Saturday, February 26, 2005

warehouse music annex: it don't worry me

I've seen it on the big screen, when it made a run through the local rep houses a few years ago. I caught it at the Paradise, the dumpiest theatre I've ever been in. The armrest was held on with either stick-tack or chewing gum, which fit with its earlier life as a porno house.

The lead actors wrote or had a hand in creating their songs, as opposed to Nashville pros, for reasons Altman explained in Jan Stuart's book on the making of the film, The Nashville Chronicles:

It became too expensive," insists Altman as he attempts to explain why he avoided the inclusion of bona fide country songs and singers. Of greater consideration than the expense, perhaps, was the dam break of prima donnas that might result by casting country stars. "Everybody's going, Oh, my songs will cost you this and this and I want so and so! I just didn't want to deal with any of that. I didn't want the agents walking around telling me what to do, mainly what the f**king songs would be."

"We had to get songs, but I didn't want them competing. I wanted them to be the same cross-section that those songs in Nashville are - that means I didn't want them all to be good songs. Henry's [Gibson] were a little obvious, but they're not all that different than some of those by Hank Snow. Barbara Jean songs were a little smarter. Dues is not a real good country-western song, but it was Ronee's favourite, she wanted to do it. My point is that making those choices is an arbitrary thign to do under the best of circumstances, and who is that person who says, 'Oh, we're going to use this'? The Nashville companies, the songwriters, want to use the ones they think are going to sell the most copies. So, I just flet I didn't want them professionally written."

In other words, this wasn't going be one of those movies with a "music inspired by" soundtrack. Out of the actors' contributions, one bona-fide charting single emerged, Keith Carradine's I'm Easy. Besides the above-mentioned Dues, which I think is the loveliest song in the film, I've also included the tune that opens the movie (after a mock TV record ad that serves as the credits), Gibson's 200 Years. I wonder if any humour-challenged uber-patriots of recent years have ever considered unearthing this song and selling it as a straight-faced patriotic anthem? It beats I'm Proud To Be An American...

This is an album I'd love to see an expanded reissue of, as there's plenty of music that was left off the soundtrack. I suspect some songs were left off to protect the ears of listeners - Gwen Welles' gloriously awful warbling as wannabe star Sueleen Gay, which gave new meaning to the term "tin ear".

Oh These Troubled Times didn't make the vinyl cut in '75, but was resurrected on Carolyn Mark's tribute album a quarter of a century later. It was inspired by frequent viewings of the film, which led to a live performance. According to her liner notes, "it became apparent as the tables filled that we were not alone in our obsession with the film. An older couple sat at the front table and mouthed along with every snippet of dialogue and nudged each other knowingly when we nailed it." Here, Mark and fellow Corn Sister Neko Case fill in as the Smokey Mountain Laurels (who were one of few real acts featured in the film), while Case's fellow New Pornographer Carl Newman slips into Karen Black's shoes for Memphis. If you like the movie, this tribute's a fun listen. - JB

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

peter sellers is rolling in his grave

They're back...after a long absence, everyone's favourite annoying moving company is telemarketing its heart out. Yes folks, Boris, Janos and the gang are back looking for your business. There were two messages on the phone from the master of lousy accents tonight. What can you expect if they tap into your phone?

* They now represent a nameless moving company. Nary a mention of Best Price or Athletic Movers, just a van and expert staff.

* Janos' accent has mutated into the world's worst Dr. Strangelove imitation. His message was so bizarre, I've saved it for future transcription. He'll even move your aquarium, the one with fish in it!

I'm curious if Jean-Pierre, Reggie, Tugboat Bill and others are also out there drumming up business for the now-anonymous company. Leave your message at the tone. - JB

Monday, February 21, 2005

the ever-constant unpredictability of border guards

Adventures in crossing the Niagara River...

Headed down to Buffalo on Saturday for my usual border run. It was an uneventful drive until I pulled out my wallet at a red light just before the Rainbow Bridge. Birth certificate - check. Driver's license...hello, driver's license?

