Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
"Number of the Beast is a song I only heard a few times but I know that you are one of the few to have the single in extended play..." An approximation of the fact (source: TM)
OK. When I first moved up to Toronto in 1995 I went there to get a job and make contacts with people in the publishing business; I figured that I was twenty-eight, unemployed and needed to take my finger out. Being anti-social, writing in my parents house and picking apples in the orchard wasn't payin the bills y'know? And I didn't want to work at Michelin packing boxes (no offence) or SAGA (or McDonalds). But moving up to Toronto I never imagined I'd get sidetracked by a glowering, depressed, introverted, bunch of heavy metal enthusiasts from Alberta or that I'd get in the van with them and make a film about them or write about them... I know, I know... what does this have to do with the Sorry's CD? Well hang on a second. Thing is I never thought I'd write about the Annapolis Valley either but I started going to sleep at night in my lonely room in Toronto seeing the Gaspereau mountain and seeing myself on a car driving home from a girlfriends' house late at night with my ol man waiting for me, worried that I'd crash the car. (I guess I don't need to tell you that I did crash the car, twice, too.)Um it was the best of times, though maybe we didn't know it then. There were some characters down there at that time, rockers, grubs, bubs and townies. Very high school but those are the times we all remember, right?
So when I heard that one of my friends growin up (he's in the scouts are cancelled (book) credits) from the valley was putting out a CD I was excited. I mean we were separated by a few years growing up but whatever, this dude was from the Port and I liked going over to his house playing Beggars Banquet, watching TV on Saturday nights, popping pop corn and plotting of ways to get a little mickey of Vodka out of the LC for the hockey games. I was around 17, (and so what if people used to get me to go to the LC for them) my friend was 14 or so but whatever, we liked music and he was interested in girls and so on. Normal shit, right?
So this is a review of THE LAST CLEAR THOUGHT BEFORE YOU FALL BACKWARDS by The Sorry's fronted by Trevor Millet, lead singer, Port rat, actor, musician and so on, punk CD seller. What do I think? I think it has personality and lots of rockin, tunes, catchy riffs. I think it is a good party record and I think the razor blades are for the table tops not the bikini line, no? To be fair on Christmas I thought Mr. Millet was talking about going to The Peaches, (the line is actually "Dad don't you worry we're going to be just fine" - listen to it a few times). Sarah on the same song I thought Green, a family we used to, as kids to play with in Wolfville, so there you go. Its obviously not Sarah Green. Is it? OK that's just me, stuck in a time warp, 1983, whatever. Druthersis good, a real rocker. There's a lot related to Halifax, where the band lives I think and songs such as Harbour, Lords of Fog Town. There's mention of the Grawood, too, the Dal pub. The Falls shows the band can rock out with a little guitar soloing but I can't get it out of my head that Mr. Millet is talking about the reservoir and three pools. Cutoff GWG's and flip flops and long hair and a car running on little to no gas. I like the asides, the unusual things out of the man's mouth, (druthers, awareness, cheap commondity? forget about my dishes and I never wanted to be one of those couples who argued in a restaurant, (either was I (but I was!) when certainly I thought this CD might be a little bit on the punk side it is but more rock n roll. It is a fun record, with even a little bit of Pogues in places. There's a little swearing on it (recently my mother said she liked the swearing in a book I showed her, so there you go!) but the thing is it its weird to see this dude who looks the same as he did when he was thirteen or so but just filled out more, like all of us, no? The thing is why is that we all talk about falling down all the time? Is it a valley thing? If it is, it is a good one. Friggen rights, Trevor. You can get this on itunes (i did) and at stores I magine' and at gigs most likely...
"Every time I fall from grace I picture your cryin face..."
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
It is weird when you see short stories alone in anthologies, they seem like weedy fifteen year-old girls at school dances – awkward, lonely and a little bashful. Are we readers guilty of overlooking them in favour of a buff photospread or a tantalizing expose? I dunno, exactly. But if this is the case then Kate Sutherland's second collection of short stories (in twelve years) is comprised of long lost sisters, aunts and grandmothers who have been finally reunited.
Sutherland writes in clean spare prose that is light in touch and touching to read. Characters and relationships appear and re-appear in different stories.
***FULL BOOK REVIEW***HERE
Monday, August 06, 2007
There are plenty of Canadian journals who publish Canadian poetry, reviews and essays and they all serve the purpose of fostering the Canadian identity and promoting Canadian culture. The Dandelion, Arc, and Taddle Creek Magazine are just a sampling of many journals from Nova Scotia to British Columbia who showcase Canadian poetic talent. This of course is a worthy cause and there are plenty of fine Canadian poets who do not get the attention they deserve outside of Canada. Granted some are publishing in the UK as well as getting book deals in Germany and Italy and so on. But have you heard of them? Probably not; poetry is a rare and savage bird. So many scrap over so little.
***FULL BOOK REVIEW***HERE (at bottom)
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Mama Mia! Oh My Jumpins!
Scouts are Cancelled, the movie (Magpie Productions) is based a book of poetry: Scouts are Cancelled (Insomniac Press) which is written 'in dialect' and which attempts to capture the regional voice of folk in the annapolis valley with specific expressions like: "oh my lamb", "dummer than a sack full of hammers" "givver jimmie givver" "friggen rights" and so on. The film has recently been a festival pick of the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto and has just been accepted into a prestigious literature Festival near Milan in September and will play as part of Pagine Nascote "hidden pages" in Mantova's "festival della letteraturi" which features such poets as Simon Armitage and which showcases other films about writers Hunter S. Thompson and Ernest Hemingway and other well known writers -- of course this is a real feather in the cap of Port Williams, NS raised author, John Stiles -- but since the audience might be Milanese literature lovers they will have to watch the movie in subtitles, so expressions like "Givver Jimmie Givver" "How Yah Doon anight?" will have to be translated into Italian. How this will work is anyone's guess, but we believe it's a Canadian first: Nova Scotian, Annapolis Valley dialect translated into formal Itailan... An example of one of the poems, "little buggers my mom", translated in Italian is: "piccolo maledice il mio mom" and translated back is: "small curses mine mom." Holy Smokes! No make that: Mama Mia!
NB. It is a good thing that the film does not feature the poem Torpedo Chicken as it contains the opening line: "Scrawny Rawny was an ol time stun a mun..." which only hard core port rats would understand anyhow.
The link and blurb are below:
SCOUTS ARE CANCELLED
di John Scott, Canada/Stati Uniti, 2007, 72’
versione originale inglese, sottotitoli in italiano
John Stiles, venditore telefonico di Toronto, non ha
un gran futuro davanti a sé: la sua esistenza è
scandita dai sempre più insofferenti “pronto?” dei
possibili clienti, a cui egli immancabilmente risponde
con un “cooome va?”. Ma è a partire da questo minimo
scambio verbale che Stiles inventa una personalissima
performance. Sia improvvisando nel mezzo delle sue
chiamate dal call center, che poi nelle letture
pubbliche e nei suoi due libri di poesie, Stiles
condensa memorie infantili e un immaginario folk, che
esprime con energia e vocalità che sorprendono e
conquistano i suoi ascoltatori.