Friday, June 24, 2016

Sovereignties

Shortly after we put out Ecotone, Beat Noir started to kick around ideas for new songs. We started with three acoustic skeletons and then gradually added more and more until we had 11 full songs. Then we went to Niagara-on-the-Lake and started recording them with Davis. Considering that I didn't know Davis before, it was amazing that he turned out to be a great friend and amazing adviser on what we were making. In my mind, Davis is a member of the band and I'm sure that Mark, Duff, and Colin would agree. Once we started recording, we added even more to each of the songs. We took our time and wanted to make sure it came out sounding the way we wanted it to.

We spent about a week and a half and during that time crashed with Davis. We'd wake up, start making a record and then go to sleep. If you weren't recording, you were sitting with Davis and giving input and hanging out. We ate cereal out of the same bowl for breakfast every day and then ate breakfast for dinner at Silk's Diner down the street every day. Then we would fall asleep on couches and start the same process the next day. It was probably the most fun I've ever had in my life.

We wanted to take a long time mixing and we did. The idea wasn't to put down each track and then level it and put it out, the idea was to make the mix sound like we imagined being while we were writing the songs. I think we got there.

When we put out Ecotone, we got it out pretty quickly and then it just sort of disappeared after a little bit. I got tired of some of the songs pretty quickly. With Sovereignties, we waited and sat on it until we knew it should come out. We wanted to see how much we could do with it. I guess I don't what we ended up doing with it or what we were thinking, but I do know that waiting on it was the right decision. Absolutely the right decision.

So now, Sovereignties is out. Actually, if you were hip to the links that I add to words on this blog, you could have gotten it months ago. It pays to read this blog.

I am very proud of this record. I think we made a big progression from the last record and I think it is a much better showcase of what we are able to do as musicians, the influences each of us want to bring to the band, and, really, Duffer's strength as a songwriter.

I've got a sort of liner notes that I've been writing to exapnd on the songs that I'll put up here once I finish them, so keep an eye for that, but in the mean time I guess that all I can say is listen to the fruit of our labour and enjoy.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rocketman's Above All that Shit, Emil

Every year, I set a personal reading goal for myself, to encourage myself to keep reading and finding new novels and authors to enjoy. Because reading is good. For the last two years, my goal has been to finish 20 books in one year. There were periods in university where I would fall out of the practice of reading before bed, which is when I usually read. It was sometimes hard to stay committed to reading for pleasure when a big part of my program involved reading dense articles for classes.

While finishing my reading goal, there's also a few other goals I try to finish within my larger project. I might try to read a book from a famous author who I've never read before. Read more books by women. Read more books by people of colour. I don't just want to read more books, I want to broaden my perspective through this.

This year, I wanted to start the year off by reading a difficult book that was noted for its complexity. The one I chose was Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, because it, from what I had read about it, seemed like a book I would enjoy. It was long, it was dense, the narrative was extremely difficult to follow at times, and there were thousands of characters.

But I just finished it! It took me six goddamn months! I started this in January, when I was still commuting to EJ Pratt Library to finish my thesis, as it wasn't even close to finished. Now I've been done school for two months and have started a new job. I don't really know what else to say, so I'm just going to dump something I've been thinking about since I started Part 2 of the book.

Tyrone Slothrop's outfits ranked:

1. The Hawaiian shirt he wears while battling the octopus.
2. The Zoot Suit he wears while escaping France.
3. The "Rocketman" outfit he wears while stealing a huge supply of hash from the Potsdam Conference.
4. The Russian military uniform with the flags removed.
5. The pig costume.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

You're Invisible Now, You've Got No Secrets to Conceal

I am not normally one for the sentimental posts that my generation now uses to commemorate their loved ones on holidays or birthdays. Whenever Mother's or Father's Day rolls around, my Facebook and Instagram feeds are inevitably filled with people posting pictures of themselves as babies with their younger parents with a caption thanking them for their existence. I don't think this is a hokey trend or anything, far from it, please show affection to your loved ones as much as you can, but it's that my family has never really gone for public displays of affection like that. Even though I love my parents and would feel strongly enough to post something like that, it's just kind of not my style. That might seem like a flimsy excuse, but the truth is as simple as that.

To go with family's disinclination for PDA's, we also aren't the type of family to say "I love you" a lot. This is not to say that we don't love each other. Quite the opposite, as every member of my family is very close. We all know that we love each other and we show it often, but we just don't say it. Is there a need for us to say it after we've already shown it? Maybe for others, but not for us.

It also seems to me like everyone who publicly posts how much they love their families has way, way more familial conflicts than the Chandlers do. Just a quick observation there.

These feelings are probably most evident in my siblings', but more specifically my, relationships with our father. He never wanted to do anything special for Father's Day, and his birthday which usually falls on the following week, and eschews any sort of dinner or celebration for a day of gardening in the backyard with the Jays on the radio and a beer to follow. I guess that is the way he would prefer to celebrate. It feels odd because we always go out of our way to phone our mom on Mother's Day and her birthday, but our dad has never seemed to care too much about that sort of thing.

Last year my siblings planned a big birthday dinner for our mom. We got a nice dinner and big-ish present for her. Rebecca and I went out to my parents' for dinner for my dad's birthday about two weeks later and one of the first things he said to Rebecca was,

"I don't want you to get the wrong idea, we don't always celebrate birthdays like this."

Just immediately trying to strip away any sort of focus or spotlight on himself. I try my best to imitate him in this regard.

Today I received a Father's Day email from my dad, in which he described his father and his relationship with him. My grandfather died a long time before I was born, when my dad was 24. My grandfather's early death has been an omnipresent thing in my dad's personality and I know that it was instrumental in him becoming the person he became. Since he was gone so much earlier, I never got to meet him and know him, so this email was a makeshift introduction for the two of us.

Reading through Dad's relationship with his own dad, I immediately saw parallels between it and my relationship with my dad. Two narratives that were very similar and part of the same line, but also disconnected at the same time. This is reinforced by the fact that my grandfather's name, Melville, is my middle name. I carry him around with me always. He has now been dead for a long time and his body is gone. I live on as a physical symbol of the bond between Mel and Bill Chandler. I like that. Does my dad think about that when he looks at me? Maybe.

My dad is the biggest influence on my life. He's always supported me and said the right thing and guided me towards what I should be doing. He has always shown and taught me what the right thing to do is. I realized in my later teens that by watching him, I could learn what it means to be a man. Not in the macho sense of the word, not at all. But meaning how to be a mature adult. When to speak. When not to speak. How to treat your friends. How to treat your loved ones. What to value. What to reject. What is important in the world.

I hope that I am doing a good job of remembering the lessons I've learned.

I don't have many pictures of him and I on my computer and I should do a better job of collecting the ones that exist. In fact, I only have the one I've included below, from my undergrad graduation. I have a mohawk and look like a goof, but at least our mustaches match. He looks proud. I like it.




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Even though the last thing that the world, and especially the internet, needs is another straight white guy's opinion on LGBTQ issues, I feel the need to say something on the issue. When it comes down to it, this blog is a reflection of my thoughts, which in turn makes it a reflection of my beliefs and my politics. It would be easy to remain silent and ignore sociopolitical issues, but, to be honest, I think that if you are scared to discuss them, then your opinion isn't worth shit anyways.

I don't even want to discuss issues of gun control, gun violence, and gun culture here. Aside from the very fucked up melting pot of those three issues in the United States right now, I think the much scarier part of this shooting is that it is very tangible proof of explicit homophobia and transphobia in mainstream culture. A lot of the time when LGBTQ issues and activism arises in conversation, people who aren't familiar with it, not even those who oppose it, say things like "It's not really that bad." or "It's just their sexual preference, they shouldn't make a big deal about it." This implies that vocal LGBTQ activists are fighting a fight that they don't really have to. Homophobia is fucking real and it permeates our society on every goddamn level, from people getting harassed on the street all the way up to legislation.

