Friday, October 14, 2005

The Twa Corbies (This Headline Is Nonsense)

I just started this new job. I know this girl (that is, know as in "Yeah, I've seen you around, I guess you talked to my brother/sister/friend/cat once, and didn't I once know your brother/sister/friend/dog?"), and she's not the slimmest girl in the world. Not by a long shot. A very long shot. Which is okay, cause even if that's not my fave, there's a billion guys whose fave she definitely is. And now it's starting to sound like I'm calling her a slut, which she very well could be, who knows? I don't. But I do know she's fat. And short. And possibly a slut. But I forgot all that when, just being friendly, she started talking to me, the Do-you-know-this-person conversation.

"You have a girlfriend," she said. "Is she tall and slender?"

"No, she's short and fat," I replied (because I shouldn't be allowed out in public). "I only date the uglies."

Faithful few, is this how to get ahead in a job? Is this how to build a reference-list, a resume? Something tells me I'm not playing my strongest cards. At least, I hope not.

[Edit: A particular person wishes me to inform the passing reader that my girlfriend is neither short nor fat nor ugly. Just for clarification.]

Reading: I don't know my Hegel from my Jewish flatbread. It's a fact. And even though I can reasonably identify a bagel as a bagel, even when it's buried under a load of smells-like-that-baker's-hand poppyseeds, when someone tells me that I should be able to identify Hegel in Kierkegaard, I just shrug my shoulders, freeze them cold with a careless grimace, and casually respond, "Oh, should I?" If the never-ending years of uni and college have taught me anything (and let's not forget nightschool with fifty Filipinos and assorted natives), it's that philosophy, as something other than a good laugh between mouthfuls of helium, is useless. That half-empty cup of pudding I left under my bed for six months is more useful, has greater utility, is more aesthetically functional, than philosophy. But I still read the stuff. See, the trick is to remember that, like fiction, it's just made up! Once you start reading Nietzche like this, for instance, he's funnier than Dave Barry on whatever substances Dave Barry takes. Man, that Dave Barry sure is a funny guy. And so is Nietzche. If The Third Reich had only approached Nietzche like this, there would have been no WWII. See, philopsophy is bad. That's why you've got to read it like fiction. And there's nowhere better to start, my sons and daughters, than Kierkegaard. First of all, he looks great on the bookshelf. Pull down a sturdy volume like Fear And Loathing, for instance, and you'll probably see a little of it in the faces of your peers. Do not, I quickly caution you, actually read any of the text aloud. The ridiculousness of what you read will immediately dispell any serious impressions you were trying to create. And why were you trying to do that anyways> Somtimes, I think you're pathetic, okay? I don't mean to hurt you, I'm just being honest. No, I'm not saying I'm not pathetic. I keep a blog, after all. In which I can write anything I wish, so don't get angry at me. Not about philosophy, at least. Seriously, Kierkegaard is a great writer. Who else (aside from Dan Brown, kind of) would think to bury a philosophic text under a preface saying that the text had been found like buried treasure, secret papers in a secret compartment of an old desk. The writer takes these papers to a romantic spot in the autumn woods and collates them for us there. That was kind of him. I'll tell you, these papers contain many strange sentences:

Why was I not born in Nyboder? Why did I not die in infancy? Then my father would have laid me in a little box, taken it under his arm, carried me out some Sunday afternoon to the grave, thrown the earth upon the casket himself, and softly uttered a few words, intelligible only to himself. It was only in the happy days when the world was young, that men could imagine infants weeping in Elysium, because they had died so early

This, from a book that begins, "What is a poet?" Oh, I think the question is answered. The writer himself is a poet. You could hardly meet with prose like this anywhere outside of Edgar Allan Poe. And the whole book is crammed with gems like these. Go prize a few of them from the crown, if you want. The book is called Either/Or + Søren Kierkegaard

Listening: In the middle of our lives, we came to ourselves in a dark wood, and found that the sleek crows had eaten the trail of crumbs we'd so cleverly left behind us so as not to lose our way. Now we had lost our way. The forest was very grim, and there were a lots of odd black shadows. I was convinced that a tall porcelain man followed us closely, often standing at the edges of clearings before we got there. Someone was singing, with a small-ranging voice (but he knew what to do with it). Well, it turned out to be Corb Lund.

Last night, I went, obviously, to the Corb Lund concert down at The Jube. And, parenthetically, why does a city with a jumping music scene like Edmonton not have a decent venue for anything above two-hundred people? The Starlite and The Sidetrack are it. Don't even talk to me about Red's, all the times I've been pushed behind that stage-blocking pillar, there. Everywhere else, you have to sit down, and God help you if the guy next to you weighs more than you do, because that means he's sitting in his seat AND your seat. And your lap. Which is cool if you're one of the guys down at The Roost, or, let's face it, just plain lonely, but I'm neither (yet), and so I resent it, you see, I resent sitting down to watch music. You don't WATCH music, unless it's seven o'clock on a Friday night and Electric Circus is on. Godsake, I loved that show. And then they'd re-air it again on Saturday morning. I'd cut back to it on the ad-breaks during The Tick and The Mask. I'll tell you what, every time I start thinking I'm ironically cool for being able to reference Rocket Robin Hood, I also remember watching those nubile bodies writhing to Da Rude on Muchmusic and you know what? I wish I was that uncool again. Oh, I'm still uncool, that's right, the choir knows, ok? It was just so much more fun being uncool then than it is now. I'm talking perspective, here, which wasn't all that bad at The Jube. Even though we were on the first balcony (see image of ticket for confirmation, please), I had a good sightline all the way to the spartan stage where Corb Lund was dealing retro-country with his newly-named Hurtin' Albertans. Except that it isn't retro, is it? I've heard it called retro, people saying they love his sound, but his sound is just basically a good blues bar-band sound. With a double bass. You know where the throwback is? It's the songs themselves, I think. Country used to be, "Life is hard, it's not getting better, I'm going to eat it anyways, let's sing". Country now is Garth Brooks singing about rolling thunder. Country now is Jimmy Buffet covering Jimmy Buffet. Country now is getting divorced from Renee Zelleweger. Corb Lund isn't about that. Yet. It's his sentiment that's old country, not his sound. And you put a super tight bar-band behind that sentiment, you'll have everybody listening to that sound. There were entire families of denim there, of course, but lots of valley girls, too (hello, St.Albert!), lots of oldsters out for a country night, lots of drunk guys crammed into billowing bomber-jackets, couple of punks with pink hair and way-too-relaxed attitudes, the odd downtown yuppie here and there, and even a few hipsters in tight sweaters and corduroy. I caught most of the singles, including "Truck Got Stuck", "Roughest Neck Around", "Shine Up My Boots" and a killr (check that Flickr style spelling) rendition of "Expectation And the Blues", but had to leave before they got to "Time To Switch To Whiskey". The band was supertight, the sound a little loud, but over all, well worth the price of the concert. Corbie's playing at The Sidetrack tonight. It can only be better. But if you can't get to The Sidetrack, what about checking out a boatload of his songs? Nearly everything is there, including the new stuff, but I still like, halfway down the page, "The Roughest Neck Around" + The Corb Lund Band

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