Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm an Evil Baby! Give Me Meat!

The Most Brian-Influential Albums of the Decade

I'm not that evil a baby. I'm a semi-benign adult and I enjoy a well rounded meal involving vegetables.
The title was suggested by my bat-shit crazy pseudo-nephew Joel. When confronted by the parental question WHAT PART OF "Be Quiet" DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?
He responded "I understand the QUI".
I think he may be a genius who'll end up in an asylum. It is rare to find a three-year-old who can master both absurdist and wry humour.
I will visit him in whatever home he ends up in.

That said ...

I've grown tired of Rock 'n' Roll criticism. People buy Bryan Adams records. Huh.
I'm not gonna be the one to tell them to buy Flaming Lips records instead.
I don't care anymore. Buy all the Bryan Adams CDs/Vinyl Re-Issues/Digital Downloads you want ...
Someone buys into Mariah Carey. It ain't me, but if you enjoy it, who am I to judge? Art is subjective. Not my fault y'all got bad taste.

So ... The albums of the decade that made me say "Holy Fuck."
Somewhat ironically, 2007's LP by Holy Fuck just missed the cut.

The Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creations Dark
I was originally struck by 2001's Southern Rock Opera but it was later in the decade the band hit it's creative stride. Southern Rock Opera could have been a single disc. Brighter Than Creation's Dark was the culmination of three great songwriters on a single disc. I love all of the DBT albums before ... I suspect I'll love all that come after. I doubt I'll love a song as much as Danko and Manuel.

Not-so-interesting side note:
The Band's Richard Manuel's brother was a Baptist Minister and he married my parents. This fact really impressed the late Jay Bennett from Wilco when I interviewed him while I was a snotty rock critic. That is neither here nor there nor anywhere.

Hold Steady - Stay Positive

If The Clash and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band had a baby ... well that would be impossible. Eleven men can't have a baby without one woman involved.
Don't expect me to report the impossible - that said, I heard my first Orillia Opera House ghost tonight (he was a cliche).
What was I saying? Oh yeah ... several men can't have a collective baby.
If they did, they'd sound like The Hold Steady. The first song had me rewinding the first song just so I could sing along 'cuz our songs are sing-along songs..
Bonus points for the song Slapped Actress ... 'Some nights actresses get slapped ... Some nights it's just entertainment ... and some other nights it's work."

Green Day - American Idiot
For a band infamous for poop jokes (Dookie) named for 24 hours wasted getting high, American Idiot was a revelation and a remarkable reboot of the band.
2009's 21st Century Breakdown is arguably the better album and will undoubtedly hold up better over time but American Idiot captured the zeitgeist of liberals bewildered by the road down which the the world's final super-power was taking us.
It was a call to arms which - if all goes well - will seem very dated by the end of the next decade.
Which, sadly, it won't.

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous (2004)
I rarely remember where I was when I first heard a band in such vivid detail. I was sitting in Neal's truck in the parking lot of an LCBO. I apparently owned enough liquor

... I will forgive you if you dismiss this story as improbable and return to your regularly scheduled lives at this point ...

and I heard such a beautiful voice telling me to "pull the rip chord" on my life because "you're sleeping again
alone 'cause nobody loves you."
I looked over at Neal's IPod, desperately wanting to find the name of this angel who advised me to take my own life. I never really considered it - as I said, I had plenty of booze.
It turns out Jenny Lewis was the singer. It took me a week to discover Rilo Kiley was a band, not some Country-Goth chick. I had to Google her. Brother, did I Google her. I Googled her so hard you can insert your own cheap joke here.
I immediately emailed everyone I ever mocked for thinking Lynerd Skynerd was one rockin' dude with an apology.
If my ITunes's memory is worth a damn, this is the album I listened to most from the year 2004 until the present.

Lambchop - How I Quit Smoking
I actually downloaded this album on The Pirate Bay as an attempt to better myself. Given the title, I thought it may offer some insight towards not paying $7.95 per day to give myself cancer. It's my own fault. I wasn't hood-winked by the tobacco industry into smoking these evil little death sticks. I knew what I was getting into - I just thought, at the age of 17, I was invincible.
The first track I listened to was "The Man Who Loved Beer". I used to love beer, but I found it was making me fat. I lost 20 pounds when I quit drinking beer. I originally settled on vodka and grapefruit juice ('cuz that has to be healthy) but eventually gravitated towards a classier whiskey. I'm a dignified guy, I deserve a dignified drink ... Right?
I think so to.
Bushmill's was what I eventually settled on as my signature drink. Scrappy Irish but with a hint of class.
So when I learned that ... Screw it ... I'll come clean.
The above was the worst shaggy dog story ever told. Some British magazine told me to listen to Lambchop. They called them an "unclassifiable hybrid of country, soul, jazz, and avant-garde noise." They gave me a compilation CD with their magazine to prove their point.
They were right. I have no story about How I Quit Smoking by Lambchop.
It was released in 1996 but re-fuckin'-extra-special-released in 2002. I'm counting it.
So I'm a liar and a cheat.
That is all.

