Sunday, October 31, 2004 

The end of history

Is always now, of course. Mark Morford has some words of advice, though.



New journal entry up. How, you ask? Magic.

Saturday, October 30, 2004 

Take your shoes off and throw them in the lake

Another interesting thing about the Futureheads; not only is their cover of "Hounds Of Love" amazing, but unlike most really good covers it neither particularly sound like the original, nor does it diminish it. Both versions stand on their own with different sounds and even different emotional tenors, but both are great. That's a hard line to toe.


Decent days and nights

The Futureheads' "remix" of "Fit But You Know It" (they play the song and sing the chorus, but keep Skinner around for the verses) works so brilliantly I wish they'd do a full LP together, or at least an EP. The Streetheads, maybe?

Friday, October 29, 2004 

I probably should have name dropped John Ralston Saul

My wonkiest top ten yet is up at Stylus. It's about politics!

Thursday, October 28, 2004 


That's roughly the amount of deaths in Iraq since the war "ended", Americans and Iraqis both, according to a report in The Lancet.



John Scalzi has become one of my favorite commentators on the American election very swiftly, and this is simply the most calm and lucid survey of why Kerry should win I've heard yet. Hell, the man even initially wanted Clark; I still think wistfully about that particular candidacy, and what kind of lead it might have right now, every so often.


Treasure trove

Who should get John Peel's record collection? I'd argue the British Library. I'd get a reader's ticket just to immerse myself in all those records, and all of his notes, for a while. I hope they don't leave the country, definitely. I wonder if he left any provisions in his will for the collection?


Good luck

It's weird, having heard about Steven Truscott's case for years, and now hearing that thankfully he's being given a chance to prove his innocence, to know that my stepfather has worked with him for years. Check the story out - Truscott's lawyer is leaving Toronto to visit him here in Guelph, and although he lives with Mom in Kincardine Wayne works in Guelph as well. He told me about it a while ago, but it's still kind of odd to have that sort of personal connection to a story I'd followed since I was a kid.


The fix is in?

Jesus fucking christ, not this. I'm with the the US postal service inspectorate; it's "highly unlikely that 58,000 pieces of mail [have] just disappeared".



Happy birthday, Jer. If you were in Guelph I'd buy you a pint (somehow...).

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 


Oh look, Bush supporters think Iraq had WMDs. And they "Agree US Should Not Have Gone to War if No WMD or Support for al Qaeda". Which is true.

And my fellow Canadians wonder why I fear he's going to win. I'd love to think that the American voting public is in possession of the facts, but they don't seem to be.

The closest I'll get to the results has already cast her vote, though, thanks to the absentee ballot. Nothing to do now but cross fingers and wait.

Edit: Actually, it's worse than I thought. They're not just ignorant, they're willfully so; they "ignore dissonant information". Fuck.



Well, "No Longer Ortona", the first song I ever heard by Readymade, makes a lot more sense now.


I missed one - and it's a doozy

Mr Bush claimed that even Mr Kerry's top foreign policy adviser had admitted not knowing all the facts.

The Pentagon, he said, was investigating whether the explosives might have been moved before US troops had reached the site.

"A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander-in-chief," he added.

You're fucking kidding, right? Hey, Georgie, why not just come right out and tell people not to vote for you?


Stay glued to your TV set

So, now that Blogger has stopped drooling and shitting itself (seriously, the site isn't saying anything about it but there have been bad outages the past few days), there's a few things to catch up with at the BBC:

The British Guantanamo prisoners are suing the pants off of the US government, starting at Rumsfeld and working down. I don't know what those men actually did or didn't do, but if this casts some light into that prison camp it can't be a bad thing.

Neat overview of some of the bands John Peel loved.

Also in pictures: Bush's hometown.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 

Just a bit

Pathetically short journal entry up. I'm going to bed.


Slight return

Today on the Stypod (which you really should be checking out every day; free MP3s!): Glenn McDonald! He's still retired, but it's good to hear that "voice" again anyway.



Jesus, I never even got a chance to hear John Peel on the radio and I'm still sad. Peel Sessions are often among the highlight of a band's career (look at how they're getting stuffed into the recent Pavement reissues) and the man knew his shit and was passionate about it 'til the end. We may never see his like again. He even an OBE, for pete's sake.

If you'll excuse me, I need to go have a moment of silence and then listen to "Teenage Kicks".

[edit: I wrote this this morning, but Blogger has been stupid all day.]


