Monday, April 30, 2007

Yann Martel

After spending the weekend thinking about Guy Debord's statement that, in a society of the spectacle the economy has grown to encompass all spheres of daily life, it was quite refresing to stumble across the following quote by Yann Martel, author of The Life of Pi. Martel was explaining his rationale for vowing to deliver Prime Minister Harper a book every two weeks as long as Harper is in office to help raise awareness for the arts.

"It goes way beyond dollars and cents. It's a question of waking up the prime minister to the fact that we're not just economic beings, we're full beings. Quality of life is not just an economic matter — it has to do with the environment, with art and culture."

We also loved that the first book was Animal Farm. Read it for yourself online here.

For more on the story, click here.

Climate Change Potshots

It seems people are lining up to dump on the Federal Conservatives plan for dealing with Climate Change. At a time when the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is convening to discuss and evaluate proposed measures to deal with the problem, Yves de Boer, the UN's Executive Secretary for the Framework Convention on Climate Change took time to criticise the Tories plans. For starters, he echoed many concerns that intensity targets do not offer any real guarantee of reducing emissions since they do not place any restrictions on production.

Secondly, de Boer stopped short of calling Environmental Minister John Baird a liar when Baird claimed his plan was the most aggressive in the world.

“The Europeans have put a proposal on the table to reduce their emissions by 20 to 30 per cent vis-a-vis 1990 levels, this new proposal is certainly less ambitious than that,” de Boer said.
“California has made a proposal to reduce its emissions by 25 per cent from where it is at the moment. This is also less ambitious than that.”

For more, click here.

We are curious to hear what the IPCC decides and how it compares to both the Alberta and Federal proposals. For more on that, click here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Information Economy

This idea came out of our concluding thoughts on the Lavazza coffee pods in our last post and echoes some ideas mentioned in earlier posts.

The idea that a cup of espresso represents a blend of coffee beans naturally makes us curious about the percentage and interactions of the various beans. With the recent trends in single-estate chocolate causing a rapid escalation in gourmet chocolate prices, the coffee industry is ideally posied to follow suit in the realm of region identitified branding. To certain extent, we all ready have such labelling and marketing, but on really broad scales.

A move towards providing more information about the coffee beans, such as location, processing method, date of processing, commercial venture type (Fair Trade, etc.) would also be in keeping with certain aspects of the "new economy". While there is much talk about our being in an "information age" the "information economy" gets very little attention.

The ability to find information almost at a whim, creates a demand for more information. Marketers have responded to this by highlighting particular pieces of information regarding their products, creating a story about them, if you will. Thus, purchasing the product also allows you to purchase and retell the story. This was one of the ideas that David Brooks relates in Bobos In Paradise, the bourgeois bohemians, or new yuppies, have a story to tell about every object they purchase, whether it was hand-dyed cloth from a remote Andean village's women's collective raising funds for a daycare centre, or that it was a pair jeans made in Japan on 1940s' Levis technology left behind after the troops went home.

In many cases, the story is part of the allure and creates a demand for the uniqueness of the object. A cup of coffee is a cup of coffee. But how much would you be willing to pay if the coffee was organic and fair trade? Now, what if they told you that it was harvested every other year during a specific three week window by a particualr monastic order? And that the monastics claim that soil nutrients impart certain curative powers to the coffee?

For many, the story is the sell. In the information economy people want to know information about the products they buy, even if they don't necessarily understand what the information is telling them. Is it really important that we know exactly where and in what percentage the beans in our coffee are from? Probably, but only in the same sense that knowing the mineral content of the water we use is.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Good Cup of Kimbo

It's been a while since we've actually talked about the daily staple near and dear to our hearts, namely espresso - ever since we discovered the Illy pods our carefree experimentation and variety-filled days have fallen into a routine and a steady supply of Illy Black. However, we were pleased to discover a box of Kimbo pods at Lina's Italian Market. Rushing back to the office, we set our Nancy a-go and soon were sipping back delightful cups of espresso. Full-bodied and robust, with a slight hint of bitterness (reminiscent of dark chocolate) it reminded us of Sophia Loren, who was recently featured as the covergirl of the Pirelli calender at the tender age of 72, along with the likes of Penelope Cruz and Naomi Watts.

The appearance of the Kimbo pods made us wonder where were the Lavazza pods? Typically, as one of the highest sellers of espresso by volume, Lavazza leads the way in technical developments, even going so far as inventing the frozen espresso - named by Time as one of the inventions of the year for 2006. A quick search on the web found them, along with a description of the Lavazza pods as being a blend of South American beans, with a hint of Asian varieties for fragrance, as well as some African beans.

While this hardly amounts to a full disclosure on the sourcing of the beans, it nevertheless intrigued us. We would like to see coffee producers/marketers label the area of origin of their beans, in much the same way wineries do. Our perfect label would not only denote whether the coffee is Fair Trade, Organic, Clean Hands, etc., but would also go beyond simply listing the country of origin of beans (this in and of itself would be a big step for some producers/marketers).

Friday, April 27, 2007

Music Update

It's been quite awhile since we last talked about the music gracing the office airwaves of The Daily Wenzel, but lot's of music has come and gone.

First starters, a couple of EPs have caught our attention at the end of march, notably Tokyo Police Club's A Lesson in Crime. This Newmarket, Ontario band has generated a lot of buzz, through their constant touring and appearance at SXSW. They're currently scheduled to appear at Sasquatch later in May. The beauty and grace of The Good, The Bad, and The Queen's live EP kept us mesmorized for a week or two, as did the range of guitarwork displayed by The Ponys on their most recent full length, Turn Out the Lights.

Perhaps somewhat strangely, we have also been listening to Jose Serebrier and the London Philharmonic. Our leader, Elvis Bonaparte, noticed that Serebrier's Fantasia topped the top downloads the week it was released and brought it. It fits in quite nicely with the Storm and Stress self-titled debut and Sonic Youth's Goodbye 20th Century.

More significantly thought,

Two men enter, one man leaves

In an encounter we would have paid good money to see, noted environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki confronted environmental minister John Baird over his new proposal to address climate change today. Suzuki's main comment was that the proposal amounted to a disappointment - Baird had promised significant action and yet delivered very little, in Suzuki's view. Suzuki, echoing The Daily Wenzel's own criticism, argued that the Conservatives have demonstrated very little growth in their thinking, as the emission intensities were fundamental to the much-criticized Clean Air Bill.

CBC has the story but we'd love to see some video.

Our two cents

We're still looking for a copy of the actual bill proposal, so our opinions may change, but here is a quick synopsis of The Daily Wenzel take on the Conservative Federal Government's proposed climate change bill.

Firstly, we are hearing things that the auto industry is treated lightly if at all. To us, this raises questions about the government's willingness to make foreign industries comply with their climate change policies. Certainly our inability or our unwillingess to create stricter emissions control on an industry dominated by the United States raises some serious questions.

Secondly, while the bill represents a vast philosophic improvement over the Clean Air Bill, it actually does very little to guarantee a reduction in emissions as it still speaks the language of "intensity targets". What we want to see is whether,in any of the projections for emissions reductions, the government posits a stable or increasing rate of production. For example, if the amount of emissions related to the production of a barrell of oil in the oil sands is reduced, but the actual number of barrells produced is allowed to increase dratically, then their will be no net decline in emissions. Instead emissions will actually increases as the oil produced increases.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Politics as Spectacle

While we are pleased to hear that the federal government announced today that it would support the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs as part of its strategies to cut greenhouse emissions, we were more disappointed by the coverage that the new climate change proposal received. Granted, the proposal officially comes out tomorrow, but nevertheless, it reminds us of the importance of Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle (see right-hand side link).

One of the key aspects to Debord's work was that in a society dominated by mass culture, that is a culture where goods are created and mass-prodeced solely for their commercial, as opposed to folk or cultural, value people live vicariously through their consumption. As the economy grows to dominate all aspects of everyday life, more daily events are turned into spectacles to be consumed passively by an audience. Increasingly, critics have argued that mass media is displaying more and more of these tendencies, specifically when it comes to politics. We hear less of the issues involved, and more on how the issues help politicians jockey for power. Thus, today the news focuses not on the government's new cliamte change policy, but on the circumstances that led to its being leaked prematurely.

Now we admit that The Daily Wenzel engages in its own fair share of speculative opinions, but we do try to provide links to the actual players or documents involved so that our readers can make up their own minds. However, that ought not to diminish the strength of our arguments. So, witness the coverage provided by CanWest/Global with that of the CBC, which does a slightly better job an explaining the proposal, but concentrates more on positioning the reaction of various interest groups.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Adios, Howdy! Adios, Heidi!

We here at The Daily Wenzel freely admit that we have a love/hate relationship with the City of Calgary and find their recent decision to retire Heidi and Howdy, the cartoon polar bear mascots of the 1988 Winter Olympics, sad and frustrating. You will not find us waxing rhapsodic for these two lovable characters that for only a few more short days will grace the entrance to Calgary, via Highway 1. Our problem is not so much with the nostolgia of the pair, but rather that the decision is symptomatic of larger, underlying issues with Calgary.

