Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rotten to the Core

Just moments ago I read a "breaking news" headline on the BBC website and feel compelled to share it with (all twelve of) you:


The opening line of the story reads:

"Apple made a net profit of $8.8bn in the three months ending in June, up 21% from a year earlier but lower than forecasts."

So, are you, like me, utterly heartbroken at Apple's declining fortunes? After all, the company made only $8.8bn profit in three months, the poor things. What a terrible letdown. Shame on you, Apple, for making such a tiny profit.

Having generated a mere 21% increase on the same period last year, how in heaven's name can the company survive? How will they put food on the table, clothe themselves or send their kids to school? They're all doomed! Oh my God, the sky is falling!!

Obscene. Truly, utterly, sickeningly obscene.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Having spent several transfixed minutes watching an inchworm traverse our Mayne Island cabin picnic table on June 23, I just love this silly little clip of film. Could the original poster to YouTube have chosen any better music to accompany these images? I think not.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Henry & Larry

A few Black Flag tunes excepted I've never been a fan of much of his music, but I have a lot of time for Henry Rollins, the man. I can say hand on heart that since witnessing one of his extraordinary spoken word shows in Nanaimo in 2009 - at which he entertainingly spoke solidly for over three hours, taking just one sip of water after two - I have changed my way of thinking about topics he covered that evening. In a positive, productive way, that is, making tweaks to my life in how I regard, speak to and treat people. I am obviously not the first or last to be inspired by Rollins' street philosophy and punk ethics, but do genuinely draw great strength and inspiration from his worldview. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world," and as a result of Rollins' philosophies I am trying to be just that, at least as best as I can.

This delightful short film nicely illustrates how Rollins is simply a man from a humble background who appreciates the value of opportunity and the platform he has worked hard to create in order to effect change. If you are somehow new to this great man, I feel confident you will really, really like him. If you like and understand him already, just enjoy.

While on the subject of punk rock, I simply must mention the astonishing Larry & His Flask. I've blogged about this fantastic punk-bluegrass outfit before, so won't go too deeply into it here, but after having seen them play for the second time last night, as part of the Victoria Ska Festival, I cannot let this blog posting pass without saying that, at all costs, go see a Larry & His Flask show at your earliest opportunity! There is just nothing to compare with the incendiary live show they present, and the sense of unity they create with their audience is as inspirational as the man in the film above. The photo you see here is one tiny moment from the incredible hour-long performance we were privileged to be party to last night ('party' being the operative word), and just under 24 hours later the adrenaline it whipped up is still pumping! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rounder Records R.I.P.

I am deeply saddened to have received the news this morning that legendary Brighton, UK, music store, Rounder Records, is going out of business. The store's press release reads thus:

It is with huge regret and sadness that we are closing down. We will shut our doors at 6pm on Sunday 29th July after 46 years of being a record shop in Brighton Square.

What we have always strived to do is stock the best range of music at the best prices for our customers; sadly, that is not enough for us to stay open.

We are closing because we can't make it add up any more. We are a business that has been decimated by downloads (both legal and illegal), VAT avoidance by the big online retailers, a double-dip recession and the decline of the high street. Our lease has ended and we have nowhere to go.

We would like to give heartfelt thanks to all our customers over the years, and hope we have managed to provide you with some special and great music throughout this time. That's why we have been here - as a place to obtain, hear, find out about and discuss all types of the weird and wonderful world of music; to be a social hub for a musical city; a place where future bands are born; where record labels are started; where local bands can stock their first release; where you can get tickets for gigs; where there's something playing on the shop stereo that might be your new favourite band. Sadly, in 2012, this is just not financially viable.

I worked at Rounder Records for seven fun-filled years, when the music industry was wonderfully unrecognizable from the wheezing, skeletal, sorry creature it is today; when the thought of music "lovers" storing their entire collection on something resembling a credit card was the stuff of science fiction; when lyric booklets were pored over and even the smell of the sleeves was obsessed over; when the value of the record store as the aforementioned social hub and catalyst for the creation of bands and record labels was immeasurable to the music community.

Goodness me, how times have changed. I for one view the terminal decline of bricks and mortar music (and books) retailing as a cultural apocalypse that Generation Z will recognize as such when it's too late. And when they cry, "Shit, what have we done?" I'll be one of the first to yell back, "Well, we told you so."

Gawd bless you, Rounder Records.