Red Robe Productions

"I'm new here. Can you show me around." Bill Callahan

Blue Flowers

February 27, 2011
I'm trying to play more guitar these days. I'm trying to eat healthier too but mostly I'm trying to play more guitar. The acoustic has been slumbering like a bear in hibernation as my shiny new/used Fender Jazzmaster is getting all the attention. I can't help it. I'm in love with it. The funny thing is my roommate/ bandmate Aaron Riswick had it in the house for six months before I even picked it up. Bill Priddle (of Treble Charger) lent it to Aaron to mess around with over the winter. He was going to sell it. I was in the market for a new electric. I wanted a Gibson though. Les Paul. Black. Like Neil Young's. For six months I let ol' red sit in the basement while I searched. I went into guitar shops and looked at the new stock. I played a few. I went on Kijijijijijiji. A lot. I even went around telling friends to let me know if they knew of anyone selling a decent guitar. But I didn't want a Fender.

Ahh, but the Jazzmaster is a specific brand of Fender, elongated and massive compared to the Tele's or Strats. It's less popular but guys like Elvis Costello, Thurston Moore and Lee Ronaldo of Sonic Youth, Nels Cline of Wilco and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine are all Jazzmaster freaks. They swear by them. Played clean or with heavy gain they sound strong and confident, but not pushy. They can create a layer of sound of feedback melodies or go surf rock with the best of them. I just love it now, I couldn't imagine playing another guitar, and a lot of other musicians say the same. Once you go jazzmaster, you never go back. I'm posting a vid of us playing a Mazzy Star cover called Blue Flowers. We were just jamming a little but I like to document our practices and I thought this was a good take so I made it into a video for fun. I get a kick out of it anyway. I painted that picture of the Pope in grade ten.


 

Head Shots

February 26, 2011
Sports columns, sports writers, sports broadcasters, sports coverage - is all talk. There has been so much talk, talk, talk about the fate of bad head shots, or even hard clean ones, in an NHL that boasts a faster-than-ever game of hockey . Sydney Crosby: the golden boy holding a box of timbits in one hand and Canada's Olympic hockey gold medal in the other is laying on the couch right now in his parent's home in Coal Harbour Nova Scotia still suffering from a bad concussion...or two. First we argued about whether or not the hit was clean. Now we are arguing whether or not that matters. At some point, someone is going to have to do something. Gary Bettman says he is well aware of the problem, but that rushing into a rule to prevent this from happening as much as it has been lately isn't going to solve the problem. Well duh, of course it won't because it means you aren't addressing the matter at all. What's more important at this stage? Where to put the Coyotes? How about this for a rule: if a player is hit so hard that they receive a concussion at the body of another player, the hitter gets a suspension and a fine. How many days and how much money could be up for debate at this point, but "clean" or not, if you know, and you know they know - that a hit is going to potentially end someone's career, then you should lighten up. It's called common sense. I can gauge how hard to hit something, and hockey players showcase the ultimate finesse at high speeds with a puck and a stick, why can't they do the same with their bodies? A clean hit should be just that. Clean. Let's re-examine the definition of that word and think back to about grade two when the teacher looked at our hands after eating a brownie and told us "that's still not clean". And sent us back to the sink. No if's, and's or but's about it.





 

To Be Young... and Female

February 24, 2011

The only reason I heard about the brutal sexual assault of CBS news correspondent Lara Logan was because I was listening to NPR late last night while driving. I try to stay tuned in to the news of the day but honestly, this was the first I had heard about an incident that happened on the day that Mubarak stepped down: a day that was supposed to be about Egyptian Independence...perhaps CBS wanted to wait her story out, why post two big stories in one day?

I'm not saying I'm Lara's biggest follower, but I have a particular respect for her being a young woman covering war zone stories. Furthermore, I like that she has been very outspoken against the bias of Western media coverage when it comes to the realities overseas. She talks about how we never see American soldiers lying dead on the ground and how she wanted to change that.

