Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Feeling Lusty

Taken from this lavvy wall

This week Contrast Podcast ventures into the realm of mortal sin by inviting us all to wade waist-deep in a steaming, roiling pool of thick, viscous, musical... LUUUST!!!

*Pant, pant, drool, quiver*

Ahem. Er, I'd best make this very quick, lest it get messy. Download the podcast here and prepared to get all hot 'n' bothered. Just have a cold shower running on standby, and watch out for the two dirty old men right at the beginning. Oh, and I found the tracklisting written up on the wall of a public lavatory:

(00:00) Intro from Mr G. Letch & Mr A. Thrub

(01:42) Betty Boo - Close the door
Tim from The face of today

(05:06) Betty Davis - Anti love song
Chris from

(09:51) She wants revenge - Tear you apart
Linda from Speed of dark

(15:16) Scraping foetus off the wheel - Lust for death
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(18:43) Gang of Four - Damaged goods
Sid from Too Much Rock

(22:28) The Jam - Start! (live)
Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(25:10) Amy Rigby - You get to me
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(28:14) The Long Blondes - Lust in the movies
FiL from Pogoagogo

(31:27) Art Brut - Good weekend
Rick from Are you embarassed easily?

(34:39) Leon Haywood - I wanna do something freaky to you
Dirk from Sexy Loser

(41:47) Ultra Vivid Scene - Tar, iodine, blood and lust
Conrad from White Car Records

(44:42) Julian Cope - Eve’s volcano
Mark from Cinema du Lyon

(49:31) R.E.M. - Tounge
James from Jamesisadork

(53:45) Bruce Cockburn - Bone in my ear
Natalie from Mini-obs

(57:38) Prince - Sex temptation lust
Ross from Just gimme indie rock

You know, my choice (Lust in the Movies by The Long Blondes) somehow got me musing on pop cultcha dames I'd lusted after at one point or another. So, at the risk of totally humiliating myself, here's an abbreviated, annotated, and chronological catalogue of FiL's past lusts:

1) Catwoman. Yes, I know, there have been soooo many, y'all are dying to know which one tickled my fancy. Well, it was Julie Newmar in the glorious (sorry Mentok) sixties TV version. Yep, she was my first crush at around the precocious age six. Rrrrrroooowww!!

Link Wray - Batman Theme (buy here or e-here)

2) Marie Osmond. Yes, I religiously watched the Donny & Marie Show as a bairn. My Marie - that hair! Those chipmunk cheeks! Those dresses!! Embarrassing to think of it now, but back then, I'd be her little bit of country or rock 'n' roll or whatever.

But I confess: her teeth, huge and white like marble headstones, creeped me out. So much so that one day I took a pin to my theretofore sacred Donny & Marie LP sleeve and punched cavities in her toothy Mormon grin. It was then I knew we were not meant to be.

Donny & Marie Osmond
- A Little Bit Country (buy here)

3) Princess Leia. Oh man, those hair buns... But by the time she started getting all galactic with Han Solo, I was so over her.

Meco - Star Wars Theme (buy here)

4) Olivia Newton-John. Er, um, I blame circumstances beyond my control. Physical came out around the time puberty hit. My hormones were all over the place.

Olivia Newton-John - Physical (buy here)

But these days I far prefer this version:

Revolting Cocks
- (Let's Get) Physical (buy here)

5) Siouxsie Sioux. I am your humble servant, O my Goth Queen...

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Dazzle (buy here)

6) Kate Bush. Ah, now we're getting somewhere. However, I wasn't as smitten as one of my Dearest Friends was. Indeed, there was a high school French teacher at our school who bore an uncanny resemblance to the lushly maned warbler, much to his delight and anguish.

Kate Bush - Sat In Your Lap (buy here)

7) L7. All of them. In a vat of baked beans, please.

L7 - Fast and Frightening (buy here )

8) PJ Harvey. This woman is simply amazing in every way. Makes my heart go thrub, thrub, thrub...

PJ Harvey - Sheela Na Gig (buy here)

9) Audrey Hepburn. I don't much fawn over movie stars, but Audrey, oh my! Such grace, such style, such dignity. And she rode a Vespa. Le sigh. Le swoon.

Audrey Hepburn - Moon River (buy here)

I think that's what Eminem would call "cleanin' out my closet." Alright Dearest Friends, now it's your turn. Which slebs of screen, stage, or sound did/do you lust after??

