Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bad Experience

Origami cleverness from here

When I first saw it, I didn't believe it. I thought it was a joke, something crafted by a latteklatsch of ultra-cool, web-savvy, hyper-ironic hipsters with designer haircuts.

But it's not.

It's real.

And it made me nauseous.

Step right up folks, you too can have the ultimate Rock & Roll Experience. Yes, for a mere $7,999 you'll get to play in a rock band with "world-famous musicians!" Jam with "iconic rockers!" Attend private workshops with "platinum rock stars!!!" What's more, the price of this 5-day package includes luxury hotel accommodation at the four-star Hotel Renew in Honolulu!!!! You will be "treated like a celebrity and catered to accordingly!!!!!" Confirmed rock gods participating are Glen Matlock (he was always the weediest Pistol anyway), Gerard V. Casale (Devolution, indeed) and Wayne Kramer (say it ain't so!!).

Dearest Friends, this is a travesty. This is not rock 'n' roll. This is balding, fiftysomething, system analysts with their remaining strands of hair scraped behind their heads into dork handles. This is Euro trustafarian brats decked out in Bench and Von Dutch. This is the annoying, botox-injected fucker who cut me off today in his Porsche Boxter. This is whore meets john.

Oh my, I think I need a cocktail of proper music on the rocks to clear the taste of sick from my throat...

Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode (buy here or e-here)
Subway Sect - Different Story (buy here or e-here)
Dead Kennedys - Pull My Strings (buy here or e-here)
Sex Pistols - The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (buy here or e-here)

Friday, April 17, 2009

In The Mood For Ska

Rudettes and dansette penned by the mahvellous Bishakh Som © 2009

It's been a lovely Friday, what with it being the end of the week and a glorious, late afternoon burst of sunshine apologizing for the rest of the day's rain & gloom. When it's lovely outside, I feel lovely inside - call me shallow, and I will plead guilty. And so it is I find myself in the mood for some old time ska. Come along, Dearest Friends, the rude girls have cranked up the dansette and as the glorious sunset fades into starry evening, it's time to skank the night away.

Lord Tanamo - I'm In The Mood For Ska (buy here )

The Ethiopians - Train To Skaville (buy here or e-here)

Shenley Duffus
- Rukumbine (buy here)

Dandy Livingstone - Rudy, A Message To You (buy here)

The Bleechers - Check Him Out (buy here)

Derrick & Patsy - Housewife's Choice (buy here or e-here)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Resolution Revisited

Dearest Friends, you may recall that back in January I was rash enough to put into cyber-print my resolutions for the year. Ignore for the moment items two through five, which are still in various stages of completion (er, like between 0% and 20%), and let's focus on the first resolution, namely getting in shape for the 2009 Vancouver Sun Run.

Well, roger me sideways with a sweaty ferret, but the run is this coming Sunday and methinks I'm going to be set for it.

Hear that slapping? That's the sound of my gob being smacked.

You see, I've tried many times over the years to get into this running lark, but I've always ended up hating, loathing, DESPISING it. I never understood why; it's something you can do alone or with company, it involves no real prep or planning, and I love walking round in The Great Outdoors (urb or rural). But no, no, no, a thousand times no.

This year I was helped along by the lovely Miss J, a work colleague who kindly offered up her running expertise twice a week to lead a training clinic for the Sun Run, which has become something of an institution in Vancouver. I also had an attack of bloody mindedness; dammit, this is something I CAN and WILL do. Finally, I was heartened by the dashing exploits of JaG, who overcame her own inertia to run like the wind (and will do so again, once she sorts out her iron will)!!

So, some ten weeks ago I strapped on my running shoes and set off on my first training run: three minutes running, two minutes walking. I just about died and dissolved into a heap of cramp, asthmatic croaking, and sweat. Fast forward to today, when I finished my second 10K run in a series of 10 minute intervals separated by one minute of walking. We're not talking Chariots of Fire timing here, folks, but I did it and actually felt (gasp!) rather good at the end. Inbetween then and now it's been a mixed bag of bloody fucking pain and flashes of pride.

