Feb 28, 2011

Top 10 Albums of My Life

Here is my other Top Ten list that I agonized over... and over. Although there are a few similarities from my Top Ten songs, there are also a  few VERY different ones. The basis for judging on this list pertained to the album as a whole; from the first to the last song, I could play it continuously and not have to skip a single one. I'm sure you can agree with me that there a lot of albums that contain some of our favorite songs, but the songs that surround it are total shit. The reverse is also true, whereas some on this list may not contain any of my "all time favourite" songs, but as a whole piece of work, they are awesome. These albums I love, or have loved at one point or another during the life span of yours truly.

1. Ten - Pearl Jam
It will never be knocked off the first place podium in my books, never ever.

2. Tiny Music... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop - STP
Although Interstate Love Song is on Purple, Tiny Music was the album that I enjoyed more... Big Bang Baby! Yeah!

3. Thriller - Michael Jackson
This was the first cassette tape I ever wore out, right at: Billie Jean is not my looo-wwahhhh waaaaa wuhhhhhhh.

4. Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette
Would she go down on you in a theatre? 'Nuff said.

5. The Murmurs - The Murmurs
It's my second ultimate chick album. From cute ballads like Bumble Bees to a splash of angry PMS in You Suck, it's got everything a girl could want... just make sure there's no guys in the room while listening.

6. Gordon - Barenaked Ladies
Their sound was, and still is very different from most other music, with or without Steven Page. Personally, I think it's there use of the stand-up bass.

7. PUSA - Presidents of the United States of America
Good old fashion twanging red neck American fun. "Everybody wants to be Naked and Famous" They were true visionaries when they wrote that in '95.

8. The Immaculate Collection - Madonna
I didn't want to include soundtracks or greatest hits albums, but I couldn't leave the Queen out of my list, along with her classics!

9. Bring It On - Machine Gun Fellatio
If I need to listen to something to get me pumping, this is it, no question.

10. Masterpiece Theatre - Marianas Trench
It's my current favourite album and I'm playing the shit out of it, but it's early days still, so I couldn't place it any higher than tenth... only time will tell if it will move up the ladder.

Honorable mentions that I just couldn't leave out:
Thirsty Merc - Thirsty Merc
Funky Divas - En Vogue
Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 - Guns n' Roses
12 Stops & Home - The Feeling
Little Earthquakes - Tori Amos
You've Come A Long Way Baby - Fatboy Slim
Smash - The Offspring
Throwing Copper - Live
Internationalist - Powderfinger
Listen Without Prejudice - George Michael

Photobucket Top Ten {Tuesday}

Feb 26, 2011

Surviving Woodstock '99

So, it was the year 1999 – 30 years since Woodstock – and a lot of us were still wearing the same clothes and smoking the same stuff. What better way to honour this seemingly timeless trend? By going to the thirtieth anniversary event, Woodstock ’99, in New York State, USA. Yahoo! When the music line-up was announced, I was certain that I would be going; I was so excited. It will have been the biggest music event that I had ever been to – and I was finally old enough to not require parental permission to go – they just offered their unwelcomed judgemental opinions – which I chose to ignore.

It was a mass exodus down to the States – there were no less than 8 full buses that left from the Toronto terminal that morning. We thought that it would be risky, but in the long-run better if we smuggled our own drugs across the border (WTF?) rather than buy them from strangers in the US; It would have been like a box of chocolates from Hunter S. Thompson - you never know what you’re going to get. In hindsight, both ways were retarded, but there we were, hiding pre-rolled joints and mushrooms inside a fantastically devised Coca-Cola can that had been hollowed out. We put it in the bottom of the cooler, along with the other 11 cans and we were pretty impressed with our strategy – but when we approached the border I was still shitting bricks. I don’t think I had ever been so nervous in my entire life. I mean, really... and entire bus of hippies and rockers going across the border? Talk about a target for illegal substances! They did manage to pull over about 3 of the 8 buses, but luckily, not ours. We weren’t more than 100 meters across the border and the entire bus erupted with a “YEAHHHHHHH!” It was hilarious.

Our bus driver managed to get lost and we were about 2 hours late. When we finally got there, the number of tents was already incredible. We found a place and quickly got sorted. My best friend decided she wanted to search out a programme, so she left – I reminded her – “Remember where we are! This place is crazy!” She waved me off like I was an annoying mother-figure and she left, “I’m only going to be 5 minutes!” And she left... with no wallet, no passport, and no shoes. Since I wanted to wait for her, Mark and I stayed at our site – and then an hour passed, and then two. Mark was getting annoyed and after another hour, we left to see if we could find her and to catch some of the opening sets. I was so pissed off with her. I assumed she had met up with some hot bongo-playing hippie and forgot that we were waiting. She was technically an adult though, so my annoyance didn’t turn to worry until later that night. Mark and I had returned to our camp site and there was still no evidence that she had returned. This was also in the days before everyone had cell phones, so it wasn’t as easy to locate her amongst 220,000 people. We went out for that night’s headliners and when we returned to crash at about 4am, she was still missing. I was now getting a stomach ache with worry. Where the hell was she?!

