Monthly Archives: June 2005

steak knife

On the drive to Halifax tomorrow I’m gonna listen to lots of Angry Samoans and Le Shok. Then when I return to the country I’m gonna start working on an A/V punk rock record. It’s going to be called “20 Minute Set.”

This jam will be on it for sure:

~ steakknife.mp3

I was thinking that I’m working with limited recording resources out here in the country–a laptop and a pair of shitty computer speakers–but that’s punk rock, it’s like the 21st century version of the 4-track recorder. Anyway this kind of setup hadn’t even been dreamed of when Black Flag was recording “Damaged.”

line up the tin cans

Must be some serious target practice going on up the road. I’ve been hearing gunshots for the past hour-and-a-half.

With every shot comes a slap as I smack the mosquitoes on my arms. These insects would like to liquefy my bones, suck the humanity right out of me. I am nothing but a sweat-frosted skin sandwich.

I’m performing tomorrow night at The Attic in Halifax with my rock band, Colour TV. We’ll have copies of our CD for sale. Friday is a holiday so come out and get silly. Maybe I’ll get punched out in the middle of our set again.

In lieu of a gig flyer, I am going to post this picture of Herve Villechaize.

Look at him. Look deep into his eyes. He’s trying to tell you something: “Colour TV are playing live at The Attic, June 30th 2005, along with Sharp Like Knives, Attack Mode and Shelter With Thieves. Come out and spend time with the happy people and if you are not happy then I, Herve Villechaize, will make you happy.”

I plan to arrive in Halifax early enough tomorrow so I can eat at Bach’s Cafe on Agricola Street. It’s been a couple months since I’ve had their Korean mandoo. If you’re reading this, why don’t you meet me there at 4PM. Just you, me, Tattoo and a big pile of tasty Korean dumplings.

busted rack

Hello and welcome to Swordfight Dot Font oops I mean Swordfight Dot Org.

If you’ve seen A/V perform live, then you’ve seen this white rack that I use as a keyboard stand. It used to be a candy rack and once had a sign on it that said “Fun Gum And Candy Center.” I found it years ago in the trash at the Cornwallis Street jam spot.

This rack is really what makes A/V possible. If one of my synths died, it would suck, but I could get another keyboard or work around it somehow. But without the rack I’m not sure what I’d do. I’d have to spread my science all over a couple of tables, all of which I’d have to be able to reach at any given moment. It would be a mess. With the rack, I’ve always got everything right in front of me.

Top Row: Alesis sequencer, Behringer mixer, Boss drum machine, Ampeg analog delay pedal
Second Row: Yamaha synth, Big Muff distortion, Boss noise gate
Third Row: Roland analog synth
Bottom Row: the power bar that all this shit plugs into

And in front of this I have my Juno synth parked on a regular old keyboard stand. The whole setup works great.

One thing that’s always been a pain in the ass is moving this rack around. It’s big. It will come apart in a few pieces, but even folded up it’s too large to fit in the trunk of most cars. I’ve had some problems in the past with transportation. These days I slide it into the back seat of my car but it’s still kind of a nuisance to travel with.

This afternoon I was looking over the rack and trying to think of ways I could make it a little more portable. I realized that the cross pieces are mainly what holds it all together. I could probably remove a piece of the back with no great loss of stability, and yet it would fold down a size smaller and nestle quite nicely in the trunk of my Corolla.

So I fetched me a hacksaw and did a little hacking. Fifteen minutes and three crucial cuts later, I prepared to reassemble the rack. Putting it together was a little trickier than usual with the back piece missing, but I managed to get the cross pieces on without too much trouble.

I was curious to see if there’d be any noticeable wobbliness or whatever. I put on the last crosspiece and stood back to have a look.

And the entire rack lurched sideways and collapsed to the floor like a pile of broken bones.

Ahh… I see. One of the metal pieces I sawed off actually had the function of holding the rack upright. What do you know. I’m an idiot.

One of the drawbacks of living alone is that you don’t have someone around to talk you out of following foolish impulses. An equivalent to what I just did would be, “Hey I know! My guitar would sound way better if I were to saw right through the neck.”

I found myself sorting through the pieces of my ex-keyboard stand. Trying to hold the pieces together to see what I could salvage was like trying to solve a giant 3-D jigsaw puzzle. Not a one-person job.

Finally I went and dug it out: the roll of duct tape.

What was once a solid metal rod is now two pieces of metal rod joined by duct tape. On this duct tape I will be staking my new wave future tomorrow evening at the Seahorse.

