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January 25, 2001

HOT OFF THE PRESSES! FISHPISS Vol.2 No.1! (Illustration ©2001 Jean-Pierre Chansigaud)

"Funny thing is my story doesn't even go from 1st person narrative to 2nd …it goes to 3rd person," Chris Burns protested on my answering machine yesterday. I'd called him the day before asking why on earth editor Louis Fishpiss felt obligated to warn readers precisely when his story was about to go deliberately askew, even though "Howdy Neighbor" was followed by the even more consciously ass-backwards experimental prose of Valerie Joy Kalynchuk sans interruption one. Patronizing as hell; "(at this point our story goes from 1st person narrative to 2nd person narrative. Ta-da! -Ed.)," Chris' transition doesn't come across half as disruptive as Louis' interference. It's like giving away the ending of a movie. He told me the story'd gone through rewrites aplenty upon "Ed.'s" insistence 'til he finally threw up his arms; "look, if it's gotta be so butchered don't bother printing it at all." I'm glad someone persisted 'cause it's a knee-slapper as are the majority of the articles making up this 6th & latest issue of the Montrealcentric self-published zine extraordinaire. After a year & a half wait, Louis finally concocts one o' the most balanced editions yet & it's his baby thru & thru so the occasional interjection from the voice of god has to be expected, making it arguably that much more endearing a read. The letters page, for instance, finds Louis writing to himself about Canada's ailing health care system from ER ("because no one ever writes to Fishpiss anyway"). "I'm fucking ashamed of my country," he laments, complaining of hunger pangs waiting to get a concussion checked.

I called Louis to quiz him on his cuddly intrusion but editing "Howdy Neighbor" was so long ago he claimed he could barely remember what the dispute was about. He sidetracked me w/an earful of angst (as he's prone to do without warning), all about the pisspoor state of affairs on planet earth today. Brand new global warming scares, the recent Galapagos Islands oil spill & the ongoing gentrification of his Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood threatening to obliterate local landmarks happened to be rankling his butt at that moment as was the recent merging of Montreal's surrounding boroughs into a proposed mega-city. Executed against the will of the citizenry, Louis saw it as the most obvious indication of the machinations of globalization rearing its ugly head so why was there no visibility of anti-WTO protesters at the demonstrations? Go chew on that one, Ricky.

I ain't gonna do inventory here, contributions're too numerous to mention, but besides Chris' yarn 'bout being held captive by a burly drug-damaged thug, standouts include slice-of-life explorations about telemarketing scams, T.O. snowstorms, Canadian drug smugglers, 60's pimps & MTL gangsters (complete w/directions to the actual surviving bullet hole recounted), odes to the virtues of poverty, & riot stories (w/a comic on the topic by yours truly). An ex-head shop proprietor describes the evolution of The Main from 70's hippie haven to present-day trendoid yup-magnet. True to Louis' bilingualism policy, a few stories run in French, including a poignant hard luck contemplation on a dimwitted neighbor & his sleazebag landlord beautifully illustrated by Chansigaud. The cover boasts an eyepopping Valium cityscape w/subtly serigraphed inside front & back cover doodles of his. Among others, comix by NguiMacMin (somebody give this guy a book), Guim, Suicide, Swiz, Braun, Mavreas, Lorenz (of Corpusse), Fidele Castree & the mysteriously melancholic & disturbing Joe Hale (anybody know his whereabouts?), plus record & zine reviews pad out this 78 pg. monster bargain. In stores by next week & unbelievably priced at a mere $2.50, pick a bunch up at Casa Del Popolo & all good Plateau shops or add a buck postage & order it straight from Spontaneous Productions Rgd., Box 1232, Place D'armes, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2Y-3K2.

From issue #2: "Fish piss is what ink used to be back when people sat at candlelit night-tables & dipped their bird-feather pens in bottles of it every few words."

New addition! Check out a new piece I just put up for sale in the Trembles Gallery, an old signed & numbered print I did back in '96 for Amphetamine Reptile Records that I have a few left of, advertising a Seattle COWS show.

January 18, 2001

INVASION OF PRIVACY! (Pictured below: bloodsucking chest-drainage unit Rick Trembles lugged around for weeks attached to incisions in his punctured lungs fresh out of intensive care)

I had a small glass of wine & 1 or 2 beers over 6 hours. Does that merit a visit from Alcoholics Anonymous? It sure added insult to my injury when I found an AA chip in my belongings on my way out the hospital. So here I am at the top of a hill in Old Montreal on my crappy ten speed bike waiting for the lights at the bottom to turn green with 2 beers & some wine in me that I can't even feel. It's about 2 AM & streets are a little wet from the rain, earlier. There's a dark parked van below me to my left, I'm on the right & the light turns green. Good. "I'll coast downhill, pick up speed, zoom through the intersection & cop a nice breeze," I'm thinking to myself already halfway down. Wait a minute. What's that fucken van doing? Why's that moron racing right? He's aiming for the cross-street! He's gonna cut me off! My breaks are damp & sluggish, so I try my darnedest to follow the idiot but he's too close to the curb & sucks me under like a vacuum cleaner. I hear a resounding "thump" & the wind gets violently knocked out of me. I'm on the ground trying to catch my breath, feebly lifting my arm to get anyone's attention, my glasses smashed to smithereens & my bike bent all outta shape. The streets are deserted all except for the culprit that did this to me, obliviously making his way into the garage of the Montreal Courthouse. Was it a truckload full of shackled prisoners? I'll never know. If it weren't for the guard at the entrance, I probably would've hemorrhaged to death. He called an ambulance from the nearby hospital & when they started frantically scissoring my clothes off I knew I was in trouble. All it felt like was a routine asthma attack, but the wheels apparently squished right over me. Ribs are flexible & internal organs are resilient, I'm just lucky that's where the driver chose to run me over & I was wearing a leather jacket (acts as a stretchy second skin). Slapped onto a metal slab with gutters in Emergency, the first thing they did was routinely make an incision in my lower stomach, probably so they could analyze the contents in case a lawsuit was in the picture because this half-assed driver was so in the wrong. I watched them fish for ingredients 'til the drugs they injected knocked me out. What I want to know is how did AA get a hold of my internal organs?

