A pink taxi

A pink taxi

April 30, 2012

Reading Poetry: A Vignette

I spent an hour on three stanzas of an Alfred de Musset poem with my son. We read it together at least a dozen times and analysed it. Not for fun but for school. He may not have enjoyed it as of yet but I certainly did.

You get a taste for poetry by reading it. The more you read it the more it grows on you. I can identify with my son's semi-reluctance to read a poet of many centuries past, sighing over a love lost. Can a twelve year old understand the meaning of nostalgia, doubt, remorse and melancholy? I believe these poems are the vehicles of these feelings, teaching us in its constant litany the effects, the causes and the impressions of these feelings.

Poetry isn't just for the pleasure of reading, its notes and tunes remain within us as we look out to the beauty of this world, as we sense feelings we cannot name or identify, as we view our lives. We relate to our experiences through the rich vineyards of our past poetic readings.

And when some of us write, poetic images resurface magically in the choice of our words or our images. Painters, sculptors and photographers, even architects and film-makers attempt to materialise the poetry embedded in their subconscious. The most talented songwriters are poets! Poetry is at the base of art.

I pray my son, and his younger siblings, enjoy their study of poetry and look upon their world and their lives in a different light.

April 26, 2012

Only in Diptychs

The talented Lamya Gargash is a friend and relative. Yet, before the opening, I didn't benefit from my close relations to "look through" her latest art, as the title of her show at Third Line "Through the Looking Glass" suggests. And in writing this blog, I didn't open the mirrored-like booklet that showcases her stupendous diptychs, nor did I read the analysis, so that I can write this blog un-influenced. I also didn't ask her to explain, as I never do when I meet the artists.

In fact, and always to the astonishment of the various artists that I meet, I pour upon them my open ended questions just to share my own interpretations of their art. In this post, I will inform you, dear Lamya, of my immediate impressions of the art show. For the other readers, a small synopsis of Lamya Gargash's art is de rigeur.

All her work is quintessential because her photography, and that is frequently her medium, has a recognisable signature. She has captured shots of architectural interiors and exteriors that are kitsch in a certain sepia 70s mat finish that convey an ambiance of derelict hotels, empty bedrooms, abandoned gardens, retro finishes. When we spot places that resemble them we point to "a very Lamya Gargash interior". When I take a snapshot of an abandoned sofa on a street curb it also reminds me of her: it is me mimicking a photographer I admire.

I once found her working on a Louis Vuitton project and even then, commercial as the project may have been and most probably with certain guidelines, her signature style could still stand out. She had put characters carrying Louis Vuitton bags in their setting. In this case, her famous interiors, supermarkets and movie theatres, did not compete with the characters. Her photo is staged, yet natural at the same time. I go to the supermarket and take portraits and call them "Lamya Gargash" photos.

When I took my younger kids to Third Line, they were responsive to the art because the diptychs, especially when viewed as a collection, lend to interaction. The artist did pull us "though the looking glass", children and adults. We gazed at the dyptichs and were amused! I took my children through it and they laughed at the single difference between the conventional portrait and the not so conventional. The frontal portraits gaze at the onlooker in confidence and confront him with a "what are you looking at? The difference between me and my twin image? Is it really a difference?" Besides the difference is intentionally "fake" and masqueraded, a la Hollywood movie make-up accessory. Small eyes, large chin, funny eyebrows, dangling triceps, stretched ears lobes.

My favourite piece in this collection is the self portrait first because its genre is on top of my list. Furthermore, Lamya Gargash adds humour by allowing herself a metamorphosis in the twin image of herself. Indeed, she chose her own image to add the extra "ageing" makeup. The fact that she took a picture of herself expecting child is not fortuitous. It is a direct allusion to the Renaissance painting: Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini "Wedding" Portrait!

Like Van Eych in his times, Lamya Gargash is stepping beyond the boundaries of culture by addressing the issues of appearance. She has portrayed herself in this collection, personalising the theme of reality/fantasy, colouring it with creative humour. She certainly is the ambassador of a movement called "the edge of Arabia."

April 22, 2012

Romance Novels

I never read romance novel. I keep away from that genre, for the same reasons I keep away from science fiction or even adventure. I tried Harry Potter many times and would never read Hunger Games.

But even at the Baccalauréat level, we are supposed to read and analyze a romance novel, what they call "eau de rose", rose novels.

