Friday, March 30, 2007

Hills alive with music and sounds!

So much music has passed through our office this month that you'd forgive us for being somewhat reluctant to post about it all, especially if you factor in the amount of music that we brought back from SXSW and still haven't taken out of our festival bags.

But let us begin in those distant days before SXSW and what we were listening was dominated by The Arcade Fire's Neon Bible. While some of us were hesitant, fearing that the band might be caught in a sophomore slump, these fears proved deeply unfounded. From the first listen we were entranced with Arcade Fire's ability to evoke the streets of Montreal, capturing that unique blend of modern alienation and despair thoroughly steeped in feelings of Catholic longing and guilt.

We were also quite taken with a little EP from The Bombay Bicycle Club. Four songs blending the Strokes, Sonic Youth, and the Smiths. Jangly, pop-oriented guitar songs. Beirut's Pompeii EP helped to whet our appetites for their SXSW performance, as did repeated listens of Blonde Redhead's Misery is a Butterfly.

We also acquired Julie Doiron's latest offering, Woke Myself Up, and while we are enjoy her return to lo-fi rockdom, we do not feel that we've been able to give the able its full due, and expect to hear more from it in April.

The Return from SXSW featured the introduction of the Great Lake Swimmers' album, Ongiara, but their quiet overtones were quickly overtaken by the surprisingly catchy pop-work of the Tokyo Sex Club, who we passed up seeing at SXSW in order to see the Stooges. A fair trade, but we realize that we would have been just as happy watching Tokyo Sex Club open for Cursive. Their high-energy three song Smith EP (again owing a debt to the Strokes) demonstrates that the band would have been a much better time than Spoon. We also picked up the Pony's Turn the Lights Out which is proving to be an enthralling textbook display of guitar work.

However, the class of the end of March clearly belongs to Modest Mouse and their new release, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. As quirky as ever, but with the extra guitar pop of Johnny Marr, we are perfectly happy sailing off into uncharted waters with the band.

The Politics of Boredom

Alright, so perhaps not quite the posting that we would envision for the above title, and we promise we'll give it a much better go next time around. However, politics and boredom do seem to go hand in hand these days. Despite all of the excitement generated over the provincial elections in Quebec, we at The Daily Wenzel were not surprised in the least to find the Liberals ekeing out a narrow margin. This is perfectly in keeping with the way Canadian politics works. Separatist governments in Quebec only seem to thrive when the Liberals hold power in Ottawa. This is in part because Quebec, like most of Canada, is fundamentally Liberal, and having Liberals in office federally means that we agree on some many major issues that smaller issues can take a bigger stage. People only seem to want to debate separatism after health-care, social services, free trade, etc., have all been taken care of, issues that the Liberals seem to be much better at generating consensus around.

When the Conservatives are in power however, there are so many other issues that the electorate tend to disagree with, that the conversations rarely get to separatism. There is a weird idea floating here that an argument could be made that a Liberal government is bad for national unity, simply by being a victim of their own success.

Federally however, the success of the Liberals in Quebec does not necessarily mean an election is out of the question. The issue with the election is result is to see who made the biggest gains. In the last federal election, the Liberals lost significant ground, allowing the Conservatives to take the rest of Canada. The recent results most likely signifies that the Liberals would be triumphant in Quebec once more, causing Harper and Co. to have to wait for the Ontario numbers before calling an election.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

SXSW X The Numbers

Our final tally:

1 movie
2 conferences
3 cities
4 days
5 assignments
7 magazines
8 bars
10 guest speakers
14 cds
15 hours sleep
31 bands
42 phone calls
72 text messages
550 miles driven
3454 miles flown

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Twitterpated

We are currently testing out a new software applet called Twitter. Our username is, of course, DailyWenzel, and in theory you can use it to find out on your mobile when The Daily Wenzel has been updated. Bare with us, and send us feedback.

