Said the Gramophone - image by Ella Plevin
by Mitz

Chrisma - "C-Rock"

Whenever I take an airplane, it's always a passive aggressive battle with a stranger to win an armrest. There is this secret battle. If I go to the bathroom, I lose my armrest. If he gets up, I win it back. Back and forth until we arrive at the destination. Maybe I should have opened up to the gentleman beside me on the plane this time, who looked like Edward Snowden, and discussed how we could take turns every hour for the armrest to make it fair, or maybe introduce a different system. One where you can bank time. For example, when I watch a movie I don't really need an armrest, so Edward Snowden can use the armrest then, but I can bank that time. But what if Edward wants to watch the new Denzel Washington movie, "The Equalizer" at same time as me? Easy, he can use my shoulder to lean on and we can watch the movie together. I think Edward would like Denzel Washington, his favorite movie genre seemed to be Thriller/Action, but it was hard to tell. Maybe he was just showing off in order to psyche me out, and win back the armrest. His favorite movie genre could be Rom-Com or Comedy/Drama, something heartyfelt like Stepmom(1998) featuring Julia Roberts. We would have to hack into his Netflix recommendations to know for sure.

After several flights, I arrived in my motherland of Japan, slept one night and took off to Thailand. Right now, as I am writing this, I am close to the ocean wearing only underwear which happens to be my older brother's underwear. I accidentally took it back to Canada last time I came to visit. I told this to some of my friends and I was really surprised to hear they have never worn any other persons underwear. I mean it would be weird to go to a thrift store and buy second hand underwear, but I thought everyone had worn a friends or a siblings underwear at least once. It's my brother's washed underwear which i have been wearing on and off for around a year since my last trip, so it didn't feel like a big deal to me. Though, I understand it might be weird to some people because everyone has ticks and things that weird them out. Personally, I hate when a waiter uses the word, "foodgasm" when he describes menu items. For example, "the flavors explodes in your mouth! it's an absolute foodgasm!". It may sound unbelievable, but happened to me once. I just stared at him totally speechless but Maybe he misunderstood I was having a premature foodgasm.

In Thailand the food is amazing, though apparently, it is common to get sick from eating street food or drinking tap water etc. I have been careful, but street food is where it's at. Cheap and delicious. I can't resist. So, after a week of being here, it happened, I got sick. The last two days i've been on the toilet pretty much constantly. More time there than I usually spend checking twitter, instagram, and facebook combined. Now, I bring my ipad to the toilet so I can double-task. I might be grossing you out so I'd better go. (cheap and delicious pun intended)


(photo source)

by Jeff

Describe the image

Sloan - "Snowsuit Sound" [buy]

Elevator to Hell - "Forward to Snow" [buy]

When I was a kid I loved getting bundled the heck up. Snowpants and boots, two pairs of socks, scarf, mittens, plus a balaclava or a toque with a gigantic pompom. I walked around feeling like an astronaut, impervious to the elements of space. Staring down at my clunky boots, listening to the nylon swish of my snowpants rubbing against each other.

One winter on the news there was a story about a guy, they showed him - long hair and a moustache - who'd lost a toe to frostbite when he played street hockey wearing jeans and tennis shoes in minus 40. Not cool, my ten-year old self decreed. Not cool at all!

At recess, I used to walk out to the far corner of the schoolyard and just plunk myself down in the snow. I'd stare up at the clouds and ponder the mysteries of the universe. I was a weird kid. But I was normal, too, and was happy to chuck snowballs or do that trick where you ask another kid "Did you hear what happened in Montreal last night?" and when they didn't you said "The lights went out!" and pulled their toque down over their face.

So I was a little philosopher and had my cruelty, as every child must.

What did I think about while lying alone in the back field, staring up at the grey midwinter sky? Who knows. Did I do it because I had no friends? No, I had friends, I just liked lying in the snow - I didn't make snow angels or anything.

It was quiet, peaceful. It was cold out, but I was warm.

image source

by Sean

Rozi Plain - "Actually". Contrary to Emma's assertion, summer may never arrive. Winter may cozy up, decide to see what May and June are up to. August! Been a long time! These months will greet winter with feigned delight, clumsy fancy handshakes, this pit-of-stomach uh-oh at the newcomer. Everyone except the kids can see that winter is trouble. Everyone who has been around the block knows not to lend winter money for his meter. It's only the kids who are delighted by the season with ice in its eyes, snowflakes in its lashes. I'm having a picnic - you should come! someone tells winter. Winter says OK, winter says it'll be there. September and November exchange knowing glances. But already winter's canoodling with someone in the corner, blowing breezes in their ear, holding a glass of white wine in each chilled hand, making smalltalk about blizzards and curling, the best places to go cross-country skiing. Sometimes, when change is in the air, people get the wrong idea. The maybes they begin to imagine are the maybes that should never be permitted to occur. They listen to the high pipes of possibility, its young harmonies and new rhythms, they think: Worth a try! No, not worth a try. Don't renew winter's visa; don't offer to let it crash on your couch. If there's a perfect new song on the turntable, a song by a London musician called Rozi Plain, let it be a goodbye song not a hello anthem. Don't let winter get any ideas, allured as you may be. Listen to the sunbeams, the postcards from warmer places: they are sending you a message. They are frightened of the forecast. They don't want February friends. [video/more]

by Emma


Jay Arner - "Surf Don't Sink"
Sylvan Esso - "Uncatena"

