Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dusty Foot Philosopher

Latest from Toronto's K'naan. Watch and listen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Moonstarr, killin it.

Hey, so this lovely dude I know makes music. And it's darned good. He's got a new record out called Instrumentals Forever. You should check it out. Like now. Lots of other folks are!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

As I wrote in Facebook...

Sometimes things just come together to make everything right in the world. Yesterday it was Hot Chip in a spinning class. Even after 50 minutes of sweating like crazy, "One Pure Thought" made me feel like I could continue for another 50.

Today, it's recovering from significant anger and frustration by remembering this little blast from the past. Why wasn't Spookey Ruben absolutely huge?It's also officially, as my old roommate Ash would insist, Spookey-ing season here in Montreal, so named for the violent tossing into snowbanks that occurs at the beginning of the video.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Yeah, so Caveman's new Axum riddim is pretty good, but I wish they'd have insisted on lyrics related to the Axumite empire. Seriously, it woulda made for some seriously great tunes. Think of the material...I'd pull out my lighta for lyrics about the Ark of the Covenant everytime!

It doesn't really need to be said, but Sizzla sounds a titch insane (i.e. not all there) on this riddim.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Nice video.

Nice tribute to Natasja. I like the idea of having Spice, Macka Diamond, etc. mouth Natasja's words. Very good at capturing the vibes, methinks. Makes me wish I could go to Weddy Weddy.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More stuff I liked in 1991

I'm having a bit of a nostalgia thing going on. I used to lie on my bedroom floor and listen to this one.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I like MBV as much as the next music blogger, but...

How much cash would I pay to see these guys? I know it's a cliche, but having just spent the past hour wasting my time on youtube checking out video after video, man. There was a reason why I loved these guys. The above video is from a show I always read about as a teenager, but, growing up in the 'Shwa, never got to see. Had to settle for City Limits with Simon Evans.

Friday, November 28, 2008

La traduction

For those who asked me for a translation of the P45 thing...I think it sounds better the way that Vero did it!

I always liked reggae, but when I heard Stone Love, I was smitten. Stone Love isn’t a band, but a soundsystem—one of Jamaica’s many mobile discos, a concept that has been around for almost fifty years, playing the music audiences demand to hear. A soundsystem is so much more than just a DJ, it’s a whole experience. I didn’t think that music could be so loud, so powerful and so fun. From that moment forward I have had a love affair with Jamaican music, specifically dancehall and especially at top volume.

One of the things that’s particularly wonderful about the types of music played at a soundsystem event is that some of the sweetest tunes—stuff called lover’s rock—gets just as much of a response as the most intense dancehall. Jamaican music is so varied. Granted, sometimes I’m beyond disappointed by the lyrical content, but I tend to focus on the positive stuff I like and simply don’t support the negative.

Given the sheer amount of tunes available, for this playlist (or playlists!) I chose some of my favourite tunes from 2008 and split them up according to mood. Depending on how you’re feeling check out a little something soft or a little something hard. I like ‘em both equally.

Merci Vero!

I was asked by the terrific P45 to contribute a little bit of sunshine as an antidote to our increasingly cloudy and chilly days. Every week they host mixes by local folk--luckily they aren't looking only for djs, because, apart from my appearance at Bounce Le Gros (which still shocks me as something I actually did--thanks, Ghislain!) and opportunities provided by Guillaume, I very rarely dj anything or anywhere.

All this to say that I don't suggest that the mixes are terrific, but the tunes are!

Check it here--and don't forget your French/English dictionary!

p.s. I am not going to pretend that I wrote such amazing French...that's thanks to the inimitable and wonderful Ms. Vero B!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I asked a little while ago about fixing this thing

Some folks said that I should move to wordpress. Would anyone have any further ideas? I am super clueless as to how I would put together something that would allow me to host my CV, some writing, etc.

As for other related news, my main project for the next six months or so is to write my dissertation. It is going to happen. I have a nice beginning chunk, and I hope that I can get going all the more this weekend.

Posting cool stuff will continue soonish!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Can't believe it.