SXSW Band Shakedown

The Good
The Early Years
Voxtrot
The Mountain Goats
Bloc Party
Les Breastfeeders
Polyphonic Spree
Les Savy Fav
Daniel Johnston and his Night Mares
Maritime
Andrew Bird
Lee "Scratch" Perry
Million Year Dance
Art in Manila
Kings of Leon

The Bad (or at least indifferent)
Calla
Aqualung
Apostles of Hustle
The Annuals
Badly Drawn Boy
The Simple Kid
Spoon

The Queen!
Beirut
Blonde Redhead
The Dears
Buzzcocks
Peter, Bjorn & John
Field Music
The Stooges
The Good, The Bad, and The Queen

The Indescribable
Perry Farrell

Monday, March 19, 2007

SXSW #5

On the final day of SXSW we stumbled around the city of Austin little more than zombies, shuffling from bar to bar watching bands. Highlights must include unexpectedly seeing Lee "Scratch" Perry as we attempted to find a UPS station to mail back some posters. In retrospect, one of the more surreal SXSW moments must have been being mistaken for members of another band, as we stopped to watch Million Year Dance perform in an empty parking lot on our way to the Omni Hotel.

At the Omni, we gathered our strength and focused our attention. There were many hard choices to be made, starting with Cursive or the Stooges? Things were not made easier when we heard that 400 Blows was also playing at midnight. Furthermore, some of us wanted to go see Field Music open at the Cursive show, while others were pulling for the Buzzcocks, having missed their earleir show. Spoon and Kings of Leon were also getting big hype, countered with Tokyo Police Club. Most of decided on starting the evening at the Cursive show, catching Art in Manilla and Field Music, before heading over to Stubbs for Iggy and the Stooges, Spoon, Kings of Leon, to meet with those who had gone to the Buzzcocks. Art in Manilla seemed rather etheral and poppy, but it was Field Music that caught us off guard. For starters, our initialy impression (incorrect) was they were somewhat ambient and spacey, easily complementing Art in Manilla. The Sunderland trio took significant time getting set up properly, and the crowd grew restless as they complained to the soundman about minor changes. However, as soon as they began, it all proved worthwhile as they produced one of the best sounds that we heard throughout all SXSW, even though the backyard, chain-linked, tented-awning stage was perhaps one of the crudest performance spaces (only Maritime and Million Year Dance had to deal with worse). Furthermore, their angularity completing surprised us, sounding something like a poppier Mission of Burma, but with keyboards.

Afterwards, we ran over to the Stooges show, only to find the line-up extending all the way down Red River, across the street along 9th and up the block. Realizing that there were hundreds of people in line, we hustled back to the Cursive show, where a half-block line-up had already formed. We texted the rest of our group to suggest that we were bailing on the Stooges. Luckily, it turned out that the hype of the Buzzcocks had been so great that they went from openers to headliners, and our colleagues decided to head straight for Stubbs. They were near the head of the line when we sent our message and quickly ran back to join them in line as Kings of Leon started in all their Texan, trailor-park fury. Queens of the Stone Age might do it better, but that's not really a knock. Spoon on the otherhand, left us cold. Technically proficient, we simply did not understand where they were coming from.

Iggy, however, we understood all too well, and were immediately held in thrall by his vitality. Like James Brown, you kinda get the same show with Iggy Pop but there's still something heartfelt in the animosity he generates. Of all the shows we saw, he was the only one who through himself repeatedly into the audience, hugging and touching its members (though after unzipping his pants and prancing around for ten minutes, we all thought we were going to see his), no doubt causing the SXSW security team to wince. The head of security must have popped a vessel when Iggyy finally invited some fifty people to come onstage at the end of his set to dance. It ws unbelievable.

Once it was over, and we negotiated the ensuing bedlam, we piled into the rental car and drove off to San Antonio where our 6:25 departure was waiting for us, ending our SXSW adventures.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SXSW #4

By Friday morning, the plucky staff of The Daily Wenzel needed some time to recharge. Down on sleep, we called for a late morning before heading off to see the trade show, check out the posters and artwork available at Flatstock, sit in on a session about the future of Digital Music, and of course, check out a couple of bands. Perhaps most surprising was the Buzzcocks. Generally, we are not fond of old punk bands reuniting and trading in on our nostalgia. We do not want them to relive their youth so that we can relive ours. We would rather move forward, culturally speaking, and find new ways of saying things that resonate with these times. The shock of the Buzzcocks though, was just how timely the music actually was – they sounded every bit as vital as they did twenty years ago. Perhaps that’s something of an indictment on the current crop of punk bands. Certainly, somewhere out there are bands that would level the Buzzcocks like the old men they are (Adam Kamis of CJSW and Broken City swears that 400 Blows could do it), but in general, the Buzzcocks are more than likely to crush what passes for most people as punk.

