Friday, July 08, 2005


the eternal opus mantra : we will, we will, rock u
the new cops mantra : we will, we will, #$%* u
for the past year opus, bangalore, has supported live acts ... from music to dance to theatre ... from classical to opera to jazz to rock to country to hiphop and rnb to heavy mental (grammy nominee jana stanfield), with performers both desi and firang gushing about the space, the hospitality and the vibe.
It's really baffling how a place like this could be clubbed in the same bracket as places that provide 'live entertainment' / dance bars ... and would require the same license. I am not even going to get into how ridiculous the 11.30 lights-out rule is. But equating all live entertainment is simply bizarre .
oh ... and thats not all ... getting up and shaking a leg too, is a criminal offence ... or one that needs another additional set of permissions. I'm sure they have overseen the need to procure licenses to have matresses and candlelight.. cos surely that abets immoral conduct ... or ban chocolates, for being an aphrodisiac
why can't people live and let 'live' ?? The colour in the green garden city certainly must mean envy, cos there is really no other explanation.
really sorry to all those who wondered why Dee didnt perform last week... we asked her and the band not to ... we couldnt risk rocking, white skinned, scantily clad foreigner, in front of 200 drooling men (and women) sing 'private dancer', now, could we??
we hope sense and sanity will be restored soon and the monsoon winds blow this over to Gulbarga (even they dont deserve this) in the next couple of days/weeks. till then (and till they can find laws to curb these other simple pleasures) we will make do with the food, booze, music (yes, yes, recorded... for the record), play some games (though stuff like 'taboo' is really asking for trouble)
one more big thank you for the music and supporting the live music movement in bangalore!!
That's just too bad, Carlton. Gina and you have done such a great job of building a fun place for young people that was clean and respectable. What's happening in Bangalore is nothing short of a disgrace. Wish they'd spend their time and energies on what really matters. That, they're letting go to the dogs, the feckless bastards.
I share your frustration over this mess called Bangalore. I never hesitate to say that those who think this is the centre of all the Happening places on earth (or India, anyway), specially the Page 3 media who describe everything in this village as world-class, are either ignorant or frauds - probably both.
We've just returned from several weeks away - hence the delayed response to your Notice. Of course we'll drop in one of these days.
Best -
Stanley Pinto
(stanley pinto is an advertising guru and musical genius)

Well said Carlton !!
We need to talk to the CM and the Governor about this, but then its been done before and the noose just gets tighter.
The problem is the interpretation of the term --- "live band " Throughout the world, a group of musicians playing LIVE, is termed as a live band, but this is sadly become a bad word to describe us musicians (Note that live and Band are four letter words, by the way !!).
Back in the bad old days, Bangalore had oodles of Cabaret joints where strippers gyrated to music played live by bands. They had quite a clientele, !! Brigade Road, Residency Road and South Parade (M.G.Road) resounded to the music of the senses applauding the deadliest of combinations -. Wine , Women and Song !!!!!
Drunken brawls, even murder were the order of the day,, so our lawmen swung into action and closed all such Cabaret joints. Justifiable .........YES, but as in all legal cases, the loop holes showed and the same joints boasted of live bands sans the strippers !! The strippers were now lady "singers ". Who cared if they didnt know their arse from their elbows as far as singing was concerned ? The good old clientele yodelled for more and the "Wah Wahs" rented the air.The brawls and the murders made the print again.
Our lawmen tightened the clamp......they said NO LIVE BANDS !!! To them, pimping,solicitation, debauchery, prostitution meant a live band and it was described as such too, by the brothel managers !!! We even have live band owners now !!
Albert Einstein once said "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music."
It is indeed sad that our lawmen live their wet dreams in music .
What we need to do is to coin a new name to describe our vocation and we need to put our heads together to adopt such an adjective that cannot be misinterpreted to denote anything else, ever. It would be interesting to get some thoughts from all our friends. We can then form an association or forum and legalise the entity by registration. With such a back bone, we can then talk to the Ivory Towers, get their rubber stamps and play our music till the milk man comes home.
Cheers to the Opus !! You guys breathe music.
Lots of love to all of you
Shyam of the West Wind
(legendary bangalore voice)

Hi Gina & Carlton,
Its a pity that we live in a screwball society with the law that doesn't make any sense to a common man/woman. Opus has been an inspiration to many who can sing and some who can't!!!Still i must say that people do come just for the service and for people like you two.We will be there nevertheless, from time to time to be apart of the opus clan. For a better future and a bloody good time.
Nathaniel Philip & Karen.

