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It seemed like an ordinary winter morning when Rick Reimer got behind the wheel of his Jeep and lit a marijuana cigarette.
A A A  What caught the eye of Ontario Provincial Police Constable Brad Burton was that Reimer appeared not to be wearing a seatbelt. A A A  With charges laid, Reimer resumed his journey into the bright, snowy morning, with Tammy at the wheel. SMOKE AND MIRRORSA a€?Would Reimer have embarked on his ordeal if marijuana had been a decriminalized substance? JOINT SUBMISSIONSA a€?The Killaloe courthouse is in what used to be a parking garage, under the town medical clinic.
SMOKE AND MIRRORSA Would Reimer have embarked on his ordeal if marijuana had been a decriminalized substance? JOINT SUBMISSIONSA The Killaloe courthouse is in what used to be a parking garage, under the town medical clinic. For those looking for an excellent monograph of the genesis of the UK anarcho-punk scene, the American edition of Ian Glasper's excellent The Day the Country Died is forthcoming from Reynolds and Hearn in March.
By now, you've probably heard the news: America's biggest boutique magazine distributor closed its doors on December 27th. In the interim, the IPA's inability to pay its titles have resulted in the closure of a number of outstanding national magazines, including the award-winning Clamor, and the end of the print edition of one of America's best up-and-coming music publications, Grooves. As a publisher, the most important lesson I learned from the IPA debacle is how much it underlined the continuing crisis of professionalization in indie culture. But, as time wore on and the issue was increasingly invoked, I began to wonder whether the subject's continuous reappearance in our business discussions was symptomatic of something far more worrysome.
For the past thirty plus years, America has witnessed the growth of one of the most creative periodical industries in its history. Eventually a large plate of shwarma arrived, and when it did, all of the soldiers present allowed him to help himself first. Over dinner at a friend's apartment in Tel Aviv in 2005, I asked what had become of the Olympia. As much as this all might seem like its about finally doing what one really wants to do, that's not quite it.
And congrats on the new release, though I must tell you that iTunes made me go to "The American Store" as apparently it's not available yet in Canada. Like the last Elders record, Dawn Refuses to Rise, Twilight War features a few interesting guests in the sample department.
One of the many responsibilities I ended up assuming at Tikkun was writing six 100 word book reviews which we always printed on the interior back page of each new issue. I particularly enjoyed writing these reviews, because, as Tikkun's culture editor,  there were always books I wanted to cover which we neither had the room nor the writers to tackle. The reason I mention all of this is because yesterday I wrote my first TR-style reviews for Zeek, the periodical that I recently joined as a contributing editor.
This was always the modus operandi we worked with in terms of the bands and writers we covered when I was Punk Planet's associate editor. Eating dinner last night, I recalled my conversation with Robert as I watched our latest local news import, Russia Today.
As someone who spent their teens in the US during the 1980s, to have imagined watching a Russian program on American television would have been unthinkable. When asked to comment on this, an Israeli relative of mine told me, "All the right-wingers are saying its Arab Israelis who demanded this change. Yours truly with my old friend Eric Zassenhaus, at the Bitch mag going away party on Wednesday night. Knowing Portland's publishing scene extremely well, Bitch is going to be an excellent addition to the community.
The last time I devoted a serious amount of mental energy to Adrian Sherwood was a typically cold summer night in San Francisco in 2004. Though I'm not prepared to do a serious critical take quite yet, I'm not exactly feeling speechless this time out either.
In a November review  in the Guardian, critic Dave Simpson inconclusively asked whether Sherwood was still creating work as groundbreaking as his past achievements - particularly given how many producers have assimilated his style over the years.
As a rule of thumb, once I've acquired everything I need to start writing, I focus on covering only the most representative instances of my subject matter and comment on them until there's hopefully nothing left to discuss. Despite this self-congratulatory pat on the back, there are two standout occasions in which I've failed to live up to my archivist's ethos. Several hours later, as I searched through boxes of cassettes in my basement looking for the interview, I found the tape.
Late last Friday afternoon, I was sitting in the living room working on my book when I heard the sound of gunfire close by.