The next morning came and went, and it wasn’t until Mark and I were returning from an afternoon set that we were walking down the main strip and there she was – sitting on somebody’s beer cooler. She started to cry when she saw us – but she could barely walk as she hobbled over to us; her feet were terribly blistered from not having any shoes for the past 24hours. I was just so relieved to see her that I didn’t get angry. Apparently, after walking only 5 minutes from out camp site, she had gotten lost – and she found some nice people from Ottawa that took her in for the night – like a stray cat. She was in so much pain that we had to take her to the first aid tent to get her feet bandaged up. By this point, I was laughing at her. Fucking idiot.

It was so hot the entire weekend – and there were zero trees anywhere in this old airbase. The vendors were charging extortionate prices for water, food and ice; it was ridiculous. Mark and I didn't even screw once that weekend; can you imagine?! It was THAT hot. The only real way to cope was to try and lay down during the heat of the day and then stay up all night when it cooled off.

They had also under-estimated how many port-a-loos they would need, and the sheer stench anywhere within 100 meters of these over-flowing shit boxes was utterly nauseating. I trained my body not to need to go – it did me proud. It wasn’t until the final night that we came across a ‘secret’ set of toilets. They must have just arrived shortly before we found them – they even had toilet paper! This was just after the Red Hot Chilli Peppers performed and Carrie and I had just eaten the majority of our mushrooms. At first, I thought I was hallucinating the toilets, but no, they were really real – wonderfully, wonderfully real. Carrie and I each sat inside one beside the other and we giggled for about 10 minutes.

After that rejuvenating experience, we went back to the main field where people had started huge bonfires and it quickly began to look like a scene from Lord of the Flies. Then larger objects were being set on fire and suddenly there were a few loud explosions. What the fuck? It was terrifying, but luckily the mushrooms made it a bit more manageable and we found humour in it. We found our way back to our site and since we were camped really close to a radio station that was there, we got all the latest information from them. Apparently, the explosions were the propane tanks from the trucks blowing up. Soon, there were helicopters flying overhead and the smell of burning rubber over-took the entire area. We would shout out “We’re going to die!” and then I would laugh so hard I nearly peed myself. If nothing else, it was a unique experience. I thank you, Mother Nature, for magic mushrooms.

We managed to make it through the night in one piece. The State Troopers had been brought in and were escorting everyone out of the area. There were burnt cars, vendor trolleys, and garbage absolutely everywhere; it was a sad scene. It was the first time in my life that I had witnessed firsthand how disgusting we, as human beings, can really be – like locusts. In less than 3 days, the mob had managed to totally destroy the area – and all I could think of was: If this is was happened in 3 days... then what have we done to the earth? It was a humbling moment for me, and I’m sure a disappointing moment in our history. This festival’s slogan was “30 years of music and peace” – and a small number of people sure pissed on that ideal and ruined any hope in the future of having another one. I originally wanted to go to experience it and to say that I had been at Woodstock ‘99 – but instead, I say that I survived Woodstock ’99.

Feb 25, 2011

Chloe Dancer

February makes me think of love; Lady Estrogen makes me think of Rock 'n Roll. Funny how the two so frequently fit together. The memories that are most important do not play back in my mind as a silent movie, I'd say they're more like MTV; a stream of music videos with short interludes adding witty commentary here and there. Memories of love are always tightly connected to music.

When I think back to the humble beginnings of me and Nate, music plays a big role. I was the bartender at the pub his band played in, he was the bass player. He managed coffee houses during the day, jammed with the guys in the evenings and dragged me all over the province to be his personal (and only) groupie. It was a different life back then. I'd work until 3am, and miss my 8am classes, he'd sleep until 3am, and spend a couple of hours with me before rushing off to his early morning shifts.

Things are a little different now. Where we used to get ready in the mornings leisurely with coffee and Pearl Jam videos on the tv, we're now methodically racing through a morning routine including a to do list that a sane person couldn't fit into an entire day. Instead of the stereo emoting constantly, I find that at times I'm reluctant to even turn it on because I know Chloe will be quick to test the speaker's full potential, and then pull the volume knob off. Most days, I just don't want the fight. So long to Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews and Ben Harper providing the audio for my memories. These days I'm more likely to be humming the lyrics to 5 Green and Speckled Frogs.

While our melodious roots seem to be put on pause for the time-being, they are certainly not forgotten. I will admit, the tunes are not taking the centre stage these days, but we do (almost) always dedicate some musical space for Nate and his dusty gear. We no longer frequent dingy hotels in remote towns so Nate and his mates can entertain the masses, but Nate does make it down to the basement from time to time to lay down a track. Music is still very much a big part of our lives.

Memories of love are always tightly connected to music, at least for us they are. And I can see that this will be a tradition that we build many of our family memories on. Be it Liam sneaking down to the basement to plunk on the little organ we found abandoned down the street, or Chloe intently bobbing to the beat; music will remain a big part of our lives.

I will leave you with a song that is very meaningful to our family. When I asked Nate if he had any ideas for a name for a daughter, he didn't have to think for a moment; he'd known Chloe would be the one for years.

This post was written by Kristy Dolha, who writes amazing and inspiring posts over at Life - Inspired by the Wee Man. She also organizes One Wee Voice which is a blogger collaborative to help raise awareness through our writing of particular causes, such as Child Poverty and Domestic Violence. Check her out when you have a chance!

Feb 23, 2011

It Was The Music Room That Did It For Me.

It wasn't love at first sight, but I had known within days that Jim was going to be someone special to me.

