Category Archives: Media

selfie awareness

I am disappointed to see that Selfie, the generic dance tune by the Calgary-based DJ duo The Chainsmokers, has stalled in its assault on the Canadian pop chart. Worse, it is slipping down the American Billboard chart, its return to obscurity imminent.

Not that I care for the Valley Girl for a new generation any more than I cared for, say, Valley Girl. But I respect an artist willing to take a chance on a shameless cash-in, the better to cheapen an already overripe fad. By selling-out so effectively, The Chainsmokers have joined the pantheon of pop-music opportunists, their song destined to remain in our hearts every bit as long as did The Streak, Pac-Man Fever, Fuddle-Duddle, Where’s the Beef? and Who Shot J.R.? Oh and Valley Girl. Continue reading

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sound and vision

“I don’t think I could even name a Canadian music video.”

So stated a barista at my neighbourhood coffee shop this week. A gentle reminder, not that one was needed, of how the Much have fallen.

And reason enough, me thoughts, to accept an invitation from Louis Calabro’s people to chat with the man who, when not supervising the recently held Canadian Screen Awards, has been busy preparing for Sunday’s Prism Prize gala. Well, not so much a gala, as a get-together — to celebrate outstanding achievement in the field of excellence in Canadian music videos. Continue reading

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the delicate art of booing

Sunday’s the day. Freshly healed from an injury that kept him out of action for last week’s loss to his former team, Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson is set to return to Ottawa. It’s good news for the Senators, as the Red Wings appear to be the only team our troubled local heroes can reliably beat. And it’s good news for Ottawans, who will finally have a chance to greet the prodigal winger and to celebrate his contributions to your Ottawa Senators.

There will be a tribute to the former captain whose ship has since his abandonment struggled to navigate choppy waters. Expect thunderous applause. And booing. Continue reading

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a bad rap

Some years ago, at an outdoor festival on Randall Island in New York City, I had the misfortune of observing Bo Diddley’s attempt at rapping. Now, as the ads demonstrated, Bo Diddley was capable of a great many things. Hiphop, it turns out, was not one of them. This, despite the fact that Bo’s classic 1955 recording I’m a Man is pretty much a rap number.

Well, yesterday, a rather fun piece in the Huffington Post began to make the rounds on the Facebook and elsewhere. “Worst Rap Songs by White Non-Rappers,” it’s called, a supposedly ‘definitive’ list from Ottawa expat Joshua Ostroff in response to recent rapping missteps by Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. (Surprising, really, that media are not willing to take those two artists seriously as rappers.) Said list, we’re told, was assembled via the sort of intrepid research that is a few minutes’ worth of combing YouTube. And yes, there are some pretty awful examples of rap among its 30 entries. Continue reading

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Elwy Yost is dead

First, all hail Patti Smith.

And Lenny Kaye, whose Nuggets subset Wednesday provided a highlight of a set that as per usual with Ms. Smith, featured no lowlights. Politics, poetry and pop, perfected. Moreover, she carried on a long-running folk festival tradition by encouraging audience participation. And let me say, I’ve heard many Folkfest audiences over the years sound like a pack of howling wild dogs. This time, thanks to Patti Smith, it was intentional.

Heck, I even came face to face with the artist for a second time, as she passed through the crowd. This time, I kept my mouth shut. Another special moment, not ruined.

But while one living legend continues to go from strength to strength, let us pause to reflect on the loss of another. Continue reading

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