Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:
Carl: In the 1980s the Cameron House in Toronto was a place where artists from disparate disciplines came together – where the Hummer Sisters ran for mayor, Video Cabaret told the history of Canada, Handsome Ned made his last stand, Prince dropped by to play the piano and Molly Johnson lived upstairs. That’s part of why, in 2001, we started the Trampoline Hall Lecture Series there. As the doorman for the series, I got acquainted with one of the owners, Paul Sanella, a little bit. He seemed like a really nice guy, and I was very sorry to read in NOW this week that he has died. Sympathies to his family, friends and Cameron comrades.
Skip all the mucking about in this video and go straight to about 1m45 to see a crowd of minor British pop stars (and Billy Bragg, who phoned his part in) perform John Cage’s 4’33”. Kinda badly. But I still want to see what happens if the campaign to make it the UK charts’ Xmas #1 succeeds – will it be played on the radio? So far it’s at no. 19. You can buy it online; it’s a bonafide charidee single too, benefiting a suicide hotline called C.A.L.M., the British Tinnitus Association and several music-therapy groups. (I just remembered this column about charidee pop I wrote a half-life ago.)
Margaux: Give the gift of Wikipedia – or – give Wikipedia a gift. They just need your one dollar. http://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=WMFJA026/en/CA&utm_source=20101214_JA013A_EN&utm_medium=sitenotice&utm_campaign=20101214JA022&referrer=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
Chris: Two bizarre comics-related stories this week, one tragic and the other comic. The latter involves Idris Elba, so good as Stringer Bell on The Wire, who’s playing one of the gods in that upcoming Thor movie. It seems that a few white supremacists are losing what’s left of their minds over the notion of a black Norse deity, starting yet another website for aggrieved nerds: Boycott-Thor.com. Comics Alliance has the story. My favourite part was the discovery that one jowly racist pundit wrote a column called “Shots Fired,” probably not named in tribute to the Jadakiss song / general hip-hop slang.
The other story is a dark one, and as Tom Spurgeon wrote, “there’s not really much to say about something like this that isn’t weird, off-putting or both.” Though it did put me in mind of the original V for Vendetta serial by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. A problematic book, dating back to the period when many British artists believed (with some justification) that Thatcherism would collapse into a fascist nightmare, but a book with moments of strange power at its margins. I went searching online for the text of “Valerie’s letter.” The simple, direct prose still knots my throat:
“I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. It is small and it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world that’s worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I don’t know who you are, or whether you’re a man or woman. I may never see you. I will never hug you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you.”