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Winter 2000–2001 Volt reviews

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January 3 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 29 | 30 | 31, 2001

December 21 | 22 | 27 | 28, 2000

December 2000

Thursday 21

Funny, last week’s rerun featured the segment on stress. A very young Mathieu with a JS-calibre “mop” of hair. Very Ste-Catherine est, very 1989.

Of course, what he’s giving us now ain’t much better. What is with the red stains highlights?

An interstitial on drag queens presaged the entire visual style of Ô Zone.

A shockingly misguided case of slumming as the well-funded JS and his well-funded amigo Félix panhandle. To what end?

You haven’t heard the urban legend, partially true, of middle-class kids begging downtown for the “glamour”? Don’t you realize you’re doing exactly the same thing?

On an “educational” show for les ados, are there other ways to examine urban poverty in Canada? Like maybe following an issue?

Moreover, StatsCan specifically denies that they maintain a poverty line. It is untrue in more than one way that a person earning less than $16,000 a year is officially “poor.”

The choice of location – Queen and Spadina – was a monument to middle-class stereotypes about the glamour of poverty. If you want to experience begging, why not try it outside King station at rush hour? How about at Queen and Sherbourne?

I see. You weren’t really interested in poverty. You weren’t even really interested in doing begging properly.

The segment was factually inaccurate and stank of smugness.

What could be worse than JS’s character Gertrude? One tiny step above animal slaughter. And he even drinks human blood. Unlike with Charles, the bloodlust is unbecoming.

When Simon shoots some kind of slapstick segment, you can, upon reflection, recognize that he’s acting. But JS has only one apparent modus operandi. What you see is how he is.

  • Videoclip: «Fils de rien, fils de personne» de Nicolas Ciccone, an unendurably sappy, voisinesque, middle-of-the-road abomination. At least Madonna’s actual brother is queer.

Friday 22

All Xmas all the time!

Rodrigue Dumoutier returns to introduce the myth of Jesus, «Délivre-nous du mal.» Is beheading geese good or evil?

Now we have one of those rare moments of clarity. We are faced with the uncommon proof of the proposition that fags are so white-hot-sexy they turn breeders into quavering milquetoasts. You sit the Court Jester of Volt down alongside Charles Duchesne and what do you see? You see waves of hot-hot-hot sexualism rolling off him like steam from a cold lake.

It was an especially-low-bodyfat season for Charles, and the nice tight skin tone works wonders with the broom brush on the head and the fake armour and, above all, the leather straps spiraling up the calves. (Somebody’s fantasy, shurely?!) The disheveled, undifferentiated, nebbishy Ralph Nader of Volt wastes a real man’s time by questioning their vocation of slaughtering babies.

I mean, come on, mama’s boy. No guts, no glory, no blowjobs.

You’ve got Charles munching away on a snack (isn’t that a Barbie jewelry box he’s got there?), looking hotter spattered in blood than Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart, and all Tony Randall can manage is mewling about a few murdered infants.

Can’t you see Charles is ready for action, ready for it right here and now, the kind of tingle-all-the-neurons action youse guys, with your buying flowers and going slow on a first date and quarreling with the missus over blocking access to Ally McBeal to play your precious car-rally videogame after work ain’t never gonna get?

Gah. Your nose can’t even compete with Charles’s. You pathetic excuse for a sexual being, you.

I mean, cripes. They don’t call him Prepuce for nothing. DJ Focâle: Sexiest bloodied infanticidal centurion alive!

Ah, yes. The bearded Wise Man was, in fact, Mimi Valcin. And another Wise Man was portrayed by the HMCS Bhabra before it was scuttled.

But, for heaven’s sake, you deleted the «Mary, arrête de chiarrer!» segment. Ack!

Um... what’s with Dano whipping Guy’s arse?

Where is a bloodied infanticidal centurion when you need him?

Wednesday 27

An emission of videoclips: «La plume» de Louise Attaque, with that fiddle action we’ve all been trying to get away from for generations; «Le ciel est vide» des Vulgaires machins; «Bagnole» des Marmottes aplaties, again undone by its subtly inaccurate type; «Moi... Lolita» (¿qué?) d’Alizée, some kind of Vanessa Paradis manquée; “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day” de Morcheeba (we like the horsies); «Olé! Olé!» de 11:30, who are not uncontemptible.

Volt Party Paint. Still pretty good, this, what with JS cast against type.

I do, however, think that Francine can do better than Nadyne.

Thursday 28

Gertrude (badly in need of electrolysis, or simple sandpapering) and Simone debate the merits of cigarette advertising. Je t’exècre, indeed.

Fake snow and CycleSki. («All right. Let’s go.»)

A reasonably dense parody skit with François Leblanc as demi-celebrity, plopping his photo album down on Mathieu’s lap, denuding backyard trees, and of course disco-dancing. How tragic: A French man who actually cannot dance. Oy vey. (It could be worse. He could be black and/or gay. And maybe also French.) But very game acting from Frankie. Very deadpan. Admirable.

Free steaks for meeting recycling quotas? How Soviet.

  • The only remotely tolerable song by Limp Bizkit, “Nookie” (with the strange refrains and self-sampling epicycles, but we hate the expurgations). And what’s-his-face didn’t look quite so middle-aged and addled. And if he’s decked out in a parka, why are the babes following him wearing nothing more than halter tops?

January 2001

Wednesday 3

After endless repeats, an all-videos episode. Rodrigue Dumoutier, whom I rather like despite his Nazi hairpiece, attempts to park his Volvo, encountering nothing but M. Hulot– or Clouseau-style frustrations. “Afrika Shox” de Leftfield; «Tassez-vous d’là» des Colocs, again; “Bingo Bango” de Basement Jaxx; «Tanné» de Richard Petit.

Thursday 4

A rerun. Le swing, with, of all people, Colin James. And a laughably young-looking Guy. By the way, “bombastic” and «être bombardé» don’t mean anything remotely the same.

A forerunner of gogosses with JS, who boils a can and then causes it to implode in the most barren kitchen I’ve ever seen. Then Nathalie interviews rank upon rank of nerds about their bobsleighs.

Finally, a proper use of her extraordinary powers: Simone murders everyone at the corner of Yonge and Eglinton.

  • Videoclip: «L’amour nous saoule» de Coléoptère.

Monday 8

A lousy week for Volt, more or less admitted to by Mathieu (“When you get back from vacation, well, you’ve got to fill time on your show”).

I don’t think I’m capable of the kind of viciousness Mathieu relishes in when deconstructing phone messages. Or, if not viciousness, then pettiness. He did this so much better before, with bile spewing in the right direction.

And, in any event, we can read the upcoming phone-message text on the board behind our dear host. Stocking filled with coal, Mathieu? Wifey too cold and distant over the holidays? WTF?

Modeling agencies with Sonia, who may be making herself gradually relevant. A chick who’s five-foot-four can’t be a model? Height is an advantage? Well, in that case, Nadyne Kasta, come on down!

Grasping at metacinematic straws, an unprepared Nadyne describes her New Year’s resolution: To prepare better.

Stoner, returned from the Beach. Audio quality is poor here.

“Bride of” Chucky Duchesne is back. It’s been how many music “chronicles” in which he’s been calm and collected, and fluent? Three? The lad’s getting the hang of it. And still looks great lit from beneath, as they say. Even his occasional dysfluencies work well here because he’s more relaxed.

A KFC resides 200 m from the Sphinx? Stinking up the neighbourhood as bad as at Queen and Augusta?

Here’s what I don’t understand about Volt interviews with anglo musicians. Having dealt with label promo reps before (Joanna Dine, rot in hell!), I imagine the Voltistes get turned down for nearly everything they actually want and get thrown lots of bands they don’t give a shit about. Confirm or deny.

Question for DJ Focâle: What are the redeeming qualities of Everclear, if any?

Does Charles Duchesne undergo eyebrow-shaping?

Tuesday 9

The ultimate gogosse of JS: Snot the colour of a school bus.

They have Harry Potter in French? I am just envisioning JS down at Librairie Champlain trolling for blockbusters.

Why is Mathieu calling everything “cute” today? And flubbing lines à go-go?

