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.
Here I am in Moscow (I’m the short one in the Tsentr T-shirt).
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
Like any good B movie, when I am lacking for plot and thin on theme, I reach for the aggressive and demented; that’s the only explanation I have for the musical selections this week. Do, please, enjoy.
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!
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.
So it’s been a long time since I posted a show, and since then I’ve changed time slots and now only have an hour to play with. Thee Ipso Factory is now on Thursday evenings from 9 to 10 on the mighty FM 88.
Below is my latest video effort. I tried several times to pair songs with images from Sorcerer, but they never really worked. Here is a song by Bluebeard, a band out of Calgary, from about twenty years ago. I think it serves nicely. If you haven’t seen Sorcerer (1977) by William Friedkin (same director as The Exorcist), do so immediately. If you have seen Sorcerer, see also its source material The Wages of Fear (1953) by Henri-Georges Clouzot.
I recruited Darren Zenko to write for the Paltry Sapien earlier this year. He seemed keen to participate, and I was eager to have some share of his prodigious gifts for irreverent humor and subversive invention. In addition to these – standard fare for anyone who knew him – he told me that he had learned a very great deal from his time listening, watching and talking with people in the cancer wards and treatment centers he’d been spending much of his time in. He had some hard-won wisdom, he told me, and hoped to live and to give it expression. Most sadly, the disease took him last week, at age 39.
Sometimes, rarely maybe, or maybe that’s just me showing my age, Edmonton seems to be filled with big-hearted and beautiful people, like it did last night. Sorry that it had to be a funeral. Zenko abides. Godspeed to him.
As an observer and writer Darren would have pointed out, there’s a reason they put funerals in the movies. It’s so that people can have epiphanies, set aside quarrels, bond through shared emotion and experience, see each other anew, show their kinder natures. Grief makes us better people.