Wednesday, October 29, 2008

make it shine

the sisters of mercy. the phoenix. two goth fangirls out of their minds with excitement. this was my tuesday night.

i reminisced on twitter yesterday that if this were the old days - and by that, i mean if this were the sordid days when i had crappy part-time retail jobs that i could easily skip a day on - i would have spent tuesday calling in all my connections, stalking downtown hotels and hanging around the venue as early as humanly possible. as it was, though, i had to work a full day, so i spent tuesday morning and afternoon trying not to bounce off my cubicle in sheer excitement. (rabid phone calls and texts to fellow sistergoer jenna and lurking on the heartland forums did not help. nor did listening to an exclusively sisters-filled playlist on my ipod all day.)

but hey, i figured, why not. it had been a sadly long time since i'd gotten so excited over seeing a band live, and i'm always glad to know i'm still capable of it. i feel like i'd lose a big part of myself if i couldn't feel that excitement anymore.

anyway! the work day eventually/finally ended and i booked it home at top speed, yanked on my pvc military outfit (fetish wear ought to be de rigueur at sisters shows -- i know von would approve), and hopped the next bus eastward to get to the club. ended up waiting in the freezing cold for only about an hour, which wasn't too bad except for the fact that my toes were stiff and numb inside my stiletto-heeled boots by the time jenna and i got inside. from there on, it was merch-booth invading (i picked up a girly t-shirt with the sisters logo on the front and partial lyrics from "burn" on the back, and a set of four buttons -- my favourite reads "militant sex machine" and it's now on my coat lapel), trying to get the feeling back in our appendages, and staking our solid claim in the front row for the show. we wouldn't have settled for anything less.

but still, here's the thing: i know i came late to the sisters party. jenna's been a fan since she was a teenager ("i didn't come late to the party," she said, "i just didn't leave on time!"), and i know probably 90% of that room were fans long before i ever was. hell, there were people there my parents' age -- and my parents are in their sixties. (well, my dad, at least -- my mom's still pushing it) but i kind of hope my fervent love for their music would balance out any pathetic newbie-ism and spare me from elitists' scorn; after all, this was this music i was overdosing on just as i was getting ready to leave toronto (for what i thought was forever), and then my soundtrack for long lonely days spent wandering aimlessly in gray, rainy vancouver. this was music that meant something deep to me. the fact that i was going to get to see it performed live in front of me? well, that's the reason most people even go to concerts, isn't it?

and man oh man, was this one ever worth it. fog machines, lights, and so many of my sentimental favourites.

i know some oldskool fans who aren't pleased at the new-rock reworkings of the old songs, but i totally and completely dug them. it was so fucking cool to hear a drumbeat and sort of recognize a melody line, and then all of a sudden you realized it was "train" (which came third in the set, amalgamated with "detonation boulevard" at the end, and it sounded lightyears better than it did in 1983) or "marian" (absolutely fucking incredible as a redo, with german lyrics section intact!) and then the full familiarity would come back. and then you'd end up shrieking and dancing and singing your heart out. (at least, if you were jenna or i or a good many number of the surprisingly packed room)

the band? excellent. ben and chris may be at least twenty years younger than the original ilk - not to mention the almighty von eldritch himself - but they took those old classics and rocked the shit out of them. even the new songs - "summer," "will i dream?", and omfg "we are the same, susanne" omfg omfg i nearly cried - were top quality. and speaking of top quality, von both looked and sounded great up there. couldn't get my eyes off the man the entire time, and i think i must have been staring up at him like he was god or something. it was during "alice" that he did that little hand gesture he makes in the "lucretia my reflection" video (they played a brief version of that song as one of the three encores), and i turned to jenna and utterly lost my shit. so ridiculously excellent.

oh, and there was an afterward. come on, it's me. of course there was.

in brief: because - as i remarked to my boyfriend later - "i don't exactly dress to fade into the background", my outfit of this (exact same jacket and skirt, though i had to wear black tights or risk frostbitten ladybits) got plenty of attention from many of my fellow concertgoers. that in itself was very nice (one guy even came over to say, "you are the best thing i have ever seen at any sisters concert i've been to!"), and it did help me score a set list when one of the roadies ignored all the bros reaching for it to hand it to me instead, but it was all even nicer when i experienced the time-honoured tradition of crew approaching with the magic words: "hey, you wanna meet the band?" uh, yes. yes please.

so, went upstairs. met the band. stream-of-consciousness idiot babble for far too long. andrew commented on the fact that i was shaking, and i totally was, and i think i turned bright red and apologized and told them for the hundredth time how awesome they were tonight. yet it was probably good that i made a gaffe when i did -- i let slip that i was a music journalist, to which andrew smiled politely, thanked me and led me out of the room, shutting the door.