I always thought I was a bit of a freak because I was a painter/writer but also shot 75% from the 3-point line AND would have sold my soul for backstage passes to almost any gig of a Seattle band. I knew a lot of people (both girls and guys) that were usually only one or another, perhaps 2 out of 3 at most... but Jim? He was a perfect trifecta - my match. In one afternoon we could debate about lyrics from Nirvana's Bleach album, play a heated one-on-one game of basketball, and then sketch in our own folios, in silence...well, until we fucked each other like a pair of rabbits, anyway. Ah, to be teenagers in love.

When I saw him again a couple months ago, of course I was nervous; it had been over a decade since we had seen each other. We had spoken a lot online the last few years, but that was it.

When he answered the door, he was still looking good; still smelling good and still dressing hot - but come on! I am now a mature, married mother of two - so crap - I had no choice but to maintain my composure. I had promised myself, or rather, I threatened myself that I would kick my own ass if I cried; I couldn't let him see me cry, even if they were happy tears.

We exchanged a hug and some niceties. I wanted to just blab ridiculously about everything that I had been through in the past decade, but I maintained my cool as he showed me around his place. Bedrooms, nice. Living room, yes. Kitchen, ok... and then, as we passed a painting THAT I HAD DONE hanging on the wall, he showed me his music room. It was not a huge room, more like a den, but it was floor to ceiling with CDs; there were hundreds upon hundreds, and I got a little weak in the knees.

If I am to be totally blunt about it, if I knew I wouldn't get caught, if I was single, I would have dropped to my knees and given him the best head of his life right then and there, in that music room. That room was like fucking Spanish Fly and I was over-whelmed. Over-whelmed with what? I don't quite know. Nostalgia? Perhaps. I was slapped in the face with one of the 3 reasons I fell in love with him all those years ago; it literally surrounded me.

We had then gone outside to the backyard which was perfect because I was able to get some fresh air and hide the few renegade tears that had managed to escape as a result of experiencing that room - those little bastards! After a quick and bittersweet lunch, he dropped me off at the train station; I texted him right away.

Me: It was amazing to c u. Meant a lot to me.
Jim: No worries. Was nice to see u too. Xox
Me: Wish I had more time w/ u; would love to see u 1 more time ;)

And then he wrote me a frickin' novel that had to come to my phone in 3 downloads. I barely read half of it while rolling my eyes and snoring out loud. Blah...blah...something-something about not wanting to complicate anything with my marriage (not that it was any of his concern to begin with)...blah..., and needing to treasure the good memories we have. Blah.. blah...la-dee-fucking...blah...

After all these years and all we meant to each other, he should know me by now. I'm not a happy girl when I don't get my main course, let alone denied dessert. What can I say? I'm a spoiled bitch. *POUT*

Jim: I'll think about it.

Did I see him again? Of course not.
Do I still love him? Always.

Feb 22, 2011

The Top 10 Songs of My Life

I've finally done a Top 10 - it's a shocker, I know. But in true form, it did take me about 2 weeks to decide on the finalists; there were just too many. The first 3 were easy, but I agonized over the rest. Factors included longevity, emotional impact, and inflation. I couldn't even be cold hearted enough to make a clear cut, so I have listed some honorable mentions as well. I've also begun wrangling up a Top 10 Albums, which is surprisingly quite different from this list.

1. Black - Pearl Jam
The embodiment of my teen years all wrapped up and expressed through this one song. Read more about when I finally heard it live here.

2. Interstate Love Song - Stone Temple Pilots
The second of only 2 songs I've ever cried when hearing it performed live; a close second. The accoustic version gets me every time.

3. Capoicity - Powderfinger
I asked the drummer (Jon Coghill) why they didn't play it that night I saw them for the first time. He laughed and replied, "It's too complicated; we can't be arsed." I understood; the instrumentals are truly incredible.

4. Head Over Feet - Alanis Morissette
Fall in love with your best friend? Story of my life. I actually bought myself a harmonica so I could learn how to play this song; don't laugh, I was 17.

5. What a Good Boy - Barenaked Ladies
Amazing song about how much pressure we're put under to achieve. 'Gordon' came out when I was in Grade 9, so it was pretty huge considering their second single from that album was "This Is Me in Grade 9".

6. Mutha Fukka on a Motorcycle - Machine Gun Fellatio
One of the funkiest songs I've ever heard; it makes me want to jump up and dance. The woman that sings this usually performs it topless with stick-on mustaches on each nipple - it is totally ridiculous and I love it.

7. Melbourne - The Whitlams
If you've been reading my blog, then this one is fairly self-explainatory. Ah, Melbourne.

8. No Need to Argue - Cranberries
My ultimate "Jim" song. Dolores O'Riordan stole my thoughts and made them into this song about the two of us.

9. Closer - Nine Inch Nails
The best "fuck" song ever written, in my opinion! It's hard, hot, deep, and dirty.

10. (Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Brian Adams
When this came out, I bought everything it was on - even though it was all the same version. I often pictured myself as Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio when I hear it play. "RRRRRROBIN!!!"

