Monthly Archives: January 2004

Saturday night A/V is opening

Saturday night A/V is opening for Mir at the Attic. Show starts around 11:00. Not sure about cover, so just bring all your money.

I like the Attic. I’m going to do something cool with the space, not sure of all the details yet, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be performing on the stage.

The fun part about playing the Attic is that between sets you can go downstairs to the Liquor Dome and dance with the ahhh, Dome-type people.

~ Last night was the

~ Last night was the final Retro Night before the Marquee closes for renovations. I have three more nights of work and then I’ll be laid off. Unemployment, for me, will mean the possibility of going several days at a time without hearing “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder.

The club was nasty last night, full of obnoxious, unattractive drunks. Where did all the ugly people come from? It got so bad that when I saw a couple of good-looking friends of mine, I wanted to run up to them and beg them to leave before it started to rub off on them.

At one point I saw a tall, slim woman in a pair of tight jeans strutting around near the dancefloor. I thought, “Hmm, tall girl” and made a mental note to check her out.

I was standing by myself at the sound board a few minutes later. I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice in my ear.

“Hi there, feel like dancing?”

I realized it was the tall girl. Her hair brushed across my cheek as I turned my head. She was leaning on me in a fashion that is not the North American social norm between strangers.

I leaned back to speak in her ear, and said, “Excuse me, do I know you?”

“If you don’t dance, then you don’t know me,” she said.

I stepped back and got a good look at her, and that’s when I went “OH MY GOD what’s wrong with your FACE.”

With her bad skin and her droopy drug-eyes, she looked like a war-dog in the cocaine army. What we used to call in New Brunswick, “a hard-lookin piece.”

She was slurring her speech and wanting to know if there was anywhere to go after the Marquee closed, “besides Freeman’s” (pizza place on Quinpool, open ’til 5am).

I said, “Soon as this place closes, I’m going home” and moved her hand off my waist.

Then she started doing these gyrating disco moves in front of me. I had to go stand a little ways away.

~ I wonder what all these people are going to do for the next six weeks while the Marquee Club is closed. Maybe they’ll go crawl under a rock somewhere, or else underneath a rotting log in some snowy winter forest.

“And the Lord God in

“And the Lord God in His infinite mercy did gaze down upon Bloomfield House; and verily, the waters of the flood did recede, and the Lord God did banish the plague of hellfire.

And there was much rejoicing.

And throughout the land there were hot, steamy Showers of great Joy; and there was much Laundering, and much washing of the Dish.”

–The Book Of Bloomfield, Chapter 3, Verses 10-12.

Apparently a pipe or something

Apparently a pipe or something let go in our bathroom wall today. Our kitchen got flooded. Geoffrey’s downstairs right now with a shop vac.

Have you ever seen a movie where someone leaves the bathtub running, and water seems to magically drip straight out of the ceiling below? That’s our kitchen at the moment.

So the good news is there’s running water in my house again. The bad news is, I’m scared to set foot in the bathroom because the softened floor might give way and I might go crashing through and land on the kitchen table.

I ate a Danube Burger

I ate a Danube Burger at the Danube Cafe last night. Mmmm good. Then I found out the news: the Danube is closing at the end of the week.

I never went to see music at the Danube, but they hosted a lot of folk, jazz and country. Matt Mays and Dusty Sorbet had been known to perform there. I only mention this for the benefit of those keeping score in The Great Halifax Music Venue Death Watch.

Apparently, one of the reasons the owners are giving for the closure is that they don’t like the location. The Danube Cafe is located on Spring Garden Road in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

If the Harbour Hopper is to be believed, “Spring Garden Road is the busiest street in Canada east of MontrĂ©al.”

~ I want everyone to

~ I want everyone to know about Bach’s Cafe on Agricola Street, just off North. It’s my new favourite hangout and I’m hoping they’ll get enough business to stick around. Bach’s is run by a very sweet Korean couple who will make you a chicken pita the size of a friggin’ football.

The cool thing about the cafe is that they have a large audiophile stereo system–shelves upon shelves of vintage tube equipment, plus a couple of enormous Altec movie theatre speakers. You know they’re serious when they list the sound system specs and the music collection right on the menu.

