Thursday, November 25, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Vancouver isn't a very snowy place, so when flakes do fall, it is quite a special event. This afternoon I went up to the mountains to go for a walk and take some photos.

Followed, of course, by a trip to Deep Cove for their legendary donuts.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Read It: Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould by Kevin Bazzana

It is a mistake to travel by ferry from Vancouver to Victoria without a book. But, having awoken at 5:30 on Thursday morning, my brain was not at full capacity and my book accidentally stayed behind. A quick trip to Munro's (oh, Munro's!) fixed that problem, and I discovered two books, the first of which is this lovely tome about Mr. Gould:

This book is so thoroughly researched and so highly entertaining I could hardly put it down to compose this blog post. The initial pages are filled to the brim with key details from Gould's childhood in Toronto, which, author Kevin Bazzana argues, greatly informed the pianist Gould would become.

I was drawn to the book because I hope it might improve my attitude toward playing Bach (which, to my own surprise, has not changed much since I was a child - old habits die hard, it seems). Among the fascinating facts I've learned so far:

1. Gould's legacy is impressive. But, in spite of his staggering record sales, cult status, and the fact that he has served as artistic inspiration for a truly remarkable number of composers, poets, filmmakers and writers, he has never appeared on a Canadian stamp on the grounds that he is too eccentric.

2. "Gould Tourism," so-called by Mr. Bazzana, involves pilgrimages to various Toronto sites associated with Gould, including his childhood home, schools, churches and diners.

3. Gould often misspelled his own first name, claiming that when he began to write the second "n," he couldn't help but also write a third.

4. He hated bright colours (especially red), but his favourites were "battleship grey and midnight blue."1

1. Bazzana, Kevin. Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould. Toronto: McLellan & Stewart Ltd. 31.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Slacker Dude Intelligentsia

Artist Mungo Thompson and curator Matthew Higgs

In recent months I have discovered an unhealthy attraction to intellectual men with a wry sense of humour and a slacker dude aesthetic. You may recognize them based upon their attire, reminiscent of teenage boys or first-year art students. They are self-deprecating and ironic. They wear worn out sneakers, ill-fitting jeans, and hoodies or heavy knits. Many have glasses. It is likely they had a stint as a skater or moonlighted with an underground punk scene in their respective blue-collar cities. They exude a certain anti-celebrity humbleness, and on occasion act as bored curmudgeons at lavish social events. Despite being well-known in their respective careers, they likely have allergies to cauliflower or pine nuts, and an affinity for dark beers in seedy pubs in every city they travel to. They may have complexes about being nerds in high school but it makes them more sarcastic and charming.

Totally hot, right?

Zach Galifinakis and weird doll

Monday, November 15, 2010

Style Icons: Beth Gibbons

Beth Gibbons was an icon for my generation - slouchy, brooding, minimal. Portishead's music, which somehow simultaneously evokes a dimly lit, cigarette smoke-filled Depression-era speakeasy, a sad 1960s spy movie, and the deserted streets of 1990s Bristol, also filled my teenage headphones on many melancholic nights: