Monday, December 29, 2008

I *heart*.... new throw!

If you need to find me in the evenings, you'll find me hiding under this on my couch, pinned down by Maggie.
Thanks (knitting fiend) Mum!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bunklelife Tops lists 2008 #1: Concerts

Yup, amazing but true, it is that time again. I will put out a tops album list soon enough - but I will start with the live stuff.

Looking back it is actually surprisingly hard to choose. But - here it is, my gig of the year:

Beirut at the Commodore. I have listed all the reasons here so I won't do it again. But I will post a video from that night - Sunday Smile followed by Elephant Gun:

I can only hope that Zach Condon will reappear soon in some form or another.

5 Honourable mentions:

Radiohead at Thunderbird. A better (smaller, less rainy) venue may have pushed this into the #1 spot.

Weezer at GM Place. Partly because I was a bit surprised at how much I loved it - so ridiculously entertaining.

Elliott Brood at Richards. I went really to see Dan Mangan, who didn't end up playing, and was completely blown away. Rock on banjo!

Joe Jackson at the Chan. Perfect combo of artist and venue.

Conor Oberst
at Richards.

I could add more. A lot more (Sigur Ros, Hawksley, Blitzen Trapper....). Which would kind of diffuse the whole "tops" idea, so I'll stop...except to announce the

Audience of the year: Daniel Johnston at Richards. His performance style is ... delicate. Hats off to an audience that gave him the quiet, and the enthusiasm, that he deserves.

Will wait to see what 2009 will bring. I worry about Richards closing - that will be a slam on the live music scene that this city really does not need. But in the interim, a few interesting things are already booked, including Antony and the Johnsons and David's hoping for lots more.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Hero(ine)

You don't need to know why. But she's totally my hero today. And I kind of think she's her own hero as well, judging by her strutting air of superiority.

Let's just say Thomas and I are happy that she is on patrol....because we both know we're pretty much useless when confronted with such things (though only one of us is really EXPECTED to be useful...but I love him anyway).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

***Happy Holidays***

...from me, and you-know-who.


20 inches and counting.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What cats do when it's cold out

Who's kidding who, they do this when it's warm out too.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Too much, even for Maggie.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And YOU are....?

Originally uploaded by Yvonne Chew
She'd probably kill me if she knew I'd blogged this.

Too bad Ms. T! - call it auntistic license ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008


And so very glad to be here.

Halifax / Toronto trip was fine - lightning fast, but all in all it went OK as far as work trips go. Strangely, we have more snow here in Vancouver than I saw anywhere else.

Maggie flopped on my suitcase this morning - whether it is just her need to be on things or whether it is her way of indicating the suitcase is not leaving the house again for a while, I'm not sure.

And on my trip I found:

1) my new year's resolution: learn how to needle felt.

2) a new pair of short waterproof boots that I am maybe too excited about. Warmth? Waterproof? Non-slip soles? Super cushy comfort? Ahhh, I am getting old ....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Pretty from a distance...

A rare photo of Miss Mags (AKA Maggie, Miss Moo, Moo, Moo Kitty, and one half of For the love of God would you Two STOP IT). What I love is how pretty and fluffy she looks from a distance, and how much withering disdain is in that steely gaze when you get up close. I am currently in Halifax and miss being belittled by her glare (and no, she doesn't have one squinty eye, I woke her up).

Halifax is cold. Well, was. Tomorrow will be 12C, which scares me as it sounds like a migraine inducing change of pressure to me. It was f%@#g COLD at the airport last night at 11:30 waiting for the airport shuttle (because in Halifax, cabs don't go to the airport unless they are prearranged it would seem - ??! I went to the "taxi/limo" stand in the airport and asked about taxis, and the woman said "Did you prearrange one?" When I said No, she shrugged, turned away from me and said 'well...I guess you can wait for the next free one then", gazing outside at the completely empty taxi stand). It's been a long time since I've felt that kind of cold, from weather or a taxi stand employee.

It's going ok so love of hotel living is carrying me through.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thanks Miss L.!

MY ALLEGIANCE IS DECLARED! is a little hootchie-tight for my non-hootchie form, but it doesn't stop me from loving it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The things I've been doing....

1) Working. Too much. Though less than a few weeks ago.

2) Reading this (need some escapism after point 1. And who doesn't love a slightly homoerotic military dragon story?)

3) Booking a trip here - for work (see point 1.), the second week of December. LOVE this city. Having been caught in the airport there for about 14 hours due to a winter snow storm (with nothing to do but stare at a taxidermy tiger that they have in a glass case in the waiting area) I do NOT love this city in winter. I do NOT love the fact that it will take longer to get there than it does to fly to London. Workmates in Halifax tell me there is now a pub at the airport. Which means next time I can be drunk staring at a taxidermy tiger. Great....

4) Watching this. Well worth it. And this. Winston always, always makes me smile.

5) Fainting on the bus home from work. Related to Point 1 perhaps? Now suffering terribly embarrassing post-faint visions of exactly what I looked like when that happened.

6) Becoming strangely obsessed with this blog - partly for lovely straight-ear scottish fold (like Miss Mags) Maru, partly for the great english translations, but more because the environment is so incredibly white, clean, and cat fur how is this possible? If I watch long enough, maybe i will figure it out...

7) Falling in love with these pieces by local artist Arleigh Wood - which I am happy to say, after this weekend, will officially be mine. Here's hoping nothing major at the house goes wrong, as my contingency fund is now pretty much gone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just not feeling it...

Not in the mood to post really. I have flashes of energy, but they pass. Think I am still dealing with dealing with too much crap. And it is crap, when you consider the major things others are dealing with.

