08 December 2007

Jose Gonzalez @ The Mod Club. Friday Dec. 7, 2007

I love early shows. It feels like two nights in one. The night started at 7:30 with Cass Mccombs. I had never heard anything going in to the show, but I have been converted. The two and three part harmonies evoke that good old folky feeling of days gone by (someone else's days mind you). Mccombs lyrics are really great too. A night of heartbreak lay ahead.Sorry to those people who were talking throughout the entire set. You missed a great show. In my opinion, it was a perfect pairing, Gonzalez/Mccombs. Evidently the feeling was not shared by 3/4 of the crowd. They had more important things to do. Like talk about the movie/video/album/project they are working on. "It's not totally done, but like, it's getting there."

Jose Gonzalez
, is one of those artists that make you wish you'd picked up a guitar when you were younger. And if you play the guitar already, he makes you wish you could sing. If you do both of those things already he makes you wish you could do both of those things better. Much better than you actually do. If not for the self satisfaction, than for the simple reason that every woman near you will do anything for you to sing to her. I looked around and every woman's pupils were dilated. Either they were all tripping on mushrooms or they were in love.

Gonzalez ripped through his older songs at nearly twice the speed they should be played (he did this at his Trinity St. Paul church show a few years back. Presumably because he's probably played the songs 10 000 times, due to the fact that he caught on a little late outside of his native Sweden.) But the crowd enjoyed them anyway he was willing to serve them. He ended the night by breathing new life into Joy Division's classic "Love will tear us apart". The purists may not appreciate it, but I did.

Here is an old ad featuring Jose Gonzalez' cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats". Great song...and dare I say it, a great ad.

23 October 2007

Canada in Afghanistan: The answer isn't easy.

There is no quick and easy solution to Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan according to an army captain visiting Sheridan College Nov. 30

Captain Tom St. Denis, a Vietnam vet for the Australian army and current media operations officer for the Canadian army, spoke to The Sheridan Sun Online briefly about the current situation in Afghanistan.

Considering his experience, St. Denis responded to the parallels being drawn between Vietnam and the current situation in Afghanistan.

“I think if you’re talking macro, what they’re talking about is a quagmire. It’s a very simple comparison to make. It falls apart when you look at details,” said St. Denis.

One difference, he explained, is the motivation behind the conflicts.

“The North Vietnamese were nationalists trying to reunite their country. For them it was a very secular conflict. It reached religious proportions in some degree. Because they were certainly prepared, right at the end, for another 30 years of war. However long it took.”

There has been controversy surrounding whether or not democracy can overcome what is happening in Afghanistan. St. Denis thinks it is achievable, but it will take time and understanding.

“You can’t just say ‘let’s give everyone a cell phone, an SUV, a flat screen colour television, and then we’ll call them 21st century people,’” said St. Denis. “I tell people ‘look, you have to understand that the year is not 2007 everywhere in the world’. Some places that I have been it’s 1462. If you enter a situation with that in mind, then it starts to make sense.”

St. Denis continues.

“From 1462, look what we had to do. Factor in two global wars and all the rest of it. These are people who gave you enlightenment, Mozart and architecture. So let’s not expect too much of people who still build mud brick houses.”

St. Denis is stressing the fact that the solutions, while there may be some, are not simple.

“You have to think in terms of whole government approach. That’s one of the things Canada is pursuing is whole government,” said St. Denis. “We are only one arm of the government. The army can only do very, very limited things.”

Limited, but important.

“What we can do is create a secure environment. By enormous effort, and some deaths, we can create a secure environment,” said St. Denis. “We can hold back the water, if you will, while other people build. That’s where whole government comes in.”

Among all of the necessary steps in establishing a free nation, there is one that cannot be rushed or forced.

“You can’t suddenly say ‘OK, we’ve trained the national police in Afghanistan so therefore the people should trust them.’ The people are going to trust them several generations from now but they’ve got no reason to now,” said St. Denis. “What we have to do is help them establish these institutions corruption free, to the point where their own people believe in them. Really unconsciously believe in them.”