he really hates music journalists, by the way.

but hey, like i said, probably good i made the gaffe when i did -- i had a friend waiting, i was sort of making an idiot of myself with my giddy fangirl chatter (i estimate i was maybe a minute or two away from bursting into tears), and i was also a bit uncomfortable being the only girl (scantily clad girl, even) backstage with three male rock stars. you ever feel like a piece of meat in a shark tank? yeah, like that. i know that scenario and i know how it can go - plus i very well know what i looked like - and i don't have an interest for that anymore. so, i bowed my head and made my hasty exit. (didn't stop me from shrieking in excitement all up and down the sidewalk outside, though. come on, getting dismissed by andrew eldritch?? holy crap, career high)

so, went home, proudly pasted up my set list (which i'm still kicking myself for having not gotten autographed, but my brain was an overloaded mess in that dressing room) with ticket stub and backstage pass over my bed, and fell asleep with a huge goofy grin on my face. another one of my most-favourite legendary bands seen live and in person, both in performance and face to face.

checkmark.

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "summer" (live) ]

Friday, October 24, 2008

greyest of blue skies

as anybody with facebook friends in toronto will undoubtedly be aware of, it is cold here now. it also snowed here the other day.

this somewhat worries me. not because i'm a bad canadian who hates snow (i like it up until about january, or whenever it gets so cold it feels like your face is turning inside out), but because i don't like not being ready for things. i am a plan-ahead person to a serious fucking fault - it's to such an extreme that i'm not sure if it's a good trait or a bad one - and given that i'm still rebuilding my wardrobe after having donated 90% of it when i moved to vancouver and then back again, i'm woefully underequipped to handle the suddenly frigid temperatures. also, i got to skip typical ontario winter last year, so i'm desensitized to cold for the first time ever. balls to this, i'm going back to los angeles. (but hey, pretty fall photos!)

office is also freezing cold today; drinking plenty of hot tea to make up for it. my tolerance for cold has severely dropped since i was younger; i think the whole starving myself thing a few years ago wasn't a good plan in the long run as far as my internal heating system is concerned.

enough of this bitching, there are other things on the blogging agenda. such as:

chinese democracy. coming soon. for reals. the new single isn't that bad, but come on, it's classic gnr or it's nothing. there's something to be said for knowing when your glory days have passed.

exclaim! has the deets on strokes man nikolai's new solo project. i actually got the press release about that the other day - through my blog-related e-mail, not my journalism e-mail, which just goes to show that my blog gets targetted by labels more than i as a music critic do - and i had to try hard to remember if that was the stroke i thought was the cute one, but i don't even know any more. eh.

on the plus side, new razorlight album! i hope i can still care! it's been too long since i've loved my british bands. so very sad.

just in case you were still wondering, no smiths reunion. i think people ought to start giving up on that idea very soon, lest you test the mozzer's patience any further. (but awww, mopey johnny marr in that photo)

stereogum's timely 10 pop star halloween costumes. the t-pain one nearly made me spit out my tea from sudden laughter. who doesn't need a douchey top hat?

weekend!: laundry, groceries, shopping for cheap warm clothing, gym-going, fete-ing john p.'s 27th birthday at clinton's, drinking copious amounts of awesome flavoured tea at this new place i found in the annex (all things tea -- so ridiculously good), hopefully getting to drape myself messily over hot drummer boyfriend at some point (he's a busy rock star these days -- c'mon is gearing up for a europe tour in december/january, so any of my readership ought to be there)

btw, reminder: twitter, blip.fm. i am unnecessarily vain, so come check out what i'm up to and/or listening to at this very moment.

[ music | kill hannah, "chloroform (slow reaction)" ]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

the poetic voice

I Had It For A Moment
by Leonard Cohen

I had it for a moment
I knew why I must thank you
I saw powerful governing men in black suits
I saw them undressed
in the arms of young mistresses
the men more naked than the naked women
the men crying quietly
No that is not it
I'm losing why I must thank you
which means I'm left with pure longing
How old are you
Do you like your thighs
I had it for a moment
I had a reason for letting the picture
of your mouth destroy my conversation
Something on the radio
the end of a Mexican song
I saw the musicians getting paid
they are not even surprised
they knew it was only a job
Now I've lost it completely
A lot of people think you are beautiful
How do I feel about that
I have no feeling about that
I had a wonderful reason for not merely courting you
It was tied up with the newspapers
I saw secret arrangements in high offices
I saw men who loved their worldliness
even though they had looked through
big electric telescopes
they still thought their worldliness was serious
not just a hobby a taste
a harmless affectation
they thought the cosmos listened
I was suddenly fearful
one of their obscure regulations
could separate us
I was ready to beg for mercy
Now I'm getting into humiliation
I've lost why I began this
I wanted to talk about your eyes
I know nothing about your eyes
and you've noticed how little I know
I want you somewhere safe
far from high offices
I'll study you later
So many people want to cry quietly beside you

