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.


a lily

Carl Spidla - "Blackfly Rag".

It's a wide, wooden chest. It is larger than you expect. Two people could fit inside.

The first thing you put in the chest is a bowl of cherries.

The next thing you put in the chest is a chandelier, its lights still going. Then you add postcards, old glasses, a watercolour set. A tennis racket, never used. A large map, rolled up. Bike spokes, binoculars, pussywillows, linen. A window. A brick. One CD, four books. You take one of the books back out and set it on the floor. You pour some tea into the chest. You pour some wine. You add spent matches, old lightbulbs, melted snow. Sea salt, sugar, and ink. You fill the rest with broken chairs, the chairs you threw from your window into the parking lot last night. The broken chair-legs look like the masts of ships.

You close the chest. You lock it with a deadbolt. The lock is never as good as you remember so you wrap it up in belt after belt, round and round, and thick hemp rope, and chain, and fishing line.

And you do not douse the chest in paraffin. You do not let it blacken and crackle and turn into ash. You do not haul it to street-side for the garbage-men to pick up, for the recyclers to pick through. You do not throw it in the lake. You do not give it to the fishes. You do not toss it from an airplane; it does not smash in the desert, it does not leave a crater.

No, you leave the chest where it sits in the middle of your floor. You throw a giant carpet over it. You set on it a potted fern and a stack of magazines. Maybe a shoe-tree for your dress-shoes. And as you all know, you pretend the chest's not even there.

[More of Carl Spidla. "Blackfly Rag" was recorded at the Mile End Mission on April 27, not five feet from where I sat cross-legged. It's one of my favourite songs of 2008.]


Montrealers ought to go see Receivers at O Patro Vys tonight, where they will be launching their luminous debut record.

Elsewhere: Go gaze upon the marvel that is Jez Burrows' Destroyer screenprint, analyzing Destroyer's Rubies with whimsy and verve. Jez helps to maintain the indispensable It's Nice That.

Posted by Sean at May 29, 2008 11:34 AM

Thank you.

Posted by Ashton at May 30, 2008 4:04 AM

I love this. thank you, indeed. and I wish there was an album or something more I could hear from him.

Posted by Laura at June 3, 2008 10:57 PM

Blackfly Rag and the other songs on Carl Spidla's Myspace page are wonderful. Any chance of posting the full Mile End Mission show?

Posted by howard at June 3, 2008 11:08 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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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.

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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
(◊ means they write about music)

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Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
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i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
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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)
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The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
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chez boris
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drawn + quarterly
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casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
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yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
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