Tuesday, August 28, 2007

All Antsy

Hello, Dearest Friends. Things workish continue at a pace most hectic and my blog presence has suffered accordingly. All thanks, as I previously intimated, to those pesky Yankee bankers chasing mammon by lending scads of money to people they shouldn't have. At least I'm working with a bunch of good, decent folk.

Anyway, I was working with one of those folks this afternoon when my cellphone rang (ringtone: Buff Medways' "Troubled Mind," much to my co-worker's bemusement). It was Dearest Wife, in something of a tizz. Apparently the house had just experienced a sudden and robust infestation of flying ants, and what was she to do about it? For the sake of marital harmony, I resisted the temptation to suggest that she look up "Aardvaark" in the phone book. But I really couldn't offer any constructive suggestions. By the time I got home, Dearest Wife had partly denuded the horde with chemicals, and the remainder had dissapated as mysteriously as the swarm had formed.

Oh, let's not beat about the bush. I know you know what I'm about to post:

Adam & the Ants - Antmusic (buy here)

Speaking of pesky, annoying things, today is is Contrast Podcast day. Well, the podcast itself isn't annoying, but what's on offer this week might well be. You see, Bob from Gimme Tinnitus (I have a spot of tinnitus in me left ear, thanks to an overly loud Ned's Atomic Dustbin concert in 1992) has suggested this week's theme of songs that get stuck in your head. So go get it lodged in your brain right here, and don't forget to comment here. Want a preview of what you'll be humming days from now? Here you go:

(00:00) Laromlab - Around the world

Tim from The face of today

(03:47) Lou Reed - Satellite of love
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus

(07:37) Plugs - That number
Ross from Just gimme indie rock

(11:53) Soul Coughing - Circles
Jon from Your moment of Zen

(15:24) The Pixies - Debaser
FiL from Pogoagogo

(21:00) Radiohead - Inside my head
Chris from Phosphorous.net

(24:49) Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up above my head
John from You must be from away

(28:33) Silverchair - Straight lines
Anna from Music I-Quiz

(33:19) The Darkness - Dinner lady arms
Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash

(37:03) Jona Lewie - You’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties
Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(40:42) Sally Shapiro - He keeps me alive
Dweller from Child without an iPod

(44:59) Jazz Butcher - Nothing special
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(48:26) Motion City Soundtrack - The future freaks me out
James from Jamesisadork

(52:28) Gina G - Ooh aah, just a little bit
Mark from Cinema du Lyon

(55:51) The Who - Baba O’Riley
Natalie from Mini-obs

I chose to go with a song that I'm pleased to have stuck in my head. When Frank Black & his Pixies pop to the fore of my mind howling about un chien andalusia, it makes me a very happy FiL indeed. But I did consider inflicting one of these on you instead:

Trio -Da Da Da (buy here)
Ah, the Teutonic Casiotone classic. Sticky/catchy/annoying (circle one) as fuck. All hail the Neue Deutsche Fröhlichkeit.

Mortiis - Fanget i Krystal (buy here)
One day, Mortiis decided to pack it in as bassist for infamous and legendary Norwegian black metallers Emperor, don a prosthetic nose and pointy ears, and make beeply, synthy electronic dungeon music. I dare you to shake this groove from your cranium. I'm a fan.

Next week's theme: Musicians with Moustaches. Get a-waxin' and a-twirlin'.

Monday, August 20, 2007

This Will Hurt A Bit

These teeth belong here

Dear Friends, tomorrow morning I'm off to the dentist for the first of two sessions to crown a molar that fell victim to grim British dental care.

It is good to be back in a land of tip-top dentistry, but I can already feel the needle in my gum...

Therapy? - Teethgrinder (buy here or e-here)

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Oh, Dear Readers, it has been an unexpectedly exhausting week. Work has been hectic, thanks ultimately to those greedy enough to have cultivated the reprehensible and irresponsible practice of subprime mortgage lending. But let's not go there.

I'm tired, I'm spent, I'm emotional. So when I saw this I just about wanted to cry.

Sod it, all I want is to give peace, love and kisses out to this whole stinking world...

Have a lovely weekend, and be excellent to each other!!

Carter USM - The Only Living Boy In New Cross (buy here)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Island Time

Family FiL at Oyster Bay, Mayne Island, August 2007

Hello, Dearest Friends, I'm back. Happy as I am to be chatting with you once again, I will readily admit that I'm missing Mayne and the family, who are staying on for another fortnight. I'll be back on the forthcoming weekends, but that's just not enough...

