books on the radio

XL Recordings Leverages Copyright Takedown Notice as Marketing Initiative for New MIA Record
April 27, 2010, 1:57 PM
Filed under: Copyright | Tags: , , , ,

[NOTE:This is a front loaded addendum to my original post.

This video continues to be posted and then taken down.  I have reposted it several times.

It has been more than 10 years since Napster and we have seen the RIAA and others attempt to control the spread of digital content online with little success.

Because we are intelligent people we believe that people in the record industry know better than this.  We also believe that they’re basically cynical pricks who’d force their own mother to be a body double in a remake of Throw Momma From the Train if they thought that they could make a few bucks doing it.

So, we’re retitling this post as follows:

XL Recordings Leverages Copyright Takedown Notice as Marketing Initiative for New MIA Record

Luckily, MIA is a visionary artist who knows what needs to be done in circumstances like this.  She has posted the complete video on her site,

This whole audience-direct-to-artist relationship is looking better and better by the day.

Original post is below.]

XL Recordings is putting a heavy hand down on the release of this video.  Sending out the usual takedown requests for youtube uploads and MIA herself has BOOOO’d those actions taken by her record label.

Not ironically the song is called ‘Born Free’ and this video is an intense and graphic piece of work.

On many musical, visual and lyrical levels this song embodies what David Shields calls ‘Reality Hunger‘.  Borrowing without asking, mixing and remixing across multiple media and different decades.

All synthesized into this cool 9 minute video.  There’s so many references to argue, discuss and explore in this video.

We need more of this.

For some excellent analysis and background check out Ann Powers’ piece, MIA Makes Her Stance Utterly Clear… in the LA Times and August Brown’s piece on MIA’s use of Suicide’s song Ghost Rider as the basis for this track.

Here’s a lyric from the song:

I don’t wanna talk about money, ’cause I got it
And I don’t wanna talk about hoochies, ’cause I been it
And I don’t wanna be that fake?, but you can do it
And imitators, yeah, speak it

An intense piece of work!  Can’t wait for the record to drop!


Goodbye, Sophia Books! Vancouver Loses Another Independent
April 26, 2010, 4:07 PM
Filed under: Bookstore Showcase, Events, Industry Change | Tags: , ,

The legendary Sophia Books front window with reflection of the street.

My friends at Sophia Books are closing the doors on their amazing store in downtown Vancouver at then end of May 2010.

I have nothing but love and respect for Marc and Yuki Fournier, and all of my friends who work there.

It’s another heartbreaker for book lovers in Vancouver as Sophia represented the best and most unique selection of international art, graphic design, comix, fiction, non-fiction, manga and magazines not only in the city, the province – pretty much anywhere.

I went down there today and took as many pictures as I could of the store before my battery ran out.  Check out the Flickr Photo Stream or my Facebook photo album for more.

If you’re in Vancouver please go down to the store and check out this treasure of Vancouver’s disappearing book store culture while you can.

Friends with Benefits: Darren Barefoot vs Books on the Radio

Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo wrote Friends with Benefits.

Click here to listen to Darren & Sean talk social media strategy and metrics.

On an overcast day in early April I sat down with one of Vancouver’s true social media/web marketing leaders, Darren Barefoot.  His co-conspirator, wife and figure skating enthusiast Julie Szabo unfortunately couldn’t make it for our meeting.

FWB: the Book.

We sat at Habit Restaurant – which is why you can hear the beautiful ambient sounds of an industrial glass washer in the background – and talked about how to design social media campaigns, how to interpret web analytics and even the inexact calculus for creating a successful web meme.

All of this because not long ago I attended the real-life book launch for Darren and Julie’s book, Friends with Benefits: A Social Media Marketing Handbook.

At a busy gallery in Kitsilano, Darren and Julie gathered together friends, colleagues and clients to share the moment as they showcased their new independently published work.

Published using a small San Francisco-based indie called no starch press, their own ingenuity, talents and passion, and editorial/design assists Darren and Julie put together a really impressive book.

Friends with Benefits separates itself from the ridiculous glut of books attempting to capitalize on the social media surge in a few crucial ways:

1) They understand the technologies and how they fit together.

2) Their language is as clear as it is thorough.

3) They’ve been there.  Made the mistakes, had the successes, openly admit to both.

4) They’re funny, they can relate.

5) They showed that high quality books full of great ideas that are actually useful to people can be published independently and reach a wide audience (FTW!).

So, yes, I’m a fan.

And recognize that I have received about 15 different books on social media in the past 6 months – from the very good, like Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation to books that are less good, like Twitter Power 2.0 by Joel Comm.

I like what they’ve done and I like how they’ve done it.

I put a lot of their ideas and processes to the test in my own work with Books on the Radio and other projects.  And it works for me.

Our 45 minute conversation recorded in my patented straight off the table style so it’s like you’re sitting at the table with us.

Thanks to Darren for taking the time to talk with me.  I hope that you like the results.

If you’re interested in more of Darren & Julie’s ideas please visit their site: Capulet Communications.

Also, at the end of the conversation we discuss something called Northern Voice.  It’s a two-day, non-profit personal blogging and social media conference held at the UBC main campus, Vancouver, Canada on May 7-8, 2010. This year is the 6th annual incarnation of this event.  I will be there and so will a lot of other fun, creative people.

If there’s still tickets available, I recommend that you buy a few now and be there in May.  It’s going to be great.