Other bands that we saw while hanging around the Convention Center were the Polyphonic Spree and Daniel Johnston and his Nightmares. We were a little puzzled by the attraction of Johnston, a sort of Neil Young character back by much younger men and women, but the Polyphonic Spree made an impression. We had actually passed the backup singers for the Spree in the hallway earlier in the day. They were practicing their “dance” routines, and we mistook them for girls from the previous night’s roller derby. One of the things that caught our attention, was not just the similarity of the Polyphonic Spree to the Flaming Lips, but also the debt that the Arcade Fire owe to the Spree. Many people have commented on a connection between the Arcade Fire and Belle & Sebastian, a link that we see, but never really made us comfortable. After seeing the Polyphonic Spree, their influence seems fare more important, even if the Arcade Fire have twisted it and made it somewhat darker.

Popping out for a bite to eat brought us to the Pure Ultra-Lounge, where Maritime were setting up shop. Having been passed recommendations by various eastern seabord media outlets, we stopped to check them out. Despite having virtually no stage presence (passing as members of average Joe Public is one thing, but the lead singer actually stopped to answer his cell phone in the middle of the set), we rather enjoyed their songs, but felt they still have quite a ways to go.

We also checked out the rather lacklustre The Annuals, before making our way to Peter, Bjorn & John's second show of SXSW. The Convention Centre halls echoed with the sound of people whistling the melody from "Don't Care About Young Folks", which seems to be one of the top singles of this year's SXSW. As is the way of SXSW, the conclusion of the PB&J show saw us rush off to Stubbs to try and catch Andrew Bird's show. Despite the line-up, we managed to catch the last few impressive songs.

Not recognizing the next band, we made our way to the back of the crowd to touch base with other folks who were feeding us updates on other shows, when the next set began. We asked a Swedish journalist next to us who happend to be holding a SXSW schedule, the name of the next band and he shrugged, saying "The Perry Farrell Featherlife Family". We turned around and saw Perry Farrell, of Jane's Addication and Porno for Pyros, shaking his shiny, silver clad booty at the audience. We, and the bikers to our otherside, were completely taken aback. None of us knew if this was satire, self-parody, or part of Farrell's new age seriousness. It was bizarre, it was riveting. Checking Bands, Blogs, and Buzz the next day revealed that we were not the only ones fascinated by this apparent trainwreck. Did we mention he wore a sweater? Or that he had a go-go girl in a one-piece mini-skirt outfit? That he called us his brothers and sisters and offered to do unspeakable things for every member of the audience if only he had the time?

Perry Farrell was followed up by Badly Drawn Boy, who we normally like, but appeared to have a very off night. He lost his train of thought several times, appeared awkward in front of his audience, stopping and starting the same song several times. Despite this, he closed with a cover of Foreigner's "Don't Stop Believing" and the crowd loved him for it.

The highlight of the night, and indeed perhaps the festival, was Damon Albarn's The Good, The Bad, and The Queen, who we must admit was almost upstaged by the ever stylish ex-Clash bass player, Paul Simonon. However, Albarn's ability to craft a musical world and populate it with people, history , and details, is a force to be reckoned with. The show was subtle and sophisticated, less a gig than a dramatic musical production. Someone suggested to us that The Good, The Bad, and The Queen, was one of the most important albums about Britain to come out of Britain in the last thirty years. Not being British, we don't feel that we can really agree, but we certainly aren't going to go out of our way to disagree.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

SXSW Breather

Trying to maintain The Daily Wenzel while keep up with everything that's going on at SXSW sometimes makes us feel like the kid from Almost Famous who keeps trying to write his story while on tour with the band. Ultimately he locks himself in the bathroom and takes refuge in an empty bathtub. This afternoon we kind of feel that way, but with a break in action just before the Lee "Scratch" Perry show starts, we have a small opportunity. Some of our members have left to do a radio broadcast for CJSW 90.9 FM back in Calgary so those of us left are trying to get some work done.

Check out our special SXSW site, www.bandsblogsbuzz.blogspot.com to see how the blogosphere hype is shaking out.

SXSW #3

With just a few hours of sleep we are off to San Antontio for a technology conference in the morning, and then back to Austin early in the evening for a session on China as an emerging market for Western music. After dinner, we saw the upcoming documentary Helvetica, on yes, the typeface of the same name. A fascinating, and often humourous film, we have been unable to view the world the same since. A must see.

