Posts Tagged ‘World War One’

I like to consider myself a Grand Archives fan.  On more than one occasion of exalted the virtues of the song “Swan Matches.”  That song has taken an almost mystical or religious place in my heart.

But scratching surface, the paint will  fleck off and reveal, I’ve been a poor fan.

I’ll tell ya, it can be hard staying up on everything in music.  I enjoy indie rock, classic alternative, chillwave and 60s music mostly on my own time.  I work at a modern rock radio station, so I need to be up on whatever Dave Grohl is up to.  I DJ weddings, lounges, clubs… and well, where ever someone feels they need a DJ.  So I then need to have at least a passing grade of top 40, electro, dubstep, and new country knowledge… sometimes my brain gets full.

People call me on the radio or email wanted to talk bands.  That makes sense.  You’re sick; call the doctor.  Need meat; call the butcher. Like music; call the DJ.

That is groovy and I appreciate being the friendly neighbourhood DJ.  Occasionally someone says, “hey man, you should play the Bingo Bongo Band on your show.”  I make the mistake and say, “never heard of them.”  And then someone gets mad and says, “SWA? Never heard of the Bingo Bongo Band!  They’re the greatest EVAR! What kind of DJ are you?”

Zoinks, I was the DJ born with a human brain that has to live on a planet that has a measly 24 hour day.

My homeboy Two sent me an MP3 today from the Grand Archives.  Said the song was performed live for the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Party a few years ago when it was new.  BEFORE it was included on 2009’s Keep In Mind Frankenstein.

WTF mate… they had a new record?  Heck they’ve had two since their most excellent self titled debut.

This is beyond DJ failure; this is a total fan breakdown.

I guess fortunately? the good news is the buzz on the subsequent records was poor, so maybe I didn’t miss much… the track that Two sent me is pretty pleasant like GA tend to be.  Have a listen.

Grand Archives – “Dig That Crazy Grave”

Download MP3 >> 13 Dig That Crazy Grave


Voolmezeele Enclosure 3

I’ve been thinking about Henry George Bellinger again.  Long time readers of this here blog may recall tat I occasionally like to talk about World War One.  Mr. Bellinger is often cited as one of the, if not THEE first Canadian killed in action on the Western Front.

For some morbid or bizarre reason, the story of being the first guy killed in a war intrigues me.  Months ago I told Simon about  Bellinger.

Basically, it would be the anti-war epic.  The story would center on 35 year old, married father tailor man Henry living in Eastern Ontario.  The call comes that there is war and he enlists.

He trains, gets shipped over.  Sits around for awhile.  Cracks a few japes with the boys, smokes some cigarettes… then gets blown up in the first few moments of the first battle. Roll credits.

No heroic bayonet charge, no dragging his injured bro to safety… just sitting around, attack begins and a shell catches him.  The end.  And that is Bellinger’s War.

Obviously, I am having hard time  envisioning the commercial appeal of this endeavour… but perhaps it could be a powerful short film.  The ultra real war film.

There is not much information about this tragic footnote in Canadian history.  He was born in 1876.  He was married to who I can only imagine was super babe, Mary Ann.  He was a tailor.  He enlisted in the army in Levis, Quebec.  He is buried in Belgium.  He may have had a daughter named Mildred.  Killed by enemy shell fire along with Norman Fry on January 8th, 1915.  He was 36 or 39 when he died.  The end.
Go with yourself.

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I am having a minor obsession right now with a free Axis and Allies computer simulator I found.

I am a super nerd but if you’re into it: Triple A.

I like the game because it has a First World War variant.  I have always, always wanted to play a Great War strategy game, and even though this game leaves a lot to be desired, it works and I play it late into the night when Coral and Mads are asleep. (if you know of a great and maybe free World War One simulator for Mac… let me know!).

The great joy I am finding to play my nerdy war game late into the night (aside from crushing the Central Powers) is that I get to play a lot of music during my time.

I was inspired by a couple things I’ve ready over the past few days.  One was an article that Ryan sent me.  It as an epic odyssey that a thirty-something is writing about his recollection of 90s grunge and mainstream music.  I like how he is going back and re-listening to all the old albums he used to love as a kid again with fresh ears and the perspective of time.

The other was Jon William’s Top 10 of 2010 list.  He mentioned a couple bands that had records out this year that I used to love, but never listen to anymore.

Deftones?  C’mon, those guys rip and I fell off the band wagon.

Last night while invading France (I flipped it around and played the game as the Central Powers) I fired up the Deftone’s most excellent second record Around the Fur.

