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A New Year's post-mortem

Cover of Self-Loathing Comics #1, by R. Crumb. Click image for more information.
Image from the cover of Self-Loathing Comics #1, by R. Crumb. Published by Fantagraphics Books. Click image for full cover.

It's a sobering fact that Neil Young manages to make records faster than I can absorb them, and that Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes books faster than I can fucking read them.

As John Lennon put it, "And so happy Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over ..."

Am I going to manage to do something with the new year just begun?

A look at what Young Geoffrey has left undone. If you're not interested, just skip to the video below. Emmy the Great is exactly what Emma-Lee Moss wrote on the tin when she was young and un-selfconscious. )

"You say you love me like a sister
Then you walk me to the cafe
where the drinks cost more than music ..."

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Clouds so swift, Putin comin' on

But I ain't goin' nowhere ...

"Right now, Senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war, against Syria and Russia. [long pause] That's a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I'm not going to make." — General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Chair Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 22, 2016.

Really people, you need to get a fucking grip!

Yes, rumour has it that LiveJournal's servers have (finally) been moved to Russia. (Click here for a relatively dispassionate over-view.) I suspect it's even true. But I am downright embarrassed by the number of you otherwise intelligent people who seem to have bought, hook line and proverbial sinker, the American establishment's Putin is the next Hitler meme.

I mean, dear god, this is all just (a very small) part of the demonization of a traditional enemy by a faction in the United States that has just lost power to another faction. Why exactly the former (until recently fronted by Hillary Clinton) had as the centrepiece of its foreign policy an intention to risk war with the world's second most powerful nuclear state baffles, but that's what her no-fly policy in Libya amounted to.

Don't believe me? Maybe you'll believe the fucking Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

This isn't, I hasten to add, either an endorsement of the fascistic US President-elect, or of Russia's autocratic (at best) strongman, but rather a reminder that both official sides of the American establishemt are lying to you, and have been lying to you about anything that matters, pretty much full-time for a long time.

Are Russian intelligence services going to spy on your LiveJournal posts? No doubt, especially if you post in Russian. And, no doubt, they've been doing it for a while. If you believe the Russians "hacked the US election" (as I know at least some of you do), then you can't possibly logically think they paid attention to US laws and left LJ posts sacrosanct because the servers were outside Russia's borders?

I mean, can you?

Well, maybe you can. #Election2016 turned an awful lot of liberals into melon-heads (no offence intended towards actual melons), at least when it comes to US and international politics, especially when it comes to matters of war and peace.

Anyway, to make a long story short: although I'm happy to have DreamWidth as a back-up — and have used it as my primary posting platform for some years now; and in fact just paid for another year's membership — I'm not leaving LJ any time soon.

As my daddy told back in the infancy of teh interwebs, "Never put in an email [or anywhere else online] anything you wouldn't be willing to see on the front page of The New York Times.

Move to DreamWidth if you want (and I'll happily grant you access there/here, if you still want me around after this rant), but if you think your privacy is significantly more secure there than it is on LJ, you are — to be polite about it — living in a fucking DreamWorld.

That's it. Here, have a video from one of the best song-writers and musicians of our age.

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Nobody suggested that I do the fandom meme, but I took note of it on (guess who!) Sabotabby's Livejournal some time ago and thought it might be fun. And maybe, again, a way to kickstart this blog. (And nobody wants to hear about how I-can't-power-off-my-mobile-and-I-think-it's-broken-and-I-haven't-even-finished-paying-for-it-yet do they?)

So fandoms.

Shit. First of all, I deny that I even have a fandom (singular), let alone more than one. Sure, I tend to write about Doctor Who a little more than most people, but I'm engaging in a critical dialogue with pop culture itself, damn it!

Or maybe not. Onwards.

To meme or not to meme? Your click will kill the cat - or not )

Your favourite film watched this year?

Short version: I hardly watched any full-length movies in 2013, and none of them were really good. )

Your favourite book read this year?

Think you can't be shocked? Think again! )

Your favourite album or song to listen to this year?

Old white guy and young Oriental woman, oh yeah! )

Your favourite TV show of the year?

The good, the bad and Jane Austen's revenge. )

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

Do you really have to ask? )

Your TV boyfriend of the year?

It's kind of cheating, but I'm going with Troy and Abed from Community, even if I have to reach back to 2012 for examples of their awesomeness.

Your TV girlfriend of the year?

Last Tango's Nicola Walker as Caroline. Who knew I'd fall in love with a sheep farmer?

Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Cheating again. The best Doctor Who multi-doctor Episode of all time. Seriously. And it's in Spanish. (And I"m done, so I'll leave you with them.

Steven Moffat, take a fucking lesson. Please.

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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!

July 2017

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