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Autumn 2000 Volt reviews

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December: 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 18: Calumny! (now with official complaint) | 19 | 20


Monday 25

First show of the new season. They’re doing a lot with what they’ve got, but the gig is pretty much up.

  • Exceeds even the season/Hospital Passion finale for metacinematicity. Exceeds even the final episode of What. (Can you imagine Joe Motiki and Marie Turgeon in the same program? Gah!)
  • I abhor violence, but would excuse Mathieu for throttling the director, Sylvain, with his clearly apparent English accent.
  • Where’s Bernard De Longlac’s Devo hairpiece? So close and yet so far, etc.
  • Does a Nadyne with a Y trump a Frydenberg with a Y? What if the former hijacks the résumé of the latter?
  • The Chuck Duchesne and Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop walk-ons usurp even gauzy postmortem flashbacks in Amerikanski situation comedies for piquancy.
  • (Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop, it must be mentioned, would never make it out of a bear night at the Toolbox alive.)
  • I don’t miss Eric. Do not, however, infer that I welcome Sonia.
  • With a soundtrack vaguely reminiscent of Flashdance, Sonia’s maiden voyage unerringly struck every iceberg in her path.
  • [BITCH!] Enough with the damn recycling of previous segments. Just quit it altogether, OK, Tremblay or whoever postpinhoist is at the helm now? OK?
  • Winsomely fabulous Volt Rétro promo, straight outta Boring Postcards.
  • We have to interpret these elaborate production numbers as a subtle fuck-you to Isabel Bassett: You wanted funding cuts? You think TVO=TVO and not TVO+TFO? You can’t understand French programming so you won’t pay for it? Honey, be careful what you wish for. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • (You realize that one option for the last episode of St. Elsewhere involved just this kind of it’s-the-last-episode metacinema? Then there’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail, bien entendu.)
  • Could the TFO budgeteers have perhaps anted up enough money to shoot the TFO promo and Volt show opening in different locations? Further, Mathieu should never wear white. Who’s the sexy big-nosed black guy in the yaller T-shirt?
  • I used to be big on Ô Zone, but now see it as a ChumCity Building manqué.
  • And decide which goddamn font you wanna use for "tfo.org," kids – American Typewriter in bugs and Officina in slides.

Tuesday 26

  • So this is what Isabel hath wrought: Two original shows per week; one rerun; a video montage (can you say "cheap"?); and some kind of call-in folly, with those unendurable sexualité call-ins once a month.
  • What did it take to drag Simon away from his Of Ants and Men project to host two of the three monthly call-ins?
  • Video games as sport. Over my dead body.
    • JS tops himself with his Queen’s French: « Un Francophone. All right!» And is «Ça y court après» an English calque, ou quoi?
    • Whose shoephone dingled during that segment?

  • Videoclip: «Je combats le spleen» de Stéphie Shock, whoever and whatever those are (lotsa spleen on these pages, me son).

Wednesday 27

I suppose I’d better get used to the nouveau régime. All videos all the time: «Le complexe du cornflakes» de M (again, not the real M, shurely?!); “Somebody Someone” de Korn, for some reason; “Super Beast” de Rob Zombie, again (run “More Human Than Human,” astro-creeps); «Je t’aime comme t’es» de Ménélik; «L’amour nous saoule» de Coléoptère; “BEP Empire” des Black-Eyed Peas.

It’s going to be a long winter of Wednesdays.

You know I love youse kids. But I also know you have the potential to play some of the seldom-seen stunner videos. “Regret.” “Isobel.” (Anything by Michel Gondry. In fact, everything by him. How about “Lucas with the Lid Off”?) “Mr. Vain.” (Yes!) “Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth.” “Love Is the Strangest Way.” “My Army of Lovers.” “Television, the Drug of the Nation.” “Justified and Ancient.” “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.” “Wise Up, Sucker.” “Twist in My Sobriety.” (What does that song mean? Host a phone-in.) “Alec Eiffel.” “Sunshine & Ecstasy.” “Peace & Love Inc.” “Unsung.” “American Jesus.” “Jimmy’s Fantasy.” “So Hard.” “This Is How It Feels.” “The Carnival Is Over.” “Say Something” (the non-simian version). “Istanbul, not Constantinople.” No call for the Korn, kids.

Thursday 28

A long winter of rerun Thursdays ahead.

  • How JS puts together a report.
  • Dano and Guy debate ESP. If Guy is the boy, why does he wear the necklace? Could it be... a choker?
  • Old Volt: Not yet so good as to lick the axilla. Not in this commercial, at least.
  • Mathieu at an early stage of his gestation, as private dick, no doubt intact. The laughter segment again. Again.
  • Simone, like Thirty Helens, agrees: Men are pigs.
    • Videoclip: «Tassez-vous d’là» des Colocs.


Monday 2

I would just like to point out that Mathieu’s smarts are manifestly apparent in the last two weeks. I’m trying to think what his next step will be. England, probably, but I advise that of all former Voltistes.

  • Cute concept: Using Mathieu’s old junior-high photo to illustrate zits. But they had to farm it out to Ottawa to get the actual story done?
  • Nadyne does the fashion segment? Isn’t this rather like Allison Janney on The West Wing doing a fashion segment?
  • Steve de Brother Love Canal? Is this the long-rumoured «chum» of Charles Duchesne? (If not, I can hear one or the other of the two gagging as they read this.) Or is this Steve Diguer, producer of long standing?
  • When will the French language develop a word for “pattern”? How about “coat”?
  • Nadyne is just so pleased to be part of the show.
  • Stoner somehow makes it down to the Beach. One-quarter of the Canadian population is 7.5 million, by the way, and have they all really smoked pot? Why is this such a good thing, particularly?
  • Charles is back. With any luck, Mathieu will not lampoon his use of the term “in the house” again.
  • Charles, with his veinous neck and still-fabulous legs (and hairy triceps), starts out very strong. Just the right distance with the term le beatbox humain, a construct found mostly in print. Not quite the bestest explanation of French rap vis-à-vis English. (Was mine any better?)
  • The train falls off the track in discussing Madonna and the producer as star. Charles freezes, catches frogs in throat. Licks his lips nervously. Kind of gets the train going again.
  • Has anyone ever told you, Charles, that you have a particularly nice headshape? If worse came to worst, you could shave it all off and draw approving glances. At least at frigid, windswept, child-infested Open Houses.
    • Videoclip: «Raz-de-maré» de Saïan Supa Crew.

