What’s In Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz Ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.
On the grill
Who are you
Composer in residence at Mountain View Cemetery, artistic director of The Little Chamber Music Series That Could, former blogger for Archie Comics, double bassist and one of the subjects (along with daredevil Ken Carter) of John Bolton’s Aim for the Roses, screening now at DOXA.
When I was quite young a small orchestra—I have no idea who—came through the tiny pulp and paper town I grew up in: Espanola, Ontario. I remember there were 20 or 30 musicians, and about six people in the audience. There was a lot of embarrassed tension as the musicians warmed up and sat in the wooden chairs that were set up for them in the town’s arena, looking at the tiny audience as we looked back at them. I remember the conductor said something like “Why don’t we play the first half, and if you like it and are having fun we’ll do the second half, and if not we can all call it a night?” I wish I remembered how the evening turned out, but I was obsessed with Donkey Kong that summer and thought of nothing else.
Paul Simon, Rhythm of the Saints tour in 1992. My last year of high school was not a good time—due to some ill-advised misadventure the summer before it began, leaving me in the role of fucked-up teen in therapy—and I came really close to dropping out. I was saved by a teacher’s strike in the spring that lasted seven weeks, during which I literally stumbled upon this concert. I was walking by the arena in Ottawa, angsty and high, and saw Paul Simon was playing that night. At the ticket booth they said they were sold out, then literally the next second some floor tickets got released. The musicianship I saw that night blew my mind, and the doubts I was having about pursuing music evaporated. There was also an extended solo by Michael Brecker on synth sax, which proves that all good things have a little shit on them.
Top three records
Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual Anyone who has ever had a drunken music conversation with me (read: 83% of Vancouver’s music community) has heard me make the claim that Side 1—sigh, album sides—of this record is the greatest album side ever recorded. The hard edges and amazing rhythm guitar of “Money Changes Everything” into the pop high of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, then “When You Were Mine” cools things down before “Time After Time” shows you what pop music is all about.
Magnetic Fields 69 Love Songs When I first heard this in the late '90s it blew me away. Stephin Merritt’s fusion of contemporary chamber music, sweet pop melodies, and general oddness continue to be an inspiration. Plus, as someone obsessed with numbers I really like that it’s three albums of 23 songs each.
The Beatles Abbey Road Clichéd pick? Sure. But fuck it, cream rises to the top and the suite that makes up most of Side 2 is as perfect as any other piece of music ever composed. Plus, McCartney. As anyone who ever took electric bass lessons with me knows, everything you need to know as a bass player you will find in McCartney.
All-time favourite video
The Cars “Magic” This was always one of my favourite Cars songs, and I remembered loving the video from my childhood. I recently rewatched it for the first time in 20 years and Ric Ocasek is a god in this video. I defy anyone to watch it and not think he is a literal god walking amongst us (he’s walking on water the whole time!). Total '80s cool, the kind of square-shoulder dancing that you just can’t find anymore, and the greatest deadpan face in new wave.
What’s In your fridge
A 12-pack of Coors Banquet beer. That’s right, I may live in the heart of craft-beer mecca but when the sun hits the balcony nothing satisfies like a can of Colorado gold. Plus, as you drink it you can actually hear Sam Elliott tell you you’re doing things right.
A new civilization. I don’t know what the fuck is up in that yogurt container, but it’s impressive and terrifying all at once. I’m going to wait a few more weeks for them to evolve before I attempt contact, but I’m pretty sure I saw the beginnings of a monorail system.
Two half-empty containers of Maille’s A L’Ancienne dijon mustard. With my shitty eating habits there is rarely actual food in the fridge, but if I ever do buy groceries I’ll be set with condiments.
Aim for the Roses opened the DOXA Documentary Film Festival on Thursday (May 5). There will be an additional screening on May 15 at the Vancity Theatre.