SubPlot A

SubPlot A

 Calgary, Alberta, CAN
BandPop

Barenaked Ladies before they had $1,000,000...

Biography

Bonbonnieres. And songwriting.

Seven years ago, Arun Lakra didn’t have a clue about either.

He zapped eyeballs all day, wrote screenplays all night, and was quite content in his obliviousness.

Then he met her.

And one fateful mind-numbing Saturday afternoon seven years ago, he learned. About bonbonnieres. And about centerpieces. And the up-do. And most importantly, he learned what most men learn sooner or later… that weddings were not about the groom.

And he was cool with that. He didn’t care whether the tablecloths were beige or taupe or even eggshell. He also learned (quickly) how to say “I don’t care” in several ways that didn’t sound like “I don’t care”. (eg. “You have much better taste than I do”, “I love them both/all”, “There’s a great sports bar down the street with amazing tablecloths.”)

Arun decided to defer every decision about the wedding to his bride.

With one exception. The first dance song. And it would be a surprise.

And she was cool with that. She may have said, “I don’t care”.

So after hours of screening a variety of musical contenders, which loosely fell into five categories…

Yawn…
Yuck!
Gasp!
Huh?
Doh!
…he needed a better idea.

That night, he was driving home and heard Brian Wilson interviewed on the radio.

And he said to himself (and accidentally out loud, within earshot of the creeped-out lady who had pulled up beside him at the red light), “I know… I’ll write our first dance song. How tough could that be?”

Only slight problem… he had never written a song. Oh, and he couldn’t sing. And because he had sort of lied to his grade seven piano teacher who thought he was the world’s most untalented pianist ever… (“I guess if you’re practicing four hours a day, we should probably bump it up to four and a half hours”) thereby depriving himself of the Juilliard education he desperately needed if not deserved, his musical abilities had never realized their full potential. (Or worse, maybe they had.)

Undaunted, Arun put pen to paper and wrote some words. They rhymed. Kind of. Then he called Paul, his pal of many hats and years.

Paul tinkled on the piano (as they say in Britain after one has had one too many pints and can’t find the loo) and voila (as they say in France while they offer you a croissant de chocolat and regarde de condescension… aka combo #3), they had a song.

Wes, friend of many talents and stories, played bass. Paul sang. Bobby recorded. And Arun did what he later deduced to be producing.

And she married him. And they danced. And she was surprised, in seemingly in a good way (the opposite way of that “surprised” guy in that Joe Pesci scene in Goodfellas).

And Arun kept writing songs.

There was no particular goal or method or rock star fantasy/delusion. His fantasy/delusions remained more filmy than rocky.

Still, it was part fun, part catharsis, part creative release.

He wrote words. He learned how to write music. He worked at it. Not quickly. Not exclusively. But seriously. (But, of course, not too seriously.)

Over seven years, Arun wrote and recorded a bunch of songs. To varying degrees of completeness and goodness. With lots of help from many talented and generous friends and musicians.

And a couple of years ago, Arun realized that he had inadvertently produced an album.

This is it.

Seven years ago, he was 35 years old, single, drove a two-seater convertible, didn’t glare at people for talking too loud in a movie theatre, would not have considered a two-goal performance in a rec soccer league game to be worthy of a mass email, and could not infrequently stay up past 11 pm.

One wife, two kids, some physical and psychological grey hair, and a minivan later, this album tells the story of those seven years.

Like when Pluto got demoted and he felt an inexplicable need to launch a musical protest into the universe (Pluto Rocks).

Or when his wife was expecting their first child and he wrote a heartfelt song for their unborn daughter (Starry-eyed) who popped out a few months later… as a boy.

Or when he found himself throwing up in a toilet and realized in a moment of epiphany and drool that even Bill Gates puked alone (I Puke Alone). Sure you can hire someone to clean it up, but the actual puking into a toilet… it’s every man, woman, and child for himself.

Or when he heard himself complaining about some kids playing their music too loud (Cranky) and it didn’t sound pleasant or familiar.

Or when he got strip-searched at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris (Two Empty Seats) and it wasn’t because of his attire - unless terrorists are camouflaged in Aloha shirts these days. (And no, it wasn’t the fashion police, but thanks for asking.)

Or when one too many people wearing one too many colored ribbons interrupted one too many dinners with an uninvited doorbell (I Don’t Care) and the ulcer-inducing raging inner conflict that ensued.

