Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Stiglizt on Singapore

Singapore always felt safe in your embrace; in many, many ways it continues to be the world’s most remarkable town.  It a tiny triangular tropical island, total land mass about 27,000 NFL football fields.
Economically it’s a star having the third best GDP per capita and an actual turnover of $300 Billion annually. Consider that Canada has nearly ten times the population and resources beyond the imagination. But Canada has a GDP only six times larger than Singapore. In 1987 Singapore decided to build a subway system from scratch. Today it has 169 Kilometres, and is run as a profitable crown corporation. In 1987 Toronto had about 60 Km of Subway, today it has 69.
Joseph Stiglitz adds to the course of voices saying if you want to build a sustainable society, seek out Singapore.

More love from the 1%. Rent policy for the people.

Urban Gardening done right
photo by Edwin Koo

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Essential Covers for Baby Boomers

What are the top covers of the essential baby boomer.

According to Rolling Stone Jimi Hendricks takes first place. Also the Byrds and George Harrison have entries that would be on most lists.

My top ten can all be found on two fantastic albums. The 30th anniversary concert, and the amnesty international Chimes of Freedom. I have to admit entry to the 30th was immediate but it took some time for me to warm to the Amnesty.

1) John Cougar Melloncamp - Like a Rolling Stone. He Cougars it but it still sounds like a Dylan song. No video available but listen here.

2)Tracy Chapman-The times are a changing. Totally could have been a Tracy song. I love her music, and its surprising how much Fiest sounds like her.

3)I shall be Released- Chrissy Hynde. Could have been the B side of 2000 miles,

4) When the Ship Come in - The Clancy Brothers. I never realized how much Celtic influence this genre had on Dylan till I heard this song.

5)Desolation Row - My Chemical Romance.  Punked up speed version that rocks. Video rocks as well.

6)The times are a Changing - Flogging Molly. Celtic Dylan done right.

7)tonite I will be staying here with you- Sugarland. rarely does a cover exceed the orginal, this is one.

8) Property of Jesus - Sinad Oconner. It sounds nothing like Dylan.

9) I'll remember you - Thea Gillmore. A pure Dylan version. After hearing this you will be looking for more of her stuff.

10) I want you -Ximena Sarifia. A childlike cover

Special Achievement) Masters of War - Pearl Jam. Recommended by super fan #29. For me the pace is to slow and Eddie Vender wails to much.

Edie Brickell also deserves mention. I never realized she is Paul Simons Wife!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

True Patriot Love

Two icons pass away having changed their respective countries in completely different ways. Stompin Tom used soft power and a passion for expressing an ethereal opinion to define what it means to be a Canadian. Hugo Chavez used brute force, intimidation and hard power to change Venezuela from a neo Spanish colony to a modern western democracy.
I was in Venezuela twice.  The first time (1987) I stayed for a week in a delightful Hotel Melia Caribe in La Guaira on the coast. The people were kind and friendly, leather goods including shoes were exquisite. The second time was 1992 stopped for a day while cruising. The place had changed; people were harder, the beach needed to be protected with barb wire and machine guns. In 1999 a mudslide took out the whole area, as far as I know it has not recovered. Hugo Chavez became the elected President in the same year. His legacy is a mixed bag. What is indisputable is that he brought true democracy to Venezuela, and he reduced the poverty rate from 50% to 30%. This was accomplished by radical wealth distribution. This was detested by the USA. However, given the concentration of wealth masticating on the North American body politic, a Chavezian character is all but certain to be seen repeatedly in North America.

I never saw Stompin Tom live. I checked my I tunes today and found only Bud the Spud. He reminded a generation of Canadians of their roots: the small town characters and players doing purely Canadian things in a Canadian way. There was a simplicity and ferocity to his expression that resonated deeper and stronger than many artists that where much more popular and way more financially successful. He was another unique character the likes of which we will never see again.

the likes of him will never be seen again
the likes of him will never be seen again
when the call came to run he would rather walk
and when the butts went out he would lite up
and never cross the border
he would never cross the border
It was in Peterbough he got his name
Stoppin through plywood was his claim to fame
Four decades he played every honkytonk
Places the roof leaked in the rain
And the chairs would smash
And the glasses clash
While Tom would smile and play on
Only stopping when the cops came.