27 August 2010

Stereo Total

I went to see Stero Total at La Sala Rossa tonight (well, I guess last night...) I didn't know who the opener was, but I sure found out.

If you don't know who Nut Brown is, you really should. I am musically crushed on Nut Brown, or maybe it's more performance-artistically crushed on him. (I was sorry to hear he is taking a break from music at the moment...)

But anyway. If you were to mutate Nut Brown with Mump+Smoot, you would end up with Bobo Boutin. When he first showed up on stage in black jeans and black gloves with no shirt and a kindergarten Hallowe'en cat painted on his face, I wondered who he was and what he was going to do. When he hit play on his computer, I almost thought he WAS Nut Brown, except he looked, well, younger. And he was using a computer, not a ghettoblaster.

It was impossible to capture this man on film. He was frenetically screaming around the stage making crazy noises and...well, it's pointless to try to describe. If you ever get the chance, check him out. I was thunderstruck!

He may be slowly coming into focus...

I was a bit weirded out by some of his fans. It seemed a bit too much like worship. But maybe I only think that since I noticed the Scientology banner on his MySpace page. And, Juliette Lewis, Scientologist? Is it Hollywood, or what? Or is it all just a joke that Tom Cruise has lost all grip on?

Then Stereo Total came on! Now, I have an album of theirs from several (5?) years ago, and I'm not even sure which one (it's in a box in BC). So I was surprised when the lead singer and her David-Duchovny Fraggle showed up on stage. Brezel Goring is charming as anything, and looks a little like a kindergarten teacher. Cute as hell! And, actually, so is Françoise Cactus. But he does look a lot like a fraggle and a little like Duchovny.

Yup. She plays the drums. And some weirdo electronic box. She even had a pink toy microphone at some point...

The encore included Françoise Cactus helping people onto the stage to dance. It was kind of amusing how most people were totally into dancing up there, but some people--one guy in particular--just stood in between FC and BG and held his own hand.

24 August 2010

Pod-Cast Surprises

I've been catching up on the last year in North America, or at least according to CBC podcasts. Mostly, that means I've been listening to CBC Radio 3's podcasts. I discovered a great little band of two from Ontario called The Bitters. And was I not delightedly surprised to discover this?

21 August 2010

French Acquisitions

As I've probably mentioned...oh, how can I not? I was in France. She is slowly fading from me now, though far too quickly for me. But, while I was there, I couldn't help but pick up numerous lovely hand made or locally designed pieces. Many, many friends got little crafts in the mail over the last year, some are still waiting while I sort through the mess of things spreading out in my otherwise empty apartment. Here are a few pictures of the lovely things I did buy.

From a really cute magazine, Green-O-Rama, in Perpignan, by the Paris-based CoQ en PaTe.
The Tete de Mule is a Robert Mucca, made in Toulouse; the leather, handbound one (which I'm super excited to use!) was made in...some little town on the Mediterranean. Agde! Very touristy, but there was some cute stuff, including a wacky woman with a wacky shop selling all sorts of post-menopausal art (sorry, but there is this very cliché genre of art that seems to appeal to women in their 50s/60s. Maybe it's linked with growing up in the 60s and 70s, I don't know. There isn't anything wrong with it, but it seems typical of a very specific range of women). Anyway, she had really cool collaged keys, made into pendants. Anyway, next to her shop was another where I bought the leather journal, and a really cool shrug/jacket thing. That makes two more pictures I have to take and post here.
And this is a bag made in Montpellier. I really liked the North-African print, probably from Tunisia, I am guessing.

These are from a shop in Toulouse, from l'Atelier d'Alexane, who makes handbags and coin purses.
More journals from Toulouse, this magazine I didn't get the name of, and there is NO markings on the journals as to who made them, which is really too bad. Note to all crafters: if I get it home and I don't know who made it or how to get in touch with you, you lose! I, too, lose, because I can't get more stuff from you!
This pretty little hand-drawn book mark is from Montpellier. Same for this one--no name, no name. Though I think I can find it if I try.


