Hello, kids, and welcome to another entry of the Phile. How's it going? Let's start off with great news... Great Britain's Princess Kate and Prince William are expecting a baby. The bad news: Prince Harry is already planning a huge baby shower in Vegas. One day that child could grow up to be one of the most powerful unemployed people in the world. Happy be-lated birthday to Britney Spears, who is now 31 years old. At her birthday party, all her family and friends got together and lip-synched "Happy Birthday." President Clinton and President Obama played a round of golf over the weekend. President Clinton asked Obama what his handicap was, and Obama said, "Joe Biden." Are you kids scared off the fiscal cliff thing? I'm worried about the fiscal cliff in the same way I'm worried about Martians. Every now and then I look for them but I don't know what I'll do when I see them. I said happy belated birthday to Britney Spears, but today is Walt Disney's birthday. If Disney saw Disney right now he would shit bricks, shoot himself, then realize he's already dead and face palm. LOL. Just kidding, Disney is the greatest company to work for... EVER! The latest Batman movie, Dark Knight Rises just came out on DVD and Blu-ray and they have a deleted scene from the film. If you didn't buy it yet, I have a screen shot of it.
That ending would of been cool. So, I mentioned Disney just now, and the new poster they just released is kinda odd.
It's true though. Have you seen the new NFL poster they just put out?
I don't get it. I'll have to ask Jeff in a minute. Well, Christmas is around the corner and I know some of you kids are having a hard time finding something to buy for your family or friends, so once again, I am here to help.
This one I want.
As your child grows older, it is important to diversify his or her sci-fi interests to avoid causing series burn out. That's why the Ride-In Dalek is a perfect gift for any child with friends who are starting to ride around in GI Joe or Barbie Jeeps. They'll still have a cool ride to play with their friends, but they won't be stuck with those generic and mindless childhood classics either. You can buy it for me right here: thinkgeek.com. And yes, I would find a way to ride in it.
Any James Bond movie worth a damn gives you the entire candy store, the whole pop culture checklist: a breathlessly tense preliminary battle followed by a wavy-hazy-lady opening credits sequence (and title song preferably performed by whichever version of Shirley Bassey is currently having her moment... in this case Adele, and rightly so), exotic locations, timely political menace and less timely sexual politics, the threat of extinction and Bond's superhero capacity for bottom-of-the-ninth triumph, tricks, gadgets, cars, speed, suits, perversity, effortlessness. If Stefon from SNL's "Weekend Update" were announcing a new club called SKYFALL that's "got everything," it'd be this movie. It leaps above and beyond, ranking as not only the best of the Daniel Craig films but one of the best of the entire 23-movie run. But I lied about effortlessness. Bond, here, is anything but. He's straining. He's unhappy. He's out-of-shape (well, by Bond standards, at least). He's wrung out. At the starting bell he's presumed deceased and probably wishes he'd stayed there, seemingly annoyed with himself for failing to genuinely die before he got old. Pushed back into service to figure out who's Internet-terrorizing MI6, the path leads him to places he's not sure he wants to go. His stations of the cross involve his complex relationship with the equally unsettled and beleaguered M (Judi Dench), his murky past, his own neuroses and fears of irrelevance and, best of all, the slippery menace of Javier Bardem as the most flamboyantly funny, creepy and terrifying Bond lunatic in recent memory. This guy's entrance scene alone should win him some kind of award, even if it's just one of those fake popcorns that MTV hands out. Framing this battle at every turn is director Sam Mendes and his second set of eyes, the wizardly cinematographer Roger Deakins. Together they've created the most beautifully deep focus context for Bond yet, pushing and pulling him into landscapes that overwhelm him: high rises, speeding trains, crowd-crushed marketplaces, drowning lakes, martini-filled casinos and giant lizard pits that each promise the physically compromised spy nothing less than the most cinematically gorgeous sort of doom. And it's reactionary, crackling with a tingling fear of its own demise. Not just as subtext, either. When a Bond movie's universe has to play catch-up to the current moment, when young people and their new-fangled technology (whether employed for good or evil) are problems to be solved, when the story is forced to question its heroes' efficacy in the face of a changing world of espionage and feels the need to overtly side with old-fashioned methods of dealing with trouble, when its characters have to invoke the accumulated knowledge and spirit of its own brutishly dominant "Mad Men"-era origins, you know that Bond has taken a turn. Whether it's a u-turn toward the comfortably, pleasurably retro or just a dog-legged lurch into an unformed future is anyone's guess for now. But the trip... and all of its backward-glance nostalgia... is worth it if it means more scenes of Judi Dench constructing and hurling nail bombs at the attacking hordes. It simply gets a 10! Happy 50th anniversary, Bond.
Okay, we all know the world is supposed to end in a few weeks because the Mayans said so. Those Mayans are smart, and have all kind of advice, and stuff. So, I thought I would welcome back a friend of the Phile for some more Mayan advice. Please welcome to back to the Phile...
