Nov 26, 2004

A day in the life:



I had a ridiculous day yesterday. I woke up just before my alarm and got myself ready for school and ran out to catch an earlier bus thinking how nice it would be to get to school in plenty of time to stroll leisurely into my African American history class on time and relaxed. Well, that was the plan.

A bus was coming when I got to the stop - oh joy! It seems that I always just miss one. But the bus didn't stop because it was full. Bummer. But I check the time and note that I still have plenty of time to catch the next one and still get to school early. The bus is supposed to come every ten minutes. After ten minutes, there is still no bus on the horizon. After another 5, there are a load of stressed out looking people waiting for the bus. I make a call to translink after another 5 minutes to complain. I don't normally do this but they are talking about raising transit fares again and the bus service in this city is appallingly bad. So I was just doing my civic duty - making my small contribution to public activism, when a bus comes. I get on, insert my Upass in the card slot thingy... and it doesn't come out. The driver says to me, "I'll just give you another transfer" and I say, "um, that wasn't a transfer, it was my Upass and I kind of really need it." So the driver says, "I'll put in a service call" and I go "okay but I'm getting off at Broadway." Arg. Well, the fix-it guy met the bus at Broadway and retrieved my pass and I dash off to catch the train (step two of my three step trip to the University). So after a 25 minute delay, somehow I actually still managed to get to school on time - but just barely and I ran through the AQ to get to my class.

After my class I got a sammich and orange juice for breakfast/lunch and parked myself in a cubicle, plugged in my laptop, and worked on finishing a paper that was due in 2.5 hours.

I got it done just barely on time. I emailed the pages to myself, ran to the computer lab, printed it out stapled it and ran off to class.

British History.

We've just made a gigantic leap from WWI to the Thatcher years. True I missed my class last week, but it still seems like a huge leap to skip the Depression and WWII.

Anyway, we watch My Beautiful Landrette. My Beautiful Laundrette is a perfect example of why I'm always wary of watching films from the 80's that I loved back then. Originally shot for BBC television on 16mm film, the quality wasn't very good, but it was the dated cinematography and the silly synthesizer soundtrack that made my skin itch.

After class I rushed back into the city to meet G for sushi. I had the toro sashimi, gomae and kani sunomono. Then we took a cab downtown to the Contemporary Art Gallery for a meeting of The Music Appreciation Society. There were 5 panelists - each one brought a piece of music to play and spoke about it before hand. One woman played a song by Gillian Welch and talked about issues of authenticity. Gillian Welch grew up on Los Angeles, her parents were producers for the Carol Burnett Show, but the music she plays is this kind of Depression era style folk music. Another guy played a Dr Drey song and talked about the semiotics of something or other. After there was a question and answer period and I asked why we are more concerned about authenticity in the music we listen to than we are when we're reading fiction or poetry. The answer was vague, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that people identify so personally with the music they appreciate, that they want to feel like the source of the music is personal as well.

Following the talk, G and I met some friends at the Atlantic Trap and Grill - a maritime bar. We had a couple of drinks there and then went to the Commodore Ballroom to see Neko Case.

It was a great show, but too short. This was the second time I've seen her play and it's wonderful to see her perform live. She has such a beautiful voice and is positively radiant on stage.

I got home around midnight, watched a few minutes of Letterman and went to bed.

10 comments:

darth said...

ugh...having to rely on more than one public transit agency to get anywhere on time is so stressful. do you think your bus system there is worse than muni here? i loved those old fashioned trams you rode down market street here.

i had toro too last week...mmmmmmmmm..

Arethusa said...

Hmmm your question about "autheniticity" in music vs. poetry and such has got me thinking (imagine! :-P). I might do something about that.

By the by, my dear, I think something's up with your list of blogger links. They don't work because the URL looks all funny!

Arethusa said...

I fucked up the tense agreement there but...you know what I mean. :/

Bella_by_Barlight said...

Darth: This place G and I went to is the one that I was telling you about...they make this negitoro negiri that is OMIGOD IT IS SO GOOD!!!!!!!!

Arethusa: Yeah, it's an interesting question isn't it? Authenticity is always an interesting question to consider in any kind of analysis - whether it's in art criticism, political science, history, literary analysis and so on. It's a problem I've been working on answering for a while now - I started thinking about it in relation to hip-hop and rap music about a year ago so I thought it was interesting that one of the panelists raised the question in relation to Gillian Welch's music.

When you hear musicians like Jay-Z singing lyrics like "I built a dynasty be being one of the realest niggas out..." it presents a number of problems in racialism... what is a "real nigga" is that different than an African American? Why are some African American's called "oreos"

It's also an interesting problem in material history because it suggests some of the ways that meaning is reified in material objects.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

P.S. You can put bellabybarlight.blogspot.com in your bibliography! I need more writing credits for grad school :P

Arethusa said...

*chuckle* I'll put your name in bold :-D.

I hadn't given the "authenticity of lyrics" in music much thought, mostly because I rarely pay attention to lyrics. It sounds odd I know, and whenever I say it I get weird glances but I instinctively pay more attention to the instrumental part of the music, and the power, emotion etc. of the vocals but not the words. It usually takes a distinct voice, an interesting turn of phrase or an ear-catching parntership of lyrics and music to capture my interest. Perhaps the words catch my fancy or the lyrics affect me personally. I may just have a short attention span and like to make excuses. :P

To your point about authenticity in hip hop, which I *think* tends to be a bigger issue in that genre of music...I hesitate to make a comment-i don't know that much about hip hop really-but I wonder if it has anything to do with what I see as African-Americans continual search for identity as a race and a culture both to themselves and the public. Naturally they want to progress from their disenfranchised beginnings and yet it often seems that many who go the conventional route are deemed "oreos" (at least in the way I've sometimes seen it used). So sure Jay Z's big now with his label and clothing lines but he got there (as he says) by bucking the trend. They identify more with the misfit and the struggler because they see themselves as still struggling to get what they deserve in terms of equal treatment in many areas of American life.

If that made sense. :/

Interestingly enough the aboriginal rapper, Red Suga, refused the Canadian Aboriginal Music award over a similar issue. The Awards folks wouldn't let him perform because they didn't think his lyrics weren't authentically Aboriginial because he raps about girls.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

Wow, I haven't heard about this red sugah thing... interesting, I'll have to look into that! That's funny that he wasn't seen as being "aboriginal enough" because he was singing about girls instead of ... what? Sweetgrass and spirit bears? Lame.

Arethusa said...

Actually he refused the *nomination* sorry. http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2004/11/25/Arts/RedSuga041125.html

Maybe they don't like girls. :/

Gorgeous Girl said...

is the music society thing a class?

Bella_by_Barlight said...

Hi GG: No, it wasn't for school, it was at an art gallery downtown.