October 1998

How's My Driving?

Available In A Variety Of Fruity Flavors.

    So here we are again, teeming with excitement, all wound up on sugar smacks, fruity colas, and maybe even some unmentionable indecencies. You've come, no doubt, to witness those live acts of real daring I promised you. Patience. All things in time. Like death, like the seasons, like tax returns. Eventuality exists for a reason. You know, I thought this thing would die a quick death. I thought I could go back to playing Asteroids on my kick-ass 80's arcade package. With classics like Battle Zone, Tempest, Centipede, Frogger, and Q-Bert, you can't really blame me. But it seems my plans have backfired. Now I just sit in my secret, underground laboratory dreaming up my next unnatural disaster. My skin has turned a pale white and my eyes have become accustomed to the dark. Figures move around me like shadows, all mindless and shambling, leaving root beer popsicle wrappers in their wake. This thing is like a drug. It's turned into some form of cheap crack. You're all junkies.

    I've reached the outer walls. My madness has climaxed. There used to be some sense to all of this. Looking back through the months I've come to realize my mistakes. X's where there should have been O's, questions where there should have been answers, flying monkeys where there should have been just regular monkeys. So this is it then. The beginning of the end. So glad you showed up. I could use the company. Thanks for the year.



Part 1 . . . Controversy: The Truth Revealed (An Essay)
Part 2 . . . Banned From Your Screen: The Lost Manifestos
Part 3 . . . Pingu. Humanity's Last And Only Hope?
Part 4 . . . The Best Of 1-900-Idiot-Savant
Part 5 . . . I Think I'm Getting Dumber. I'm Not Sure
Part 6 . . . 1-900-Idiot-Savant
Part 7 . . . The Big Survey

Controversy: The Truth Revealed (An Essay).

    I've gotten a lot of shit about this manifesto. To be honest, this is the fourth draft. I had originally planned to present you with some out-takes from the 5 most controversial manifestos of the year. Even better, I let five friends give you their opinions as to why they were never put up. But even that, in the end, was too controversial. The problem with controversy is perception. The problem with perception is that everyone has their own. Thus, no matter what your intentions may have been, someone will always accuse you of being something that you're not. The historic truths of any art form dictate this. Strangely, the affects of such controversy become the primary force behind eventual acceptance. If art is left to stagnate then it begins to disappoint. Eventually the controversial aspects of an art form become accepted by enough people that everyone begins to examine why they don't like it. Some call that pressure. I call it inevitable. In the 1970's a little musical quartet called KISS played concerts that included fire breathing, the spitting of blood, and countless other oddities. Most people in this day and age view that with nostalgic attachments. It'll be the same with a handful of musical, literary, and fine artists in this day and age. In some cases it won't be because their art was all that earth shattering, in other cases it will be. In any event, it will be because they took the 'norm' and extended the public's acceptance of it. The 60's provided similar controversy in quite a different direction compared to the likes of KISS and Alice Cooper. Free love, guiltless sexual adventure, and social awareness was the order of the day. But even that got stale. Thus, you end up with a skinny little man biting the heads off of chickens in front of a live audience. No matter what the direction, the expansion of public acceptance has led to two fundamental changes. ONE: the ability to take ourselves at face value or view others with a little more understanding, and TWO: the examination of our morality structures versus the inherent creative element in our most primary selves. Everything that you know as 'the rules' was thought up by and imposed by one of your fellow humans. And, as time marches stalwartly into the future, others will come along that will shake the tree and change those rules again. It doesn't just apply to the arts. It applies to everything from politics to religion, from clothing styles to video games. In my case it applies to stupid stories about Lesbian Faeries, Midgets that ride inflatable green ponies, demons dressed in Burger King uniforms, and a female evangelical minister that moonlights as a dominatrix in New Orleans. I never said it was going to change anything, I just said it was controversial. I had you going there for a while though, didn't I.