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Low-Life Lullabies

Three glorious Tiger Lillies

The bloke in the pub was furious, shouting accusations of blasphemy in harsh, drunken Irish tones at the trio playing in the corner. The singer, a short, round man in a bowler, white shirt, and baggy black trousers held up by suspenders, leaned forward from the two-foot-high stage until he was face-to-face with the heckler. He continued to squeeze his accordion manically while spitting out the song's lyrics in falsetto:

I'm crucifying Jesus, nail him to the cross
The poor old bastard bleeds to death and I don't give a toss
I'm bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang banging in the nails
I'm bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang banging in the nails...

His bandmates, a skinny beanpole on upright bass and a rotund hulk on drums, looked at each other and smirked. The singer and heckler kept at it for some time, a few snarling inches apart, until the drunken Irishman was escorted out the pub's front door.

And that, Dearest Friends, was my introduction to the sick and twisted Tiger Lillies. And I loved it.

What this band does is quite unlike anything I have ever heard. Their music has been described as surreal-anarcho-punk-cabaret, their lyrics as blasphemous, blackly humorous, bawdy, and both Brechtian and Freudian. The world they inhabit is replete with prostitutes, lunatics, murderers, perverts, boogeymen, addicts, and misfits. But make no mistake; this is not just shock opera. Well, alright, a good bit of it is. But their raw, on-the-edge musical depictions of cartoonish grotesques reveal both a strong sense of compassion for us deeply flawed humans, and fierce outrage at the injustices of society.

Singer Martyn Jacques's apparently draws much of his material from the seven years he spent in London's Soho living above a brothel. In the late eighties he hooked up with two Adrians: percussionist Huge and bassist Stout. The compost in which they wallow has made them incredibly prolific: twenty-two albums, collaborations with the Kronos Quartet and Edward Gorey, an amazing adaptation of Heinrich Hoffmann's macabre Shockheaded Peter fairytales, and a Grammy nomination. Marilyn Manson loves them, as do Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, David Byrne, Matt Groening, Terry Gilliam, and, of course, I. But, not surprisingly, they've always stayed out of the mainstream, swimming instead in murky tributaries.

So why have I chosen now to post about them? Well, for months I've been intending to confess to you all my love of the Lillies. But the immediate catalyst is that they're playing Vancouver tomorrow night, in, of all places, a deconsecrated church -- I simply cannot wait!! Dearest Friends, between now and year-end they're also playing these dates in Canada, on both coasts of the US, and in continental Europe. I beg you, go see them.

And so, onto the music. If you've not yet figured it out, let me paraphrase the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council: "The following songs contain scenes of violence, coarse language and nudity intended for adult audiences. Listener discretion is advised."

The Tiger Lillies - Banging in the Nails
The Tiger Lillies - Sheep
The Tiger Lillies - Whore
The Tiger Lillies - Snip Snip
The Tiger Lillies with the Symphony Orchestra of Norrlandsoperan - Masturbating Jimmy
The Tiger Lillies - Kill You
The Tiger Lillies - Heroin & Cocaine

Find out all about The Tiger Lillies over here. You can e-buy large swathes of their music here or if you'd like to get your grubby mitts on the hard stuff, have a look over here.

And here's a wee bit of the live experience for you. From a June 2007 show in Moscow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back Where I Belong

Ena Sharples. Maybe.

Dearest Friends, I have returned from Back East, where I had a funny old ten days or so. Funny, and absolutely knackering. Indeed, my head still feels hollow, like its very pith has been scraped out by a dull spoon.

And I'm not sure when I'll find the downtime to recover...

The businessy bits went well; lotsa "useful" meetings and a couple of dog 'n' pony presentations (yes, I remembered to make 'em larf) interspersed with drunken gluttony into the wee hours, all the name of "relationship building." But the whole exercise was a bit sterile.

The absolute highlight of the trip, however, was meeting up with hizzoner JC, a/k/a The Vinyl Villain, for a long evening of utterly enjoyable japery. What a splendid chap he is! Generous, highly amusing, and brimming with passion for that which is dear to him, most obviously music and his own dear wife. I owe a particular debt to him for sharing with me his Toronto, the one which he has come to know during his few months in-country. He led me down Queen Street and its funky wee boutiques, stopping at a cool-as-fuck bar for a few alky bevvies. We then headed up to Little Italy, where I dined on baked strangled priests at his favourite trattoria, thence to the small-but-perfectly-formed Soundscapes where we spent a good deal of time browsing the esoteric CDs, DVDs, and books on offer. And, as he so candidly and correctly recounts in his account of our meeting, we ended up on the patio of a wanky jazz bar sometime after midnight. Oh, and there was indeed nude life drawing involved, of an Ena-Sharplesish bent (see photo above). Thanks to JC, I've now somewhat modified my rather lackluster view of Toronto - it isn't all just bland downtown core and dead lake. Next time I'll know where to go.

