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Archive for the ‘Alex Lifeson’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: BIDINIBAND-The Carleton, Halifax, NS (February 13, 2015).

This is the most current solo show from anybody on the RheostaticsLive webpage.

Bidiniband’s third album came out in 2014 and this show chooses from it pretty heavily.

The show starts (Dave sounds either like he has a bit of a cold or he’s just worn out) with Dave saying “We’re going to start with a song about the cold, because it is.  Fucking snow, eh  Wow.”  “The Grey Wave” has great chord changes in the chorus.  It is a slow folkie song about cold and snow.  I like that he whispers “let’s go” before the buzzy but quiet solo.  The chorus comes out of that fairly rocking (a least for this set).

Dave continues, “I have some news.  Last night I was offered cocaine in the bathroom of the Alehouse.”  (Don, on drums, whispers, “in exchange for what?”).  Dave: “I think the guy just wanted to be my friend.  He was a bit of an asshole.  Cocaine is the one drug I think where when people offer it to you and when you say no, they apologize for having assumed you wanted any.”

Someone else notes: “I like that we’re the rock band from Toronto and we’re the ones shocked by all the drugs everyone is doing.  We were in BC and we were shocked at the big jug of MDMA being passed around.”

“Everyday Superstar” is a rocking, swinging song.  I love that the chorus is “I’m an animal out of control” but it’s kind of slow and mellow and at one point he says “its true.” And there’s this lyric: “When it’s hot, I’m gonna be Bon Scott you be Lita Ford.”  At the end of the song, someone asks, “Does everybody in the house know what bass face is?  You never know when Haddon is going to a picture of you with that face.”  Dave tells a story that Haddon Strong had a subscription to a magazine and it was addressed to Hardon Strong.

Introducing “My First Rock Concert” he says, “this is a song about music.  I bet you think it’s ‘Proud Mary’ but it’s not.  That was done last night.”  He sings it kind of whispering/spoken.   In the middle, Paul plays the riff to “Brown Eyed Girl” while Dave is singing “you’re either a mouse or Steven Page.”

“Take A Wild Ride” is s short song that segues at the same fast tempo into “The List” which is, again, almost spoken.  He throws in some other people who have made the list.  Jian Ghomeshi and Joel Plaskett (he was in Thrush Hermit) and at the end he says, “only kidding about Joel.”

“Big Men Go Fast On The Water” is a great-sounding song–in this version, the guitar riffs between verses sound like Boston.  They played this song last night at “Stolen from a Hockey Card” at the Spats Theater.  Dave was disappointed there were no spats there.  He says, “If I’ve over pattering, just tell me.”

We wrote this song “Bad Really Bad” about the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Three chords and the truth.

“In The Rock Hall” is about the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland from a poem written by Paul Quarrington  Once again he almost whispers, “C’mon Halifax, let’s rock.”   About “Ladies of Montreal,” he says, “I didn’t think there were enough songs in indie rock well, elderly indie rock, independent seniors, about beautiful women… boobs, you know.  It came in a dream.  I had to write it.”  Dave says it is sexist although I don’t exactly know what he’s saying with the French words.

Getting ready to play “The Motherland Part 1,” he asks, “Jerry you brought your flute, did you?  Oh fuck’s sake.  It’s okay. I think I told you last night but we were both pretty hammered.”  “The Fatherland” is “a heavy metal political song…political metal… politometal.”  It totally rocks and at the end Dave says “I don’t understand, the dancing girl left and we’re playing our most uptempo tunes.”  Before they complete the trilogy with “The Motherland Part 2” someone in the band asks, have you got the cocaine?–its pure MDMA.  Don rehashes the story about him throwing up at a party in the closet because of hot knives.  The middle of Part 2 really rocks.

“Last Of The Dead Wrong Things” is quieter for sure but the chorus and backing vocals are great.  Where there’s usually a drum solo there’s a kind of quiet freak out.

He says, “we’re going to do one more” (boo) …well how many more do you deserve?  Seventeen, eh, you have a very inflated view of yourself.”

“We’ll do ‘Fat,’ (a song “by Rheostatics band”), it has similar chord shapes don’t hold that against us.  Did I tell you we were playing this one?”  “Would it matter?” Let’s have a round of applause for Kevin Lacroix on the bass and Don Kerr on the drums.  Paul Linklater on guitar.

