Sunday, February 29, 2004 

Beer, glorious beer

You're a Pint of Guinness!

What Type of Alcoholic Beverage Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, February 28, 2004 

At least something's going right

Who'd have thought that in these dark times California would be a ray of light? At least their Supreme Court doesn't have its head up its ass, unlike, say, their Governor.


And now, for something completely different

My girlfriend has a blog. She has also stolen "my" layout, but in this case I don't mind. She's much cuter than Aaron.

Friday, February 27, 2004 


[edited to reflect the fact that Aaron's post no longer has two threes]

Go here then come back, if you're trying to keep up. The numbers I'm using this time correspond to his points I'm responding to.

1. "In the middle of a rant I used a description which while oversimplified was nonetheless an accurate description of how I understood Ian's point. Not that it was an accurate description of his point. I think there's an important difference there." And that's a distinction both Aaron and myself are aware of, but everyone else might not be, at least in this case.

2. "Perhaps I'm misunderstanding him and hearing 'nobody requires love* for a complete and happy life' when what he's actually saying is 'I don't.' Is that it?" Nope. I'm saying nobody does. I'm also not denying the validity of individual emotions. I'm not questioning in any way the way most people feel about being single. I'm saying that it would be possible for these people to feel differently. That's also (among other reasons) why it's "need" not "want" in my formulation. I've never said everyone can get along fine being alone the way most people approach things, I'm saying that it's not essential to being a human being to feel that way if you're single. There are other ways. Everyone, with enough will and the proper resources, can use them (and I'm not trying to slight those who don't, for whicheve reason). It seems kind of absurd to say that this is denying the validity of emotions. I am in a way denying the truth of some of them**. To make the claim that the way we feel about things is the way they really are, all the time, seems a lot more absurd to me. Not that I'm holding Aaron to that position, but if you don't take that stance (which seems to me to be disproved by human feelings every minute of any day) I don't see how mine implies a contradiction. I'm merely adding this feeling of uncompleteness and despair when single into the group of feelings I don't feel reflect the way things really are. Doesn't mean they're not real. Doesn't mean they're not powerful. Doesn't mean you can stop feeling them, at least not just like that.

Another way to think of it is that I'm saying being lonely, or sad, or what have you is not an essential quality of being single. And not just for some lucky people, for everyone. Does that mean that they don't often accompany being lonely? Of course not. Does that mean it's somehow "wrong" to feel those ways? Of course not. What it means is that you don't have to feel like that, although I think some people will never be able to extricate themselves. Personally, once I realised that this is what I believed (I was single at the time, by the way) it was very freeing and it helped me put those feelings into proper perspective. But it's not really something you can just tell other people about and then they believe it. All they can do, if they're interested, is keep working at it and some day it should become clear. I don't know whether it requires a full-fledged epipheny, but mine took the form of one.

4. Well, I think the question here is why is it embarrassing to admit it? I think that's something that's reinforced societally, though it's not just that, of course.

6. You didn't cause me offence last time either. And I like debating this sort of thing. Or anything really.

*remembering, of course, we mean one specific type of love here.
**quick refresher for anyone not in philosophy; a valid argument is one in which if each premise is true, the conclusion would be true. A true argument is a valid argument with truthful premises. That's not the distinction I'm making between valid and true here, but I think it feels similar.



I know this (especially the end) isn't directed specifically at me, but I'd still like to respond.

1. Yes, it's a gross oversimplification, but that's cool. Not many people agree with me whether they hear the simplification or the whole thing anyway. I'm not going to get into the details, but it's not "you shouldn't require love to live a complete and happy life", it's that you don't (and in this particular statement, we mean a very specific thing by love, a culturally standard romantic monogamous relationship). Most of us just don't realise that, for many very good reasons (culture is a huge one). Is this debatable? Of course. Is anyone likely to convince me otherwise? Nope, although I'm open to the possibility. Does this make me some sort of cold fish who doesn't place much value on emotions? Of course not (not that I'm saying Aaron is saying this last point, but it's not an unreasonable thing to infer from the easiest, quickest ways to describe some of my beliefs).