Other highly honorable mentions include:
Undivided Love - Thirsty Merc
D'yer Mak'er - Led Zepplin
I Alone - Live
Miss You Love - silverchair
Smells Like Teen Spirit - Tori Amos (covering Nirvana)
Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
Masterpiece Theatre III - Marianas Trench
Strangers - Portishead
Lithium - Nirvana
Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven
and, of course...
Hallelujah - Rufus Wainwright - which played when I walked down the isle on my wedding day :)

Feb 20, 2011

Ring a bell and I'll salivate

In which I discuss Music

Today I was at the gym on the recumbent bike reading my iPad, tweeting, checking my email and doing all the other various and sundry things I do while I workout. Oh yeah, and listening to my music on shuffle. I love to listen on shuffle because I have thousands of songs and random songs pop up and then I remember stuff from long ago because for me, songs cause some sort of Pavlovian memory responses.

I was recently asked if I would write a “rock and roll” post for Lady Estrogen over at her blog. I agreed, because obviously at the time I didn’t realize I would have a severe mood crash and be incapable of writing anything remotely resembling either interesting or funny. At any rate, I figured that I had a choice of three different directions that I could go off in. I could tell the story of when I met Kevin Cronin, the lead singer of REO SpeedWagon a few years back, or I could tell the story of how I won a wet T-shirt contest when I was in college and then had to dance in front of hundreds and hundreds of people to “She’s a Brickhouse” or I could write about how different songs evoke such strong personal memories and associations that I am literally taken back in time when I hear them.

So which do you prefer? Doesn't matter. I don’t care and I’m going to choose the last one. When I was growing up (remember, I’m older than you so things were different then), I remember getting my first radio on my 10th birthday. This was a very big deal and back then, most music was on AM radio and you really had very few ways to listen to music. There were these things called "vinyl records." That’s right you young folk. We all had piles of 45’s that we listened to over and over again, and all the new music was on the radio. So, I got my new radio and I would lay on my bed in the room, reading and listening to music.

Because of that, songs would become the means by which I remember certain books. When I was 13, I read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. That summer “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple was very popular and was played every single hour. Therefore, whenever I think of LOTR, I think of that song and if I hear that song, which I rarely do since it’s not really a classic, I think of LOTR.

The Day of the Jackal had the first “sex” scene that I ever read. I mean a real, honest to god sex scene. The big song at the time was “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack and I can’t hear that song without thinking of that book and therefore, SEX. So yeah, music is both evocative and Pavlovian.

When I was in high school cars had 8-tracks in them. Don’t know what that is? Google it youngsters! At any rate, I had a Firebird and my friends and I would drive around blasting Diana & Marvin on the 8 track. My poor little brother Bruce would be crammed in the backseat begging us to turn it off. To this day I can’t think of Diana Ross without laughing at both my brothers misery and our sheer joy. Spring break 1977: “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” was the big song and when I hear it, I’m down at Myrtle Beach South Carolina again at The Spanish Galleon.

Fast forward a few years and seriously, The Talking Heads. That was my college experience. The Doors, Grateful Dead, Little Feat - the minute one of them comes on I feel and incredible urge to roll a joint and light up. It completely takes me back. The first time I had sex Steely Dan was playing. Another experience, a different night it was “Mr. Bojangles”. It’s incredible how certain songs come on and bam, you’re right back in the moment.

I even have these memories with my kids. Once, when Keely was 13 or so we had gone down to a swim meet in Chapel Hill. Keely swam great and as I drove her and her friend Leah back home, “Hey Ya” by Outcast came on. We screamed the song at the top of our lungs and whenever I hear that song, I think of that swim meet and car ride with Keely and Leah and I laugh.

Music is an incredible thing in that certain experiences are indelibly stamped into your memory and music is the glue that keeps them there. There were certain symphonies that my parents played all the time that, even though I’m not big into classical music, when I hear the opening chords I think of them.

So to me, music is more than something that swirls around me; it’s the means by which certain events in my life become part of my soul. I love music, and while I’m by no means an expert, I can’t imagine living without it.

I’m just saying…


Guest post by Lynn, who is the hilariously fabulous author of All Fooked Up. Check her out if you haven't already... but I'm sure you have :)

Feb 18, 2011

Swan Songs & Canker Sores

It was grade 9 and I was starting fresh at a new school. My 'secret' naughty relationships were all attending a different school. I was free to roam for fresh blood without any old, stanky asses following me around, begging for another quick feel in the stairwell. I was innocent again; starting over.

I had found a boy I liked; in a school of 1500 students, it didn't take long. He was my typical awkwardly shy but endearing type that I was constantly drawn too. I'd like to think it was because that type complimented my Type A exhibitionist personality. Whist doing my research, I learned that the boy I sat beside in Biology was actually his partner in Music class - score!

So, every day I would wait with bated breath to hear answers to questions that I had him relay - it was SO ridiculously high school. As the days and weeks passed, the boy turned out to be locked up tighter than my dad's ass...which was really fucking tight!

The interesting turn of events was that my messenger boy was starting to cause my lady bits to tingle. We had a lot in common, including our sense of humor and our shared appreciation for Led Zeppelin. Well, I liked them... he LOVED them. His sad attempts of Swan Song doodles were on display all over his binder, as well as the 4 Led Zeppelin symbols.

After that fateful night when we finally broke the tension with a deep kiss down the street from my house, we were inseparable - literally. Our tongues mutually burrowing down each other's throats was our primary pass time, usually accompanied by some Led Zeppelin music whenever possible. I had soon developed a nasty harvest of canker sores and my mouth was practically pulsating by the time I returned home from one of our marathon make-out sessions. My mother noticed one day and said straight away, "Looks like someone's been doing too much kissing!" Whoa! How did she know? That woman was a frickin' psychic!