“We played with Corb Lund yesterday, from Alberta.  He’s very handsome and very accomplished.  “Really really handsome.”  Kevin: “I made out with him.”  Dave: “I made out with a guy who I thought was Corb but who was really the cleaning guy for the hotel….  Last night on this very stage he intoned, he evoked the name of Washboard Hank Fisher….  You’re not going are you, it’s going to be a good song.”  They have Lots of fun with “The Midnight Ride Of Red Dog Ray”  with over the top backing vocals.  And in the solo, we get Paul Linklater, one more time pickin’ and grinnin.’

Before the next song Dave says, “What are you guys laughing at?  I can see you in the mirror, you know.  This is my favorite club coz I can watch my rock moves, they’re top ranked.”  Don:  “That’s actually Dave’s mirror, he brings it to every club and says that.  It’s embarrassing.”  Dave mentions a famous story (doesn’t know who it’s about) about a heavy metal singer who was hammered and he saw the guy in the mirror and thought he was mocking him.  So he challenged him to a fight.  That’s rock n roll.”

“You got a weak bladder Jerry?  I’ve got a weak bladder, too.  I’ve peed myself twice during this set.”

This is an album by Bidiniband called The Motherland.  It’s a delicious record and I’d like you to buy it.  All of you.  It’s only $10.  Produced in Toronto in a studio  … by professionals.  Trained professional sounds.  Nothing like what you’re hearing tonight.

There’s a great buzzy bass sound on “Desert Island Poem” which is “a funny song about cannibalism.”  Dave gets pretty crazy at the end.

It segues into a wonderful surprise of them playing”Queer.”  And then a terrific version of “I Wanna Go To Yemen” with a fun wild sliding solo.

He wishes everyone a good night and they leave for a few seconds.  “If we take a break we probably won’t play anymore.  But that was break…  We probably should have taken a longer break and milked it more… but we didn’t.”

“Do people who come to lean along the bar are they into the music?”  Kevin: “Those are some of the best people in Halifax…but the creme d la creme starts right here.”

Jerry didn’t find his flute did he?  Dave asks for a hand for the opening act, Communism Music, look them up

The first encore is the hilariously offensive song “Take A Bath Hippie.”   Sample verses:  “This ain’t the 1960s / These are brand new modern times / everyone is equal and everyone is doing fine,”  “Your revolution ended the day Trudeau retired.  A land of Stephen Harper… we got the country we desired.”   He asks, “You guys got hippies out here?  Probably not. You got Buddhists.  That’s just as bad.  They lie around in their robes  eating flowers.  Shaving each other’s heads.  Sacrificing a goat here and there.”

 We’re all getting G&Ts?  Thank you people of the night.  Kevin: “Treating us all equally?  Like my parents.  My parents would bring us all something she wouldn’t bring me a G&T without bringing one to my sister.”  Dave: They were saints.

FYI, tomorrow, there is Hockey Day in Canada–a ton of games on and footage from the concert last night with Theoren Fleury, Rich Aucoin, Buck 65, Miranda Mulholland, and the ever handsome Corb “The Boner” Lund and The Barra MacNeils.  Dave did a short movie about John Brophy, that’s gonna be on.  “Fuck, it’s Saturday… just sit at home and watch hockey.  It’s what we are supposed to do.  If you don’t, Stephen Harper will have your ass.  But I’ll save you because I’m the hockey guardian.  No I’m not, I’m just tired.”

We’ll try to do one last song.  Have we done “Take a Bath Hippie?”  We’ll save it for next time.  I’m trying to not do a typical show closer tune.

Last gig Kevin played with this band he was playing drums.   I guess it didn’t go well because he’s been demoted to bass. (ha ha).  Dave: “You’ve got the best bass player joke about what happened to Gordie Johnson.”  Kevin: “oh no that’s just nasty.”  Dave “You’re right, its for later in the washroom when were doing coke.”

They play a surprising “Stolen Car.”  It’s so weird to hear Dave sing this song (which he wrote)–he whisper sings it (and can’t really hit the notes).  It segues into a folkie
“Legal Age Life -> Do You Wanna Dance -> Legal Age Life” with them singing, “Oh yeah music is fun.  Friends are fun.  Rock n roll is fun.  Sloppy and fun.”  They end with a Johnny Cash line get rhythm when you get the blues.

Who would have guessed that just seven months later Rheostatics would reunite?