Guided By Voices - Live From Austin TX
The chances are good, if you've watched television in the past decade, you've heard a Guided By Voices song. Not just on Austin City Limits, where the short version of this first aired. People who pick songs to underscore particular moments on TV seem to be huge indie rock nerds.

Watching Bob Pollard and his lo-fi company

... yes, watching. I own the DVD. There is a CD available but I've already established I'm not above cheating on this list ...

get progressively more loaded via two wash tubs of beer and tequila shots over 97 minutes is a treat for fans of watching happy drunks get happier. Artists getting drunk on stage rarely ends well. I once saw Van Morrison fall off a stage. I doubt that was his artistic vision for the evening.
The look of utter joy on the face of the band at being on ACL (almost as required viewing as Hockey Night In Canada 'round these parts) sells the happy libertine act.
Throw in a few bizarre non sequiturs, an invitation for fans to join them on stage, mockery of Velvet Revolver, a couple of achingly beautiful ballads and the most get-to-the-point guitar rock since The Ramones and you have, not just a run-on sentence, but a true believer.
GBV were not the most talented band on the planet. But as they said in the intro to Sad If I Lost It "Hey kids, let me tell ya something that Guided By Voices taught the world. That you can suck ... and still rule," They knew their limits, they played within it.
Oh yeah, and Gold Star For Robot Boy and Everyone thinks I'm A Raincloud (When I'm Not Looking) are as excellent a song as they are a song title.
Throw in the fact I have made a very nice friend of the producer of ACL by drunkenly Tweeting about this DVD? Twenty dollars well spent. Hi @TheOtherLeslie (which is a funny name if you have followed my romantic misadventures).

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
A Ghost Is Born and Sky Blue Sky both have their charms but for sheer fuck-youery to record companies, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot takes the medal this decade.

* For lack of a hit single, Wilco was let go from it's contract by AOL Time Warner subsidiary Reprise, scuttling YHF's planned September 11, 2001 release. They streamed the album on-line until web traffic proved it commercially viable. It was picked up by Nonesuch, a subsidiary of, yes, AOL Time Warner.

Alternately lush and dissonant, YHF makes good on the promise of Summerteeth, Wilco's 1999 break with traditional alt-country.
I would play this album for my staff when I managed a thrift store. They would have much rather listened to Shania Twain or Avril Lavigne, but I was, and remain, both the boss and a giant music fascist.
They could tolerate the orchestral opening track I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. They almost liked the skewed pop of Heavy Metal Drummer. It was Reservations, the final song, with it's dissonant noise coda that really bugged them.
"This is just ... creepy," one of my underlings finally remarked.
"Yeah." I smiled. "It really is, isn't it?"

* (like everything I write, a gross oversimplification)

Radiohead - Kid A
I believe it was a Sunday night. I had to work in the morning. Being a responsible sort, I decided to smoke a joint rather than get drunk.
I also had a home-made roast beef sandwich (lettuce, mustard, a tiny bit of horseradish on rye) ready to go for my lunch the next day.
"What the hell," I thought to myself. "I'll buy lunch tomorrow." On my way to the fridge, I popped Kid A into the stereo.
I had listened to that Radiohead CD roughly 10 times previous. I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it well enough.
Suddenly, the heavens opened up and sounds I never could have imagined started bouncing around the room. I asked myself the hard questions. I gave myself the right answers. It was all so simple. My path lay before me.
Then I started in on that sandwich. Best sandwich I have EVER eaten. I still dream about that sandwich.
I've since listened to Kid A, trying to recreate that experience. I liked it well enough but I didn't love it. It's no OK Computer. I think it must have been the sandwich.

The Weakerthans. - Reconstruction Site
The biggest criticism I've heard of The Weakerthans is, boiled down - "They're a bunch of smarty-pants -- too smart for for their own good."
Well excuse me, all of you Ms. Sarah Palin wanabees.
Extra credit should be given to independent learning. The Bible and Ronald Reagan - A Presidential Biography for Kids are not the only books ever written.
Sometimes I like my power-pop bands to be literate.
I like my stupid rock bands to be stupid (Hello Electric by The Cult.)
But I like my literate power pop to be, well, literate and to know stuff. I'm not so threatened by my own smarty-pantsness that I can't admit I don't know stuff. That's what Wikipedia is for:

Did you know Boxcar Willie is one of the lizard people who secretly rule the earth?

Use as many Foucault, Gump Worsley, Niels Bohr or Virtue The Cat references as you like. I'll revel in what I know and be happy to learn the rest.
Plus The Weakerthans play insanely catchy pop-music and I'm tired of hearing 'Are They Punk Enough' just because John Samson used to play bass in Propighandi.
As the old saying goes ... You can draw more flies with honey than you can with obnoxious, dissonant noise.

Bruce Sprigsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
It isn't the most fun band I've heard this decade, but most definately the band having the most fun. Bruce, most of the E Street Band and friends rip through folk legend Pete Seeger's songs.
It's laughable to think of millionaire The Boss rip through Pay Me My Money Down, a song about bein' ripped off by the man. But I'll be damned if they aren't having so much fun that I always sing along.

Honourable Mention/Discs I Couldn't Find an Appropriate Story For:

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound - Kinda like The Hold Steady, but slightly less awesome

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood/Furnace Room Lullaby

A.C. Newman - Get Guilty

The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic Because Neko Case + A.C. Newman = Awesome.

The Arcade Fire - Funeral Even though I was told to like it by all hipster media everywhere ... I still did

The Rheostatics - 2067
I have a soft spot for the Rheostatics. It wasn't Greatest Hits or Whale Music but ...

Sarah Harmer - I'm A Mountain This album reminds me of cutting stuff up and setting it on fire. Not sure that's the spirit of the music, but...

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga "The Underdog" may be my favourite song of the decade.

Magnetic Fields - Distortion - I chose this because 69 Love Songs came out in 1999 and that would be cheating a bit too much. However, Too Drunk To Dream is an excellent summary of my romantic misadventures.

Polyphonic Spree - Together We're Heavy I normally don't like hippie collectives, but in this case, I'll overlook the fact they smell bad and likely smoke pot.

Okkervil River - The Stand Ins - I heard a song on the excellent TV show Chuck and Googled it ... it would have displaced Kid A had I a better story.

Old 97's - Satellite Rides - See The previous entry. Except replace Chuck with Ed. Fuck you ... I liked that show. It was whimsical.

Danny Michel - Feather, Fur & Fin The artist I enjoyed most at work this year. I actually parted with cash to buy a CD just 'cuz I wanted him to keep making music.

The Coup - Pick A Bigger Weapon Revolutionary party hip/hop - how can you argue with the lyric "I'm here to laugh, love fuck and drink liquor ... and make the revolution come quicker"?

Ron Sexsmith - Cobblestone Runway God Loves EVERYONE, fuckers!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer OST - Once More With Feeling - What do you want from me? I'm a huge nerd who works in a theatre. You thought this wouldn't be here?

Steve Earle - Transcendental Blues I'm sick of coming up with reasons I like things. That's kinda the point of my opening anti-criticism statement.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ten Haiku Pick Up Lines

I know better than anyone I haven't written anything not related to work in 3 1/2 months.
As much as it bothers my loyal fan - just one at this point - You can't get blood from a stone.
It doesn't matter how damned funny or charming or virile the stone.
You can't get Oscar Wildesque wit from it, Mr. Frank Sharpton of Columbus, Ohio
This lame attempt to start writing again is despite your threats, Frank. Not because of them. I don't believe you own that video and I doubt Vivid Entertainment wold buy it if you did. Lindsay Lohan tapes are a dime-a-dozen these days.

All the same, let everyone without empty blackmail threats enjoy my attempt at breaking my writer's block with my ten favourite haiku pick up lines.

You kinda look like
a pornographic film star
whose name I forget.

Come back to my place.
I've got a sweet stereo
and a waterbed.

You must be a thief
as you have stolen my heart.
Wanna see my wang?

I hope at last call
your fear of dying alone
gets me a hand job.

My wife and I have
an open relationship
but please don't tell her.

Happy to see you?
Is that a roll of quarters?
Duh ... it's a penis.

I dote on my cat
and I collect sock monkeys.
I swear I'm not gay.