It's coming. I know it's cold now but it's coming, I swear. I've never been wrong before and I'm not about to start now. Soon, so soon, picture you: warm, free, on the island or out in the desert, in the passenger seat of a rusted-out something, cigarettes, phone-glow, your hair like the tape from an unwound cassette, your hair whole-city perfect in the porthole of a beached Airstream. So soon for the sun sinking into the tangle of trees and mountain, for the orange light melting into the lake, with the tire swing and tambourines and the slip of moon in the sinking blue dusk. All those shitty orange streetlights blinking at you like come on, come on. Right now it may feel like you're swallowing glass every time you breathe in, but soon you'll be wearing jean jackets every single day and laughing like a movie, with your head back, like you've never met a winter in your life. Someone will take a photo of you in shorts, holding a tall can of shitty beer in the city's dumbest park, and it will be so beautiful that somewhere deep uptown an office tower will collapse just from holding its breath about you. The green of things will be air to you, white noise, everywhere, nothing, and you will move through your days with an ease we don't yet have adverbs or units of measure for. How long is a month, a few months? An hour? A half-measure? It's nothing. Less-than. You've eaten breakfasts longer than it's going to take to get there. We're so close. Almost. Almost. I promise.

[buy Jay Arner / Sylvan Esso]

(image: the "slurpee waves of Nantucket")

by Sean
Many tables in the wood

Mount Eerie - "Books". There is nothing in the library. There are rivers, rapids, peregrine falcons. There is no one in the library. There are pilgrims, wrestlers, weavers. There is no when in the library. There are epochs, coronations, widowings. There is nowhere in the library. There is moon, Byzantium, Miami Beach, Florida. [buy]

(image source)

by Mitz

Miharu Koshi - "Scandal Night" [buy]
SAADA BONAIRE - "The Facts" [buy]

One Saturday, he was just strolling around St-Michel flee market(those of you who don't live in Montreal, it's an indoor flee market that has many vendors who sells anything from mid century modern furniture to complete obsolete junks like laser discs and fax machines). He was just looking for a VCR for his installation art piece. He finds a VCR and takes it to his studio which he shares with 13 other people in 900 sq ft space in this industrial "loft" with one working toilet for 46 people in the building. No one brings toilet papers ever. He often wonders about his studio-mates how they wipe their bums. But it's none of his business.

After he buys VCR from St-Michel flee market and gets back to his studio. He realizes there is a video tape already inside. He starts to watch it as he eats his bunner(breakfast/lunch/dinner combined) consists of 3 for $2.50 Samosas from his corner store and $1.25 chocolate muffin which is basically oil and butter, and fresh Arizona iced tea that has graphic design stuck in 1994 Space Jam-era.

The video tape seems like a blank one. He fast forwards for 10 minutes. Nothing. then all of sudden, someone vaguely appears. Soon he realizes it's David Suzuki. and he is naked and seems like he is working out alone in a room with nothing in it. Just him and his beautiful toned muscles. Then, the tape cuts out. He yelled in his mind, "David Suzuki Sex Tape!!!!!" even though he is not having sex in the video. He just called it Sex tape in his mind.

Next day, he goes back to where he bought his VCR and look through all the 231 VCR to see if there are any other ones with tapes in them. He finds another one. He bikes home like Lance Armstrong and press play on VCR like Jose Canseco. This time, it's in nudist beach with a lot of mid life crisis people. He recognize one person in it. It's Bob Ross. Again, naked and giving massages to fellow nudists. He was really shocked. "OMG! Bob Ross Sex Tape!!!!" even though he is not having sex.

Now he obtains two scandalous sex tapes.

I've been thinking about this story for late 5 years or so. I don't know why. Please help me.

by Jeff

Describe the image

Vivian Girls - "When I'm Gone"

In the summertime in Nova Scotia it's rare for us to leave the house without some kind of container to hold whatever berries we might come across. Writing now, in the middle of winter, it's difficult to remember the schedule of their arrival. But I know that after the solstice the berries start coming one at a time, a new variety appearing as the previous one starts to run out.

I only started picking berries a few years ago, so I'm still pretty slow. It took me a while to train my eyes to see them in the bogs and woods. But once I got a taste I became much more attentive to the wild and sweet things growing all around. Small flashes of colour mixed into the green and brown landscape.

Raspberries ripening on the side of the road, blackberry canes covered in spines, wild blueberries in a woodlot dense with mosquitos, cranberries near the beach. Gooseberries, foxberries, huckleberries, wild strawberries, even bakeapple in the bog, a rare treat that tastes like sweet apricot.

Picking is a nice way to pass the time, gathering berries from one patch and then moving along to the next. Some berries have already been pecked by birds while others have yet to ripen, and stay on the vine for whatever animal comes by at the right time. Hours pass quietly, looking down at the ground for brightly-coloured fruit, satisfying the ancient human urge to pay attention and collect. Time passes like this until buckets are filled, or the weather changes for the worse, or the bug bites become intolerable.

The berries grow for a short time and then they're gone, whether you pick them or not.


(photo of foxberry picking by Spike)