Sunday, April 30, 2006

Time Out

Dear Friends, I need to tend to a family emergency in NYC and therefore will be forced to take a hiatus from pogo a go-go for about a week. I do hope to see you upon my return - I am very fond of you all.

Boys Don't Cry - The Cure

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Power Struggle

Dear Friends, further to my auto saga...

Last night I thought things were going my way, that my petulant whining had finally paid off. Not an hour after publishing yesterday's post, Dearest Wife agreed to let me have the car today, provided she could have it the following day. Victory, however petty and shallow, was mine and (add metaphors, mix briskly) my musical drought was over. So early this morning I slipped behind the wheel only to find the pesky AA battery in my mp3 player was dead. Poo. Bollox. Damn. Again. With knobs on. My crest was well and truly fallen.

All was not lost, however, as I could at least fall back on the CD I had made for a road trip we took back in March. Y'know, stuff that Dearest, the sproglets, and I can sing-song-along to in a Partridge Family stylee. And so I give you a selection from said disc. But do think of me tomorrow, however briefly, as I once again strap myself into the Squealing Pigmobile.

Davey Crockett - Thee Headcoatees (buy here)
Woo-Hoo - 5678s (buy here)
Walkin' After Midnight - Patsy Cline (buy here)
Rudy A Message To You - Dandy Livingstone (buy here)
Mambo No 5 - Bob the Builder (buy here)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fast Cars

Dear Readers, allow me to gripe a wee bit. This week I am suffering acute and painful music withdrawal pangs. You see, Dearest Wife has (quite justifiably) commandeered the family car this week to facilitate our move and as a result I have been driving my father-in-law's car. It is, of course, very kind of him to lend me said vehicle, and I am accordingly grateful. However, his jalopy (a vintage 1990 Volvo 740 sedan, for all you carspotters out there) is rather aged and its vacuum-tube radio does not go low enough on the FM spectrum to talk with my mp3 player and its transmitter. Poo. Bollox. Damn.

What my chosen local radio station, CiTR, has on offer during my commute does not slake my craving, so I've been reduced to wandering the dial in search of a fix. Alas, in the past three days the only bit of relief I've found has been a Bloc Party track around 7:08 this morning - slim pickings, would you not say? Otherwise it's been a torrent of corporate rawk, puffed-up DJ sound and fury signifying SWEET F**K ALL (as Willie Shakespeare once wrote, kinda sorta maybe), and commercials for Thrifty Foods (Island Farm vanilla ice cream is on special this week at $3.98 for a 1.65 litre carton - happy to pick some up if y'all want). Hardly methadone for my addiction. Have I yet your sympathy?? I'm lobbying hard to get the car back on Friday, but am facing righteous resistance...

Apart from the radio, driving the car-in-law has been quite amusing. It's very front-heavy with rather wheezy acceleration, and the best way to operate it seems to be according to the principles of inertia: pedal to the metal, get up (eventually) to speed, then let the weight of the engine block pull you down road and around corner. Add on the facts it's beige and the brakes squeal like the proverbial stuck pig, and you have a real head turner. At least the seat warmers work, though they are somewhat fierce - nearly scorched me bum the other morning...

And while I'm ranting, Porsche SUVs: I don't get it. What next? Lamborghini pickups?? Ferrari dumptrucks??? Tsk tsk...

Heartfelt thanks for indulging me. And in return:

Cars - Gary Numan (buy here)
Roadrunner - Johnathan Richman & The Modern Lovers (buy here)
Interesting Drug - Morrissey (buy here)
Fast Cars - Buzzcocks (buy here)
Max Wedge - Dijits (buy here, find out more here)
Warm Leatherette - The Normal (buy here, find out more here)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dog Daze

