Author: Matthew Barlow

Football and CTE

This past weekend was Grey Cup weekend in Canada.  The Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders met at TD Place Stadium in the Nation’s Capital.  The Argos won 27-24 in another classic.  In the lead up to the game, Canadian Football League Commissioner Randy Ambrosie declared that ‘we don’t know‘ if there is a connection between CTE and football.  Around this time last year, the former CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said the same thing and was roundly criticized.  Ambrosie is being suitably raked over the coals. But here’s the thing, Ambrosie should know better.  He is a former CFL player himself, he was a lineman for the Stampeders, Argonauts, and Edmonton Eskimos (why no one protests this name is beyond me).  Ironically, he retired due to injuries.  And he should know about the damage done to his own body by the game.  I am certainly aware of what football did to my body, between the cranky knees, shoulders, and, of course, the concussions (added to, of course, by hockey, where I played goalie). More to the point, it looks pretty damn likely that there is a connection between football and CTE.  This is just media one story from this past summer (out of many) that reports on a study that found that 88% of brains donated by now-deceased former football players had some form of CTE.  CTE was also...

Read More

Art Bergmann: Remember Her Name

Art Bergmann Remember Her Name Weework Art Bergmann should be rich and famous.  He is Canadian punk rock nobility.  Away back in the mists of time (and the rain forest Vancouver is carved out of), Bergmann was the frontman of the seminal punk band, the Young Canadians.  Vancouver was once a major epicenter of the punk rock world, but no one knows this.  Perhaps it’s because Vancouver is isolated in the Pacific Northwest, deep inside that rain forest.  The nearest city is Seattle.  And in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Seattle was as unimportant as Vancouver.  But Vancouver...

Read More

The Moral Conundrum of Roy Moore

The Roy Moore scandal makes me sick. Like physically ill, which is surprising, because I’m normally pretty much inured to most things. What nauseates me more is watching people defend Moore, or otherwise express backhanded support for him, such as Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has. Ivey has publicly declared that she believes the women who have accused Moore of misconduct. She also is in power because the previous governor, Robert Bentley, was forced to resign due to his own sex scandal. But Ivey is going to vote for Moore because he’s the GOP candidate. Others have defended Moore by...

Read More

Black Sabbath: The End (Live)

Black Sabbath The End (Live) Eagle Vision Black Sabbath packed it in earlier this year.  The original members had got back together in the 2000s, ending the era of Tony Iommi and a rotating cast of guests.  Sure, some, like the late, great Ronnie James Dio, filled in admirably. But, otherwise, Sabbath was largely forgettable without Ozzy, Geezer, and Bill Ward.  Nevermind the fact that that sentence sounds like the Muppets Band.  Ward was forced out a few years ago, largely for health reasons.  The lads ARE all fast approaching 70, and they’ve lived harder than your average 70...

Read More

Hüsker Dü: Savage Young Dü

Hüsker Dü Savage Young Dü The Numero Group Hüsker Freaking Dü, kids.  I’m not sure why I’m even bothering to write an actual review here.  Away back in time, in 1979, in the frigid climes of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton met at a record store.  They formed a band.  Mould played guitar and sang.  Norton played bass.  Hart played the drums and sang.  Mould and Hart wrote the songs and took turns on lead vocals.  They were vicious.  Perhaps the fastest band on the planet.  The took punk and sped it up.  They were louder and more vicious than anything else, and that includes so-called speed metal, with the possible exception of Bad Brains.  Eventually, over the course of the 1980s, they mellowed some and began to make albums of more melodic music, but they never lost that viciousness. They were hampered some by the generally weak recording quality of SST records, though even their Warner years were somewhat muddied by poor mixes.  And then they split amongst great acrimony at the start of 1988.  Mould had a drinking problem and was domineering and controlling.  He also was managing the band after the suicide of their manager, David Savoy, in 1987.  Hart had a bad heroin addiction.  Norton, whom I’ve always felt sorry for in between these two, got married and became a chef....

Read More