As of a August 2nd, 2012 you can find my photographs in a little local magazine called Victoria Almost Free.
I'm excited to see my photographs in print again, and it has really helped bring my mood and feelings about what I'm doing back up. I understand art is a struggle and being successful takes lots of work, but sometimes a little recognition helps.
So, if you are in the Capital Region (Victoria area) you can check out my photos, and some great deals (lots of coupons). This months issue focuses on the Saanich Peninsula, and features a three page spread of my stuff.
Oh, and the cover shot is mine too.
There is nothing more terrifying than being woken up in the middle of the night by a wild animal. Well, maybe if it is in your bedroom.
I jumped. Am I dreaming? No. Okay, I swear I just heard something hit the blinds of the window above my head. The raccoons I hear rustling outside my window every other night have figured out how to rip the screen. This is how I'm going to die.
Did something just touch my face? Why does it sound like there is a fan on in my room? The ceiling fan is off. I know that.
Cautiously I reach across my bed to my night stand to turn on my bedside life. For a second catching a glimpse at the time 3:44 AM. With a flash of light I can see something small and black circling my room. It's getting quite close to my face.
I yell out a cuss or two, but cautious enough to not wake my landlords. I grab the pillow from behind my head, and without thinking start swinging. My instincts to protect my home and myself have kicked in.
Heart racing, sleep in my eye, and whirring in my head I roll out of bed. Keeping low. Everything I've learned in an action movie has kicked into gear. I try not to scream like a girl when I feel in my hair.
As soon as I'm in the hall every possible light is on. Including my ceiling fan. I reach for a weapon. The broom and dustpan as they are the closest to me. I still haven't identified my foe, but I have I my suspicions. It's either one of those asshole swallows from my carport or it's a bat.
I don't plan on killing whatever it is, but I want it out NOW.
One good smack with the corn broom, and it is down. I quickly throw a towel over it, and rush it out the front door. It's a bat. I put it down in the carport within seconds it regains itself, and flies off into the night. It has only been a few minutes since the bat first woke me up, but it feels like I've been battling it for hours.
I sink into my computer chair with a beer, and wonder where the bat came from. Did it fly in when I came home at 10PM? Did it come in through a vent? Is there a hole in the house? Are there more? I should write.
I've always jokingly called my place “The Bat Cave,” but that was more because of it being a basement suite. Dark, cool, damp, and cave like. I mean, who doesn't want to be Batman? Not like this. Bats make terrifying alarm clocks.
Foreword: I don't really know what to call this. I wrote this when I was on vacation in San Francisco alone in my hostel room in two different parts. It was weird, but it just kind of fell out of me. It was about a job I hadn't thought about in years, and frankly try to forget from time to time. Honestly, I think it came from seeing all the porno video stores still in business on Broadway.
I used to work in a video store. Yes, an actual factual video store that rented out VHS tapes and DVDs. You see I had these aspirations and dreams of one day becoming some kind of movie director. I pretty much spent all of my high school career gearing up for this eventuality. One that I quickly abandoned when I entered the real world. A kid needs dreams, right? Anyways, I digress. What job could be better for a kid who was eventually going to become film's next indie darling?
The movie store I worked in wasn't one of those indie video stores that let you sit behind the counter in your ripped jeans and Misfits t-shirt watching whatever you wanted. No, it was a corporate video store. Red polo shirts and khakis were the uniforms of our Video Reich.
This was The Movie Gallery. A fresh slice of hell without a porno section. Our store was surrounded by large televisions that just ran commercials over and over and over and over. By the end of your shift you had the latest direct to video horror films trailer memorized. You'd seen or heard these commercials so many times in your eight hour shift that they would start to narrate your dreams.
"In a world where Vin Diesel doesn't exist. One man must rise to occasion to fight the bad guys of the roller rink."
It's bizarre to think of how I functioned in the corporate structure of Movie Gallery. Half my shift was spent calling people about their late fees. Remember those? Movie Gallery was one of those places that kept charging late fees even after all the other video stores had dropped them. While I was working there I got a letter from a Collections Agent for $4. Yes, $4 in late fees. Remember I was working there at the time. What the fuck?
Within weeks I had been moved up to the ranks to shift manager. This meant I got to close, know the codes to the safe, cash out, and do the end of the night numbers. Something an 18 year old who just wants to be the next Tarantino wants to do. Instead of writing my screenplay about how hard life is I was learning about what it is like to slowly lose your soul.
