The Firestorm two-parter may well have been the best Flash episodes so far – which is really saying something. No stone was left unturned to flesh out the characters that make up Firestorm (i.e. Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond) and there was a sense of inevitability that the two would eventually merge once again. Harrison Wells (Reverse-Flash) is manipulating events behind the scenes and as the ending suggests is also somehow related with Gorilla Grodd as well! I am curious to see what Wells’ motivation in the scheme of things because the writers have done a good job in keeping Wells’ true intentions hidden.
The episodes worked so well that it played like a set up for a Firestorm spin-off and depending on how the audiences respond, I am guessing that that series may happen sooner than later. Victor Garber (Stein) and Robbie Amell (Raymond) have settled into their respective roles rather well and it would be intriguing to see how a Firestorm series will explore this unique dynamic. But for the Flash, it does feel that we getting ever closer to Barry’s encounter with the Reverse-Flash in a race to save his mother. Can hardly wait!
Just an aside to pay tribute to the creators of these wonderful super-heroes. Even as the credits omit this fact (based on characters in DC Comics), the Barry Allen-Flash was of course created by writers Robert Kanigher & John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, whilst the original Firestorm was created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Al Milgrom. Credit where it is due!
Rashie Rosenfarb & Matt Francis aka Feral Conservatives seem like your typical two-piece indie rock band, except that their style does not quite fit in with your White Stripes/Black Keys garage-blues-rock cliches. In fact, Rosenfarb plays a mandolin (!) and there is a pleasing alt-country direction that the duo quite excel in. Their four-track cassette/digital release The Feeling Noise Becomes is a refreshing roots-pop take on modern rock that deserves closer attention. Rosenfarb shared with us the thinking behind the Feral Conservatives sound.
Is contrast an important element in your music making?
Yeah, we like to create a balance between noisy/chaotic and soft and delicate. I think it’s become a big part of who we are starting with my voice and the shimmery tones in the mandolin vs. Matt’s powerful drumming style and it’s just progressed from there.
How did the mandolin become part of your sound?
The two off us started off playing together in another band that was more garage rock back when we first became friends and I was just playing mandolin for fun (I played bass in the other band.) Matt and I started a folky side project with the mandolin not too much later and eventually the band we were in broke up so we just decided to transition everything we were creating into our side project. That’s how FC’s came to be and then it just morphed into more of a rock band while maintaining the folky elements and the mandolin to the fore.
After the traumatic episodes on both sides of the mid-season break, this episode caught up with our merry band of survivors to find them struggling with a crisis of faith. Season 5 has seen more death, more disaster, more peril than ever before. Inevitably, the question must be broached – what’s the point of going on? Why not just give up? For Maggie, Sasha and Daryl, it seems as if their will to live has gone, even as Beth and Tyreese have gone. The pain is difficult to take and it does not help that the group is exhausted running out of food and water as they make the long trek to Washington D.C.
Quite like episode 9, there is a lyrical, poetic quality to “Them” as the group’s grapples with their biggest challenge – not walkers and not evildoers but themselves. After all, if you cannot convince yourself to keep living, then the battle is already over. This is encapsulated by Rick when he says – “… we are the walking dead” even as the group shelters from the storm. However, moments later when the will to survive is given the ultimate test, the group collectively brave the storm and live to fight another day. Kudos to the writers for giving us yet another deep episode without compromising on zombie kills.
One of the best series on TV now. But you knew that.
Despite its increasingly implausible plot lines – this episode involved a bidding war over Olivia Pope amongst rogue nations, terrorist groups and crime lords (!) – the folks behind Scandal managed to imbue a sense of pathos that would seem ridiculous when one consider the stakes these characters are up against. Olivia herself does not play much of a role but she does what she can to try to influence proceedings but fails miserably – which is a fairly new situation for her. Olivia’s loved ones try their level best to get her back, short of moving heaven and earth, though the odd murder or two are committed in the endeavour.
But that is exactly what Scandal fans are looking for – over the top scenarios in this epic-scoped soap opera. There are strong moments of human emotion that litter the apocalyptic landscape of Olivia’s pursuit as the key players attempt to stay a step ahead of the other. This is political drama, lest anyone forgets, and by the end of the episode Olivia’s predicament takes on global significance. The ride ain’t over yet.
And so it’s the end of another semester. This semester was difficult, as due to the cutting down of classes, my income had been reduced significantly. Initially, I was extremely upset by this as the school did not provide a satisfactory reason for this reduction and I felt prejudiced against because of my age. This has happened to me before with previous employers as ageism is a real problem in our society. But I resolved to trust in GOD and looked for other opportunities to earn an honest living despite the challenges.
So I managed to get another class in another school but not at the same pay and thus, there was a shortfall that I had to cover for. Again, this was a lesson in relying wholly on GOD’s provision to see me through on a daily basis. Glad to say that things are somewhat at equilibrium and whilst music projects are trickling in, there is still so much to trust GOD for.
So the next eight weeks are crucial for me as I am impressed by the need to spend my time wisely. To that end, I will be focusing on quite a few music projects. To wit,
– Recording of my new album, Bring Back Yesterday.
– Producing a charity song.
– Recording a score for a TV movie.
– Copy writing for the So Happy project.
– Re-releasing my back catalogue (and other 90s rock releases) under Believe Digital.
– Producing a SG indie rock compilation.
– On-going work with SGMUSO in my role as Treasurer.
– Working with young artists under the KAMCO Music banner.
– A StageFright music festival.
– Preparing for the launch of the new album, Bring Back Yesterday.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit on the plate. Add to the above, my work with TODAY and POWER OF POP, and it is clear that there is still so much to look forward to. To help me along, I replaced my aging white Macbook (5 years young) with a brand new iMac to motivate me to work harder. Over this long CNY holiday weekend, I will endeavour to get to know my iMac better so that in the months ahead, it will be the platform upon which many new creative ventures will be born!