2. "I'm talking about my life and what I consider necessary. You don't get a say." True. But acknowledging that you're right about the interior condition (if you will) of your life is not the same as acknowledging you're correct. As far as this goes: "And if you conclude that I'm wrong about whether love is necessary, then fuck you", I'm convinced there's an important difference between concluding that I disagree with you about something like this and me then taking an extra, wholly offensive step of then dismissing your feelings as a result. Do I get a say in what is necesary in your life? Of course not. Whenever we talk about it, am I going to argue passionately for what I feel is true, even if it disagrees with what you feel is necessary in your life? Of course. So are you, hopefully. Of course, in those circumstances I do not want to come across as dictating terms to others (in the form of "oh, your problems are because you think x, which is wrong" - instead, the intent is to say something like "y isn't a problem for me because I think in terms of z, which is different from x in these ways"). Would I like people to agree with me? Of course. Don't we all?

3. "That's a nice intellectual statement that might even work for some people. It doesn't for me." I'm aware you're having a tough night, and you don't really mean what I'm getting out of this statement, but still: I don't deny the validity of how you feel about this, please don't deny the validity of how I live my life by saying it "might even work for some people". Credit me with the same ability to decide what's good for me that you credit yourself with, eh? There's no might about it, and while you might not have meant the statement to sound belittling, that's how it comes off.

4. "[Lonely is] the most embarassing word in the entire language as far as I'm concerned." By most standards, it is. And in my opinion, that's one of the wrongest things about our culture. We all feel lonely at times. Why should it be shameful? Why should being alone be shameful? As much as most of us (Aaron and myself included, of course) prefer to be with others in a variety of ways (including romantic), some people don't. There's nothing wrong with them, so why do we act like there is? Of course, this is just another facet of the same problem that bugs me when I say our culture is painphobic to a pathological and unhealthy degree.

5. "I'm considering not posting this because I don't want to worry anybody who might read this." I'm glad your better instincts held out, and personally I'm certainly not worried/upset/annoyed or anything like that. But hopefully you're aware that when you put that sort of thing out there, you run the risk of starting a dialogue, whether you were just blowing off steam of not. Hence this post.

Thursday, February 26, 2004 

Friggin' huge

Just linked to my good friend Mr. cLloyd, who now has a blog.


Immediate False Relief

Is the name of the newest album I've reviewed at Stylus.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004 

Wednesday's Emotional Setup: Skyway

I feel like shit this morning. Not emotionally or mentally, just physically. K. got a cold somewhere, and although that sort of thing effects me a lot less than it does her, it's still a contributing factor. My throat feels coated with sludge. A lack of sleep headache is settling down in the back of my head. I feel grouchy.

One of the quasi-random MP3s I've accumulated over the years is 'Skyway' by the Replacements. It's from Pleased To Meet Me, one of their later albums, and it's not noisy garage sludge. It's just acoustic, Paul Westerberg and his guitar and a few subliminal strings fading in and out in the background. Like a lot of Westerberg's best songs, it's partially about unrequited love. But mostly it's about this skyway. An elevated sidewalk of some sort, above a one-way street. Westerberg walks through it every day. And then,

Oh, then one day
I saw you walking down that little one-way
Where I catch my ride most every day
There wasn't a damn thing I could do or say
Up in the skyway

He's sealed off in his little bubble; after weeks of wondering if he'd meet this person, she appears down below. I'm certainly not feeling anything approaching the level of yearning this lovely little song has, but I do feel sealed off this morning. And will continue to feel that way until I properly wake up.

If only I liked coffee...


Tuesday, February 24, 2004 

'Cuz it's not my country

Sure, is funny, but read this carefully and note what they're saying about the Constitution.


Oh, and...

New classic review up by me. Go me, I guess.


Double the fun

Not only do I have a review of the new Liars album up, but so does Lisa.


I don't tend to read Salon

But this, as Josh points out, is worth getting the day pass for.

Monday, February 23, 2004 

From inside the house

Absolutely breathtaking takedown of the first two Scream movies (definitely read both reviews) by Lyz of And You Call Yourself A Scientist!


He's right, you know...

His is uglier.


Yeah, right

Bush in nonsensical attacks on Democrats shocker. "A choice between keeping the tax relief that is moving this country forward - or putting the burden or higher taxes back on the American people" is a nice way to phrase it, as long as you don't remember that most of those tax cuts are for the rich minority, and that the American government can't do shit as a result. And for the last fucking time, they're tax cuts, not tax relief.


What you want

(the gratuitious MBV reference means I'm listening to 'Loveless' right now)

Review up at Stylus.

