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Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

Don't Cry No Tears

A late Christmas present to you courtesy of Torr – a recording of the first ever Tears gig from the Zodiac in Oxford on December 12 of this year. The download page Torr links to has a horribly annoying download interface and transfer restrictions, so I’ve taken the liberty of uploading the show to my own server here. The recording is a little rough, but the material sounds pretty good – not as arch and dramatic as old Suede, but solid. And it’s always good to hear Bernard Butler on the gee-tar.

I’ve mentioned in the past my love-hate relationship with Douglas Coupland… Well, that’s actually overstating how much I like and dislike his work. I’ve always been mildly frustrated with his books – he wants to be wacky and he wants to be profound, and the end result always seems to suffer for it. Well he’s finally written a book that I genuinely enjoyed start to finish – Hey Nostradamus!. It starts with a Columbine-esque high school shooting and ripples outwards to see how it affects various people, both directly and indirectly. Maybe it’s because of the weightiness of the subject matter that he decided to tone down the humour aspects of this book, but it really works – instead of being caricatures, the characters are fully-realized and empathic. The opening section of the book detailing the actual shooting is particularly affecting.

My impression of the book is no doubt influenced by the event I saw with him at the International Festival of Authors back in Fall 2002, wherein he discussed the Columbine shootings and how it affected him. A lot of the topics and themes he talked about I see directly in Hey Nostradamus! and it really adds to the weight of his words. If you want to read about it, take a trip in the wayback machine. I actually started and finished the book yesterday afternoon, it was that engrossing. I’m excited that I seem to have finally gotten over a hump with Coupland’s work, and have reserved Eleanor Rigby at the library – here’s hoping Hey Nostradamus! wasn’t a fluke.

Next up on the holiday reading list – Richard Russo’s Empire Falls.

So the day after I discover Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Each Note Secure gives us this link to two live GYBE! shows. Coincidence? I think so.

I went to the optometrist yesterday morning to get my eyes checked out, and naturally they put in those dilating drops to get a good look around my peepers. Which was fine, except it also happened to be one of the sunniest days in weeks and the downtown is still largely sheathed in white, shiny, reflective ice and I didn’t bring my sunglasses… So if you were on Yonge St yesterday around noon and saw some guy running down the street screaming, “AAHH! MY EYES, MY EYES!”, that was me. How you doing.

np – M Ward / Transfiguration Of Vincent

By : Frank Yang at 9:04 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. information leafblower says:

    I’ve heard bad things about Elanor Rigby (but haven’t read it myself as it’s not out in the US)

    Did you read All Families Are Psychotic? I really enjoyed that one…

  2. Frank says:

    All Families Are Pyschotic pretty much epitomized what I find/found frustrating about Coupland – he spends the first half of the book building these absurdly wacky characters, and then the second half trying to get the reader to care about them. Just didn’t work for me.

  3. Agnes says:

    Like you, I wasn’t too crazy about "All Families are Psychotic", but did find "Hey Nostradamus!" affecting.

    "Empire Falls" is great–similar subject matter as the Coupland book in certain parts.

  4. molly says:

    I’m a Coupland-fanatic, so far Eleanor Rigby is good stuff. The depressing-yet-inspiring kind of good, but there are a few elements of Coupland taking on a fat-redhead-female persona that i find disconcerting….like the author’s NEED to remind us that he IS in fact a fat, redheaded woman….you know what I mean? Still worth reading, though I think you may find the same trouble with ER as you did with AFAP…but that’s part of Coupland’s shtick, right?

  5. torr says:

    Thanks for putting the tears songs on your server.

  6. garry says:

    thank you for linking the gy!be live material. listen to "motherfucker = redeemer". the best dang song they ever made.

  7. Michael says:

    I’ll second the Emipre Falls love. Great book.

  8. Andrea says:

    I got Eleanor Rigby for Christmas and so far, so good (I’ve read about half). I like the main character’s innocent cynicism. Let us know what you think of the book when you’re through with it.