yan), and kissing in manhattan by David Shickler.
Ninotchka Rosca, incidentally, is a Filipina writer based in the US. Catcher in the Rye was required reading in College which meant that many students did not appreciate it because it was imposed material. Of course, when assassins got caught holding a copy of the book, it became an instant accessory. I doubt very much if people actually read it, but I know many many people who owns a copy of the book. Perhaps they fancy themselves to be assassins in some previous life?
Next, songs. I’ll wear my heart out on my sleeve and say that the songs I love are those that have - snicker, snicker – meaning in my life. I guess this is what some people refer to as a "theme song." For the record, these songs were never consciously chosen. They just somehow wormed themselves into my life and my failed relationships.
Topping the list would be If I Loved You from Carousel, The Goodbye Girl, I Know Him So Well from Chess, Losing My Religion by REM, Every Breath You Take by the Police, I Hate Mondays by Tori Amos, and slowing down a bit, When the Winter is Gone, and finally, Something Good from The Sound of Music. The more astute reader will notice that the selection of songs run a wide range of musical categories from classic rock, to broadway tunes, to mushy love songs, to something from the Sound of Music.
Movies now. The Godfather movies would top my list anytime. It’s a pity Martin Scorsese won’t do them anymore. I guess that’s really the way to go: end when the going is great (politicians wake up and smell the coffee!). The next two movies closest to my heart are Torch Song Trilogy, and then Moment To Moment. I like Torch Song for its wit, humor, politics and heart. Moment to Moment was a movie from my childhood – and it has stayed on in my memory mainly because of three reasons: that powerful scene which showed a fastastic sunset on a cliff while thousands of doves soared by, the haunting song from the movie, and the fact that the movie introduced me to psychology (one of the main characters was a pyschologist).
The movies of my childhood would also be there: Dr. Zhivago, Gone With the Wind and Ten Commandments. Oro, Plata, Mata and Himala as well as Scorpio Nights would definitely be in my top ten list of all time. Oro, Plata, Mata and Scorpio Nights are movies by Peque Gallaga. I like Oro, Plata, Mata for its brilliant structure and visual feast (hectares of sucar cane fields set on fire!, majestic old houses in Negros!). Scorpio Nights was one of those movies that defined the concept "riveting" - watching it was a real physical experience. It was too bad some people could not see through the sexual content of the film and failed to see that the movie was a political allegory. Himala is, I think, is the best Filipino film ever made. It was made without any commercial consideration at all.
Why am I doing this? Wala lang. Just that someone pointed out that my blog is too heavy. So here’s the corny stuff, guys.
Excuse me, I need to brush my teeth.