Our best night was during my first big school dance. They were hosted by MuchMusic with a giant video screen and lighting effects, which was pretty damn impressive for high school! You have to remember that all my previous "relationships" took place in secret, so this was really my first publicly physical relationship, and it was exciting. Later in the night, Stairway to Heaven came on; we both looked at each other, smiled and then we partook in some rather shamelessly sloppy PDA in the middle of the dance floor... for the entire 8 minute epic. It was a long time not to come up for air! One of the senior girls from the basketball team slapped me hard on the ass while yelling really loudly, "Way to go, baby skank!"

Well, before that year, I only revealed my true self to a select few - and after that night, everyone knew. Although we didn't manage to stay together for too long, I only have fond memories of him. Whenever I hear pretty much ANY Led Zeppelin song, I think of him, but especially Stairway to Heaven. Incidentally, I also think of him whenever I get a festering canker sore - I'm sure he'd be touched.

In addition to being a part of my own February Music Month, I also did this post for Jill over at Strawberry Freckles; she is doing a High School Memory Tunes Linky :) She's adorable!

Feb 16, 2011

Theme Song to My Life

I have this thing where I hear a song (OK I’m not talking rampant rave hip hop or indie dance trance), but it triggers something, a time, a place, a person.  I don’t know why but I automatically associate words and the songs to a particular moment.  I also do it in reverse; something can happen and I hear a tune in my head. I’m associating a random song – it’s as if I can create a theme tune to my life at any point in time.

I guess it’s because I love music, I love lyrics but unless you’ve ever done it yourself, it’s quite hard to understand.  So let me enlighten you.

I remember this particular guy I so had the hots for and for absolutely ages. He was a dream to look at, he was a genuinely nice guy and every time he walked past me all I could hear was:

Donna Summer - “This Time I Know Its For Real”

I remember when he asked me out, oh yes! He asked me out! It was back then one of the happiest moments in SJ’s world. Whoop Whoop! So much so that when I said “Yes, OMG Yes” oops try not to be too keen there SJ! All I could hear was:

Bananarama - I Can't Help It

We went out for a while (not a mammoth amount of time but enough to make an impact) we had a lot of fun, some really great times but there was that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me something wasn’t right.  It was just one of those things, there wasn’t anything wrong with our relationship it just didn’t feel right and the longer I carried it on all I could do was sit back and watch love’s youg dream fade into the distance and I kept thinking I don’t want to do this anymore.

I was reading in my room, I had been ignoring his calls (thank god there was no texting or mobiles back then) the phone went and it was him.  My mum thought he was wonderful (you know the kind of guy, a great guy, gets on wonderful with your family but just doesn’t do it for you) and she wouldn’t let me just play dead.  She told me I had to be honest with him.   He was talking and all I could I hear in my head was:

Level 42 - It's Over

Well many years later and a few lessons have been learnt. I used to have fantasies about meeting Mr Right, being swept off my feet by the knight on a white horse and all that crap but I lost it somewhere along the lines and the one thing I’m not any more is a romantic.  I’m a bit of a sentimental junkie but the whole romance thing really bypasses me.  I find it corny and I get embarrassed by it.

I like simple gestures, thougtful propositions but if I came home to bouquets of flowers and petal’s strewn across my floor, firstly I’d think you accidentally buried the cat or was plotting some kind of satanic ritual to which I will be the sacrificial lamb or probably chicken given the drumsticks my genes generously limbered into legs.

Somewhere along the lines I grew up a bit and stopped focusing on the music.  It still crops up from time to time but I shut it down but then I met someone who just blew every theme tune there ever was for me. In my mind it was never going to be anything, the timing wasn’t right, he was in a relationship or I was but we got on so well over time we became very good friends. In fact, best friends.

I had resigned myself to this fact – we were only ever going to be friends but as time passed every time I thought of him all I could ever hear was:

DAFT Punk – Something About Us

What I didn’t know was that he felt the same way. Well in a perfect world there are happy endings and so far in mine there is….

I’ll let you work out the rest…

Guest post by the wonderful SJ over at Almost There. You can also find her on twitter @Sazzim

Feb 15, 2011

Tuesday Tune: Powderfinger

I took these photos while creaming myself in the front row at this last-minute Powderfinger gig. They were meant to open for Cold Play at a huge venue (which I didn't have tickets to), but Cold Play cancelled due to Chris Martin coming down with explosive diarrhea (or at least that's the joke excuse the radio station was using). Whispers were that Powderfinger were going to play at the Horseshoe Tavern since they were in town anyway. It was fucking brilliant! They gave me their set list sheet (which is now framed) and they all signed my copy of Internationalist (which is also framed). AH GUH!

Powderfinger, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (2001)

Feb 14, 2011

My Crappy Valentine

Valentine's Day is an extreme; you either love it or hate it. I hate it. I seemed to always be freshly single when it came 'round or the thought of a romantic prospect was the furthest thing from my current situation - although like New Years Eve and other annoyingly inclusive events, I always had a inkling that I wanted to belong or be a part of something on that day. It's stupid but I know a lot of people feel this way, whether we want to or not.