The American national anthem means something totally different this evening.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Witness the day that Babylon shall fall...

Still think all jungle sounds the same, but that doesn't mean it isn't wicked. Case in point: this track, that I remember dancing to at Angels.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Have an argument about a frying pan...

When lovely, Jamaica-bound Larissa and equally lovely Matt came to stay a few weeks ago, they showed me a hilarious and brilliant thing by Lev Yilmaz. I've now gone through all of this fellow's videos and I think he's all the more hilarious and brilliant. Take the following, for example.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ahh, the "quirky best friend"

I've been a little obsessed with Louis Theroux for quite some time. Thing is, I never really was too interested in the "Off Off Broadway" episode of Weird Weekends. Taking a break from proposal writing, I decided I'd watch it this evening. I am still laughing. I know it's old, but this is possibly the best thing Mr. Theroux has ever done.

I miss being an English Lit grad sutdent sometimes...

Bakhtin came up in conversation the other day. I realized, at the time, that I miss talking about literature. The next day, however, in one of my classes, I got to bring my favourite Russian literary theorist in through the back door. One of my students asked whether his interpretation of "Mr. Tambourine Man" was wrong, since it was different from the one I'd just finished presenting.

Recalling Bakhtin's famous statement that "Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction”, I explained this notion to the class--in prolly too many words. It was terribly fun and, when another student exclaimed, ten minutes later,"Yeah, but poetry is still useless", I didn't have to argue with him, because the class jumped on him. "Maybe it's the discussion of the poem that's important, rather than the poem itself," another said. I almost cheered.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tunes.

This is amazing. I've been stuck in a weird nostalgia phase for a while now, and this is therefore perhaps the best thing ever.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh, so true.

So true. But only a Yank or a Canuck would ever say it. And then you're just ridiculed and called a puritan. The fact that it comes from the fear-mongering paper doesn't really help my case though.

I got this from the one blog I read that makes me feel like it's the year 2000 and I'm eavesdropping in on someone else's life rather than the obsessive downloading of new tunes/political punditry that passes for my blog reading these days.

From my Aunt Arlene...

Real human beings? Really?

So yes, I went and exercised my right to vote this morning. For some reason voting always gets me a little choked up--the fact that we don't have to wait for much longer than 15 minutes, it's so easy, and I can vote freely...

Anyhow, before I went to the polling station, I checked online to see what kind of info I had to drag along with me. On the Elections Canada website, it lists a bunch of ways to get in touch with them, including the following:

Telephone:
* Automated services are available 24 hours a day. Actual human beings are available from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. (Eastern Time).

Good to know.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Funny.

Sure, it's from the UK, but you could change party names and make it relevant to Canada:

Switching from Labour to the Tories is like saying: “Ooh, I’ve always had my hair done at the barber’s in the high street but I'm bored with them now, so this time I think I’ll set my hair on fire." - Jeremy Hardy

Monday, October 06, 2008

I hate talking about myself...

...but for grant applications, that's what you have to do. I also get worried about what folks I admire will say about what I'm saying about myself. In light of this, allow me to talk about something completely different.

On Blogariddims 49, the penultimate edition of my favourite ongoing dj-mixed tape podcast, the idea is to draw the lines of connection between dubstep and electronica. Incidentally, in my review of Burial's Untrue, I did exactly that and heard from some folks that I was making a bit of a stretch. Having used episode 49 as writing music for the past week or so, I think I was right on. My ish, about eight years ago or so, was all electronic--IDM, if I may be so boldly pretentious to say. But I always liked the slightly more melodically driven stuff. It's this stuff that seems to inch into the dubstep I like the most. I don't like when pure melody is dropped into dubstep (see the absolute fun-suck that is Digital Mystikz's "Earth a run red" version for evidence).

As droid (who is much more schooled in the tunes and touchstones of UK music than I ever will be) says on his blog: I see dubstep as part of the rich tradition of Electronica and 140bpm UK dance music, not a direct ancestor, but rather as a scene that draws on the same foundations…

Well, gosh darn it, I do too.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nollywood Babylon

While in Ethiopia, I spent quite a bit of time watching Nigerian films on a station called "African Magic". I also watched local Ethiopian films, but my Amharic is less than adequate. I could get the idea, but not the ins and outs. Nollywood films, on the other hand, were exciting, intense, hilarious, and, almost always, involving someone possessed. Tough to look away, I tell you.

