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Mayo 30, 2004

Track and Field

Next weekend there will be an event that will likely function as a benchmark for everything that is good and great and exciting and new in Torontopia. Funnily enough, it will take place on a farm outside Guelph. There will be sports and there will be every single good band from Torontopia. Bands like Hank! and Les Mouches and Fox the Boombox and AnimalMonster and Lenin I Shumov. Sports like soccer, badminton, handball, long-distance running and Ultimate Squash. You can't afford to miss this thing. You can't let yourself do it. Don't miss it.
Find out everything you need to know right here on the internetwork.


Posted by at 10:40 PM | Comments (4)

Mayo 28, 2004


Criterion is releasing a box-set of Cassavetes movies. Now we can all roll our eyes and fidget for what seems like decades during this alcoholic misogynist megalomaniac's "films" with brand-new crystal-clear prints. Each box-set comes with a replica Ray Carney bow-tie and special cultural myopia glasses.

Posted by at 12:16 AM | Comments (10)

Mayo 25, 2004

Smash Mobile Phones!!!


Posted by at 01:25 PM | Comments (19)

Mayo 23, 2004


This is my new favourite song!!! This song is by Owada, a band that features Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed. It came out ages ago and I've been looking for their record since I saw this a couple of years ago.

(An aside to King:We're fucked.)

Posted by at 01:32 PM | Comments (13)

Aesthetic Lows in the Reference Section.

Someone I know recently expressed disappointment about something that I've been mulling over for years; it's entirely impossible to find a current dictionary that doesn't exemplify everything that is terrible about book design. From Oxford'sinexplicable fondness for airbrush effects (slightly older versions favour the MS Paint-style shitty pixelated spraycan action) through assaultingly dreary traditionalism, the outlook is thoroughly disheartening. For some reason the apparently arch-conservative editorial and marketing types who oversee these sorts of things seem to think that linguistic referencee and aesthetic value are mutually exclusive. Do they think it's frivolous to expect something pleasant to look at as well as look in? I suppose dictionaries as objects have to forefront their interiors and maybe bad or boring design is some sort of strategy but that's insufficient.
Furthermore, I'm not trying to be flippant or cute about this; genuinely good design has little to do with loathsome elite detachededness and contrived superficial posturing (often misattributed to heart-on-sleeve aspiring young bourgeois like myself) that usually involves the exaltation of abject bric-a-bracerie, genuinely good design is democratic because it promotes use and complements function rather than dictating or ignoring it.
Bad dictionary cover design is also relatively new; my Shorter OED from the seventies (purchased used for 1/5 of the $250 a new one would have set me back) was thoroughly beautiful until all the pages fell out; lovely understated violet-ish blue with thin red and green racing stripes and a dynamic typeface. Now I'm settling with a hand-me-down 2 volume tank of a set that saw my father through 40 years before it ended up on my shelf. It doesn't have any dustjackets but one of the two books has a naturally occurring and quite charming composition etched in baby-blue mold and decaying laminated cloth on its front board. Despite the fact that this mold threatens to spread across my bookshelf into the jackets and boards of my modern first editions, I would rather stick with my crumbly, obsolete 1959 mess of dictionary than upgrade to something splotched with lurid red and green action painting and Rule Britannia typeface.
Things aren't totally bleak in the reference aisle though; two shimmering favourites offer promise or at least possible direction. First of all, The Chicago Manual of Style is a perennial winner and the the 15th edition lives up to every single one of my standards. Also, I'm all about the pear yellow on the new Bartlett's Thesaurus shown here, which also features a very playful and attractive spine. The little bugger begs to be ripped off the shelf and perused. I hope somebody at Oxford notices that the bar has been raised.

Incidentally, it's raining outside and I can't be bothered to do anything except think about dictionary dustjacket designs. It's 1.30 and I've been up for ages and I haven't even eaten yet.