You'll still see my black behind in there whenever i have the time. Music can't be choked down, its way beyond that.and plus "GOD GAVE ROCKN'ROLL TO YA....PUT IT IN THE SOUL OF EVERYONE"
This moronic rule and time will pass
Mark Swaroop
(music lover and graphic designer)

Brilliant letter & poster - I strongly suggest you get it printed in both the Deccan & TOI. The new laws are ridiculous -
thank god I grew up in the 80's before the moral police were enlightened!

Lisa Pinto

Dear Gina & Carlton,
Bangalore is dead, it is very true. Our own govt is killing it and they want to call it a metro. Are you
kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!I think we got to beat the system, the common man, should stand up for his rights, its a democracy for crying out loud, if i want to dance, i wanna dance and how can any brown uniformed furball stop me. People need to start writting to the media, tell them this is not acceptable. The problem is that we dont do anything about it and expect things to blow over. the more we sit by and watch this the more the cops are gonna send bend over please!!!!!!!! Also carlton, think about what we discussed, a new day begins at 12.00 AM. there is no law when a place can open during the day. they only shay it should shut at 11.30PM on a day. so half an hour is OK ;)
Cheers, i really hope things settle fast, I may not come to opus that often these days, but its always good to know there is place that feels just like home still open in the wee hrs of the morning.
Viren Goyal

nice mail. sorry to hear about this is truly ridiculous.
i'm sure you guys will find other innovative ways to make it happen till this blows over.
take care
(Neeraj Halalka)

SHIT!!!!! I truly bleed for you guys.
We guys complain about this shit only because it craps of night live and ruins or ‘chill-out’ plans but the stupidity takes on humongous propositions for you because it affects you so directly.
I wish there was something I can do…….and in fact, there just might be. I’m doing a little bit on this on Radio City later next month and I promise to bring this up with the Comm when I meet him.
Till then…….YUMMY ;))))
Darius Sunawalla
(Darius is a radio jockey)

I hope everything gets sorted out soon.
Marianne de Nazareth
(Marianne writes for the Deccan Herald)

Why do we just sit on our &$^% asses and grumble about the way this country is going to the dogs. Why cant we as people, unite and fight this together. I am sure if we all want we can do something and bring back the term DEMOCRACY to this country.Think about it. This fight is ours together.

Abs,agree,Carlton,these guys in the name of law and order are not even aware of what constitues decent clean live entertainment.hope better sense prevails or we need to start a movement/signature campaign and with the help of media ,invite public support.
sarat sidhan
(sarat is a bass player for classic rock band mid-range)
hey carlos,
I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you guys - all the people who are actually doing corrupt business are going scot free and here we are - a place that is trying to involve people in creative thinking is being victimised.
Well my advise to you is to lay low and ride out the storm - as we always do at sea - time to anchor and wait for a good tide !
best Regards
Malcolm Shipp said...
As an outsider looking in I find all this a little hard to get to grips with and fail to understand the logic behind this or much of what the authorities seem to term as normal practice in Bangalore.
Having stumbled on Opus after 5 months of a 6 month stay last year, that last month was my most enjoyable and this is due to the overall atmosphere of what remains one of my favourite clubs in the world. It is a place I can go to relax, a place to romance, a place to feel safe and comfortable away from trouble makers and boozed up nutcases.
During a long 6 months back at home in UK with nowhere to go I yearned to come back to Bangalore and blast my harmonica along with a great bunch of musicians and folk not afraid to express themselves in a fun and enthusiastic way.
Opus just does that, it brings the life and soul out of the most quiet and reserved people and has to be applauded for that.
When I read the daily papers here and just generally go about the city I wonder at the frustrating mentality of all the city's services and laws. For a city that is so say up and coming and trying to win much needed respect and finance from western nations, it falls way short and it is only getting worse.
The roads are disastrous here, traffic rules are non existent, people are electrocuted each time it rains, people are being robbed and killed seemingly on an hourly basis. These should be issues that swallow up the limited resources of the police and government, it is purely common sense.
It appears to me that if in the miraculous event something does actually work here in Bangalore and works well, then the authorities have to put a stop to it.
Do they thrive on disaster and severely pissing off normal law abiding human beings and depriving people of their few hours of fun in what is becoming a very unfun place to be.The newspapers talk about millions of rupees worth of corruption and bribes like it is a normal and accepted thing, how can this be possible? I just don't get it.
I accept there has to be rules to control clubs, licences and alcohol but when something ain't broke, why try to fix it, there are bigger more important issues surely.
I applaud Carlton & Gina or should that be Gina and Carlton (we all know who does the hard work really don't we?) for creating such an entertaining and exciting venue such as Opus a place where strangers become friends and I pray that common sense will prevail, although I'll believe it when I see it!
Much love and respect
A seriously frustrated harmonica afficionado!!