I also saw an amazing paper at a conference in Durban, SA on the topic of spirit possession, feminism and Nigerian film by Adedayo Ladigbolu Abah of Washington and Lee University. The paper was called “One step forward, Two Steps Backwards: African Women in Nigerian Videofilm”. Speaking with Adedavo, she talked about just how much people in Nigeria and the Nigerian diaspora watch these films. The fellow in the trailer who says he watches three, five a day is not unrealistic. Heck, check out YouTube, and you can watch quite a few of 'em. And, yes, I can't deny that I wasn't happy when I saw the one titled Stone Love

Given the tremendous popularity of these movies, Adedavo said, we really should be taking a closer look at what they are saying and doing. This documentary might be a start--I'm dying to see it.
 

Friday, September 26, 2008

And while I'm blogging...

Here's the best song in the world today...

Reading Television

Everyone who knows me knows I love TV. I watch lots; I used to write about it. I also used to teach a course called "Television as Literature" where I'd get students to do stuff like compare Sherlock Holmes to House. It was awesome. Some of the best student writing I have ever read came from that class. Thing is, lots of people (mostly late at night at parties) have intimated that my obsession with analysing TV is a little much. Though I'm not that big on authorial intent, I was still particularly happy to read this entry from Douglas Rushkoff over at Boing Boing:

I just got this email from John Langley, the guy who made the uber-reality show Cops. I see it as an acknowledgement of all of us who tend to read more into TV programs and their creators' intent than they might suggest on the surface.

Dear Mr. Rushkoff:

It was refreshing to recently read "Media Virus" and your take on "Cops," which I happen to produce and for which I'm responsible as the guy who created it. I can't tell you how tiresome it is to read traditional criticism and critiques of "Cops" as an expression of this or that, usually far from the mark (or at least in terms of my intentions). As a kid of the '60s, I was more likely to name the show "Pigs" than "Cops," so it was indeed rewarding to read that you positioned the program more accurately in its existential realm of relativism. All I do is feebly hack away at trying -- emphasis on trying -- to capture some version of "reality" that will speak for itself, including the echolalia of the very media influence that filters it by the act of recording it. (Viva Heisenberg!) Anyone with half a brain should recognize the social, political and philosophic issues it sometimes reveals in the quotidian pursuit of law and order and the meaning of street crime.

In any case, keep up the good work! And apologies for getting to you so late in the day. Your book is no less valid for the delay.

Regards,

John Langley
Executive Producer - "Cops"

Not only does an email like that make my month, but restores my faith in the notion that absolutely mainstream programs might still be intended to have a rehabilitative or even noxious effect on the overculture. The fact that Langley made Cops in the spirit that Albert Maysles made Salesman means that we can cut through the clutter and expose mass audiences to virulent memes - even in the darkest of times.

Check it and all the reader comments out here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Big up Atwood!

How great is it that I just finished teaching (and rediscovering the greatness of) Wilderness Tips, and then this. Maggie rules. The best bit:

Mr. Harper's idea of an ordinary person is that of an envious hater without a scrap of artistic talent or creativity or curiosity, and no appreciation for anything that's attractive or beautiful. My idea of an ordinary person is quite different. Human beings are creative by nature. For millenniums we have been putting our creativity into our cultures - cultures with unique languages, architecture, religious ceremonies, dances, music, furnishings, textiles, clothing and special cuisines. “Ordinary people” pack into the cheap seats at concerts and fill theatres where operas are brought to them live. The total attendance for “the arts” in Canada in fact exceeds that for sports events. “The arts” are not a “niche interest.” They are part of being human.

Atwood killing it, seriously.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sings like Beres?