Until I get my blogging mojo back, here is a clip form the Rock Plaza Central/Jason Collett gig from a couple of weeks back.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Did someone say banjo? Episode #8 - Mumford and Sons, White Blank Page

It's time for more banjo, care of Mumford and Sons. Not only does Marcus Mumford have a great name, his voice ain't half bad either.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The king has a new throne

Yes, the new chair arrived. Still not 100% sure about it but I think it will work out.

It took Thomas about two minutes after the delivery to hop up. He hasn't hopped down since. He seems to understand how well it matches his eyes. In fact, it is like a big grid of Thomas eyes (crazy work days are not doing my mind any favours).

Maggie did try to wander by and investigate, but she got a quick swat on the head from the Newly Enthroned One and skittered off. No worries - We the Banished will stay on the couch instead....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sweatin' to the Oldies....54-40, Neil Young, Bob Dylan

The last week (and more) has been crazy busy. Quite frankly the idea of even trying to post something was way too much work. But it's Sunday, and I have 20 minutes free before my next mission (visiting my Dad).

So here goes. At least briefly.

Welcome to my youth.

54-40 were one of my first concert-going obsessions. I used to go see them all the time playing in little grim halls in Vancouver with my friend Barb in the early 80s (unlicensed places that would let 15 year olds in thankfully). They were fantastic. And sometimes the opening band was the Grapes of Wrath. And my friend Barb knew the GoW- she had been on holiday in Kelowna one summer with her parents, and was walking down the main street when a car full of guys (who turned out to be the band) pulled over and said Hi. Barb had blue hair, so they thought she must be cool. There weren't many cool people in Kelowna apparently. So they hung out. And she began a long penpal-friendship with them (oh the complexities of life before email...). This didn't really impact my life very much except we'd get to chat with the band when they were in town playing, and I once watched in horror/amazement as the drummer Chris ate a big mac in two bites when we sat in the MacDonalds at Granville and Smithe before their gig.

Barb and I eventually stopped hanging out. Last I heard of her, she got married in a teepee and joined a cult near Pemberton run by her psychic mother in law and had two blond boys that looked like they should be out of Children of the Corn. But I kept going to 54-40 gigs. And I remember when I hit 19, going to the Savoy and reading some rather complimentary washroom graffiti about Neil Osborne's non-musical talents...which for some reason I have chosen not to forget. But I digress.

SO - it was great to see 54-50 again, and extra great to see Grapes of Wrath's Tom Hooper playing with them. I've got to say they seemed a little mellower than usual - but they sounded great. I can't help but wonder if Neil's slightly ... mocking? jokey? not sure how to put it... performance "I Go Blind" is a result of the happy bouncing oblivion of the audience - like most of the band's songs, it is highly political & am not sure the audience really gets that. Or maybe it is that they are sick of singing a song that is now known more by the Hootie & the Blowfish version than their own (though I know they've got to love the royalties from that). OK, admittedly, I'm just projecting.

Neil Young & Bob Dylan

Oh where to start. Neil put it all out there, thrashy guitar and all. Bob brought his increasingly...unique...voice and a great tight band - and arrangements so different I am guessing they confused a fair chunk of the audience. And before I run out of steam a couple of comments:

1) DAMN you LiveNation. When I bought Neil Young tickets, you were selling them for the 'concert bowl' - HALF of GM Place. My tickets were good. When we arrived, the whole stadium was sold, the stage moved waaaaay further back, making my pre-sale tickets pretty shitty. Since when is changing the stakes part way through ticket sales OK? Grrrr.

2) Who let these people out? I see a lot of live music. A lot. A lot of fairly alternative stuff. These two concerts were as mainstream as you could get. And god help me these were perhaps the most bizarre, rude, loud, annoying audiences I've come across (ok, with the exception of here). Our Neil Young view was partially impared by the distracting view of two guys so...special...ok, I will stop or it will get nasty. But here is a picture of them.

And I will make the comment that if you are such a huge fan of the performer, why do you spend all your time talking to your friend? or turning to face the (seated, except for you) audience as you pump your fists in the air? Please. Go home until you learn some manners. I'm all for audiences enjoying themselves. I'm all for freedom of expression. That is, until it impedes the ability of others to enjoy the experience too. Like the teenage boy sitting behind you who couldn't see a damn thing. Grrr.

Anyway, for those who are interested, a fairly crap Neil Young vid, and a slightly better Bob Dylan one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What fun...

Andrew Bird and Yo-Yo Ma. What fun. I will post something more substantial soon, once chaos stops reigning...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's all about the front man...

Gorgeous sunny fall day today. If only my house were already clean, it would be a perfect day. As it is, I am avoiding cleaning by blogging, but I can't avoid for long.

Two gigs to report on: Weezer and Hayden - experiences as similar as apples and tacos.

Weezer at GM Place:
Since this night, I have been thinking about whether my affection for Weezer is really just affection for Rivers Cuomo. I think it probably is. No disrespect to the rest of the band, but Rivers could front a pile of tree stumps and it would still be worth watching. If you were looking for a guy to front your band, I'm guessing you wouldn't set out "small framed, bespeckled, just-balding, porn-stache sporting" as your criteria. But man does he wear it well.

The night opened with Angels & Airwaves, Tom DeLonge's new band. And I will follow the rule of "if you don't have anything nice to say..." and leave it at that.

Weezer came on in Devo-like white jumpsuits (later to be taken off to show some mighty fine red Weezer old school track suits), with Rivers adding to the effect with some weird medical-looking balaclava covering his face, and owned the place from note one. Seriously one of the most purely entertaining things I've seen in a while. Let it be said though, as much as I like seeing fans enjoy themselves, there are some that I would like to be able to BAN. Forever. From attending ANYTHING. We sat behind one such guy ... he heckled Angels & Airwaves, I think to impress his (girl you could do so much better) girlfriend, and was pretty obnoxious during the first few Weezer songs. Until, that is, he lit up a joint and was promptly turfed from the building. Ahhh sweet justice. You can hear his grating 'buenos noches' at the beginning of this video. I think he ceased to exist by the end of it.