Tuesday 3

  • Bernard De Longlac. Jeez, that theme music kills me. Very disturbing. «Volt, l’émission fétiche des jeunes,» nominated for Gémeaux.
  • Some musician comprehensible only in Quebec, and his hair’s a mess.
  • Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop spends a full Internet “chronicle” on Internet searching and doesn’t mention Google. It’ll even speak to you in French. You’re simply wasting your time with any other search service, full stop.
  • Recumbent bikes! Attention aux Franco-Ontarien(ne)s! Be eccentric in yet another way!
    • Videoclip: «Silicone» de Daniel Boucher, notably only because it is one of the rare captioned videos seen on Volt.

Wednesday 4

Another testament to Isabel’s cutbacks: An all-video show. «Jeune et con» de Saez (reminiscent of “Supersonic” d’Oasis); «L’une vu sans l’autre» de Vénus 3; “Wait & Bleed” de SlipKnot, again; «Je dis aime» de M, yet bloody again; «No limites» d’Alliance Ethnik.

Thursday 5

A rerun. Better get used to them.

  • Bisexualism, including the offputtingly intense Roland of Alt Camera CPUsed .
  • Just for the record, it’s Me’shell NdegéOcello (nn deg ay oh CHELLO: pretty simple).
  • Asking fags and dykes at Church and Wellesley what they think about bisexualists makes for poor TV. I would suggest King and Bay, or Scarborough Town Centre.
  • Just who was Guy kissing?
  • A murderous masseuse? Don’t give the kids any ideas.
  • I think «draguer» translates better as “cruise” than “flirt,” don’t you? Even if straight people aren’t accustomed to the word?
  • Simone is dead. A dream come true. Brilliant little detail of dragging her dying self into the frame. You kids. You kill me sometimes. Even without a massage.
    • Videoclip: «Tu ne peux pas partir» de Caféïne.

Friday 6

Quite pleasantly surprised by the phone-in. And what’s with the scar on Simon’s forehead?

  • Also surprisingly, Mathieu isn’t quite fluent live. Not tonight, anyway. Presumably his jawline makes up for it. Or would, had he shaved.
  • Let’s see if we can pre-screen callers to find those who actually can hear and understand the questions.
  • Imagine having to “protect” Simon’s image by suppressing the Detect-o-Mo segment. Well, it’s his image. TFO has no business acting as chaperone.
  • We can understand viewer’s shock at watching scenes from a slaughterhouse. It’s the only segment I wouldn’t have run. Perhaps Volt might wish to pursue the topic a bit closer. Interview Sue Coe, the artist/illustrator. Talk to Dan Mathews at PETA, who firmly believes in showing the horror so people will actually know what happens in secret in the meat industry.
  • Hey! I want the mockery of Lucien Bouchard! You can make fun of minorities. You can make fun of crips. It’s just got to be rooted in knowledge, not reflex. And I say that as a 20-year veteran of the crip biz.

Monday 9

Rerun of the season-opener, two brief weeks later. Anyone care to explain this? You’ve got an entire library of shows to repeat.

Tuesday 10

I can totally see Mathieu as a dog person. A butch number.

  • Bernard De Longlac: I hear the wolf, the fox and the weasel. I hear the the wolf and the fox singing. ("It’s a Franco-Ontarian thing. You wouldn’t understand.")
  • And yes, that was Charles Duchesne in a blonde wig.
  • We admire the honesty of Sonia Vania, whoever she is, in dissing the disgusting character of brushing a dog’s teeth. That’s why we hire the pros.
  • Full marks for metacinematic efforts with Sylvain pretending to be Marc. Very Dada, very 1990s.
  • Kittie. A lot to hate there. They ride the razor’s edge. I suppose the Kittie kids deny being feminists because they’re tired of being called dykes.
  • Fibreoptics at home with JS. But it’s not a gogosse. Someone put a gun to a producer’s head demanding educational content. Beheading Big Bird is, however, a dream come true.
    • Videoclip: “Charlotte” de Kittie, again. The lad couldn’t look more fake in his wheelchair if he tried. And as we know, all wheelchair users are sad and homeless, but perfectly clean and well-groomed.

Wednesday 11

All videos all the time: «Gros zéro» de Yelo Melo, a racist outrage (run this once more and [BITCH!] I file a complaint with the CRTC: try me, kids); «Cool Frénésie» des Rita Mitsouko (and did you notice that “Rita Mitsouko” encompasses the name “Mitsou”?); “Ants Marching” de Dave Matthews (a big surprise, and cosmic! given that I had just been thinking about the ambisexual D. Matthews that day); “The Man with the Red Face” de Laurent Garnier; “Zerotonine” de Junkie XL.

Thursday 12

The regular Thursday repeat. Thank you very fucking much, Isabel fucking Bassett.

  • Something about a “motorized two-wheel skateboard.”
  • Dano on a motorcycle. Now, that I’d like to see. She’s doing it for the leather jacket.
  • Creole segment was fabulous. Also highlights the acting skills of Simon. (I am, after all, a linguist. Do you know the difference between a creole and a pidgin? What the guest speaks is a pidgin with the name Creole; note the capital letter. Fascinating, huh?)
  • Tito Boisvert at the garbage dump. Again. Here Simon undoes his acting prowess with his absurd accent. (“Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly kinguh?”) Not unfascinating to look inside the recycling plant, however.
  • The chutzpah! One set of civil servants dissing another, namely Purolator. (Of course, you didn’t have to schlep out to Gateway in Mississauga for 0700 hours to write a goddamn story about the processing plant.)
    • Videoclip: «Les gens» de Lofofora.

Friday 13

Another generally satisfactory phone-in show. Considerable surprise: Mathieu admits «je m’évite de parler aux gens.» Finally! Independent corroboration of Toronto City Bylaws:

  1. Thou shalt not talk to strangers. (Particularly true in fagbar, but in effect everywhere.)
  2. Thou shalt not talk about money; you are to assume everybody has lots.
  3. If the sleeve of your jacket should brush against the sleeve of someone else’s jacket on the subway, notwithstanding Bylaw Nº 1 you must immediately stop and mutter “Sorry.”

Based on Mathieu’s extended remarks, I would venture to guess that he feels a bit let down by living in the big city, frustrated, alienated, and even, dare I say it, lonely. Even the smart, butch, and button-cute among us are often unhappy.

(Is he married, by the way? He looks like a husband type, actually. The kind to get married early on. Like Simon, if memory serves. Or like Daniel Richler. And he does wear a ring.)

However, do not read entire printed E-mails. Ask whoever’s in drag on-set to edit them down and read those.

Monday 16

Love the walkabout through the deceptively tiny Square du Canada studios. Love the setup of an entire elevatorful of Voltistes jumping up.

I hate Ti-Gars more than Simone. That, mes amis, is saying something.

Charles and his neck. Gah! He’s not visibly improving. “What else can I say here?” he mutters, shuffling his notes. Also, he’s still nervous: The lack of saliva in the mouth is audible.