How can you not get into “a place who loves polar bears.”

So I was having lunch at Bach’s today, and Larue pointed out an article in the Daily News. The fire department is urging people not to thaw out their frozen pipes with blowtorches. Apparently a building in Dartmouth burned to the ground last night after someone tried to use a torch on the pipes.

This article was of interest to me, as Bloomfield House has been without water for five days now. At least we’re not the only ones with frozen pipes. However, burning the house down to thaw out the pipes seems a bit drastic.

Yes, it is starting to get a little tiresome being without running water. Taking a shower, brushing my teeth, flushing the toilet–I can’t wait to be able to do these things again. It will be a long time before I take such activities for granted. Fortunately we got an oil delivery on Saturday, so the house is nice and warm.

~ The other night, I just had to go. Not much you can do about it, really… when you gotta go, you gotta go. Mark Black kindly offered to help me out with melting some snow on the stove for flushing purposes. I came downstairs and Mark said, “Larue phoned and I told her you were in the bathroom and she said she’d phone back.”

“You told a girl I was in the bathroom,” I said. “Thanks a lot.” We joked about that, and then I said, “Anytime Larue phones, I will drop everything to take the call.” Ha ha.

I had a big snow pan going on the stove, melting slowly into slush. Mark put a glass bowl full of snow on one of the burners.

“Are you sure that bowl’s safe for stovetops?” I said.

“It’s fine,” said Mark. “It’s Durex, I checked out the bottom of the bowl. It’s got a little flame symbol on it. It’s fine.”

I looked at the bowl dubiously. “Okay,” I said. Steam was curling up from around the edges of the red-hot burner.

I went to stick a potato masher into the snow to speed the melting process, and the bowl exploded. Shards of glass scattered around the kitchen. I yelled out and stumbled back as a litre of adrenaline dumped into my system.

I had to go sit down while Mark cleaned up the broken glass. It felt like ten years had been taken off my life. I was lucky that a piece of flying glass didn’t take my eye out.

Isn’t Durex a condom brand? ‘Cuz those things break like motherfuckers.

The current score: Mark Black 2, Bloomfield House glass objects 0.

~ I got home from Bach’s this afternoon and no one was here. When I went upstairs I discovered a big messy dump in the toilet. Apparently someone hadn’t felt like going to the trouble of thawing the snow to flush it. (Not to throw around random accusations or anything, but I have my suspicions.)

I was grumpy. Can we not at least maintain some veneer of civilization around here, people?

So I set about thawing some snow in a giant pan on the stovetop.

I don’t know how the act of melting snow can be simultaneously so boring and so fascinating. Even with the burner at maximum heat, it still seems to take a while. But it’s mildly engaging to watch the whole transition from fluffy snow to packy snow to slush to water with slush in it to water.

In previous years we used to make snow cones with fresh snow and cherry syrup. This year, unfortunately, any Bloomfield House snow cones are liable to be Benson & Hedges flavour. We’ll be passing on that tradition this winter, thanks.

While I was thus occupied, Mike the superintendent knocked on the back door. “Did you call Jim about the frozen pipes?” he said. “There’s no need to call Jim about that. That’s what I’m here for, so you don’t need to pester the landlord about stuff. Don’t call Jim for stuff, call me. Unless you run out of oil or smash a window. Then you’re on your own.”

Mike went down into the basement and came up a couple minutes later to talk about the pipes. “Keep that heater going there, under the kitchen sink,” he said. “I’ve got the heat going on the pipes downstairs, so maybe it’ll thaw out.”

“You’ve got another heater going downstairs?” I said.

“I’ve got the propane torch onto it right now,” he said. “Just letting it run for a while.”

“So you’ve left a propane torch running in the basement,” I said. “Isn’t that a little dangerous?”

“I’ve just got it pointed right at the pipes,” he said. “I’m giving ‘er a few minutes to heat the pipes up.”

I scratched my head. “Well,” I said. “Keep an eye on the cat, he goes down there to use the litter box.”

I looked at Mike.

He said “Well,” and then he went back downstairs.