The night ended off with the Weezer Hootenany of local fans, which I managed to film:

There are about a half dozen more songs here as usual.

Hayden, Vogue Theatre:
First - this wasn't sold out. FOR SHAME! (Not that it was badly attended, but it should have sold out).

Ahh Hayden. How great. His between song stories are almost worth the price of admission on their own. Unfortunately I didn't manage to tape the stories, or the moment when the audience reaction to a song cracked him up to the point he had to stop and collect himself. But I did manage to tape a few songs, albeit broken up by the bodies of people walking up and down the aisle I happened to be sitting beside, leaving my poor camera losing its mechanical mind trying to focus/refocus. The videos are a bit dark - I have "lightened" them as much as I dare, which has left them a bit grey and weird looking, but oh well. Here are a couple - Woody, a song about Hayden's cat which I also used as the soundtrack for Thom's Bellyrub

And I should say that I think Woody must now be a bit of a thorn in Hayden's side. It's a very short song about his cat, likely put together without nearly as much effort as most of his other stuff, but THIS is the song the audience is calling for (which could be due to some of the very funny stories he has told about the song, and his cat, when introducing it in the past). I'm guessing there is an untapped market for songs about cats....I'm just saying. And here is Hollywood Ending, which includes Cuff the Duke, who were backing him up this tour. Excuse the gimpy framing at the start - I had my stealth camera viewfinder cover on, and couldn't see a damn thing I was filming at first. If you really feel like watching the videos it is worth going to the YouTube site and watching them in High Quality mode - they appear kind of blurry otherwise. I will be posting a few more for those who care.


Thursday, October 09, 2008


Ya, you read it right. Just don't ask me to pronounce it.

And I don't know what it is with Iceland and the etherial.

Moving on though - Sæglópur is the name of the Sigur Ros song in this video, kindly uploaded to Youtube by another attendee (and by far the best quality vid I could find posted). I was too chicken to take my camera for once - and was kicking myself because we were perfectly positioned for stealth filming as it turns out. Oh well. Sometimes it is good just to watch. And this is a 7:00 minute video, so be warned. But if you do watch, hang in for at least half of it. It was a really really good gig - I have to admit being a bit disappointed that they didn't bring their string and brass section with them, but oh well. They sure managed to fill the (wonderful, wonderful Chan...oh how I love you) space without any extra help. And extra big cudos to the very, very attentive audience. There was a pause of about 30 seconds in the middle of one song, and you could have heard a pin drop. No calls, or whistles, or whoops, or 'yeaaaaahhhhhhs' to break the silence. Tomorrow night: Weezer. Saturday night: Hayden. Which is why I am posting this now, however brief, or I will not get around to mentioning it as I will have too much else to talk about.

This is actually my first night at home in a week...or more come to think of it. VIFF is finally wrapping up, and I saw about a dozen films. Quite by accident, most of them had to do with either music or blindness. Hmmm. There were so many more I wanted to see, and it pains me as I know it was most likely my only chance for many of them. It's hard for me to pick a favorite, but a few stood out:

Largo : outstanding film about a small club in LA - it is entirely performance footage, largely musicians (Fiona Apple, Andrew Bird...) but some comedians as well (John C Reilly's story about Burt Reynolds and the filming of Magnolia a highlight...). Nothing big budget, and so beautifully intimate it drew you right in.

Throw down your Heart: Banjo king Bela Fleck and his brother made this great documentary following Bela's travels through Africa to find the roots of the banjo. And you know how much I like banjo.

Passage: John Walker's beautifully shot, beautifully structured documentary about one of history's unsung figures, John Rae, who brought back news about the Franklin expedition that no one in Britain wanted to hear. Brits after all don't usually snack on eachother.

As Slow as Possible: Love the idea of this documentary. A Canadian man who is going blind travels to Germany to witness the changing of a note in a 600+year playing of a John Cage composition, "As slow as possible" - and does an amazing job of explaining his experience of the world, and of his situation. How much do I love the fact that a group of Germans decided to dedicate a church, and an organ, to playing the same song for over 600 years? How much do I love the fact that the first note was in fact a rest that lasted 18 months? A lot.

There were more worth mentioning, but I am running out of steam.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Woke up this morning to a puddle of water on my hardwood floor....where did it come from? Well, I guess you could say THE SKY. Via the ceiling fixture, via MY LEAKING ROOF. Oh wait - let me clarify: my NEW LEAKING ROOF. New as of 10 months ago. And the drywall on the ceiling that is now buckling? Ya, that was new as of about 3 years ago too.

So far, the roofing crew manager has shown up. He took some photos. He was very quiet. I was very quiet. He didn't have a ladder (?!!). I didn't have a ladder. He left to get a ladder. Two hours ago. And I am waiting for his return.

I am furious. Really. Furious. Furious at the thought of having to live through drywall dust one more time. Furious that for two years I lived with a completely sketchy, rag-tag roof, worried about leaks which never happened. Furious that after spending $12,000 I relaxed completely about the possibilities of leaks. More fool me.

But enough of that. On a happier house note, Thomas Kitten Esq. made his final fabric selection as you can see (a gold polka-dotted number that matches his eyes quite nicely), and the chair has now been ordered.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Did someone say banjo Episode #7: RIP Mr. Newman

Ahhhh, it's just not fair. The older I get, the more I understand how cruel aging is. But, you can't escape it, and it finally caught up with a long-standing heartthrob of mine. I have long loved his blue eyes and talent, his determination to stay out of the public eye, except to use his fame to do some greater good. Or make some wicked salad dressing (which was, truthfully, for the greater good).

