Jul 17 2016

Travels With My Daughter: Part One

I took my daughter to see Bulgakov’s Apartment. We took pictures next to the bloated cat, Behemoth, then we went in to the strange museum. On our way to Patriarchs’ Pond I tried to explain why Bulgakov, and his novel Master and Margarita, were so culturally important. We walked toward the city centre. Hungry, we read the café and restaurant signs.

“It says ‘best khinkeli in the city’,” I said.

“What’s khinkeli?, she asked.

“I dunno,” I said.

(We had already eaten khinkeli on our first day, but we didn’t know it. It is a giant meat perogie.)

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~Eva and Behemoth, the bloated cat*

We walked through the neighbourhoods between Tverskaya and the Arbat. My daughter asked a reasonable question about national history, “surely Lenin and the Bolsheviks meant well…?” I said “ok, we’re going to have to back up a bit”. And my daughter and I talked Russian history, and economics, and revolution, and justice, and fairness, and decency. Then we stopped in the Arbat for a coffee and a Danish.

Our waitress spoke to us in English. I tried to answer her in Russian. I later learned that answering in Russian is rude, it implies that their English is no good.

We bought tourist crap on the Arbat. It was hot and we got thirsty. My daughter looked over my shoulder and said “there is the Kremlin, we can walk down and have a lemonade.” I looked at her and thought, ‘wow, you have only been in Moscow for 4 days.”

(Earlier, she had pointed out that ‘Kremlin’ sounds like a dessert.)

We walked back down to Red Square and then to GUM, where we had lemonades and listened to the weird Italian opera. We took the Moscow metro back to our wonderful hosts on Tatarskaya. There, we lay on a futon, behind a Japanese door watching Soviet sit-coms and retro-thrillers. I worked on my Russian listening skills while my daughter sent pictures out on social media; everyone at home would get to see Behemoth, the bloated cat, and to yearn for a nibble of our khinkeli.

This was one of the best days of my life.

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~These are khinkeli

*Behemoth or бегемот translates also as hippopotamus. Bulgakov calling his cat “behemoth” has an echo of Melville calling his whale “leviathan”.


Jun 25 2016

Ipso Brexit-Watch Edition

rhinoHearing of your trouble has forced me to double my interest in your current affairs.

If I sound a little distracted during this show, it’s because I was maniacally hitting refresh on my computer as the Brexit results poured in, and British, primarily English, voters got restless legs and decided to bolt on the half-century project of the European Union. The BBC finally called it for #Leave just as as I was coming off-air. Whether this event proves a push-back against the neo-liberal project, or just a sad and alarming ethno-unravelling of Europe, is yet to be seen, (the latter, methinks) but it made for a pretty good hour of radio, if I may say so. Please listen and enjoy.

Half-Man Half-Biscuit ~ Restless Legs

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Jun 25 2016

Ipso 09-06-16

rhinoYou are the best girl in the USSR

Still feeling inspired by my recent trip back to Moscow (first time back in 20 years), I start off this week’s show with a mitt-full of selections from that region of the world, some old stuff and some new, including a track from Tsentr‘s 2015 release First Troglodyte Bank. Tsentr (Centre) have been kicking around the Russian indie music scene since the 80’s. Think of them as the Muscovite Pere Ubu, and note, in the clip below, my good friend and generous host Alex on the drums. The show rounds out with a tribute to CJSR’s Smiling J, on whose birthday it was broadcast.

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Here I am in Moscow (I’m the short one in the Tsentr T-shirt).


Tsentr ~ Psychedelia is Required

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Dec 20 2015

Ipso Factory 2015 Year End

rhino A friend in need is a friend in debt.

Year-end came early for thee Ipso Factory; there will be no show on the 24th or 31st. Below you can hear my 2015 wrap-up. It’s mostly mirthful, as suits the season. I’ll be back on the airwaves at CJSR on January 07, 2016. Til then, then, best of the holidays to you all.

The Pink Mountaintops ~ Holiday

I sat down to make a Christmas-themed video, but this is what came out instead:

Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir ~ Table of the Lord

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Dec 11 2015

Ipso Factory 10 12 15

rhino Who’s your leader, which is your flock?

Selections this week were informed by the torrent of misogyny, abuse, and threats of violence being hurled at our provincial government for the audacity of bringing rural labour practices and protections in line with the rest of Canada, as with practices and protections in other sectors.

My personal feeling is that this shit-storm has been brewing since Alberta elected its first progressive government in the history of time; the opponents of that government were simply waiting for the right alignment of celestial bodies before they launched an all-out broadside. It’s ugly, but I think the right may have spent its political capital too early in the NDP’s 4-year mandate. That’s the nature of rage machines; self-control is not one of their strengths. None of this is about whether agricultural employees are covered by Workmans’ Comp. or whether accidents on farms to fall within the purview of Occupational Health and Safety; for the right, it’s about their fear of modernity and their hatred of ‘socialism’, for the not-right, it’s about whether a petro-agro-state like Alberta can be dragged into the 21st century.

It’s also about whether or not we allow blustering, violent, woman-hating assholes to intimidate our politics. To Hell with them, I say.

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Dec 4 2015

Ipso Factory 03 12 15

rhino But I don’t want it now, I want it 8 minutes ago!

