Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pasta Point of No Return

Mulroney is.

- The National Post's new website. Thank the lord! The design and subscriber wall of the old one were real sources of frustration as a writer and a reader...

- Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee... Oh, Tea Makers.

- Did I link to my last Noises Off blog post? The one with the gratuitous swipe at Joe Penhall?

- Actual all-girl tribute band: Lez Zeppelin.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We are the champions!

Well, Paul MacInnes and Rosie Swash, my fine colleagues at Guardian Unlimited Music are anyway. They picked up the Best Podcast award at last night's Record of the Day awards for GU's Music Weekly, beating The Times, The Sun, Drowned in Sound and Xfm.

As someone who has guested in the studio twice (1, 2), I tried to claim 1/26 of the credit last night, but Paul reminded me that there is always a second person in the pod and the producer at least, so I could only claim 1/78. Fair point. It's still going on the resume.

Anyway, check out the full list of winners and you'll see GU, the Guardian and our sister paper the Observer were the big winnas across the board at the music journalism awards. I'll spare everyone by NOT posting the pics... Huzzah!

- In other Guardian news, my interview with Gallictronica artist Sebastien Tellier is up. (Yes, I invented the term Gallictronica.) He is marvelously French, to wit: "Having a Latin vision of sex on my album, that was important for me. In Paris or in Europe, it's the same kind of culture like in the US, this kind of feeling with the very dominating guy and very bitch woman. I like it, but maybe it's more ideal to talk about sex with a Latin sensibility."

- And here is my latest news round-up starring Beth Ditto, Alice Cooper, Alex Turner and... Sharleen Spiteri from Texas.

I quite like that song, actually.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Whatt"a" ya mean?

The blog of unnecessary quotation marks really outdoes itself today.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

An Imperialist Calls.

What did playwright JB Priestley think of Canada when he visited it in the mid-1950s? "My publishers persuaded me one year to do a tour of the country to stimulate book sales, but it was a depressing experience," he said later. "I got the impression that Canadians didn't read too many books."

Still, he wrote a play called The Glass Cage set in Toronto for that city's Crest Theatre. The play then transfered intact to London in 1957 - the first all-Canadian production to play there - where it received a mixed reception (translation: it bombed). Charmingly, Priestley blamed expat Canucks.

"We had hoped all the Canadians in London would support it - what a hope. And here's the difference between Canadians and Australians: About the same time, there was an Australian play put on, [Ray Lawlor's] The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, quite a good play, but not as good as mine. But all the Australians in London turned out and gave it a good reception. And it ran for months."

The Glass Cage did not. It closed and no one put it on professionally again - in Canada or in the UK.

Until this autumn, that is, when the Royal and Derngate theatre in Northampton (one hour out of London) saved it from obscurity and resurrected it. I went to see it last weekend, which you can read all about in today's Globe and Mail. If you live in Canada, that is - cuz it's not on the 'net.

In short: I think it should be remounted in Canada. Shaw Festival, I'm looking at you, but I think it could really be up Soulpepper's alley, too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

That is Fucked Up.

The New York Times runs a review of a show by the Toronto band Fucked Up. But they can't bring themselves to publish the name of the band. Instead, this publish it like this: "Music Review: ********". Oh, so Cat Power, then?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Noises Off...

This week's round-up of the theatre blogosphere tackles the questions:

- Should bloggers accept free tickets to shows? (Yes.)
- Should everyone get free programmes at the theatre? (Yes.)
- Should New York stagehands get paid properly for their work? (Why, yes.)

I'm hardly selling it here. Um, I use the expression "hear, hear" a lot in it. Does that help?

Anyway, as Dave Coulier might say: Check. It. Out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I am a journalist!

Hey, sometimes I don't just make lazy, snarky comments about other people's news stories. No, sometimes I dig up the news myself. Or use Google, anyway.

Today, I had a story on the Guardian site about a mysterious Google ad I stumbled upon last week. When I Googled "Radiohead" on Thursday, I received a sponsored link that read:

Radiohead - New Album
New Album 'Rainbow' now available as Boxset inc. CD USB, Digital

Only problem was, it didn't lead to the site where you can buy Radiohead's independent release In Rainbows. No, instead, it led to the website EMI has set up to sell Radiohead's back catalogue. The website it set up a week after Radiohead signed to an independent label to distribute the physical album of In Rainbows. Ahem.

Says EMI, after I contacted them, "Parlophone were aware of the data source glitch and removed the link immediately." Understand what that means? No, me neither. And the folks at Google Ads neither.

Anyway, there's a screengrab of the ad - now removed, after my inquiries - and the full story at Guardian Unlimited Music.

I'm pleased to see the story picked up by or linked to Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NME, Idolator, The Daily Swarm, BBC and my old friends at At Ease.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This is basically what everything here sounds like to me.

BBC Upgrades Flap To Row

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Montrealers: Catch it before it hits London.

I was very interested to note that Olivier Choinière's latest play Felicité - on at La Licorne until November 24 - is getting a production in English at the Royal Court Theatre this March. And who's translating it? None other than Caryl Churchill.

How did this happen, that a Quebec play about, amongst other things, Celine Dion worship gets its English-language debut in London announced just a couple of weeks after its premiere in Montreal? Must be a story there...

Ah, but I forget: Churchill's family moved to Montreal during WWII and she went to Traf for high school. She returned to England in 1955, but she still may hold the claim to being the most famous (English-language) playwright to come out of Montreal.
Cop lova

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Radiohead and Contextomy.

A couple of writings on the Guardian site to point your attention towards:

1. While I wrote the story, I am in many ways more proud of the headline: EMI stab Radiohead in the back catalogue.

2. And here's my latest Noises Off theatre blog: Bloggers fight against 'contextomy'.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Canada: America's stunt double.

The Guardian arts blog editor asked me this week if I had any thoughts on the official American tourism video that included shots of Canada in it. I said, "Well, Hollywood has been using Canada as a stand-in for the United States for ages, so why not the US state department?"

This is obviously not a hot topic on a UK website, so I encourage all Off the Fence readers to jump in the comments...