Halifax on vinyl – a love story

There’s a lot to look forward to in the next month for local fans of EP’s, LP’s, 33’s and 45’s. With the internationally celebrated Record Store Day on April 20, you can stock up in preparation for the fifth installment of the Halifax Record Fair May 4 at Maritime Hall.

by Nicolas Haddad

Wide-eyed, mouths agape as their hearts skipped a beat; every vinyl aficionado in Halifax had the same reaction when they heard Taz Records on Market Street was closing down at the end of March.

Downtown record collectors, rest assured: Taz is already set up in its new digs just around the corner at 1521 Grafton Street.

Despite vinyl lovers being dramatically prone to nostalgia, this store along with its neighbours, simply had to move after 25 happy years.

As the Coast’s Allison Saunders pointed out in a Feb. 8 article, “Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the property is pretty much cheek-to-cheek with the site the new convention centre will eventually take over.”

There’s a lot to look forward to in the next month for local fans of EP’s, LP’s, 33’s and 45’s. The internationally celebrated Record Store Day is on April 20, where you can stock up in preparation for the fifth installment of the Halifax Record Fair on May 4 at Maritime Hall.

 

Picks of the week:

 

Linval Thomson meets King Tubby’s

“Ina Reggae Dub Style”/”Dis A Yard Dub”

1979

Label: Abraham Records

Purchased at Taz Records on its final day at Market St, this project released on Unionville, On.-based reggae label Abraham Records brings together two of Dub reggae’s most influential and innovative producers.

Cost: $14

 

Gypsophilia

“Constellation”

2011

Label: Forward Music

Purchased at Forward Music Group’s latest music showcase at the Khyber Centre for the Arts, this latest LP from this Halifax folk/jazz/gipsy supergroup just won Best World Recording at the ECMAs.

Cost: $18 

Boney M.

“Nightflight to Venus”

1978

Label: Atlantic Records

Found in the discount bin at Taz records, this gem from the disco era features the quintessential single “Rasputin”, as well as a disco-soul version of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold”.

Cost: 25¢

 

Bob Marley & the Wailers

“Babylon By Bus” Deluxe 2 Record Set

1978

Label: Island Records (Warner Bros.)

Purchased somewhere in Kingston, Jamaica in the summer of 1979, this live album recorded during the European leg of his Babylon By Bus tour captures some of Bob Marley’s last and most amazing performances.

Cost: Priceless.

 

Appreciate, don’t appropriate

There’s an argument to be made that there’s something wrong with the way Aboriginal Peoples are represented in the world of fashion.

 

By Nicolas Haddad

There’s an argument to be made that there’s something wrong with the way Aboriginal Peoples are represented in the world of fashion, and it goes beyond Justin Bieber’s new tattoo.

Inspiration for new styles are drawn from anywhere and everywhere. But with the rising popularity of Aboriginal-inspired icons, the fashion world has to consider how ethical it is to use another culture’s symbols without knowing what they represent.

“Fashion is: you wear something because it’s an expression of yourself, and you wear it because you like to wear it. So it’s not necessarily that you wear it because you know what it means or you understand what the designer wants it to mean, but it’s because you appreciate what it means to you,” says Michelle Cameron, a student from University of King’s College whose part-time job is in retail.

Cameron says similar to bohemian trends, native American-inspired designs have a place in today’s fashions, “Moccasins and beads and flats that have fringe on them are trendy and people do wear them. People wear it to be trendy but it doesn’t really mean anything to them.”

According to Cameron, designs like war birds and colourful patterns are popular because, “people in the fashion world right now are trying to project a lot of aggressive pieces.”

So what happens when the invisible line is crossed? The feathered headdress, a fundamental Aboriginal icon symbolizing status and sacred knowledge, has re-emerged into popular hipster culture.

WHEN IS IT OK?

 

Glenn Knockwood, youth coordinator for the Kitpu Youth Project at the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre says, “There’s a term for that, the adoption of style from a culture that isn’t your own: it’s appropriation.”

“There’s this big movement towards popularity of the appearance of ‘aboriginal-ness’ but it’s also a stereotypical image of aboriginal people. Say you’re wearing a headdress. Oh, well, what tribe does that come from? Where is the origin of that?” says Knockwood.

There are more than 600 bands or tribes across Canada, and patterns or motifs are often passed down for generations. Current stereotypes perpetuate the false idea that native culture and traditions are a thing of the past, since they don’t always wear their traditional garb.

Knockwood says nowadays, “Regalia is ceremonial wear. It’s meant to be an expression to the creator and the spirit.”

Debbie Eisan from the Halifax Aboriginal People’s Network has found that, “It starts as early as arts and crafts when 5 year-olds make paper headbands with the colourful feathers.”