Sunday, February 22, 2004 

Get your own sandwich

I'd get annoyed about Jacklin stealing my format, but you know, it's a template I didn't make so I can't. He's totally ripping me off, though.


Unsafe at any speed

"Both parties are flunking, Republicans with a D minus and Democrats with a D plus"

Go Nader! If things are close enough that he costs Kerry the race, I'd argue that the Democratic Party's fault.

Saturday, February 21, 2004 

Note to Josh

You didn't remember to bitch about homeschooling. Please do.


In defense of sanity

I don't know if any of you have been following the whole QOTSA split thing (and Oliveri's reaction), but this confirms some suspicions of mine and puts my sympathies firmly with Josh Homme. At least he's smart enough to realise that although he likes Oliveri, he can't tour with him.



Good to know the RIAA and the FBI are such bosom buddies.


I feel a tad delicate today

Have you ever had an Irish Car Bomb? You take a pint of Guinness and drop a shot of Bailey's into it, and then attempt to drink the whole thing at once (I believe in technical parlance the term is "chugging"). Had two of them last night on an empty stomach, and while it was very enjoyable, I think I'm just going to sit quietly and sip orange juice for a while.

Friday, February 20, 2004 

No surprise

When it comes to AI, porn, spam and video games lead the way. I'm not particularly shocked.


Strange bedfellows

Guess who else is for marriage? The King of Cambodia. Very cool.


So tired...

Just updated the cast page at my journal, though.


The only German I know is "Nein" and "Schnell". Oh, and "Dasein".

New review at Stylus: Einsturzende Neubaten.


Weather bomb

I just recently (as in last night) stumbled on the contact info for an old friend of mine, Anna, who's out at Dalhousie. I was going to give her a call today after she emailed me her number, but since the Maritimes is utterly fucked, she got stuck at a friends' house. Over here, of course, it's not snowing.

Thursday, February 19, 2004 

Read this now

This. Go read it. Right now. It's important. I expect to hear back from all of you.


Pass the buck

The Cash family refuses to let 'Ring Of Fire' be used to advertise a treatment for haemorrhoids. This sort of thing should happen more often.



Yeah, this sums it up pretty well.


Take me out tonight

This, cowritten by myself and the very talented Gentry Boeckel, is possibly my favorite of everything I've done for Stylus to this point.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 

Wednesday's Emotional Setup: Rehearsed Disaster

As I've already mentioned elsewhere, I've been listening to a pre-release copy of Readymade's upcoming album (called, I believe, All The Plans Resting). I am looking forward to its actual release in a way I'm not sure I've ever been looking forward to a record before. The MP3s are unmastered, but they're absolutely beautiful.

'Rehearsed Disaster' is one of the most immediately gorgeous of the songs, and also one of the most unexpected. It starts out with airy synth sounds and something I think is either some variety of acoustic guitar or piano - in any case, it's a far lighter, organic type of sound than I've previously associated with Readymade (even if subsequent, curious listens to On Point And Red and especially 'No Longer Ortona' show I'm just forgetful).

From there it moves to a series of verses and (especially) a chorus that is one of the most wonderfully catchy Readymade has ever done. All of All The Plans Resting is great, but here especially the vocals are just beautiful. I haven't listened too closely yet, although on other tracks I've caught some definite political commentary (although my perception of that will remain fractured until I see some lyrics), and of course the title of the song hints ata similar approach. And then the thing swoons to a close, just over three minutes later.

One thing that, perversely, initially endeared 'Rehearsed Disaster' to me was that the original MP3 I had suffered a rather severe drop in noise between the first and second "hiding inside"s, in other words just before the first chorus. The first time it happened I figured it was my speakers, but I quickly determined it was the file.

At first it annoyed me, but you can get used to anything. I wouldn't turn it up, just let this one song be the quietest thing on the album. I like the proper version better, mind you, but I did get used to the quiet one. The first time I listened to the proper version, I actually jumped a little when the sound didn't drop out - I'd forgotten about it.



Mainstream media vs. hoaxes

And for once, the media wins.


Space is the place

Black hole rips apart star. Film at eleven.


Best headline ever dept.

I'm sorry for all the loss of life and everything, but... this is an awesome headline. More info on the Congolese ninjas here.