[READ: November, December 2017 & January 2018] West End Phoenix

West End Phoenix is a newly created newspaper.  It was inspired by Dave Bidini.

I have loved just about all of the music that Bidini has created (with Rheostatics and Bigdiniband) and I have loved just about all of the books he has written.  So why wouldn’t I love a newspaper created by him?  Well, possibly because it serves a community that I do not live in and have very likely never visited.  That’s right, this is a community newspaper for a community that isn’t even in my country.

And it is terrific.

But why on earth would I want to read it?  Can I really like Bidini that much? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 25, 2015] Rush

2015-06-25 21.28.51I was a huge Rush fan back in the day.  In fact, to last night’s show Sarah wore my Rush shirt that I bought in, oh, 1983 or so.  Despite my huge love of Rush I actually hadn’t seen them many times live. I missed several opportunities in college (stupid work ethic) but finally got to see them on the Presto tour.  Whether it was April 20 or April 25, it was definitely 1990 and most likely at the Brendan Byrne Arena (R.I.P.).

I feel like I may have seen them on one more tour before seeing them again (possibly three times, I have 3 stubs) in 2002.  The problem with seeing them a lot in one tour is that they tend to keep the set list the same in every show (there’s some variation below).  And I remember thinking i didn’t need to see them again after that.

Of course, after seeing them last night and today listening to the Clockwork Angels tour CD I am really kicking myself for not going to that tour because there is some really interesting stuff (and a string section) which would have been pretty cool to see.  But that’s okay because the show last night was so good that it satisfied all my Rush needs–a great send off (presumably) to a great band.

Sarah had never seen Rush before (and in fact once actively disliked them, and may still).  But she was won over by the show.

I haven’t been to a big arena show (except for Kiss) in a long time, so I kind of forgot what we’d be getting.  And wow did we get a lot–flash pots, fire, lasers, explosions, video screen (even a possible marriage proposal in front of us).  And, at any Rush show… lots of air drumming (including from myself).

I had been deliberately avoiding any spoilers from the set list.  I didn’t want to have any expectations.  And I have to say, if I had made an ideal set lit, (which I thought about doing), they would have hit quite a number of them.  (Thanks Rush fans for not spoiling things for me).  And thus, below is a whole bunch of spoilers [consider yourself warned].  But one spoiler you must read–do not leave during the encore, there’s more to the show when the music is done. (more…)

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1982SOUNDTRACK: DAVID BOWIE-“The Laughing Gnome” (1967).

gnomeI have always liked David Bowie.  Never loved him, but always liked his radio hits (and a bit more).  Suffice it to say that I have never heard of “The Laughing Gnome” before reading about it in this book.

What a strange little song.  I can’t tell if it came out before or after his debut solo record (he has the same haircut), but I gather it was released as a novelty record.

It’s a delightful little song.  Very sixties mod with a healthy nod of dance-hall.  The very different thing of course is that in the song, the main singer (Bowie) meets and sings with a sped-up-voiced Cockney “gnome.”

So the song is clearly a novelty song (what else would you call it?).  Except that the production is really great and the music is really good too.  Despite the gnome, the song isn’t really a “funny” song (well, there are jokes and puns, I guess).  It’s certainly weird and certainly silly, but it holds up pretty well to repeated listens (even if the chorus is “ha ha ha hee hee hee I’m a laughing gnome and you can’t catch me”).

Bowie doesn’t really acknowledge the song anymore, although he did joke that he was considering performing it in a new ‘Velvet Underground-influenced’ style.  Before that happens, hear the original

[READ: November 22, 2014] 1982

So yes, I know that Ghomeshi is in the midst of a scandal in which he is pretty undeniably a sexually abusive scumbag.  I’ll say nothing more about that since things are still under investigation {formal charges were brought today].  But it doesn’t look good for Jian.

This is rather upsetting.  For the women involved, obviously, but also for those of us who liked Jian and thought he was one of the good guys.  Which I did.  I loved Moxy Fruvous.  I loved his solo album.  I had a brief email exchange with him before he joined the CBC, and his show, Q was one of the best interview shows out there.  He always seemed so nice and on the right side of so many issues.  Ugh.

But anyhow, this is about the book, not him (although the book is about him as well).  I only heard about the book when I was looking for news about his scandal (I had no idea he had written a book).  The book is called 1982 because it is all about his life in the year 1982, a formative year in his childhood. (more…)

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resetSOUNDTRACK: RUSH “Garden Road” and “Fancy Dancer” (from Fifth Order of the Angels) (1974).