The nice thing about this trip is that it's introduced me to a part of the city I overlooked as a child, when my father and I lived here in the early '80s. Before going into yesterday's meetings, I went to the new MOMA for the first time with my former Tikkun co-editor, Jo Ellen. Because my family is so spread out - in Israel, France, New York and Maine - I've always lamented how difficult it's been to facilitate this kind of intimacy. The negative aspect of being 'freed' to consume in this manner is that it completely isolates individual listening experiences so that one may not be able to identify or connect with the community out of which the work one consumes was made in, such as a record label, which in indie terms, was always the commercial front end for a particular scene or milieu of artists.
Though recreating that experience can be done online through links, listening suggestions, blogs, music-based social networking services and listservs, getting socialized by the communities out of which music emerges requires a great deal more effort. Interestingly enough, the need for a less mediated version of this experience - that which existed prior to the emergence of online retailing - has, in my understanding, been replaced by a higher attendance rate for concerts for any number of artists, big and small.
At a concert, labels, and what they represent communally, are pushed to the side in favor of the personality of the artist, and what it represents.
It was February 11, 2002, and all was quiet in the rural Ontario town of Killaloe a€“ pronounced Kill-a-loo a€“ which lies a couple of hours west of Ottawa, nestled in a picturesque realm of hills, lakes, valleys and steeples.
He suffers from multiple sclerosis and has a medical exemption from Health Canada entitling him to have marijuana, which eases the symptoms of his disease. He felt Reimer, whose speech seemed slow, his gait unsteady, his balance off, ought not to be behind the wheel. Unless the police actually lay charges, he says, ita€™s not their job to decide who can and cannot drive.
So he went in, told the police what he was up to, and returned to the front stoop to partake of more marijuana. In getting himself busted and putting himself through this ordeal, Reimer has certainly succeeded in sparking debate, raising the question of whether there ought to be a legal pot limit for drivers. Perhaps the only kind of 80s retro that's remotely acceptable, this beautifully pieced together compilation CD released late last Fall (the 4th in a series issued by the UK's Overground label) is an absolute must-buy for anyone interested in the intersection between music and radical politics. Given how absolutely dire the events of the past five years have been, (and how impovershed most musical responses remain), the rise of anarcho-punk historiography seems utterly appropriate. By no means a surprise, the closure of the Indy Press Newsstand Services (formerly known as Big Top) remains a big blow to independent periodicals in the US.
For example, every time I'd go to the IPA's office to attend a sales meeting, I was continually reminded to be 'more professional' regarding design and editorial considerations.
Unfortunately, such imperfections are common to many independent businesses, and have more often than not led to their downfall.
Despite the fact that this business has weathered numerous ups and downs, it was not until the 'zine explosion of the 1990s that independent periodical publishing in the US fully flowered, creating numerous special interest political and cultural titles expressing the enormous ingenuity and literary talent of an entire generation of artists, writers and designers. The IPA's ultimate crime was that it never took this milieu seriously enough to understand what it was putting at risk through its administrative incompetence.
Barely a soul was present, with the exception of an overweight middle aged man sitting at the center of a large table, surrounded by several IDF officers sporting berets neatly folded inside their epaulets. Ever since we moved into our new house in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood two years ago, unfortunately, given my work schedule, I've had a devil of a time finding any real occasion to spend time here. The sun shines through my window for the better part of the day, giving my room some of the best light of any spot in the house. It's about having a decent quality of life, and the time to take care of the kinds of things that we ignore, delay, or put off when we work sixty hours a week.
As one of those many editors who wished they had more time to write, penning these short pieces always gave me something of an outlet for this frustrated desire. As burnt out as I still am, it was nice to re-inhabit this style of writing, and push a few books which deserve attention. As a culture magazine, we channelled this ideological sensibility religiously, to a point that we treated our cultural coverage as though it were a political endeavor.
After sending Robert an email to let him know I'd seen him on TV, surprised, he asked what I was doing watching German television.
Hosted by local public television station Channel 32, RT provides an amusing Russian take on international news.