Great, I was thinking, our house is going to burn down. I started making a mental list of stuff I’d try to rescue after Mike caught the house on fire with his propane torch.

Vickers the cat. Laptop and video camera. Guitar. Maybe try to get a couple of vintage analog synths out the door. Everything else, the hell with it.

Mike came back up a few minutes later to twist the taps on the kitchen sink. “Still nothing? Nope,” he said. “It’s weird, it doesn’t make sense. All the pipes down there seem to be at room temperature.”

“The problem’s probably under the street,” I said, stirring melted snow on the stove. “I’m think I’m just going to phone the water commission.” Actually, I had already phoned the water commission.

Mike went back down to the basement again. He came tearing back up the stairs seconds later in a mad panic.

“Give me water!” he said. “Philip, quick, give me some water!”

Here we go, I thought. I gave him the bucket of water I’d been thawing for the flush, and he dashed back down the stairs.

I followed with the big pan from the stove. The basement was full of smoke. It stank of propane down there. The front corner of the house was on fire.

Mike threw all the water on it and managed to douse the flames. I coughed and tried to wave the smoke away from my face.

We stood there for a minute as smoke and steam hissed up around us. “You’ll probably need to go open a couple doors,” said Mike.

At this juncture, I chose to keep my thoughts to myself.

I went upstairs. The house was full of smoke, all the way up to the top floor. I went around and opened all the doors and windows to air the place out.

I returned to the basement. Mike was squatting in front of the pipe. “Did you open the doors, the front door and the back door?” he said.

“Yes,” I said. Black scorch marks ran up the basement walls. I suddenly felt morose. “Any damage?”

“Doesn’t look like it,” said Mike. “I guess that’s one lesson I learned, don’t even leave it unattended for two seconds, heh heh heh.”

I hung around until Mike left. He was making me a little nervous. Then I went around closing doors and windows. It occurred to me that the house had been full of smoke, and the smoke detectors hadn’t gone off.

I went to go check on the smoke detectors. They were missing. Where did they go?

I checked the kitchen drawers. No luck. What happened to our smoke detectors? Someone must have taken them down when they burned a meal and not bothered to put them back up. Smart.

Lately, I have been feeling like a lonely island of common sense.

Still, I suppose it’s a good thing that someone left their poop in the toilet. Otherwise, I might not have been thawing snow, and there would have been no water on hand to put out the fire with. And so on.

The headline will read: BLOOMFIELD HOUSE SAVED BY POOP.

By the way, isn’t it ironic that Mike came up the stairs shouting “give me water”? Wasn’t getting water the whole point in the first place?

This episode has done nothing to lessen my feelings of impending apocalypse.

~ All the water I’d been planning to flush the toilet with had been used to put out the fire. I sighed and went outside to get another bucket of snow.

through the window sunshine tries

through the window
sunshine tries to
suck the poison
from my mood-wound

Bella Muse closed, Khyber’s closing, Marquee’s closing, and it’s just been announced that Reflections will be discontinuing their regular Thursday night live music series, or at least drastically scaling it back.

I don’t fucking care about the Halifax music apocalypse. I’m getting off the grid. I’m going to take my portable generator and perform gloom-and-doom electro beats in a parking garage to the accompaniment of minus 35 degree whistling winds.

Tonight however I will be hitting the aforementioned Reflections stage with Colour TV. We’re playing a free show with Death By Nostalgia. Colour TV will be starting at 11 or 11:30, I reckon. Did I mention it’s FREE.

Remember when the Reflections Thursday nights started, and everyone referred to it as “cool kids night.” You could listen to the Dean Malenkos at a gay bar and then dance to The Rapture with a bunch of drag queens.


   All Aboooooard! The Jagermobile.


All Aboooooard! The Jagermobile.

Last night was my final night of scandal and debauchery at Halifax’s legendary Khyber Club before the place closes down on Thursday.

Man, I’m going to miss the Khyber. I have too many memories of that place to think about right now. Tons of shows. I used to have my birthday parties there, I played there on a couple of New Year’s Eves, worked as a bartender there in the summer of ’99. Years of good memories.

