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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Novel Figure Here

I've been think about the craft of writing a lot more and I would assume that this is because of A Moveable Feast. Ernest Hemingway talks about his thoughts on writing a lot in that book. Did you notice that I've tried to sound like him in the last few posts? I've done a bad job of it, but it's true.

Something that I've done over the last little are little memoir/short stories about friends who I've fallen out of touch with. I would still consider all of them my friends, but in every case I am nowhere near as close with the person as I used to be. I think they are pretty good. I also think that I am nowhere near comfortable posting them at this time. It would not be hard for them to find them. If the people they are about read them, it would be weird.

They are very personal and I guess that is what makes it weird. But that's also what makes it good. If I feel weird about posting them, that means they're hitting on something true. Does that mean I should post them, regardless of consequence? It means that these mini memoirs are hitting on something bigger in my life and about people my age. I guess I'm projecting that last sentence onto them.

It's mostly that these are things that I would certainly not say to each of the people personally, so I would feel awful saying indirectly here. But if I felt the need to write it down, was it not worth saying?

I'm really just going around in circles here. Not even a shred of value in the whole post. Just trying to hash out when something is good, what makes it good and if me putting this writing anywhere, having the courage to do so, would in fact be the functioning quality that makes them good.

Good Luck is a very good band. I slept on them way too long. This record is just wonderful.

All Good People

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

It is such an overwrought cliché that even I, the king of clichés, who uses them to a fault in his writing, would never go near it. It is a phrase that has been so overused that it is now devoid of any meaning. Any beauty that may have once been associated with it is now stripped away. It is now something a person says when another is far away from something they like. To use the phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is to illustrate your ineptitude as a writer.

A friend used this phrase recently. What he actually said was "I can confirm that absence DOES make the heart grow fonder." I think his girlfriend is doing a semester abroad. That must be difficult for him. Long-distance relationships can be stressful and hard. In fact, I would go as far as to say that all are. Him using this cliché has had the phrase stubbornly sticking in my mind and periodically returning a few times a day. Though I do not like to admit this, I judged him for using the phrase. I got my brief moment of intellectually superiority from thinking that I would never go near a phrase as overexposed as "absence makes the heart grow fonder".

But then I returned to the apartment for the first time in 3 days. She embraces me and kisses my neck. It feels good. It feels like it has been missing but has now completed me. I hadn't noticed, but I was missing the feeling and it was annoying me and that annoyance was building up. When she embraces me, that feeling, which was nagging me subconsciously, subsides immediately. It feels right. I tell about my dad and the dog's surgery and start to cry. It is a sad topic. She kisses me and embraces me again. I realize that she is only person who does this. This is time only for her. It is a space that no one can touch.

She smiles at me. Later she tells that when I return after being away awhile, she can't look at me without smiling, so she tries to look away. I never thought about the other side of this before. I always thought about how it felt for me when I returned. What a selfish prick I can be.

Later we lie together in bed. She is half-on top of me. Our bodies fit together perfectly. I experience the earlier feeling tenfold. It is wonderful.

And today it bothers me so much that this stupid cliché can be so pertinent. I suppose that every phrase has its place.

Monday, March 28, 2016

They Don't See the Beauty of the Power Wires

Manuscript March is almost done. I hate that name and think it is stupid. I set out to try and write every day this month and that worked out well for me. To be honest, a small part of me believed that by slyly not participating in some sort of "30 Day Writing Challenge", but still, for all intents and purposes, participating in it, that I would actually do it. A much bigger part knew I wouldn't and that is fine.

I envisioned this as a great accomplishment in which I would write a ton of stuff, which would help me in finishing my thesis. I've been prone to bouts of writer's block over the last year and thought that this would help. I don't know if I can really explain why, but it doesn't feel like I got to that great accomplishment. But I did finish my thesis. I also have put the most posts on IMU since March 2011, a month that was mostly posts consisting of music video links. Instead this month is mostly longer writing, so I guess that is something to be proud of.