I seem nice at first
but then I will ignore you.
You will gain twelve pounds.

Here in Orillia
I work, have several teeth
That makes me a catch!

At my job I am
a deputy fire warden.
Does that turn you on?

Write me a better haiku pick up line if you think you're so big. I dare ya. You think you're so great. You're not.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

An Open Letter To Joel, My Pseudo-Nephew, Concerning His Grip On Reality

Dear Joel,

First things first ... Dinosaurs and Pirates did not exist at the same time. It is almost impossible that pirates and dinosaurs would fight and it is very wrong of you to try to convince me otherwise.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:
Dinosaurs were the dominant vertebrate animals of terrestrial ecosystems for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period (about 230 million years ago) until the end of the Cretaceous period (65 million years ago), when most of them became extinct in the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.

Pirates, on the other hand thrived in the 18th Century. In the popular modern imagination, pirates of the classical period were rebellious, clever teams who operated outside the restricting bureaucracy of modern life. Pirates were also depicted as always raising their Jolly Roger-flag when preparing to hijack a vessel. The Jolly Roger is the traditional name for the flags of European and American pirates and a symbol for piracy that has been adopted by film-makers and toy manufacturers.

Clearly, we can no longer hang out and play Pirates vs. Dinosaurs ... your current three-year-old obsessions be damned. I feel slightly soiled for indulging you in the game earlier this afternoon. I should have pointed out the historical inconsistencies in private -- not in a public forum as I do now -- but fatigue and drink have loosened my tongue.

I demand an immediate apology as you forced me to compromise my 'knowledge' in favour of your "imagination".

I also demand an apology for you saying The Jayhawks were over-rated and not especially essential to the alt-country movement.

Always Your Respectful Pseudo-Uncle,


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Help Me Obi-Wan ... Give me something to post about

I'm currently suffering the worst case of writers block in the history of the world (not including JD Sallinger).
Really. I'm fucked. I had a story about some kid who found out he was a wizard and did all sort of remarkable things. Now Google News tells me it has already been done.
Well, Shit.
Next thing you know ... someone will poach my story of a distopian past where an unreasonable government in 1984 censors anything they find objectionable.
It's not like I'm void of fictional ideas ... a group of orphans lured into a life of pick-pocketing ... a Danish prince driven mad by the murder of his father ... the son of God sacrificed on a chunk of wood to pay for the sins of humanity. I have plenty of ideas for fiction no one else would ever dream about. I just can't find the mojo to turn them into believable myths.
Christ, I even have thoughts about a non-fiction book based on the botanical, biological and paleontological studies of Galagopos Islands where I posit that species evolve from natural selection. Crazy ... I know.
Use the comment section below to suggest something to write about. Quite frankly ... on my own ... I'm fucked.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sorry I Have Not Posted In A While

I've been getting over extreme tooth pain so:
In the spirit of half-assed malling it in, I present my favourite in-joke punchlines:

Go Team Norsub!

A Skunk fucking a flowery pig!

(not as racist as it sounds)

A man who dismantles his own cat has a fool for a vet.

You've hosed me out of my split-apart!

Why would she french her daddy?
(More of a News Radio punch line ... but I'll allow it)


Really? Pornocolyse Now?

Je suis une grande canard vert dans mon pantalons

Wait ... Be Cool ... He's not gay ... he's just British.

Friday, June 5, 2009

That's Right, Barb ... Keep Fiddling While Rome Burns.

Well, more to the point, keep watching The Bachelorette On Demand while the economy collapses, 'abortion doctors' are murdered by Right-To-Lifers and trains in Oshawa are derailing willy-nilly.

While you watch the crappiest television show I've ever seen -- and that includes Walker, Texas Ranger -- some of us are trying to change the world. And those "some of us" would be me.
And this time, I'm trying to change it for the better.

Why, I've been signing on-line petitions. For example to "help free American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee who are in a North Korean prison being held on 'illegal entry' and 'hostile acts'.
They were in China reporting for Al Gore’s Current TV and never meant to enter North Korea. But, they are now on trial and looking at possibly spending 10 years in a labor camp in North Korea if they are found guilty.
You can sign the petition by clicking the title. (I should probably learn how to embed links in the copy of my blog.). It likely won't do any good but it also won't do any harm ... unless you are Mark McConkey from Blind River, Ontario. Please do NOT sign this petition, Mark. Kim Jong-Il really dislikes you since the 'pantsing' incident and, at this point, it will only antagonize him. I suspect your relationship is beyond repair.

