I was born in 1981. That makes me 31 years old. I was born in a time when the only way you could hear music was to turn on the radio, and sit by that radio for hours hoping that the song you were hoping to listen to would be played. It was a time when you would watch your favorite music channel on TV and hope that the song you wanted to hear would make it to the top 20 of the week, or if not, that it would be played somehow. That’s how it was back that. Not that long ago… I’m talking about the 90’s.
It was a time when I decided on a rule: if an album was released by an artist, I would wait until at least three singles were released from that album; if they were good, then I would buy that album. That’s how it used to be.
That’s how I first fell in love with Aerosmith. It was 1997. I had always known their music, but until Nine Lives was released, I never really paid that much attention to them. Once Pink was released, and after I had fallen in love with Hole in my Soul and Falling In Love I Hard on the Knees , it was decided: I had to buy this album. And by album, I mean the CD.
Enter: Columbia House. Remember them? You would get their pamphlet in the mail; buy 11 CD’s for a dollar, then you were bound to buy another 10 at regular price over the course of two years, or something like that?
I was on a slippery slope: the CD. That expensive, compact, convenient music format that we all bought into. I remember the first CD player I bought cost me almost 150 bucks. It was a slick, thin little Sony CD player. It was that thing you had to buy if you wanted to listen to your music outside of the house.
The exact moment in time when my love of vinyl blossomed is unclear to me. All I remember is that at some point, I wanted to buy the original vinyl records of the very expensive and hard to find CD versions of the Aerosmith album collection I had begun to amass.
So I picked up the phone book (yes, a phonebook) and I called a few places (yes, I used a telephone) and started going around town to the few places (at the time) that still carried vinyl records. The first place I called said that yes, they had a few Aerosmith albums. The person on the other end, after having asked him how much they were, said “They cost 3, 7, and 4.” At first I thought $30, $40, and $70. I knew nothing about records then. To me they were collectibles, relics, prized items. I expected the price to be high… It turned out he meant 3, 4 and 7.. dollars. EACH. Suddenly I was introduced to an affordable and much more fun alternative to CD’s: VINYL RECORDS.
Back then the availability of vinyl records in this city was scarce. If you were lucky, HMV would carry a couple dozen vinyl records, but they were always mixed in with the CD’s. You see, vinyl records never died off in the United Kingdom, but in the rest of the world they had, so the bulk of my collection had to be flown in from overseas. Amazon also carried vinyl records, so they were (and still are) a great source for vinyl. I can’t tell you how many records I bought at $9.99 while their CD counterparts sold for $25. Many of these records sell for $100+ on eBay today since these first issue pressings have now become collectibles. What about those $25 CD’s? You’re lucky if you can get 25 cents for them.
Things are much different today. Entire walls or even rooms in music stores are now devoted to the supply of vinyl records. In a strange twist of fate, the mp3 has made the CD obsolete, yet created a place for the vinyl record to once again take center stage. Hipsters seem to love the stuff, and even clothing chops like Urban Outfitters carry an impressive collection of vinyl. You can even find record players being sold everywhere, many of them that now connect to computers via USB. This is a sign that the vinyl record is back and here to stay. I couldn’t be happier!
My current quest is to obtain vinyl copies of all the albums I’ve fallen in love with over the years. Thanks to the vinyl renaissance, we are living a period of vinyl reissues. Many artists recognize the importance of the vinyl record, most notably Eddie Vedder and Billy Corgan. I don’t know what’s going on with the Pearl Jam reissues but they are not happening anymore it seems and that makes me very sad, but The Smashing Pumpkins back-catalog is seeing the light of day, and what’s being produced is impressive. Last year alone, along with a new Album, Oceania, we saw the re-issuance of Pisces Iscariot and …. and…. at long last, Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness; The best vinyl reissue in my opinion to date. Housed in a beautiful box, spread out onto four discs and including two full-page color booklets, it had re-affirmed not only my love of vinyl but the importance of the physical musical medium: an album was meant to be heard being played on a turntable, while sprawled out on the floor or couch or bed reading the lyrics as the record plays. Not as an mp3 on your way to work on a noisy bus, and not though a fan made YouTube video. This is not how music was meant to experienced. Music is something that you should be able to pick up, tear the shrink wrap off of, place on a turn table, and devour. Bon appetit! -This Is Orson Welles.