This album is messy. Like puke. Like kids. Like a doctor's ha

Lyrics

Cranky Old Man

Written By: Arun Lakra

Cranky Old Man

Verse

Don’t get me started on kids today

A little bit of work and a whole lot of play

Sleep till noon and party all night

Slow to pick up a cheque, so quick to pick a fight

They lie in the sun while they talk on the phone

Their scarring tattoos and their piercing ring tones

Their jeans are too tight and they swear too much

They dance too close while they kiss and touch

I just can’t watch ‘em throw their lives away

So I pound on the door and hear myself say,

Chorus

You play your music too loud I can’t hear myself think

You party all night, you have too much to drink

You drive too fast and you dress like a slob

Too busy looking for fun instead of finding a job

But I look in the mirror I don’t understand

When did I become a cranky old man

Yeah when I look in the mirror I don’t understand

I’m too damn young to be a cranky old man.

Verse

I’ve got obligations and responsibilities

Corroding stucco and dental fees

I got LDL and credit card bills

A little more grey and a little blue pill

Bosses and families who think they know it all

I can see the writing but the print’s too small

I got a fixed rate mortgage tied around my neck

Got a minivan straight up for my vette

I just can’t watch em throw their lives away

So I pound on the floor and hear myself say

Chorus

You play your music too loud I can’t hear myself think

You party all night, you have too much to drink

You drive too fast and you dress like a slob

Too busy looking for fun instead of finding a job

But when I look in the mirror I don’t understand

When did I become a cranky old man

Yeah when I look in the mirror I don’t understand

I’m too damn young to be a cranky old man.

Bridge

Doesn’t seem so long sometimes
Since I was a kid
Now I look back and smile
At all the things we did

Well tonight... tonight....

Chorus

We’re gonna crank it so loud you can’t hear yourself think

We’re gonna party all night and have too much to drink

We’re gonna drive too fast, and dress like a slob

We’re gonna have some fun, to hell with the job

And when you look in the mirror you will understand

This night is too young to be a cranky old man

Yeah when I look in the mirror now I understand

I’m too damn young to be a cranky old man.

Outtro

And when you look in the mirror you will understand

There’s plenty of time to be a cranky old man

Yeah when I look in the mirror now I understand

Just shoot me when I’m a cranky old man

Two Empty Seats

Written By: Arun Lakra

Verse

Though I wept with my country on that fateful day
There’s always two empty seats beside me on a plane
I got black hair and dark eyes, my name is hard to say
When I reach out my hand, you just turn the other way

Sometimes I want to march up to the front of the plane
Stand outside the cockpit, grab the PA
And make you understand
What I have to say

Chorus

I am an American
Why do I gotta prove
I’m not one of them
I’m one of you

I am an American
I swear it’s true
I am not a terrorist
I just look like one...

...to you

Verse

I left my people behind to find a better day
Now my girl plays hip-hop and my son likes to skate
I work seven days a week to put some money away
For my kids and their kids that’s a small price to pay

Sometimes I want to stop you in a dark alleyway
Drag you across the road buy you a latte
And make you listen
To what I have to say

Chorus

I am an American
Still I gotta prove
I’m not one of them
I’m one of you

I am an American
I swear it’s true, officer
I am not a terrorist
Why do I look like one...

...to you

Verse

Sometimes I want to sneak up onto the stage
Grab my guitar make you feel my pain
Dammit, you’re gonna hear
What I have to say

Chorus

I am an American
My kids are too
We are not one of them
We are one of you

I am an American
I swear it’s true, Mr. President
I am not a terrorist
Do I look like one...

...to you

Outtro

I am an American
I am a Canadian
I am an Englishman
I am an Australian

I am your doctor
I am your brother
I am your driver
I am your daughter’s lover

I am your guilty conscience
I am the voice you don’t want to hear
I am your paranoia
I am your darkest fear

I am your cure for cancer
I am the first man on Mars
I am your Pulitzer Prize
I am the guy who gave you CPR

I am American
I swear it’s true, my friend
I am not a terrorist
Do I still look like one...

...to you

I am an American
Just like you
I am an American
Don’t I look like one...

...to you

There’s always two empty seats beside me on a plane
There’s always two empty seats beside me on a plane

No Bubbles

Written By: Arun Lakra

No bubbles no troubles
No great white teeth through my skin
No burning quarrels with fire coral
Got a foot, still, for each fin

No finger food for barracuda
No psychosis narcosis or the bends
No reason of note to stay on the boat
Let’s go down under again

Let’s go down under again

Let’s go diving again

Must Sell Screenplay

Written By: Arun Lakra

Verse

Please Mr. Spielberg
It’s a drama you can’t resist
It’s Jaws meets Schindler’s List
Don’t be pissed I got your unlisted number
It’s got tons of product placement
It’ll kill in foreign markets
Cause the narrator’s the shark
Oh and I’ll let you give the acceptance speech

What do you say Stevie? Steve?
Hello?

Please Mr. Tarantino,
I’m sure your writer’s block’s a rumor
I’ve got Pulp Fiction with some humor
A velcro bodysuit for Uma
The soundtrack’s esoteric
And the gore is metaphoric
The purple blood is an homage to Barney
We can split the film and double our gross.