Actually, it was a funny old break. Thoroughly enjoyable, but slightly out-of-phase way, as if not everything was in its proper place. Much of it has to do with the odd summer we've been experiencing in this part of the world. You see, normally August would see the island aloft in high summer. Hot hot heat tempered by cool ocean breezes, parched grounds dressed in golden grass, sun resolutely shining. But this year the mercury was wibbling from comfortable to chilly, rains earlier in the season left vegetation lush and the aquifer well stocked, and the blue blue sky was colonized by fat, sheepy clouds.

Then there were the animals. Our beloved orcas did not make a single appearance during the day, nor were we woken at night by the huffing and splashing of a nocturnal visit. However, we did see a normally elusive otter cavorting just offshore. And we were inspected unusually closely by a seal during one of our boulder-hopping, tidal-pool-exploring, crab-chasing (well, at least for our Ginadawg) coastal walks. In addition, and rather unnervingly, we were advised via flyer by the Mounties (well, the sole resident Mountie) of a cougar sighting. We subsequently chatted to a local who reported that a mother cougar with cub had been seen swimming (yes, swimming) to shore in one of the island's bays, and had also been spotted prowling near a road. Speculation is the beast either island-hopped from Vancouver Island, or hitched a ride on a log boom being towed past. Mayne is rife with deer, so the hope is Mama Cat will prefer venison to long pig and avoid a clash of cultures. Still, it all added a certain frisson to our walks in the woods (Aside: see what Mentok has to say about cougars over here, and have a listen while you're at it to the most excellent Vancougar track he's posted).

And so I'm trying to get back into the swing o' things. To switch from island time to city time. To move from kayaking on gentle swells to riding the waves of work. And with that in mind, let me remind you that today is Contrast Podcast day! Yay! I neglected to tell you about last week's Significant Other episode, so have a listen here if you've not done so already. This week sees the fruition of a CD swap most excellently suggested by Ross and most ably coordinated over a couple of months by Tim. Basically folks signed up to make compilation CDs for one of the other participants assigned at random. Discs were exchanged via snail mail, and this week you get to hear the cream of the collective swap. Download it directly here, look at the delish pictures here, go comment here, then figure out what you'll contribute for next week's theme of "Shapes. "

So, the meta-compilation CD would look like this:

(00:20) The Jolts - Caffeine heartbeat
Ross from Just gimme indie rock who got his CD from FiL from Pogoagogo
(02:50) Asylum Street Spankers - Beer
SAS Radio who got his CD from Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash
(07:09) Tanner Walle - But then
Colin from And before the first kiss who got his CD from Marcy from Lost in your inbox
(12:13) The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner
Crash from Pretending life is like a song who got his CD from Natalie from Mini-obs
(16:44) Oxen of the Sun - The shoes of Monsieur Bourdin
Tim from The face of today who got his CD from ZB from So the wind …
(19:07) The Awkward Stage - Heaven is for easy girls
Chip from Atomic Ned who got his CD from Jim from Quick before it melts
(22:37) Moonbabies - Take me to the ballroom
Liz from The Roaring Machine who got her CD from SAS Radio
(27:11) The Evil Queens - Ditchdigger blues
Coxon from To die by your side who didn’t get his CD from Chip from Atomic Ned
(30:38) Laika - Badtimes
Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash who got her CD from Tim from The face of today
(36:00) Dexys Midnight Runners - Seven days too long
Jim from Quick before it melts who got his CD from Crash from Pretending life is like a song
(39:31) Wayne Jarrett - Brimstone and fire
ZB from So the wind … who got his CD from Colin from And before the first kiss
(45:55) The Boggs - Arm in arm
Natalie from Mini-obs who got her CD from Coxon from To die by your side
(50:05) Bombay Bicycle Club - Sixteen
Marcy from Lost in your inbox who got her CD from Ross from Just gimme indie rock
(55:01) The Brilliant Corners - Meet me on Tuesdays
FiL from Pogoagogo who got his CD from Liz from The Roaring Machine

I was lucky enough to receive a super-smashing see-dee from Dearest Liz & Dearest Simon of Spoilt Roaring Victorian Machine Child. It was all so lovely, that I was nearly driven mad by having to choose but one track. Also in the running were:

Ratcat - Don't Go Now (buy here)
Jingly-jangly-fuzzy indie pop from Down Under, circa 1988.

