Category Archives: popular culture

“Frost and desolation”: AU #Frankenreads, 10-12, Oct. 31, at the Matrix Hotel

[full track list at bottom]

Amidst frost and desolation, amidst the everlasting ices of the north — that is, in Edmonton, Alberta — Athabasca University, Canada’s open university, will host a multi-disciplinary, multimedia symposium on Frankenstein, as part of the worldwide Frankenreads event happening on Hallowe’en 2018.

Where? The Matrix Hotel, Edmonton.

When? 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Oct. 31, 2018.

Please RSVP here to attend in-person online via live stream. (If you can attend in person, we encourage you to attend in costume ūüôā

Schedule of proceedings:

10:00-10:25 – Arrivals & coffee set to a multimedia prelude, Canadian Frankensteins, mixed by Dr Mark A. McCutcheon (AU Frankenreads organizer, Professor of Literary Studies, & author of The Medium Is the Monster)

10:25 – Welcoming remarks by Dr McCutcheon

10:30-10:45 – – Dr Paul Kellogg (Chair of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies & Associate Professor of Integrated Studies): “The social construction of ‘monsters’ — from Frankenstein to Donald Trump”

10:45-11:00 – Dr Jolene Armstrong (President of the Athabasca U Faculty Association & Associate Professor of English): “‘It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn’: Negotiating liminality in the Netflix series The Frankenstein Chronicles

11:00-11:15 – Dr Angie Abdou (Associate Professor of Creative Writing and author of Home Ice and In Case I Go): “Sorcery Meets Science: The Frankenpheme in Andrew Pyper’s The Only Child

11:15-11:30 – Dr Mark A. McCutcheon: “Mary Shelley, Marshall McLuhan, and the discourse of technology”

11:30-12:00 – Question & Answer period

12:00 – 1:00 – Postlude: a Frankenreads Halloween DJ mix, which might sound a bit like the demo mix linked at top.

The full track list of that mix is as follows:

  1. 00:00 Parliament – Prelude to The Clones of Dr Funkenstein
  2. 01:39 Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Cryptkickers – The Monster Mash
  3. 04:35 Peter Tosh – Vampire
  4. 07:44 Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Frankenstein Ska
  5. 10:11 Brainbug – Nightmare (Sinister Strings mix)
  6. 17:04 Ladytron – Ghosts (Cassette Jam mix)
  7. 19:46 Burial – Ghost Hardware
  8. 21:56 Sinead O’Connor – I Am Stretched On Your Grave
  9. 25:41 Maestro Fresh Wes – Let Your Backbone Slide (Power mix)
  10. 29:53 Deadmau5 – Dr Funkenstein (original mix)
  11. 30:04 Deadmau5 & Michael Howe – Dr Funkenstein (Michael Howe remix)
  12. 31:37 Deadmau5 & Danny Jay – Dr Funkenstein (Danny Jay remix)
  13. 32:39 Deadmau5 – Moar Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff
  14. 35:41 Deadmau5 – Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff (instrumental version)
  15. 36:42 Michael Jackson – Thriller
  16. 41:34 Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted
  17. 46:04 Siouxsie & The Banshees – Cities in Dust
  18. 49:48 Taco – Puttin’ On the Ritz*
  19. 53:06 The Paladin Project – Afraid Of the Dark
  20. 1:00:49 Deadmau5 – Complications
  21. 1:03:39 Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

* If you know why this song’s on the playlist, then you’ve done some homework.

 

“working out an inter-ACCUTE thought exercise” music mix

[In my post-#congreSSH post about this year’s ACCUTE dance party, I’d said I’d be following up with a post reflecting further on that event. Voil√†: further thoughts, related to other current concerns, in the form of a DJ mix. What can I say? I have a phonographic memory.]

Playlist:

It’s alive. IT’S ALIVE!

Here’s one way to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818: I’m delighted to announce the publication of my new book¬†The Medium Is the Monster: Canadian Adaptations of¬†Frankenstein and the Discourse of Technology. It’s published by¬†Athabasca University Press, and it’s¬†available¬†in hardcover, paperback, and open-access¬†PDF.

To order, see Indigo, Amazon, or UBC Press (AUP’s distributor).

To read the open-access PDF, see AU Press’ webpage for the book and click the Free PDF tab.

Briefly, the book¬†argues, first,¬†that Mary Shelley‚Äôs 1818 novel¬†Frankenstein¬†effectively reinvented the meaning of the word “technology”¬†for modern English; and, second, that Marshall McLuhan‚Äôs media theory and its adaptations in Canadian pop culture (by icons like David Cronenberg, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, and Deadmau5)¬†have popularized this¬†Frankensteinian sense of technology.

The Medium Is The Monster Mix

At Mixcloud, I’ve shared a mix that’s a sonic supplement to my book The Medium Is the Monster (Athabasca University Press, 2018).

The songs and tracks mixed here all adapt Frankenstein and are discussed as such in the book. The mix follows approximately the same sequence as the book, progressing from chapter to chapter, featuring the specific songs mentioned in each. The early chapters discuss hip hop, reggae, funk, and Afro-Futurist music (e.g. Maestro Fresh Wes, Dr Octagon, Janelle Mon√°e); the seventh chapter focuses on EDM (e.g. Deadmau5 and The Paladin Project). The mix also includes some alternative rock, folk, and country songs (e.g. Iggy & The Stooges, Neil Young, Corb Lund). Overall, most of the content is Canadian, given the focus of the book.

