Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

RCMP Cambridge Takedown

April 7th, 2017
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Exciting business across the 401 yesterday as RCMP tactical unit in camouflage gear arrested a truck driver in the parking lot of the local Walmart.

What’s interesting is, this is the result of a year long investigation and fourteen search warrants were executed and multiple arrests were made.

There will be more later information today.

Update: it’s an LA to Waterloo coke ring.


For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair


Pursuant to Yesterday’s Post about Stevie Nicks

April 5th, 2017
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Stevie Nicks, Edge of 17, 1982.




For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair



December 25th, 2016

And finally, another tradition that goes back to Christmas day, year one, here at At Home in Hespeler, my favourite Christmas poem, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas everybody:

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

imgp5930I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
‘There is no peace on earth’, I said,
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men’.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men’.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.


Christmas, Uncategorized

A Cat’s Christmas

December 23rd, 2016
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A Festivus tradition from way back, here’s A Cat’s Christmas.

A Cat’s Christmas
By Button Noseworthy

“Button! Get out of that tree!”

That’s twice. And he’s walking this way. Chris. He’s not even my person, he’s Janet’s person, and Janet is mine. None the less, Chris is walking this way and the second time was louder than the first so I have to respond; I look at him like he’s grown an extra eye in the middle of his forehead.


That’s three and he’s almost at the tree. I jump down and run to the other side of the room. Stop. Lick my paw, just to show I didn’t get down because of any old person told me too. I got down because I had some dirt on my paw that had to be dealt with right away.

“Janet! Your stupid cat has been playing with the presents!”

Now this is a bit tricky, he wasn’t supposed to notice that. What do they expect though? Has he ever stuck a piece of thread in front of me that I don’t play with? They know my weaknesses. So now he wraps up presents and puts shiny ribbon around it, and I’m supposed to know it’s not for me? It’s probably better if I just leave, but with dignity. No running away, walk slow, tail in the air to let them know I’m appalled by the accusations being made against me. Some things must be done right; just as a ballerina must point her toes when doing a pirouette, a Cat must raise her tail when leaving a room amid accusations and slanders.

I walk slowly out of the room, stopping at my food dish. Empty! Who do these people think I am Gandhi? Not in this life, although maybe in my last life I was Gandhi or Mother Theresa or Elvis. How else do you explain that I am a Cat in this life? I give off an indignant meow to protest the service at this establishment, but the staff here could care less.

Chris goes running past with the present I had been playing with ten minutes ago, wrapping paper, ribbon and bow torn to shreds in his arm. He must be planning on re-wrapping that one; this could be fun. He’s taking it downstairs so I follow behind, stealthily so he doesn’t see me. He sits at a table and pulls out wrapping paper, new ribbon and a new bow. I want the ribbon, but timing is everything when you’re a Cat. I settle about two feet behind him and start licking my paws; it is most important to be cleaning, in case he notices me here. My attitude must be as if I am saying ‘I always come here to clean, and what are you doing here?’ Of course, we both know what he’s doing here; he’s re-wrapping Janet’s present and he’s just putting the tape on. That means the ribbon is next, so I move directly under his chair. He wraps it around once, then crosses the ribbon and wraps the other direction. Just as he’s about to tie it, I pounce. He never saw me of course, until I was on the present and grabbing at the ribbon. Grabbing and chewing furiously I completely ruin another wrap job for him before running back up stairs. He throws the roll of ribbon at me and yells “Button! You stupid cat!” The ribbon misses, but it’s close enough that I pounce on the end and roll downstairs, all the while fighting off the offending ribbon. Once at the bottom of the stairs I jump back up on the stairs, being sure to go around the balustrade at the bottom. Success! I have completely un-wrapped the roll of ribbon and it winds up and down the stairs looking like the stairs had been decorated for Christmas by a dog.

Chris’s yelling brings Janet to see what is all the fuss about, and finds that the fuss is her Cat is being cute and her person is allergic to cute. At least that’s how I explained it, but these simpletons can’t, or won’t speak Cat, thus I come off sounding much worse than I was. She’s sympathetic to me anyway, and says, “She’s just playing Chris.” She’s technically right of course but she’s made a minor error of distinction: She thinks I was playing with the ribbon, but I was, of course, toying with her person. I don’t bother sticking around to correct her impression and I’m certainly not helping to clean up the mess I’ve created, so I walk upstairs and take a comfortable spot under the tree for a nap.