Shout Out Louds - Tonight I have To Leave It (buy here)
The Swedes are a fine race who make beautiful music and fierce alcoholic beverages (c.f. Skane Aquavit, brannvin). This is swoony stuff, and is that I cowbell I hear??

BMX Bandits - Islands In The Stream (I think this was only issued on a flexi)
OK, I wasn't really considering offering this as the CD's ubertune, even if it's performed by these legendary Scots. The original version of this song, by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, is in my Top Five loathesome list. However, that doesn't stop me from knowing all the words. By the way, remind me to tell you one day why Kenny Rogers owes me $20.

As a rather belated musical afterthought, today it hit me what song I should have submitted for the DJ Russian Roulette episode: La Bamba. You see, I was in a local produce shop and the song came on the tinny store transistor. I kid you not, I saw three separate folks singing along and hipswaying absent-mindedly: a soccer mom, a computergeek girlie, and a hipster dude with an obscure t-shirt design. Damn, coulda saved my life...

Ritchie Valens - La Bamba (buy the big one here )

Wait, wait, another afterthought. I'd best post another Vancougar tune, coz that feline presence did rather freak us out ever so slightly.

Vancougar - Down On Me (buy here or e-here)

Friday, August 03, 2007


Village Bay Ferry Terminal, Mayne Island, July 2007

Dearest Friends, we're off shortly to our beloved Mayne Island for a week-long summer family holiday. We're looking forward to pootling about on the shores, communing with the orcas, evening barbecues overlooking the sea, and a spot of camping on nearby Saltspring Island. I am feeling rather tired and drained, so the slowdown to island time will be most welcome.

I had both intended and hoped to post much more over the past couple of weeks. Really, I did. So what happened? Work. Fatigue. Absence of muses. Summer doldrums. Sigh.

But I do have much to write about, and I promise I will do so upon my return and that of the muses. So, what do you have to look forward to? The compelling music of Rodney DeCroo. The slam-poetic urgency of The Fugitives. A film portrait of the incomparable Lisa Gerrard. Stories from Warsaw and New York. I hope you will find some of it interesting.

But two brief items before I bugger off. First, for Dearest Marcy who expressed such delightful joy at hearing the Lords of the New Church cover of "Like A Virgin," a bit of a history lesson. The Lords were fronted by Stiv Bators, who started out as the singer for NY punk progenitors, The Dead Boys. To be completely accurate, the group actually started out in Cleveland, Ohio as Rocket From The Tombs in 1975, thus disproving the assertion that nothing worthwhile ever came out of Cleveland (Actually, this theory was already debunked by the fact that Marcy herself hails from that urb). In 1976 they moved to New York, where their nihilistic, frenetic, and occasionally violent shows were a stark contrast to the artier strand of the city's burgeoning punk scene, characterized by Television and their ilk. Bators himself was given to slicing and hanging himself on stage, though occasionally he was content with just contorting himself into sinewy knots.

Apart from having one of the best titles ever, The Dead Boys' first album, Young Loud and Snotty, kicks off with the blistering jet of steam that is "Sonic Reducer." With Cheetah Chrome and Jimmy Zero on gee-tarrs, Johnny Blitz blitzing on drums, Jeff Magnum firing big bass bullets, and Stiv 's throatily shouting at you and me that he "Don't need no pretty face / Don't need no human race," this song really is the dog's bollocks. Or the cat's pyjamas. If those pyjamas were soaked in sweat and spit, slashed, then safety-pinned together.

The Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer (buy here)

Oh, sod it! You really need to see Stiv in action to get the full picture:

You can read a much fuller account of Stiv's story here, and get a few more tunes here. But let me give away the sad ending: in 1990 Stiv, allegedly inebriated, was struck on a Parisian sidewalk by a laundry van. After being checked out in hospital, he was allowed to go home, where he died in his sleep as a result of undetected head injuries. Rock 'n' roll.

Second brief (literally) item: I went shopping for underwear earlier this week and found this. Now, tell me, which manly man could resist an item with such a moniker? Not me. So now I'm a proud owner of a pair. OK, maybe not proud, but amused.

Pulp - Underwear (buy here)

Dearest Friends, do stay well and I will see you shortly.