Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Vibrations at the Vancity Theatre

One of the most unanimously-loved movies at the 2013 VIFF - at least among the people I talked to - was Good Vibrations, about the early days of the Belfast punk scene and the contributions of one Terri Hooley, who opened the record store that gives the film its title during a very politically turbulent time. There are several different angles to approach Good Vibrations from, but if you're interested in a unique perspective on the Troubles, if your love of music transcends any sectarian allegiances, if you can identify with someone who plays a supporting role in your local music scene (as journalist, record store owner, promoter, what-have-you), and would like to see such a person heroized and celebrated, or if you just love music (either punk or reggae - since Hooley was a reggae-lover who opened the store BEFORE his discovery of punk, which is chronicled in the movie, in one of the most moving and delightful "conversion scenes" I have ever encountered, pictured above) - you will find this film a delight. So will fans of the Undertones! It opens at the Vancity Theatre in a couple of days and is highly recommended! Not immediately finding the film's official website but its Facebook page is here...

Monday, December 30, 2013


So I'm at Carson Books and Records on Dunbar Street spinning records while I work. I play the Enigma's Strangely Wild EP, in honour of their reformation and (still upcoming, I think) show. Then I spin Miles Davis' Jack Johnson - an album I once owned and know I like -- but hey, I find I'm really digging it today. It's so much PUNCHIER than I recall it being, seems much more akin to Bitches Brew than I'd remembered or expected. Was it always this good?, I'm thinking. I play all of side one, then flip it to side two, and play that all the way through until we get to the quote from Jack Johnson at the end - and he's talking like a chipmunk. Suddenly I realize that I've listened all the way through the album at 45rpm instead of 33 1/3, and was none the wiser. (I'd had it on 45 for the Enigmas). Been a loooong time since I've made that mistake! Sorry, Miles!

Rich Hope at the WISE Hall - New Year's Party!

I have, it occurs to me - at least insofar as memory serves - never spent New Year's in the company of large numbers of my peers. As a kid, I remember being surrounded by people at my parents' condo, having to kiss weird, unfamiliar old ladies at midnight, but that's not really what I think of as going to a New Year's Party. I may have also partied in the New Year with Japanese at some point, but that also stands somewhat to one side, seeming more in the category of "work function" than revelry. While I admit to being more of a fan of the Blue Rich Rangers band, Rich Hope and His Evil Do'ers at the WISE Hall sounds like a pretty fun way to toast in the New Year - and apparently snacks from the Reef and a champagne toast are included. Maybe it's time to join the so-called race of men and actually experience a New Year's party?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lou Reed's Berlin

At his Christmas show at the Prophouse last Sunday, David M. performed a song about the newest addition to Santa's stable of reindeer - a song, he explained, that initially featured Kurt Cobain in the starring role, but was updated for a more timely inclusion: Lou Reed. A novel concept of where deceased rock stars go, by me, though somewhat hard to fit in my head.

I don't know why it is, exactly - certainly no disrespect here - but Lou's death this year didn't bother me so much. Maybe it was knowing that he was in a peaceful place, thanks to Laurie Anderson's touching farewell to him? Maybe it's just a variation on the principle that "if you make it past 90, you got nothing to complain about," but time-adjusted for the fact that Lou's week beat our year? Somehow I figure - reindeer or not, Lou's okay wherever he is.

There is, however, a screening of Julian Schnabel's film about Lou at the Vancity Theatre this Tuesday afternoon - a performance film based on the album Berlin, but made decades after that album came out, during Lou's first live presentations of that album in 2006. It's pretty fitting to end 2013's Music Mondays series on a screening dedicated to the most important musical figure to pass in that year. Weirdly, Sharon Jones of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (playing the Commodore in April!) is in it. So's Polanski regular Emmanuelle Seigner. I might just go check that out, before the Coen-related screenings commence later in the day.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

I am not, strictly speaking, a Lebowski, but...

I am very excited about the FREE NEW YEARS EVE SCREENING of The Big Lebowski at the Vancity Theatre!

Actually I'm more of a Hudsucker Proxy man, truth be known, but then, that's screening too, earlier that evening! (It's not free, though).