Now, please excuse me, but I'm going to break out the can opener and open up a tin of corn. You see, Dearest Friends, I've actually learned a shedload from this whole exercise. I'll spare you most of the zen insights, but allow me to relate two:

First off, the pain is manageable. Almost every outing something went wonky: my hips ached, I got a stitch in my side, my calves cramped up, my right knee got all wobbly. At first I focused on what was going wrong, which was, well, wrong. But over time I developed my own sort of R2-D2 in my brain. You know; R2 would sit in the back of Luke's X-Wing fighter and deal with all the bits falling off ("I'm hit, but not bad. R2, see what you can do with it." "R2, try and increase the power."). Well, my R2 tends to all the shit that goes wrong with me so I can stay focused on the run. If my shins cramp, R2 tells them to relax. If I accelerate up a hill, R2 shortens my stride to maintain my pace. So now the discomfort is secondary. Moral of the story: get yourself your own R2 unit.

Second, I'm my own worst enemy. For years I talked myself out of running coz simply because I believed I couldn't do it. And, since we've already strayed into Star Wars territory, let me quote Yoda: "That, is why you fail." I can't afford to forget this lesson.

So now the Sun Run is but four days away, and I'm confident that I can do it. But y'know, even if I don't, I've already won on this resolution.

Right, you'll be wanting some music after all that. So here you go, a clutch of fine running tunes:

Messiah - Temple of Dreams (buy here )
They weren't the messiah, they were two very naughty techno boys named Ali and Mark.

Tones On Tail - Go! (buy here or get the club mix e-here)
Post & pre-Bauhaus goodness. Ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-ya-yaya-ya. You get the picture.

GBH - Race Against Time (buy here )
Kinda hard to run in your 18-hole Doc Martens and levver jacket, but the punks don't care.

The Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To (buy here or e-here)
Righteous grrl noise straight outta Brooklyn. Eruditely named after a mammoth 15,000-page magnum opus by outsider artist Henry Darger

Markus James & The Wassonrai - Far As I Can Run / Majirica Samba (buy here or e-here)
Think Tom Waits playing those old time blues in Timbuktu. Yes, it's that good. Another one of my favourite discoveries at the 2008 Vancouver Folk Music Festival.

No Star Wars music, you'll be happy to hear, but have a look at this and larf until the banthas come home:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Walk

Walking man courtesy of mag3737

Dearest Friends, Saturday afternoon I wasn't so fine in either mind or spirit or body. In fact, I was feeling rather crap. I was still emerging, thanks to some heap powerful antibiotics, from a bacterial infection that for two days had drained me of all energy and replaced it with a foul cocktail of chills, aches, and fevered dreams. That day I had also received some rather nasty e-correspondence from a Usual Suspect; it matters not what the content (which was legitimate), but rather the evenomed barbs in which it was wrapped. And finally, we were all absorbing the Friday news of the apparently random murder in broad daylight of a woman out jogging in the forest but a few blocks from where we live. Dearest Wife was rattled; not only does she often walk/jog past the scene of the crime, most recently earlier that day, but also she was followed down that path a few months back and had been sufficiently concerned to file a report with the local Mounties.

And so I moped. "Why don't you take Little Man for a walk?" suggested Dearest Wife as the clock dragged towards 5:00 PM. And so I did.

I was surprised to see that since my last foray outside early on Friday spring seemed to have definitivey sprung; the sun was out and warm, buds were budding, and the grass needed mowing. We wandered for a few blocks talking nonsense and giggling. Passing a front yard, we met a waggy old black lab named Ruby, whose owner invited a happy Little Man to throw a ball for her. We stopped at the supermarket and bought a plump cantaloupe for dessert, then we picked up a yummy, steaming hot pizza and delivered it home for us all to sup on.

That evening, even though I was still too delicate to go see The Beat as I had been planning for months, I felt a whole lot better.

Go for a walk, Dearest Friends. You'll be surprised what a power of good it can do.

Right, some nice 'n' happy music:

The Lovekevins - Happy Happy (buy some of their stuff here)
Jane - It's A Fine Day (buy here or e-here)
Pizzicato 5 - Happy Sad (buy e-here or here)

And this one is for having missed the show... :(

The Beat - Ranking Full Stop (buy here or e-here)

P.S. More joy - Contrast Podcast is serving up eggs this week!! If you can't wait to scramble on over, go ahead and crack it open here.