One night before locking up I grabbed a movie off the shelf. Kind of without thinking. My friends had always said it was funny, and that if I wanted to get into film I really should watch this “indie” movie.
I think I watched Clerks three times that night before going to sleep. There was something about it that I identified with. Maybe it was that I was young and had no idea what direction my life was going in (I still don't), and I could relate to these characters more than most of my friends at the time. That's a shit thing to say, but true at the time.
There was one line that stuck with me throughout my multiple watches that night, and it was “shit or get off the pot.” It's one of those lines you hear all your life, but it never really clicks with you. All of a sudden I knew what I had to do.
It really seems lame to say that I quit a job because of a movie, but it's the truth. I'm slowly coming to that realization again. That I need to “shit or get off the pot” with a lot of things in my life.
I just need to remember to flush when I'm done.
I decided to get an early jump on my Record Club notes for May as I'm going on vacation soon, and it's my birthday tomorrow.
May is another theme night for our little record club. We will be meeting up at Smith's Pub on Tuesday May 29th, 2012 to play some of our “Guilty Pleasures.”
I don't really know what constitutes a “guilty pleasure” because you enjoy it. Why should you feel ashamed for your music taste? I'm sure everyone has some Unknown Pleasures (sorry had to make the joke). If you've ever spent some time with me on the road, at a party, sat in my living room, or just know me well you'd know I love new wave.
To put it simply Big Country's The Crossing is one of my favourite albums. You probably know their one song “In A Big Country” and that's about it. The 1980's put out some great music like Chalk Circle, The Psychedelic Furs, Boomtown Rats, and Rough Trade. That's not even the bands I love the most like Echo & The Bunnymen, The Church, and New Order.
I've had a girlfriend almost break-up with me because of how much I liked “In A Big Country,” but what can I say she had bad taste in music. I guess my love of new wave borders on something more. Most people hate it so I guess that makes it my “guilty pleasure.”
First up is Talk Talk's “It's My Life” off the album It's My Life. You'll know this song right away. If not for the original it would be for No Doubt's cover of it. I first came across Talk Talk on a mixed cd a friend gave me in high school. Ever since I've loved them.
They are also one of Matt Good's favourite bands (I saw that in an interview once).
My other “guilty pleasure” that borders on an unhealthy love for is Toto's “Africa” of Toto IV. This is my pump-up jam. I put “Africa” on if I want to get ready for something big and exciting. If you see me listening to headphones while walking around the Rifflandia Music Festival it's me trying to to get into the right headspace to shoot a major headliner. Chances are Toto is blasting through the speakers directly into my earholes.
I even want this song to be our theme song for the annual Build-A-Boat Race here in Sidney, BC. I have this grand vision of Shayne, Brian, and I standing together holding hands, creating a triforce, while singing about how we blessed the rains down in Africa. They are against it though for some weird reason.
Hurry boy that download is waiting for you.
Download disappears on May 31st, 2012.
Wow, I really let this one slip. I'm finally getting down to writing about what I brought to Record Club in April, and the May meeting is in two days.
April was the first month I've been in Record Club when there was a theme. A very loose theme though. Not everyone knew there was a theme this month, and others assumed it would be a Record Store Day show-and-tell.
At our March meeting we half decided we were going to do a High Fidelity themed record club meeting in April. We were all to bring a list of our “Top 5, Side One, Track Ones” as well hopefully be able to bring at least two of those to record club to play.
Unfortunately I'm from that dark gap in human history where a lot of my favourite records only came out on compact disc. It was a bit of a struggle for me this month to find something I had on vinyl let alone being in My Top 5. I ended up just heading in with two records I really love, but have solid first tracks on them.
The first record of mine we fired up was The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. Oh, that's really cliché isn't it? Why not Some Girls or Sticky Fingers? Exile was one of the first Stones albums I seriously got into (that wasn't Hot Rocks). I've been a Rolling Stones fan my whole life. It's in my blood. My grandpa has been a fan for as long as he can remember and the love of the Stones has been passed down through the generations. Heck, The Rolling Stones was my first concert. That's how much we love the Stones.
A friend of mine once described “Rocks Off” as a punk song before there was punk rock. For me it has always been that opening riff. It always has. There is just something about it. It always sucks me right into the album. Kieth really figured that one out in his rented house in the south of France.