So keep watching your stupid reality television Barbara. If my IPod needs charging and the TV upstairs is on the fritz - as was the case tonight - it will only encourage me to spend 30 seconds making the world a better place in which to live!

Thank you to Olivia Munn (photo above) for bringing this story to my attention. I visit your site for updates on social issues ... not the lingerie pictures. I promise!

BTW ... R.I.P. ... Jay Bennett (formerly of Wilco) - musical genius and a man very forgiving of stupid interview questions (ahem)... Peter Zezel - best face-off man I've ever seen and by all accounts, one of the nicest guys in hockey, ever ... David Carradine - whose movie Kill Bill still gives Barb nightmares ... Everyone who died on the Beaches of Normandy sixty-five years ago today - for having more stones than I ever will.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

An Open Letter To An Uncaring God Concerning My Tooth Pain

Look God ... I know you and I have had our differences. I bitch you out for being an insecure prick who doesn't exist... You claim I don't exist and curse me with male pattern baldness and a pretty serious drinking problem.
Our relationship works. We know where we stand with each other.
But lately, you've raised the fucking stakes, haven't you? This extreme tooth pain is a game changer. You've upped the ante ... little insecure non-existent bitch that you are.
I know I've started baiting your more misguided followers on Twitter, but calling out some closeted queer who was 'nauseated' by the five times he watched Milk is not a satisfying payback for you making my jaw swell up to the size of a dirigible.
Look ... I understand natural disasters ... sometimes you have to clear the decks of poor people to make room for all the unwanted babies you've saved from blissful non-existence.
I understand war ... You need to make your believers fight it out to see which of them "want it more". By the way, I'd like to cast my vote for the faction that don't believe in the Afghani Rape Law, but you aren't listening to me right now, are you?
Because, if you were listening to me, you wouldn't have given me this incredibly excruciating tooth pain.
I know I've had a, let's say British, attitude towards my teeth all of these years. I know I have had said in the past "May God strike me down with incredible tooth pain if I ever drink again" while hungover. I have done nothing to deserve your non-existent mercy except ...
I'm a White North American Male. Remember? I get special treatment?
If you could take this tooth pain and give it to some poor deserving bugger in Sri Lanka I'd really appreciate it.

Your (other) Nemesis,

The Aging Hipster

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Care and Feeding of a Stage Mother

I've had to deal with quite a few stage mothers in the past couple of weeks. It was kind of a new experience for me and I wish I had a list of rules to follow -- much like this one I've just made. You are welcome, future generations of theatre workers. Just try to pay it forward.

1.) Never tell stage mothers -- or dance teachers, for that matter -- how creepy it is to see a nine-year-old tarted up in make-up and a short dress. They assume just because you noticed -- whether it makes your skin crawl or not -- there is something genetically wrong with you.

2.) Have plenty of Vodka, Triple Sec, and cranberry juice on hand. Stage Moms ADORE Sex and The City and love to drink Cosmopolitans. They are often single as most right-thinking husbands have left them. However, the courts being how they are:

3.) Have plenty of faux independent beer on hand for the husbands who stuck around (or feel obligated) to watch. Keith's and Rickard's Red seem to be the most popular.

4.) Never tell Stage Mothers/Gary Bettman/Dance Teachers to hurry it the Hell up because of the Crosby/Ovechkin playoff match-up. They don't appreciate the savage ballet that is Professional Ice Hockey. Instead, just pour yourself a scotch and water, no ice, and figure out how to watch it in your office. Not that I did.

5.) Always invoke the safety of their creepy, overly-sexualized child -- because someone has to. God knows, someone has to. "I'm sorry but you can't go back there. What if someone was trying get to your child? We can't let anyone back there except ushers and teachers." Promise the ushers extra hours if they try to convince the kids to wipe off the make-up and play hopscotch or jacks or whatever kids used to do.