Happy anniversary

Would you believe that today marks one year of Fractionals? I hadn't even noticed it coming up. In celebration, I've done one of those "100 things about me" things, the link is at the right.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004 

Rant courtesy of Mr. Ellis

I'm cleaning out my hotmail inbox, finally (already down to about 30 from 75), and came upon this rant, which I had wanted to keep, but will post here rather than having it in the inbox. It came to me via the bad signal, and it's property of Warren Ellis etc etc. I'm pretty sure I can post it here without getting into trouble, though.


There's something in the word "emotion" in terms of creativity that says "mediocrity" to me.

I was re-watching the feature on the making of GODFATHER 3 from the DVD set the other day, which is a heartbreaking document. What was in Francis Ford Coppola is seen to have died, and only he and his well-trained cadre of sycophants don't see it. He talks about not wanting to go back the third time because he felt he'd "mined the emotional material of that family." In terms of story development, he rails at his team, "How do we say it emotionally?" "If we can do it in an emotional way," he jabbers on the phone in a tiny room, "we can kick it right over." One of the first script meetings is filmed. Diane Keaton, sharp as a switchblade, has fixed on something. "How does it END?" Coppola is at the head of the table. "Well, I have many things to resolve." "Yeah, but how does it END?" Cut.

The long, horrible film proves Keaton right and makes Coppola look like an idiot. By the time an intermission comes in the interminable opera scene that forms the last dragging act, the Mafia are talking about saving people in jeopardy like they're suddenly the fucking Thunderbirds. Pacino emotes over people, corpses, houses and bits of furniture like the lazy old trouper he was in that phase of his career. Andy Garcia exults in the scenes of violence and looks terrified the rest of the time. Keaton knew her part was fucked from the start and acts like it. It's an awful thing to sit through, but it's a weirdly rewarding act, because it drives something home about writing.

There was a comics writer, no longer working, who used to declaim to everyone that Stories Are Structure. He was and is wrong. Stories grow from your chosen rootstock, which is not the same thing. You can't just shoehorn in "emotion." If your characters don't breathe, it's not because you haven't stopped to consult a commitee about how to "say it emotionally." It's because you can't write anymore. If there is no "emotional material," it's because your characters are dead and you've got nothing to say.

In comics, there's always talk of "characterisation." It's a bullshit term. It means "writing." Some of the best writers make the reader infer character by what their figures don't say and don't do. Decide who they are and what they do, and they will "say it emotionally" as a natural consequence of the writing. Sometimes they'll surprise the reader. Sometimes they'll surprise you. But it will be authentic.



I just used the search function at The War Against Silence to look for something for the first time, and it has the most useful feature ever: It gives you a list of pages that match, and then when you go to any individual page, it highlights each instance of the word or phrase in red. I'm sure other websites do a similar thing, but I've never seen it. So helpful!

On a slightly different note, I'm sure anyone who's listened to me for long enough could see this coming, but I wish Glenn McDonald would do something on the Wrens. Actually, I just hope he's heard it. I can't imagine him disliking it, but then again I've been very wrong about that before.


Home of the brave dept.

A federal prosecuter is suing John Ashcroft and co. because apparantly the leaked some confidental info to the press once the prosecutor expressed some reservations about the supression of American civil rights the war on terror.

But the US government never does stuff like that!

(still waiting for something less than apathy on the part of the american public re: Valerie Plame)


Hot for teacher

I'm sure in practice this was just horrible, but if you'd asked me in highschool whether bars in the school and trading sexual favors for grades would be okay with me, I know what I would have said.



Well, they cancelled Angel. Aaron's going to be pissed.

Monday, February 16, 2004 

How awesome is this?

I didn't originally link to this because I kind of unconsciously assumed everyone who reads this reads Aaron's blog as well. But maybe they dont; in that case, check out what's happening in San Francisco!


Let's not lose sight of the point here

I think Aaron's got the right idea here, but let's focus on one particular thing: "The report pinpoints Canada's concern with civil liberties as being one of the main problems."

Any time anyone, the US or anyone else, finds our concern with civil liberty to be a problem, I think we all know we can start ignoring them. Fuckwads.


Holy shit

I don't think I could do anything for 31 hours and 18 minutes, let alone kiss someone.


Showgirls is one of the great comedy films of our age

I know some might look askance at this, but I don't care: For many reasons, I respect the hell out of Joe Eszterhas.


I know it's a bit late, but...

Jean Teasdale is everything I hate about Western society's approach to love and relationships. And that's true whether I'm single or not.


Not exactly Scott of the Antarctic

New journal entry up, though.