Dear Friends, I thought it about time that Gina the Wonder Dog made her blog debut. In my wanderings around cyberspace, I have come across countless photos and fragrant words dedicated to pets of all stripe. Gina is certainly no less a beast than any of the Fidos and Gingers I have encountered, and therefore I posit she deserves her rightful pace in the ether. She is an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier (for you North Americans in the audience, no, she's not a pit bull) and is a credit to her breed. Though she has been with us over nine years now and is slowing down a bit, she still has bags of vim and vigour. Gina is also wonderfully adept at chasing off any crap Canadian pop superstar divas who might happen to wander into the neighborhood. Her only flaw is her intolerance, owing to an early encounter with a psychotic Jack Russel, of small, yappy dogs who assault her. Mind you, she did once chew a hole in our kitchen wall, but I chalk that up to puppyish folly. Rest assured, gentle readers, I will not have Gina "posting" cutie canine observations on life; she is a simple creature, and knows nothing of these things. So there you have her, Gina the Wonder Dog. God bless her.

As we speak, Gina is dozing in the lovely warm sunshine that is painting our backyard. Closer to heaven she has no desire to be. Indeed, we are all wandering around somewhat dazed and blinking in a solar stupor. I have noted that, much like the British, Vancouverites jump at the first opportunity to shed clothes and bare skin to the sun god. However, what I can't figure out is that British Columbians seem already to be tanned & toned, while in the UK springtime is initially pasty white flesh all round. Anyway, maybe it's heatstroke, but for the past couple of days I've been totally unable to stop singing & shimmying along with Brighton's beautiful Pipettes (nice change from all the moping). These three thoroughly modern sweeties make a truly divine noise, with all due homage paid to the Ronettes and their sistahood. Fantastic pop, methinks. They've been avidly blogged as of late, but let me add my tuppence in case you've not yet fallen under their spell. Come waste your kisses on them at their website,

This coming week we will be moving house, so I may not be as blog apparent as I have been. When we moved into our last house in London some 7 (egads!) years ago, I spent two days furiously painting it with the help of dearest Uncle Dave (who we miss fiercely). The soundtrack to those 48 hours was provided by Supergrass, whose song "Pumping on your Stereo" seemed to be on hourly radio rotation. Indeed, to this day the sound of Gaz & the boys fills my heart with giddy gladness and my nostrils with the smell of latex paint.

Speaking of soundtracks:

Hounds of Love - The Futureheads (buy here)
Can Your Pussy Do The Dog - The Cramps (buy here)
Moving - Supergrass (buy here)
Get Out Of My House - The Business (buy here)
Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me - The Pipettes (buy here)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday - We mean it, Ma'aarm!

Right, I couldn't let the occasion go unmarked. Happy 80th Birthday, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor (that's HRH Queen Elizabeth II to you monarchists out there). Unconfirmed reports are that the real royal knees-up will be at Olly Cromwell's Dis-co-co in Skegness with DJ Fresh Prince o' Wailz on dex spinning the choonz. Unlikely to make the playlist:
God Save the Queen - Motorhead (buy here)
50-Foot Queenie - PJ Harvey (oh, she's so lovely, buy here)
Dancing Queen - Redd Kross (buy here)
Hey We Will Rock Ya - (DJ Prince) Queen vs Outkast (visit here)
Power Slut Kiss - (IDC) Prince vs Har Mar Superstar (visit here)
Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun - Julie Brown (buy here)
God Save The Queen (Live! 1996) - Sex Pistols (buy here)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Unprofitable Servant or Unserviceable Prophet?

A short post today, Dear Friends and Visitors. Indeed I'm not in much of a mood for discourse, but I did want to share something with you. I urge you all to go post-haste to your local independent hip cinema and see without delay this most wonderful film , The Devil and Daniel Johnston. For those of you unfamiliar with Johnston, he is a most gifted singer-songwriter and artist who weaves unconventional tales of unrequited love, epic struggles of good versus evil, and pop cultcha, all against the backdrop of his ongoing struggle with mental illness. His work is by turns witty, uncomfortable, intimate, raw and touching. I saw this tremendous documentary yesterday evening (many thanks to plastic music's post pointing me in the right direction) and have been unable to shake it from my head or heart since. The film admirably addresses the impact of both Johnston's artistry and his illness on himself and those around him. Oh, for goodness sake, why are you hanging about, just go see it already!!