I met up with Gerry and Mark Black over at Gerry’s place. I was well-prepared for the event with a bottle of disgusting Bacardi in my jacket pocket. My brother had given it to me for Xmas. “You’ll have to find your own eggnog, ha ha!” he said.

I phoned Claudette and got her out of bed and made her agree to meet us at the Khyber at 11:30. It’s fun being a bad influence on people.

So Mark and Gerry and I set out towards downtown. We cut across the Commons and Mark and Gerry proceeded to smash every snowman we encountered along the way. I chased after them with my digital camera.

“The urge to destroy,” I said, recording the carnage, “is a creative urge.”

Someone had gone to the throuble of creating a giant pair of snow-tits on the edge of the Commons. Gerry took a flying leap from about eight feet away, bounced off a rock-hard snow-knocker and fell down on his ass.

“Firm,” he said.

Mark Black managed to punch off one of the perky little nipples, but I attempted to replace it so as to capture the following photograph.

We got to the Khyber, met up with Claudette and hit the bar hard. This was our first official Swordfight Posse Drunken Free-For-All and we were determined to make it a good one.

All I know is, I was buying round after round of Jagermeister shots. I would buy five or six shots at a time, drink one myself, offer a few to whoever was handy, grab another for myself and drink a big toast to Rick Ferrari. People were buying me shots in return, I would order up another round, Rick Ferrari was a much-lauded figure last night.

It was Dusty Sorbet’s last night hosting open mic. Here’s one for the ladies… Joel Plaskett performing his hit song “Down At The Khyber”:

It looks all weird because my lens was fogged up, plus the lens had a big fingerprint on it. I took this picture and then my camera batteries died and that was that.

Somehow I found myself onstage with an acoustic guitar around my neck and Gerry, Claudette and Mark Black all crowded around a microphone. We did the Bloomfield Anthem and then the Bloomfield Salute and then I was doing an acoustic version of “Cure For Cancer” by my old hardcore band Equation Of State, while Mark and Gerry intoned backing vocals.

I dreamed of a great fire
Followed by a great flood
The future lives of earth
Swallowed up in blood

Some songs weren’t really meant to be played on acoustic guitar. Anyway. Then I did an old A/V song “Target Breakdown of Halifax Cannons” and Mark Black changed all the lyrics so they were about Rick Ferrari. Then we did “Graveyard Shift.” You know how sometimes you’re at an open mic and these really drunk obnoxious people get up on stage and overstay their welcome? That was the Swordfight Posse last night. I was up there thinking, “We are those people.”

And then there was more drinking and I spent all my money on Jagermeister and hauled a woman into the stairwell for some drunken groping, the very last of the Khyber stairwell, and the strict fire code regulations which make such fooling around actually against the law. I’m sure gonna miss it.

And then the bar closed and it was time to leave. I gave my heartfelt thanks to Craig Ferguson who has been known as Khyber Craig for so long that it will be tough to think of him as anything else. Hope it all works out.

I didn’t want to drink my last shot because I didn’t want it all to end. Gingerly I slipped the full shotglass of Jagermeister into one of my pants pockets. I held it there as I left the bar and took it out to sip on slowly and to savour as I headed up Barrington Street towards the Marquee.

If no one minds, I shall keep this shotglass as a souvenir?

I was super-drunk and in Hell’s Kitchen things just started going nutty. Maybe there was a weird vibe because they’ve announced the Marquee will be closing as well on the 25th, supposedly for a month of renovations but who the hell knows, I’m going to assume I’ll be out of a job. None of the bouncers were in a particularly good mood, that’s for certain.

I remember I smashed a couple of glasses and a girl who was standing beside me almost got thrown out while I stood nearby and whistled making an angelic face. Claudette and Mark were fighting or something, I don’t know, I think Claudette cut Mark with a broken bottle so he was running around bleeding all over the place.

Claudette poured beer on me, I don’t remember why. So I grabbed her wrist and twisted her arm and made her pour the rest of her beer all over herself. She just loved that.

I said to Gerry, “Ger, Claudette poured beer on me and I don’t know why. She knows I’m allergic to beer, why would she pour beer on me? Of all the things to pour on me, why would she do that?”

Gerry took a swig of beer and nodded thoughtfully and then spat it out all over me. He really gave me a good hosing.