Ok, so I think Mavado is pretty terrific, but the complete lack of singing ability that is totally amazing (and absolutely hilarious) here is absolutely awful here. I wonder if Barack has heard the tune?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Usually drink, usually dance, usually babble

I am becoming more and more excited about this whole writing thing. But it's an odd excitement. I think that it took far too long for me to actually get down to things, but when I actually did, it wasn't as awful as I expected. I'm specifically discussing a paper that I picked apart and put back together. It still has all the stuff it had before, just in a different order and with new stuff added. I think I could probably add more, and I most certainly will for the bigger project, but for now the small battle has been won.

In addition, this is the best thing in the world today.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Interview Blues

I have been listening to hours of interviews and trying to figure out a good way to mark them up without necessarily transcribing the whole thing. I initially tried to write out the main ideas when the person talked, marking times when I could, but that seemed to fail as soon as I realized that my typing skill was not that of a court reporter.

Thing is, I have probably over 20 hours of this stuff. What was I thinking when I decided to base my dissertation on interviews (not to mention newspaper articles in a language I can barely read)? Argh.

This makes me a little happier.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

All is full of love

GorrilavsBear is sooo right. The cover of "All is full of love" found here is the best thing I've heard all day.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It's been a while...

I went to Jamaica, Ethiopia and now I'm back with no plans to do much until next year. Well, that's a lie. My big plan is to write more and more often, hopefully toying around with dissertation-related ideas on this here blog. At the moment I am working up a presentation that I gave in Jamaica on the Ethiopian World Federation's water harvesting project in Shashemene, Ethiopia.

My argument is that, in the face of being denied access to citizenship, the EWF's project (and existence as an indigenous NGO within the country) acts as a means of engaging with citizenship in an alternate way. Granted, the irony being that acting as an NGO--a predominantly foreign position within Ethiopia--the EWF's project further integrates the Rastafari into the surrounding community. What is interesting to me is how there seems to be a growing understanding within Shashemene of the Rastafari as occupying a space that's not quite foreign and not quite Ethiopian. All this means that I get to use "liminality"--one of my favourite 25 cent words.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What the F?

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

From the Telegraph (thanks to Ms. Edelstein)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Procrastination

I am trying to think of a way to develop a site that will house a whole bunch of stuff--photos, writing samples, CV, blog, etc. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lee Lee Lee Lee Lee!!

I've been watching the Apprentice UK. Yes, I know that it is a reality show, but man oh man, it's a damned good reality show. I have much preferred the UK version of Hell's Kitchen, and the Apprentice is also better across the pond.

The role of Donald Trump is being played by Sir Alan Sugar, and he's fantastic. Three weeks ago I would have scoffed (and think I actually did) at the notion of this show being "arty", but the long pauses and carefully sussed montages have won me over. It is a more beautiful way of doing television.

Next week is the final, and I have to say, it's all about Lee. I'm thankful that Miss "they don't like me because I'm too posh" Lucinda is out, and I'm hoping that Alex, a.k.a. the hot yet despicable one, is the next to go. My money (and hope) is on Lee--the man who replaces his "th"s with "f"s. Heck, I don't care that he lied on his resume.

Goodness, I really should be talking about more important things, shouldn't I?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Books, books, books

I love books, I took lots of schooling related to books, but I tend not to think about them that much. This is probably silly. I really enjoyed speaking to Jill about her book--which, incidentally, is pretty darned great--and I have made the resolution to read more over the next year. It's a good time to make these types of commitments because, well, it's my birthday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm pretty tickled.

My favourite paper printed a piece by me.

In the meantime...


Yeah, so while I was at EMP, Tash Money was kickin' it. You're awesome, dude!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ee-Em-Pee

I went to the EMP pop conference in Seattle this past weekend. It was fun. I will distill some thoughts and spit 'em out later.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dutty Dutty

On Wayneandwax, Wayne details the good news that he spoke on what would have been an amazing panel. He also mentions the phenomenon of the "titty wine"--clearly a play on the "dutty wine". Whereas doing the dutty wine isolates the ass and the hips, the titty wine isolates exactly what you'd think. So one's about the A and the other is about the T.