Special semi-secret (read: poorly publicized) plans are afoot for the Lebowski event but it is in no way clear what these might entail at this point. Or, like, nothing is confirmed - there is no clarity yet. But, like, something is going to happen, man, and knowing what it is in advance might just take the surprise out of it, anyhow. So it's best if you just show up (though you might want to reserve a free ticket ahead of time: who knows, this could actually be a popular event). 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Liquidation World is in liquidation

A Boxing Day tip for y'all: Liquidation World is in liquidation! The chain, I'm told by a clerk, is pulling out of Canada and prices are being reduced across their entire inventory - groceries, furniture, shampoo, and of course, those $3-$5 DVDs and Blu-Rays,which I've found a few real gems in over the last year. Stores in Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and more... good deals, but a bad omen, when the liquidators are going out of business...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from Mom and me!

Some pics of Mom and I, taken tonight on my new phone - an apparently highly-rated budget smartphone (the Moto G) that is going to take some getting used to. Not sure how I feel about the phone yet - had some maddeningly frustrating moments, like accidentally calling someone at 1am and not knowing how to hang up (d'oh!), or not being able to send pics to my email account via text message, which I used to be able to do on my Samsung Intensity... some of that is down to having to learn how to use it. Anyhow, I can send the pics to my computer via USB, so that will do for now... I kinda miss my Samsung Intensity, but it was seriously starting to malfunction...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Blog pause, but - Zev Asher tribute upcoming, other film stuff...

Not a lot to say at the moment but I'll eventually be posting a giant Zev Asher interview online, and will have  a link to that. It's been awhile coming, but I've had lots of other projects swimming around, lots else to negotiate. The Cinematheque tribute to Zev is on January 16th - a triple bill of his films, with guests (including myself) in attendance; hope interested parties will make it out.

Also of note - Good Vibrations at the Vancity, which was a unanimous favourite, among people I spoke to, at the VIFF, is a charming biopic dealing with the early Belfast punk scene and a very important record store and its founder. Plus there's a Claire Denis mini-festival at the Cinematheque, featuring what is thus far my favourite of the films of hers I've caught, Trouble Every Day - a sexual horror film starring Vincent Gallo and Beatrice Dalle that is an absolute must-see, by me (though oddly its one of her worst-reviewed films; I vastly preferred it to Beau Travail - go figure).

Otherwise, I'm just gettin' through the holidays, trying to figure out my new phone (my old, much-loved Samsung Intensity has been getting worse and worse and it seemed wise to trade it in while I could afford to). Might do something at the Vancity involving their New Year's Eve screening of The Big Lebowski... dunno. Merry holidays and good luck with the Boxing Day deals, folks (I will be abstaining this year).

Anyone wanting to hire me for decent paid work is encouraged to get in touch! Need some money!

Friday, December 20, 2013

David M.'s Christmas Alone In No Fun City: the perfect place to take your Christmas-loving girlfriend this weekend!

Where can you hear cover versions of everything from the Jingle Cats to the Residents? Who else in Vancouver does ironic rewritings of No Fun classics like "I'm Not Taking Suzy To the Be-In" to give them a seasonal angle? Who else in this city mutilates a Christmas carol like David M? Nowhere, no-one, no way, no how, no! Now celebrating its 28th year, this weekend at the Prophouse Cafe (on Venables just off Commercial), it's David M.'s Christmas Alone In No Fun City - my absolute favourite way to consume Christmas culture (unless you count foodstuffs), and the happiest possible compromise between the cynic in you and the Christmas lover in your life! Bring your girlfriend! Bring your boyfriend! Bring yourself! Just be there, or RISK MISSING OUT! 

Red Herring Redux: The Big Takeover Interview

Just talked to Enrico Renz of Red Herring for the Big Takeover online. See the band at the Railway Club, December 23rd. Thanks to Erika Lax for making this article possible (and for taking the above photo!)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's a Sonny Dean Christmas! (or solstice spectacular, or birthday party, or...)

Sonny Dean and his girl Darlene, photo by Allan MacInnis

There is very, very little likelihood that I will turn up at the Sonny Dean birthday bash, to be held Saturday December 21st at the Princeton Pub, but that didn't stop me from interviewing the dude twice this week for the Straight - once about the bash, and once about the shocking discovery that he appears alongside Will Ferrell in Elf, which happens to be my girlfriend's favourite Christmas movie.