Selections for this week’s show were inspired – if you can call it that – by the boiling cauldron of batshit that’s been brewing, maliciously stoked, out here in the Wildrose country. In case you had been in doubt, it is now abundantly clear that we have a teabag insurrection going on, replete with raging, threats, conspiracy-mongering, opportunism, flagrant misinformation campaigns aided by self-inflicted memory erasure, and mock-martyrdom, leavened, as always, with belligerent stupidity. It’s interesting to see how readily the Right reaches for Stalinist cliches and pitches ‘solidarity’ as part of its union phobia.

Here, then, is my Bill 6 show.

Negativland ~ Christianity is Stupid

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Nov 20 2015

Ipso Factory 19 11 15

rhino and there’s no sickness, toil or danger in that bright land to which I go

This week’s program is directed at the cowards and the bigots of the anti-refugee mob, and especially at the reasonable ones who only want to “hit the pause button”. Pause our response to this massive humanitarian crisis? Sure, why not? As long as for every minute we pause, one of these photographs gets stapled to your eyelids.

The UN protocols for processing refugees have worked for many years, for many host countries and for refugees fleeing many different crises around the world; they will work just fine for Canada now. “Refugee” means you are stateless now, you are helpless now, you are vulnerable now. Refusing to grant refuge now means that you are an “asshole” and, as regards Daesh, you are a surrender monkey.

Da'esh

If I had the time, and Photoshop, I’d have added Saskatchewan to the above graphic, but I’m rather fond of Saskatchewan and don’t hold all of it responsible for its craven jerk of a current Premier.

In other news:
Kudos to Rachel Notley and the NDP government for Bill 7.

Pink Mountaintops ~ Gayest of Sunbeams

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Nov 13 2015

WRPK in New Albertastan, ep. 2

derek-fildebrandt

WRPK in New Albertastan

A pair of lovable know-nothing zealots engage in hilarious hijinks as they battle creeping socialism and corporate welfare in the prairie heartland.

Episode 2: Jaws of Life/Jaws of Debt

Scene: Vehicle interior at night

Brian: (Driving. Thumps the wheel angrily) This is taking forever! Damn Notley and her highway improvements!

Derek: Easy boss, I just bought this baby.

Brian: Sorry Derek, wouldn’t want to hurt your Hummer. But you know why I hate highways? It’s big government telling ya this is the way ya gotta go. Ya wanna get from Bonnyville to Cold Lake? Big government says ya gotta take the 28.

Derek: We could’a taken the 41 through LaCorey…

Brian: (glares) Do you mind, Derek? I’m philosophizing. See, when we settled this land, covered wagons crossing the prairie could go anyway they wanted. Sure you could follow the trail, but an enterprising guy could just blaze his own trail if he wanted, maybe even find a better one.

Derek: Totally agreed, boss. Off-road capability is essential to entrepreneurial spirit. It’s like you always say, boss…

Brian and Derek: Never trust a guy who doesn’t own a Ski-doo.

Brian: Hey, this new baby of yours got off-road capability?

Derek: You betcha! And a power winch.

Brian: Tighten yer belt, Derek, we’re blazing our own trail all the way to Cold Lake!

Derek: (Out the window) So long, suckers. Enjoy your little Notley-jam!

Thump, thump, bang.

State-mandated airbags deploy.

A professional and efficient EMT team, funded by Alberta Healthcare arrives and extricates our heroes.

No WRP officials were harmed in the writing of this sketch.

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Nov 13 2015

Ipso Factory 12 11 15

rhinoThe transformation of waste is perhaps the oldest preoccupation of man.

Pro tip: when snaking a sewage line, close your eyes from time to time; it almost smells like the seaside.

This week’s show marks an excremental improvement in our broadcast standards. I’d spent the better part of the day up to my elbows in human waste and that fact informed most of my music selections. I’ll dedicate this hour of rocking poopie tunes to friends in Montreal. Enjoy!


Motorhead ~ Motorhead
(RIP Animal Taylor)

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Aug 25 2015

Ipso Factory 20 08 15

rhinoYou know evil is an exact science. Being carefully, correctly, wrong.

This week’s show turned into a 3-hour tour of the stations of the Crass. It was more draining than I remembered. The last time I did 3 hours of radio would have been around 1993 on WHPK 88.5 FM out of the University of Chicago. I’d been a DJ at CJSR for about six years already, and so when I arrived at Chicago, I applied for a time slot and was rejected at first. I had to submit a 40 song playlist so that they could scrutinize my cool, and they found my cool lacking and turned me down. Part of the problem in that year may have been that I thought Superchunk sucked; I also thought that Pavement sucked. History, I think, has borne me out. I was also made the object of ridicule over Canadian content restrictions. “30 percent Canadian, really? Whaddaya do, play BTO and Bryan Adams over and over?” I always answered these jibes with a middle finger and the words “No Means No,” that tended to shut them up. Also, at a social event I earned a hail of laughter and derisive spittle from the WHPK manager, Tom Frank, now better known to the world as Thomas Frank. He sprayed beer rain into my face when I suggested that Randy Newman had subversive value and that Tom Waits was a genius. Again, history has borne me out.

Eventually I was offered a time spot, three hours, from 3 AM to 6 AM on Saturday mornings. I took it, learned to craft a 3-hour broadcast that slowly developed its themes like flavours in a stew. After the first year, I was migrated to better and shorter time slots and remained an odd Canadian fixture at WHPK until 1996 when I migrated back to Edmonton and CJSR.

So, this is my first three-hour show since those times and many of my selections harken back to the campus radio scene in Chicago in the early 90’s. Please listen and enjoy.


James T Kirks
(Canadian content)

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