Sonia learns the way of the lifeguard. A draining profession: You literally cannot take your eyes off the pool.

  • Videoclip: «Rébarbatives» de Stéfie Shock.

Tuesday 17

Good hair on Mathieu, allegedly at the Gémeaux.

Very much enjoyed the descent into slavery. Who wouldn’t want to win his or her own Franco-Ontarian? Assuming he had a certain kind of neck and a particular set of sideburns?

  • Videoclips: “The First” de Tegan & Sara, about whom we are apparently supposed to care (“I hear you’ve got a fast car. Is it fast enough so we can fly away?”); «La plume» de Louise Attaque.

Wednesday 18

All videos all the time, etc., as you know already. “The Way I Am” d’Eminem; «Comme toi» d’Infini-T (what’s with the Vanessa Paradis manqué silver-lamé bodypaint? and the hopelessly derivative musical style?); «Juste toi et moi» d’Indochine (unmistakable voices; what was their first hit circa 1985, again?); “1999” de Cassius (or is that «1999» de Cassius?); «Tu peux partir» de la Chicane.

Thursday 19

A rerun.

Guy sounds considerably more butch in English. Over the years, I have grown concerned about him. Just how happy or unhappy is he? Disenchanted? What is he doing now? I hope he has avoided the Bambury–Srebotnjak fate, relegated to third-tier chat shows. (Which invert is sexier, Bambury or Gagnier?)

Who would have thought so many French-speaking inline skater d00dz n grrrlz could be located in Ontario?

Thrilled shitless by the Cola Volt pub. Ten thousand words in 25 seconds. Take that, speedrappers like Outkast!

Ah, yes, le rugby. Quite commendable effort in French by the source, John Macmillan, getting stuck in English word order only once. Admirable. And in Quebec, there’d be snickers behind his back for his ludicrously substandard French. My sysadmin d00d Luke is a rugbyiste manqué from back in South Africa. And did you know there are actual gay rugby teams? Guy Gagnier got game!

Ned Flanders and his Leftorium, now on Volt! «N’oubliez pas toutes les choses fantastiques qu’on peut fair avec la main gauche» – like bitch-slapping JS!

Unfortunately, Herr Müller is quite incorrect in focusing on wooden cutting boards as a source of household contagion. An Economist article years ago explained that researchers could not find any bacteria on wooden cutting boards even when it should have thrived. The theory was that wood contains unknown bactericidal elements, which explains why some dead trees last decades before decaying completely. Now, plastic cutting boards are a deathwish.

  • Videoclip: «La tribu de Dana» de Manau. Yes, them. Do I have to give the link again? Poor production kills this one: Vocals during the romantic “Celtic” chorus are unintelligible. I have a hard time giving up my crush on this band. And I do not refer to looks.

Monday 23

Very strong episode, this one.

Inviting an operatic tenor to cohost the show. What a concept!

Um... the word karaoke:

  1. is not pronounced carry Okie (in the back of your pickup truck down to the feed store?). Pronounce it the way it looks: kara oh ké
  2. does not mean “singing box.” It means “empty orchestra”: kara means “empty,” and “oke” is the first two syllables of the romanization of “orchestra” (ookesutora). Empty orchestra. Makes a fuck of a lot more sense than “crooning snatch,” doesn’t it?

Memo to Mathieu: The key to success in karaoke is to take it slightly more seriously. This is the big secret of karaoke: Everyone can sing. There’s fun and then there’s enjoyment. Do you want to go over the top, overcompensate, and be a goof, or do you want to actually sing? Which is the real break from the everyday – acting like a goof or singing as well as you can? Ham around on your own time, not in front of a crooning-snatch audience.

I’m only upset because my best-laid plans for Bad Religion Karaoke on BR Day on November 5 will come to naught.

And doesn’t Toronto need a karaoke joint that really stands head and shoulders over all the others?

Charles Duchesne in a tight T-shirt, in autumn. He is an homosexualist. We now have proof.

How many viewers noted the “wedding” ring on the left hand?

Are Caféïne really that good? Can we anticipate Caféïne Karaoke 20 years from now?

Memo to Sonia, whose impulse toward grossout is, on paper, what a teen show needs, but crashes and burns in the real world (read how Callum Rennie got the role of Billy Tallent in Hard Core Roadshow): Bubbles in the fluid in joints are composed of nitrogen, not "air," yes?

  • Videoclip: The increasingly astounding “Koochy” d’Armand Van Helden. How much of the footage can you ID? (Logan’s Run, anyone?) Memo to Volt: Run a trilogy of this clip, “Detonator” de Mocean Worker (which you kids really oughta be down wit’), and “Destruction Site” de Lee Ranaldo. Look ’em up. (And, I suppose, "N.W.O.")

Tuesday 24

Shocking how good Mathieu looks in a cop uniform. An Enza Supermodel manqué, or merely an extra from «Bonjour, la police»?

Pedantry alert: DDT stands for di$chloro$di$phenyl$tri$chloro$ethane. Note the morpheme boundaries (denoted by $). It ain’t Dichloro-diphényl-trichlo-réthane. Ethane, like methane, not rethane.

SHOCK OF THE YEAR: Mathieu’s response to whatever shiftless twit who had nothing better to do than phone in and complain about the new season had me sitting there like some big bruiser were walking straight toward me and I knew, I just knew, I was going to get punched in the chops. He’s that frightening.

You know what’s worse? Both the caller’s complaints and Mathieu’s explanations are credible and justified. The show is worse off (note the distinction: not worse, though the caller thinks so) and the Voltistes are doing as much as they can with less. Thank you, Isabel fucking Bassett.

Very gutsy, very fierce. The sort of thing only Volt could get away with. Why else do I love the show?

Oh. Question. Is itème the new acceptable francised equivalent of the English “segment,” in the way that words like déductible and adéquate are now valid French? And why isn’t there a word for “pattern” yet? Huh?

I liked Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop’s hair the old way.

  • Videoclip: “Weekend” des Black-Eyed Peas.

Wednesday 25

All videos all the, etc., etc. Videoclips: «Je combats le spleen» de Stéphie Shock; «Juste pour voir le monde» de la Chicane; «Tanné» de Richard Petit; “Party People” d’Alex Gopher; «Oh chérie» de Caféïne.

Thursday 26

Rerun de la semaine. Liked the Frisbee, was neutral about Breathalyzer, enjoyed Sauce trempette aigre-douce Volt, as ever. Still don’t know how they get away with it.

  • Videoclip: «Mimi» de Lili Fatale (or vice-versa).

Monday 30

Love that writing. Bus “132,” Bernard De Longlac assures us, was seven minutes late that morning at the nonexistent intersection of Dundas and Queen. Funny how the bus in the subsequent video is Nº 103 and departs from the Eglinton garage on Yonge right handy to the TVO office. There’s willing suspension of disbelief and there’s this.

