• Die toten Hosen - Zurück zum Glück (2004)

    Die toten Hosen are Germany's most popular and commercially successful punk rock band. The quintet from Dusseldorf was formed back in 1982 and achieved critical acclaim with its inspired fifth studio album Ein kleines bisschen Horrorschau that went all the way to the third position in the German album charts. The band has never slowed down since then and its last six studio albums have all peaked in the German album charts. The quintet combines a few light-hearted party anthems with socially, politically and culturally inspired songs on the pulse of time. This is why the band's music has been playing at parties throughout different generations for about three decades now but is also being appreciated by more intellectual, philosphical and even religious audiences. It isn't unusual to see entire families attend the band's popular concerts from the rebellious teenager to the wise grand-father.

    Zurück zum Glück is the first album I have owned of this band. My father unexpectedly brought it home for me when I was fifteen years old. Even though I started to appreciate other types of music back then, I have listened to this album by my musical childhood heroes on numerous occasions and am still occasionally listening to this record nowadays as it has aged very well. Zurück zum Glück is actually a play on words. It could mean ''back to happiness'' but also ''fortunately back''. The former is a reference to overcoming contemporary challenges to prepare for a brighter future as expressed in the actual title song. The latter is a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that the punk rock veterans aren't slowing down and always coming back for more.

    This album really exemplifies everything this band stands for. The record features intellectually challenging lyrics underlined by punchy punk rock stylistics as witnessed in the strong title track ''Zurück zum Glück''. The band also flirts with heavier sounds as powerful opener ''Kopf oder Zahl'' that talks about the band's return in style might qualify as alternative metal track. The band also offers a few genuine surprises such as the nervous orchestral track ''Die Behauptung'' that deals with inflammatory statements and its consequences which is even more valid in times of social media madness nowadays than it was one and a half decades ago. ''Herz brennt'' on the other side is rather stripped-down and focuses on melancholic guitar melodies anf melodramatic vocals singing about the difficult decline of a romantic relationship. ''Freunde'' is a beautiful ode to friendship being the one element that doesn't change in a world that is evolving faster than ever before. The band also offers a few light-hearted tunes such as ''Walkampf'' which is a play on words that could mean ''election campaign'' or ''whale struggle''. When everyone expected the band to write a song about political propaganda, the quintet actually delivered a humorous tune about a man trying to push a whale back into the ocean in a nightmare.

    Zurück zum Glück is a record that was on its pulse of time fifteen years ago and that has aged so well that it's even more relevant today than it was back then. Environment, politics and societies might have changed negatively but values such as friendship are things we can always hold on to. Travel back fifteen years in time and realize that some things haven't changed as much as one would believe in a globalized world. This album is an excellent introduction to the punk rock veterans and might be one of the band's most underrated albums.

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  • Something I thought might never happen has finally happened: Don Cherry has finally been fired from Sportsnet and his show Coach's Corner after criticizing visible minorities in and around Toronto for not wearing remembrance poppies to honour fallen soldiers.

    That isn't the first time Don Cherry made derogatory remarks on his iconic show. He called the players of the Carolina Hurricanes ''a bunch of jerks'' for their post-game home victory celebrations last season. He called Sidney Crosby a ''hot dog'' for sliding on his knees after scoring. Don Cherry declared that only ''Europeans and French'' Canadians wear visors because they are softer than tough anglophone Canadian players. He called Winnipeg Jets assistant coach Alpo Suhonen ''some kind of dog food''. The list goes on and on but Sportsnet and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have always protected Don Cherry. This time however, the eighty-five year old Kingstonian has gone too far.

    The terrible thing is that public opinion supports Don Cherry. Many people defend him strongly and call those who criticize him ''snowflakes'', ''losers'' and ''communists'' on social media. These people claim that Don Cherry's freedom of speech has been disrespected by firing him.

    We have to understand that our freedom stops where the freedom of other individuals starts. Everybody is entitled to have his or her personal opinions. If our personal opinion however harms other individuals, we have crossed a line that shouldn't be crossed. Suggesting that Canadians of all backgrounds should support fallen soldiers on Remembrance Day is perfectly fine. Pointing out visible minorities by generalizing them and associating them to disrespectful behaviour however isn't acceptable. The way Don Cherry articulates himself is hurtful, harmful and disrespectful. That is unacceptable for a public figure in the twenty-first century.