It dawned on me that I'd driven around for three weeks without my license, ever since I put it in my other wallet for Raquel's birthday (didn't want to bring along the full beast that night). Cue a couple of minutes of self-directed anger. I drove around downtown Niagara Falls, dithering over heading back to TO or taking a chance with the soulless Niagara River border guards.

What did I have to lose? I put the birth certificate back in my wallet and headed onto the bridge. Pulled up to the inspection booth, pulled out my birth certificate and half-feigned a panic attack. I got lucky, as the guard suggested every possible card I could own that might have photo ID on it, down to Costco memberships. No luck. She let me go, with a gentle reminder about future plans by Homeland Security.

I immediately ran to Old Country Buffet to relax my nerves.

It was a typical shopping day for me in Buffalo/Niag. The only unusual move I made was to finally explore the infamous Love Canal site. All that remained were empty snow-covered streets that reminded me of the Brighton Beach section of Windsor (populated until the city bought residents out to push industrial expansion that hasn't occurred yet. However, it may now make the ideal location for a new border crossing). I wished I'd brought a camera along.

On the way back, I was pulled over by Canadian Customs to pay duty for the first time in years. Rule of thumb for avoiding duty - don't pick a booth manned by fresh-faced youngsters. I took my bills inside the customs station. An official looked over them, puzzled by why I'd gone to so many grocery stores. They also seemed overly curious about the type of books I was bringing back (for the record: The Friendly Shakespeare, The Rough Guide to Montreal, a Route 66 guide and a retrospective on Peanuts). After several more minutes of scrutiny, I was free to go without having to pay anything.

Border guards - an unpredictable breed. - JB

Thursday, February 17, 2005

r.i..p. jimmy smith

Jimmy Smith passed last week. Here's the first obit I found, from Down Beat. I saw him perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival several years ago and the man still had it. He is one of the few artists I still search out on vinyl, as his Verve catalogue is still slowly making its way onto CD. The Hammond sounds so much warmer on vinyl...think I'll throw a few on after I hop off the 'puter.

For your listening pleasure, a performance of The Sermon shown on the BBC in 1964.

mr. buchanan's birthday

The recent string of birthdays carried on last weekend, with the scene switching to Guelph. Elizabeth and Brad organized a surprise birthday party for JD, letting me know about it near the tail-end of Raquel's celebrtations. It's still hard to believe the misadventures JD, Brad and I had in residence are a decade behind us.

I took my sweet time to get out of the house on Saturday, arriving in Guelph with just enough time to run over to K-W to grab a bite to eat. I'd forgotten to ask Elizabeth where she was taking JD, but I figured it would be in Guelph, so it'd be best to eat elsewhere in case I ran into them. As it turned out, they also headed to K-W. It was a close call, as I had considered the spot they ate at, A.M. Africa in downtown Kitchener (I wound up at an Egyptian spot in the plazas o' food across from U of Waterloo).

The boys hanging around the bar. Unfortunately, car troubles delayed the birthday boy's arrival. A well-stocked bar (complete with Stock Ale) helped time pass quickly. Mostly talked about what other ex-drama students were up to these days - lots of names I hadn't heard for awhile over the evening, though some plays mentioned came after I left U of G.

guess we'll be hearing more radio ads with don cherry...

In a move few were surprised to see, one that should have been made weeks ago, the NHL committed hara-kiri to the 2004/05 season yesterday. Life rolled on as normal.

OK, sorry to be mean to the diehards out there. To be honest, I've been a passive NHL fan since the end of university, getting excited only if the Wings or Habs go deep into the playoffs, or wearing a Wings jersey after the Leafs blow another series. Maybe as Ken Dryden put it last week, it was turning into a habit.

Anybody notice that as a radio pitchman, Don Cherry is quickly becoming the Canadian equivalent of Larry King? Whenever I flip through the dial in the car on long trips down the 401, there will be at least one ad featuring ol' Larry, usually garlic tablets. No matter the product, the style and delivery are the same. Ditto for Don, whether it's Quizno Subs, auto insurance or cold remedies.

