Monday, May 25, 2015

Cassette Player




On May 23, 2015, Eileen Myles tweets: "I can't go much longer without a cassette player."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Kingsway (1995)



This November marks the 20th anniversary of Kingsway, a collection of poems I wrote that concerns itself with a Vancouver road that existed prior to European "contact." Because the book is almost out of print, Arsenal Pulp Press asked if I would write an afterword for a new edition, to which I said yes. APP also suggested I take some new photographs, and that I consider a new cover.

Here is the first cover, designed by Dean Allen:


The cover concept I came up with (atop this post) is based on the old Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Records (WEA) cassette formats from the 1970s and 80s. Because vinyl LP covers are square, and cassette cases are rectangular, the preservation of the square record cover necessitated the black space below it. I am interested in this adaptation, this necessitation, and so was Brian Lam, the publisher, and Gerilee McBride, the designer.

Here is the referent cover I gave to Gerilee:


Friday, May 22, 2015

Iran-U.S. Relations




The first three-quarters of this report provides a grounding in U.S.-Iran relations.

For more on the last democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pump House Gang




Critical Past bills itself as "one of the world's largest royalty-free archival footage collections."

In the footage above, workers at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (formerly the Anglo-Persian Oil Company) man the pump house.

Not sure whether these workers are loosening or tightening their grip on this product. Not sure why they are not wearing safety gear either. If this footage was shot today, you can bet they would be wearing hard hats and gloves.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


A small room inside a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

By my bedside, a coverless 1972 Ballantine edition paperback of Raymond Chandler's short story collection, Trouble Is My Business.

In the book's "Introduction", the former Depression-era oil executive tells us that it is "the smell of fear," not "violence," "originality of plot or character," or "fine writing" that makes the stories found in detective magazines from the late twenties and early thirties so "powerful."

(Something about the smell of old paperbacks, how they return me to my teenage years, when fear and being afraid were as different from each other as rain and sleet.)

What did Chandler learn about fear as an oil company executive? Surely he was aware of what the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was up to in Iran back then, the tactics they employed.