Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Costumes

If I Did Dress Up

Obviously I'm far too cool and too old to dress up for Halloween. What would the neighbours think? Oh, that's right: fuck my neighbours. Morons, they are.

But if I were to dress up for Halloween, I would wear a suit. And then when someone guessed what I was -- lawyer, gangster, douche bag wearing a suit -- I would say, No, I'm going to a funeral later.

Then the questioner would feel awful. That's the spirit of Halloween, right?

Or am I missing the point?


Monday, October 29, 2007

Risk Aversion

Do You Roll?

I asked myself today: Have I ever taken a real risk in life?

Some people say, Getting up in the morning is taking a risk. These people do not take risks.

I'm talking Risk -- the kind if you fail, you're fucked. That kind. And I can't remember ever taking that kind of risk, putting it all on one colour, one number and not crossing my fingers, because after all, that's superstitious bullshit that gets you from A to Nothing.

I've never heard the rattle of the die. I've never flipped the coin and said, This is final. Have you?

My point: Most successful people say they took a risk before they succeeded; some took risks and failed before they took another with a better outcome. Most successful people say this to make every shabby loser, such as myself, feel inadequate. I don't have the balls to go for it all. Critics are saying this about Barack Obama's presidential bid; he wants it but not enough to get covered in It. So what to do? Suck it up? Hold my breathe and step off?

Huh? How many clichés about success can one take?

One more, two more, three...



October Music

First, The Concert Post-Part

October was a good month for concerts. On three successive Mondays I had the pleasure to take in Against Me!, Hot Hot Heat, and Spoon. If I paid, which I did, you can guess I liked the music. Performance-wise, I would lean towards Spoon or Against Me! but that's mostly because Hot Hot Heat played on Thanksgiving Monday and only a small crowd took in the show and lessened the club show atmosphere.

Last Friday I took in my last October concert -- a Matt Good acoustic set at Massey Hall. Good's more-than-two-hour-set and double encore made the show the best of October. Sure, his music can be a bit depressing but it's fantastic live. And he has a bit of a stand-up streak between songs.

New CDs


That should be enough, but some people don't like the album, which is fine that they do but they are wrong. Also wrong: disliking the band and still wanting to download the album presumably to be part of their no-label choice. Also dumb: complaining that you have to pay first before you can download the music -- that's generally how transactions work on the Internet. Pay then gut stuff.

Serj Tankian. Good, good album and it warmed me to his band's stuff, too. Should have liked them sooner.

Babyshambles. Enjoyable but it also whispers "holding pattern."

All I can think of now. I've heard more this month.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Verve

A Not So Great Return

On the strength of one fantastic album--"Urban Hymns"--and a collection of other songs, the British band the Verve became of of my Favourites, whatever that means.

They broke up after "Hymns" was released, but are now back together.

Their first jam session (I think that's the best how to call out) is online for free here.

Didn't care for it. I hope they get back to writing actual songs.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Zuckerman Novels

A Bit About Roth

I'm now half-way through reading all of Philip Roth's Zuckerman novels. The strongest, most enjoyable have been the original, "The Ghost Writer," "The Counterlife," and "American Pastoral."

If you've never read any of Roth's Zuckerman novels. then I should tell you that the books center on or are narrated by one of the author's alter egos, Nathan Zuckerman.

Within the books, there is discussion on the role of the writer and how life reflects in fiction. Roth clearly has a handle on the writer-as-protagonist genre, and I would find it hard to muster the desire to want to read someone else try out that genre. To match Roth would be hard; to surpass him, impossible.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Moving Pictures

Good and Assumed Awful

Last night I saw "Michael Clayton." The good reviews were right, especially what David Denby wrote in his review in the New Yorker a few weeks ago that the dialogue is especially strong and enjoyable in the film.

Before the film I saw two trailers of note because of how awful they look. The first is a type of geriatric buddy film starring Jack Nicholson as "Jack Nicholson" and Morgan Freeman as "Somebodywhoknows" in "The Bucket List." Can there really be audience for this boredom?

The other film is the type of vanity project Oscar winners are allowed to make. This time it's Hillary Swank in a movie that will surely be called a "chic flick" and surely be as awful as that label suggests. The title has the added of significance as doubling as the reason why no person should see the film called "P.S. I Love You." (I can't find a link to the trailer; be thankful.)

Both of those Assumed Awfuls are out on Christmas Day giving another reason to stay home with your family.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Youth Beat

The Widening Divide

Today I became a victim to the cutting edge of pedestrian traffic violations.

The scene: The avenue attached to my boulevard.

Time: Just past noon, eastern standard.

The incident: As I drove down the street, a group of youths, perhaps 10 or 12, stretched across the street making it difficult to get by.

My reaction: I was terrified. Here, in my town! The youths had devised a sinister plan that threatened to disrupt traffic. It was a brilliant idea thought, and a brilliant idea executed. I kept my head down as I cautiously drove past the crowd. I avoided making all eye contact, because I’m a coward. Finally, I rushed home and wrote this blog entry.

I’m lucky. These kids are the new Badasses of the world and they will fuck with Anybody provided Anybody is driving a car even if it’s a cheap, beat-up rumbler.

But then I thought: Making it difficult for a person to drive by—that’s their best rebellion? Pathetic, really. Hell, unless a tank is rolling in their direction, these youths aren’t rebelling; they’re acting like a group of annoying asshole adolescents.[i]

But maybe I’m just getting old. After all, I’m a coward[ii] for not shaking my fist at any of these kids. I didn’t even honk.

The sad truth is I wake up each morning and measure the size of my prostate: Once one has crossed the Age Line I have, one cannot get into the habit quick enough.

Some days I like to pretend I’m young again: I apply thick layers of clay to my face to cover my many depressing wrinkles.

But the cliché is youth isn’t your age, it’s a state of mind.[iii] But this delusion was probably first uttered by an octogenarian in the middle of getting his diaper changed.

Truth: I’m getting old and so are my ideas. Because I was born in a year before 1990, any idea I have automatically ages at least 10 years upon the act of saying it or writing it. These Old Man Ideas are evidence of my early on-set decrepitness and/or how I’m a prude.

For instance, an idea for youths reading this: If your parents ever catch you masturbating, simply use the excuse that you were checking for testicular tumours.[iv] Too graphic? Who’s the prude now?

All I’m asking for is today’s youth to try harder. Making it difficult for cars to get by on a street is the least exciting rebellion I can think of; it’s a failure of imagination. I want the youth of today to cause real fear and give me something different to write about other than my prostate.


[i] Points for alliteration.

[ii] Second time I call myself a "coward" in the same post.

[iii] I think that’s the cliché; who gives a fuck if I got it wrong?

[iv] Girls can also use this excuse: Simply feign ignorance and blame your school for not providing enough sex ed, specifically a unit about female anatomy.

Me: Write?

You! Yes, you! I'm Talking to You!

My god, who would think I would ever come back here? O.K., other than me.

The Blog Bug has resurfaced. Once a day: a promise to you, the gracious audience.