Mouse Eat Mouse - Mair Licht (buy here or e-here)
Coz JC's Scottish, you know. And it was our mutual friend Colin who brought this gem to my attention.

Richard Cheese - People = Shit [Slipknot Cover] (buy here or e-here)
The jazz was truly yawnsome. And JC did poke fun at my metal tendencies...

On Friday it was off to Noo Yawk Ciddy for a weekend visit to Mother. The trip down was aggravating beyond belief; my flight was canceled, which meant I had to reclaim my bags and clear Canadian customs to "reenter" the country, since for flights to the US you go through American immigration just after checking in. Then back to check-in, revisit US passport control, another strip search at security, yada yada yada. But I did have some very interesting conversations with about half-a-dozen fellow travelers along the way, so it wasn't all bad...

And my visit? Well, Saturday was nice. At least the exquisite cilantro (that's coriander for you Brits) & lime martini with my lunch at The Modern was. And the rest of the weekend? Utter disaster. I shan't go into details, but both mindfulness and compassion abandoned me in the face of unrelenting emotional onslaught. Sigh.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Happy (buy here )

But it's good to be back, and I have the latest Contrast Podcast to look forward to! This week it's limericks all around, and I'm eager to hear all the poetry. You can download it yourself here, and check out the listings and comments here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Flying Time

His flight, not mine. But you get the general idea.

Hello, Dearest Friends! This post is coming atcha from Taah-raah-naah, aka Toronto, where I flew on Sunday to do businessy things all week. Digs are quite comfy, if corporately bland (The Sheraton), and methinks I'll be fed and wined to excess if I'm not careful. Last night saw me at Canoe, 54 stories up above the city. I had a lovely meal (roasted cuttlefish & calamari to start, followed by Nunavut caribou), but it was one of those places where food, drizzled with fussily named fluids, rested on beds of of more food, after being lightly or delicately prepared. I always feel uncomfortable when it takes a waiter three minutes to describe what I'm about to eat...

I'm not a fan of Toronto; while not the size or pace of either London or New York, it's a concrete citadel full of fast-flowing folks too busy to say "Hello" or smile. The vast Lake Ontario on which it sits strikes me as flat and sterile, almost as if it has been boiled in some apocalyptic nuclear or chemical catastrophe. However, it is currently the home of one displaced Scot, and we're hoping to meet up and sup later this week in one of the city's ethnic neighbourhoods. Maybe that'll change my view somewhat.

So, onto time. Sigh. As of late there seems to be far too much on for the puny 24 hours that inhabit each day to accomodate. Double sigh. Dearest Wife recently started a part-time teaching gig that prep, lectures, marking, and lacksadaisical first-years have conspired to turn into virtually full time. Triple sigh. And then there's all this child-rearing and parenting stuff. Quadruple sigh.

Dearest Tim has been in a similar timeless space recently, hence this week's Contrast Podcast theme of Time. Download the current episode here

(00:00) The Smiths - These things take time
Tim from The face of today

(03:02) PJ Harvey - One time too many
Lyle from Mentok the Mind-Taker

(07:09) Wesley Willis - He’s doing time in jail
Pieter from Two tramps in mud time

(11:17) Eat - First time love song
Ross from Just gimme indie rock

(15:04) Jean Louis Murat - L’horloge (english translation)
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(19:08) Bob Dylan - Most of the time
Nuno from Undercover songs

(24:14) Rancid - Time bomb
James from Jamesisadork

(27:02) Secret Affair - Time for action
FiL from Pogoagogo

(32:15) Flight of the Conchords - Business time
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(36:33) Joe Jackson - Got the time
Sid from Too Much Rock

(39:43) ballboy - I don’t have time to stand here with you fighting about the size of my dick
Dirk from Sexy Loser

(43:44) Clint Black - No time to kill
Rick from Are you embarassed easily?

(48:43) They Might Be Giants - 25 o’clock
Linda from Speed of dark

(52:34) Half Man Half Biscuit - Time flies when you’re the driver of a train
Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(55:42) Johnny Cash - Time of the preacher
Natalie from Mini-obs

(59:47) Weddings, Parties, Anything - For a short time
Anna from Music I-Quiz

(01:06:13) Matt McGinn - Little ticks of time
Dweller from Child without an iPod

I thought it was high time we had a spot of classic mod revivalism, hence my choice. But there were other timely tunes in the running:

Culture Club - Time (Clock of the Heart) (buy here)
Yes, I seriously considered this track, on a nostalgic tip.