The record is an amazing adventure in 90s alt-metal and also the home to one of the best Deftone’s songs in their catalog, “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away).”

Deftones – “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)”

The song is so soothing while also being aggressive.  The juxtaposition is wonderous on the ear. The story of the song is an emotion that I am sure many of us have felt throughout or lives.  I don’t really know what the song is about but to me, its a song about freedom (and girls oddly).

Maybe its the single and album cover?

Such a striking and sexy picture of a girl at a party in Seattle in the mid-90s. I wonder who she is?

The band recorded the album in Seattle and during a party a photographer snapped this shot.  Now this girl’s boobs are on my blog.

The interesting part of this album cover to me… is that it primes the record as a “sexual” experience even though none of the songs are about “sex” in a linear way.  I have always thought of Around the Fur as a sex record or about grils even though it probably really isn’t about either.  Its all because of this image.

The other strong emotional connection I have to the Deftone’s “Be Quiet and Drive” is that a big part of my life from 16 was the roadtrip.

We would constantly take long drives to random places for the sake of the adventure and try somewhere new.  I remember one summer, it was really in vogue to go from breakfast in small towns in the interior.  Hope or Princeton or Spuzzem or Spence’s Bridge.  Somewhere a couple hours out of the city.  We’d leave at some ridiculous hour and head east.  At 6AM-ish we’d stop, get pancakes and caravan home.  Gas also cost like .50 or .60 cents a litre, so you could do shit like that and it only cost a few dollars.

I remember we filmed the trips a few times, I wonder if those tapes live anywhere?  Good times, the song “Be Quiet and Drive” always makes me remember some of those drives.

Chino also looks like my buddy Russ circa 1998.

Go with yourself.

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I don’t know why, but the other day I was thinking about the Canadian generally regarded as the first to die during World War One.

I remember watching a documentary about the war sometime ago and they mentioned him.  I thought it would be a cool name for a band or something… then I thought, maybe that will be my DJ handle.

I was waxing about it on my radio show a couple weeks ago and I got this email from Jeff at CFB Esquimalt:


I can’t remember when but one afternoon, I think last week you were talking about the first Canadian war dead from World War I.  The first Canadian war dead were actually sailors not soldiers and they died nowhere near the shores of Europe, they actually died in the Pacific.

The German squadron leaving Valparaiso on 3 November 1914 after the battle.

The first Canadian casualties of the war occurred before these troops arrived in Europe. Sir Christopher Cradock’s squadron was sunk at the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile, claiming four midshipmen who became Canada’s first war dead.

We sailed past Coronel last year and paid our respects by dropping a wreath in their honour.  A moving moment for our ship’s company.

Hope that helps.  Best Regards,

Jeff McCartney
Petty Officer 1st Class | Maître de premier classe

Senior Naval Communicator | communicateur naval Superieure

Information Systems Security Officer | Officier de securite des systemes informatiques

Chief of Maritime Staff | Chef d’état-major des forces maritimes


Canadian Fleet Pacific | Flotte Canadienne du pacifique

Department of National Defense | Département de la Défense Nationale


Now that is an interesting piece of historic knowledge.  The first Canadian casualties of the war were likely reservists serving Cradock.

The story of this early navel battle is a decent read if you like your War History.

These men were not who I was thinking of.  It took some digging, but the man I was looking for was a soldier named Bellinger.

German barrage on Allied trenches at Ypres. Probably Second Battle of Ypres, 1915

The Canadian Army at the beginning of World War was tiny.  At the start, a new regiment was formed called the Princess Patricia’s and they became part of the 1st Canadian Division.  They first dug into the trenches at a place called Dickiebush (France) on January 6th, 1915.  By the 8th, the first two Canadians of the war were dead, Norman Fry and Henry Bellinger.

The name Bellinger has always stuck with me.

Go with yourself.

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I feel great so far.  I woke up and slayed so many dragons last week that looking ahead, I have so few things to get up to.

I suppose I should get Mads a SIN and get started on her RESP and get the ball rolling on a little baby passport, pay this month’s bills and lay some money down on the credit card.

I need to move forward with my self taught graphic design and student loan stuff.

And somewhere amongst all that, sign up for MMA fighting, Kung-Fu or something physical… I checked out a bunch of MMA studios and they are all really expensive and full of… well… not my kind of people to put it politely.  Might have to try a more traditional martial art.  My friends all laugh at me when I say I want to rock the octagon… but maybe that will be my armour?  While my opponent is laughing himself out of position I will kung-fu chop him down to the ground.