The evening's music, was located primarily at Stubb's. Despite hearing a lot of hype and a few singles from Aqualung, there set was rather disappointing, coming off as a cross between James Blunt and Snow Patrol, though some may argue whether that amounts to a credible difference. The Apostles of Hustle came on next, and at times delivered a good show, but were a little too stylistically diverse, from their clothes to their sound, and were unable to show a degree of consistency. The problems of the Apostle of Hustle were shown more clearly as soon as The Dears took the stage and, along with Bloc Party, who were headlining and perhaps repaying SXSW for helping to launch last year's phenomenal North American tour, were perhaps one of the most successful one-two pop punches we've seen in awhile. It is arguable who pulled out deserving the No.1 spot more, a win-win for the audience.

Friday, March 16, 2007

SXSW #2

We left Calgary at seven o'clock Wednesday morning and arrived for our connecting flight in Houston early, at a little before noon. At the airport, while looking for a bite to eat, we heard mention that there had been a tornado sighting a few days earlier, but thought nothing of it, although it soon appeared that our flight was going to be delayed half an hour. A little while later, our flight was delayed another hour, on account of extreme weather at its originating airport. Next, the flight was announced to be overbooked. We began to think of driving straight to Austin and by the time our flight was announced delayed another hour, we were already on our way to the rental agency with our bags when he heard about road closures in southern Houston on account of washouts.

Luckily, we were heading north, and despite the hard rain in Houston, things cleared up about half an hour out of town, and there was just sporadic bursts through to Austin. Once we checked in and picked up our passes at the convention center, it was on to Emo's to catch a double bill of The Early Years, Callas, and Voxtrot in one room, and Beirut, the Mountain Goats, and Blonde Redhead in another.

Highlights here included the crescendo, wall of sound, descent into showgazing reverb madness that was the Early Years, and Voxtrot really made the most of its hometown status, delivering a high energy show. But it was Blonde Redhead in the Main Room that had the audience. Simply taking the stage changed the atmosphere of the club, making things darker, with shrieks of feedback piercing the air like lightning. Playing mostly songs off their upcoming album, things appear to be more muscular and menacing a complete contrast to the innocence and exuberance of Beirut - sweat-drenched, hanging from the rafters, playing their backyard bar mitzah Bowery folk music.

SXSW #1

With little over seven hours of sleep in the past seventy-two, we have planned for a late morning start tomorrow in an attempt to catch up on sleep. However, we promise to update The Daily Wenzel with a complete SXSW update, including an account of our almost, but not quite, harrowing trip into Austin.

With luck, we'll even post some pictures.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Compass Bearing - SXSW

Up and at'em early in the morning. The espresso machines on rapid fire as we all prepare for the short jaunt out to the airport to catch our flights to Austin and SXSW. Once there, we'll be making contact with other members of the Calgary media namely Fast Forward, CJSW, and Beatroute Magazine. We are prepared to be overwhelmed by bands, music, and film. We can't imagine what this week is like for the residents of Austin as a small town of music industry types descend on their city. One estimate we saw suggested that 17,000 people will visit the SXSW festival at some point, though by this time SXSW is really three festivals or conferences in one: music, film, and technology with each one drawing a sizable crowd.

Some things on our agenda for SXSW: the 4AD Showcase tonight, featuring (among others) Beirut and Blonde Redhead, both of these bands have been getting heavy rotation in our office speakers. The film Helvetica. Yes, it's about the typeface - hey, we read The Gutenburg Galaxy, it's only natural. People have been telling us to check out Andrew Bird all week. Damon Albarn's The Good, The Bad, and the Queen seems like a one-time only deal. Most anticipated pre-SXSW rumour? Arcade Fire to play a secret show. They've got a four day window in their Ireland/UK tour to pull it off. Crazier things have happened.

Check out our SXSW side project: Bands, Blogs, and Buzz.

Jonesin' for Jpod

Almost all of us at The Daily Wenzel have enjoyed the many books of Douglas Coupland, though being the reflective academic types, there has always come a point where we choose to disagree with his sense of social direction or interpretation. Rather than wallow in the sense of shiftless and closure to success central to Generation X, we wanted to celebrate it. Shampoo Planet was good, but came too soon after our own European sojourns and our views on its social function and meaning coloured our enjoyment of it. Similarly, a difference of philosophical and metaphysical opinion clouded Life After God.

But not Jpod.