And suddenly Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop materializes. Marc finally learns about Am I Hot or Not. But does he know that there are so many parodies floating around that there’s now an entire meta-site, Am I a Good Parody of “Am I Hot or Not?” or Not?

Given that Volt is already in shit for running scenes of animal dismemberment at 1830 hours on a show labeled with a G rating, should you also be showing Sylvain and Nadyne making out?

Probably, I guess. Sex, yes, but not violence.

More with William Portal, who cries for syndication. (And contact lenses less reminiscent of Data.) Whoever the fuck eventually gets hired as Yahoo’s French producer should run exclusive William Portal footage on the French site.

Another of my million-dollar ideas, given away for nothing.

Very fun kvetching about crappy French music videos. But, OK, kiddo, why do you run them? Play better videos.

Who is Kevin Nealy, and how did he manage the combination of rich European French and an English name? (I knew another member of the species: Eric Smith, or, as he wrote it when expedient, Éric. Spoke English with an English accent and French with a French, and came from Connecticut. And lived in Montreal. I miss him.) Is «shooter» an OLF-approved verb?

The astonishingly fabulous mom-catches-Francine-smoking fausse pub. «Carole!» «Quoi?!» «Viens y cet!» «Quoi?!»


  • Videoclip: “Rose Rouge” de Saint Germain.

Wednesday 10

Oh, for God’s sake. A repeat, with Dano on tipping, Guy (looking very skinny) with a martial artistrix, Charles Duchesne wearing Stoner’s wig and applying too much lipstick, and another goddamn Supèye Tesse with a Mathieu who looks too young and French.

What is Herr Müller on about? Folk remedies, apparently.

  • Videoclip: «Donnez-vous la peine» de Mass Hysteria. Air drumming has never been so convincing. This guy could take on La La La Human Steps and whip Louise’s arse.

Thursday 11

All videos? I guess so.

“The Anthem” de Sway & Tech; «Angela» de Saïan Supa Crew; “Back to School” des Deftones (why, O Lord, why?); «Tout le monde» de Manau, following in the ill-advised footsteps of dozens of B-tier acts who overspend on the album following the “breakthrough” record, and harmonicas are hardly a substitute for fiddles and flutes. Manau are now merely a rap band, rather than a unique one. The half-stammering vocal delivery is either a gimmick or evidence of actual skill. Cédric remains vaguely fuckable. Why do I like the runt so much? I think he has a bit of character, whereas Martial is too much of a pretty boy. Like Guy Gagnier, actually, though, to put the comparison to rest, I don’t exactly have the hots for Simon or anything.

Jeez. Quite the discursion, wasn’t it?

«Je t’aime comme t’es» de Ménélik.

Anyone notice how many repeat videos we’re seeing lately?

Friday 12

This repeat is so recent as to cause scandal: October 30.

Monday 15

The homosexualist influence on the show prompts Mathieu to congratulate homosexualists and homosexualistrixen recently married under an obscure Christian tradition.

Isn’t Mathieu married himself?

Behind-the-scenes exposés of the TVO bunker are always fascinating. What does one notice most of all? For some reason, everyone at TFO, despite using brand-new iMacs, inexplicably relies on that cœlecanth of a browser, Netscape 4, which doesn’t comply with any known HTML or CSS standard. These pages, while valid 4.0, look like crap in Netscape, and it’s Netscape’s fault. (I no longer test on Netscape 4.)

Why the fuck can’t you download IE5 for your sexy new computers?

“Bride of” Chucky Duchesne and Mathieu run a multimedia circus of staff picks from ’00. Could be the fourth show in a row where Charles is fluent and relaxed, and has sufficient saliva in his mouth. I think you’ve got it nailed, kiddo.

Sylvain visited Iceland? I’m head over heels in envy, despite the fact that they drink like fish (which is all they eat) and smoke like chimneys. (A couple of useful Icelandic blogs: Már Örlygsson’s and Eatonweb’s small listing.)

JS shocks everyone by selecting Saint Germain as his fave microsillon of the year 2000. The shock, of course, rests on the fact that the title of the album lacks any variant of the word “rally.”

Undecided on the suitability of Charles’s chocolate-brown shirt. I think the lad should wear brighter colours. I mean, he is French, and an invert. He’s got two excuses to get away with it. And that’s without even considering the fair skin and dark hair.

Sonia Vani approaches relevance with her piece on the recycling of Xmas trees. Nadyne, however, fails to score with her résumé of online sites to buy tall grrrlz’ clothes.

I previously criticized “Mathieu’s monotonously hipsteresque taste in on-air sweaters.” Today’s pull/jumper/sweater features fringe on the bottom edge. The horror.

  • Videoclip: “Grammy Winners” de Funkstörung, which, if memory serves, I requested myself. Can I call ’em or what? (Pronunciation key: “*FUNK*-ster-*ung*” is close enough.) And for God’s sake, lose the onscreen video credit when it overlaps the onscreen type!

Tuesday 16

Oh, here we fucking go again.

Volt metacinematicity: It ain’t fooling nobody

Ah, yes. We finally learn the results of the telephone poll falsely presented as a post-facto justification for running deliberately provocative and distasteful footage of animal disembowelment.

The ayes have it. As though that matters.

Bernard De Longlac follows up on Matheiu’s update, delivered with ill-suppressed smugness.

Now, then. In the complaint I filed, I deployed a few adjective chains, as Bernard took time to mention. (One imagines the sniggering of the hyphenates on the Volt staff, JS and JF, and the general consensus that my descriptions were de trop. Actually, the segment was.) Some of the actual adjective chains:

  1. prohibited scenes of horrific animal violence as an instrument to disturb, unsettle, disgust, or offend its unsuspecting audience
  2. gruesome, graphic, unsettling, near-surgical detail
  3. the deliberately bathetic and shocking graphic depiction of slaughter and disembowelment
  4. the gruesome, gory beheading and disembowelment of a bird in vulgar, graphic, shocking, close-up detail

I went out of my way to avoid the facile talk-show formulaism “outrage.” I was not “outraged” by the segment. Vaguely horrified, shocked, disturbed, and offended, yes, but not outraged.

The issue is working within broadcast standards. Bernard De Longlac asks why a segment with Herr Müller, teaching us how to cook a turkey, didn’t warrant a similar complaint. Gee, let’s see. It’s a “legally sanctioned” activity; the bird is already dead, bled, and plucked (store birds are often also pre-disemboweled for housewife convenience); and the segment was at least nominally educational.

Can’t see the difference? I suspect a certain regulatory body will be able to.

The big surprise of this segment: I wasn’t name-checked. One imagines Claudette Paquin putting the fear of God into JF, if that were possible. Of course, dropping my name was unnecessary: The next segment more or less told me to kiss their arse.

Just how many fan sites does your little program have, kiddies? Would you really be better off if that number equaled zero?

Do you prefer to cultivate friends, even if they hold you to clear standards, or to cultivate enemies? It’s often a fine line, you know.

Push the envelope all you want. Just keep the animals out of it. After all, they cannot sign consent forms.

Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop describes alternative news sites. Or are those what he’s really talking about? This one was a tad underresearched.

JS’s gogosses this week showed real research. Uselessness requires work sometimes, Jean-Sébastien, and I’m glad to see you’re taking time out from sniggering and twiddling gamepad knobs to find the real trash. Oh, here’s a suggestion: Research the ancient British comedy series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, specifically the second series and its Grot shops: “Gifts you love to give people you hate.” Rungless ladders, crewet sets with no holes, Dutch–Dutch dictionaries (“consisting of every word in the Dutch language alongside its equivalent in Dutch”).

  • Videoclip: “Thin Line Between Raw and Jiggy” de Dice Raw. (The full credit is half the length of my official complaint. I can’t be bothered.)

Wednesday 17

A rerun, but a goodun.

Dano interviews her intellectual superiors, Serial Joe (no relation).

Police artist Bette Clark (no relation). A barely-warmed-over working-class lifetime-smoker type. But she’s got something goin’ on upstairs. But what kind of a reject uses Photoshop on Windows?