The official reason for the removal of the Olympic Mascots is that they are inconsistent with the official branding and logo of the city. While their removal has been decided, their fate as not, as some want to keep the two, and others are simply content to have them recycled.

Our problem with the situation is Calgary's decided ahistorical nature. The Winter Olympics, of which Heidi and Howdy are part of the enduring symbol, was a key aspect of our city's emergence on the international scene. It was used to demonstrate that Calgary, a metropolis of less than thirty five years, deserved to be treated on the same scale as the other major cities of the world. That this event did not find some recognition in the new "brand" of Calgary becomes problematic. Furthermore, the potential destruction of Heidi and Howdy is consistent with a city that routinely bulldozes historical landmarks. When the signature lions on the Centre Street bridge fell into disrepair and the City wanted to remove them, it took a fair amount of public pressure to have the lions replaced and the originals preserved at the Glenbow Museum. Surely there is room for Heidi and Howdy at the Olympic Museum at Canada Olympic Park?

Calgary as a muncipality is over 100 years old and it is extremely difficult to find a building that pre-dates incorporation. The population of Calgary was quite small, so this is perhaps understandable. But should it be almost equally as difficult to find a pre-WWII building?Heidi and Howdy are not alone, simply joining and increasing number of historic neighbourhoods and buildings being converted into offices and condos.

A ridiculous proposal?

After being front page news last week that a serious attempt by Canadians to meet their Kyoto targets would cost $195/tonne in carbon taxes, this little article seemed to have slipped by. As we mentioned, the government's arguments rest on assumptions, and we were happy to see that UK economist Phillipe Crabbe pointed out that the government's price is contingent on it's time frame. Meeting Kyoto goals by 2008 would lead to excessive costs, but phasing in aspects of a climate change programme over several years would still allow Canada to meet its emissions targets while keeping any carbon tax cost to under $50 US/tonne.

Again then, we have a federal government looking to obfuscate and delay on an issue they claim to be concerned about.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good Grief, Lucy!

We'd like to take a moment to welcome a new blog to the scene, and wish our sports correspondent Alana Marchetto well. Responsible for most of our insightful tennis coverage she has decided to launch her own blog, Good Grief Lucy (based on her resemblance to the Charles Schultz character - making us Peanuts) combining her love of crotchet and knitting, with her incisive knowledge of sports. While we hope she'll still come around to offer her valued opinions during the big tournies, her new home gives her greater scope to cover all of her favourite sports.

While you're there, check out the photos of her great knitting and crotchet projects.

Lust for Life

Perhaps to the surprise of all, Iggy Pop turned 60 today, celebrating forty years as an artist. Responsible, in part, for birthing punk. Iggy once commented that it was seeing a really bad Doors concert, in which Jim Morrison, drunk and bloated, displaying obvious contempt for his audience, that inspired the creation of the Stooges and the confrontational persona of Iggy Pop. To have survived, let alone continue to make music and perform live with an intensity rarely equaled by performers half his age (we saw him at SXSW this year) is astonishing in and of itself, but to consider that he created music within a context of self-destruction, alcoholism and drug abuse, elevates that success to another level entirely.

For the record, "The Passenger" is one of our favourite Pop tunes of all time (that, and virtually anything of Raw Power), since it provided the soundtrack of our meeting our good Bassano del Grappa. On a student summer tour of Europe, backpacking through northern Italy, a few of us were enjoying some gelato at a local gelateria, when "The Passenger" came over the speakers. Perking up, we caught the attention of del Grappa who explained that we were listening to a cover version performed by some friends of his, and that they would be headlining a small outdoor concert later that night in the piazza. del Grappa offered to show us and around, arrange tickets, and find us a place to crash, and the evening ended up being one of the highlights of the trip, as afterwards, del Grappa and his friends dragged us through the back streets and drinking holes to celebrate the successful show. "The Passenger" had been their finale, and the song's stranger in a strange land atmosphere became very real for us.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Tale of Two Governments

Both the Canadian Federal Government and the Alberta Provincial government made major announcements yesterday and the results could not have been more different from two Conservative governments.

