Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"And, uh, Hou..."

"13:53:57 (EI + 928) This marks the beginning of the transition from a controlled glide to an uncontrolled ballistic entry."
Monday, December 29, 2008

Rebecca Dart (qv. many previous entries and essays on her excellent Rabbithead) just started posting her work to Livejournal. Check it out here.

(Click on the Xmas card images above for larger versions)
Friday, December 26, 2008

Jeff Wall, Burrow, 2004

Patrick Faigenbaum, Châtaignes, grenades et pommes de pin. Santulussurgiu, 2006

Merry Boxing Day.

Anyone who wants to obtain a copy should get in touch.
Karen Dalton's In a Station, snow still falling outside through the orange lamplight, heaped up four feet high at the curb.

Once upon a time leaves me empty
Tomorrow never comes
I could sing the sound of your laughter
Still I don't know your name
Must be some way to repay you
Out of all the good you gave
If a rumour should delay you
Love seems so little to save.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Though my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away

It's a Thom Bell evening over here at Anodyne HQ in the snow:

The Stylistics -- I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)

The Spinners -- Could It Be I'm Falling in Love

The Delfonics -- Trying to Make a Fool of Me

The Spinners -- I'll Be Around

The O'Jays -- The Back Stabbers

& etc.

Mid-70s soul in thickly blowing snow. Store full. Random House order not in evidence. Drifts avalanching off the awning at regular half-hour intervals. The scrape of a Duchamp readymade out on the sidewalk.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

(Updated to reflect the "Demo" -- and to my mind, superior -- version on high repeat all day in the shop. Slower drums; slower, more teased-out and carefully enunciated vocals. And that haunting piano at 0:22; 0:43; 1:11-12)
Tuesday, December 23, 2008

(Via Alex Morrison, with thanks)
Monday, December 22, 2008

Jean Shepherd, The Man Who Told A Christmas Story -- long, well-written appreciation by Donald Fagen

"Listening to Shep, I learned about social observation and human types: how to parse modern rituals (like dating and sports); the omnipresence of hierarchy; joy in struggle; 'slobism'; 'creeping meatballism'; 19th-century panoramic painting; the primitive, violent nature of man; Nelson Algren, Brecht, Beckett, the fables of George Ade; the nature of the soul; the codes inherent in 'trivia,' bliss in art; fishing for crappies; and the transience of desire. He told you what to expect from life (loss and betrayal) and made you feel that you were not alone."


"Not long ago, in the absence of any books, films, music, etc., that seemed to give off any light, I started looking back at some of the things that used to inspire me as a kid, including some of Shep's old shows, now available on the Internet. Hearing them almost a half-century down the line has been a trip. Despite the tendencies I've already mentioned (plus the gaffes one might expect from a wild man like Shep ad-libbing before the age of political correctness), much of the stuff is simply amazing: The guy is a dynamo, brimming with curiosity and ideas and fun. Working from a few written notes at most, Shepherd is intense, manic, alive, the first and only true practitioner of spontaneous word jazz."

Overheard in the shop:

"Robin Bougie gets money every time you masturbate."

(viz. Bougie's "XXX flick of the year" pick, Massive Asses)
Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's 8:15pm and -10C at the bookstore. SNOWFALL WARNING ISSUED for Greater Vancouver. Probable 20+ cm. by dawn!

Things I'm greatful for:

• The egg tart and generous shot of cheap Canadian rye dropped off by Don King at 6:15pm, which promptly kicked my head cold into remission

• The couple who dropped in unexpectedly with little owl-faced Pomme the kitten

• My many artist friends and collaborators (ST, AH, ADZP, JT, SGB, EL, OK, MG, IP, AT, AM, RL, KM, JMcM, LM. Without whom, & etc.)

• The readership, past and present (brother Dru and Eryne, Jessie Caryl, John Latta, Michael Turner, Don English, KMAC, Peter Culley, Keith Freeman, Bruce Serafin)


Thanks, everyone. Merry Christmas, Pagan Winter Festival, whatever. Thank you. Thanks.
Late Fragment
by Raymond Carver

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Jeff Wall, Florist's Shop Window, 2008

(Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Catalog of available photographs, just in time for Christmas.