I would like to say that I am an ally and always will be an ally. If you don't like gays, or you think trans people are weird, or you think lesbians are man-haters or any of the other stupid fucking stereotypes that the media, our culture and our society have forced you to think and believe, then fuck you. All you are doing is propagating hate and being a negative force in the world.

LGBTQ people are trying to be the people they want to be. It is their own issue to deal with. If you are cis and it all doesn't make sense to you, then just fucking leave it alone.

I don't really even know what else to say. If you oppose LGBTQ people, then fuck you. Go read a goddamn book.

Start Sweet and Then Get Mean

Today is my 27th birthday.

This feels like a singular day in my life, but it's kind of hard to pinpoint why. The most obvious reason would be that I've now crossed the arbitrary threshold that separates your "mid 20s" from your "late 20s". 27 has to be the barrier right? 26 is the last year of your mid 20s, which I think is the last period of your life where you're allowed to be kind of a fuck up and not have a concrete plan. It's still okay to wake up late and smoke weed on a weekday. At least, this is the impression that I get from the media. Most of my friends are still kind of like this. Some got married and bought houses, but most still live with roommates.

But your late 20s signal that your fast approaching 30, and by then you're supposed to have shit figured out, right?

It's not so much that I buy into this, because I don't, really, it's just that this is all sort of weighing on my mind today. Not in a negative way, necessarily, it's just sort of there.

I try to approach the inevitability of aging in a healthy way. I know that what is most important is sticking to my own ideals and staying true to what my own vision of my life is. Part of this vision is that I don't worry too much about my age, acting my age, or anything like that. I think I'm doing well at this and have carved out a pretty swell path with my brain being the metaphorical machete. But I do not live in a bubble and society's expectations do weigh on me a little bit.

Like, soon I 'm gonna need to move into a bigger apartment. My parents are probably going to start asking about marriage.

Again, hard to say why, but 27 feels a little different. Am I officially an adult now. Is it gauche to eat an entire bag of Doritos while watching professional wrestling without pants on? Cause, like, I'm not going to stop doing that.

Mostly it feels different in a good way. I'm really lucky. I finished school without any major hiccups, got a good job more or less right out of my program. My partner is wonderful and just the best. I have many good friends, all of whom care about what I'm doing and how I'm doing. They all texted me "happy birthday" today and it feels nice to know they thought about me enough to do that. Things are going well, even though the world is all kinds of fucked up, so fucked up that I know any efforts I make will not make a big difference. I guess now that I am all sorted, for the most part, I can concentrate on what I can change.

This is the first birthday in a while that I actually feel older. It's a little odd, but thanks to everyone for sticking around.

Friday, June 3, 2016

What You Wanted

I've felt angry and unfocused lately. A little too much on my plate to think about each part of it. I'm just trying to keep my commitments straight and am moving unconsciously between each one. I don't really feel all that present lately.

This is not conducive to writing, which is bad. From being sick to first Power Plant shifts and last minute wedding stress, I'm just hopping from one thing to another. Not thinking about much. I briefly thought that once I finished school and lined up a job, which was taken care of pretty quickly, I would devote some serious time to writing some good, long entries here, but that drive never materialized. I didn't even think about coming on here while I was sick and haven't since either. One idea for a post was a eulogy for Gord Downie, but I'm not a Tragically Hip fan, just think the guy is cool, and that would have seemed hacky.

I can say that Fargo season 2 is quite excellent. Devoured that in this weird in between, ecotone-ish period I'm in right now.

Maybe this is all sounding a lot worse than it actually is. I'm stressed, but not having a hard time dealing, necessarily. Maybe I would just like things to settle a little bit. I guess that will come with the summer, I hope.

This past week I remembered that the arrival of June, my favourite month, and its hot temperatures means that The Stereo, one of the true underappreciated gems of our precious ~rock music~, will again be dominating my listening habits and I'll tune my guitar to Hendrix and spend a bunch of time learning solos.