Let alone, a Russian news broadcaster supportively reporting on the progress an arch-enemy was making in consolidating their revolution.


For example, in December, the Guardian reported that Israel's largest sattelite TV provider, Yes, had dropped BBC World from its roster in favor of the new al-Jazeera English network.
Every morning, Jennifer and I sit in bed and watch a full hour's broadcast while we drink our coffee and read the newspaper. Really sad to see them leave the Bay Area, but their new home - Portland, Oregon - is about as good as it gets outside of these here parts.
Prior to a gig at the Elbo Room in support of his first solo album, Never Trust a Hippy, together with a couple of close friends, I managed to get myself admitted to the venue's dressing room. Having met dozens of my favorite artists over the years, I'd thought that I'd gotten over feeling star-struck.
Not long afterwards, as I sat behind the stage watching Sherwood mix his set, I started to feel queasy.
So far only released in the UK by Real World, import copies have been slowly trickling into the US since the record's release last November. Very much in the vein of his last solo record, Becoming a Cliche is a dense, drum and bass and ragga-influenced album every bit as rewarding as Sherwood's last record. I've been finishing the bibliographical work that I've needed to complete for my book, and have spent a lot of time gathering together any remaining news articles I can find in order to bring myself totally up-to-date. The first was during high school, when my then-classmate John Whitson gave me his only copy of a live soundboard tape of a Husker Du show in Walla Walla, Washington. In the fall of 2005, director Julien Temple contacted me, explaining that he was making a documentary about the life and times of his old friend, Joe Strummer. Unfortunately, along with a number of recordings of my old radio shows at my alma mater, Reed College, the cassette had been damaged by water, and was in an advanced state of deterioration. Slamming my laptop shut, I instinctively ducked down so that I was no longer level with the window.
Two blocks away, she was stopped by a police car, which shined a light on her face, wondering if she might be the person that they were looking for.
Not surprisingly, there were a fair number of articles about a recent crime wave in our hood. After a ten hour-long session that began with a tasty Indian lunch on 96th street and Amsterdam avenue, I'm free to enjoy my last two days here.
After fifteen years in the suburbs, my brother sold his home, and bought a place on the border between Chinatown and Little Italy last summer. Hard at work at her company's Manhattan office, she slaved away until eight last night, and then hung out here with my brother until I came in at eleven. But, given  moments like this, its clear that we're all learning how to overcome the geographies that separate us.
Deliberate communities have to be created around shared taste preferences in order to help facilitate the social aspect of music consumption that was lost in the movement to online distribution. So, in a club or a concert hall, one finds collective attempts to get back to the social experience that consumers may have once had listening to music with friends, or hanging out at a record store.
He then noticed Reimera€™s Jeep briefly cross the centre line of the roadway several times, straying somewhat into the oncoming lane. But the constable, having consulted with his superiors, didna€™t really want to lay charges. He says he smokes so much pot he has built up a tolerance to it, and therefore cana€™t get impaired. This wasna€™t the first time Reimer had tried to get himself and his pot onto the police radar screen.
There is also the broader issue of decriminalization, which has been an important issue to him for quite some time. Perhaps he wouldna€™t have been so motivated to insist on being charged that snowy morning in Killaloe. Written by former Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud, the liner notes are worth the price of admission alone.
A significant number of its former clients remain owed substantial sums of money - including my former magazine, Tikkun. What troubles me most is not the fact that the IPA was not an exception to the rule, but the cultural consequences of its failings. Not only did this milieu produce something culturally valid; it also created a market, which despite its small size, was sustainable, significant, and most importantly, politically influential.
As I imagined, there would be email and calls to answer, and loose ends to help the accountant and staff sew up.
Every weekday morning, when I'd get up to make coffee before work, I'd stare into my beautiful office, wondering whether I'd ever get a chance to enjoy the space and take advantage of what it ideally could afford me. Sitting in my father's old office chair, typing away while my favorite BBC shows stream through my Mac and my two dogs chill on the floor beside me, I can't quite recall a time that I felt so at home.
However, what makes this record distinct from our last is that it is primarily instrumental.