First, provincial Premier Ed Stelmach announced his inaugural budget which contains $33B in spending. This is perhaps one of the largest public expenditures in Alberta for quite some time and sounds good to a public waiting to hear that the Tories are going to reinvest the provincial surplusses back into the social infrastructure. Granted, a significant amount of the money is simply a restatement of already declared projects, or cost-overrun allocations (themselves problematic and a seperate issue for the government to deal with). But in light of recent movesw to back away from such options as rent controls, releasing nearly half a billion dollars to deal with the housing crunch sounds like the governemnt is interested in solving the problem. What Albertans are looking for is evidence of a vision for the province that is going to reward the sacrifices of the 1990s. Stelmach's budget, while admittedly not containing a lot that is new, nevertheless represents significant spending and an indication that the governemnt is taking a small step in the right direction.

The Federal Government meanwhile, announced it's vision for the environment, or rather failed to do so, instead appeared content to offer a nightmarish interpretation of someone else's. Environment Minister Baird's comment's that Kyoto was a "risky" and "reckless" proposition that threatened 275,000 jobs jeapordizing the Canadian economy with recession. Several critics have pointed out some flaws with the underlying assumptions of the government's report, but at The Daily Wenzel we also noticed the difference between this report and the one the UK releases at the end of summer that attempted to calculate the relative costs of not doing anything regarding climate change. Admittedly this is a much harder task, but even conservative economic estimates would mitigate some of the costs projected by the government. For example, should provincial governments go through with tentative proposals to ban incadescent light bulbs, then certain jobs and revenues would be lost to the economy, however the increase in sales and demand for compact flourescent bulbs would lessen, if not surpass those numbers - certainly this is a very simplistic example, but recognizing the potential economic spin-offs of pro-Kyoto technologies and developments ought to have been incorporated, a feature not reported so far. Also, any projected costs associated with meeting or not meeting Kyoto measures woudl have to include estimations of the economic impact that changing conditions would have on crops and livestock patterns, it could very well be, as the UK report suggested, that the costs of not meeting Kyoto targets or some other significant cliamte change attempt, well outweigh the costs of doing nothing, or very little.

Waiting somewhere in limbo is the government's own Clean Air Bill, which is supposedly in the process of beign revised based on the earlier criticisms. Many Canadians support moves to deal with climate change effectively, and it is widely thought to be one of the leadding, if not the leading issue for the next election. Quebec, as a province, is pro-Kyoto, and yesterday's announcement is unlikely to earn the Conservatives more support in a provine that they need to either expand or maintain support in. Similarly, the disaffected Liberals who voted for the Conservatives in the last election are unlikely to be comforted either, this move simply yet another reminder of the ideological differences between the two parties.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Today marked the 25th Anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada, a document that came into being with the patriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1982. The Charter guaranteed Canadians freedom from persecution or discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion, and language. It has also been used to extend these rights in to many other realms by the courts, earning it the scorn of conservatives who have long felt that it has allowed the judiciary to make laws, instead of simply interpreting them. That this is still the feeling today was evidenced by the silence coming out of Stephen Harper's government today. Left-leaning and liberal Canadians will argue that it was the reluctance of conservatives to implement the Charter, or avoid dealing with its implications in areas such as sexual orientation that forced the Canadian courts into their current role.

The patriation of the constitution also saw Quebec remain aloof from Federation, creating a constitutional crisis that led to the failures of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords, as well as the second Quebec Sovereignty Referendum. Ironically, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau had envisioned the patriation of the constitution as the first step in taking the institutions of the Canadian government into the 20th century. Charter of Rights and Freedoms
was meant to deal with the lingering 19th century antagonisms between Canada's French and English populations. While individual rights have certainly flourished, Canada is no further down the road Trudeau and hoped for than we were twenty-five years ago.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

From One Anniversary . . .

It was sixty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play - if you believe such things, but at any rate, this week mark's the fortieth anniversary of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, widely thought to be the greatest, most important, and/or influential album of all time. While many articles and tributes will be written to attest to how great the songs were, how iconic the album was (true, true), we'd like to focus on something that we here at The Daily Wenzel feel is the album's true accomplishment.

We forget sometimes that rock and roll was barely ten years ago when Sgt. Pepper was released. Furthermore, the concept of an album as a single piece of vinyl was less than twenty. Throughout much of the 1940s, an album was a collection of 78s or 45s packaged together. The notion that you could listen to four or five songs continuously was still new. The crowning achievement of Sgt. Pepper was that it was the first concept album, where a theme linked every song together (even if the link was pretty tenuous in some cases). The rise of the concept album became a potent weapon in the rock arsenal during the psychedelic era. It also led many artists to move away from the creation of a radio-friendly single because the Beatles had demonstrated that rock and roll could be a piece of art. These albums quickly found a happy home own the emerging FM band which was licensed by the FCC to be album-oriented so as not to compete with the highly commercialized AM band.

