Thursday, November 26, 2009

out on the road, late at night...

I've just finished my first or two diving shifts. I am now in Rubys lounge. Save for the occasional bit of light flashing by, Its dark. Very dark. You can hardly see and inch in front of your face. Hendrix blares in the background. Caffeine shooting through my veins. I want sleep.

We re in a Sea of road tractors. They are everywhere. They remind me of geese. One behind another, taking turns in each others drag. Taking turns at point.

This area of Ruby is like two hours of solitude. Rocked to sleep by the motion and sound of travel. Caffeine Is winning for now. I know there is conversation not too far away but I can't hear it. I'm thinking about our last gig on the road. It was tonight. Bittersweet. We re driving straight through to fredericton now. 12 hours. I'd better try and get a nap. Its gonna be a mindbender. Least we ll get to see the sunrise....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can I get you any thing sweet?

So we're at a cafe/bakery downtown North Bay. We are looking for coffee. we order three coffees. At the last minute I had to order a brownie as well. I think Shawn Ordered a tart of some kind. No surprise there....I split the store before Gans gets his order in. 

I go outside and learn that the coffee at the bakery/cafe is shit. Basically brown water. Fail. I'm bummed. Shawn comes bursting out of the shop laughing hysterically. Shawn says the lady, that made the shitty coffee, says to Gans..."Anything sweet for you"? Gans replies..." I'll have two gingerbread men". WTF WTF WTF??????????? I lose it. Hilarious. 

Even more hilarious was his cute little gingerbread man. Maybe you had to be there.

A few minutes later I try the brownie. FAIL. I was furious. It burns me when you by a brownie at a freaking bakery and it taste like a month old brownie dipped in water. Horrible. Way to go store. Your window says "bakery/cafe" yet both those things are bad. Give it up. It's not hard to make a decent brownie. I'm not talking like I need a "Karl's niece Tory"  (aka best brownie ever) brownie here. Just something reasonably good.

For the record Karl's sweet little gingerman treats weren't too good and Shawn's tart was also not good. all round fail.

Anyway the great part is I got a pic of Gans's frosted friends....what ARE they doing?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pay Before You Pump.

No. I don't want to. I want to gas up then come in the store. I want to buy something from you. I want to look and see every different kind of chips you have. I want to see if you sell Dad's Root Beer. I want to see what kind of plastic sandwiches you have. I want to spend money in your store. Don't you see the Gas mogul that is pimping you out is actually not so secretly putting you out of business. Soon there will only be electronic fueling stations with no employee. Like they have in Northern Ontario. Swipe. Pump. Go. If you make me pay at the pump, not only does it make me angry but it also keeps me from coming into the store to buy something. I know you don't make any money on gas. I know you NEED me to buy something. I WANT to. But you are making it difficult. Why? Are you scared of me? Do you want my money but not want to have to deal with me? Well you can't. It's a package deal man.

I started noticing this happening more and more, quit some time ago. When it's late they would keep the door locked and buzz you in. This wasn't so bad i guess. Then I noticed you paid right there at the pump. Did you think I was going to steal the gas? Really? Then I noticed at one place you couldn't even go in the store. Well I just played a show and I'm hungry. I want to eat something but I want to look around the store and see what's looking good. Will you tell me every kind of chips that you have? Won't that be annoying? Will you look at the expiration date on the egg salad sandwich? Will you tell me which taquitos look the freshest? What if I have to pee? Do you want me to pee on your building?

You want me to pay at the pump but I don't have my bank card on me. You want me to go inside and guess how much gas I need. Then go back out and pump. Then come back in and get refunded the overage. I pay at the pump then mr. machine says go inside to get your reciept? Are you trying to make me go crazy? I try to pay at the pump and it won't work so I go inside. I grab a drink and some chocolate. I say "I'll also want $30 in gas." You say, "Just go pump then pay after"....?....the machine clearly says pay BEFORE you pump. Do you want me to snap? Is that what is going on? Do you want me to go to jail? Cause when I do snap that is probably what will happen. I don't want to go to jail. I want to gas up then come in and look around.

