plainwhiteroom







plainwhiteroom are Kerri and Tim. We work and play in Toronto.


   
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Apr 10, 2007
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Posted at 02:24 pm by timker
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Dec 28, 2005
Hockey Rinks & Padded Dinks

I was playing an amazing compilation from the early 80s today called "Electric North" on cassette. Had it cranked on this Harlequin tune called "I Did It For Love", and me and Peter and Christopher were loving it large. Anyway, as many are want to do when they listen to Canadian rock from the late 70s to mid-80s, we tried to figure out what that magic sound is -- 'cause let's face it, gang, as good as they are, all the Arcade Fires and Dears and Stars can't hold a candle to this shit, for some reason. New Pornographers come close, maybe, and they must be trying real fucking hard. To quote a Harlequin tune, there's a certain "Innocence" lying therein that just makes it pure magic. In some ways, it's the last vestige of colonialism reflected in our popular culture: Canadian rock from the early to mid 80s that is a hybrid of cheesy American arena rock and British new wave. All the disparate regions in Canada came to the same conclusion, and the result was what we like to call "FIERO ROCK". They couldn't completely grasp the nuances of the latest trends in Brit and US pop. So my friend Christopher was listening to the Harlequin tune, and it's got a tell-tale Cars rhythm, with the tight, precise guitar and then it's also got a bit of the new wave British mono-synth sound. But it's done up in a slightly corny way. The end result is clearly, unmistakably Canadian. Unlike the Cars, there isn't any sense of urban-ism, and unlike the early Depeche Mode stuff, these bands did not have the cool style. These bands came from Regina Saskatchewan or Chilliwack BC (there's even a band called Chilliwack). And when you hear this stuff, you can almost smell the gasoline from the zamboni when the guy cleaned the ice of that morning to get ready for the plywood planks that were laid down for the 7pm show at the Memorial Gardens. Tomorrow there's a bonspiel, but tonight, motherfuckers, YOU'RE GONNA ROCK!

 

There was no place to hit the scene: there wasn't a CBGB's in Medicine Hat,. Last I checked, Moose Jaw's Haight Ashbury was some dude's driveway that that you had to shovel out every Saturday when you finished your paper route.  Nobody went to Art school, they went to tech school.  AM radio was Agro reports you heard when you were plowing the fields with Pops.  All you could wait for was the evening to roll around to hit the fuckin Dairy Smooth next to the bingo hall to show off your El Camino, or your brother's new Charger.  Garages were too cold, so they played down in the rumpus room, sucking on a Texas mickey of Canadian Club.  They had the posters of The Nuge and Foreigner, but they couldn't mack the styles down in Yorkton.  Lots of sweat bands and lumber jackets started to make the inroads - a good decade before grunge!!!

 

I'm talking about Loverboy, April Wine, Aldo Nova, Strange Advance, Streetheart (possibly the fucking torchbearers of CanRock), and [insert your fave Canadian band here]. Have a look at a band shot of Streetheart and you'll know what we're talking about in terms of style.

Balding guys in their early 30s with spandex pants or way too tight Sergio Valentes they borrowed from their sister. And when you hear their songs, you instantly love them, but only if you were born and raised somewhere in small-town Canada. They do a wicked cover of "Under My Thumb" and they cheese it right the fuck out - with, dare i say, a whole lot of soul. Head nodding and stubby-beer drinking down at the bar.  The hot chic with the tight jeans who was two grades ahead of you in high school changing the ash trays.  Her boyfriend outside with the hood of his 'Cuda up, showing off the four barrel 454.  The guy who could hook you up with a gram or two of gold seal hash. 

 

A world of pool tables, soft ball teams, chicken wings, pictures of Blue, and, yep, a lot of love.

 

Check out Dave Bidini's On A Cold Road for more info on the magic that is CanRock. And fucking give 'er.