    Don Cherry should have never even gotten a chance to deliver such negative speeches on public television in the first place. His derogatory remarks are stuck in a hostile mindset of the fifties of the last century when Don Cherry was a teenager. Sportsnet and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation need a younger and more dynamic, intellectual and respectful analyst who understands that modern hockey simply isn't about being physically tough anymore. This person might be less charismatic but that isn't necessarily a negative thing. Being considered an iconic national treasure as some people call him for all the wrong reasons related to closed-minded, controversial and hostile comments isn't anything praiseworthy at all.

    That being said, a sports show should always be about sports and not about political opinions, military propaganda and cultural assimilation.

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  • Gisaengchung / Parasite (2019)

    Parasite is the best movie of the year. This Korean movie won the renowned Palme d'Or of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It has been selected as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film at the ninety-second Academy Awards.

    This movie combines multiple genres such as comedy, drama, horror, thriller and tragedy. The main theme is the clash between rich and poor in the Republic of Korea. This conflict has been the main topic in other great films such as The Housemaid and The Taste of Money. Parasite however is less cumbersome, melodramatic and moralizing and convinces with wit, depth and creativity instead.

    International audiences might feel slightly confused by this unusual genre mixture at first contact but this is exactly what makes this movie so unique. The story starts in a dramatic way and portrays a poor family who lives in a small semi-basement apartment and struggles to make ends meet. The movie gets more comedic when the son of said family gets the unexpected opportunity to replace a friend as English tutor for the beautiful daughter of a wealthy family. The film turns into a thriller when the four family members gradually infiltrate and even replace the personnel of the wealthy family with ethically questionable procedures. The movie turns into a horror film when the family realizes that the family mansion hides a creepy secret as things gradually spin out of control. The film ends as an almost surreal tragedy that will leave the audience speechless. Parasite is a movie the leaves a lasting impression, offers much food for thought and should animate philosophical discussions. The movie is so detailed, precise and profound that it deserves to be purchased to be watched time and again.

    I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to watch this movie in French in a Canadian cinema and so were the numerous other members of the audience in the packed movie theatre. People are craving for a change and are tired of tame, predictable and repetitive Hollywood superhero prequels, remakes and sequels. There should be more creative, dynamic and entertaining international movies like Parasite in movie theatres all around the world. If you desire to make a statement in favour of cinema as an artistic expression rather than shallow entertainment, do yourself a favour and enjoy this incredible movie on the big screen. This movie has the potential to become a cult classic and deserves all the praise it gets.

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  • Gisaengchung / Parasite (2019)

    Parasite is the best movie of the year. This Korean movie won the renowned Palme d'Or of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. It has been selected as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film at the ninety-second Academy Awards.

    This movie combines multiple genres such as comedy, drama, horror, thriller and tragedy. The main theme is the clash between rich and poor in the Republic of Korea. This conflict has been the main topic in other great films such as The Housemaid and The Taste of Money. Parasite however is less cumbersome, melodramatic and moralizing and convinces with wit, depth and creativity instead.

    International audiences might feel slightly confused by this unusual genre mixture at first contact but this is exactly what makes this movie so unique. The story starts in a dramatic way and portrays a poor family who lives in a small semi-basement apartment and struggles to make ends meet. The movie gets more comedic when the son of said family gets the unexpected opportunity to replace a friend as English tutor for the beautiful daughter of a wealthy family. The film turns into a thriller when the four family members gradually infiltrate and even replace the personnel of the wealthy family with ethically questionable procedures. The movie turns into a horror film when the family realizes that the family mansion hides a creepy secret as things gradually spin out of control. The film ends as an almost surreal tragedy that will leave the audience speechless. Parasite is a movie the leaves a lasting impression, offers much food for thought and should animate philosophical discussions. The movie is so detailed, precise and profound that it deserves to be purchased to be watched time and again.

    I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to watch this movie in French in a Canadian cinema and so were the numerous other members of the audience in the packed movie theatre. People are craving for a change and are tired of tame, predictable and repetitive Hollywood superhero prequels, remakes and sequels. There should be more creative, dynamic and entertaining international movies like Parasite in movie theatres all around the world. If you desire to make a statement in favour of cinema as an artistic expression rather than shallow entertainment, do yourself a favour and enjoy this incredible movie on the big screen. This movie has the potential to become a cult classic and deserves all the praise it gets.

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  • Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

    Dream Theater live at National Arts Centre in Ottawa on November 10th 2019

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