Monthly Archives: June 2002

   A few people down


A few people down at the Khyber Club were having a conversation about guilt. “Do you ever experience guilt?” a friend asked me.

“Nah,” I said (a couple of women looked at me as if to say, “You should”).

“Must be nice,” she said. “Why not?”

“Because I make the right decisions,” I replied.

But I’m going to be honest here. I never really experience guilt over all the minor scandals I’m involved in, mainly because something happened when I was a kid, and it made me feel so guilty I’ve never really had room to feel guilty about anything else. I’ve never told this story to anyone before, but here goes.

When I was in Grade Four, I had borrowed a friend’s slingshot during Social Studies class. I was kind of fooling around with it, and I had this Monopoly piece. It was shaped like a wheelbarrow. One of those little metal Monopoly tokens. I was thinking it would make a fine projectile.

My teacher was writing on the blackboard. On some weird impulse I pulled back the slingshot and fired the playing piece at the back of his head.

At the exact moment I let fly with the slingshot, he turned around to say something to the class. The little metal wheelbarrow struck him right in the eye.

My teacher had to go to the hospital and wound up losing the vision in his left eye.

I got in a lot of trouble because of it. I remember I had to stay home from school for a while. This wasn’t so bad though. I just stayed up late every night and watched dirty French movies on TV. It was the first time I ever saw boobies.

Anyway, one night my dad and I heard a ruckus out on the front lawn. We went outside to see what was happening. Turns out my teacher was all liquored up and had decided to show up at our house. He had a bandage on over his eye and he seemed to be having some sort of a breakdown.

Mr. Macenroe was standing out on our lawn by himself, crying and screaming about how his life was ruined because he only had one eye. My dad went up to talk to him. Mr. Macenroe started yelling and freaking out.

At one point he made a move towards my dad, and my dad shoved him. We used to have this bush in the middle of our lawn. Mr. Macenroe fell backwards and sort of sat down in the bush.

The sight of my Social Studies teacher sitting in a bush and blubbering seemed so absurd to me. I burst out laughing and just couldn’t stop.

I was still giggling after he’d gotten up and left, so my dad said “I’ll give you something to laugh about” and after we went inside he took off his belt and swung it at me and smashed me across the head with his belt buckle.

It hurt like hell and I sat in my bedroom with my ears ringing. I was so pissed off I could hardly think. I was crying a little bit. Finally I snuck out the back door of our house and ran away down the street.

I just ran and ran, from the pain and the adrenaline and from being so mad. After a few minutes I slowed down and started walking without really thinking about anything. I walked for a long time.

It was springtime and it was kind of chilly that night. I looked around and realized I was walking up Glengarry Drive towards Mr. Macenroe’s house. When I got to his house I went straight up the driveway.

All the lights were out so I went around to the backyard. Steam was blowing out of the dryer vent but otherwise there was no sound. I stepped up onto the deck and suddenly I knew exactly what I was going to do.

There was a barbecue there. I grabbed a can of lighter fluid and squirted it around in circles on the deck. Sometimes when I was a little kid I would get these crazy impulses, I don’t know where they came from. I grabbed the barbecue igniter and lit it all up.

The flames shot three feet into the air. The whole backyard became orange and bright, so bright. I watched the flames but I couldn’t really stay and watch because it was so hot.

I ran all the way home and jumped in bed and pulled the covers up over my head.

The next day it was on the front page of the paper. Nobody ever found out it was me. The house was pretty much destroyed. Mr. Macenroe’s cat MooMoo and all his tropical fish were burned up in the fire. Everyone was saying how lucky Mr. Macenroe was because he decided to leave the house and go get thrown in the drunk tank that night; otherwise he probably would have died too.

My heart nearly stopped when I read about the cat and the fish in the newspaper. I hadn’t even thought about it when I lit up Mr. Macenroe’s back deck. But the realization that I was solely responsible for the death of MooMoo and all those poor little fish made me want to kill myself. I’ve never gotten over the guilt.

It’s amazing how writing about it now makes it feel like there’s a big weight off my shoulders. Maybe now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, I can get on with the business of feeling guilty about normal things.