I love Christmas!
It’s Christmas Eve and the house is silent. What’s the poem say, “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”? I can personally attest to the fact there are no mice in this house, stirring or otherwise. The people are upstairs sleeping, visions of sugarplums no doubt dancing in their heads; I never could figure out what a sugarplum is or why it would be dancing. No dancing down here though, everything is quiet. Unlike other nights, however, it won’t stay quiet for long.

I do a quick circle of the main floor to make sure everything is in order. The outdoor lights are on so that Santa can find the house and the Christmas tree is left lit so Santa can find it in the dark easy enough, good. The stockings are hung by the chimney; as usual, however, there are only two stockings. But what about that ball that fell off the tree. Better see if I can fix that. Unfortunately, every time I try and lift the ornament it rolls away from me. Soon I am chasing it around the living room, batting at it with my paws and pouncing on it, batting and pouncing.
I don’t hear him come in, the first I realize I’m not alone in the room is when I hear him Laugh. “Oh, ho ho ho. Button, you are such fun,” says Santa. “I am glad to see you again.” By way of greeting I rub my head against his big black boot, and he reaches down and strokes me behind the ear. He immediately sets to his work, and before you know it Chris and Janet’s stockings are stuffed full. Silent as a cat, Santa walks to the tree and starts piling presents under it. On his way back to the chimney, he notices the milk, cookies and carrots that Janet left out.

“What’s this then?” he says, as he lifts a cookie to eat. A minute later the cookies are eaten and the glass of milk is half-empty. “I bet you wouldn’t mind a bit of this Button.” He pulls over the plate that only a minute before had held three big cookies and pours a bit of milk on to it. I quickly run to the plate and lap up the milk as fast as I can, purring my pleasure at developments. Santa laughs and re-fills the plate before leaving. “And don’t you worry Button, I didn’t forget you live here.”

I look up from my milk wondering what that means, but he is gone. I can hear him on the roof feeding the reindeer Janet’s carrots, and then he is off. The excitement is over and I go upstairs and make myself comfortable at the foot of the bed. Sleep, however, comes difficult as Santa’s parting words to me run through my head and I try to make sense of what they mean.
Chris is the first one up, and he wakes Janet immediately. “Merry Christmas honey,” he says and gives her a kiss.

“Merry Christmas” she says back. I walk between them, purring and rubbing my head on the bottom of Janet’s hand. “And Merry Christmas to you too Button” she says in her cute baby talk voice. The women is an accountant, you’d think she could talk to a cat without reducing herself to inanities. She can’t, however, and I have to take them as I find them. I purr an acknowledgement of the day and let her pet me for a minute.

We gradually make our way downstairs, and they head immediately for the stockings. I think I detect relief from Chris, no doubt he was expecting a potato or a lump of coal. He avoided that fate, however deserved I think it would have been, and happily digs into his treasure. Janet comes over a minute later with coffee for two and settles into her prize.

Once the stockings are exhausted and the coffee done, we go to the tree. Janet sits beside the tree and digs out a present for herself and one for Chris. I don’t want to miss any of the fun, so I settle myself on Janet’s lap, at least until there is some free wrapping paper I can play with. Soon, they are opening with vigour and I am playing merrily with a sheet of wrapping paper that has ribbon taped to it. It is then that I hear Janet say, “here’s something for Button. Chris, did you buy this for Button?”

“Yea right,” says Chris, “like I would actually buy the cat a Christmas present.”

“Then where did it come from?” says Janet “I didn’t buy it.” Santa’s parting words last night come back to me and I jump on to Janet’s lap. It is a plastic stocking with a toy mouse, a package of soft dry food, and a catnip ball, whatever that is. I don’t care what it is, I am the happiest Cat in town and I dive for my toys as soon as Janet gets them out of the stocking.