Here’s a complete track list, too (since Mixcloud only reveals the track list during playback).

Introduction

  • Jon Stewart & Samantha Bee, The Daily Show, 10 Feb. 2009 (sample) 00:00

Chapter 1

  • Eric B & Rakim, “Paid in full” (seven minutes of music – the Coldcut remix) 00:36

Chapter 2

  • Dr Octagon (aka Kool Keith), “Real raw” 04:08
  • Janelle Mon√°e, “Good morning midnight” (interlude) 06:04
  • Janelle Mon√°e, “Dance or die” 07:24
  • Wolfgang R√ľbsam & Capella Istropolitana, Toccato and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach 10:37
  • Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Cryptkickers, “The Monster Mash” (sample) 13:18
  • Dr Octagon (aka Kool Keith), “Wild and crazy” 13:33
  • Madness, “One step beyond” (sample) 17:35
  • Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, “Frankenstein ska” 17:54
  • Parliament, “Prelude to The Clones of Dr Funkenstein” 20:27
  • Parliament, “Dr Funkenstein” 22:05
  • Armand van Helden, “Witch Doktor” 27:44
  • Michael Jackson feat. Vincent Price, “Thriller” 32:01
  • Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson, “Somebody’s watching me” 37:03
  • Maestro Fresh Wes, “Let your backbone slide” 40:38
  • Handsome Boy Modeling School feat. Grand Puba & Sadat X, “Once Again (Here To Kick One For You)” 45:01
  • Ice Cube, “Dr Frankenstein” 48:47

Chapter 4

  • Iggy & The Stooges, “Search and destroy” 52:55

Chapter 5

  • Skinny Puppy, “Draining faces” 56:20
  • Front 242, “Masterhit” 1:01:06
  • Messiah, “Beyond good and evil” 1:07:53
  • Messiah, “You’re going insane” 1:12:40
  • DJ Luna-C, “Mind of a lunatic” 1:15:34
  • Ed Brown, “Industrial” (P.B.K. remix) 1:21:14
  • Neuromancer, “Pennywise” 1:26:15
  • Wippenberg, “Neurodancer” 1:29:49

Chapter 7

  • Foremost Poets, “Moon-raker” (Paladin mix) (sample) 1:33:49
  • Brainbug, “Nightmare” (Sinister strings mix) 1:34:11
  • The Paladin Project, “The panic room / Claustrophobia” 1:40:42
  • The Paladin Project, “The Palloween anthem” 1:45:50
  • The Paladin Project, “Darkness took me” 1:50:17
  • The Paladin Project, “Afraid of the dark” 1:53:30
  • Deadmau5, “Cthulhu sleeps” 1:56:01
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” 2:01:11
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” (Sage remix) 2:03:36
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” (Zoltan Kontes & Jerome Robins stripped mix) 2:05:30
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” (Danny Jay remix) 2:07:53
  • Deadmau5, “Complications” 2:12:19
  • Deadmau5, “Ghosts ‘n’ stuff” 2:14:35
  • Deadmau5, “Moar ghosts ‘n’ stuff” 2:19:22
  • Deadmau5 feat. Chris James, “The Veldt” 2:23:39

Chapter 8

  • Neil Young, “Vampire blues” 2:33:48
  • Corb Lund, “Roughest neck around” 2:37:48
  • Corb Lund, “Gettin’ down on the mountain” 2:40:50

Rock & Romanticism & Nick Cave & Palgrave

James Rovira’s just-published book, Rock and Romanticism: Postpunk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), includes my chapter “‘Little crimeworn histories’: Nick Cave and the roots-raves-rehab story of rock stardom.” (That chapter’s a full treatment of an inkling I first shared here nearly a decade ago.)

Rovira’s book is also accompanied by its own iTunes playlist that I was happy to help build and curate (and, in the process, encounter some great music I’d not previously known about); and the editor’s also got a whole blog post with listening samples and other links related to topics covered in the book.

For my part, I’ll just leave here a link to the video for the song that my chapter takes its title from: the exhilaratingly evil, deliriously demonic “Deanna”:

 

Link

“Happy Birthday, Frankenstein!”

Athabasca University Press’ Open Book Blog has a new post about the Frankenstein bicentennial: “Happy Birthday, Frankenstein!”¬†
The post curates a sampling of links to just a few of the Canadian Frankenstein adaptations discussed in my book #TheMediumIsTheMonster: from Larissa Lai’s writing and Matt MacFadzean’s playwriting, to the music of Deadmau5 and more.

This blog posts makes a great multimedia supplement to the book, for readers who may not know of some of these works.

New poem in Toronto’s Into The Void Magazine

My poem “Heaven help the roses” — about Toronto’s famous Peace Lady, a.k.a. Pauline Davis — has placed as Runner-Up in Into The Void Magazine’s 2017 Poetry Contest. The complete poem is published at Into The Void‘s webpage featuring all contest winners (scroll down to the Runners Up section…but read the other winners too!).

It’s been almost one year since Davis died, and many more since she had stopped her public work towards the cause of peace, which remains as timely as ever (sadly). While I had hoped to get this poem published in Davis’ lifetime, I’m pleased it’s found a home with a Toronto magazine, since the Peace Lady is such a Toronto phenomenon — although her message is universal, and still urgent.