Sunday, December 30, 2007 

I'm out of my element; I can't breathe

Guys, the new Mountain Goats (Heretic Pride) is really good. Really, really good.

I was going to try and do some work this afternoon, but then Ben found a Spaced marathon on Showcase. I need the whole series special edition they've got in Britain to come out here now, thanks.


It started to snow

Just in case anyone interested is keeping tabs through here/Facebook: The Low blog has another entry, although I still expect things to be slow until I get more of my thesis done. It's not abandoned, though - watch those RSS feeds!

Friday, December 28, 2007 

Give till it hurts

97% of the Hilton fortune will go to charity. It'd be nice if that was the rule, rather than the exception. Of course, 3% of that fortune is still millions; it's not as if anyone in the family will be starving in the starving in the streets.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 

Merry friggin' xmas

Hope everyone is having a good, fun, culturally appropriate holiday celebration... I'm off to work. For the next four days. Woo.

Friday, December 21, 2007 

Me, me, meeeeeee

This is both the last thing I'd expect from Snoop and just about perfect. Holy fuck do those synths sound good. Of course, it sounds even better when he's rapping... but who am I to begrudge him getting his Zapp on?


But the prettiest sight to see

Every year around this time there will be a day or two when I get Bing Crosby's version* of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" stuck in my head. I guess today it's because my shopping is all done and it's my last day off until Christmas Day itself. There was no holiday music playing, the air was crisp but not freezing, the sun was out, I got my errands done with a minimum of fuss, and had a street vendor hot dog for breakfast. I felt pretty fucking cheery, for once. (I'm usually more of a bah humbug guy)

*Who else recorded this song, anyways? In my world, NO ONE.

Thursday, December 20, 2007 

Kind of unrelated

1. If you have to go out to get a burger and fries (pretty much the least inspiring meal in Western culture right now) and you're in Southern Ontario, you pretty much have to go to Lick's. At least if you have any self-respect. I mean, among other things, it's the only place I go to where I get the vegetarian burger because it tastes even better than the beef one. I had one last night and it was incredible. I keep going there and expecting to get an average one, but it never happens. Also, any burger joint that lets you get spicy sauce, two kind of onions, two kind of hot peppers and whatever else you want on a burger is worthwhile.

2. While at Lick's, I heard a pretty lovely choral version of a religious Christmas song - not sure which one. "Angels We Have Heard on High," maybe? It's one of those versions that sounds like it's being recorded in a cathedral in England or something. And for just a moment, I think about how nightmarish this would be to someone from the medieval period, that this sacred music meant to be performed by humans is being played in the bathroom of a fast food establishment without even any visible speakers.

3. Which made me think, because I'm standing there contemplating the music, and I realise I want to say something about how the idea briefly offends even me, and I was raised secular. And then I start thinking about things I've read where people in Israel, for example, are described as "ethnically Jewish" or how plenty of people I know are or could be described as "culturally Catholic" - that is, in each case, they may or may not respect the religion, but they don't practice it. And yet, in at least some way, those sorts of groups are still bound by a common background, a set of shared values etc etc etc. And I start to wonder if the proper way to describe myself isn't "ethnically secular" or "culturally humanist" or something like that. And I wonder how many people these days that could apply to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 

Oh sh-

Twenty-three patients with incurable, highly infectious and drug-resistant tuberculosis have escaped from a South African hospital, local media report.

It's far away, and it's not exactly zombies, but it still doesn't do my stress levels any good. The patients escaped because they wanted to spend Christmas with their families, apparently. The mind boggles.


Muscle Mystery

Thanks to a friend, I've finally read Flex Mentallo. Which is both probably the best (or at least most condensed) thing that Grant Morrison has ever done, and further proof that it, The Invisibles, The Filth, Doom Patrol, Seven Soldiers of Liberty, et al, are ultimately the same story. Fuck you, Charles Atlas Corporation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 


The top whatever lists from the IMP are so far the only ones I've seen besides Stylus' that I kind of like. Not perfect, of course, but at least interesting.

Also, I just watched it tonight, but did anyone else find the mid episode "Homer's life flashing before his eyes, a picture a day style" montage strangely moving?

Sunday, December 16, 2007 

I'm not necessarily proud of any of this

I woke up this morning with sharpie on my arm. Eighteen lines; one for each drink during the Twelve Bars of Christmas last night (we hit fourteen, which I think means we beat the other pub crawl we ran into a few times). My brother got... more. It was pretty ridiculous, and pretty successful. Today he and I and a few friends decided to cap the experience off with the Mandarin. I think it made me feel worse than the drinking, and despite going there at 4, I'm still full. Good lamb, though.