A bouncer caught me in the back room in a compromising position and went out and slammed the door shut. Somewhere along the line the Bacardi was consumed, all except for one little mouthful, which I didn’t want and couldn’t give away to anybody. The Dean Malenkos ended their set at 3:30am when the plug got pulled, and I guess Jonny Horseface threw a glass, which set off an orgy of glass-breaking and then Jonny threw his drum kit piece-by-piece across the stage.

Even though I was drunk and off-duty, my sound tech reflexes kicked in and I jumped up to clean up the stage and coil all the cables. The stage was a mess of microphone stands, drum parts, broken glass and spilled beer.

I’m just trying to imagine people who get drunk a lot, alcoholics and stuff. Life must just be crazy all the time. Just a blur of weird memories. I’m not sure what’s gotten into me but it’s probably the same thing that’s gotten into Halifax in general: a sense of impending apocalypse.

These are the last days, my friends.

I had ibuprofen on toast for breakfast.

So rumour has that tomorrow

So rumour has that tomorrow night they will be showing Fritz Lang’s M (1931) starring Peter Lorre.

Peter Lorre, Peter Lorre
Runs a nightclub way downtown
Peter Lorre, Peter Lorre
Always wears a evil frown
Don’t spit on his shoes Or mess up his hair
Or he will shoot you dead And go back upstairs

(Download the mp3 from the Jazz Butcher‘s site. I’m a longtime fan.)

This movie is by Fritz Lang. Fritz Lang!!!

Where can I find a monocle in time for the screening? I suppose I’m just going to have to make one out of a small yogurt lid.

The monocle. It’s time we brought back the monocle. It’s true, you can use them to see with. But the real function of the monocle is that it allows you to say “WHAAAAT!” and make a surprised face, thus allowing the monocle to drop straight out of your eye for a comic physical punctuation.

The reason this is so successful is that the path of the descending monocle forms the straight line of an exclamation mark, of which the monocle itself is the point.

[cue: naked lady walking into the room]


Download my new hit single!

Download my new hit single! “Graveyard Shift.”

~ graveyard_shift.mp3 [84K mp3]

Graveyard shift
Graaaaaaveyard shift
Working all night on the
Graaveyard shift

Graveyard shift
Graaaaaaveyard shift
They’re coming for you on the
Graaveyard shift

I sang “Graveyard Shift” for Mark Black and then I sang “Graveyard Shift” for Claudette and then I started phoning random people and singing “Graveyard Shift” into their answering machines.

Sunday night around midnight I phoned up this woman I’d been sleeping with for like, two months and as soon as she answered the phone I started singing “Graveyard Shift.”

Her response: “How did you get this number?”

“Just what is it that

“Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?”


Mark Black is upstairs. He’s my roommate now. Between his blog and mine, you will probably get to read about the same little domestic events, from two different points of view. For example:

ME: “Mark was locked out of the house last night, so he chucked a planter through the window to get in. I thought that was a bit drastic.”
MARK: “I broke a window last night to get into the house. I think Philip might have been a little annoyed.”

I got home from work at around 4am. Chilly night to have a gaping hole in your living room. However, the broken window was not as disturbing to me as the discovery that our pipes were frozen. I checked the taps. They weren’t working. All I really wanted was to shower off the bar-stink.

“Mark, don’t walk around in that in your bare feet, for crying out loud.”

“Sorry Dad.” And with that, I went to bed.

Four hours later, Geoffrey woke me up to inform me that, surprise, the pipes were frozen. My reaction to this news was somewhat muted.

~ “How come everyone always refers to Mark as ‘Mark Black’?”

“Because that’s his name.”

“It makes it sound like ‘Markblack’ is his first name.”

“That is his first name, actually. Markblack.”

“His first name is Markblack.”


“Well then what’s his last name?”


~ Geoffrey is indeed leaving Bloomfield House at the end of January. After less than a month on board, Mark will get the promotion to First Mate. I remain, as always, the steadfast Captain of this good ship.

Herewith the criteria for joining us on on the voyage:

– Our new roommate will be female. Despite what you might think, it’s not all that rewarding to live in an all-bachelor house.

