Friday, November 28, 2003


Thursday, November 27, 2003

Last night I read DAve Tompkins Hip Hop reviews in the October issue of the wire. (sorry, I dont think you can find them on line)

I would highly recommend it for almost poetic/comical enjoyment. It is like reading another language or

Probably how non-hockey fans feel when the hear my friends and I disecting the previous nights game
in detail.


Libraries are so great and so important. (I am reminded to pick up my books that are on hold this week!)

Here is a short piece by one of my favourite poets, John Barlow on this topic:

Being a child of Librarians, and a writer, my opinions
of the value and importance of libraries is probably
overdetermined, conflated with a sense of life central
where others might only imagine a vague or distant
function. But it has often been my opinion that aside
the very most basic instances of that which we pay
taxes for, libraries are perhaps the last yielding
the kind of direct and as-originally-intended value
to us. While Universities become vague simulacras
of what the economically privileged represent of
human potential in total, and health care is split
among forms of lostness attributable also to
economic and regional disparities and clientele
preferences, (but for enormously overworked
idealists among medical and health workers),
and politicians become warriors at putting the
public at bay, and then dive clear of democratic
imperatives, (the so called promises) restoring
into their own agendas, and other startled
frightened core personnel of the State become
ever more focused on their own preservation,
in our distressing world, Libraries continue to
be of a pure value to communities and individuals both,
dramatically fascilitating salvation of the possibility
of gaining and benefitting from knowledge of every sort.
And so it is with great sadness that I read
of the closing of libraries and art galleries in Saskatchewan,
and urge that ways be sought to keep these valuable and
profound neighbourhood institutions. From the substantial
taxes drawn from me as both a tired worker and, as
with regrettably many in artistic and working
communities, a smoker of cigarettes and drinker
of beer, I know it is close to impossible to
have a "family physician" but rather to have
to go to emergency or walk in clinics,
because the technology and pharmaceuticals
cost so much, and I know that if I seek to contact
a politician, I will be met with staffers trained
in the arts of mitigation, believing themselves
incommensurately more intelligent in relation
to whatever subject at hand, as it pertains to
state function, than the poor miserable caller,
and I know that I will have essentially no role
in influencing the politician's action, any more
than in influencing a corporation's charging of fees
or a corner store's markup on household products,
and as with many other "services" I am aware
that I would be contacting a stressed, overworked,
usually distracted performer of given functions.
But at a library so often what I seek would in
fact be available, analysis of a given subject
or lucid consideration of a world, and with very
knowledgeable people present to further my quest.
So as much as I am given to clear support of
libraries, by lifestyle and background, I think
it is also quite clear from a purely realistic
viewpoint that keeping libraries strong and alive
is politically, economically, intellectually
and socially of the utmost immediate good purpose.
I hope you will consider alternatives to the closing
of the libraries in question. So much else simply isn't
working any more, but libraries are.

Very hopefully, John Barlow

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

What a great closing night for the Grand festival. Hearing John Oswald perform solo saxophone was definitely
one of the highlights. I dont know how he plays so much, so fast, so beautifully and never seems to repeat himself
(but in a good way)

It was really fun playing a set with him and Rob Clutton after it too. I felt very comfortable sharing the
stage with those guys.

Rob and I were quite happy with our duo set too. It seem like we have broken some new ground trying to
deal with improvisation and composition simultaneously. We didnt record it but the feedback was fantasticl.
(so good to have friends!) Thanks again to Ron Gaskin, Mike Hansen, Soundscapes, Verge Music and Amsterdamn brewery. And to you for coming and making it a Grand FEstival!

p.s. Musicworks is having a benefit Friday night at the Gladstone here in Toronto...I heard it was curated by
mr. Oswald himself, not sure its true but it is a great cause and a cool venue.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Hockey VS Music (Gretzky vs Zappa)

It finally happened; I had to decide. Hockey or music? Or maybe it happens all the time...hmmm, it did happpen
last week when I had to choose between rehearsing or playing a shinny game with Paul Coffey, it happens
when I decide to play hockey once a week vs twice because of music.

Hmmm, I guess I have a little problem.

This time was intense! Yesterday at 430pm EST one of my fave radio shows on CBC; Definitely Not the Opera was
having a feature on Frank Zappa by one of my favourite music analysts, proffessor, writer etc. Rob Bowman.

Frank Zappa is one of my main inspirations and someone I think about all the time. ( I wish I had met him and heard
him perform live.

At the exact same time CBC television (wow, I am wired to the Corporation eh?) was showing the Heritage Classic Hockey Game with the old timer Oilers vs the Old timer Habs. Gretzky vs Lafleur!! And they werr
playing outside.

Of course I have no blank cassettes or VHs tapes. (hard to believe eh?) I thought I would make my choice
naturally when the time came...the theme music started for Hockey Night IN Canada and on came Rob waxing
poetic about Zappa.

I couldnt do it. I couldnt turn one of them off or even lower the volume. I litteraly sat so that one ear was
listening to the radio and one watching the TV. This was pretty funny as I didnt really catch the nuance of
either. But that could have been because my 16month old son Leo was crying next to me in his mothers arms as well.

I guess I really know now that I am divided in my passions, and when people say "it's just music," or "its just
hockey." I will remember this funny saturday afternoon in November.

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