Monday, June 29, 2009

crawling through a festival: Sled crash at the Warehouse

The final night of Sled Island is always a sort of bittersweet affair. On the one hand, you are utterly exhausted and all buzzed up on caffeine to make it through to the end, on the other you are completely stoked for a band lineup that god himself couldn't improve upon, and on the third hand (because you can always use an extra hand) you know you are going to be suffering severe Sled Island withdrawal in a matter of hours.

We were actually the first people in line to get into the Warehouse, as I was not taking any chances on missing out on this show. A nice benefit to this was that we were able to score the best of the handful of booths that line one wall. Not only can you sit and have a table to put your drink on, but the corners of the booths have little built-in tables that are perfect for standing on and seeing over everybody's head when the place fills up. A nice couple from Vancouver, who were in town for the Cantos Music Festival, shared the booth with us. Even though it got stinking hot in the place later, the boy half never once took off his wool jacket. Or his tie. Those crazy Vancouverites!

The night started off with the locals, Sub-linguals, playing an utterly frantic set on the floor in front of the actual stage. The frontman, hobbling along with a lime green cast on one leg, had the most incredibly bad bleached hair since Thom Yorke's Pablo Honey days. I was impressed.

Women, the Calgary band who is blowing them away around the world these days, then took to the stage proper, but not before King Khan (of King Khan & the BBQ Show) muscled his way on stage and painted a few faces gold. He had been making his way around the hall, anointing people with gold face paint, taking care to spend a great deal of time lying in wait in the women's washroom. When I ran into K, editor of Kitschykoo! Subcultural Lifestyle Magazine later in the evening, I saw that she too had fallen under his Midas (or something) touch.

Women laid down a solid set of their multi-layered dense but light garagey sound. The few new songs they threw in were pretty incredible, and surprisingly melodic. They sound way better live than on album, and that's saying a mouthful right there. And for those of you who note these sorts of things, Matt Flegel has shaved off his beard and gotten a buzzcut. You won't recognise him.

And then, with a nod to last year's Sled Island, a legend took to the stage. Colin Newman, famously from Wire, who played Sled Island last year, and who is curator of this year's festival, brought his new band, Githead, along. They sound very much like WIre in many ways. We picked up their new cd, and even more importantly, the Resident Offspring later noticed Colin and his wife and bandmate, Malka, standing by our table at the end of the night and managed to speak to him and get an autograph. I also managed to leap off the table and get a scrawl from him before he left. Plus I told Malka how much I had enjoyed their set, because I didn't want her to think I was only interested in the Wire factor.

HEALTH, the noise band from LA, were really fucking loud, probably the loudest band I have ever heard. The Resident Offspring and I both initially thought that the Asian guy with the awesome hair was just the dancer for the band, until about 10 minutes into the set when he finally picked up an instrument. I really liked some of their set at times, and I really wanted it to end at other times. LOUD, really really LOUD.

And then, the band that I had seen the night before, but in a completely different setting, and was most excited to see, hit the stage around 1:15. I had the feeling that seeing Holy Fuck at the Warehouse would be completely different than seeing them in the early evening at Olympic Plaza.

OH YEAH.

Holy Fuck is one of the most appropriately named bands I can think of. Their high energy electronic show is so exciting to watch, the way they leap around and attack the sound boards like they were a combination of an enemy to be vanquished and a tv dinner to be devoured, is utterly incredible. By this time, of course, I was standing/dancing on the little corner table of the booth, as the Warehouse was packed and hopping. I have never seen a band engage an audience so entirely. I think maybe five people didn't dance. The rest moved as one entity, including yours truly, doing her patented white girl shuffle on the table top.

It's been a while since I danced on a table (completely sober) at 2:30 in the morning. So, thank you, Holy Fuck!

Of course we didn't want to let them leave. But another nice thing about Holy Fuck, is that they have the perfect name to chant out, punctuated by hand claps, when you want an encore. Ho-ly Fuck! Ho-ly Fuck! You get the idea.

Saturday night at the Warehouse was one the sweatiest, danciest, most incredibly fun concerts I have been to in a long while. And for me, it was the perfect way to end Sled Island 3.0.

