Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
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
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
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
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.
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!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Amadou and Mariam
Welcome to Mali (Because)
Kicking off with the eerie, electronic, Damon Albarn-produced “Sabali,” this simply fantastic album continues to seduce and surprise throughout. Mariam’s voice is perfectly paired with Amadou’s jangly guitar and a range of layered instruments on an album that resists catagorization. The couple, who met in 1977 at Bamako’s school for the blind, have been making music together for over 25 years. Their Manu Chao-produced Dimanche à Bamako, from 2006, was a revelation. On their own, they have now crafted an album that’s equally good and sounds overwhelmingly present. It connects the dots across the continent of Africa (Somali-Canadian K’naan guests on “Africa,” calling it the “original East-coast, West-coast collaboration”) and beyond, to the rest of the world, begging comparisons to everything from garage rock to ’70s funk to ’90s Britpop. It’s tough to stop
listening. 9/10 Trial Track: “Sabali” (Erin MacLeod)
My TV program of the week:
Thursday, November 13, 2008
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
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
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
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
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.
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:
* 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.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
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
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
Friday, September 26, 2008
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: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.
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.
Executive Producer - "Cops"
Check it and all the reader comments out here.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
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
Thursday, September 11, 2008
In addition, this is the best thing in the world today.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
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
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
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.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
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
Thursday, June 05, 2008
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
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
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
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
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
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
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
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
Monday, February 25, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
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
Friday, February 08, 2008
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
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?