I almost feel bad right now for sleeping with someone else’s girlfriend a couple days ago.

Walk along Brunswick Street between

Walk along Brunswick Street between Spring Garden and Sackville. Turn head to the left to look at graffiti on concrete wall. Bump into parking meter. Repeat on Brunswick Street between Cogswell and Portland. Repeat on Portland Street between Brunswick and Gottingen.

It’s Wednesday evening. Why are you surfing the web when you could be getting your chill on down at Planet Pool with DJ New, Meauxx Wilson and the 9Volt Sound System. It’s a beautiful summer night… go out and bump into something.

I went a couple days

I went a couple days without writing because my boss’s hard drive blew up. Boom! Lord knows there’s been enough to write about.

Some of our corporate clients have interesting reactions when we tell them the studio is down on Gottingen Street. I was leaving the Marquee after work at around 3am the other night, and as I approached the studio I could see that police cars had sealed off the entire neighbourhood.

Turns out a cop got shot a couple blocks from here. Things have been tense with the cops around here lately. I read in the paper that police have been summoned to the ‘hood 109 times in the first six months of this year on weapons-related incidents. Things were bad enough before 500 riot cops beat the snot out of thirty or forty kids last week.

Last week on Gottingen I saw two police officers go up to a guy on the sidewalk and make him empty his bag. They checked it out and then sent him on his way. I don’t know the story, but it seemed pretty random to me. While they were pestering the guy an old woman drove by in her car and shook her fist at the cops. It all seems like the kind of thing you might associate with some big American city, not Halifax.

A couple times lately I’ve had police cars pull up to me on Maynard Street at 3 or 4am. Not to hassle me, but to ask me if I’m all right. Awfully nice of the cops to do that. But then again, I’m white.

Here are a few shots from A/V’s live show on the weekend. My pants kept falling down at the show but you’ll have to send in some money to see those pics.


Here’s a Spinoza video that

Here’s a Spinoza video that I shot a few months ago and sort of forgot about. Watching it now makes me think of the wintertime. I had a pretty good winter.

Severed Head [6.1MB QuickTime]

~ In a quest for pure intellect, he got his wish. Flew through the windshield, rolled into the ditch. The brain’s alive: the eyes and ears observe his own corpse sink and disappear. In silence – the remains were never found. Sun rose, his body set. Sank slowly into the ground.

Slice through this mental shell. Thoughts come from somewhere else. Ambulance was never sent to the scene of the accident.

“I saw a cop put

“I saw a cop put a bag over a girl’s head and hit her with a taser.”

“I saw a cop with a paintball gun shoot someone right in the face.”

“A cop jumped on some guy to arrest him. Then four people jumped on the cop and started beating the shit out of him to get him off. The cop somehow managed to pull out a handgun and he was waving it around yelling ‘Move! Move! Move!’ Everyone was like, ‘Holy shit he’s got a gun’ and they all started running away. That’s when I left.”

“The media left when the delegates left. That’s when the arrests and beatings really kicked in.”

“They arrested the dishwasher from the Mediterraneo. He came out on the street to see what was going on, and the cops arrested him. The cook from the Med came running out yelling, ‘You can’t arrest my dishwasher!'”

Rioting and mayhem at the G7 finance minister’s conference here in Halifax. I left the Parade Square yesterday before things got really violent, to go get ready for a rock show. Someone had put together this gig at the TKO last night for all the protesters from out-of-town and so on and A/V had been asked to play.

[“Oh hi Philip, how was your show last night? I wish I could’ve gone, but I was in jail. Oh hi Philip, how was your show? I really wanted to go, but I was lying on the pavement with blood running out of my ears.”]

The show was actually a lot of fun, with Thesis and Jesse Dangerously performing, along with Gary Flanagan and crust-punk legends System Shit. I had to leave right after my set to go to work. I wish I could’ve stayed. Highlight of A/V’s set for me was when Derrick Envision hopped onstage to join me on the chorus of “Target Breakdown of Halifax Cannons.” This is one of the oldest A/V songs and I never get tired of playing it. Last night I changed the lyrics so that it was about cops and pepper spray. In recorded form, it is a sordid tale of sex and violence and a Halifax pub crawl that passes through Hell, The Mokka, and The Planet.

