Tuesday, September 19, 2006

81 Rebmetpes: Latsyrc, Yadhtrib Yppah

Scritti Politti + "After Six" The Scritti Politti track which Fluxblog posted today is too good not to share. And, despite the fact that Matthew Perpetua gets 3000+ visitors a day and I average 150, and despite the nameless numberless scribblers who have also shared la musique de SP, I feel compelled to share this exact song—and for the following reasons. 1) Gold is useless, you know ("A piece of bread will buy a bag of gold"), for it cannot be eaten and the smell of the metal is bitter. BUT—if you hide your gold underneath your miserly lap, your nose will grow long and spiny, your fingers will curl in toward your palms, your double-lidded eyes will grow heavy and you'll barely be able to switch your tail as you fall asleep, a gold-hearted man turned a wicked dragon, guarding your secret until the sword of some thief blunts itself on your stony heart. Well, I don't want to be a dragon, you know. That being said, this is a rather small-hearted song—"Please keep your love away from me" or "Truth, shed your light where I can't see". 2) Again, we all saw The Ring. Sharing is survival. For example, Norman Greenbaum lives on forever in the opening few seconds of this track. Which is rather fitting, since "Spirit In The Sky" is also a gospel-inspired song turned on its side. 3) This song makes me happy in a very particular way, in a way which I was previously unaware even existed. A new kind of happiness! Drugs surely pale, religion often reduces, but for every good or pleasing or fitting song, there is a certain and peculiar shade of emotion elicited, which displays itself in the heart, soul, body, like a bird in the sun. And a bird in the sun is worth any amount of silent crows and tuneless jays in the brittle brittle forest.

Happy Birthday, Crystal. We love you. I love you.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"S-S-S-Sit." And The Dog Says, "What?"

There's your picture. She's shy and doesn't play. Afraid of hurting her paws, likely. Hisses at strangers. Accepting applications for new best friend ever since I left town. Whatever. What's that? No, not much. My time has been pretty evenly divided between Morinville, St. Albert and Edmonton. Not by choice, though. Listen, the mechanic called me up! Yes. Of COURSE about the car. No, this morning. So I went down right? Right. It passed the inspection. Legal to register, insure, drive and crash. Well, took about four hours divvied up between M Town and St. A before I managed to get all the papers in order, and then back to M Town again to pick up the car. Noticed some trouble on the brakes, though. What? No, it passed the inspection. Oh, I took it to the garage about three weeks ago, a little more. Supposed to be just three days. Brake-line was leaking, driver's side. So I get out of the car, right? And the mechanic who inspected the car comes over and notices my brake light is on. No brake fluid in the reservoir. I've seen that before. So he fills up the rez, I pump the brakes, and, just like three weeks ago, the fluid spurts out of the line and onto the floor. Oh, it was only a two-hour bus ride back to Edmonton, no problem. Getting back Sunday night is going to be tough, though. Says it won't be ready till Monday, now, and there's no buses back from M Town on the sabbath.


Thomas H. Raddall + Pride's Fancy Best place at Grandma's house wasn't Grandma's house at all. I'm talking about the greenhouse, of course, way behind the garage. Three large spruce grew beside the front door of that greenhouse, and a middlingly large field, variously full of corn or cabbages or potatoes or sickeningly sweet squash, ran full up to the forest behind. Better inside, though. Blue morning glory bundled up the legs of the potting tables, or crowded and canopied under the large plates of glass. A dusty earthy smell in the air, and a soft-headed garter snake wriggling away between the new tomatoes and old-growth lily-of-the-valley. Grandpa in green rubber boots would vanish for half an hour, coming back from the corner store with a handful of chocolate bars and a thoughtful expression. "Your mother's calling you," he'd say, and we would essentially be booted out of the petunias and cucumbers and dill, and could play in the goldenrod, if we pleased. We were never called away from Grandpa for any real reason, just that Grandma figured four grandchildren rattling around his greenhouse for much more than an hour was enough disturbance for Grandpa. I'd leave the goldenrod early, though, and climb into the garage, where Grandpa had boxes and boxes of books, dusty softcovers smelling of mold and mildew, but the print was still crisp. There I read the Bhagavad Gita, and the poetry of Al Purdy, and over a hundred Harlequins, and Escape From Colditz and also an inelegant hardcover titled Pride's Fancy, which was my introduction to Thomas Raddall and the only novel of his which has stayed with me over the years. His Majesty's Yankees, I remember, was decent; but that is all I remember. Pride's Fancy, though, is still golden for me, covered with a fine ah-those-were-the-days that will never disappear from my heart. But, besides all that, this book, Pride's Fancy, is a decent novel. And that is something. Consider the opening line—

It began on the night we thought all was ended—the night we left Hispaniola for home, with the town of Cap François burning red behind us and the smoke alive with the flicker of the fires, and the darkness wild with shots and cries.

The prose almost swings into poetry there at the end of the line, doesn't it? Wonderful. The story is the usual bildungsroman, with a twist lifted from Wuthering Heights. Whereas that much earlier novel had Heathcliff as the evil genius paired with the novel's early heroine (yes, I realize I'm taking liberties with Heathcliff by relegating him to the role of mere genius, but, listen, it's a blog-post, not an actual essay), Raddall's red-haired hero, Nathan Cain, is paired with the Carribean refugee slash motherless Lia-Marie Dolainde as both are made to feel unwelcome in the heart of the local ruling family, aptly named Pride. Ten years later, the Pride family ships a privateer back to the Caribbean for pirating among the chaos caused by the slave rebellion across Hispaniola and Santo Domingo. Or has the ship really been outfitted to track down the long-buried treasure of the outcast Dolainde family? Nathan Cain knows, and so does Mr. Pride, and maybe Felicity Pride, Nathan's cold paramour, maybe she knows, too. But certainly Lia-Marie, hot and tropical, stowing herself away on the ship called Pride's Fancy, she does not know the real reason these New Brunswickers are heading to the Caribbean. She only wishes to return to the days which will never be again. But there's trouble ahead, I tell you, if they go. Will they go? Will they all go? They are going. There will be trouble.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

School Starts Tomorrow, So NPTW*

*No post this week.