Happy birthday Brad Dourif!
“Great Scott of the Antarctic! That’s the other Arctic, the one where all the ants live, Batman! Do you think he’s working with Ant-Man in his secret Antarctic lair?”
“No Robin, we’re DC, Ant-Man is Marvel. Ant-Man doesn’t actually have an Antarctic lair; any of the Ant-Mans in fact. Although, on an unrelated note, Sunn O))) & Boris put out a great record in 2006 called Altar that is really rockin’.“
“Jeepers creepers Batman, what are you talking about? That record is just a bunch of horrible noise!”
“Perhaps to your naive and untrained ears, Robin. To those of us possessing a more refined musical palette, I can assure you it is a release of monumental importance…”
“Shivering balloon animals Batman, when did you become such a hipster?”
Altar (Sunn O))) & Boris) (2006)
Altar was a big deal at the time, and it still is.
This album is important because it contains Sunn O))), Boris, members of Earth, Jesse Sykes’ band The Sweet Hereafter, Soundgarden, and of course, the mighty Joe Preston. It doesn’t really sound exactly like what you might think that combination would create, it’s broader and more interesting than that.
“There’s only forty people in the world and five of them are hamburgers”
Hey, I know I said I was going to flood this thing with stuff about my year in Canada, and I haven’t. That’s still coming, I’ve just got much less time on my hands now that I’m working full-time in Glasgow, while being essentially homeless, living in a hostel with very limited internet access while I desperately search for a place to live.
I’m working for JohnLewis.com, on their emails team, still in training, about to spend a week on calls likely trying desperately not to sound like an idiot. I’m staying in a SYHA hostel during the week and travelling home on the weekends. It’s dumb.
I should have been more prepared for this, but the truth is, I am not and will not ever be prepared for anything ever and I’m sorry.
Long story short: still coming, soon-ish, will keep informed, if you even care.
Hello folks! So, as you may know, I was living in and around Vancouver in Canada between August 2012 and August 2013. I’ve now been home for one month as of today. I’ve done pretty much nothing of any major interest for the last month, pretty much just decompressing from a solid four weeks of travel. Now things are starting to roll again, in some fashion.
Now that I have had that month out, I’m able to look back at the past year a little bit and take stock of everything. Immediately before I left Canada, I might have told you that I was sick of Vancouver and just wanted out. I was, and I did. But I do not regret it.
I’ve got a bunch of half-written travel logs in the drafts section of this blog (amongst other things), and in various text files and notepads, things I had intended to post, but I seemingly never found the time or inclination to actually complete them. I’d love to say it was because I was too busy having fun, but that wasn’t always the case.
RIP Ryan Davis, co-founder of Giant Bomb and the endlessly wonderful host of the Giant Bombcast, to which I have been an listener for… almost five years apparently. He also, by all accounts, radiated pure happiness to everyone in his vicinity. He got married just over a week ago, and now he is gone at age 34.
Though I did not know him personally, I’ve been listening to his voice, and watching him do dumb shit on the internet for five years of my life, so I’m incredibly bummed out. But for all the people who knew him, his family, his friends and colleagues at Giant Bomb and throughout the video game industry, his wife, I cannot begin to imagine their feelings.
For a man whose life seemed to be all about unbridled joy, I guess we ought to remember him in that light. But that’ll take time.
Ryan Davis forever.
So, I value objectivity. I think it’s important. But I’m human. It’s hard to be objective and human. So I try to make it obvious when I’m being subjective.
It’s not really enough to say “everything is subjective” because that’s like saying society is futile, right? If there’s no objective truth that we can agree upon, then there’s no basis for communication.
Everyone is guilty of bending the subjective into the objective. It’s the human condition. We’re all fundamentally trapped within the experiential limits of self.
But there comes a point that your “subjective objectivity” becomes delusional. When an idea is so true in one’s mind, that non-existent patterns emerge. But if it’s a shared delusion, someone else can uncover these patterns and show them to you, present them as evidence for a reality quite different from the one most people experience.