I can't agree with you more. Your efforts to promote music as whole in Bangalore have been remarkable and commendable. The most difficult part about getting legislation changed will begetting people to come together and show the government that old definitions cannot apply to today's culture. It's not just Opus, but all venues that are affected. If all pub/club/coffee-house/lounge owners got together, we can change legislation. If all publications and periodicals as well as event managers got together, we can change the absurd rules. It may sound like a big dream, but with so many people in Karnataka, I think we can get a few hundred thousand to express their discontent at these inconsistent and unfair policies by the police and government.
As an NRI, I have come to appreciate the incredible musical talent and artistic viewpoints of today's Bangaloreans. Having traveled quite a bit, I am starting to realize that apathy is the biggest disease in Indian Society (I am not just talking about India). Many venues, as well as corporate executives neglect the fact that although they may be making profit by "paying-off" the police to keep their places open, everyone will be making profit if all venues were ridden of such backward-thinking bribery.
We at RAVE came up with Support The Music after three years of seeing how unfair, under-exposed, not to mention how exploited the music and art "industries" are treated. Of course, we aren't taking a communist stance at promoting music; rather we are pushing for a collective effort to support music and art. At this point, I see too much futile individualistic promotion. People pay a great deal of money for the luxury of listening to music, whether it be at a pub, concert, or at home with a CD; however, it is rare that these well-paying consumers get much for their money. This equation also plays a major role in the good-evil battle of Intellectual Property Piracy. On a whole, consumers just don’t feel they are being treated with importance or respect.
With Opus and other venues closing at 11.30pm, this cuts a major chunk out of our music listening options. It makes it difficult for new artists to express and promote themselves.
Much of what I hope STM accomplishes would be to push for legislation to re-define the licensing process. This is absolutely possible, if we work together as a single entity to fight these inequities. I feel that Support The Music is the perfect platform to voice all our concerns about the entertainment industry.
I propose we have a meeting to discuss our thoughts and strategies.
In support,
Alok Tandon
COO, RAVE Magazine
Support The Music
Surreal. That was my first reaction when Gina told me the story. ‘Ulta’, I believe, is the Hindi word I am looking for; we seem to get everything backwards.
My last fume was on the way the Mayor blithely, unilaterally, cancelled paid-parking in this town. Every major Metropolis in the world uses paid-parking to accommodate and regulate traffic. We know better. The ostentatious reason given by Hizzoner was a claim that the city was saving money for the car-owners. He couldn’t have come-up with a more asinine reason if he had put the entire BMP staff to work on it for a year. The one segment of the community that does NOT need the Mayors help in saving five rupees are [definitionally] affluent car-owners. So, Honourable Mayor, thank you for saving me a ton of money by not being able to park and shop and waste money on the needy retailers of Brigade Road.
Now that that is off my chest, I move on to this new violation, more comical and insidious at the same time. Really. How inane can you get? On second thoughts, I take that back. I have vowed never to underestimate the authorities here.
There is nothing like the heartache of reading a smug NRI vent his wrath on the poor delicate sensibilities of the natives. I, a newly native NRI, will therefore proceed with abject insensitivity.
On my first few months of return, the newspapers had one story. It used to run something like this: ‘Veerappan Escapes: AGAIN!!!’ I’d read the story about how the entire border police forces of two [or was it three?] states had been set on this poor devil for years on end. And in spite of this thundering Brahmasana leveled at him this irreverent crook kept getting away. @#%%!&#@. Didn’t he know the fearsome reputation of the surrounding forces? A minimal attitude change on his part was called-for….
The second thing of interest I noticed on my return, in stark contrast to the above humiliation, was the extraordinary efficiency of the Bangalore Hoysala. Crackerjack cops, everyone of them. Strolling innocently by a park near Opus on a warm summer evening after sunset, enjoying the cool, my reverie was forcefully interrupted by a set of high-beams glaring down at a car parked near me. Hallelujah!! The cops had done it again! They had nabbed, red-handed…er, lipped, a young couple kissing in the privacy of their car. The couple was shocked, incinerated in the attention of four burly cops staring down at them. But I couldn’t care less. I was hugely relieved. The city had been made safe once more from such perverted kinks. As for Veerappan, we’ll get him as soon as he surrenders.
So now I am on to my third challenge. How does one respond with a minimal decorum to a fearlessly stupid decision to ban Live Music and Dancing in the city. How does one secretly, rhythmically move one’s feet at the risk of being nabbed and arrested by an alert and nimble cop? How does one play Footsie and simultaneously avoid jail?
Gina and Carlton can be trusted to show the necessary resourcefulness demanded by the abject inanity of this order. I will wait for their lead before wiggling my toe. Until then, I will limit my evening entertainment to necking in parked cars since the Hoysala are fully occupied listening for the sound of dancing feet.

