Frankie Says Relax

 

Ramadhan is typically that month where the breaks get pulled. And except for the hurried biz at the food stalls, life slows down if only for a brief period. More than half way through a year that sped by like Seabiscuit on a rocket, it’s time to call a time out before the gears start grinding onwards towards that non-stop, high energy tornado we call the festive season.

Text Kevin Yeoh, Ben Liew, Miranda Yeoh, Muna Noor
Images Euseng Seto

Heck, even robots need to recharge their batteries and 7-Elevens need to defrost their fridges. Funny thing is, when you finally have the time to chill, you never seem to know what to do apart from catch 40 and jam with the sandman. And since sleeping isn’t as fun as say listening to a Flica record, JUICE has mapped out ways for you to destress while adding a little progress. Kick back on your lazy chair, swing in your hammock and take a load of…

 

SIDLE THIS WAY
On a break from heavy partying? Take it easy, sit back and relax with these JUICE recommended spots.

It only takes a flight of stairs and an airy balcony. Lift that glass of wine at Werner’s and feel instantly removed from Changkat’s hustle and bustle.

Palate Palette is where creative people come to play, amongst the afroturf, trees and pretty friezes.

The sky’s the limit. Take the lift and soak up the skyscapers at the vertiginous Luna Bar and Skybar for that top of the world feeling.

Not quite as lofty in its ambitions but up there anyway, home-made gelato eaten under the stars and washed down with a glass of bubbly prosecco at the Bar Italia rooftop, or chillin’ at Jaya One’s Café Chulo rooftop will take you away from it all.

Everything slows down around good food and a few pints of beer with friends. Maybe Sid’s and Bulldog pub are what Einstein meant by in his Theory Of Relativity.

Tamarind Hill and the upcoming adjacent Neo Bar on the busy Jalan Sultan Ismail are 2 lush tropical island oases in the middle of the concrete jungle.

Beyond KL
Chin Chin @ Bon Ton Langkawi
An old wooden Chinese shoplot transported in its entirety becomes the backdrop to exotic drinks, luscious food and way of life that involves emulating cats on a sweltering afternoon. Recline sublime.

Limau Limau @ Melaka
Make a mad dash away from the city to Melaka only to end up in the droves of tourists that march up and down Jonkers Street? Duck down opposite the Kampung Hulu mosque and discover a quirky bolthole with the best pancakes and smoothies, evah.

 

WATCH THIS
Mind bending or whimscal, travel without moving with the greatest escapist movies ever made. Don’t forget to come back now…

Science of Sleep (2006)
The thin line between dreams and reality is blurred in this surrealistic film with an awesome soundtrack featuring Lou Reed and The White Stripes and Mexican hottie Gael Garcia Bernal, in the buff of course.

Spirited Away (2001)
The first Japanese anime to win an Academy Award. A little girl enters an abandon theme park which comes alive with magical creatures. Japan’s take of Alice In Wonderland.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Ever wished you could just forget someone who hurt you? Directed by Michel Gondry (who also did Science of Sleep), this heartwarming and heartbreaking film see Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet at their best and prompts the question “what if we never met”?

Into The Wild (2007)
Based on the true story of idealistic Christopher McCandless, who after changing his name and leaving all his worldly possessions, embarks on a journey into the wilderness of America. Not a happy ending but life’s like that.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
3 brothers travel across India to find their estranged mother. Funny and moving, this is a spiritual road movie for all.

The Big Lebowski (1998)
A comedy about an aging slacker and avid bowler who gets tangled up in a series of sticky events due to a mix-up with his name. Favourite quote: “Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you…”

Ghost World (2001)
Based on the graphic novel of the same title about an uber-cynical high school misfit’s coming-of-age in a decaying suburban town.

Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, The White Stripes, RZA, GZA, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and others stars having conversations about coffee, cigarettes, Tesla coils and other offbeat stuff. Low-brow experimentalism at its best.

Being John Malkovich (1999)
Romance done existentialist style as a puppeteer finds a way into the head of the very weird place that is John Malkovich’s mind. Starring one very ugly Cameron Diaz, John Cuzack and who else but John Malkovich.

Persepolis (2007)
Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel gets the underground comic book treatment in a young Iranian’s girls story of prejudice, societal pressure and finding your way in this world in a time of war and politics. Visually arresting.

 

ESCAPE
You been trippin’. But not that way. Road trips are a cheap alternative to travel but some getaways are right here in the city.

Dewan Filharmonik Petronas
An aural experience, but not as you know it, the DFP at Petronas Twin Towers hosts visiting classically trained musicians and swinging jazz bands. Try the matinee performances for cheap thrills and remember that William Orbit and Paul van Dyk have all sampled the classics, so the only thing to fear here is the dress code.

FRIM
Situated in Kepong, is an unlikely rainforest adventure. Winding paths, waterfalls, hill hikes and canopy walks for all levels of fitness all within view of the Twin Towers. It makes a damn good second date, if you bring a small picnic basket.

Bukit Tabur
Entered by way of Taman Melawati in KL, Bukit Tabur are a series of 6 karst hills and part of the Titiwangsa Mountains. It’s tough going but we’ve seen grandmums make the journey and once at the top you’ll be rewarded by watery views of the damn below. Best done early before the sun gets too hot.

Ulu Langat Lookout Point
Coffee on a hill with a great night view. A winding drive after surmounting the Ampang traffic should see you there before sundown to watch the sun set on the city. There are 3 eateries to choose from: Bread & Olives, Gasoline and Haven. The latter was recently given a makeover by Lukas Lim who’s also behind Palate Palette and Daikanyama on Changkat Bukit Bintang.