Me: Hello, Marvin, welcome back to the Phile. So, what advice do you have for us today?
Marvin: Nya b’a’n tu’n toc tjemin jun tx’yan, ku’n nlay mojin tuc’iy aj ticy’x k’on tib’aj k’ak’.
Me: That's great, but once again, we don't understand. In English, please.
Marvin: It is not good to hit a dog because it will no longer help you in case you need to pass the flames of a fire.
Me: I have no idea what that means, but maybe one of my readers will. Thanks, Marvin. Marvin the Modern Day Marvin, kids. And now one of the most popular pheatures on the Phile. He's a singer, surfer, renaissance man and friend of the Phile. Please welcome back, or friend Laird Jim in a pheature we call...
Random thought of the day... Why is it that when you have to use the restroom people insist on stopping you to talk? You don't wish to be short... but you HAVE to be... then they sense you're not interested and keep going on even longer. It's torture... While at the market a few moments ago, I noticed a nasty little man in the checkout line giving the girl at the register a hard time. It would seem she wasn't moving quickly enough for him. I asked him what his first job was out of high school. He answered, "McDonalds." I then asked if he enjoyed being rushed by rude jerkoffs waiting on a Big Mac. He said, "No... I just ignored them." I then informed him that he could either say he was sorry to the woman or be dragged outside by his '70s porn star mustache and have the snot beat out of him by me. He said he was very sorry, she smiled, I went to my car and phoned my therapist to make an appointment for next Tuesday. She misses me anyway.
Thanks, Laird, good job. Alright, kids, it's Wednesday, and every Wednesday I invite my good friend Jeff to the Phile to talk football in a pheature I call...
Me: Jeff, how are you doing? Welcome back. So, what's the news this week in the NFL world?
Jeff: My pleasure to drop some NFL news on you. The news isn't good as a Kansas City Chief linebacker killed his girlfriend then drove to the stadium and killed himself in front of his coach and owner. They decided to play on Sunday and won an emotional game. Two of the teams with the worst records actually won this week. So that's kind of exciting. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffth III both continue to impress as do other rookie quarterbacks.
Me: That's crazy news about that player. I almost was gonna say something in the Some Phamous Has Died pheature, but decided against it. Okay, last week you were up by 7, Jeff. How far did I catch up, or did I?
Jeff: The good news for you is I only won a game this week. Bad news? You went 0-3 with a Giants lose and a Steelers win so I extended my lead to 10 points! Revenge is in my grasp!
Me: Ten?! Ten? Ten?! There's no way I can win this year. Ten?!
Jeff: There is plenty of time, so you can still win. Every week you can earn up to 10 points!
Me: Okay, I have faith then. Let's do this week's picks. I say the Jets will win by 1... Yes, the Jets will win. Panthers by 6, and Houston by 14. What do you say, Jeff?
Jeff: I say Colts by 7, Rams by 3 and Denver by 14.
Me: Alright, before you go, did you see the NFL poster I showed earlier, I don't get it. Who is it, and what does it mean?
Jeff: It's Robert Griffth III, Redskins rookie Quarterback. He fumbled near the end zone and he recovered for a touchdown last week versus your Giants.
Me: Oh... shit. Alright, and the Giants lost by one point. One point, damn it! I'll calm down. Jeff, there's not gonna be a Phile next Wednesday so I will see you here a week from Sunday. Take care, and see you then.
Jeff: See you on next Sunday!
Me: Hey, guys, welcome to the Phile... Adam, you for the third time and Anna, for the first time. How are you both?
Anna: Hello! Nice to meet you, Jason! I'm a teensy bit under the weather at the moment, but in good spirits and definitely on the mend.
Adam: I'm doing great!
Me: Anna, are you from Canada as well as Adam? What part?
Anna: Yes, I'm also from Canada. I was born in Toronto, moved around the country a bit, and am now back in Toronto. However, when I play with The Rest, I try to channel my inner Hamiltonian. Stainless steel is one of my favourite materials, and Hamilton is known (in Ontario, at least) for its steel mills, so I like to think that my love of steel helps me fit in.
Me: Anna, did you know a Anna Jarvis founded Mother's Day?
Anna: Yes, that was me. A couple of years ago I perfected my time machine, and the first thing I used it for was the founding of Mother's Day. Actually, I've looked into that other Anna Jarvis a little bit, and her involvement in the popularization of Mother's Day in North America. I really like the fact that that Anna Jarvis was all about keeping the celebration simple and focused on people rather than stuff.
Me: Okay, Adam knows this, but every time I interview a guest from Canada I ask them if they are fans of one of my favorite bands, who are also from Canada... Barenaked Ladies. Are you a fan of there's, Anna?