And it goes downhill from there. I miss Guy.

Howcum JS gets to indulge his rally obsession on-air? For the same reason that the entire episode can be “consecrated” to Nadyne’s birthday?

Just where Stoner is situated in the middle of the road... I dunno, isn’t he in danger of getting smacked by a bus? Nº 103, even?

Astonishingly girly reportage on handmade birthday gifts. Imagine: A mix tape on a certain theme. All Tegan and Sara all the time?

Charles is gradually calming down in his music “chronicles.” I think the leaning forward makes him tense. He’s visibly tenser than Mathieu, who’s also perched forward. Question of experience?

  • Videoclip: “Electrobank” des Chemical Brothers.

Tuesday 31

Sylvain, shut the fuck up. None of this voice-of-God stuff. This isn’t Broadcast News.

(And it’s Hallowe’en. What did you do with the body of Marc Bishop?)

Memo to Malabar d00d: Didn’t see one Gladiator costume on the street. (Then again, it was Toolbox à go-go for me that night.)


Wednesday 1

Music videos. «La désise» de Daniel Boucher, whom I’ve had quite enough of; «Drugstar» d’Indochine, whom I still like after 15 years; «5 heures du mat» d’Alliance Ethnik, who make living in France seem even more unpalatable than I imagined it already; «Le ciel est vide» des Vulgaires machins; «La vi ti nèg» de Muzion, a video I loathe absolutely.

Thursday 2

Our Isabel Bassett Memorial Rerun of the week.

Dig Guy’s hair! Which does it signify more, youthful indiscretion or homosexualist outré?

Possibly viable expository technique on the Tamagotchi segment: Have the French-speaking kids (if you call it French: Nearly all of ’em have rank English accents and speak in English word order) recite the script.

We like the androgynous chick at the helm of the Barbie segment. (Josée?) How do we get her back?

Shockingly creative idea for JS to explain, a full 363 days in advance of Hallowe’en, how to mix your own fake blood. Serious, unexpected ideas taken to well-researched extremes are why we watch Volt.

However, how did JS tolerate the foul stench of Liquid Tide?

  • Videoclip: “Got the Life” de Korn, for some unfathomable reason.

Monday 6

Nice intro with Hospital Passion. Now where are the new episodes? (Yes, I know, it’s been done. Onward and upward. But to what?)

God love him, but Charles has trouble explaining P.J. Harvey. Then again, she’s a hard sell. Good for the A-list kids who like to reassure each other that they’re superhip and understand each other’s rockist references.

All in all, the Hospital Passion conceit was unable to sustain itself outside the parody soap opera itself. Rather like Manuel from Fawlty Towers doing charity benefits. Is he still Manuel if he’s not on the show? Why the heck would he leave the show? Characters in search of an author, etc.

Tuesday 7

Mu-u-uch better, kids. Much better.

What’s that Dano kid doing these days? Apart from manhandling a camera? (As we’ll learn on Friday, working in English, apparently. Sacrilege.)

Gogosses with JS and some would-be superstar. Are you aware just how little this Daniel Boucher charlatan has to offer? He can’t even wreck a gogosse.

  • Videoclip: “Disposable Teens” de Marilyn Manson, looking like every other such video.

Wednesday 8

Music videos. All over the damn place. «J’pete les plombs» de Disez la peste; «Moi... Lolita» d’Alizée; "Shit on You" de D-12; "Rollin’" de Limp Bizkit, to one’s great chagrin.

Thursday 9

Best part of the rerun: Guy as Wonder Woman. But that is predictable. Reasonably intelligent discussion of so-called girl power, where the label apologist gives himself quite enough rope.

But what works even better is having absolutely every man on staff in drag. Charles has the best taste, natch. And to think, it’s all in praise of pioneering wymmynz!

One of the few black subjects on Volt: Sean Hylton, paintball dæmon. Don’t you hate it when holier-than-thou critics prioritize black people over every other minority? An American influence, that. Blacks have been in Canada since at least 1604, but are a very small minority – hardly the one person in five in the U.S. But we’re still expected to have the same kind of "representation" the Americans do. I don’t think so, honey. You wouldn’t know diversity if it wrapped you in a rainbow.

Except in this case, Sean Hylton is terribly smart, droll, charismatic, and sexy. Why isn’t he leading the free world or something?

  • Videoclip: «Tomber la chemise» de Zebda. The three-across front-row seating in the van reminds me of the obscure Matra-Simca Bagheera, a sports car with a similar configuration.

Friday 10

The densest episode yet, as befitting Volt’s thousandth show. That’s a fuck of a lot of ’em. Congrats, kids.

Big surprise to see what appeared to be a studio audience. Why wasn’t I invited? Krystle, c’est hard pour moi de te dire ceci. I feel like part of the family. But so do celebrity stalkers, I guess. And anyway, a closer examination of the audience showed they were mostly, if not all, TVOers.

Three viewings failed to clarify every word spoken. That’s a first. I wish to hell I’d caught the Communist-themed bingo show. Gah, but Charles looked fabbo in his Maoist drag!

It’s odd how we learn the news of the bunker at Canada Square. It was from a report on Panorama, happened upon by accident (the show is sepulchrally boring), that I learned TFO’s budget had been sliced and diced by 20%. We learn from this thousandth episode that criticism of Mike Harris resulted in Thérèse Pinho’s getting herself suspended. Talk about line of duty.

Vaguely surprising to hear that Guy is out in Vancouver, no doubt being slavered over by Orientals or stoned ice-blonds. (He does look fabulous in his silver-grey shirt, doesn’t he?) Also no doubt playing homosexualist volleyball. Not at all surprising to hear that Dano had defected to Montreal, possibly following in the high-heeled footsteps of Marie Turgeon, the goddess herself. You wish, Dano. (And what’s this about working in English?)

I want more reunion shows.

Monday 13

Party tips from Nadyne and Dano. And they call me girly.

Sonia is doing [BITCH!] really quite pedestrian and forgettable work. She’s an entirely typical Canadian media chick: Undifferentiated; thinks she’s got a real personality, real perspicacity, real taste, genuine knowledge; tends toward the glib, as if in an attempt at humour; excused because she’s a girl (affirmative action is rampant in Canadian media, and it’s worse than any opponent of U.S. affirmative action could imagine).

Whereas Dano had no pretensions.

I know I said it was fascinating to view the surprisingly-small studio, but do we have to look at it under every episode’s closing credits?

  • Videoclip: "4tonmantis" d’Amon Tobin. A bit more like it, kids. Play the good stuff.