I finally had the best Valentine's Day in 2003. I had met my would-be husband 2 weeks before and our melodious 3rd date was on Valentine's Day. Bow-chicka-wow-wow! Yes! I can finally not loathe this stupid commercialized soul-sucking day and actually enjoy that vomitously cute teddy bear that holds an embroidered heart saying "I love you." ...or so I thought.

Then on February 12, 2004 my grandfather had been admitted to the hospital with acute phenomena and he was going into heart failure. My grandfather was everything to me. Just as I had lost my father, he had lost his son and so he and I met in the middle to share the ache of that void together... for my entire life. I never felt that with my grandmother, but she's not exactly sentimental, to put it politely.

I had often thought of my grandfather when I heard this particular song from The Murmurs album, since I had been watching him slowly deteriorate since this album came out in '94. Whether it was to torture myself or just to help me expel the grief I was feeling, I dug out my Murmurs CD and played this song on repeat the entire way to the hospital on the morning of February 14th, 2004. When I got there I told him I was going to be OK and that I thought that my boyfriend was "the one" and that he was going to be there for me. He squeezed my hand and then we took him off life support and said goodbye.

Basically thinking of 
basically wondering why.

Your watch is ticking fast, 
your mind is running slow.
The rain is trickling down.

It's a meantime 
madness today
And life's just passin you by.

'Cause you're basically thinkin of 
basically wondering why.
Basically never like to know
'Cause you're basically out of luck 
you're basically growing old
Life has basically been told.

Let me be your strength 
let me hold your body's weight
I wanna walk for you.

In your heart you feel your walking memory
But to me you're so alive.
How do you hold inside 
the rage that you must feel
Watching your body give up on you.

Since I was a child 
the thing that'll pick me up.
I'll do the same for you

Let me be your strength let me hold your body's weight
I wanna walk for you
I wanna walk for you

Feb 11, 2011

Any Clotheshorse Can Learn to Sing

BWS tips buttonThis Fawk You Friday is dedicated to one of my biggest pet peeves involving the music industry. Whether it be during an interview, written in an article or during an awards ceremony, I vomit a little in my mouth every time they refer to pop stars as "artists".
Singer? Yes.
Vocalist? Of course.
Performer? Obviously.
Entertainer? Indeed...
But an ar-teeest? NO BLOODY WAY.

It's an insult to "real" artists everywhere; whether they are actual composers, musicians, painters or anyone that creates something for an emotional or aesthetic purpose. So what if you can sing! Ooohh, you were born with a pretty face and a mediocre voice - congratu-fucking-lations for your gene pool. Just go line up and be the next contestant on American Idol, please. I recall one of my University professors saying that if someone already said it perfectly, don't try to top it - just quote or paraphrase it. So for the second time this month, I will recite the wise and poetic words of TISM to validate my argument:

Who writes the song? That's the thing!
Any clotheshorse can learn to sing...

Who are the ugly bastards hidden away
who write the tunes that get air play?

So if you don't write the song, then BIG--FUCKING--WOOPIE!

I'm not saying that the music is total crap. On the contrary, much of it is catchy - which is why it's classified as 'pop' music in the first place. I will also acknowledge that it takes a lot of balls to perform in front of thousands of people, and for that, I give them all due respect for being fabulous entertainers. I am just so tired of seeing the "puppet" that sings any particular hit song become the famous one while the true "artist" that wrote the lyrics and arranged the score is forgotten; or perhaps they actually do get an award, but it's presented during the commercials, because who really cares about them, right? Ugh!

I don't want to make this about American Idol but that show proved my point two-fold. One, for the contestants and its entire premise in general; and two because the world turned their noses up at Kara DioGuardi when she became a judge, but she was, in my opinion, the most talented and qualified judge they'd ever had! Did you know she has been credited on over 120 album releases*? Holy crap, Batman!

I think this is one of the multitude of reasons as to why I gravitated to alternative music and rock, rather than pop, per se; I could appreciate that the music I was listening to was (for the most part) written and performed by the same people - and to me, that is true musical artistry.

So, go on and read the liner notes on your favourite album. If the lyrics and music credits for each song do not match the name on the cover, then you have yourself a puppet performer, a vocalist; if they match, then and only then, they can be given the classification of an artist.


Feb 9, 2011

Jane Stole My Addiction

I had been recently put on parental parole a month after my shoplifting incident when I had taken a shine to an older guy at school... much older (at least for high school) and he had decided to return my advances; I was 14 and he was 18. At the time, it didn't seem weird at all, but now that I think of the fact that he was attracted to a 14 year old is a little creepy. I should mention that 14 is the legal age of consent in Canada (at least it was when I was 14; it might be 16 now) so really, if there was grass on the playing field, you were good to go... but it doesn't make it any less icky.

He was the resident comedian at our school; everyone knew him and I loved that. He had come over to my place a few times and since I wasn't allowed to take boys up my bedroom, we went into the basement. The logic to that alluded me, since we participated in the same activities regardless of our location, and both were away from my parents' supervision; it was just a matter of whether we did it on my bed or on the basement rug. I guess it's the whole 'stigma' of letting a boy go up to your daughter's bedroom. So, the basement rug it was.

We would go downstairs and fool around. The most we ever did was oral sex, but it was fantastic; he had a rather long tongue. The best time I can clearly remember was when he grabbed me by my hips and had me straddle his face. He was reaching so high up and wriggling around that I think I felt him tongue the bottom of my rib cage! It was hard to keep quiet so I had turned the radio on to cover up my moans and Jane's Addiction's Been Caught Stealing was playing. Even in the midst of my present position, I appreciated the irony and I had to smile.

A few days later, he wanted to take me out to a movie but there was no way my parents were going to let me drive in his car; he could come over, but that was it! Of course, I defied this rule as well and we went out after school one afternoon... and his car wouldn't fucking start when it was time for him to take me home. Ahhh! I was stressing in the parking lot! It had barely been 6 weeks since I had been arrested and if I got busted for this I was certain they would be sending me to a convent or something; I lost my cool and was crying, hard. I'm sure it was at that moment that he realized the age difference between us. Although we remained friendly and flirty at school, he never asked me out again.

To this day, I can't listen to that song without thinking of that time in my life since I had, in fact, been caught stealing,
and on top of that,
On his face, I sat,
with his tongue up my twat.
It's just as simple as that.

Sing along with me people!

Feb 8, 2011

Tuesday Tunes: Shake Tramp

I'm hoping to do a write up about my favourite Canadian boys and their album Masterpiece Theatre later this month, but I want to keep this post short with a quick introduction to those of you who haven't heard of them. This is Shake Tramp by Marianas Trench and although they have produced some truly incredible songs to which Josh Ramsay's lyrics can take my breath away, this earlier song demonstrates their ability to easily switch from heart-breaking to hilarious with some of their more playful compositions. In addition to their wonderful reoccurring homages towards pop culture and early 20th century nostalgia, I also simply adore their quirky sense of humour. Enjoy! I know I do.

Feb 6, 2011

California Dreaming

There are so many songs that make me think of important moments in my life, but two songs that hold a special place in my heart for pretty much identical reasons.

I've gone to California, Los Angeles more specifically, twice in my life and now ache to move there. When I went there the first time, I found myself lost in the beaches, the attitude, and the culture that was so desperately lacking in Wisconsin. I went with a now ex-boyfriend for a wedding and fell more in love that year. Only not with the boy I was with, but instead with a city that filled me with more energy and life than I've ever thought possible.

The second time was with a different guy, just to take a vacation. I remembered it all, but still felt like a kid in a candy store. The sights, the sounds, the smells - they all made me fall in love with the city all over again. Only this time, I fell even more in love with the boy I was with. On our first day in Santa Monica, the first day we had arrived in California, he proposed. We're now engaged to get married in Jamaica in April.

There's only one radio station I listened to there during each trip. I can't remember it for the life of me, but each visit was the same. There was a song I hadn't heard back in my hometown that seemed to be on every half hour. Luckily for me, they were songs that I liked and came to love and memorize before I left the state each time.

The first song was by Death Cab For Cutie. The song, I Will Posses Your Heart, seemed to have an intro longer than the song itself. While I'm sure it was written about another person, it echoed through my head as a calling for the the state, the city, and the beauty I would be leaving behind upon returning home. By the end of the trip, a part of my heart was left in the city, waiting for me to return to put it back together again.

When I returned, I felt whole again. I felt like I had found home. The second song spoke much less to me though, but left me with very fond memories. The song Kids by MGMT, played while we walked on the pier and while we walked through shopping districts. It played on a road trip down to San Diego and up the Pacific Coast Highway. And it played as we drove back to the airport, my head against the window, my heart separating again.

It's been over a year now and whenever one of those songs come on, if even for a moment, I feel whole again.

By Ashley @ After Nine to Five

Feb 4, 2011

History Repeating... Or Was That My Acid Reflux?

It was dark but I knew I was in a place I didn't recognize. There were clothes ruffled on the floor. New clothes; some with the tags still on. There was a man's chunky navy blue sweater with subtle red stripes underneath some distressed baggy jeans. They were nice... sexy even, if on the right man... but who was this man that they were meant for?

Jim walks into the room, grabs the clothes off the floor and looks up at me. "What do you think?"
"Yes! They're nice."
"I have to go back to the mall and get another few pairs of jeans. You want to come?"

The car ride was non-existent, like we had teleported to the mall. As soon as we walked through the doors, the song History Repeating was playing... loud. It was manic. There were people running around; some laughing, some screaming. Nick Frost was dressed in a security uniform and was chasing a baby elephant down the main corridor; to my disappointment Simon Pegg was nowhere to be seen. The music was getting louder and louder and Shirley Bassey's powerful voice was reverberating off the shop windows; I could see them shaking.

Jim had disappeared for a few minutes and when he returned, he was dressed like what I can only describe as a 1970s Italian pimp. His chest hair was hanging out and inter-woven with a gold chain. It was so off-putting that I gagged a little. He looked at me as if I was a freak for not liking his new outfit. He rolled his eyes, grabbed me by my hand and we left the store.

The baby elephant had come back around again and left a giant mound of shit close to where we were. The smell hit me like an angry bitch slap and I became truly nauseous. The song was still playing and people were still screaming. I began to throw up, but it wasn't vomit... it was popcorn. Hundreds of popped kernels flowed from my mouth... and Jim caught some and began to eat it! I was horrified. Then, an out-of-breath Nick Frost rounded the corner; he had obviously given up on trying to catch the elephant. "Ooo, popcorn! Yummy!"

I knelt there completely disgusted as the pair of them huddled on the floor and ate my popcorn spew. Then an ambulance came, proceeded to pour butter over the popcorn mound I had just regurgitated, (to the men's utter delight) and then took me away on a stretcher.

That was my dream last night; something was definitely repeating.

Feb 3, 2011

Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me

One of my all-time favourite Melbourne bands; T.I.S.M. are a group of highly intelligent guys that do crude, yet honest and in-your-face diatribes about everything from pop culture to politics. They have successfully managed to offend practically everyone - and sometimes (although I will admit not often) their lyrics and their music sync up to produce a catchy tune. This will be the most entertaining 4 minutes of your day... Wait for the brown eye... Why, you ask? Because I love all of you; that's why!

"He would rather die than not get to fuck: Personally, I reckon it's worth it."
Now that's poetry, people ;)

Video by Bernard Derriman
Do you have a music post? Have you linked it up to the February Music Hop yet?

Feb 2, 2011

Sheets of Empty Canvas

I’m sure we’ve all seen the footage of hordes of screaming and crying girls all trying to catch a glimpse of their favourite heart-throbs whether it was The Beatles, Elvis, New Kids on the Block, and most recently Justin Bieber. I had often watched in utter bewilderment while these girls would gyrate up and down while streams of tears roll down their faces... and not just one... but hundreds of them! No wonder female hysteria was seen as a mental illness or even demonic possession a couple centuries ago – it is a bit crazy to witness. I was always the first to say, “Stupid girls!” whenever they aired the mobs of wailing teens at the latest concert or signing appearance – and then it happened – I had to eat my own words.

It was grade 12 and I had finally the opportunity to see Pearl Jam, my favourite band, perform live for the first time. They had been around for the better part of a decade by now, but due to one schedule conflict or another, I was never able to see them until that year; I was definitely excited, but I was still able to contain my bodily functions.

During the opening acts, I was just impatient. I understand how hard it must be for smaller acts to open for big names, but really? Screw them! Bring on Eddie. It was a festival-type concert and it already had been a long afternoon. It was about 35degrees in the shade – which meant it was even hotter for all of us grunge freaks that were wearing cargo pants, boots, black t-shirts and plaid. I had even turned down copious offers of the various smokable herbs that were going around – I wanted to have my wits about me when Eddie arrived.

Finally, the roadies were finished swapping over the stage and the lights went down. When they came on stage, I got a rush of adrenaline through me that erupted in a “Whhaaaaaaoooooooooooo!” OK, so that was normal. Most people were doing that anyway and it wasn’t like this was my first concert; the “Whhaaaoooo” yelp was pretty standard and I usually sounded like Harvey Fierstein by the end of a gig. It was like the culmination of the last 8 years of myself adoring the music of this band was FINALLY being witnessed live; it was euphoric, but that’s not quite the moment that changed it all for me.

About 6 songs into the set it happened... the all-too-well-known melodious twangs of that single guitar begun and everyone went bananas... and I was frozen. My favourite song had begun to play: Black. My heart was racing, goose-bumps prickled over my entire body, and then something completely indescribable came over me when those first lyrics flowed from Eddie’s mouth:

Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay
Were laid spread out before me as her body once did.

The sensation grew and grew and bubbled to its climax – and I started to cry! Not just a tear in the corner of my eye either – it was a full-out gasping for air, sniffling, weeping, snot-producing sob! Even I had no idea that the music was able to affect me that strongly. My friends couldn't help but notice and had to comment, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Are you crying? Ha, ha. You’re a freak!” Yes, yes, thank you all for your understanding – but I really didn’t care. I was so immersed by the song that I just wanted to hold on to that moment for as long as possible, so I kept crying my happy tears. If that song was a tangible thing, I wanted to crawl inside it and live there.

So, yes, although I still maintain that many of those crazed girls that chase after their favourite heart-throb du jour are ridiculous, I gained a deeper level of understanding that day as to how someone or something can overwhelm us to the point that we lose control of ourselves. I just think that it is up to us to harness it back a bit on the psycho-meter. As for me, this ‘Black’ incident will always be my top most music-related memory that gave me a profoundly special moment – just between me and Eddie Vedder – everyone else in the universe disappeared.

Feb 1, 2011

February Is All About The Music!

I had been gathering a couple stories here and there to which music was at the core of their plot lines. Instead of randomly publishing these posts, I wanted to give them more importance; a greater honour. Music has always been such a massive influence on my life, my experiences and my emotions, and I'm sure many others feel the same way.

All of the posts this month will have some kind of music theme or sub-plot to them - whether it be my own experiences, or those of my exalted guest bloggers.
Please enjoy the posts that I will be rolling out throughout this month. I also thought it would be the perfect opportunity to host my first Blog Hop. It will be open ALL MONTH.

The link you post MUST be related to music in some way, shape or form. It can be from your archives; you don't have to create a post specifically for this occasion. This Hop is a tribute to how we love music! All kinds, in all different ways.

• I'm not going to be militant about you following me - if you like what you read? Please follow me!
• Nor will I be anal about you posting my linky badge, although it is rather fucking awesome (if I do say so myself), so by all means, post it if you like it.
• And lastly, Blog Hops are, after all, about meeting new bloggers, so try and check out some of the others... but no pressure. :) I will be selecting one random post from this link to win either a Rock My Blog tshirt or bag!
Have a fabulous February everyone!

Adventures in Estrogen