British Columbia has declared a public health emergency over the recent rise in fentanyl-related deaths. Good on 'em.
The numbers themselves are harrowing. The Globe and Mail wrote,
B.C. had 76 illicit drug overdose deaths in January, the highest total in a single month since at least 2007. At its current rate, the province could have 600 to 800 overdose deaths this year, Dr. Kendall said in a news conference on Thursday. B.C. had 474 such deaths last year, a significant increase from 211 in 2010.
It seems to me that "state of emergency" is an appropriate term to use, considering those statistics.
I think it's shameful that anybody needs to die due to poor public policy. I believe these deaths stem from a refusal to educate people due to matters of criminalization, which creates an abusive black market.
I don't know how to write about this as a coherent post with a beginning, middle, and end. So here's a bulleted list:
The following podcast with Johann Hari discusses an upcoming UN summit on worldwide drug policy:
Hari made this succinct thesis, paraphrasing Ruth Dreifuss, who legalized heroin in Switzerland:
When you hear the phrase "legalization" what you picture is violence and anarchy. What we have right now with the Drug War is violence and anarchy. We have unknown criminals selling unknown chemicals to unknown drug users—all in the dark, all filled with violence and disease. Legalization is the way you restore order to that violence and chaos.
I agree. Bring it out in the open and regulate it for safety's sake. Let's stop this prudish silliness and learn how to deal with culture without criminalization.
Here are some of the photos I took with it.
And a couple from a previous camerahack back in 2012.
With a title like that, I have to ask: Where's the other lover?
For the last month or so, I've been trying to slowly put together a recorded version of LSU's "Pound of Flesh" for some upcoming Michael Knott tribute album. I doubt I'll be able to get it to top notch quality in time, but it would be pretty cool if I did. Here's what it's looking like right now:
Here's a confession: I stole a cassette copy of LSU's Cash in Chaos World Tour from a cassette clearance bin years and years ago, like back in 1993 or so. (I've since bought a legitimate CD version of the album). I'm pleased so see that you can order Cash in Chaos World Tour on Bandcamp. And you should order it. It's one of the most enduring albums in my CD collection; I've been listening to it consistently for the last 20 years or so.
"Pound of Flesh" was the first song I really connected with on the album. The groovy bassline and echo-box vocals really jived with me and I enjoyed the way it was a long song that had enough melodic variety in it that it kept my interest while it also maintained a consistent tone. Its lyrics meshed perfectly with the music. I'd often listen to it over and over again; it truly inspired me to think about the way bass guitar can drive a song.
I doubt that I'll be able to do it justice. I've replaced all the digital chorus-y guitars with wah-wahs, and replaced all the flange-y guitars in the chorus with some straight Marshall distortion; the bass is a clean Jazz Bass doubled with the Rhodes; there's a touch of high-end synthesizer helping to release the recording from the classic "mud" that usually permeates my recordings. But it still sounds like me, doubtless.
I wouldn't be surprised if I don't get to record the vocals before the due date, but it's worth a shot. It's sounding OK right now.
The most frightening thing about it is the following part of the instructions that Joshua Lory posted on Facebook:
You see, I've never sent anything sorta' professional to a stranger. I don't know if my mixes sound real or if they sound absultely, completely amateur. I'm a little freaked out that, if I get it finished on time, I'll send the mix to the guy and he'll laugh at its utter ineptitude. I mean, Joshua Lory's mixes sound pretty good:
So we'll see. Here's to hoping I get it done.
Larry Norman died back in 2008. It seemed like a big deal to me at the time. I had followed his life and music since I was in Grade 7 and it really shocked me that he had finally, actually died. I mean, he'd sung about his impending death so much that it was kind-of weird that it actually happened. I planned to go to a little open-mic tribute show at The House of James in Abbotsford, but was thwarted by unique circumstances. I intended to play one of his lesser-known blues numbers, "When the Son Comes Back."
For all intents and purposes, I was a fan. I think I really enjoyed Larry Norman's music for the most part, or at least I enjoyed collecting it and following him. Some of his songs are excellent; a bunch of them are pretty good; lots of them are laughably bad. Late in his life, he released five or six albums a year on CD-R and I was able to generally keep up with the releases until I got married. Admittedly, most of these albums were disappointing, but I have to admit they were fun to collect.
After a while, I started collecting the albums more for the artwork and the liner notes than for the music itself. Music-wise, I expected disappointment: some raggle-taggle collection of outtakes that didn't deserve to be released in the first place, or perhaps a live concert with a bunch of the same songs released on ten other albums. He seemed to have a mission to release everything he put to tape, even the most unsuitable bootlegs, and often alluded in his newsletters that it was hard to tell what type of music his fans wanted. Apparently there are piles of tapes still sitting at his estate in Salem, still waiting to be digitized.
Recently, on Christian Nightmares, I read an interview with David Di Sabatino, the director of Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman. I saw the film a few years ago and wasn't impressed. I felt it was cheap and sloppy, extremely long, and obsessively shill-ish. Moreso, it seemed as self-indulgent as Larry's own liner notes: it made a big, big deal out of comparatively minor events. The film prompted loads of Internet and real-life drama for diehard Larry Norman fans. I even wrote a negative review of the film on Amazon.
But I couldn't shake a bunch of the film's accusations, largely because I felt he indirectly confirmed them by his many defensive and aggressive allegations in his extensive liner notes, interviews, and newsletters. Even when I was in high school, I could read between the lines and infer that there was more going on than he let on.
So, in case you're interested in the interesting Larry Norman story, although I can't recommend the film, I do recommend the interviews at Christian Nightmares. Here's Part 1: Here's Part 2. I feel that this interview is much more balanced than what came out in the film. Where the film came off as vendetta-like, these interviews come off as literate. Di Sabatino keeps it personal, describes his experiences clearly, and delineates the differences between his facts and inferences.
Here's one part that I appreciated, simply because it confirmed to me that somebody else read through the liner notes in a similar way:
And I appreciate what he says about being a "fan."
It's hard to say whether I'm a "fan" anymore. I only have five or six of his songs on my phone and I usually skip them when they appear in the shuffle. As much as I try to enjoy listening to the So Long Ago the Garden album (which is an excellent album) or scattered songs, interviews like this one have just tainted his image too much to really enjoy the music. And that's kind-of sad because I know his music brought me joy so many times before.
But here's a little version of one of his songs that I recorded a few years ago. His songs weren't all that bad. I just can't enjoy them anymore.
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