Sunday, February 15, 2004 

Go fly a kite

Just make sure you don't kill yourself.

Saturday, February 14, 2004 

Word to your mother

Cool: The fact that there's a "10 billion trillion trillion caret" diamond floating up in space, a white dwarf.

Cooler: The fact that the newspaper refers to it as a "hunk of celestial bling".


Links update

Took out a couple of sites I no longer read; I also took out Scott McKeating, but only because he's decided to pack it in.



Looks like my old friend Dan got a blog. Unsurprisingly, it's prettier than mine.

Friday, February 13, 2004 

All the plans resting

Somehow, I managed to get my grubby little paws on unmastered mp3s of what will eventually be Readymade's new album. They are incredible. They didn't have a track order or anything (and I'm not sharing them, as I promised someone), so I just quasi-randomized them with Winamp, and the result actually worked really well. I'm posting it here for my own eventual nostalgia:

01. Going Glass
02. The Futility Steps
03. Rehearse Disaster
04. Goodbye South Goodbye
05. Donostia
06. Hengshan Reeling
07. Outlast By Rain
08. Brace
09. The Fake But No Finish
10. Under The Networks
11. Shorter Breaths
12. Nov30
13. Nightsky Of Exit Signs

'Rehearse Disaster' in particular is absolutely gorgeous and is very unlike what you might think a Readymade song would sound like. 'Hengshan Reeling', 'Going Glass' and 'Nightsky Of Exit Signs' are also especially stunning, although the whole thing is just beautiful. Record of the year for me, probably.

Thursday, February 12, 2004 

He occasionally still has it

G.B. Trudeau, that is.


Film at eleven

The White House press corps grows a spine, and it's glorious.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004 

Wednesday's Emotional Setup: Per Second Second

12:29 pm.

Come on, you didn't really think this was going to be about a song by anyone other than the Wrens this week, did you?

Another song off of The Meadowlands, which I really should have put on my all time top 100, relative newness be damned, 'Per Second Second' is remarkable for a few reasons.

The first is that, even after you've followed along in the lyric booklet, you cannot make out a word they sing. To explain why, I'm just going to quote part of the interview Akiva Gottleib did with them for Stylus:

"Stylus: Why are the vocals mixed so low in this song?
G: That’s the question I want answered too, dammit.
K: Greg always forgets…
C: He does this every time, because he’s got a grudge against vocal level. Then you get him in the rehearsal room and you can’t hear yourself sing.
K: Wait a second! Honestly, Charles had his vocals up a little higher. But The Wrens sing more than the fucking Mormon Tabernacle choir.
C: Even before that…the printed lyrics in the liner notes, they used to be part of an actual melody. It just never felt right, so it turned into a sort of talking/yelling part, and then the backup was added, and that’s what Kevin is starting to talk about…
G: We almost made it instrumental.
K: Which is what we wanted. But poor Charles was losing his mind, and eventually he just said “don’t fucking bother me.”
C: I just wanted to find some kind of compromise. So we turned the backup vocal into the lead vocal, which is super-distorted and kind of in the background.
K: But we all love it."

So what you get, when 'Per Second Second' starts pounding out of the speakers after the relatively restrained 'Ex-Girl Collection', is a horribly distorted guitar part that is one of the most assaultive things I've had the pleasure to hear in a while (especially on headphones - then the guitar sounds like it's about to lunge out of the headphones directly for your eardrum). There's a melody somewhere behind it, mostly carried by the yelling of two of the Wrens' three vocalists (mostly they're shouting "Per second second faster", but you can only tell that by seeing the song live), which is the aforementioned backing part.

But there is, if I understand what I've read in The Church Of Me, a punctum in the song. After around three minutes of surging and shouting (quite wonderful, don't get me wrong), the song kind of stops for a second. And before it roars back to life one more time, Charles, the lead vocalist on the song, gets the chance to spit something out.

If you write down what he's saying, it's just "Shot rock-splitter to God/take me home/take me home" repeated a few times. But, at first, this was the most interesting piece of studio trickery I'd heard in a while. Charles' voice is distorted so it's more like "shotrocksplitterto gahhhhhh/take me hooooome/take me hoooooome". It sounds like his vocal cords are splitting. It is the sound of utter desperation, and the "take me home" bit takes on all sorts of poignancy.