If it all falls apart onstage, then thank you and good night.

souvlaki heaven

I was standing in the middle of the street on a closed-off St. Laurent. Where was that noise coming from? Bloot bloot. I looked around. Then I realized it was coming from my own pocket.

My mom gave me her cell phone so I could call her from Montreal and tell her I hadn’t flipped my car in St.-Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!.

Bloot bloot.

Sara Spike phoned me up from Concordia.

“Spike,” I said, “I just ate a souvlaki that was so good I sprouted angel wings.” It’s true. For the next hour I hovered over the plateau.

I looked down at everybody, performed the odd miracle, and led women not into temptation.

It just started raining again. I floated through an open window back into the gallery. Once inside I reassumed human form.

I want to go back to the Shish Taouk store and get another souvlaki.

sitting still but still moving

I’m at Tobin and Faith’s art space, up on the third floor, looking down on St. Laurent. I’m looking down at Thai 2 Go right now. You know the place? You know where I am? Yeah, that’s where I am.

On Faith’s powerful PowerBook with wireless internet that seeps up from the floors and buzzes around to burn my ears. If you’re in Montreal and you’re reading this give a shout-out in the comments box.

Drove ten hours from Moncton this afternoon and I could drive ten more right now if there were another, even more magical Montreal a little ways north of here.

The drive was smooth and pleasantly uneventful. The only real moment of excitement on the trip was when I pumped approximately twenty-seven cents worth of gasoline onto my right shoe.

All the cassettes have dried out, I am happy to relate, and play in my tape deck as well as they ever did.

Passing a truck just outside Edmundston: “Looks like you had a little nap.”

“Yeah, wow,” said Virgil. He shook his head and stretched out in the front seat. “I conked right out.”

“Yeah, that’s cool,” I said. “I had a little nap too.”

Honk! Honk!

I’ll tell you where the party is. You’ll be wandering around on St. Laurent on Saturday afternoon, weather permitting. So will I and everyone else. There’s an internet cafe with the word “virus” written across the front. Right beside it is a door with a machine gun painted on it. 3676 St. Laurent. Up all those stairs to the top.

It will be open Saturday from noon to 7pm for all the artists and fashion designers hawking their wares. Then starting at 7, David from Indie Dance Night is going to DJ. I’m going to perform a set of new wave electro synth art-party madness sometime around 9. I’ve never performed in Montreal as A/V before and I’m stoked.

It’s raining and it feels like this city is waiting for me to go downstairs and slap some sense into it.

on the road

I’m in Saint John and I’m just about to get in the car and drive to Moncton to pick up a couple friends whom I’ve never met and then we’re heading straight to Montreal.

Tuesday night on a whim I drove to Fredericton to see Contrived. Glad I did, I miss the Halifax crew. On the way there I saw two deer and two moose. The moose were some ugly. Unlike the members of Contrived, who grow more handsome with every show:

The boys have rented a sweet ride for this tour. After the show I got to take a tour of the rental van. You can tell Bigelow is loving it as he settles back to watch a special DVD presentation of Garfield The Movie:

Saturday night in Montreal brace yourself for the throwdown, I’m performing as A/V at a some kind of art/fashion party at Faith & Tobin’s new space. 3676 Saint Laurent. Between de Pins & Prince Arthur. The event runs from 7 to 11 and I’ll probably go on around 9pm. After that I’ve heard rumours of “Hard Liquor and Porn” party and I suppose I’ll see where the night takes me.

I left Chipman late last night. I was roaring down Route 123 and I came around a curve just as a mother duck was leading a row of half-a-dozen ducklings across the highway. She seemed a little confused at my rapid approach, hesitated and started to turn back. Fortunately Mama Duck and her brood were in the other lane, otherwise I would’ve been looking at six little orphans, all in a row.

My departure was delayed because a bat flew into my house. Vickers the cat was practically jumping up and down with excitement as he chased the bat around the house. A bat can cover a lot of air with its crazy erratic flight plan.

Have you ever tried to herd a bat? It’s not easy. C’mon bat… I got places to go. Finally I managed to corral it in the sunporch and shut the door. Well, I didn’t actually see it fly in there, but I went in and Vickers was standing in a corner of the porch, staring intently at a space up in the rafters. Bat senses tingling.

I carried the kitty out of the porch and opened the front door. There’s a lot of wood and junk up in the rafters so it’s hard to see what’s going on. I went around poking and prodding up there with a stick. No sign of the bat although it might have flown outside while my back was turned.