I'd be interested in what Sonjah Stanley Niaah would have to say about this new dance...

Also, in Donna Hope's Inna di Dancehall, she describes the phenomenon of "buffer zone" contests in Jamaica where women compete for nether-region notoriety (sorry, couldn't think of a better way to put it). One of the Kingston newspapers had (and maybe they still do--a few minutes of searching can't seem to locate it) a weekly spread of "buffer zones". It's a bit of a change from the page-3 girls I've grown up with!

Of all the dancehall queens I have seen, none (I suppose until recently), has really spent that much time drawing attention to her chest--there's much more emphasis on other areas, including the aforementioned buffer zone. Sure the titty wine is different, and dancehall queens are always looking for something different...but as a dance, aren't there any other options than doing what looks like breast self examination?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pantsula for Life

The Masala boys were nice enough to put up with my blathering French on the radio this past Saturday. They played a whole bunch of wicked stuff--quite a melange, but that's what they're best at. I put together a mix of my favourite kwaito tracks. This month's Fader is their "Africa Issue". In it there is a piece on kwaito...it suggests exactly what I noticed when in Durban this past summer--that house music has very much become the soundtrack of South Africa. Hence, my kwaito selection is not exactly up to the time--but it's still a series of what I consider to be spectacular tunes. Listen and subscribe here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I want money for cookies

A public petition, signed by Canadian residents and addressed to the House of Commons, the Government of Canada, a Minister of the Crown or a Member of the House of Commons, is one of the most direct means for people to communicate with Parliament.
Last night, dearest Julie came over for dinner. We started discussing the existence of direct democracy in Canada, as two fashionable urbanites are wont to do. The topic was that of petitions--how a citizen can present a petition to the government. Thing is, anyone can present a petition, so long as it is in a proper format. All you need are 25 signatures.

Yes, there are certain other restrictions. You can't petition for anything if it could be handled by any other level of government or judicial body, but you CAN petition for the expenditure of public funds.

This started me thinking. What kinds of petitions are actually read? Perusing the Hansards suggests that there are tons of people "communicating with Parliament" (four petitions were read last Friday, for instance), though I don't really understand what the governments response to these petitions actually is. The house sets aside an hour and fifteen minutes a week for the reading of petitions-- 15 minutes at 3:00 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 15 minutes at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 15 minutes, beginning at 12:00 noon on Fridays. As per our Parliament's procedural services website:

"When presenting a petition, no debate is permitted. A Member may make a brief factual statement, referring to the petition being duly certified, to its source, to the subject matter of the petition and its request, and the number of signatures it carries. Petitions are not to be read in their entirety. The statement is reproduced in Hansard, the official record of the debates, and a record of the petition appears in the Journals for that day."

Ok, so I write a petition for who knows what, I give it to my MP, they read it out to the Parliament and then what? It's just part of the "Routine Proceedings" of Parliament. I'd like to know how many petitions have had any impact. Where would I find out this info? I don't want to think this stuff is totally futile and symbolic.

Monday, March 24, 2008

There must be an angel

Because, if not, Ron C wouldn't have done this (Thanks to Dave):
"You're Beautiful"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Just like heaven...

The Dears were a bit of a stand in for the lack of new Smiths material (or, more specifically, the lack of new old Smiths material--if that makes any sense). I've been wondering what it is about the Black Kids that I like, and as their new video (with new, fancy recording of "I'm not going to teach your boyfriend how to dance with you") demonstrates, I think it's that the Black Kids serve the same purpose, except this time they're resurrecting the Cure. It's as if Head on the Door-era Robert Smith is "do do do do do do do dooh"-ing it up on this tune. Nice.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lazer Frere-Jones

I have been promising to tell you about "lazer bass” (my own dumb term) for a while now.
So the New Yorker/SFJ has written about the lazer-guided melodies coming out of Montreal--specifically those of the folks I wrote about last month in the Mirror, though I already linked to that below, so doing it here is probably overkill.