I remember, as a teenager, my mother once took me back to the bookshop to return a romance novel I had elected by free will, thrilled by its cover, for another book of literary merit. Even though I had picked it innocently, I got a lecture about the negatives of romance trash, a lecture I have memorized in the event my own daughter makes the same error.

Romance novels aren't bad per se. I have a cousin who reads them avidely. Yet, like my mother, i believe it takes you away from the real thing, the real literature. There are too many good books out there to settle for the less than good, not to say mediocre.

When my friend purchased the trendy book Fifty Shades of Gray, the one that makes all the talk shows in the USA I agreed to join her and my sister in a virtual book club.

Ironically, the best thing I can say about this book is that it reminds me thematically of Ayn Rand, incidently my mom's'favorite writer. Indeed, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are a fine line between literature and "romance books". It is not that I find, or the other millions of readers who have made it a NYT Bestseller, something lacking, to FiftyShadesofGray. I criticize it for what it has: too many repetitions of gestures and descriptives, that litter the narrative with senseless cliche leitmotives.

I will be harsh in categorizing Fifty Shades of Gray as sub-literature, the genre I studied for my baccalauréat. As an aspiring writer, it is good for me to discover the "sellable" formulas. It was a great encouragement for me to recognize that my writing, in comparison, isn't so bad.

April 17, 2012

Guest Blog: My First Half-Marathon: Running Inspired

Pinktaxiblogger and I have become what many people have dubbed "fitness crazed", "over the deep end" and basically "workoutaholics". Getting an endorphin high has become an addiction, and one that we both agree serves us well in our current lives.

While Pinktaxiblogger prefers crossfit type training coupled with a healthy dose of bikram yoga and pilates, I favor a heavy dose of cardio with some strength training also.

 My cardio drug of choice is indoor cycling at Flywheel Sports in New York City. I've been attending classes there very regularly, I love the competitive nature of the torque board (note DblXpresso in the image below that I randomly found on the internet, although I usually come 1st place I swear :-) haha!), and have amped up my fitness level tenfold as a result. My entire outlook toward life, health and fitness has changed through this particular spinning method, and as a result my endurance level has increased tremendously.

Last summer, on holiday in the South of France at my parent's home, without a spinning bike in site, I put my running shoes on, ipod earbuds in place, and  decided to run outdoors. The amazing vistas, the sunshine, the Mediterranean sea below me, and the bursts of colors inspired me to run further, and it was during this stay that I rediscovered my passion for running. I use the word "rediscover" because I've been a runner since my teens. I used to spend summers, at the time with my walkman in hand, and escape for an endorphin rush every afternoon. I used to discover new paths and different towns surrounding my parents home. Running is certainly the most convenient sport: all you need are good sneakers, inspiring music, healthy lungs and perseverance. After all the spinning and strength training that I was doing in NYC, running came back to me more easily than ever. I felt like I could keep on going and going.

When I returned to NYC last summer, I continued running a few times a week, while maintaining spinning as my main cardio activity. A friend then approached me and asked me to join her in the More/Fitness All Women's Half-marathon, that just took place this April 15th in Central Park. I was reluctant at first, knowing that 13.1 miles is a big challenge, and that running that long can take a toll on the body, but I love to push myself physically and I knew that I could do it with the right mindset.

I chose to take on a charity, Hole in the Wall, which provides camps for children with terminal illnesses, and so they sent me a jersey to wear,  with words on the back that so accurately represented my now overconfident self:  EAT MY DUST

 I walked out that morning with the giddy nervousness of a child going to a birthday party. It was a perfect NYC Spring day. At 7am the weather was a bit cool, but I walked out not carrying a thing, other than my bib with my number (1013), and of course the ipod I couldn't run without. I jumped on the subway, where women all in the same running gear as me, were setting out for the same race. There was a strange feeling of competitiveness, which I didn't expect at first. As I set foot in Central Park, with swarms of fit (many blond) women stretching and jogging around, I felt as though I'd landed in a women's college. I found my corrall, and after the National Anthem was sung, I placed my earbuds in preparation for my musical journey. I wanted my first song to be special, one that would bring me back to this particular race, every time I heard it thereafter. I chose "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall" by Coldplay, for its first perfect lyrics:

 "I turn the music up,

  I got my records on
  I shut the world outside until the lights come on
  Maybe the streets alight,
  Maybe the trees are gone
  I feel my heart start beating to my favorite song"

The words just seemed so appropriate. And so when the gun shot went off, and the stream of women pushed forward toward the goal of 13.1 miles all in unison, the song was the perfect start to a beautiful long run.

