March 29, 2008
Tonight is Earth Hour. A chance for people to turn their lights out for an hour and feel better about themselves. So much so that they’ll probably drive their car somewhere they don’t need to tomorrow to buy something with extra non-recyclable packaging and not feel bad about leaving all their lights on when they do it. But Earth Hour is, of course, just a “symbolic gesture” meant to get people to think about energy conservation, not a solution. Since an actual solution would entail outlawing of the use of incandescent lighting after 7pm every night, which would undoubtedly cause rioting, instead we are left with an impotent symbolic gesture. Next I’m sure there’ll be a “leave your car at home day” so that people can feel better about driving their cars instead of what needs to happen which is an outright ban of the private ownership of vehicles for personal use. Perhaps there will also be a six hour period next month where grocery stores don’t give out plastic bags at all or coffee shops will require people to bring in their own cups for twenty minutes or so. Business as usual for the rest of the year.
There seems to be a feeling that we can correct the ecological problems we face without curtailing peoples’ liberty and, that properly educated, people will curtail their behavior on their own. I tend to side with Hobbes on this one. People are far too self-interested to do the right thing and will instead try to get away with as much as possible within the parameters layed out for them. This is why, he says, we need a government and laws; because life in the state of Nature is “nasty, brutish and short.” At present the parameters of ecological behavior set out for us give us the freedom to destroy the planet. The danger of events like Earth Hour serve as valves to relieve the pressure of guilt within the populous caused by having the liberty to consume resources unfettered instead of encouraging real change (i.e. legislated curtailment of activities by citizens which harm the environment).
I suppose I can’t ultimately say Earth Hour is a terrible thing. The intention is certainly commendable. But the backslapping smugness which will be the result is utterly abhorrent.
March 22, 2008
» Pretty much over the cold now. Almost well enough to go to the “Nymphomania” cabaret tonight where a Pandanoids gift pack is being auctioned off (or something) to raise money for a summercamp for children of same-sex parents. But I’m not really well enough to go out. I’ve also taken to wearing a purple butterfly blanket as sort of a protective cape which might not go over well in public.
» I’ve watched a lot of DVD, read a lot of comic and played a lot of videogame this week. It was a nice break but I’m looking forward to normal brain functionality.
» This week Urbane Decay are featured in a podcast based out of… the internet somewhere. Minnesota I believe. By a guy named Tony from Pollyana Cowgirl Records.
March 20, 2008
» All the coughing I’ve been doing has been toning my abs. Sort of.
» I always wondered what it meant. Apparently “a human being in despair” in flag semaphore.
» Simply awesome.
March 18, 2008
» Went to bed early last night, feverish again. Didn’t have such crazy dreams though. My skin feels like it’s be run over with a cheese grater. No, not exactly. More like my clothes are made of fibreglass.
» 53 Mondays reached #11 on the CJSW charts last week.
March 17, 2008
» Last night I had a fever. I had a reoccurring dream I was a videoclip of a Ferrari . Not I was in a videoclip of driving a Ferrari or that I was an anthropomorphized Ferrari in a videoclip but I was the videoclip. And I was trying to embed myself into a blog post. The Ferrari was red. Magnum P.I.’s Ferrari, I suppose.
» Apparently I’m dressed in all green on St. Patrick’s day. I feel like a tool.
» Listening to Philosophy Bites podcasts in my work-pod at work is a godsend.
March 13, 2008
» A couple of weeks ago I got probably the worst haircut ever.
» The new Dead Meadow, Old Growth, got a bit slagged on All Music. They didn’t think it rocks enough. I suppose they did get rid of the desert Sabbath fuzz. But they traded it for some equally awesome Spacemen 3 vibes, sung in that slightly bored-sounding manner of 90’s british indie-rock. Sort of like Teenage Fanclub covering early Pink Floyd which would, in fact, sound a fair bit like the Spacemen 3 catalogue only played better, as if reworked by King Crimson. A particularly stoned King Crimson. It’s sort of 2008’s take on 1988’s take on 1968 stoner pop. Compounding retro.
» Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah is a fairly bizarre foray into blaxploitation revival. Or homage as the case may be. It opens with a truly left field Funkadelic-esque jam and generally stays in that vein yet, unfortunately, doesn’t get weirder and weirder. But as weirder and weirder might equal progressively unlistenable, it might be for the best. Even if it kind of begs to leap into Public Enemy territory at points and feels restrained when it doesn’t, much in the same way Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye records talk about feelings of inner-city rage in a unnervingly smooth and slinky manner. In fact, it sounds nearly like a mash up of What’s Going On and Maxinquaye might. Compounding retro once again.
March 10, 2008
» It is far too early to save daylight. If for no other reason than I had a very dark, very cold walk to the subway this morning. I almost lost both thumbs. Stupid Americans.
» March break means the TTC is less busy. Toronto could do with a few thousand fewer people.
» Having spent a little time with the new Bauhaus album I have to say it’s a pretty amazing job they did replicating an actual Bauhaus album. It really does sound like the follow up to Burning From The Inside. Which it shouldn’t considering how the music of the component parts has evolved over 25 years. It’s hard not to feel a little cynical about the thing; hard to tell if that’s how they naturally play together of if Daniel Ash wasn’t thinking, “Well, when I’m in Bauhaus I do a lot of this kind of guitar stuff and better put a sax in one song,” while Peter Murphy was saying, “I guess I should reference T.Rex and death a lot in the lyrics.” It’s hard not to want to feel that way about it except it doesn’t really let you. Probably because, similar to their heroes Bolan and Bowie, at no point in their career have Bauhaus not been a ridiculous parody of themselves.
Portishead have also made a convincing follow up tribute to themselves. Third sounds exactly like a follow up to 1998’s self-titled disc, though more abstract with fewer immediate hooks. They also build on some of the british folk sound Beth Gibbons explored with Rustin’ Man while at the same time actually incorporating electronic elements into the mix (it always bothered me they got shelved in “electronica” when, really, there’s nothing electronic about their music aside from a few samples). You can tell they were aware fans were so gagging for new material they could be as dark and experimental as they wanted. My fears the new album would be an MOR slick cash-grabbing Starbucks compilation ballad-fest have been assuaged.
Now if the rumoured new My Bloody Valentine album actually sounds like My Bloody Valentine, I’ll be a happy man indeed. Barring that, the new Jesus and Mary Chain record not being utterly atrocious would be nice.