Friday, October 31, 2003 

No good deed goes unpunished

So Ben and I were just at Harvey's, having a quick meal, and this older gent had some trouble getting his trash in the proper receptacle - he dropped his coffee cup. Since I was sitting right there I picked it up for him and put it in the trash.

He then proceeded to address us for at least ten minutes about the evils of smoking, drinking, eating bad foods (like pizza; pizza is bad) and the like. He wasn't angry with us or anything. He was trying to help us. My favourite line: "And don't ever eat in restaurants. You'll never see me eat in restaurants."

We were, of course, in a restaurant.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003 

Wednesday's Emotional Setup: Mahgeetah

My dad's favourite band is the Allman Brothers. So I grew up with a fair amount of exposure to (good) Southern rock. Something about it is like comfort food to me now.

In other news, there's recently been a small debate amongst Stylus staffers about whether your list of "favourite" records versus your list of "best" records are any different, and more importantly whether they _should_ be. I think they are, and I don't think that's a problem.

My Morning Jacket and their new album It Still Moves is a perfect example. I think it's one of the best of the year, and one of my favourites as well. But it does rank differently. If I'm trying out "best", it's top ten, maybe top five.

If I'm doing "favourite" it's number two with a bullet, directly behind Elefant's Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid (another example of the same phenomena - I connect to it emotionally, but I don't think most people would, and absent that, it's just a good, competent, strokesy record). It's southern rock, tons of reverb (they record singer Jim James in an empty silo, ferchrissake) and lots of good music that reminds me of the stuff I heard growing up.

The first track, 'Mahgeetah', is a highlight. Stretches out to almost six minutes, complete with big ending breakdown. I love the way James' voice (which is great) expands during the line "So, are you ready to go, my lady?" I love the riffs. I love the reverb. It's classic sounding with grace and humility.

But I'm not to pretend that I expect everyone else to like it as much as I do. I could see, in a different context how the beginning could seem mannered, the ending bombastic, etc. I think you'd be wrong if you felt that way. But I could understand nonetheless.




Like making fun of crazy-ass old comics? Have I got a deal for you...


I fucked up dept.

My least favourite thing about Stylus: Writing a review, and in the interim between submission and publishing, changing my mind about the record. Now, I still think the last 3-4 songs on Shine A Light are completely undistinguished, meaning it rivals Amazing Grace for worst-sequenced album of the year. But the rest of the album have proven to be one of my favorites of the year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003 


I love Something Awful.


Not meant to know

Well, at least they approved stem cell research.


Obligatory quiz department

To make up for yesterday: Something I lifted off of Pete's journal a while back. Also, Pete: Hate the new avatar. The old one was perfectly fine. Mike secretly hates you and all you hold dear.

//10 bands you've been listening to a lot lately:
1) British Sea Power
2) My Morning Jacket
3) Elefant
4) Spiritualized
5) Elbow
6) Low
7) The Shins
8) OutKast
9) Readymade
10) Radiohead

//09 things you're looking forward to:
1) the weekend
2) my next class with Jeff Mitscherling
3) sleeping in
4) my next paycheck
5) my next drink
6) growing up
7) April
8) seeing Spiritualized again
9) going to visit Paul

//08 things you like to wear:
1) Pants
2) band t-shirts
3) nice warm old ratty sweatshirts
4) toques
5) my "Harvard" t-shirt
6) my Ontarion t-shirt
7) my suit, though I barely ever get a chance to do so
8) my very old jacket that I got from Wayne that smells of woodsmoke

//07 things that annoy you:
1) dogmatism
2) cruelty
3) "objectivity"
4) my own mistakes
5) waste
6) snobbishness
7) neo-conservatives

//06 things you say most everyday:
1) "fair enough"
2) "your mileage may vary"
3) "giggity-giggity-gig"
4) "shut it"
5) "where'd my _____ go"
6) "that wasn't funny"

//05 things you do everyday:
1) listen to music
2) write something
3) play FreeCell
4) read something
5) eat

//04 people you want to spend more time with:
1) Paul
2) Erik
3) Lisa
4) Pete

//03 movies you could watch over and over again:
1) The Limey
2) Lost In Translation
3) High Fidelity

//02 of your favorite songs at the moment:
1) British Sea Power - "Blackout"
2) Constantines - "Insectivora"

//01 person you would spend the rest of your life with:
1) Myself. I'm open to company, though.



I have been informed that I must, pursuant to obscure regulations, mention Ms. Lisa Oliver and her fantabulous Strokes review.

