Photo by Eric.Parker, used under Creative Commons license

If the mayor and the tanning lady got together they could make a pumpkin

Every once in a while a whole bunch of news stories congregate to vex me greatly. That happened today when I caught up on some feeds. I think it was the bronze woman that tipped things over the edge.

  • I’m just kidding, it was Rob Ford. The man’s not a good mayor. The man’s not even a competent mayor. The man’s a sideshow. He’s a goddamn Jerry Springer episode. Welcome to Toronto, Canada’s largest city and one trying to earn consideration as an alpha city, where Chris fucking Farley is the mayor. (CTV)
  • I’m ashamed that I’m a member of the same race that came up with the word breastaurant. Not to mention the concept. (Macleans)
  • This woman…why would…surely she must know…I mean, she’s fully orange. I just…I can’t even. (CBC)
  • Quebec university students, just zip it. Your average tuition is half that of students in the neighbouring (and perennially economically depressed) Atlantic provinces, and yet you’re still throwing a giant provincial hissy fit about a planned five-year increase to bring tuition in line with the rest of the country. I don’t expect you to be happy about paying more, but I’d expect that you’d admit that you’ve gotten a sweet deal for a long, long time and that it’s unreasonable to expect it to continue. (Canadian Press)
  • I’ve been in and around enough vendor selections (not of anything resembling an order of fighter jets, admittedly) to know that if the purchaser can’t explain their criteria for selecting a certain product, it’s because they a) didn’t have any, or b) don’t want to admit what they were. (Macleans)

.:.

Luckily there were wonderful things buried in my news feeds too, like how marvelously Norway is responding to a monster like Anders Breivik, or this campaign poster for Prince Joffrey, or the tweets and blogs of Umair Haque, or this fantastic folk-y/bluegrass-y cover of one of my favourite Arcade Fire songs, or these pictures of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, or this short film featuring Bill Murray.

Whew. Hope restored.

.:.

Photo by Eric.Parker, used under Creative Commons license

This week in entertainment

I’d kind of forgotten about all the movies we’ve watched over the past week:

  • Kick-Ass: most excellent
  • Precious: good, incredibly well-acted (in that if I ever see Mo’Nique walking down the street I’m likely to punch her face in) but hard as fuck to watch
  • Stripes: I’m sure it was a classic for its time, but it doesn’t really hold up.
  • Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day: look, the original isn’t exactly a classic, but it’s always been kind of special to me because we discovered it ten years ago in a self-serve movie rental machine, not having any idea what we were about to see. I didn’t expect the sequel to live up to that, but I would have been happy with a close approximation of the original. Unfortunately it was hammy and stilted and over the top, and not in the cool way that the first one was. Lots of shots of my neighbourhood though, just like the first one.
  • The Men Who Stare At Goats: I think I had the same reaction as most other people: quite funny in parts, but nothing special. Also: Ewan MacGregor continues to do the worst American accent of any British actor.
  • Paranormal Activity: Okay, we watched this two weeks ago, but whatever. Actually a pretty effective little scare-machine, but completely blew it in the final 20 seconds. Also: Katie Featherston = girlfriend du jour.

.:.

My headphones were filled all week with the new releases by Best Coast (pretty good…almost like the Raveonettes without the male voice), Japandroids (good, but not as good as their last album, I’m afraid; few things last year were), Sleigh Bells (which I like more than I feel I should), Mates of State (hearing them cover the likes of Tom Waits and The Mars Volta seems sacrilegious at first, then awesome, then just fun) and, naturally, The Arcade Fire. Which is < Funeral but > Black Mirror and therefore one of the best things I’ve heard all year. Speaking of CadeFire — which is what I call them now, due to us being so very tight — Frank Yang (aka Chromewaves) summed up awfully well what’s so captivating about them:

They somehow manage to evoke that singular moment in everyone’s life where youth gives way to adulthood, where one becomes acutely aware of the fact that they are not in fact invincible, that they will someday die, but also the sense of still having their entire lives ahead of them and the sense of opportunity that offers – that mixture of anxiety and optimism, insecurity and confidence. It’s a powerful, primal resonance made even moreso when rendered in broad, bold musical strokes. With Funeral, it was conveyed through the lens of family and neighbourhoods, of being part of a special gang. Neon Bible turned it around to be them against the world with no sense that they’d actually triumph. And The Suburbs realizes that there’s no us and them, there’s just everyone.

I’ll probably keep The Suburbs on perma-rotation until my next big anticipated release: Lisbon by The Walkmen.

.:.

With Treme, The Office, Friday Night Lights, 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie off the air right now the only things I’m watching are Mad Men (because it’s the best thing on TV right now), True Blood (because it’s the most entertaining thing on TV right now) and Entourage (because, despite its persistent suck whenever Ari’s not on the screen, for the life of me I cannot seem to stop watching it).

.:.

The miniature time slot attributed to reading is reserved for, as ever, Tony Judt‘s Postwar and Kate Carraway’s twitter feed. However, all other reading shall cease on Tuesday and Wednesday as I have only those days to select our TIFF films.

.:.

And, with that, I’m off to work. After all, all play and no work makes Jack really far behind on his to-do list.

Somebody's got to lose

All week Maclean’s has been issuing ‘best-of-decade’ lists, focusing only on Canadian content. Best Canadian TV shows, best Canadian movies, and so on. Today was the one I was really waiting for: the best Canadian music of the decade. In true Canadian spirit, it is both indie-focused and very safe.

  1. Arcade Fire Funeral (2004)
  2. Broken Social Scene You Forgot It In People (2002)
  3. Black Mountain Black Mountain (2005)
  4. New Pornographers Mass Romantic (2000)
  5. Wolf Parade Apologies To The Queen Mary (2005)
  6. Sarah Harmer You Were Here (2000)
  7. Tangiers Hot New Spirits (2003)
  8. Sam Roberts The Inhuman Condition (2002)
  9. The Constantines Shine A Light (2003)
  10. Feist The Reminder (2007)

I don’t see how anyone could argue with #1, and while #2 is probably a widely accepted choice, I am just unable to love BSS the way everyone else seems to. I’m pleased to see the likes of Black Mountain, The New Pornographers, Wolf Parade beat out Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts and Feist. I do think The Constantines deserved to be higher (and, in truth, it should have been Tournament of Hearts) but all in all that’s a pretty respectable list.

The full article contains the Maclean’s writer collective’s opinions on each album, as well as this piece of begrudging awesomeness:

HONOURABLE MENTION: NickelbackSilver Side Up (2001)
Yes, it’s stupid arena rock, but they own that stuff. So make fun of them if you want, but they’re way more famous than Arcade Fire will ever be. And they accomplished it with a lead singer sporting a woman’s haircut and a goatee.

Fair point.