Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's On Like Donkey Kong!

No we're not talking about the Super Bowl.

In a few hours Federer and Nadal will square off against each other in Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, initiating ActI of what could be the most fascinating sporting contests in recent history. Federer's sublime skill versus Nadal's strength and dogged determination. The idea of these two tennis giants matching up in the finals of tennis' four Grand Slams, each one equally capable of winning all four, a feat not seen in tennis in over forty years, makes the heart beat. Whoever wins the Australian Open will be in the driving seat headed into the spring and Roland Garros.

Sit down, and strap yourselves in, this one's going to be a real ride.

2008 Song Of The Year

There were a lot of great songs last year - a quick look at the back of any of our top ten albums reveals at least a dozen. Asking your friends will bring on dozens more. Despite all these options, Cadence Weapon kept us coming back time and again to "Do I Miss My Friends?", the lead off song from Afterparty Babies.

Last fall it was announced that the American economy was officially in a recession, but the news had been all over the financial press for well over a year. As the housing market bubble looked ready to burst throughout the summer of 2007, the question was on everyone's lips, even as prices and the stock indices climbed higher. As Ozymandius from The Watchmen informed us, a recession turns people's thoughts to nostalgia.

So in a way, it is fitting that a song about "Back In The Day" is on the top of our lists. But Cadence Weapon goes beyond simple nostalgia. For us, a significant part of "Do I Miss My Friends?"'s allure is the tension that exists within individuals who have forced to choose between a stable and boring future and the wilder promises of their youth. Having cut our teeth in Calgary's Northeast and later Victoria Park, we have had many friends who've "skipped the rent" and thrown notorius damage deposit forfeiting last day of occupancy house parties. As careers and mortgages have come our way, those friends have fallen down to that particular circle of Facebook where we keep old acquaintances to be seen and heard, but not touched, where their behaviour continues unabated.

When Rollie Pemberton, a.k.a. Cadence Weapon asks, "Do I miss my friends?" for us the question is whether we miss those specific persons from our past and the relationships we had with them, or do we miss the freedom from responsibility that they represent? Is a kind of question that really has no answer, but the search is always deep.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Safin v. Federer, Australian Open 2009

Safin v. Federer, we've seen this before and it has always been a match filled with the promise of excellence, as Safin is usually considered the only player to possess more tennis skill then Roger Federer. While Friday's match showcased their talents, it also served to highlight that Safin's time has past him by. In the past we have always been excited to see Safin play, in part because his volatile nature meant that one was never certain which Safin would show up, often at any given moment. Certainly, watching Safin has given us much to think about regarding the relationship between unnatural talent, maturing, and in Safin's case, coaching. On Friday, it became evident that Safin has finally come to terms with all of his ghosts. He has awoken to find himself calmer - and older. There were no dramatic meltdowns on Friday, but Safin never really seemed to be able to challenge Federer, always seemingly three or four steps behind the younger Swiss maestro. In some ways, it is fitting that Safin has chosen this year to be his last in tennis, since we will also be shuttering our own (albeit limited and spotty) tennis coverage at some point this year.

Top Ten Albums of 2008

Better Late Than Never - Our Faves From Last Year

1. Beck - Modern Guilt
2. Hayden - In Field and Country
3. Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies
4. Herbaliser - Same As It Never Was
5. Tokyo Police Clib - Elephant Shell 
6. Portishead - Third
7. The Breeders - Mountain Battles
8. The Bug - The Bug
9.  Fort Knox Five - Radio Free D.C.
10.  The Street - Everything is Borrowed

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Open Invitation to Our Readers

We want to encourage everyone who ever read any of our postings, or shared an impromptu conversation with us, to send us stories, good riddances, farewells - maybe one of you will even send us a logo that we never got around to designing ourselves (lazy bastards!). Send email to

Welcome to the Afterparty

The writing was literally on the wall. Our office space is being sold. Our lease let out. It will be interesting and unpredictable to suggest what will happen to our little group after we no longer have this space. To say that we had a lease might be something of an exageration as it was never clear how we might have afforded such a thing, since all we ever seemed to do was hang out and talk, as people dropped by to sit on couches and write stuff down. During lazy summer afternoons we'd watch movies (wow, to think this might be the end of Afternoon Kino!), and likewise but less frequently on cold winter nights. The postings that you read here, are really just the tip of an iceberg. To be honest, people have been dragged in more directions lately, and economc downturns tend to bring about geographic dislocations, so perhaps things would have wound down eventually.

But this is not a good-bye - more like a forewarning or last call. We now know that what we're doing is not sustainable and will somehow come to an end, but that doesn't mean we're going to stop. We have at least another few months before we have to leave or space, and things might even linger own a little while after that.

So, what to expect? We'd like to suggest that there'll be a flurry of postings, punctuated with pictures of us having a good time, but maybe we'll just be too busy enjoying our last days.