By no means an analogue loyalist, (I've been composing music on computers for eleven years), I still prefer the sound of analogue over digital. Having written numerous book reviews over the years - for the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Lit supplement and Punk Planet - this also allowed me to keep my review writing chops somewhat fresh.
By pointing our readers to productions that we felt were important, like many punks, we genuinely believed that we were creating some kind of cultural front out of which a better politics would emerge. Viewing two segments - one on the debate about the establishment of US anti-missile bases in the Czech Republic, the other, the Venezuelan government's granting of sweeping new powers to President Hugo Chavez - I was immediately struck by how nostalgic RT was for the Cold War. By no means a politically progressive show, (witness RT's endless profiles of successful Russian entrepeneurs) it was still a hoot taking this aspect of Russia's political temperature as I switched back and forth between RT, Larry King Live, and yet another annoying Benny Hill rerun on the BBC. Even though its only an hour long (and only in the morning,) between this, Deutsche Welle, and even Russia Today, its still a hell of a lot better than relying solely on CNN. There stood the surprisingly tall, fifty year old producer, sweat pouring down his bald head as he shook hands with his guests, discussing the production work he'd done on the then-forthcoming Asian Dub Foundation record, Tank. Picking up a copy yesterday after having breakfast with the same two friends I'd gone to the Sherwood gig with, I took the disc home, and spent most of yesterday afternoon giving it a good listen. Boasting the vocal talents of longtime collaborators Lee Scratch Perry, Mark Stewart and the late Bim Sherman, it almost sounds like an updated Pay It All Back-era On-U Sound anthology.
However, I'd qualify that judgement by saying that Sherwood is doing so by refining his work rather than introducing new musical idioms. I feel pretty good about what I've pulled together so far, though, as with other book projects I've worked on (this is my fifth), I've had to set severe limits to my source material so I don't find myself overwhelmed.
Even though Temple's crew kindly offered to try to restore it, the recording engineer that I am knew that the tape was beyond repair. Once the police got a good look at her - a petite, pink-haired woman in her mid-thirties - the cops apologized and sped away. A couple of weeks ago, our neighborhood association apparently met with the chief of the local police precinct to discuss the recent violence. He supposedly asks his victims for the time before threatening them with a semi-automatic weapon. A beautiful, two bedroom apartment in a brand new, four story building, David's pad looks out at three Italian restaurants, and is a stone's throw away from the best Malaysian restaurant and tacqueria in the city. Nevertheless, it was immensely cool to see how comfortable both she and David were with each other when I walked through the door. Whereas in the past, I would go up to four years at a time without seeing my parents, over the course of the past sixteen months, Jennifer and I have been to Israel twice to see them, and they've returned the gesture with two visits to the US. In many respects, while concerts remain promotional events for artists that help sell their recorded music, the 'label' experience that was once such an important aspects of buying music in a retail environment (remember when there used to be Sub Pop and SST sections in indie shops?), is not recreated at a live event. However, even more importantly, since retail sales have dramatically slowed for everyone, concerts are the new brick and mortar stores.
Reimer explained that he would be quite happy to get pulled over at that time, and hea€™d make sure to be smoking a joint. Plus, he decided that fighting a charge of driving while impaired by cannabis would stimulate debate on whether there ought to be a definite legal limit a€“ similar to the a€?over 80a€? law for alcohol a€“ that would apply to marijuana, a substance that may soon be decriminalized in Canada.
While Tikkun will be fine (we left the IPA a year ago), it remains unclear whether many of its former clients are going to survive. I already had a strong background in distribution, and had been hired in part to help shore up the business end of things. Through its mismanagement, the IPA put an entire wing of the American periodical business in crisis.
Others were smoking cigarettes and talking, while the gentleman at the center of the proceedings sat there in silence. I'd wager that at least three days were devoted to helping the office out, which is actually less time than I anticipated would be the case. Lined with books and vinyl LPs, and a large desk bearing my home studio set-up, sitting in my decrepit Berkeley office, I'd frequently find myself daydreaming about importing old records bought at foreign flea markets into my rapidly aging computer. The politics, as it were, are carried forth by the tone the songs set rather than by traditional protest music polemics.