Saturday, December 15, 2007 

There you stood on the edge of your feather

I said this at work the other day when it came on, and I think my coworkers thought I was joking, or at least exaggerating. But I don't think I was; I think "Expecting to Fly" by Neil Young (in the guise of Buffalo Springfield) may be the best song ever. If I had the time right now for a The Blue in the Air-style lauding, well, babe you know I'd try.

Thursday, December 13, 2007 


So Leonard Cohen is going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Regardless of what you think of the institution, or of Halls of Fame in general, this is still pretty fucking awesome. I hope you all can/do listen to Songs of Love and Hate or Death of a Ladies' Man tonight, or whatever your favourites are.

Sunday, December 09, 2007 

I can't take my eyes off you

I'm feeling much better, but I have today and tomorrow off and I promised my advisor I'd have something for him on Wednesday, so this place will probably still be a little quiet. Things should return to normal at some point. I've got a fairly exciting announcement to make in the next month or two, I hope, so keep watching those, err, RSS feeds.

For now, you should all read this frankly amazing interview k-punk did with Burial. I freely admit I'm getting a little obsessed. On my albums ballot for the 2007 Idolator Pop Critics Poll I have Untrue third, behind Boxer and Drums and Guns, but I definitely would put it at two now, and it might even be threatening the number one spot, something I can hardly believe. If anyone out there hasn't heard it, email me... you need to.

Thursday, December 06, 2007 

Mouth full of pain

I've been sick - not the kind where you can't go to work, just the kind where I've been mainlining Halls (lemon-lime flavour - so necessary) in order to speak with customers at work for longer than five seconds without coughing. Which also means that outside of work and marking I haven't wanted to do anything more demanding than watch TV - including updating blogs. But I also saw Los Campesinos! last night with Julia and Ben (fantastic, as always - and sweet god DAMN am I excited about the album!) which means I have bruised thumbs/palms from hammering away on the amp I was standing in front of. I have no idea why my throat/mouth has gotten so swollen and painful (all the singing along, I guess? It felt fine at the time), but I do know I'm ready for it all to be over. It's impossible to work (on writing) like this.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007 

A romantic about music

Dan Hancox's interview with/article on Burial is one of my favourite things I've read all year. What a great piece; Untrue is as good (or, probably) better than you've heard if you've heard of it at all, and Hancox does a good job on exploring what makes the guy so interesting. May he successfully preserve his anonymity as long as he wants.

And for such a reclusive, relatively quiet guy, Burial does a great job of articulating for all of us who like darker, sadder music why that is: "When I'm awake all night, sometimes I see the people and the city waking up around me. I feel a little bit moody at them for stepping into my night-time. What I want is that feeling when you're in the rain, or a storm. It's a shiver at the edge of your mind, an atmosphere of hearing a sad, distant sound, but it seems closer - like it's just for you."

Monday, December 03, 2007 

I didn't even have to use my A.K.

I return from a brief but enjoyable summit at the Brass Taps with my fellow PHIL 1050 instructors (TAs and professor both), fortified with many pints of Rickard's White; which may not prove that Rickard's Red isn't swill fit only for pigs, but is at least a good beer in its own right. Today the owner of the store turned to me, apropos of nothing (that I know of) and told me he'd given me a 25 cent an hour raise; my shift at work went marvelously, I finished 99% of my TAing duties for 1050 and got away with marking only ten exams, eight of which I picked because I like the students' work/are curious what they'll say. I have a double hamburger from Harvey's in front of me. I don't need to wake up early tomorrow. I am going to see Los Campesinos! on Wednesday. I got most of my Xmas shopping done. This is perhaps the first time I've been pleasantly tipsy all semester. I'm going to bed - there's no way the day is going to improve.

Sunday, December 02, 2007 

There's nothing more terrifying than a scientist who thinks he's seen God

I was looking something else up, but randomly tripping over this old review of Runrig's Mara reminds of just why I love glenn mcdonald's writing so fiercely. Those first two paragraphs, out of nowhere, articulate a type of criticism more interesting and valuable than that practiced by a good, oh, 60% of my contemporaries.

(yes, it's safe to assume I'm not talking about ex-Stylus people here, and no I'm not under the delusion that glenn's way is the only good way to do music criticism)

Saturday, December 01, 2007 

I won't fuck us over

A friend turned up this Torontoist account of the first time I saw the National; it's very well written, and David Topping's a really nice guy, but I'm especially pleased/amused because I'm the "Stylus Magazine writer" he mentions meeting at the show. I feel a little bad; I expressed interest in Torontoist when I met David at the show and got his email address, then promptly lost that scrap of paper in my apartment and never got back to him. I'm sure he doesn't need the help, but still.

(oh, and "Mr. November" is in my mind about a ballplayer and Bush and Berninger's normal office Everyman, all at once - an open-endedness Topping notes, of course)

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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.

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imathers at gmail dot com

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