Posted by Raza Rumi
Read this crisp, fresh and youthful perspective on a blog entitled Koolmuzone: Pakistani Underground Media. The real Lahore lives beyond the cliches of terrorism and media-cooked crisis. I am cross-posting this as the readers would get a flavour of the youth and their interaction with myriad facets of Lahore.
The fact that I had so much to blog about usually puts me in denial of how much I have to blog about. The result is I don’t blog. But here I have forced myself to go back to writing and give you the account of our concert at LUMS. Last weekend ADP were booked to play at LUMS University’s 10 Year Re-Union of their Music Society. Now we got the gig mostly because Omar Khalid is a favorite son of LUMS and he seems to have this legendary reputation there as an extraordinary musician. The kind of awe that OK inspires in LUMS freshies is pretty surprising to me. No doubt OK is an extraordinary musician. But as we all know, he is mostly a choot. Anyway, I was pretty sour-grapes because for once I wasn’t hogging all the attention, and for some reason everyone in LUMS seemed to assume that OK was the lead singer of ADP.
I also want to introduce a new character to the cast of ADP. Everyone please welcome Mr. Aamir Rauf, our newly appointed manager. Aamir is a cool, sweet guy. He as a degree in music management from Berklee School of Music. So basically you can all suck his balls.
So here is the chronological, impossibly long self indulgent version of The Great LUMS Trip.
6:45 AM: Yasir and I are waiting outside OK’s house because he isn’t ready. Our flight leaves at 8pm.We have 15 mins to get to the airport. When I called OK in the morning to see if he was up, he faked his consciousness by saying “Haan haan, I’m ready”. I believed him. Until he said “Hey OBA, what time is it?”. This tipped me off to the fact that not only was OK not ready, but he probably hadn’t packed either. Anyway, OK finally comes out of the house. As predicted, he admits that the only things he packed last night were…the drumsticks.
7:00 PM: We reach the airport after driving like madmen and hurriedly check in. We discover that some of the VJ’s from Aag are also going to Lahore and are on our flight, this includes the impossibly cute VJ Mahirah and the guys from 3-to-5, Yasir J and Raheel. Yasir and I reminisce over the mind numbingly stupid show we did with them last year. Aamir and Rahayl are already there, and as predicted Rahayl is not too pleased that we left him waiting there so long. He has a unique swear word for all of us.
7:30 PM: Security lets most of go through without a problem, some of them assume we’re some big time band and are mildly starstruck. This however does not prevent them from stopping big bearded, long haired Rahayl at every chance. I worry about Rahayl’s temper. He is one glare away from getting a body cavity search.
8:15PM: We board the plane. Yasir is terrified of flying. When Ali, OK and Rahayl find out about this, they make it their life’s mission to make his life miserable.
8:30PM: Ali, OK and Rahayl are loudly inventing different scenarios where the plane crashes and we all die. Yasir is pale in the face and praying to the Almighty. This really is quite evil. But hilarious.
9:30PM: We all land in Lahore and Yasir vows never to fly with us again. At least until Monday.
10:30AM: Lahore is ridiculously hot. And the taxi drivers are ridiculously stupid. The cab that takes us from the airport to the rest house is pretty much a metal box. The entire front dashboard is held together with rope and duct tape. Rahayl has only been to Lahore once so he sits behind me and does the whole Japanese tourist thing.
Rahayl: Ooh whats that?
Me: It a tree.
Rahayl: And oooh what about that.
Me: Another fucking tree.
Rahayl: And what about that??
Me: For the last time Rahayl its a tre…oh…oh yes, you’re right..that donkey is rather well endowed.
10:45AM: We reach the rest house. We have three rooms and there are five of us. There is a minor argument about who gets the single room. Using my awesome Jedi Mind Tricks I manage to get the awesome single room, becoming Asshole Lead Singer in the process. Yasir and OK shack up, while the beardy twins Ali and Rahayl take the other room. There is a discussion about whether OK is going to do something horrible to Yasir. At night. In his ass.
12:00PM: We take Rahayl on a tour of Lahore, where we stupidly decide we are going to visit Jehangir Ka Maqbarah (The Tomb of Emperor Jahangir). It is the hottest point of the day and only us stupid Karachiites are out. We see the Canal of Lahore running through the city. Rahayl asks the driver what people do in it. The driver answers “swimming”. But we all know this is code for “masturbate furiously”.