July 4, 1963

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "more" ]

Monday, October 20, 2008

sick sick sick

i get sick so rarely that i mostly forget how much it sucks. and then i get smoked with whatever nasty superbug happens to be floating around, and i'm basically laid out for days on end. welcome to my life right now.

yes, i finally got the cold that's been going around. somehow, my gym regimen and vitamin-popping and tea-guzzling and healthy eating don't always translate to a stellar immune system -- my swollen lymph nodes can attest to that. (seriously, it kind of hurts to eat, swallow, and more or less breathe right now. it hurts to live.) to be fair, though, it's actually the perfect day to be sick -- gray, cold and rainy. and, of course, i'm at work anyway. i will pretty much work on my deathbed -- and i'm pretty sure i have before. (well, okay, if a brutal case of alcohol poisoning counts)

anyway, as far as i'm concerned, the only good thing about being sick is the free reign to take sudafed, which pretty much fucks you right up. i am so entirely medicated right now, and it's awesome. (balanced out by yet another downside: i made curry last night, and i won't be able to taste it at all today)

whatever. better news ahead:

blog to has a nifty slideshow of yesterday's zombie walk! i ran into this on my way back from the gym, and man oh man, the detail and effort some of these walking undead put into their getups was amazing. have i mentioned how much i love halloween? dear fucking god i love halloween. i have four different outfits for this year and i'm going to go crazy with anticipation of costume parties and fun times.

hmv slams big-box retailers. uh, identity crisis much? not saying that i've bought any actual cds in a while, but hey...

segueway: wal-mart is now touting ac/dc in its stores. first sullying the sort-of good name of metallica (though some could argue they did a good enough job of that themselves), now this? a pox on you, wal-mart. i'll take target any day. (well, any day that i happen to be in america, that is)

the long blondes break up! it seems to be the time of year when all the indie-britrock sensations of 2005-06 are calling it quits. i feel some sadness over this - that was the era and trend that got me back into being in love with music (i had an all-encompassing britrock phase back in 2004-05) - but eh, the music industry is a funny business.

exclaim! reports on what we all wanted to hear: dr. pepper's gonna make good on their chinese democracy deal! it's nice to have something to rely on, other than the definite fact that axl's botoxed face will be more unrecognizable than ever.

by the way, the new matblog is probably the best thing ever. my new freelance-writing overlords at ur magazine

oh, and as you might have noticed, i've revived my twitter account, as well as joined up with my current fad obsession, blip.fm. i doubt either of them will have as much longevity for me as last.fm (which i still stubbornly refer to as "audioscrobbler"), but hey, it's the fun extras that make it all worthwhile.

[ music | death from above 1979, "romantic rights" ]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

everything counts

home again to kingston, back again to toronto.

as i'm sure could be presumed, i was recently absent in order to spend the thanksgiving holiday weekend relaxing with my family, and relaxing it was. also, productive: mended my new tripp jacket (stupid badly-sewn buttons -- what do they pay those malaysian sweatshop children 5 cents an hour for, anyway??), ran amok through k-town's "largest" mall and bought a couple nice pieces to add to my work wardrobe, slept a lot, baked pecan banana bread, saw my sister's new/first ever apartment, walked downtown and back to take in the amazing fall colours (i may bitch about the boredom wrought by my hometown, but it does have a pretty gorgeous landscape in autumn), celebrated my father's 67th birthday on saturday with that side of the family, and you know, so on and so forth.

oh yeah, and the aftermath of my quarter-century birthday last thursday: it was a pretty stellar birthday, from my father calling me at 7:30 a.m. to wish me happy birthday (my father knows well that i share his predilection for waking up insanely early -- otherwise, if i'd been any other typical child, i would have still been dead in bed), to my coworkers taking me out for lunch at nirvana, to getting to make out with my foxy boyfriend on my afternoon smoke break, to getting to see said foxy boyfriend rock the el mo stage that night, to drinking heavily and watching hockey with a solid group of friends at a nearby pub, to smoking a ridiculously powerful joint that pretty much put me out of commission for the rest of the evening, to plenty of warm fuzzies all day long from facebook peeps and myspace peeps and my reading audience here. much love, y'all.