GBH - Race Against Time (buy here)
Perhaps a hangover from last week's fit of noise. Leather, bristles and studs please, but hold the acne.

The Pop Group - We Are Time (buy here)
Frm punk to post-punk, even though GBH came later. Argh, timeline confusion!!

The Jam - Just Who Is the 5 o'clock Hero? (buy here)
Er, that'd be me, sort of. Without the lunchbox.

Ndidi Onukwulu - May Be The Last Time (buy e-here or here)
If you don't know Ndidi, you need to.

Right, must fly off for drinks. Maybe I'll have the narwhal for dinner tonight...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Short & Sweet

It's Tuesday, and that means it's Contrast Podcast day. But first, a confession: I've been unfaithful. Yes, I admit it, last week I omitted to draw your attention to the 'cast, whose theme was (wait for it) Infidelity. So if you're feeling guilty, atone by hopping over here for a listen.

But this week, Dearest Friends, we're celebrating the Short Song. Yes, each and every tune is under two minutes in length, but uses its allotted time wisely. And Napalm Death makes it's CP debut! Hooray for Ross!! Anyway, you can download the podcast here, then pop on over here to comment. And the twenty-five (count 'em!) bijoux on offer are:

(00:00) Jacques Dutronc - Mini mini mini
Tim from The face of today

(02:38) Catherine Feeny - Mr Blue
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(04:41) Shellac - Boche’s dick
Chris from

(06:42) Sparks - Propaganda
Conrad from White Car Records

(07:55) thinguma*jigsaw - Who’s laughing now
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(09:28) Brakes - Comma comma comma full stop
Coxon from To die by your side

(09:44) Keller Williams - Old lady from Carlsbad
Anna from Music I-Quiz

(11:12) Shonen Knife - Tortoise brand pot cleaner theme
FiL from Pogoagogo

(12:44) Descendants - Suburban home
James from Jamesisadork

(14:53) The Lemonheads - Being around
Dirk from Sexy Loser

(17:11) U.S. Rail - Grind like a girl
Chip from Atomic Ned

(18:57) Denim - Tampax advert
Lyle from Mentok the Mind-Taker

(20:29) Janis Joplin - Mercedes Benz
Natalie from Mini-obs

(22:20) Hüsker Dü - Never talking to you again
Sid from Too Much Rock

(24:35) The theme from My So Called Life
Charles from Heartache with hard work

(26:10) Liam Lynch - United states of whatever
Greg from Broken Dial

(27:54) Smudge - Babaganoosh
Tom from Better in the Dark

(28:21) Kevn Kinney - Untitled
Linda from Speed of dark

(30:17) Mark Lanegan Band - Bombed
Matthew from Song by Toad

(32:29) Camille - Janine I
Kate from The Glorious Hum

(33:31) Loudon Wainwright III - Liza
Shaun from Cold Citrus

(35:19) Neutral Milk Hotel - King of carrot flowers
Pieter from Two tramps in mud time

(38:39) Asylum Street Spankers - Wake & bake
Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash

(40:49) Elastica - All nighter
Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(43:01) Napalm Death - You suffer
Ross from Just gimme indie rock

I've long maintained that the Shonen Knife track I submitted is the pithiest, rockingest small song that I know, so my choice was easy. That said, I did briefly consider submitting any one of a number of hardcore/grindcore/thrashcore/noisecore tracks. You see, I have quite a twisted affinity for these genres and the fearsome nuggets of noize they produce. So here's what else was nominally in the running:

Black Flag - Wasted (buy here or e-here)
Before Henry Rollins flew the flag...

The Locust - Kill Roger Hedgecock (buy here or e-here)
I've never listened to conservative trash radio, nor do I recommend violence as a solution to problems. But this bit of blitz & scorch is amazing. You say you can't make out the lyrics? Well, it goes "
Most things go unnoticed with your eyes gouged out. They can only twist your arm so much. " I bet you can hear it now...

Stormtroopers of Death - Chromatic Death (buy here)
SOD were the first to fuse hardcore with thrash, which I think is a good thing.

Rudimentary Peni - Media Person (buy here)
Anarcho-punk a go go - rage out!! Named after something the guitarist read in a school textbook about the fetal clitoris being a rudimentary penis. Or something.

OK, there was one song I considered that wasn't a sub-minute screamer. But it was about penises.