Now all that's left is the withdrawal pains.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

crawling through a festival: Sledding at Olympic Plaza

If the free water and return of the gelato stand and the fact that only a small portion of Olympic Plaza was surrounded by a chain link fence, thereby allowing passing office workers, street people, and the assorted curious to sit comfortably on benches surrounding the festival area to enjoy the music for free, isn't enough to convince you that Sled Island is doing something right, well then we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Friday's all ages Sled Island blowout in Olympic Plaza thrust some life into the concrete heart of the city, and proved that there are far better ways to spend a beautiful Friday afternoon than squashing onto a C-train for the sweaty jolting ride home to the suburbs. Why wouldn't you choose to sit on the tiered steps in the grass around the plaza, or even in the beer garden on site, and listen local wunderkinds, The Summerlad, kick things off with a really gorgeous ambient set. Adding fuel to the argument that Sled Island 3.0 was the year of the really long song, The Summerlad favoured the 35 minute song, which is tricky to pull off in a 45 minute set.

When the sound system launched into a selection of Easy Star All Stars covers from OK Computer during the band change, I took it as a sign that the gods were smiling upon us. Frisbee Dude obviously thought so too, as he took it upon himself to get some sports action happening on the cement plaza while we waiting for Malajube to set up.

I first noticed him gesturing into the crowd with a series of increasingly desperate "come on down here" hand signals, and then randomly tossing the frisbee to unsuspecting passersby. He managed to conjure up a fair bit of action in the half hour or so that he ran about on the cement pad in the blazing sun. And he was no youngster either, obviously in his 40s, but he
managed to set the tone, so that the rest of the evening, there were a multitude of increasingly complex frisbee tournaments going on. I even got hit with one during the Breeders' set.

Malajube played an upbeat set, and the standing in front of the stage crowd increased from the meagre smattering of earlier.

Biz Markie, up next, was one great big fun guy. Evidently he does a weekly segment on Yo Gabba Gabba, where he teaches beatboxing, and that same rapport with the kindergarden set really came across with this group of twenty-somethings. He's like the kid who sits at the back of the room and makes funny noises with his mouth.

M5 from the Congo played a short set. I was all excited, initially thinking it was MC5, but no.

During Anvil's set, I went for a walk, to find some sustenance, to check out the merch tent, and to get away from the bad singing. On three seperate occasions during my ambling, I was approached by guys trying to convince me that I was an Anvil fan. The Resident Offspring figures that I fit the demographic, but really just because I am ancient, does that mean that I have to enjoy bad metal? Obviously I am overdue for a haircut or something.

Once I returned, I spotted our design friend from the Final Fantasy concert and invited her to sit with us. She had just returned with her dinner when Holy Fuck came on stage, so rather than head up to the area in front of the stage, I stayed and kept her company. I figured I would get a chance to see Holy Fuck up close and sweaty the next night at the Warehouse anyway. It was seriously hard to groove while sitting on the ground, especially when they started attacking their gear, but I did my best.

We stayed seated for Liars as well, as at that point we were deep in conversation about music and art and the joys of the internet. They were lively, and offered a more upbeat set than I remember them playing when they opened for Radiohead. But the fact that it was now the exact same time of evening as it has been when we saw them in Seattle did conjure up considerable deja vous.

But for the Breeders, we all headed up to the stage area, because, well it's the Deal sisters, innit? Kim was wearing a pair of big old baggy grey sweatpants, sort of like a pair I have at the back of the closet somewhere. The incongruity between those pants and that voice which could make the angels weep was quite surreal. "Our gear got left behind", she explained as they tinkered with the instruments a bit more than one would expect from a band the calibre of the Breeders. "So did my pants", she finished with a laugh. Ah, that explains it.

Both Kim and Kelly played the entire set with the hugest grins on their faces, mockingly telling people to stop smoking pot. Kelly: "I'm not supposed to be around this stuff. No smoking!" There was a feeling of real comaraderie between the crowd and the stage. As Kim started the awwooo part at the beginning of Cannonball, she started complaining that they didn't have the proper gear to make the distortion sound that it needed, and that it sounded like shit. So just like that, the audience started up "awooo awoooo awooo awooo awooo awoo" Gave me chills.

Because of the noise bylaw, the concert shut down promptly at 11:00, which was actually
okay, as we then scurried over to Vern's. Jon-Rae Fletcher and his band played a set that was far too short, to a small but highly appreciative audience. With a few old songs from his pre-River solo days thrown in, the set featured mainly selections from Jon-Rae's new album, plus a handful of really bad puns. I loved the guy in the audience who stood two inches from the mics, grooving heavily during the entire set, and then later got involved in a wrestling match that evolved into a dance. There was a lot of love in that seedy little basement room for the band which had just driven in from Victoria that night, and I was really pleased to be a witness to it.