Guy Gagnier doing a Monty Clift in Red River in faux cowboy hat and faux pistol. (“When I hear the word volleyball, I take out my revolver.”) Guy looks so young and boyish. Did he really grow up, Lance Loud–style, on camera, before our very eyes? The problem, of course, is how few eyes are watching.

(Does Guy remember line-dancing lessons at Chaps Badlands?)

A similarly young Mathieu fords the snowbanks of Ottawa to learn how traffic signs are made, missing a golden opportunity to plug Tobias Frere-Jones’s typeface Interstate.

And what is up with his bleach-blond hair? Yet again channeling his rue Ontario est undertones.

Meanwhile, Tito explores the world of sugar. Did you know that white sugar is often processed with bone char? (You heard me.)

Why do I find the idea of a sugar sampler pack, given to Tito as a gratuity, terribly attractive? It must be my inner housewife, who prefers her turkeys pre-disemboweled.

  • Videoclip: «La peau lisse» de Jerôme Minière.

Thursday 18

Could there have been a worse choice for “Barber of Seville” manqués than Sylvain Lavigne and Jean-François “Jeff” Tremblay?

And bloopers. Bloopers, for gosh sakes.

Indeed, I’ve decided that JF really puts me off. I wouldn’t trust him with my bus fare.

All videos, all the time, when not gutting birds: “4tonmantis” d’Amon Tobin; «Pour un oui or pour un non» de Louise Attaque (I liked it a lot the first time, but couldn’t see why on second viewing); “Stan” d’Eminem, for some reason; «Mimi» de Lili Fatale; “Broken Home” de Papa Roach.

Friday 19

Excellent phone-in show. See? See? “Serious” ≠ “boring.” (Hey, can Netscape 4 render that sentence?)

Now, minor detail: Technically you’re not allowed to translate a work without permission. Then again, I did it.

It is revealed that Simon is 31. (Wasn’t there a segment this week – Mathieu at the Running of the Road Signs? – in which he admitted to being 23, making him about 26 now? And of course Nadyne is 28.)

An actual variety of viewpoints from callers. Subtle point of view maintained by hosts. The problem: Similar news items relevant to les ados are hard to come by. What do we do next week?

Mathieu looked OK in his unkempt ill-dyed hair and hangover beard growth. He’s really very attractive, like a sleazier Sean P. Hayes.

Monday 22

Some kind of report by Sonia on some kind of laughably derivative Real World/U8TV manqué in Ottawa, which of course is of note solely because some of the participants speak French.

Canada is a wasteland for ingenuity in Internet development.

Nadyne with the croonertrix from Sky. We’re going from bad to worse.

William Portal to save the day. Despite telling us we are nothing but biological computers because of the electrical charges in the nervous system. If I give you a box of Lego bricks, have I given you a house? It’s not whether or not you have signals coursing through your corporeal entity, it’s what you do with them.

Next William will be calling us “ugly bags of mostly water.” Rather like the Dream Warriors, actually.

One reason to love Jean-Sébastien Busque: His claimed ownership of a Commodore 64. 10 PRINT "ÇA FAIT BUSINESS EN AVANT ET LE PARTY EST EN ARRIÈRE" | 20 GOTO 10

I reiterate: Sylvain and JS embody the rue Ontario est substratum of Francophone style, i.e., an absolute lack of it, disheveledness, unkemptness, and the physique of a Brossard modeling student, only without the glamour.

Now we turn to a good idea pursued badly. Some wiseguy from New Brunswick Acadie asks “Do I wait for my cake to cool before I ice it?” as though there were any answer other than “Of course, you dumb fuck. You must be from Moncton. Go work on pronouncing your ths or something. Make yourself useful.”

Now, then. Our Hero Mathieu braves the wilds of Yonge and Eglinton (errantly dismissed as “exurban” by R.M. Vaughan, but no Central Park, either) to mingle with the lower anglophone orders and ask their opinion of this burning question. Does he visit any of the bakeries on the strip, like Wheatfields? (Imagine chatting up the babushkas there.) No. Even any of the coffeehouses, if only the corporate ones? No.

Instead, we hit the Dominion at the mall. And we efface Mathieu’s speaking English, which I do rather love to hear.

Try harder, kids.

And by the way, are you still pissed that I filed a complaint? Oh, grow up. You’re lucky someone cares.

  • Videoclip: “Tilt-a-Whirl” d’Insane Clown Posse, unfathomably.

Tuesday 23

Ear-candling. Gag.

We missed Mathieu’s English yesterday, and today we witness his helping out his guests in French. Here he is using his forces of good. It derives from the same charisma that lets him sit on the set with a guitar and chitchat with Nadyne seductively. It’s reassuring to note that Volt has two on-air personalities with thorough, rich, wide-ranging French.

Then JS goes and opens his mouth.

Actually, having met JS for all of two hours, I am pretty sure he is somewhat discontent. The job of television reporter is glamourous and prestigious – as long as people are watching you. (Hasn’t sexy, skyscraper-tall, strapping, well-hung Lance Chilton’s star dropped precipitously since he was shipped off to exurban Barrie?) But Volt operates within overlapping Venn diagrams of minority futility: A youth show on a French network in Ontario produced by adults (some of them in their 30s) working out of cramped, outdated, all-analogue, impoverished offices far outside downtown in a city where orders of magnitude more people speak Cantonese as first language than French.

One would forgive JS for considering his job merely a job. Presumably his contract forbids working for other broadcasters. Nevertheless, as I frequently hint in these pages, there may be life after TFO. It’s merely a question of positioning. For heaven’s sake – I pigeonholed Enza Supermodel a year ago and told her exactly how to achieve televisual world domination. Of course, 10% QTV shitcanned her in one of the pogroms required of all queer organizations, but I nonetheless have ideas.

This would, of course, necessitate a lack of poutiness among TFO staff. Then again, I haven’t received the official TFO response to my complaint yet. We’ll see who ends up on whose shitlist.

On with the show!

Bernard De Longlac declines to passive-aggressively bitch out his viewership and instead pursues the corruption of the French language through chocolate-bar trademarks. Next he’s gonna suggest bombing les cafés Second Cup.

Fabulous minisegment with Nadyne as aggressively fake anglophone mama-san. She’s not bad, you know.

Fake demonstration as backdrop for JS’s report on hacktivism. Why can’t television ever get a picket line right?

Now, then. Segments like these, built around ideas or social movements, are generally quite strong on Volt, even when put together by JS. Possible reasons why? He runs from a script, giving him ample time to research terminology in an English–French dictionary. I’m just kidding. In fact, JS is pretty good here. There are actual journalistic skills lingering beneath the stubble. Those skills are transferable. There is life after TFO.

Is it really kosher to show the snapping of a neck by a masseuse in a fausse pub? I think necks have undergone more than enough assault on the show as is.

The naturopath interviewed, despite her French name and clear basic fluency, blanks on a number of common words. She’s been in Toronto too long. Men, don’t let this happen to you.

Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop offers blanket criticism of hacktivism sites: They’re “grey,” textual, insufficiently visual. You are rather betraying your biases there, I think.

Value-adding feature: Mathieu carries out the interview quadriplegic-style, lying down as a flame is inserted into his ear. Marc’s a real trouper, refusing to note anything out of the ordinary.

Such a better episode than yesterday.

  • Videoclip: «La manivelle» de (up the) Wazoo, on the label Multipass, which, if memory serves, is what Leeloo brandished to get on the shuttle to Fhloston Paradise in The Fifth Element – a gem of a film, and has Bruce Willis ever looked better?

Wednesday 24

A repeat. If it’s a complete episode from the time I’ve been taking notes, I can’t find it.

Testing condoms via Suburban tailpipe. (Old, massive, clunky, white-trash Suburbans! The bestest!) Simone in a dunce cap. Bit of a tanline on the nape there.

Scarification. Vaguely offputting even for the most open-minded of us. But more Suburbans!

William Portal. Here is an idea. Why doesn’t TVO put together an entire compilation of William Portal segments, subtitle it properly in English (that’s a 35-minute discussion in itself), and get it on some other station? Space, for example? Could be fun. Also, license the segments to Space or TechTV, the new and “fabulous” Category 1 service.