Tuesday 14

I am Name-Checked on Volt, Episode 2. How odd to be name-checked again. «Joe Clark: C’est pas un gars qui fait des sites Web.» You let me off easy. Mwah!

Mathieu’s drag act is almost there. (Bet you weren’t expecting me to say that, were you?) Just dial the clothes down one notch, and shave, and you’re battle-ready. (I have been known to take on Filipino drag queens and win. I know my stuff here.)

Time-wasting Web sites, with Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop. Not like this one, shurely?!

  • Videoclip: «Sauvez cette étoile» de Saez.

Wednesday 15

All videos. All the time. «Angela» de Saïan Supa Crew; «Pas d’expérience» de Kid Fléo; «Bagnole» des Marmottes aplaties; «Tassez-vous d’là» des Colocs; «Les gens» de Lofofora.

Thursday 16

Rerun. Previously covered. Unremarkable. Seemingly an entire episode dedicated to Dano’s research in Jobs for the Future. Liked the dog-training segment, clearly filmed years before Mathieu felt he had license to kick out the jams.

The dog, seen recently on the show, is shockingly jet-black.

  • Videoclip: "1999" de Cassius (or «1999» de Cassius).

Friday 17

Call-in show on the silence and invisibility and indeed the raison d’être of Franco-Ontarians.

Well, heck. I’m from New Brunswick, but not an Acadian. (I would officially not exist in the TFO Newspeak, because the only province between Quebec and Nova Scotia is Acadie, and I’m not from there.) And, while my French is good (my comprehension very good), I’m an anglo. (Rather embarrassing, actually, being a linguist. But most linguists are unilingual.) And here I am watching the show.

So why aren’t the Francophones in this province more demonstrative? Discuss.

Monday 20

Didn’t quite get the segment with the two superstar Quebec athletes, who, perhaps fittingly, were good sports during the whole thing.

Is Nadyne perhaps trying to girl it up a bit too much?

Now, Charles Duchesne knows I’m a big fan. I certainly wish I were as much of a sweetie as he. But will he ever relax and grow into his CD-"chronicle" role? The rapport between the alleged DJ and Mathieu still works quite well. It’s just that Charles should be holding up more on his end.

Nice mention of... Manau! without bitch-slapping me. [Cf. Ma folie de Manau]

Tuesday 21

Love the fake advert on smoking. Particularly vicious; vaguely reminiscent of a Quebec psychodrama that sweeps the Jumeaux.

Fabulous concept for a jeux vidéo, huh? Maracas! I am so there. But, JS, fresh off mangling "PaRappa the Rapper," mangles UmJammer Lammy. You mangle so many French words so nicely. Why not mangle these neologisms equally nicely?

  • Videoclip: "Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day" de Morcheeba.

Wednesday 22

All music videos. All the way. "Flat Beat" de Mr. Oizo (still!); «Silicone» de Daniel Boucher; "Broken Home" de Papa Roach (yawn); "Lounge with Us" de Muzion; "Charlotte" de Kittie.

Thursday 23

A repeat. Ross Rebagilati mangling French again. His most valiant action in Nagano was appearing in a Radio-Canada interview. Love how Guy utters the word commanditaire and Ross follows it up with sponseur. Valiant, this.

The best thing Mathieu ever did was cut his hair.

  • Videoclip: «1990» de Jean Leloup.

Monday 27

A hip-hop emission. Funny how the on-air talent pronounced all six aitches in that phrase. It isn’t aspiré?

The rather quite irrelevant Sonia Vani produces a segment on a French-speaking rappeur, le Shah. Who’s black. Who lives in Ottawa. WTF?

This, my dear, should be in all the papers. You want multiculturalism?

My disappointment with the lovely and talented Charles Duchesne intensifies. Still with the dry-mouth<slash>nervousness problem. The description of la Garde was thorough but dysfluent. Passion-inflaming forearm closeups, as if in compensation. Solesides wrapup, however, killed. Quite uneven, hence the disappointment. (The conversation with Mathieu is still what makes it.)

All was forgiven with the closing. Never has the word "Yo" been articulated so spontaneously yet with such appropriate feeling. Two little words. Whoda thunk?

OK. Breakdancing.

  • Again, WTF? with the French variant, smurfing? A Smurf is a Schtroumpf, but a breakdancer is a smurfeur. JS’s distinctive French-like language encoding system is sounding better and better all the time.
  • Now, OK. The breakdancing d00dz. We like the fact that they accept the need to act like real dancers and not like macho "bangers" wheeled into Dr. Greene’s care on E.R. How? They touch. Ever see the video for Suzanne Vega and DNA’s "Tom’s Diner"? Just the little kick-that-touches-the-soles-of-the-shoes makes it. These guys are way aheada that malarkey.
  • It is not even noticed anymore when rappers are white, and barely noticed when they’re grrrlz. So where are the white and/or grrrl smurfers?
  • Wear lighter-coloured clothing.

No video today?

Tuesday 28

Appalling typography in show intro. Get with the fucking program. This isn’t 10% QTV.

Dazzling, stunning, stupefying, excoriating, miraculously fluent and unabated Paddy Chayefsky–calibre expatiating harangue by Bernard De Longlac on Canadians Against Bilingualism Injustice.

Mathieu eclipses his previous records – first show of the season and his shock-of-the-year retribution against some twit caller who took potshots at the show. Oh. My. Gosh.

Gémeau nomination, anyone?

Bathetic letdown by Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop. The lad is too overworked to do a good job with this segment. Time to recruit outside help. (No, not me. I actually don’t know who.)

  • Videoclip: "Bingo Bango" de Basement Jaxx. Brings you back to the Inner City/Soul double-I 1980s, doesn’t it?

The very serious Mohamed Boudjenane explains politics for us. (Isn’t it Mouammad?)

Rushed gogosses are hardly gogosses at all.

Wednesday 29

Music vids: «Raz-de-marée» de Saïan Supa Crew; "Fresh" de Daft Punk (moderately shocking; the guy playing Charles can really act); "BEP Empire" des Black-Eyed Peas; «Le complexe du corn flakes» (sic) de M; "Koochy" d’Armand Van Helden.

Thursday 30

Rerun of the week. Guy on Superheroes. (Wonder Woman, shurely?!) This is a job for Understanding Comics.

Thérèse, God love her, cannot act on-camera to save her life. Is this the television equivalent of having a radio voice – and a radio face?

Jean-Louis, contrariwise, can handily act his way out of a paper bag.

Fashion-faux-pas fausse pub worked particularly well. Whose idea? I smell a nancyboy behind this one.

  • Videoclip: Unidentified (!), but I’ve seen it before. (Not an altogether bad concept, and an oddball amalgam of musical and stylistic influences, these bellowing kids, these.)


Monday 4

Why is it that, every few weeks, the Voltistes insist on depicting some kind of ritual animal slaughter?