By unfortunate circumstances she did change that. She became a martyr of sorts because she is one of the first women to come forward and discuss what happened to her in Egypt. NPR brought in someone to discuss this issue and it seems that this is a common occurence female reporters have to endure. The worst part about it, however, is not the rape or assault itself, but the silence they endure afterwards for their job's sake. Documents and testimonies indicate that women are afraid to discuss these incidents with their station out of fear of being taken off future assignments or worse, losing their position entirely.

I must admit that I am proud of Lara for coming out with her story, not only because it takes guts to do so, but also because it is a topic that needs to be visited from many different angles. Men and women are different, there is no doubt about it, and there are arguments about letting female correspondents to continue to cover extreme news - but do we take women out of  the field because of the dangers of sexual assault? Or do we provide better protection for them? The risks of the job are different for men and women but they are risks nonetheless. If we can discuss a male reporter being killed or kidnapped, why shouldn't we discuss the assualt of a female reporter? If women are to be treated as equals, then the coverage of these atrocities is just as much a right as their right to be there in the first place. To be silenced is a terrible form of oppression. Especially when everyone else is celebrating.

 

It Pays Off To Get Picked Last

February 23, 2011
Well the Leaf's just won another game beating the New York Islanders 2-1. It was a tight game but Phil Kessel scored the clincher late in the third after a lot of good pressure from the team. Leaf's fans (those left) will say Kessel has finally lifted himself out of a funk and I think it has to do with winning that car for being picked last during the all-star game. It looked cool anyway, and the guy has actually scored...a few times! It must be the car! Sure, it's a possibility that he was so humiliated by nobody wanting him on their team that he actually upped his play but there's been enough humiliation throughout the season that the car theory is the only one that makes sense. I'm not complaining, I'm glad he's happy. Maybe they should've bought Kaberle a Cadillac.


 

It Is A Bad Time To Be Poor

February 23, 2011
If there's one band I have never fallen out of love with it's the Rheostatics. They are one of those highly acclaimed but unknown Canadian bands that were popular during the prog-rock movement around Toronto in the 80's. The only radio stations that ever play them are The Edge late at night or CBC radio 2. They just aren't that popular, and they never were. They never made much money. But albums "Melville" and "Whale Music" are number 5 and 4 respectively on ChartAttack magazine's top 50 Canadian Albums.

http://www.chartattack.com/features/1350/top-50-canadian-albums-of-all-time-10-to-1


It's something anyway. I first heard them in University and it was one of those "life-changing" moments - coulda been something in the air, but I swear the first time I heard Martin Tielli's voice soar on "Midwinter's Night Dream" I had never heard anything sweeter. Of course I can't find it on youtube, but luckily I have it at home and might play it on the old CD player. Antiquity at its best. For readers however, I have posted "It Is A Bad Time To Be Poor" written by Tim Vesely. I am a student once again, and I still look to them to sing out the better or worse moments of life.





 

Soundscape

February 21, 2011
I watched a movie called "Radio On" recently.



There is a stark but luminous quality to the movie, filmed in 1979 post-punk Britain and co-produced by Wim Wenders - the great German director/ writer. (See: "Wim Wenders: On Film" great book.) Anyway, its a story of a radio jock who goes on a spiritual road trip of sorts, and what grabbed me was how sound mixed with landscape in this film. Certain audio would work with such things as swooshing windshield wipers, or a long view of a train travelling through the English country-side. There was often no need for dialogue. It changed my idea of "music" in general, and added texture all of a sudden to the music/video relationship. Rather than music based on feeling or plot, sound was put to object and the experience was like touching a painting rather than merely seeing it. So I started playing around with my own music, I went more experimental which is not something I usually do but have been enjoying lately. I'm putting the audio to video and will post it below.


 

Snowscape

February 21, 2011
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. It's the view from my backyard. I like the snowy rooftops and the hanging towel on the clothesline. I think it's been there since they went to the beach last summer.
 
 

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