    Some people will read what I've just written and will automatically attribute the decay of our society to such things. The only response I have to that is this: A) There's always been stupid people in this world B) there will always be stupid people in this world C) try as you might, there's really nothing you can do about the stupid people in this world. I rarely endeavor to be blunt, but there really is only one universal truth. Some people are just assholes. You know, some people are good at water sports. It's a hit and miss kind of thing really.

Banned From Your Screen: The Lost Manifestos.

    For your long months of loyal readership I've decided to play the ever dangerous 'audience interaction' game with you. Located below is a list of the manifestos that never made it to your screens for one reason or another. I'd like anyone interested to choose one (and 1 only) that they'd like to see included in an upcoming issue. You can do this by e-mail or simply signing the guest book. The winning manifesto will appear in three separate parts in the November, December, and January issues. They will be located following the 1-900-Idiot-Savant section. Your choices are as follows:

      Selection 1] The Lesbian Faerie Story.
      Selection 2] Morgan Fox and Her Midget All Stars.
      Selection 3] There Are No Saunas In Hell, Thus No Sweeds.
      Selection 4] Close Only Counts In Horseshoes, Hand Grenades, and Organized Religion.
      Selection 5] Todd & Matt Go To Las Vegas With Jenna Jamison (The Director's Cut)
      Selection 6] Sister Act 4: Mistress Beatrice.
      Selection 7] Curious George: The Missile Attack On Flight 800.
      Selection 8] White Power Gnome and Crack Mouse.
      Selection 9] Mr. Clean vs The Arm & Hammer Cow: Live From The MGM Grand.
      Selection 10] The Girl Who Stabbed Dave Porter In The Arm Pit With One Of The Steak Knives He Gave Her For Christmas. (The Muppet Audio Version Starring Sir Alec Guinness and Miss Piggy)
      Selection 11] Tucan Sam & Captain Crunch vs The Swiss Miss Chick & The Coppertone Girl.
      Selection 12] The US Government Testing Of Anthrax At Sweet Valley High: An Essay.
      Selection 13] The Lonely Planet Guide: 12 Things Not To Say To Turkish Prison Officials.
      Selection 14] Matt Good, The Lithium Years, 1979-1984. A Biography By Sven Donaldson.
      Selection 15] A Saturday Night In Hell: The Demonic Possession of 4 Catholic School Girls and How To Make Fake ID's.
      Selection 16] Farley Mowatt: Boring You To Death. 12 Of His Greatest Hits.
      Selection 17] I'm Sorry, My Fault. The Pressures Of Being Canadian.
      Selection 18] The Day Everyone Was Allowed To Shoot Anyone They Wanted But Missed.
      Selection 19] To Santa, A Wish List: Volatile Chemicals and Body Disposal Techniques For Beginners (Condensed-King James Version).
      Selection 20] Successfully Faking Illnesses. A Guide To Never Doing Anything Ever Again.
      Selection 21] Hostage Negotiation: Getting What You Want From The Cops.
      Selection 22] Titanic. Getting It On While You're Going Down. Notes On The Film.
      Selection 23] Cherry Jello and Primary Plastic Explosive Compounds. An Essay On Taking Sadism Too Far (A Nihilists Perspective) Volume 1.

    So there you have it my little democrats. Exercise your rights before it's too late. God knows, tomorrow we could all be ruled by a race of tyrannical alien overlords that use mind controlling laser beams to make us do their bidding. It's no joke. It could happen.

Pingu. Humanity's Last And Only Hope?

    If you listen closely after the first chorus of 'Look Happy, It's The End Of The World', you'll notice I say 'Whiz Bang'. After watching countless episodes of Pingu, this is the only phonetically discernible thing I have ever been able to make out. Unfortunately, I was also on Nyquil at the time, so who knows...

