The smartgun

Introducing the Smartgun. The ordinary handgun is useless but for one thing.  It can’t be used as a doorstop, a paper weight, bottle opener or hammer. The handgun exists for one reason: To shoot people. People might buy a handgun saying it’s only for...

Ugly is beautiful; beautiful is ugly

What if the ugly is beautiful and the beautiful is ugly? How would that reversal change our value system? These are questions for intellectuals much deeper than I, but I found myself wondering what constitutes beauty and, conversely, what constitutes ugly? I can only...

The Pope of Hope

Pope Benedict 16 is resigning, February 28, due to failing health. This will be the first resignation in 600 years. Most Popes die on the throne although it might take a few days to realize they’re dead. Cardinals around the world are gathering to elect a new...

Campus radio

The most powerful person at CYVR was the woman who operated the cash register at the the cafeteria. There was a dial on the wall beside her. If she didn’t like the music – which was often – she could turn off  CYVR  or turn it down. There’d be...

The Not So Faceless Rock Of Ages

It took a few months but I finally saw the film Rock Of Ages. Rock Of Ages is a rock musical starring Tom Cruise as a decadent rock star and features  covers of songs by Journey, Foreigner, Night Ranger, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar. The place is Hollywood, the time is 1987,...

Mea Culpa

I’m still upset about it. I reviewed Coldplay, April 21, and in the process slagged the opening act. That’s ok; if I didn’t like ’em, I didn’t like ’em. The trouble is, I got the wrong act. The band I thought was The Pierces was...

Anatomy of a hit

The chairman of the board of a major record company has a product meeting with his head Artists and Repertoire man. “Here it is,” says the A&R guy. “Our latest single.” “Who’s it by.” “Who knows? Who cares?”...

Reviewing records

If, as predicted, the Compact Disc, dies soon, this essay might be rendered meaningless. Until then, though, here is a belated response to an article I read in the January/February 2011 edition of B.C. Musician. B.C. Musician is based in the Okanagan and has been...

Nickelback, the people’s band

Nickelback played at half time and the world stayed on its axis. What was supposed to happen, something as cataclysmic as the gulf oil spill? It was only rock and roll. Maybe not everybody’s idea of good rock and roll, but nothing damaging. I didn’t hear...

The Smile Sessions

At last, after 45 years, the listener can make up their own mind. Is Smile by the Beach Boys a work of genius or did it deserve to be buried? The Smile Sessions box is massive. Five CDs, a double vinyl album, two 7” singles, a poster replicating the Smile album cover,...