I leap on the mouse and start batting it around the room. Pouncing, jumping and whacking at it like I am playing a game. I chase it out of the room, and then back into the room. It bumps into the catnip ball and I pounce on the ball. Wait a minute, what’s that smell? Something smells incredible, a smell unlike anything I have ever smelt before. It’s definitely coming from the ball, and I grab the ball in my mouth to have a taste. Wow! This must be the catnip. This is incredibly, and I now chase the ball all around the room, grabbing it my mouth every chance I get.

Soon I am no longer Button the Cat. I am Queen Button the Lion. I climb to the top of the Christmas tree and wait for prey. It is not long before a warthog comes sauntering along. I wait patient and silent until he is in just the right spot. Claws out, teeth ready, I seize upon the warthog. Not a warthog! Chris!! Surprisingly, he acts like a wounded warthog and I find myself sliding across the floor of the room like a bowling ball. Good thing it’s a wood floor, carpet would burn. I jump to my feet and race into the kitchen where Janet is eating breakfast at the table. I jump up on to the table and slide across it, landing on the floor on the other side of the table. Now I could use some carpet.

I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel great. I run into the living room grab my ball and run upstairs, only falling twice, to chew on some more catnip. I leap up on the bed and … miss? I hit the side of the bed with some authority, and decide the floor is a good place for a nap, thank you very much.
I slowly make my way down the stairs. It is dark and quiet. Christmas is over for another year and Chris and Janet are sitting on the couch drinking a glass of wine. I see space between them, not much just an inch or two, but it’s enough. I crawl between them and snuggle in, purring like an idling Honda. Chris reaches down and starts stroking my back, I let him, but only because it’s Christmas. Janet also starts petting me too, scratching under my chin. The tree still smells like a tree, giving the room a pine forest aroma. There is a fire on the fireplace that Santa came down last night. Somewhere in the background Christmas carols play, but quietly, nicely. This is nice, the Cat’s meow in fact.

I love Christmas!

A Cat's Christmas, A Christmas Cat, Christmas, Uncategorized

The Freedom of Music: 2112

December 18th, 2016


One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

As you get older these little anniversaries come up: 30-years since the final M*A*S*H episode, 35-years since John Lennon &tc. For me, coming of age often seemed to mean music, and two summers ago I quietly marked the 35th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door and the 30th anniversary of Born in the USA. Both seemed natural enough, a landmark of a different time. Occasionally, however, one of these anniversary’s come up that seem unreal. Seinfeld really ended almost 20-years ago? Rush’s 2112 is 40?sidebar-3

Rush’s breakthrough landmark, and possibly their best, album seemed like an April Fool’s joke when it was released April 1, 1976. I was thirteen, and just getting into music. Already into Kiss and BTO, bands like April Wine and Boston would come into my life that year.

And then there was Rush. That summer someone in my sphere discovered this relatively unknown local(ish) band with an album based on the ideas of Ayn Rand. 2112 was startling, fresh and so cool. Who would have thought of creating a world run by Priests and computers, who had made music illegal, and making a 20-minute piece of music around the idea?

And what a piece of music it ultimately was. With an overture to give it classical seriousness, 2112 has an almost perfect musical accompaniment to the Neil Part story. Of course the priests are anthemic, of course the discovery of this old musical instrument in a long forgotten cave is delicate, first tentative, then wondrous. Of course the presentation of this instrument to the priests is offered with melodic joy, and rejected with anger. Of course a final battle ensues, all chromatics and cymbals. It is, if nothing else, a great adventure in storytelling through music.

We loved Rush, and for the next few years flocked to their concerts, bought the albums with relish, tried desperately to figure out how they were playing those songs. And as much as I loved Farewell to Kings, respected what they were doing on Hemispheres, I always returned to the amazing 2112.

So when Universal Music announced this fall they were releasing a 2112 40th anniversary package, which hit the stores Friday, I was a bit taken aback. Can I really have been that into music for 40 years now? The answer is, undoubtedly, yes, It’s been 40-years of finding music to be more than something to listen to, dance to, seduce with. It has been 40-years since I found music magical and wondrous, since I studied music to try and understand it. A lifetime by any definition.

