Tag Archives: VdS

Musselburgh, or similurgh.

When you called, I was standing among the ruins of a castle, looking up at the wind. My jacket was zipped to the top, and I struggled to fish my phone from my inside pocket. When I got on the line you were screaming through a drunken, lonely fug. -How much fuel have you had? I asked. How much more would you need? I wondered. There was nothing I could do for you. You were too far away.

I passed the phone to my friend, who knew you too. –I don’t want to talk to that kid, he said. I hung up and went behind the shelter of a wall to roll a cigarette. The wind and rain made the paper hard to light. Hunched over, I caught sight of my shoes. The toes were wet and covered with flecks of mud and stray blades of grass. Just then my whole weekend passed in front of me: the mountains, the wine, the driving in the dark, the ice on the shore. Why am I worrying about you?

We didn’t speak again for a few weeks. I dialed your number on a Saturday night and again heard that lonely roar. I put the phone down and stared through my window at the trees. It was daytime where you were. It was always daytime where you were.

Later on I went for a drink. Walking home, my shoulders got soaked with the rain. And once more, huddled and head down, I noticed my shoes: cleaner than before, but still stained brown from the castle’s muddy grounds. There’s no way out of this for you, I thought. And I’m not able to help. A strange smile came over my face. I turned the key to my door. Home at last. My whole body was wet. I made some tea and fell asleep.

Looking back on those days, I could barely help myself. How was I to help you? In such a simple place, there was so much confusion, so much to deal with. I’m glad I left there and made it back to safety. Maybe you should do the same. Alone is not an easy thing to be. Particularly when you’re tired of trying to stop yourself.



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Pine is Fine

I’m looking forward to a trip out to Pine this weekend. I haven’t been there since before Christmas. If you don’t remember hearing about Pine, it’s where most of Red Circle and about 50% of Malvern’s recorded output was thrown together. With a big warm room, wind, sand and a sea of trees, Pine is fine, indeed.
And there’s plenty on the agenda while I’m there: a fuck-ton of papers to grade, a book to get through, and some sketching-out of a new recording to complete. Beautiful. It sounds like a lot, but it’s Pine: things just get done when you’re there.
Perhaps most enticing is the prospect of mixing some of my cousin Jack’s high-game sausage (-What’s this stuff made out of, buddy? Venison? -Yup, there’s probably some Venison in there…) with a bunch of sweet potato and parmesan cheese to make the most delicious soup on the planet. There’s just not enough to be said for a bowlful of Saskabush mystery meat paired with salt, vegetables and cheese. Add to the soupy deliciousness the fact that it’s a long weekend, which means beers, beers, beers, and you’ve got what’s known as a winner, my friends. What a life, eh?
I’ll take it…


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My friend’s mom died.
Another friend bought a house, lost his dad and had a son.
In a short period of time.
Another friend got a new job.
Another one drank on an empty stomach and had to leave early.
It’s cold out.
It’s wet out.
My mother had hip surgery.
She’s going to have a long winter.
The sun goes home early, now.
Most days I’d like to go with it.
I’ve learned a few new riffs.
I’ve given away my watch.
I’m headed for the pines.
Taco Tuesday.
Whiskey Thursday.


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Fire. Aim.

Can you shoot a gun? Cos I fucking can’t!
This was taken by my friend, Eddie, on a camping trip in the Rockies. Obviously, I’m holding a pellet gun. I wouldn’t be looking so mean if the gun I was holding could have actually killed someone. To be fair though, it was me who shot the beer can off the stick from the farthest distance. You need a steady hand and a mean eye for that kind of thing, don’t you know.
On the trip, I remember thinking that I really wanted to see a Grizzly bear. Not up close, but from a distance. But not necessarily a safe distance. Anyways, we started with the cookin’ and the boozin’, like you do, and I charged myself with the job of keeping our drinks cold in a stream behind our campsite. The water was well chilly and had a brisk current that kept carrying cans of Keith’s off into the wilderness. So I set up a damn and put the rest of our booze in there to make friends with the cold. Bingo bango: a glacier-fed fridge.

Once it fell dark, I’d be heading back to the stream for more booze or to fire off a whizz, and I kept thinking to myself, “Fuck, what if a bear comes?! I’m not prepared!” And honestly, even with that pellet gun (which, in my hands, still does not suggest preparedness), I couldn’t have done a thing. No amount of running, yelling, holding still or crying would prevent a bear from knocking me around like a speed bag if I came face-to-face (or cheek to cheek). I suppose sometimes you’ve got to take disembowelment like a man.


This weekend, I’m going on a trip to Chicago to visit three old friends from university. These guys were some of the first people to have VdS tapes thrust into their hands (“Tell me what you think, Dude.”) and give me their feedback (“I think you’re gay.”). I even taught one of them to play guitar.
It should be a great trip; I’ve never been to Chicago. And nothing beats the early fall as a backdrop to a bender steeped in nostalgia and dick jokes. Here’s to making the past the present.

