Friday, April 25, 2008

(Half of) No Fun at Chapters: an informal chat with David M.

People know that David M. of No Fun does a monthly gig at Chapters on Robson, right? Commuting from Surrey, he’s been in charge of the magazine department there for years, and has been doing solo acoustic shows in-store, from 1 to 3pm, on the third Saturday of every month for about six of those years, with little or no fanfare (are No Fun fans not fond of Chapters? Could this be the explanation? I certainly haven’t gone, but mostly because I’m too lazy to do the math to figure out when said gig happens, exactly). Always a figure of underground fame in Vancouver, he described Chapters as “a new underground” to me on the phone, tho' apparently, he was having a very No Fun oriented shift when I called (I was not the first person to go "David? As in David M.?" when he answered the phone, apparently). In fact, I’d been calling to see if the new Wire was in the store yet - it ain’t - and ended up chatting about music with him, asking him those pressing No Fun-related questions that have lingered in my mind, like, why does the band - which has been around for 20-some years and put out several cassette recordings and such - not have CDs for sale?

“We’re the group without CDs,” he explained, with typically deadpan humour, before translating into bad French (“le group sans CDs,” or something like that). “A glut of good stuff [such as CDs] is still a glut,” he opined, and No Fun doesn’t want to contribute to it; he told me about a CD he released in a run of one, giving the copy to a single fan, under the name of David M’s Ironic Acronym - saying that, tho’ people may not be able to buy No Fun CDs at Red Cat and Scratch, at least “the one guy who has [that one CD] is pleased.”

I cannot argue with such logic. But will he provide me a CD burn of 1894, my favourite No Fun cassette of yore? (The one with “Be Like Us,” “Work, Drink, Fuck, Die,” and, if memory serves, “Paisley Brainbolts of the Mind” on it. I can live without “I’m Not Taking Suzy to the Be-in,” tho’ I’d probably pick up Snivel, too, were it, say, available on CD.) Mr. M is noncommittal on this question: “maybe.” I get around to it again, and he stands firm: maybe.

When he found out that I was a Vancouver writer - hence my search for the Wire piece - and that, indeed, I was at the Vancouver Complication gig, where No Fun performed in duo form, he asked if I’d written the review of it that he’d seen run in the Big Takeover, reprinted (apparently) from some local mag. It took him describing the review to me - which he called “the best No Fun review ever” - for me to realize that indeed it was not mine: “the guy said he went out to his car to get something and when he came back he found out that he had missed No Fun, ‘but he heard they were really good!’” David gave a little chuckle. That gig was in fact one of only three No Fun gigs I've seen - I saw No Fun at Christmas at the Railway, years ago; I saw them open for Robyn Hitchcock even further back, at the Town Pump; and I caught the Complication mini-set. I'm primed to see No Fun play again.

And so: the next David M. gig at Chapters will be on May 17th, and, David reports, he may also do something special for Mothers’ Day. This time, I’ve got the date fixed in my head, and I’m going to be there.

He may have an 1894 for me, after all.

(Post-script: You can apparently download "Be Like Us" for free at, btw. I wonder if No Fun have a Myspace?).

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