Thursday, June 30, 2005

Much Music Is The Stooge of Trash Pop Culture -
and Killer of the Canadian Independent Music Scene

Much Music, or MuchMusic or Much or whatever it calls itself exactly, does not support the Canadian Independent Music scene (CIMS). That’s well known. They play loads of terrible and disposable pop trash generated in the inner cities of America by people who are not trying to be talented but instead are just trying to turn a quick buck. Much Music thus turns a quick buck by playing it. And the youth of Canada grow up thinking terrible hack jobs are art. Worse, it subconsciously gives them the idea that art is made exclusively in the USA and that Canadian art and music is not done, or if it is done it is second rate.

But Much Music does worse than not support the CIMS. It pretends to be supportive of Canadian artists. Instead of being honest that it doesn’t. It gives the false impression that it does offer air play coverage and promotion to Canadian artists. Instead of being honest that it doesn’t. Thus Much Music creates false expectations for artists. And when artists do finally snap out of it and realize that Much Music is not supporting us, it is even harder to get the Canadian government and it’s arts and music initiatives to step in and provide more support to the CIMS. Because Much Music has convinced government that it is supporting Indie Canadian acts. So why would we need more support from government?

So Much Music is even less supportive than “not supportive” of the CIMS because through its pretending to be supportive, it creates the illusion that CIMS doesn’t need additional support. Which costs us support from government arts and music programs.

So Much Music. Just be honest. You are not supporting CIMS. Maybe then we could get on with scrapping away the illusion that the CIMS is supported. Once that illusion is exposed perhaps the Canadian government would realize the CIMS needs more support and programming for development of records and more regulations compelling Much Music to play more CIMS content. Instead of letting it be the stooge to disposable trash pop imports of the USA that pretends to support CIMS.

Case in point. At Toronto Pride 2005, while distributing the “Elle! She Her!” pins to promote my music and my take on femme self affirmation I encountered two post 20 junky VJs employed by Much Music to go through the streets looking snooty, young and disposable. (They do this well.) They also had a short pushy retired VJ turned behind the scenes sergeant directing their dim-witted selves from mindless sound byte to sound byte against the backdrop of Toronto Pride.

I made the mistake of asking the little sergeant woman if she and her VJ would wear my pins. They rudely refused saying that if they wore my pin, they’d have to wear everyone’s. This is such faulty logic. Who’s “everybody?” There was no line up of people behind me trying to stick Canadian Indie Music pins on them. Everybody was at home zoning out in front of the tv watching them being pretentious and creatively defeatist because the Much Music programming had brainwashed the viewers into thinking that they couldn’t or shouldn’t do anything creative in their own country. And if they did do something creative noone would care –especially Much Music. So why bother?

I persisted in a polite way. Asking if they could help in anyway. So the little sergeant decides to employ the strategy that her employer uses on the entire CIMS. Pretend to be supportive to get rid of them. She agreed to take a pin for her VJ. The VJ took the pin unenthusiastically and looked at it like it was a slug. I was told she’d where it “tomorrow.” Then I was banished form the set of mindless sound byte collecting.

So “tommorow” came. It was the Pride Parade day. There the snooty VJs and the little sergeant were. Collecting the sound bytes again. Spraying water guns and inciting the crowds to chant some lame Pride message into their lenses. And guess what. The trashy post 20 junky snooty VJ was not wearing my pin. They’d just pretended to be supportive. What a surprise.

So I stood as close to them as I could with an Elle! Pin in my outstretched hand. The camera man quickly zoomed away. As if the message “Elle! She! Her! .com was suddenly the most evil cult classic script that could ever be put on a pin. In the end I just decided it was too negative to pursue these VJ liars and phonies any further. Especially since getting in their face and calling them on their fuckery would probably have been grounds for the Toronto police to arrest me for being “crazy”. Since the VJ’s are celebrities. Entitled to all the preferential treatment and protection from their own social crimes that being a celebrity brings in this celebrity as god trash pop culture obsessed society in which we live. An obsession further fueled by the perpetrators themselves – Much Music.

So what’s the solution? What would I like to see? I’d like to see Much Music feature CIMS talent, including openly queer and diversity CIMS talent more prominently in it’s programming. And I’d like to see them get rid of those three lying, snide, snooty two –faced VJs. I don’t know their names nor do I want to. But I’ve included a picture of the smug trio. As you can see their real pieces of pop trash that don’t belong on anyone’s tv. Even on the tvs of someone who’s watching Much Music.

The Much Music Post 20 Junkies are in in the distant centre. They are (L to R): One of two snide metro-sexual blonde twin guys, fake trash who pretended she'd wear the pin holding mic, with afro and shades (she sees me and smiles innocently knowing full well she's a liar) and finally the short sergeant in pink tube top who lied to my face about getting Ms. Microphone beside her to wear my pin.

These pins cost money. If you're not going to wear them - don't lie by saying you'll wear pins, take pins from me and then not wear them. Your fakery costs me money.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Personality Over Perfection Anyday

After reading a biography on Madonna recently I learned she started with a single. A single song. So I stopped what I was working on and said, "I need a single." I was standing in an office building at the time of this revelation. So I wasn't exactly in a very creativly inspiring environment to begin the project. But I started working away over the weeks. The result is a single called "Do The Impossible". Sure the song is aboout a boy, as these things often go. But the title could very well apply to the larger project of getting any type of buzz started for oneself in the music industry.