Add banjo on top of that?

Sad indeed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Elliott Brood

Went to Richard's last night to see Elliott Brood. Actually, initially bought the tickets really because Dan Mangan was supposed to open - which combined with what I had heard of Elliott Brood, made it an appealing night out - particularly for the under $20 price. Then Dan Mangan dropped from the lineup (an early show so no time for 2 openers). So, I went, expecting a pleasant night, but not a holy-crap-what-was-THAT night.

It was a holy-crap-what-was-THAT night.

Opening up were NQ Arbuckle, and they were really really good (lame description I know). I was worried at first as Richards was pretty empty and the floor was COMPLETELY empty (what joy for a band that must be...). But within a few songs they managed to pull people out onto the floor, and they played as if they had packed the place. As for the audience, a few needed ball-gags to stop them talking. (Which makes me think of a news piece I just saw about "silent" live gigs where all the audience members wear headphones to listen to the band, and take them off when they want to talk. Maybe not such a crazy idea.)

Then Elliott Brood. Who knew that a 3 piece banjo (oh I *heart* banjo) playing band could produce such a wild, dense wall of sound. Incredible energy - my videos don't do it justice. My videos are also all really dark as the main source of light seemed to be the xmas lights on the stage. And the audience was a frothing, happy, bouncing floor of joy. Towards the end of the night the band handed out noise makers to the audience - tin pie plates, wooden spoons, plastic tambourines - and they were participating with unfettered (though not always on-beat) enthusiasm.

I think the wooden spoons gave the security guy on the side of the stage a bit of a heart attack - not sure what he was so worried about, but all night he was like a guard dog on alert. I will give him props though - before the encore a couple of audience members took the set lists, which made mr. security hop on to the stage and take them back (the gig was after all not over). At the very end of the set, mr. security hopped back on stage and handed the set lists back down to the fans. Nicely done - decent security guys have to be acknowledged, as they are a dying breed.

So - the life lesson of the night? There is nothing better than going into something without any real expectations and having your socks blown off. That, and if Elliott Brood comes around again, I will bring my own wooden spoon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Brief Recounting...or is that Raconting?

A brief update on concert life. So much better to listen to than real life.

Went to the Raconteurs show at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park this week. Of all the outdoor venues that Vancouver has to offer, Malkin Bowl is the only one I have positive thoughts about. Deer Lake, while beautiful, is too big. And Thunderbird is both ugly and too big. Actually, I'd probably say the same thing about most indoor venues - remember, my ideal club size is Richards.

Anyhoo, the weather cooperated, and it was a great show. The Kills opened, so no complaints there. Nor any re. the Raconteurs. Except maybe the argueably minor point of Jack White's hair. Don't get me wrong - I love the guy, both what he has done both as musician and as producer, so maybe I will just leave it at that. And Brendan Benson's voice was eluding him after about the half way point. It amazes me how rarely you see that happen (singers losing their voice that is, not Brendan in particular) considering what they put themselves through during a tour. That being said, they gave it their all.

As for me, I wandered down front, and stood infront of the speaker bank for a while. Maybe not the wisest move - my clothes were vibrating with each hit of the kick drum so not sure what my eardrums were doing. This is the only half decent photo I got from down there, and admittedly is more half than decent.

Did a bit better standing further back

One thing this does point out is how fabulous bassist Jack Lawrence's hair is. He could be a Breck model there is so much shine on those locks (yes, I am stuck on hair today for some reason)

And finally, I did manage a couple of videos. I wasn't feeling inspired to film much for some reason, but the couple I did catch turned out OK. Here's one...(and remember, if you go to YouTube from here you can watch it in high quality. HATE how grainy and compressed this looks otherwise)

And my life-lesson for the night? Don't think security won't find your camera if you wrap it in a nice soft sweater and put it in the bottom of your backpack. They will. Luckily, this time they didn't care. Honesty is the best policy. Well, either that, or figure out how to be a more successful sneak.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

OK then

Based on the fact that you are too learned a dog to use the word "leggies" in a sentence, I suspect I may be releasing this without your authorization.

But it IS rather flattering, so I'm sure you won't mind.

Regards from Canada.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Attention SADIE:


I have had a message from this man, claiming to be your 'owner'. Please provide confirmation of this fact, as I feel uncomfortable releasing your photos without your consent.

If he is an impostor/has been detaining you against your will, please feel free to provide this photograph to the authorities.

Warm regards from Canada.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thomas weighs in...again.

Yes, time for the cats to pick more fabric - something they love to do. Well, Thomas does. (I think he'd be a good addition to "Colin & Justin's Home Heist" - official upholstery consultant.) And he is likely just as shocked as you at the cherry red velvet he's sitting on.

In short, I've decided to ramp up the replacement of the red leather Ikea Poang as it seems it could be useful in my Dad's room at the care home (a move that happened this weekend, and something I will write more about at some point when my brain has settled down a bit).

The front runner so far? The shiny stripey number in photo #2, on the chair version of the gold couch I have in the office. Still thinking about it, but I think it might add a bit of zip to the livingroom - and it has the added bonus that it would look tolerable with the gold couch were both pieces ever to end up in the same room.

Thomas will keep you posted on his final decision.


The owner of this dog is officially on notice. If you want to see the front end, you're going to have to show yourself instead of lurking.

It's up to you ;)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sigur Ros: "they might be to music what marmite is to food, but when you get it, you really get it"

That quote is from a Youtube viewer, and knowing my love of marmite, I couldn't resist quoting. I'm not sure he's right, but that doesn't really matter.