Well, since I'm here and feeling down for a variety of reasons (there is much sickness about at the moment), I might as well be self-indulgent and post a few suitable tracks. Why squander a good mope.

Daniel Johnston - Walking the Cow (buy here, not Amazon)
Bauhaus - Crowds (buy here)
Joy Division - Atmosphere (buy here)
The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (buy here)
Jan Garbarek & The Hilliard Ensemble - Parce Mihi Domine (buy here)
Edith Piaf - Ne Me Quitte Pas (not sure what disc it's from, but buy this)
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - Somewhere Over the Rainbow (buy here and learn more about this sweet man here)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Baby, I could use a meal

Dear Cyberfriends, the family and I returned safely to town yesterday after a very pleasant few days on Mayne Island. Alas, we found nary an otter to bother. However, we did have visitations from both an enormous, ungainly raven (that quoth not, I must report, "Nevermore") and a bevy of roufus hummingbirds, whose earnest and passionate flutterings were a joy to watch. I also did battle with a nasty, yet impressive slime mold that had taken up residence in the hot tub, but you really don't want to hear about that...

Unfortunately but unsurprisingly the weather was a very mixed bag, and we were therefore forced to hole up at times to stay dry. While I chopped wood, stoked the fire, and strained my back, (what's a city boy like me doing playing lumberjack??) the kids watched "101 Dalmatians" over and over. Not the recent live-action flick, mind you, but the charming 1961 animated version. My, my, my, that film sure has bags of style. I mean, isn't Cruella just the most divine coke-hag in all of Toontown? And Pongo and Perdita - such wonderfully clipped BBC RP accents! I couldn't help but think, however, that hailing from Dalmatia they should've by rights been given husky Slavic voices edged with travarica brandy. But then again, I have an extremely soft spot in my soul for Croats owing to an intense yet unrequited love when I was but a yoof (*deep sigh*). Anyway, I digress- we were entranced and sang "Cruella De Vil" ad nauseam for most of the weekend.

On the matrimonial side, things got a wee bit strained when Dearest Wife informed me on Friday that she had packed neither the Mimolette, nor the Manchego, nor the Sainte Maure. She claims I had agreed to her proposal to leave them behind, a charge that I vehemently denied but which I now admit could very well have been true, especially if at the time my mind was preoccupied with what tracks to put on the mp3 player for the car journey. Anyway, my petulant moping was only partly mollified by the appearance of a bit of Tiger Blue, a local BC cheese that had managed to accompany us. It was rather pleasant, but its rich creaminess lacked the follow-on, kick-up-the-jacksie taang that Cashel Blue does so well. Je suis si snob. So I moped silently until our return on Monday to a celebratory lunch of the abandoned fromage, when I finally forgave Dearest (not that she really needed forgiving). We made up, but did not kiss, on account of the fact that I stank like goat cheese.

Speaking of smoochies, I see there is a full-fledged spat going between dwarf Kiss tribute bands. Apparently MiniKiss singer Joey Fatale has accused the band's ex-drummer, "Little" Tim Loomisc, of stealing his idea and setting up a rival little people's version of the greasepainted glam rockers, Tiny Kiss. Pop Pickers, I couldn't make this stuff up. I remember being totally blown away at the tender age of eight by "Dressed to Kill" - heaven knows how that album made its way into my tender hands. Only I thought the song "Room Service" really was about ensuite hotel dining. Ah, innocence...

Herewith a few morsels to chew over:

101 Dalmatians OST - Cruella De Vil (buy here)
Icicle Works - Birds Fly [Whisper to a Scream] (buy here)
Ash - Girl From Mars (buy here)
Kiss - Love Gun (buy here)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cheese is the new punk rock

May I start off by drawing your attention, kind folk, to the apparent similarity between Johnny Rotten circa 1977 and my son, Felix, circa bathtime last night. I am proud, so proud.

A short post, dear readers, before the missuz, the bairns, and I head away tomorrow for the long Easter weekend. We're off to Mayne Island for a spot of rest, relaxation, and otter-bothering. And guess what??? We'll have NO internet connexion! Nor will we have cable! Can you believe it?? We may even be forced to *gasp!* talk with each other.