That bridge that starts around 2:20? Bud.



Saturday, May 28, 2016

I'll Keep Singing the Same Songs, I'm Sorry if You're Bored Now

Punk ideology is supposed to mean resistance. A punk is supposed to not fit in. They are supposed to not agree with the majority. Punk aligns with the political left. Part of a punk is identifying the things you believe are right and then sticking to those beliefs not matter outside pressure to abandon them you receive. You are supposed to feel like a tree branch stuck upright in the riverbed battling the current, even though battling that current is tiring as all hell. You should take pride in that tiredness and feel camaraderie with your relatively small community of like-minded individuals. Stick with your allies and find comfort in the fact that aren't alone in realizing how fucked up the way that the world works is and trying to resist that.

I say all this because in the world's current climate, it's increasingly hard to stay punk, as dumb as that sentence sounds. Though punk 100% started as mainly as a fashion choice in the 70's, any of the socio-political ideas that went along with it, like worker's rights, distrust of ruling entities, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-sexism, and were what really made the subculture important, are completely divorced from the idea now. This really sucks because those socio-political ideas are what resonated with me and drew me to punk in the first place. I didn't start listening to punk because I wanted a reason to wear tight pants and shave the sides of my head, I started listening to it because it was the sonic analogue to ideas I had about the world and how I felt.

It's hard to still believe in punk and stay punk because I've watched the ideology fall apart me as I age. I've watched people form the scene abandon it to become bros. I've seen people from the scene become (or maybe reveal how they are) pieces of shit and do things to my friends that are reprehensible. The band's I care about mostly broke up or started making shitty records.

Through mass culture and media, punk music has come to mean mid-tempo rock music played with distortion by men who wear leather jackets. The songs are mostly about drinking and self-loathing now, instead of giving a shit about anything at all. This isn't nihilism either, it's just ignorance. It makes me want to tear my hair out that most punk bands just don't give a shit about what punk really does mean and how important and powerful it can be. It's so disheartening to me to see so many bands who just don't seem to "get it". I know that this makes me sound incredibly self-righteous, but it's something that jumping out at me through my headphones and record reviews and at shows for a long time. How am I supposed to believe in this important thing, if it's constantly failing me?

But if the only option is to give in and abandon what I believe in, then fuck that. I'll dig my feet in and plant myself even more firmly in the riverbed. Let the current give me all it's got. It doesn't matter if mass culture can change what punk means to most people, because they can never change what it means to me.

With my rant out of the way, I will say that Dillinger Four are one of the few bands who still make me believe. Their songs make point my finger at nothing and scream the lyrics along because they tap into that feeling of not being alone in your fight against indomitable cultural and political powers that drew me to punk in the first. Even as I become exasperated at the dilution of the genre, D4 reminds me that it's just a trimming of the fat. Who cares if these people aren't with it? They probably never were to begin with.

The fact that Dillinger Four can make me continually make me believe and make me feel positive about my beliefs and choices is very important.

Fuck 'em all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Good Material

I think it's a really good thing when I start a blog post with no idea how it's going to end up, because then finding out how it's going to end up becomes the main thing, so I usually end up ~"saying something"~.

This past weekend, I volunteered with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (henceforth known as "TCAF"). Since I had some previous experience running public events at KW|AG, they allowed me to run one of the venues all on my own (not really, but mostly). I took care of a bar a block away from the Toronto Reference Library, where the festival held panels and interviews throughout the weekend. Everything went really well too! No real problems! Go me!

I had heard of the festival before and thought about attending in 2013 because Liz Prince was attending and I wanted to pick up some of her stuff that I was missing. I ended up skipping it that day to hang out with my friend Lisa in Pickering. That turned out to be a whole other adventure. I think I wrote about it on here? Maybe? I just tried to find the post to link it, but had a hard time. I guess your only course of action is to read my entire blog and maybe come across it.

