My Musical Memorabilia Stratum

I enjoyed a Cobb Salad and Virgin Mary at Bengaluru’s new-looking and purpose-built Hard Rock Cafe; a veritable welcomed oasis of western civilization in an otherwise pandemoniacal megacity. Overall a great experience, my only suggestion or comment to these cafes outside of Europe and America: offer non-alcoholic beer. Aging fake rockers like me love fake beer as well as fridge magnets.


As I sipped my virgin I wondered: How many outfits has Steven Tyler worn on stage anyway? And what’s with John Entwistle’s endless bass guitar collection? Bass guitars are kinda same-same are they not—I mean, once you’ve got a Rickenbacker and a Fender Precision that’s about the range of sounds, n’est-ce pas? Unless you want to go fretless, but that would’ve muddied Pinball Wizard.

You don’t necessarily think about that when you just pop briefly into a Hard Rock for a drink or a snack. But I found that I started analyzing it a little as I made a point of visiting many of them throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. While all the collections are certainly different there did seem to be an awful lot of Tyler outfits and Entwistle basses. However, the numbers add up I suppose if you do a little bit of math; it really wouldn’t be that difficult to find hundreds of items displayed from the same rockers that had toured relentlessly for decades. And what’s Steven Tyler going to do with the fringy leotards when he’s not on stage anyway? I doubt he wears them around the house; although I don’t know that, I’m just coasting on assumptions here. “Fedex for Mister Tyler.”


Sometimes you have to read the fine print closely: Ah the guitar was merely signed by Ritchie Zambora, and Jerry Garcia only played that one in his hotel room. Well Ok, there are varying levels of authenticity: a musical memorabilia stratum if you will. For certain, what I don’t want is, “similar to that used by,” or “the style used by,” and so on, although I’ve only come across that once or twice, and I’m going to have to call them out on that going forward I’ve decided. If I’ve gotten anything out of this American presidential election cycle it’s that I should just speak my mind if something bothers me. Anything at all.


In my rhythmic collectible stratification, drumsticks and guitar picks don’t even make the cut: those I categorize as supplies. For me, that would be like displaying an actor’s used eyeliner brush at Planet Hollywood. And the more I think about it, what would be my pinnacle rock n’ roll collectible, my ultimate boogie bric-a-brac? Indisputably, that would be Brian May’s original guitar, the one he made as a kid from an old fireplace and then went on to play that killer riff at the end of Bohemian Rhapsody. Other than that, the stuff at the Bengaluru Hard Rock Café was pretty good.

India Report: Peanuts and 100-Year Rains

Traveling around India for a few weeks is as colorful, entertaining and intimidating as attempting to sample the entire menu at Khan’s Indian Restaurant in Bayswater, London. Some of it is truly amazing, certain parts you don’t really want to experience, some you genuinely shouldn’t, and in the end you realize you’ve only skimmed the surface leaving much for future exploration. This was my first trip back to India in about ten years, and I was told matter-of-factly upon arrival that it had changed significantly.

I suppose it had—one of my many travel e-books was the rather dull McKinsey Institute’s India’s Urban Awakening, which laid out all the scary growth statistics on charts far too small and cluttered for an iPhone 6 Plus. One of my takeaways is that India is on course within a few years to have six megacities each with over ten million inhabitants. These cities will have larger populations and GDPs than many countries. And all the other growth and consumption indicators are equally staggering, e.g., close to 70 cities with over one million folks and so on.


Anyway, I’m pleased to report that I was here for the 100-year rain in Tamil Nadu, which shuttered airports and trains in the region. I didn’t experience one of those ten years ago. Not quite up there with seeing the Hale-Bopp Comet but memorable nonetheless.


Complete with my bindi third eye I attended the annual peanut festival at the 16th Century Bull Temple in Karnata. The bull was the mount for Lord Shiva, one of the three main Hindu gods.

I went to see a fascinating exhibit by the Delhi born artist Radhakrishnan who specializes in bronze figure sculptures.


Unbeknownst to me I smudged my bindi, but continued to pose proudly for photos. No one had told me. I guess the show must go on.