I'm not sure what I want to say I got out this. I'm reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway right now, so writing a phrase as silly as "Manuscript March" in my main place of creative writing seems so juvenile and stupid, considering a book that good is basically pieced together from Hemingway's notebooks. But Hemingway, I am not. I'm not the writer he was, as he was one of the best ever and had such a distinctive and amazing style that is basically impossible to reproduce. But I'm also not a similar writer to him at all. Not by a long shot. I don't write about the same things or in the same way, even if I might think about those things or along those lines sometimes.

I watched 5 innings of different Blue Jays games from last year today and that is a pretty clear sign that I cannot wait for Opening Day.

Though my thesis is "done", I'm still working on it and it doesn't really feel close to "done".

If I could simply upload a song and post it here with relatively low amounts of hassle, I would post the live, full-band version of "Chimes and Church Bells" that Attack In Black recorded at CBC Radio 3. I cannot do this, so instead you'll have to imagine a wonderful riff-filled rock version of a song that is somber and just a piano on the record. OH WELL.

Defend With Me the Liberties of Day and Mysteries of Night

During last season, there were so many amazing moments for the Toronto Blue Jays that it is very easy to forget many of them in lieu of the very memorable major moments. I mean, obviously Jose Bautista throwing his bat into the other team's dugout after the most significant hit of the season is going to take precedence in my mind over something like Danny Valencia hitting a home run in Kansas City during a game the Jays lost. But the narrative of the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays was made up of so many stories that all contributed to the excitement surrounding the team.

I could rattle off about 50 different plays that made me jump out of my seat last year, but this one is one of my favourites:

The New York Yankees came to Toronto on September 21st for a three game series, trailing the Jays by 3 & 1/2 games. It was exhilarating to see the Jays in first place, but September was also a stressful month schedule-wise because of how many games would be against Toronto's division rivals. First the Jays had swept the Yanks in New York, then the Yankees came in and took two out of three in Toronto. The Jays were ahead by a nose, but that could change quickly if the Yankees won a series against Toronto. It was a weird (great) time as a Jays fan because on one hand you felt on top of the world and confident in the team, as it truly felt like they could do anything, but there was also a familiar sense of doubt that crept in at moments like these. I had seen the team collapse late in the season so many times before, so even though I knew that the Jays were the best team in the league, there was a tiny negative voice trying to drag this down in the back of my mind.

David Price started the game and it turned out to be a very tight game throughout. The Jays came into the 8th inning leading 4-0, needing the bullpen to hold the Yankees in check to secure the win. Aaron Sanchez, the team's right-handed set-up man, had had a bit of a problem with his control all season and promptly walked the light-hitting shortstop Didi Gregorius (a great baseball name). Dustin Ackely followed this with a single and suddenly there was two runners on and a win that seemed to be in-hand was very much falling out of hand. There were still no outs, so the Yankees scoring and tying the game, or worse, taking the lead, was not an unreasonable expectation. Given the playoff implications of this game, that the Yankees could jump up a whole game in the standings by winning, the atmosphere was extremely tense. I was watching the game in the apartment I share with Rebecca and I couldn't sit still. I could feel my discomfort in my chest.

For the last 22 years, the New York Yankees had routinely made an example of the Toronto Blue Jays in their yearly marches to the playoffs. I had experienced the Yankees crushing my excitement about baseball in Toronto far too many times. At one point the Jays had lost 17 straight games at Yankee Stadium. This season was different though and the Blue Jays seemed to be getting the better of the Yankees at much better clip.

Aaron Sanchez was taken out of the game and left-handed curveball virtuoso Brett Cecil was brought into the game. Brett Cecil is one of the longest-serving Blue Jays on the current roster. Once part of a promising, young starting rotation in 2010, Cecil had trouble replicating that success over the next two years and spent most of 2011-12 in AAA. Cecil found his place in 2013 after beginning the season in the bullpen and becoming a lights-out left-handed reliever for high-leverage situations. During the 2013, '14 and '15 seasons, Cecil was one of the best and most valuable bullpen pieces in all of baseball.