Todd's is very good as well, although I don't really have any real desire to pick up the album and see which one I agree with. I'm trying to cut back, you know.


Hello Kitty

Achewood has been sold off to Japanese interests. Weep with me.


Bet you can't eat just one

Why do I keep buying CDs? I dropped by Music In Orbit, our local non-chain music store, and could not help but buy the Classic Rockers collection of Augustus Pablo and the Fall's old live album Totale's Turns (It's Now Or Never).

My only defence? They came to just under $30 for both. And I just got paid. But still...


Unexpected break

In case you weren't aware, blogspot was down yesterday for some reason. Or at least it was over here in Ontario. 'Normal' service now resumes.

Sunday, October 26, 2003 

Following a typewriter to sleep

And I wish
Wish that I could breathe

Paper's done. Finally.

Saturday, October 25, 2003 

Prayer for the paranoid

So pray for us, pray for sunshine
These days are cold and I'm missing you...
You're the only thing left
That makes any sense
Please don't blow it


Slipped my mind

I can't believe I forgot to put Radar Bros.' 'Open Ocean Sailing' on my top twenty songs over at my Stylus staff profile. What the hell was I thinking?

Friday, October 24, 2003 

Ex-President does something useful shocker

And I bet he's smug about it, too. Honestly, I don't care, as long as this deal is effective.



Actor playing saviour struck by lightning. Film at eleven.


Open up my ribs and let the sun inside

Nick hits nail on head as usual on Elliot Smith/Matthew Jay. We're running a piece on Smith, but thankfully the writer avoids the words 'Nick Drake' or anything similar.

Thursday, October 23, 2003 

What the fuck?

Spam from today: "Make Your Man Bigger! SOCRATES: And the good is expedient?"

Maybe if I string them together I'll get one of the dialogues. Probably not, though.


Going all high-brow on us

The most baffling spam subject line yet:

"Does Your Inner Man Satisfy Her? SOCRATES: Then by shoemaking we take care of our shoes?"


Show me! Show you! Kikkoman! Kikkoman!

I know I blogged this before, but God help us all, this version has subtitles. Also, the cat doesn't hang itself.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003 

Paradise Lost

Absolutey gripping review of James Whale's Frankentstein over at And You Call Yourself A Scientist! I really hope Lyz tackles Bride Of Frankenstein as well.



New, massive journal update in the regular place. As a side note, I was intrigued to find out that this guy was the a bass player for Spiritualized. Damn good one, in any case.


Battle Royale (with cheese)

It's Josh Love versus yours truly in the Shins battle.

Or, more accurately, this is a big week for records, so Stylus is running head to heads all week. Check it out.


Hey, look everybody!

Sam Bloch just came into his fucking own.

Monday, October 20, 2003 


I'm going to see Spiritualized for the second night in a row. Regular service will resume soon, hopefully.

Friday, October 17, 2003 

I'm just all over this Stylus thing this week

Prefuse 73 review up today.

Thursday, October 16, 2003 

Hand in hand

See, I may not agree with Arthur Silber about Ayn Rand, but things like this are why I like reading him.


Most civilized nations have agreed that fewer dead Canadians is something of a goal. It's not their fault they're so trusting.

All hail Dong Resin.



What a fucking soundtrack! I am so buying that. I've always thought 'Tommib' was soundtrack material, and it's so nice to hear someone agree with me.


Walking after you is the hardest thing that I can do

Lost In Translation, which I saw last night, is my favorite movie since The Royal Tennenbaums. No, scratch that, I like Lost In Translation better, but it's the first film to make me feel like that since The Royal Tennenbaums. I don't really want to analyze it, but what a beautiful film. The general consensus was that there was no way that Scarlett Johansson is 18m (which she is), both because she does such a great job and because I defy you to watch that movie and not fall in love at least a little with her and Bill Murray, and the fact that she was so young was kind of creeping out some of my mid-20s male friends. Great, great movie. Go see it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003 

True patriot love

Repeal the motherfucker, I say.


Be prepared

The Boy Scouts are inviting Oliver North and Ann fucking Coulter to speak to the scouts? Who thinks this is a good idea?

I mean, won't Coulter eat a couple of them?


I'm an ape man

Excellent article on J. M. Coetzee at the Boston Globe.


WES postcript

It's about another song, but for all you who haven't heard 'Ribcage', it might be more interesting.


Wednesday's Emotional Setup: Ribcage

And when the sunshine
Throwing me a lifeline
Finds its way into my room
All I need is you



Holy shit

I knew there'd been talk of China firing up a space program, but evidentially I wasn't paying attention. Hope all goes well and he makes it back safely.