Second influential aspect of Sgt. Pepper was that it was also the first album in which the artists adopted a persona, the Lonely Hearts Club Band, performed not as themselves, but as their alter egos. Without Sgt. Pepper, where would David Bowie and his legion of followers be? Similarly, hip hop is also indebted to the Beatles for the freedom to experiment that they initiated.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band stands out as one of the great rock albums of all time for a lot of reasons. These are just two that we like.

. . . to Another

An anniversary that we're much more interested in celebrating, or at least generates far more whistful nostalgia, is the tenth anniversary of the first self-titled Storm and Stress album. While we cannot say that the album burst onto the scene in 1997, it nevertheless quickly achieved cult status. Those of us who liked it found it's atonal meanderings remarkably fresh, a dramatic break from the verse-chorus-verse song structure. Blake Butler, of, called it a "garbled cacophony of untamed genius" a phrase we whole-heartedly endorse. Elvis Bonaparte recalls eagerly talking up the album to others who had admited to listening to it.

"I was so excited," Bonaparte says, "It was like nothing I'd ever heard. When people would say to me things like, I can't get past that first song [We write threnodies. We write explosions.], I'd eagerly agree, saying 'Yeah, neither can I, it's just so good' and the other person would just stare at me and I'd realize that they were one of the many who just didn't get."

"Back when I was hosting Radio Free Nowhere during CJSW's drive home slot, I remember playing it one day and someone called in and asked if these guys were going to finish tuning up," laughs Sean Marchetto. "Man, I loved that song. I've kicked myself forever for missing them when they were in town. I think they played to twelve people."

"Somebody gave it to me as an example of what rock should be," recalls Bassano del Grappa. "I never really thought of them as a rock band. They were always a form of sonic art to me. Somehow managing to capture that whole New York no wave thing from the early 1980s, but merging it with the Chicago sound that Tortoise was just starting to get a lot of traction from."

Storm and Stress were Ian Williams (guitar) of Don Cabellero, Erich Ehm (bass), and Kevin Shea (drums). Their first album was produced by Steve Albini, and their second, Under Thunder & Flourescent Lights, recorded in 1999, but released in 2000, by Jim O'Rourke. The Touch & Go promo paragraph for the first album captured our fin-de-siecle sentiments exactly, but the band, with such a jarring break from the prevailing musical landscape seemed to offer a way out, however brief.

Bassano del Grappa

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Enviro Update

Longtime Daily Wenzel readers may have noticed that we've been rather quiet on the environmental front these last few weeks. Despite some major announcements by the federal government, and the official opposition party regarding their green policies, we have refrained from commenting. In large part it is because we do not consider this news. Very little substance is being discussed in these reports, and then policies themselves are merely consistent with established frameworks. Even what we would have considered the most interesting piece of news, which occurred some two weeks ago, namely Baird's announcement that Canada would not take part in any international carbon trading scheme - a proposal publicly mused over by his predecessor Rona Ambrose, is in keeping with the Conservative move to retreat from the international stage (peacekeeping not withstanding).

However, we would like to share the following newsbit, as it shows that our feelings are shared elsewhere. The failure to fund new research into climate change only supports the public perception that Stephen Harper and his government are not concerned with climate change, but are simply reacting to immediate developments, in much the same way Harper recognized the Quebec nation to stave off a similar BQ move. Similarly, just as that political powerplay is likely to come back to haunt Canadians, we can only imagine how these environmental moves (or lack thereof) will affect us down the road.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Table of Elements

It was a large grin that Il Professore, Sean Marchetto was wearing today (truth be told, Marchetto does not like to be called "The Professor", a trend started by Bassano del Grappa when del Grappa discovered that Marchetto was a school teacher with three university degrees, one of which being an advanced degree in American history, but only a Masters' not a PhD as Marchetto tries to point out, though "professor" is the Italian equivalent of high school teacher). Too many times to mention, when our conversations turn to hiphop, Marchetto will reference the "four elements of hiphop" as outlined by some bygone rapper, and all of us will stare at him blankly. Today, Marchetto appeared in The Daily Wenzel office wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with "The Four Elements of Hiphop" done up in the style of a Periodic Table of the Elements, something that Marchetto, as a chemistry teacher, would be quite familiar with. We don't know where he found it, but his was a look of vindication.