Art galleries
Like libraries but with fewer words and a lot more pictures, try Annexe Gallery downtown, Petronas Gallery in KLCC, the National Art Gallery on Jalan Tun Razak and Valentine Willie on Telawi 3 Bangsar. All carry the contemporary work of young edgy artists local and international. Wei-ling Gallery is beautifully converted from an old townhouse in Bukit Bandaraya and showcases works from contemporary Malaysian artists and Rimbun Dahan, also home to architect Hijjas Kasturi and his wife Angela is a compound in Kuang dedicated to artist residencies to develop traditional and contemporary art forms. It’s also open for showings.

Further Afield
Sekeping Serendah
Glass houses, babbling brooks, a hidden swimming pool. Sekeping Serendah is an eco exercise that proves good environmental practises need not look ugly or cost an arm and a leg. Located in the interiors of Selangor, one glass house fits 10, but if you are looking for some quality time with you and your other half, Sekeping Serendah offers sexy mud sheds for 2. Diirty….

Paragliding @ Port Klang
Looking for something thrilling but not physically taxing? How about flying 800 meters above sea level? This is an aviation activity and not an extreme sport so don’t worry, your co-pilot could be your grandfather.

Cow Farm @ Rasa
Off the old Ipoh highway, lies a small Chinese town (small as in one road) called Rasa. Highlights include friendly locals, an exotic liquor shop and a magical cow farm.

GET MADE
Just cause you’re at home contemplating the ceiling doesn’t mean you can’t get creative.

Be a YouTube superstar
Give a rousing speech, sing like you mean it even if you flub the words, breakdance like nobody’s watching – in the nude, showcase those freaky party tricks people. Someone’s bound to take an interest. Unless you really super sux and have enemies for friends.

Soap sculpt
It sounds so wrong, yet feels so right. Yes pairing a knife in one hand and a slippery object in another can be more fun than self amputation. Make like Rodin then send your failed efforts to your frenemies for Christmas.

Stencil + spray
We’re going back. Way back. When your pretty art teacher gave you your first pair of scissors and asked you to cut your favorite shape out of a piece of paper or cardboard and spray paint it onto objects or surfaces. She also told you not to run with scissors. We’re telling you to keep those designs off pets and OPP unless the next thing you fancy making are car plates in state penn.

Mix a CD
It’s only lame when it’s has Richard Marx and Sealion Dion on it and you give to someone who doesn’t even know you exist. Whip up one old school on tape or go full metal and select a playlist to burn onto a CD. Before you say “OK computer, it’s done – easy, personal, thoughtful and provided there’s no wet lurve ballads, never lame.

Publish a zine
It’s like a scrapbook but better cause you get to unleash it onto the world and infect them with your inner thoughts and images. Print it up in colour or black and white – not cause it cheper, doofus, but because it’s a graphic novel. Then share with the world. And us!

Make clothes
Make an old outfit new. Sew on heaps of buttons in different sizes and shapes but similar hues. Buy fabric paint and splash it on for a punk effect or stencil on your design. Or make a potato stamp and repeat a motif. Heck, if a 5 year old can do it…. Heck, make a 5 year old do it! Remember, the words of Mugatu: “Child labour – goooood.” Tear out the arms and unpick the seams for a distressed look, then call your new collection Derelict. Might not be original but it does work.

 

CATCH IT LIVE
Local electro-chill extraordinaire and JUICE Coolister Flica, whose EP Nocturnal is out now, has been composing dark, beautiful, soothing music for the better part of the last decade. He recommends 5 local acts to catch for quiet but not silent night out.

Furniture
Post rock with a tinge of Smashing Pumpkins and Mercury Rev.
www.myspace.com/earsofa.

Silent Keat
Soft ambiance electronic artist with a hard rock background.
www.myspace.com/silentkeat.

Ika
Honestly delicate acoustic singer-songwriter that brings to mind Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. Cute baby photos on her myspace too.
www.myspace.com/ikasound.

Jena
Computer music never sounded so human.
www.myspace.com/jenatones.

Akta Angkasa
Experimental prog space rock with epic build ups. Simply out of this world.
www.senipekik.com/kognitif.html.

 

STOP. LISTEN
Music soothes the savage party-animal. Here are some downtempo releases that could turn carnivores into vegans. Give them a listen and drift away. Flowers in hair and magic carpet ride optional.

Flying Lotus Los Angeles
Burial Untrue
Bat For Lashes Two Suns
Amy Winehouse Back In Black
Zee Avi Zee Avi
Bon Iver For Emma Forever Ago
LSD and the Search For God LSD and the Search For God
I Am Robot Proud The Catch
Sigur Ros Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
Muhsinah The Oscillations EP
Phoenix Kitsuné Tabloid
Mayer Hawthorne A Strange Arrangement
Ray LaMontagne Gossip In The Grain
Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career
Pete Doherty Grace/Wasteland
The Lemonheads Varshons
Jim White Drill A Hole
Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
The Whitest Boy Alive Rules
Air Pocket Symphony
Thievery Corporation Radio Retaliation
Sondre Lerche Phantom Punch
Gomez A New Tide
Wilco Yankee Foxtrot Hotel
Jose Gonzales In Our Nature
Jason Lytle Yours Truly, The Commuter
Megapuss Surfing