This isn’t funny, and my telling you it isn’t funny shouldn’t be cause for mirth, either. Gruesome, graphic depictions of animal vivisection and disembowelment contravene broadcast standards, and the fact that someone like me might write a complaint in English on the topic of a French-language television program will not prevent TFO from having to expend a great many billable hours responding to the paperwork.

Consider this a warning threat.

Competent, even conventionally journalistic explication of volunteerism for high-school students. Volunteer information centre telephone number should have been given in a super.

Illuminating Charles from below, far from inducing a Hallowe’en aspect, merely highlights the auburn hues of the lad’s hair. Can we do this more often? By the way, exactly which «club» did Charles find himself in when Fatboy Slim was played, causing the crowd to go apeshit?

To solve the riddle: Holding up the first two fingers in a V, you utter the word «Morceau» because un morceau is "a piece." "Piece" is a homonym of "peace." You’re giving a peace sign. Hence «morceau» is a combination false cognate/Cockney rhyming slang of "peace," bro.

I mean, everybody knows that.

  • Videoclip: "Sunset (Bird of Prey)" de Fatboy Slim.

Tuesday 5

Serviceable service pieces from start to finish.

Why am I not more impressed? The kids didn’t do anything wrong, and did a lot right. Perhaps I am self-incriminatingly indifferent to the specific subject-matter. I’m also getting accustomed to the Voltistes’ uncanny ability to dig up more-or-less-French-speaking experts for the show – in the current case, a dermatologist.

  • Videoclip: "Stan" d’Eminem, which, to one’s horror, ain’t half bad. Elton John tends to overpraise the lad, but we can perhaps understand the motivations why.

Wednesday 6

All videos all the time: «J’pète les plombs» de Disiz la peste (a harder-to-parse string of morphemes you’ll never find); «Le peau lisse» de Jerôme Minière; «La tribu de Dana» de Manau; «5 heures du mat» d’Alliance Ethnik.

An especial note here: «La tribu de Dana» remains in every way an agreeable number that single-handedly proves the viability of the unlikely amalgam of rap, the French language, and bagpipes. In an understated way that creeps up on you, the song and video impart their theme that even the kids today, studiously living in the present and ignorant of whatever doesn’t make it on TV, nonetheless may carry the standard of an ancient lineage. (Cf. Icelandic kids – real kids – who can recite the sagas by heart with passion and force.) Frankly, it’s a stunning achievement by a bunch of youngsters who, were they Canadian, could not put together enough credible English, let alone French, to snag a C+ in a history course. And if you ever doubted the richness of the French language, something as unexpected as an historical Celtic rap tune will give you a big surprse. Shockingly accomplished, dense, ambitious, and moving, it gives Luc fucking Plamondon a run for his money.

There. I feel a lot better.

See Ma folie de Manau.

Thursday 7

This week’s rerun, which appears to be a collage of items from multiple previous episodes.

And you know, I miss Guy already. I was pretty hard on the lad (and all the other lads) on the topic of the post-segment discussion on what makes a man. And of course I was comically clueless in failing to peg Guy as an ardent homosexualist. At any rate, rerunning the original segment in this episode amounts to rerunning the least interesting part.

JS gets his hair cut. Thérèse, with her full lips, crawls onto the conference table. What’s with Herr Müller this week? Something to do with table manners, itself an odd little phrase. Good segment with William Portal, Simon’s single strongest character, ironically enough.

More language lessons with Géri! Positively miraculous, even without using native speakers, which you’d think would queer the whole concept.

  • Videoclip: The decidedly peculiar «C’est moi qui règne» de Big Sugar, whom I ordinarily cannot stand, Hugo fucking Boss or not.

Friday 8

A complete cipher of a phone-in show. Shoulda stuck with the original Internet topic.

Monday 11

Does JS really want to go down in history as the court jester of Volt?

Hearing the dulcet tones of Maman Busque from the répondeur, we understand the origins of JS’s distinctive French-like language encoding system.

Am I the only one late to the party – late to noticing the clever little insets in the intro to Les Nouvelles? Can we have a few more of these, please? Maybe you could rotate them. (Cheap to shoot, yes?)

In all seriousness, having JS read Les Nouvelles struck too much as an in joke. If everyone on the set had managed to keep their traps shut, it might not have been so pushy.

Hmm... An interview with the newly-proclaimed-heterosexualist Roch Voisine. (Stéphane Richer, dry your tears.) However, I seem to recall, during the Shock of the Year diatribe by Mathieu, a claim that one would have to sit through a lot of Céline Dion and Roch Voisine to view on MuchMusic the same fabbo French much videos that Volt runs, now with a full-on video show on Wednesdays.

And now we’re interviewing this middle-of-the-road abomination? The Tony Pinto–esque sendups interspersed in the conversation were insufficient. Was the show really that much in need of segments that the piece was absolutely necesary?

Volt street cred: One demerit.

Don’t you love the manifest charisma and self-assurance with which Mathieu conducts post-segment interviews, particularly with girls? He can get away with murder, can say whatever he wants, because he can sell it. And this strength comes from his sarcasm, his bitterness, his curmudgeonliness.

(Don’t believe me? Ask Helen Mirren. She chalks up her own powers to the masculine side of her appeal, drawing parallels with Anna Magnani.)

Why isn’t Charles lit from below, as last week? Sexy tight soccer jersey. We like. «De vieilles tunes faites par des toughs.» Love it!

Charles’s regular music columns have never, not even once, covered all the records set out on the lineup. Time to reduce the number by one?

Six callers understood that morceau is two steps removed from "peace." Three flubbed it. Love that school system.

  • Videoclip: "Back to School" des Deftones.

Tuesday 12

Current hit parade of locutions in the Queen’s French by Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop:

  1. «Si ça load»
  2. «La plupart des compagnies de cartes de crédit ne chargent même pas ces 50 $ là»
  3. «Donc, c’est très safe»

JS, your ears are burning.

I side with my old McGill French prof on this: Go ahead and use a loanword where there does not already exist a term in your first language. ("Cheap shot," for example, in yesterday’s show.)

Satan’s pancartes de signalisation. Still fabulous. Bitch-slap that mop-head, Dano!

(By the way, a fellow maudit anglophone Volt fan wrote, back in May: "Happened upon the show about a month ago when the cops were browbeating a stop sign. I’ve been hooked ever since. I am astonished to find myself part of a following." Believe it, baby.)

Again with the brazen depiction of vivisection.

  • Videoclip: "The Price of Reality" d’Amen. Loved the choreographed girls in dirndls and rifles! I see a theme for the end-of-year Vaseline.

Wednesday 13

Simon as an elf in the Xmas bumper? As Nathalie would have expressed it, using the Queen’s French, "Oh, my God!"

