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Monthly Archives: October 2010
Like most teenagers, I was drawn to music, like a pig to… mud. Growing up in Toronto, that meant listening to 1050 CHUM and I can still recall the jingle. The radio station was synonymous with top 40 when top 40 described a variety of music that would span from Frank Sinatra to Deep Purple and everything in between. Now that was a musical education.
To keep track of all our favourite music, it became a ritual to race down to our neighbourhood music store to grab a copy of our very own CHUM Chart, which published for 1,512 consecutive weeks, from 1957 straight through to 1986. From it’s debut until 1975, the chart was printed in a brochure format and became instant collectors items. I still have a few hundred of my own, well worn, little nostalgic gems. In 1975 the individual collectors brochures were discontinued and the chart was instead published in the Entertainment Section of the Toronto Star, until 1986.
The CHUM Chart was the longest-running Top 40 chart in the world produced by an individual radio station, beginning it’s run with its first #1 single by Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up”, and bowing out with it’s final #1 by Madonna’s “Live to Tell”.
My interest in popular music has waned with changing styles, but I’ve been fortunate to be reacquainted at different times by other music lovers. My youngest brother turned me on to much of the “New Wave” bands, both domestic and imports of the 1980′s, and now my children have picked up the baton.
From the time they began listening to music, of all types, I’ve quizzed them on the composers, artists and titles of what they were listening to and regaled them with trivial anecdotes. I guess you could say I was there very own personal CHUM Charts. I like to think that I’ve had a meaningful impact on their wide ranging musical tastes and now I’m reaping the harvest. Last year I attended a Cold Play www.coldplay.com/ concert with my son, where we were also blessed with Elbow www.elbow.co.uk/, an opening act from Scotland, to rival the star attraction. And the beat goes on, when a few days ago, my youngest daughter introduced me to Temper Trap www.thetempertrap.com/, a wonderful band from Melbourne, Australia.
Long live the Imperative to Create art.
Pretty well everything I do is in some way informed by a sincere concern for my impact, be it short or long term, on our tiny, little, blue planet. That’s a huge concern and even hugerer subject to tackle in a short blog post. So I’ll spare you the blow by blow stories of my childhood indoctrination, and skip straight to the shocking truth behind our dependence on disposable batteries.
Basically, every little bit we do counts, on both sides of the ledger, and that’s why I think we can’t ignore the down side of all those convenient toys we like to click and point. In plain language, those tiny little power sources we depend so much on, add up to one big mess. There are two major types of consumer batteries: Lead-Acid and Dry-Cells. In North America, approximately 90% of all Lead-Acid batteries are recycled, which is a good thing, because along with the solid waste, each car battery contains about four litres of Sulphuric Acid.
On the other hand, although, Dry-Cell batteries have undergone a complete redesign over the past twenty years, that by 2011 will have completely eliminated mercury from all but the button cells used in watches and hearing aids, there are very few recycling facilities. In Canada an average of ten disposable batteries per person, per year, are discarded either directly in to the garbage, or to a recycling program, which may or may not be redirected to the traditional landfill anyway.
Enter the rechargeable battery. Although introduced over twenty years ago, these batteries have not been as popular as they should have, due to two primary complaints: shelf life and the memory they develop that over a very short period of time, renders them all but useless. Fortunately, there have been some impressive improvements in both those drawbacks.
I recently read an article by Steve Maxwell, in the Toronto Star, in which he praised the Sanyo Eneloop http://ca.sanyo.com/eneloop/. That got me wondering, so I did a quick Google search and discovered PowerEx by IMEDION http://www.mahaenergy.com/store/Index.asp , which declares equal if not better performance. Both of these manufacturers, claim that their batteries retain 85% of their charge after one year in storage, and have recently introduced high capacity 2500 mAh versions for heavy power consumers such as digital cameras and flashes. I’ve reviewed forum posts elsewhere and the feedback seems to confirm the claims. When you consider that each of these batteries has the potential to replace 1000 Alkaline batteries it would be irresponsible of us not to give them a try. For more information about our collective battery use, visit these two very informative sites: http://search.dal.ca/search?q=Eco-Efficiency+and+Battery+Management&btnG=Search+dal.ca&entqr=0&output=xml_no_dtd&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&client=1_frontend&submit=&ud=1&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&proxystylesheet=1_frontend&site=default_collection AND http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/batteries.php
Having grown up on a steady diet of New York City crime shows, it would be easy to fall for the stereotypical image of a city to be feared and avoided. However, even my own home town of Toronto, has its share of sensational news stories and the truth is that the actual events are few and far between. We all cry and laugh regardless of where we happen to hang our hats. Seeing past the headlines to the faces of our neighbours may at times, not be easy, but the effort can pay off in unexpected ways.
I was recently invited to New York City by Birad Rajaram Yajnik, to photograph a presentation, at the United Nations, of his Limited Edition book MKG published by Visual Quest Books. The book is dedicated to the early life of Mahatma Ghandi, and was presented to commemorate International Day of Non-Violence.
On my down time, I took the opportunity of this visit to wander New York’s mythical streets and acquaint myself with many of the place names I’d only ever seen on TV and movies, or read of in books. I knew it would be overwhelming, and I won’t be the last to say that a few days in the Big Apple doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface of such an icon. The smile on my face could be likened to a little kid in a candy store. No fear here, just shear enjoyment and an aching to return very soon.
Julian Treasure says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health — even costing lives. He lays out an 8-step plan to soften this sonic assault (starting with those cheap earbuds) and restore our relationship with sound.