Ravi Aiyer

I am gutted. Your venue is the best in Bangalore to have fun, make friends, eat good food and have good clean fun (okay, maybe 'Under the Sea' was a little close to the mark, but you didn't write the lyrics!). Considering the good stuff that comes from Opus, i.e. the GBP. 1000.00 you helped raise from my gig for underpriviledged children, and the harmless entertainment that
goes on, someone somewhere must have to rethink policies.
When I'm in India, it's really hard to go out somewhere that stays open when I leave the office. Call centre staff (desi or not) need to chill out too, and spend Rupees. If places close so early, there is nowhere but the 5 star hotels to do it. Shouldn't others get the benefit of our spending too?
I'm a guest in India - and I absolutely love it! I'd never put the place down - ask any of my friends, I'm an ardant fan. Some policies just don't make sense though.. this is one.
Please pass my very best regards to everyone at Opus - if anyone's still there!! I miss you guys. Hope to be over for a few days around 17 August.
Hey, maybe they'll see a little sense by then.
Take care sugar and give Gina a big kiss for me.
(dee kahn trains people at a call centre in bangalore, in addition to being a kick-ass musician)


Lokesh Anjanappa said...

Someone mentioned "lets do something about this". What would work the best? Wear Black and sit with this awesome banner in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue? Yes I feel we should protest. Any other ideas anyone?

Bengaluru Praje said...

some things come and go in bangalore like Dark Clouds in the the "Helmet Rule" in the City...!
...the romantic optimist side of me , possessed by Hope, relaxes ...believing the Clouds would pass, like letting the lazy
SUnday pass while listening to the Radio.
...But the side of me who can feel the Ground underneath the feet...standing Knee deep in rotting shit...Thinks !!!
"What kind of shit am i in ?"
"where did the shit come from"
"is it mine ? ",
"oh...i'm not alone ..i can see others the same shit...but different colours",
"aren't 'Bangalore's Keepers' in the same shit?",
"Maybe they dont do
I make them REALISE .....or should
it be 'how should WE' "

Puja said...

Why is everyone making such a big deal about this, if 'live is dead', we move on and do something else! And as if there r any great bands in the city in the first place. I think it is Bangalore Times 'page 3' that would suffer the most:)

and from the looks of seems like a temporary phase.

This too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

Guys hello!!

Why don't we make a 'noise' about the potholes, flyovers and traffic in the city instead.

Things that actually 'MATTER'

Dark Druid said...

Who says Music doesn't matter....
Freedom Jam the outlet for free expression in the form of Art has a long History, starting from its days at Cubbon Park..!! ...

