Music Tapes Caroling … at our house!

Julian Koster played at our house last night as part of his Music Tapes Caroling tour. We had one other guest, Dan Farrar from Dunnville. It was a great night. Julian played some Music Tapes classics (he played Freeing Song by Reindeer, my favourite ‘Tapes song so far), while Badger Saw played some carols. A fun night.

Julian plays Freeing Saw by Reindeer, while Badger Saw and Rudolph the dog look on
Julian plays Freeing Saw by Reindeer, while Badger Saw and Rudolph the dog look on
Badger Saw sings to us, while Julian supports
Badger Saw sings to us, while Julian supports
My banjo now has Julian Koster power
My banjo now has Julian Koster power

Recording is here: Julian Koster – Music Tapes Caroling, our house – 1 Dec 2008:

  1. Introducing Badger Saw
  2. O Tannenbaum
  3. Introduction to a song flown by a little blind girl
  4. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  5. Introducing the Emergency Banjo
  6. Takeshi & Elisha
  7. Introduction to Freeing Song by Reindeer
  8. Freeing Song by Reindeer
  9. well suited to a throat …
  10. Introduction to The Silly Old Man
  11. The Silly Old Man said “My Hat is a Cow!”
  12. Introduction to The First Noël
  13. The First Noël

h*ppy chr*stm*s

Here’s hoping that the batteries last until at least 2pm, and that you managed to avoid (as I have, this far) hearing “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime”.

in the running

Almost ‘Best of The Year’ time. In the running are:

A Hawk and a Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows
A.C. Newman – Souvenir of Canada – EP
Beck – The Information
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Casper & the Cookies – The Optimist’s Club
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins
Eels with Strings – Live At Town Hall
Elf Power – Back To The Web
Erynn Marshall – Calico
Faun Fables – The Transit Rider
Grandaddy – Just Like The Fambly Cat
Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties
Hidden Cameras – Awoo
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold
Mayor McCa – Cue Are Es Tea You
Peter Stampfel – The Jig Is Up
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula
Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas – Volume V: Peace
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder
The Instruments – Cast A Half Shadow
The Sadies – In Concert Vol. 1
The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Thomas Dolby – The Sole Inhabitant
Wendy Arrowsmith – Crying Out
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Miraculously, all of them fit on my iPod Nano, so they’ll be in heavy rotation over the next week or so while I decide.

fake plastic trees

They’re setting up some kind of christmas filmset in the parking lot – an ad, maybe? There are many fake trees in the parking lot, some with lights, and what looks like rolls of fake snow. There are also a hotdog stand and a London Underground sign – wha?

big boy’s book of big things

Christmas came early. With money from Carlyle, I bought a reproduction of Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, a three-tome work from the 1870s which catalogued mechanisms, devices and machinery known at the time. It’s the ultimate nerd read.

You can browse two electronic versions online:

  • at UMich; large page images.
  • at Princeton Imaging; in DjVu format, this is a little easier to read if you have the right plugin.

I have to say, though, that the dead tree version is a splendid read.

A little Irish festive spirit

If I stood on the bow-backed chair, I could reach
The light switch. They let me and they watched me.
A touch of the little pip would work the magic.

— Seamus Heaney. Electric Light

and also Airtricity’s Christmas e-card

Goodbye, Star Wars Tree

burnt-out mini mall, Kennedy & Eglinton
The mini-mall burned last night. Looks like the centre of the fire was the gift shop in the middle of the block. The rest of the block is pretty badly damaged, though. It looks like the place will have to be rebuilt — or replaced with a condo block, which seems to be the fate of shops in Scarborough.

I hope that noone was hurt.

So, goodbye Yoga’s, with your selection of teas and Sri Lankan groceries. Goodbye Star Milk, the mom, pop and smiley baby store with your VLT in back and dodgy videos over the drinks cooler. Goodbye Poondy Bread, purveyors of that which has paneity. Goodbye Amma, ace Sri Lankan takeout food shop, the place where I developed a taste for really spicy food.

But most of all, godbye to the gift shop. Even though I never went in there, I’ll miss the sun-yellowed unsold toys in the window; the almost-Transformers and plastic racing cars.

One toy, unsold through two summers, perplexed me most. It was a cardboard tube wrapped in tinsel. Cardboard tags with pictures of Star Wars characters were attached to it with those nylon annoyances you get on new clothes. It resembled more a christmas decoration than a space weapon, which I think it was supposed to be. We called it the Star Wars Tree, and I’m guessing it wasn’t officially licensed from Lucasfilm.

It’s all gone now, washed away by the fire hoses.