Okay, so it wasn't all love. I chuckled evilly at the girl who, judging from her shiny blue cocktail gown, was obviously supposed to be at the nightclub upstairs, when she drunkenly approached the bartender with a worried look on her face. "How do I get upstairs?" she asked carefully. The two bartenders looked at each other and, suppressing guffaws, replied, "well, you go over to the stairs. And then you go up them."

I met with Jon-Rae after the show to have a beer and a little chat for a followup article that I am writing about him, and he was one of the most gracious and sincere people I have met in a long while. He was genuinely appreciative of my interest and of what support I was able to offer (seeing as I am a big shot journalist and all). And I was really grateful that he stayed behind to talk to me when the rest of the band were heading to Broken City for the Ladyhawk show.

When the meeting of the mutual admiration society wrapped up a short while later, we headed off into the night, the musician to another show, the two women from the suburbs to the urban assault vehicle parked in the $41.00 parking spot, determined to get a few hours of sleep before the crazy dance party at the Warehouse the next night.

Friday, June 26, 2009

crawling through a festival: interstitial report

There was no festivalling done by the inhabitants of Zombie Central last night (day two) as sometimes things like final exams must take precedence. So, I'm sorry Rural Alberta Advantage, Library Voices, Mount Eerie, Azeda Booth, Woodpigeon, Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, etc, etc, I really should have been there to cheer you on.

If it helps, here is evidence that I was there in person to cheer on Final Fantasy, this photo shamelessly stolen from the Sled Island webpage:

See? That's me at the very front on the left, the one with the crazy hair and the dark shirt, then the Resident Offspring in yellow, and then my new best friend, the design student, in the white tights. And that's Owen, serenading us, and us alone.

Coming up tomorrow, the lowdown on the blowout in Olympic Plaza.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

crawling through a festival: day one of Sled Island 3.0

My wristband is pink and sparkly.

We had to walk a hundred miles out of our way to pick it up from Broken City, because of the stupid train tracks that bisect downtown Calgary. In unfortunate footwear, nonetheless. But finally, wristbands secured and bodies fueled by a nourishing supper of Fresca and Iced Tea from Billy's News on 7th Avenue, we joined the line that was forming alarmingly early up the steps to Central United Church. And there I met my new best friend, whose name escapes me at the moment, but I knew we were destined for BFFness when it became apparent that not only have
we attended pretty much all the same concerts in the last few years, but she thought I was 35.

We all ended up sitting together in the very front row, one mere giant step from the foot-high stage, so making new friends also appears conducive to scoring great seats.


Fond of Tigers, a seven-piece, free-form experimental jazz band from Vancouver, were the first band of the night and of Sled Island 3.0. They were pretty amazing to watch - two drummers, a violinist, a guitarist bandleader who got lost in his groove moves, a trumpeter, a bassist, and a keyboardist whose shoes I could have easily stolen after he removed them, that's how close we were.

I guess I had no expectation of Fond of Tigers, as I knew nothing about them previously, but I certainly wasn't expecting their brand of electronic jazz, which favoured the 25 minute song. Very trance-like music it was, but not your dreamy sleepy trance, more the sort of power trance you go into when you are really booting it on the treadmill sometimes. It was the sort of music that allows your thoughts to really fly and I came up with a shitload of great ideas during their set, some of which I actually remember.

Slim Twig, a hiphop rockabilly dude from Toronto, then played a set that had mixed success. He had an awesome quiff and rocked the vest and ultra-skinny jeans look. From his great moves which jerked him around the stage and which included some pretty nimble leaping onto rails and such, it was apparent that he had studied for a while at the James Brown School of Interpretive Dance.

But of course, at this point we were all waiting for Final Fantasy.

From our incredible seats (the best spot I have ever scored at a Final Fantasy concert), I watched with fascination as he set up his gear. Wearing a really great t-shirt which featured a line drawing of a cat on an old-timey bicycle, Owen Pallett was a study in precision as he deftly unfurled wires and neatly placed them just so. He explained, with his excellent diction, that he always like to set up his own gear, because then even if we didn't like the show we couldn't call him lazy.