Couple of things you can say for sure though:

1) growing up in Iceland does something to the creative side of your brain

2) these guys know how to make a music video

3) if I could get a fox hat without harming any foxes, I would.

Seeing Sigur Ros at the Chan next month. While not my favorite band (in no way meaning I don't like them alot), I have a sneaking suspicion this may turn into one of my favorite concerts.

Just a hunch.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Deerhoof & Excess Bodyhair...

...also known as Nardwuar the Human Serviette/lead singer of the Evaporators, who kicked off a great afternoon/night of music at the Stanley Park Singing Exhibition, a fundraiser pulled together by The New Pornographers...and the first day, there were members of the New Pornographers scattered throughout their OTHER bands (Evaporators, Destroyer, and of course, the lovely Neko Case). I didn't make the second day, when The New Pornographers were set to play but I imagine it was big fun.

And I kind of loathe the traditional concert review format, but I kind of feel it is necessary in this case. As mentioned, my man Nardwuar and the rest of the Evaporators kicked things off with a set that it is a little beyond description. Except to say that it was funny, energetic, and got the laid-back, meandering-in Vancouverites engaged whether they wanted to be or not (when a semi-naked, fully pelted Nardwuar is running towards you full tilt with a mic and a crazed expression, you participate because it seems like the ...safest...option). And when he pulls you up to help him ride his keyboard (yes, that's right) in the crowd, you do it - bemused maybe, but you do it. And they have a song about cheese (watch it here). What is not to love? Good times.

Deerhoof were good - didn't leave a huge impression on me, but I may have been in post Evaporators shock. The drummer did leave an impression. That man drums with his whole being (kind of like Animal in the muppets?)

Andrew Bird was a huge treat, bright blue and green socks and all. I have gone on about him in an earlier post, and he really is a cool guy to watch - I'm a sucker for bowed string instruments, and the way he loops and plays with things is really quite something. Quite something enough that the security guards were way more interested in watching him than watching me video the show (cheers to you, security guard!)

After Andrew Bird came the Destroyers, another solid band that didn't really leave much of a lasting impression - may just have been my mood. No shortage of talent, that's for sure - so don't think this is a bad review, I'm just reserving judgment for now.

And then Neko Case and her easy, bittersweet voice wrapped up the night. The crowd was so civilized that I was able to easily get right up front, and have plenty of space around me to watch (and pull a couple of videos). Her voice is sooo effortless. I could go on about how lovely it is but it would get boring. Instead, I'll post a couple of videos from the night. And sorry about the occasional head-cropping - I videoed these vertically (you'd think I'd learn) and had to flip them at the expense of some foreheads. You can find a few more here.

First Niko:

And Andrew Bird (half of Plasticities - I have two full songs posted on the Youtube site):

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sufjan Stevens - The Mistress Witch From McClure AKA Did someone say Banjo? - Episode 5

From La Blogotheque:
"I never thought I would be able to film Sufjan. I tried my chance one time before but the good man needs his time, a kind of slow accession into a calm moment of rare revelation. And so it was no surprise that 10 minutes before filming him, he kind a freaked out, saying, with fleeing and frightened eyes like an animal being hunted « No, no, I don't want to be filmed anymore, leave me be. » Ok, so we'll do it calmly, letting the camera roll as discretely as possible, one take, with no time or patience for errors. Sufjan finishes by descending the staircase, whistling (phew !) with the kind air of appreciation."

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Nice job, Dude..." aka The wonder?? that is YouTube

Busy concert week this week - Oasis/Ryan Adams last Wednesday, Beck/Band of Horses Thursday. There is a lot in my brain and I am not sure how to organize it so I will just start and see where it goes.

Ryan Adams/Oasis - Now, to start with let me say that I am much more a Ryan Adams fan than and Oasis fan. When tickets to this came on sale, the concert going crew and I fussed for a few minutes about whether to bother going at all. Obviously we did in the end.

My interest in Oasis is much more a fascination with the Gallagher brothers' eyebrows than anything...OK, I admit I also find their absurdly over-the-top arrogance entertaining, not irritating (though their attitude seems to have calmed down these days...and I guess you can't really sustain it when you have been virtually off the map for 3 years). And I do think Wonderwall is a remarkably perfect pop song. All that being said, I stopped paying any attention to Oasis after their first two albums. I suspect I'm not alone. Oh hang on, I AM alone, according to YouTube, but more on that later.

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals were great, and the sound at GM place was remarkably good. The only problem with seeing Ryan Adams is he has such a huge catalogue of work now that he'd have to play all night for me to hear all I want to hear. He sounded great, and the impared unreliability he is known for was nowhere to be seen. I was wondering (hoping) if he would do his cover of Wonderwall - there would be something so perfectly cheeky about it. No such luck.

And as for Oasis, they put on a really good show. Nice staging, they sounded great - no complaints. Really. Except for the 7 foot tall guy in the row ahead of us, but he can't help his height I guess. And I did manage to sneak a few videos - I am now a bit paranoid about the video police, so I waited until towards the end of the show. Oh, who am I kidding - I waited to video songs I actually have some interest in. Songs from the first two albums. Which, judging by the glow of camera screens in the audience, were the same songs most others were interested in.

SO - on to YouTube. I posted this video
36 hours later, it had been viewed over 4000 times. Suddenly, my YouTube site is #32 Most Viewed in Canada, right behind the sites of semi-naked teenage girls dancing in their bedrooms. And I'm getting comments something like "Nice job Dude." And many more like "Liam's voice is BACK" which tells me that there have been points recently where his voice hasn't been...back. Someone in eastern Europe wants to add these videos to a bootleg DVD they are putting together (sorry, no.)

So - my thoughts?

1) I love masquerading as a Dude. Actually, I had no intention of masquerading as a Dude, but obviously musical obsessiveness is limited to the realm of the Dude in the minds of the general public. Now, if I had been posting videos of Steely Dan or Rush, it would have been a reasonable assumption...rawk on, fellow Dudes.

2) Someone (or 4000+ someones) still really, really love Oasis. And apparently it is important to let other Oasis lovers know "OMG I was there!!" even though no one else reading knows you OR really cares.

3) The use of things like "OMG!" tells me something about the demographic watching the videos. So maybe it isn't that the band videos that receive less hits are less loved, they are just loved by those who wouldn't be caught dead revealing themselves through pithy comments like "OMG!" or "Liam's vocals are mega!!!"

4) I have to admit I like the fact that the anxiety I feel sneaking videos results in something that is appreciated...I guess?

And as for Beck & Band of Horses the next night - another really really good show. But back to the show... I'd go see Band of Horses again in a smaller venue in a heartbeat. I don't have any videos of them because of the militia circling the venue ... I mean, the security staff (I guess that is what they are?), who were being wankers of the first order, and there were not enough people in their seats to really conceal what I was up to at that point of the night. That being said, with my brother's help I had covered anything that glowed on my camera (even the screen) with black plastic - I could still see enough to frame a shot, without the tell-tale "look at me I'M GLOWING!!" bounceback light. So HA to you, little security man, HA HA HA. And here is a chunk of Where Its At

Not my best effort, but not the ideal location to video from.
And this clip doesn't really get across how fantastic Beck is live. Really. But I'm bored with typing, so you'll have to imagine it. If you are interested in getting a broader view, someone posted a video of the fantastic final song, e-pro, that maybe gives a better sense of it.

Tomorrow: Neko Case, Andrew Bird, Deerhoof and friends at Malkin Bowl. ...


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things that start with R....


I could have done without the first, but the second made it bearable.
And I didn't bring my camera this time (I was too pessimistic about the rain/security/my ability to get close enough to film anything worthwhile), but luckily someone did and I have borrowed their video of Karma Police (thank you, whoever you are).

I have wanted to see Radiohead for a long time. Thom Yorke fascinates me for reasons that might reveal a bit too much about me (and it's not just because his name is Thom like my cat's...and that there are at times - not good times if you are the cat Thom - some similarities between their eyes...and it's not just his laugh), and the music is layered and complex and unique and moving and and get the idea. Despite the bizarre crowd handling (gather everyone into a big holding pen like cattle for an hour or so, let them through slowly into another holding pen...) and my reticence about really big outdoor venues, particularly on really rainy Vancouver nights, it was all worthwhile. My wet legs, cramping ass, and general coldness - all worth it. If I enjoyed it this much when I wasn't in love with the weather or the venue, would my head have exploded if it was in a smaller, dry indoor venue? Likely. Would I have paid three times as much for that experience? At least.

But for now, I'll just be glad I had my Northface raincoat, and that I was lucky enough to be there.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What could excite me more ....

...about the upcoming Radiohead gig? On the eastern Canadian part of the tour, Grizzly Bear was opening for them. Vancouver - no Grizzly Bear. Sigh. And after playing the Plaza club here last time (an inappropriately noisy venue) who knows GB will bother coming back again. So I will watch this and pretend....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Watching this somehow makes it better

There has been too much on my brain of late. Killing wasps. Whether it is better to quit or be fired. My Dad's diaper rash. What the ideal assistant would be like, as I now have to find one. How great my friends are. How life could be easier. Why cats are so scared of vacuums. How life could be a lot more difficult. And how I loath self pity, particularly in myself.

Somehow, watching this shines a little light amongst the chaos.

Later all.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thomas is hungry

Thom has been circling me and making the grating "gak" sound that is cat-speak for "get off your ass slave-human, I need food" (unless he says it at 4:30 in the morning, when it means "get out of bed slave-human, I need food"). If you are trying to concentrate, which I am, there is nothing so perfectly pitched to be annoying/distracting. My passive-aggressive revenge is to stand up so he thinks I'll feed him, making him gallop to the kitchen in anticipation while I sit down again. For those that think I'm cruel, remember he starts this routine at least 45 minutes before he is due to get fed.

I have to wage the battle for who controls whom somehow (I know. He's winning so far, but it's only a matter of time before I start using his sorry KittenWar stats against him. And YES I HAVE lost my mind, but 45,000 "gaks" later is it really a surprise?...)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Still bright

A short post on the Richards on Richards gig for Bright Eyes lead/phenom (oh how I wish someone would call me that. Not phenom, Bright Eyes.) Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley band. Short because I'm tired, short because life is too hectic these days with things much less fun than music. But not short because it wasn't a fantastic gig. Not short because I don't want to talk about the audience (you were so well behaved!!). It really was great. I loved it. And I've been streaming his album from his site ever since (it isn't released until next week - at which point I will lay down some cold hard cash to be sure).

And it's Richards, last bastion of the free world of video - so here is Cape Canaveral and Souled Out!!. A few more videos from the night here. And I will try to write something more engaging at some point. At least before the next gig....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bald, bellied and beautiful...

...maybe not in the traditional sense, but you've got to love Tim Harrington - well, I do, as I've said before. The Commodore wasn't packed - it should have been but I imagine some poor souls were mistakenly thinking the Pemberton fest would be a better use of their time. The downside to the lower attendance was that we were booted from our booked table on the balcony (aka cinematography central) to a table on the floor, and of course we got nailed about three songs in ("you're not taping the show are you?" - ummm, No?). So, I wandered to the front of the crowd and enjoyed the full sweaty technicolor extravaganza up close.