My buddy Paul was the only guy who didn’t laugh.  He said I should take something basic like Kung-Fu or even Karate.  Apparently some Karate master ripped it at UFC 100 this past weekend?

On Father’s Day, I bought myself a present… the movie Passchendaele.

Most of the movie is a little slow, the dialogue is weak, the whole premise is almost silly, but then near the end, the third battle of Ypres lights up, the movie is worth the price of admission.  When I watch the film, I generally jam out the opening village battle sequence, then fast forward to the end.

I had this crazy dream Friday night (likely Red Bull fueled) where I was in World War One.  I was in the trench with some dude who wasn’t a very good shot.  We’re all huddled around and the Germans attack.  As I am sitting there dropping German after German, the man huddled in the trench is called, “Jeremy…. Jeremy…”  I keep snapping back at him… “just stay down or shoot, I don’t care!”

Turns out it was Coral trying to wake me up to get ready for the ferry!

The dream stayed in my brain all weekend, so when we go back from Coquitlam, I found a previously viewed copy  of Passchendaele at Blockbuster.  score.

After the film, I dusted off my copy of Pierre Berton’s “Vimy.” I am pretty down with my Canadian History circa WWI, but I thought I’d revisit it while I wait for my next book to show up in the mail.

This blog isn’t really about anything, just wanted to write the week out and then get to it.

Go with yourself.

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oh right.  Passchendaele is out on DVD now, and I am going to buy it and watch it.  In all honesty, not the best war movie ever made… but arguably the best Canadian war movie.  The movie starts fantastically (bayonette to the skull anyone?) and ends almost as fantastically.

There is a whole lot of |romance” that bogs down the middle the of the film for budgetary reason (I hope that was the reason) but it is interesting to see some vintage 1915 era Calgary.

The movie picks up at the end, so have faith if you’re watching and going, WTF?  It gets pretty awesome when Paul Gross ships back over.  The end end, sorta silly… but I think on DVD I’ll enjoy the movie because I can get right to what I want to see.

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Whoa, there is only one remaining World War One veteran left.

John Henry Foster Babcock

Lest We Forget.


Our stroller sold on Used Victoria yesterday so we are off to get a new one.  Something considerably smaller.  We did love of our Bumbleride, but it was giant and squeaky and drove Coral mental.  and a mental Coral means a mental me, so it had to go.

Funny story… it drove Coral to the point of madness on Sunday (the day we listed it) and in her rage she called Bumbleride and left a message… or maybe emailed.  On Monday they contacted her back and told her how to fix the squeaks.  So I went to Rona and got lubricant and it did a tremendous job reducing the squeaks… but at this point, stroller sold.  So yeah.  Good story.


From the Esquimalt Town Council Front, another letter.

—– Original Message —–
From: SA
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 10:21 AM
Subject: secondary suites
Hi, Jeremy,
I’ve finally gotten around to giving serious consideration to who I’ll vote for next Saturday.
You’ve stated that you support increased density along Esquimalt Road near the Village
Core and Vic West border. Are you talking about increased building height beyond the
10-story limit set in our Official Community Plan? I sincerely hope not. Since the
Matson Lands have been developed, there is now a great, ugly, box  obstructing the
very centre of my view of the Olympic mountains. I would much prefer that infilling,
and secondary suites, not only be allowed, but encouraged through expedited
zoning applications, and reduced fees.


Thank you for the email Ms. A,
I believe that secondary suites and infill are the best way to increase density in our community while maintaining the detached family home charm of many of our neighbourhoods.  It is my family’s goal to one day own our own house and having a suite for my fiancée’s mother or to rent will be the only way we’ll be able to afford the mortgage.

I am for increased density in the village core and along Esquimalt Road by the Vic West border.  These areas have already been singled out for development in the Official Community Plan and have older apartments along there now.  The OCP calls for a maximum height of 10 stories for a condo development and that sounds reasonable to me.  As a town councilor I would always vote to uphold the views of the OCP when approached by developers.  The benefit of this is two fold.  It reflects the views of the community which what the people of Esquimalt want and it is also offers a fair process for developers.  They know going into their planning of what is acceptable in Esquimalt.  Development along Esquimalt Road will hopefully encourage older buildings to be replaced by more environmentally friendly (see: http://www.cagbc.org ) and ascetically pleasing apartments that improve the image of the township and increase property values for all residents.

Increased density in the village core and along Esquimalt road will add vibrancy to our town, attract a diversity in resident, attract new business, and add efficiencies in services and transit that will benefit the whole community.

I hope my answers have encouraged you to consider me on November 15th for Esquimalt Town Council.


Jeremy Baker

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