The new release comes with a 2CD/DVD edition, a 3LP vinyl edition and, of course (sigh) a Super Deluxe Edition with both CDs, the DVD, all three LPs plus its bonus items, and several exclusive collectable items including two 12-inch x 12-inch lithos, one featuring Hugh Syme’s original Starman pencil sketching, the second showcasing a 1976 Massey Hall ticket stub; a reprint of the 1976 Massey Hall handbill and three buttons featuring each band member, all housed in a box lined with velvet flocking. As well, the first 1,000 Super Deluxe pre-order purchases at, and, the purchaser will receive a limited edition 7-inch pressing of the album’s first single “The Twilight Zone” (b/w “Lessons”) and a custom red star 45 large hole adapter ring, both newly designed by Hugh Syme.

The music is as good as remembered, and possibly better if you include side two in the mix. The much forgotten second side has five mostly forgotten songs. Of the five, only Passage to Bangkok and Something for Nothing is really remembered. The rest, however, probably doesn’t deserve they’re fate, and as noted above The Twilight Zone was the albums first single. Tears is a pretty ballad, the kind Rush didn’t really do. Overall, side two is very good, which suffers only for not being anywhere near as good as side one.

The bonus disk includes tracks from 2112 as played by, well, not Rush, as well as some live tracks. I can always live without the Dave Grohl portion of just about every bonus disk, and while Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Nick Raskulinecz do a respectable Overture, it seems pointless. Same applies to Billy Talent’s Bangkok, Steven WIlson’s Twilight Zone, Alice in Chain’s Tears and Jacob Moon’s Something for Nothing. They are respectable covers, but none improve on the original.

More interesting is the live outtakes of 2112 and Something for Nothing from Rush 1976 Massey Hall concerts which produced the excellent All the Worlds a Stage album. A live Twilight Zone from 1977 also adds to the package, providing a glimpse of Rush as they were onstage at that time.

It seems weird that Rush 2112 was so long ago, especially as it still sounds so fresh. Taking the time to rediscover this gem of the rock and roll canon is well worth it.

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

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The Freedom of Music: Andrew Lipke: Siddhartha

November 15th, 2015
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Playing for a tribute band is not necessarily the most creatively fulfilling activity for a musician. Andrew Lipke is keyboardist/guitarist/multi instrumentalist for the best Led Zeppelin tribute band on the circuit, Get the Led Out. The band travels the US in a proper rock star tour bus, travelling with a crew, a full lighting rig and enough guitars to open a guitar store. Up to five nights a week, they give two hour shows with note perfect renditions of Led Zeppelin classics and deep cuts. sidebar-6

But there’s to more Lipke than keyboard player extraordinaire playing other peoples songs, and he spends his time at home at home in Pennsylvania producing, playing with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Pittsburg Symphony or singing God Bless America at the Phillies game. Last year, Lipke released the first of a series of albums based on the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Hesse’s novel had an immediate impact on Lipke and he says he “always knew it would be the inspiration for something I would create.”

Lipke may be a Zeppelin devotee playing in a Zeppelin band, but Siddhartha owes very little to Led Zeppelin, even if opening track, The One does start off with a drone that Jimmy Page would approve of. 

I love the second and third tracks, Erased, which has a New Radicals pop groove to it, and Head Down Vagabonds, which defies comparisons, save a hint of Christmas Vacation in the melody. 

Then there’s I’m Gone which is on the first round ballot of this years Grammy Awards in the “best arrangement, instruments and vocals” category. Even if Lipke doesn’t make the final ballot, that’s quite a nice recognition, and well deserved: the arrangement on  I’m Gone is beautifully orchestrated and ends with a harpsichord plus choral voices outro. 

Get the Led Out are coming to Mississauga on Dec 9, their first ever show outside the US. It is a must see band, and know when you see them your not just hearing the best music, played by high caliber musicians, but in at least one case, a Grammy caliber musician.