Girlfriends actually play a larger-than-average role in this story, truth be known, since it was actually Dean's girlfriend Darlene who, when I ran into them on the Skytrain a few weeks ago and, out of habit, gently pumped them for newsworthy news, suggested that I do something to plug the birthday bash. Mostly Sonny and I were talking about how he needed a new band to play in, since the Little Guitar Army had "died the death of a thousand cuts," as he put it. (Those unfamiliar with their singular genius need only go here for convincing). I immediately got excited on hearing about the proposed jam session/ party and started texting as much as I could of Sonny's explanation to myself, which I later confirmed by phone. Birth of a news item!
 (Little Guitar Army in Maple Ridge, photo by moi)

The irony is, I will probably be with my girl Saturday night, trying to recuperate from Christmas stresses and having a night in. What will we do to pass the time, you might ask? By no small coincidence, the plan at this point is to watch Elf. Which I am suddenly much more excited to see again, having written the above stories... Now I know that if I see someone in a movie who looks like Sonny Dean... if it's shot in Vancouver, it very likely is!

Happy birthday, Sonny! Have fun at the Princeton!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Coenpalooza! Reconsidering the Coens

I spent a long while grousing and bitching about the Coen brothers, calling them misanthropes, sniggerers, maybe even (thanks to Jonathan Rosenbaum's essay on Barton Fink - a must-read, if you haven't encountered it) Jewish anti-Semites (something Rosenbaum himself does not say, though he comes close enough that it caused me to squint at some of their other films and wonder, over the years...). Their first film, Blood Simple, I held for decades as their finest - a solid, creepy, brilliantly plotted noir about mistrust and misperception and a singularly convoluted murder or three. Of their subsequent works, I admired Miller's Crossing the most, only to discover (when I first read The Glass Key) that much of the plot of that film is lifted straight from Dashiell Hammett, which discovery - since postmodern irony and the whole theft-as-homage thing popularized by Tarantino weren't as prevalent back in the late 1980's and early 1990s - disappointed me immensely; it probably would have been okay had they given a nod to Hammett in the credits, or had I not originally taken the film for being their original story, but for awhile, I accused them of plagiarism, to boot. (Strangely, never did it bother me that bits of the plot of The Big Lebowski  were lifted from Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep; and I positively loved The Hudsucker Proxy, their overt tribute to Frank Capra, though I knew they were riffing on Capra from the gitgo. I guess I can retroactively forgive Miller's Crossing now, too, since its "borrowings" are no more egregious than those films').
My irritation with the Coens peaked for me in 2007, with No Country for Old Men, which I wrote a very bitchy, "notice-me" blogpost about, here, though this in no way reflects how I currently feel about the film - the things that I hated about it were less glaringly irritating on second and third viewing, while the things I admired, I came to admire more. I still get irritated by some of what they do - the half of Fargo that is brilliant grates fiercely against the half that is annoying as all hell, and I have no interest in ever rewatching some of their films - that Billy Bob Thornton noir, for instance, or Intolerable Cruelty, or... 
But generally I've mellowed where it comes to the Coens - maybe just because so few (relatively) mainstream movies made these days have an ounce of their craft, their respect for cinema, their love of the image, their wit, their complexity. I'm less inclined to take the Coens for granted and snipe from my margin, and more inclined to be grateful they're around - because they make solidly entertaining, interesting, provocative, funny, and gorgeously-crafted films, and have been doing so for a very long time now, without much in the way of compromise, and no flat-out bad movies (I even have some liking for their version of The Ladykillers).  Much as I admire some of the works of their fellow travellers in American cinema - Jarmusch or Tarantino, say - the Coens have produced a much larger, much more consistently interesting body of films, which accomplishment deserves respect and comment. Besides, I've bitched about them enough.
In any event... the idea of an all-day Coen brothers marathon, such as the Vancity Theatre is hosting on December 21st, seems like a stroke of brilliance - particularly since there are doubtlessly many moviegoers who have not seen their early features. The only one I plan to skip for sure is Raising Arizona - a film that has never really agreed with me, though it's brilliantly cinematic. Note that for those who have not seen Blood Simple, it's a terrific, terrific film (though it is annoying that it's only available in their perversely shortened director's cut!); it screens on Friday the 20th, the night before the marathon. The Big Lebowski, meanwhile, will repeat on New Year's Eve...

