Darlings, it must be obvious that I am medium-unmoored and rudderless these days. Nothing is wrong but the usual main, which is to say I have a lot of duhkha on my shoes, which is how all shoes really are, or something.
Let us focus where we may: today, I dip into my weird old Canadian records and share. I found this 45 in a Junction thrift store back around 2000, and bought it for its weirdness/badness. It’s called Operating System, released by DOS Records (not Dos Records), which seems to have released nothing else. The same song is on both sides, and the lyrics are proudly shared on the sleeve cover. This was someone’s one shot, one idea, and it’s awful. That person was Catherine Meades, then living in Toronto, then going by “Catherine.” If you know her, I’m sorry. Nobody needs to get a shitty review 35 years after the fact. But I cannot find a trace of her.
Busy Not Trying
I really enjoy how all-in but still not trying very hard this project is. The song is shit (a simple loop), and the lyrics are dopey. Baby is rhymed with maybe for no reason – and it is also rhymed with system. This is clearly a first draft of a bad idea that was pushed through the rest of the levels of production without another moment spent trying to make it good, but taking every marketing opportunity: the cover of the single has contact information for TWO businesses with exactly the same address and phone number. Makes me suspect that old Catherine was a rich-enough kid with some resources, like an '80s Rebecca Black, but I don’t want to slander anybody; Catherine might have been a kind and interesting lady who did this and then became a social worker. Who knows? A poet, though? No. From the poem that launched this thing:
Fortran, Cobol, Basic,
you name it
Don’t speak the language
my operating language
Try to command me
I won’t respond
Even though of you
I once was fond. [sic]
The producer, Mark Wright, might be a dude at the CBC (same name, audio guy), but I’m not a detective. It was a long time ago. It was partially recorded at Cherry Beach, which was the same rehearsal space my own band used for years, so that feels kind of fun. I can imagine the day Catherine had there trying to get the vocals just right. To be clear: I’m glad this thing exists. I’m glad people take their shot. And I’m glad some of the results are hilarious.
This single is on Discogs but has no price attached to it. I paid, probably, one dollar. I’ve gotten something like five dollars worth of amusement out of it, and this blog post content is worth something too – another five bucks. maybe. Regardless, it is priceless. Meaning “outside of value,” or “worth no money,” and so in these almost-post-capitalist days, a rare find. (It is, shockingly, on YouTube, so I don’t have to rip it.) And you get to hear it for free. Lucky day.
Also: The Museum of Canadian Music
The internet does not have a lot of Catherine on it, but I followed a link hole and found this very interesting, unusual and intriguing site: MOCA, the Museum of Canadian Music, located at citizenfreak.com is an attempt to create a non-commercial repository for Canadian recordings. It looks to have a lot of unusual stuff, and some potentially interesting and educational playlists. I intend to spend some time there – very fun.
P.S. Who Iz Ths Fool is a question posed about a human by a goose in bill bissett’s “i was on beech ave in vancouvr.” I wanted to share it here but have discovered the one thing not findable on the internet! If anyone knows how to find poems online, please let me know. I have the book somewhere, but no House Google to locate it with. It’s a heck of a poem.
Happy New Year. Hope you’re doing great.
Well, that was quite a trip down Mediocre Lane! I noticed on the sleeve, the word "Puplishing" is spelled correctly on the record's label, so consistency wasn't a strong point, either, for Ms. Catherine and Company!
Here in the states, local and regional labels also dispensed with their share of forgettable "wreck-ords," speaking especially of my time in mid-'70s radio. By the time I got into retail records (late '70s), artists and tiny labels knew THAT was not the place to begin one's search for traction or a spare ear. Catherine, hon, if you're out there.......................