i sort of love this, and sort of wish i'd thought of it myself. (granted, my loblaws coworkers and i once entertained the idea of having a group blog - the "loblog" - where we could anonymously bitch and share stories with the reading public, but the idea was eventually vetoed because we needed to keep our jobs)

ringo starr hates fans. also hates puppies, rainbows and fluffy clouds. geez, curmudgeonly much? whatevs, i hate the beatles, no word of a lie. sorry, that's just how it is.

babyshambles news makes my day better, always. even if, as always, it's a drug-related story. (but hey, it's not pete this time! awww, bless)

another bit of brightness is info on a new franz ferdinand album. i kind of lost my love for them after their debut album, but i really would like to see them live this time around, so hmmm.

(speaking of live shows, um, the sisters of mercy. thirteen days. holy motherfucking shit.)

in the "whoa!" department: turn your iphone into a theramin! funny considering there was a theramin conversation just last night...such an underrated, wacko musical instrument.

p.s. as one of my birthday gifts from my lovely friends, i received a $20 itunes gift card (thanks amanda!), of which i used a measly $10 portion to buy the 37-song depeche mode remixes 81-04 double album. i fail to see how it's necessary - 37 remixes! almost all over five minutes! - but it's kind of cool nonetheless.

[ music | depeche mode, "get the balance right!" (combination mix) ]

Thursday, October 9, 2008

quarter-century retrospective

flashback to october 9th, 2007:

i don't entirely remember how the day started - jenna must have had class or something, because i know she wasn't around and i was still crashing on her couch at the time - but i remember it was rainy in vancouver's typically grey nature, and for some reason i decided to take a walk up high in north vancouver's more mountainous areas, trudging under drizzly skies as i listened repeatedly to the sisters of mercy's first and last and always, purchased probably just the previous day.

you know, i actually think i was going to get groceries at the nearby superstore and decided to take a path through the mountains. dunno. (although i do remember that somewhere along the way, i received a sweet happy-birthday text message from a drummer friend of mine in toronto that i'd just hung out with the previous week. it made me smile then and it makes me smile now, though suffice to say for entirely different reasons.)

anyway, jenna got back from school later that afternoon and the two of us, determined to make the most of my birthday in a new province, decided to brave the shitty rainy weather and head downtown for dinner at our favourite retro diner on granville, the templeton, where i got vegan chili and lamented my soaked feet and probably looked sort of down and mopey the whole time. then we took the seabus home to north van, where i think i spent the rest of the night watching depeche mode music videos on youtube and looking for fetish wear to order online.

that was, in a nutshell, how i spent my third day in vancouver, which was my twenty-fourth birthday.

now, life on my twenty-fifth: back living in toronto. crisp, sunny autumn days. a cute little bachelor apartment of my own in the south annex. kensington market on weekends. being able to spend thankgiving with my family. martinis with good friends at bars only a short walk from my place. 24-hour grocery stores and late-night diners. drinking establishments with no cover (and that don't charge $10 for four shitty local indie bands). financial security, more or less. consistently running into acquaintances when i'm out and about. (even if i'm not friends with all of them, it's nice to see familiar local faces) great best friends. a terrific boyfriend and relationship i'm happy with. more or less, the stable, secure life i've always secretly wanted to have, even in my wildest years of debauchery and spontaneity.

...look, i realize that my life pretty much has done a 180 since my life two or three years ago. i know that it isn't exactly the kind of high-impact, made-for-tv almost-fiction that kept so many readers back in 2005-2006. but for me personally - save for one or two days out of the month where i look back at those days with wistful nostalgia rather than bitter sadness - this is healthier. this is better for me. it may not be a life less ordinary, but damn it, it's kind of nice to have those regular comforts. it's nice to have a roof over my head without having to crash on a friend's floor, it's nice not to have to beg my parents for money, it's nice not to have to practically whore myself out to strangers at rock bars in hopes of "meeting someone", it's nice not to have to work three jobs but still panic over how i'm going to pay my rent and bills, it's nice to have a normal schedule, it's nice to have what could be considered more or less a normal life.

it doesn't make for good voyeuristic entertainment, i guess, but it makes for a much saner life. and, as i long expected, it actually makes me pretty damn content.

one year older today, and definitely one year wiser.

cheers to that.

