Monthly Archives: January 2007

videoblog anniversary

Today is my fifth anniversary of videoblogging on swordfight.org.

sweater dog orly

The original video page still exists at http://swordfight.org/video although it looks like it’s getting ready to sink into a ruin of disabled comments and broken links.

The first video I ever posted featured the timeless cliche of a plastic bag blowing around in the wind, with a musical soundtrack from the first A/V disc. Back then I had the boss’s snazzy video camera and a high-speed Internet connection. Whereas I finished off 2006 with a cheesy cellphone camera and dialup Internet. Hooray for progress!

Videoblogging stands accused of being an inherently narcissistic hobby. It’s probably true. So for my fifth anniversary I’ve decided to post a video self-portrait. This is a timelapse that was recorded the other night from the swordfight webcam.

The music is something I whipped up today in GarageBand. Plug in your subwoofer, those dinky little laptop speakers aren’t going to cut it.


sword-timelapseportrait.mov
[1.8MB QuickTime]

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chillin’

Hello from Baba’s Lounge in beautiful Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

This time of night is familiar to every touring musician. It is the time of night known as “chillin’.” Soundcheck is over, and there’s an hour or so until the people arrive and the show starts. So you’re just sitting around. Chillin’.

Earlier this evening A/V and The Kettle Black played an all-ages at the local indie record store, Back Alley Discs. A couple doors down from Baba’s… that was an easy load-out.

Back Alley just opened up this back room that they’re letting people use, and tonight was the first show in that space. It had the feel of a rec room in someone’s house. Mom and dad are away, haul all the furniture outta there, get some of your friends’ bands to come over and set up and we’ll party. PA system, what PA system, we’re gonna pump the vocals through a Peavey Bandit guitar amp. Peace to the Peavey, a much-maligned brand, but so often present for the good times. I declared that the space should be known as “The Bandit Lounge” in the spirit of all things punk rock.

I dragged a metal chair back behind my rig and I stood up on it and declared, “I am now standing on the smallest stage in the smallest province in all of Canada.” There were thirty kids in there, I kicked off my sneakers and rocked it out and it was totally fun.

Photos on PEI Locals.

I wish I could be on tour every day and have this chillin’ time every night of my life. Some bands hate chillin’. It’s the boredom and the tension that gets to them. Man, how could you hate chillin’? Chillin’ is the spirit of optimism. Many good things in store, your whole life is ahead of you.

Oh we got the wireless here, maybe I can get some video up in this piece. OK… iMovie… h.264… mp4… voila, you were there. This is the beginning of the show with Boxer The Horse. Rob Diamond also played, in the middle of his set he went out to the clerk and handed in his resume. Hire this guy.



swordfight-backalley.mov
[4MB QuickTime]

Back Alley had a nice bargain bin. Three CDs for $5. All around the room I saw little stashes that people had picked out, little piles of three CDs with yellow stickers on them. I found The Psyche Continuum by Sixtoo, and some DJ Moves compilation, Low Pressure or whatever it’s called, and also The New High Road Of Song by Al Tuck. I opened the case and it was a CD-R and it was signed by Al Tuck himself. Probably one of the first copies that were made. I was working at SoundMarket while this was being mastered, it’s a great record and I’ve missed it.

Baba’s Lounge has posters around the walls from shows of the ages. We got lots of Joel Plaskett in here, some Oh Susanna, looks like The Constantines swung by in 2002… couple of Guthries posters. I liked The Guthries. Featuring the lovely and talented Ruth Minnikin and the current Canadian rock god Matty Mays and actually everybody in that band was pretty talented.

Whoops… where does the time go. Looks like Nick is getting ready to start. It’s been nice chillin’ with ya. Tonight I dedicate my set to all those who have come before and also to the legions of rockers yet to be born.

sword-nextfewdays.mov

This weekend, Jan. 12-14, is the Third Annual Winter Carnival out here at my country estate. We’re gonna have the Carnival King and Queen Contest (which is basically a drag show) and go on some kind of alcoholic bender. If you’re anywhere in the Maritimes and you feel like road trippin’ drop me a line and I’ll send you the directions.

