Saturday, December 09, 2006

My Slavish Devotion to Entertainment

CD in Play: Wilco, A Ghost is Born.


I don't get to the theatre much these days. In fact the last film I can remember seeing was A Scanner Darkly in September. At the moment, the only film that interests me currently at the box office is Casino Royale, though I am somewhat curious about Blood Diamond and Apocalypto. I'll be seeing We Are Marshall on Monday with Pete Chattaway. but I am not holding out high hopes. Football films have never really been my kind of sports films. Baseball and boxing make for the best sports films. Other than that, I can't see much on the film horizon that interests me.


Canadian television doesn't get a lot of respect, especially from it own. But, then the Canadian television industry only has its own lazy selves to blame. CTV has rarely produced shows that are worthwhile and tends towards the safe and the banal. Corner Gas isn't my cuppa, but it is markedly better than what they have produced in the past. CBC improved greatly during the mid to late 90's with shows like Da Vinci's Inquest-City Hall, Made in Canada, Intelligence, etc but lacks the resources to do much more. Global and CityTV don't seem to have one iota of Canadian content television, other than their news programmes.
Television doesn't have to be a cultural wasteland and, unlike what some of the folks at Adbusters think, it need not be seen as the enemy. Canadians are busy trying to get a grip on their identity as a people and a nation - what does it say about us when we are too unmotivated to produce our own entertainment?
We can hold our own with the UK and America - shows like Da Vinci's Inquest, Intelligence and Corner Gas have shown that - but we need the people with the money to wake up and realise that. We also need people clutching tightly to their purse strings to realise that our tax dollars do need to go into cultural efforts as we cannot hope to compete with the American Industry on its own terms - too much money.
If you aren't a Canadian, try finding copies of the shows I mentioned online and nab them with BitTorrent. I know, should I encourage priacy? In this case, yes - Canadian efforts could use all the help they can get. Particularly Intelligence, I have really dug into that one. Americans might be shocked that Canadian television allows for realistic language in our cop shows.


So, I have finished Mortal Causes, Let it Bleed and The Hanging Garden and have moved on to Dead Souls by Ian Rankin. (Yes, there is a Gogol novel and a Joy Division song by the same name) If Rebus gets crapped on any further I think Rankin's final Rebus novel could lift its title from another classic work of the 19th Century: Bleak House. The books are gripping, but Rebus' slow descent is saddening. But then I can see a lot of myself in John Rebus...

Music Again

Really been on a Wilco kick of late. Back in 1996 and 1997 I was listening to Wilco's AM and Being There a lot when I was getting over a woman from Texas with whom I was in school with. It helped. I also saw them at the third Roadside Attraction and was suitably impressed. I stopped listening to Wilco almost completely after that and almost completely forgot about them until 2001 when I was living in Montreal.
Krista Muir's boyfriend, John, (I think they are still together) was/is a huge Wilco fan and reminded me that I like them. John was on about their 2002 album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, before I left for (and ultimately became trapped in) Vancouver that summer, but I didn't get a chance to really dig my teeth into it until Elijah played me his copy. And a Wilco fan was reborn.
If you get the chance, listen to Wilco's last to albums ...Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born. Similar albums in a way, but the mood, tone and textures are fairly different. I also reccomend seeing the docmentary I am Trying to Break Your Heart, about the trials and tribulations the band had trying to make and release Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Music plays a definite role in my life and one area has been at those times where I have been heartbroken and depressed. As I stated above, Wilco had two albums that helped me through (particularly Being There) but there has been lots of heartache in my life and many other albums have helped pull through those drear nights and grey days. And so...

Albums to Numb the Heartbreak
*Note album content plays a role in selection, the titles for some are shear coincidence.

- Let It Bleed, The Rolling Stones
- Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud, Miles Davis
- Loveless, My Bloody Valentine
- Terror Twilight, Pavement
- Dance Hall at Louse Point, John Parish and Polly Jean Harvey
- Is This Desire? PJ Harvey
- Portishead, Portishead
- Homogenic, Björk
- American III, Johnny Cash
- Aladdin Sane, David Bowie
- El Corazón, Steve Earle
- Times of Grace, Neurosis
- Millions Now Living Will Never Die, Tortoise
- Copper Blue and Beaster, Sugar
- Soundtrack to 2001, A Space Odyssey (I watched the film nine days in a row in 1997)
- Cure for Pain, Morphine

There are also a mix of songs that I would listen to to help out as well. stuff by Al Green, Sly and the Family Stone, The Police, Elvis Costello, instrumental stuff from the Beastie Boys, etc. I also listen to very heavy and aggro stuff by Ministry, Isis, etc. Most of it is stuff I listen to anyway, but it is the way in which I listen to it and the way it impacts me at that time that is distinct.


Blogger Geosomin said...

It seems to me that Portishead would make you more miserable...I find it's good for me when I'm mopey, but it only lets me revel in the mope. Don't know how it would do for cheering up...:)

I usually go for Coldplay or Moby. But they're my mopey busting tunes.
William Orbit usually does the trick too...

11 December, 2006 12:42  
Blogger Magnus said...

When I am in the dumps happy things (exception being Beatles material)just make me even more depressed. Matching mood to music allows me to ride out the storm and get things level again.
The "turn that frown upside down" approach just brings out the worst in me. As I said, I do identify with the character of John Rebus in many ways.

12 December, 2006 19:20  

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