6.) Never Let dogs in the theatre -- really this one is just for me. Really, bitch, you thought I'd let your yappy little dog into the theatre? Your Yorkeshire Terrier would really benefit from seeing your stupid, probably untalented niece dancing to Cuban Pete, or some other tired routine? I won't let a can of Coca Cola into my theatre. What makes you think I'd let you bring a yapping, pissing, shitting little dog into my realm?
I notice you did not lodge the complaint with my superiors you claimed you would. So be it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Open Letter To Barb and Joan Concerning Their Ongoing Refusal To Let Me Have a Pet Monkey

Throughout history, many important men have owned pet monkeys. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to that church door in Wittenberg, he did so with a chimp named Brendan at his side.
Sir Winston Churchill would unwind after a long day of inspiring Britons during The Blitz with a cigar, a snifter of brandy and a Barbary Ape named, ironically, Adolph.
Abraham Lincoln had a spider monkey named Herb. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. Ergo, if you don't let me have a pet monkey, you are pro-slavery.
It is simple, unassailable logic.
Also, many great fictional characters had monkey pets/friends. The Clint Eastwood character had Clyde in Any Which Way But Loose. Homer had Mojo in an episode of The Simpsons. Ross had a hairy, inhuman partner in Friends. Plus he also had Maurice the Monkey.
As you know from the last bachelor party I threw, I am not an unreasonable man. All firearms were discharged out of doors with one execption -- and I maintain that instance was the fault of flaming sambuca, a tray of butter tarts and the Mayor's sudden pantlessness. So I am willing to compromise and allow any pet simians I may own to be trained as helper monkeys. This would be a great help to you, Barbara, as you are ... ahem ... frequently incapacitated by grape-based beverages.
And Joan ... well ... you're no spring chicken.
We are also frequently plagued by black-outs in this area. For entertainment, we have to resort to board games by candlelight and listening the CBC on a battery powered radio. If I had a pet monkey, however, we could get him loaded for our amusement.
Drunk Monkey is incredibly fun to say. Try it now. Say it with me ... drunk monkey ... that WAS fun, wasn't it? I think it may be the double "unk" sound.
I'll wager my last pair of clean underpants that an actual drunken money would be one hundred times more fun. We could watch him reel around the room, confused by his condition. We could watch him swing from light fixtures, wearing a lampshade as a hat in a humourous fashion. We could watch him sit and stare forlornly into his drink, beating himself up with bitter self-recriminations of lost love, wasted talent and failed opportunities.
In short, Barb and Joan, it would be sheer folly NOT to let me have a pet monkey. I shall name him Hilton Langley.
And I promise to clean up any feces he may fling -- after it dries up and becomes more manageable.

P.S. I've missed you too, dear reader. I've been working like a dog lately. A Border Collie, in fact, who rounds up theatre patrons, removes their drinks from their hands (ironic, no?) and makes them sit down and enjoy a show.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poseur Meets Author, Acts Like Dickweed

I really like Paul Quarrington.

He wrote some of my favorite books -- King Leary, Logan In Overtime and Whale Music ("the greatest rock'n'roll novel ever written" according to Penthouse magazine.)
He is also a fine song-writer and a better than average guitar player.

He also seemed like the sort of guy who could sit down and have a drink without rubbing your face in the fact that he has released two albums and written ten novels, five books of non-fiction and five plays. He never seems to mention that you have pissed away any talent you once had and now publish your drunken nonsense, desperate for attention, on a free blog.

So I was really happy when Barb phoned to say she had tickets to see Quarrington play some songs and practice his racounteering ( ... racounteermanship? ... racounteerism? I don't know the exact word.) in a small space during the local comedy festival.

Quarrington played two sets of the songs he wrote and sang for the band Porkbelly Futures. He was amiable and amusing. He sang the first folk song about the pornography industry and works The Friendly Giant into one of his songs.

I was kind of excited to approach him and buy his latest book, The Ravine after his performance - until Barb's enthusiasm and my studied lack of enthusiasm kicked in.

At this point, I revert to verbatim quotations:

Brian: I'd like to buy a copy of your latest ...

Barb: Brian is such a fan of yours. He is so excited to meet you!

Brian: Well ... a fan ... yeah ... I guess ... more a guy who thinks you can turn a phrase real ... good.

Paul: Umm ...

Barb: Brian owns all of your books.

Brian: Well ... I own some of your books ... you know ... the good ones ... plus Civilization ... I bought them at thrift stores so you actually didn't get any ...

Paul: Thanks, I guess I ...

Barb: I always do this. I'm going to step aside and let Brian talk.

Brian: Thanks, honey. Why do you act like I am a deaf mute?

Paul: Do you want me to sign it? It that Brian with an 'i' ?

Brian: Umm ...

18 second pause

Barb: Yes. It's Brian with an 'i'.

Brian: err ... Thanks.

Which probably explains the inscription in my book - which cost $19.95 and for which I let him keep the nickel!

To Bryan, Quit trying so hard ... Paul Quarrington.