Ars Poetica by Pablo Neruda #NaPoMo
April 21, 2010, 8:44 AM
Filed under: Poetry | Tags: , ,

Pablo Neruda's Ars Poetica

Moment of Truth: Goodbye, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal

I got one lyric pointed at your head for starters
Another one, is pointed at your weak ass heart…

Keith Elam was a Boston rapper who succumbed to cancer on April 19, 2010 at the age of 43.

Everyone knew him as Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) and he was one of the best rappers that I’ve ever heard.

He was the lyrical half of the legendary Gang Starr crew along with the stone cold DJ Premier.

During hip-hop’s mythical golden age – a period of time encompassing Public Enemy‘s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), Dr Dre‘s The Chronic (1992), and The Wu-Tang Clan‘s classic Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers (1993) – Gang Starr dropped 3 classic records and commanded a ton of respect from audiences and rappers everywhere.

He was the nearly perfect rapper for his time.

He had genuine style, masterful next level lyrical skills and the best DJ on or off the map.  He would battle anybody at anytime and many of the songs on the first 3 Gang Starr records are battle tracks.

And when the golden age started to fade and new styles emerged, Guru dropped the first Jazzmatazz record and blazed a whole new trail.

Gang Starr would go on to throw down 3 more excellent studio records and a couple of compilations.  DJ Premier recorded countless mixes and Guru guested on countless singles.

It’s tough to imagine that Guru is gone so early.  I didn’t even know that he was sick.  But when I think of the quality of work that he did, the imagination and conviction and positivity that he brought to every record that he cut, I can’t help but think that any of us would be blessed to achieve even a fraction of that work with even a fraction of that passion and authenticity.

But don’t take it from me.

Here’s what Kool Mo Dee wrote about Guru in his classic book There’s a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs

“…Guru is the kind of MC that I live for.  A positive lyricist who can flow and bring it across effectively!  Guru has an elite level of respect from me because he always, always, always brings so much substance… If you want to hear some of the best Hip-Hop work ever done, pick up their LPs.  ALL OF THEM!!!

Pop America may not know it, and some of urban America might not know, but I know, and I’m telling you, Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal, GURU, IS ONE OF THE GREATEST EMCEES EVER.”

Joyland Vancouver Summit or Wookie Symposium? You Decide!

Joyland Vancouver Summit at the W2 Building Sunday April 11 @ 7pm.

BOOKS ON THE RADIO RECOMMENDS: That you get your ass down to the W2 building this Sunday at 7pm to witness some of the best true voices in Canadian writing.

If you loved what you saw at the W2 Real Vancouver Writers’ Series during the Olympics then you need to be at the Joyland Vancouver Summit.  If you missed the W2 RVWS then you need to be at the Joyland Vancouver Summit.

It’s that simple.

Featuring W2 RVWS veterans Kevin Chong and Shay Wilson plus amazing Toronto-based writers Brian Joseph “Wookie Symposium” Davis and Emily Schultz.

Brian’s new book is amazing and he was featured on the last Books on the Radio show.

It’s going to rule!  Info below.


Hosted by Kevin Chong.

SUNDAY, APRIL 11 AT 7pm. W2, 112 West Hastings. FREE

Brian Joseph Davis is the author of Portable Altamont, a collection that garnered praise from Spin magazine for its “elegant, wise-ass rush of truth, hiding riotous social commentary in slanderous jokes.” Slate called his novel I, Tania, “The book of your fever dreams.” He’ll be playing radio theatre adaptations from his new short fiction collection, Ronald Reagan, My Father (AVAILABLE APRIL 1)

Emily Schultz’s latest novel is Heaven Is Small, released from House of Anansi Press in May 2009. Her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Eye Weekly, the Walrus, the Black Warrior Review, Prism, Geist, Event, Descant, and several anthologies. The Vancouver Sun wrote: “Heaven Is Small [is] a stunning, often surprising read with moments of such audacity that the reader is likely to gasp out loud. . . the sort of novel that satisfies on every level.”

Claire Gibson lives in Vancouver. She is a creative writing major at the University of British Columbia. Dan Schwartz is originally from Washington, DC, and now spends his time in the MFA program at UBC. He was recently one of the editors for PRISM international. He writes a story once a week for The Land Of Bad Decisions ( He has a few interests.

Shay Wilson is one of those kids your mother warned you about, though you probably won’t think so at first. She works in the film industry and completed her MFA in Creative Writing in 2009. Her work has recently appeared in The Beaver, The Ink Filled Page and Geist. Rob Peters flew thirty feet through a car window when he was two. He lives in Vancouver and writes fiction, probably as a result.

Kevin Chong is the author of two books: a novel entitled Baroque-a-Nova and a work of narrative non-fiction, Neil Young Nation. He is the Vancouver editor for Joyland.

For more information please see or contact Brian Joseph Davis at

Sophia Books Spring MEGA Sale is Happening Now!
We are having a Mega Spring Sale !
30% off all books in stock !
(special orders, magazines and DVDs not included)
April 1st to 17th. In store shopping only.
(please note that we are closed on Easter day, April 4th)

French books, Spanish books, Italian books, German Books,
Japanese books, ESL books, Graphic design etc

Please pass along to friends that might be interested.


Grands Soldes du Printemps
30% de remise sur tous les livres en stock
(à l’exception des commandes spéciales, des DVD et des magazines)
Achats en personne seulement
Les soldes débutent le 1er avril et se termineront le 17 avril.
(veuillez noter que nous sommes fermés le jours de Paques, le 4 avril)

Livres en français, en espagnol, en italien, en allemand,
en japonais, ALS, arts visuels etc.
Faites passer le mot à ceux et celles qui pourraient être interessés .