He's kidding, right?

Last thing on Shapiro, who I will officially have to restrain myself from whupping if I ever happen to meet him:

He's got column on neocon slimepit, and in one of his column he's got a little testimonial for the site. What a douchebag. I love the way he identifies's 'pioneering spirit' with their willingness to publish him. What a fuckpig.



I mean, "Shapiro quickly developed into a reasoned political thinker and a powerful writer"? Who puts that kind of crap into their own bio?


A few quick things

Before I finish off the paper. First of all: When I read this, I figured Atrios was joking. Then I read Shapiro's column, and I wasn't so sure. Then I read his bio, and I was reminded of the psychological studies that have shown if you ask twenty people their opinion, even if all twenty agree, at least one guy is going to disagree just to get attention.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for challenging those quasi-fascist PC police pomo profs (ooh, alliteration!), but I somehow think Shapiro isn't doing that. I think it's more likely he's just a self-promoting little shit.

Oh, and he's younger than me, and from the picture it looks like I could take him. So I'm right.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003 

Ribbed for your pleasure

Interesting article dubbing ours "The Age of Aesthetics".


So fresh, so clean

Big doings over at the "My Record Collection" link to the right.


Come on, come all

New review at Stylus.

Monday, October 13, 2003 

Trouble in paradise?

News flash: Bush sucks as leader. Actually, the real news flash is that even some Republicans seem to be beginning to realise this.



Excellent Tom Tomorrow here, which you can see by ignoring a short ad instead of registering.


You're so money

Nice piece on John Maynard Keynes.

Sunday, October 12, 2003 

The end of biters

By the way, am now loving all of Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, although the latter half need a god 20 minutes chopped out, and am surprised to find that (1) 'Flip Flop Rock' does not, in fact, sample the Durutti Column (it just sounds like it does) and (2) despite 2,000 reviews claiming that 'Ghettomusick' is the only collaboration between Boi and Dre, they are in fact all over each album, it's just that each graciously allows the other to take centre stage for their own disc.


Four Hail Marys and call me in the morning

Marcello's back, thank Jebus.


Leakers keep on leaking

Looks like in the newest Washington Post article the senior official who originally told reporters about the Plame leak is still spilling their guts.


Home of the brave dept.

Homeland Security fucks up again.

Saturday, October 11, 2003 

Worth it just for the gag at the top of page 4

This week's Photoshop Phriday.

Friday, October 10, 2003 


"To me, their last good song was 'Creep' because that was the last song that had a hook and was short. I don't like whiny, self-indulgent musicians, which is what I think they are."

People, it's just music. You're certainly more than welcome to dislike Radiohead, althought I certainly don't agree. But saying thing like "Their music just scares me," is kind of silly. You don't want to like them, fine. That's pretty understandable (the only band I really love that I don't understand criticism of is Teenage Fanclub), but last time I checked nobody was forcing you to like them.


O'Reilly = Wuss

Heh heh heh.


I was three in 1984

This was apparantly written by Newt Gingrich's staff back before he was Speaker of the House. From the title ("Language: A Key Mechanism of Control") on down, it's scary as shit.


Cracks in the facade

McClellend goes all Clinton-esque. I wasn't a big fan of Clinton (I don't give two shits about adultry, but if you perjure yourself, you should be impeached and removed), but at least he was never lying like this about national fucking security.


It's really only funny if you're in philosophy, I guess

"The artist has gained a measure of notoriety for earlier thought performances, which included an attempt to get the city of Berkeley, California, to pass an unbreakable law, A=A.

That law, which still is being considered, would mandate that all things in Berkeley be equal to themselves."

And now this guy is selling shares in his brain.


A horse with no name

Thomas Pynchon will appear on the Simpsons. Awesome!


Don't tread on me

If I was an American, this would be something I would add my name to in a second.


You're not alone, you're not alone

My Dears review is up at Stylus.

Thursday, October 09, 2003 


Dear homophobes:

Please fuck off and die.

The Supreme Court of Canada



Limp Bizkit, or limpbizkit, or whatever, get sued by the fans.



I don't link to Freaky Trigger often enough, but this is just hilarious, and far too short. Here's hoping Jess Harvell can recuit his mother to the cause again.


Stay focused

Hey, I'm going to keep linking to sober accounts of what Plame/Wilson is actually about until the conservative media stops trying to obfuscate it.


