I have to admit that in 2005 I totally lived under a rock. Not since 1994-96 when I was stuck in the basement apartment with a toddler-baby combo have I been so oblivious to the outside world. This year I kinda liked it that way. The TV antenna came off when the chimney got taken out last year ( a whole other traumatic house repair story that I'm still not ready to tell) and we have been doing without any TV channels since then. I didn't miss it. (Except awards show season and Idols) Apparently there was a lot of incredibly crappy stuff that I blissfully ignored.
One of my problems though, is that I am a pop culture junkie. The other problem is that I'm lazy. I know I can find out about stuff right here on my computer but can't be bothered. So I'm looking at my new copy of SPIN yesterday and out of the 40 albums of the year, I have heard of nine. I blame my radio station, which out of all the stations in Toronto, is the closest thing to current, at least in so called rock music. But it's about as Edgy as your Grandma.
So enough excuses: here's where my attention was for the last 12 months:
BOOKS I BOUGHT
-Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis. So glad I read this before embarking on my current project of Getting Off the Drugs. I am in constant agony for the past five days as the evil anti-depressant leaves my body--my eyeballs hurt, my skin is two sizes too small and can't be touched, and every small movement, sends a shooting pain up my back and into my skull. But then I think of Anthony sweating out the heroin in a skeevy hotel room and I think I might be okay after all. Oh yeah, and there's also pa-lenty of nasty sex and along the way he and his buddies make some records that have meant a lot to me.
-Tommyland by Tommy Lee. Technically it had two co-writers, one of which was Tommy's famous man-unit. This is a funny book. Not as funny as The Dirt but also not as disturbing. It has hilarity and tragedy. He really does a lot of backpedalling and apologizing when it comes to the women in his life. It's an unntentional cautionary tale about what happens to a fun lovin guy who gets way too much money and fame way too young. And it rocks.
-Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. Interesting kid's mystery involving one of my favourite artists. I can't help but wonder though, if I wasn't sharp enough to figure out the clues or if it wasn't exceptionally well written.
-101 Uses for an Old Farm Tractor. Tiny little book, so big on quaint and folksy that it could almost choke you. And I love it.
-Driven to Distraction by Hallowell & Ratey. The classic on ADD. I couldn't concentrate on it long enough to finish it.
-The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, by Edmund J Bourne. I had to quit reading it because it was giving me a chest pain.
-Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher. Our girl poisoning culture turns our daughters into thought-free barbie dolls. Had to quit reading it because well, I have an 11 year old girl who assured me that no boy would ever tell her how to think, and feeling better, I went to sleep.
-Elvis Lives and other Anagrams. Everybody who speaks English should look at this book. Hilarious.
-Zombie Butts From Uranus by Andy Griffiths. It's too gross for me but my 9 year old son loved it.
-Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. Great story.
-Post Secret, edited by Frank Warren. Look up Post Secret on Blogspot. Just do it. And don't tell anybody. tee hee
CDs I BOUGHT:
-Alter Bridge, One Day Remains. Alter Bridge is three quarters of Creed and one amazing singer they picked up. This is a rock record that only I and another buddy of ours bought, but then my non-edgy radio station put the first single at #87 on the Top 102 of the year, after playing it, like, once. I totally dig this one; it rocks. The singer, Myles Kennedy, is a mofo. He's got range, dynamic, everything, you don't get sick of him by the halfway mark. Don't let the Creed thing scare you off: the band kicks, and the songs are solid. It's a rare good sounding record too, in an age of heavily Pro-Tooled squashed grainy sounding crap.
-Audioslave, Out of Exile. I dug the first one and this one is better. Personally I think this is a line up that can't go wrong. All four of these guys are excellent. It completely rocks but there's more variety on this album, making it interesting to listen to all the way through. My kids approved too and they both have a finely tuned BS filter.
-The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan, and De Stijl. This new record is BRILLIANT and that's just the songwriting alone. Jack White doesn't put up with bad sounding recordings, instead letting the loose craziness of the playing take over. It's not sloppy, it's real. And adventurous- he's got a marimba, for cryin out loud! I went back and bought De Stijl and they weren't quite jelled as a "band" yet, but they had their sound down, and the songs are amazing.
-Iron Maiden, # of the Beast. Never bought it in high school because I didn't have to. It's still haaaavy, man.
-Brad Paisley, Part II. This is an excellent album. It's all there, good songs, good performances, comedy, tragedy, everything. And he really is a cutie. The kind of guy a hick like me can really love.
-Hedley, s/t. Anyone outside of Canada may not be aware of a firecracker of a singer called Jacob Hoggard, who took over Canadian Idol last year and darn near wrecked it for everybody else, ever, in any country. He can sing anything, he's a freaking comic, and cute as hell. He didn't win. But this year he's fronting a little skate punk pop type combo. My kids love him so I bought it. It's not bad. Jacob's a better singer than his whiny nasal peers. I'm not a big fan of the skate punk pop thing but it's listenable, and, despite slipping a couple of bad words, pre-teen enjoyable.