Posted by at 01:25 PM | Comments (3)

Mayo 19, 2004

Hey King

How come you can comment about your dad scolding you when you were a child but you can't post about how, like, you ran into some Khmer fucking meth dealers or some shit in the wilds of Cambodia? Do they "have" "the internet" over there? Are you dead? I bet my lame pseudoliterary dreams don't have shit on your anti-malaria medication-induced night terrors! I bet while you sleep it feels like laser-eyed raccoons with flaming poisonous teeth are gnawing on your legs for the whole time!

Posted by at 10:40 PM | Comments (2)

Mayo 17, 2004

I am not a camera, I am Martin Amis, I am Kenneth Tynan.

Last night I had a dream that I met Martin Amis in an airport bookstore (cf. pp 236-237, 1st UK ed. of Amis' The Information), we had a nice chat and he signed a copy of his brand new novel (brand new Martin Amis novels feature extremely prominently in my dreams and they are often disappointing new novels). Then the whole scene was replayed practically verbatim only this time Amis was played by Ian McKellan and I was played by Elijah Wood, replete with terrible English accent. Then someone interrupted the replayed scene and said that this scene had to be incorporated into an adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's novel, _Mr Norris Changes Trains_. Everyone, including myself and Martin Amis, started shouting and screeching that this was AN ABSOLUTE OUTRAGE. OUTRAGE!!!!!!! they all kept shouting, until it was oppressive and upsetting. Then I woke up.

In other dreaming news, I've been rereading Kenneth Tynan's Diaries (Bloomsbury 2001), (rereading in the same way that middle-aged frenchmen "reread" Proust; reading for the first time a second time because you never got very far the first time even though you enjoyed what you were reading a whole lot), and Kenneth Tynan's dreams trump everybody's dreams, including (believe it or not) D-dogg's ultrabaroque dreams. Here's my favourite one:

15 August, 1972

A dream: I am interviewing Orphan Ramyx, a blue-eyed blonde whom I introduce as 'TV's tittering bumhole girl!". She explains that she acquired this description by appearances on a talk show where all she did was flash her anus and titter. Her bumhole is now nationally famous. 'It is inlaid with semi-precious stones,' she whispers, ' and its fumes are reputed to be good for arthritis.'

Beat that.
Kenneth Tynan also dreams up Shakespearean puns and a letter campaigning to secure a Scottish MP a horse which signs off, "Warmest wishes, and here's looking forward to your horse!"
Reading his stuff again has made me start smoking cigarettes again and experimenting with Le Tynaniste cigarette between-middle-and-ringfinger-manoevre that is almost impossible to pull off without looking like a total dingus.

Posted by at 01:03 PM | Comments (5)

Mayo 16, 2004

I tried some Zima earlier.

Holy shit that shit is sick. Today I had nothing to do and so I thought I'd try some Zima. I had a bottle left over from a six-pack (zix-pack?) I bought 10 miles from the NY-PQ border about a month ago while the band I'm in was on tour. The other bottles ended up all over the place; one went to for his 30th birthday (I haven't heard from him since so I assume he didn't like it very much) and I don't know what happened to the other 4. Frankly, I don't at all care. Zima, for those of you who've never had it, tastes roughly like lighter fluid and sprite. It's horrible and it makes you depressed. I think this was different from regular Zima; it was Zima XXX or something. Didn't Zima have an ad campaign about Zima replacing beer? It seems like whoever invented Zima thought that Zima would actually replace cocaine because all that sugar and alcohol makes you all anxious and keyed-up. If I had to pick between cocaine and Zima, I'd probably pick cocaine but honestly I'd rather not have to have either ever again in my life.

Posted by at 04:55 PM | Comments (7)

Mayo 10, 2004

The Box Says It Is Art.

Somebody selling an Alessi butter and jam dish on ebay offered that sentence and inadvertently raised the bar in the Context v. Artistic Legitimacy debate.

Posted by at 01:14 PM | Comments (3)

Fascist Dogs

So I've always maintained that walking around with a german shepherd on a leash is about as tasteful as goose-stepping in an SS uniform; if ever a breed ought to be eradicated then those ugly beasts fit the bill, followed closely by rottweilers and dobermans and any other kind of dog with hate and bloodlust cultivated artificially. The photos in this week's New Yorker only reinforce my view as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by at 01:38 AM | Comments (1)