There has been talk of new leagues forming if the dispute drags on. One interesting precedent was the Players League, a baseball circuit that only existed during the 1890 season. The league evolved out of one of the earliest player associations, the Brotherhood, who were disgruntled after National League owners decided to impose a uniform salary structure across the league. The brainchild of Indianapolis Hoosiers owner John T. Brush (later owner of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1890s and New York Giants in the early 20th century), the salary structure ranked players from A to E, with a $250 difference in salary for each level, which were determined by each player's on-field performance and off-field behaviour. Led by Giants shortstop John Montgomery Ward, the Brotherhood enticed many of the NL's top stars into the new league. They also managed to lure away many stars from the other major league of the period, the American Association. Three leagues battled it out that summer, all losing large sums of money. Check this site out for the history of the PL and why it ultimately flopped. - JB

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

photo du jour

Slowly adding more pictures from the weekend. From right to left, one birthday boy, his former residence roommate/current tenant and one visitor with a severe case of bedhead having too much late morning fun creating Wesley Willis song lyrics.

(Note for any future girlfriends of the visitor - this is what you may wake up next to in the morning. Consider this fair warning) - JB, photo by RA

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

the first of a thousand thirtieth birthdays

As per usual, the photos are going up before the rest of the story. In short: spent the weekend in Guelph for JD's 30th birthday, one of many I suspect I'll be attending this year, as those of us born in '75 hit that milestone.

The birthday cake. More on-ice hockey action and thrills than anything in the NHL so far in 04/05. Best thing - not sickly at all. As much as I dislike A&P/Dominion/Ultra, they make fine celebratory cakes.

The birthday receiving his cake from the lovely Elizabeth.

The bar for the evening. Note the boot on the right - take a guess as to what was on tap. - JB

Monday, February 14, 2005

at the movies: ong-bak

I'll start a new trend in the Warehouse and publish a movie review on what is quite possibly the best martial arts movie ever made...ONG-BAK!

First off, let me just say that this movie kicks ass! Even if you aren't really a fan of the genre, you have to appreciate the action and what the actors can do without any wires or CGI enhancements.

The movie starts off with the best tree climbing scene ever put to video. The largest debate between the gang afterwards was this...
"Is it better to fall 20 feet and hit the ground or fall 20 feet, hitting a few tree branches on the way down to help cusion your fall?"

Personally, I'd rather just hit the dirt without first slamming uncounted body parts off protruding tree branches.

The movie is subtitled but the english translation is grammatically correct. As opposed to some kung-fu movies that were typically made in the 80's. See a flick called Golden Mask or Golden Killah as a great example.

The movie carries a decent plot and the story has relatively few "holes." It's also not just about kicking, punching and jumping, as there is some comedy thrown in for good measure. What makes this movie is the action sequences, as one would expect. Tony Jaa is quite possibly the next answer to Bruce Lee where Jet Li and Jackie Chan have failed to live up to the western world's hype. And this says a lot, since I am a huge Jet Li fan.

All martial arts stars in recent years have preformed a scene or two where the audience is left saying..."How did he make that jump through a grocery cart/10' wall climb without any assistance/15' leap from one building to the next...without hurting himself?" And Tony Jaa lives up to those. What differs this movie from all the others is the realism. You can see the actors/actresses' bodies make contact. There are no pulled punches or WWF-style fake blows thrown. No one runs along tree tops (although there is some running on people's heads as they are standing, which is incredible!), no one makes that 30' jump over the building from a complete standstill. There is no "Matrix" style of fighting, just what you can make your body do. And Tony Jaa makes the rest of us look like bumps on a log with his abilities!

We found out just before the movies that this was actually out in Thailand quite awhile ago and there is already a sequel either out or in the works. Which brought out some interesting guesses for what it should be..

Ong-Bak Back
Back to Ong-Bak
Ong-Bak's Revenge

and my personal fav...
Baby Ong-Bak

So in closing, go see this movie! Unless you totally hate action flicks, can't stand subtitles or just really hate kung-fu...this movie is for you! - KT

Saturday, February 12, 2005

what if wesley willis had written a song about me?

