Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gramophones and Leprosy

Sonja and I went to see Andrew Bird at the Opera House last night.

Although I'm a bit of a music snob and completely into music for all it's worth, I'm not completely into musicians. When I was in high school, I used to scour the Internet for the latest bits of gossip about my favourite artists. But then I stopped. I don't know what sparked it, but I think adding the visual to the audio was completely unneccesary. Knowing about musician's lives didn't add to the music for me; it just took away from it. For me, video truly did kill the radio star.

With that being said, I had no idea Andrew Bird was a master whistler. Which is kind of embarassing, I suppose, seeing as this is what he is known for, and probably where he earned his monicker.

But even more, I'd have to say that Andrew Bird is the best all-around musician I've ever seen live. Hawksley Workman puts on the most entertaining shows, Ted Leo is the best guitarist I've ever seen, but Andrew Bird is capable of playing possibly every musical genre, and playing it well. (However, this was not the best show I've ever seen. I'm not quite sure what musician garners that honour. Andrew Bird himself, as a personality, kind of bothered me. He seemed to have an air of hubris combined with his eccentricity. He's the kind of guy who never had to fight for a music deal--he probably had it handed to him. But when you're that accomplished of a musician, I suppose a little egoticism is in order.)

He had a double-sided gramophone on stage that was miked, and when Andrew Bird pressed a pedal, it would spin rotationally. He sampled one of those children's barn-yard animal noise toys. He could whistle each note on his xylophone dead-on, and when he was playing his violin like a violin (rather than like a guitar, which is what he did for half the show), he could make it mimic his voice and vice-versa.

Also, if you're trying to figure out what to put in your parents Christmas stocking, an Andrew Bird album is a sure bet--one fifth of the crowd last night had grey hair and bald spots.

It was phenomenal.

And then I woke up this morning with pink eye.

I successfully avoided my annual third-week-of-school-cold by popping Cold FX pills like there's no tomorrow, but I knew my good health was too good to be true.

I've never had pink eye before, so I have no idea how I even got it. Possibly from failing to remove eye makeup? Or perhaps from my bad habit of continuously sticking my fingers in my eyes to readjust my contacts throughout the day?

Well, today is glasses on. I can't get in to see a doctor until tomorrow morning. The Internet advises that I shouldn't go to work, since I'm highly contagious, but I'm set to interview the former editor of Chatelaine today (thankfully, it's a phone interview, but I need to use the phones at school). And today is the first masthead meeting for McClung's. (I was going to bake brownies for everyone at the meeting, but that's been chopped off my list of things to do.) And today I have to write assignment letters, and do research and hopefully do more interviews. And I have to write assignment letters for McClung's winter issue.

The worst thing about pink eye, apart from having to replace all my eye makeup (and all I own is eye makeup), is not what it looks like. It's the fact that people shudder in fear, that they too will be inflicted with the dreaded zombie eyes. I might as well be a leper.*


*Leprosy isn't actually contagious. But that's beyond the point.


  1. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Leprosy isn't congagious? Huh. What causes it?

  2. They're still not entirely sure what causes the transmission of leprosy. It Is technically infectious, and could possible be passed from one person to the other, but segregation of lepers is totally unneccessary. It used to be believed that you'd get leprosy just by touching a leper, but this is not accurate.

    So basically, leprosy is contagious, I guess, in a way. But only through mucous exchange or some nonsense like that.

  3. It's actually a disease of the nervous system that kills nerve endings. Disfigurement comes from the bodies inability to sense things like burns, infections and other things that would be detrimental so things like fingers and toes become infected and gross.

    The only thing in the world that I hate more than "Yellow Submarine" by the beatles is Zombies. I cannot adequately describe to you the depth of my loathing of your appearance right now. I'm glad your 3 provinces over right now. If I saw you on the street I'd probably go at you with a cricket bat...

    Aim for the head. Shaun of the dead.

  4. Anonymous4:15 PM

    There was a priest called Father Damien, from Belgium, who went to work at a leper colony on Molokai. He got leprosy and died after some years. I have read it's minimally contagious but with prolonged exposure as he had transmission is more likely to happen.

    Sucks about the pink-eye.

  5. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Yes! It's like you're from that movie Return of the Night of the Dawn of the Living Dead!

    I'm thinking the 'continuously sticking fingers in your eyes' could be a factor here.

  6. >> He had a double-sided gramophone on stage that was miked, and when Andrew Bird pressed a pedal, it would spin rotationally.

    I'm glad you posted that, because after I looked at the photo, my question to you was going to be -- "What is that yellow double-sided Dr. Seuss lookin' thing mid-stage?!"

    A rotating double-speaker gramophone begs the question -- If you listen to the rotating-speaker-stylings of a Hammond B-3 organ from a pair of rotating gramophone speaker does it sound even more groovy?!?

    And speaking of groovy, there is not -- nor ought there be -- a better song about Owsley powered sub-surface water-craft than Yellow Submarine!

    I don't believe I have had the pleasure of hearing Andrew Bird. I should try to track some down -- Eclectic electric could be pretty interesting. I've got a few friends who would likely have some. I give them jazz and blues -- they give me "indie" and "electronica". Maybe I can swap some Andrew Bird for some Charlie Parker -- "Bird" for Bird.

    I have had more than my fair-share of eyeball afflictions (including a Novocain shot in the eyeball and laser surgery sans anesthetic), but I have successfully avoided Pink Eye thus far (knock knock knock on wood). I've got nothing beyond "Bummer -- good luck!"

  7. Anonymous2:23 PM

    ummm... i really don't know what to say aside from, i hope it doesn't hurt as much as it hurts to look at. xo

  8. Oh, psh! You'll be fine. Just become of the those people who wears sunglasses indoors for a week or two and nobody will know the difference.

    Also, for future reference, the cricket bat isn't nearly as effective as a well-aimed sledgehammer.
    (I've been playing too much dead rising.)