So imagine my suprise to find that it's not studio trickery. Sure, when I saw the Wrens Charles had two mics set up, one of which had some effects on it, but I saw him clearly when he leaned forward for those lines, and he was singing into the "clear" mic. Of course, by then I'd discovered that many of what I had assumed were studio effects or even keyboard parts where actually just the voices of the Wrens (K., who has been in some pretty impressive choirs, noted that they had the best projection of any band she'd ever seen).

Given that I found it such a powerful moment on record, little wonder the live version (which is much more exuberant except for the "shot rock-splitter" lines) sent chills up and down my spine. Truly transcendant, and honestly for impact it's one of the lesser efforts on The Meadowlands.



Raindrops keep falling on my head

...but that doesn't mean I don't have a review up at Stylus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004 

Truly pathetic

My current FreeCell stats:

10,000 wins
2,381 losses
81% win percentage

Monday, February 09, 2004 

Take me to the river

Yeah, that's what I would do if I was an airline pilot too. Assclown.



If you go to Readymade's web site right now, Kevin Hilts calls my Stranded piece on The Dramatic Balanced By "Pretty much a definitive take on the record". I'm incredibly flattered.



Oh, and yes I updated my journal on Sunday as well.



Somehow all the posts I made on Sunday are gone. I didn't check between now and then, so I don't know how long they were up, if at all. Weird. Don't worry, you didn't miss anythng important, except maybe the review up at Stylus and the article at same which I participated in.

Saturday, February 07, 2004 


Big ass new journal entry up. There will probably be one tomorrow as well.


Final thought

Alright, it's bedtime, but I'm going to (before I sleep) post some text from Todd Burn's Stranded piece on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II. The context, of course, is that he's trapped on an island.

"I popped in this disc now and I remember this girl I thought I loved. At night I love to listen to this album on the island. Anywhere, really. It reminds me of all kinds of things from home and maybe that's not the best thing in a place like this or a situation like this, but maybe it is the best thing because it keeps me going and believing that this fire that I tend to everyday is going to spell my relief and my return to a life that I never really enjoyed anyway, but let me tell you. Let me tell you this: things will change if I get back. I will marry the woman I love and not care about anything else in the world. I will get a job as a cook in a restaurant, I will smell the grease, and I will love it. I will get burned by the oven and I will rejoice. I will get chewed out by my manager for being late and then I will give them a hug because I'm so full of love, the world is so full of love that there is no reason not to. There's absolutely no reason not to."

He's 100% right, and you know it. Yeah, you, in the back.



I want you to notice
My anger's all but done
Sweet lord, I swear I've seen the darkness
Sweet lord, I swear I've seen some pain

Satelittes ahead, so hold on
Satelittes I said, so come on


There goes the fear

In case it isn't apparant (and I'm quite sure it's not), I'm spending tonight listening to music and reading quasi-random blogs. So frustrating, in some ways. Occasionally I get terribly frustrated at people in general (more specifically, bright young men and women roughly my age) and just want to grab all of them by their collective, metaphorical lapels and shake hard. Not because they're stupid. Because of all that wasted potential. To quote Television:

I spoke to the man down at the tracks,
And I asked him how he don't go mad,
He said: "Look here, junior, don't you be so happy,
And for Heaven's sake, don't you be so sad."

Or, to take from Leonard Cohen instead:

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"


Thought of the night

Why did we ever allow various unsavory groups to co-opt the word "inspirational" until it never actually applies to inspirational things these days?


Sounds good, looks good, feels good too

I'm pretty sure there's more profound truth in Fischerspooner's 'Emerge' and their cover of Wire's 'The 15th' than in all of Being And Time.


A word on Dick

I think I've begun to formulate the way I feel about the characterization in the work of Philip K. Dick. It seems quite shallow and superficial, but is actually incredibly well done. I believe the reason this is is that we are shown what the characters do, and why they think they do it, but never why they actually do it. So you gain great insight (through inference, or maybe empathy is the right word?) into their characters either intuitively, immediately and ineffably, or not at all.


Big Fish 2: Bigger Fish

I should also point out, for the sake of those who weren't there with me, that the end of Big Fish is the most choked up I've ever been at a movie. If it weren't for the fact that I wanted to see the rest of the film I would have broken down and wept like a small child, I'm sure. But not, strangely enough, tears of sadness. It's now my favorite film.

Friday, February 06, 2004 

It's Don Cherry, fer chrissakes

I'm suprised this didn't happen a while ago. What did you expect him to say?


