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
I currently sing for Sunday Morning. When I’m not doing that I can usually be found on the corner of Main and Broadway misquoting Nietzsche to frightened strangers and pondering the futility of a godless existence.
My first concert was Charlie Pride in Charlottetown P.E.I. at the Confederation Centre and I can’t remember much about it. I think I went with a kid from my rural elementary school and his family who were huge country music fans. I knew nothing about Charlie Pride or country music. I do remember that they were very excited and I haven’t been able to get "Crystal Chandeliers" out of my head since. It’s the last thing I hear every night ringing in the darkness before I’m finally able to go to sleep.
When I was seven or eight my father was teaching a film class and he brought home a movie that had footage of an Alice Cooper concert. I know technically I wasn’t at the concert but in the darkness of our suburban living room seeing Alice sing "Under My Wheels" permanently changed the trajectory of my life. I had no idea that this was something someone could do for a living. In school I was deeply dissatisfied with the options of fireman, policeman, or going to an office. Watching Alice in a silver top hat and silver jacket scream “School’s Out” opened me up to a wealth of other possibilities. At that moment I was sharply aware of my disdain for mediocrity. Everything around me in the sleepy enclave of Falmouth, Maine dulled to muted greys and, though I wasn’t certain how to approach it, I’d realized my pursuit. Maybe that’s why I just had a silver shirt made for the upcoming Sunday Morning show….Alice’s influence runs deep.
Top three records
Joy Division Closer iTunes tells me my most-played song is “O-o-h Child” by the Five Stairsteps. It’s a song that makes me want to smile and cry simultaneously—and few songs have that kind of power. But it’s a single song and not an album. Closer by Joy Division has been an integral part of my life since I first started playing it repeatedly in my teenage bedroom as I dreamt of living in abandoned Manchester factories. The mournful warmth of Ian Curtis’s voice over the starkness of Martin Hannett’s production is balanced so beautifully. These days I listen to it a lot when I write. It brings me to a comforting internal simplicity, and Peter Hook’s basslines create a driving momentum to keep me focused. And it continues to break my heart every single time.
The Velvet Underground White Light/White Heat My parents sat me down at a very young and impressionable age, put large '70s headphones on my small malleable head, and played me "The Gift". It’s the song where John Cale recites an eight-minute story about a man who mails himself to a girl in a large box and subsequently gets stabbed in the head as she struggles to open the box with a large knife. John Cale tells the sordid tale on one channel and the band creates beautiful cacophonous noise in the other. Despite it being somewhat traumatic at the time it changed the way I experienced music and now I find it incredibly soothing. When Vancouver’s rain seems eternal I put on "Sister Ray" and the sky lightens through my dirty bedroom windows.
The Stooges Funhouse It makes me want drink pure grain alcohol and break absolutely everything. I once broke every dish in my house with the help of Iggy and the Ashton brothers and it was a triumphant experience. Grain alcohol isn’t in the picture these days, but breaking stuff is always high on my list of favorite things to do. There’s no better song than "Loose" to accompany the sound of shattering glass.
Laibach “Life Is Life” Men striding through the majesty of nature with a sense of true purpose dressed in woolen Eastern European suits. Swooping shots of rugged mountains to a crescendo of horns. Stoic poses to suggest unity and inner harmony as choirs strike the chords of angels. Waterfalls running backwards up rocky cliffs. Men playing trumpets within a red orb. A huntress pulling back an arrow in her bow. A creepy log church in the middle of the woods. Milan Fras’s moustache. My god, it’s got absolutely everything! It fascinates and excites me every time I watch it. “Life is Life” and I believe.
What’s in your fridge
A plastic container of leafy greens. My relationship with food is often strained, and eating is another constant reminder of my mortality. I realize it’s a necessity and I’ll die without putting some sort of nutrition in my body, but I still find it difficult to rationalize the time it takes. If I have a container of greens readily available I can quickly grab a handful and tell myself I’ve eaten something green. I can commend myself for making healthy choices and for a moment feel absolution from all my prior bad decisions.
A large pot of "something". There’s always a “large pot of something”. The only thing worse than wasting time eating is spending it deliberating over what to eat. On the weekend I make a “large pot of something” and I eat it for dinner the entire week. I have rotating list of recipes that include soup, stew, chili, curry and the culinary essence of frugality, rice and beans. It really doesn’t matter what’s in the “large pot of something”. I know it’s there and that it will stave off starvation for another day.
An empty egg carton. This is partly because the recycling bin is far away in the spooky basement of my building and partly because I currently like the Schrödinger's cat aspect of it. Eggs/no eggs. Live eggs/dead eggs. Existence is such a tenuous state.
Sunday Morning plays a Sunday Morning album-release party at the Cultch on Saturday (January 21). And while we normally don't editorialize in What's In Your Fridge, you should go because, holy fuck, this is a really incredible record.