Guy on seasonal hairstyle disorder. Looking vaguely less like a hayseed in this one. Could Guy have been at his prime? One imagines he was a veritable powerhouse on the court. Cute visual jokes in this segment, too.

Is Guy happy in Vancouver? I wonder how he could be. Maybe he’s a rice queen. Can Guy be happy anywhere?

Ah, yes. The vision of Simon in full-on Sylvia wig and fur coat (think of the dowagers who shop at glitzy boutiques: Sylvias), humping her date and feeding a yak. That’s one broad who really knows how to have a good time.

The vaguely creepy artiste type, who looks OK in a tank top despite his uniform pale skin, aptly plays the role of poseur.

  • Videoclip: “Charlotte” de Kitty, yet again.

Thursday 25

Francine, wearing not a bad suedette jacket, hosts the all-video show and stars in all interstitials. You buxom seductress-cum-mantrap, you!

«Où tu vas» d’Annie Dufresne; “Shit on You” de D-12 (and will these kats ever stop staring at the camera?); «Tu ne peux pas partir» de Caféïne, still a vaguely 1986/Park Ave. number 80 bus/Dutchy’s genre of glampunk number; “Koochy” d’Armand Van Helden (I want my countertenor!); «Sorcière» de Kermess, a very strange name for the French language.

I think the show needs to stock up on new videoclips.

Friday 26

Valiant effort at a phone-in show concerning the case of a teenager girl who had her tits enlarged. Slightly more preparation would have been in order. The dividing line between cosmetic and medical could have been explored more. (Ask any dermatologist.)

Perhaps news hooks might be the way to go with these episodes for a while. How about the news that Canadian kids surf more and watch TV less? How about the well-known news that the younger you are, the more likely you are to surf and watch TV simultaneously?

Is this really evidence of a short attention span, or is it, as Rushkoff explored in Playing the Future, evidence of a new form of intelligence? (I wrote about this on the NUblog.)

I dunno. Could be good. Ask the videogame kids if they can sit through Shakespeare (or Julie Lescaut), that sort of thing.

Monday 29

Major winner of a show, this one. See what you can do if you crack the mould a wee bit?

Hosting DJ Styles (DJ Styles hosting?) isn’t quite as fabulous as inviting a countertenor onto the program, but it adds a Bingo Pas Rapport feel to the proceedings, doesn’t it?

The New Deal. Are they really that good? Everyone seems to adore them. What’s with the New Music–esque onscreen introduction? And if you’re gonna letterbox the frame, place the subtitles inside the box. (Make them yellow; use exactly two blank frames between titles, no more and no fewer; and break the titles only at logical clause boundaries. Not sure that Futura Condensed is really appropriate.)

This fella I’m “seeing” photographed the New Deal for the cover of Eye. Wow. Cosmic.

Didn’t you just love this anecdote?

We do that at Sona in Montreal, where it’s like the crowd is so used to not looking anywhere, especially in the part of the room we played, and we just mix right out of the DJ. And it takes people like five minutes like just to kind of turn around after a while. So, like, five or six people turn around after a while, and they’re like, “Oh, my God! There’s a band playing this!” And that was the best, like, kind of sweet victory.

“Bride of” Chucky Duchesne was OK here.

Bernard De Longlac hosting a books segment! I love it. We play very much to type here: Nadyne covers the girly book (The Beach – “Leo is sooo dreamy!”), JS the juvenile sword-’n’-sorcery series (“ ’arryPotter). This, of course, was what JS read while he was laid up over Xmas. (Harry Potter in the Paris–Dakar?) And yes, we learn that someone was trolling around the Champlain bookstore. (“I’m not sleeping with that producer again.”)

“Mittens” in French sounds so beautiful, delicate, relaxing.


William Portal. Yes! I have officially asked Paul Gratton of Space to license the William Portal segments.

I am not sure Charles’s nose is all that becoming tonight. Run “Bombs Over Baghdad” again, for heaven’s sake.

Oh, and Mathieu gets his dander up in a half-minute diatribe that condenses more bile and resentments than even I could muster. Radio-friendly, he says. Sure, Sendiva would be “chic” in Sudbury. (Didn’t you grow up there, sonnyboy?) They’d play this over Daniel Boucher, or anyway they’d play Daniel Boucher now because it’s popular. The venom. The fury. He all but channels Marie Turgeon, albeit falling short of true high dudgeon.

Charles is still doing fine. One might take the wire-cutters to the nose, though, if only for tonight.

I enjoyed a split-second of leaky tumescence upon hearing Mathieu command DJ Style “Go ahead! Let it rip!”; I then envisioned JS and Sylvain shirtless and shrunk back to the size of my little toe.

That Mathieu. He’s so dreamy.

  • Videoclip: The genuinely bizarre “Sandwiches” des Detroit Grand Pubahs. (Or, as the OLF would have us write it, sandwichs.)

Tuesday 30

Arrange an interview with Jasey Jay Anderson immediately. He’s terribly square-jawed and fit (with Jack Nicholson Joker-style chevron eyebrows, like a Citroën logo spread over both eyes), not to mention dimpled, smart, and bilingual. Guys with English names who are nonetheless native speakers of René Lévesque French make me green with envy.

The guy’s young and from Quebec. You know what that means: Extra chewing gum downstairs.

I mean, you kids need to make up for Rebagliati’s well-intentioned mangling of the language of Molière (also of Allô Police).

Trampolining. Don’t laugh. I do not. Trampoline d00dz have unmatched flexibility, no bodyfat whatsoever, and, very often, the kind of pecs that join very noticeably with the front delts, producing a latissimus dorsi–like effect a fella can really grab onto. I seem to recall a segment on Radio-Canada that ended with Turgeon (or was it some other lad? he spent a lot of time shirtless, rather like JS and Sylvain, though none of us turned to pillars of salt) literally hanging off a rafter. He simply unhooked his leg and arm and zipped back to earth. Smiling all the way. Stunning, this.

Good to see Détect-o-Mo Volt back on the air. And we just love Steve Diguer playing straight and befuddled. (What does he wear when he does Vaseline?)

And of course a Genie- or at least Gémeaux-calibre performance from Simon.

Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop does amateur sport. (No trampolining!) Again with the goddamn fucking kvetching about poor design of amateur sites.

Listen, Marc, online design skills are an order of magnitude more complex than typography, and next to no one is any good at that. What do you want, anyway?

A tad more research about Quokka might have been in order. Like what I wrote.

Gratien Gratton grates.

How Not to Set a Fire, starring Jean-Sébastien Busque. What they don’t teach us in school: Vapours ignite, not liquids. Cover a doll in lighter fluid and set it on fire and what you are igniting are the vapours. If you’re using a lighter and the flame of the lighter is right next to your knuckle, and the lighter and knuckle are both in direct contact with the doll, what do you think can happen?

You can set your fucking hand on fire is what.

If you have to set something on fire again, (a) you need permission from the fire marshal (no, I won’t file a complaint) and (b) use a long match of the sort used to light fireplaces.

  • Videoclip: «Sheila, ch’us là» de Loco Locass.

Wednesday 31

A repeat. (We always used to say “repeat” in New Brunswick. “Rerun” was American, or, equivalently, Ontarian. The stress was usually on the first syllable: repeat.)

This is the infamous Steve Diguer Silverchair interview? I expected, and I demand, full-on bitch-slapping. What I get is piñata-bashing of Steve’s head when he asks a “stupid” question, as though Silverchair is in a position to judge.

Oh, for gosh sakes. Beef-industry apologists at the Winter Fair. Care for a round of Trivial Pursuit with Bessie, Dano?

How to build a snowboard. Good, strong, straightforward segment. These are sometimes necessary.

And then, of course, how to wax and iron a snowboard.

What an astounding coïncidence. Herr Müller teaches us how to stuff and bake a turkey. What astonishing timing. How could this have happened, one wonders?

  • Videoclip: “My Generation” de Limp Bizkit, unaccountably.


Thursday 1

Francine hosts the video countdown. «La désise» de Daniel fucking Boucher («ce gang de poseurs»); «Mona Lisa» de Sendiva (why the hell aren’t you running “Mona Lisa” by Sons of Freedom?); “Weekend” de Black-Eyed Peas; “School of Hard Knocks” de POD.

