Monday, August 30, 2010

Thee Internets

Sometimes, I listen to a record and have opinions on what could be made for it to be better. Rarely do I feel the same about album covers, and even rarer are the times when I think a taco would accentuate the pleasure of looking at an album cover. This site tries to prove me wrong.

Hole, Beck, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Public Enemy - all yes. Kill 'Em All - no.

If you need motivation, look here. I was particularly motivated by ''Balance''... but that's just me.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Video Of The Week: The Killers Feat. Lou Reed

Ok. So I know The Killers from their pop radio hits - Somebody Told Me and Mr. Brightside being from and center. And while I'll admit they're catchy and well-written tunes any day, they reek of opportunistic douchebaggery for jumping on the dance-rock ''craze'' (post-punk my ass - The Killers have about as much in common with The Cure and Public Image Ltd. as me and Oprah do) that pretty much left the garage rock revival bands on the side (The Strokes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Kills, and many more) and relegated them to ''indie darling'' status with up-and-coming bands like Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade.

But still... that Brandon Flowers character has read and understood the book on how to write songs. And when Grade-A collaborators such as Lou Reed come in with their own magic to add to a tune, you'd pretty much have to not be alive to not be moved by it.

And although Tranquilize is, technically, the lead-off track off a B-sides compilation, it very well could be The Killers' best song. Reed adds an aura of mystique, danger, spookiness and greatness to the whole thing, and the video does the song justice - despite not much happening in that empty house.

Direct link here. Embedded below.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The F Word: Failure. Or Is It Fear?

I don't care who you are, what you do, or how you're doing it: at some point in your life, self-doubt rears its tiny head and starts munching on your soul. And for a while, there, nothing you try works out. Not only does nothing work itself out, but any way you try to make it better just clogs the whole ordeal up even more.

As a creator, I experience that a lot - particularly when it comes to writing songs. I'll write ten in a week, then none for six months.

Actors get this - particularly those who have had a taste of The Acting Life, a taste at doing well, only to see it inexplicably be taken from them - usually during moment that should have been of pure happiness: marriage, birth, after entertaining thoughts of 'graduating' to directing, etc.

One such person details her darkest thoughts on her blog, here. But she is, as Lou Reed once put it, ''beginning to see the light''. Whether that light is the day or an incoming train remains to be seen, but she no longer turns back to protect herself - she's headed towards it no matter what.

We all get to a point in Life where we need to make/take decisions, but I like reading about other peoples' ''go-times'' and see it as inspiring, even when I'm not faced with such a decision myself.

Although - how can you really be sure you shouldn't be diving in the pool yourself?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Goaltending Styles

I've been asked a few times what my goaltending style was, when I was playing hockey, and I thought now was as good a time as any to answer. Standing at 6'3''covering half of the net standing up was not a problem, and going down on my knees in butterfly style, my pads would cover the complete bottom of the net, roughly a foot high; my shoulders would still reach the cross-bar, so the middle part of the net was covered, and I just needed for my glove and blocker to be fast enough to cover the space on either side of my chest.

When standing, my basic position resembled that of Jeff Hackett, pictured below, with the legs in a bit of an upside-down V, (but not exaggeratedly so like Cristobal Huet here), the stick blade flat on the ice, and my glove at hip level (I was quick enough to raise it on time to cover the top corner when need be):
But, more importantly, was where my concentration would lie when play was stopped - and that was more reminiscent of Craig Anderson, pictured below...
Except, you know, my mouth wouldn't be open in awe.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hour 74

I'm seeing shadows again. Not just on the walls or on the floors, but walking alongside me on the subway or on the street. 72 straight hours without sleep, and still high from the caffeine, in no state to reach dormancy.

I could read a book from cover to cover, watch a movie, fuck a whole harem's worth of women - and I think I'd still be wide awake.

It's Thursday morning, officially, but it feels like it could be any day. In any year, probably. In any month between April and September. But it sure doesn't fucking feel like 6AM. 6PM, maybe. Except no place will serve me a fucking meal anywhere, and I don't have the shit to make my own at home.

And I'm a wanderer anyhow, today. I was in the same seat for three days, I can't possibly go get stale some place new right away, it wouldn't make sense, but then again, this whole situation isn't what you'd call ''normal''. I call it normal, but I'm not just anyone, like the song says.

