Cameron Carpenter – 10 CC
I am becoming a crusty antiquated old man. I don’t feel old but the numbers don’t lie. I am slowly losing touch with technology, music and fashion. I still think I’m hip but now more time is spent worrying about my hip than being hip. I guess saying hip is no longer hip. One of the highlights of the weekend was picking up four new pairs of “readers” at Dollarama and getting a new battery for my watch. Not a Fitbit, not an Apple, but a watch, which I use for telling time. I am entering my Grandpa Simpson years.
I used to be on the cutting edge of technology. I had one of the first mobile phones and laptop computers. The mobile was like a brick and the handset attached to the main box with a cord, but god damn it was cool. I also had one of the first laptops back in the eighties. The screen was not colour and there wasn’t enough power to turn on a TV but it looked cutting edge when you played with it on the plane.
I loved my Palm Pilot and there was nothing more thrilling than finding another member of the club and beam your contact information to them. In the last couple of weeks I have been mocked for using a Blackberry (sorry – love it), a Classic iPod (sorry-love it) and using a cord to attach my iPod to my Jawbone speaker (sorry –old iPods don’t have Bluetooth). I am writing this column on a PC. Yes, a PC. I have been on Facebook and Twitter for a long time but most of the new applications confuse or scare me. It’s not often I say anything profound on either platforms, steering clear from religion, politics, food, kitties, and usually use them to support friends doing interesting things, pimping business things that I am involved with, occasionally mourning those we have lost (always checking two or three other sources first) and cheering on my beloved Arsenal. Here are ten things that have been on my mind.
- Lady Gaga Bowie “Tribute”
I did not watch the Grammy Awards this year. The reason was simple; I use rabbit ears on my TV and it was not on one of the half dozen channels I receive free over the air. I kept up on what was going on via social media as I was curious as to who had won and how the performances were going over. It seems like every performance of the evening (with the exception of the universally praised Kendrick Lamar piece) was equally loved and loathed. The idea of Gaga honouring my musical hero both frightened and appalled me. Imagine Bobby Sherman doing an Elvis Presley best of or Marie Osmond honouring John Lennon. Shudders. It was awful. It was like a high school theatre arts student who had studied their subject via Coles Notes and then minimalized the majestic artistry into a “Bowie – Stars on 45” nine-song, six minute show which concentrated more on effects, clothes and dancing than on the man himself. I would have preferred Mike Garson, alone, playing “Aladdin Sane” on a grand piano while a slide show of the thin white duke reminded us of his genius.
- The Hollywood Vampires
The little boy in me still gets excited when he gets to see Alice Cooper on television. It was a rare thing back in the seventies and every performance was loved and remembered. From “The Midnight Special” to “Hollywood Squares” when Alice was on the tube I was on the couch. I think that “My Dead Drunk Friends” may have been a better song to play before they honoured Lemmy with “Ace of Spades”. I liked seeing Joe Perry saddle-up beside Matt and Duff but I really have a problem with Johnny Depp channeling his inner Keith Richards with this pack of seasoned pros. Gaga wins a Golden Globe for acting and Johnny is a rock star. Something is not right.
- Nelly Furtado – NBA All Star Game
Nope, didn’t like it. Please don’t mess with my anthem. The eyes of the world were on my city and country and you needed to play it straight. I was lucky enough to go to the 50th Anniversary NBA All Star game in Cleveland with my friend Haydain Neale.
The Jacksoul frontman did a lovely version of our anthem prior to the rookie game. Now, you can mess as much as you want with the anthems of other countries and Marvin Gaye still has the honour of the greatest version of the stars and stripes ever.
- Canada Wins At The Grammys
We are a small country with a bit of inferiority complex and it is always nice when we win something on the international stage, an Olympic gold medal, an Oscar or a Grammy. Even if you are not a fan your pride swells a little bit when even the Bieb picks up an award. It was a good night for Canadian music with lots of nominations and awards (The Weeknd, Drake and Justin with the lion’s share). Toronto industry folks were proud to see Peter J. Moore and Jan Haust (along with my old U.S. record company pal Steve Berkowitz) win for their painstaking work on the Bob Dylan bootleg package. Congrats boys.
- Concert Viewing
Can everyone please put their phones and iPads down and start watching the performance? They are going to be far better pictures and videos on-line than anything you are shooting. You should look up and enjoy what you are seeing and hearing.
- Back Packs
We never had them and as far as I am concerned you really don’t need to wear one if you have graduated from high school. I also see very young pre-school children marching in a mitten-line to their nursery school and they are all saddled with enormous packs. What is it they need that badly? If you need to carry a lap top use a shoulder bag, and, if you do, you carry it on your shoulder and not across your chest like some misplaced mailman. When you have either of these and you are on public transit take them off your shoulder or back and hold them in your hand. You are taking up the spots for two people and when you spin around you are wiping out people left and right.
Ok while we are on the subject there is absolutely no need to eat anything when you are on public transit. I don’t want to smell or hear your food. There is also no need to have a phone discussion unless it is an emergency. Text back and say you will call when it is more appropriate.
There should be a line-up for people who want old school coffee. I am black, one sugar. I have no qualms about milk and sugar. These are quick and easy and the way coffee was consumed for the last hundred years or so. If you want anything whipped, sprinkled, de-cafed, iced or frapped, get in your own line, you are holding up the rest of us.
The coffee rule should apply for bars as well. Have an express bar, shots, beer and wine and everyone else (mixed shooters, Caesar’s, more than two ingredients) get in your own line.
- On Stage
A band should be three, four, or if there are keyboards, five-piece, maximum. I should not be able to see a Mac anywhere on stage. And why is everyone using a capo all of the time? I don’t remember seeing them that often when I was younger. Get a double-neck or a second guitar. Learn to play the whole damn neck.
I feel much better.
Come hang out with the Indie Week team every Thursday night at Lou Dawgs at Church and Gerrard.
Cam’s column appears every Thursday.
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Cameron Carpenter has written for The New Music Magazine, Music Express, The Asylum, The Varsity, The Eye Opener, The New Edition, Shades, Bomp!, Driven Magazine, FYI Music News, The Daily XY, New Canadian Music, NXNE Magazine and Don’t Believe A Word I Say.