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Skinny Pig Edition

September 6th, 2015

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities


Perhaps they got Kermit all wrong. Perhaps he’s supposed to be Kermit the dog, as in “you sly old…” The “it’s not easy being green,” singer (as real media would describe him) has dumped his longtime gilt-friend Miss Piggy for a new, slimmer pig.knife-and-fluff

And because we live in an insane world, people are upset about this. “How can he do this to Miss Piggy,” say some, while other, truly deluded, people, are up in arms because Denise, the new pig, is too skinny. As if the puppet has body image issues.

That’s right, I said it.  Puppet! The frog, the pig, the other pig, the dog who plays piano, all puppets. Sheesh, get over yourselves.

Although personally, if I was the frog, I’d hit on that blonde bass player.


Some James Bond controversy this week. Anthony Horowitz who wrote the latest Bond book, Trigger Mortis, has stepped in the PC muck. Then he made a mess of things.

First the PC muck. There is noise of late that the next movie Bond should be black. The name Idris Elba seems to come up a lot. He’s “a terrific actor,” says Horowitz. “But I can think of other black actors who would do it better. For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part… a bit too street.”  Oh-oh. You can’t say that. It has racial overtones, or is code-speak for something or other.

As far as I’m concerned, so far so good. An opinion stated, leave it at that an do forth. But no, Horowitz had to go and make me not want to buy his stupid rip-off book (seriously, invent your own character, plots &tc.), and apologized via twitter. Oh look, James Bond is being written by a weak-kneed beta-male who grovels for the PC morons. That ought to make for the next Daniel Craig movie.


Meanwhile, current Bond Daniel Craig got our hopes up this week and hinted Spectre, due in theatres in November, might be his last Bond movie. In short, he suggested it’s time to get on with his life- as compared to stagnating by spending three-months every two-years being paid millions to make a movie.

As for who should play the next Bond, who cares. A tuxedo clad Miss Piggy would be a better, tougher Bond than Craig. Black, Pakistani, street, who cares. Just not another metrosexual Bond who wears a seat-belt to press events.


Tough week for Avril Lavigne. Started off last Sunday when her ex-husband, Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley, got re-married. Whibley, who a year ago was in a coma with multiple organ failure due to his drinking, has sobered up and pledged his troth to Ariana Cooper.

The bride, you’ll be breathless in your desire to know, wore a beaded, strapless white gown.

While I’m sure Lavigne is happy for Whibley, his wedding was followed by the news that Lavigne and Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger have split. The pair married in 2013, after a short courtship that apparently didn’t involve hearing each others music.

For the record, Lavigne was married to Whibley for longer than Kroeger.


When I said earlier we live in an insane world, I was dead serious. People have gone stupid, and too many papers will dutifully report the crazy like it’d normal. I submit for your perusal: Taylor Swift is in the soup for “whitewashing” her latest video. As in music video, you now, those three minute song advertisements that gave the phrase “video vamps” to the world.

Apparently  the video is based in Africa, and there are not enough black people in it. The Director, Joseph Kahn, has defended the video noting it was produced by a black woman and edited by a black man. He also said, “…it would have been historically inaccurate to load the crew with more black actors as the video would be accused of re-writing history.”  Because as you know, history books can re-write history, but heaven forbid a pop-video do so.

Dear Joseph Kahn. Shut up! and stop treating these loony’s like they’re not completely nuts, lest we get the impression you are too. And that goes double for you, Anthony Horowitz and Kermit the Frog.

For certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair


The Return of Bloom County

July 13th, 2015
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Here is is, after 25-years


Berkeley Breathed has decided to do new Bloom County’s. The news leaked last night, and from what I can make out, it will be digital only, and may only be available on his Facebook page, although I’m guessing it will eventually appear elsewhere. But for now, if your on Facebook, follow Breathed and get your daily Bloom County in your Facebook feed.

Bring on that Opus merchandise.

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

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At Home in Hespelerwood

June 10th, 2015
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Look what they’ve done to my town…




Hespeler, our little village on the river (really a town, but our Mayor is not really a Mayor either – that’s just how it rolls here) has been converted into Lisbon Falls Maine, in October 1960, for the shooting of Stephen Kings 11/22/63.

Vote Kennedy

Vote Kennedy

No wait... Vote Nixon

No wait... Vote Nixon



The movie stars sworn enemy of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, James Franco, and yes ladies, he has been spotted in town – as has Stephen King.