I bought some lovely cheese today, which I am looking forward to enjoying. Yes, this is what blogging is all about, telling you of my cheese. I get it now. Anyway, decent cheese was one thing I feared missing in Vancouver - the Canadian stuff is largely tasteless wax. So thank GOODNESS for Les Amis du Fromage (sacre bleu, formidable, quelle chance!), a veritable temple of the pressed curd. I picked up a nice bit of Mimolette Vieux, a slab of Manchego, and half a log of a wonderfully runny ashed French goat's cheese. ZAP! BUZZZ!! Dang, drooled on the keyboard...

Helas, I must flit away, but before I do, allow me to draw it all together yet again...

Captain & Tennille - Love Will Keep Us Together (buy here, if you must)
Sex Pistols - Holidays in the Sun (buy here, yes you must)
Public Image Ltd - Poptones/Careering on American Bandstand, 1980 (most brilliant, you must watch here)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Vancouver au printemps

Right, I warned you there may well be some slicks of nostalgia coming up, and on Monday I ran into one that gave me a good dose of whiplash. While driving to work I was listening to this week's marvellous Sandy Acres Sound Lab podcast from East Village Radio (ch-ch-check it out). Between snippets of indie groovings and Franco-Swedish-Germano pop poifekshun came the plangent notes of Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger." Ye, gods, I was instamatically ripped out of my seat back to 1980 and plonked into the rear of the old Ford Econoline van that used to shuttle me between home and school in Manhattan. What's more, driver Gus was now at the wheel, looking like a skinnier version of Lionel Ritchie only with a bigger 'tache and a flat cap. And all the other kids were laughing at me as I breathlessly related that I had seen Empire Strikes Back and guess what, Darth Vader is Luke's father!!!

Easter is almost upon us, and there seems to be a whole lotta birth/rebirth/spring mojo around right now. The cherry trees in our neighborhood are in full blossom and shedding swirling blizzards of pink petals. I got an e-mail yesterday, complete with adorable pix, from an ex-colleague in London announcing the birth of her first daughter (cue misty eyes of happiness). Mama Eagle seems to be doing well sitting on her nest on Hornby Island and the eaglets are expected around the end of April. As I type I can hear the roof rats thundering around in the walls - no doubt they're breeding too. I'm told infestations of said vermin are par for the course here in Vancouver, something about them trying to stay out of the rain.

I also felt compelled to explain to my six-year-old daughter this year that there was more to Easter than just bunnies and chocolate. She was asking questions and I figured it was about time she heard the full sacred narrative. So she got it, from Pilate to the disciples shindig, complete with nails and resurrection. Must say she took it all rather inscrutably; she is a mysterious child in many ways. I wonder if next year we should tell her about Eostre, the putative, hare-headed, Anglo-Saxon mother goddess whose spring festival the church so brilliantly co-opted...

Right, so what to post that would tie this all together? Spring, Easter, zartbitter memories of schooldays - er, we'll leave out the whiplash, shall we? OK, here goes...

Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl (Buy here)
The Former Yugoslavia - Jesus Built My Strobelight [B52s vs Ministry] (visit website here)
Speed Killers - Jesus Died So We Could Ride (Buy here)
Depeche Mode - New Life (Buy here)
The Runaways - Cherry Bomb (Buy here)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Debutante at the Ball

My first posting - please be gentle with me, dear readers...

Gosh, so where to start? How about a quick and dirty introduction:

Generally speaking, things are going swimmingly; my family and I have relatively recently moved From London, England to Vancouver, which is quite possibly the best city in the world (in mah 'umble opinion). However, the move has also been rather unsettling, which has provoked occasional fits of nostalgia and reflections on how I got here. And I must admit that at times it's been frightening.

But what the heck, nothing else matters when I turn it up LOUD...

A bientôt,

Plastic Bertrand - Ca plane pour moi (Buy here)
Buzzcocks - Nostalgia (Buy here)
The The - This is the day (Buy here)
Adèle - J'ai peur parfois (Buy here)
Pretty Girls Make Graves - Speakers push the air (Buy here)