Monday, December 16, 2013

The continuing saga of Christmas Alone in No Fun City

Ha! Didn't take long for David to lift that photo of Red Herring at the Prophouse off my blog... Follow him on Facebook here...

Pre-Xmas blogpost, plus David M. announcement!

Lee Ranaldo at the Biltmore

Tis the season and I'm running around on a limited budget trying to get clear my holiday stresses, while making sure that I have enough left over to pay Bob's Shoe Repair in Maple Ridge for patching my Blundstone... just so it lasts me through the winter, y'know? January I gotta get a real job. I won't be doing a whole lot of blogging for the rest of the month - though there's stuff planned for January. (I might have a link or two to pending Big Takeover pieces to share).

The Lee Ranaldo and Pere Ubu shows at the Biltmore were just great, but I have nothing much to say on either.  Both Lee's recent solo albums are highly recommended - even people like me who are experiencing a Sonic Youth backlash (because I disliked every major LP of theirs with increasing vehemence after Murray Street) will get lots out of them (check out "Xtina As I Knew Her," which may or may not feature, along with the Dust, one Nels Cline on guitar! From his previous solo LP, which has even stronger songs - but not as pretty textures - as the new one). He didn't play a single Sonic Youth song at the show, though he did an awesome cover of Neil Young's "Revolution Blues," which is even better; and at some point, his noise effects saw him raising his guitar roofward and running it over the Biltmore's insulation and such (which I have seen no one else do there, or elsewhere). Happily, at the merch table, I got to pitch Steve Shelley with the question "has anyone interviewed you about your time in the Crucifucks?" We'll see if he gets in touch.

Ubu was nearly ruined by a weirdo heckler/ manic pogo guy with a serious self-destructive streak, but he was eventually held in check, or chucked out, or something. The band - with a seated, mellow, chatty David Thomas and Cleveland's Dave Cintron filling in on guitar duties, as the sole member of the band that has not been in the lineup for 20 years or so - did a few songs off Cloudland, to my surprise, with David Thomas joking before "Waiting For Mary" that he made a better Jon Bon Jovi than Jon Bon Jovi. They also did plenty of classics, including "Over My Head," "Street Waves," "Heaven," "Humor Me," and an awesome version of "Final Solution" near the end of the night (sorry, I don't have the complete setlist but much of the rest of the night was off the new album, plus maybe one or two songs off the last couple). I didn't get to do justice to Ford Pier, as I had tons of people to say hi to, and truth is, I really didn't even get to spend as much time as I would have liked digging Pere Ubu; it ended up being a weirdly social event for me, so that when I wasn't giving shit to people for talking during the concert, I myself was (mea culpa) talking during the concert (though I tried to keep my chatter to the peripheries - nothing is more obnoxious than people who want to stand in a prime space AND have a conversation! Please, you assholes: I've been waiting thirty years for a chance to see this band again - could you go talk somewhere else?) Ah, well: getting to dance for the third time in my life to "Final Solution" was joy enough. I'm working on a follow-up Ubu article but it won't come out til after Xmas. The main concerts on my radar now are the Red Herring show at the Railway on the 23rd (more on that later) and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at the Commodore in April (my gift to my girl). That is, with one important exception....
Red Herring at the Prophouse Cafe, photo by Erika Lax, not to be reused without permission; click to view larger image

The surprise news is that I received two unexpected gig posters in my inbox this morning. True that I have failed to build a great deal of suspense about the David M. Christmas Alone in No Fun City extravaganza, but it was hard to muster excitement about telling people about shows "no one will be admitted" to, while taking it on faith that David would change his tune before the day. However, the phone number on the posters THIS time out is for the Prophouse Cafe - a very cool space, as Erika's photo above should amply demonstrate. Presumably since there is actually a venue, people will be admitted! Two shows. I'll probably go on Sunday, so those who wish to avoid me are advised to check it out on Saturday. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pere Ubu this Saturday!

Once again, folks, legendary avant-garagists Pere Ubu play the Biltmore this Saturday, with Ford Pier Vengeance Trio opening... early show, Ubu will take the stage around 9:30... They're driving through some pretty fierce weather to get here, so go see them! My interview with David Thomas here... other tour dates here...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Frustration Dream

I just had a dream where I blew a gasket at a restaurant.