I'm happy these guys are getting some shine--and from the New Yorker, no less. I had been thinking about writing more about the whole interconnected fun that is what Megasoid, Blingmod, Lunice, Mofomatronix and co. come up with. It really is terribly enjoyable music and there's a lot of Montreal in it. I wanted to write a response to Louis Pattison's piece "Electro feels the shock of the old" where he states that if you "look to the new innovations in electronic and dance music in the last couple of years, and they, too, seem curiously retrogressive."

Maybe it's just me, but I do see something a little new in the stuff that's being created here in Montreal, down in California and across the pond in Scotland (and probably in other places where there's access to the internet and an interest in bass-heavy dance music).
When talking to the boys behind Turbo Crunk, the monthly celebration of lazer fun here in Montreal, I said that I thought this stuff was the anti-dubstep. Now, I've been told that bassline is the anti-dubstep--where dubstep is boy music, bassline is girl music. I see bassline as being much more heterosexual-it's-dark-let's-dance-sexy-and-hook-up music, but I see what Sasha Frere-Jones calls "lazer bass" as being an antidote to dubstep in a much different way.

Sure, dubstep draws a very male crowd. Having being to FWD a coupla times, I can testify to this fact. Thing is, I think that what's more emblematic about dubstep is its earnestness. It's no surprise that Burial, who may not sound like a lot of dubstep, comes out of this scene. Burial's stuff simply matches other dubstep where this earnest factor is concerned. "Lazer bass" (I might as well use the term) seems to be able to balance this factor with terrific fun and almost self-mockery--if you don't believe me, check Blingmod's costumes and Lunice's myspace videos. SFJ says this stuff combines hyphy, Autechre, and Timbaland--among others. But it's not pretentious. There is no pretense of this being some "scene" to end all scenes. If music like this took off in London, they'd be calling it a movement. In Montreal, it's just damn good fun.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pmanny: Drop Out

"Will Hutton, author of The State We're in and chief executive of The Work Foundation describes the private school/Oxbridge system as 'a secure passport to the upper echelons of British life for which the entry ticket is cash'. And, even if you gatecrash it, or hitch a free ride on the tails of a state-school education, it's still wrong. Britain has the worst levels of social mobility of any country it's possible to measure. And key to that stasis, to the maintenance of the status quo, to a diminution of opportunity for 93 per cent of the population, is Oxbridge."
I watch a ton of British documentary television and read a ton of British press. There's a little piece of me that wishes I were a part of all of it--I remember perusing the "training schemes" at the BBC while I was toiling away at a rather undesirable publishing job (one of my main responsibilities was choosing photos of celebrities for hack-penned bios--I've seen more of Mariah Carey than anyone ever needs to). They seemed like such great opportunities--but, much like my dream of an internship at Harper's, the obstacle was cash. Reading Carole Cadwalladr's piece about the remaining power of the Oxbridge elite demonstrates that entering journalism or broadcasting (among other professions) demands cash not only to support one's self through a six-month unpaid internship, but cash to support a private education throughout one's life.
I have come to learn this over the past little while. Every time I read a particularly interesting article or watch a particularly interesting documentary, I have done a wee search on Wikipedia only to come to the same conclusion as Cadwalladr. Everyone whose anyone seems to have gone to the same bloody two schools. I suppose this is an open secret (and an annoying one) to Britons, but for me, as much as my Wikipedia searches kept confirming the real and true reality of the Oxbridge influence, I kept hoping it wasn't the case. Of course, this reality doesn't make me like Louis Theroux any less, but it does make me cheer somewhat for Charlie Brooker and Dawn Porter (even though Ms. Porter was private-school educated, though she did attend theatre school in Liverpool).
What's weird is that I have absolutely no idea where my favourite Canadian journalists and broadcasters were educated. A quick look shows that Stombo went to Humber College, Avi Lewis to University of Toronto (but attended prestigious boy's school Upper Canada College), Carole MacNeil to the University of New Brunswick, Evan Solomon to McGill, Christie Blatchford to Ryerson, and the great Peter Mansbridge dropped out of high school. If 45% of all British journalists of note attended Oxbridge, my small Canuck sample demonstrates that within Canada this is not the case--yes, McGill and U of T are good schools, but they hardly hold the weight that a degree from a place like Cambridge apparently does.
I suppose I would have to check the educational backgrounds of lawyers, corporate titans and legislators to really see--I am sure that posh private education and prestigious post-secondary study does open doors for Canadians, but the incredible sway two universities have over the media in Britain is just overwhelming. So overwhelming that I missed CBC Sunday, presided over by two public-schooled folk. I'll make a point of watching CBC's flagship newscast this evening, taking great pride in our high-school drop out anchor.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"The life of kings"