The former label manager in me is also tickled by the fact that vinyl LPs and 7"s have been going through a sales resurgence over the last several years. Speaking to Czech opponents of the American initiative and Venezuelan supporters of Chavez, Russia Today's reporters made no bones about their biases.
Despite all of the criticisms levelled at the BBC's Israeli coverage in recent years,  an Arab broadcaster beat out a longstanding British news outlet for sattelite television subscribers. Nevertheless, we hear from our cable provider that they'll be adding a dedicated BBC World news channel very soon. Having produced some of the most influential records of the past generation - by Dub Syndicate, Creation Rebel, the New Age Steppers, and countless others - for his own legendary On-U Sound label (whose creative A&R work served as the inspiration for the label I managed, Asphodel) - I felt like I was in the presence of the Creator. DJ'ing decidedly psychedelic, fast-paced material (according to my friend Ron, consisting of unreleased African Head Charge material, if I remember correctly), after twenty minutes, I decided that I had to leave. I can't tell you how many times over the years that I've found myself grateful for my packrat habits.
As much as I like the written transcription of the interview, nothing comes close to how charming and witty he sounded on the phone.
On the agenda is lunch at a small hummus place around the corner, a stop at my favorite local record store, Other Music, and then a short walk up to 12th and Broadway to meet my family for dinner. On nearly every nearby block, there's a deli replete with cans of Lavazza espresso and freshly baked breads on display in the window. Thus, it was incredibly gratifying to see the periodical on display at an institution like the MOMA.
Their second time meeting each other (their first and last meeting to date was at our wedding party last year), the two of them seem to have found much in common with each other very quickly. Artists act as their own label, selling their work directly to fans, in keeping with the online ethos that every content creator is their own vendor. Reimer stopped, emerged from his vehicle amid a cloud of pot smoke, and trundled toward the police cruiser.
The latest proposal, floated by Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, would make the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana a ticketable, not criminal, offence. He couldna€™t get arrested smoking marijuana on the steps of the Toronto police headquarters, but he managed to get arrested on the Killaloe roadside after talking himself into an impaired driving charge. But it is one which ought to serve as a burning reminder of why the left still has to learn how to do business properly. Having spent six weeks at the office after resigning on November 22nd, I dedicated myself to wrapping up as much as humanly possible.
Though this definitely will not last forever -  essentially five months from today - it feels like I won the lottery. Could it have been what I'd had to drink that night, I wondered as I stumbled down the club's crowded stairs, hoping to be relieved by the cool night air. Slowly raising myself, I took a good look down our street where it sounded like the shots were fired. Reimer was trying to educate the police about medical exemptions, he explains, but they didna€™t want to know.
I'm speaking about the countless number of publications which grew up in the turn of the century indie publishing scene. But for now, until the magazine hires a new managing editor, its my assumption that my major post-Tikkun work is complete. The whole incident raised the issue of whether decriminalization of marijuana would make any practical difference. The courtroom boasted actual windows, through which the morning sun streamed, illuminating a backwoods vista of snow-laden pines. No one knows more about the issue, and no one has done moreA pro bonoA work trying to liberalize marijuana laws, than Osgoode law professor Alan Young. Waiting for court to start, Reimer stationed himself outside, at the doorstep, so he could smoke some preparatory marijuana. He was clad in galoshes and what he calls his a€?Elmer Fudda€? hat a€“ a gift from his two young sons.
But since these may have been nothing more than manifestations of illness, and as such wouldna€™t make out the offence with which Reimer was charged a€“ s. He lit a joint.A A A  When it was finished he blew out a great billow of smoke, entered the courtroom and readied himself for battle. Not only did he represent himself a€“ a€?Ia€™m doing the fool-for-a-client thing,a€? he quipped a€“ he also acted as his own expert witness.
The Ontario Provincial Police have written a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and blown the whistle on him, calling his driving into question. Even the prosecutor, Malcolm Lindsay of the Ottawa Crowna€™s office, admits Reimer did a€?a very good job.