With Jpod, our views and Coupland's finally mesh, as he presents a vision of society that we've always had. Unlike the characters in Microserfs who toiled ceaselessly for the MotherCorp because they believed in the saving power of technology, the characters in Jpod are jaded beyond belief, and use obscure elements of pop culture to try and assuage themselves. More interestingly is there relationship to their work, where they are seemingly trapped in the so-called Jpod, but are free to come and go as they please, showing up for work at all hours of the day, sometimes even going to work specifically to sleep. Technology is no longer a saviour, Coupland scatters late 1990s spam email throughout the book, as if to remind us how naive things once were, but rather a poor substitute. The characters inhabitants of Jpod are so divorced from human contact that one of them builds hug machine for everyone on the floor to use.

Douglas Coupland has once again proven himself to be a skilled novelist, capable of capturing the zeitgeist. We can only be pleased that his interpretation meshes with ours.

Monday, March 12, 2007

This is Sparta!

Last Friday night we all gathered for an excursion down to one of Calgary's premier movie theatres to watch the debut of 300 on the giant IMAX screens. Readers of The Daily Wenzel will know that we have been somewhat giddy in our anticipation of the latest Frank Miller adaptation, but giddier still were the crowds of people awaiting the opening of the movie.Young college age men, generally speaking, some of whom arrived dressed in cardboard Spartan outfits, were occassionally accompanied by women, but other movies were also drawing heavy that night and the atmosphere was quite heavy with anticipation. Clearly, tonight was a spectacle.

The movie itself was far more stylish than its audience. Background screens were impeccably rendered with fantastical images meant to give weight to the terrors of Classical hyperbole. The action equaled uits anticipation. 300 is a blood fest, but not in the way that some horror movies are awash in gore. In 300 the action during hte battle sequences speeds up during the approach before slowing down for the kill. The computer generated blood literally floats across the screen.

Yes, the movie is ultra-violent.

Yes, it is hyper-masculine.

Yes, it is awesome.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Jean Baudrilliard is alive and well and living in Paris

We have just received word that influential post-modernist thinker Jean Baudrilliard has past away. His thoughts of media and the role of symbols in daily life will continue to influence our thinking nevertheless. One of Baudrilliard's key themes was the poverty of daily experience, matching up quite well with that of Guy Debord and the Situationists. An event, no matter how large or catastrophic, cannot be real unless it is directly experienced somehow. The increasing reliance on mediated images meant that more and more people experienced life second hand, and what passed for "real life" became more and more "unreal".

In keeping with his theories then, for us at The Daily Wenzel, Jean Baudrilliard is alive and well and living in Paris.

Can we carry the burden of Climate Change?

Speaking in Belgium on proposed European plans for climate change, an EU official talked about challenging developed nations to tackle climate change in meaningful and significant ways. Not only has the EU proposed some large scale ideas, but is also actively pursuing smaller ventures aimed at encouraging the average citizen to take control of climate change initiatives. Recent moves have included tax measures to favour energy efficient appliances (a similar program in Canada was cut by the Harper government), increased use of biofuel mixtures (recently announced by Harper), and the banning of incandescent light bulbs (being considered in Nova Scotia, already underway in Australia, and Venezuela while Cuba accomplished this two years ago).

In Alberta, the big news is Ed Stelmach's decision to reduce "emission intensity" per barrel of oil from the oil sands, while allowing the overall number of barrels produced to expand. The other major announcement was a clever play on the idea of carbon capture and storage. According to British journalist George Monbiot, in his book Heat: How to stop the world from burning, the burial of carbon dioxide is an effective measure for the removal of the gas from the atmosphere, but it is also very useful for squeezing the last bits of oil out of abandoned oil reservoirs, Monbiot confides that this would be his nightmare scenario. Guess what the Alberta plan calls for?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Welcome to the Thunderdome!

Some of us from The Daily Wenzel were taking a break at the nearby Lina's Italian Supermarket and Deli, and over espressos talked about a recent article in Sports Illustrated with some of our neighbours. The article in question was SI's coverage of the Asian Games, recently held in Qatar, and at one point makes reference to a competition between India and Pakistan in which the crowds were whipped up in a frenzy of excitement prior to the match. Describing the scene, the author summed up the situation with the remark, "Welcome to the Thunderdome". One of our party felt that this was a "derogatory remark" in keeping with "prejudiced, colonial notions" about Asians, and particularly the citizens of India and Pakistan, as little more than barbarians. To this we disagree, though we admit that on the surface it may seem that our issue is little more than semantics.