The at-bat he was coming into against Jacoby Ellsbury was a very high-leverage situation. This means that it would probably mean a lot to the eventual outcome of the game. Ellsbury hit a single and now the Yankees were on the board. This was not the way that Jays fans wanted a series against the Yankees at home to start. The Jays had backed themselves into a corner and basically the only way out was strikeouts because anything else would probably score runs. Striking out batters, especially when there are runners on and the batter is trying to put the ball in play, is very hard.

Tell 'em Britney:



With the score now 4-1 and there still being two runners on with no outs, Cecil struck out the Yankees excellent left fielder Brett Gardner on a beautiful curveball. I finally exhaled. One out.

Alex Rodriguez, one of the very best players in baseball history, someone who stands a reasonable chance to break the all-time home run record, came up next. Rodriguez has had a tumultuous relationship with Blue Jays fans since this happened. Again, Brett Cecil struck him out on a curveball that looked like it was by the hand of fucking Michelangelo.

Now confidence began to swell. I felt a lot of pride towards Cecil because he had been on the Jays for some of the bad years. He had come up in 2009, when there weren't many redeeming factors about the team, and had been there for the monumental disappointment of the 2013 season. On a team that was mostly made up of new faces, Cecil was a crucial link to the team's past. He also loves really bad rock/metal like Three Days Grace and Avenged Sevenfold and him being so unabashedly into something that lame just makes like him even more. He's always been a guy I rooted for and genuinely wished well on, so seeing him succeed made me really happy.

Brian McCann came up and though the stress of the first two at-bats had lessened, he still posed a huge threat, as he has always been a more than capable hitter and has significant power. At this point my thoughts had turned from "Okay Brett, get the team out of this" to "Strike this fucker the fuck out right now Brett". Once again, curveball, down.




I jumped up and down on the couch. Cecil dropping anvils on Gardner, A-Rod, and McCann consecutively to strike them all out in the top of the 8th was one of the best pitching performances I had ever seen. This is Ricky Vaughn coming in at the end of Major League. You just need to substitute "Shepherd of Fire" for "Wild Thing".

Many people often mistake the last outs recorded by the winning team to be the most impactful because they seal the victory, but that is incorrect. Brett Cecil came in here in what was without a doubt the biggest situation the season up to that point and, as they correctly mention in the above video, the biggest moment of his career. This is the type of thing that only happens once a season, if you are lucky.

This was more or less eclipsed two days when Russell Martin hit a huge 3-run home run to put the Yankees away for good in 2015, but I swear to God, I will remember Brett Cecil striking out the side as a definitive moment of the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays for my whole goddamn life.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

*mimes guitar solo*

I am heavy enough into a Sorority Noise binge right now that I want to say things like "Sorority Noise is the best active band."




Do I believe that? I don't even know. I do know that Joy, Departed has been getting a shitload of plays since I checked it out in December. I find with new music I generally go all-in on it when I first get it and then kind of intermittently come back to it when I remember to listen. Sorority Noise, on the other hand, has been something that I've put again and again and seem to never hit the point where I would rather put on something else.

I haven't had a chance to catch the band live yet,  but it's something that I'm going to make a priority now. Judging from this video, it seems like the band is at peak "tour tightness", which a level of comfortability and skill at playing together that only comes from being on tour a lot and playing a ton of shows. There aren't many better feelings than when you've been playing together for a long time and have a really good feel for what every other member of the band is doing. I wouldn't say I've ever gotten there, but Beat Noir has maybe approached that feeling a few times when we've been really active and on top of things, and it's like "Damn, this feels good." whenever you play.

They're also at a point where they've put a really good full-length record and they all know how good it is. That brings out a lot of passion when you play that songs, which is crucial in creating a intense performance. It also creates complete transparency with the crowd, which is so, so, so important. If the songs are good enough and you believe in them, it ceases to be you "performing" and more you just showing something you are proud of and have complete faith in. Look at the other members of the band singing the lyrics when they themselves are not singing. This band playing is something to behold right now. Everything is working together perfectly.

