Sunday, April 30, 2006

Angry Young, man

He may be a little late to the party, but it sure is good to hear the grand-daddy of angry young men finally put his two cents in. As the Gazetteer graciously points out, you can hear the whole streamed version of Neil Young's new very very anti-Dubya diatribe, Living With War by clicking on his website (or here).

And wow, it rocks. It rocks like a brazen, daring, unkempt Neil Young the likes we only got a hint of with 1989's "Rockin' in the Free World". Basically, it's like Bob Mould has been tweaking his guitar sound or something.

Now I was never more than a luke-warm fan of Young's (didn't he usedta hang out with a bunch of freakin hippies?) But then he won me over some with the props he gave to Johnny Rotten in that Hey Hey My My song or whatever it's called... Still, a lot of his material just leaves me yawning instead of fawning.

Not this time out though: this album has pure classic written all over it. It opens with "After the Garden" (of Eden I presume?), which takes Bono to school on how to write an anthemic rock song. The next song is the title track; then you've got "Shock and Awe" and "Flags of Freedom" among other heavy-hitters before you get to (oh my) "Let's Impeach the President".

Feel free to spell it right out there, eh Neil?

Of course he did wait until it became good and safe before taking this stand. And he's certainly not the first to say these things, but I think this album - coming out at this time - might have a wee impact. Having very recently spent two weeks among the fresh-faced youth at Abercrombie & Fitch's head office, I can attest to the fact that Dubya has officially become the anti-cool president among the cool kids who, in their capacity at A&F, pretty much dictate "cool" policy among the cool-kids and their contemporary cool-kid wannabes. Maybe it's because they're in Ohio, I dunno, but I got a definite sense that Bush has precious few folks standing up for him (or proud of him) anymore.

That's not quite the same situation as in 2002, when Steve Earle's brilliant and sage Jerusalem came out.

And apart from that, while others have crafted some truly intelligent protest songs (check out the late Joe Strummer's "Get Down Moses" and Son Volt's "Endless War" off Okemah And The Melody Of Riot) they don't nearly approach Young's ability to strike a chord (pardon the pun) with the American psyche.

The return of the angry Young comes at a time when just about the whole nation is angry with Bushco in varying degrees, and I sure as hell don't blame 'em.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized

On a day when massive protests against the Iraq war brought out "tens of thousands" of people according to the Associated Press, why does the online NY Times and Washington Post not have even a mention of it, while CNN has it showcased with a photo at the top of its site? (I have snagged screen captures in gif files that I feel sheepish about posting, but will gladly email to any doubters out there.)

Shame on them - especially on the Times, being right there in NYC and all - for ignoring the voice of the people just like Bushco wants.

For a nice round-up of photos, go check out what CathiefromCanada has compiled on her site.

- 30 -

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Original Song #25: You're Canadian

Apologies for the extremely light blogging of late. I was on one long business trip and just got home after 12 days in central Ohio. Oh my. Is it ever good to be back. I won't go into the details here, but it brings to mind this song I wrote a year ago. It's a light-hearted response to that all-American semi-rhetorical question - the one that so many of my fine United States friends have a very hard time getting their heads around: "Why wouldn't any foreigner want to be American?" If you still don't get it after reading below, that's okay. You probably have to be Canadian (perhaps even Quebec-Canadian) to completely understand. Just know that I'm happy being a Canuck, and particularly, a Montrealer, and it's nothing against your fine (but troubled) nation.


You're Canadian

Big deal
You’re Canadian
Travel anywhere in the world at a whim
They treat you extra nice
You’re not American
They take it on first blush that you’re polite

But since you asked me
What matters most, I’ll tell ya:
I wanna be
Playing pickup hockey on an outdoor rink in St-Henri
I wanna be
Sipping IPAs on the terrasse at a Brasserie
I wanna be somewhere I’m free

Big deal
You’re multicultural
Too many syllables and what does it get you?
So what if Sikhs
Can wear their turbans
While they’re working on the job in the RCMP?


So I’m glad
I’m Canadian
Even though the winters are truly atrocious
Cause just surviving that
Taught us tolerance
You can't make it alone; pioneering ain't an option

But since you asked me
What matters most, I’m thinking:
I wanna be
Playing pickup hockey on a frozen pond in Randboro, yeah
I wanna be
Swimming in a clear lake at a Gatineau cottage, yeah
I wanna be
Watching the parade in Montreal on St Paddy’s Day
Don’t wanna be
Stuck under the heel of the zealots in the GOP
I wanna be somewhere I’m free

- 30 -

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ottawa has the SSHITs: Toronto Star

You better not squeal
You better tells lies
You better not counter
The government line
Stephen Harper's clamping you down...
(Sung to the tune of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town")

Seems our Super-Secret Harper Imitation Tories are at it again, working for the old clampdown to stifle an Ottawa scientist whose fictional book has them running scared:
Shortly before Tushingham was due to give a luncheon speech in Ottawa about his novel — a futuristic account of Canada and the U.S. at war over water resources in a globally warmed world — he received an email from the environment minister's office, warning him not to attend the event.

Paradoxically, the incident takes place during the same week the Conservatives unveiled new "whistleblower" protection, designed to shield outspoken public servants from intimidation and threats to their livelihood.

Also yesterday, the government said it was axing 15 research programs related to the Kyoto climate-change protocol and aimed at reducing the greenhouse gases thought to cause global warming.

Paradoxically indeed...

Of course Harper is shocked shocked shocked, as is his Communications Director Sandra (who me?) Buckler, telling reporters there was no directive from the top to silence this author. But go read the whole story; this isn't an isolated incident.

- 30 -