The race consisted of two whole loops of Central Park and a bit, as an entire loop of the Park is 6 miles long. I had never run this course, so I was caught in the surprise of what I would experience. The blossoms were swelling in the trees, pink and heavy, their sweet scent permeating the morning air. I enjoyed seeing the great landmark museums, and other times, I would zone out, my mind escaping into the cadence of the music, and my eyes fixated in front of me. As time passed, normal New Yorkers began to walk into the park, some on bikes, and the ubiquitous horse and carriages at our side. Soon the scent of flowers mingled with the scent of horse manure, but luckily it wasn't so hot to become unbearable.

I kept noticing the same five or six women running with me. We would run past each other but then we would mostly end up running at the same speed and meet again, a mile away. I noticed how most of the runners were so thin but with strong, leggy and lanky limbs pushing forward. Occasionally you would see the stockier Viking type woman: 6 feet tall, large boned, bigger strong legs marching forward. Interspersed amongst us were the women who decided to walk the course, usually in groups, and less athletic looking. We caught up with them as we were going around our second loop, and they were still walking through their first loop. But we were all there with the same purpose: getting through 13.1 miles.

At each mile posting, there was a time signal, which was a true motivator for me. I had set in my head an unreasonable time frame of 1h30 minutes, so I was pushing myself harder, but I am the type of person who needs a set challenge. I did not walk at all throughout the course. I never stopped, just grabbing the gatorade cups that were along the way, and tossing the cup on the floor shamelessly as all the other runners were doing. I made one restroom stop in a less than desirable porta-potty.The gatorade kept me going through the stitches in my side that I got twice, even though I was breathing well, but had probably become dehydrated.

The most challenging part of the run was the curve around Harlem, when you inch up from East to West, as there is a large hill. Many of my friends had warned me of it, and I expected the worst. However, if anyone has ever run in the South of France, hills and stairs are a natural part of the landscape. The hill leading up to our parents house in France is infamous, as you are not only dodging cars and motorbikes, but also pushing through a very steep incline. Also, the high resistance out of the saddle practice I get in my favorite instructor's spinning classes, had strengthened my legs and my endurance for hills. So while many huffed and puffed through it, slowing down or walking, I sprinted up, and got a big jump in time there.

Many have inquired when my runner's high kicked in. I felt it at various different times.

Music is a true inspiration for me, and the fact that I could be in a beautiful park, doing something healthy and that I love, in my own time and space, with beautiful music to listen to was a high in itself. I had my Ipod on shuffle, instead of a given playlist, so although I did have to skip some tracks, I relished in the unknown and savored the perfect song that would come.  I smiled when Gotye's slow beat of "Somebody That I Used to Know" kicked in, danced to the cool remix of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend", pushed through Medina's "You and I", felt inspired by Kanye's "Stronger", skipped (dancing and running together) to Madonna's "LUV MDNA", and felt tears of joy swell in my eyes by mile 9, when Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" came on, as I remembered my dear sister Pinktaxiblogger and how we both love that group and the powerful positive tone of that song. That runner's high on the second loop that kicked in at mile 9 lasted till the last mile, when Pet Shop Boys' "Home and Dry" played, another song that strikes a chord for me. I was truly running home that last mile, but I certainly was not dry....

Crossing the finish line was victorious at 1h 52 minutes, although I felt like I could have kept on going and going....I also feel I could have done it in 1h45 minutes, had I hydrated earlier in the race more often, and had I not made one bathroom stop. But I am proud of my time and accomplishments for a first half-marathon. Two days later, my body has completely recovered and other than some tightness in my calves, I've been able to go on with my life very comfortably.

In the end 13.1 miles is not that much. It's certainly an attainable distance for most. I'm happy I took on the challenge.The question is how long could I keep on going? A full marathon? I'm not yet convinced I could do that, and the effects on the body scare me. But I don't want to say never....

I'll continue to run inspired while I still can.

April 14, 2012

I Heart Billboards

"Why buy when you can do (a sport) instead?" I tell my kids. But my anti-consumerism crashes into my love for billboards. I am a pinktaxi. I spend the majority of my time driving. I am bewildered by my city and it is covered with huge billboards. I favour many.

The Seddiqi advert is a constant. No sooner that my car emerges from the tunnel, direction AbuDhabi on Sheikh Zayed Road, that a side glance suffices for me to monitor its flux. Is it a Patek Philippe exhibition or a beautiful publicity about Seddiqi Brothers?