It's funny 'cuz it's not me

I've always liked John Scalzi's music writing (now on hiatus), but I didn't realize he was so good at invective until today. Very funny, and sadly also true.


I left my heart in San Francisco

And I probably followed that up by jumping off Golden Gate Bridge.


I'm just too tired

It's official: for the first time this (school) year, I'm skipping a class. I feel so bad, I'd just sleep through it anyway.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003 

Damage addict

Recently bought: Belle & Sebastian's Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Elbow's Cast Of Thousands, and OutKast's Stankonia ($10!). B&S and OutKast were merely as excellent as I'd expected, whereas Elbow was, as Southall previously said, a quantum leap forward. Best album of the year? Catch me during the transition from 'Ribcage' to 'Fallen Angel' and I might just say yes.


Public good my foot

For the last time, the 'artistic merit' defence has yet to be successfully misused in a Canadian court, and there's no reason to think it will be. This is pure hysteria.


My mom says I'm a catch

I don't think I've mentioned Tom Ewing's (he of the very freaky trigger) Popular project here; it's an insanely lengthy/compelling song-by-song review of every song to hit the top of the british charts since their 1952 birth. It's great reading, and he's mentioned that every link he gets makes him more willing to keep doing it. I really want to see the 80s and 90s, thus the link.



(I'm not sure, but I think Josh got a job.)


Vote Nader

I, of course, don't agree 100% with everything that Arthur Silber says (he's an Objectivist, fer chrissakes), but we still agree on an awful lot, and this is just great.


Stalk much?

I'm not that familiar with Paul Krugman, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't deserve this.


I realise it's a moot point now

But if I lived in California, would it have been wrong for me to vote for a candidate just because I think she's cute?


Not the way to run a war



Oh, fuck off

Bushie 'isn't sure' he can catch the big, bad leaker, even though he'd really, really like to. Really.

It's not as if between actually asking senior officials himself, requisitioning phone logs, and publically asking the journalists concerned to step forward he'd be able to find out. Nooooooo. Of course not.


Wednesday's Emotional Setup: Comforting Sounds

Do you have any idea how much I hate not updating my journal? Every week that there's no entries between each WES (or worse, as in the past two weeks, I forget to do it as well), I feel bad.

But these days, between the paper, Stylus, school, moving, holidays, friends, girlfriend, and so on and so forth ad bloody infinitum, my time is at an all-time premium. Again, it's in kind of a nice way, but there are downsides as well.

Comforting sounds. That's what I need. But wait, the actual song (from Danish neo-shoegazers Mew) isn't nearly as reassuring as I might like:

I don't feel alright
In spite of the comforting sounds you make

And the back of the CD booklet explains the title of the album, Frengers: "Not quite friends but not quite strangers". An uneasy haze of slight unreality hangs over the album, the pure high vocals, the thick, warm, fuzzy blanket of guitars, the weird disconnect that has enabled me to hear the whole thing for the first time without really listening. I like a good shoegazer band probably more than the next person, so it has just been lurking in my outer ear, lulling me into contentment as I try to clean up my inbox.

But 'Comforting Sounds' itself, the lengthy end track, is a sightly different beast. It sounds, when I'm only paying half-attention to lyrics, a bit sweetly nostalgic. And then the singing stops and the de rigeur instrumental ending occupies the second half of the nine minutes. It goes on, strings swelling demurely in the back, drums keeping a bog standard beat, and the guitar doing something that guitars have been doing in these sorts of records for a good, I don't know, 15? 20? years now.

It's no Readymade, and the quasi-theremin bit they bring in is no 'Hamburg', but I've heard that abum and that song a million times now. This is enough, this is a sound that is new but familair, and now it lulls me to sleep.


Tuesday, October 07, 2003 

They keep getting weirder

Worst spam subject line ever: "Stretch apart her roast beef". Her roast beef? Pretty bizarre metaphor.


A real culture war

Not, 'should you be straight or gay?', but 'should you restrict yourself to one choice?' Interesting piece.


Arise Lazarus

Sweet Jebus, it looks like is finally posting reviews again.


I think he took too much

Sam's been hitting the 'shrooms. No, literally. They've never done that to me before, but then again I stay away from instant messengers when on them. The post is, as well as marathon length, tinged with beauty and madness. And poor spelling, but drugs do that.


Split opinion

Got Speakerboxxx/The Love Below last week at the paper, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the whole thing. I do know that I think Speakerboxxx, at least, is pure genius. My jury is still out on Andre Benjamin.


