Music Notes July 2019

July 31, 2019 at 11:36 pm (Uncategorized)

Here are some things then…

1 Peter Hammill – Nadir’s Big Chance 

The great thing about music is there’es always something new to discover. Like this. Back in the day, I would never have listened to ex-Van der Graaf Generator stuff, but I was wrong. This is a great punk anticipation with elements of prog and glam. And I’m only forty years late!

2. The Fleshtones

The band played the Horseshoe Tavern a couple of nights back. I’ve seem them three or four times now, and it’s always pretty much the same – SUPER ROCK! The band played a seventy minute set, along with copious encores, ran through the audience several times, and played one of my favourite songs by the band, “Let’s See the Sun.” Did I mention that Peter Zaremba was wearing a cape? And the cover of Teenage Head’s “You’re Tearing me Apart” was not unappreciated.

3. This is Spinal Tap

A close friend hadn’t seen this, so the only thing to do was stage an intervention. Every time I see this, I noticed new touches of sheer brilliance. Apparently when Ozzy Osborne saw this he thought it was a documentary.

4. Beak> – Life Goes On

Nice little project with Geoff Barrow of Portishead. Trippy (but not trip-hoppy) beats with a drone-like sound. Have to check out the back catalogue now.

5. The Violent Femmes and Tom Verlaine – “Hotel Last Resort”

I saw the Violent Femmes on their first Canadian show in a church basement in Hamilton in 1983. Saw them a couple of times after that, but lost interest after the second album. This song isn’t much like their previous stuff, but it is very tasty.


6. The Undertones – The Undertones

Perfect pop music. Then after this, More songs about Chocolate and Girls.

7. The Cramps – Songs the Lord Taught Us 

I’m spending a lot of time listening to the Cramp these days. Truly one of the great bands of my youth. Saw them live three times. This album, their first full length is still my favourite. “Produced” by Alex Chilton.

8. Songhoy Blues 

They were supposed to play Toronto last year (maybe?), but the show was cancelled. They’re heading back on October 22. Going to be good.

9. The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole 

Listened to this on the way to my dad’s place last week. Great car record. Play loud.

10. Roky Erickson

Truly unforgivable to have missed noting his passing in last month’s post. Roky Erickson was one of the greats, a true original. It’s not a stretch to note that dozens of bands would not have existed if Erickson’s Thirteenth Floor Elevators had not appeared (oh and Janis Joplin, we know where your vocal style comes from) . If you love the band and the man, you already know this, but if you don’t: The documentary You’re Gonna Miss Me is quite amazing, then the 2 CD set I Have Always Been Here Before (and of course, you’ll want to get all the Elevators records). I saw him once at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. It was a short set, but still amazing. We do miss you.

Till next time.

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New Link

July 30, 2019 at 5:39 pm (Uncategorized)

Will be adding /deleting links in the near future, but here’s the first.

The Commune 

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News of the Weird # 4

July 14, 2019 at 3:36 pm (Uncategorized)

1 Concentration Camps

Looking at the pictures of Mike Pence, Lindsey Graham and other politicians standing in front of asylum seekers in cages made me wonder if Living Marxism were still around, would they proclaim this was another “picture that fooled the world.” Fortunately Trump was around to tweet that the stories were FAKE NEWS and although the cages were crowded they were clean, but full of criminals ( Black is white, night is day, truth is lies, freedom is slavery, etc. etc continued page 94)

2. July 14

Hey Happy Bastille Day. 230 years ago today the French Revolution began. So what if it only held a few prisoners when the crowd stormed it, it was the symbolism. Oh, and the weapons cache probably didn’t hurt either.

3.  Jeremy vs Jeremy

Several people have pointed out that if Jeremy Hunt were to defeat Boris Johnson (unlikely) to become leader of the Conservative Party and thus British PM, the next election would be Jeremy vs. Jeremy. Fairly indicative of the broader farce.

4. As Purely Racist as You Can Get

After reading Trump’s tweet this morning about the unnamed ” ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world,” my initial reaction was that Trump is going after his favourite targets (non- white strong women), and this is probably the most nakedly racist thing he’s written. (Also just about as moronic as usual given that 3 of the 4 likely targets were born in the US, and the fourth came as a child – but then Trump is a birther). But, you know, I have a feeling, and this in not to diminish in any way just how racist this tweet was, he’s written a lot of other equally awful shit too.

5. The Doom Patrol

Back in the days when I used to read the Canadian Socialist Worker, one of the most amusing sections was the arts reviews. Socialist Worker would take a pop culture item which had a “progressive” aspect expand this into a broader critique of capitalism that the show clearly wasn’t making, then complain that its failure was it didn’t end in socialist revolution, or joining the I.S. The current issue has a review of the Doom Patrol (which you absolutely should watch) entitled “Doom Patrol: The Superhero Antidote to Trump’s America” (which it really isn’t)  I missed you John Bell.

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News of the Weird #3

July 11, 2019 at 1:03 am (Uncategorized)

1 Trump

When you talk politics, people talk politics to you. So, people at work and other places often ask me, “Is Trump a fascist?” Despite the casual leftist use of the term, I’ve resisted. I’d often joke, “Trump is too lazy to be a fascist.” Yet it’s been clear for a while that the Bannons and the Millers who have surrounded and continue to influence Trump are, if not actual Nazis, then at least white nationalists flirting with darker fascist forces in the US. Trump too has played to this element of his base. His own authoritarian impulses coupled with his seemingly boundless narcissism seem bound for some deeper radical re-imagining of traditional bourgeois democracy in the U.S. Watch out.

2. The Peoples Party of Canada

A year or two back, the Federal Conservative Party chose a new leader to replace defeated Steven Harper. The compromise candidate was the blandly opportunistic Andrew Scheer, the least offensive candidate for all the factions in the party. At this Maxime Bernier, the runner-up, took his ball and ran away, loudly complaining about the lack of principles in the party. He quickly founded the People’s Party of Canada (though it might easily have been called the Maxime Bernier Party of Canada). It’s likely the party will disappear after the upcoming election, but will split the right-wing vote to allow some Liberal candidates to prevail.

Bernier has proclaimed a populist strategy and against any sort of political correctness. So guess who is showing up at his rallies? Two days ago, Bernier posed at the Calgary Stampede with members of the Northern Guard, a Canadian hate group. When confronted, Bernier insisted it was a smear blaming a CBC reporter for raising the issue rather than attempting to distant himself. The mainstreaming of neo-Nazism continues

3. Loren Goldner

On Sunday, July 14th, Loren will be speaking at The Woodbine in Ridgewood, Queens from 5 PM to 7 PM on the Chinese working class. Details at

4. Verso Books

Maybe the largest leftist publisher in the world. Their Beach Reads section is 50% for the next week or so.

5. Birthdays.

Was it Lenin who said woe is a revolutionary over the age of 54? I couldn’t find the quotation, so maybe I’m imagining the whole thing. Trotsky and Engels wrote things about aging too. I turned 55 today. I’ve been in politics since my teens. Briefly a social democrat. A Trotskyist for about a decade, then a left or council communist for two decades and change.  I’ll keep on…


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