Anna: Well, when I first started teaching myself how to play the bass, one of the first songs I tried out as a study in how to write bass lines was "If I Had a Million Dollars".
Me: Adam, by the way, did you see I interviewed Kevin Hearn from BNL?
Adam: I didn't. I have a friend that's done some shows with him recently. I'll have to check it out!
Me: I interviewed another musician from Canada, twice in fact... Christine Leakey. I think you guys know her, right?
Adam: Yes, Christine's a great artist. She's from Hamilton too, so we run into her sometimes.
Me: Anna, how long have you known Adam?
Anna: I've known Adam for... gosh, it must be about 6 or 7 years now. I met Adam when he was doing an atonal soundscape jam with Jordan (also of The Rest) at Jordan's school (The Ontario College of Art and Design Univeristy, a.k.a. OCADU). At the same show, my brother and I were doing electroacoustic cello and percussion manipulations with our father, who teaches at OCADU. My brother and I both just happened to be at home that weekend, so our dad invited us along at the last minute to take part in the experimental sound art fun. The Rest's first album, "Atlantis, Oh Our Saviour", was being recorded at that point, and Adam and Jordan thought it might be nice to include some cello on a track or two, so we exchanged emails. I ended up playing on several tracks on the first album, then started playing at The Rest's shows. By the time The Rest got around to writing and recording a second album, I had started attending rehearsals as well as shows, and was starting to feel like a full-fledged member of the band.
Me: I am gonna put you two on the spot, by the way. Anna, if I was gonna ask Adam any question, what should it be? And vice versa, Adam?
Anna: Hmm, well, Adam knows more about baseball than anyone else I know, so how about asking him what the chances are of the Jays having a season like 92-93 any time this decade?
Adam: After their most recent trade, I'd say this year!
Me: By the way, you can each ask me a question... if you want.
Anna: If you find yourself in Toronto or Hamilton some time soon, would you play croquet with me?
Me: Sure, Anna. I never played, so it'll be fun, til I get injured. LOL.
Adam: What motivates you to interview artists? You're quite detailed and thoughtful (which isn't always the case), so I would assume you would have some drive behind that.
Me: Thanks, Adam. I love music and there's so many good bands and musicians out there who deserve to be interviewed, and get their name out. Let's talk about the latest release, Adam, and that is "SEESAW", spelt with all capital letters. I love that album. How is it doing?
Adam: It's going great! We're in the process of making a video for every song on the record. First up was "Hey! For Horses": youtube.com/watch?v=EbzbwQAP6D8. We also just won a Hamilton Music Award for Record of the Year, which was a great experience. The show's going to be broadcast from coast to coast December 15th in Canada, so it was great to perform. We'll be working the record into 2013, and have started a followup already!
Me: I have to ask about the album cover with the circles. Who came up with that concept, and who are those kids on the beach?
Anna: When he isn't hitting things, Blake (our drummer) is a graphic designer. Blake came up with (and drew) the circle graphics. I'll let Adam tell you about the kids on the cover.
Adam: The kids on cover are actually my mother and two friends, taken in the 1950s. She had many of these slide photographs and I sent them all to Blake at his request. Thought he did an incredible job with it!
Me: Anna, last time Adam was here we talked about the time when you all thought the files of the songs from the album were lost. How did you find out this happened and what went through your mind?
Anna: Argh, the album loss. Jordan sent out an email to the band. I read his email 5 minutes after getting off the phone with my mechanic, who had just told me that my car needed some atrociously expensive work done on it in order for it to be safe to drive. A few days before that, my own computer had seemingly committed suicide, and I was unsure if I'd get any of the data on it back. Luckily I have a tendency to triple-back-up most important files, and my external hard drives were okay, but my computer had to be completely re-built, and was out of commission for over a month. I think I laughed whilst reading Jordan's email about the album loss... why not add another technological trial to the mechanical mayhem which had suddenly hijacked my life? I remember feeling frustrated and a bit helpless, but I knew that sulking wasn't going to help solve either my own techno troubles or the band's hard drive issues, so I tried to stay positive whilst exploring all reasonable recovery options.
Me: When they were recovered, what did you think? You kids must of celebrated, am I right?
Anna: The recovery was a slow, drawn-out process... it was almost half a year before the first file fragments were recovered, and then another 2 months of painstaking recovery work on Jordan's part before we were nearly back to where we had been before the hard drive decided to self-destruct. We broke out the champagne whilst listening to the first batch of vinyl test presses. However, that celebration only lasted for about 30 minutes, since we discovered that there were sound quality issues on the B side. After that, we received the first batch of CD's, which mysteriously played 10 tracks of static rather than the album. I don't think any of us really relaxed until after the release party... we were all on edge, remaining mentally prepared for another set-back at any moment.
Me: Alright, let's talk about the video for the song "Hey! For Horses". First of, what does the titles mean?