~ A/V – target breakdown of halifax cannons [4MB mp3]

After the show, I accepted a drive back to the studio from Gary Flanagan, Canada’s new-wave gentleman. I chained my bike up outside the TKO and said to Gary, “Man, this is a pretty bad neighbourhood.” I thought of driving my bike two blocks over to my house, but I didn’t want to keep Gary waiting.

So after getting off work at the Marquee at 3:30am I walked back over to get my bicycle. As I came up Isleville Street, I heard a car alarm start up around the corner on Bilby. Not a good sign.

I turned onto Bilby, and there was definitely something sketchy going on further up the block. So I walked into the TKO parking lot to get my bike. And there it was… gone.

I just got back from

I just got back from the Parade Square. There are 500 riot cops in downtown Halifax. I’m still coughing from the residue of tear gas and I’m trying not to rub my eyes. There are helicopters flying over the North End as I type this.

The G7 protest was on the move when I left. For a while everyone was at the barricades on Argyle Street in front of the Grand Parade. So many people I know from different social circles were there. Lots of chanting, percussion, talking, noise. Everyone wore bandannas over their faces, with the Black Bloc kids setting the fashion standard. They’re all so young and so cuddly and cute… you’d hardly think them capable of torching a bank.

I saw cops dragging people and throwing them into paddy wagons. Snipers on the surrounding rooftops kept an eye on it all.

There was a little Food Not Bombs cart set up right beside the eye-wash station and people seemed to be in good spirits. Things got a little intense, with shouting and shaking of the barricades and so on. Apparently, someone threw a water balloon at the cops at one point and they responded with more tear gas. From my position I didn’t see when they fired it off, but I sure as hell felt it.

I saw Sara Spike and her brother coming down the Parade steps. “I just got a nose full of tear gas.”

“Yeah, so did I.”

“They shot it straight at the front row of people. All the people who were sitting and singing.”

Today was a happy day

Today was a happy day in the studio, and y’know what, I didn’t even get around to taking my pants off. We cut our first plates today on our record mastering lathe. We were just doing test cuts, in order to optimize the gain structure and get a feel for the proper width and depth of the grooves. Mastering for vinyl records is a black art indeed.

I was pleased with the frequency response on the music we cut. We also managed to cut some nice clean tracks; the secret now is making it loud enough (without distorting) to please the DJs.

I took the first dub plate off the cutter and hung it on the wall, up there with the first Eric’s Trip 7″ and Terry’s Sloan gold record. Champion Dub Plates in the house!

Spent the evening working on some music. Meauxx from Chilltronic phoned me up this afternoon and said, “I’m looking for some singing gigs, know any electronic acts who are looking for a vocalist?” and I said, “What are you doing Thursday night?”

I’m going to Saint John to perform at the national campus radio conference. Meauxx and I have never performed together before, but we both like to improvise, I bet we can pull something together.

So Meauxx walked into the studio this evening, and I plugged in my JX-3P and my TR-606 drum machine, and I handed Meauxx a Beta 58 and said, “Let’s make some noise.” We improvised a jam straight to tape. I mixed it down, and one hour later, here it is:

~ meauxx.mp3 [4.7MB mp3]

I like this, it’s kind of sexy. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens at the show.

“Punk fucking rock.” The first

“Punk fucking rock.”

The first thing I did when I got to work Thursday afternoon was take off my pants. Just because I could. Pissy Halifax weather… I got soaked on my way down here. Hung my jeans on the radiator and spent the afternoon editing dialogue in my underwear.

I took a break at one point and walked around the studio half-naked thinking, “Now, my job isn’t so bad.”

Wednesday was a late night in Hell’s Kitchen. I helped set the place up for eight turntables worth of jungle/drum&bass madness and found myself with a fistful of drink tickets. There were a lot of beautiful available women at the Marquee, but mostly I just went around buying shots for pretty girls and then saying “Nice talking to you” and walking away. I think I confused a few people; but I already had plans. Yes… the second best thing about the single life (after rampant promiscuity) is the privilege of being able to go home and get a good sleep, alone, in your own bed… any time you want.

