Last night’s Jack White gig was, predictably, excellent but it was a very different gig to the last time we saw him. And not just because it was an outdoor venue. Not one to simply wander out on stage and play a bunch of tracks from his latest album, White and his band played a raucous set that jumped from The White Stripes to The Raconteurs to his solo work and back to The White Stripes. Every song was tweaked and rearranged (and seemed to end about three times) until they were almost unrecognisable. The end result was a loud, energetic and at times chaotic show that left us smiling and humming Seven Nation Army, still not quite able to believe the record company were reluctant to release it as a single. There was even a theremin! Not only White on top form, but he was supported by Curtis Harding, who was also fantastic. I can usually take or leave supporting acts but Harding played a great set and had us tapping our feet and heading to iTunes to check out his albums. All in all, a great evening that made the forty minute walk to get to the venue well worthwhile. [Jack White at Deer Lake Park by … Read More
I’m reaching that age where my idols from my formative years are running out of money (or just getting bored) and need to step back into the limelight to refill their coffers (or just entertain themselves). The latest of these nostalgia pimps is the Monty Python crew. The first of their Monty Python Live (mostly) shows sold out in 43 seconds and they eventually added 9 more dates. With the shows being in London, attending in person was never an option but Cineplex ran it as part of their Front Row Centre series. We’ve been to a couple of Front Row Centre events before – the Benedict Cumberbatch & Jonny Lee Miller/Jonny Lee Miller & Benedict Cumberbatch performances of Frankenstein. It’s a great way to see otherwise inaccessible shows although you don’t get the same atmosphere as a true live performance. Monty Python was actually a bit before my time (honest) but I grew up in a house of fans and the classic lines were a part of our shared vocabulary. In fact, it wasn’t until I discovered Monty Python that I actually knew where these in-jokes came from. Even then, my Monty Python viewing has mostly been limited to the movies (particularly Holy Grail and Life of Brian). That, coupled with the mixed … Read More
Neil Gaiman is coming to Vancouver today. I have tickets. That is all.
Time flies when you’re living in a self-imposed creative wasteland. It’s been three months since my last real update and since then I’ve been to several plays including two musicals, seen a couple of fantastic musicians live listened to a lot of great new music, backed loads of kickstarter projects, watched some hockey but not as much as I would have liked, eaten in some nice restaurants, injured my foot, run a marathon and signed up for a second one, watched some really good films (and awesome videos), seen the batmobile, read some great books and a lot of short stories but written nothing. The Evil Dead Claim Another Victim* However, a couple of weeks ago we went away to Desolation Sound for a short break to recharge and I ended up writing the first drafts of a couple of new stories – This is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For and Artificial Wife. Desolation Sound That burst of creativity (and the amazing location) swept away the cobwebs and since then I’ve been masterminding a plan to get writing back into my regular schedule. The first step was to clear out all my almost finished stories so I’ve spent the last few days revising Origami Man, Rainshine and … Read More
Last week was pretty much overwhelmed by my day job – lots of late evenings trying to keep all the plates spinning. As a result running and writing both fell by the wayside and that’s going to continue to be the case for the next couple of weeks while we finish off our latest title and get a couple of new projects fired up. Wednesday was the exception though; we braved the Vancouver rain to see William Gibson at the latest Incite event at the Vancouver Public Library. Okay, so it’s only about four blocks from home so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice, but still…rain. Incite is a series of literary events organised by the Vancouver International Writers Festival and they’re free, which meant getting there early to make sure we got a decent seat – in this case a prime position in the second row. Mr Gibson was there to promote his latest book – Distrust That Particular Flavor – a collection of non-fiction essays culled from magazines, websites and speeches. He read a short chapter from the book in between questions from the VIWF Artistic Director, Hal Wake, and the audience. Topics ranged from his reluctance to publish non-fiction to the appeal … Read More