Anna: I think I'll let Adam answer this one on his own, since he named the song.
Adam: The song is about being trampled to death by horses, after trying to have a romantic endeavor in a barn. So, just a simple play on words that came to me while I was beating on the piano one day.
Me: Have you ever heard the rhyme that goes hay's for horses, pigs and cows, dogs don't eat it because they don't know how?
Anna: That rhyme sounds vaguely familiar; I suppose I may have come across it at some point before. I'd certainly heard the phrase “Hay's for Horses” before we started working on "Hey! For Horses".
Me: Okay, back to the video, Adam, explain the concept. There's puppets having sex, or phucking as I say on the Phile. Who came up with this concept?
Adam: I came up with the concept, which is basically a direct lift from the song meaning. It was Kori and Amber that made the video come to life though. No hesitation to take the video in the most weird and wonderful ways!
Q: Who are Kori and Amber?
Anna: Kori Pop and Amber Edgar. Kori storyboarded, directed and edited the video, as well as designing and building all the 2-D puppets and their paper world, and acting as the lead puppeteer. Amber designed and built the 3-D horses, and did all the filming (I guess that makes her Director of Photography?). Adam assisted during the first part of the shoot, and I assisted during the evening of the main day of shooting. I originally was just a self-appointed caterer for the shoot, but I ended up being allowed to hold light reflectors, build horse supports and even work a few puppet strings for some of the steamier scenes.
Me: Are they Canadian as well? What other stuff have they worked on?
Anna: Kori and Amber are both Hamilton-based Canadians as well. They are both massively talented ladies of many skills. Both are multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriters. You can check out their music at koripop.bandcamp.com/ and amberedgar.com. As well as writing, recording and performing their own music, Kori has made several puppet videos for her songs youtube.com/user/koripop, and Amber runs an art direction/graphic design company called Citizen (citizena.ca/). Oh, and here's a little bit of Restian trivia for you: Kori and Amber, along with one of the guys from New Hands (another excellent Hamilton-based band), graciously agreed to be my personal back-up singers for a live-off-the-floor video recording we did a couple of months ago for "Always On My Mind", another song on "SEESAW". It was both flattering and nerve-wracking to have people with serious vocal chops singing the harmonies I'd cobbled together for the shoot. You can watch that video here: youtube.com/watch?v=e6Jeb2faGCY.
Me: I had a member of New Hands on the Phile. You are gonna make a bunch more videos, right? How many are you planning on making?
Anna: The plan is to have a video for every song on the album. It's really exciting to see how other people visually interpret/respond to our music.
Me: Are you guys gonna be in them, or more puppets?
Anna: We've shot two other videos so far, and unless the directors decide to edit us out (it would probably be a kindness if they did... we specialize in being awkward in front of cameras), we'll appear in both of them. I'd love to have more puppet videos, though.
Me: I think you should make a video the same as the puppet video, but with real people. Whatcha think?
Anna: Ooh la la, that could be fun! It might be hard to find real live horses with magenta nostrils, though.
Adam: You never know... maybe some found footage...
Me: Thanks you two for being on the Phile. Both of you, please come back again. Any plans for releasing more music?
Anna: No! No more music ever again! It's all over, done, and overdone! Actually, I don't think any of us could ever stop making music. Music is an integral part of our lives. Thanks for having us on the Phile. It's a real pleasure to get to electronically chat with someone like you who asks such fun and focused questions.
Adam: Working on songs right now! Not sure when they'll be released, but hopefully soon. Always a pleasure being on the Phile!
Me: Oh, I have to ask you something... The picture of you guys with a smoking Hammond B3 tipped over... I think it was a Hammond. Anyway, when, where and why was that picture taken? What happened to that keyboard?
Anna: Oh, the organ... I really wish we'd taken a few colour photographs during that shoot. The organ wasn't just smoking... in fact, it had flames which were over 6 feet high in most of the pictures, but it just looks like smoke because they were shot on black and white film. At one point we were a little afraid that we might become infamous as The Band That Burnt Down Hamilton, but we manged to keep the flames under control. The organ originally belonged to a friend's grandmother. For several years The Rest took that organ to every show, but eventually it stopped working. We took it to many repair places, but no-one could fix it. The organ was taking up a lot of room in our rehearsal space, and the granny didn't want it back, so eventually we decided that the time had come to get rid of it. Taking it directly to the dump seemed somehow disrespectful, so instead we decided to give it a Viking Burial of sorts and document the event.
Me: Kids, mention your websites and like I said, you are always welcome here on the Phile. Take care.
Anna: People can track us down on twitter @therestband, tumblr
Well, kids, that's it for this entry. Thanks to my guests Laird Jim, Jeff Trelewicz, and of course Adam and Anna from The Rest. The Phile will be back on Friday, in two days, yes, another entry this week, with rapper Nick Carter Green. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.