Neil Young: He came dancing across the water

I can remember the first time I heard this album, Zuma. I was all of 20 years old, ski bumming in Whistler, BC, and gathered with a bunch of friends after the bars had closed. I can’t remember her name. She was skinny and not very attractive in any traditional sense, but there was something about her that was fascinating. That fascination grew immensely when I saw the sound system she had — all Nakamichi … top flight — and numerous milk crates stuffed with albums. Zuma. She pulled Zuma. In a room filled with drunk friends there was me, her and this album, Zuma.
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Blade Runner ~ do androids weep electric tears?

Blade Runner is among my favourite films. In a veritable symphony of cinematic elements — cinematography, script, production design, soundtrack, direction, acting — it doesn’t miss a note. The film touches on all the major themes of the human condition: love, death, good and evil, redemption, justice, ethics, greed, passion. It’s philosophically spiritual and passionately physical. All of that culminates in this scene that ends Roy Batty’s life, but also witnesses the redemption of it.

Batty, the android, the replicant, had been on a murderous spree, killing every scientist and engineer he could find who’d been involved in creating him, a nearly perfect being yet with the artificially brief lifespan of just 4 years. Moreover, Deckerd had killed all his friends, possibly everyone he’d ever loved including Priss, the android/woman he loved above all. This scene occurs at the end of the breathless chase which Deckerd has every reason to believe will end with his death should Batty catch him.
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The Fool’s day in April

The Fool Tarot Card

April is my month of the extraordinary. In April 1991, I took the first job I was offered after having been unceremoniously fired by my previous employer. A year later, I’d had enough of the computing industry and was poised to quit that job…when Microsoft bought the company I was working for and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Three years later, on April Fool’s Day, Microsoft closed shop in Vancouver, handed me my golden parachute, and that was the last day I worked in an office environment, and the first day of a spiritual quest…though I wasn’t aware of it as such at the time. In the past couple years, that quest has intensified.

I put a lot of trust into allowing the possibilities to emerge out of the minor chaos that is my life right now, give time for the path to become clear. Sometimes, I feel like I’m walking at the edge of a precipice.
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I started a post about courage, featuring this song, a couple or three weeks ago. It’s still sitting in the drafts folder. The Tragically Hip are a favourite Canadian band from the late ’80s and early ’90s, a time when I, and many other Canadians, considered them the best rock band on the planet. Fully Completely, the album on which this song was released in 1992, is my favourite of theirs, and this song, Courage (For Hugh MacLennan) is the best of it.

The Hip have been nominated for a few Juno awards this week, the Canadian Grammy’s. Reading about that reminded me of the promise to write about the song, about courage. Then, I remembered, I already had.

What follows is a post I wrote nearly a dozen years ago while on an epic cross-China bicycle trip. I can honestly say that my spiritual journey began with events that happened when I was about four years old, but this post, written at thirty-seven, acknowledges one of the most significant waypoints. It is titled, simply, Courage, and it’s safe to say I’d never written anything better. Looking back on it now, I feel no desire to alter a word of it.
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Language is a Virus ~ Laurie Anderson

I’ve had a life-long fascination with progressive rock and the avante garde movement in music. Bands like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Jethro Tull for sure, but also some more obscure folks you weren’t likely to hear on the radio. People like Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, John Cage and this fine example of the Avante Garde in music, Laurie Anderson.
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Cloudbusting a rainy day in Vancouver: Kate Bush is in my subconscious

Maybe it’s due to the thick layer of clouds busting down with rain overnight and today. Maybe it’s about getting caught up in a rearward look last night. Maybe it’s about the upbeat glee of a gift and a moment shared with a friend across the miles.

I’m not sure what put Kate Bush’s Cloudbusting in my mind’s ear this afternoon, but…there it was. This song and I go back a quarter of a century now.
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Tijuana Cartel takes a Holiday in Baghdad, but I’m wishing I was in Freo

A lovely hello from Tijuana Cartel

A lovely hello from Tijuana Cartel

Tijuana Cartel plays with verve and an infectious rhythm that brings a crowd gleefully to their feet. Paul George’s virtuoso flamenco guitar challenges the dance club keys of Carey O’Sullivan and the whole marvellous fusion gets thrummed into a frenzy by latin percussionist Daniel Gonzales. Frequent guest player Shannon van Horn blows into the frenzy with jazzfunky trumpet lines and some hipster swagger.
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Nothing Else Matters when Bif Naked is your muse

Bif Naked came into my life in an odd way, the leading edge of a wave of the odd, the uncanny, the revelatory. This song has a lot of meaning for me, coming as it did the fist time amidst upheaval, chaos and — ultimately — awakening. And she came right into the middle of something else.

I’ve had a soul-mate come in and out of my life every now and again over the past couple decades. We’ve tried the relationship thing a couple or three times, but that never seems to work out for us. Yet there’s an undeniable, inexplicable connection and from time-to-time we spend some time in each other’s lives. Read more »

Ingrid Karklins: A Passion to Race the Sky

Ingrid Karklins is a rare gem of music who found her way to me through some most unlikely paths.

In 1994 and ’95 I criss-crossed Australia with Midnight Oil‘s Diesel&Dust and Blue Sky Mining along with Homeland Movement, by Yothu Yindi blasting out the four open windows of a ’79 Holden Gemini (like a 4-door Toyota Tercel, only smaller). We had to blast it, this music of Australia — set the volume to 11 as it were — with the air whipping through the cockpit while trundling across the Outback’s single-track of bitumen under blazing blue skies. 40C heat and no air-con in a car not much bigger than a go-cart. “Holden wrecks and boiling diesels, steam in 45 degrees!” We’d pass, then be passed by, the monstrous spectacle of some 60 wheels known as a Road Train…a semi-truck pulling three trailers along a minute strip of barely-solid, crumbling, single-track pavement only just wider than the span of the truck’s axles, bordered on both sides by seas of bull dust and road kill. In Alice Springs, at the centre of the expansive Red Centre, I bought a didjeridu and shipped it home to wait for the time I’d learn to play it.

Upon return, Blue Sky Mining and Homeland Movement eked out near-permanent spots in my car’s tape deck as I set about designing and building my first website, The eJournal Travelogue consisting of my newsletter/journal and photographs generated during 8 months exploring Australia. When I wasn’t making passion with a summer lover amidst the scads of great music summer brings, I was hunkered down for hour-upon-hour constructing site pages, and galleries and weaving the lines of useability and interface and connection. The result was a weblog launched over a decade before the term was coined.
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Trying to figure out this life: I’m with you, Avril Lavigne

Every now and again I’ll find myself humming a tune — I’m usually humming a tune, somewhere in my subconscious — just… suddenly, I’ll become aware that I am, and I’ll know just as suddenly I need to figure out why… Not that I can just right now but this brings up images from other people’s lives, people in my life and out of it, and on the fringe. Not my life; I’m really pretty OK.

Still… But… Hmmm…
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