When I was a kid and I would commute to school on a two lane road to Sharjah, I was mesmerised by a cut out large Superman who was springing to the air, with one arm out in signature superhero culture. In his other arm, the elixir we used to all love: Dixi. The UAE didn't have Pepsi or Coke in the 1970s! And so I used to peer out the car, to catch Superman whenever I could. I will never forget my fascination at his rapid sight or my disappointment if I missed him by a second.

Billboards were permanent in my days. They didn't change them on weekly basis. Today billboards are flipped like magazine pages. When we have our preferred ones like the huge red La Vache Qui Rit that was installed near Fairmont, or the Madonna for H&M above the Golf Creek Club a few years back, my children and I point to them all the time. In the tunnel, underneath Sheikh Zayed Road Emirates Airline's new motto: Hello Tomorrow made us smile and tweet at discovery.

Today, it is Katy Perry's Adidas advertisement that is our favourite. Her blue hair and the accompanying message: "Katy's All In" entertains us, expressing a heartfelt dedication to sport. Frequently, and very deliberately, her song would be playing at the same time, adding three dimensionality to the billboard that my kids may remember like I remember Superman on the way to school.

In the same vein, when we headed to the DubaiMall Ice Rink today, at the entrance of the parking, my children and I were stunned by the enormous billboard by the same Seddiqi Brothers, this time advertising for Hublot. The same "Watch alert,Hublot" sung by JayZ!

Connected in a musical way, is the RAK Bank billboard, one I like even more now because it always makes me hum "rag city chick" . Ras Al Khaimah Bank sports a shark, how cool! Its located in one of my favourite spots in Dubai, visible from either Garhoud Bridge, or from the Golf Creek Club, at the 16th hole! For three hours of play, I anticipate the pin-ultimate moment to get very close to my favourite billboard.

I also believe that Art must be "billboarded". I suggested it to a dear Emirati artist who was itching to paint a mural. I bbmed her: "there is a huge wooden billboard by the apartment tower, come and paint it or display your photography on it!" (It was eventually used for a laundry detergent publicity, art in itself, come to think of it). Weeks later, I jubilated at the sight of Lara Baladi's billboard at the Pavillion! Lamya Gargash should do the same.

April 10, 2012

A Good Teacher: A tribute

I gifted my son's first grade teacher my own golf prize: dinner for two at the golf club. He was the first person that came to mind when I decided that my diet didn't need a gastronomical experience. Good teachers merit even more! My eldest son pulled strings, on his own, to secure VIP show tickets for his fifth grade teacher for Christmas, in gratitude. Don't we all love our good teachers?

Good teachers are the ones that stand out from the standard ones in their passion, their involvement, their mentorship. Teachers are counsellors, coaches, tutors, instructors as well as the aforementioned school teachers.

I am an eternal student and I have had a good three decades of teacher-student relationships. Till this very day, I remember my 5th grade teacher's insistence on good penmanship and proper presentation of work. All the grammatical and literary analysis I owe to one French teacher who instructed me from grade 7 to 10. Not only did she encourage me to read more, but she also introduced me the world of theatre: I starred in her plays! Acting as a teenager built the confidence I need today to speak in public.

I could mention the Arabic teachers, the Economics teacher in high school, the LatinAmerican literature professor who drew me to major in her field, the Farsi professor at Harvard, the three advisors at the Ph.d level. They have all added an unforgettable token to my life.

Education hasn't stopped in the school yard or campus. At the pilates-bikram yoga studios, my instructor, that I have known for 7 years, has transformed me into a body-conscious 41 year old. I have integrated his instruction into my daily activities. Pilates is my style of standing, sitting, working out, dancing, driving and even thinking.

My preferred circuit-trainer has also altered my lifestyle by "demystifying" food. His insistence on a clean and strict diet has made me look beyond food, to the pleasure of feeling fit and healthy.

I could also mention the riding teacher who has to be reminded that he is going overtime, so involved he gets in instructing the smallest details and making sure that I enjoy the ride and smile, which sums up to one French imperative: detends toi! My children and I also share the same golf professional who gives us tips, personalises our grip and willingly listens to the litany of questions.