Fuck censorship

It's been recently pointed out by Hard, the author of the brilliant Sexy Losers that it seems like people are ashamed to link to him because his comic is about sex. Screw that. It's also funny, insightful, and a hell of a lot of fun. If you don't like it because it's got genitals and fucking and so on, fine. But don't try to tell me others shouldn't get to see it.


On seeing Big Fish

"If there's a glory in miracles
It's that they're reversible"

The Tragically Hip - 'Titanic Terrarium'



Okay, I lied about the not-posting-about-Janet-Jackson thing, but only because some idiot is suing for "outrage, anger, embarrassment and serious injury" caused by accidentially seeing someone's tit.

What. The. Fuck.



I can't link to individual entries on Stylus' blog, so I'm posting this here too.

Just got back from seeing the Super Furry Animals in Toronto. Amazing show - even better than last time I saw them. Some reasons:

Playing 'God! Show Me Magic'? Great. Going from that directly into 'Do Or Die'? Genius.

The yeti costumes were, of course, awesome. The way they trashed the set and raised all their instruments over their heads was hilarious. And, while on the subject: yeti guitar and bass players are a great idea; a yeti drummer is pure class. The guy next to me with a digital camera took my email address and promised to send me copies of the yeti pics. They were great.

The version of 'The International Language Of Screaming' they played tonight was, in my opinion, definitive. Ditto for '(Drawing) Rings Around The World' and (complete with Gruff chewing carrots) 'Receptacle For The Respectable'.

The Lenin footage during 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck' always cracks my shit up.

Kind of annoying dealing with the overly e'd couple near the front though. Jesus, I'm all for taking drugs while listening to music, but doesn't anyone know their limits any more?

I need to find a copy of Radiator. This may be a matter of waiting for a while and then ordering it over the net, but that's better than nothing...

Set List:
Slow Life
(Drawing) Rings Around The World
Golden Retriever
God! Show Me Magic
Do Or Die
Hello Sunshine
Liberty Belle
Run! Christian, Run!
Cityscape Skybaby
Nythod Cacwn
Bleed Forever
The Piccolo Snare
Juxtapozed With U
The Internation Language Of Screaming
Hermann Loves Pauline
Receptacle For The Respectable
Out Of Control
The Man Don't Give A Fuck

Thursday, February 05, 2004 

No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die

Pain hurts less when inflicted by a woman. Interesting. Especially since the effect seems to hold over gender lines.


Making history

This is all I'm going to link to about the whole halftime thing. 60 times more often than for Paris Hilton, eh?


Wednesday's Emotional Setup: Lover's Spit

1:12 am.

One of my favorite fellow Stylus staffers is Andrew Unterberger. Well, I have plenty of favorites, to tell you the truth, but Andrew's the guy I'll bump into (metaphorically) on SoulSeek and we'll chat on and off about music for hours. I think one of the reasons I find talking to him so interesting, in addition to him being, y'know, a smart guy, is this: If you look at something detailing some of the stuff he likes, say this, you can note: numbers 10-5 I love to some degree, ranging from "yeah, they're good" to teeth-gnashing devotion (have I mentioned I'm seeing the Wrens on Saturday?). 4-1, meanwhile, range from "I've never heard them" (Lilys) to indifference, mild dislike, right up to actual distaste.

"Ah, but Ian," you might say, "what does this have to do with anything? We're glad you can make friends and play nice and all that, but do we care? We don't." Fair enough. I mention this because the story of my love for Broken Social Scene's 'Lover's Spit' is not and cannot be complete without mention of Unterberger.

Broken Social Scene, you may have noticed if you clicked that link, was #1 on his list. And they're the ones, all told, that I probably like the least.

It's not entirely the band's fault. You Forgot It In People was a perfectly servicable indie rock album, and it's not the band's fault that it succumbed to the Manitoba Effect for me.* It was reviews like this that did it (no offence to Ryan Schreiber; I've never met him, but the guy who comes across in his music reviews is genuinely likeable, and I'm insanely happy I gave into temptation and bought The Meadowlands based on his review, but sometimes his gusto gets the better of him). And then You Forgot It In People proved to be subject to the Sloan Principle** as well, and that didn't make me want to grab it (note: Not Andrew and co., of course; more like the clueless hipsters at out school and scattered around Toronto. I don't like much else they do, why this?).