Nobody called him lazy either. In fact, it appeared that everyone was far too enthralled with his spirited, yet relaxed, performance to call him anything but brilliant. Owen Pallett was charming and witty and brought with him such a sense of fun that it was almost possible to see past his incredible beauty. But glancing around the room, to see every single boy and every single girl gazing with moist mouths slightly open in rapt awe, it's just not possible to overlook the fact that Owen's beauty is an undeniable part of his performance.

I was very glad to hear a set composed mainly of his new songs, performed with playfulness and panache, hand gestures and eye rolling. And when he came back for an encore following the expected standing ovation and asked if there were any requests, he became quite giddy to hear a request that he never usually gets. "I love that song!" he exclaimed and proceeded to demonstrate some samples he had prepared, just in case. And then with the warning "I have to caution you that this song contains positive attitudes toward taxation" he launched joyfully in.

It was a pretty joyful ending to a great first night of Sledding.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

crawling through a festival way out west

We're gearing up for the assault on Sled Island, here at Zombie Central. The festivities actually began last night, but sometimes minor details like final exams interfere with the execution of the ultimate plan.

There is no way, without the benefit of a K-Tel Clonomatic and possibly a Tardis, that I am going to be able to see more than a fraction of the acts I want to. It's just as well that the media accreditation which one of my editors was talking about getting for me never did materialise. For the most part, I shall be attending the festival as civilian. I am meeting up with everybody's favourite produce guy, Jon-Rae Fletcher, for a chat on the weekend, to do a follow-up to the article I wrote about him back in the winter, and naturally I'm quite excited about that.

And the weather looks like it is going to be perfect on Friday for the all afternoon/evening outdoor concert at Olympic Plaza right in the heart of downtown. It should be considerably less onerous than the skin cancer orgy which the outdoor portion of the festival morphed into last year.

Tonight, the eternally
fabulous Final Fantasy will wow us at Central United Church, preceded by some other acts (Fond of Tigers, Slim Twig) whom you have never heard of. Okay, I haven't, anyway.


If I run into this poor guy downtown, I'm definitely giving him a couple of bucks for a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

maybe all I need is a shot in the arm

Here's one for the WTF files.

Evidently only about 35% of girls in the Calgary Catholic school system have received vaccinations against the human papilloma virus, which is estimated to cause 70% of cervical cancers. As you are probably aware, the vaccine is being offered to girls in grades 5-9, as protection against the virus which is often spread through sexual contact, and so far about 75% of girls in the public school system have been vaccinated.

For girls outside of this age bracket, parents must pay the +$600.00 cost, so it seems a no-brainer to take the opportunity to have your daughters vaccinated within the school program, right?

However, the Calgary Catholic school board has decided not to allow the vaccination within the schools. Bishop Fred Henry has apparently objected to these vaccinations on a moral ground, saying that they will encourage premarital sex. According to his way of thinking, if girls know they are protected against HPV, they will be more likely to engage in sexually activity.

Pah-leeze!

I don't know about you, but the possibility of cervical cancer never once entered into the decision making process (such as it is) anytime I ever contemplated sex. I just don't see
how leaving girls open to the possibility of contracting a life-threatening disease is a good deterrent against promiscuity. If you had daughters, wouldn't you do everything you could to ensure that they are protected against the possibility of cervical cancer?

/rant

Also, does anybody have any idea what the hell has happened to MyDataBus? I pay to use the damned site, in order to host my articles and such, and it has disappeared off the face of the internetz. Swallowed up in zeroes and ones.

Can you recommend any other hosting sites?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

from my father's hands

Happy Father's Day to all you dads. I hope you are being spoiled absolutely senseless by adoring families who are tripping over themselves to fulfill your every whim.

I'd like to tell you a little bit about my dad, but if you know me, you'll know that I will use every opportunity to highjack the conversation into really being about myself
, so forgive because I am going to do so again.

Like most families, we weren't exactly Norman Rockwell models. I didn't have the easiest relationship with my dad. We did talk more after I started university, because then it seemed we had some interests in common (and I was probably less of an asshole by then), but I never really got past thinking of him as a curt, slightly scary, basically unavailable man. It wasn't until he died that I found out that he was so much more multi-faceted than the career soldier I had always assumed him to be.

I learned that he had been enrolled in law school when WWII broke out, which obviously changed his life and his aspirations forever. I had always appreciated that he had a love of words; he used to read our encyclopedia collection from cover to cover and he could not resist ordering several books every month. But I overlooked his creative side.