I was eating lunch at a Robson Street restaurant that shall remain nameless. But they're a real restaurant, somewhat upscale, where I did actually often have lunch. My server, it happens, was a friend of mine (he was not actually someone who really worked at this restaurant; he was, in fact, Joe, former owner of Haney Books. Hi, Joe!).

I ordered several items, but had an emergency phone call that required my immediate attention. I gave my server two easy instructions: I have to run off. I will come back in fifteen minutes. Make the last two items to go, and I'll deal with the bill when I get back.

I ran off. I went to another building, saw some students of mine, noticed a very sick crow on a ledge, and did whatever it was I had to do. (I don't recall this part, the emergency mission).

I ran back to the restaurant, saw my friend the server, getting off shift. He reminded me to pick up a shopping bag I'd left, which I'd forgotten about entirely.  I thanked him, went back inside, got my bag, paid the bill, which came to $63, and left a $12 tip - larger than I might have otherwise, since I'd had to run off.

Then I remembered that I had two items coming that I had paid for and never received. I told the waitress and she began to prevaricate - we didn't prepare them, since you weren't here, but you can come back at the end of the day and pick them up.

No, no, that's not what I want. I have to be at work in five minutes, then I have to catch a train home... I was going to give the food to my mother, who I take care of in Maple Ridge... I can't come back after work...

Well, sorry, the dishes aren't ready and we have other customers to think of...

Arrgh! I just tipped you over $10! Wait, there's the solution: just refund me the cost of the two dishes; I'll figure something else out for Mom.

The waitress agreed that that would solve everything, but for reasons unclear to me, since both items - a soup and a salad, apparently - had prices on the menu - began to weigh a glass of water to determine what to charge me. Somewhere in there, she also drank a shot of milk in front of me and then opened her mouth to reveal VAMPIRE FANGS. What?

I began to explain in increasing panic that I had to be at work (my old job as an ESL teacher, which I apparently was still doing). A second server stepped in and began to try to help but for some reason was having just as much difficulty with calculating the bill. I began to raise my voice - just use the prices in the menu!

The manager stepped over and asked if something was wrong.

I exploded in frustration. I spent the last five minutes of my sleep screaming at the top of my lungs (in my head) about my refund, the lack of need to weigh anything to calculate it, and my urgent need to get to work. I basically screamed myself awake, internally.

I have no idea why this dream visits me now. What is frustrating me? Money I have been counting on and have been told is coming has not yet arrived, and I am once again over-extended on my credit card to get me through the weekend (which I did reluctantly on the belief that said $$$ would arrive yesterday). My carpet got wet due to a shower mishap last Friday and a patch of it, I discover on returning home, seems to be rotten and stinky. No idea what to do or how expensive that will be to fix. My girlfriend is sick and has a sore foot; my Mom needs my time and company; and my father is gone. I have eczema on my fingers. I live in a town I kind of hate, I haven't had a "real" job since 2010, and I have writing work I am falling behind on, some of which I will be only barely paid for (or have already been paid for and spent the money). My cellphone is malfunctioning terminally, doing all sorts of spastic things, but at the moment I can't afford to replace it. I also cannot find the blue squeezy thing for my Aircast moonboot (see below), can't find my BCID to boot, and have a big pile of junk paper on my floor that I have to sort out from where I was searching for both, which I haven't made time to deal with (I could have done it last night, but chose to complete my first Sudoku instead, which was interesting, but took two hours). Meantime, that re-habilitated pair of Blundstones I mentioned? There's a hole in one, it turns out, which I didn't realize until walking through a puddle yesterday. 

I want a refund! I want my fucking refund! 

Friday, December 06, 2013

RIP Colin Wilson

I haven't read a lot of Colin Wilson, truth be known. I have his book on Wilhelm Reich on my shelves, and I recently enjoyed the heck out of Tobe Hooper's adaptation of his novel Space Vampires, Lifeforce. I have not read The Outsider or The Occult, his two major works, and I don't know that I ever will.