Really a very clever and well-executed set of connecting segments tonight, with Francine attempting to explain her car problems using onomatopoeia. Problem: Deep-black backgrounds of sets. Other problem: A mechanic is unlikely to use a Meridian Norstar digital telephone.

However, the moving of a hubcap across the centre divider did tend to give the game away early.

All videos all the time. «Rébarbatives» de Stéfie Shock, which strikes just the right chords (Cf. "Blood Makes Noise"); "Lady" de Modjo (where did they come from?), almost a winning amalgam of boyband and some kind of dansemusique that Charles would have a cute little name for, and we love the Pontiac Acadian, which almost ferries our small-town hepcats to the big city; "The Way I Am" d’Eminem and "Rollin’ " de Limp Bizkit, for some Godforsaken reason; "Somebody Someone" de Korn, with captions.

I disclaim any connection to the caller whose request went like this: "Get the cat out of there! Yeah, could you play more Eminem? Thank you!"

Thursday 14

La reprise de la semaine. Detattooing. Depilation (again), avec Herr Müller. Drug-sniffing at the airport. How terrifying to have an Alsatian run right toward you.

Rerun the segment with Jean-Louis and Simon on the restaurant patio beating the shit out of each other. Please. It is Christmas.

  • Videoclip: «La vi ti nèg» de Muzion, a video I loathe absolutely.

Friday 15

A phone-in show on Xmas. Try harder with the episode ideas, kids. As with last week, the original idea – Year 2000 – floated my boat way better.

It has finally been noticed that Mathieu has kind of a big nose.

Monday 18Calumny!

Unmatched agitprop chutzpah from the Voltistes. So why blow it at the end?

A Frank prank. A "Talking to Americans." A 22 Minutes swoop on Parliament Hill. The Voltistes "volunteer" urine samples of their own and infiltrate the Leg (how the hell did you get past the guards?) in an attempt to collect a sample from Mike Harris.

In a significant coup, a Tory MPP admits on tape that what’s piss for the goose is piss for the gander. (Goose? Mais j’anticipe.) "With MPPs taking drug testing I would have no problem at all." The hon. Member’s name would have helped.

This significant coup will go unnoticed unless someone leaks it to the anglo press. And I’m not gonna.

The costumes let the prank down. Mathieu should have changed his sweater under his lab coat and lost the down jacket for the intro. Losing the down jacket would, moreover, have conferred a tad more credibility inside the House.

What is with the French accent he manufactured? If there was no time for subtitling by the 6:30 broadcast, presumably there was time by the midnight show, and certainly by the weekend rerun. (It isn’t extra work. You’d have to do it anyway.)

Fortunately, you put us out of Gerard Kennedy’s misery. Some anglophones should not attempt to speak French.

More with Mathieu’s charm during Nadyne’s ill-advised, self-indulgent, and thin segment on saving money over Xmas. As if.

Very fluent, engagé, and reassuring music segment with Charles, who, thankfully, is underlit. Slight conflict of interest in reviewing a show reporter’s brother’s album. Even declared conflicts of interest remain conflicts of interest. Also, why immediately translate aigre-douce? Also, while they are surely comfortable, hooded sweatshirts are unbecoming on a slender, suedeheaded sweetiepie like Charles.

Principles and complaints

December 22 – I have filed a complaint with the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council over the repeated telecast of horrific animal violence on Volt. Don’t fuck with your fans.

I am Name-Checked on Volt, Episode 3. It is exclusively revealed on this episode that the infamous segment graphically depicting the gory slaughter and disembowelment of a bird (presumably a goose, as suggested by the slow-motion intro) was an attempt at provocation. What the hell would it take to get our attention?

I’ve criticized the segment before. I held that it contravened broadcast standards. (So did the Panasonic commercial in which the salesclerk punches out a teenager, and the Mats Sundin Nike commercial in which he clobbers a player against the boards, and the infamous gaybashing hockey-without-a-little-mayhem-is-nothing-more-than-figure-skating advert from Sega.)

I am, of course, a strict vegetarian (I run the VsXe mailing list, for heaven’s sake, and even my Doc Martens are vegan). I am opposed to all forms of animal abuse. I am opposed to their gratuitous depiction, too. The fact that I am particularly sensitive to the topic does not mean I am wrong in saying the goose segment violates broadcast standards. In fact, it gives me added expertise.

Am I the only one who recalls, roughly one year ago, hearing Simon explain that the CRTC prevents TFO (indeed, anyone) from broadcasting nudity at 6:30 at night? Volt understands its constraints. Envelopes are pushed. Sexy music videos are aired. Entire episodes devoted to sex run each month. Segments that inflame the passions of homosexualists and homophobes – different passions, admittedly – regularly air.

Devout readers of these reviews will know I give the show major props for this kind of daring. What else could we expect from intelligent 20- and 30-year-old producers situated at the helm of a program aimed at overlapping minorities (teenage Francophones in an English province)? With a small but liberal audience, and flying under various forms of radar, you are going to do whatever you want.

Again by Simon’s admission (on the first free-for-all phone-in show of the season), a previous segment depicting the slaughter of pigs was the most contentious Volt had ever aired, beating out even the infamous Detect-o-Mo segment, which any idiot could see was put together with a lot of forethought and understanding. Detect-o-Mo actually dealt with a real-world concept (gaydar) and had a good laugh with it.

The Pig and Goose segments, however, were pornographic: Graphic scenes presented for stimulation value only. I’m pro-pornography (most fags are; I particularly loathe anti-porn dykes, and I have spent several years putting together evidence to blow one of their pet theories out of the water in a forthcoming book). The pornography I support involves people and sex because people can consent to sex.

Animals cannot consent to being slaughtered. It is shocking and brutalizing to be forced to watch it.

Were this a program about such segments (Too Much for Volt?), with all sorts of warnings and discussion fora and an explanation of rationales, I would have no objections at all. In fact, I would agitate to appear on the show, speaking English and calmly laying waste to pro-vivisectionist arguments.

Similarly, a program exploring conditions in the meat industry, or exposing any kind of practice of vivisection, animal cruelty, or slaughter, would be OK by me. The topic is vivisection. Vivisection is not used for some other purpose.

I also have no objection whatsoever to programs like The Operation, which I occasionally watch. (I am not very squeamish when it comes to human medical treatments. I go back 20 years in disability. Hang around a few quadriplegics on ventilators and you lose your shyness pretty fast.) Such programs are clearly educational (not a necessary criterion, but a redeeming one in this case) and all the participants gave their consent up front. Moreover, warnings are broadcast before the show begins and after each commercial break. Such programs do not air at 6:30, either.