On Sunday night, I watched the series finale of a program that took me a long time to get to know, but then wouldn't let me go until I'd seen every last minute of it. This show, of course, is The Wire. I've read a whole ton of different takes on the series finale, and I sit on the side of the underwhelmed who were upset at David Simon's no-so-subtle attack on his former employers, the Baltimore Sun. Unlike the compelling portrayal of the education system in the fourth season (reflecting fellow Wire creator Ed Burns's post-po-leece work profession), the depiction of the fourth estate in the fifth season felt like, well, it had been written by Scott Templeton. Essentially writing himself into the story (watch the finale closely), Simon's newsmen (and the were mostly men--but we'll get to the girls in a later post) felt exaggerated--too perfectly bad, too gleamingly good. There was no nuance, no complexity, no moment of ambiguity, as when McNulty, in the last episode of season three, asks "Who was I chasing?" after taking a look through String's book collection. It was tough to know just how to feel about Stringer--and McNulty. But we were told just exactly how we should feel about the angels and devils at the Baltimore Sun.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I've got a wee crush--he hates my computer as much as I do...swoon!

Charlie Brooker is amazing. Again, I'm behind the times, but this is brilliant.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Hour from London?

How much did I love the fact that George referred to the Thames in the way I (and I'm sure every kid from Ontario who watched TVO in the 80s) thought it was pronounced?

I know it's just a movie, but...

I know I am a ranty, opinionated twit. Oftentimes (ok, always) I take this characteristic a little too far. Case in point: Juno. I thought the performances were terrific; I liked the styling of the picture, but I did not like the film. It made me uncomfortable. I don't want it to win an Academy Award.

I know it is a movie, and a well written movie at that, but I didn't like it. I'm not very articulate about anything other than MLA style at the moment, but this person and this person can do that job. In addition, my little group of not-so-happy-about-Juno folks includes the Obama-supporting Ms. Jean Edelstein as well. I don't feel so alone (though I'm still ranty, opinionated and twit-like).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

They've put a moratorium on the word "lazer"

Though I'm sure Saturday night will not be lazer-free. Read more about what will certainly be tons-o-fun here.

Friday, February 08, 2008

"Ancient to the future, a power stronger than itself"

I spoke with Kahil El'Zabar last week. I liked his talk about "cultural citizenship." It's something I've been thinking about a whole lot in reference to that dissertation of mine. If I wasn't reading dozens of assignments, I'd be tempted to write more about this right now. I'm going to have to soon...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

4-2 Leafs

How great is it to be in Montreal and see the Leafs win? It's totally the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Omar's coming yo!

Thanks to Dave, who gave me season one (which I stupidly didn't watch it for over a year cause i couldn't get past the first four episodes--little did I know that I simply needed to pass the fifth episode hurdle on the way to all-out obsession), I have become transfixed by the Wire. It's an incredible TV show, but this is saying nothing new. Listen to these guys' thoughts instead.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's Super Shrove Tuesday

It's a day for politics and pancakes. After a discussion with the always insightful Andy Williams last night, I think I might agree with him that it's a shame that Edwards is out of the race. The two of us have no real say, though I haven't been this interested in US politics since the days of hanging chads.

My new interest appears to be reading blogs by former McGill student journalists (I am far too ancient to claim that these folks were my fellow students) Kelly Nestruck and Jean Hannah Edelstein. Both now work for my online paper of choice. Nestruck can express an opinion, but Edelstein actually gets to act on hers. Come on, Jean (or Hannah? or Jean Hannah?), who is it going to be?