We are moving into an age where people may recognize the phrase "Welcome to the Thunderdome" as coming from the Mel Gibson movie, "Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome" without having seen the movie itself. This presents some problem as people have a tendency to confuse images of the Mad Max film with impressions of the film, compounding this with several terms that have an unfortunate tendency to be used interchangeably. For example, a barbarian is someone who has not been acculturated into ancient Greek civilization while a pagan was someone, specifically in later stages Gaelic, who refused to be incorporated into the Roman empire. This is not the same as a savage, a person who had not been exposed to the Christian theology, while an infidel was someone who refused to accept the Word of God and a heretic being a person who deliberately distorted that Word.

What we have in Beyond the Thunderdome is a population of once civilized persons rendered uncivilized; a people at one time rational and willing to follow a legal code reduced to lawlessness and emotional brutality. This is the terror of the thunderdome, not the encounter with some kind of primitive and violent culture, but rather that that culture could be us. Nowhere in modern life does that occur more frequently than in riots and large scale sporting events such as the World Cup, the Olympics, College Sports, and yes, it would appear, the Asian Games.

Friday, March 02, 2007

You Best Believe I'M Talkin' 'Bout Love, L-U-ME

A recent university study into narcissim among U.S. college students suggests that American youth are far more self-centred and obsessed than they have been in the past. This comes as no surprise to us at The Daily Wenzel. We believe that individuals construct meaning, expectations for normative behaviour, and personal identity through the experiences that they have in everyday life. As more and more of life becomes mediated, especially for the young, popular culture becomes more and more of a reference point for normative behaviour. Many shows geared towards youth feature a single main character triumphing over various forms of adveristy. While this character may do so with or without the help of a supporting cast, quite often adults or parents are visibly absent. If you think of popular shows such as Buffy the Vampire-Slayer this becomes quite evident. Buffy's parents were divorced, her father absent, and her mother often unaware of her daughter's activities. Teachers were often sources of conflict in disguise, and the school principal an obstacle to overcome. The only adult was the school librarian who offered advice but generally did not intervene in the conflict itself. This basic trend has been repeated in many other shows such as Kim Possible, Dora, Smallville, and to a lesser extent, Veronica Mars, where while the father may be more involved, he is clearly presented as less a parent, and more an equal.

This is juxtaposed with a prevailing middle-class trend towards smaller family sizes and much more active parenting. In an earlier post about childhood activities such as Murderball, we mused about the rapid disappearance of public spaces where children can gather without parental supervision. Increasningly these spaces are becoming virtual, and tied to ego-centric activities like MySpace pages. All of this inevitably reinforces a child's belief that they are uniquely special and destined for greatness.

http://www.davisenterprise.com/articles/2007/02/27/news/307new0.txt

Unfit to Lead

There's been quite a bit of political news focusing on environmental issues over the past ten days or so, and most of it has been quite embarrassing. Despite promises that they were constructing a "greener" perspective, the Federal Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, continue to talk about"reducing the intensity of emissions". Thus under current proposals, the Alberta Oil Sands projects, which is perhaps the single greatest engineering feat and environmental catastrophe of our time as Canadians, would be allowed to increasing the amount of emissions it generates. Granted, each barrel of oil would produce less pollutants, but the overall number of barrels allowed to be produced in the region is set to expand dramatically.

When asked about the plans, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach expressed his concern that the science behind climate change is not certain enough to risk jeopardizing the Albertan economy.

This in turn led to our favourite moment of the week, as David Suzuki, visiting Calgary on his "If I were Prime Minister" tour, called the Premier out publicly, saying he was unfit to lead.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Young Trudeau book wins prize

When we initially read the first volume of the Nemni's biography of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau, we thought to ourselves that this was historical revisionism in action. The image of Trudeau in the Canadian psyche is so strong, that he dominates our collective imagination, either as the saviour or the devil of Canadian politics. Regardless of one's opinion, and indeed, everyone has an opinion on Trudeau, we all reacted to the same pieces of public knowledge and public acts - the Trudeau we thought we knew, for good or ill. The Nemni's then, succeeded in showing us a new Trudeau, troubled by contradictory ideas and trying to come to grips with ideals given to him through his educational institutions, and those provided by his experiences in the wider world.

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2007/02/28/cohen-prize.html

Similarly, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. served as one of the key "official"historians of the Democrats in the 1960s, being an intimate of the Kennedys, and one of the guardians of Camelot.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/03/01/schesingerobit.html