Life. Life is full of loneliness, misery, suffering and unhappiness. This is how Woody Allen opens up his film Annie Hall, and this is my opening too. He is right after all. His character’s neurotic and mistrusting approach to life cost him Annie Hall, the love of his life, or maybe not, maybe he had better and greater loves, it was after all only an hour and a half long movie. There’s a lot we don’t get to see off screen. What we do see is pretty sweet. One of my favorite scenes was when he and Annie were in the bookstore and he suggests to Annie to buy some books “with the word death in the title”, you know, “instead of that cat book”. “That’s pretty serious stuff”. Yes Annie. This is serious stuff…
Today I drove down the street where I grew up. I moved away over 15 years ago and until this day much has remained the same. Occasionally, once every couple of years, or whenever I would get the chance, I’ll bike through the old neighborhood, even though I live so far away from there now. Still the same ol’ street. Heck, even Google street view from this past summer showed that everything was pretty much exactly the same.
WELL… the house next to mine, the one that I have been telling stories about my entire life, the backdrop to most of my childhood stories: GONE. Bulldozed. In its place: a hideous atrocity, an affront to architecture: a bland rectangular pile of bricks so out of place that I had to take a minute to reorient myself and realize that yes, I was on the right street! I wonder what happened. I wonder what happened to the woman who lived there. I wonder what happened to “Susan”…
It’s not really about the stupid house. Who cares about a damned house, it’s just a house. It’s more about something that was such a sure thing all these years suddenly disappearing. But you know, things were probably not as rosy as I remembered them being. When you’re a kid growing up, you usually have fond memories about where you grew up. Then, years later you return only to find out that your house is in a neighborhood colorfully referred to as the Rat’s Nest, and that “great big” backyard you used to play in was just a narrow alley by the train tracks, and that sweet lady who lived across the hall who had all those men over all the time was just a prostitute.
Alfredo told Salvatore just that in Cinema Paradiso: “Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone.”When you go poking around in the past, you (fill in the blank) …
The other day I discovered that a friend of mine passed away. He was the very first person that I ever met online… this was back in 1997, when I got my first computer. We met in an Aerosmith newsgroup. We quickly became friends and started trading pictures, bootlegs, posters, and anything and everything Aerosmith-related. I can’t remember just when he and I lost touch, but it was just the other day when I turned on ICQ, which I only did because I was out having dinner with friends and it came up in conversation, that his name showed up, at the top of my list and I thought “Shit, what ever happened to him?”…
A Google search provided the answer. His obituary said he passed away in 2008. How can so many years have gone by since I spoke to the guy? Its’ crazy how quickly time passes and how many people you were close with just slip away, just like that. The whole thing still seems so surreal to me.When you go poking around in the past, you (fill in the blank)…
Honesty has all but disappeared in our society. It’s amazing to me to what lengths one will go to in order to sugar coat the truth. It’s even more amazing to me that some people prefer to have their truth sugar coated. That’s fine for most, but not for me.
There is of course a difference between honesty and deliberate cruelty. Deliberate derogatory comments passed off as acts of honesty are especially heinous. Such acts come from a much deeper and darker place, a place which I will never understand.
“Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable! It is the one unforgivable thing in my opinion!”
Things may not necessarily be that bad, and most of us will never go mad the way Blanche Dubois did at the hands of Stanley Kowalski, but it may feel like you’re getting close to that point sometimes. In this world of bullies, hot-heads, miscreants, loligaggers and New England School marms, it can be quite a challenge to keep your cool while keeping said ilk at bay.When you go poking around in the past, you (fill in the blank) …
… you find that life is not all that serious. Yes, it’s ok to feel that you’ll live forever. It’s just a matter of finding the balance between that and understanding that you won’t, so plan ahead.. somewhat. Don’t go all James Dean on yourself and live fast and die young.
Play that record loud sometimes and forget that you’re bothering the neighbors.
Don’t stop doing what you wanna do just because it’s the middle of the week and you have to get up early for work. You kill yourself for your job, you’re entitled to go in while your mind is elsewhere now and then. Hell, call in sick if you feel guilty about it, what do you want me to tell you? Just fucking chill out if that’s what you want.
In this crazy world of ours who knows what’s wrong or right anymore. You do right and it doesn’t work out for you; you see others do what you were taught was wrong and they’re awarded the Pulitzer prize. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. What’s important is that you remember where you come from: that place is behind you, and where you are going is BETTER.
