Quotulatiousness

July 5, 2015

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson

Filed under: Cancon,Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

From the recent Rolling Stone profile of Rush:

Lee has been friends with Alex Lifeson since they were nerdy teens in the Sixties; the guitarist set Lee up with Young, whom he married in 1976. Clearly, Lee has no issues with commitment, though touring strained his relationship with his family until Rush cut out European dates in the Eighties. “The worst thing you can do in marriage is to look at your partner as your wife or your husband,” says Lee. “We decided to treat each other as if we were still boyfriend and girlfriend. That subtle bit of semantics helps a lot, I think.”

Lee, born Gary Lee Weinrib, is the child of Holocaust survivors, and he traces some of his drive to his parents’ legacy. They met in a Nazi work camp in occupied Poland in around 1941, and had fallen in love by the time they were both imprisoned in Auschwitz. “They were, like, 13 years old,” Lee says over a late-night beer in a sleepy Tulsa bar, “so it was kind of surreal preteen shit. He would bribe guards to bring shoes to my mom.” As the war went on, his mother was transferred to Bergen-Belsen, and his father to Dachau.

When the Allies liberated the camps, his father set out in search of his mom. He found her at Bergen-Belsen, which had become a displaced-persons camp. They married there, and immigrated to Canada. But years of forced labor had damaged Lee’s father’s heart, and he died at age 45, when Lee was 12. Lee’s mother had to go to work, leaving her three kids in the care of their overwhelmed, elderly grandmother. “Had my dad survived,” says Lee, “I might not be sitting here talking to you — because he was a tough guy, and if he didn’t want me to do something, I may not have done it. It was a terrible blow that I lost him, but the course of my life changed because my mother couldn’t control us.”

[…]

Close to midnight, with Rush’s tour kickoff less than 24 hours away, Alex Lifeson is kneeling on a relocated couch pillow by the open window of his hotel room, exhaling pungent weed smoke into the humid Tulsa air. (If you’re in Rush and you want to get high, you do so considerately.) He breaks into a violent coughing fit. “Well, that’s the thing with this pot these days,” he says, passing the joint. “It’s so expansive in your lungs.” The streets below us are post-apocalyptically empty. “It’s busy in town tonight,” Lifeson says.

Earlier that night, over a pleasantly boozy dinner, I ask Lifeson if weed has helped him write Rush’s music. “Maybe just 80 percent of the time,” he says, roaring. “I find that smoking pot can be a really great creative agent.” (Lee quit pot in the early Eighties; Peart says, “I like marijuana, but I’m not going to be the poster child for it.”) “But when you’re in the studio and you’re playing, it’s sloppy,” Lifeson continues. “And cocaine is the worst, for everything. If you want to feel your heart pounding on your mattress at 7:00 in the morning when the birds are chirping, it’s perfect. It’s awesome. What do kids do now for drugs?”

Lifeson was a fan of Ecstasy in the early Nineties, and hadn’t heard that it’s called Molly now. “I’m glad you told me, just in case,” he jokes. “My wife is a totally nondrug person, but for some reason I talked her into it. We cranked the music and we were dancing, and then we talked for hours about deep personal stuff for what seemed like the first time, even though we’d been married for years. We were going through a bit of a difficult time in our relationship, and that opened up a lot of doors.”

June 26, 2015

Bob Dylan at 60

Filed under: Humour,Media — Tags: — Nicholas @ 04:00

Mark Steyn dug up an old column from 2001 (also anthologized in his recent book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn) where he describes the re-appearance of Bob Dylan on the mass media:

I first noticed a sudden uptick in Bob Dylan articles maybe a couple of months ago, when instead of Pamela Anderson’s breasts or J-Lo’s bottom bursting through the National Post masthead there appeared to be a shriveled penis that had spent way too long in the bath. On closer inspection, this turned out to be Bob Dylan’s head. He was, it seems, getting ready to celebrate his birthday. For today he turns 60.

Sixty? I think the last time I saw him on TV was the 80th birthday tribute to Sinatra six years ago, and, to judge from their respective states, if Frank was 80, Bob had to be at least 130. He mumbled his way through “Restless Farewell”, though neither words nor tune were discernible, and then shyly offered, “Happy Birthday, Mister Frank.” Frank sat through the number with a stunned look, no doubt thinking, “Geez, that’s what I could look like in another 20, 25 years if I don’t ease up on the late nights.”