True, you get to sit around the house in your underwear. But even that has its downside, as you also have to look at everyone else sitting around in their underwear.

We’re looking for someone to follow in the footsteps of Bloomfield alumnae Eryn, Patrice, Sara, Jill, Niki, Annette and Jane. All of these ladies have all my love.

– Our new roommate will be financially secure. If I could receive in a lump sum all the cash owed to me by former roommates, I could spend the entire winter writing you a lovely blog from Jamaica.

– Our new roommate will be a non-smoker, period. Geoffrey has effectively ruined the whole “I’ll-just-go-outside-to-smoke” thing for all future residents.

Bloomfield House is a non-smoking house. That means no cigarette smoke is to enter the house. Let alone the lethal mixture of carcinogens and frigid air that comes blasting into the kitchen as a result of one’s standing with the back door open to catch a few furtive winter puffs.

And spring thaw is always accompanied by a yellow speckling of butts in the backyard. Nasty. Call me uptight, but I believe cigarette butts belong in an ashtray in much the same way that poop belongs in a toilet. And emptying this ashtray is akin to flushing.

– I’m tempted to say, “Our new roommate will not be from Ontario.” My limited experience with Canada’s most uptight province suggests that its official slogan could be “Latent neurosis: yours to discover.” However, I realize this may be an unfair generalization, and I would be happy to be proven wrong.

– Mark and I are both bloggers so anything that happens in this house is on the record, unless otherwise requested. We might make you a celebrity. If that scares you, live somewhere else.

– We are seeking to return Bloomfield House to its former glory. We used to have a house newsletter, and a basement rumpus room, and punk rock shows, and an art gallery in the living room. I really miss that stuff. We are seeking a roommate with creativity, enthusiasm and house spirit.

Mark and I are already planning to turn the living room into the set of a TV talk show, hosted by Vickers the cat. Also, we’ll be staging a play in the basement this spring.

If you think the Bloomfield way of life is for you, please get in touch immediately. We’d like to have everything sorted out by next week.

~ I’m taking the next five nights off from the Marquee (why do I feel like punctuating that sentence with the words, “…so fuck you”).

If you were planning on coming down to the club to try to lay me, you’ll have to make it Saturday night. My band Colour TV is performing on the upstairs stage, doing a bunch of Sloan covers.

Actually, it will only be three-quarters of Colour TV; Ian conveniently made plans to be out of town this weekend. So we will be billing ourselves as “Cloan” for this show.

A couple nights ago, I sat down with the boys to try to figure out which Sloan songs to cover. We took a spin through the band’s entire recorded history (I had, umm, missed one or two albums) and finally narrowed it down to our favourites.

Nick refused to do any song with “yeah, yeah, yeah” in it. Dave didn’t want to do any song with the words “rock’n’roll” in it. I flat-out refuse to sing any song with the word “baby” used as a term of endearment. Between the three of us, that pretty much ruled out all the Jay Ferguson songs.

Also, being three heterosexual males, we tended to shy away from anything with an excess of really girly harmonies. That pretty much ruled out all the Jay Ferguson songs.

I’m not giving away our set-list but it’s heavy on Patrick’s material. A little while back, some nutjob on the Sloan messageboard referred to me as a “manic-depressive, and psychotic.” And to think, that was before they heard what I’m about to do to their favourite tunes.

Oh, it turns out we’ll be playing “Coax Me.” I was sitting in make-out corner at the Marquee Club last Saturday night, making out, and “Coax Me” came on over the PA. I looked up and declared, “My band is going to cover this song upstairs next week.” And that was that.

It felt like a real Halifax moment, except for the fact that Sloan are a Toronto band.

The Swordfight narrative will return

The Swordfight narrative will return shortly. But first, a couple of quick announcements:

– Geoffrey is moving out of Bloomfield House and we need a roommate for February 1st. Our preference is for a tidy, non-smoking female. $265 plus utilities. Email me ASAP.

– Colour TV will perform at the Marquee Club this Saturday night at the Sloan covers show. Won’t that be interesting. Also appearing: Universal Soul, Shyne Factory, Kaico Green and “surprise guests.” Cover $5, show 10:30.