Better than average

"The average blogger is a teen-age girl who updates her friends and classmates on her life, with words and spellings not quite as informal as instant messaging, Perseus said. Updates are done twice a month, Perseus said."

So there.

Monday, October 06, 2003 

I go away, and the world falls apart

I'm busy moving, and Roy gets mauled by one of the tigers. Jesus. Is nothing sacred?

Saturday, October 04, 2003 

Collateral Damage

Oh nooooooo, there's not possible other harmful effects from revealing Plame's identity as a CIA agent, ohhhh nooooo. Of course not.


Friday, October 03, 2003 

Funky blue note

My Madlib review went up at Stylus yesterday.

Thursday, October 02, 2003 

Get your war on

New stuff up.


Shithead rides again

A few choice comments on Novak's new column.



That's how many Americans want a special prosecuter for this whole mess.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003 

Wednesday's Emotional Setup: The Night My Record Collection Fell Down

We are, as most of you know by now, moving. Today we got a fair amount of work done, the bed and most of the kitchen and a bit of the living room and this computer and my record collection all upstairs to our new apartment.

Ah, the record collection. My mom (I believe - one of my parents, in any case, and I think it was her and Wayne) got me the CD holder I had always wanted for my birthday or Christmas or something similar a while ago. It's from Ikea, it's wall mounted, and it holds at maximum something like 454 CDs. Right now, just to my left in the nearly-empty room I'm sitting in, it's almost full.

That's kind of scary, I think. I will never listen to that many CDs on a regular basis. But that's not what's important about them right now. They're in random order.

Now, I'm not so incredibly anal that this fact alone distubs me, it's what caused them to be in random order. Dad initially put it up, as he usually does when I move, as I was moving boxes up here. We checked it out, it felt as solid as ever (the other four times, in other words), I slowly put all the CDs up there, checking it every so often, as I always do. It seemed solid.

And then, hours later as I was leaving this apartment with Dez to grab something or other, there was the most horrible noise I've ever heard. Not that I have a whole lot to compare it to.

My memory insists that first there was a big thumping crash and then a serious of softer, plasticy crashes and cracks aftwards, sort of a THUMP-ksshksshksshksshksshksshkssh. But that's impossible, the CDs didn't wait until the shelf hit the ground to spill out.

I come back in and there first thing I see is CDs spilling out of the door of this room. They're covering most of the floor, and even this computer.

After a few minutes of being aghast, I got down to cleaning them up. All I did was sort them into three groups: Basically undamaged, case needs replacement, and FUXXORED, to use the parlance of our times.

Only three fell into the later category, for which I was incredibly grateful. First I discovered that my copy of The Stooges had gotten completely trashed, the cash crushed and shattered, the disc snapped in two. Bizarrely, all I could think is "at least it wasn't Fun House", which is odd, as I like each album equally.

I think the next fucked one we found was New Order's CD single for 'Crystal', which I'd never actually gotten around to listening to. I'd just bought it (for $3) for the single edit anyway, so I can just Soulseek it. No big deal.

But the last one that got crushed.... I'd been searching for my own copy of U-Ziq's Royal Astronomy for years, ever since Pete got it. Almost all of it was on my computer, but I wanted a copy. I finally found it for $10 used a little while ago.

And then my falling CD holder crushed it. Fuck.

There is an upside to all this, though. The vast majority of my collection fell into the 'not damaged' pile, and of the two CDs I'll need to replace, one is easy to fine for about $10. That one is not Royal Astronomy. But in any case, I'd been meaning to go through the collection and sort out what I actually want to keep, and now I have to. I'm just going to start listening from the start of the random CDs and keep going all the way through. It'll give me something to do, if nothing else.

Also, strangely, my mental soundtrack for moving this time so far has been the New Pornographers' 'The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism'.



Under construction

I'm moving til Monday. You'll all live without me, I'm sure.


30 years

For the last time (hopefully), Plame was an undercover operative. The guy who trained with her was on Newshour confirming this.


Turnabout and all that

"We need to reverse things: if the Clinton White House had sold out an active-duty CIA agent as 'payback' for some whistle-blowing article, we would be outraged. This crime is no less serious because it was done in a Republican White House."

So some conservative news sources are talking some degree of sense, at least.


Recognizing bullshit for fun and profit

Kevin Drum on Republican lines of defence, all of them pretty weak, most of them ad hominem.


For posterity

The column that started the shitstorm.


I know you rider

Best segue of the night: Son House's 'John The Revelator' into Kid606's 'Dodgy'.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

Contact Me:
imathers at gmail dot com

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