Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and...Well, Friday I'm in Love: Weekly Mix #32

And I'm back. Technically, my friend, Lisa, and I rolled into Winnipeg around 9pm yesterday after a rather gruelling drive to and from Edmonton. Canada is big. I should already know this considering how many times I've been on the Trans Canada Highway, especially this past year moving to and from Waterloo. As a Canadian, I should be very aware of how much land we have and how few people we have, but somehow it still takes me by surprise time and again. This combination of large land area and low population makes for some very monotonous travel by land. Even the people who live in these small town scattered across the flat plains apparently can't be bothered with their own existence - one town's motto was "Town Around a Lake." Canada definitely has some spectacular natural landscapes - they just happen to be spread apart by days of travel (it's difficult to tell which is worse - two days of the Canadian Shield or one day of prairie). For the roughly 15-hour drive from Winnipeg to Edmonton and then back again, Lisa and I were followed by a Prince Vince-like cloud of rain. Between the rain and the utter flatness of the prairie landscape (and the immutable void that is Saskatchewan) we wanted to claw our way out of the car with our bare hands and lay down on the highway with the roadkill (it wouldn't surprise me if most of the roadkill were suicides). The only things that helped us hang on to some sort of lucidity were the music mixes we brought and my CD of Jarvis Cocker reading short stories.

As I've mentioned earlier, I was going to Edmonton to present a paper that was a highly condensed version of my MA thesis on MP3 blogs. The presentation went well enough (the audience was pretty tiny and a rather annoying woman kept throwing Foucault at me like some academic superhero power) and attended a couple of other panels where I unfortunately didn't learn too much new. The only pieces of information I took away were a form of music from the Ivory Coast by way of Paris called coupé décalé (which doesn't appear to be my thing though I was rather amused by the subgenre of prudencia, in which the dance is one of covering yourself and backing away like the world is full of danger - not exactly a dance that brings people together...maybe the town in Footloose would have let the kids dance if it were prudencia) and the revolutionary aspect of the Bic pen (I had never really thought about the social implications of pens before).

Besides conference activities we also went to West Edmonton Mall (which is pretty much useless if you don't care about chain stores and clothing and which is also where Lisa was concussed on a particularly violent rollercoaster), the Telus Science Centre (I recommend seeing Body Worlds if you ever get a chance - plasticized corpses created by a German man in a hat...can't think of anything better), the Devonian Botanical Gardens south of the city, and Whyte Avenue (where I was delighted with Blackbyrd Myoozik). All in all, Edmonton is pretty similar to Winnipeg with the exception of getting more musicians coming through (I'm feeling a little bitter that Bloc Party will be there next week while my visit coincided with Oasis). In honour of my short trip, I decided to make a mix of songs about or inspired by particular places (a tad lazy, I know, but I'm frankly pretty exhausted still). Another highlight of the Edmonton visit was getting a coffee at Second Cup, where the ginger-haired boy serving me noticed my Manic Street Preachers shirt and was bubbling over with excitement that someone else loved them as much as he did (a sentiment I can relate to as a Canadian Manics fan). He tried to cram as much Manics-related conversation as possible into the few minutes of interaction we had as he got my coffee (when he discovered I had seen them live last year, he said, "I hate you"), discussing the anticipation for the new album, The Holy Bible, and whether Richey is still alive or not. This mix is called Wanderlust, and it's dedicated to the Manics fan in Second Cup and to all those other fans who feel like they're the only ones.


Urban Gypsy said...

Dear Anglopunk,
Great post. I think it's totally awesome that you are doing your thesis on mp3 blogs... I wish I would have thought of it first! If you would be willing to direct me to where I could find any of your published work or papers from the conference, I would be so interested in reading it. My email is on my blogger profile. Thanks :)

anglopunk said...

Unfortunately, none of my work is published at this point; however, once I get my thesis completely cleaned up in a PDF, I will post a link for download on this blog. I can also email it directly to you at that time.

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