He showed some real judgment.a€? Lindsay, a 35-year Crown veteran and a reassuringly steady courtroom presence a€“ hea€™s the sort of person youa€™d want in charge of the nuclear bomb button a€“ was taken aback by the defendanta€™s enthusiastic cannabis consumption during the trial.
He claims that on March 27, 2002, while toking outside the Killaloe courtroom awaiting his first appearance, he was manhandled by police who didna€™t know hea€™s allowed to smoke marijuana.
Moreover, he told the court, marijuana did not prevent him from doing a weekly radio show on the Killaloe community station, where he was required to operate all manner of switches, microphones and sundry broadcast equipment. Parker says a€“ and his trial judge found as a fact a€“ that if he smokes pot he has no seizures. But if he is deprived of pot, he has numerousA grand malA seizures leaving him unconscious, violently twitching and writhing, vomiting, losing control of his bowels, choking on his own saliva and smashing his head against the ground.
A man from the Yukon wrote that hea€™d been smoking and driving for 25 years and had never collided with a bear or any other species of animal. There were various studies, Langille said, showing that marijuana can impair driving ability. While it may not produce as marked an effect as alcohol at comparable level of intoxication, marijuana can reduce onea€™s ability to divide attention, reduce onea€™s alertness to risks, and cause slower and less accurate reactions to emergency situations.
As Alan Young says, the government a€“ as of this writing a€“ seems to be dragging its feet on legislation, possibly because it is bowing to American pressure. In response, the government a€“ at the eleventh hour a€“ announced something they dubbed the a€?Marihuana (sic) Medical Access Regulationsa€? (MMAR).
Harold Kalant, who is Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at the University of Toronto and a leading expert on marijuana, says that a blood test for THC a€“ the active ingredient in marijuana a€“ doesna€™t tell you how much of the stuff is in the brain.A a€?A  a€?What affects driving is whata€™s in the brain, not whata€™s in the blood,a€? Kalant explains. Harold Kalant, who is Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at the University of Toronto and a leading expert on marijuana, says that a blood test for THC a€“ the active ingredient in marijuana a€“ doesna€™t tell you how much of the stuff is in the brain.A A  a€?What affects driving is whata€™s in the brain, not whata€™s in the blood,a€? Kalant explains. Reimer added that none of this really applies to heavy smokers like himself, who never actually feel high, no matter how much they smoke. The regulations say sick people can possess it and even grow it, but they cana€™tacquireA it legally. For the first ten minutes after smoking, therea€™s a good correlation between brain and blood levels, but for the next hour or two theya€™re not in sync.
He lit a joint, got into his vehicle and headed home to rest and prepare for the next day a€“ the final day a€“ of trial.
12, which involves a so-called a€?compassion cluba€? pot dealer who breaks the law in order to supply the sick, and only the sick, with marijuana. Like many homes in the Killaloe area, Reimera€™s is heated by a wood stove, and when he arrived the first thing he did was put another piece of firewood into its cast iron belly.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Sidney Lederman found the MMAR woefully inadequate because sick people are expected to seek marijuana on the street and rely on criminal drug dealers.
Producing good quality marijuana is not a problem for him a€“ after all, hea€™s got an expanse of arable land at his disposal. One is the recreational-use case brought by a London, Ontario head-shop owner named Christopher Clay, which has been joined with similar actions by British Columbiaa€™s David Malmo-Levine and Victor Caine. The orange glow reflecting in his eyes matched the luminescent tip of his smoldering joint.
Reimer maintained that his driving ability was not impaired, and delivered an impassioned plea for the government to a€?stop burying its head in the sanda€? and have a debate about whether there should be a law setting out a legal marijuana limit for drivers.
02-0277) The judge went on to say that he accepted the Crown toxicologista€™s conclusion: Marijuana can impair. But Reimer had asserted all along that these were symptoms of multiple sclerosis, not marijuana. These signs of impairment, ruled the judge, a€?may have been nothing more than manifestations of his illness.a€? Reimer was acquitted.



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