Monty Python - Penis Song (Not The Noel Coward Song) (buy here)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm Adaptable And I Like My New Role

Dearest Mentok's lovely comment here brought to the fore a question I often ask myself: How the heck did I end up doing what I do??

I mean this in the sense of career, of bacon-on-the-table job, of gainful employ. For you see, I am at happiest with words, with music, with people, with stories. And yet I have ended up in a field heavily planted with numbers, studded with balance sheets, and irrigated by rivers of ca$hflow. My leanings are lefty, pinko, liberal, but I have found myself most usually surrounded by conservative capitalists.

Now I must say that where I ply my trade now is much more in line with my values. Back in En-ger-lund I was for eleven years a cog in a mighty money machine whose sole purpose was to generate profit and boost share price. All else was irrelevant, resistance was futile. Nowadays I'm in the bosom of a co-operative financial system that explicitly puts people before profits. The folk are good & nice, if still capitalist. And they have heart.

However, I'm still a banker, and I don't feel like one.

I must say this disconnect doesn't bother me as much now as it did prior to my move to Vancouver over two years (yoiks!) ago. This is due in equally large parts to the aforementioned nature of my employer, a greatly recalibrated work/life balance, and the fact that I love living in Vancouver. Love it. Loveitloveitloveit. It's also due to the move itself; you see, we were wrapped in heavy cloak of inertia that kept us weighted down where we were. But there was also a comfortable lining to that inertia, one woven of familiarity and the known. Casting off that garment was scary and unsettling, but ultimately liberating. For now I know that if ever I find myself wearing it again, I can, in fact, take it off.

So, I'm still a banker, and I don't feel like one. But that's OK, something wonderful is bound to happen at some point.

Ach, enough of my navel-contemplating, and onto the tunes! Rather appropriately, this has been on the empeethree playah in the car of late. I guarantee you if you crank it up while driving, roll down the windows, and belt it out at top volume, folks will get out of your way. Possibly marvelling at your uber-cool taste, but possibly not.

Public Image Limited - This Is Not A Love Song (try eBay)

Yes, another PiL track. That's two in two days (I'm still trying to banish those wee mummies from my head, I should get there by the weekend), but you deserve it! You should likewise get yerself over to see the Spoilt Victorian Child and his recent PiL piece.

And since you're all so lovely, Dearest Friends, here are a few PiL viddies to viddy. I purposefully skipped that of "Love Song," as it's actually rather cheesy - Johnny Lydon gurning in front of skyscrapers and being chauffeured around in a vintage automobile. Yawn! These, however, are sublime:

Public Image


Bad Life

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Too Much To Dream

Dream amphitheatre pinched from here

For the past several years my dreams have been few, unremarkable, and, for the most part, forgotten within minutes of waking up. Last night, however, I had one that has remained vividly with me for the entire day.

Unfortunately it was not very pleasant.

I was in a bus with a faceless, nameless friend. We were driving through the streets of a town in Sweden. After a bit of twisting and turning down narrow, shop-lined streets, we stopped at an stone amphitheatre set into a mountainside. My friend and I disembarked and entered the arena. A few people milled about, and we decided to climb up the stepped bleachers. As we ascended, the sun beat down on us and a stiff breeze ruffled our hair. We reached the topmost bleacher, but I carried on climbing the few extra meters to the top of the mountain ridge.

As I neared the crest, I notices what appeared to be a square of cloth suspended between two upright sticks in the ground. It flapped in the wind like a Tibetan prayer flag. Drawing closer, I could see that it was more like a baby's all-in-one suit. When I got up close, I realized with dread that it was, in fact, the body of a child, dessicated by the sun and breeze.

Recoiling, I noticed another mummified infant in bright clothing, lying face-down in the scrubby grass. I hoped what I was seeing was the evidence of a local burial practice. Then, turning to my left, I saw another small, grey form, not quite so dried out. I bent down and picked it up. It too was a child, perhaps one year old. Only it was still alive, albeit just. It turned its face to me, and opened its mouth to scream or cry, but all that issued forth was a white froth.

I was seized by dull horror and helplessness. And then I woke up.

Only a dream, Dearest Friends, but a troubling, vexing, and discomfiting one that I've not yet been able to shake. Perhaps this will help me to do so.

The Fall - Arid Al's Dream (only released on 1992's Volume 4 compilation; try eBay)
Public Image Limited - Bad Baby (buy here)
Nurse With Wound - Echo Poeme Sequence No. 2 (large file; buy here)