27 Club

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Lit -

In my pre-MBA days, I ac­quainted my­self with mis­fits, bo­hemi­ans and ac­tivists who did not sub­scribe to the con­sumer cap­i­tal­ist cul­ture. I was sur­rounded by an amaz­ing band of artists, sculp­tors, po­ets and film di­rec­tors, gen­er­ally the non­con­formists who are al­ways grum­bling about the sta­tus quo.

And then, life hap­pened. I don't see my old friends as of­ten any­more but I still try to pop up unan­nounced to re­mind them

of my ex­is­tence. "We thought you sold your soul al­ready to Wall Street," they would chide. I feel like the oc­ca­sional ghost who

creeps into their lives, just to let them know that I haven't pulled a Faust just yet.

We were re­united in a hum­ble bar in the heart of Old Manila. I don't know if it's pos­si­ble to feel nostal­gic for a time that you never lived through, but that's ex­actly how I felt upon en­ter­ing. The bar walls are fur­nished with pre-WWII pho­tographs. The old pic­tures were ro­man­tic black-and-white re­minders when our city was once the Pearl of the Ori­ent, a for­got­ten era when Manila was a mag­nif­i­cent city likened to Paris, Madrid, and Lon­don. Gus­tave Eif­fel him­self de­signed Quiapo's San Se­bas­tian Basil­ica as the first all­steel church in Asia.

Just as the old framed walls of­fered nostal­gic com­fort, it was just as en­dear­ing for me to see the old ghosts of my past right in front of me; do­ing the same thing we do best: talk­ing — and then ar­gu­ing — and then heated matches on art his­tory, phi­los­o­phy and po­lit­i­cal ide­olo­gies.There are some things that never change. For in­stance, we had to trans­fer bars be­cause of one big abom­i­na­tion: their menu did not have Red Horse Beer!

Then there are some things that do change: I no­tice their en­er­gies have mel­lowed down by age, and the rad­i­cal minds are now tem­pered with some con­ser­vatism. Al­beit still provoca­tive in quot­ing Ni­et­zsche or Chom­sky or some dead philoso­pher, the rad­i­cals are al­ready, for lack of a bet­ter phrase, "pick­ing their bat­tles ju­di­ciously."

Maybe it does come with age. Our group was com­posed largely of in­di­vid­u­als north of 30 un­til mid-40s. I re­minded them that I am the youngest, still in my "ex­per­i­men­tal" decade and near­ing the end of it: I am still to

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