-The Legend of Johnny Cash. I've got about ten vinyls but no needle for my turntable. this CD will get me through.
-The Trews, Den of Thieves. You have got to love the East Coast boys doing their rock and roll Canadian style, which means guitars and booze soaked singalongs. These guys are great, solid songs, and one of the brothers looks like Euro-Jesus. Plus they make it worth your 13 bux by giving you about 15 songs.
-The Darkness, One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back. I love these guys. They rock, they strut, they nudge and wink. If you can't get over the silliness, concentrate on two things: writing and playing. They are excellent at both. And, they're English!
-Paul Anka, Rock Swings. The dude sounds great! And it turns out I don't hate Oasis that much after all. The swing version of Wonderwall converted me; it's a great song, as long as it's sung instead of groaned. This album proves that a great song can do any genre. Now if only I could get this one away from the studio long enough to listen to it.
-Weezer, Make Believe. Not a rocking album, by any stretch, and not their best at all. But, good melodies, totally unoffensive in every way, a pleasant listen. It just doens't sound all that passionate about anything.
-Rage Against the Machine, s/t. Finally. It's every bit as amazing as I remembered it being in clubs and other people's cars.
There were more but my CDs often end up at the studio. Or in his car.
DVDs I BOUGHT
-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I was afraid of this one! They could have ruined a classic, brilliant story. The movie wasn't perfect but they did get some things right. My kids LOVE this movie. They have all of Marvin's lines memorized. Come on, the voice of Alan Rickman and a little bit of John Malkovitch? Sam Rockwell as a rock star cowboy intergalactic president? I give up. Take me.
-Don Juan De Marco. This one came out in my basement apartment exile phase. Started watching it halfway through on TV years ago and then said, wait, I won't watch it until I see the whole thing! It's sugary, fluffy and totally escapist. Johnny and Marlon. Yep.
Also I snapped up vhs of Strange Brew about my favourite hosers, and Permanent Record, which nobody has heard of but made my cry when I was 16. This movie has one of Keanu Reeves' rare sensitive performances. I recommend it if you have ever been a teenager.
I WENT TO 4 CONCERTS THIS YEAR. HERE ARE THE BEST FOUR:
-Motley Crue. Chrome plated choppers, contortionists, fire breathing dwarfs, evil clowns, and a blast of tunes that made up a huge part of my rural mid 80s high school soundtrack. And, they sounded great!!! Wow!
-Billy Idol. My best friend's 17 year old daughter took me. I loved Billy 20 years ago. In fact, I gave my young friend my precious Billy posters that I previously couldn't part with. Because she and I were dancing obnoxiously with ourselves we got moved down to the floor (guess they needed more fun loving people down there to look fun on the live DVD haha) where we were within sweating distance of Billy and let me tell ya, age 50 looks good on him. Oh and it was a decent show too.
-the White Stripes. One of the best concerts I've seen, EVER. Brilliant stage set. All music, minimal small talk. Yes, he made Meg sing twice but hey, it's nice of him, since she never speaks. We took our kids and stood there in our raincoats. It was awesome!
-Audioslave. Man, these guys are pro. It was perfect, it was passionate, and again, right up there on the BEST list. My daughter was almost asleep by the time the did "killing in the name of" for the first encore, but the boy, who'd never even heard it, stood there beside me dancing like a fool with oru fists in the air. We danced our way through the whole concert. Even Big Daddy nodded his head in time.
I PAID TO SEE A COUPLE OF MOVIES TOO:
-Fun with Dick and Jane. My sister and I saw this because Pride & Prejudice wasnt' playing nearby. It's okay, the characters were endearing, plot easily followed. Funny. Not hilarious. Worth a cheap Tuesday.
-Narnia. Again, terrified of ruination. Pleasantly surprised. The four kids were great, Tumnus was charming, the White Witch absolutely wicked. Got really turned off at the battle scene though. Must we put kids in danger for entertainment? Plus it was boring to watch.
-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. LOVED IT! let's see, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, and Roald Dahl. First we saw it in a theatre, then when we cottaged in Muskoka with our crew, we took the truck and some lawnchairs to the best hick redneck backwoods drive in theatre I've ever been to, and saw it again. I like grapes.
ALMOST FORGOT- The Corpse Bride. Many people complained that it was basically Nightmare Before Christmas with different characters, to which I reply, SO? I thought the age old struggle of choosing the good girl vs sexy dangerous girl was well done. Great looking movie. And a happy ending. What more could you need?
Okay I'm totally worn out now. This has taken me over two hours to write and my eyes hurt and every time I hit a key I feel it in my neck. I'm kinda sick of that now. If you got this far, thanks for reading! Feel free to agree with my opinion, haha!