Exactly! Gratuitous profanity!
Hello?

Chorus

Must sell screenplay
I’m a Hollywood star trapped in the body of an ordinary guy
It’ll be better than all the crap that’s out there now...
I’ll take high six figures against 1.9

Verse

Please Mr. Shamalama…lama... la…ma
You’ll love my supernatural thriller
It’s Sixth Sense meets Natural Born Killers
I got your number from Ben Stiller
It’s got a killer act three twist
Bruce Willis realizes he’s a giraffe
Did I say Stiller, I meant Owen Wilson
Oh and I’ll let you do a cameo.

Did I mention the giraffe is dead
Hello?

Please Mr. Scorsese
Think Sideways meets Casino
A mid life road trip to Reno
Where Pacino ices DeNiro’s Pinot
Only instead of wine it’s sushi
And the mobsters roll the... lobsters
It’s an offer you can’t refuse...
Get it? Get it? What do you mean?

Didn’t you do Godfather?
Hello?

Chorus

Must sell screenplay
I’m a Hollywood star trapped in the body of an ordinary guy
It’ll be better than all the crap that’s out there now... No offense...
It’s a steal at mid six against 1.5

Verse

Do you feel lucky Mr. Eastwood
It’s Unforgiven meets Bollywood
I saw you sipping a Chai Latte in Westwood
With Deepak Chopra and Elijah... something
A love triangle with no kissing
You lip-sync through the chuckwagons
Oh and maybe one of you has a chimp...
Or a hobbit... Or a wookie... yeah!

Go ahead, make my samosa.
Hello?

Please Mr. Nolan
It’s Monty Python meets Memento
The chronology is mental
And the comedy is dental, I mean British
Accents are outrageous
The amnesia’s contagious
The knights laugh at the same joke over and over
Oh and John Cleese has a tattoo of the Holy Grail on his butt.
Only grail is spelled backwards. Liarg.

Chorus

Must sell screenplay
I’m a Hollywood star trapped in the body of an ordinary guy
It’ll be better than all the crap that’s out there now... You know what I mean...
It’s a steal at low six against zero point nine
Verse

Please Mr. Reiner
It’s a tragic romantic mocku-fantasy
It’s Sophie’s Choice meets Harry Meets Sally
It’s funny and deep and I see Meryl Streep
Faking an orgasm in a... castle
Kind of a Spinal Tappish Princess Bride
She and Billy Crystal can’t have a child
Cause she discovers she’s inconceivable.

What do you mean you do not think it means what I think it means.
Hello?

Chorus

Must sell screenplay
I’m a Hollywood star trapped in the body of an ordinary guy
It’s better than all the crap that’s out there now... Nothing personal...
I’ll take back end points cause what I really want to do is direct.

Hello?

Must sell screenplay
I’m a Hollywood superstar trapped in the body of an ordinary guy
Must sell screenplay...
Or maybe... sell a... song about it.

Verse

Please Mr. Eno
I got your number from the Edge...

Saturday Night

Written By: Arun Lakra

Saturday Night

Verse

I turned nine years old in the winter of seventy-five
I slept in my jersey like all the other guys
The NHL was where I was gonna shine
Saturday day, I biked to the rink, played till supper time

Chorus

But when the music started, you know where I’d be
I’d be staring wide-eyed, at the CBC
Watching Number ten, scoring so easily
Saturday night, belonged to my Daddy and me

Verse

I turned twenty-two, in the winter of eighty-eight
My Canadian Dream, turned out just wasn’t my fate
All week long, I worked a job for a Friday date
Saturday day, got in the truck, went for a pick-up skate

Chorus

But when the music started, you know where I’d be
I’d be staring wide-eyed at the CBC
Watching ninety-nine, scoring so easily
Saturday night, belonged to my buddies and me

Verse

I turned twenty-eight, in the winter of 94
Got a haircut and suit, thought about tomorrow a little more
Traded my pickup for a shiny new four door
Saturday day I stopped by the jewelry store

Chorus

But when the music started, you know where I’d be
I’d be staring wide-eyed, at the CBC
Watching ninety-three, scoring so easily
Saturday night, belonged to my baby and me

Verse

I turned nine years old in the winter of 2005
I sleep in my jersey like all the other guys
The NHL is where I’m gonna shine
Saturday day, I bike to the rink, play till supper time

Chorus

But when the music starts, you know where I’ll be
I’ll be staring wide-eyed at the CBC
Watching number 12 scoring so easily
Saturday night belongs to my Daddy and me

Chorus

And when the music’s fading, you know where I’ll be
I’ll be staring through my cataracts, at the CBC
Watching some new kid, bring back some memories
Saturday night will belong to Grandma and me

Discography

2009 (upcoming release):
Tragic Romantic Mocku Fantasy