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Welcome to Our World
“Dude, I'm in a band!”

Technically, I should be proud of living in a neighbourhood that hosts seven guitarists, four drummers, five vocalists, three bassists and a few other odd instrumentalists. However, the reality simply disappoints me further every time I meet someone, excitedly skipping-n-dancing or doing weed while telling me of their upcoming concerts. Kids, the so-termed underground scenario is losing its touch, as the number of 'musicians' increase and their qualities decrease.

How It All Began
Around 1997, underground concerts were being arranged, featuring Koprophillia, Migraine, Dethrow, Cryptic Fate and so on. With small numbers of dedicated, young crowds, the bands brought a new wave of covers and quality performances to the scene. 'Trimatrik', Aurthohin's breakthrough debut album in 2000 was followed shortly by Cryptic Fate's 'Sreshtho', Black's 'Amar Prithibi' and Artcell's 'Onno Shomoy'. Each album had its own unique approach with a handful of brilliant compositions. They gained fast-paced popularity among the small-scale youth populous and soon, the bands had secured their hardcore fans.

Influenced by the style and energy of these bands and gaining a different platform for exposing new-age musical talents, many bands started emerging about the same time. There were numerous concerts were Artcell, Black and CF played head-to-head, 'class A' music alongside Sellout, Breach, Poison Green, Nemesis, Fulbanu's Revenge and Part of the Scenery. Around 2003, Nemesis' easy-going music, Sellout's lively stage acts and Artcell's smooth drumming captivated attention, with more concerts and growing crowds.

Let's All Rock-n-Bang
With the rising popularity of these bands, more teen bands have started popping up. With a fast-moving music scene, it is easier for young musicians to get noticed. Music is the 'hottest' thing in town and everybody belongs to a band or whatsoever. Coming from financially active families, buying an Ibanez is easier than learning what chord means. Downloading and picking up a few basic tabs and showing off the tiniest spark of non-existent talent earn them points with their girlfriends and friends.

A lot of the bands are more focused on covering stereotype, 'happening' genres, rather than experimenting with new styles. Lacking proper exposure or respect towards other genres, most of the bands are inclined on trying out 'things everyone is talking about'. Previously, rock/alternative and basic metal was the latest scoop, but nowadays, it's all about extreme metal. Their music is typified by former local influences or lacks coordination and originality. With software and extremely user-friendly computers, people can record music sitting at home and it's never quite up to the mark.

Good Things Happen Too
It's not all about the bad things happening. Jaatishhor's self-titled album had variation, and essence of folk and rock-fusion. Kronic has been in the scene longer than many current bands, but released their debut album not very long ago. It had elements of psychedelic rock, punk, pure rock and a hint of metal. Poison Green was the trendsetters for heavy/extreme metal scenario in Bangladesh. Ajob was a funk compilation of rock-fusion.

Respect, Practice and Patience
This RPP formula is not appealing to most 'musicians'. Being in a band isn't about getting attention; it's about creating serious, good-quality music. New musicians should listen to more music, try harder, be patient and have a genuine passion and respect for what they do. CF waited for 10 years before releasing their debut album. When working with originals, they should apply variation instead of regular, boring solos. One of the reasons why we never got bored of listening to Trimatrik, Onno Shomoy, Notun Diin'er Michhile or Sreshtho is because each number tried to do something different with their instruments or lyrics. Be diverse, break the chains and be experimental with your originals. Think five times before choosing words for your lyrics and try bringing in some of your own innovation when doing covers.

Underground music is probably one of the best things that happened here. Bangladesh has recently seen much potential and some good shows. Someday, we'll see our musicians on MTV Cribs!

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Welcome to Our World
Welcome to the Planet

'Here are some things we are NOT here to dowe're not here to cut toenails, eat ice cream, or…fix that thing!'

Next Important Thing (NIT) jumped out of her withered mummy skin and held up the projectorupside down. The Headmistress descended the massive stone steps down the stage and shook NIT like a rattle.

'You incompetent, idiotic, worthless nincompoop of a person! How many times have I told you that?'

'Ooh, Headmistress, I've got the slides!' Executive Vice President Dr. Laughter (PhD, Laughter) came tearing out of the green room, holding up sleek shiny silver thingies.

Headmistress was not amused. 'Well, don't just stand here! Get moving!'

The door to dungeon-cum-auditorium opened. Dr. Man (PhD, Nothing in General and associate Professor) brought the students along.

'Erm…we have an audience?' he said aloud (to no one in particular).

Once again the Headmistress was not amused. 'Well, come on, move, move it. We don't have all day!'

Everyone made a general scramble for nothing in general. The teachers took their seats on stage. The projector flickered to life. Behind the Headmistress's massive head was a picture of some ancient stone building. The (only two) students of the honorable Weirdoes Academy Inc weren't amused as well, but they had enough senses to keep their mouths shut. No one wanted to see the Headmistress in a rage.

Once seated in the center of attention, the Headmistress was happy. She nodded to her subordinates (two on one side, one on the other), tapped the microphone with her stiletto, and began.

'Well, my children, I suppose you all know what we're here for…'

Naomi, masters in Full of Emotions, was weeping dramatically. She raised her voice and cried, 'but we don't, we don't.'

(She, of course, didn't see the MASSIVE banner suspended over her head which said 'Welcome to the (un)Real World: Lecture by Honorable Headmistress She-Without-A-Name).

'Well, you will.' Headmistress turned to the picture. 'Take a look at the real world, our world. It's a nice world, really, a fun world. It's an ice cream world.' She changed slides. 'It's a world full of sunshine and magic and butterflies and strawberries growing from trees. Now observe. See this half-eaten round building. It's called the Colosseum. In our world it would be something important. This thing is living history. Now, in the unreal world'

'In the unreal world, people want to TEAR IT DOWN!' cried NIT. She was silenced with a conk on the head.