My father abhored waste and would reuse everything many times over, in many different incarnations. For example, he would hang shiny metal plates and old mirrors and such all around his huge garden, to keep the birds away. Now when I look around my own garden, it too is filled with found objects, less to keep the birds away and more because I like the way incongruous objects look amongst the greenery, but it still reminds me of Willi's garden.

It wasn't until recently that I realised that I probably inherited any sort of creativity that I may possess from my dad. After my mom's funeral I took home with me a set of wooden lamps, a couple of candle holders, and a bowl, all of which my dad had carved from a single tree that had been felled one year. They remind me of him, of course, but in addition, they make me understand how similar I am to my dad in my love of words, my appreciation of clean simple design, and my desire to transform found objects into new life.

The point I am trying to make, in my long-winded approach, is that my dad's handiwork have become some of my most treasured possessions. A while ago, the ever-inventive and reflective Sean posted most eloquently about the small treasures in our collections, those items that define our experiences, that ground us at the same time as they pique our imagination, expand our minds, and make our hearts swell. These things, which my dad made with his hands, are my precious treasures. They will never end up in an art gallery or anything, but they are quite lovely in their simplicity. They remind me of the father I wish I had appreciated more, and they make me aware of the sensibilities and the creative approach which we shared. To me that is precious.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Evil Dead the Musical: rain down on me from a great height

Even from the relative safety of Row K, back in the civilian zone, I could feel the spray of the blood. I think next time we might just sit in the splatter zone.

Now I love plays, and generally I love the witty wordy ones that delve deeply into the psyche and leave me pondering the human condition. That's not exactly what I saw last night.

Evil Dead: the Musical is pretty much the complete opposite of that. But I have to say, it was the most fun I have ever had at the theatre. It's a campy, over-the-top, cheesy, raunchy production and the entire audience loved it.

After reading the prominently posted Splatter Zone Rules, we entered Ground Zero Theatre to the caterwaulings of Pat Benatar telling us that hell is for children. I think at the very least we should have taken that as a sign of things to come. Obviously some people were very well prepared. I spotted people dressed in garbage bag shirts making their way into their seats in the Splatter Zone. I suspect some of them have seen the play before.

Evil Dead: the Musical is, of course, based on the Sam Raimi movies, and is refreshingly self-aware, often making ironic references to the source material. I love that kind of shit,

I have watched clips from other productions of this play, and, while I realise that much is lost in translation, I must say that the Ground Zero Theatre production looks like one of the best ones on offer.

First off, the set is great. From the cutout car in which the five college students are making their way to the cottage in the woods during spring break, to the cottage proper in which everything from the kitchen cupboard doors to the mounted moose head becomes animated and malevolent, the entire stage comes across like a really great haunted house ride at the fair.


There are catchy songs and there is doomed romance; there are evil spirits and there are forests which commit sexual interference. And by god there are dance numbers. A little bit Rocky Horror Picture Show, a little bit Canadian Blood Services promotional videos, Evil Dead: the Musical gives you some soft shoe, some shimmy, some come on big boy, I dare you to touch me there.


If you get a chance to see this production, somewhe
re in the world, do see it. If you really want the complete experience, by all means be prepared to sit in the Splatter Zone and have the zombie demons work their way past your row where they slap you senseless with their dripping intestines. And when the chainsaw gets fired up and the body parts start flying, be prepared to be a critical part of the crimson shower.

Or be a scaredy cat like me and sit in the civilian seats and live vicariously through the characters onstage and through those in the first few rows. Either way, you will have a bloody good time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

show tunes ... with buckets of blood!

We're off to see Evil Dead: the Musical tonight.
We sensibly booked tickets outside of the splatter zone, but now I am starting to regret that ever so slightly.
Details forthcoming.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

mama always said everybody needs a party piece

I don't have the greatest vocal range. In my mind, I am freaking Thom Yorke, but in reality those high notes disappear and the really low ones make me cough.

Fortunately Leonard Cohen can't sing either and he still manages to pen some great songs, designed to make even one-note Pavarottis sound pretty competent.

My current personal best is Tonight Will Be Fine, particularly this Teddy Thompson version. I nail that sucker, you should hear me in the shower. Teddy and me, we're practically indistinguishable.

Check out the video, pretend it's me singing, maybe brush up on your Spanish (or is that Portuguese?) at the same time, and then please come back and tell me about your signature song.

Do you have a party piece that you wow them with?