So when Andrew began talking it up to me, big time, I didn't want to shell out hard-earned cash. But, y'know, it's Unterberger. The only person I know who likes Evil Heat as much as I do. The guy who wrote a brilliant, deserved 9.8 review for Pulp's Hits. The guy who has put a scary amount of effort in his New Order fandom (I'm jealous, actually). So I, lacking any scruples, downloaded the damn thing.

My initial conclusion, which I believe went up on the blog, was this: 'Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl' is brilliant, overpowering, transcendant; I fell in love instantly. Everything else is mush. A few listens later, I had to change that slightly: 'Anthems...' and 'Lover's Spit' (which Unterberger very cannily compared to Berlin era-Bowie in feel) are brilliant. The rest is okay. Subsequent listens have not changed my opinion.

Don't get me wrong (one last thing before I get to the song), I'm _glad_ people like You Forgot It In People so much. I get things out of other albums that they get here, and they probably find my love, for, say, Superchunk's Indoor Living (which I will go out on a limb and say is one of the most life-affirming records I own) (and furthermore, why the hell wouldn't AMG put a recommendation in for 'Song For Marion Brown'? Someone missed the boat there; possible future WES or Seconds fodder) equally bizarre.

So, 'Lover's Spit': First things first. As Andrew warned me, quite correctly, one thing you should not be looking for in BSS is lyrical genius. I'm not sure whether he or I used the word "sucks" first, but I'm pretty sure we agree. 'Lover's Spit' is not bad at all in this respect, though; I'm not sure if lines like "All these people drinking lover's spit/They sit around and clean their face with it" and "You know it's time we grow old and do some shit" (the only lines that stick, for me) strike you as genius, but in any case they don't work nearly as well on the page/screen as they do when sung. There's a kind of shambolic, woozy majesty to the track, occasional drum hits/hand claps rooted behind the echoy piano part and the mournful horns. 'Lover's Spit' is a complete triumph of mood over sense, succeeding to such an extend that when the song proper ends for all intents and purposes at around four minutes, you genuinely don't mind that it putters around for another two and a half. You're still swept up in the music, in the feel of it all (which, as is often true, is both paramount here and utterly ineffable; if I was going to attempt to describe it, maybe lying half-awake in bed in half-light after your lover has left to do an unpleasent job would fit it: half-comfortable, half-guilty, decidedly sensuous).

Now if only Broken Social Scene could put together an album that had the emotional impact over its entire length that 'Lover's Spit' and 'Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl' manage to sustain for ten minutes, that I'd fall for. For now I'll take this and go to sleep.

*The Manitoba Effect: When I am overpowered by hype, hear the album, and don't find it all that exciting. This is worse than actually hating the album, as at least then I feel some powerful emotion. So named because the first time I noticed it as a phenomenom was on Manitoba's underwhelming (for me) Up In Flames.

** "It's not the band I hate/It's their fans" (from 'Coax Me'). Broadly applicable to all sorts of media, not just music. Not meant to indicate you hate all fans of that band, or the band itself. I could say the same thing about Belle & Sebastian, at times.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004 


"It is always something the choir has wanted to do", says Mr Ronkainen, "because such antics create a form of absurdity which we find works the best."

They're kind of like a choir, see, except they shout in unison. They're Finnish, by the way.


Literary classics

Courtney Love wants to publish her diaries. Oh joy.


Sadly, yes

Want to know how I feel about work? This guy knows. Almost as if we work together or something, eh?

Monday, February 02, 2004 

How could I forget?

Also, my Stranded article is up. I thought it was pretty good, but I'm biased.


Rightly so, mind you

Thom Yorke in pissed off at Blair shocker.

Sunday, February 01, 2004 

Run to the hills

Tonights journal entry is exactly 666 words, according to the website. I swear that's an accident.


Another stolen quiz

(this one's from Caitlin)

You have just won one million dollars:

1. Who do you call first?
My brother, then my parents. Unless K. isn't home, in which case she gets the call first.

2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself?
1. Freedom from debt
2. CD single of 'Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl' (there's got to be one)
3. That Johnny Cash box set
4. New computer chair
5. New computer.

3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else?
Freedom from debt for the rest of my immediate family.

4. Do you give any away?
Kind of. But not necessarily immediately. I'm going to have to sit down and talk to someone I trust who knows more about money than I do first.

5. Do you invest any? If so, how?
See last question.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.

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

My profile
Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates