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About the Looking Glass

Compared to last summer’s requiem of rain and cloudy days, this summer has been the utmost; an excellent stream of sunny days mixed with pouring rain, a run of vacation time to enjoy weather’s variety, and some new music (of course) to cap off the mind.

I’ve been struggling of late with this writing thang. Do I name drop and tell the stories of musicians I’ve met (Georgia and Ira Hubley of Yo La Tengo once signed my Poi Dog Pondering poster, Vic Chesnutt and I finally reacquainted after years of guilt plaguing me over the mention of Nick Cave, Jeff Buckley kissing my friend’s arm because she had burned it on the oven earlier in the evening while making lasagna (his passing forever a scar in my thoughts)… or squander my time here introducing bands that have caught my attention by asking readers (listeners?) to click through?… Nostradamus was right, it’s tough trying to be an entertaining read while constantly asking people to get distracted by what I’m saying (Nostradamus, VIII Century, 1st Quatrain). That’s a loose translation, by the way…

On the slacker side, I watched a little television on my vacation (translated: I was lying dead on the couch most of the time) and came across this program about Nostradamus followed up by a program about the end of the world. Did you know December 21, 2012 we are going to be swallowed up by the Mayan calendar? Yeah, I know… holy crap! Not just the Mayans say so either…

Imagine my shock and surprise when I picked up the paper a couple of days later and read about a handy-dandy little project (lead by Canadians) to recreate a small scale Big Bang. Yep, scientists are going to be driving two beams of particles—one clockwise and one counter-clockwise—into each other so they can look for the Higgs boson, a particle that is theorized to have made life possible. It’s said that there may be tiny black holes created. Umm, guys… can you go do that over there? Yeah, just over there behind Orion a little bit, guys—Guys? Thanks!

Dr. Hawking, as a layman, can I ask a question? How do they know it is going to be small scale? Is it in comparison to a glacial timeframe or a timeframe spanning the age of the macroverse? More importantly, will we have an alternate reality? Because I’ll tell you, I’m not working two jobs.

…meanwhile, also in recent news, a baby was still born and came to life just as I predicted. Yes. I noticed that story because I wrote the following opening to my book exactly one week before:

…They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The truth in that statement faded sometime around the second time my father died. Yeah, sometime around right-now o’clock.

I sit here, on the edge of the same bed where I wept for the first time, on all 180 counts of the same sheet …that’s right, I’d never wept before. Cried—maybe, but I’ve never wept these soul-shaking, mind-altering, chest-pounding tears… the kind of tears that make one question humanity. This is the state of humanity—here, in these tears questioning inhumanity in ourselves and others, to appreciate the depth, and to grasp desperate with wonder if, somewhere else in the world, someone else has thought the same of emotion.

The first time my father died, I awakened from a very deep sleep. That was the first time I open’d mine eyes. My mother said my eyes were as opals, at first. I remember feeling my face wet, and saying aloud, “I’vem sori mater”— then, my eyes opened.

I was premature, and still born. I have my own time of death. The nurse was shocked to discover an established breathing pattern—really just shallow diaphragm movement—as she tried to dispose of my lifeless body.

I have similar traits to my father. I had similar traits long before knowing him. My father never cried. Ma says his speech was archaic most of the time, but not just from one time period. Jonathan was his name, I mean, when he wasn’t James. Not my father, mind you, it was a part of him that wasn’t my father. James was the name of that part of my father. James was an element of another sort, the sort that didn’t want my sort here; quite literally in this lifetime.

I know that the second time I die it isn’t going to be anything like my father’s last death.

Here I am, though, crying on this sick bed and drying my hands on these 30 year old sheets…

I’m really in love with this beginning, and one day I hope it has an end...

I know, I know, the music:

Sunny Day Sets Fire

Sunny Day Sets Fire

listen

Sunny Day Sets Fire is one of my new favourites. This international band (members are from Canada, Italy, Hong Kong and the UK) encapsulates a discipline of travel and experience. From the outset of the album on the song Wilderness, you know you’re going somewhere keen with this band. I Dream Along is a strong accomplishment as a mid-album carnival parade of riffs embellish the adventures that came before it as much as those that follow. Adrenaline actually provides you with the same stimulation as 10 cups of coffee—and with proper timing that would probably have been used in a skit on The Muppet Show… before entering HR Pufnstuf territory with Map of the World.


Thao

Thao

listen

Thao manages to evoke everything I wanted from Cat Power in the last year without marginalizing herself. We Brave Bee Stings and All places me somewhere in 1978 sitting at the kitchen table at the ripe old age of 4—opening up my new pack of Odd Rods to discover the ancient gum inside… I liked the monsters, though… they were pretty cool. Apparently they’re also making a comeback: http://www.oddrods.com/


The Field Mice

The Field Mice

listen

The Field Mice are one of the most exciting bands I’ve heard in a long time. Where’d You Learn To Kiss That Way is a double album set of 36 songs with such long-remembered never-heard hits as Coach Station Reunion “I’m so looking forward to tomorrow, because tomorrow I see you again.” Everyone’s wet dream wedding song in gelatin form— If You Need Someone “to tell you everything’s going to be all right, I can do that, I can do that.” When Morning Comes to Town begins with dew drops on a delicate petal and ends with a sharp rain cutting everything away to its naked form... mostly this collection of songs plays in the background where, at anytime, it can evolve and trans-elevate the mood with a method where its proportions far exceed the space it should contain.


Coming Soon:

Full Apoplectic Form – Dedicated to the death of Rant This

Bummer Staycation, Man – Conform and accept your identity as a catch phrase

Porch Arenas – the highs and the lows of online music culture

Dormant Ambidextrism – Why do I have this other hand?

Like, Like Like, or Like Love – Band names that should be

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