And a simple question for the music programmers

You occasionally play Laurent Garnier. Why in the hell did no one tell me that Laurent fucking Gariner is totally fucking gorgeous? Erudite, passionate, dark, French. Gah!

Where is the interview? How can The New Music (yet again) manage one when youse didn’t?

Monday 5

The 136th gogosse.

I dispute the accounting. Call in the auditor.


Bernard De Longlac missed his theme music.

And it is now revealed that JS descends from a long line of chicken-stranglers, further reinforcing the impression of hyphenate Voltistes having a haughty old chuckle.

And again Mathieu braves the wilds of Yonge and Eglinton – to hoodwink unsuspecting anglophones into congratulating JS. The deeply suspicious, frigid black chick is all too reminiscent of Loreen Hobbs in Network.

– I’m Diana Christenson, a racist lackey of the imperialist ruling orders.

– I’m Loreen Hobbs, a badass commie nigger.

– Sounds like the basis of a firm friendship.

Asking permission to refuse. Come on, honey.

Only one puny dalmation blown up on this episode? What a rip.

Tuesday 6

Perhaps curiously, a show dedicated to information. Nadyne teaches us how to prepare for a vacation. Life-skills training for les ados who bicker with their parents, storm out of the house, rent a dive in Sturgeon Falls, then suddenly strike it rich and book a Dash 8 to Sin City?

What in the name of all that is good and holy the fuck are these weirdo intros featuring Francine?

“Bride of” Chucky Duchesne’s brow is a tad prominent today, in an almost malkovichian manner. Too much human growth hormone over the weekend?

(What does Chucky’s “chum” look like? What, in other words, does Bride of “Bride of” Chucky look like?)

Haven’t we discussed before the fabulousness of the French word échantillon? So howcum Charles uses “sample”? One is not unshocked and unappalled.

I’m with Chucky about Garou. But, I’m sorry, the man has sex appeal and charisma coming out his arse, as we’ll discover on this week’s palmarès. But Angélil is dreaming if he thinks this guy can be anything more than a novelty in anglophone lands. Very stimulating to watch the bickering between Mathieu and Charles over the basic qualities of the sexmachine’s voice.

By the way, if Mathieu is so down on typical Quebec rock singers (and so many of them are as extruded and prefabricated as a boy band), how surprising that he cuts Garou’s voicebox some slack. Maybe there’s a lesson here. Maybe even our strongest feelings can be qualified. Like “I love Volt except when they exceed broadcast standards through gratuitious depictions of animal violence.” That sort of thing.

Make more sense now, kids?

Chucky’s still doing good here. And Mathieu persists in being left-handed.

The Atopie textuelle project remains ill-explained after a good ten minutes of airtime. It appears to be conceptually similar to many old-style parlor games and to the Photo Trust Project, in which you take one photo on a disposable camera that embodies your interpretation of a theme and hand off the camera to someone else. (I’m part of Episode 2, “What’s the Word?”) The resulting artwork is a slideshow on a Web site.

What is the resulting artwork on Atopie textuelle? The experiences of the artists in sequence? Engravings on the steel discs? The sub-works triggered by the receipt of the discs? Yes, fine, the project leader believes that artworks must not merely be items hung in museums or available for sale, but we need to know what the actual point is. Art without a place I can understand; art without expression or form I cannot.

I don’t completely understand Boris. Clearly a very serious-minded young man, and one has of course seen his short homoerotic Mexican film. (The last serious-minded young man I dealt with was a new-media producer at CBC – tall, terribly handsome, fit, well-dressed, as smart as Mr. Spock and about as hard to bring to laughter. They’re a rare breed. True intellectuals, you might call them, though I think intellectuals ought to be a tad more rockin’, like, say, the Divine Miss Paglia.)

  • Videoclip: “The Fight Song” de Marilyn Manson, fully channelling Hole. The man is rudderless without Floria Sigismondi.

Wednesday 7

A rerun. Dano on hockey as religion. JS teaches us to dress in layers, which sounds like a way to scam freebie undergarments from polypropylene manufacturers.

You couldn’t make this stuff up: A packed-to-the-walls school bus loiters nearby as Simone harangues to the camera. Then a geezer wonders what the heck is going on.

Why is it always cloudy and gloomy during Simone’s harangues? Pathetic fallacy, anyone?

Something to do with grrrlz hockey.

  • Videoclip: “The First” des B4-4 manquées Tegan & Sara.

Thursday 8

All videos all the time. Francine has to learn to speak normally rather than layering tense, high-pitched prosody over her sentences.

“Let’s Go All the Way” d’Insane Clown Posse (not in those goddamn masks we’re not); «Seul» de Garou, the gayest music video since its progenitor, “Billy” de Terence Trent D’Arby. (Don’t you kids know I’m a walking encyclopedia of music videos?)

We’ve got one of those fantastically lucky young lads with tight, smooth skin and no body fat whatsoever and a manager who squeezes his traps and hugs him while he cries. Sappy fags at home are pitching tents and tragic fat girls are hankering for the two boys to move in together already and shop for napkin rings at Ikea.

Garou with his height and charmingly big ears. And his lowlife-underworld-sleazeball duster. We’re looking at what, eight inches minimum?

Sure, he’s more turkey than Christmas, but so what? He does a full-on Richard Gere/Andy Garcia–in–Internal Affairs here. Pitched tents and hankering, kids. Pitched tents and hankering.

«Ma taverne» de la Chicane, which I’m sure came within a hair’s breadth of setting Mathieu’s teeth on edge. Absolutely any valourization of redneck Quebec just-folks gets my dander up. “Party People” d’Alex Gopher, disturbingly. (It’s the deathly grey pallor of the mud.) “Disposable Teens” de Marilyn Manson.

Monday 12

Mathieu is suspiciously absent. Off on vacation, fisting by the pool?

Simon hosts. Just like old times.

Excellent spoof promos (are they quite fausses pubs?) starting out with an obviously sexual invisible sound effect and finishing up with a benign, G-rated visual punchline. Keep using those noggins, kids! (Well, the first one was a tad inexplicable. And audio sync wasn’t quite perfect. But still.)

These go-go-dancer monochrome segment intros have got to go. What were you thinking?

A typically concise, fluent music “chronicle” by “Bride of” Chucky Duchesne – and Simon joins in quite actively. Got ’er nailed, Chuck. Got ’er nailed.

If this program is aimed at under-18s in large part, why are you showing them how to make their own beer?

Tuesday 13

The mysterious Boris, and his dramatic eyeglasses, portrays a self-delusional loser of a former bf. Nadyne is impressively dismissive.

Extremely distasteful vignettes with a deranged Peter Greenaway Cupid. Whose idea was this? Give that person a gold star. (Or the pickle out of Sylvain’s lunch.)

You couldn’t dig someone up from Come as You Are to demonstrate sexual implements? So much of what the guest demonstrated falls into the joke category. As so many middle-class “adult” stores tend to do, known by psychologists as the Lovecraft syndrome.

Well, I shrieked loudly when Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop name-checked me. Why? At that very instant, I was reading some other Weblogger’s mention of me. I was, therefore, simultaneously name-checked in two media.


Beautiful Web sites aren’t the only valuable ones. I wrote about this elsewhere.

It should be noted that absolutely everything on all my sites is coded by hand on a wheezing 7100/66 with a 56 K modem and no Photoshop whatsoever. Yet everything I’ve produced in the last year is valid HTML 4 (or, now, XHTML 1) and works in any browser, even Netscape 4 (with deficiencies that are Netscape’s own fault). With a real computer and real software, maybe the Little People like me could do more.

(Of course, high-school students like Nikolai Nolan make even Marc look like a piker.)

An underwear fashion show. Where is Guy when we need him?

  • Videoclip: «Cheval de fer» d’Oukomé.

Wednesday 14

A repeat. GPS à go-go. Didn’t Clinton terminate selective availability, giving civilian users resolution greater than 100 metres?

Mathieu, at the time still stuck in Ottawa and saddled with foppish, overlong French hair, badgers innocent passersby in his “charming” way on the topic of useless laws.