TCAF did seem really cool though. Even though the vast majority of the comics I have read have been mainstream Marvel stuff, I really love the idea of people creating their own weird niche stuff and me getting to support these people directly by buying their stuff right from them. I find that a lot of the stuff I appreciate in punk is present in indie comics as well (and not just in Mitch Clem and Liz Prince).

When I was in Vancouver earlier this year to present for a conference, one of the other presenters specialized in comics as a subject of study in art history. In my undergrad, I thought about pursuing that avenue of study many different times. While we were talking about just that, he said that he would be presenting at TCAF that year and invited me to come. I said I would and meant it. Later, when I was back in Toronto, I looked into volunteering. I had the end of my thesis planned out, but didn't yet know what I would be doing when it finished. I figured that since I would probably have a lot of free time, I could dedicate a significant portion of that to TCAF. I signed up to be a Head Volunteer (more responsibility than a regular volunteer!) and devoted most of that week to TCAF activities.

I really didn't know what to expect when Saturday morning rolled around, but was pretty sure that I would be fine. I am "good" at running these sorts of things. Plus public events are this weird sort of organism that mostly takes care of itself once it gets going. Everything went fine. It helped that all of TCAF's stuff at The Pilot was pretty cool too. It's easier to pull a crowd in when you have things that they are actually interested in seeing.

I will admit that when the weekend started, I did not know any of the names at The Pilot, but what was interesting was that when they were presenting, I immediately recognized their work. The first time this happened was during the second panel featuring Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes. I knew Essex County, but I didn't know that was this guy until it was mentioned. Neato.

Then, two panels later, I realized that two of my favourite internet cartoonists, those behind The Perry Bible Fellowship and Boy's Club (well, Boy's Club is actually printed stuff, but much of it's notoriety comes from the internet, so I'm lumping it in here) were speaking. "Damn," I said to myself "maybe I'm more tuned into all of this than I originally thought!"

What I wanted to get to though was the third last panel of the second day, featuring Simon Hanselmann and HTML Flowers.

I was first exposed to Vice magazine by my brother, who would keep random copies around in our parents' basement. After he showed me them, I read through an entire issue and thought it was cool for the following reasons:

1. One article had a picture of boobs in it. Bare boobs! I was in like grade 9 and that was sick.
2. The articles were all about weird stuff that I would never expect to see in a magazine. It was almost like I kept reading just to see what the next thing would be.
3. Most of the ads were for skate companies, which was crucial in me linking all of these new weird things I was reading about to a subculture I already understood, that being "skateboarding".
4. There was lots of swearing.

After that, I started to pick up issues of the magazine whenever I was downtown. They were always free, which I thought was fucking sick and anti-establishment and I noticed that they were always in stores like independent skate stores or small, hip clothing stores and not in chains. I also thought that was cool. You had to seek it out and that contributed to the enjoyment of it.

One of the things I always looked forward to in those issues was reading the surreal and nihilistic and dark comic strips that were on the inner back cover. It was always a very weird story that I didn't quite get, but still enjoyed reading. What I didn't know until this past Sunday was that those comics were the work of Hanselmann and HTML Flowers. When I figured this out shortly into the interview, I was delighted.

Though I wouldn't say the two artists and I are similar in many ways, I do see certain parts of myself in them. I think we consume and evaluate pop culture in the same way. Their comics are the result of the darkest parts of life. Throughout the whole weekend at The Pilot, I saw a big variety of comic styles. Queer stuff. Sex stuff. Fucked up horror manga. Webcomics. Mainstream stuff from Image. None of that was the result of truly fucked up experiences like the stuff from Vice. I think it's so wonderful to look at the world and say "Fuck it all" and completely do your own thing and that is what Hanselmann and HTML's comics do. Bright cartoons that show the darkest parts of your brain and everything around you.

These two were by far my favourite part of the whole weekend. Whereas everyone else treated the panels like an important professional event, but these two went right for the bar and then shot from the hip for the whole interview. Though none of the cartoonists were meant to me, many were dismissive and a few big-leagued me when I would try to see if they needed anything. These two actually asked what my name was and talked to me.