3:00PM: We are supposed to go to LUMS tonight to take part in a Music Conference. OK is supposed to be part of this panel of musicians who will talk about the music industry in Pakistan today while we field questions from the students. OK is not too comfortable in the public speaking role. Yasir takes him aside and gives him pointers, which are more or less along the lines of “Bhai, please don’t be a chootiya”. OK writes this down in his notes. “Avoid Chootiya-pah”.
7:00PM: We arrive at LUMS.
7:01PM: Holy shit LUMS girls are hot.
7:25PM: We are taken to the conference room, where we meet Farhad Humayun from Overload and Shahzad Hameed, who is an incredible and highly respected rock’n’roller from the Lahore underground scene. It’s a great atmosphere and we’re all hanging out in a room, being served refreshments. All of a sudden this dude who looks strikingly like Atif Aslam walks into the room.
7:26PM: We realize Atif Aslam has walked into the room.
7:27PM: Now I know that Atif Aslam is the butt of many peoples jokes and its kinda uncool to like him now. But I’ll say this, when he walked into the room, I’m pretty sure all of us were just a teensy bit starstruck. I mean let’s face it, the guy is pretty much the biggest non-political, non-sports celebrity in the country. So there is an awkward silence in the room as Atif quietly says hi to everyone. He’s accompanied by a bald dude in a tight yellow t-shirt. Kinda like a gay nazi skinhead. Its always weird meeting a big celebrity. You obviously don’t want to fawn all over him. But you do want to show some sign of acknowledgement. So you have to strike the perfect level of admiration and coolness. Which is why I said “Hey Atif! I loved Aadat!” and then swiftly punched him in the nuts.
7:28PM: I introduce myself and the rest of the guys to Atif as the Aunty Disco Project. Atif admits he’s heard of us but he hasn’t heard any of our music. This breaks the ice, and Farhad starts talking about the lack of gigs and some heavy metal band from Karachi who he’s recording. I jokingly suggest to Atif that he needs to switch paths and record a death metal album. I am shot a glare by the gay Nazi dude. But Atif is gracious, really polite and well mannered. I was pleasantly surprised. He sweats a lot though.
8:00PM: We shoot the shit with the other musicians, and we are told that we’re only waiting for Zeb and Haniya to come so that the discussion can begin. I’m looking forward to seeing them again. OK remarks about how far those two have come along, although we started out at the same time. I think we’ve come along too. I mean here we are at LUMS hanging out with Atif right?
8:30PM: The conference starts, OK looks like a deer in the headlights when the first question gets thrown at him about the state of the music industry in Pakistan. OK is usually pretty eloquent, but since he is not able to use any swear words, he struggles a bit into a rambling answer that has all of us confused as hell. The conference itself was enjoyable in some bits but on the whole it was kind of pessimistic as none of the musicians, maybe with the exception of Zeb and Haniya were as optimistic as we were about the industry. But just being there was a start. There were talks about forming a musicians union, Atif brought up the idea of banning Indian songs from Pakistani airwaves so that our artists would have a chance to grow. Not everyone agreed, but it was an amiable discussion. And OK finally found his groove once he got over the nerves and started answering the questions intelligently.
10:00PM: After the conference, we are asked to come to the LUMS Music Society Jam room where they ask us to perform for them. The jam room is tiny and insanely hot and we’re all dying in the heat. But we give it a shot. It was incredible. First Shahzad, Farhad and Rahayl jam out a rocking version of Led Zep’s rock’n’roll and then we join in and do “Kiss”. Atif respectfully declines and only manages to play around on the cymbals while I do a version of “Fever” that Ali Alam finds objectionable. Apparently when I sing without a guitar, my hip movements are quite indecent.
11:00PM: It’s an incredible night and I feel blessed to be in the company of such wonderful musicians. There’s a buzz around campus and everyone is excited about the concert tomorrow. We say our goodbyes and head out to Food Street for dinner.
12:00AM: We now only have one car to take the 7 of us including the driver. We decide to rough it. So like a bunch of circus clowns we pile into a tiny little car and bathe in each others man sweat. Rock N Roll.
12:15AM: I lose all sensation in my right leg. And all reproductive ability.
12:16AM: We reach Food Street and I forget that my right leg has no sensation and I collapse in the middle of the street like Amy Winehouse on New Years Eve. My asshole band members are amused and do not make any effort to help me get up.
1:00AM: Dear lord the food in Lahore is good.
2:00AM: We reach back home and everyone turns in for the night. Tommorow. It’s ROCK N ROLL TIME.
Stay tuned for Day 2…….