Still, Bob’s made it to 60, and for that we should be grateful. After all, for the grizzled old hippies, folkies and peaceniks who spent the Sixties bellowing along with “How does it feeeeeel?” these have been worrying times. A couple of years ago, Bob’s management were canceling his tours and the only people demanding to know “How does it feeeeeel?” were Dylan’s doctors, treating him in New York for histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that in rare cases can lead to potentially fatal swelling in the pericardial sac. If the first question on your lips is “How is histoplasmosis spread?” well, it’s caused by fungal spores which invade the lungs through airborne bat droppings. In other words, the answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

He has, of course, looked famously unhealthy for years, even by the impressive standards of Sixties survivors. He was at the Vatican not so long ago and, although we do not know for certain what the Pope said as the leathery, wizened, stooped figure with gnarled hands and worn garb was ushered into the holy presence, it was probably something along the lines of, “Mother Teresa! But they told me you were dead!” “No, no, your Holiness,” an aide would have hastily explained. “This is Bob Dylan, the voice of a disaffected generation.”

June 24, 2015

Terry McKenna plays the lute at Fluxible 2013

Filed under: Cancon,Media — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 3 Nov 2013

Terry McKenna is a gifted musician who plays many members of the plucked string family, both old and new. His performance at Fluxible 2013 is music from around the year 1500, played on his six-course Renaissance lute

Terry can be found on the web at:

http://www.torontoconsort.org

Terry performed at Fluxible 2013, the UX party disguised as a conference. Attendees enjoyed dual admission to the Festival of Interstitial Music, which took place concurrently in space and time with Fluxible.

H/T to Brendan McKenna for the link.

June 5, 2015

Mark Knopfler – “Privateering”

Filed under: Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

May 27, 2015

Garnet Rogers – Night Drive

Filed under: Cancon,Media — Tags: — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 8 Jul 2013

Garnet Rogers – Night Drive
Album: Night Drive

Buy the album here:
http://garnetrogers.com/site/?page_id=47

How bright the stars
How dark the night
How long have I been sleeping?
Sleep overtook me on my westward flight
Held me in its keeping
I had a dream; it seemed so real
Its passing left me shaking
I saw you’re here behind the wheel
On this very road I’m taking

Hurtling westward through the prairie night
Under the spell of motion
Your eyes were clear and bright in the dashboard light
Dreaming of the western ocean
The dusty towns left far behind
Mountains drawing ever nearer
Your face was then as it was tonight
Ever young
Ever clearer

I know this road
And its every curve
Where the hills commence their climbing
We rested here
If my memory serves
The northern lights were shining
You lit a smoke
We shared some wine
We watched the sky in wonder
Your laughter echoes after all this time
In that high and wild blue yonder

I don’t know why I write these lines
It’s not like I could send you the letter
It’s that I love your more after all this time
It’s that I wish I’d shown you better
Years have slipped
Beneath my wheels
Dwindling in my rear view mirror
As time has passed
Your life has seemed less real
But these night drives bring you nearer

So tonight I’ll wish upon these stars
As they rise upward to guide me
That I’ll see you here just as you are
Now, as then, beside me
Scares me how the years have flown
Like the leaves drift in September
They’ve lost sight of you as your legacy’s grown
But this road and I
We remember

May 25, 2015

Garnet Rogers interview

Filed under: Cancon,Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Garnet Rogers’ Recovery And Music After Stan: Garnet Rogers talks about addiction, getting clean, and misunderstandings about his brother and folk music in the ’70s.

May 24, 2015

The John Coltrane Quartet My Favorite Things Belgium, 1965

Filed under: Europe,Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

May 19, 2015

John Coltrane playing A Love Supreme Live

Filed under: Media,USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 2 Mar 2014

John Coltrane’s masterwork, A Love Supreme, was only played once in live concert. This portion is the only surviving film of that 1965 performance.

May 18, 2015

Doctor Who Theme – PLAYER PIANO

Filed under: Britain,Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on 21 Apr 2015

Composer/Pianist Sonya Belousova and Director Tom Grey celebrate over 50 years of Doctor Who by paying tribute to its iconic theme.

May 14, 2015

QotD: The value of poetry

Filed under: Media,Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Once, after plowing through sixty or seventy volumes of bad verse, I described myself as a poetry-hater. The epithet was and is absurd. The truth is that I enjoy poetry as much as the next man — when the mood is on me. But what mood? The mood, in a few words, of intellectual and spiritual fatigue, the mood of revolt against the insoluble riddle of existence, the mood of disgust and despair. Poetry, then, is a capital medicine. First its sweet music lulls, and then its artful presentation of the beautifully improbable soothes and gives surcease. It is an escape from life, like religion, like enthusiasm, like glimpsing a pretty girl. And to the mere sensuous joy in it, to the mere low delight in getting away from the world for a bit, there is added, if the poetry be good, something vastly better, something reaching out into the realm of the intelligent, to wit, appreciation of good workmanship. A sound sonnet is almost as pleasing an object as a well-written fugue. A pretty lyric, deftly done, has all the technical charm of a fine carving. I think it is craftsmanship that I admire most in the world. Brahms enchants me because he knew his trade perfectly. I like Richard Strauss because he is full of technical ingenuities, because he is a master-workman. Well, who ever heard of a finer craftsman than William Shakespeare? His music was magnificent, he played superbly upon all the common emotions — and he did it magnificently, he did it with an air. No, I am no poetry-hater. But even Shakespeare I most enjoy, not on brisk mornings when I feel fit for any deviltry, but on dreary evenings when my old wounds are troubling me, and some fickle one has just sent back the autographed set of my first editions, and bills are piled up on my desk, and I am too sad to work. Then I mix a stiff dram — and read poetry.