Most of these are paper prints, approx 11" x 14" unframed. Exceptions, including some new works presented in wall-mounted digital frames, are noted. Not everything is up yet, eg., War Game Tree, and not every photograph on Anodyne is available. Some have been destroyed and many thought better of.

Just arrived in the mail, an early Xmas gift!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Paging Dan Graham, whose pavilions would be immeasurably improved by the addition of white mice, mallards, and a pulsing trippy soundtrack.
Monday, December 15, 2008

Latenight video for L., currently enjoying the thriving nightlife in bustling downtown Vernon, BC. "Little help from Mike McDonald and the Doobies on that one..."

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Madlib, Dillalade Ride (Contact High)
Brian Fawcett memorializes/reviews my late friend Bruce Serafin. Two paragraphs seem particularly pertinent to topics that move through this page almost daily, like winter storms:

"As a younger writer, Serafin wrote the same elegant and clear prose you’ll find in Stardust. But late in his life he developed a unique ability to penetrate the brassy surfaces of the self-serving bullshit Vancouver’s political, economic and cultural elites churn out to maintain their illusions, and he kept that willful refusal to be fooled by the city’s glamourous but perspective-distorting scenery to the end of his life. The political animal in him, with its highly developed powers of empathy, could not, I think, accept that a city with cultural and physical assets so rich and remarkable could produce an intellectual and social climate so pedestrian and violent. There was, as a consequence, a magma of rage at Vancouver’s waste and inequity that percolated just beneath the surface of what he wrote in the last ten years of his life. It was not always a productive rage, either. For literally decades, he was paralyzed by it, and it often blistered his judgment when he did write."

"Indeed there exists, in everything Serafin wrote and did, the studied naiveté of someone who knows what the rules are but can’t live with them. It explains, sort of, the distaste for authority that pervades everything, the refusal to accept any of the comforts of the most limited collectives, even those of other writers who liked and admired him, and his refusal to shape his two books to meet the demands of any other audience than his own obscure muse."
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Retail Fail Redux

James got this guy; I didn't. Other than these straight-to-Anodyne-anecdotes, both stores have been busy, friendly places lately.

ME: Hi there.

HIM: History.

ME: Huh?

HIM: History section.

ME: Sure, this way. Here.

HIM: [mumble]

ME: Don't mention it.

HIM: I'm looking for a book called [OBSCURE TITLE].

ME: Never heard of it. Who wrote it?

HIM: Well, I don't know the author!

ME: I'd be happy to look it up for you.

HIM: You won't find it on your computer.

ME: It's not on Amazon?

HIM: No.

ME: It's not on Google?

HIM: No.

ME: Does it exist?

HIM: Well, I think it does.

ME: Let me know how that works out for you.

And while we're on the topic, wandering in the door and barking out a single word without any supporting context -- "Ishmael!" "History!" "Vampires!" "Germs!" etc. -- just makes it seem like you have Tourette's, and automatically decreases my hard-working staff's helpfulness.

Also, my very favorite Christmas phone call, the one I take every year like clockwork:

LOST GUY: What signed Tolkien books do you carry?

CJB [deep breath; ten-count; perky]: Sorry, we don't have any in right now!

LOST GUY: Why is that?
Retail Fail

DIPSHIT HIPSTER [3-volume hardcover set in slipcase in hand]: How much is this?

CJB: It's priced on the first white page of the first volume.

DH [reads]: "$34.95/set." So that's...

CJB: $34.95 for the set.

DH: Yeah, but how much for all three volumes?

[Set rung up. DH then wanders off down the aisle, wanders 'round the store staring off into space, then wanders back up, having decided to "pass" on it]

VERY NEXT CUSTOMER: Where's your books on cheese?
Saturday, December 13, 2008

Andy Warhol, Dollar Signs, 1982

Brad Phillips, Desperate Measures, 2008

Phillips notifies his Facebook posse, me included, that he's making "sliding scale commissioned portraits."

CJB [curious as to how far the scale slides]: What does $50 get me?

BP: $50 would be really small. Like on a piece of rice. But I can do it!

Upon further contemplation:

BP: 50 bucks gets you a carbon paper tracing of one of your favorite photographs of yourself! It will look like an old Warhol.