Busy week this week. On Wednesday we went to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert. The tickets were an early Christmas present from my wife but neither of us really knew what we were going to see. It turned out to be a really fun show; a mix of stories by Stuart McLean and music by Hawksley Workman. The Vinyl Cafe stories feature record store owner Dave, his wife Morley, their two children and in the case of the three stories Stuart McLean read on Wednesday, some ferrets, a car wash and a hockey game. The stories reminded me a bit of old British comedy shows – there’s an innocence to them that you don’t see very often any more. Don’t get me wrong, I like the sophistication of today’s comedy (the good shows anyway) but it was fun to just sit back and be entertained by some good old fashioned fun. I ended up buying Hawksley’s latest CD – Full Moon Eleven – and I have it playing now. His website says his music defies category and I have to agree so I’m not going to try to describe it. Instead, you can listen to his music on YouTube. This … Read More
Last night Ann and I spent a very entertaining evening at a puppet show. Yes…a puppet show. I know that doesn’t sound very rock n roll but these are post-apocalyptic puppets so it’s okay. Ronnie Burket controls and voices all the marionettes in this one man show featuring a blind woman – Penny Plain – and a bizarre mix of survivalists, a serial killer, a cross-dressing banker, talking dogs and mysterious strangers seeking sanctuary from the apocalypse. The marionettes are incredible, and it’s a wildly entertaining show – funny, strange and sad. If you get the chance to see it, I highly recommend it. For Vancouverites it’s on at the Cultch for a few more days and you can order tickets here. I also got the corrections to The Z Word and a new bio off to the editor of So Long, and Thanks for All the Brains. Today, I want to finish F Bomb. Definitely. No excuses. Honest.
At some point this blog will stop being about events I’ve attended. But not today. I got into Goth music by accident in my late teens and it quickly became the soundtrack to my life and although I have somewhat more varied tastes these days, Goth is still where my heart is. Bauhaus – one of the first British goth bands – were a key part of that soundtrack and although they split up years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to see them on a couple of reunion tours and still listen to their music. So, when I heard that Bauhaus lead singer, Peter Murphy was coming to town, along with LA based She Wants Revenge I had to go. She Wants Revenge set list The evening was actually a double headliner show with She Wants Revenge also playing pretty much a full set. I’ve seen them in Vancouver before and liked them enough to buy both their albums. They’ve got a bit of a British Goth feel to them that appeals to me and I’m obviously not alone – they had a lot of very vocal fans in the audience last night and it was a great start to the evening. They mixed in some … Read More
Chuck Palahniuk’s advance for Fight Club was just $7000 dollars and both the film and the book were failures. At least initially. That’s two of the things I learned at the Chuck Palahniuk reading on Wednesday. I also learned that he likes to throw candy at his audience and I mean at, not to. The event was part of the Vancouver International Writers Festival and if you live in or near Vancouver, it’s well worth keeping an eye on their website – they bring some great authors to their annual festival in October and other events throughout the year. Chuck’s visit kicked off with a limited signing for people who had bought one of the one hundred book-and-event tickets that were available. I was lucky enough to be able to get one so I arrived early, got my copy of Damned inscribed and a couple of photos and then sat down and waited for the reading to start. I’m Damned It was obvious the evening was going to be special when Chuck came on stage, explained how important it was to pay attention and then proceeded to throw candy around the packed theatre. And this wasn’t small candy either, it was … Read More
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are the Sonny and Cher of our generation. But one’s a writer. Okay, maybe not Sonny and Cher. Bonnie and Clyde perhaps? Traveling the country robbing people’s hearts? No, given their sometimes morbid artistic sensibilities, dying in a hail of bullets might be an appropriate end to their careers but that would be a terrible waste. Sid and Nancy? Closer, but no. Mulder and Scully? No…William and Kate? No, definitely not. Brad and Ang…okay, this isn’t working. I’ll start again… I first discovered Neil Gaiman in the pages of the Sandman comics (thanks to my comic shop owning friend). From then on I was hooked and American Gods is still one of my favourite novels. Neil’s one of my literary heroes and I eagerly devour every book and every blog he writes. I was fortunate enough to see him when he visited Vancouver on his Anansi Boys tour. He was funny and entertaining and after I’d waited for two hours to get my books signed I couldn’t think of anything to say to him. I first discovered Amanda Palmer as one half of The Dresden Dolls (thanks to Caitlin R Kiernan’s blog). From then on I was hooked … Read More