Finally, foul language does not bother me at all, not even viciously hateful and bigoted foul language. I can live with restrictions on time of airing, though I have, on many occasions, heard swearwords before sunset on Canadian TV without on-air warnings.

But the Pig and Goose segments, while premeditated, betrayed no intelligence, unlike the second-most-contentious segment, Detect-o-Mo. They appealed to the central nervous system (the reflexes, the impulses), but not the mind.

I am opposed to realistic depictions of violence. Cartoon violence I enjoy, like Itchy & Scratchy. Buffy the Vampire Slayer fits into this category. Cop shows with live shootings do not. Gratuitious depictions of animal vivisection constitute violence.

Show someone inflicting pain and I get upset, unless there are very good reasons to do it. Show the infliction of pain with blood and guts and you are exceeding Canadian broadcast standards.

Such standards, while voluntary, are nonetheless enforced and are very clear. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council’s Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming states:

Violence against animals

9.1 – Broadcasters shall not telecast programming which sanctions, promotes or glamorizes violence against animals.

9.2 – Broadcasters shall not be restricted in the telecast of legally sanctioned activities associated with animals. In such telecasts, judgment shall be used in the selection of video and associated audio, particularly if the telecast is broadcast outside of late evening hours.

(Version française.) There is also the CRTC to consider. As I recall correctly, TFO is already on their shitlist and vice-versa, TFO’s having lost its application for extended carriage in Quebec. (The CRTC would pass the complaint to the Standards Council, but it would involve extra work for TVOntario.)

The Goose segment may meet half the standard of §9.2. Slaughtering a bird is "legally sanctioned" per se; the segment did not, however, prove that the slaughter took place under legal conditions. But TFO exercised no apparent judgement in selecting video, especially given fact that the original airing occurred "outside of late-evening hours." The segment fails the standard of §9.2: Through gratuitous, deliberately provocative and mocking depiction, Volt manifestly sanctioned, promoted, and glamourized violence against animals.

In other words: Volt, you are busted.

I specifically warned that further airings might trigger a complaint. (The existing airings were sufficient to lodge a complaint.) The fact that I run the sole Volt fan page would not stop me. Animals are more important than entertainment. So are broadcast standards.

However, on today’s episode Mathieu revealed that Audience Relations had received an anonymous complaint. While objecting to the gore, it also veered into the dangerous territory of “You’re a public broadcaster, so how dare you use my money in this way?”

I then had a good laugh at Mathieu’s line:

Félicitations à la personne qui a dit ce qu’elle a pensé (d’ailleurs, en passant, on sait très bien que c’est toi, Joe Clark).

Understand a few things. I am a former journalist, with 390 published articles. I am a recipient of arts-council grants. As is evidenced by my status as a vegan straightedger, ethics are important to me. I am a “former” journalist because I refused to sign publishers’ contracts that attempted to extort the copyright of my work in return for one-time payment.

I strongly support public broadcasting in all its forms and the concept of arm’s-length relationships. Any kind of political interference in the arts is unethical and must be opposed with the greatest energies. I do not believe that public broadcasters are beholden to the demands of the public. We are paying you not to produce works we approve of in all cases, as the Volt complainant believes, but to produce programming in the public interest, broadly defined.

There are no circumstances under which I would even contemplate a complaint that a public broadcaster was misusing “my” money by producing a segment I disapproved of.

Further, the complainant might have been female and left the complaint in French. I would not have done so. Moreover, anonymous complainants are cowards. I sign my name to all complaints.

Volt has insulted my conscientiously-held beliefs: There is, of course, the incidental and insinuated trivialization of the complaint against the segments itself (check Mathieu’s smarmy little grin during the segment), but by linking my name to a complaint lodged in part for reasons I abhor you do me a great deal of damage.

TFO is not off the hook because Volt is suddenly turning the whole affair into a forum of debate. Just don’t even attempt to make that case, because that goose won’t honk.

I love the show and I am a big fan of the creative talent involved. I support a lot of Volt’s riskier segments, and have repeatedly advised on these pages that no one in the Legislature had better take note of what you are doing (it’s happened once, the first phone-in of the season revealed) lest you lose your artistic freedom. What is an example of such a segment? Marching on down to provincial Parliament and hunting down Mike Harris for a urine sample. I admire the chutzpah. But be smart with it.

I don’t particularly care what you think of me, previously, now, or in the future. I am, however, strongly committed to a number of principles: The avoidance of inflicting unnecessary pain on animals and humans; the avoidance of gratuitously-depicted violence, including vivisection, slaughter, and disembowelment; the respect of broadcast standards; artistic freedom and freedom of expression; and political noninterference.

Don’t you dare for a millisecond insinuate that my commitment to those principles is contrived, false, or even vaguely ridiculous or risible. The more I think about it, the more I think it is my duty to file a complaint (so I did). Especially now. As violent action films would put it, This time it’s personal.

Volt and TFO are on the brink of getting into a great deal of trouble over a prank – the clearly unnecessary, gratuitous, ill-conceived, and indefensible repeated and deliberate airing of shocking, disturbing, exploitative segments that violate broadcast standards.

And you were doing it all to attract attention. For shame.

Tuesday 19

Enjoyable misreading of Christmas carols by Bernard De Longlac. And how did they stage the chick getting plowed by the Caravan? Stunning.

And it’s cartoon violence.

Krystle, c’est hard pour moi de te dire ceci: Nadyne’s grotesque English accent works wonders. Except that the word order is too proper French: Someone who articulated French that badly would assemble the words in English order, too. Like half the kids Volt interviews at Toronto French high schools.

And why, by the way, does this segment concern the slaughter of elk with a TSE?

Are we pushing our luck a bit?

Mathieu has a monotonously hipsteresque taste in on-air sweaters.

Well-executed segment: Smuggling an Xmas tree from the Square du Canada lobby up to the set. New producer d00d Jean-François lacks the full lips of predecessor Thérèse, but looks more convincing reading homoerotic bodice-ripper novels (with that lovely red edging to the pages).

Unlike JS, JF may have a decent body under there somewhere. Prove or disprove. (Will he consent to dance to “La Macarena” upside-down wearing only briefs?)

Is this the third year I’ve had to listen to the opening bars of the clever “Boxing Day Rush”? (Êtes-vous un loser pathéthique tout seul à la maison?)

I think Nadyne needs to learn a bit more about ChickClick. Start with my NUblog entry.

Wednesday 20

Clips of video: «Flat Beat» de Mr. Oizo; «Oh chérie» de Caféïne; "Superbeast" de Rob Zombie (once again, "More Human Than Human" next time, please); "Souljas" de Master P.

If you kids are so big on avant-garde videos, particularly avant-garde hiphop videos, why ain’t you played Funkstörung’s “Grammy Winners” yet?

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