Monday, June 15, 2009

they sing "I'm in love, what's that song?"

It was the ever-vigilant Ruhee (she's like a little meerkat) who first sounded the alarm that the long list for this year's Polaris Prize has been announced. And it's quite the list.

It's almost alarming, having a long list for the first time, the names of those 40 albums staring you down, each one daring you to find another one more worthy than itself to make the short list of ten. How the hell you chose the ultimate winner is beyond me.

What do you think of the list?

Arkells,
Jackson Square
Jill Barber,
Chances
Beast,
Beast
Bell Orchestre, As Seen Through Windows
Bison BC,
Quiet Earth
Bruce Peninsula,
A Mountain Is A Mouth
Coeur de Pirate,
Coeur de Pirate
Leonard Cohen, Live in London
D-Sisive,
Let The Children Die
Elephant Stone, The Seven Seas
Elliott Brood, Mountain Meadows
Fucked Up, The Chemistry of Common Life
Great Lake Swimmers,
Lost Channels
Handsome Furs,
Face Control
Tim Hecker,
An Imaginary Country
Hey Rosetta!, Into Your Lungs
Japandroid,
Post-Nothing
Junior Boys,
Begone Dull Care
K’Naan, Troubadour
K-OS,
Yes!
La patère rose, La patère rose
Land of Talk, Some Are Lakes
Lhasa, Lhasa
Malajube,
Labyrinthes
Metric,
Fantasies
$100, Forest of Tears
Pink Mountaintops,
Outside Love
Joel Plaskett,
Three
Snailhouse,
Lies on the Prize
Charles Spearin,
The Happiness Project
Rae Spoon,
superioryouareinferior
The Stills,
Oceans Will Rise
Think About Life,
Family
Timber Timbre,
Timber Timbre
Chad VanGaalen, Soft Airplane
Martha Wainwright,
I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too
Patrick Watson, Wooden Arms
Wolf Parade,
At Mount Zoomer
Women,
Women
Woodpigeon, Treasury Library Canada C/W Houndstooth Europa

It might have been easier had they just listed the albums that didn't make the cut. Actually there were a couple of noteworthy ones that didn't, in my opinion, and I am sure I am not the only Canadian music aficionado who has a quibble or two, but for some reason, I did not receive my invitation to be a Polaris judge. I'm sure they feel horribly about the oversight, so I am not going be make a big fuss about it.

It's worth noting that four Calgary artists are on the list: Chad VanGaalen (no surprise there), WOMEN (also expected), Woodpigeon (I actually didn't think this album quite lived up to the last, but I still love this band), and Rae Spoon (finally!). I'm hoping that Rae Spoon's inclusion will prompt Megatunes to get off their asses and get some more copies of his album in. I've been trying to buy it for months.

You can check out Rae Spoon here and get Come On Forest Fire Burn the Disco Down stuck in your head for two weeks, like I did. Or take the arguably safer route and watch some concert footage on this video:



Sunday, June 14, 2009

I traced my fingers along your trails

The Resident Offspring received her residence confirmation for university this fall, which is a huge relief, as I was beginning to fear that she would be pitching a tent on the beach for the semester. Unfortunately she was assigned to the residence that she did not want to live in, but she may well be able to transfer once she gets there. You know how that first month of university is a veritable beehive of shuffling and adjustments. Or perhaps she'll end up enjoying living with a bunch of Engineers. Yeah, right.

The Spousal Unit is driving out to Manitoba this morning to deal with some land baron issues. Hopefully the stack of mix cds that I made him will keep him entertained whilst crossing the Gap (aka Saskatchewan). I've got nothing against Saskatchewan, despite having spent two years in Regina, and some of my closest friends live there, but my fuck it's a long flat boring drive. It is much better now that they have finally twinned the Trans Canada all the way through, except for that one spot at Moosemin. Which figures, Moosemin being the asshole of the universe and all.

Still, I would rather drive back and forth across Saskatchewan twice than tackle some of those highways through BC. There is not one straight road in the whole fucking province, as the Spousal Unit so eloquently put it on a road trip to Kelowna one summer. Quite rightly too.

Speaking of BC, my newest BC Musician Magazine article is available HERE. My apologies for the seemingly endless shameless self-promotion. You're not hurting my feelings by rolling your eyes like that, sometimes I get sick of me too.

What's the worst road trip you have ever made?
Worst place to stop for a pee?


