Monday, May 15, 2006

A Solid Bond In Your Heart

Dear Friends, many thanks for your expressions of condolences. Fret not, I won't go all Gwyneth Paltrow on you and rattle off lists of names while crying, even if that's what I really feel like doing. But I really do appreciate what you've done and said. We are trying to stay centred, especially since we have also just received very discouraging health news about my mother-in-law. And so the universe unfolds...

This weekend was, of course, Mother's Day in North America. Dearest Wife was blessed with some wonderful drawings and paintings from our daughter, Ailsa, and we all enjoyed a yummy brekkers (which yours truly cooked, scoff not!) of scrambled eggs and salmon with fresh bagels followed by a surprisingly ripe and tasty papaya. But I daresay that on balance I got the better deal. You see, while Dearest Wife and Daughter spent quality time digging and planting in the garden, Felix and I had a stunning boy's day out. We started off with lunch at Vancouver's legendary Vera's Burger Shack (yes, a three-year-old can in fact eat a whole adult hamburger), then went to enjoy the fantastic sunshine at Spanish Banks beach. Felix insisted on burying my feet in the sand, thus saving me the $35 I'd otherwise have had to spend on an exfoliating foot rub at some chi-chi salon. We wandered the sand flats, watched the kites flying, and marvelled at the wakeboarders skidding across the shallow patches of water. Just to remind us we were in Vancouver, the odd whiff of BC bud wafted by and a bald eagle flew past low overhead. Then we had a spot of soccer on the beach itself before heading off to cap the afternoon at one of our local playgrounds. So there you have it, Felix and I had a marvellous Mother's Day. I did feel somewhat guilty, but gained comfort by telling myself it was karmic prepayment for having to use the Squealing Pigmobile again today.

We are still attempting to bring some semblance of order to our new home, but it is proving to be a mountainous task. Perhaps we are fated to have our clothes draped over the living room sofas and our books piled in precarious cairns for an eternity. But amidst all this chaos, I had a wonderful, wonderful reunion, one that filled my soul with gladness. The other day I was peeling back the packing tape from an otherwise nondescript packing box, when the top burst open and they all started to jump out with squeals of delight. There were hundreds of them, and they frolicked on the carpet, cooing and rubbing themselves lovingly against my ankles. I was speechless, I quivered, scarecly daring to believe it. My CDs! My darling, darling compact discs! "Mes cheries!" I exclaimed, reaching down to caress them. After 10 months in storage, they were finally reunited with their Papa. And they were soooo glad to see me! Well, with a few exceptions. My Joy Division discs moped off under the sideboard and droned morosely for the next several hours. The Wedding Present albums got into one of their "Oh-well-that's-fine-just-shut-us-in-a-warehouse-for-almost-a-year-we-don't-care-if-you- don't-listen-to-us- but-we're-falling-to-pieces" snits. I also had to rescue the dog from my Slayer CDs, as they had trussed her up and were trying to figure out how to draw a pentagram around her on the carpet. And those Pogues discs somehow managed within minutes to find the liquor cabinet, drink it dry, puke up in the kitchen, and pass out. Sigh. But these misbehaviours aside, it was divine to see them all again.

Oooh, which of my rediscovered tunes to share? Letmesee, letmesee, letmesee... So hard to decide, so much music! But, Dear Friends, we do have time. Let me therefore start with a few lovelies that made me swoon upon rediscovery:

Kalyi Jag - O Kamado Brigasa (Sad Lover) (buy here)

Supafunky music from the premier Roma (i.e. "gypsy") group around, Kalyi Jag (Black Fire). Sung in the Roma language and Hungarian, this track prances and skanks - be sure to check out the mos def backing vocals!! And they're on the groovily named Hungaroton label, too. See here for more info.

Kenickie - Punka (buy here)

Oh my, quite possibly one of the most perfect three minutes of pop I've ever heard. "Are you staying true to you??"

Television Personalities - Salvador Dali's Garden Party (buy here)

Everybody was there! Did you know that after several years in the wilderness (including a short spell on a prison boat in Devon), TVP frontman Dan Treacy has reformed his seminal indie band and has been gigging? He even has a blog. As an aside, the fantastic (and late) Armitage Shanks do a storming cover of "14th Floor", Treacy's first ever song.

Prolapse - Autocade (buy here)

Art Skool Dada! One of their more melodic outings. Sadly, Prolapse disbanded around the milennium and lead shouty Glaswegian Mick Derrick (alas, silent on "Autocade") is apparently now digging up bones in the name of archaeology.

Blessed Ethel - Daisy (no idea where you can buy this)

Lifted from one of those nifty Volume CD/booklets that were around in the UK during the 1990s. I don't believe Blessed Ethel had a particularly long or illustrious career, but I always loved the grindy pop guitars and Blondie-esque vocals of this song.

Throwing Muses - Not Too Soon (buy here)

This makes me do a funny little crab dance, plus I love to howl along with Mama Hersh during the growly bits (Erratum: Anonymous [aka "Nonny"] points out that of course I've been howling along with Mama Donelley for all these years).

The Jam - A Solid Bond In Your Heart (buy here)

Gros soupir! Paul Weller, my hero. Well, at least up until and including the first Style Council album. After that it started to go a bit wobbly, and I must admit really lost all interest after he went all fuddy-duddy, just like HIS hero, Pete Townsend. "Wildwood" I find just excruciatingly embarrassing. This treat is the best of all worlds: The Jam doing a demo version of what was to become a Style Council gem.