‘Volt’: The maudit anglophone fan page


2004: January 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22| 26| 27| 28| 29

Monday 12

Oh, so what’s this all about, then? The show takes half a month off for Xmas, and then runs a week of repeats once the staff staggers back to the office bleary-eyed and resigned? If it takes a week to put a week of shows together, what exactly were the Voltistes doing during the last week of December? Playing fucking Scrabble or something? Ever heard of planning ahead?

Fun little cookie from the anglo kid at show opening wishing the Frenchies happy new year. I would have said “frogs.” Besides, I don’t dingle Volt.

Liked the mile-a-minute recap of 2004 so far. But Frankie could never figure out which of the dizzyingly large number of cameras – two – to look at.

Nadia interviews some French-speaking pantywaist about long hair on girls, then some greasy wanker from Volt sponsor Coupe Bizarre. I gather that Ash_ton Ku_cher is now a role model for boys’ hairstyles. I think not. Oh? And products? Don’t Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me: Desperately needs an editor and can barely be described as “typeset,” but it will rock your world. Wait till you hear why Pert Plus is better than anything a French-speaking pantywaist or greasy wanker might sell you.

But – but – the big news this year, absolutely the biggest news, not at all covered by Fred and Frankie’s recap, is Fred’s renunciation of the fauxhawk. I am just shocked. But it’s all to the good, I suppose. I was far too tactful to say this at the time, but on occasion Fred would actually go on air with his fauxhawk off-centre. Such lapses may well be the sort of thing we expect from public broadcasters whose fingers are worked to the bone in the weeks before and after the Christmas holidays, but I bit my tongue. Now I will no longer remain silent!

And if Fred’s gonna drop the fauxhawk, is he also gonna drop the little Sharpie line of facial hair on the chin? (He’s got vaguely fantabulous skin and should simply go for it. Or grow a Badda Bingo–style beard. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)

Tuesday 13

Martin Simard trundles in again to deliver an Internet “chronicle.” I’m all in favour of his griping (the theme of the previous segment, which isn’t really taking off, you know) about the Quebec-centrism of whatever government site he was talking about. Boy, did it make my day to listen to Martin and Fred muddle through the English at the game site. Are there really so few French-language sites that the show has to review the anglos?

Some kind of wanker band is now interviewed. I’m sure they’ll be big in Smooth Rock Falls and ’earst, whose city-limit signs were amusingly introduced before.

Actually, the What Bugs You? segment – straight out of Live It Up circa 1981 – has now been redeemed by the image of Félix chomping down on an ice-cream cone allegedly filled with mustard.

Wednesday 14

Nadyne meets Sloan! I only ever talked to them on the phone. They’re sickeningly cute. An interesting concept, with the multiple singers–songwriters. The odd thing is how little I listen to old Sloan albums, and how I have failed absolutely to listen to new ones. I used to be on the Sloan mailing list and everything. Have they merely become sentimental favourites? Nadyne seems happy as a pig in shit.

And this business about linking to Sloan’s site from the Volt site? It’s not as though Sloanmusic is so hard to say (or Chyron). But the best part? They know what they’re doing and wrote a standards-compliant site. If they can, why can’t TFO?

Perhaps I should rediscover this old chestnut a little.

Two good interviews – one with a couple of do-gooders inspired by Craig Kielburger (a smart cookie, and a former Volt guest – run the clip!), another with an anglo high-school student acting in a Napoleonic play. Looked shockingly credible in the tricorner hat, red-and-green robes, and make-up!

We then suffer a minor letdown as some kind of overserious French band, Jeronimo, undergoes the Fred treatment. D00d looks like Stipe and they cover Bowie in French. Done correctly, you could build an entire career on that. (Anyone remember Radiohead’s first single? Then what happened?) And actually, this is a bit too much coverage for “I’m Afraid of Americans” on Volt.

Thursday 15

Videoclips. But: They’re gonna rerun Badda-Bingo! I am so there with a proper tape recorded at SP. If not two.

We’re back with the interview format, which works. “Questions & Answers” by Biffy Clyro: Genuinely recorded in a single day? «Gwen et les rats» by Gwenwed, who still deserve tons of credit for daring to put two Ws in a French band name. “Way Away” by Yellowcard, with captions by some mom-’n’-pop, apparently. «Une super chanson’ byles Pistolets roses, whoever or whatever they are. “Hello, Sunshine” by the Super Furry Animals, all too reminiscent of some other faux-naïf video I railed against once before.

The question I have now that it’s wintertime is: Since Fred seems to wear nothing but extra-tight T-shirts on air, does he wear them under normal shirts and sweaters to the office, or does he change at the office? Bit chilly otherwise, nu?

Fun repeat segment with Gaétan teaching first aid. I wanted to be the injured body lying prone on the floor whom they moved from place to place!

Monday 19

Astonishing! Some old French geezer phones in to demand that Fred change his T-shirt. Ahead of my time as usual. Now, will he change his T-shirt live on air?

Nadia interviews some kind of fashion designertrix. This Toronto Fashion Incubator is still going? I thought it was closed the last time I walked by. Her clothes look awful on Nadia, while, oddly, her white lab coat does not! (Especially when attempting to hawk her notepad T-shirt out at Yonge & Eg.)

