Sunday, June 17, 2007

a return to form

...or perhaps a somewhat new form: updates on random topics. otherwise heuriskein as we've come to know it will probably be put into indefinite retirement until i find an appropriate means and manner of keeping people abreast of nashville developments.

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i love the drive between cleveland ohio and london ontario: you can make the whole run in under five hours but the time goes by really quickly because no leg of the trip takes longer than 90 minutes. (cleveland-toledo, 90 minutes; toledo to detroit; 60 minutes; detroit to port huron, 60 minutes; sarnia to london, 60 minutes.) flat farmland punctuated by urban rustbelt. best also to go through the border at sarnia-port huron rather than windsor-detroit so as to use/buy less gas in canada. the 402 is one of the flatest and most desolate highways around. (the photo in the wikipedia entry looks positively lush by comparison). good trip for listening to whole box sets.

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renewed affection for all things london ontario.

freud's bit in civilization and its discontents about how "in mental life nothing which has once been formed can perish -- that everything is somehow preserved and that in suitable circumstances... it can once more be brought to light" -- from which he lauchnes his epic simile comparing the mind to the city of rome with all the buildings that ever stood in it over time all copresent in space -- is never more apt. i'm convinced that through neuroplasticity space hardwires itself not just into our thought process but our physiology as well, proprioceptors or whathaveyou. wandering throught downtown london upon my arrival -- on a weekday summer night it was bound to be a bit barren, but it's fallen on hard times all the same -- heading north on wellington the words "scot's corner" came to mind for the first time in probably twelve years. ten seconds later i turned west onto dundas street and there before me sat one of my favorite old haunts, the scot's corner.

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the range of ontario regional brews otherwise unavailable in the u.s. has grown considerably since i lived there. this is a product line that even the brickskellar in d.c. (which boasts of the largest bottled beer list in the city) is hopelessly clueless about.

go ahead, yanks: visit the beer store (ontario's province-wide retailer) and do a brand search. you will be dumbfounded by the amount and range of beer you've never heard of let alone tasted.

all i could bring back with me was a sleeman's sampler pack. sleeman is the premier regional brewer in the province (located in guelph), running a full line of its own products as well as picking up some other brews (like the upper canada line) from indie brewers that did not survive the consolidations of the late 1990s and early 2000s led by the biggies. sleeman makes a light, premium light, lager, "clear," IPA, dark, porter, and the three that come in the sampler pack: cream ale, honey brown, original draft. the cream ale is very clean, the honey brown nice and malty.

brick breweries of waterloo has managed to avoid selling out to the majors while simultaneously buying up a number of smaller regional brewers and yet still maintaining those product lines. red baron is their lager, and their waterloo dark was always a personal favorite, and the red cap ale was a popular brand in the 1950s that they resurrected. they also do the british-style conners best bitter and formosa springs line of cold-filtered draft products.

other great brews you are unlikely to encounter in the states: wellington brewery in guelph makes an excellent range of british-style ales (arkell best bitter, country ale, special pale ale, iron duke strong, imperial stout); creemore springs (not quite two hours north of ontario) makes a lager, pils and ur bock; and from out-of-province, keith's makes an IPA and amber ale from halifax, while big rock is the calgary microbrewer to beat with their pale and traditional ales along with a grasshopper wheat and warthog cream ale.

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undying affection for pere ubu. could not quite listen to all 5 CDs in the datapanik in the year zero box as i would've liked, and still finding my way through new picnic time and songs of the bailing man (which i've only just heard for the first time recently), but i do think dub housing is far and away the masterpiece. musings from the post-industrial sublime.

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do want to recommend the charlie parker pershing club recordings from chicago in 1950, formerly available only an an obscure 1976 LP release from the zim label of jericho ny (pictured below) but now reissued thanks to the good folks at definitive/disconforme (one of those fine spanish budget-priced reissue labels). the quality of the recordings is lousy and the rest of the band (chicago pick-up band featuring von freeman on tenor) is largely irrelevant sadly. but bird soars. makes me wanna get the benedettis and all the other live dates just for those solos...


Aldon Lynn Nielsen said...

what's this about "Nashville developments"???

kevin.thurston said...

i like upper canada

tho, all my canadian friends tell me that all sleeman's is now shit

i disagree, but suppose i could go on about how the anchor bar's wings now suck