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If you were around in the 90s, you remember the story of Tonya Harding. The small-town working class American girl who became a figure skating sensation. But then things went sideways when her boyfriend hired someone to attack figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.

Sufjan Stevens has taken the story of Tonya Harding and pout it to song in a way that fans of the man can get behind. Stevens has often song about the strange, the weird, the mundane and the true to life. Here he paints a melancholy portrait of the disgraced figure skating star.

The song will be available as a limited edition cassette or blue marble 7-inch single. (YES of course I pre-ordered it…I have no shame)

Stevens wrote an essay about the song and what inspired him to create this future classic.

OK, no I am ready to see Margot Robbie’s I , Tonya.

TONYA HARDING, MY STAR

 

by Sufjan Stevens

I’ve been trying to write a Tonya Harding song since I first saw her skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991. She’s a complicated subject for a song partly because the hard facts of her life are so strange, disputable, heroic, unprecedented, and indelibly American. She was one of the greatest figure skaters of her time, and the first American woman to perform a triple axle in an international competition. She was an unlikely skating star, having been raised working class in Portland, Oregon. Being a poor outsider, her rise to fame in the skating rink was seen, by some, as a blemish on a sport that favored sophistication and style. Tonya’s skating technique was feisty, fierce, and full of athleticism, and her flamboyant outfits were often hand-made by her mother (who was abusive and overbearing). (They couldn’t afford Vera Wang.) And then there was the Nancy Kerrigan incident. In January 1994, Tonya’s then-boyfriend Jeff Gillooly hired an assailant, Shane Stant, to break fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan’s leg at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Cobo Arena in Detroit, so that she would be unable to compete at the upcoming Winter Olympics. The after-math of the attack was recorded on camera and ultimately set off a media frenzy (and an FBI investigation). Gillooly and Stan were eventually found guilty, and Tonya pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution, and was subsequently banned for life from the U.S. Figure Skating Association. Nancy Kerrigan recovered from her injury and won a silver medal at the Winter Olympics. Tonya Harding finished eighth.

But that’s not even half the story. When Tonya and Gillooly got married, they filmed themselves having sex on their wedding night and produced one of the first-ever celebrity sex tapes (which they sold to Penthouse for $200,000 each). Tonya also had a brief career as a boxer, and is most famous for her bout with former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones (whose sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton precipitated his impeachment in 1998). Tonya was also (very briefly) in a band called the Golden Blades (they were allegedly booed off the stage during their first and only performance). She also raced vintage automobiles (setting a record by driving a Ford Model A over 97 miles per hours on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah). And in 1996 Tonya used mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive an 81-year-old woman who collapsed at a bar in Portland while playing video poker. That’s a lot to accomplish before the age of 30!

Tonya Harding’s dramatic rise and fall was fiercely followed by the media, and she very quickly became the brunt of jokes, the subject of tabloid headlines and public outcry. She was a reality TV star before such a thing even existed. But she was also simply un-categorical: American’s sweetheart with a dark twist. But I believe this is what made her so interesting, and a true American hero. In the face of outrage and defeat, Tonya bolstered shameless resolve and succeeded again and again with all manners of re-invention and self-determination. Tonya shines bright in the pantheon of American history simply because she never stopped trying her hardest. She fought classism, sexism, physical abuse and public rebuke to become an incomparable American legend.

I admit, early drafts of this song contained more than a few puns, punch lines and light-hearted jabs—sex tapes and celebrity boxing make for an entertaining narrative arc. But the more I edited, and the more I meditated, and the more I considered the wholeness of the person of Tonya Harding, I began to feel a conviction to write something with dignity and grace, to pull back the ridiculous tabloid fodder and take stock of the real story of this strange and magnificent America hero. At the end of the day, Tonya Harding was just an ordinary woman with extraordinary talent and a tireless work ethic who set out to do her very best. She did that and more. I hope the same can be said of us all.

verite black and white

BIG beats on this Verite remix. I know it’s Monday and we should ease into it…but here we are.

***

It was Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver yesterday… and yeah I wore a Rudolph onesie.

And to keep the festive party raging… Coral and I took the kids to get a Christmas tree. Then we decorated and smashed a couple rum and eggnogs.

This was the only pic I took and posted.

How many sleeps? 21? something like that. Kids are amped.

DJing a ton right now. I’m not sure if Decembers or summer are busier for this DJ Dad… but it is all cylinders right now.

Go with yourself.

matt good performing

Our Lady Peace and Matthew Good will be touring together across Canada in 2018. The tour wraps up on March 31st at the Abbotsford Center.

When CFOX announced the show, I got some questions from listeners wondering about old comments Matthew Good made about Our Lady Peace back in 2000. The guys tackled the question then talked about why now is the time to tour together.

Go with yourself.

 

droeloe

Ruth from Minnesota didn’t send ME this song…she just posted about it on her twitter.

I could see of the fine folks I work with at Match loving this jam on Friday night. I better download it.

The artist is DROELOE and the song is “Sunburn.”

Michael sent this one over to the old music blog. Louis Futon.

hey dude, thought you’d dig this since futon runs in the same crew as kasbo.” I do loves me Kasbo.

That’s all I got. Happy 60th birthday to my Mom!

Me and my mommy.

A post shared by Jeremy Baker (@jeremybaker) on

Mom 1974. #Alpha #Burnaby #tbt #goaardvarks #nofilter

A post shared by Jeremy Baker (@jeremybaker) on

Visits with Grandma and Sophia. // @carbaker1157 @principessapink

A post shared by Jeremy Baker (@jeremybaker) on

Uncle CJ and grandma taking Charlotte to jump in a puddle. #lazysunday

A post shared by Jeremy Baker (@jeremybaker) on

Go with yourself.

jacob

My spotify Discover playlist was delivering the emo this week. must be all that EMO NIGHT BROOKLYN playlist I’ve been hitting! I’m not mad.

Jacob are an emo band from Wollongong, Australia. That’s easy enough.

These boys are channeling some 00s vibes.

Also liking this UK group Lonely the Brave and their cut “Two Heads.”

and our Monday emo masterset continues with New jersey’s Prawn.

And the final cut is LA’s Somos.

Party on!

Go with yourself.

DYGL

NME had a story about a new band out of Tokyo called DYGL. The band channels that 2000s garage rock sound. Their new record is called Say Goodbye to memory Den. The disc was produced by The Stroke’s guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.

Yeah man, feeling that tune.

Happy Friday!

Go with yourself.

alma
Hunter in Denver took two seconds away from the till during a busy Black Friday to send a couple remixes for our Friday playlists.

Finnish singer Alma and French Montana’s “Phases” gets remixed by Autograf.

Joji’s “Will He” redone by Medasin is chill. so chill.

Go with yourself.