Just remember that it’s OK to drift away now and then, but when it comes time to gear up and step up, you have to make sure that you’re ready, because with all that you have to face head-on, there is no way around it: When it comes down to it, this world is filled with loneliness, misery, suffering and unhappiness, so buy all those books with the word “death” in the title, because it’s better to down a pill that is hard to swallow than one that has been coated in sugar; sugar will do you to no good! Sugar will lead you to obesity and diabetes, and then you will wish that you had listened to reason. Reason told you to buy those books. SO buy those books with the word “death” in the title… instead of that cat book.
-This Is Orson Welles.
“We’ll crucify the insincere tonight
We’ll make things right, we’ll feel it all tonight
We’ll find a way to offer up the night tonight
The indescribable moments of your life tonight
The impossible is possible tonight
Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight, tonight, tonight…”
It’s always such a great thing when a band that is as big as The Smashing Pumpkins is still around after all these years. Granted, the original lineup is no more, but nevertheless, The Smashing Pumpkins are together and after what I saw tonight, still going strong.
In support of their latest album, Oceania, the pumpkins kicked off their 2012 tour in Mexico City and played Montreal tonight (where I saw them). They delivered an energy-packed show that showcased the new stuff and ended with a bang(!) when they played hit after hit from their back catalog.
They opened the show by playing their latest album in its entirety. Now, I love the new album. However, for a band that has not played this city in a very long time, I could tell by looking at the audience that some were getting impatient with the new stuff and wanted to hear some of the old stuff. Frontman Billy Corgan, well aware of the fact, even addressed this at some point, stating that the new stuff came first, and then the hits would be played afterwards. Hey, this is his show after all, if you don’t like it, find the nearest exit and GET OUT 🙂
The album was delivered beautifully. The light show was modest, sometimes shining on the audience. There were no screens showing multiple angles of the band like you see at most shows, but there was the backdrop, a constant circle, that showed image after image of twisting shapes and winding images that memorized:
Well, after they played Oceania, they played a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity which for me broke the set-list in two. What followed was song after song of their past hits. I have to be honest; to me, it was at this point that the show really started to take off. I mean, right after Space Oddity they broke into an extra long rendition of X.Y.U, and then they played Disarm, and then Tonight Tonight, and it was simply unstoppable from that point on.
Another high point for me was when, while playing Tonight Tonight, they showed video outtakes or unused video from that era and then… the moon! That moon with the face. It gave me goosebumps. It took me back to when I saw that video, back when the Pumpkins were at their prime. You know what I’m talking about, this guy:
Something happened right after they played Bullet with Butterfly Wings: the played a newer song: Song For A Son. It was a little weird throwing in a new song right when they were getting the audience going with their old stuff. Strange thing is, this was the other highlight of the night for me. The song was played incredibly well, it was played a bit different than the version that was released for Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, and it was one of the only times during the show where I was so memorized by the performance, especially Billy’s wonderful lengthy guitar solo, that I didn’t even take a picture (and anyone who knows me well enough knows that I take pictures of everything). This moment was so captivating that I couldn’t think of anything else besides what I was seeing and what I was hearing.
Huh… one of the high points of the night was when they played a new song; what a surprise! Maybe we can’t really appreciate a song until it has had time to marinate in our brains. Song for a Son was one of the first songs to be released from their ongoing Teargarden project. Maybe that’s why I felt I was listening to a classic and why I was so moved by their performance of it. It felt like I heard it a million times already, and when I heard it live it felt like I heard it for the first time. Like rekindled love. Yes, that must be it!
Although the impact of what I saw tonight will likely not be felt right away, not until it finally gets a chance to sink in, I can nevertheless doubtlessly and conclusively say that what I witnessed tonight I throughout and wholeheartedly enjoyed!
Like most bands, we go through periods of listening to them and then not listening to them at all for a while. Usually when they release a new album is when you once again start to listen to the other stuff they made. I’m glad these guys are still around and I’m especially glad they are part of the vinyl re-issue revolution. Possibly one of the vinyl releases I am most anticipating ever was finally confirmed not too long ago, their re-release of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness on 4 LP’s! I cannot wait! Preorder’s been payed for, can’t wait for it to be shipped! Ooh, is that a stirring in my pants? I’ve said too much! Goodnight – This is Orson Welles.