I've been experimenting with fermentation for the last couple of years, thanks to a knowledgeable roommate I once had. I never graduated to the wine- and beer-making fermentations--too much equipment, too many ingredients, I fell asleep reading the instructions, and too much mess--but I love the simpler stuff. Although I'm still sorry for accidentally trying to get Ian drunk, most of the experiments have been successful, and the fermentation processes have become a part of my daily or weekly rhythm.

The Bible of fermentation, at least from the few ferment books I've looked through, has been Sandor Ellix Katz' 'Wild Fermentation'. It's got pretty much every fermentation possibility in it, and I recommend it. Like 'The Joy of Cooking,' it's the sort of book I can sit down and just troll through.

My first was yoghurt--incredibly simple, and you don't need to buy any equipment. A mason jar and lid and an older style oven that has a light that will warm the oven just enough to keep the milk at the proper temperature. A note on new stoves: like all overly electronic things, the new ones are nearly useless. The light only stays on five minutes then automatically shuts off, they are constantly beeping at you, and have way too complex of settings for me to use. When I try to cook at my mother's house, I prefer to use the wood burning cook-stove.

After yoghurt, I then graduated to Ginger Beer. Similarily simple, and delicious!Don't feed it to friends who don't drink, because it does have trace amounts of alcohol in it. I tried other juices, which did work, though with a more vinegary (and alcoholic) result since I left them too long. Vinegar with a coconut exhalation? Perhaps on salad.

My last evening in Paris, I popped down to my local (ha, as if) organic grocer and bought a teensy bottle of kefir starter. It looked like medicine, as if it came with a nurse and hypodermic. It's content was a fine white powder, which you simply add to milk and let sit for 24hrs. While I was staying with friends in Montréal West, we threw it together, and in two days, we had a rather successful and tasty kefir. Adrien liked it, Christine didn't, and we may have picked on her for the rest of the day.

I relocated to my new apartment in the Petit Patrie neighbourhood of Montréal (quite a slice of a neighbourhood if you ask me!) I brought with me a cup of starter from our first kefir ferment, and started a new one. This time around, however, disaster seemed to strike! After a day of sitting in the dark cupboard, my milk was still just milk, but with the bizarre flavour of kefir lightly blended in. I panicked--milk at Montréal summer room temperature doesn't keep for very long. I decided to dump the rest of my starter in, and give it another day. The results were spectacular! 12 hours later, I pulled the jar out of the cupboard to find this:
The kefir had fully separated from the whey, producing a dry, crmbly curdlike substance condensed at the top of the jar, and the thin whey at the bottom. It was pretty in the sunlight, though.
I shook the hell out of it to blend it back together, with middling results. It tastes right, but it is a little lumpy. Hopefully my next batch will go a little better...

14 May 2010

I've been in France for eight months now, and from rummaging through the community garage sales, (or boot sales, as you like, depending on your continent and tastes), I've re-discovered the music cassette. I grew up in the eighties, and remember well cassettes--my first tape was Rapp-Traxx Four, and the first cassette I bought was Wayne's World (I saw it three times in the movie theatre, but haven't seen it in decades now). I also remember the beauty of home-made tapes--the ones you would make for yourself or your friends, a sixty- or ninety-minute DJ, most often played in the car, at least in my experience.

I've been living with families, mostly, in France, and I also discovered that most people still have their tape collections, even if they don't listen to them anymore. While working just a little ways outside Toulouse, putting labels on pots of organic pate, we even threw some tapes into the cassette player--the clunk of the mechanism falling into motion, the whir of the start up, the sound test bit at the end--all of it reminded me of being a kid. Some had been well worn, and the sound was warping as the stretched tape ran through whatever magic genie pulls the sound out of the filament.

My intention with this blog? I haven't figured it out yet. I was considering reviewing music on cassettes (I'm currently listening to a pirated copy of The Damned, and just finished another of The Dead Kennedys), but I'm not much of a music reviewer. Perhaps this will become another place of eighties nostalgia, especially since all the kids these days are wearing my memories. There's something hollow about wearing tight jeans and oversized shirts and not knowing what a pinchroll is or being able to reminisce about cassettes.