Dano chez Modrobes, whom I get rather more than on the original broadcast.

Tito Boisvert learns to make curds and/or whey, unaccountably.

Enigmatic entrevue with Air. That name is the most confusable since M and X. Even the Voltistes feel compelled to write it as «Groupe AIR.» (Why the name? Guy asks. “It’s really simple, and it really suits our music, which is weightless, like the sky, so it fits quite well,” Jean-Benoît Dunckel replies.)

  • Videoclip: «La désise» de Daniel fucking Boucher. You know what the problem is? I’ll tell you what the problem is, me son. This song, this... singer, exemplifies the cultural differences the pure-laine Québécois smugly hold against anglos. If I were living in Montreal during the reign of Daniel Boucher, were communication across the Iron Drapery of St. Laurent Blvd. even possible, one’s unilingual French-speaking friends would glance at each other in a way that says “His type will never get this kind of music.” You’re right. We won’t. Because it stinks, and if this is all you’ve got to prop up your claims of distinct nationhood, you’re fucked. But you still get to keep your sense of superiority: All the anglos still living there will never fit in, will never get it, are aliens in their own country. Same planet, different worlds. So just imagine how the Franco-Ontarians feel.

Thursday 15

All videos all the time, with a poorly-done ventriloquist spoof as intro and extro. “Nookie” de Limp Bizkit (the distant-sounding vocals still work); “Jump & Shout” de Basement Jaxx; «Ces soirées là» de Yannick (my absolute favourite name, and the correct spelling); «L’une vu sans l’autre» de Vénus 3, a valiant effort in French ska (with captions, evidently by Covitec, which I could gripe about a bit).

Friday 16

A phone-in show. Fortune smiled on the Voltistes in the form of the fascists’ declaration that all schools must have an apparel policy in place this year. Typical diversionary tactic–cum–sop to the law-and-order crowd who swear by the Sun. More research was called for. Simon should have already had figures at hand for the cost saving of uniforms over civilian clothes, for example. (The U.S. Department of Education publishes an entire online manual.)

Monday 19

Mathieu remains AWOL. Not that having Simon Garneau around is so unpleasant, even if today’s epaulets actually are.

Nadyne in a cowboy hat tussling Francine over a T-shirt. No one’s preferred image of a catfight.

Jean-Sébastien indulges in a thinly-disguised simulacrum of his rally fetish and learns to drive on that eternal buzzword of automotive magazines devoured in a lonely geek childhood, a skidpad. Why so little of this segment?

Isn’t «Seigneur!» just the best cuss word or exclamation there is?

The Countdown to Bingo has begun. Bingo Cabaret, in this case. One imagines “Bride of” Chucky Duchesne in a full-on cocktail dress channelling a certain memorable metascene in Étant John Malkovich.

Simon is such a good actor. And Charles resolutely resists his kidding today.

WTF is this location shoot with Sylvain and Simon in buck teeth and Nadyne-style makeup out in the boondocks? I repeat, WTF?

  • Videoclip: «Gros Mené,» run early in the show for some reason.

Tuesday 20

Simon’s howardsternesque fixation on being hung like a chinchilla is perhaps taxing.

The bumper for Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop’s segments makes him look altogether too squashed and adipose.

And – and! – on the all-technology show, suddenly Marc is absent! Are we to read in certain kremlinological or bassettological implications? Anyway, so this is the famous Jonathan N’Goran. I wonder where he’s from. He probably looks better in a tan.

Would U8TV be of remote interest were two of these cloying little arrivistes not French?

Volt: Your turn on the show will be coming up next! (I mean, I have been on the show. Seigneur!)

(Though admittedly Valéry and Mathieu the fag are notably fluent and self-confident in this piece, much more so than apparently in English. Successors to Simon and Mathieu the heterosexualist?)

And naturally the South African fuckwits who masterminded this embarrassment couldn’t wrap their minds around browser standards and compatibility. Then again, if TVO quit living in the Cenozoic Period and upgraded from Netscape fucking 4, maybe you’d have a fighting chance. (You’ve got iCab, Opera, Explorer, Mozilla, and Netscape 6 to choose from. Make your selection now.)

This Icelandic-futurist sketch frippery simply is not working. I suppose this is some kind of practical joke. There’s enough self-satisfaction in this sketch to guarantee that somebody’s already writing his Gémeaux acceptance speech. Prematurely, it would appear.

Wednesday 21

This week’s rerun. Yet another excuse to scam some polypropylene longjohns as JS teaches us how to dress for snowboarding. Dano’s along for the ride, plumbing the limits of her mental toughness.

Interviewing short soccer-playing d00dz. What a novel idea. (The black guy is kind of sexy.) And then we softball supertall basketball-playing grrrlz! Oh, the symmetry! Finally, Dano lands some girlfriends to hang with.

Making models from archæological artifacts. A sidewalk illustrator who claims not to be homeless. Simon speaking English.

  • Videoclip: «Drugstar» d’Indochine, with the unmistakable vocals. The fake-lipsynching kills it. (Use your voicebox, people!)

Thursday 22

The countdown. (Or, in Cabaret Voltaire terms, the crackdown. In wrestling terms, the smackdown.) Yes, indeed, a new competitor fan site is lauched: Je suis le plus grand fan de Volt.

Hey, it’s “Bride of” Chucky in his underwear, with his shockingly dark and dense goatee, undergoing red tape to claim a lottery prize. Stick to DJing («à la maison») and looking sultry.

Videoclips: “The Price of Reality” d’Amen; «You Spin Me Round 2000» (!) des Nerds (not paying enough respect there, and “My Heart Goes Bang” is way better); «Lounge with Us» de Muzion (undifferentiated); «Rébarbatives» de Stéfie Shock, directed by that sexy, tight-bodied, dimpled hip-hop apologist Bernard Nadeau (or Nado or whatever phat orthography he prefers), but with no captions this time; «Marder» de Ramasutra.

I’m sorry, but the calves on Chucky here are quite something. Very slim and trim, this fellow. Does it come from being French?

Friday 23

Little new content in the Napster phone-in show. Even Charles’s hairy triceps have been around before. Doesn’t the Grand Dictionnaire offer an equivalent for “peer-to-peer”? Then of course there are the French terms «deal» and «charger.»

Perhaps we could expect the kids not to have though for more than half a second about “peer-to-peer,” but the show did feature its two resident experts, nu? Perhaps some reading of Clay Shirky would have been in order. And, admittedly, callers whose voices gave them away as old farts didn’t have much to say, either, and tended to say it in English word order.

Oh, and by the way: You ain’t never heard of the Offspring? Further, Napster is of no value whatsoever in promoting an unknown band.

You know there’s something wrong in Mudville when the cantankerous author of the first, the best Volt fan page has more to say about phone-in subjects than the entire équipe.

Oh, and one more thing: Why so many mentions of Uganda this week? Whatever happened to French strongholds like Côte d’Ivoire?

Monday 26
(my birthday)

Another strong episode. Trying out new ideas very often works, doesn’t it?

Mathieu’s back and he’s still cute, despite the pea-soup moustache growth. Loved the montage of old Volt intros. I miss Marie Trugeon, but not Simon’s own pea-soup moustache.

(«N41! N41! N41!»)

La musique électronique is a fragile thing, balanced on a narrow beam between coldness and feeling. Only the cognoscenti can tell the difference. Still and all, perennial underachiever Sonia Vani engages in a stultifyingly dull and overlong interview with some reasonably handsome d00d in Ottawa who runs some kind of festival. (He rather resembles Jean-Louis Pecci, don’t you think?) Even the cognoscenti predisposed to appreciating the strengths of so-called electronic music were repelled by the grindingly slothful pace and endless droning of the interview, entirely unleavened by the attempted “kewl” video effects and the guest’s two-tone toque.

And jeez, does he blink a lot.

Francine doing a Mush[,] Lola[,] Mush in the snow (and across the overfeatured bridges of North Toronto). I don’t think so.

And a Jewess in dreads is a crime against civilisation.

Loved the segments on extreme!-style snacks. (Trotters!) Can’t handle the wasabi-slathered beans? Pussies.