January 11, 2001

INTERVIEW WITH WROB LABELLE OF THE AMERICAN DEVICES! This hunk's been "punky-wunky" since seventy-seven!

SNUBDOM: In spite of the physical punishment of being a singer/songwriter & guitarist with the American Devices for over 20 years, your recent physique has raised a few eyebrows. To what do you owe your in-the-pinkness?

WROB: I know it sounds cliché, but it's all about diet and exercise. With my busy schedule, I don't have time for a split workout program (legs one day, upper body the next), so I've opted for the next best thing: an alternative weight load pattern --with a larger number of repetitions combined with lower weights, followed on the next workout day with fewer repetitions & a more punishing weight load. My workout begins with a cardio "climb" on the Stairmaster ®, level 6, for 15 minutes, followed by two abdominal exercises: two sets of leg raises & two sets of crunches. This is followed by four sets of squats. I get right into upper body, then, with four sets of lateral pull-downs --ranging from 135 to 165 lbs, & four sets on the bench press using 42 to 52 lb. dumbells. Triceps are taken care of with three sets of vertical lifts on the bar, & the whole workout finishes off with three sets of barbell lifts above the shoulder & three from the waist to the chest.

SNUBDOM: Pretty impressive, but you still haven't talked about what's powering all this. What do you put on the table?

WROB: Breakfast is either grilled fish or an egg-whites omelet with a bowl of oatmeal. Lunch is whatever, but dinner is usually a sit-down affair with a bit of preparation & a bottle of wine --And even if I'm alone, I light a candle for the table.

BULLETIN! Chris Burns' CRACKPOT (previously reviewed in Snubdom's Weekly Blather) are playing Casa Del Popolo Saturday, January 13 & so's his NUTSAK, Saturday the 20th (also featuring Sam Shalabi guitar, DEVICES' bassist Andre Asselin & local underground cartoonist Howard Chackowicz on drums). CRACKPOT's also opening for former PIXIE, Frank Black, Monday the 22nd at the Cabaret (2111 St-Laurent). Not bad considering they haven't even played half a dozen shows yet. DA BLOODY GASHES (previously reviewed in Snubdom's Weekly Blather) are opening for NYC's notorious TOILET BOYS at the Jailhouse Wednesday, January 17th!

January 4, 2001


Avoiding the discount throngs (Wednesdays), I paid full price to see Hitchcock & Art: Fatal Coincidences but it was still damn packed even though it lasts 'til March, probably because of the holidays. Some of the correlations suggested between his films & certain tendencies in art seemed a touch strained, but coming within inches of Mrs. Bates' actual shriveled, mummified death's head (the original wax prop used in PSYCHO) made it all worthwhile. Other highlights were the original Dali storyboard studies for the surrealistic dream sequence in SPELLBOUND & more boards (some originals & some duplicates) by William Cameron (INVADERS FROM MARS) Menzies & Saul Bass w/a small tribute to Bass' titles work. Magritte's "The Rape" helped illustrate one room devoted to Hitch's two-faced, icy-blonde leading ladies & 3 monitors simultaneously ran haunting film clips looping & freeze-framing the hypnotic Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak & Grace Kelly (her introductory slo-mo smooch with James Stewart gets me every time) immortalizing themselves in MARNIE, VERTIGO & REAR WINDOW, respectively. Clips were speckled throughout, illustrating the various art movements that influenced Hitch along with relevant paintings. Among many were the works of Grosz, Munch, Ernst, Chirico & original engravings from early Edgar Allen Poe editions. There were some great pre-production sketches for THE BIRDS by Albert (EARTHQUAKE) Whitlock but I was really hoping to see some of the original matte paintings he'd done for various Hitchcock projects (for example, much of THE BIRDS' locales never existed beyond Whitlock's masterfully undetectable SPFX). The motel bedroom where PSYCHO'S shower sequence took place is reproduced replete with a hazy, fleshy figure visible through a shower curtain & so are the crows on monkey bars waiting to attack children from THE BIRDS. No one could tell me, however, whether the life-sized bird figurines were actual props from the film or built especially for the installation. Two peculiar doodles attributed to Hitch drawn while making PSYCHO got a giggle out of me; a close-up eyeball glaring thru a peephole & a split-beaver scribble of a flaccid nude woman on a floor (!)

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