I’m totally backblogged. What’s that, you’re thinking? Well, its when you have thoughts and ideas and words you want to blog about but never seem to have a moment to get them down. Last week was intense: day trip to Victoriaville, sleepover with Neptune’s nieces, advancing this weekend’s shows and now this week, is rainy and we’re in rehearsals. Plus there’s been a massive emotional weight around here; Murray and I both preoccupied with Pablo’s last days. My head has been heavy with thoughts for Pablo and his family. Our friend, mentor and manager, Jeff Castelaz’s 6-year-old son Pablo battled a rare form of cancer for over a year. I strongly recommend you read their story at PABLOg!. It’ll put your entire existence back into perspective.

The past week has been a roller coaster of empathy, sadness, gratefulness, despondence, positivity and hope. And of love. I am totally inspired by the Castelaz/Thrailkill clan. Jeff and Jo Ann are, in my eyes, heroes; the pantheon of parenthood. I wish I could be in L.A. because I feel like the only useful thing I could give them is hugs. But anyway, anyway, anyway.

I only met Pablo once but knew so much about him from following the blog, I felt a closeness to him. Anyway, Neptune and Pablo hung out for like half an hour while Peter gave us the tour of the Dangerbird office in Silverlake in May. They went nuts on the conference room and we all tried to take pictures but mine didn’t turn out because the kids didn’t stay still for a second. It was a fun moment and I’m glad our families met.

We always have the future: to live in memory of those we love, in positivity and light. Always pushing us forward to another place, where we are meant to live in all our strength and for every moment.

Pablove. Forever.

Coldest Day

Quote from a Tim Horton’s: “Why’re you mopping the floor? Its just gonna go back dirty.” Hot damn, its good to be back in Canada. Its great. The weather is shit and I cleaned garbage from the front of the house and was loving it. How do those kinds of things get all tangled in the weeds anyhow? Coffee cups, lottery tickets, plastic bags, candy wrappers, scraps of wood, soda cans. Anyway, that’s what I look forward to. Now it’s all just messed up under the snow. I’ll get back to it in the spring…which won’t happen here until May.

Things I Liked About San Francisco

-ben and jerry’s chocolate brownie frozen yoghurt
-orion in the clear, night sky; i havent seen him in a long time
-four compliments from strangers on my greying hair colour
-great plants just growing wild

With Love, From Calgary

Is the darkness eroding our spirit? If we were touring some uplifting, four on the floor, George Benson schnitz, would we be happier, more pleased, wanting to dance always? Is that how the Scissor Sisters would feel after a four month tour? While in Glasgow for our last show, I was in a cafe where I actually heard the theme from the show Taxi. Does anyone remember that funky yet sad little ditty? I guess that’s what we would play: melancholic hold music. Maybe its the cold, or the snow, or the continued absence of the sun, or the fact that of all places in Canada, it is the coldest where we are right now. Maybe the darkness is following us? Time to retreat to video games, I think.

Leeds or Burst

Leeds or burst…an obscure joke from the opening credits of Perfect Strangers. Balki was certainly the original Borat.

After show in Leeds. I realised tonight that this town may have the best food in England. Three for three here, and that’s amazingly good for the UK. Sorry to everywhere else.

Last night was Manchester, where we had a hang out with Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce. It was a little surreal, like when worlds collide. Speaking of which, it was odd that yesterday we hung with those dudes, and today we got some Google news alerts about Krief’s feelings about our Morrissey shows. Alls I’s gots to say about the whole thing is that we’ve played four shows with the gentle Moz, and I’ve still never met the guy. Just the way it goes, I guess.

Now if only I had a story to tell about Johnny Marr.

Berlin & Munich

I pretend Germany doesn’t interest me, that there’s something too grotesque about the past; too complicated. We walked by the Polish Cultural centre, Murray asked if I wanted to go in and I declined: “I can’t, I’ll probably just start crying.” So Berlin, all its older buildings pockmarked and crumbling by WWII bullet marks and shrapnel. I emailed my friend Malcolm: “It’s like walking through Medal of Honour for PS2,” but actually it really made me choked up. Like on these very sidewalks, there was a battle, there was rubble and blood. A battle for my family, a gunfight for our future. I know, I know, there are still wars going on today, but, at risk of total selfishness, I admit that this is the only one that directly affected my family.