What I mean by all this is boy there are some CRAZY FUCKS out there on the internet. And not crazy like “woo! Look at me, I’m wearing a shoe on my head I’M KEH-RAZY!” More like a kind of crazy based on a misappropriation of logic and reason. A crazy that believes that you can prove a conclusion by a process of collecting specific evidence that asserts that same conclusion. A crazy that always assumes there is one great malevolent purpose behind the curtain of all events that ever occur.
As selfishly amusing as it can be to engage them in this for a spell, you’re just going to end up going round in circles until you feel like throwing up. But it is on occasion hilarious.
I listen to a lot of music. Some of it is what I think a lot of people would consider “normal”, while some of it is what I think that same group of people would probably consider “weird” for one reason or another. Whether it’s because it’s atonal, really long, built on repetition of short musical phrases, or simply instrumental (some people are bored by lack of singing), or maybe all of these things at once, it’s outside of the mainstream, and right on the fringes of the underground.
From time to time I’m confronted by the accusation that those of us listening to weird music are doing so as an affectation; that we couldn’t possibly enjoy it, we must instead be trying to build an image of being intellectual. That awful word “hipster”. There are several ways to respond to this.
The short response is: go fuck yourself you condescending prick.
There’s more to it than that, so a tediously detailed response follows.
Everyone who listens to music for pleasure does so on their own terms. There exists a wide spectrum of music listening, and I don’t really need to identify and label everyone into particular sub-groups. However, for purposes of illustration I will talk about several.
For many people music is a casual companion to their lives, it’s background noise, and the substance of it doesn’t much matter so long as it’s experienced passively as a smooth arc of familiar styles and trends – with the option to sing along or maybe even drunkenly dance and get laid to. Often they like the predictable beats and smooth production, but they’re only really invested in the words, the singing, a specifically catchy instrumental hook. Whatever is on the surface basically. And hey, that’s fine. I don’t mean to put people down who listen to music like that. Popular radio stations are designed for this.
Sure I take issue with the likes of X Factor, American Idol, Glee and all those other vapid marketing exercises that dilute and even actively harm the cultural impact of music as an art form. And by take issue I mean hate with all of my heart, but I actually don’t blame people for watching these shows. They’re not designed to support the creative act of music making, they’re designed as national “water cooler” TV events, a kind of semi-interactive mass hypnosis. The musical content is songs everyone already knows and finds inoffensive. It’s not music, it’s television. But this is an issue for another post (that I hope I never write).
The point is that I consider a more active music listening to be on a higher level of involvement. To me, an active listener is someone who seeks out music, who chooses to listen to specific music. Perhaps collecting records by their favourite artists, going to a few gigs, that sort of thing. For me, this is sort of the minimum level of involvement required before you can really say that you “love music”.
Hey folks, I just got back from a little trip. Since I’ve been living in Metro Vancouver, I’ve tried to save money where I can, especially while I was looking for work. That meant not travelling much. Now that I have work, and therefore money, I also have less time to travel.
So I realised I needed to shift my priorities slightly. The goal of my time in Canada is not to save for the future, it is to explore Canada. I’m not trying to put down roots, not yet anyway. So I decided to test the waters with a short and relatively inexpensive trip to Victoria, capital of BC, once I discovered it was $15 for a ferry trip.
So here’s what I knew about Victoria before I went: nearly nothing. I had a couple of recommendations of stuff to see, but I figured I would mostly just wing it and see what happened.
So I woke up on the morning of Sunday the 21st of October 2012 AD, and gathered my stuff together. A couple of changes of clothes, a few essentials, and my Nexus 7 (so great not to be carrying a 15 inch laptop around). I headed one block over to Oak Street. First stop, Starbucks for an extravagant breakfast. One salted caramel hot chocolate.
I was kind of enthused by the fact that in this Starbucks they were playing Crosseyed and Painless by Talking Heads, from one of my all time favourite albums Remain in Light. Good omens!