      Know then that Pingu is a penguin. A little fuzzy penguin that has the most incredible adventures with his family. Sometimes they go ice skating. Sometimes they go to the fair and get balloons. Sometimes Pingu is unhappy and he cries. I don't like it when little Pingu is sad. It puts me in one of those moods that only International Coffees can get you out of. My favorite thing about Pingu is that there's no talking. There's no coherent dialogue whatsoever. I say we exchange an episode of Pingu for that universal sign of friendship we sent into space. I have a funny feeling that it might just work to our advantage.

    I think if some alien race saw Pingu they'd probably love us. They might even get sad when Pingu starts to cry (which he almost always does in every episode, poor little guy). Maybe then we could open a channel of communications with them based on something more than mathematics or technology. We could talk about Pingu, the lovable little Penguin, and we could make them some International Coffee. Now wouldn't that be something.

The Best Of 1-900-Idiot Savant.

    Here, in order of popularity, are the most frequently asked questions and the answers that go along with them.

    #2. What does Dave put in his hair to make it stand up like that?

      Answer: Molding Mud by Sebastien Collectives.

    #3. What is the cover of Underdogs supposed to mean?

      Answer: I'm not sure, but cutting their heads of for the photo shoot was a rather messy business.

    #4. Which member of the band writes the songs?

      Answer: Actually, we use a super computer called The Rock-Tron 5000.

    #5. Will you guys come to my house and play?

      Answer: No.

    #6. Why can't I find Lo-Fi B-Sides anywhere?

      Answer: Because it was a lowly marketing ploy.

    #7. Do you take drugs before you write the manifesto?

      Answer: Does Tylenol Cold and Flu count?

    #8. Do you guys still live in Vancouver?

      Answer: No. We live on the moon in a futuristic bubble dome, not unlike the one in Moonraker.

    #9. Can I have your Atari shirt?

      Answer: No.

    #10. Does the old man in the Apparitions video kill himself, or does the girl kill him?

      Answer: He kills himself in front of the girl, after the cocktails.

    The #1 Asked Question Of All Time?

    How did you guys get together as a band?

    Answer: It's a very long and sordid tale, so I hope you've got some time. It all began back in the early spring of 1994. The band I was in at the time had recently broken up and I felt that I was long overdue for a vacation. So I decided to go down to my travel agent and look through some brochures. After procrastinating for about an hour I decided that a cruise would be the best way to clear my head. So I booked passage on a ship out of San Diego and left Vancouver the next day by plane to meet it.

    I spent the night in Los Angeles with a friend who drove me down to San Diego the next day. I arrived at the dock at about two thirty, an hour before the scheduled departure. It was a rather large ship that looked much like most of those big, white cruise ships you see leaving Canada Place in Vancouver for Alaska. I decided to get my bags to my room and then retired to the bar for a drink. I had a Jack Daniels on the rocks and a coke. The first night was pretty uneventful for me, despite all the fanfare of the ship leaving. So I went back to my quarters and went to bed.

    The next three days were pretty relaxed. I spend most of my time either reading, playing video games in the arcade, or swimming in the pool. I met a group of people from Iowa City and hung out with them for a while. Mark, Lisa, and Elizabeth were their names, I think. But besides a casual dinner with them I didn't really spend much time with any of the other passengers. I was there to relax and plan my big assault on the rock and roll world. It started raining on the third night. Nothing serious, but enough to throw me around in bed a couple of times. I really didn't consider any negative possibilities though. Ships didn't sink in this day and age as far as I was concerned.

    And, of course, it didn't. I woke up the next morning, pulled on some shorts and a shirt, and stumbled up to have some breakfast. It was there that I met Rodney Anambu and the rest of his ska band. Rodney and the lads were on their way to Panama City to do a month of dates in a club frequented mostly by American sailors and a variety of others. They'd never been outside of the U.K. before and had just finished a month of dates throughout southern California. The owner of the Panamanian club was too cheap to fly them down with all their gear, so he got them third class tickets on the ship (through a friend who worked for the ship line) and put all their gear in a giant metal container. So Rodney and I hung out that afternoon, which consisted mostly of him smoking spliff on deck while I was on the look out for ship's personnel. He was a lot older than me, maybe in his late fourties. His wife, Jessie, was my age though. She was a riot too. We had dinner that night and spent the better part of the early morning playing acoustic guitars in one of the lounges with some guys from the ship's band. It was near the end of our little celebration that I began to notice the ship listing drastically.