I mentioned this bootleg a few years ago, but it has recently been updated to include the missing songs.  (Huzzah!).

So this set from 1974 is pretty great–rocking, noisy, screaming solos–a very heavy show (and the crowd is quite appreciative).

These two songs never made it on any Rush albums.  They were written before Neil joined the band and, when asked, he said they never made it on an album because they were written before he joined the band (bitchy!).  But evidently the songs were quite popular when they toured.

“Fancy Dancer” opens with a staccato riff and lyrics about a woman who leaves him.  The second verse allows Alex to noodle while Geddy is singing (which is why I never really notice the lyrics).  The chorus has some big chords and reminds me in some ways of “Making Memories.”  But mostly this seems like a chance for Alex to solo and solo and solo (and for Neil to play…only a bass drum!  (for a few measures)).  The song is 3:43 and the solo is over a minute and a half.  Although the end has some cool fast short chords that the band would use very effectively on 2112.

“Garden Road” has a faster riff (very bluesy), which is interspersed with some chugga chugga guitars during the vocals.  The chorus is completely unintelligible to me.  “This Garden Road is Whoa!.”

A few other things about this bootleg which I neglected to mention.  The solo in Working Man incorporates some sections of what would become “By-Tor and the Snow Dog.”  And it’s really funny hearing Geddy say, “We’d like to do something from our album.”  It’s pretty amazing how far the band progressed from these rocking beginnings.

Download the whole thing here.

[READ: July 5, 2013] Reset

I recognized Bagge’s name, although I haven’t read his previous books.  I’m sure I’ve seen his work anthologized as his style is very familiar.  His drawings are dark (some might say ugly) and his characters always seem a little pained.

So it’s unsurprising that this book’s protagonist is Guy Krause, a former actor.  (His famous line is hilarious and I love that it is revealed very late in the story and then as a running joke).  He has recently come close to hitting bottom–his upcoming shows have been cancelled and his last resort is a reality show.  And when we first meet him, he is in a drunk driving class.

And that’s where Angela Minor comes in.  She offers Guy a chance to relive his life.  He’s obviously skeptical until she explains that it is a virtual experience.  They hook him up to a machine and he gets to try to change the virtual past.  This is all an experiment in seeing how people react to being able to change things that they fixate on.  It turns out the scientists have all kinds of information on him (because he is a celebrity) so it’s not a coincidence that they found him.

Guy balks.  Until she tells him how much they’ll pay him to do it.  Then he’s in. (more…)

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 fwboysSOUNDTRACK: DEFTONES-Koi No Yokan (2012).

koiThis is the disc that got me back into the Deftones.  My friend Cindy told me about an upcoming show (which just passed and which I could not attend, boo), and since I didn’t know that had a new album out, I ordered it and was really really impressed by it.  Diamond Eyes was an amazing culmination of all of their previous successes and Koi No Yokan (which means “Premonition Of Love”) takes it one step further.  They’re moving away somewhat from the really heavy sounds, and yet there is heaviness aplenty, both in Chino’s screams and in Stephen’s guitars.  Indeed, the album opens with big loud guitars–letting you know that they can still rock.

Then “Swerve City” shifts to cool swirling verses.   It’s not as extreme as earlier songs but it’s one of my favorites that they’ve done. The piercing guitar solo is great.  “Romantic Drams” has some of their more complex guitar lines mixed with a vocal line.  The bridge is bright and leads to a really catchy chorus.  There’s some really tight stop-on-a-dime moments as well.  “Leathers” pounds open with some bludgeoning chords and Chino’s screams (see, they haven’t gone soft), and then a great soaring bridge–a great hard/soft song, especially when the chorus kicks in at it’s almost inquisitive.  “Poltergeist” opens with hand claps and then some heavy loud guitars and bass.

“Entomed” presents another beautiful shimmery guitar introduction.  It’s one of their most delicate songs with the soaring chorus “shapes and colors are all I see.”  I can’t believe this song wasn’t a hit.  Why didn’t they release that as a single?  “Graphic Nature” has some great angular guitars but it smooths out into a cool song with some great basslines in it (Sergio Vega shines on this disc and even helped write some of the songs).  “Tempest” is one of those great songs where Chino sings at a different pace than the music–which I always like.  There’s a big heavy section about 4 minutes in that gives the song an extra boost.  “Gauze” has a heavy off-kilter guitar riff (with some really interesting keyboard blasts–Frank Delgado proving indispensable).  There’s a dark bridge and splashes of really heavy guitar throughout.