Ayman, a major in the Dark Side, was incredulous. 'You can't destroy history!'

Dr. Laughter piped up. 'Of course you can. Anything's possible in the unreal world. History comes crumbling down. All these pictures you seethey're almost living history, and they're all kind of dying. In our world they'd live. See thisthis is the Trevi Fountain. It's full of coins and water and it's all nice and pretty. You see all these happy people. Everyone's happy. But lurking amongst them are destroyers of all things nice and pretty. Do you know where they live?'

'Um…in the attic?'

'Well, they could…but that's beside the point. No, they live in the unreal world. All these places' pictures of mountains, pyramids, hanging gardens, lakes, trees, nice, crumbly ancient buildings streaked with golden rays of sunshine passed by'They would exist in our world. They'd just…be. But not in the unreal world. Nothing is forever in the unreal world.'

'Indeed, morbid thoughts,' said Dr. Man solemnly.

Ayman perked up at the mention of morbidity. 'If it's so morbid, how come I've never seen it?'

Headmistress looked at NIT. NIT fumbled with a switch. The curtains behind the screen lifted.

Full-of-emotion Naomi was stunned into silence.

The wall behind the teachers' table had 'unreal?' stamped all over the place. It also had things that pupils of Weirdoes Academy had never witnesseddeath, famine, war, pollution, destruction. It had people dying, crying, bleeding. It had pain and torture and anguish, and no one in the real world had ever seen it.

Even Dark Side Ayman kept his mouth shut.

'But…you know…this can't be the real world.' Naomi gestured at the collage of suffering.

Dr. Man smiled. 'Oh, Naomi, but it is.'

'But isn't our world the real world?'

'Our world…is dreamland,' said NIT. 'It's created by us. We choose to live in an illusion of happiness. But that doesn't change the fact that the real world is out there…and always will be.'

Naomi was close to tears. 'Are you telling me that THAT is the real world? '

Headmistress looked at her colleagues, at the loss of innocence. Then she smiled a sad smile.

'Yes, it is. Welcome to the planet.’

By Shehtaz Huq

Welcome to Our World
The era of cell phones

There was a time when cell phones were used so that people could keep track of each other. But then times changed and the original cell phones with the black and white display quickly transformed themselves into these weird objects that could take photos, play music, allow you to access the net and what not! Of course these changes didn't take place overnight, it took years of research and hard work and it was seen that every year, small little alterations were added to the phones.

Each time a new technology or feature came out; people were seen buying it enthusiastically.

The prices would be high and anyone owning such a magical phone could be found showing it off to their fellow colleagues or friends. Still today, that ritual continues- but amongst a different age group.

You see, the thing is, most elder people (I said most!) are now bored of this game of show off. Instead, it has been passed on to the next generation, us teenagers. Now days, kids can be seen clustering together, evaluating each others mobile phones. The more expensive the cell phone, the more incredible it is.

It wouldn't have been that bad except for that day, after coaching, I noticed this one guy showing his friend his flashy new cell phone and saying, “Dost, even though this phone cost me fifty five thousand bucks, I'm already bored with it! Will you come with me to buy a new one this weekend?” Bored???! I wish I could chop that guys head off! It's because of such people that the rest of the teenagers, with not so expensive mobiles, feel so small.

A friend of mine bought his cell phone with his very own money. He taught students, saved up and finally bought a Nokia 1100. Till date, I have witnessed the cell crashing to the ground, sliding across tables, all scratched up. And guess what? It still works as good as anything!

So, the bottom line is that cell phones are to make phone calls. Not for show off or for collection. I'm not demeaning everyone who's got expensive ones. It's absolutely ok! But the limit gets crossed when people restlessly go on buying one after another, like a hobby or something! Come on guys, I'm sure you agree with me, it's all really crazy! Life goes way deeper than that!

By Nayeema Reza

Book review
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
JK Rowling

I was seriously nervous about reviewing a Harry Potter book. Something tells me I'm not worthy. But this task was given to me, so I'm going to stop freaking out and do my job right. After all, I'm Dumbledore's man, through and through.

Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series. By the time it came out, Harry had crept into many bookshelves [including mine] and this book was eagerly awaited for by many fans. And it didn't fail to satisfy. This is where the tendency of bigger books started, along with a lot of other things.

The Plot
Harry is in his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But there are weird rumours flying in the air and distressing occurrences. The Death Eaters [Voldemort's supporters] are more active than they've been for thirteen years. The Dark Mark has been seen. There are unexplained disappearances; the first signs of discomfort within the wizarding community. And Harry and his friends have a new teacher an Auror [Dark-Wizard Catcher, Wizard FBI, Secret Service, Wizard SWAT, take your pick] by the name of “Mad-Eye” Moody [not to be confused with our own Mood Dude]. And to top it all off, Hogwarts is hosting The Triwizard Tournament - a tournament that hasn't taken place for centuries.

The Verdict
It is a marvelous piece of work. Jo makes it seem so complicated, yet so simple, at the end. The plot is nicely twisted, with a lot of gags and quirky remarks. Harry and Ron, by now fourteen, start noticing girls, so you can imagine what happens. Some people say that, this book is where all the dying started. Wrong folks! Philosopher's Stone opened with double murder and ended with murder as well. Every book has had an element of death in it. Hey, some of the characters are psychopaths, what did you expect?

Goblet of Fire, in my opinion, has, among other things, one of the best “last line of a book” [which may change, come July 21st]. It is among my most favourite books. If you haven't yet read the series, I've one word for you “sacrilege”. This series is worth the trouble of opening a book and trying to read. You'll get sucked in, trust me.

By Kazim Ibn Sadique


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