Erik at bottomunion dropped the swordfight robot replica into a video remix. You have to go check this out right now.

http://bottomunion.com/blog/?p=375

I know that was posted over a week ago, but it took me several days to download the file over my dinky little dialup internet connection out here in East Kabumswick, Canada.

Erik also links to a bunch of videos he’s been digging. I downloaded Last Few Days by Ryanne.

Ryanne’s video has this quick shot of Jay that caught my attention. He just turns around and looks at the camera. That’s it. There’s something about this shot that I found humourous, and yet slightly sinister, possibly because he doesn’t say a word. It also feels like a very personal moment, because he’s looking up at Ryanne, communicating without speaking.

I took this short clip and looped it in QuickTime, and there’s this scratchy bit of camera noise that almost sounds like a little breakbeat. I started layering sounds on top of the beat in GarageBand and before you know it a video remix was born.

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It was fun to remix this video because there was so much stuff in it. I had just watched a movie called “The Fast and The Furious” with its soundtrack of slammin’ breakbeats and that’s probably what inspired the jams I threw together.

I’d never actually seen Vin Diesel on screen before. What other films has the guy been in? He was awesome in this movie.

helenhill.org

On Thursday afternoon I found out about the murder in New Orleans. Paul got shot several times and he’s in the hospital. Helen was shot in the neck and killed.

Paul just inside the doorway, clutching their two-year-old kid. I can’t imagine what he must be going through right now. The whole thing just makes me feel sick to think about it.

When I was living in Allison’s house on Falkland Street in Halifax, Paul and Helen were just a couple doors down in their crazy cluttered North End house of art and film. I’m glad lots of people have been writing about them, I have so many good memories but everything is just a mess in my head right now. It just doesn’t make sense. How could somebody murder Helen? She was the sweetest person in the world.

When Paul and Helen moved from Halifax to New Orleans, Al Tuck recorded a goodbye song for them. I’m sure Al meant it as an upbeat and optimistic song, I’m sure he would never have foreseen such tragic circumstances. But I had to put this song on and walk around the house getting all choked up.

All I can think of to do right now is to sit at home alone on a rainy night and work my way through the last of a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Kahlua. You can bet I poured one out for Helen Hill.

Please, take a few moments:
HalifaxLocalsMarkGerryBeckaApopheniab.roxHFX Daily NewsNew Orleans Times-PicayuneBoingBoingNew York TimesGlobe And MailSuper8Porterhelenhill.org

listen to Al Tuck – Love Letter to Paul and Helen mp3

hit by food

Rockin’ For Dollars is a tradition in the Halifax music scene. Every Monday night bands sign up to play the Reflections stage in an open-mic format. Reflections has also been hosting a New Year’s Day rockin’ brunch for the past few years with lots of free food to soothe the savage hangover.

Of course, another Reflections tradition is having your video camera stolen by the john of a tall blonde transvestite hooker. But my new year’s resolution for 2007 is to let go of all of the hate in my soul and embrace the love. So I broke my Reflections boycott and headed down to Sackville Street for the first time since last July for some New Year’s food and music.

Alfred was cooking in the former smoking lounge. He had a big bucket of mixed-up eggs that he was pouring onto a grill. There was bacon galore… I love that word “galore.” Especially when used in conjunction with breakfast meat.

Alfred made me the biggest fluffiest pancake I have ever seen. In fact I don’t think he cooked it so much as he magnetically snagged it with the power of his Mind as it flew past Halifax on a flying saucer mission from the interstellar pancake future. “Greetings Earthlings, we have come to refuel, resistance is useless” as they open fire with lasers on the Aunt Jemima syrup factory.

Thirteen or fourteen bands in all must have played last night. I threw down an A/V set and had a blast. It’s strange how rewarding a three or four song set can be. It’s just more focussed I guess.

Part of the R4$ schtick is that at the end of the night when everyone is good and drunk, all the bands that played get to spin a big wheel for a chance to win prizes. Prizes as marked on the wheel include free rental from a local jam space; “shitty t-shirt”; “leftovers”; and of course the big money prize that starts at $200 and increases every week until someone takes it home.

But my favourite prize of all is a little slot on the wheel marked “Hit By Food”:

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hexblanket

First video of 2007.

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