Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's the last day, but...

I know it's already the end of the three week party that is the Winter Olympics, but that doesn't make this any less relevant. If you are at all interested in knowing what hosting the Olympics has cost Canada and its people, check out this documentary. The clip that's provided is only part one of eight. Make sure to watch all the parts.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On the Olympics

Environmental rape, gross overspending, and stealing land from native peoples: these I can understand (understanding and condoning are two very different positions) because they are products of base capitalist greed, an entity anyone in the 21st century should be well acquainted with.  

What I really don't understand about the Olympics are the vast quantities of people who are willing to stare into their television screens, begging those who share the country they were born in to win their event, and in the event of their defeat, disregarding those that might achieve more than their fellow countryperson and simply focusing on how at least "one of their own" won a silver or bronze.  

There is a very big difference between the athletes that compete in the Olympics and those who watch them. It appears as though the watchers have lost all respect for real athletic prowess and the people who have an actual capacity to show them how far human potential can be stretched, in exchange for this weird thing called "patriotism."

Citizens of the world: raise your standards!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

From Teenage Sex Pistol to Folk Troubadour: Former bass player and songwriter from the Sex Pistols goes acoustic in Guelph

At the Guelph Youth Music Centre (GYMC), considerable mystery surrounded what Friday evening’s events would entail. Advertising for the show could have been described as minimal (consisting mostly of a few flyers in Guelph’s downtown shop windows), and the GYMC—in all the glory of its theater-like seating—wasn’t exactly the quintessential punk haunt. Smokers shuffled cold feet in the snow outside the entrance, chewing over whether there would be a bar: “There’s gotta be. It’s Glen Matlock. He’s a Sex Pistol for chrissake!”

Glen Matlock has a special place in Sex Pistols history. As the bassist for London’s seminal punk band, Matlock wrote most of the songs on Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, but punklore has it that he was excommunicated from the Pistols in 1977 for liking The Beatles too much. The truth, as Matlock tells it in his autobiographical I Was a Teenage Sex Pistol, is that he left because he was “sick of all the bullshit.” Whether or not that “bullshit” had anything to do with guitarist Steve Jones’ frustration over Matlock’s insistence that he learn Beatles chords for Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, will be debated for as long as the Sex Pistols remain relevant.

Making his way up to the same kitchenette counter that’s open to everyone else in the GYMC lobby, no one recognizes Matlock as the mere footnote in punk rock history that he has been reduced to by some storytellers. But many are aware that this is the man who begat a new sound, and the bassist who could actually play it.

With psychedelic country rock band The Sadies opening, there was not an electric bass in the building. Sadies bassist Sean Dean played an upright acoustic, but it did more than keep the beat, it served as a subtle but downright reminder that it was not 1976, and that this would not be the same set from an early Sex Pistols gig. No one is dressed in robes that are straight out of Malcolm McLaren’s clothing boutique ‘Sex.’ There are no ragged fishnet shirts, no bondage belts jingling among the mass, and leather, if present, is brown and well kept, not tattered and black with haphazard stud jobs. Perhaps this was a crowd that grew up and beyond the unforgiving nature of Johnny Rotten, much like the man they had come to see.

When Matlock was done his sound check, a lone bagpiper blasted into the room and erupted into a rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Fusing folk method with a classic rock anthem, this was the perfect harbinger for what was about to come.

Matlock’s acoustic show proves that music doesn’t have to be vicious to be punk. Making a point about punk aesthetic in an interview with Max Chambers, he points out that, “People talk about punk as a musical style, but also there’s a spirit involved in it.” He cranks out covers of Sex Pistols songs like “Pretty Vacant,” “God Save the Queen” and the Monkees’ “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone”— a song that every Sex Pistol can say they’ve spent some time with (even Matlock’s bass incompetent, yet crowd pleasing successor Sid Vicious covered it during his brief solo career).

To the accepting crowd that sings along, Matlock has no problem disciplining the audience for their lack of familiarity with the chorus to Small Faces’ “All or Nothing,” looping the chords ad nauseam and saying “I can do this all night,” sitting back on the Sadies’ bass drum to further his point until he got the response he wanted.

Despite the demanding nature he took on during “All or Nothing,” Matlock is anything but arrogant; he is cheeky, but humble. Matlock proves he’s above his Sex Pistols celebrity even when he’s not playing the traveling troubadour. In response to Haiti’s earthquake in January, he’s teamed up with Nick Cave, Johnny Depp, Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), Mick Jones (The Clash), and Shane MacGowan (The Pogues) to cover Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You,” which is set for release later this month.

Originally posted @The Ontarion