(It can be noted in the background that Francine watches MuchMusic at her desk, presumably while dreamily knotting her dreadlocks.)

Another Socratic dialogue between a fellow with a hereditary right to wear a moustache and Mathieu. Questions remain about the nose and teeth, but the confidence gained over weeks of “chronicles” remains in full force. One notes that, in Mathieu’s absence, Simon took up the gauntlet and debated relative musical merits, too. This format has legs. In fact, TFO could easily spin off an entire show concerning reviews of pop culture in this vein.

You could then bring the fat chick back. What was her name? Nathalie? (“Oh, my God!” she would exclaim in the Queen’s French.)

Quite the recherché idea of raffling off Voltistes’ snapshot camera. Who will Simon be found kissing next?

Tuesday 27

Anyone remember Bart stealing a car and ending up in a faraway town only to find that his cherished midway attraction was turned into a wig shop? One recalls Bart and the lads sitting despondently on the curb wearing fabulous wigs. Well, today Mathieu and JS are living the dream!

Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop and his hideously unbecoming intro. Is attachement valid OLF-approved French? Today, Marc and his feminine turtleneck review some Usual Suspects of cranky leftist wymmynz sites (overlooking Hissyfit). One does, however, like the Op Art–designed Vday.org. Lots can be done with pink. And very impressed at digging up the Afghanitrix site. But where, Marc, where is the griping about graphic design?

I mean, keep it up and I will deploy a BLINK tag. Push your luck and I pull out the heavy artillery: MARQUEE.

What a surprise. They send JS out to the car show. And what do we end up with? Rallying. (Ostensibly, booth babes. Ostensibly. You know that’s not why he’s down there.) Miserably inept execution. Even the Shift cover story beat the crap out of this flaccid excuse for badly-photographed automotive porn.

I do, however, just love the word pitoune, particularly as articulated by Simon while brandishing an O-Town jewel box.

  • “Play Some D” de Brassy, an entirely conventional manufactured hyperleftist grrrl band, complete with fake drawls, Breeders-manquée “funky basslines,” and “gritty urban” video. Somewhere, an anæsthetist readies Kim Gordon for her third facelift.

Tuesday 28

A rerun. Some kind of grrrlz hockey, yet again. Where’s the built-like-a-brick-shithouse coach? (Wait. That was volleyball.)

Good interview segment with the runt who runs the Steadicam.

If the Vox Pop segment were ever to appear on Mathieu’s reel, he’d never eat lunch in this town again. And what the fuck is up with the hair?

(Who needs a wig?)

Rerun of getting one’s laundry washed in New Brunswick.

The purportedly-educational Herr Müller segment on hammering nails.

  • Videoclip: “Afrika Shox” de Leftfield, sounding for all the world like “Koochy.”


Thursday 1

Superexciting music-video countdown. “Request Line” des Black-Eyed Peas “avec” Macy Gray (I can anomalously substitute French words but you kids can’t); “The Man with the Red Face” de Laurent Garnier (nude photos! nude photos! nude photos!); “Fresh” de Daft Punk again (still oddball; why are only Daft Punk videos subtitled?); «Sauvez cette étoile» de Saez (Saëz?); the appalling «Gros zéro» de Yelo Molo (also casually racist in the classic pure-laine style).

Friday 2

The waste-of-time monthly-recap show, which could not interest me less. Why not just run more videos?

In any event, here’s what you really missed.

Take that,
Vagina fucking Monologues

To the delight of dozens, tonight The Late Late Show with [the lovely and talented] Craig Kilborn flew Scorpion over from Germany (“on Lufthansa. Coach”) to reprise their star turn of a year before.

Yes, the balding, addled yesterday’s-Menschen of cock rock, expiring prostates throbbing deep inside their leather trousers, treated dampened-pantied spectators to an energizing rendition of...


“Rock You (Like a Hurricane)”!

...as a trio of pitounes straight out of a PTA meeting gyrated as if alluringly. And the haircuts! (Especially the drummer’s!)

All I could think of was: “Danger Zone aime Spécial V”!

“My kitty’s purring and scratching my skin. So what is wrong with a night of sin? The bitch is hungry. She needs to tell. So give her inches! and feed her well.”

“Here I am,” indeed.

Monday 5

This wordless-singing-intro thing stinks as much as the wordless-singing-interstitials thing in previous all-video shows.

Finally! After years and years of homosexualist behind-the-scenes content and one embarrassing segment on bisexualists, finally, at long last, Volt embraces the inevitable and profiles a Céline Dion impersonator.

I bet Marie Turgeon could do a better Céline. She’s already in drag, after all.

Quite the subtle, well-executed fausse pub today, with Simon as good Christian wife and Nadyne, in full-on truck-driver mode, as neolithic beer-swilling husband. Why, though, does Nadyne sport a TVO ID tag around her neck?

Very Playboy-mansion-dystopia, this. Very Stepford Wives, which was on the tube two weeks ago and I managed not to tape.

“Bride of” Chucky Duchesne realizes a longstanding dream and reviews his favourite artiste, cementing his existing reputation as unrepentant Orb-polisher. (Schwing!)

Good electroshock-treatment hair on Mathieu today.

Ultra-recherché name-dropping: Rufus Wainwright! (Whom I don’t get at all, despite the shockingly well-executed paG commercial.) But wait for it – we got through all the day’s discs in this session!

Why the fork are we stuck with a repeat on one of the two lonely all-new episodes of the week? Why not sequester the chapped-lips segment to midweek? I woulda run another fausse pub and a second video.

Mathieu gives another jab to the ribs regarding my complaint. JS holds up a flattened duck (!). Mathieu exclaims «C’est bien un canard et non une oie canadienne?!» and winks three times at the camera. This kind of shit gets your employer in trouble when formal complaint processes are in progress. Knock off the fucking sarcasm, know-it-all.

  • Videoclip: “Black Velveteen” du hirsute midget Prince manqué Lenny Kravitz, a weirdly accomplished and futuristic departure from his usual passé screeching and strumming.

Tuesday 6

There seems to be rather too much of a fetish for shooting interstitials (and now entire segments) in the john. (Cheesy-photo contest, Bernard De Longlac’s getting all dressed for air, Simon singing “La Macarena.”) Things went somewhat downhill from there with Les Nouvelles. “Worst episode ever,” as a certain cartoon character would pronounce, particularly if he were somehow familiar with 22 Minutes. Is the lesson here never to turn Les Nouvelles into an all-Mathieu segment? Never, ever again?

I miss Guy.

Attempted pythonism of completing the reportage on Swing in the john. Et maintenant pour quelque chose de complètement différent.

Reasonable segment from Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop, still looking squashed and adipose in the intro. Good to see the show is taking viewer requests rather than simply goading the audience and trivializing quasi-judicial complaint processes.

Had to rewatch William Portal, this time actually paying attention.

  • Videoclip: “Voices” de Disturbed.

Wednesday 7

A rerun. Guy does goths. GraVolt dallies with œnophilia. SlipKnot, yet again and notoriously.

But now the mystery is solved. It is now finally understood what the fuck is up with Mathieu’s hair, as we witness the full horror of its bleaching and dyeing. Note to kids (and Céline impressionists): If you’re gonna get your hair stripped, don’t do it in Ottawa.

  • Videoclip: «1999» (or “1999”) de Cassius. Still great. We fantasize about a Cassius/Air double bill.

Thursday 8

All all-bimbo videos all the time. “Be Yourself” de Morcheeba; «Comme toi» d’Infini-T; «Moi, Lolita» d’Alizé «Commando» de Vanessa Paradis, who needs to grow the fuck up. She can start by eating enough to experience a period. «Olé Olé» de 11:30.

«N41! N41! N41!»

Monday 12

Look, what is going on with shoveling two compilation shows down our gullets? That’s wrong two different ways. Why not just run two extra Volt Rétros, like maybe from the Marie Turgeon era?

Remember, Volt: Don’t fuck with your fans.

Wednesday 14

A rerun. A proper rerun. Dano wraps her head around noise. Insufficient explanation of decibels, which are actually damn difficult to understand. Very long segment. Very, very long. Punishingly long. The expert interviewed speaks as slowly as someone with a learning disability. He needs a good slapping, figuratively speaking. Very sexy T-shirt-over-turtleneck look. Were you a geek in high school, by any chance?