Lucinda Williams, like all artists I think, and like all humans alike, feels and lives the same things the rest of us do. What I envy about this woman is that she can actually get things down on paper and sing about them. I, on the other hand, cannot do that anymore. Maybe I’ve found other outlets and therefore turn to music less to express myself, but whatever it is, it really sucks for me.
Luckily, when I feel blue, I turn to what I’m not really doing much of anymore these days: music.
Before I write any more, please listen to her:
I’ve been a fan of hers since World Without Tears, one of the great albums of the 2000’s. Her music evokes a sense of wanting to escape ( “Yes I finally did baby, I got out of La Grange” ) and taking road trips ( “Drive up the coast line, maybe to Ventura”) people who are no longer in your life ( “Are you sleeping though the night, do you have someone to hold you tight, do you have someone to hang out with, do you have someone to hug and kiss you”) to dealing with death (” Some think a fancy funeral will be worth every cent, for every dime and nickel, is money better spent, better spent on groceries, covering the bills, instead of little luxuries, and unnecessary frills”)
That unfullfillable longing doesn’t just exist south of the border. North of the 49th parallel, things are no different. Don’t you sometimes wish you could just leave it all and drive off into the sunset in a convertible with the wind in your hair, to a place far away, maybe Montana, where no one will ever find you, where you can start new ? Well? See for yourself:
Lucky for me, I love in a great city and I don’t necessarily have to travel all the way to Montana to be surrounded by beauty. It was fun being caught in the rain in the middle of Maisonneuve parc this afternoon. Contrary to everything I’ve been told, I sought refuge under the tallest tree I could find (NO i did not get struck by lightening! After all I am here writing this, am I not?)
here are some pictures of BEAUTY:
After coming back home and drying off from the rain, it was time to EAT! So, I headed to a place that I know very well where the food is good and the service is great and the wait to get in is terribly long but totally worth it. The place is:
KAZU (1862 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Montreal, QC H3H 1M1)
After standing in line for over an hour, we finally got in. This is a great Japanese restaurant, a tiny place where people are cramped tight into small tables with no room to breath, but that’s OK because it adds to the charm and ambiance of the place, and it is definitely worth the slight discomfort once the food arrives:
48-hour porc served on rice:
Tuna and Salmon Salad:
and as if that wasn’t enough and just as we were beginning to feel stuffed, the Teriyaki Burgers arrived!:
People gazed at us through the window with burning envy. I can appreciate that; I was in their place an hour earlier, dying of hunger and shivering in the cold waiting to get inside while staring at the people eating and waiting for a table to free up so we could get in and eat already DAMNIT! We were kind enough to leave quickly after out meal was done. We were there to eat a great meal and then leave so that others could enjoy the same.
The evening ended at my place watching SNL and of course, with more food, this time desert in the form of pie. Pie with coffee. MMMMMM, floor pie
-This is Orson Welles.
You know what? All I have to say is that this week SUCKED ASS! UP TO HERE with all of it! GRRRRRR !!!! Double GRRRRR!!! GRRR ³ !!!
Well… I can almost put it all behind me now. Nothing that a drink, dinner with friends and a good night’s sleep couldn’t cure. Thank you, thank you. You are all wonderful, and sorry if I was quiet or detached, I was just working through the motions. I made it to the other side…
Today was better! Much better in fact! I awoke, after a night of abundant gluttony and soul-bearing, to a beautiful day! I decided to venture and head out to a new place that I heard about that opened recently. Hopped onto the bus, took the Metro, walked through the streets of the Plateau, ran into a few friends on the way, kicked a few leaves around, took in the sights, breathed in some of the fresh autumn air, took some pictures, pictures of things, anything, took pictures of cats in trees..
I finally arrived! Luckily there was no lineup. Thank GOD, after all the walking around, picture taking and run-ins, I was HUNGRY. I got to walk right in! In where you ask? The place is called *drum roll please*
Restaurant Maison Publique
(4720 Marquette, Montreal, Quebec H2V 2K3)
Great choice. I really enjoyed it! The meal was GREAT: Curry Lamb-Neck and Bison-Tongue Sandwich:
I wish these guys a lot of success. Great location and atmosphere; from the decor, to the rustic-looking wooden tables that contain a tiny drawer where the cutlery and cloth napkin is kept, to the copper basin and antler paper towel holders in the wash room, everything was to my liking. I love places like this, and will definitely be back 🙂
It was a nice walk back home. Picked up a couple pastries from Rhubarbe on the way; a pumpkin thing, I forget the name, and a Réligeuse, which I have been obsessed with since my recent trip to Paris ( I hope to write about my experience there soon);
Well that was a fun weekend of food and just living the good life on one of the last beautiful autumn days. So begins that period between the end of autumn and the first snowfall where it seems nothing really happens. So continues my hunt for more comfort food. -This is Orson Welles.
