Early in 2014 I was on a tour across the US and about two-thirds into the tour we had a stop at South by Southwest in Austin. I was tired from the tough schedule and it was a good time to take a break. My tour partner played his show at the festival and went home for a few days and I stayed back to play a couple sets of my own and kill some time. My manager had flown in from Toronto to take meetings related to his roster of artists at the festival; I wanted to save some dough so I crashed in the living room of his Air B&B.
You probably do this too: I get on these kicks where I am focused on something for three or four days. Before our stop at SXSW I was on focused on ACDC. I downloaded all the documentaries I could find about the group and watched them on an ipad while we were in the van. In my notebook I wrote out the bands discography, the producers they had worked with and the coinciding years that each album was released. A little while before Austin, in either Charlotte or Birmingham I don’t remember, I bought myself a large black ACDC Tshirt from Target. Just like the one on Beavis and Butthead. I think we had stopped at a Target because they have good coffee. I was loopy from the long tour, however I had the new rock T and a floor to crash on in Texas for a half a week.
The festival had me scheduled to play two sets. The first was in a hotel lobby bar. I did my own sound check and started on time according to the brochure. There were some friends and fans in the lobby and we got to hang out a bit later on, but the gig was primarily for the bellman and bartender. The lobby was more like a courtyard. The room went from floor to ceiling, and by ceiling I mean the entire height of the hotel. While I was singing I remember feeling self-conscience about reviews from the 14th floor. - ‘Cavernous with emotional strumming’
The second set I played was across town from the Air B&B in a conference room located in the basement of a Hilton along the interstate. I got to have lunch with three members of Social Distortion. I didn’t wear my ACDC shirt.
The last night we were in Austin I came home early and was researching for my next kick. No more high voltage. I stumbled on a film called ‘A Man Within’ about the artist William Burroughs. I didn’t sleep entirely well that night. There are many aspects to his life and work that are riveting, but something made an impression on me: the Cut-Ups. This is a method which he popularized, where a set text is cut and rearranged to form new text. Same words - alternate reality. The Cut-Ups is also a film written and stared-in by Burroughs (1966) and there is plenty of cultural significance surrounding the method - check it out on Wikipedia or YouTube.
The disorientation you experience in the Cut-Ups is attractive to me. Cut Ups make you feel without implicit meaning. Disrupting the text and train of thought can give clues to something closer to the truth. Disorientation and Rearrangingare words and themes that make sense to me.
My wife and I recently moved up Island about 65 miles from our apartment on St. Charles Street in Victoria. The move took about four months of consideration and was executed in less than a week. We both took time off from work to focus on setting up our new space in Nanaimo. We signed a rental agreement and decided the first task would be to paint the entire main floor of the place. We rolled and rolled. we cut-in, we rolled and we cut-in. Along with other tasks, I think that I was painting for the better part of six days. As I type this I can taste primer in my coffee. Another move, another challenge.
I think of those plans, dreams and hopes: Cut em up, cut-in: see what happens then.
Think of those things that define you, or butter-your-bread: Have you cut ‘em all up? Some of them can be harder to talk about then others.
A few observations made while painting:
- Hey Rosetta! is my wife's favourite band, and has been since we started dating. She played the album Seeds thirty four times
- The tape keeps off the paint, but in an old house the tape tears off the paint. Just a heads up.
- Someone drew a heart on the kitchen table with pencil and it was here when we showed up.
- Barefoot, socks, or shoes: Choose based on your own comfort. I stepped in a lot of paint.
Most Played Songs of January While Working at the Writing Space In Victoria:
- The Wall - Bruce Springsteen
- Highway Patrol Stun Gun - Youth Lagoon (my cover here)
- Ode - Nils Frahm
- Used Cars - Bruce Springsteen
- Glutton for Distance - Worriers
- Oh Donna - Library Voices
- Sometimes - Sam Russo
- Jane, I still feel the same - Matthew Ryan
- Irrelevant - Matthew Ryan
- Boxer - Matthew Ryan
I had a rough bout with the winter blues in January. I’ve never been to a doctor or any type of counsellor yet, but I think I know now when it’s about to happen and I know that it's not that uncommon. Going to the Y each morning after morning tasks around the house appears to be best medicine. Starting the day at the Y lets me blast any dreadful energy out of my head before it takes over the day. Its frustrating having a type of seasonal depression, I couldn't imagine having it all the time. You have to keep working on that puzzle.
- Take the Bread and the Hen across the river
- Bring the Bread back with you
- Bring the Fox and the Bread across the river
- Leave the Fox and Bread on the bank. Take the Hen across the river...
You catch my drift?
Movies and Movie Month: known as - Popcorn Time / Theatre Style.
In the past twelve months, I only remember seeing one movie in the theatres. I like going to them, just on a cold streak. We saw "The Martian" in Nova Scotia while we were broken down on tour, but I don't remember any others. This past January I was working from 9am-2pm each day and spent the afternoons and evenings preparing for tour and for the move up Island. Going to the movies really helped relieve some stress and take my mind off logistical stresses and questions that could wait. This is a list of the three movies I saw in January with a thought:
"Spotlight" - This was my favourite of the three. Think of any pain, sadness and anger you experience… this movie gives you a place to direct it. I believe it is called righteous indignation. Growing up I always wanted to be some kind of broadcaster, journalist or minister.
"The Big Short" - I’m not a film buff but I declare that this movie had wonderful acting. An important question: is the crowd always right? Arguments ad populum: '50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong'. For me the film is a good warning not to be fooled, and that going with the flow doesn't necessarily lead anywhere good.
"Revenant" - I have already auditioned for the sequel, which I posted on my Instagram feed.
Attached are some photos and a video of my January journal. I will try and write more before heading out on the Canadian tour February 18th, but we will just see where the next couple weeks take us.
Sincere best to you.
Gallery (click to scroll):