Monday, January 16, 2006

See Jews Run

Sir Thomas Browne wrote a very wise thing, once. Actually, he wrote many wise things and more than once, and also some very silly things. He wrote about his own writing, for instance, saying, "It was set down many years past, and was the sense of my conceptions at that time, not an immutable Law unto my advancing judgement at all times; and therefore there might be many things therein plausible unto my passed apprehension, which are not agreeable unto my present self." Which is a torturous sentence, bent all ways upon the mind, but very true. Some people might think it a cop-out to, in essence, say, "I wrote it when I was young and foolish. Now I'm older and wiser and don't stand by it," but I think it takes more courage to publicly change your mind or admit that you were mistaken than to merely hold the line as it was formerly held. So this paragraph is my formal declaration to whoever reads my words—I write a lot of foolishness, some of it in earnest. And I reserve the right to deny my old self in the sentences I have written. All is flux, of course, and to reject that concept would be to deny the nature of this world and the hearts of men.

"Opulent Canine" + The Gay The big producer in this band's 2003 release, You Know The Rules, was Kurt Dahle, who a lot of people know of as the drummer for a little outfit called The New Pornographers—thus we have the cut-glass explanation for les sonic similarities between these two bands. The Gay was not one of Dahle's most successful efforts, endurance-wise, unlike Limblifter or Age Of Electric (whose wailing "Remote Control" sounds not a lot like a pile of sand and quite a lot like a rocked-out The Gay). The band seems to be on permanent hiatus (their label, Mint Records, has them listed as "inactive") which is a shame, because the music they made was gorgeous, filled with more hooks than a thirty-year old sturgeon. That was a local-colour-reference, btw, since both the fish and the band are indigenous to British Columbia—Vancouver, to be exact. Anyways, I still remember heading down past Kingsway and hearing this song on the radio, a brilliant piece of Victoriana by way of the 1970's, just an unending wash of sound and harmony like you don't know. The lyrics are nonsense, of course, but in a good way—"Push Mister Pillow away", anyone? Somewhere in the mists of the last month or two, I read about a DVD along the lines of DIG! detailing The Gay's tour with The New Pornographers. Apparently, there was a lot of office romance between the two bands, which may partly explain the former group's long inactivity. Oh, let's face it, the band doesn't exist anymore, it's just me hoping they'll regroup and swing through Edmonton again. They're so brilliant, I've got to give you another mp3 from their release, another gorgeous hit for your musical vein, a very good song called "Critics". DL immediately!

Yiddish With Dick And Jane + Ellis Weiner / Barbara Davilman You know, S really surprised me, handing me this book as a Christmas present. It's a joke book, but a good joke book, something along the lines of that Nancy Drew parody that came out a while back. Dick and Jane have become part of the post-modern world in this little fable slash Yiddish lexicon. Sally is overweight, Tom is gay, Mother's just had a stroke, unsatisfied wives are cheats and so are mercenary shop-keepers. Cave canem. This book is worthy of being read for two reasons: 1) Sally signs up for a course called "Transgressive Feminist Ceramics"—and any book that mocks modern politically-correct academia pretty much gets the smile from this lad—and 2) the immortal line, "See Jane schlep."

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