However: I absolutely loved his novel The Mind Parasites. As I recall, it takes a very deliberately Lovecraftian premise - archaeologists unearthing an ancient civilization and making a frightening discovery about an ancient malign force that awakens to menace them - and updates it for the drug culture: the force is an alien entity that exists inside human consciousness, living parasitically off negative emotions, preventing people from realizing their true potential, and our intrepid adventurers must do battle with it by taking hallucinogens and descending into their psyches! Spooky as heck, but brilliant, and very thought-provoking - a great little science fiction novel.

Anyhow, sad to report that Colin Wilson died today at the age of 82. My condolences to those who knew him, or admired his work. (My apologies and respects to Nelson Mandela, Junior Murvin, Barry Jackson, and Aube - AKA Nakajima Akifumi, apparently recently deceased, though Wikipedia has not caught up with that fact yet... I simply have nothing of personal moment to contribute to the memorials, though I sure did enjoy the Clash's cover of "Police and Thieves").

Pere Ubu: David Thomas interview

Pere Ubu plays the Biltmore December 14th, so I finally did a David Thomas interview. I wish he'd explained what a dull machine was! Those unfamilar with Pere Ubu might want to start here - my favourite song off the new album, relevant to the article, and a clip sanctioned by the band (it was Robert Wheeler who directed me to it). Datapanik In The Year Zero, The Modern Dance, and Dub Housing are also unquestionably essential, so check'em out. See you at the Biltmore (the Ford Pier Vengeance Trio opens, and - contrary to some reports - it's supposed to be an early show, running from 8pm-11, with the club clearing out to turn into a pumpkin or a disco or something thereafter).

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Nude with boots!

So my girl has a sore foot - maybe a stress fracture. I know how long it can take for a foot injury to heal, especially when you have to work 9-5 and are constantly on your feet, so I gave her my old Aircast boot, to keep the pressure off it, back from when I had my own foot injury.

Problem: I seem to have misplaced the "blue squeezy thing," as I'm calling it, by which you increase the pressure on your foot by hand-pumping air into a nozzle. So here I am, in one of those fits of cleaning up that occasionally precede settling down to a project (which I used to think of as a form of procrastination, but have come to embrace as a damn good habit), and, in particular, I'm trying to sort out areas of my apartment where it is more likely that said blue squeezy thing might be (Closet A, Closet B, somewhere in the debris scattered around my desk, or perhaps buried under the mound of papers and CDRs and miscellany on the kitchen table? Well, no, I've gone through that - it ain't there). I may well have forgotten what the blue squeezy was and thrown it out ("obviously I don't need it anymore if I don't remember its function"); I'm not at all confident that I'm going to find it. All the same, en route, I'm sorting out a lot of chaos and clutter, and finding useful things that I didn't realize I had (like two pairs of slacks with no holes in the pockets, no splits up the crotch, and flies that work! I am suddenly two pairs of pants richer!). So it all counts as a productive way to not do that more important work that I'm allowing myself to avoid.

Then suddenly - isn't that the box that I bought my last pair of Blundstones in? Hmm. Could it be that when I bought my new Blundstones, I put my old ones in it? It sure feels heavy enough... oh could it be?

Here's the thing. No intent to complain, but contrary to the Australian Boot Company's advertising slogan of "Blundstones for life," I've found that these boots, much as I like them, last about three years maximum before something splits or cracks or rots. That's fine by me - "Blundstones for three years" is still a good deal, given their modest price. Plus my boots would probably last longer if I only took better care of them. My second pair - the so called "new" pair - has a large split along the seam between boot and sole on the right foot, which wore through sometime last spring. I seemed to recall, at that time, that the first pair I owned - the ones I replaced - had a split on the other foot. Which meant, perhaps, if I could find the old boots, I could match up the two good ones - one right, one left - and have boots again (for awhile, anyhow). 

I couldn't find the fucking old boots anywhere, of course. I looked everywhere last spring - or so I thought. Maybe I threw them out, too? Then seeing the Blundstone box in the corner of my closet, completely ignored by me for years, it was like - aha! And indeed, the old boots are inside, and the splits are on different boots, so I have a working pair of Blundstones again! The old ones need a bit of polish, but - so what?

The reason I'm naked in the photo below, by the way, is entirely incidental: I have to take a bath. In my eagerness to capture my joy at my boot-find, I did not bother to put on clothes to snap this pic And of course, it's best to stay naked while I polish my, uh, "third" pair of Blundstones, lest I get polish on my clothes. Hence: nude with boots.
No reference to the Melvins should be inferred.