 

 


Posted at 07:16 pm by timker
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Dec 6, 2005
PARIS RIOTS

i had this dream last night that is obviously connected to the recent paris riots going on. i was at work and it was early evening. a bunch of us were looking out the window of our office, and it was complete mayhem outside -- i guess it was college street. a bunch of kids were standing on a bus and others were beside the bus and they were rocking it back and forth to get it to tip over. It was crazy, people were yelling and this massive bus was tilting back and forth and all these kids were on top of it and then suddenly after this one big push it fell on its side. All the kids who were on the bus slid off and fell to the ground and got crushed by the bus, and all the kids who were rocking the bus from the side got crushed by the bus. I kept thinking how stupid they were not to consider this major consequence of their actions. i called kerri on my cellphone and told her what happened. i went outside to check it out and it was a crazy scene. There were looters everywhere and gangs fighting and going completely mental. I was just trying to walk home, and i kept having to get out of the way on the sidewalk because there was always something going on with some kids. At one point i was walking past a mechanics shop or something, and a bunch of kids had taken it over and were weilding broom sticks and this action spilled out onto the sidewalk and road. They met with another group of kids who also had broomsticks and regular sticks and they started in on this broomstick fight, which i was caught in the middle of. i remember feeling scared that i was gonna get hit or beat up, but somehow i managed to push my way through and dodge the sticks. i called kerri again on my cellphone and told her about that whole scene. then i continued walking home and eventually the craziness died down and i was in a calmer, residential area. i may have even decided to take a taxi the rest of the way, but i can't remember...

Posted at 10:53 am by timker
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Oct 10, 2005
The MacLaren Clan VS McDonalds

 
So my surname Lawrence is a bastardization of the Scottish surname MacLaren -- drop off the mac part and you get Laren, then through the centuries I guess it morphed into Lawrence. So I have Scottish ancestry flowing through my blood.

Anyway, my parents went to Scotland in the 80s and brought me back a bunch of stuff connected to the MacLaren clan -- a scarf with the MacLaren tartan pattern, the MacLaren shield, for example. I thought that was pretty cool that my family name has a real old history. And just last week I went to this Scottish Clan website to see if there are any cool Braveheart type stories associated with the MacLarens, and sure enough there were some really wicked stories of feuding and triumph and all sorts of crazy shit. One story told of how, at one point, the MacLarens yielded such power in their community that other people wouldn't enter the local church until the MacLarens had all entered. Pretty neat, pretty neat. Pretty cool, pretty cool.

But the weirdest story had to do with a clash between the MacLarens and the massive McDonald clan:

According to the custom of the time the MacLaurins had made a foray on the lands of the MacDonalds in Lochaber. On their way home, driving a great spoil of cattle, they were overtaken in Glen Urchy by the wrathful MacDonalds, and the spoil recaptured.

Pretty hilarious that a clan called McDonalds takes our fucking cattle. Even hundreds of years ago Mayor McCheese and Quarter Pounder McGee (who weighed a lot more than his name would imply...) were intent on destroying the livelihood of the independent entrepeneur. If that battle hadn't occured, it's entirely possible that we'd be eating MacLaren burgers today, and I would be one rich motherfucker.

Posted at 07:20 pm by timker
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Jul 11, 2005
Barbi Benton is Hee-Haw-larious


Remember her? She was a regular cast member of Hee Haw in the early 70s (that show was fucking awesome). I think since then she's appeared sporadically in lame slasher flicks. Anyway, dig this quote of hers:

"I believe that mink are raised for being turned into fur coats and if we didn't wear fur coats those little animals would never have been born. So is it better not to have been born or to have lived for a year or two to have been turned into a fur coat? I don't know."

A human being came up with that retarded philosophical conundrum. Let us pray...

Posted at 04:57 pm by timker
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Jul 7, 2005
SMELL YOUR OWN NOSE!

Years ago I was walking the streets of Osaka with my friend Chris Pegg (who, incidentally, has just moved to fucking Chiang Mai Thailand with his fiancee holy shit). Anyhoo, he was telling me this story about how one time he kept smelling this strange smell everywhere he went. The smell never went away, so he started washing his hands frequently. And the damn smell was still there. Did all the stuff we'd all do, right? Check your shoes, smell and/or wash your clothes, take a shower, whatever. Fucking smell was still there. And then he realised (I have no idea how), that what he'd been smelling all along was the smell of his own nose. Do you understand me? He was smelling the inside of his nose. And I gotta tell ya, ever since he told me that story, I've been smelling my nose all the fucking time. Today, in fact, it's been driving me el kanutso.

Posted at 12:11 pm by timker
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Jun 23, 2005
HOW WARS START



MSN CHAT BETWEEN ME AND A CO-WORKER THIS AFTERNOON

Garreth says:

I'm telling you, if Tommy Hilfigger launches "Pantaloons, by Tommy Hilfigger", everyone will start using the full word, not the informal 'pants'...but maybe guys like us don't want that. Maybe it's an indy word for only us to use...?

tim at work says:

pantaloons is the indy word? or pants?

Garreth says:

well...pantaloons is honestly indy but I guess 400 yrs ago it was the main word and some enterprising young hipster shortened it to pants. 

tim at work says:

yeah quakers and pioneers were using that word like it was going out of style, man. they were dropping that shit like it be hot.

Garreth says:

hell yeah. One of them, I think the guy who founded Quaker Oats, tried to say "Man, I spilled ketchup on my 'loons! Fuck." but everyone laughed at him. They were like "'Loons'? What the fuck are you talking about, do you mean Pants? Haha, you're such a dufus."

tim at work says:

and he was like "Yo, check out my dope porridge over here. That's shit's a bag o' chips, word".

Garreth says:

That's totally what he said. That brings up a good point, use of the term 'Porridge' over 'Oatmeal' divided the country for centuries dude. MILLIONS did without breakfast. Millions

tim at work says:

i think that's how the muthafuckin' civil war started, actually. it was a geographical thing.

tim at work says:

buddy from the south was brewing up some "oatmeal" in his chuckwagon, and he came upon homeboy from the north who was mixing up a similar batch of "porridge" and the two looked at each other and were like "Uh-uh, not in my muthafuckin' house you don".

Garreth says:

haha. Yeah. you had it right when you said geography...The Yankees were like "we're the north" the confederates we're like "The fuck you are. The earth is a round ball dude, how the fuck do you figgure you're 'north' of us if there really is no top or bottom. We're fucking north, you're under us, but the other way." The yankees we're like "No." and then they fought.

tim at work says:

and i distinctly remember that one of the teams had a fucking trebuchet while the other crew had a bunch of catapults, and the trebuchet guys were going "how fucking dare they rip off our trebuchet design and call it some other stupid-ass name! and look at them wearing fucking pants and eating porridge! this shit is whack!"

Garreth says:

For real guy. You know "Trebuchet's" and "Pantaloons" have way more cache then "catapults" and "pants" ...but in truth 'Porridge' sounds way classier than 'Oatmeal'

tim at work says:

i'm sitting here right now trying to explain this conversation to chris and it's not coming out too well

Garreth says:

not surprised. you have to be retarded like me and slightly deranged like you to get it.



Posted at 04:20 pm by timker
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Jan 26, 2005
Waxing Poetic on Luba & Juice Newton


 


Tim: hey got a bunch more tunes last night. I think we're at 1.2 hours or

something. the only songs that have proven difficult to locate are:

manhunt, that Luba track, any dalbello stuff, Melissa Manchester.

 

Peter: too bad about Luba, I am craving a little "picture I cry, oh I cry" right f'ng

now.  nobody has a greatest hits of Melissa Manchester out there? jeez

louoise!!! you got me on a "manhunt" right now!!!

 

Tim: I love that Luba track too but we may be bust on that one...that track is so wicked it's a

cheesy girl ballad but it's got balls man...heavy balls. that one followed

by angel of the morning would make my head explode. curtains

drawn, light a bunch of candles, simulate rain by standing in the

shower...stereo cranked real high. Thatís after-school special material.

 

Peter: "Every time I see your picture I cry" followed by "Angel of the morning"? 

That's a one-two punch you just donít walk away from.  I'm gettin chills just

thinking about those tunes.  Whoa...thatís the kind of thing you do to

yourself after Jeffrey dumped you at the mall and you threw his Zeller's

gold chain at him in a fit of rage.  I want to wrap myself up in a cashmere

blanket and hold myself tight as Luba and the Juice confirm my misery. 

Sometimes it feels real good to feel real bad, you know?  lets you know that

Youíre alive.......

 

you got to get that Luba track, man. I donít know if I can hold on without

it...

 

Tim: I know man, I know...but it's gonna be all right. we'll be stroking the flames liggidy splitz. Iíll find that shit. I think we may have tapped onto some secret love code or something with those two tracks back to back like that. it's like the quintessential expression of youthful emotion.

 

you captured the energy and power evoked from those tracks perfectly in that last email of yours.

 

Peter: "Every time I read that email I cry......."

 

Damn, that Luba tune is blasting in my head right now, and Tim, you are

right, we really got to the heart of the matter yesterday about it.  Its

like what you said: "Itís a cheesy chic ballad...but its got balls!"  Damn

rights.  Bigger balls than most men or macho tunes that I have ever had the

pleasure to have come across in my life. (wait, forget that "pleasure",

"come across" thing) anyways, we all get the idea.  that little (yep,

Ukrainian) girl can belt them out, and if you put her on the right song,

with the right producer, at the right time of life, well.....lets just call

it what is:

 

Magic.