VdS (x)

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This is Mike. We played in Malvern together. He owns a meat thermometer and he can ride a mountain bike like a motherfucker. Mike and I were at this man’s engagement party on the weekend, trying to catch crabs with our bare hands. Mike was the only one who managed it. I think it had something to do with him not being as scared as the rest of us. Anyways, it was a pretty sweet snag. When he grabbed the little guy, he yelled, “CRAB!” and went tearing off towards the patio doing this little running sort of dancey thing that was enjoyable to watch. I think Mike was scared that he had an animal from the deep in his hands; I was scared for him. The crab kept pinching Mike’s hands with its claws, which was definitely hilarious. I tried to catch some crabs as well, but they’re frightening. They look super weird, but it’s pretty awesome when it’s dark out and they’re cruising around just below the surface, looking interested in the bread you threw in the water.
OK, that aside, after a less than clamorous response to the VdS World Cup Fever contest, we have a winner. The trouble is, there was only one contestant, which mooted the contesting aspect of the whole affair to a degree. Anyhow, I knew before I wrote the post that it was going to Maz who would enter and, surprise, it was Maz who entered. And won. Now that I think of it, though, my friend Adriana wrote me an email asking for a VdS t-shirt as well, so she wins too. That makes two horses in a one horse race. Holy shit! Now it’s down to me to create these darn things. Photos will be up soon.
If you’re here for musical updates, a small amount of progress has been made on the VdS contribution to the split with Saga City. I wonder if Maz is going to wear his Vds t-shirt while he records his songs for the split? I imagine so?
Finally, if you’re from Russia (or thereabouts) and have been repeatedly visiting the VdS bandcamp site- explain yourself!


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World Cup Fever

Wow. It’s hard to focus on creating things when you can be outside doing things. Remember when I said that I might post a new demo to the site? Yep- I farted out that bit of optimism two weeks ago and still no demo. Surprise. The song is actually sitting on my ipod and it sounds pretty good. For some reason, I haven’t got around to getting it up on the site. It’s one song, for god’s sake. Am I actually that lazy? What if being ‘outside doing things’ actually means sitting on the couch, watching the NBA Finals and finishing a six pack? Never mind. I know the answer to that one.
Otherwise… Maz and I were knocking back a few pints (trend?) on the Diplomatico patio a few weeks back and decided to do a VdS/ Saga City split EP together. Three songs each. Digital download (probably). Bingo bango. Sounds fun, right? I’m thinking of doing a few acoustic songs that I’ve been strumming around my apartment over the last few months and maybe something a little noisy for the shits and the giggles. Goddammit! It’s time to put out something new! I feel like a fat, lazy bear that just kind of got cool with hibernating.
Lastly, I’m running a World Cup Fever contest. Mainly because I have World Cup Fever. The tournament starts next Friday and runs for a month, which means June and July will be just as unproductive as April and May. So here’s the contest: Leave a comment telling me a) why you have World Cup Fever and b) who your favourite team/player is. If you say the wrong team/player you lose. Sorry. The person with the best World Cup Fever comment gets a CD-r copy of Red Circle. Quelle prize, I know, but whatever. Maybe you’ll get a VdS t-shirt too. It’ll definitely be homemade, though. The contest will close on June 18, two Fridays from now. This will give those of you without World Cup Fever a chance to catch it and make up a reason for how that happened. For your reference, opening round games scheduled for June 18 are:
Slovenia vs. USA
England vs. Algeria
Germnay vs. Serbia



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Surf Song

Have you ever been surfing? I have. It’s fucking awesome. I’ve done it a few times out in California and no matter what anyone tells you, even if you’re just riding shitty beach breaks (which is all I can handle) it’s not easy. And you’re probably not going to get that good at it. Take me for instance, I am a terrible surfer.

That last sentence isn’t true. Sorry… that second last sentence isn’t true. You will get better, but you have to live like J to do it. Or this guy. My point is that I don’t live close enough to decent surf to become a decent surfer. I’d like to say I’m over it, but I’m not. That’s just the way it is. I know people surf the Great Lakes, which is pretty cool, but I can’t say that I’m convinced. I’m not sure that surfing chop in a 5/4 suit on Lake Ontario in January delivers in quite the same way as cruising even the worst Pacific backwash in boardies in July. I haven’t tried the former, but, well, stop me if I’m wrong.

The first time I surfed was two years ago at Pacific Beach in San Diego. I got up on my third wave, rode for five glorious seconds and fell off. It was amazing. I spent the next few days trying to do it again, which of course didn’t happen. At one point during my last session, I sputtered and flailed my way onto the crest of another roller (secondary?), but as it started to break, the noise of the rushing water frightened me from my board. I’m serious. I was scared shitless.

I paddled for shore and sat down in the sand. Slowly, as I watched other surfers carving up waves and hanging fives and tens from pier-length boards, a bassline crept into my head. I couldn’t get rid of it. Loopy and brooding, it was a perfect soundtrack to the intensity of the surfing experience. Shit like this happens a lot when I skate, actually. I’m always getting bits for tunes in my head while trying new tricks or just pushing down the road somewhere to get beer. Sometimes these ideas stick and you can build something good from them, and for whatever reason, this one did. I finally recorded the song after close to two years of living with it as nothing more than an earworm while paging through surf mags. Try it out. The title is a bit of a gimmie.

Surf Song (mp3)

I haven’t surfed since February, when I managed to fart out a few embarrassing sessions during a weekend visit to San Diego. I miss it. During one of these sessions, as I was falling, my board whacked me in the mouth and tore up my gums pretty nice. It sucked, but I remember thinking then and there that I’d still surf every day if I could. So, instead of griping about where I live and how that limits me, maybe the best thing to do is to go somewhere on a trip and make it happen. For now, Surf Song will have to do. I wouldn’t consider it finished, and its title blows, but still, it’s like a VdS version of

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