I would say the show wasn't as great at their Richards gig, but it wasn't really the bands fault - the sound was muddier (to my ears at least) and though Jay Reatard did a good job opening, I love the Dodos, and they absolutely killed opening for LSF last time. But I'm splitting hairs. I challenge you to find someone as delightful to watch as Tim Harrington. He's just a joy to behold.

My only disappointment? I didn't have a chance to rub that belly. Next time, this will be a personal mission.

Tomorrow night? Conor Oberst. In the meantime, one of the few videos I managed to sneak:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lyle and my obsession with capturing the moment...

A brief post today....maybe something fleshier tomorrow after Les Savy Fav tonight, which my sinus infection and I are looking forward to very, VERY much.

But back to Lyle Lovett. I don't actually think I can say all that much, with the exception of go see him if you have the chance, because he never disappoints. He had his Large Band with him - last time I saw the Large Band was at the crappy sounding (at least where I was) Molson Amphitheater in Toronto, so it was great to see them somewhere where the sound is good (even if the comfort of the seats is questionable - I know my arse is fussier than most, but my tailbone was screaming for mercy by the end of the 2 1/2 hrs. If the bum-breaking Cinematheque can upgrade their seats, so can you, Orpheum! - signed, My Arse)

But back to Lyle. As always, he makes it seem easy. The guys in the band are as good as it gets, and somehow he manages to make on stage patter that must be largely orchestrated seem fresh. A fantastic night. That being said, a selfish part of me was hankering for more Lyle & guitar alone - I remember him playing Townes Van Zant's Flying Shoes in the songwriters circle at the Centre and it was unspeakably moving (well, not unspeakably, but I have no words for it).

And I managed to do two crappy short videos by snugging my camera against my chest - here is the best of the two. The abrupt ending is when the Orpheum Video Coppers found me out. There must be a better way. Or maybe, I should just leave the damn thing at home sometimes to avoid temptation!! But not tonight, not tonight....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Greece in Sensaround

Yes, the Greece posts continue, in a typically disorganized fashion. There will be some England posts at some point I suspect. And there is another rush of concerts coming up soon (Lyle Lovett, Les Savy Fav and Conor Oberst) so it won't be all travel, all the time, I promise.

This was taken at the end of a long day of touring around Athens and the mainland with George, Famous Taxi Driver of Greece. We used George and his drivers 3 times - they were all great. George has a pretty thick Greek accent (much more so than the other drivers we had) and spoke quite quickly, so you had to be on your toes to understand him some of the time. He's a great tour guide though, and we saw much, much more than we would have any other way.

This was taken on the site of a 5th C BC stadium near Cape Sounion, about 45 minutes outside Athens. It was hot as Hades (well, somewhere around 40C), and the persistent screaming of the cicadas raises the temperature at least 5 degrees and made me feel a bit like Herzog in Burden of Dreams. This day was our first real glance at the incredible blue Aegean, my new favorite body of water (everyone should have a favorite body of water)

The best part of this? Tuesday's expression at the end. This is the first(?) of many times she had to humour her (more than slightly idiotic) aunt.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jiggedy jig

Home again.

Thankfully, it is sunny in Vancouver. I'm feeling like a bit of a zombie, as I suspect I will for a few days. And a bit frustrated to not be at my fave Vancouver weekend, the Folk Fest. I have a lot of pictures, and a lot of trip related musings, but I'm not sure how many or how much will end up here. We shall see.

I took a lot of photos. You'd think most would look like the first two, but the truth is most look like #3. What did you expect?

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Yes, I'm still alive. I am sitting in the lobby of our fantastic hotel (Hotel Grotta) in Naxos - the only place we've found with internet access. Today is our trip to Santorini - our second to last stop before home.

The trip so far has been amazing. I will write about it when I get back, but here are a few things I now know for sure:

- Greeks are smarter than most people. Not only does the art and architecture back me up, the sheer volume and variety of cheese produced and consumed, the fact that beer comes in 500ml bottles, and the fact that most of them speak at least 2 languages kind of confirms the point. And they have never ending patience with the incredible volume of ...dumber...tourists that pass through their country.

- The blue paint you see on Greek buildings is entirely inspired by the colour of the Aegean Sea. For real. There is water that is actually that colour. Who knew?

- 40C is hot. Really hot.

- Greek kitties are much smaller than british kitties. And they are a lot less picky.

- Nothing ruins snorkelling like a leaky mask.

- Naxian cheese. Say no more.

- I will never, ever wrap my head around the written Greek language.

- Hiring tour guides is a really good thing. You might not get the tour you expect, but whatever you get is bound to be interesting. We saw much more of Athens in a day and a half than we could ever have managed on our own; and learned much more about the plants in Naxos that I would ever really need to know...but I'm glad I do.

- Almonds come in three varieties. The only two I can remember are sweet and bitter.

- Naked tanned people look sort of like wieners (at least in colour). Frightening.

- Tiny plumbs from Naxos are incredibly yummy.

I think that is it for now. I know I will have many more thoughts later on, once the sun and wind is out of my brain.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Am I just tired...

...or did I just lie down on my couch at 9pm, look out the window and see a giant, fairly sinister Mr Peanut?

Um. Yes, I did.

Am I losing my mind? Likely.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trying to slow down...

A day of running around. A lot. Interspersed with seeing friends. And I'm soon to do more of that - the night is still young.

Only a week and a half to go before the big trip (Home>UK>Greece>UK>Home). Excitement hasn't kicked in yet - I'm too full of the anxiety of ensuring that I have done all I need to do, bought all I need to buy, organized all I need to organize. I should be more zen about it. But it's hard.

Some lessons this week:

1) Even if she does a great job, if your esthetician can't really compute "no, I don't want a brazilian" for the second time, maybe it is time to find a different one.

