The Library Is Your Friend ‚Äď Recommended Reading
In the past fortnight the public library here in Toronto made a few more friends. There was the fantastic free show with Fucked Up and $100 at the end of May. 700 people came out for that free show – don‚Äôt miss our interview with Simone from $100. Your local library might not be as forward-thinking enough yet to be putting on free concerts, but I‚Äôm sure at the very least they‚Äôll have plenty of good books and music available – if they don‚Äôt then you‚Äôve walked into the wrong building. Here‚Äôs another installment of my recommended reading…
Nick Cave – The Death Of Bunny Munro
This novel by musician Nick Cave (Bad Seeds) is a sordid delight ripe to be devoured by your dirty mind. Bunny Munro plies his trade as a beauty product salesman, which is an ideal job for for him given that he is a total sex addict. Bunny also has a nine year-old son, Bunny Junior, who has quite the opposite personality of his sleazy father, being very thoughtful and respectful. That‚Äôs the basic synopsis, while the title of the book should give you a clue as to the ending.
It‚Äôs dirty for sure and as shallow as a puddle – definitely not something you‚Äôd ever want your mother to read! But while this book has plenty of sleaze, it‚Äôs not what I‚Äôd consider too twisted, and all-in-all I found it a very humourous and entertaining read. The multiple references to the intimate anatomy of Avril Lavigne and Kylie Minogue are legendary.
For an audio accompaniment to this book, check out Dig!!!, Lazarus, Dig!!! the fourteenth studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. This album is brilliant, nay, essential. It doesn‚Äôt have the smut of Bunny Munro but it rocks like a bastard. A mind-blowing array of musical styles and genres are deployed with a seamless cohesiveness. You just need to hear it.
The World Cup Kicks Off Tomorrow!
Excited much?! The biggest party in the world kicks off on Friday as the 2010 Football World Cup commences in South Africa.
…Wow. Pinch me.
Has it really been four years since the last World Cup? Germany 2006 seems a distant memory now, but most of that four year gap was the usual agonisingly long wait – well, it‚Äôs agonising as a Scotland fan and having to witness your nation once again fail to qualify despite a ‚Äėbrave‚Äô effort. Sigh. Anyway, Scottish blues are forgotten (at least until qualification for the next World Cup begins). Right now I‚Äôm buzzing with excitement knowing that the tournament will be underway in less than 24 hours. Seeing as I’m a starving artist without such luxuries as a television, I will be taking advantage of some of the many cafes, bistros and bars in Toronto that will be showing the World Cup games – it’s really great seeing so many places with the flags of the 32 nations draped outside their entrances. A great reminder that Toronto is a truly international and diverse city. I did notice one bar that had added an Irish flag – cute, but of course Ireland won’t be at this World Cup, thanks to the hand of Thierry Henry.
Shakira‚Äôs ‚ÄúWaka Waka (This Time For Africa)‚ÄĚ is the official anthem for the 2010 World Cup. The video does a fantastic job of capturing the energy and passion of the World Cup, as so many hopes and dreams fall to the feet of the chosen few. If the hair on your neck is not raised by the football action in this video, then maybe at least your pulse will be raised by the delectable Ms. Shakira.
Waka Waka? Hmm…
My Own Personal World Cup – Ten Days Till Match Day At NXNE
The charity football game at this year’s NXNE music festival in Toronto is now just over a week away.
I’m pleased to say that the total combined fundraising efforts of all participants has now eclipsed the goal of $5000 for the charity Right To Play. Awesome! Remember, every $50 raised for the charity helps give a child the chance to play sports for a year. To see the latest combined total, and to make a donation visit this page: http://righttoplay.akaraisin.com/Common/Event/Home.aspx?seid=3270&mid=8&Lang=en-CA. I’m still short of my own personal fundraising goal – if you’d like to sponsor my participation, you can do so by searching for me as a sponsor using that previous link, or click here to jump to my page.
The complete squads for the The Rockers and The World can now be viewed on the Facebook event page for the NXNE footie match.
This week I stepped up my preparations for the game by enlisting the help of a friend who I’ve now dubbed Coach Kiwi. As a former semi-pro footballer for 14 years through school, Coach Kiwi put me through my paces on a pitch on Monday night. The training regime was a little unorthodox and in some countries might be considered a form of torture. Imagine someone kicking a football at you at full pelt while shouting “TRAP THIS WITH YOUR FOOT!” – it wouldn’t be so bad, but the ball was coming towards my nether regions at 80 miles per hour. At the risk of damaging my family jewels and any hopes of future fatherhood, I opted to squirm out of the path of the ball. It was a pretty pathetic moment. Naturally, Coach Kiwi then proceeded to grill me and remind me that, “this isn’t dodgeball”. At this point I had a flashback to my twelve year-old self in gym class, as I’m sure a P.E. teacher shouted something similar at me once.
Aside from that ball-dodging/ball-protecting moment, it was an otherwise productive experience and I may have actually learned something. Here’s a few quick pointers from Coach Kiwi:
- When shooting or making a pass, your non-kicking foot should always be next to the ball but not too far in front or behind
- The further you lean over the ball when shooting, the more loft the trajectory of the ball will have
- Help control the ball when trapping by moving your foot or body backwards to cushion the pass – that has something to do with gravity, or something
- Don’t move out of the way of the ball – it’s football, not dodgeball
Off the pitch, I’ve been working out every second day at 99 Sudbury, who kindly helped me out with a temporary¬† free membership. I still can’t quite get the exercise bikes to rate my fitness as anything better than “above average” but I am definitely noticing a bit of an improvement in my fitness.
The Airborne Toxic Event Release A Song To Help Find Justice For Neda Soltan
The Airborne Toxic Event are a great band. I had the pleasure of meeting them for an interview in 2008, which you can listen to here. They’ve just released a song about Neda Agha-Soltan. Neda was murdered in 2009 during a peaceful protest¬† about the result of the Iranian election – her murderer has still not been brought to justice.¬† The music video tells the story:
If you feel inspired by that song, the single is available for purchase on iTunes [get it here: idj.to/AmnestyNeda] and all proceeds go to Amnesty International. Also, this Saturday, 12 June is the anniversary of that controversial election in Iran. To mark that date, there are many protest rallies being held this weekend around the world, including one in Toronto which I’ll be at – and don’t worry, it doesn’t clash with any of the World Cup action.
Every dude needs a badass jacket. In June 2002 I bought an old leather biker jacket for about $25 on eBay. I made a stencil and customized the jacket with a famous emblem that fans of a certain movie and a certain band. This jacket has been with me everywhere. Through thick and thin. Through thin, and thinner. It’s never quite fit my long arms and torso, but it still kept me warm enough when needed. I wore it to many gigs in Scotland and England. I wore it when I saw Iggy Pop play inside the Arctic Circle in north Norway. I wore it when I first came to Canada on a holiday visa and when I returned as a resident.
I wish my jacket a happy eighth birthday. Here’s to lots more rock n’ roll adventures… and maybe one day I’ll be able to afford a motorbike to go with the jacket!
¬© Brian Banks, Music Vice