When I watched Stones in Exile last year with my grandpa it really made me appreciate the album a lot more. I had always thought the album had been recorded in America. It just had that sound and feel of the “south.” Turns out having the blues in south France you come up with similar sounds.
Further studies: Robert Frank's footage of The Rolling Stones in LA/New York in 1971, wikipedia, and a promo video for Stones in Exhile.
Up next was Archie Bell & The Drells with “Tighten Up.”
Oh, you brought a funk/Motown record? Hipster. Yup, you caught me. I'm an asshole who has always liked R&B, Funk, and the whole Motown sound. I remember my sister buying a best of Atlantic Records cd when we were kids and I think for the next 6 months it was the only thing the family listened to. My mom always had Etta James playing around the house too. I think that's why I've always identified with this type of music.
Further watching: Sandy doing the Fishstick, and a live television performance by Archie Bell & The Drells in 1968.
It's funny to think now how much my family has influenced my taste in music. Inheriting my mom and dad's record collection has been amazing too. Pink Floyd, The Who, Rush, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, The Ventures, and hundreds more has certainly been a blessing.
Who knew my parents had such great taste in music?
Download disappears on May 31st, 2012.
The Future of Tyson Elder's Web Presence.
I know it seems like an ominous title for a blog post, but it seems like the right thing to call it at this point. This feels like the first part of something bigger. We will see.
I've been thinking a lot about the future, the past, and the present lately. Maybe that's why I've found it so hard to produce anything for the blog. I can't say that for certain. All I know is that I haven't “written” anything in weeks maybe even a month. Time flies when you are being self reflective and panicking about the uncertainty of the future.
I come home most nights with good intentions. I'm going to sit down at the computer, bang off some words, edit some photos, or work on my portfolio. Strangely those things rarely ever happen. Generally when I plop down in front of the computer I spend pointless hours scanning my tumblr dash, writing toots, and watch television shows I don't really care all that much for.
Why do I do it? I assume it has to do with the fact I don't want to actually do anything for myself. I don't want to make my life better or have something to be proud of. Or is it just laziness? It's probably a mixture of both. I think the idea behind it is that if I don't try I can't fail. It's kind of been my life's motto up until recently.
I've tried to make commitments before. Things like “I'm going to write 750 words a day” or “I'm going to post something on my blog at least three times a week.” Oddly I think it's okay not to fulfill my own goals when it comes to my writing. Because it's me setting the goals, and I'm not being told to do them. The same goes for working on my new photography website that was supposed to be done in March. It's easy to let it slid and never quite finish it when it's only you that's going to be disappointed.
Too often I look back at what I haven't accomplished, but had intentions of completing. If you know me you know I'm always working on a “project” that will never be completed. I want to change this. I want to finish at least one thing before I can move on to the next “project.”
So, what are my projects? This blog is one. I want to give it an overhaul. A new look, and edit some of the archives. There is some revisionist history going to be taking place over the next few months. When I look at things they are a disorganized mess. Things need to be straightened up.
My photography website is probably the biggest priority. It's actually 2/3 done. My problems at this point have to do with being bored with my design already and not being quite able to do what I want with squarespace. That has to do with my limited knowledge of building websites though.
After that there really isn't anything too serious left in Tyson Elder Enterprises to get done. Well, a small website directing you to all the places I can be found on the internet. There may also be a smallish project Kat and I have been talking about doing for a long time.
This wasn't going to be a post about me quitting the internet. Although the idea has come across my mind a few times. Not quitting, but starting fresh. In the meantime you can still find me in the normal places putting off things.
Can you start bugging me weekly to finish things?
90's Canadian rock band Big Wreck played their first show in support of their new album Albatross / reunion tour at Victoria's Club 9one9.
The night was full of a obnoxious crowd, technical problems, and a uninterested Ian Thornley. I still enjoyed the show though. It brought back a lot of memories of the late 90's back for me.
Life has taken some interesting turns in the last few weeks, but that doesn't mean I stopped taking photos.
On Record Store Day (April 21st, 2012) one of my favourite local musicians, Kathryn Calder did an instore at Ditch Records. I shot my first video with my T3i there you can check out her song "One Two Three" on my vimeo.
Later that week I shot Yukon Blonde, Library Voices, and Great Bloomers at Club 9one9. It was lots of fun and I got to discover new bands to love.