2) Cinnamon goes well with cryptic crosswords.

3) Enclosed private patios make me very jealous.

4) I need down time - no noise (that includes you too, cats!), no people. I haven't had enough of it this week. Not sure where I will find that as I travel with my family, but maybe that is what earplugs are for?... ;)

5) It hurts when a cat runs across your face. Particularly if they are dragging a cheese bag behind them, and it's 4:45am.

Too tired for more observations. At least right now.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I *heart* Jimmy McNulty

Yes, it's true. He's been my fictional crush for a while now. Actually, my not so fictional crush is The Wire - one of the best series I've seen. McNulty's drunken, doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons cop is just one part of what makes this a fantastic, fantastic show - the complex interplay of police, government, media, and the drug trade has never been presented so well. And yes, I do have a crush on McNulty. But I also have a crush on Stringer Bell, crime lord - equal opportunity fantasy is what I'm all here's a short clip of the two of them. (And FYI, both Dominic West (McNulty) and Idris Elba (String) are brits. ..don't be fooled by the Baltimore brogue)

The 5 season series is over now, but it is on DVD, which is how I'm watching it. I don't bother buying DVD series of shows usually, but I may just break that rule for this one.

And here is something classically McNulty, summing up the major McNulty vices - and true to McNulty form, it isn't PG (I've warned you).

yay Jimmy.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Up up and away....

OK.....what to say, what to say...oh ya -
If anyone ever offers you a trip in a biplane, go. One of the most surreal and fantastic adventures I've had. If something lasting 15 minutes is an adventure.

That is really all I have to say - except here is Ottawa by air. I would usually post a video directly on the blog from YouTube, but am trying to avoid too many workmates finding this blog so no such luck this time. Sorry.

The label in the photo is right infront of you as you sit in the plane - easy way to stop the pilot being asked the same damn questions each and every time I guess.

Other interesting Ottawa moments: eating in the House of Commons, and sitting in Stephane Dion's chair on the floor of the House (cool not because it was Stephane Dion, but just because we actually got to go on the floor like that). But the biplane trumps the House, hands down.

Then headed for Toronto for a couple of days (by Porter Air, the only way to fly if you can). Stayed at the Sutton Place as I got a really good deal - but the $32 I spent on room service continental breakfast makes me glad this is on work's tab, not mine.

Toronto visit was capped off by a very fun night out with R & MM - wine, meat, vodka, and a camera - what more does a Vancouver girl need? Not much my friends, not much.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

I can't sleep so...

I'm in my Ottawa hotel room and it's way too early. And I can't sleep, which considering I should still be on Vancouver time makes no sense. Oh well.

Ottawa is a slightly odd place. I'm thinking maybe all government towns are odd. One cool thing though - we had dinner in the Rideau Club last night in a private room full of Karsh photos (with his famous Churchill photo at the head of the table). Kind of neat.

And I will take a brief moment to mention the Breeders gig last weekend. Really enjoyable night, and a real contrast to Beirut. The Deal sisters looked like they rolled off their tour bus right onto the stage, and there in lies their own completely unconsidered sense of cool. It gives me hope that women over the age of 40 can still be Richards was packed, which was also great to see. And because I'm a nice person, I will say absolutely nothing about the opening act (name of which I have purged from my brain thank god), or the fact that Tegan (of Tegan and Sara) recommended them to the Breeders. Why? WHY? Sigh.

I have lots of vids to post, as does my bro - I've only managed three so far, so here is one for Divine Hammer - not great quality thanks to the slightly crap Richards lighting. My camera just isn't that happy in low light:

Just to prove my camera doesn't like low light, here is a really pathetic looking but OK sounding video of Dan Mangan at the Penthouse last Sunday - he was playing as part of a songwriters circle with Nat Jay and James Lamb. Great night, great opportunity to go into a strip club without having to see strippers, and as always, a great performance (from all actually). If this guy doesn't go far I will shave my cats to look like poodles. OK, no I won't. But he deserves any fame that comes his way.

Alright, I should go have a shower or something I guess, and get ready for day #2 of my Ottawa weekend of work fun. Pray for me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Going dark...

Off to Ottawa on work today, back in a week. If I get a chance I will post something - the much belated Breeders/Dan Mangan post perhaps, or maybe just something about how much I enjoy (hah! I'm so funny....) National Meetings.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Things that start with B...Birthday, Beirut...

Today's challenge: writing about the Beirut concert this week without falling into a musical swoon. I'm actually thinking it's not possible, but here goes...

Reasons this was a Bunklelife near-perfect concert experience:

1) Huge whack of people on the stage
- I know, this isn't a logical reason perhaps, but for some reason I love the energy and visual spectacle of this kind of thing.

2) Huge whack of people playing instruments not played by Rush - Sorry Rush (OK, no I'm not). But I have a passion for accordion and violin. And though I won't say I have a passion for french horn, it's great to see a good brass section too.

3) Phenoms excite me no end - Zach Condon is astounding. He is 22... 22. And I know there are a lot of great young musicians out there, but there aren't many that have the complex and rich musical vision baby-faced Zach does. It gives me hope, it really does. And he is able to pull together a group of talented musicians that are obviously enjoying working with him.

4) Byronic hair - Don't believe me? Check this out. Ya, I know, not a good reason. But it adds to the romance don't you think?

5) Passionate audience - The key to this is passionate yet respectful... which in general they were.

6) Friends and family - and a birthday that didn't make me feel cranky about getting older

So - here is Nantes for your enjoyment!

And Mount Wroclai, filmed by my bro:

There are lots of other videos here as always. And before I forget - yay to Laura Barrett for getting the opening slot. The noisy Commodore not really the right venue for her quiet performance, but it was great to see the majority of the audience paying attention.