Search This Blog

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ain't no cure

Rush released a rather little-known cover album in 2004 titled "Feedback." It features songs from many of the band's influences, including the Who, the Yardbirds, and Buffalo Springfield, among others. One, by Eddie Cochran, and later covered by the Who, is "Summertime Blues."

I first came across this tune on Rush's 30th anniversary dvd "R30." I think, being this the last blog of the year, that "Summertime Blues," is a fitting tune even though it's only April. It begins with that classic opening and turns into that raucous, jovial riff, with awesome instrumentation by Rush. The trio comes together to build a great cover, and probably the best of their covers.

This tune completely embodies what I'm going to be feeling this summer (minus the getting a date part). It's all about having to work all summer, but really wanting to just enjoy yourself. I'm definitely thinking this is how I'll be feeling by mid-June. Given that I actually find a damn job. Then I'll be having the blues for the opposite reason. Either way, blues are forecast, but why not enjoy them along with Canada's best?

Whatever your mood this summer, take this tune with you, roll the windows down, crank it up, and piss off the old couple stopped next to you at a red. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beethoven Blech

Armin Wiebe's Mennonite humour play, "The Moonlight Sonata of Beethoven Blatz," was anything but humourous. I found the dialogue annoying before long and the characters began to wear on me. I get that Wiebe was trying to be authentic in his writing, but all of the Yoda- speak had me bothered and bored before long, to the point where I was tuning out.

I'm assuming this play was supposed to be a comedy, but I literally did not crack a smile once. During the out-of-place sex scene I raised my eyebrows for a moment, but other than that, I felt like Wiebe was simply trying too hard. It was not a play for non-Mennonites, and not a play for Mennonites, but seemingly a play that over-exaggerated its Mennonite nature to the point where it felt gimmicky.

The story was also fairly cliche, with a few twists, but nothing jarring or worth paying attention to. It was all a big misunderstanding, but I didn't find myself really into the story at all or caring about the outcome and what it meant to each character. It was predictable and trite.

As for what to say about the talk-back after show, or Armin Wiebe's seminar that was delivered, there really isn't much. Wiebe seemed nigh-reluctant to talk to the audience after the show, which was mainly CreComms, and I'm not certain if he was doing that just for CreComms or after every show, but he didn't seem to particularly enjoy it or understand many of the questions. I suppose if better questions were asked, he'd have spoken better.

Wiebe didn't seem to have thought much about the process by which his play was created. He seemed to be taken aback by almost every question that was asked, both at the talk-back and during the seminar. The talk-back was an enormous waste of time, and the seminar was almost as awkward with much reiterated from two nights prior. Wiebe seemed ill-prepared and unready to answer questions despite apparently going through a few interviews.

All in all, the play was too long, and though well-acted, it was annoying, predictable, and lame. Each actor was simply too good at playing a crappy character, so while I could appreciate the acting, I hated the characters.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday night's alright for...

"Rush in Rio!" What do you do on a Saturday night when you've been ditched early and are bored enough to attempt to teach your dog English? I, for one, highly recommend Rush's DVD concert, "Rush in Rio." It features the band playing for 60 thousand screaming fans in, you guessed it, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2003.

I believe it was Rush's first time playing in Brazil, and the concert spans their career, featuring songs from many albums to that time. This concert comes out of Rush's "Vapor Trails," tour, after having called it quits five years earlier when Neil Peart quit after having lost his daughter in a car accident and his wife to cancer, all within a year. The band called it quits, and Peart did not so much as touch a stick for two years. But, he came back, the band recorded one of their best, and darkest albums ever, and the "Vapor Trails," tour kicked off in the States.

This concert was my very, very first Rush experience. It was during a drum lesson that my instructor, upon hearing I had never seen Neil Peart drum, decided to show me "YYZ," and a bit of "O Baterista," Peart's solo, from the concert. That has started a what-will-be lifelong love affair with the band and its music. Imagine being a 12 year old kid who's super into learning how to drum, and being taught about all the great drummers, sitting there and, for the first time, being introduced to my lord and saviour, Neil Peart. What a motivator for a young kid.

So if you ever have the chance, check out "Rush in Rio," because the energy of the crowd and the prowess of the band form a beautiful synergy that is hard to match.

Check out the crowd in this one. There's something about 60 thousand people jumping in unison that is simply amazing and powerful. So many people brought together by music. Wow.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Homage is not enough

For my IPP, I plan on making a concept album, that is, writing 10 songs that tell a story, picking the best 4 over the plot arc, and turning them into an EP. The album is an homage to, you guessed it, Rush, but apparently it's vague and un-envisionable, to make up words.

I'm curious to know what people think. The idea for the story is that the Sun, being the giver of life essentially, has gotten a swelled head. It's mad with power and simply a tyrant, beating on the Moon and making life hell for its slaves, the White Dwarves (a small species of star that is weak in nature, but pleantiful). The Moon finally gets sick of "owing" the Sun (because the Sun gives the light to Moon, and in this case, Linkin Park, it is assuming that the Moon's "gonna owe it one") and decides to rally the White Dwarves and Comets and other heavenly bodies in order to permanently extinguish the Sun so that the heavenly bodies may be free.

My question is: What literary genre would you say this type of story belongs to? I'm simply curious, because apparently I haven't a fucking clue.