Shooting occurred on Monday, with Tuesday scheduled and Wednesday as the rain day. However, weather forecasts for the week forced them to move their second shooting day to Thursday, Then they rebuild the village. It is actually, a massive undertaking, and it’s been fun and impressive for everyone to watch.








for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair

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Robert Plant: More Roar

April 23rd, 2015
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The last number of years Record Store Day has brought Led Zeppelin fans some small measure of joy: some Jimmy Page era Yardbird singles; Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes in coloured vinyl last year; Then Crooked Vultures picture disc.

This year we get a few Jeff Beck singles from the era immediately after he left The Yardbirds. Most significantly is a re-release of Hi Ho Silver Lining/Beck’s Bolero, the latter which features Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones (as well as Kieth Moon and Nicky Hopkins) in the first ever lineup dubbed, unofficially, as Lead Zeppelin.

But this year we also got something brand new, a live Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters EP, titled More Roar. The three song EP features two (three if you include the instrumental portion Arbaden), two from Plant’s last album lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar (hence the title, but you guessed that).

The interesting thing about this EP is, while I have been less than enthusiastic about Plants recent works, including lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar, I rather enjoyed More Roar. For one, I have often suggested the new Plant works better in small doses for me. Three songs is a small dose. Further, Plant picked two of the songs I like from lullaby, Turn it Up and the Lead Belly classic Poor Howard. And while both songs are good on the album, they are improved with lively performances in the live setting.

The EP finishes off with Whole Lotta Love, mixed in with some Bo Diddley beat and variations of Who Do You Love. A fun rendition of Whole Lotta Love, that if Plant is going to play with the Zeppelin classics, it can be argued this is the way to go – although the nitpicker could argue less Bo Diddley beat and more Led Zeppelin beat wouldn’t hurt. Nonetheless, Plant gives a fun rollick through some classic rock and roll, with Whole Lotta Love lyrics mixed in, before giving a full fledged Whole Lotta Love.

More Roar is exactly what it (sort of) advertises, more of Robert Plant’s uptempo rock and roll, less Little Maggie snoozefests. There’s still lots of More Roar around the record stores, my local had three today, four days after Record Store Day, and they seem to be going anywhere from $12 – $25. Worth picking up if you happen across a copy.

More Roar is available as a 10″ 33RPM EP.

Side 1

Turn it Up/ Arbaden

Side 2

Poor Howard

Whole Lotta Love (Medley)

via Ramble On Radio

for certified professional guitar repair in Cambridge Ontario: Brian Gardiner Guitar Repair


Google Doodle

February 15th, 2015

There’s a little Canadian content on today’s Google Doodle. Honouring the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Flag, clicking on the doodle brings you to a search page for National Flag of Canada Day.

Here’s a screenshot of the doodle:


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Courage, Hollywood Style

January 12th, 2015
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The Golden Globes are on last night, and while I have no interest in murdering a perfectly good Sunday night in this particular fashion, millions do watch. This year, the Globes were hosted, as seems they always are, by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. As usual, they took pokes and jabs at some of the bigger stories making the rounds, and as usual they are treated as if what they do is brave.

“… the two also veered into potentially more dangerous waters when they took aim at comedian Bill Cosby,” writes The National Post’s Chris Knight. Yes, that’s right, on the same day millions marched in France to show defiance to Muslim terrorists, stale old Bill Cosby jokes are what Hollywood considers “dangerous.” Hell, Bill Cosby rape jokes are so de rigueur, Bill Cosby made one last week. But Poehler and Fey veer into “dangerous waters,” when they make one.

On the same week as Charlie Hebdo you know what would be dangerous, a Muhammad joke. But that’s the point. In the land of make believe, even the courage is fake.

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Who is this Kanye West Anyway?

