Category Archives: Media

commercial breaks

Commercials. They’re not about jingles anymore.

Okay, local ads are still about jingles. And are all the better for it.

But in the big-money world of national advertising, it seems never again will we hear stubbornly catchy tunes like this:

Today, advertisers prefer licensing a known quantity over nurturing a new one. After all, it’s easier to throw money at a favourite song than to commission a snappy song about Apple’s latest product.And artists, publishers and labels are only too happy to play along. Hence, decades after Lust for Life disappeared from the public consciousness, Iggy Pop was able to count it as a hit, thanks to licensing deals for films as well as a TV commercial. Did it matter that a song about heroin and debauchery was being used to encourage people to go on a pleasure cruise?

Maybe. Maybe that was the idea. I’ve never been on one of those cruises. Continue reading

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silent screams

“You can’t possibly listen to all of those!”

I think of that oft-repeated comment of my Dad’s each time I survey my record collection. Of course, said collection was much smaller then. Yet, despite my repeated insistence to the contrary, I must confess I do not listen to all of those records. I have LPs and 45s that have not been played in years — perhaps decades. Moreover, my record collection contains items that have never graced my turntable. Not once. Some likely never will. A few are still sealed.

And yet, only recently I added John and Yoko’s second Unfinished Music album to the pile. I have no intention of playing it anytime soon. If ever. And then there’s Bloodrock’s second album, the one with D.O.A. My earliest childhood memories include hearing that song on local radio and being rather terrified by it. I will never play Bloodrock 2, but it’s useful to keep your enemies close.

Sometimes it’s also useful to embrace an important-if-harrowing record like Rhoda’s 1982 single, The Boiler. Even if you’ll never play it. Continue reading


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on the couch

Enter the second round of the NHL playoffs. Excitement is not the word for it.

But I like to think we’ve all learned a few things from watching the first round.

Things like, um…

The Canadian Armed Forces totally rock!

Referees do not. Continue reading

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the dawn of a q era

It was, CBC Radio never tired of telling us in recent weeks, a landmark moment.

Monday, the network’s troubled program Q was reborn. As q.

It’s a subtle distinction, but suffice it to say this version of the network’s money-maker is less violent and more respectful towards women. Not respectful enough to hire one as host. But damn if that Shad isn’t likable. And, it turns out, a decent interviewer. I suggested in a previous post that the show should have died with the its former host’s career. However, Shad’s debut suggests there may be life left in the humbled hipster haven. Continue reading

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shattering mainstream experience

“So mainstream, there’s a hip hop song about it.”

That’s how a CBC Radio reporter referred to shatter, the latest “in” drug with a lame nickname, on this, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Not just a song, or even a popular song. It is considered significant that shatter is the subject of a hip hop song.

From which I, as a listener, naturally discerned three things. Continue reading

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