So our gig is at a former bunker or wine cellar, its original use we are not sure of, but either is feasible. During the show I noticed actual mortar from the domed brick ceiling had fallen onto my keyboard. Actual mortar. Like where does that ever happen, except in some semi-centennial, aged cavern?

This place is fucked but there is something I like about it. Also, at every show in this country, I swear there has been a couple making out every night. Now that’s special.

I had a dream about food. It’s reached that point in the tour, where I get insanely homesick, jealous of other people’s house plants. So I dreamt about food, I invented a recipe in my sleep. It goes like this: take an eggplant and scoop out all the guts but leave about 1cm of pulp next to the skin. Ok now take the pulp and cook it up with onions, garlic, rice and some sunflower seeds, mushrooms and parmesan or something like that. THEN get some green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces and blanched. Now fill the eggplant shell three-quarters of the way with the rice mixture, then top it with the green beans, then some shredded mozza cheese. Just a sprinkle. Then bake for like 30 minutes at 350C. Serve with fresh tomato sauce. Holy fuck that would be really good. I can’t wait to try making it when I get home.

Wow I’m such a loser. I finished typing this after our gig in Munich. We played in some building that is three hundred years older than I am.

Autumn in Amsterdam

For an indifferent city, Amsterdam’s weather is very moody. Sunny clear skies, then a burst of rain, then a full rainbow, then a flash of lightning, a clap of thunder, and hail. And still people riding their bicycles, riding in parkas, holding umbrellas, talking on mobile phones. They don’t really mind, here.

On our way back to the hotel after the show last night, a dude that seemed very tall rolled up behind us on his bike. He came up suddenly, and pointing at Murray, firmly congratulated us on the gig. It started to rain and he questioned why we had to walk back to the hotel? Murray replied: “I put my pants on like everyone else, one leg at a time!” The rain got a little harder as he rode off. Then the rain stopped, and that was the end of it.

Bloggers of the World, Unite and Take Over: Evidently they already have. They have learned to be complimentary, racist, kind, hateful, spiteful, loving, sexist, grateful, supportive, caring and most of all, genuine. I have seen it all, everything they have written in their diaries, posted on message boards. Every tiny impulse they have had, however hurtful, however their words sometimes consume me, however insightful (knowing and unknowing). They can destroy me and elate me, remind me of the hope and darkness this world holds, how we are all neighbours.

One of the painfully normal things I enjoy about being at home

Can you imagine the number of burnouts reality TV is producing? My new favourite is Rockstar: Supernova. The amazing thing is the “contestants” can barely sing; they are all preoccupied with looking the part and having the right moves and accessories. Its amazing entertainment, seeing these people so embarassingly caught up in themselves. Krief saw the show last night and recognised the Toronto guy: “No way! I had beers with that guy a few months ago. He actually went up to sing on the open mike night at the bar.” See now that’s dark. That guy (Lukas something) is a burnout in waiting. Imagine all the instances in our futures, at the pub, chatting with some ding dong who’s proclaimed that the highlight of his life was being on so-and-so reality show. Its so widespread that our paths will cross sooner or later….just a matter of time.

Last night I blogged that somebody loved me

The other night we had a dinner party. The guest list read like a Pitchfork press release: “…featuring members of The Dears, Metric, Stars, Death From Above 1979.” It’s nice having people over, since it’s replaced my going out. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing something, being at home all the time. But then that odd night when I do go out I remember instantly how much it sucks, so it’s infinitely better having friends come to me. Amy made a joke about my being skin and bones, to which I retorted: “Don’t worry, when you all leave I will eat my loneliness away.” I regretted the comment as soon as I made it. I don’t usually feel lonely, but sometimes, like tonight, when Neptune’s gone to bed and everyone’s heading out to the bar or to see a show, I feel left behind. It’s just me, blogging, holding down the fort. I think that’s part of “becoming a mom.” Now I make corny jokes, I’m even starting to think puns are funny. I certainly can’t drink like I used to; that’s what a year and a half of sobriety does to a person. I tied one on after our ICA show in London and curiously didn’t get a hangover; I got gut rot. My stomach rebelled. My salad days are definitely over and I’ve moved on to my tobbouleh days.