Maybe it’s still in the house somewhere. Hey bat… eat some bugs while I’m gone, will ya.


People have been emailing me to ask if I killed that turtle. The cause of its death was left ambiguous because I didn’t think it was really necessary to spell out how it died. Here’s a clue: it was a TURTLE and it was crossing a HIGHWAY.

The first of the two turtles either made it or changed his mind because I went back later and did not find him smeared across the pavement.

I’m performing as A/V at a rockin’ dance party in Montreal on Saturday evening. I will post details when I get them.

Contrived are playing in Fredericton tonight and I just clued in so I’m going to hop in my car and xfucking GOx !


I’m planning to drive to Montreal for the weekend. Looks like I’ll be leaving Thursday morning and returning Sunday-ish.

I wouldn’t mind having a passenger if you wouldn’t mind giving me some gas money. I could probably pick you up just about anywhere in New Brunswick. Drop me a line if you’re interested and we’ll make some arrangements, philip[at]swordfight[dot]org.


I dreamed they were making a movie and I was a consultant.

“Stand up straight,” I said. “Shoulders back. The hat should be more on the back of your head than on top of it. Hold the gin and tonic in your right hand. Hold it up. Bend your right arm so that your elbow rests against your hip. Now put your left arm across your stomach, that’s good. You can sway your hips back and forth a little–gently now. Tilt your head. Always the slight tilt to the head. Squint your eyes a little bit. You’re the tallest girl in the room and you’re looking at things, observing. You’re standing on the sidelines and you notice things that other people don’t notice, but you’re also the centre of attention, because you’re sexier than everybody else. Now smile,” I said. “Big smile. Bigger.”

I stood back and looked for a moment.

“You don’t have her smile,” I said. “But no one does.”

the ballad of short ben clark

There were two Ben Clarks living up the Gaspereau–Long Ben and Short Ben.

This was a long time ago. Back then, the heads of matches used to be made of a poisonous substance.

Short Ben’s wife put match heads in his tea until he became sick and died. That’s how she murdered her husband.

I asked my dad if he knew how they caught her, or if they knew why she’d done it.

He said, “Well, she couldn’t have liked him very much.”

Ahh the life of a turtle.

Nothing to do but hang out at the edge of Route 123 all day, waiting for the perfect opportunity to get yourself run the fuck over.

“I’m just waiting for Tony to get back, we’re gonna head up to the Esso and pick up a case of Alpine.”

Meanwhile, 500 metres up the highway:

…Looks like somebody’s going to be waiting a looong time.

ic cream king

~ I rode my bike into the village this evening to check out the new hot spot on Bridge Street known as “IC CREAM KING.” I had a cone of butter pecan that made me feel like I was floating high above the river. Yeah, I get the feeling I’ll be hitting Ic Cream King pretty hard this summer.

~ This evening I also went for a walk through the forest, as is my habit. I came around a bend in the trail and a fox was standing there looking at me.

I froze.

I stared at the fox.

The fox stared at me.

I tried to think. Are foxes dangerous? I mean, I guess one could bite you and give you rabies. But are they aggressive?

I had heard somewhere that if you look a strange canine straight in the eye, it will take it as a challenge to its authority and get all agitated. But I couldn’t exactly bring myself to take my eyes off a wild animal.

The fox and I both stood perfectly still. It was a stalemate for a few moments.

Then I got to checking the fox out. You know, I could probably take this fox. It’s really not very big. Look at the slender little legs on it. If this fox decides to charge me, I could probably boot it right into next week.

The fox must have sensed a subtle shift in my disposition, because it turned around and flipped its big ridiculous tail at me and disappeared into the woods.

My goal this summer is to get a really good closeup picture of a fox. And also, a hummingbird.

6th gear

The Big Iron has six speeds available, where one is “drag race with a snail” and six is “hold onto your shit.”

I was roaring up a dirt road in sixth when I got all excited and decided I would try to jump off The Big Iron. However, The Big Iron has a switch built into the seat so that whenever you stand up, The Big Iron shuts off automatically.

“That’s to make sure you don’t slice your leg off, clown-pants,” says The Big Iron.

So in order to play the jump-off-Big-Iron game, what you need is to find a friendly duck to sit in the seat with you and hold down the fort, so to speak. Just be careful, because if you turn your back on the duck for so much as a second he’ll be all over your Gordon’s.

I was very very sloppy [for some reason] when I was pouring gasoline into the tank so remember: no smoking while riding The Big Iron!