And I’d like to know who this underpowered barely-French-speaking “entrepreneuse” was who appeared next.

Renée comes on to discuss left-handedness. Will they run the piece with Steve “THE DIGGER” Diguer complaining that some skinhead or whatever accused him of being gauchiste when he was simply gauchier? Good point about remote controls (hey! that’s the same one I have!) being biased toward right-handers. And Renée closes by mentioning some left-handers’ club in England, carefully omitting Ned Flanders’s Leftorium.

No, they’re not running the Steve segment.

Fabulous fausse pub–cum–PSA, though! (Fred croaks from a hot dog, JS lectures him about getting more exercise and gets run over on his bike[trials, shurely?!] by Frankie, on whom a Pythonesque 16-ton weight falls.)

And then the girls do in fact haul off Fred’s T-shirt. Is that chocolate-brown chest hair? (Loved the microphone duct-taped to his clavicle.) I think there’s room for Fred to work out a bit. Especially triceps. And if he’s following someone else’s lead and trimming whatever hair he’s got, all I have to say is knock it off. And there I was thinking he was hetero. (Does he use the same astringent he spokesmodeled when discussing his shaving regimen?)

Don’t think I didn’t notice Francie fondling Fred’s tummy, either. Left-handed and hirsute, as he said. And there I was thinking he was hetero.

Tuesday 20

I think I managed not to tape the Tuesday episode. I distinctly recall there being a vegantrix on the show. I also distinctly recall looking over to see if the (one remaining unbroken) deck was taping. It was. So I don’t know what gives.

Wednesday 21

Nadyne does a bang-up report on Punk-Rock Ærobics... in Ottawa! This is almost as delightful as nun wrestling. If they tour Toronto, I am so there.

Crystal(s) et Monique invite some French fairy fashion designer onto the show. How is this different from the rest of Volt? Félix at least gets the voice down, if not the halter top. He’s there to talk about his new dance step (sorry, manœuvre). Perhaps I missed something along the way.

Incomprehensible as ever.

But it gets worse! Some hideous zydeco-folk band from Quebec. That province’s music is so tacky sometimes. As Mordecai Richler put it, “French, the language of Molière (also of Allô Police).”

Thursday 22

The all-videoclip show, back with interview format. “Alphabet Soup” by Laika; «Mes 18 ans» by Longue distance; oh, and even worse, «Comatose» by Grimskunk (at least the fifth airing); “Step Into My Office, Baby” by Belle & Sebastian, and it baffles me why this group isn’t another “critical darling” of what passes for a braintrust at Volt; “Wicked and Weird” by Buck 65 (get another video of his!).

And that is all, baby.

Monday 26

We interview 1970s clone manqué Chris Hadfield, who puts on a pretty good French despite a notable accent. Bit of a hiccup on “arrogant.” It’s not as though I don’t have “arrogant” hiccups myself.

We then undergo an in-depth profile of Mathieu Provost, who plays the bog-standard Quebec folk-guitar music with bog-standard grating growly vocals. Offenbach, we hardly knew ye.

Now a postmodern minitwistette on the Guys in Blue, who roll some other TVO employee in the parking garage (love the minivan) and disrobe to reveal their true selves. Except Fred’s pants get stuck halfway down. A typical problem for him, I expect.

Can someone explain to me why the caméraman in the Renée ’n’ Fred segment on manners (manners in China, really) is dressed like a ninja? Do TFO caméramans have to wear the chador now? (Get some glass in one of those guys’s eyes one time and then look what happens.)

Tuesday 27

Ooh, Frankie rises considerably in one’s esteem for having the guts to dis perennial Volt crush Daniel Bélanger. (He neeeds his hair cut again, though. Both of them!)

The ultra-natural Vincent Pouliot returns to Volt to discuss politics. Something to do with Paul Martin. I could barely concentrate after the hideously tortured anglo accents on the streeter that preceded it. This kid Vincent is gonna have his own damned television network someday.

And then more streeters! Argh.

Wednesday 28

I don’t do the rerun shows.

But hey: Dig up the interstitial with the dozen hands simultaneously but separately squeaking markers onto easels to write out VOLT.TFO.ORG and post ’er online. It’ll get noticed.

Thursday 29

All lesbic videos all the time!

“Santa Maria” by Gotan Project, a nice Ray/Muybridge-esque dance piece. These things are hard to conceptualize in the first place, so good on them. «Kiss and Run» by Richard Petit. “Better Off” by the Madcaps (who? or more relevantly: why?). “All the Things She Said” by Tatu, inevitably. (I trust you all read Shtyengart’s piece in the Nouveau-Yorkais half a year ago about the intellectual oddbal impresario behind Tatu, right?)

“You Broke Like Glass” by Eighteen Visions. Francine states the obvious in bitching about the unintelligibility of the lyrics. Well, it’s hardcore<slash>deathmetal; that’s part of the style. The thing that bugs me is the constant equation of straightedge with hardcore. You wouldn’t exactly see me at a Minor Threat show, though I do listen to EqualizingXDistort. I have a strange tolerance for that sort of thing. Why is that? It’s mysterious even to me.