Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Well, at least I know I was there.

The summer I was 17 years old, I was with my dad and a friend at the cottage. I say 'a friend', because for some reason, this is the part of the story that seems to be lost in the details. We told the story so many times with my friend 'B' that it became incorporated into the story. Then, a couple of summers ago, another friend, 'C', repeated the story to us with him there and that threw us for a loop.

Anyhow, I was hanging around my cottage with B/C one day being bored or just generally kicking around the sand, when my dad suggested that we go into town and find some girls to hang out with. I drove us in to Port Sydney, or perhaps it was Huntsville as we set out on this 'journey'. My dad swears up and down that we were back within twenty minutes, but I seem to remember searching the streets of whichever area we ended up going for a while. We may have even encountered and talked to a few people, but my memories of that part are hazy. Upon our return, my dad went on a tirade about how easily we had given up. "What the heck are you doing back here? Did you expect girls to be the first place you looked? And what good does coming back here for you? Do you expect girls to just fly in out of the air?"

Now, I'm not sure of the exact proximity of that comment to what happened next, but for the sake of the story, let's say that it was immediate. A hydroplane flew down and landed probably 500 metres away and two girls got out, climbed on the wing and began sunbathing. My dad turned to us and said "Well? What more do you want??"

We were all stunned. Hydroplanes do land on our lake from time to time, but I certainly had never (and haven't since) seen any girls sunbathing on the wings of one. The fact that it would have happened on the very day my dad said that specific thing is ridiculous.

(In case you are interested, we inspected the situation to see and they seemed about our age, but by the time we figured that out and made a motion towards canoeing out there, they packed up and flew away)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Record a Week: Le Tigre - s/t


















SIDE 1.
DECEPTACON
HOT TOPIC
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON CASSAVETTES
THE THE EMPTY
PHANTA
EAU D'BEDROOM DANCING

SIDE 2.
LET'S RUN
MY MY METROCARD
FRIENDSHIP STATION
SLIDESHOW AT FREE UNIVERSITY
DUDE, YR SO CRAZY!
LES AND RAY

I had forgotten both sides of Le Tigre and sort of lumped them into a different category altogether.What I didn't remember is how fun their lo-fi funky music is. It had me grooving and my daughter was loving it too (she will dance to commercial jingles, though). Then, as the second side of the record went on, I remembered the other half of Le Tigre I had forgotten; the half where I get bored of the same drum beat and basic chord structure layered with vocals that are a part of the mix. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but it's more of a fun thing to have a few songs as part of a mix than as a straight through listen.

Deceptacon (recognizable from a Nivea commercial), Hot Topic and Let's Run are my favourite tracks.

One time when I was maybe 19, perhaps 20, I attended a Le Tigre concert at the Opera House in Toronto. I went by myself and stood near the bar for the first 10 or 20 minutes waiting to see one of my friends. After scouring the crowd and failing to see any of them, I saw a girl that i was instantly drawn to. I spent the following minutes (who knows how many) trying to build up the confidence to go speak to her. Just when I hit the moment when I thought I could do it, a friend that I had met a few weeks earlier came up to say hi. As it turned out, this girl was a friend of this friend of mine and came to hang out. This caught me completely off guard and I got completely flabbergasted. I'd like to think it was the change of situation that made be a blabbering fool and ruined my chances, and that if I had been in the situation I had planned on things would've gone differently. Instead I was left wondering.

Got a little off topic there. Anyhow, the show was good and the record was a good rewind to that era.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Brunch: Mango Bread
















INGREDIENTS:
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
3 Egg Replacers (I used 2 parts Ener-G and 1/2 of a mushed over-ripe banana)
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 Mangoes, ripe; peeled and diced
1/2 cup 'Mixed' (chopped walnuts, chopped macadamia nuts, raisins or any one of those)

Sift together the flour and the baking soda and create a well in the middle. Add your egg replacer in the well and stir to mix. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to mix. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for an hour at 350F.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Record a Week: Les Miserables


















SIDE 1.
AT THE END OF THE DAY
I DREAMED A DREAM
LOVELY LADIES
WHO AM I?
COME TO ME (FANTINE'S DEATH)
CONFRONTATION

SIDE 2.
CASTLE ON A CLOUD
MASTER OF THE HOUSE
THE TH√ČNARDIER WALTZ OF TREACHERY
LOOK DOWN
STARS
RED AND BLACK
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING?