Still catching up

Sorry, but the big journal re: the UK is going to have to wait until at least tomorrow. I'm doing the best I can...

Monday, October 25, 2004 

Holy shit dept.

Jeeze, I leave for ten days, and Bill O'Reilly gets sexual harrassment charges filed against him. Assuming all is as accused I feel bad for the plaintiff, but let's try to focus on the positive: Maybe soon we'll never have to put up with O'Reilly again?

Sunday, October 24, 2004 

"Hey, you forgot Poland!"

I know this is from Jer, but I think some people read this and not that, so:




Here's how messed up I am: I was just looking at some pictures from Melbourne from Christa, and I saw a picture of her driving. It took me reading the caption to realise that the fact that she was sitting on the right side of the car is supposed to be weird.


I'm back

Well, in Canada anyway. I'm at Aaron and Jer's, having just got my first good night of sleep in some time (stupid short European duvets and early checkout times) and will be heading back to Guelph relatively shortly. The Delgados were awesome (grabbed a setlist), and I suppose one of the things I'll have to do at home is get a journal entry together.

Monday, October 18, 2004 

Strange and wonderful

So Jon Stewart demolished Crossfire, eh (thanks to Gord for the link)? It's sad that someone taking the opportunity to say what they think and using it to, uh, say what they think is rare and laudible. But that doesn't make it any less praiseworthy


There is no justice

I have no idea who's going to win, or even when it gets awarded, but you can read us discussing the Shortlist Music Prize here.


The city consumes us

Glasgow is awesome.

Sunday, October 17, 2004 

Posted in Glasgow, from James' room

1. The Delgados, from Glasgow but whom I'm seeing in Toronto on the 23rd, have a new album. Universal Audio is a wonderful, powerful thing. As I was listening to it on the train to Newcastle (to Carlisle, to Glasgow), specifically "Sink Or Swim", I saw the first blue sky in the U.K. since the plane landed. Coincidence? I think not.

2. The company name on all the toilets over here is "Armitage Shanks". Oh, so that explains it. Babs Uvula who?

Saturday, October 16, 2004 


1. There is nothing more ridiculous and terrifying and wonderful than a plane lifting off - all that metal and machinery and people packed in like sardines (I'm tall, people, not freakishly so, but there was very little leg room there) just throwing itself into the sky. This is why I get window seats - that and landing.

2. K.'s flat is so old! It's kind of awesome, but some of this stuff is just weird; does anyone know if most flats have a separate room for the toilet and then the shower and sink somewhere else? And with no outlets in either (I've been shaving in the kitchen)?

3. I couldn't sleep on the flight, but the only thing that kept me from lapsing into a stupor was ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead's rather marvelous Source Tags & Codes album. Also, I've bought the new Six By Seven. W00t.

4. Internet cafes are kind of cool.



I won't have terribly many "normal" posts like this (aside: Why the fuck do UK keyboards have the quotation marks up over the 2?), but this post by John Scalzi is just incredible.

Friday, October 15, 2004 

Before I go

This is the most Zen Qwatnz comic ever - and it's a fan comic.


So tired

So it's 1:11 pm UK time, and I haven't slept since Wednesday night. K. and I just grabbed some breakfast, and after we're done checking our email and shit, it's time for some serious sleep. I love London already, though. When I wake up, it's time to call some people.

Thursday, October 14, 2004 

I'm ready

Everything's done, as far as I can tell; I'm just waiting for Mom to get here (around three) and then stuff starts. My midterm went well - we were supposed to write 4-5 pages for each question (two questions), and each answer was finished in four pages, by which I mean I wrote until I felt done, then checked pages. I think I did pretty good. Next stop: Lester B. Pearson International Airport.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004 

The Albums You Should Have Listened To Before You Die

This is a meme I can get behind.

Copy the list on to your blog, put in bold the ones you have listened to (completely from beginning to end) and then add three more albums that you think people should have heard before they turn into their parents - remember, it isn't necessarily your most favourite albums but the ones you think people should listen to... and when we say listen we mean from track one through to the end... If you put a link to your follow-on post in the comments of the site where you found it, the chain will be trackable. From now on, you are also allowed to DELETE up to THREE albums on the existing list, if you feel a) that this is an album which should not reasonably be foisted upon anybody, or b) that one Steve Earle album is quite enough for one lifetime, thank you.