    The lounge we were in was located in the center of the ship, so there weren't any windows. I decided to leave and go check out the weather for myself when a purser came into the lounge and picked up a phone. He was soaking wet, head to toe. My suspicions confirmed, I went over to the bar and tried to listen in to the purser's conversation. Unfortunately he seemed to be on hold. He just gave me a forced smile and turned his back. It was then that I knew something was going on. I casually said goodnight to Rodney and the gang and went quickly back to my cabin. I spent the remainder of the night watching the sea through the window, trying to figure out what kind of storm we'd run into. I knew that a tropical storm was most likely, but a cyclone wasn't out of the question. The hours dragged on, and I eventually fell asleep as daylight broke.

    I awoke to a violently listing ship and a sky that was low and completely black. The wind whipped against my window so drastically that I couldn't get it further than half open. I put on some clothes, a jacket, and my hat and went upstairs into the restaurant. It was filled with panicking people. It was there that I first met Ian. He recognized me from our days a Centennial and came over to shoot the shit. We talked for about twenty minutes, going over the possibilities. And then it all went wrong.

    I'm not going to bother going through the details of that morning. There was a lot of things that could have been done differently and a lot of things that were done perfectly. The ship was hit, straight on, by a wall of water that was later estimated as being six or seven stories in height. It threw the bow of the ship up so fast that it forced the vessel out of the water to mid ship before cresting and literally leaving the boat suspended in mid air. It felt to me as if the ship just slammed straight into that water from a great height, like being dropped from a crane. In a little over ten minutes it began to dawn on most people that the fall had broken the ship in two. The lower decks didn't even have time to fill with water. The hull just split, sending both ends of the ship in opposite directions. The stern of the ship sank quickly, maybe twelve or thirteen minutes after the ship was ripped apart. The bow held out for at least eight times as long, slowly listing to stern and filling up. They attributed this lengthened ascent to air pockets in the cargo decks that kept the bow of the ship above water. But by then it was almost vertical. I watched the bow slip under some time after two thirty. But my mind wasn't exactly processing the magnitude of what had just happened. It was far more concerned with keeping life boat #4 from flipping over. How that life boat survived the remainder of the day I'll never know, but by nightfall we had passed through the western edge of the storm and were greeted by a star filled Pacific sky.

    There were four people in our boat all toll, two of whom suffered from severe head injuries. The other person was an elderly man named Bob Grant who was from San Antonio Texas. We drifted most of that night, spending the entire time trying to get a flooded outboard started. We later learned that the gas tank was empty. We also shot off all ten of our flares. By morning both of the injured people were dead, leaving me and Bob with the task of performing some haphazard burial ceremony and tossing them over the side. It was a grizzly business, but at the time I didn't give it a second thought. Bob was a religious man and was adamant about doing that whole 'valley of death speech'. I just sat there smiling to myself, thinking a valley would be a great place to be right about then. Death Valley or any other valley for that matter.

    Old Bob was a fighter. He must have been somewhere between seventy and eighty, but he acted as though he was fourty. He'd fought in the WW 2 and Korea. He was a marine. And, according to Bob, marines didn't die this way. They went out standing up. So I told him that if he was going to go, I'd hold him up for it. He laughed and patted me on the back. 'All right, kid' he said, 'all right'. And that's the way it went. For almost nine days. There were emergency rations in the life boat, but only enough for two days between the two of us. By the seventh day Bob was suffering from dehydration and malnutrition. By the ninth day I held him up.

