Month: June 2018

The Return of The The

I read the most bizarre article in The Guardian last week.  It was about Matt Johnson and his band, The The.  The headline had me vexed from the getgo: ‘With his band The The, Matt Johnson lit up the 80s. Now pop’s bright light is shining again.’  I had this total WTF? moment.  The The were around in the 80s, yeah. And they had some hits in their native UK.  And some underground hits here on this side of the Atlantic (meaning the US and Canada).  The 1980s trilogy of albums, Soul Mining, Infected, and Mind Bomb bordered on brilliant. They were...

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Wend and Calque by Lea Graham

Installment 25 features two poems by Lea Graham: excursions into meaning that meander toward etymology, history, memory, and association. “Wend” and “Calque” travel the back roads and back channels of language, constantly surprising and rerouting expectations in the process.   *** Wend: to direct one’s course; to travel, proceed 1. Forty years later in Mayflower, Arkansas, I wake from the dream where I am forever riding the Greyhound around hairpins, a car-sick kid next to a chain-smoking crone draped in a pink afghan. I’m eager for the mountain’s descent where the river begins to bottom out this drive, but stuck...

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Merci Beaucoup and Thank You

At the end of May, at the annual Congress for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Regina, SK, my book, Griffintown: Identity & Memory in an Irish Diaspora Neighbourhood, won a CLIO Award from the Canadian Historical Association.  I wrote the best book in Québec history last year.  I was stunned and surprised when I found out about this award in early April and I remain just as gobsmacked today. It is very humbling to be recognized by your peers for your work, I have to say.  It has also been humbling to see the response to the book as...

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Wooden Shjips — V.

Wooden Shjips V. Thrill Jockey   The mighty Wooden Shjips have returned to port, with their fifth full-length, appropriately entitled V.  Wooden Shjips are a stoner-rock band from San Francisco and have consistently turned out brilliantly droning albums since 2007.  If you don’t like the stoner-rock label (which I don’t), I can dig into my Music Critic Bag of Tricks™ and provide the other, alternative labels: psychadaelic rock; drone rock; experimental rock; minimalist rock.  In other words, labels are kinda bullshit.  But we already  know this. V. is more of the same from Wooden Shjips (in case you’re wondering, that’s...

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Letter to America

Come From Away is one of the hottest tickets on Broadway. It was nominated for seven Tony awards last year and won the prize for Best Direction of a Musical. A film adaptation is in the works. The musical tells the story of what happened when 38 airliners en-route to and from the United States were forced to land in Gander, Newfoundland when American air traffic was grounded following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The people of Gander welcomed the passengers and crews – mostly Americans – with open arms. It is a story of a shared humanity, of the...

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