Sunday, May 29, 2016


Gang violence in Toronto is getting out of hand. They're calling this the Summer of the Gun Part 2

I'm calling it the summer of the fang

It began with a daring break out. Two members of the High Park Capybara gang busted out of their jail (or pen) in High Park and went on the lam. Not lamb. I want to make this perfectly clear: No lambs are on the loose in the GTA

The two notorious gang members called themselves Bonnie and Clyde (the media may have had something to do with it) in reference to some gangstas from days gone by. In this sense, the capybara's were indeed OG.

You can see pics of the capybara gang online. They look like giant rats. "Hey!" Clyde bellows,"We ain't no rats! Snitches get stitches!"

OG indeed

What the intent of these water loving criminals may never be known. Perhaps a crime spree of tagging canoes in the Inner Harbour or swimming naked at the nude beach at Hanlon's Point.

Perhaps they had more insidious designs. Was it the ultimate plan of the capybara's to replace the beaver as our national symbol?

We will never know. The gangster way of life is a hard one. Tu Pac, Biggie E, they all got brought back down to Earth

For every bad ass there is a badder asset. Yeh, that's a word, cuz I just used it. Shut up.

Another gangsta broke out of prison in TO, an infamous assassin with no known gang affiliation in this area but often used to do the dirty work. Code name: Alligator. Yeh, one got out

Last night there were reports of dead capybara's in the eastern beaches. Are they the capybaras? Are they actually dead? And are there gator teeth marks on their bodies? That's what I want to know

Hey capybara's, this ain't no gangster's paradise

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Kevin Vickers is a hero. A Canadian hero. As you may remember he was the sergeant-at-arms for the Federal Parliament when a lone man shot a soldier at the war memorial on Parliament Hill then stormed the building itself, armed and ready to shoot. It was Vickers, a retired RCMP officer who stopped the man in the most decisive way possible: He shot him dead

I have absolutely no problems with Vicker's actions on that day. A man who had already murdered an innocent person was on his way to do more harm. The sergeant-at-arms put a stop to that.

For his actions, Vickers was awarded the post of Canada's Ambassador to Ireland. OK, not what I may have given as a reward but I won't quibble, I guess that is how these things are done. Part of me wondered, in our politically correct overly timid culture did we just want to get this warrior out of the way? And off the TV?

I didn't think about it all that hard (right, like I ever think hard about anything). The guy is a hero and I won't begrudge him some perks.

Now, I'm beginning to wonder if there were other reasons why the feds wanted to sort of get Vickers out of the way

I just read a story describing Vickers attending, in his official capacity, some ceremony or parade in Ireland. A protestor shows up. Vickers gets a gleam in his eye. This man, who I assume is in his late 60's or early 70's tackles the dude as if to say "Not on my watch son"

Moral: Do not fuck with Kevin Vickers. Do not get agitated around Kevin Vickers. Avoid eye contact with Kevin Vickers at all time. No sudden movements. Dude seems more tightly curled than a swim suit model at a free buffet

One wonders what life was like on Parliament Hill when Vickers was the sergeant-at-arms. Did people prowl around quietly, sidling along the walls, head ducked, terrified that if they swung their arms Vickers would jump them and put them in a toe hold and ask for the hall pass?

When his office door was closed did people leave little offerings there, then scurry away ... a fifth of Glenfidditch, a blood sausage, a speed loader filled with Vicker's favorite ammo.

If someone dropped a tray in the cafeteria when Vickers was present did everyone wheel and point at the perpetrator yelling "It was him!"

Over there in Dublin, the people of Ireland would be surprised if they came into Kevin's office. "Where is the Ambassador they say?" Only to find themselves in a rear naked choke after Vickers leaped out of a potted plant, face in cammo paint.

They would realize, then, that the Ambassador of Canada is a ninja

There have been strange reports from Ambassador's Row in Dublin of a grey haired figure dashing across the rooftops of the embassy dropping down through skylights and subduing the night cleaning staff

Kevin Vickers has been banned from kiddie carnivals. Too many little tots gagged and tied to their strollers. "They were getting out of hand," the Ambassador explained. "All that screeching and waving of hands."

Joggers are being tackled at the knees and arm barred. "Let's keep that fast movement to a minimum," the Ambassador declared.