Potholes and things like that matter...and Yay!! for the Helmet rule too...we need it too...but we don't need the Govt. to tell us that.....

The cops basically want to cut down on the crime rate and this is their way, passing on the buck!! They blame the people who go to Live-bands, dance and play music as potential criminals or bait for the criminals!!

Hell, in all these days of "Nakabandi" not a single highway-mugger has been caught..all the cops have done is filled their coffers by hassling innocent citizens. Forget the highway-robbers, they haven't even prevented any other crime in Blore...

But speaking for the cops i must say,the cops are innocent too, overworked-underpaid is just a starting point to their definition of life...the real scum are the get rid of them a plan has to be made.....democratically or otherwise!!
How about spamming all government mailboxes with protest mails for starters?

\m/ Viva la revolution \m/
Dark Druid

Anonymous said...

Yeah well, I symapthise, but like someone has written in an earlier comment there are more important things to worry about. Secondly, I don't know what the hue and cry is about. I've been in Bangalore 9 years and have always found it a wee bit lacking on the cultural front (especially after having lived in Mumbai and Calcutta). Theatre, music, dance and anything cultural is very limited to people who hang out in certain places, with specific's not an 'everybody' thing in Bangalore. Bangalore is pseudo sophisticated and pseudo cultured. At the end of the day even the so called cultured set, even the hip set are traditional (bordering on orthodox) in the way they lead their lives, in their outlook and cannot do without their sambar & rice (figuratively and in reality), stuck with their gender biases and narrow outlook towards things like live bands for instance. Personally I think its not the cops who are to blame - ask around you...most people I have spoken to are completely OK with the ban. The cops just reflect Bangalore society.

Your poster creative is great though.

Anonymous said...

I know its rather late to be posting something here..but well,better late than never...
excuse the language but some of the posts here have made me sick to the stomach...
some of u fuckin idiots have actually had the audacity to say stuff like "move on" and talk abt things that matter...well,THIS MATTERS, FOR US MUSIC LOVERS..
So u can take ur sorry little ass and get the fuck outta here...
though by the looks of it,we will be the ones gettin outta here,to a better place,that appreciates music..
bunch of pricks u guys are....

Organised Beyond Recognition said...

a very noble suggestion and absolutely no offense meant shift to Delhi, the scene here is awesome and from what ive seen of the Bang - galore cops Delhi cops are saints.
The music scene is thriving, there is a no holds barred scene where anything goes...
Come here, we dont get bacon wrapped prawns here.

Rohan said...

Hi Carlton, Gina, Shonali,

I was shell shocked last week when i landed up in Opus with my wife and another couple hoping to find a rocking evening with some live band performing...had raved and raved about Opus to my friends as it was their first time.
Landed there to find just around 10 people and music playing so softly it was almost not heard...
Why are the police being so stupid about their law....i really think Opus is one of the best places in Bangalore, very healthy and catering to a large group of music afficianados who just want to come and chill out and have some good clean fun and then head back home.
It is indeed very sad to see whats happening around Bangalore as far as the night scene in pubs and lounges are concerned and not allowing talented and brilliant musicians to do what they do best!!!
I do hope this torture comes to an end soon and we see some light at the end of this hopeless tunnel...
All i can say is that Opus rules and it will continue to rule.
Cheers to you guys and best wishes to hang in there!!!

alokonthemove said...

hey Carlton and Gina,

hope you guys remember me. its shocking to hear and see, what's happening to the city I still love, even though I left blr 3 years ago for Goa. it really hurts that city has come down to such a low level when artists, musicians and creative lot has to worry about where to express themselves, its a real shame.

never mind those who say 'move on' or 'talk about real issues', never judge people by what they say but what they do.

well, while I was in Blr for 8 years, I protested about Victoria Hotel and other old structures being bulldozed and then trees, now music/art, not sure if I want to run my imagination any further. All I can say from Goa is 'I am still with you guys'.

In the end, Art dies, culture dies along and then there's nothing left to fight for.

Rock on!

Anonymous said...

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This is not fair.

How can few people decide and impose just cos they in power? Am really surprised and disappointed with whoever has been responsible for these decisions. Unwanted and unnecessary totally. Live and let live!


Yoga Teacher>