It's Purim
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Montreal's Mile-End, where I live, is full of Hasidic Jews who wander the streets at all hours of the day and night, always (always!) striding -- determinedly en route to some important affair. The boys are always dressed like men, serious in their long black coats, wide black hats, peyes dangling at either side of their faces.

Today, however, is Purim. The Jewish Halloween, when one dresses up, gets drunk, eats jam-filled treats. Consequently, the kids - well, suddenly, they're kids! Little people in tiger costumes, fat king disguises, fireman helmets and the tartan skirts of Scottish dancers. As the sun sets and long shadows fall across the face-painted children, it feels like a Tom Waits song made real: klezmer meets carnival; strange kids who speak in guttural, gibberish german.

At home, I listen to the St. Thomas' I'm Coming Home, touted by Magnet as the next Norwegian thing to look out for (after the Kings of Convenience and Royskopp). He plays that's not dissimilar to Josh Rouse or Will Oldham Don't get me wrong, though - it's terrible. The opener - it's called, yes, "The Cool Song" - sounds like the Swedish Chef after a three week course on English, stoned on valium and shrill with helium. "I've never seen a cowboy before / never told a story so sore / hey baby take a look at me / i tink [sic] i'm ready for de kickdown / i can never give you in / have you ever seen my chin / an umbreller is dancing on the corner / now everyting is beyond her." You can't make this stuff up. It reminds me quite a lot of the sad horrors unleashed by Siggi Armann, who opened for Sigur Ros on tour last year. He was the worst big lug with a guitar I had ever heard... With pained, closed eyes, he crooned that "Even big boys cry / when their friends die."

Oh... doing a google search, I find that Pitchfork said this of "The Cool Song":

"The Cool Song", has a catchy, campfire appeal that, combined with its urgent, compact melody, impels sympathetic foot-stomping, a background of curious percussion, fiddles and a drum circle on "Bookstore" are pure essense-of-Oldham.


Posted by Sean at March 18, 2003 6:06 PM
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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
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Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
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drawn + quarterly
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blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
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Cult Montreal
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