day one

I think maybe I love pen and paper too much to keep an online journal. So I’m setting myself some goals. When I don’t have a story to post, or a song I need to blather about, I’m going to try to post a bit of writing everyday for a month. Not always within fandom, and often without context. My goal as a writer, for a very long time now, has been to write something every day, no matter how short, just something that’s good. If this works, maybe I’ll try the next thirty days.

This semester, I’m working on a half hour short film for school, but I’m thinking about it more like a pilot. This is the telegram that sets everything in motion:


Because I turned 24, you guys get 24 songs I couldn’t stop listening to this past year.

The Killers – All these things that I’ve done
My dad’s favourite band is Queen, so I grew up with rock anthems; funny, because I really hate unison clapping at concerts. With this song, The Killers did in one lyric what Green Day needed a whole concept album to do.

Luke Doucet – Broken one
This is my song of the moment, the one I can listen to back to back all day and not get tired. What Canada does best is this, I think, this wannabe-Gordon Lightfoot country filtered through 70s-era Neil Young (who also wanted to be Gordon Lightfoot).

Christine Fellows – Face down, feet first
She’s married to John K. Samson of The Weakerthans, so I have weird fantasies about them doing classic country duets (“Louisiana woman, Mississippi man/We get together anytime we can”) on out-of-tune and twangy guitars. Until then, there’s this: post-folk prose sung over post-punk synthesizers, and her weird deadpan delivery.

Devotchka – How it ends
I think it has a lot to do with how well this song works with the Everything is Illuminated trailer, which is where I first heard it. It also has a lot to do with my love of weird, almost-tango music.

Cherry Bomb – Hunger city
I almost hate to spoil it, because if you don’t know, this could be just another kick ass 80s girl group song. But, if you want to know, that’s Lea Thompson singing, and Cherry Bomb is the kick ass 80s girl group from the cracked out 80s movie, Howard the Duck, that I still love beyond compare.

Death Cab for Cutie – I will follow you into the dark
Even in Vancouver, the kids cheered for “from Bangkok to Calgary”; we Canadians are shameless for anything America deigns to give us. Ben played it solo that night, with an acoustic guitar, and that’s what this sounds like – a Ben Gibbard song dressed up like the big kids from DCFC.

The New Pornographers – Jackie, dressed in cobras
From their third album, a sequel to “Jackie” on their first album. I love the Pornos, and what I love most of all is the variety they find inside their niche. Somehow, though, my favourite songs are always the Dan Bejar ones. Just my luck, he’s the most ornery of the group.

Kanye West – Jesus Walks
Everyone who didn’t even listen to hip hop heard this song this year, but, damn, the boy knows how to put together a track. It’s the beat, the girls, the drill sargeant, those cool Middle Eastern horns – everything just works. Kanye made me a convert (um, to hip hop, not Jesus).

Bee Gees – Jive Talkin’
The opening guitar sounds like a washboard, but it was actually inspired by the sound of a car over a bridge. I love stuff like that. The Bee Gees haven’t really had their hipster resurgence – when we all dig out those albums are parents are ashamed of and rediscover their brilliance – but it’s coming.

The Magic Numbers – Like I love you
One: they’re from England. Two: they have male/female vocals. Three: jangly pop hooks. I’m sold.

Songs:Ohia – Love leaves its abusers
This song comes from a Seth Cohen mix, back during the first season, I’m sure you can tell. But I keep coming back to it for reasons beyond The O.C. There’s that almost-falsetto that makes my insides melty, and when the singer drives it up to the top on the title lyric, I have to take a moment.

Joy Division – Love will tear us apart
It’s their hit, I know. But I was listening to it one day, really listening to it because you can’t make out what the hell Ian is saying unless you really want to, and I kind of realised I didn’t need to know what he was saying. Even without the words, I get it.

Broken Social Scene – Major label debut [slow] || Major label debut [fast]
The slow version’s on the new album, the fast version’s on the new EP, but I’m not actually cheating because it’s the same song. I listen to everything on shuffle, and it happened that these two came together one day. It works like canon and a really good AU.

Kaiser Chiefs – Oh my God
They did this on Leno (I know, Leno), and the drums and bass were just pounding. I still haven’t found a live version that lives up to that, but with enough tweaking of the EQ, I can get it up there (or down there, rather).