January 9th, 2015
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Kanye West, aka Mr Kim Kardashian and former Beatle Paul McCartney recorded a song together, the newly released single Only One. Shockingly, to some anyway, some of West’s fans don’t have a clue who this McCartney kid is. They took to Twitter to express their ignorance. One, for instance, read, “… Kanye is going to give this man (McCartney) a career w/ this new song!!” Yet another offered, “Kanye has a great ear for talent. This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge.” Even better than those two, is this one: “who tf is paul mccartney???!??! this is why i love kanye for shining light on unknown artists.” Haha, silly kids, think Paul McCartney is an unknown artist, tee-hee. Good fun &tc., but who really expects kids to know 72-year old musicians? Who really expects hip-hop fans to be all that familiar with a guy who played rock music 40-50-years ago?

Generation narcissism, that’s who. The baby boomers assume because they love Paul McCartney, everybody must know who he is. Suddenly twitter was alive with mocking, these poor kids the target of supposedly mature adults. The tone of the comments were, how stupid do you have to be not to know Paul McCartney? The generation who taught these kids grammar, are shocked they aren’t up on their 1967-pop culture.

And yes, I’m old enough to be surprised that somebody wouldn’t know who Paul McCartney is, but why should I be surprised? I wouldn’t have known who Al Jolson was in 1976. Frank Sinatra was an old guy who was sometimes on TV, Dean Martin’s friend. What should be surprising is when you see some kid in a Beatles or Led Zeppelin t-shirt, not that some kids have no idea who those artists are.

But surprised too many of these people are. That says far more about them than it does the kids.

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Glyn Johns Sound Man

December 10th, 2014
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You have a music fan on your Christmas list, 60’s and 70’s rock mostly, and you’re looking for a book. Perhaps another crappy Brian Jones biography is what he needs. Or not. In reality, the only book you want to get your music lover this Christmas is Glyn Johns’ great autobiography, Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces . . .. I myself have purchased copies for two music fans on my list.

Johns’ started out as an Engineer in the very early days of rock and roll, engineering the earliest Stones and Who singles in London’s IBC studio, “which was without a doubt the finest independent recording studio in Europe at that time.” He got his first job at IBC out of school, strictly because his sister knew someone who worked there and he loved music. He started as a man Friday, setting up microphones, running cable and brewing tea. His first engineering job came as a result of a weekend session in 1964 by Georgie Fame, “Rhythm and Blues at the Flamingo,” and nobody else wanting to do it. It’s success, and his age, meant that he was well placed for the rock and roll revolution that was just about to sweep London.

Sound Man isn’t a great book, though, just because Johns’ is the Forrest Gump of the British Invasion: he first heard Jimmy Page at a boys club talent show when they were both about 12, saw Jeff Beck in the Tridents, his pre-Yardbirds band, and lived with original Rolling Stone Ian Stewart (in fact, he and Stewart’s rented house was a gathering point for the very early Stones). Sound Man is also a book that sticks to the music. There is no chapter, no story in Sound Man that is not directly related to Johns’ career in music. There’s no grandpa Gus took me across the river for fish and chips stories here. Childhood stories are either of the church choir, a budding singing career or summers on a uncles farm, the uncle of whom was a guitar player and American folk music fan.

Similarly, Johns, who claims to have never done any drugs, never smoked a joint, keeps the stories of the musicians he worked with to musical ones. If he has various tales of debauchery, he keeps them to himself. But what a list of musicians he did work with:

The Kinks (All Day and All of the Night/I Gotta Move, and You Really Got Me/It’s All Right)
The Rolling Stones ( from 1965’s December’s Children (And Everybody’s) to 1975’s Black and Blue)
The Pretty Things
Davy Jones
The Small Faces and The Faces
Led Zeppelin (the first album)
Manfred Mann
Marianne Faithfull
Spooky Tooth
Procol Harum
The Steve Miller Band
The Beatles
Joe Cocker
Humble Pie
The Eagles
The Who

That’s the partial list.

When I had to choose a Christmas present for music fans on my list, I chose Sound Man by Glyn Johns. It’s the best music book I’ve read in a long time.

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The Ethics of Infanticide

December 10th, 2014
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inferno_illustrations_doreBeing an atheist, I don’t believe in concepts such as heaven and hell. But if I’m wrong and these places do exist, I trust Satan has a special place for people who use the phrase “postnatal abortion.”