SIDE 3.
IN MY LIFE
A HEART FULL OF LOVE
PLUMET ATTACK
ONE DAY MORE
ON MY OWN
JAVERT AT THE BARRACADE/LITTLE PEOPLE
THE FIRST ATTACK
A LITTLE FALL OF RAIN

SIDE 4.
DRINK WITH ME
BRING HIM HOME
DOG EATS DOG
JAVERT'S SUICIDE
TURNING
EMPTY CHAIRS AT EMPTY TABLES
WEDDING CHORALE/BEGGARS AT THE FEAST
FINALE

I've been waiting for this record to come up, the soundtrack to my favourite musical. Ever since I was a little kid, when my mother listened to the soundtrack all the time, I was roped in by the powerful songs and performances. That was followed up by seeing it 3rd row orchestra centre while Michael Burgess was performing in it. I know, I know, Colm Wilkinson is the one to be seen, but he was doing it before I was born, so I have to settle for seeing him in anniversary performances online. Also, he was the Phantom the time I saw Phantom of the Opera.

But I digress. This album, as does any musical, contains a number of misses. When you have to tell a story through song, the boring parts of the story can show through in the musical retelling. However, the power in the songs Look Down, At The End of the Day and One Day More as well as the emotion in I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own and Bring Him Home paint a beautiful story of redemption and love in the time of the French Revolution. Those songs are broken up by the playful Lovely Ladies and Master of the House. Each song is important to the telling of the story in a musical and this one does an excellent job.

When the movie came out last year, there was so much public hype behind it, in addition to my own longstanding love of it, that there was almost no chance of it working out for me. Despite my hatred for Anne Hathaway, I actually thought she did a good job in the movie. However, her character dies SO EARLY in the movie, I can't see how it is Oscar-worthy. It is all for one song, a song that had way more sadness and less anger than any version I had heard before it. Alright, I get that things change and it's nice to get a fresh perspective on things, but this character was so entrenched in my (and many others, I'd imagine) memory a certain way that it just bothers me. The live singing thing just didn't work out for many of the characters and poor Russel Crowe just came out flat. The movie itself has enough character to not need big names to make it a must-see.

Anyhow, in my opinion, the play IS a must-see. See it on Broadway, see it off Broadway, see it in a good theatre town or your local high school. It's just a moving piece of theatre and it gets two thumbs up from this guy.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Record a Week: John Lennon - Rock 'n' Roll



















SIDE 1.
BE-BOP-A-LULA
STAND BY ME
MEDLEY:
-READY TEDDY
-RIP IT UP
YOU CAN'T CATCH ME
AIN'T THAT A SHAME
DO YOU WANT TO DANCE
 SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN

SIDE 2.
SLIPPIN' AND SLIDIN'
PEGGY SUE
MEDLEY:
-BRING IT ON HOME TO ME
-SEND ME SOME LOVIN'
BONY MORONIE
YA YA
JUST BECAUSE

The more I find out about John Lennon, the less interested I am in reading about him. He wasn't a good person and I don't want him to ruin the Beatles for me. I can't take away the fact that he was a large part of the Beatles, but I'm not a super fan of his solo career (to be fair, not really of any of the Beatles' save for a few McCartney songs). His singing is not terrific and I get the feeling he took himself far too seriously. As for Yoko Ono, I'm not even getting into that. She's like the Andy Warhol of music. They had briefly split at the time this record came out, so I guess she wasn't making decisions for him or whatever it was she did.

But I digress. On this album, Lennon plays the Rock standards of the 50s and 60s, including three songs from a catalogue he had agreed to release songs from as part of a lawsuit with a producer.  He also does a few medleys, including the B-Side medley where he plays Bring it on Home to me, a song my family plays, and he does it no justice (nor do we, probably...although my Uncle Jim can really nail it on the piano). I guess I should say I am most familiar with the Animals version of the song and he could be more similar to the original Sam Cooke version. Either way, it didn't really interest me and that was a common theme throughout my listening. Maybe I don't 'get it' with the John Lennon obsession, but I'm pretty alright with that at this point.