Friday, March 21, 2008
So this week brought Hawksley Workman to St. Andrews Wesley Church in Vancouver.
Understand that I am a huge Hawksley fan. Huge. And I'm at my hugest huge fan-ness when he plays in a quiet, seated venue. Like a church. And even more so when we are lucky enough to score second row - I mean, second pew - seating. Luckily I'm on the HW mailing list, and was given the opportunity to buy tickets through his website - which meant preferred seating. And a very happy me.
Now, I've spoken about my Hawksley love previously. No need really to do so again here. Or to give a detailed review - this review of the Ottawa show gives a good enough summary of the experience. And I've posted a number of videos here for those that want to experience it second hand. So what to say, what to say.....
What I didn't love: Having to be a paranoid camera sneaker (as in "someone who sneaks", not a running shoe). In the second row, 6 feet from the stage, on the centre aisle, me and my beloved camera were pretty exposed. And we were told upon entering that there was to be no photography in the church. But how could I NOT take photographs? So, I snuck a few at first - including my favorite of the night, the close up headshot I've posted here - probably my best shot yet, and a total fluke (as all my photos are). And then I tried to video without being seen - so I held my camera pretty much to my chest, completely unable to see the view screen on the back. Which is why, on the video I've posted, the beginning bit has some pretty funny framing (why do we need to see all his head anyway?..). And was also the reason my hands started to cramp. And was also the reason I (stupidly) held my camera sideways for part of the night...which subsequently is why I spent about 5 hours fussing and internet searching until i found a way to successfully rotate and post my mpg files (THANK YOU to the developer of Mpeg Streamclip - excellent freeware!!).
I also didn't love that my brother couldn't come as he was felled by a virulent plague that is passing through the city right now. Really not at all fair.
What I did love: Apart from the obvious? The audience. Really, you guys were SO well behaved. Quiet, quiet, quiet. I guess we are all programmed to be quiet in church. But I also think that it is a credit to Hawksley's ability to hold an audience as well. I love his meandering, funny, odd stories almost as much as I love the music, and obviously I wasn't alone.
So, after my slight uneasiness with his last CD, my faith in Hawksley has been restored. Of course, I wanted MORE - more old songs, more more more more. But I'm a Hawksley glutton; so I will just have to wait, patiently, for more. Next time.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boatswain's mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up, down in the water just like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he'd been bitten in half below the waist.
Welcome to one of my guilty pleasures.
Yes - that's right.
The cats and I watched for a bit. Mags hid her head on my lap (some would say she was just stretching, but I don't believe it), and I don't blame her. I actually videoed a small chunk of it but for some reason I can't upload it here so you are spared. But anyway...there is something about it that makes me smile and be a tiny bit freaked out no matter how many times I see it.
It is the archetype that all other "monster" movies look to (finally, they had something to look to other than Godzilla) - but this one seemed that must more real, that much more plausible than so many that came after it (Anaconda anyone?) The ocean is such a wonderful freaky otherworld, and this film does such a great job of showing how completely out of place we are in it (or rather, on it I guess). My read every Peter Benchley novel my 12 year old self could get my hands on after this. And people may laugh at the stiff movements of "bruce" the mechanical shark, but something about it feels much more real than any CGI I've seen so far.
No swimming for me.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Really not feeling in the blogging mood right now, so I'll let some photos of the pot o'flowers I have out front do the talking. Next time I'll take snaps of some of the garden bulbs - some mini-dafs are about to pop any day now.
One more month, give or take a week, and the cherry trees will be out again.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Anyone new to Bunklelife concert reviews might want to read this before continuing.
So, went to the New York Dolls at the Plaza club last night, perched right at the front of the balcony approximately 10 feet from the flown speakers (which accounts for the buzzing swan song of hearing death happening in my left ear, which for no logical reason I didn't put an ear plug in). We are the Fury opened up - their name was written on the kick drum, but from my angle I couldn't see the last word so spent the first half of their set wondering if their name was "We are the Fort", and thinking that is actually a pretty cool name for a band. I was a bit disappointed when I found out I was wrong. Fury is just so obvious. Anyway, they did their best to roll about 5 different glammy rocky posey trexrollingstonesdavidbowiesweet kinds of bands into one, and apart from finding that all a bit distracting I'll give them good marks for effort. And for spending so much time practicing the Mick Jagger back-arch pose. Video here.
New York Dolls were great. I find David Johansen infinitely entertaining - I think some of his solo stuff is great, and he did one of the best covers of Brecht's Alabama Song that I've heard. I could watch him brush his teeth and be quite content, so having him stalk around the stage in his glitter-girl blue shirt makes me happy as a clam. It apparently made a whole lot of people happy - the floor was packed, and bouncing...OK, thowing themselves violently around, not bouncing. The audience member of the month this time was one of the most violent "bouncers", shirtless, wearing a white feather boa sash-like across his chest (it was so wet from sweat it wasn't going anywhere). You'll find him in the bottom right corner of the crowd shot.
I took a few videos, and many many photos. I got caught videoing by the scarey sound guy (mentioned under The Sound in this post), and was told still photos were allowed, but no videoing the band. Gotta say in this day and age, it surprises me no end that they try to put any controls on photos or videos at this kind of gig. Certainly, in a sit down venue where it could be distracting, I understand. But come on now...audience member videos (I would think) become one of the standard ways a band can - at no effort to themselves - market to a larger audience. Don't get it. Anyway, the video coppers didn't shut me down until I had a few videos already, and I'll be posting them, rebel that I am.
So - now the moment you've been waiting for: my Theory of Rock and Roll Genetics. It seems to me that there is a distinct physical type of rock star that blossomed in the 70s - extremely lean build, distinct nasolabial folds, big mouth (think: trout like), with an overriding tendency to prance instead of walk. Cases in point: David Johansen, Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler. What I find really interesting is that nature has found a way of weeding this particular physical type out by giving them the talent and ego necessary to be rock stars. As rock stars, they have access to females of the species that are near the very top of contemporary standards of physical beauty. They reproduce, and instead of ending up with mini prancing trouts, they end up producing beautiful offspring. Now, I am not sure if this goes for David Johansen - I don't know if he has children or not. But I think I'm onto something. Is he the last of a dying breed?
I certainly hope not.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
WARNING: this is entirely about cats and couches. Most will find it too boring for words.
So it's arrived - the new couch! In my eagerness to blog I haven't really staged the photo very well, but as you can see we've got quite a different beast in the house - more massive, and much more neutral. I think it's going to work.
Cat reaction has been reserved. Neither would come near it at first - Mags focus was to play like a crazy thing in the "cage" formed by my old couch, which is currently pushed up against the railing to downstairs. As I type this she is scrabbling around in there having as good a time as a cat can have on a couch.
Thom has acted with his usual caution. Some careful studying from a safe distance, followed by a touch of the tail against the side of the couch - that is as far as it's got at this point. Miss Mags walked along the window letting one paw touch the couch every now and then, then finally got brave enough to lie on it, and I think she's given it the OK, as you'll see from the video (once again, BOREDOM warning).
Oooh - breaking news - Thom is now sitting beside me on the new addition, and has rolled a couple of times, so I guess he's ok with it too. Even if I didn't take his advice on upholstery fabric.