    So there I was, drifting in the Pacific. The bullshit part about the whole thing was that the weather was excellent. A couple of rums, a coconut, and a hula girl and I would have been in heaven. Instead I was beginning to confront myself with my own death. I was out of water and food. I had no idea where I was, or which direction I was heading. If it was west then I was dead for sure. If it was east there was a chance. So I decided to sit back and tried not to think about it. It was then that the lyrics and melody for Vermilion came to me. And you thought I was just making it all up. Silly you.

    I don't remember washing up on the beach whatsoever. I don't remember being taken out of the boat either. But I do remember hearing Geoff's voice for the first time. I distinctly recall him saying 'hey Ian, I think he's dead. Maybe we should take his shoes. I like 'em.' Of course he was just kidding. I was regaining consciousness and he knew it. Ian just started laughing. I must admit that, since then, I have awoken to see Geoff Lloyd's face looking at me from across a hotel room or bus lounge. But he's never looked as angelic as he did that day. He was hovering over me, smiling. And he started to laugh when I began to slowly sit up. And that's how it happened. No word of a lie. I was in a tropical clearing, just inland from a beach, with all three of them. And that, my friends, is how we met.

    But that's not the end of the story. Not by a long shot. All three of them had been in life boat #16, which they had 'driven' to the island using the outboard motor. They had no idea that the island was there, but Dave had remembered seeing some movie about Christopher Columbus and remembered how they had spotted a bird and followed it to land. It seems that they did the same. So there we were. All four of us from Vancouver. I know it sounds unbelievable, I myself couldn't believe it at first, but it's the truth. We were all quite taken with ourselves for surviving. As far as we were concerned we were immortal. That is until Ian ran into some natives. After that our lives got a whole lot worse.

    I remember thinking that I wished I had died on the ship. After we'd spent a couple of days tied to bamboo poles we were just about ready to kill ourselves. We refused to believe that we'd been captured by head hunters. I was half expecting the cast of Gilligan's Island to come walking out of the bushes at any moment. But that's what they were. If it wasn't for Rodney's big metal container washing up on shore we would have probably been killed. But, luckily, we became very useful to the natives after that. And this is where the story gets really weird. We were able to convince the natives that we could open the container. We also lied a little (if you can technically lie using hand signals) and said that we knew what was inside. I had no idea at the time that the container was filled with musical gear, but I was confident that we could put on a good show no matter what was in there. I remembering getting really excited at the possibility of fire arms. Instead I got a guitar. God knows where we'd be now if there had been Mandarin Oranges in that thing.

    So we cracked the container open and were confronted with a ton of gear. Everything from drums and a full PA. So we started unloading the stuff onto the beach. What probably saved our lives was the acoustic guitar Dave found. He immediately started playing it and the natives completely freaked out. From that moment on, we were gods. As luck would have it these natives had never heard music before. They used singing and chanting in ceremonies but they'd never heard an instrument produce sound. So we started to put some stuff together. Ian got the drums out, Geoff and I pulled out some conga drums and we had a little free-jazz exploration (if you will). I even haphazardly played a little trombone. But without electricity we knew we'd never be able to play any of the other instruments. The problem with that line of thinking was that we thought we'd be on the island for a matter of weeks at most. Had we known we'd be there for almost a year we would have gotten to rigging something up a lot sooner.

    Let me say now that Geoff Lloyd is a jack-of-all-trades. Not only is he a bass player but he's also an accomplished carpenter. Electronics aren't Geoff's strong suit, but he knew more than the rest of us put together, so I use the term 'strong-suit' lightly. After a couple of weeks fending off the natives by playing acoustically, Geoff decided to haul the outboard from the boat and started messing around with the engine. After a couple of weeks he came to the three of us and told us that he'd managed to rig something up that would allow us to power the bass amp and one guitar amp enough to produce a signal. Now, it wasn't really enough juice to supply us with kick-ass distortion, but it did send enough of a signal that if you cranked the amps to 10 you could kind of hear what was going on. So we started working up some songs with the acoustic and the drums and then we'd crank the outboard and quickly jam the song with the full band. We couldn't run the thing for very long because there wasn't a lot of gas left, but it provided us with enough power to thoroughly impress the natives beyond belief. After our first 'power session' there was no way they were going to kill us and eat us. To be quite honest, we probably could have taken three wives each and ruled that tribe until our dying days. But all that changed on March 17th, 1995.