What happened to the old days? When people talked to people. When there was customer service. When people gave a shit about things. Are they gone forever? Are there any companies out there that still provide good service? It seems to be a rarity. It's a bummer. Why is it ok to not be nice to a customer? When did this happen? It's a sad, mad world. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Defining the Nationality of Art

"What creates Canadian culture are the artists that create IN Canada. Art and culture are are essential resources that must be protected. It is up to us to share that idea so that it resounds daily in our communities."

This is a quote I read recently. It is from Jean-Daniel Lafond. Husband to our Governor General. It is an excerpt from a keynote speech delivered at this years CAPACOA Conference in Calgary, Alberta. 

Before I start I will preface this rant by saying that I hope some context is lost on his meaning by my NOT having heard the rest of the speech. I will also say that having been a recipient of a few grants from our Government I do not want this to be misconstrued as me being against these departments. I value them immensely and believe that they are under funded and an integral part of the arts in Canada. It is their program definitions that i believe are missing the mark.

So.....I think I can maybe, sorta see that this statement is intended as a call to arms for Canada's artist, lovers of art and culture in general. BUT, my initial reaction to it is one of offense. I base my offense mostly on the use of the word "IN" in the quote.

We are heading to Mississippi to record in January. The project will be recorded in its entirety in the USA. Does this negate the fact that the art - the songs - were created by a Canadian in Canada? If so does this negate the impact that artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have had on Canadian Culture? Does art have a Nationality? Should it? Doesn't it soil the very idea of Art to be cutting it up into demanding categories like this? If a Canadian film maker produces a Documentary in other parts of the world does that mean the project is not Canadian? If foreign artist come to create in Canada, what does that make their work? It's confusing at best.

I have found it frustrating that our Provincial and Federal funders of the Arts are qualifying what is Canadian and what isn't. I find it amusing that most of these groups are sitting on the fence when handing out cash to support artists. They deem that as long as "X" amount, or percentage, of the project is completed in Canada then they are eligible to apply for funding, much like what His Excellency is saying. Again I don't want you to think I am belly aching because I don't have funding. I researched potential funding and after realizing if we did this recording ALL in Mississippi we wouldn't be eligible for funding we STILL decided that it was the right thing to do for our careers, and more importantly to get the very best documentation of our Art that we can. We know that the people we will work with down there are some of the best at what we are reaching for. (Not to mention there is an intrinsic connection between our cultures and the roots music they produce.) To suggest we should compromise and NOT create in this perfect environment so that we may make a Canadian album is ridiculous. Would you ask Picasso to use YOUR paintbrushes when he knows he can do a better job with his? Would you say, "hey don't create that piece over there where you are totally inspired. Do it over here so we can claim ownership. So what if it sacrifices the Piece".  When we come home and manufacture our CD in Canada, employing Canadian companies, will it be viewed as NON Canadian? Will the Provincial or Federally funded album that has 25% of it recorded in Canada be MORE Canadian than mine? The very thought of this makes my blood boil a wee little bit. I am a PROUD Canadian, who is influenced constantly by my Country's events and landscapes. To have my own country tell me that the art this Canadian created will not be viewed relevant to Canadian Culture is hurtful. 

The real difficult pill for me to swallow is that His Excellency's opinions are well documented on Nationalism and Separatism. Again not an expert, and I know nobody is an angel, but there are some contradictory elements here to his past and this statement from his speech. Do a little research and see what you find out.

It's difficult for me to make this entry. It's sensitive. Certainly in this business that I am in you don't want to offend the wrong team...BUT... in the end I believe I am not alone in these thought patterns. I know I will take some flak for it for sure. I know I'm spewing out my rant without knowing all the facts on every detail....I know that you can't please everyone all the time and shouldn't worry about it....I also know that if people spent as much time appreciating art as they do trying to define and corner it we might be in a better place. Most importantly I know that National Pride is something you instill in yourself which also means it can't be taken away without your consent. Not by anything. 

Writing a song in another country doesn't make it less Canadian. Recording it in another country doesn't mean it is less Canadian. I am a Canadian. I create and perform art for a living. Separate the two? Why ?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guns don't kill people, people with mustaches kill people.

The title of this blog was came to us as we were enjoying breakfast at our fav little diner just outside of Parksville BC. We overheard the table of construction workers say it. Needless to say we thought it was pretty funny. We thought we'd send you these for your enjoyment!