London Calling - The Clash
Think Tank - Blur
This Is Hardcore - Pulp
Moon Safari - Air
Never Mind The Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols - Sex Pistols
OK Computer - Radiohead

The Wall - Pink Floyd
Setting Sons - The Jam
Come From The Shadows - Joan Baez
The River - Bruce Springsteen
The Very Best Of Joan Armatrading - Joan Armatrading
What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
Metal Box - Public Image Ltd
Orbital #2 (The Brown Album) - Orbital
Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain - Pavement

Apple Venus Vol. 1 - XTC
Marquee Moon - Televison
I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) - Aretha Franklin
The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico
Spirit Of Eden - Talk Talk
The Marshall Mathers LP - Eminem
Red Clay - Freddie Hubbard
"Heroes" - David Bowie
Fear Of Music - Talking Heads
Secret Name - Low

The last three are my additions. And I removed:

Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars - David Bowie because "Heroes" is better,
Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth because it is boring boring boring,
Appetite For Destruction - Guns N Roses because except for the singles it is utter shit.

I almost removed Pink Floyd (Meddle instead, surely?) or the Sex Pistols (fuck off) instead, though.

Pass it on; I got it from Nick, and if you get it from me be a dear and (a) link this post (b) let me know. I'd like to see where this goes.


Tonto's split the scene

My Seconds article on Wire's great "Ex Lion Tamer" is up at Stylus.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004 


Some might say that Dr. David Thorpe's latest column is a primer for writing for certain music sites, particularly one that ends with "fork", but I wouldn't say that. I would say it's damn funny, though.



Alex Thomson over at the Brown Wedge elucidates here why Derrida was important and why much of the shit being flung now is offensive as well as wrong, and he does a damn fine job of it.


Raise your beggared arms

My re-evaluation of King Cobb Steelie's classic Junior Relaxer is up at Stylus.

Sunday, October 10, 2004 

Live it, learn it, love it

John Scalzi has an excellent point to make regarding email. The comments are worth reading as well (or at least the first six, which is all that's there now).


No halfsies

So here at my dad's place for Thanksgiving, I was just reading the October 2004 issue of Men's Health. One of the sidebars near the beginning of the magazine is a brief statistical survey of how and why men treat women poorly (not abuse, more stuff like "have you ever taken advantage of a woman with a crush on you?"). The last question is "Why is it so easy for otherwise honorable men to treat women as sex objects?" The best answer comes from Joe, 35:

Treating women well is inseperable from honor. "Otherwise honorable" in this case just means "honest when convenient" which basically means "rat bastard".

I'd generalize the first part of that to "people" from "women", but the survey was only referring to one gender.

Saturday, October 09, 2004 


Derrida is dead. I'm not exactly the man's biggest fan, but whether you liked his ideas or not it's hard to deny his intelligence.

Thursday, October 07, 2004 

Anyone keeping count?

Wow, after watching this (both scary and hilarious) I feel like I attended the RNC.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004 

Good ol' David O. Russell

The lead interview at the Onion's AV Club is just great. I especially like this exchange:

Onion: Were you ironically voted "class rebel"?

David O. Russell: No, although that would have been funny.

Jason Schwartzman: That's funny. "I'm an ironic rebel."

DOR: I don't know what that means. That's terrible. I don't want to live in that universe. That's such a frightening universe.


Hot girl on girl action

So true.


Shock and awe

The group hunting for banned weapons inside post-war Iraq is preparing to report that it has found no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Yes, they will also report that they think Iraq was preparing to make some, and that is significant, but will the US government just go ahead and admit there weren't any there already?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004 


Rumsfeld actually tells the truth - twice! Incredible.


Fucking hell

Guess who just woke up early again? Thank you so much, CIBC, for offering me a credit card.


Falling behind

New journal entry up; also, today on Stylus has my Jens Lekman review (both album and review are better than normal, do check it out) and my piece on The Limey.

Monday, October 04, 2004 

What a maroon

Yeah, Falwell, go ahead and publically announce that religious zealots control the Republican Party. I'm sure moderates and swing voters will love that.

Of course, he is right...


His favorite mistake

About the only thing I have to say in response to this article is, "Good question".



Journal tomorrow, hopefully. Now sleepy, go bed.


One last thing

Today only (well, for a little while, anyway), your chance to download three hand-picked MP3s from my personal collection. God bless MP3 blogs. Go listen to the Sycamores, seriously.