During the talk, they mentioned that they both grew very poor in bad situations and HTML said that that made him appreciate things more when he got them. I guess it showed through this too.

I would also like to say that Kate Beaton was also very nice!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Push You Away

19 days since my last post! That is a very long break. I think a long break was due though, as my life changed in a pretty significant way since my last post.

The first is that on April 26th, I successfully defended my Master's thesis, Engineering Failure: Historiographical Changes in Artist Biography, which was the unofficial end (I'll get into that) of MA in Art History in Visual Culture at Guelph. Big life events life this are weird, because you know beforehand how important and significant they are. They don't blindside you like a break-up or a death or something. At times, it certainly felt like finishing my thesis was impossible, but I always knew I was going to be able to do it. Since you know a huge event and its ensuing change is coming, most would assume that it would be underwhelming, but that wasn't the case at all. In fact, when I got home from the defense, my mom asked me just that. The people that attended the defense were cross-section of the important people in my life from the last 3 years; Sally, who has guided and helped me more than anyone, Christina and Dominic, who conducted my interview for the program, Vanja, who became one of my best friends along the way, new friends in Emily and Paul, my parents. Even the people who weren't there, were still kind of there. I got texts from my siblings the day before. Rebecca, who I started dating way back in the first year of my master's and now live with, Matt, who I met in first year, Coni, once part of a strong trio, but now living in New York. I got to show what I had done by doing what I'm best at, and in the process was showered with love for the whole day. I guess I deserved that? I guess.

THAT IS AS CLOSE TO ME PRAISING MYSELF AS YOU WILL EVER GET. SAVOUR IT.

The night of my defense, the Raptors came back from 17 points in the 4th quarter, which was pretty cool.

Two days after it, I interviewed for a gallery attendant position at the Power Plant. Got that. Applied for a big-boy art fellowship at the same gallery. Got that.

It felt weird being so wrapped up in researching and writing and thinking about failure for so long. I thought about it a lot. I experienced it. I felt like a failure. I'm not? I'm not.

Beat Noir is... still a band. A and who hasn't done much publicly, but a band nonetheless!

It'll take me a minute to find my sealegs here again, so I'll leave you some thoughts about a lot of stuff.

Thrasher's King of the Road skatevideo series has started again. First episode is here. Chocolate and Toy Machine are improvements on last year's teams, but everyone is still playing Sammy Sosa to Birdhouse's Barry Bonds. They are quickly moving my ranks of favourite skate teams ever. Maybe the number one spot? Honestly, maybe. They are so much fun to watch. Skating was such an important part of my friendship with Damien, Pat, and Paul, so when I see pros who are truly friends, as Birdhouse seems to be, it warms my heart. They just want to skateboard with their best friends and have as much fun doing it as they can. THAT is what skateboarding is fucking about.

I also watched a short documentary by Vice about Chief Keef, drill rap, and gang violence in Chicago. Kudos to Vice for investigating and showing the true effect of a mostly-white media's interest in black gang violence leads to, and illustrating their mistakes in the process. Very interesting and moving stuff. Being a fan of Chief Keef's music myself, this caused some self-reflection and thinking about what it means to be a white middle-class person who like gangsta rap. Always be conscious of what your choices mean.

I promise IMU won't become a Vice content dump! That's already reserved for AVClub articles! Plus KotR doesn't count as Vice anyways! Don't care who is making it!

Nothing's new album Tired of Tomorrow is fucking excellent. Super dreamy, gazey, and heavy and is hitting all the right notes for me currently. Best thing I've heard this year. Teaser below:




Pity Sex, another one of my favourite current bands, recently put out the follow-up to Feast of Love, which is one of my favourite albums of the last five years or so. It's...okay. A little disappointed.

Modern Baseball's new album was getting hyped by a lot of people on my social media feeds, and I gotta say, it does not do anything for me. OH WELL.