    It was a U.S. Seahawk helicopter that spotted us jamming on the beach. From time to time we'd move the gear down there for a change of scenery. On this particular day our mood just happened to pay off. We started signaling and the pilot put the thing down no more that twenty feet from us. And that was it. We didn't grab anything, we didn't go back to the village for possessions. We went straight to that helicopter, got in, and left that island forever. You know, to this day I'm not even sure what it's called.

    So there you have it. The truth at last. We were flown back to the mainland on an A-WAX from an aircraft carrier and we went home. To this day we rarely bring it up. We don't really like to talk about it. I still have nightmares of that night in the lifeboat, about Bob, about Rodney, about being tied up in that village. But you have to weigh the bad with the good. If all that hadn't have happened we would have never met. There would be no band and I wouldn't be telling you this story. But that's how it went down. God's honest truth.

Your Questions, My Answers. Dial 1-900-Idiot-Savant.

    DISCLAIMER: If you're reading this and you're one of those up tight people who have taken it upon themselves to dictate what I should think or what I should say, could you please do me a huge favor. Stop doing it. Printing out your pointless rants wastes paper. And I hate to sit here and think that some tree lost it's life so you could ramble on about three quarters of fuck all.

    1] Stef in Cambridge, your answers are as follows:

      a) it's okay
      b) I don't do it myself
      c) the way the package says to do it
      d) no
      e) probably not

    2] Chrisy and Elise. Check the lyrics. It's 'we are better butterflies'.

    3] Alex Massie. That's a good one.

    4] Kim. Your answers:

      a) no
      b) no
      c) no

    5] Diane Gagnon. Give your head a shake.

    6] Noah. Alf sucks. I don't drink. Maybe you should cut down and Alf won't seem so funny anymore.

    7] Carlen. I like looking like a red neck trucker.

    8] John Dinsdale. No Johnny boy, I had a Plymouth Sapporo that couldn't go faster than 60. But even if I did I probably wouldn't have done burn outs. I would have done burn ins.

    9] Kelly and Erin. Most likely, yes.

    10] Cindy. I do yoga.

    11] Samantha. Hello.

    12] Pachinco is a game where you fling little metal balls into a weird nail filled glass thingy and it's supposed to go down certain slots that are worth points and you win more little metal balls Marianne.

    13] Megan. Your answers are:

      a) Talk Talk
      b) yes
      c) the Budweiser Girls
      d) if you want to pay for the airfare, maybe.
      e) no, sorry, I don't.
      f) it's like the saying goes. If we do it for you then everyone's gonna want it done for them.

    14] Shosh and Steph. My answer is Jennifer Connelly and Julie Delphie.

    15] Kirstyn Brown. Night's always the best time. That's when the demons come.

    16] Cassie. Nope. Fated will probably not be on our next record.

    17] Annemarie. This is your note.

    18] Lacey. Of course you can be in Waterworld 2.

The Big Survey.

    The results of a recent poll taken in Vancouver.

    Matt Good is a:

      Genius 1%
      Retard 99%

    Matt should get a job at:

      The United Nations 7%
      Burger King 93%

    Matt should have been a:

      Dictator 97%
      Exotic Male Dancer 3%

    Matt should write more:

      Happy Songs 2%
      Songs about talking monkeys 98%

    Matt should learn to:

      Throw his voice and use puppets on stage 100%
      Love his fellow human beings and end world hunger 0%

    If Matt were an animal he would be:

      A Monkey 1%
      Extinct 99%

    Note: Some of these results were tampered with by Matt Good. Specifically numbers 4 and 5.