Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time is Out Of Joint

Sod it, the time has come. Blow off the cobwebs, crank up the loudspeaker, cos an announcement is in order here at pogo a go-go:

FiL is hereby abandoning linear time.

What? You thought I was packing it in? Not a chance, Dearest Friend. Yes, yes, I know postings have been rather thin around here as of late, but it's a trickle, not a drought.

I still have stories to tell, it's just that I can't get them out in a timely manner. So if time is the problem, then time must be removed. Abolished. Spurned. So the stories will come when they come, in the order they choose.

There, I feel better.

Speaking of time, this week's Contrast Podcast urges us to go back to when we were 21 and share what music we hear back then (See? I'm messing with the tenses. Woot! Fuck you, time!!). The theme was actually suggested by my Dearest Friend Brad, who was one of my roommates at college. I'm actually going back to Washington, DC for a long weekend of catching up with him and other close friends. Ostensibly it's a late 40th birthday celebration. Well, I'm happy for that to be the excuse; it's been waaaay too long since I spent proper time with Brad et al, and I am looking forward to it something fierce. I just hope I'll be able to remember it all after all the alcohol...

Drop by here to download the CP Nation's collective reminiscence, and stop here to leave your comments.

As I mentioned in my intro, the song I chose (not gonna tell you what it is - new policy chez FiL: go have a look/listen on the CP website) nailed a particular transition point as I navigated into my 22nd year. During those 12 months I finished up my undergraduate studies, spent a couple of months backpacking around Europe, then started graduate studies in England, where I didn't quite reckon I'd spend the next 15 years. But there were a lot of musical currents swirling around, and so my choice could just have well been one of these:

The Pixies - Wave Of Mutilation (buy here)
I lived & breathed this album...

De La Soul - Jenifa Taught Me (buy here)
Awww, bay-beh!!

Mudhoney - This Gift (buy here)
They dumped me headlong into grunge. Been there, done that, still got the flannel shirt...

Pop Will Eat Itself - Wise Up! Sucker (buy here)
I forget too often how good the PWEI's brand of screeching pop fusion often was.

The Soup Dragons - I'm Free (buy here)
There's always been a baggy dance element to FiL..

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine - Sheriff Fatman (buy here)
Jimbob & Fruitbat - what a duo! A cleverly anthemic, socially scathing piece of pop goodness, this is. And did you know that CP compere Tim once boasted a stringy, Jimbob rattail hairdo? It's true!

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Kill Your Television (buy here)
Noisy boys with a thing for multiple t-shirts and loose shorts. I've had tinnitus in my left ear ever since going to a 1992 Ned's gig. Fact!

Lush - Sweetness & Light (buy here or e-here)
I've been gazing rapturously at my shoes for hours. Can't stop.

So I'm off to DC tomorrow evening for the weekend, then I jet to Toronto for a couple days of work. No idea when I'll be back around here, but, well, it'll be sometime. Until then, Dearest Friends, stay excellent.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I ate for them...

So last week I found myself of an evening in a Vancouver hotel ballroom breaking bread amongst a swarm of financial types. The occasion was an annual dinner put on by an august association that bestows a TLA on those hopeful youngsters who've crunched numbers, sweated blood, and scribbled under time pressure to the requisite standard. I am not among the blessed ones, but I was invited to attend anyway. Not sure why, but there you go.

Now apparently every year over dessert and coffee a panel of financial experts what knows about how this money thang all works gives its predictions for the year ahead. But before that, last year's predictions are reviewed. The whole production is supposed to be wrapped in humour, presumably to demonstrate that, hey, bean counters can be wacky, off-kilter types. This year the humour was distinctly of the gallows variety. Hoots of laughter applauded the TLA in the audience who won a chunk of lucite for "Best Stock Pick:" XYZ Industries, down 43 percent year-on-year. Yes, I said down. Hoots of laughter.

Yet something sat not quite right about all of this. It was probably around coffee that it struck me; despite the frightful whipsawing of the markets, the credit crunch, and bleeding investment portfolios, all of us folks in that ballroom had jobs and were relatively alright, Jack, if a tad nervous. We dined on seared tuna (a bit peppery that crust, but still nice) and steak (obviously nuked prior to a finishing grill, but quite a tasty bit of flesh), quaffed red, red wine (only one glass for me as I'm driving, but the fellow over there seems to have passed out in his chair), and laughed at it all rather than shed crocodile tears. Elsewhere, a record 4.78 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, and are struggling to make ends meet. Some are sinking deep into despair, and taking their loved ones with them. Home foreclosures are gutting communities. Canada, largely spared to date, is starting to feel the hot breeze of the firestorm to the south. People will be hurt here as well.

And that's what it's all about: real, live people. Not numbers, not graphs, but people.

As I left, I felt angry. And part of that anger was directed at myself; I ate at that table, I'm alright, Jack. So I asked myself: whatcha gonna do about it?

Well FiL? I'm waiting...

The Neurotics - This Fragile Life (buy here or e-here)
Public Image Limited - This Is Not A Love Song (buy here)
Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire - Thatcher's Children (buy here or e-here)