Friday, October 01, 2004 

Oh, fuck off Dept.

I think I've finally located exactly what it is about Bush and his team that irrationally irks me so (aside from all the things that rationally irk me, of course). They just keep repeating the same lies as if as long as they keep saying them those lies will come true. This is annoying firstly because it exposes such massive contempt for the American people, but also because enough of them are unimformed about such things that it just might work. Fuck off, Bush.


I care a lot

Well, enough to point out this, anyway.


The Floating World: Look Up

Recently, in an email, Aaron said something that I think he should put in his blog, but I'll put it here, at least:

"It's odd. I think that blogging was keeping me sane and my outlook positive. I tended to work a lot of things out while blogging and to share the things that were good that were going on. When I wasn't blogging, it was too easy to focus on the rest of the stuff going on. Not all of which is happy. It's not that the water level in the glass was any different. It was all in how I look at the glass. For some reason, when blogging, I don't see it as half empty."

For me, entries like the last one are part of the process of working things out. I wouldn't want people to think that something I write down (either good or bad) necessarily stays with me beyond the writing of it. Creation is a sort of purgation, after all. Although I certainly miss K. (quite badly), I think the real reason for the increased angst quotient recently has just been more time to chew over this stuff while I'm all by my lonesome. When I (or Aaron) vents about something that's bugging us, it shouldn't be taken to mean I am constantly mopey or have reverted back to being 18 again.

And the things that can cheer you up can be so, so simple. Kaz, a guy I know from around and from work, once lent me Stars' Heart LP, one I'd been curious about but a bit hesitant to buy due to the nature of the acclaim (you know how it is - some kinds of praise, for no discernable reason, make you vaguely suspicious). I'm ultimately glad I only borrowed it; the first four songs and "Look Up" itself are classic, but the rest of the record I can easily do without. What a great EP it would have made, in the same order: "What The Snowman Learned About Love", the deathless "Elevator Love Letter", "Heart" itself, which may yet work itself into another Floating World column, "The Woods" and then "Look Up". That I would buy, and rank as highly as Belle & Sebastian's This Is Just A Modern Rock Song EP (one of the few other examples of the form I own).

But it's "Look Up" I turn to when I'm feeling like I was feeling when I wrote about Twice Removed. The opening and closing are a bit ragged, the choruses perhaps a tad too clipped and stuttering in the backing, but they grow on you, and the chorus redeems all. "Look Up" is one of those songs that, when you remember it, you're really only remembering something like a fifth or sixth of it. But who cares? Those are the best bits. The song has the decency to not hold the chorus in reserve for very long, and Amy Millan has a gorgeous voice, although at first you might think it's a little plain; keep listening. And what does she sing?

You're cold, maybe you just missed the sun
You fall, feeling like it's just begun
So far keeping it together's been enough
Look up; rain is falling, looks like love

Why does this make me so happy? Well, part of it is delivery naturally; that last line I would find impossiblely hokey under other circumstances, but here it suffuses me with that sense of well being on music can bring. The second line is a fine depiction of how it often feels when your emotions, positive or negative, control you. Time dilates. And that first line! The way Millan sings, there are two ways to look at "maybe you just missed the sun": Maybe you're feeling this way because you forgot about the sun, or maybe you're feeling this way because you haven't seen the sun and you miss its warmth. In other hands the question might feel rhetorical or maybe even snide, but Millan sings it with such obvious affection and hope that you can't help but feeling the same way. Maybe you do just need to look up. Maybe the answer was up there all along, so obvious you just misplaced it there in the sky (remember the line from Rosenkrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead about truth being there all the time so that it becomes a blur in our eye). Maybe you just forgot you can be happy. The simple faith "Look Up" has that our problems are solvable, that the solution has been there all along, makes my heart swell, something not nearly enough songs do. In the right circumstances, why might not falling rain look like love? Why shouldn't we strive for more than just keeping it together?

And so my heart breaks a little, again. But hearts are infinitely malleable things; sometimes they need to crack a little to be mended, to flow like mercury until once again seamless. When your heart is broken, really broken (something I thankfully have little experience with) it feels like it goes on forever, like something inside you has gone away, but soon enough the heart flows back to where it belongs; it thaws and solidifies again endlessly, and all it needs it our permission to do what it needs to. Of course songs break your heart, with sadness or beauty or passion or anything else; they need the practice.

Maybe we just missed the sun. Let's go outside and look for it.

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