“Rosemary” is nearly seven minutes long and is has multiple parts.  It opens with some great echoey guitars.  And then the heavier guitars kick in chugging along while Chino’s voice soars over it.  By about five minutes the song gets really heavy and chromatic, rocking along until it suddenly stops and is replaced by a gentle guitar and keyboard  passage.  “Goon Squad” opens similarly to how “Rosemary” ends (in fact the end of “Rosemary” feels more like the beginning of “Goon Squad”) with quietly strummed guitar and swooshing keyboards.  There’s some cool weird screams that are layered in the mix of sounds.  Late in the song there’s a simple guitar solo that reminds me of Alex Lifeson.  Complex drumming (Abe Cunningham is still amazing) opens a very jazzy flavored final song “What Happened to You?”  Chino’s falsetto is in full effect and the song feels like a springboard to new styles of exploration on future records.

This album is really amazing.  It may not be as diverse as White pony but it’s more cohesive and it really highlights what a staggering good band Deftones have become.  I’m rather bummed that I missed that show.

[READ: March 13, 2013] Friends with Boys

Sarah had this book lying around for a while.  I had meant to read it because it sounded cool (and she said it was very good), but I never did.  Then she grabbed it again because it’s on a list of books she wants to read.  It was sitting on the table and I realized that the author (whose name is very very hard to read on the cover) was Faith Erin Hicks who wrote Zombies Calling, a book I enjoyed very much.  Now she’s on First Second Books (a favorite publisher of graphic novels) with this really great story.

I have one gripe I need to get out of the way.  The title is terrible for the story.  According to the drawings in the back of the book, it appears the original title was The Education of Maggie McKay which was an overdone idea at this point, but which actually makes more sense than Friends with Boys.  The title made me think that the story was about a tomboy who gets older and realizes that she can’t hang out with boys the same way.  That is certainly a part of the story, but the full story is far more complex–a girl who has been homeschooled all her life finally goes to high school, where she learns to make friends.  Oh, and there’s a ghost following her around too.  So you see, Friends with Boys, while an engaging title I think does it a disservice.

But that’s neither here nor there.  Because the story is really excellent. (more…)

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14

SOUNDTRACK: DEFTONES-Diamond Eyes (2010).

diamondBefore releasing Diamond Eyes, Deftones had two band crises. The first was that they didn’t really seem to like each other anymore.  The previous album was fraught with tension and they barely toured.  After deciding that they wanted to remain as a band, they were invigorated and made an album called Eros.  But during the recording, bassist Chi Cheng was in a car accident and was in a coma.  As of yet he has not fully recovered.  So they shelved Eros, hired a temporary bass player Sergio Vega and set about recording Diamond Eyes.  And for whatever reason, it proved to be one of their best releases so far.

“Diamond Eyes” opens with a heavy down-tuned guitar–very abrasive–until the chorus come in and it’s their most beautiful ones yet–with soaring keyboards and  harmonies.  And then the heavy guitars come back–it’s what Deftones do so well–beauty and ugly together.  Stephen Carpenter really shines, as always.  “Royal” is a fast song with a great harmonizing chorus.  “Cmnd/Ctrl” has a shocking low riff that explodes into a  bright chorus.  “You’ve Seen the Butcher” has guitars that seem almost untuned as the song starts.  But it morphs into a kind of sexy butt-shaking chorus.  And Abe Cunningham’s drums are, of course, fantastic.

“Beauty School” is the first that doesn’t really start out heavy, it’s a got a gentle guitar intro and the first song where Vega’s bass is really prominent as a separate instrument and it creates a beautiful alternative song–great vocals throughout.  “Prince” brings in a lot of new textures to the album, including a clanging guitar sound and a great screamed chorus. “Rocket Skates” is one of my favorite songs on the record, it has a classic metal riff and the great screamed-beyond-comprehension chorus of Guns, Razors Knives and a weird little whoooo that ends the chorus.