Courtesy of the Wesley Willis Lyric Generator, here's what the late Mr. Willis might have sung about me:

I like you well.
You make the joyride music.
Jamie Bradburn really whoops a donkey's ass.
Jamie Bradburn really whoops a donkey's ass.


You can really get in the groove.
You are my special packrat.
Jamie Bradburn is the best.
Right on brother.


You can really get in the groove.
I love you a lot in the long run.
About 48,900 people like Jamie Bradburn.
About 48,900 people like Jamie Bradburn.

Rock over London,
Rock on Chicago.

Blockbuster Video - Wow! What a difference!
- JB

Thursday, February 10, 2005

the warehouse cares about your personal environment

Recently, the Warehouse has received an avalanche of calls from customers concerned that their personal enviroments don't have the right scent. They've heard about Shania Twain's Scentstories fragrence discs and wanted to know if we were going to marry the magical worlds of music and air aids to provide solace from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The Warehouse contacted one of our valued vendors with suggestions for extensions of this line, which we know our customers will appreciate. After extensive market research and many long days journeys into night, we have come up with our premiere selection:

It's a new disc theme that plays five amazing scents reminiscent of the old man bar or cheap greasy spoon in your town. Transform any environment into one dripping with character, smoky haze and that distinctive barroom stench.

Also on the drawing board:

We're looking for the next teen bimbette singing/acting/skankola sensation to use for a new disc theme that plays five amazing scents reminiscent of an industrious plastics factory. Smell the moulds being pressed to turn out wave after wave of carefully pre-manufactured acts.

It's a new disc theme that plays five amazing scents reminiscent of...ok, we just needed another posthumous Tupac product to push.

We've also suggested that new Scentstories be produced for specific
classic rock albums, starting with this one...

It's a new disc theme that plays five amazing scents reminiscent of this classic 60s album. Savour the smells of Heinz Baked Beans after they sat exposed in a bathtub all day, the long-lasting protection of Odorono, etc.

Watch for these products! - JB

Sunday, February 06, 2005

everybody was kung-fu birthday fighting (though the kids weren't fast as lightning and it wasn't a little bit frightening)

The parade of friends' birthdays continued this week - this time, it was Bondyra's turn. Game plan - catch Kung Fu Fridays at the Royal Theatre.

After Mark opened his presents (the molecule ball grabbed most people's attention), the chop-socky fun began with a couple of trailers. Hero Among Heroes looked like a hoot fest, complete with actors wearing ridiculously false buck-toothed choppers. The evening's raffle came next. We loudly oohed when the first number was read off, but awwed when nobody came close to winning any prize (the British flick about sumo housewives sounded neat).

The feature was presentation was The Golden Mask, which seems to be easier to find info about on the net under the name Golden Killah (here's a review from Kung Fu Cinema).

The copy shown had the most unintelligble subtitles I've ever seen. Syntax and spelling were clumsy at best. The audience hooted and hollered at the homoerotic subtext running through the titles. They also left many plot points up to the imagination - if you weren't paying close attention, you might have thought it was a tale of the battle for a department store (the old geezer who Golden Mask wanted to kill ran a "store", though it appeared to be either a home or palace). We were spared the "ha, ha, you die!" school of dubbing. Audience enthusiasm dimmed as the film wore on.

Present-opening time at the Royal. Bruce Lee sent his regards.

The Truelove is primed for some chop-socky, while Janine and Amy snack on popcorn (everyone was impressed with the real butter used at the Royal).

After the movie, half of us walked east on College, over to Cobalt. Prospects didn't look good for finding seats, but we eventually wrangled two tables near the front.

Mark in deep thinking mode, while Megan G takes a look at the drink menu. I highly recommend any martini with lychee liqueur...which I passed on, given that I'd be forced to deal with early morning weekend drivers on College. Boo-hoo.

Megan looking relaxed. A decent shot of the front window to the bar.

Paul takes a look at what the bar has to offer. Note the sweet scooter in the background.

A toast from Mark and Steve. - JB