Sigur Ros – Olsen Olsen
I have a love for Sigur Ros that I’m only just now understanding, looking at all the epic and anthemic songs on this list. This is another track from that first album with the one song everyone knows. Classical music for the indie kids. But what it comes down to is this: it’s just so freakin’ happy.

The Strokes and Regina Spektor – Post modern girls
It’s almost like they’re singing two different songs that just happen to have a couple of the same lines. I love the riff that bookends the whole thing, and the driving guitar that made me love the Strokes in the first place, but, this year, it was all about co-ed vocals.

Big and Rich – Save a horse, ride a cowboy
My country music friends tell me these guys are really popular at clubs. This song is so fun that I’m really not surprised. But, you know, I first heard it on a Pride parade float crowded with half-naked cowboys, so I could be bias.

Fleetwood Mac – Second hand news
The first time I checked out, I was listening to “Rockin’ in the free world” by Neil Young, so that’s the song that went in. This is the song that came out. I didn’t have any more time to explore the music genome project that day because I had to go find my parents’ Fleetwood Mac albums to make sure they really were as good as I had forgotten.

Kelly Clarkson – Since u been gone
Last year, the indie kids were falling over their computers to download the Ted Leo cover, which is really good, but they all forgot to give Kelly her due. This is supposed to be a break up song, and maybe if Liz Phair sang it, it would be, but Kelly gives it something raw and desperate I love.

Queen with George Michael – Somebody to love [live]
This is from the Freddy Mercury Tribute concert from 1992, and George gives it a lovely little intro. But the best part is the audience, and that they know exactly how to sing that “loooove.”

Owen – The ghost of what should have been
Break up songs aren’t necessarily better than love songs, but something about them sticks with you longer. When I listen to this song, I always come away with that image of “the crucified pit of an avocado still [sitting] in water” every time, and it’s so damn sad.

The Decemberists – The mariner’s revenge song
The Decemberists are writers disguised as musicians. While everyone else is writing songs for everyone else, The Decemberists are writing stories, with characters, and plot, the kind you only get in country music.

The Arcade Fire – Wake up
My favourite thing about not listening to the radio – or listening to bands that never get played on the radio – is hearing an album before you know what the singles are. This is the one I’d choose. There’s something about the organised chaos – how they shove so many different styles into one song – that, at over five minutes, it never feels long enough.

Matt Nathanson – Wide eyed and full/The whole of the moon [live]
This is live, and he finishes it off with – as Matt usually does – a cover, “The whole of the moon” by The Waterboys, specifically. I’ve heard Matt live more than recorded, and the studio version just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I keep waiting for “I saw the rain dirty valleys.”

I saw Brokeback Mountain today, and while I may have more to say about it later, something about the trailers caught my eye. We got:

– Transamerica, for the queers
– The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, for the cowboys
– Casanova, for the Heath Ledger fans
– and, The Benchwarmers, for the boyfriends dragged along by their girlfriends.

dear sga writers,

when i’m rewinding to look at a fence to see if, yes, “the tower” was filmed where i think it was, you’re doing something wrong.

a question: was mckay’s little sidekick really named ‘baldrick’, or did rodney just call him that? ’cause that could make up for a lot.


p.s. pendrell!

I must share a recent writing experience wherein I took my own advice, and cut about 12 years off a play I’ve been beating out for months now to no avail, and have finally decided to write a bottle show. You know, when everything takes place at a party in someone’s living room, there are all kinds of reasons for exposition. Except the whole thing’s super-angsty now that we don’t get the meet-cute.

This burst of creativity sponsored by two finals down, one to go.

I have an index card pinned above my desk. My writing is so much the better for it.

Write drunk, revise sober.

– The poet’s motto

Don’t think — write. Don’t delete — write. The only way to get better is to — write. Just keep that pen moving.

Murder your darlings.

– Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

That line will fit better somewhere. But, right now, you have to let it go. It’s dragging everyone else down.

The adverb is not your friend.

– Stephen King

There’s always one that needs to go. You can put it back if you don’t believe me. But give it a try without.

Get to the “workin’ overtime” part!

– Homer Simpson

The best part of a song is the chorus; the best part of a story is the climax. Don’t waste your time getting there. Don’t wander.