For $20 more I will write my signature on the front.

For 25 dollars I will make an earnest cartoon drawing of you based on my memory.

For $5 more I will write my signature on the front.

Things Bears Love -- thx Keef!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

ACT (Aesthetically Claimed Thing): Mike Mills, Fireworks

"Some things that may or may not relate to these drawings: A professional suggested I take anti-depressants. I declined. About the same time I started drawing fireworks. I didn’t know what they meant or why I was drawing them. I was confused and embarrassed by this lack of meaning, but they kept coming. I could draw them no matter how I felt. I read that fireworks were first used in China in the 12th century to scare away negative spirits. I envied a world that not only recognized spirits, but scared the negative ones away with small man made explosions. About the same time, I read in a magazine that antidepressants have a hard time performing better than the placebo pills they are tested against. Scientist cannot explain it, but almost as many people who take the fake pills say they feel relief from their depression. The blood flow in their brains actually changes in the same positive way that it does for the people who take the real pills. I felt a connection between the Chinese fireworks and the placebo effect, and some relief in all the things we don’t understand. At some point the fireworks grew more and more abstract, and messy, and complicated, and I became if not content then at least willing to make things that didn’t have any apparent meaning." (Mike Mills; emphasis CJB)

(Thx. Tower of Sleep)

CJB [pointing, to DAD CARRYING TODDLER]: Your little boy's Quatchi is over there, on the floor.

DCT [retrieving toy]: It's my inlaws' way of torturing me! First he was just 'My guy.' That was fine. Then they babysat last night! I come home, it's 'Quatchi this,' 'Quatchi that...'

CJB: Another young imagination colonized by VANOC.

DCT: Yeah, I hate those fucking Olympics.
Saturday, December 06, 2008

"Free Ikea INREADA bookends x 6 (Main and Broadway)

Free grey metal bookends, designed to fit standard Ikea shelves. Three sets of two, two sets still in shrinkwrap.

Dropped off by a customer and useless to us, so free to a good home. First come, first served. In person pick-up only. No dumb-ass holds, 'reserves,' requests for further clarification, JPEGs, or phone calls.

Pick up from Pulpfiction Books, 2422 Main Street at Broadway. Post will be removed once bookends are gone. "

(Promptly collected within a half hour of posting)
Friday, December 05, 2008

Jellyfish Controlled By Robot Sound

The highlight of Indie Pop Night at the Bunker. Weird wheezy keyboards; Cate Le Bon's dark eyes; tumbling 80s synth drums; bells.

L.'s Malibu-'n-Coke sweating on the table beside me, crowned by a lemon slice as big as a hardboiled egg.
Flat grey overcast. Too warm for snow. Gaye's I Want You on the deck. String of fat red and blue Christmas lights -- old-school ones, paint over clear glass -- blinking in the window of the skate shop across Main Street. Cement truck rumbling at the light. Bare trees.

Empty storefronts along Broadway, some with butcher's paper hastily tacked up over the windows, like budget curtains. The upscale bistro next to me also closed. Shadows there of chairs upturned on tables, waiting, like patient companion animals, for the new owners.

Sidewalks deserted. The whole city strangely empty.

Lots of owner-operators sitting nervously in well-appointed 500 square foot spaces full of designer dresses and $9.00 handmade cards wondering, What the fuck just happened?
Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Harper government's rapidly eroding credibility rests in Joe Clark's hands:

"[I]f Clark says any of the current or former members of either the PC Party or the Alliance knew about this deal, it demolishes the credibility of the Harper regime on this issue.

Either Clark could confirm former PCs like Peter McKay knew about the deal, or he could blow the whistle on Day directly.

Amazingly, the survival of the Harper regime rests on a former Conservative Prime Minister for whom he has never shown an ounce of respect."

Online Order for Pulpfiction Books

"Dear Sir:

I would like to order some expensive books from your store. The most expensive ones you have.

My name is HOWARD SCHULTZ and my Starbucks Duetto Visa Card number is 4000 1234 5678 9101, exp. date 00/00.

Thank you for your consideration of my negritude!

Yours truly,

Howie Schultz"

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