Charles Mudede on Let the Fire Burn, plus You Can't Win

Charles Mudede on one of the most impressive/ powerful docs at the VIFF, Let the Fire Burn... And while I'm at it, for those who missed it, Charles posted on Facebook today that his much anticipated new collaboration with Sean Kirby and Robinson Devor, an adaptation of You Can't Win, is now in the can! Unbelievably, it co-stars James Hong. I'll let you figure out if he is better remembered for the role of David Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China or the "I just do eyes" guy in Blade Runner, but he's definitely NOT someone I would have assumed was still alive, let alone working. The guy is one year older than my Mom (who turns 83 today - happy birthday, Mom!).

Red Herring Rises Again!

Attention Red Herring fans: a second reunion gig takes place December 23rd at the Railway Club! (Not in any way a typical Red Herring song, but check out "5 Billion People" from their Prophouse gig last month - the funkiest, funniest little ditty about overpopulation you ever heard, and apparently the only upload from that night - with thanks to Mzcool Gurrl, whomever she may be!).

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Let's Put the 'Ist' Back Into Christmas

Every time I ask David M. about his upcoming solo album, to be entitled Now Is Not The Time, he assures me that it is a real thing that he is working on. Given the title, and the fact this conversation has been taking place for five or six years now, I have my moments of doubt about that. And of course, now he has announced a No Fun Alone at Christmas concert while insisting in every poster I've seen that No One Will Be Admitted. Don't ask me, I do not know.

However, he has a new Christmas song! (Actually recorded last January, but still, this is its first Christmas in public, far as I know). It joins the many videos David has loaded onto Youtube, including "Christmas Is A Sad And Lonely Time," "It's Frightful," and the not-actually-uploaded-by-him, but-still-thematically-relevant "Wookie For Christmas." And this, of course, featuring "Celebrate Like Us" as done by the David M./ Paul Leahy/ Pico lineup (whom I saw around this time, opening for Robyn Hitchcock at the Town Pump - my earliest encounter with No Fun in concert, and the night where the band performed a version of Cat Stevens' "Moonshadow" with new lyrics about being followed by an armed Muslim... a joke that I perhaps do not need to explain?

Monday, December 02, 2013

More Abstract Expressionist Cellphone Photography

Often I need to be doing something with my cellphone, especially on transit. It's a near obsolete (ie. two years old?) Samsung Intensity, with no games on it and no real capacity to access the internet (it's possible, but very clunky and kinda expensive so I just don't try); I can text my girlfriend or a couple of buddies but often the urge to fiddle is stronger than texting can satiate. So I take photos. At night, on the bus, when there's no chance of getting a good photo of anything much in the dark, I have fun by jiggling the camera as I snap pictures of streetlights, store signs, neon, and Christmas lights.

Some of my favourites from this week:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dreams of my father and I, singing together

Sometimes I get dreams where I'm with my father. (The day before yesterday was the fourth anniversary of his death).

Last night, he and I were taking a road trip together. I forget most of it but when my cell phone alarm went off, he was driving the car he used to drive when I was a little kid - a white American Rambler - and we were on the backroads coming back from Alouette Lake, I think. He started singing CCR's version of "Cotton Fields," a song he used to actually sing aloud sometimes, and I joined in on the second verse and we were singing together... It was a good moment and has lingered...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

So cold I can *photograph* my breath

Frank Frink 5 to play LanaLou's this Friday!

Not sure if the Frank Frink 5 count as part of the Vancouver "fuck band" tradition or not but it's a great night of country music, rock covers, and unexpected playfulness from various Vancouver punks, doing things they normally would not do in public. For those who wonder who is who, the FF5 are:

Butch Norland - vocals & acoustic guitar -aka- Nick Jones
Billy Clyde Frink - vocals, electric guitar & double neck steel guitar -aka- Randy Carpenter
Mink Frink - electric guitar & vocals-aka- Scott McLeod
Stinkin' Tim Connors - drums & vocals-aka- Jon Card
Jellybean Beaudine - bass guitar & vocals -aka- Bob Petterson
Dash Schmidt - keyboard & vocals -aka-Gord Nicholl

Clip of them playing a very twangy "Sympathy for the Devil" with guest vocalist Brian D Roche here....