H.L. Mencken, “The Poet and His Art”, Prejudices, Third Series, 1922.

May 9, 2015

Every time you extend copyright terms, you reduce the availability of our musical heritage

Filed under: Business,Cancon,Law — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Michael Geist on the negative aspects of the Canadian government’s surprise extension of copyright terms:

The government yesterday tabled its budget implementation bill (Bill C-59), which includes provisions to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings and performances. The extension adds 20 years to the term (to 70 years). It also caps the term at 100 years after the first fixation of the sound recording or performance. The change is not retroactive, so sound recordings currently in the public domain will stay there. The government’s unexpected decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings and performances will not only cost consumers by reducing competition and stop cheaper, legal music alternatives from coming to the market – but it will also reduce access to Canada’s music heritage.

This is the inescapable conclusion based on studies elsewhere, which find that longer copyright terms discourage re-issuing older releases, which often means that the musical heritage is lost. For example, Tim Brooks conducted a detailed study in 2005 on how copyright law affects reissues of historic recordings. He concluded that longer copyright terms significantly reduce public access. First, he examined the data in the United States, which at the time had the longest term of protection:

    our analysis shows that rights-holders have reissued – or as a practical matter allowed legal access to – only a small fraction of the historic recordings they control. Overall, 14 percent of listed pre-1964 recordings were found to be available from rights holders, mostly from the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s. The figure drops to ten percent or less for most periods prior to World War II, and approaches zero for periods before 1920. This study focused on recordings in which there is demonstrated interest; it is likely that the percent of all recordings that have been reissued is even less.

April 22, 2015

SpaceX Launch You Up (Uptown Funk Parody)

Filed under: Media,Space — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 15 Apr 2015

THIS VIDEO IS A PARODY OF THE ORIGINAL “UPTOWN FUNK” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars and does not infringe on the copyright of Sony Music Entertainment (SME).

This video was created by fans of SpaceX and does not reflect the views of SpaceX or its partners.

You Elon MUST share this SpaceX music video, and help promote the future of science and space exploration! #GoBold (Lyrics at the bottom!)

H/T to Boing Boing for the link.

April 18, 2015

QotD: The danger of the “deadly genius” in art

Filed under: Media,Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

There are entire genres of art that have self-destructed in the last hundred years — become drained of vitality, driven their audiences away to the point where they become nothing more than museum exhibits or hobby-horses for snobs and antiquarians.

The three most obvious examples are painting, the literary novel and classical music. After about 1910 all three of these art forms determinedly severed the connections with popular culture that had made them relevant over the previous 250 years. Their departure left vacuums to be filled; we got modern genre literature, rock music, and art photography.

Other art forms underwent near-death experiences and survived only in severely compromised forms. Jazz, running away from its roots in honky tonks and dance halls, all but strangled on its own sophistication between 1960 and 1980; it survives today primarily as smoothed-out elevator music. Sculpture, having spent a century losing itself in increasingly meaningless abstraction, is only now feeling its way back towards a figurative vocabulary; the most interesting action there is not yet in the revival of mimetic forms but in artists who speak the vocabulary of mathematics and machine technology.

What makes an art-form self-destruct like this? Many things can contribute — hankerings for bourgeois respectability, corruption by politics, clumsy response to a competing genre. But the one we see over and over again is deadly genius.

A deadly genius is a talent so impressive that he can break and remake all the rules of the form, and seduce others into trying to emulate his disruptive brilliance — even when those followers lack the raw ability or grounding to make art in the new idiom the the genius has defined.

Arnold Schoenberg (classical music). James Joyce (literary novels). John Coltrane (jazz). Pablo Picasso (painting). Konstantin Brancusi (sculpture). These men had the knack of inventing radical new forms that made the preexisting conventions of their arts seem stale and outworn. They produced works of brilliance, taught their followers to value disruptive brillance over tradition, and in doing so all but destroyed their arts.

Eric S. Raymond, “Deadly Genius and the Back-To-Zero Problem”, Armed and Dangerous, 2004-09-24.

April 12, 2015

Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight

Filed under: Media — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

April 10, 2015

The Jailer’s Daughter on the CBC

Filed under: Cancon,Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Well, technically it’s the CBC’s website, but still it’s nice to see the band getting a bit of exposure:

Click to go to the CBC artist page for The Jailer's Daughter

Click to go to the CBC artist page for The Jailer’s Daughter

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