An eternal student I am, be it an academic one or a sports oriented one. I will admit to also being a seasoned tutor. I have taught countless relatives, of all ages and academic levels. When I teach, I make an amalgam of all the lovely teaching cues from the variety of teachers I like. This consists of discipline, rigour, regularity, good principles, encouragement and understanding. I try to make it interesting and personal. I give it all as I have seen these talented teachers give me: they are simply good teachers. Respect

April 9, 2012

Playing Golf in French

Call it a pure coincidence that we were paired off to play an 18 holes golf tournament with a French couple in their fifties. A coincidence because my son and I are francophone. They were lucky we all had one language in common because they could properly express their frustration at playing competitively for four hours with a rather noisy Junior (its worse than a baby on a long haul flight!) All four of us have been schooled and reared in a French culture that deals with children with authoritarian discipline, and in contradiction with lenient sympathy and we were all on the same page. My son came out unscathed by the whole experience.

When my son argued with me, as he frequently does when over-excited by the tension of competitivity, the French man referred graciously: "listen, kid, your mom has a handicap of 36, her game is average so no need to fret about it!" We all love the way the French speak their mind. It sounds casual in their idiom!

I wouldn't say the man allowed us to cheat (his wife was a silent observer) but he wasn't as tight in his reaction to penalty points as the Indian father who caddied his son on another competition we played together. Indians, and we also are familiar with them culturally, are quite literal in their game. Its a very different ball game to play with them. They may not intervene as the French feel free to do, but they are adamant and curt in their reactions to the boisterous player that is my son.

On mothering, the quiet and galant Emirati Junior player commented: "you are very hanoon!" A compliment that translates as a redundant "tender mother". On another occasion and in strong contrast, during casual play on the course, two Englishmen screamed and cursed at us while we looked for a lost ball in the signature desert obstacle: the bushes! I answered back, inflamed as I was by the Arab revolutions of the time that "colonialist days are over mate!"

But nothing beats the story of my son getting the buggy caught in the sand, as he drove it "semi-illegal". The French man burst into exasperation "va falloir sortir la bagnole de ce petrin!" Cultural expressions of this type must be left intact and for those who don't understand "tant pis"!

April 7, 2012

Goals, Competitions and Exams

@salaamlaw: Visualise. Set your goals. Believe in yourself.
On twitter

Four golf competitions in ten days on four different courses. My eldest is preparing for them assiduously by practising every chance he gets. It is through this practice under pressure that he is improving his game. The T-times are fixed with precision and it is with those times and days in mind that he has made sure to practice prior. It is great to go to class, to learn, to play casually and regularly but it is the push come to shove of signing in to a competition, the desire to shine, the adrenaline of winning that will give the better results.

My 7 year old daughter is walking in her brother's "green" footsteps, as she is participating in the Easter par3 competition, casual, but competition non the less. She has steered her attention to golf for a week now and she requests to be taken to the range, even at night, by floodlight. She even treads on the par3 alone and independent to practice.

It was with that determination that she presented herself to the ballet exams at the Royal Board of Ballet, Grade 1. She attended class three times a week instead of her usual once to practice all her steps and no birthday party or outing incited her to cancel ballet practice. She had her priorities all set!

The same can be said of the Violin Royal Board of Music exams. What better incentive to make you practice violin, because "the exam is in a month!" Crunch time!

A challenge is an excellent motivating factor to learning and improving. An exam,a deadline, or a competition gives you a "raison de faire" (a reason to do). The feeling of achieving is attained when you move to the next level!

April 4, 2012

Picnic at AlNaser Complex

My kids request picnics on the lawns, under the palms, outside their school. They eat their nicknack, sitting on their plastic cube shaped lunch boxes and they unwind. They chat about the school day, wave to their departing friends and parents as they munch "their dejeuner sur l'herbe" (lunch on the lawn) and count their blessings for the remaining blissful beautiful spring days in Dubai.

AlNaser is a sports center in the middle of OudMetha. It is a very large complex by Dubai contemporary standards. Central Dubai has very few institutions surrounded by gardens: AlWasel Hospital, Aviation Club, Emirates Towers, GrandHyatt and the AlNaser Sports complex that hosts our school AFLEC and AlNaser Leisureland with its vintage ice rink!

Our school may not have the fanciest classrooms, nor the most impressive school grounds, but it is located in a green oasis of palms and large football stadiums, which is enclosed in a popular neighbourhood including Lamcy Plaza, the American Hospital and some good hearty restaurants.

I have cumulated hours, waiting for my children in peaceful calm noons, before the school beg rings and the academic activity of the school spills into the parking lot and palmed oasis. I sit under a palm tree, reading or writing, to the dismay of my friends and relatives who work in indoor offices at that time.