While getting to Toronto and introducing myself and my music to people at the annual Pride weekend festivities had seemed like a geographical and emotional "impossibility" I decided that I would do it. It was a last minute decision. Which made the project even harder to realize. Since none of the marketing infastructure was in place.

Throwing some passion, time, creativity and money - ug - at the project I am emerging with a new website called and an Elle! She Her! red hot pin campaign. I'll be distributing the pins at Toronto Pride.

The single won't be fully recorded until July, but I've put up an audio snipet of the Live version in the meantime. After all, perfectionism is for people at my old university music school that sat in locked practice rooms in the basement all day playing music noone ever heard. All in the quest for perfection. What good did it do them? They might as well just opened the door and played for someone's enjoyment.

While I've done countless takes, I know my performances aren't perfect. But if even 1 person likes the music I sent out into the world, then showing my flaws is not only worth it, it's magic.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Honour Where You Started and Go From There

It is my birthday this week. Another year older. It is hard to turn another year older. A lot of people don't get to live into their 20's and 30's. Whether they starve to death in Africa or commit suicide in a wave of dispair and lonliness brought on by experiencing homophobia in their small town. Whatever the varied reasons may be, they just don't make it through the years. So I should be grateful I'm still alive. Despite the odds.

But I'm not where I want to be. In terms of sucess. I'm sure a lot of people can relate. I just finished a biography on Madonna. And it is amzing how much she had acomplished creatively and in terms of commercial success by the time she was 30. Sure she had a lot of help in the form of a different musical starevery year, such as Prince, working behind the scenes to prop her up. But she was involved. A grate motivator of herself and others.

So on my birthday it becomes a necessary task to remind myself that for every 1 Madonna who went to NYC and became a star, thousands of others set out with the same dreams of success in the music business and ended up working in restaurants.

For myself, I've realized I can't compare myself to people who are born into conventional social and phyical-body realities and therefore live "mainstream" lives that by definition prevent them from experiencing obstacles many oppressed people face. Obstacles they don't know they don't know they face. Because they've never had to face them. So they are therefore not aware of these obstacles. Or that they aren't facing them.

Obstacles like systemic discrimination, lonliness, isolation, lack of resources and the impending depression and immobilization that all of these ills bring.

If I compare myself to these privlidged folks who havn't had to endure all of these obstacles just to survive, let alone to do anything creative, ofcourse I'm always going to come out looking like the loser. Because it isn't a fair comparison or a "level" playing field" as the cliche says.

Someone who starts out at 0 out of 10 everyday, 0 being a mainstream existance where society is not only not against you, but is for the most part for you and your success, will get from 0 to say 8, 9 or 10 out of 10 in their day's goals quite easily. But someone who is marginalized and oppressed starts out at like, negative (-) 5 out of 10 and then has to start clawing their way up past the obstacles to let's say +3 in any given day. And it's a hard fight to get to that + 3. Much harder, with much more sweat and energy expended, than the mainstreamer who's got to 8, 9 or 10 out of 10.

But anyone, including those of us who start out in the negative numbers every day, who looks at the +3 we got compared to the others' + 8 can easily start to feel down onourselves and our abilities if we don't make that important distinction between where marginalized people start our days on the numbers chart of -10 to + 10 compared to where mainstreamers start.

And forgetting this important distinction does us a further disservice because by getting down on ourselves we are more likely than ever to give up, say "I can't", not try, become depressed or curl up in bed. Then ofcourse we won't even get to the +3.

So I encourage everyone, including myself, to avoid trying to keep up with the Jones' or the Madonnas. Set your goals in terms of challenging yourself, not comparing yourself to others. Comparsions with others only leads to jealousy. Which is toxic to your system.

Recognize where you started on the numbers chart of - 10 to + 10 in your day, week, even life. We didn't all start at 0. If you started out in the negative numbers, or "in the red" as they say, then own that and give yourself permission to start from where you are. This way you'll be celebrating getting to +3 out of 10 in any given day. Instead of beating yourself up, getting discouraged and creating a cycle of negative self-fulfilling prophesy. And I bet by looking at our +3s as successes will only help us get to +4s out of 10 tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Disco Era Heat Wave

I’m always happy when the month of June arrives. In a frigid northern Canadian climate where it is face- scrunchingly cold, dead to greenery and blisteringly winded for 8 months of the year, June marks the 1st of 4 months of the year, that I’ve never had to endure snow stingling my face or wear a winter scarf. All the other months of the year I’ve had to. Yes whether it’s watching a blizzard in Halifax, NS in May or bundling up in mittens in Ottawa, On during the 1st week in October I’ve had to.

So June is a real oasis for the body and soul from the long-lasting icy, clawing grip of winter. I was born in June. Apparently it was so hot the June I was born my mother slept outside under the deck for the 2 weeks prior to my birth. My father recently declared that this heat wave must have been responsible for me being, in his estimation, what he calls “touched in the head”.