Friday, June 12, 2009

cause you're making me sweat like a dog in a car

Somewhere in the house there are about 12 tubes of Krazy Glue, each with about three drops taken from it. When my favourite sunglasses broke the other day, I considered getting out the electrical tape and rocking the Hanson Brothers look for a while, or maybe blowing ten bucks on another pair of quality sunglasses, or possibly ransacking the house for one of those elusive tubes of glue.

Long story short, we now have 13 tubes of Krazy Glue in our collection. Here in cataract country, letting your eyeballs go naked into the world is not an option.

Optical issues aside, I am feeling rather listy today. It is a Friday after all, time to indulge a little.

A long overdue trip to the library this week netted me some new cds. No books as I have a basket beside my bed overflowing with must-reads. CDs though, there's always room for a few more of those.

Bad Tempered Zombie's Top Five CDs borrowed from the library this week:
~ Hold On Now, Youngster | Los Campesinos!
~ Glory Hope Mountain | The Acorn
~ Mission Control | The Whigs
~ Lookout Mountain Lookout Sea | Silver Jews
~ Strawberry Jam | Animal Collective

But really, what's a cd without a few keyword searches to keep it company?

Bad Tempered Zombie's Top Five recent keyword searches what brung you here:
~ i have a bladder like pee or peeing or peed or pees
~ what happens if you don't have ink to print out a ticket for disneyland
~ sexy dirty teddy bears
~ trimming beard indie neck line
~ female camel toe cranking and flooding old cars

Got any lists in you that are just busting to get out?

Have a fabulous Friday, you sexy beasts.
Get your freak on a bit tonight, while the freak getting is good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I filled the whole front page with the catchiest words I could find

Hey look! It's the relaunch of Kitschykoo! Subcultural Lifestyle Magazine.

What was once a glossy little art magazine is now an anti-gloss and decidedly subversive looking little publication. Perfect for the newsprint aficionados amongst us.

I particularly like the disclaimer
hand-stamped on each copy, proudly declaring "NO COLOUR EVER!"

Congratulations to K for pulling off the rebirth of this magazine. And it's now free, yo.

And because it's rare for me not to stoop to shameless self-promotion, I won't keep you in suspense, since you knew it was coming anyway. If you like, you can download my article entitled And the Blogosphere Will Still Respect Him in the Morning which appears in this
issue of Kitschykoo.

~*~
Sled Island is fast approaching and I still haven't done anything about getting tickets yet. With the Resident Offspring's final exams sort of getting jumbled up amongst the festival, I don't want to be a bad mom and buy tickets for the Wednesday night Final Fantasy show when somebody should be studying for bio. And I am still working on convincing people that they want to stay downtown Friday night for an 11:30 pm Jon-Rae Fletcher show.

I really should get grabbing those tickets for Friday afternoon at Olympic Plaza, though (Malajaube, Holy Fuck, Liars, and the Breeders) and for Saturday night at the Warehouse (Sub-Linguals, WOMEN, Githead, HEALTH, and Holy Fuck).

Gotta get those while they can still be got.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

cooking it old school

I underestimated how much I use the microwave. Since it died spectacularly on the weekend, I have had to completely rethink my approach to cooking. Did you know you can cook things in the oven as well?

It might be something as simple as a fuse, but we can't even remove it to find out, as we can't figure out how to get it down from the range hood in which it is embedded, without ripping the whole damn thing apart. This is why these odd job companies are flourishing, on the incompetence of people like us. You would never know that we once renovated an entire house, ripping it right down to the bricks and adding a second story.

I fear that the microwave's demise is just another acceleration of the impending death of all the appliances in our house. You already know about the planned washer replacement in the bathroom sink, which escalated into a brand new designer sink.

Then there was the slightly more serious issue of the pilot assembly for the furnace. The cat is taking credit for saving our house from blowing up, as the only reason we knew there was a problem was because I smelled gas one morning when I went down to clean the litter box. Not cat poo gas either.

The harsh winter blew the seal on the kitchen windows so that they are now filled with condensation, and those were our only good windows. I don't even want to think about what lies behind the wall around the tub. The one that leaked.

What amazes me is that the ancient dishwasher, the appliance which we were certain would be the next to die on account of the chunks that keep falling off it, just keeps chugging along, doing a lousy job of cleaning the dishes.

I'm going to stop now or you are never going to put an offer on our house, if we ever put it on the market, are you?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

and the flying nuns signify ...?