In the late afternoon pick ups, my heart awaits the call to prayer that emanates from the small white mosque which is located a step away from the school. The muezzin's clear voice announces the afternoon and the remaining hours of daylight when my children and I will run around our city, golfing, dancing at ballet, swimming, yoga-ing, studying!

April 2, 2012

Guest blogger: COLDPLAY

J'ai deja vu Cold play deux fois en concert pour leur album Vida La Vida et MyloXylato. C'est un de mes groupes de rock prefere.

A. Chris Martin

C'est la vedette, c'est le chanteur principal. Il a 35 ans. Il est Britanique. Il est a la fois chanteur, pianiste et guitariste. Il joue aussi de la mandoline et de la clarinette. Il joue deux sortes de guitares/ electrique et acoustique. Sa voix est aussi un instrument: il chante sans instruments parfois (acapella). Et en concert il danse comme un fou, avec une energie incroyable!

B. Le groupe Cold Play
1. Ils forment un groupe de 4 personnes dont on a vu Chris Martin. Les trois autres sont Guy Berriman, a la guitare et le chant, Jon Buckland, guitare et chant et Wil Champion qui est a la basse et la grosse cloche.
2.Leur histoire: tout commence en 1996 a l'universite quand Martin recontre Buckland et un plus tard, toujours a l'universite, ils rencontrent Guy Berriman. Le 8 janvier 1998 Wil Champion devient bassiste alors qu'il n'avait jamais touche a une batterie de sa vie: c'est la naissance de Cold Play.

3. Les albums:
Parachutes 2000 avec le succes de Yellow
A rush of blood to the head 2003, Scientist
X&Y 2005
Les albums s'ameliorent de plus en plus et en 2006 ils pretendent qu'ils vont s'arreter mais ils font des collaborations avec Rihanna, Jayz et Kanye West.

VivaLaVida 2008: avec des sonorites plus variees que les autres albums. Sur la pochette le tableau de la Liberte Guidant le Peuple: guitares, batterie martiale. La chanson est une des plus celebres chansons du groupe et est toujours chantee en concert. Elle est vendue a 7 millions d'examplaires.
Mylo Xyloto en 2011. Depuis cet album, Cold Play met dans tous ses concerts, jusqu'aux tshirts, des graffitis, avec comme symbol le rond.

C. Themes
Ils ont un message, une philosophie. Ils sont engages, c'est a dire qu'ils defendent des causes comme: la pauvrete, le commerce equitable, la paix, l'art et surtout le graffiti.
Dans X+Y, c'est l'amour.
Dans VivaLaVida, c'est l'histoire, la revolution, la paix et la liberte.
Dans MyloXylato, le pardis, l'eau, les oiseaux, l'environment.
Il y a toujours de la poesie: leurs mots et leurs paroles sont poetiques.

D.Recompenses: 45 en total
Mercury Music Prize
Grammies: 7 fois
British Awards 7 fois
MTV Awards 4 fois
Et beaucoup d'autres.

ColdPlay a un futur. Ils ont beaucoup de fans, ils font des concerts, des tournees. La musique est basee sur leurs instruments, les paroles poetiques, leur voix mais surtout leurs messages.

April 1, 2012

If I Were 14 instead of 41

"...I would be a Katy Perry wanna be the way I was a Madonna wanna be back in the day. The expression "wanna be" came as an accessory to the Boy-Toy rubber bracelets clad, lace gloved, perm hair sulfurous blond Madonna, on the cover of Time magazine in 1982.

I showed my mother the picture of Katy Perry on random magazines covers while queuing at the cashier of the supermarket. "Will she last?" My mom asked. I was convinced she would. "Like Madonna she will last. If I were 14, I would follow her. I love her and I am 41."

Katy Perry sings of crazy parties. The atmosphere is like the book Palo Alto by James Franco. The kids are pretty much out of hand. While I denounce drunken teenage parties, I think that her songs are parodies of it. She describes the atmosphere so well that its almost mocking them. Her song tone is playful and churpie.

Katy Perry is also empowering to listen to. The lyrics of her na-na-na songs are always about women who will eventually make it, no matter how abandoned or mislead they are. She may sing about regret, or admit that she is broken, but she always claims she has the spirit to survive, to shine. Her songs are up-beat. They can make you cry out loud or smile in silence. I encourage my children to listen up.

"Should have told you what you meant to me" Katy Perry