A “WTF?” Art Moment

Well, speaking of the arts …

While people were milling around looking at contemporary art in Toronto Saturday night …

Prime minister Stephen Harper made a guest appearance at the National Arts Centre’s gala in Ottawa.

And this is what ensued:

I’m sure a bunch of you had already seen this. But I just finally watched it today.

And, um, yeah.

I really don’t know what to say about this. Except that my right eye has started to twitch and I think I’m ready for a lie-down.

That might be completely coincidental.

But if you remember what our esteemed prime minister said about the arts when he campaigned during last year’s election – and the reaction it elicited – you’ll know why I find this a tad “whiskey-tango-foxtrot”.

But please, discuss amongst yourselves.

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Music … Random Thoughts

Between thoughts of travelling and boys dancing through my head the last few days, I didn’t actually think my bloated brain would have room for much else. But for some reason, my mind has been turning to weird and completely unrelated thoughts about music. For instance:

Songs on repeat. Do you ever remember certain songs from when you were a kid? Not like kids’ songs, but cheesy songs that, for whatever reason, were played repeatedly to the point that, they lodged themselves deep in the folds in that part of your brain that deals with memory, and then all you need to do one day 20 years later is sneeze, and it sets them off in your head like faulty firecrackers?

Two songs that do this to me for whatever reason are “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce and Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together”. How cheesy can you get, right? But every morning in first grade, every kid – and I mean, EVERY single one – had to participate in the Health Hustle before they started class for the day. And those two songs played without fail.

I was talking with a colleague today and he made a reference to “Leroy Brown” … and poof! the memory was triggered. And now, every time a work-mate sings Captain and Tennille at karaoke or I watch those Telus commercials, well, all I can think of are jumping jacks and knee-bends.

Mix-tapes. I was just thinking about this today. Remember back in high-school – before CDs exploded as the method of choice for listening to music – how you and your friends would make mixed tapes for each other? And it would be the coolest thing you could do for someone?

And it wasn’t just the effort you poured into taping the songs onto the cassette. If your friends were really creative, they’d like, decorate the leaf of thin cardboard that went inside the case with letters and pictures they cut out from magazines. I still have the one my friend made for me, which says “SOLID GOLD PRESENTS GROUND CHUCK” on the front.

Word up. Kids these days just don’t understand what they’re missin’.

Colourful tunes. I don’t know what made this come to mind … and perhaps this is a freaky thing that only certain musical people might understand …. but I remember when i was younger, I’d sometimes see colour when I’d hear certain songs. No, I’m not nuts or stoned right now. I mean, when I’d hear certain music, it would make me think of certain colours. Although when I really liked a bunch of songs, they’d sometimes all be the same colour.

And to this day, I’ve only come across one person – an adjudicator at a music festival I went to as a flute player in junior high or high school – who actually used colour when describing a musical passage. I actually got excited about it (but you know that you can only silently get giddy about these things for fear of totally singling yourself out as a weirdo).

It only happens to me once in a while nowadays when I’m listening to music. But seriously, if there’s anyone that reads this who gets what I’m talking about, lemme know. Otherwise I’m declaring myself officially weird right here, right now.

“Seasonal” songs. There are always certain songs that I remember hearing growing up – even now – that I’d consider “summer songs”. They don’t necessarily have the word “summer” in the song, but you might hear them in the summer, and from that point on, you just associate them with summer. Like, it would just be weird to hear them at any other time in the year. Do you have any songs that you personally consider a “summer” song? Just curious.

Okay, weird post over. Less than 17 days before I jump the pond and kick it, Spanish-style.

"I can’t get it out of my head!"

Ever had a song in your head – maybe from your past, maybe you heard it somewhere – only you, for the life of you either don’t remember the name of the song? Or the group? Or simply know that you’ve heard it somewhere before?

And then it’s stuck in your head semi-permanently, driving you absolutely nuts?

That happened to me twice in the last week. The first song, I heard over the holidays in, of all things, a liquor commercial. I thought, how classy is this song? I totally want to download it. I think I’ve heard it before as a sample somewhere

So off I go, look at the credits on the song it was sampled, then do a handy Google search. Nothing. I try again. Still no dice. I kept watching for the commercial on TV. Vanished. How convenient.

I kept Googling and watching until one day by complete accident, I finally Googled the right combination of words and presto! I found it. And in the process, developed a crush on an 84-year-old Peruvian lady named Yma Sumac.

The second song got stuck in my head last week. I was looking for old skool songs I used to hear when I was younger – and now at the occasional Amnesia party – and had this ONE SONG lodged in my brain. I never knew the name of the band. And whenever I tried to search for it online, I’d just get hits for links to Christian sites.

Well, it got worse. I’d hear the song in my brain before my head hit the pillow at night and when I’d get up. Between that, and something I think I read once that in some people, hearing a song over and over in your head is the possible onset of an aneurysm, I was a tad spooked.

FINALLY two days ago, after Googling … and Googling … and Googling … I found the song. I got the name of the band (which is seared in my brain for the recent future).

I really hope that doesn’t happen again soon. I don’t think the part of my brain responsible for all that torture can take any more.