Maybe I should introduce more hate to IMU. Fav for yes, share for no.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Game: Blouses

Even though I'm sure you've been bombarded with this fact on social media so far this year, I'm going to say it anyways: A significant amount of notable musicians have died in 2016. First was Lemmy, then Bowie, and now Prince. Each of them were titans in music and seemed to take everyone by surprise when it happened. I don't think I need to say anything about any of these musicians' legacies, because I'm far from the best to do so, but I think it's notable that all of these guys went by singular names, which speaks to their place in the public consciousness.

I don't think that it's a stretch to say that these have been the most significant celebrity deaths since Michael Jackson. They took everybody by surprise because the figures had been so omnipresent in music that people took for granted that they would always be around. They larger than life, in the truest sense of that phrase, in that their personality and influence extended beyond just them as people. They were symbols for much larger cultural and social ideas.

This might also be that these, we can group Michael Jackson in here for convenience, are also the biggest deaths that my generation has experienced, making this a new feeling. I was too young to experience Kurt Cobain or John Lennon dying, but I'm sure it was a similar feeling. It doesn't really matter if you like the person's music or not, because their influence in a particular sphere of life is undeniable.

To completely understate it, three very significant people have died this year.

Prince's death is different for me though, because I've never listened to him very much. I've spent loads of time listening to Motorhead and David Bowie, but not Prince. This has nothing to do with the quality of his music at all, he's just one of the huge figures in pop music with an extensive, critically revered back catalog that I haven't decided to dive into yet. This of course feels extra silly today, as almost everyone I know is posting memorials about Prince and I wish I could relate, but I can't really. I respect him tremendously as a musician, but it would feel cheap and trite to try and write something up praising him when I don't have a relationship with his music yet.

Instead I thought I would do something a little different to show Prince's place in the world and illustrate just how there he was for people born from like 1960 on, and speak about the random times in my life, which were all far apart, that he has popped up for me. I think it's crazy that somebody whose music I never actively looked into could still be around. Only a handful of people in the world are like that, and not many as out there and counter-cultural as Prince.

As a child, my favourite movie was Batman, which Prince, of course, provided the soundtrack for. My family rented it so much from Videoflicks that they eventually just gave us the copy. I was very young, so I didn't know who Prince was or really even make a note of the music at the time, but I watched the movie so much that eventually the music was branded onto my brain subconsciously. Prince's music is a very distinctive blend of different genres that, really, only he can do, but at the time I just understood syncopated synth bass and guitar leads as "Batman music". Whenever I would hear a Prince song later in life, it was immediately recognizable to me because of Batman.

The next instance came when I visited then-Paramount Canada's Wonderland with my cousins in the summer of grade 7 or 8. The park had installed video screens beside the lines of most of the rides that played a loop of promotional stuff for movies, TV, music, etc. One of the things that was included in this loop was the video for "Musicology" by Prince, which was either just or about to be released. I knew who Prince was as a musical figure, but still wasn't familiar with his output and hadn't placed him as the "Batman guy" yet. I was just getting into punk music at the time, so I had a very narrow scope of what I thought good music was and also thought I was the punkest kid in the whole world, so I thought the song was boring. Kind of sucks because Musicology is a pretty weak late album to be introduced to the guy with. For some reason, this memory is still so vivid, despite it being inconsequential and nothing of importance happening that day. I can't tell you anything I did, but I can tell you that "Musicology" was playing on the park's TVs that day.

Lastly, there was a time period in Kitchener when Mark had just moved out and Colin had just gotten engaged where I was mostly alone at the house. As a result, I spent a lot of time downstairs with Erik, Duff, and Jeff. One night, we were having a few beers and getting ready to go to bar while playing music videos on the TV. Jeff put on a Prince song and immediately said something like, "Are we doing this right now?!" It brings me a lot of joy to see somebody take in one of their favourite things, and this was one of those instances. I love that Prince can be a "thing" for people who you wouldn't expect him to be a thing for.

I guess that's it. Like I said, I don't really have anything I can say about Prince, but I did feel the need to throw in my little bit about him as part of this crazy trend in 2016 of terrific, game-changing artists dying. It is a singular cultural moment.