Before going down to Hell on Wednesday, I spent the evening remixing a four-track demo of one of my old punk bands, North Patrol. I played lead guitar, sang a couple songs. Looks like North Patrol are going to be getting back together, so I was dumping the four-track master into Digital Performer to sweeten it up and burn a few CDs. I used to enjoy playing this fun-loving working-class Maritime pride music. I’m looking forward to the reunion.

Lately I’ve been all about the electric guitar. I also started two other new bands in the past week and I’ll be playing my Gibson SG in both. “L’Orange” (pronounced like a sexy French woman whispering in your ear) is a band with Lukas Pearse (ex-Rebecca West) on bass and Allan Cameron (ex-Dr. Yellow Fever) on drums. We’re somewhere between Fugazi and the Minutemen with some experimental funk elements. And then there’s “Colour TV” which has Derek (Envision, The Bomb Scares) also playing guitar and singing, and Scott (The Break-up, Shrine Of American Martyr) playing bass. Beats will be courtesy my drum machine, Wilf. We’ll be somewhere between Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, with some big rock elements. I’ll probably get out the leather jacket and sunglasses for this one.

Faced with the realization that I’m now in something like eight bands, I thought, “Damn, man, I’m gonna have to give up having sex.” I already work two jobs, how will I ever make time to rock otherwise? So that’s it. No sex for the month of June, while I go make a bunch of records. There’s work to be done. I vowed to stiffen my resolve, if nothing else.

However. Partway through the day Thursday I got a phone call at work from a gorgeous babe I’d had a torrid affair with last year. “Guess what baby… I’m not wearing any pants.” Now there’s a good way to start a conversation. Ooo wee, as of 7 o’clock that evening, my plans to go celibate were pretty much out the window. Oh well. I’ll make records later.

It’s 1 in the morning… the Marquee was dead tonight. I came back to the studio after doing sound for jazz night and took off my pants again. Not because I had to, but because the boss is out of town, and because I could. I put on Strings Of Life and cranked it up and had a rave all by myself [download the mp3 and turn off all the lights and listen to it, right now!]. And then I sat down and typed this.

PS Here’s a song I used to sing with North Patrol. It’s fuckin’ punk.
~ Long Live The Republic [2.2MB mp3]

“The king of the beats is gonna rock the place.” Actually the king of the beats is gonna go home to bed. Better put my pants back on first.

Last night I sat down

Last night I sat down to make a list of all the things that were hanging over my head and stressing me out. By the time I finished, the list was so long, I wanted to change my name and move to Saskatchewan.

First and foremost though, I need to eat better and get more sleep. Last night was going to be the first night of the New Me. Instead, I came to the studio stayed up until 7AM, fooling around with the MIDI implementation on our digital audio workstation. It wrecked any chance for me to enjoy this sunny day. I think I ruined my summer, right there.

I went home and crashed and had two dreams. In the first one, I was talking to a guy I know who works as a bartender. He was reading a big book and casually mentioned that he was a practicing lawyer, and he just bartended on the side for fun. It changed my image of him and made me examine myself critically. All the years of work it takes to be a lawyer, get a practice, start earning a respectable living. I will probably never ever do it. It made me wonder if I will ever do anything useful in the eyes of society, as opposed to staying up all night playing with gizmos–something useful to no one but myself (maybe).

In the second dream, I ran into a crew of young emo kids who had pretty much dropped out of society to roam around the country. They were hopping trains, meeting people and sleeping on their floors, eating out of dumpsters, and generally having a great time answering to no one. And I was jealous of these kids as well. What was stopping me from throwing everything away and joining them in a truly carefree existence? I felt hopelessly stodgy and uptight.

These dreams seem to embody contradictory urges. The only thing they seem to have in common is dissatisfaction. The fact that I had them both within a couple hours of each other is pissing me off. I think I need a change in my life and it doesn’t even matter what it is.