Monday, November 28, 2005

Falsetto on the CBC


Excerpts from, “The Sunday Edition” # 422 (Nov. 27, 2005) with Micheal Enright and guest Rob Harris aired on CBC Radio FM Dial. (CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Company which is Canada’s Public Broadcaster. Think BBC in Britain and PBS in the USA.)


On the show they discussed Falsetto. I thought this was an interesting topic because a recent review of my music described my voice as "falsetto". (Read the review on the Music page of this site.)


The commentators asserted that the meaning of falsetto was more than just gender and sexual ambiguity. They said falsetto is also an indicator of social class.


“Singers like Sintra didn’t use falsetto. Why not? Because they are mainstream. They are in the center of society. And that sound that falsetto gives us – of dispossession, of outside-ness is not part of their world. So it is only used by people who want to create that sense of outside-ness. It’s maybe instinctive. So to me falsetto is not about gender. It’s about class. Falsetto is a sound that disposed people use to create power through dispossession.”


“It seems dispossession. It’s a way of becoming powerful by being outside the norm. These singers express themselves in an otherworldly sound.”


They delved into the early black groups that used falsetto such as The Ink Spots in the 1930’s, The Ravens and the Cadillacs from the 1950’s and went right up the years to Al Greene, Marvin Gaye and the BeeGee’s in the 1970’s and Price singing “Kiss” off his album “Parade” in the 1980’s.


It was interesting that when they introduced the example of Prince the commentators had to come full circle and say that falsetto was also about ambiguity, effemininity, being sexy and being away from the “center” of society’s gender rules.


All the other examples were just ordinary “dudes”. They looked and acted like men. But sang like women. Then there’s Boy George who looked like a woman but sang like a man. I think the music industry and the general public needs more artists who don’t use either conventional voices or conventional appearances. Artists who don’t try to be “safe” enough for mainstream by giving their public at least a conventional voice or appearance. Artists who break out of both appearance and sound boxes.


I’m glad to hear people talking about flashy, unique, non- conformist singing and pointing out that it can still be commercial, successful and red hot. I’m happy to count myself as one of these artists. Where else would I like to be but on the limits of everything – including singing. I hope you enjoy. I can't do anything else. I've got to be me.

Zine Warriors

Montreal. November, 2005. There was pushing a grocery basket on wheels full of merchandise from city street #s 1000 to 5500 (that's a long way) - especially when it's up hill and the streets are covered with snow and the shopping cart wheels aint spinning. And you've had one hour of sleep and a 2. 5 hour bus ride that started with the quote, "I'm not even 30 and all of my gradparents are dead. I'm already one generation away from the grave."

Since life is apparently so short it's good I made this hard trip to Montreal. There was no time for heels. There was no time for skirts. There was no time for lunch - unless you count a burnt black tim Horton's sandwich. But I made it. And it was worth it.

I would say that the Montreal arts scene people are some of the most friendly, open and definately sexy that I've seen in a while. Definately my kind of people. Someone told me I had "such beautiful skin" she had to come over and meet me. I was reall touched when a girl told me she'd bought one of my books in Toronto and it inspired her to write a Zine - which she then gave to me. And some of the guys had smiles that -to be honest- could melt butter.

Thanks to everyone who bought one of my Chap Books and/ or took a fridge magnet/ or Glam Rock fashion pin. Send me an email. Let's meet again.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What Can You Do?

Bills need to be paid. So in November and December, 2005 I'm having to put a lot of time into studying (in vain) my French books and attending evening and weekend French classes.

All for a slim chance of getting a new job - a job that requires more fluency in French. Any imporvment would be so good for me, as my current day job is a really toxic, office, file slinging, grind.

So often the only way out of hell seems to be through the head of a pin.

At least the red "Little Devil" boots are hot.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

CD Review

Mackenzie MacBride
Glam Rock Revelations, CD

Normally I distribute all the music that arrives in the BP mailbox to my crack team of killer music reviewers. They are genetically modified to possess open ears and bullshit detectors. They can love like no other and hate, berate and express distaste for that which they deem inferior. They know their shit, but sometimes there is music that is beyond even their capabilities. Mackenzie MacBride is just that type of singer a jaded writer might easily dismiss, unable to appreciate her left field rock-opera ditties because they just don't fit any mould we're familiar with. That would be unfortunate because "Glam Rock Revelations" is a revelation. MacBride's synth-folk music and music teacher falsetto are original enough. Add ambiguous sexual politics expressed in smart and funny lyrics and you have something that still doesn't make sense after a dozen listens. That kind of confusion is a rare pleasure, and for now I'm keeping it to myself, but once you've read this, the secret is out. - Terence Dick, Broken Pencil Magazine, Issue 29, 2005.

I know better than a lot of people that one shouldn't quit, or continue being a musician just because of what reviewers say. Still, I sincerely thank Terrence Dick for the perceptiveness and professionalism he displayed when he wrote this review that refused to buy into the whole, "Duh, I've never heard this before! So, I must not like it!" reaction to unique music.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Toronto Art and Culture Zine Fair 2005 - see photo below

I was in Toronto for the debut of my two new Chap Books, "Poems Even Your Boyfriend Would Understand" and "Tales Of A Half Caste Woman". I'm looking damn good considering I slept on someone's kitchen floor the night before and then showed up to the event 4 hours early after not remembering the time changed back. Angie and I used our "in advance" status to go check out a diner for what Angie called a "dirty breakfast". Otherwise known as a dirt cheap breakfast. Somehow I ended up with chili with chicken in it.

At the zine fair, aside from a few creeps, there was a lot of fun to be had and several hot people I hope to see again. I gave them Elle!She!Her! pins and hoped they would remember me.

All of the first prints of my chap books sold out. I'm going to do a second run of them. Hope you can get your copy soon. If you want one email me. Since each book is approximately $3.00 to print and postage is about $2.00 you're getting a bargain for the price of $6.00 a book. Or $10.00 for both. Canadian currency for Canada. US currency for International.