May 16, 2009
why are you always f-ing ghosts?

I'm home from work today, as last night I realized that my glands were so swollen that I couldn't blow my nose without feeling them. Scary. (This may or may not have had something to do with the hour of garden time before dinner, in which I pulled enough weeds to choke several horses.) I feel better today, but I'll be going to the doctor's later; if nothing else than to get a legitimizing note. Getting sick the day before the Victoria Day weekend is just a little too convenient to be believed.

"Hey you! Get out of the…uh…mayor's office!"
- Quimby yells at an itinerant steel drum player, who has wandered into the shot.

On the upside, I've finally achieved this week's goal of not working. On Tuesday I wanted to spend the day with my camera. On Wednesday I wanted to spend the day with my copy of This Book is Broken (about which, more later). Yesterday I had no real draw, I just wanted to stay home. And today I'm in the study with a lukewarm Diet Coke and glands that elevate my already-thick-to-begin-with neck to comedy status.

Before I got sick, though, there was Knit Night. Mason & I continued our bizarrely blessed knitting life by wandering into a book launch (free cupcakes!!) and were encouraged to start drinking before we had a chance to eat supper. This may have been why my credit card got a workout: I bought teal yarn for a February Lady (the It sweater of the moment), Mason bought supplies for a fair isle baby sweater, and together we bought a copy of Vintage Baby Knits, the book launched that night. It probably wasn't the beer, though. Spring makes me manic, and when confronted with a book of vintage baby patterns (and the teeny samples hung everywhere) I am likely to go a little nutty.



kristen rengren

As you can see by the above, we also got a chance to play with the new camera, which saved Mason from concentrating on the fact that, until his finger heals, he won't be knitting his new yarn. How did he hurt his finger? Chasing a gorgeous shot, he tripped up the stairs and went down protecting the camera. This is the second time this year he's broken a digit protecting something precious while on a staircase, which is two times too many if you ask me. Still, the camera must be protected. Always.

Last night Mason made dinner while I whined piteously about my throat and tried to do soothing things. My vow to leave my new yarn alone until I'd finished my other projects went out the window, and I cast on for the F-Lady while reading Berman's opus.

(For those who don't know my real name, you should know that the guy who wrote the book on Broken Social Scene was my Arts editor at the Varsity in 97-98. My strongest memory of him is from the day that Lady Godiva wanted to seduce him and we ended up feeding cheesecake to a random writer whom I later married. Archives? There we go.)

I've been looking forward to this book, and much of it is the kind of late-night party reminisces of the Old Days that I craved. No punches are pulled about who was fucking whom, which is something they've been coy about putting on the record before, and this makes it an impossibly intimate book. I loved that. I loved all the details about the making of the records, and how terribly screwed up the last record was to make.

But, there are a few bones to pick.

  1. Remedios gets way too much space to talk about how awesome his record label is, which is an important topic but not as important as he seems to believe.
  2. Most of the narrative weight is on the band's formation and early days, which, to be fair, is what Stuart is most versed on having been there the whole ride. I wanted much more about the successful period, but other than "everything sucked, everybody was breaking up" there wasn't much. To be fair, this perception may be because I read the first few chapters over a couple of days, whenever I could get a minute, and the last half all at once while sick, knitting all the while. This may have artificially speeded up the timeline for me.
  3. Dave Bookman needs to stop making snide remarks about 90's alternative fans, who have been allowing him to avoid real work for over ten years. It's not the fault of 15-year-old Nirvana fans (circa 1991) that CFNY sold out to corporate obnoxious crap.

My biggest issue isn't so much a complaint as a plaintive wail. This book makes you nostalgic for Torontopia, a time when I was too far away in Nova Gothic or consumed with staying alive in my stupid job to care about music. I missed it, as most of us did, and that's the problem with rock in general: you're always made to feel false nostalgia about a golden age, a perfect show or a watershed moment that you could never have known about. Knowing Stuart makes it worse; why was he allowed to live this cool life while I put aside my university days and went on with the next (boring) part of my life? I feel like I was just close enough to have really and truly missed out, and I don't know if that is the rock n' roll trope or my own sense of frustration.

Or, as Ophelia once said after a night of watching her boyfriend reminisce with a friend from home as they lit match after match…

"There is nothing more deadly than listening to stories about the Old Days when you weren't there." – march 17, 1997.

But how can you argue with a book that closes with a photo of Ohad's kid reaching out to Charles' while the parents look on proudly?

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