Apparently, it's not too early for prostitutes to be out and about. Or maybe it's just the one, that one, she looks like her name could be Rita, the prettiest one around these parts, tall, just a tad overweight but a chest that could suffocate a chimp in less than 5 minutes. I'm sure she'd make just as much money as a waitress or a stripper. She must like the foul sex and staying soaked with the stench of raunchy men for days. And she keeps hovering between the subway and my house, those three fucking blocks, like she's stalking me. And every time I look at her, she acts shy. What hooker blushes when you look them in the eye? In a City that's rotting to its very core, it'd be too Hollywood for the lone humane one with a heart to be the one who charges money to get filled up with the remains and secretions of perverts and politicians.

And rows of kids, all tied up to one another, I'm not sure if it's because their keepers are genuinely worried that something might happen to them, or if the kids are actually just too dumb to not get themselves killed every five minutes - or perhaps, worse still, it's so they get used to the feel of bondage, as if it could be of use later in Life. You never know. And at this time, neither do I.

I'm blessed, in a way. Some people drink to get to this level. I'm just here. Witnessing. The best things happen in the mornings, the strangest sights: birds commiting suicide, car crashes, street lights malfunctionning at rush hour. Or you could stay at home and have the best sex with someone you might be tired of while you both have morning breath.

I'm just along for the ride.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Video Of The Week: Break Machine

Before I was a writer, a musician, a hockey player... I was a child. A break-dancing, spin-on-my-head on a cardboard box child, living in a huge apartment complex on the wrong side of the tracks by the St-Lawrence river in Pierrefonds.

Not all my childhood years, but, say, ages 3 to 6. Before living in Verdun for 3 months, and then NDG for the remainder of my not-adult life.

There was one kid I'd play with - we both had Star Wars figurines and could have fun all day playing with them - that was, of course, decades before keeping them hidden in a closet and not playing with them would have made us millionaires.

But when that friend wasn't available, it was either learning to ride a bike, or dancing - usually by myself, on cardboard boxes.

In 1983, I started listening to 3 artists that would keep me going pretty much until the end of the decade - or at least until Guns N' Roses came along... a man: Michael Jackson, a woman (hey, I was 5, I didn't know!): Boy George (and Culture Club), and a song: Break Machine's Street Dance. And eventually, Samantha Fox took over Boy George's place, but that's a whole other story.

But Street Dance stayed with me a long time. To this day, I put it in my iPod rotation for a couple of weeks every year; it had that (little) bit of edge that Thriller didn't have, the street smarts, the balls. Although in '83, Jacko had balls, he was even black. Again: whole other story.

For some reason, today, at work, it came upon the subject that, as a kid, I was a full-fledged break-dancer. That I had all the fucking moves down, whcih is kind of hard to believe given my actual physique, I'll admit taht much. But still...

If 1993-96 were the defining years of my teens (and the best years of my life, probably), 1983 was the year that made my childhood. Starting kindergarten, making new friends at school but rarely seeing them after school and/or on weekends, my mom working her ass off to raise me and make ends meet - but caring, full of love, happy. Shit, if my childhood had been my 1983 for all years until I was 12, then my teens would have been 1993-96 three times over, fairy tales would not have matched my level of love for life and happiness ever after. I wouldn't have even needed adulthood, my life would have been complete.

But no, I had to witness the rest of the '80s. To this day, having lived it once, I can't understand the whole ''80s revival'' bullshit that's seemingly been going on for 10 years, not even in a sarcastic way: it wasn't just terrible, it was awful, wretched, horror-disguised-as-fuchsia-and-pastels, decadence for assholes and idiots, shitty beers, terrible TV, the worst music of all time, extravagance for the sake of absent-mindedness.

It wasn't the worst decade of the 1900s, it was the worst decade of all fucking time. 1984 isn't just a book by George Orwell, it's a fucking way of life embodied by Duran Duran wearing pastels on a boat in Miami harbor; by haircuts so bad the male cast of Friends wouldn't even dare touch it with someone else's ten-foot pole; by the stench of sweat mixed with cheap cologne drenched in cocaine and that shit that makes Cracker Jacks stick; by an Albertan oil magnate selling the services of a human - the best at what he does, ever! - and not doing jail time for it; by extremely Conservative politics vying to bring back The Church's Values that the people had pushed aside 20 years prior.

It was the worst of times, it was the... worst of times. Until 1985 came along. Then 1986. Then most of 1987. And a bit of 1988, and quite a big chunk of 1989, too. Even 1990 wasn't immune to the shit - thanks, Technotronic.

So I always have 1983 to go back to, the one shining beacon in a decade of black holes and eclipses (and general fecal matter for the soul). And a big part of what made 1983 so special was this song, my Video Of The Week, Street Dance. Thanks for your patience.

Oh, and yes, I know Break Machine was actually produced/kind of put together by Jacques Morali, the brains behind boy-band-of-its-time Village People. So what. It's good, and it's street.