 

I'll dig high and low to find that track.  Because you canít put a price on

magic, not in this lifetime.

 

Peter (changing my last name to 'Kowalchuck') Dowhaniuk


Posted at 03:53 pm by timker
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Jan 7, 2005
So Anyways, This Blew My Mind

I'm training a woman at my office named Joanne Shimakawa, and she happened to mention that her hobby is building scale models of furniture and home items for dollhouses. She also makes scale models of Japanese food. This came up when I was asking the trainees the typical "So, what were you doing before you joined our company?", and you get a lot of stock responses such as traveling, going to school, etc. So when Joanne mentioned this dollhouse furniture thing, I was a little surprised to hear that she's involved in such an uncommon, possibly dying pastime. Anyway, later in the day she showed me her website, and I was completely blown away when I saw some of the furniture she makes. And THEN she showed me the tiny Japanese bento boxes and sushi plates.

Are you fucking ready for some samples, gang?

Here ya go.

And here ya go again.

Can you believe that shit? There are little tiny objects on the little tiny shelf. Come on! She even made a little tiny goddamn plant on the little tiny endtable!! I haven't even touched on the sofa, have I? You understand what I'm talking about here. And the bento box looks like a photograph of a real bento box! She's even got the tempura looking like real tempura! The woman has an incredible talent, and I suggest you check out her site if this stuff at all interests you: Joanne's site.

I'm not a big fan of dollhouses or dollhouse accessories, and my sisters never had a dollhouse when they were kids. But I am a huge fan of talented people.

Posted at 07:06 pm by timker
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Dec 31, 2004
Park Your Shoes Under My Bed

My nephew Justin got the BC Rich Signature Series Flying V Electric Guitar.

My nephew Dustin got a Fender Squire bass and Fender amp.

My nephew Michael got this freaky looking clear, transparent XBox.

My neice Sarah got an arcade size air hockey table.

I got a scarf, Boggle, Wild at Heart dvd, some lottery tickets and a book.

One funny story about the holidays: my one nephew who got the custom gibson flying V guitar, and my other nephew who got the fender bass and amp had a rockin' christmas, obviously. we were sitting in the living room having coffee and snacks and these guys were blasting out sabbath and ac/dc riffs at top volume. at first we didn't mind/notice that much I guess, since me and Kerri and my brother and Cindy were talking and eating and drinking while strains of "War Pigs" and "74 Jailbreak" were being repeated (note: for 14 and 15 year olds, I was pretty amazed at their knowledge of classic metal, actually. Nice to see the lads are taking it to the source). It was a pretty weird sight: big Christmas tree all decked out, Christmas trinkets all over the place, carpet riddled with wrapping paper and opened gifts, older folk sitting on couches and chairs nibbling on shortbreads, and two high school students in baggy clothes and wicked bedheads jamming away in the middle of it all. Any sort of facsimile could not have done the image justice (even my description of the incident). Finally, after maybe a full 30 minutes, Cindy told them to take the band practice downstairs.

Kerri and I also watched a dynamite episode of Lawrence Welk on Christmas night. It was on an American feed of PBS. Repeat of a Christmas show from 1980, and Lawrence had all the people in his orchestra bring their families on the show. They all took turns singing Christmas carols, and some of them even played instruments. One of the families consisted of the guy who plays the keys in the orchestra with his wife, who played the Christmas bells, his daughter who played a xylophone, and his 16 year old son who played guitar. They played "Jingle Bell Rock", because - as the father mentioned - the son's rock n roll influence won over. Dad hits the "Rock" button on his organ and away they go. It had all the high school variety show amateur-ish feel that we've come to know and love on Welk's show, but it was also very pleasant and unbelievably wholesome to watch. There were so many other memorable performances that night. The drummer had his 3 year old son with him, and the son had his own tiny drumkit, while his 8 year old daughter did this cute little Solid Gold sorta dance. You would never ever see a program like this made in the current tv scheme. Just wouldn't happen. At one point, this guitarist who looks kinda like Englebert Humperdinck was singing a song with his wife, and Kerri's 85 year old grandma chimed in: "Oh I like this guy. He can park his shoes under my bed any day".

Happy New Year, everyone.


Posted at 02:27 pm by timker
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