[ music | interpol, "pioneer to the falls" ]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

'cause we've lost control

so nuit blanche went off on saturday night, and apparently a good time was had by many of my friends. (many lovely photos can be found here at blog to and here at torontoist.) however, rather than frolicking through downtown until the wee hours and oohing and ahhing at art (or "art"), i chose instead to watch hockey with my boyfriend and have sex. my life, it does rule.

the kills found their tour bus! miraculously, with all their instruments and gear still in it. i could give less of a toss about the kills, but it was a pretty freaky story.

just in time for halloween (and for goffs like me), idolator brings us the twilight movie soundtrack. those books are still some of the lamest pieces of shit i've ever glanced through, and that track listing sounds like an equal slice of cheese. with muse, of course.

winners of the 2008 q awards. oh, the brits and their stubborn love of coldplay. (also, i think alex turner is pretty much set for life as far as income and airplay royalties are concerned. always nice to see the awkward geeky non-rockstar kids do well)

more from the realm of amusements i find: what does your bar tab say about you? mine's always vodka tonics, which more or less says i'm actually an old geezer. (except for when i'm on a vodka-diet coke jag, which correctly entails that i am a female trying to be calorie-savvy while getting hammered)

the economist sums up the current financial crisis. it's a spoof, yeah, but it pretty much says it all.

btw, my new gym cardio/weight resistance routine is basically stomping my ass into the ground. i guess it's doing it in a good way, but it's kind of hard to feel good when you want to kill yourself twenty-six minutes in (out of an hour and a half of exercise). though hey, the cardio promises to nix eight pounds in four weeks, so who am i to argue? bring on the results in time for halloween!

also, little-girl delight is getting a birthday card in the mail from your dad -- who obviously sent it early in order for you to get it in time for the exact date.

[ music | innerpartysystem, "die tonight live forever" ]

Friday, October 3, 2008

only the air remains

previous entry = good thing. it's sort of weird, but i don't typically make life-fixing resolutions at new year's -- i make them on and around my birthday each year. in addition to what i wrote below, i've also vowed to start sticking to a monthly budget (with as much focus as possible on paying back my student loan and credit card debts), a goal which will hopefully be aided by the budget spreadsheet printout i have taped on my wall over my computer at home. (i've always been genuinely terrible with money and sticking to any sort of budget.)

and, in a reoccuring theme in my life, fitness and nutrition: replacing the less-nutritionally-sound items in my diet with more healthful things (rice cakes for soy-flax cakes, etc. -- no, seriously), and kicking things off right in my new gym with a more interval-heavy cardio routine and some intense weight/strength training exercises that leave my muscles feeling like hamburger. but in a good way.

theme for my 26th year of life: self-improvement all the way!

in other, more world-encompassing news, cobain's ashes reported stolen, then not stolen, then used for art exhibit. uh, what? this must be what it's like to live in courtney love's head.

the tv on the radio comma debate. i love arguing semantics! (or rather, in this case, arguing punctuation) oh yeah, and while you're at exclaim! hq, be sure to check out sofi's rad conversation with alison goldfrapp.

sort of sadface-worthy: dirty pretty things are breaking up after their next tour. it wasn't all that hard to see coming, though -- much as i enjoy that band (or at least the smouldering good looks of one mr. carl barat), their music doesn't sound like it'll age well at all, especially in the all-encompassing shadow of the libertines. r.i.p.

...oho, but here is peter's response! nothing at all hinting towards a libs reunion - which we all know is pretty much impossible anyway - but that was nice of him to make mention. hee, carlos. i love the brits.

another highlight of my day is idolator's rock-critically correct -- reading music mags so you don't have to. it's been ages since i've bought a copy of spin, and i can't say the inclination has returned at all.

on the local front, nuit blanche is this weekend here in toronto, and blog to reports on some of the installations setting up. as of yet i still have no clue where i'll be tomorrow, so there may or may not be some roaming in the night going on. ha ha.

anyway, it's almost the weekend, which means i will be awol until next week as i will be spending the majority of the next two days running errands, working out, drinking, making plans and scheduling shit for next week, hopefully watching some hockey, sleeping in late while draped messily over the hottest drummer in the city, and so on, and so forth. a good weekend to all of you!

[ music | the sisters of mercy, "temple of love" (1992) ]

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

all the doubts are crystal clear

public news flash to myself: it's the first of october today, and i'm turning twenty-five in a week and a day.

and at the quarter-century of my life, i think it's about time i grew up a bit more, had a little more faith in myself and others, had far more faith in things always working themselves out, and had more belief that nothing is ever as bad as my overactive imagination thinks it is.

(you have to do better, little girl. you have to be better, and you have to try harder. for your own sake, before anyone else.)

starting today, one week early, i put away childish things.

i have so much more depending on it.

[ music | placebo, "bruise pristine" ]