Someone came to work this week and picked my brain. It was, of course, interesting since I find anything from paint drying to planets exploding interesting.. so I listened. Answered. Participated.
It was little shock to me to find out that I’m exactly the type of person that I am and don’t necessarily want to be. It’s also very shocking that I give a damn since I hate labels and, as I’ve said in the past, the time to make up your mind about people is never so to sum someone’s life and behavior up and label it is quite ridiculous. I was glad to find some supporters in the room. The rest can kiss my grits!
This makes me think of what Woody Allen said in Annie Hall about not “wanting to belong to a club who would have Me as a member.” Am I THAT unpleasant to be around? Or insecure.. or how was it put in the room.. not having any respect for myself?
The funny thing about life is that everyone treads along and deals with shit and nobody knows what, where, how-come and why about any of it, not unless they were there with you living it.. which they weren’t, right?
Certain things in our lives occur and we change because of them. Your first taste of shyster-ism, the realization that what’s in the past, on occasion, will be the best it was and the best it ever will be. A little like Chasing the Dragon the way the lovely and talented Marie-Josée Croze described it in Les Invasions Barbares. Sometimes we have to just shut our traps and enjoy the moment.. you never know, it could be the best moment of this type of moment and the moment you will always try to recapture.
Like most, I think after our first big shaft in life, we have a cynical Richard Blaine-style hard shell reaction to the situation. Like the protagonist in possibly the most famous motion picture of all time, Casablanca, we shut ourselves away from the world and become jaded or something;… but whatever we become it’s to hide the hurt we’re feeling.
Katherine Hepburn called James Stewart out on it in The Philadelphia Story after sneaking off to the nearest library to read his book to see what he was really made of. She had a preconceived notion about him. How wrong she was! Upon reading his literary works, she confronted him, in a loving manner, saying that she believed he “put the toughness on to save his skin”, continuing to say that she knew ” a little about that”.
And there you have it, folks. We are all scared little kittens, soft little kittens who are simply full of it, pretending to be people we are not. Maybe I’m wrong (but I know I’m not)…
*CHANGE OF TROPIC*
In the spirit of hippie love and all that lovey dovey crap, we should all listen to Arthur Lee and his Psychedelic Band: LOVE!
It’s a band that I’ve known for a good 10 years or so, but only recently did I begin to explore their other albums. The one I’ve known all this time is Forever Changes, their 1967 master opus. It is a must-have. So go out and get it. you MUST HAVE IT! It turns out that they released other records just as fine, and I’m glad to be alive and kicking, because nothing on this earth is quite like the pepper and salt that flavors the human experience as does music.
Here is possibly the happiest song ever written:
Maybe part of the problem is that we constantly fight to be who we’re not, because of whom we have to be to survive. As Elsa said in The Lady From Shanghai: Human nature is eternal. Therefore, one who follows his nature keeps his original nature, in the end.
Scary, no? – This Is Orson Welles.
Since starting this blog, I’ve hardly spoken about food at all. With everything that’s been going on in this province lately, it’s hard to talk about anything else. Umm.. HEY, did you know that we live in a great city? Yes, it’s true! I promise! It’s not just a city overrun by red square-wearing militants: it’s also a city where people can go out and find great food!
Made my way to a nice little new place called Dinette Triple Crown.
LOVED THIS PLACE. Service was great, food was amazing, it’s a nicely decorated place and the staff is super friendly. Looking forward to the next visit. I wish this place all the best and years and years of great business; they deserve it. Here are some pictures:
The place from its exterior:
Waiting for our meal (I’m so hungry if I don’t get my food soon I’m going to eat the condiments!) OHH! Lemonade’s here:
Before I know it, the food has arrived! What’s on the menu?:
Mac and Cheese (with shallots and croutons, in a creamy sauce, I can taste a little wine in there or some kind of alcohol. YUM)
Mashed Potatoes with white gravy (to DIE for)
“Hush Puppies” (little balls of cornbread heaven, fried with a hint of curry (if I’m not mistaken) they were just GREAT