So, what are the four elements of hiphop? The emcee, the DJ, the B-Boy, and grafitti - all four post-modern forms of communication - literature, music, dance, and art. More than this we cannot say - we'll have to entice the Professor to give us a lecture, only this time we'll take notes.

The Stuff of Legends

So we had heard from FFWD/Exclaim! writer Aubrey MacInnis that fellow Calgarian Chad van Gaalen had missed his SXSW show because of an argument he had had at the border with US Customs Agents. In further conversations with MacInnis and later, back at the Calgary Airport, with members of the AA Sound System, the story goes that the Customs Agents started searching through vanGaalen's bags, prompting the musician to become irritated and defensive, calling one of the agents a "douchebag", at which point he was denied entry to the US. Rather than simply fill his spot at the SXSW music conference with another artist, the organizers instead helped to arrange a closed circuit broadcast of Chad vanGaalen from his home in Calgary.

How much of this story we do not know, like we suggested though, it is the stuff of legend. Click here to watch the YouTube version of the closed circuit broadcast.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Reliving the Moment

Someone brought in the new iTunes Live in Soho EP of The Good, The Bad, and The Queen and it did what all live albums are supposed to do, evoking for us memories of their live set at SXSW. As good as Damon Albarn's songwriting is, and as much as it makes us what to be young and British and railing against the remnants of Empire, what we cannot escape is Paul Simonon's magnificent bass-playing. Back at Stubb's in Austin, we were captivated by his stylish looks and movement on-stage, but listening to the live EP we began to appreciate his work more and wondered at how much involvement this ex-member of the Clash had in the the evolution of the musical landscape created by The Good, The Bad, and The Queen.

Since Tuesday I think it's been played a dozen times, and something everybody wants to hear once the stereo is turned on.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Turnin' Pages - Book Update

March was a busy month in terms of book reading. In addition to Douglas Coupland's Jpod, which was quickly passed around the office, quite a few other books made their way through our fingers.

John Sellers' auto-biographical essay, Perfect from Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life, caused much chuckling, for his insights into the nature of the indie rock fan (any fan really) were quite funny and many of us could see ourselves reflected in his work at different points. Barbara Ehrenreich's Dancing in the Streets was something of a different story however. Ehrenreich attempted to tackle the sublimation of desire that has taken place in most Western nations, she sees the rise of Protestantism and mass industrialization as working to rid daily life of passion and ecstasy. This is not a new argument, though it is one that we tacitly support, however not for any reasons that Ehrenreich gives. For a child of the Sixties, Ehrenreich really ought to be able to do a better job. Numerous books from the Sixties speak to this same topic, from the writings on sexual repression of Wilhem Reich, to the expressions of free love of Charles A. Reich and Norman Brown. Even Theodore Roszak's The Making of a Counter-culture covers the same ground. It's hard to believe that Ehrenreich never came across any of these authors. By the same token, she devotes a chapter to rock n'roll and later mentions Guy Debord and the role of the Spectacle, but never talks about Greil Marcus' Lipstick Traces, a book that served as an introduction to the Situationists for many a rock fan, and even has the same topic for its thesis.

If you've never read any of the above, then Dancing in the Streets may make for a good introduction to a topic that has seen much more written about it than Barbara Ehrenreich would have you know.

Elsewhere, the graphic arts ruled. First through Tara MacPherson's lovely collection of work, Lonely Heart, comprising her first series of paintings, posters, sketches, and concert posters. Playful yet full of gothic brooding, we were instant fans. Second, Susie J. Horgan's earliest photographs have been released in Punk Love, documenting the early days of the D.C. hardcore scene. Horgan was responsible for taking the Teen Idle's album cover of the boy with the x's on his hands, as well as the legendary picture of Alex MacKaye (brother of Ian) sitting at the bottom of some steps with his head in his hands - the image thta was later used for the Minor Threat cover. Horgan's pictures include scenes from the early Minor Threat shows, shots of Ian MacKaye skateboarding, and images of Ian MacKaye and an equally young Henry Rollins goofing around in Rollins' ice cream shop. Finally, Hilly Kristal's photo-collection documenting over thirty years of CBGBs turned up on our desks. How do we rank this? Yes, CBGB's is/was an institution, though we all have our own CBGB's in our own neighbourhoods. Filled with photos of people who have performed or visited the club and interspersed with quotes, CBGB & OMFUG is a good afternoon of reminiscing. A lot of the early photos are available elsewhere, though it is handy to have them all in one collection. The best part perhaps is David Byrne's essay on the nature of the interaction between club and community.