Every colour, ribbon, and even the choice of hide have a traditional meaning among Aboriginal groups.

“From the Mohawk to the Mi’kmaq, every tribe has their own designs and clothing, and the way we wear that clothing, people will recognize us,” says Eisan.

COMMERCIALIZED OR WESTERNIZED?

Michelle Bernard, a psychology student at Dalhousie University grew up on-reserve in Indian Brook, N.S.

Though understanding of where people are coming from, she remains on the fence, “I say it’s wrong, but I’d like to dress up as Pocahontas for Halloween too. I’m still very conflicted about it. It’s such a form of capitalism, and someone’s making money off it. It’s not authentic and it’s getting money into the wrong people’s hands.”

According to Bernard, cultural appropriation has actually fed into the tired archetype of the conquering white pioneer looking over his new land with a half-naked red-skinned girl nearby, “It’s perpetuating this trope that Indigenous women are supposed to be sexualized, so that was a big representation of trying to sexualize indigenous settings.”

According to Cameron, it’s not possible to keep the spiritual meaning of an article of clothing when you’re marketing it in North America, “It’s totally a contradiction. When you’re making something into a large trend and you’re commercializing it so that a lot of people like it, it’s going to lose its meaning.”

Sponsors pay bills for Dal sports

The Dal Tigers have partnered up with companies like Pepsi to offset some costs associated with varsity sports.

By Nicolas Haddad

Laura Brooks says ads don't faze her when she's out on the ice. (Nicolas Haddad photo)

No question about it: it’s expensive to be a varsity athlete. As always, there are financial costs and they can get pretty high when the time comes to buy a new pair of skates or a fresh pair of sneakers.

It also comes with an important time commitment. There are daily practices, afternoons spent in the gym, weekend road trips, and inevitably, injuries that come from repeatedly putting your body on the line.

At Dalhousie, the Tigers have partnered up with companies like Adidas, Pepsi, Metro, or The PhysioClinic to offset some of the costs associated with varsity sports.

But some Tigers athletes are unimpressed with their look this past year.

Laura Brooks just finished her first year playing defence for the Tigers women’s hockey team. Even off the clock as a varsity athlete, she says she always wears her team apparel, especially her Tigers winter jacket.  But it’s more about showing pride in her colours than keeping warm.

“I know a lot of girls [feel the same way]. I know it’s been the same jacket for a couple of years now though, so I think they want to switch it up and wear their own jackets now.”

According to Brooks, the novelty of their current uniform has long worn off.

“A lot of the first years and second years only wear it, I think the older girls are getting tired of them.”

You can find ads for the Tigers' sponsors all over the Dalplex. (Nicolas Haddad photo)

There’s also the issue of the Tigers Adidas training kits. They’re the same across the board for every sport.

“Adidas is so soccer. All the varsity teams have the same jackets, which is fine, but I mean it’s not very hockey. I know the guys’ team actually has a better tracksuit. It’s Adidas too actually, but it’s another material.”

Related audio

 

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Laura Brooks, defence for the Tigers, talking about what she thinks of her team’s uniform and sponsors.

Adidas made headlines two weeks ago when, just ahead of March Madness, they unveiled new basketball uniforms for six flagship programs in the United States, including Notre Dame, Baylor and UCLA. Complete with kneepads, short sleeves and zebra-striped shorts, they’re a world away from the conventional style of a college varsity uniform.

If the Tigers Adidas kits look a bit generic, well, that’s because they are.

Adidas, the Tigers’ supplier for about 10 years now, has a select model of a particular uniform that they’ll adapt to all the schools that order them. Angela Barrett-Jewers, Dalhousie’s Manager of Varsity Marketing and Communications, compared it to buying a car: if you had a Honda Civic you bought in 2009, and now you want the new one, you’ll see a few changes of course, but it will mostly be the same as everyone else’s.  According to her, the Tigers coaches have the final say for things like uniform changes, and the truth is, they’re far more likely to allocate their budget to hiring support staff, or travelling to tournaments.

Some of the ads directed at active students aren't so subtle. (Nicolas Haddad photo)

She says the times have changed from when she played varsity volleyball for the Tigers. “Everything that wasn’t my uniform, I paid for myself.”

Compare that with Brooks, who doesn’t pay for her uniform, and can ask her coach to pay for up to two name-brand hockey sticks a year, and one pair of skates over her 5 years playing varsity hockey.

It shows that athletic sponsorship has actually allowed for improvement in how Dalhousie’s varsity sportsmen and women go through their experience. Laura Brooks said she was so thankful for her team’s sponsors, she would probably prefer them over other brands.

According to Barrett-Jewers,“That’s the right answer. ‘Tiger pride’ can also mean reaching for a Pepsi instead of a Coke. In the end, these companies need to make money, and this kind of loyalty goes a long way.”