August 2009

New

Lots of that going around. I’m sure I’m not the first to ruminate about change and all of that, in fact I’m reasonably certain it’s a subject that is no small stranger to these parts.

I’m often curious to whether or not at a young age I was blessed with that the most vicious of Chinese curses.

You know the one.

“May you live in interesting times.”

It is intended as a curse actually. That’s the urban legend around it, first of three, the worst in severity being “May you find what you are looking for”.

Random though of the day that’s not quite so random, I now accept that U2 has sold out. The dream is over and they’re hocking blackberries, throw a flower in a river for them, it’s dead and their new album is the musical equivalent of sour pablum that has been buried an a metric tonne of sugar in an attempt to mask the bitter taste.

Back to change though, although U2’s fall from brilliance could easily enough fit with this theme well enough I suppose.

One of the things that I am most grateful for in my life is the fact that the vast majority of the time, if I take a look back at the previous year of my life, I am unfailingly amazed at the wildly unpredictable ways in which life has turned. The older I get the more sure I am that I have thus far managed to avoid “the formula.”

What’s the formula you ask?

I suppose the best word to describe the formula would be submission. Acceptance that things are about as good as they can get (even if they aren’t all that good) and that the quest for forward momentum can safely be abandoned for stasis.

Which of course, deserves a definition…

sta·sis \sta-s?s, noun
sta·ses
New Latin, from Greek
act or condition of standing, stopping, from histasthai to stand — more at stand
Date: 1745
1: a slowing or stoppage of the normal flow of a bodily fluid or semifluid: as a: slowing of the current of circulating blood b: reduced motility of the intestines with retention of feces
2 a: a state of static balance or equilibrium : stagnation b: a state or period of stability during which little or no evolutionary change in a lineage occurs

Which is the perfect word really, no movement, no evolution, just a spectacular and usually fatal retention of shit.

Stopping.

Hell no.

From my balconies and rooftops it’s always seemed to me the stealthiest of afflictions. It introduces itself under the false name of a simple rest or a break, but then it takes hold, Silently and slowly suffocating all will to continue to push until all that’s left is a tired carcass and memories that have largely been remolded to suit a more romantic and soothing history of it’s victim.

When I was a kid, I started to people-watch. I would just sit and watch and learn.

Over the years I have maintained that habit, underground and above ground, from all sorts of altitudes and vantage points, and one of the few things that I have learned is this…

Inside all of us is an ember. It’s always there but how bright or intensely it smolders depends entirely on how much attention we choose to pay it. As children that ember can fuel countless adventures and flights of imaginary fancy. As youth, it can light a blaze of rebellion, and for many that is where the attention they pay to their ember fades, and with it, so does the ember. As adults, some people get so distracted to the banalities of life that they forget about their embers entirely, and that’s where life becomes more about following a formula as opposed to actually living it, the actions become routine and lose all meaning, they are only preformed because of a vague notion that’s what should be done.

To hell with that.

I like my ember, and it feeds me just as much as I feed it. I used to worry about losing it, but I’m not all that worried now.

Maybe I’m just feeling a little less alone, but it’s good to get out into the world and see all the other embers running about.

In a sea of coal, it’s easy to see them, you just have to know to look.

Moral of the story? I can still tell those that I choose to go to hell with the same righteous indignation when it is warranted that I could ten years ago, and I intend to do it for another 10.

At least.

Probably more.

I hope, when it’s warranted, that you can too.

Enough of that though, it’s a beautiful day outside and I have a balcony with my name on it. Been a while since I deliberately set aside some time to watch the world, even if it is largely wild rabbits and clouds. I had a plan to rectify that and it may be time to revisit the strategy sessions of those faraway communist beaches.

Although it just occurs to me that I don’t remember seeing or hearing of any rabbits there…

Monkeys though, so still a definite win.

A Lighter Note

Having abandoned all hopes of a financially viable “career” in music, while not abandoning the music, I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to make my entire back catalog available for download, free of charge. It’s all in the “music” or “media” sections of the respective sites.

The bottom line is this…

If someone has enjoyed anything that I’ve written or recorded enough to the point that they choose to make it a part of the soundtrack of their lives, well that’s pretty damn cool in my mind. So enjoy if you can, hand them off to all of your friends, or don’t. Either way, I’ll still be writing and recording, even if the only time the songs are heard is as I play them to fall asleep to.

The mellower ones I mean. I can’t imagine anyone falling asleep to “Born To Lose”

The Shit List

(another pseudo monthly segment I will in all likelihood forget about after a few installments).

I had almost forgotten!

#5 – Reactionary white people who get upset about the first nations refusal to allow their land to be paved over to accommodate the ring road. The reserve has been there since 1877, so city planners have had more than a century to plan out how to deal with the cities growth. The fact that over a centuries worth of planners and leaders have refused to acknowledge that it may not be a smart assumption to think that when the time came the natives would just hand the land over. The ring road failed because rich white people couldn’t look forward past their next election to plan ahead. Period. Go be pissed of at them.

#4 – Calgary drivers. Particularly those who speed through playground zones filled with kids. I’m working on plans for you bastards in particular. Nuff said.

#3 – Anyone who goes on a “American Idol” type show and then tries to call themselves an artist. There are artists and there are entertainers and then there are media whores. People who appear on shows like “American Idol” are just below that last category.

#2 – Rick Campanelli – Being the host of “E” is reason enough, but having accidentally heard his voiceover work on an “E” story only adds to the damage this guy is doing to the collective unconscious. This guy used to be a MuchMusic VJ back when Much was still about music, and now he’s full out whoring himself to everything that is unholy about the “entertainment” industry. He’s lower than a media whore, he’s more like the infected hypodermic left in the parking lot the media whore was just in.

#1 – U2, for reasons already covered. I’m just horrified enough to bring it up again one last time.

On The Way Out...

A little while ago at I show I had a stranger come up to me if I had ever heard of “Hard Core Logo”.

I of course said yes.

He then went on to tell me that I played guitar with such ferocity that I reminded him of Billy Talent the whole time. He wanted to be very clear that when he said Billy Talent, he wanted me to know that it was the guitar player from Hard Core Logo and not, “That lame radio friendly band”

His words, not mine.

Pretty much made my month though.

You know where to find me

Nate@natepike.com