It's reported that a pigeon flying too close to the Canadian embassy ended up with a black eye. "I thought it was a drone," Mr Vickers stated.

So people of Ireland, hell people of the entire planet, be on your best behaviour. Keep it civil and keep it calm. The world's toughest ambassador is watching you

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Mortality and art. The mortality of artists. The immortality of their art. Old story, new songs. Especially lately.

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the deaths of David Bowie and of Prince and how some people want me to believe that Prince's artistic life was comparable to Bowie's and how we really shouldn't try to make these quantitive judgements and yet we still do

Both men died too early, irregardless of their age. Bowie was still an actively creative musician, releasing a new album at the time of his death. I don't think Prince was creative, he seems to be mostly remembered for music created in the 90's but he was a relentless performer.

Bowie's death was not sudden but the news of it was sudden to us and while he was still a young man, the length and breadth of his incredible career made us think him as old, as having been around a long time. His death was sad but it was from an illness that we all, unfortunately, understand.

Prince's death was indeed sudden. Unexpected. The circumstances of which are not as easily as understood as Bowie's. I think the shock of it has inspired some of the statements about his greatness and influence, of the comparison of his creative legacy to that of Bowie, statements that may eventually wane in time but it's easy to understand. For his fans, it was a shock.

Now we come to the sad and strange story of Gord Downie. I am writing this post on the day we learned that he has been diagnosed with a form of brain cancer that is generally considered terminal. Some people have been known to live with this cancer for a long time, others not so much. He could be with us for a long time still, or he could be gone far too soon.

It's rather a strange thing. The Hip have announced that they will launch a summer tour, to be Gord's last. A farewell tour I suppose. The one that Bowie and Prince never got to engage upon. I'm already thinking of Downie in the past tense yet the man is still alive, at this time stable, at this time planning to continue to perform and hopefully create.

If you go to see the Hip on this tour will it be the last time you will see Gord? If you have tickets towards the end or the tour will you get to see him at all? And what if, hopefully, he continues to survive. Will there be another tour, another Hip recording, another Gord Downie solo project

It's just an odd thing. Bowie and Prince are gone but their art will live on for a long time. Gord Downie is still alive but I listen to Fully, Completely as if that is part of his legacy, as if it is a Bowie or Prince recording, as if there will be no more. But there may be.

It's too early to evaluate Gord's and the Hip's legacy. Yet one is inclined to do so. Just thinking of them, that music, what it all meant.

David Bowie was one of the greatest musicians of modern times. Simple. You can't convince me otherwise. Relentlessly creative, fearless, eclectic, trend setting, chimerical, at once profane and eloquent, technical and organic, audacious and reticent. When you look at his body of work you good be looking at the music of several musicians but that was Bowie: Ziggy, The Thin White Duke, Commander Tom

In a five year period Bowie made recordings like Ziggy Stardust, Young Americans, The Thin White Duke, Low, Heroes, Let's Dance ... records that spanned the precursor of punk to electronic, to blue eyed soul and beyond. It's really a remarkable achievement

For me, Prince peaked with Purple Rain. When the Doves Cry really is a remarkable song that still resonates with me to this day. There were others of course but I kind of part ways with him soon after that. The falsetto affection of Kiss and beyond really did little for me. When people wrote about Bowie they wrote about those remarkable albums, the variety of them. When people remember Prince he comes across as a 90's icon

But Prince was a truly talented musician. He could play a huge array of instruments and play them well. He was a talented and technical producer. He was an amazing guitarist, you have to put him high on any list of under rated guitar players. And his fans loved him. He did not have the breadth and vision of Bowie's work but clearly, he impacted people

Gord Downie is a poet. Really. More than most other songwriters who have to at least be lyrical. And he is a prototypical Canadian poet, not just because he writes about Canada (more frequently and more ferociously than a lot of other Canadian artists) but because he finds poetry in the every day, the mundane. He is a perfect counterpart to the other great poet of Canadian music, Leonard Cohen

At this point Downie is a living legacy. We think about what he has done but, he is not done. I am excited to see him perform again but really, I hope he continues to write, to create, to give us that vision of his that is truly unique.

Art and mortality. One remains forever. The other is a certainty. But in the odd case of Gord Downie, they are both existing right now, in this moment, together

With both excitement and trepidation, I want to see what they will do together

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