“Sextape” is a surprisingly gentle song, opening with an echoed guitar riff and one of Chino’s most gentle choruses.  “976-Evil” has an echoey guitar and voices not unlike the Cocteau Twins.  “This Place is Death” has another great alt rock feel–a big song with bright guitars and dark lyrics.  I haven’t really mentioned Frank Delgado on keyboards and samples.  He’s been with the band since White Pony, and I feel like his presence was made notable on a few songs here and there.  But it seems like on this disc he really comes to the fore, adding new textures and sounds to the album which really fill it out.

[READ: March 12, 2013] McSweeney’s #14

After the colorful extravaganza of the Comics Issue of McSweeney’s #13, this book settles down into something more somber  The book is softcover and all white.  The cover depicts a cartoon of George Bush with both legs blown off and the caption, “I Am So, So Sorry.”  On the spine in small print: “We’re praying as fast as we can.”  It is the most context-full cover they’ve done yet and, nearly a decade away it seems like a rather mean cover, but if I remember correctly at the time it seemed apt and delicious, especially in light of the upcoming election.

Yet despite the overtly political cover, the content inside is not political or even thematic (although it is pretty dark stuff).  Nevertheless, the table of contents gives us a small joke when it says “To help you know which stories to read first, we have indicated with either a * or a † those that deserve special consideration from you, the reader.  If you see either a * or a †, do not miss that story.”  Of course every story has either a * or a † but they cleverly did not put any kind of pattern to the symbols.

The colophon explains that when they were in Ireland, they met an actual Timothy McSweeney.  He had been given a copy of Issue #3 and then promptly forgot about the magazine.  But when McSweeney’s was in Galway to do a reading at the Galway Arts Festival, Timothy (Ted) McSweeney traveled from Dublin to check it out (not a short trip).  This also resulted in a letter from Mr McSweeney which is actually quite funny.

There are also illustrations in the book, although they are small illustrations and are placed on the title of each piece in the book.  All of the illustrations are old, mostly coming from the 1800s, although one dates back to 1670.  They illustrations are all technical scientific ones and don’t have anything to do with the stories. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RUSH-“Headlong Flight” (2012).

A new single from Rush came out on Thursday.  And it’s seven minutes long!  Yeeha!  It’s also really heavy.

It opens with a cool bass riff and then thundering guitars.  This song continues in the heavier, grungier sound from Vapor Trails.  The middle section sounds distinctly Rush (late 80s style), and Geddy’s voice hits some pretty high notes.

There’s a brief extra section with a spoken word part–I’ve not been able to make out what it says, but the instruments (especially the great guitar sound) is fantastic behind it.  That’s followed by a great solo from Alex (that hearkens back to his wild solos from the 70s).  Geddy throws some cool bass fills–although he’s not showing off as much as he might).  And, of course, Neil is doing some cool drum things through the song–little fills and whatnot–and he sounds like he’s pounding the hell out of the drums.

Here’s the video

[READ: April 14, 2012] Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

As I mentioned yesterday, I bought a book to have David Sedaris sign it, but decided the wait wasn’t worth it.  This is the book I bought.  It very excitedly claims to “with one new story” which I thought was funny both in itself and also because I hadn’t read any of the other ones (I gather they are from This American Life, although they’re mostly too vulgar to have read on the radio).  It also has illustrations from Ian Falconer, who is the guy behind Olivia, the children’s book series.

Anyone who has read David Sedaris essays knows what to expect–funny, presumably exaggerated stories about his family and loved ones.  Indeed, the stories that he read from during the show were just that–dark and funny and about his loved ones.  So imagine my surprise to find that these were all short fictional stories about animals!  No Sedaris’ are harmed in this book.

All of the animals are behaving like people, so Sedaris’ caustic wit and attacks on hypocrisy are all in play.  However, because they are animals, Sedaris can go much much further with them.  Matt Groening said that he could get away with a lot more social criticism because The Simpsons were cartoons; the same applies here.  Indeed, these are some of the darkest stories that I have ever read from Sedaris.

Some of them are kinda funny, but most of them left me mildly bemused at best.  Because while they seem to be a kind of laugh-at-the-recognition-of-our-foolish-behavior (as done by animals), really they are preachy and seem generally disappointed in us.   And who wants to read that?  It basically seemed like an opportunity for Sedaris to make fun of things that he doesn’t like about people.  But he knew it would be obnoxious to makes stories about people acting that way, so he made them animals instead.  And perhaps he thought that would make it funnier.  At times this was true, but not very often. (more…)

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