I would also recommend checking out the full set here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sillhouette

With the Major League Baseball season inching ever closer and Spring Training coming closer to its end, I would like to do something I've never done on imusicalgenius.blogspot.com and direct you to a previous post of mine.

Last year (season) I did much more Jays writing on this blog than I ever have in the past. This is of course because the team went on a historic run, basically didn't lose for two months, won the division, won the Divisional Series in the craziest way possible and basically grabbed a country by the face and said "Look at us". I suddenly had things I could write about the team beyond "They are bad and I'm still watching". They were exciting in ways I wasn't used to.

I started a series called "Reasons to Love the 2015 Blue Jays" early-ish in the season, hoping that it would encapsulate why I loved some of the players on the team so much and maybe explain why I kept coming back to the Toronto Blue Jays year in, year out. Ultimately I kind of stopped this because I was too busy watching the games. I've got a memory tied to everything that happened and remember exactly where I was for everything. I didn't to showcase the players when they were doing a much better job of it every goddamn day on the field.

I think that I will do something along these lines this year too.

I still think the stuff I wrote is pretty good, so today I would like to point you to my post on Kevin Pillar, which, to brag a little bit, was written very early on in his 2015 coming out party.

I fucking love me some Kevin Pillar.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

We All Know the Boys and the Girls Are Doing It

While in the library the other day and scrolling through the "Various Artists" sections of my iTunes, I came across the Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure soundtrack. This album is interesting to me for a variety of reasons, so much so that I think it merits an "online zine" post about.

The first is that I really love 80's cock rock. Van Halen, Motley Crue? I love it all. This soundtrack is completely made up of cock rock and I love it for that reason.

Second is that this movie is very near and dear to me. It might even be my favourite movie. It is obviously mainly lampooning of dumb 80's metalheads/stoners, but it really is so much more. It's about achieving more than people think you can. It's about having fun with your best friend in that special way that only exists between two best friends. It's about believing in your friends and helping them achieve what you believe they can achieve. I'm sure most people wouldn't read this much into a movie about two stoners going back in time so that they can pass grade 12 history, but this movie has stuck with me so much since I saw it in elementary school and I'm pretty sure these themes are why I like it so much. Since I can be very quiet sometimes and loud and silly other times, people often mistake this for me being dumb and not knowing what's going on. Very often throughout university, people would assume that I was out to lunch in lectures, or be very surprised when I piped up with a point. That really gets under my skin, as it comes from a place of someone assuming intellectual superiority over you. Bill and Ted acing their final history presentation and sticking it to the teachers and students who are just waiting for them to fail? I've been there and it feels so good.

Third is that the movie was released in 1989, which was when the phenomenon of 80's glam and pop metal was starting to die. Motley Crue released Dr. Feelgood, which was their last album with any hits and Warrant was about to release "Cherry Pie" which was the song that basically killed "hair metal". As such, this soundtrack is a significant blip in the death of a music genre. Pop/glam metal was still a very bankable genre, as, to be honest, Bill and Ted basically only exists to make money off of the fad, so there's a ton of bands here who I'm sure were signed to major labels after Guns 'n Roses broke and then never amounted to anything. The only band with a recognizable name on the soundtrack is Extreme, who themselves were (actually are, just found out they are still active) bit players in the genre. Everyone else is a band that I have never heard of. They all sound the part and play the hair metal sound to a t, but none are significant in any way.

I love hearing stories about the music industry before Napster destroyed it, because it is so obvious that almost every executive had no idea what they were doing and were clueless about music. "Appetite for Destruction went like 25 times platinum? Well, better sign Shark Island then!" How much money did labels lose on these bands! I need to know!

I guess the funny part is that any of these bands probably could have been pretty big if they had gotten a slick music video or something, but it obviously never worked out.

I'll leave you with this song, which magically started playing over the sound system when I saw Rebecca standing by herself in the Bullring while I was meeting her for our second date*:




*Did not actually happen.