Living in Parc X is great. We don’t have anything trendy up here. Occasionally hipsters will float through for the adventurous feeling they get from coming up to the Indian restaurants. We don’t have a Dollarama, we have a Dollartheque: where nothing is dollar but everything ranges in price from $0.33 to $49.99. Then there is the junk shop on our corner that advertises the price of 88 cents in scribbly, upside-down magic marker eights on flourescent bristol boards. Below the price, in small writing it reads: “some items.” Anyway they have just about everything on three floors of total chaos. I went upstairs once and was afraid for my life, worried that at any moment several boxes of polyester flowers or multi-coloured laundry baskets of various sizes could fall into the aisle and no one would find me for weeks. I’m not sure the basement is even part of the store. They have the seats from their minivan down there among unopened boxes and other strange, waterlogged things.

Our post office is frustrating. It is in the back of a fake depanneur and is run by the most miserable people I’ve ever met. I think a Greek mother-son team where the mother barely speaks a word of english (but can sell stamps like nothing else) and the son has been forced to take on the family business and every millisecond he is there ruins his life. At any rate, in classic Montreal style, they are pissed off to be serving you, which makes all the customers pissed off to be mailing things. It’s tense in there. I’m tempted to call the ombudsman on them. Yes, that’s right, I said ombudsman.

The video is done, done, done.

Our camera broke. It broke while we were at the other side of the Pacific Ocean at Bondi Bay. Was it sand in the lens? Anyway, no pictures of us Canadians wading to our knees, proclaiming: “Its so warm!” while Jonathan from Speak’n’Spell watches us, shivering. Then trips to London, Toronto, and no photographic evidence. As if time passes, memories are lost forever. I tell myself: “Oh, I’ll remember this,” but I never do if somebody doesn’t remind me.

Murray cajoled it back into operation, getting a few shots of the Frenches at the fitting for our video. That went over well enough, at least for the guys. They came out looking hot. Val and I were uncertain in trendy black dresses and accessories that made us look like we were going to a wedding or to our high school reunions. At the eleventh hour, Murray called it off and we brought our own clothes, basically. Things that looked natural on us, things we would actually wear on stage.

On the day of the shoot, we stopped for bagels on the way. Murray, Tara (from Maple), Neptune and I munched on still-warm St-Viateur bagels that we dipped gluttonously into either cream cheese or hummous. We drove out to St-Hubert, alonf industrial parkways I never new existed.

We pull up to an airplane hangar that has been converted into a sound studio. About a dozen people have been working there all morning setting up lights, the backdrop and Nedward was there working on the silhouettes. They look amazing. Everything looks amazing. Are we actually going to pull this off? Will the video succeed in coming out like the treatment? The day wears on and the director, Maxime, is just motoring through the shots with Murray checking out since the idea is following the vision he had for it. Then they load in the big YOU sign that Nedward made. It looks a little ghetto but when it was positioned and switched on it looked fantastic. Murray’s wearing his white suit and he looks really good and sharp. I was watching some of his performances on the playback and he’s really nailing it. I feel good about this.

Then it gets classically complicated. Deadlines, scheduling, transfers, closed-captionning, colour correction…the first edit is disappointing. Its a bit slowly paced and not aggressive enough. I just remember these killer shots of Krief playing his guitar like he was punching someone in the face. And I got this huge bruise from bashing that tambourine on my hip all day. That needs to be in there, doesn’t it? Murray gets in on the second (and final) editing session and holy shit he’s good. I knew he had that in him, the ability to express something visual AND musical. And he did it; put us back into the video. The more I watch it the more I like everything about it.

I always get so self conscious about video photo shoots. Like there’s this wildcard aspect and I can’t control what I’m gonna look like. I was especially frustrated that the make-up-and-hair guy barely spoke any english. It’s kind of important, to be able to communicate that no, I don’t want poofy, teased up bangs so please stop working towards that. I try not to be vain but sometimes I just have to. Vanity truly is a horrible thing so I’d rather avoid the surrounding issues as much as possible. Anyhow, point being that I had to get over the minutiae of “Is that lip gloss too much?” or “Why am I looking that way?” and “Is that what I really look like?” before I could move forward. It’s a classic woman’s dilemma. We all watched Sex and The City: self-consciousness is a reality…in real life, that is.