1.0: Finding the culture-verse in an FM radio receiver
1.1: The kids today
Driving home yesterday, I did something I almost never do: being bored with CBC Radio and the Montreal AM sports station blathering on about something not hockey, I chanced upon a commercial music station and decided to give it a listen.
94.7 FM it was, "Montreal's Hit Music Channel".
What struck me first was that this station really plays pop hits, not just hits of a particular genre. 94.7 FM ain't a rock station, nor a pop station nor even a hip-hop station. It is all of the above, if I dare to judge by that hour and some minutes of exposure. The only thing missing was country (which has really been subsumed into rock anyway; Hank Williams wouldn't recognize today's "country" if it crooned at his 24 hours straight. But I digress).
The kids today, it seems, don't limit themselves to one particular style of
noise music, but are in fact one hell of a lot more catholic in their tastes that the radio of my era would have suggested.
And good on them; I guess the internet is good for something after all, eh?
1.2: Disco laughs last
That said, and though the technical merits of the music on offer were bloody slick, there was a sameness at the back of just about everything I heard, a monotonous back-beat that reminded me of the "sound" in the 80s when even really good drummers did their damnest to immitate drum machines.
Driving just about all the music I heard last night was a descendant of disco's throbbing dance-hall backbeat. I'm not saying there is nothing to distinguish between the pop songs and the rap tunes and the rock-and-roll on offer, but all three had clearly been infected by that which so many of us loudly said "sucked" way back in the day.
I guess people like to dance ...
1.3: The decline of Anglo Montréal (and the rise of a bilingual urban polity)
As you might have noticed above, 94.7 is an English-language radio station. Not so the ads. Like many of my Montréal-based passengers, the ads on 94.7 presume the audience is bilingual. At a guess, I'd say maybe a third of those I heard were in French, and French only.
Which is pretty god damned cool, when you think about it.
And which, as I alluded to above, matches my observation of the younger cohort among my Montréal-based crews. Those people, Anglo and Franco alike, are bilingual down to their genes, switching between languages while they talk without any hesitation, nor even, any apparent self-consciousness. Whatever works in the moment.
Dunno if the phenomenon will survive over the long term, but in the short one, it is a beautiful thing to witness.
* * *
2.0: Speaking ill of the dead
To completely change the subject, those of you who give a damn already know that Elisabeth Sladen — yes, Doctor Who's Sarah Jane Smith — dies nearly two years ago now.
What you might not know is that she wrote (or rather, she told her story to a hack) a memoir shortly before the cancer got her.
Fool that I am, I dared to hope that Lis Sladen might be even half as interesting as Sarah Jane was. Not quite. Elisabeth Sladen: the autobiography is really only going to be of interest to those who knew her work with the Third and Fourth Doctors, Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. That's what most of the book covers, but only superficially.
Anyway, my full review lives here and my intro to that piece is over here.
3.0 Music, music, (new) music!
Finally, for those of you who've slogged all the way through my meanderings, a reward. Gin Wigmore is a young(ish) Kiwi who has knocked my proverbial socks off like no one since Emmy the Great came to my cognizance maybe a half-year or so back.
Anyway, without further ado ... Sweet Hell with Gin Wigmore!