Has anybody seen the film, Mister Lonely?

Could you explain it to me, please? I still have no idea what the extended side story of nuns jumping out of planes had to do with anything.

I expected something rather more quirky and light from Mister Lonely. This story of a Michael Jackson impersonator who meets a Marilyn Monroe impersonator and is persuaded to join a commune for celebrity impersonators certainly had its quirkiness and moments of humour, but much darkness and tragedy as well.

I'd be curious to know if anybody has seen this. And if you have figured out the nun side story, please enlighten me.
~*~
In shameless self-promotion mode, I would like to direct you to a review of a book which is considerably more straight forward, that I have posted over at the Bookworm Collective. It's a great summer read, for those of you who actually get summer.

I'd be curious to know if this book actually captures the male zeitgeist, as it is said to do. Gentlemen?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

and you thought I was just being lazy

Turns out I am prescient. There's a reason I haven't bought any annuals yet.

The rule of thumb here is that you don't plant before June 1. I would like to make a proposal to change that to June 15.

That just works out so much better for me.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

not mad, just disappointed

I was quite looking forward to my dental appointment today. Not because I'm all that into the whole torture porn thing; I can do without having my mouth stretched open while a masked person jabs and scrapes my pearlies with sharp pointy things.

No, I go for the eyebrows.

After my session with the hygienist (gold star, thanks for asking), I settled back in the chair to await the arrival of the dentist, quite keen for my bi-annual viewing of those miracles of randomness that grace his face. Those eyebrows, comprised of wildly corkscrewing hairs, each about two inches long, each a distinctly different shade of white or black or grey, are all the entertainment you need to take your mind off the fact that some dude is poking around in your gums. Those furry caterpillars have a life of their own.

So it was with shock and dismay that I looked up into his face as he leaned over my chair, and all I could see were two neatly trimmed generic eyebrows.
It looks as though my dentist has taken up reading those men's grooming magazines, perhaps even made a trip to the spa. They've stolen all the personality from his face.

The wild west really is over.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

that would explain the funny smell in the basement

This is all the remained after the junk removal guys took the battered old chesterfield out of the basement today. We may never find the rest of her body.

RIP, Barbie.

But wait, the plot thickens. Upon later removing the pile of junk that resided behind the battered old chesterfield, I made another grizzly discovery.

Now, I am no forensics expert, but judging from the similarities in size and structure and the right and left handedness, I would say we are dealing with a single victim here. No need to issue a serial killer alert at this point.

But I am very glad to get the body parts and other crap out of my basement and my garage. I'm not sure that the cat is quite as thrilled as it is now becoming apparent that the twilight zone behind that same battered chesterfield was also a favourite puking spot for her.

I feel so liberated with all that stuff gone. Sure, it took me a year to finally purge those crap purgatories, and I had to pay the 1-800-GOTJUNK guys (who were great, by the way) to take it all away, but I really feel like I am now floating in a vast calm sea of endless possibility. The shackles have been removed from my ankles and I can float effortlessly out to that island over there, the one with the rum drinks and the dub band.

Have you gotten rid of anything lately that no longer suits your life?

Monday, June 01, 2009

preparing to storm the Island

The day all you indie kids have been waiting for has arrived - it's the unveiling of the Sled Island final lineup.

Yeah, it may not have some of the jawdroppingly big names that graced the festival last year, but often it's those unexpected discoveries that make all the difference anyway. But you knew that.

The new festival addition that I am most excited about is Jon-Rae Fletcher. It'll be my first time seeing him solo and I am expecting nothing less than greatness, based on the sheer awesomeness of his new album. No pressure, Jon-Rae, no pressure.

l'll also be highly curious to take in a show of Chad VanGaalen's electro-weird alter-ego, Black Mold.


And I remain firmly thrilled about the previously announced acts the Breeders, Holy Fuck, WOMEN, Malajube, Andrew WK, Liars, HEALTH, Final Fantasy, Novillero, Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, etc etc etc etc.

Naturally my top picks all seem to be scheduled to play midnight shows. It's just as well that I no longer sleep.


~*~
In other music news, Liam Gallagher is as eloquent as ever, and apparently he hates the Kaiser Chiefs even more than Blur:
"There's nothing worse than a shit Blur.
And at least the original shit Blur are back to finish off all these other shit Blurs.
"

Gotta love those Gallaghers.