By comparison, young Mathieu’s sincere amateur reportage on sleep cycles was almost rejuvenating. Ironically enough.

He looks so gay in that hair.

This age limit on playing Bingo Volt bites a diesel tailpipe. Could it be... illegal?

More kiting. Kiting, kiting, and more kiting. Someday the world will realize JS’s dream, inventing a bust of Big Bird that drives a rally car trailing a kite.

Much was forgiven when Charles, fully decked out in apron, screams continuously and volubly when presented with the wrong brand of dish soap. Testify, brother!

The lad should wear black trousers and socks more often. Who’s his boyfriend, I keep wondering, and, by so doing, guarantee I will never learn?

Thursday 15

Videoclips. And no goddamn kites or Dano Spooner. But no Marie Turgeon, either. It still hurts. Even now.

Francine keeps taunting me with the near-equivalent of my Macintosh on the back table on set. (You’d need to add a second monitor and flash back in time a full generation.)

“Dark Side” de Crazy Town. (Boy, that’s gotta hurt.) I have a hard time actively hating this video. Excellent opposition of scratched celluloid and static. Which now everyone will steal. Actually, the video effects are an experiment unto themselves. I am forced to admit I like it, and even admire it. Plus I like the strippers.

By the way, you know that a lad with such tight skin (the result of a punishing workout schedule and possibly heroin use) and an enormous panoply of skin illustrations and embedded hardware was abused or neglected as a kid. This stuff does not evolve naturally from a happy childhood.

“Arrivaderci” de Mreono Veluso+2. Wow, an IBM Selectric. I want one. (In the dusty rose shade.) Yeah, no one sez you can’t run videos that aren’t English or French.

Can you look up “Who Told You?” by Roni Size & Reprazent? (Talkin’ Loud Records, I believe.) Since we are on the topic of video experiments in the narrow sense, put that one on the air: It’s the first digital film that is actually worth looking at. Instead of playing to video’s strengths, as digital-cinema apologists tiresomely insist, it seizes on the weaknesses.

«Va y avoir du sport» des Silmarils. What is with this trope in French video of widescreen (faux-)desert settings, with ominous artificial skies? Les Rita Mitsouko, Manau – it’s everywhere. “Striptease” de Hawksley Workman, reusing the tired device of dropping frames to yield herky-jerkiness. I didn’t know he rocked quite so well. I’m so out of the loop.

Also, shockingly, the interstitial segments with Simon as bored children’s presenter were quite droll. Poor Joe Motiki.

Friday 16

A phone-in show that didn’t really work due to lack of focus. It’s only partly the show’s fault. I was, however, strangely touched by the reminiscences of Mathieu and Simon on their big break into the TVO jetset. After the subject changed, I realized I had been transported back to my teenage years, where watching Saturday Night Live (I’m not kidding) made me feel like the only people involved were those onstage, the studio audience, the control staff, and me. A lot had to do with the live television and crystal-clear images of actors being themselves. (Even the skits, which, in that era, actually were funny, were barely acted, more like acted out.)

This phenomenon is errantly dubbed “intimacy” by rock critics, who somehow hold an “intimate” concert above all others. I don’t want to get intimate with a singer, 200 people packed in around me, and stale smoky air. The distance a television set provides heightens the connection, as fans of the Pet Shop Boys will understand: The seeming emotionlessness of Neil Tennant’s voice adds to the emotion.

Sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much.

Wouldn’t it be nice if my dying VCR hadn’t eaten the tape so I could record Mathieu and Simon’s actual reminiscences? An individual episode of Volt is an ephemeris, after all.

Monday 19

Yet more car coverage from JS. Why are his obsessions so heavily indulged? Regardless, don’t you love the idea of an electric Renault Dauphine? Except for two things:

  1. No safety features whatsoever. Seatbelts, anyone?
  2. You cannot possibly surpass the majesty of the vehicles in Gattaca. Certainly not commuting from Scarborough.

Impractical. Unoriginal. Unsafe, even. But fabulous. Suitable for Wallpaper<asterisk> photo shoots. But only Guy is beautiful enough for such a setting, and he’s long since lost to the netherworld of Orientals, snowy brows, and mullets.


Did you think I was being too hard on poor Jean-Sébastien? Really? Then why is the very next segment a review of a rally videogame?

Am I still bitching [BITCH!] too much? Oh? Then why was the first item in JS’s videogame segment an offroad driving game?

When they call Volt «l’émission fétiche des jeunes they refer to the fetishes of the staff.

I must concede that Sonia unaccountably managed to turn in a credible, conventional journalistic piece about community radio. In Ottawa. Of course, the station manager is a right dickhead, and he’s the gatekeeper of every compact disc that flows into the station. Still, what does he play? Daniel Boucher.

Hey. No music video.

Tuesday 20

By the way, both today’s show and yesterday’s were marked as repeats. But they were original. Wee booboo there. Less rally, more continuity.

JS attempts to scale a small square of pavement covered in ice. Uh, newsflash: The old Python sketch with Graham Chapman struggling to reach a bus stop within the hour beat the shite outta this half-arsed variant, jazzed up as it was by discursions to don and doff quilted jackets.

We recall Guy and Dano’s being dubbed the best-dressed reporters at the Junos. Who do they send this time? Allison Janney and a half-dead Chris Cornell.

Loved the admission from the pussies in Kittie that they didn’t have a fucking clue how to behave. Do they ever?

Marc “CREATIVE ON DEMAND” Bishop falls right into my trap this week. «On devrait faire toute une émission en anglicismes. Tout à faire, comme début à la fin.»

How would that differ from any other Internet “chronicle,” exactly? This week’s Queen’s French includes:

  1. prendre des searchs sur les bands
  2. des gens... qui runnent des stations de radio

Although the jacket and blue shirt were quite becoming this week. Shave the lower lip, though. And don’t believe the hype: Quebecor owns Canoe.

Mathieu fails to listen to Nadyne’s useful explication of the Ides of March. Memories of his yelp at the «$50!» cost of a pair of flats under the reign of Dano. After he was told once before.

“Juno? Jewyes.” I smell another “I Am” parody coming down the pike. God help us all. (Seigneur!)

Wednesday 21

A rerun.

Talk about cheap: Interviewing staff about tits. Fer Chrissakes. You think TFO and its outdated Web browsers are the only Francophones in this burg?

And just what the hell does Boris know about tits, anyway?

And someone please verbally bitch-slap the dated 1970s feminist academic (“Take that, honey”) who equates breasts with life and with death. Gosh, you could say that about a range of body parts. And I guarantee it never occurs to real women, even recent mothers newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

I believe I more thoroughly understand Volt’s obsession with animal cruelty. It appears to originate with Simon – unconnected, clearly, to his frequent complaints about being saddled with a pin dick. Today sausages, previously a turkey. What do we make of this?

  • Videoclip: “Lady” de Modjo. Really quite successful in a harmonykorinesque way. Sticks with you. Particularly brilliant shower scenes. Can you tell there’s more than one? Took me three viewings. It’s that good. Redefines the shower scene the way Gus Van Sant forever reconfigured the love scene in Good Will Hunting.

Thursday 22

Musique non-stop. Loved the repeat of the fake TVO funding caterwaul. «C’est très important de dépenser de l’argent. C’est bon pour la communauté, et c’est bon pour notre culture franco-ontarienne. Le plus on a l’impression d’avoir de l’argent, le plus on en dépense, le plus on a l’impression d’en avoir, et le plus notre estime de nous augmente, et de cette façon, nous remplissons notre mandat de télévision éducative.» (Still shocked by the dark density of Charles’ goatee.)

“Sandwiches” des Detroit Grand Pubahs (anomalous as ever); «Le ciel est vide» des Vulgaires machins; “Shadows of Ourselves” de Thievery Corporation; «Les gens» de Lofofora, whose fluffy, quasi-girly name clashes with hardcore; “I Did It” de Dave Matthews, still as charismatic as a movie star despite the trite cliché he’s peddling as an original song.

Friday 23


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