This album is an homage to Rush's "2112," a brilliant look at closed-mindedness and how it leads to tyranny. The song "2112," tells the story of a guy who finds a guitar in a forest, in a time when music has been banned and eradicated. It's essentially a "fight the powers that be," type of tale that I really enjoy and can sometimes relate to on different levels. Peart has won awards for writing it, because it is, simply put, brilliant. I know I've reviewed it before, but have a listen to "2112," and bask in its glory, read the lyrics, and even tell me what genre you think it fits under.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The montage tune

For my montage for TV class I have been waffling with ideas for the past week. I did some filming over the weekend and only ended up with 15 minutes of footage, thus making that idea a complete cock-up and not exactly viable anymore. So I was going to go with plan A (what I did this past weekend was actually my second choice), which is to film myself drumming along with "Beneath, Between, and Behind," from "Fly By Night."

I was originally going to simply drum to it and maybe film the opening guitar lick, but film all of it from different angles and sink them up with shots and stuff. Then it occurred to me today in class that it may become rather boring if I simply do a drumming video. It would soon look like I'm reusing footage and for those who don't enjoy drumming, it would simply become tedious to look at. So, Dean gave me this awesome idea to film myself putting together the kit, which gave me the idea to throw in both playing and assembly. I think it's a pretty neat idea now and already have shots planned and way better ideas than I had. Thanks a bunch, Dean. 

Not only is "Beneath, Between, and Behind," my favourite tune off that album, but it's also just a rockin' tune in general. It's old Rush and still has that 70s feel where you can still hear some of their influences coming through. It was the first Rush tune I could ever drum all the way through and has a really interesting drum pattern and overall feel, with a bunch of musical shots that should give me some interesting options for cuts and whatnot. Looking forward to it now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Influencing a generation

This post isn't really about a Rush tune, but it is about Neil Peart: one of the greatest rock drummers and overall drummers of all time. The Foo Fighters are coming out with a new album soon and there has been a single released called "Rope." The tune is absolutely unreal, and pretty heavy for the Foo Fighters. Grohl has brought some Them Crooked Vultures back with him and it's some really interesting stuff.

During the chorus of "Rope," I was sitting there bobbing my head along when I noticed a rather distinct ride pattern being played by Mr. Hawkins. I jumped back in the YouTube timeline and wouldn't you know it, but Hawkins' ride pattern was the exact same as Peart's in "Spirit of Radio." How friggin' awesome is that? I know that Taylor Hawkins is a big Rush fan, often being seen in Rush t-shirts and having played YYZ with Grohl, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson. "Rope," is a great tune, but now that this pattern just stands out in all its glory, the song is that much better. Have a listen:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Don't leave this one alone

Rush has been nominated for a few Grammys, two of them for instrumental tracks. This one is from 1993's "Counterparts." It was after Geddy's keyboard phase, when their new producer wanted to really bring the band back to its power trio roots. And that this album did. It's a great listen and deals with a lot of interesting subject matter like sexuality and love. "Leave That Thing Alone," is the aforementioned instrumental. It is absolutely sublime. The bass groove in it is great, the guitar playing is some of Lifeson's finest and Peart, as always, blows me away. Oh and that bass! Damn! So smooth and sexy. Check it out:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Found it

If by "thing," Rush, you meant groove, then you need not beg the question. If you meant unreal instrumental tune, you once again need not beg the question. From 1991's "Roll the Bones," (which I just bought, which might explain why I'm doing so many songs from that album) "Where's My Thing," is a Grammy-nominated instrumental that is just as timeless as all of the band's other instrumental tunes.

"Where's My Thing," is once again prog-rock at its absolute finest. It starts with this back-and-forth between guitar and bass that just sets up the energy of this phenomenal piece. Then Peart kicks in and this bass groove-driven tune kicks it in and takes off into this sweet, up-tempo rock with some style changes and time signature changes that are so characteristic of Rush. There's some funk, some jazz, some rock, literally something for everyone. There's the epic synth breakdown and it just consumes you as a music-lover. If you like instrumentals and just want something to listen to, that is, really listen to, check out "Where's My Thing." Also, the guitar part isn't really all that hard for a Rush tune, so one almost feels good about his or herself when figuring it out. To play a Rush song all the way through on any of the three instruments is a feat in and of itself.

This song is subtitled "Part IV: Gangster of Boats Trilogy." It's Pearts little bit of humour that he randomly injects into some of his tunes. He randomly has different "parts," which make some songs seem like bits of a series, but they're often out of order and whatnot. I believe the "Fear" series has only parts I, II, and IV written. Kind of random, but it gives fans even more to look at and find interest in with respect to the greatest band on Earth. There. I may not have said it before, but I have now. I was trying to be somewhat objective, but to hell with it. Rush is the greatest.

Monday, February 21, 2011

We're only immortal for a limited time

From what critics called (probably before "Vapor Trails came out) Rush's darkest album, "Dreamline," is a tough tune to understand. 1991's "Roll the Bones," dealt a lot with the idea of death and the afterlife and what life really meant. I assume Peart was somewhat in the tone of the early 90s grunge movement perhaps. However, his fascinations and ponderings far surpass those of any Kurt Cobain or Chris Cornell.

"Dreamline," deals with the unknown path of one's life and how we are but wandering the face of the earth "learning that we're only immortal for a limited time." For the early 90s, and for all time, this tune is absolutely profound in Peart's lyrics. Standing alone, once again, "Dreamline" is absolute poetry. The words "we're only at home, when we're on the run," are somewhat haunting in that they stir up questions of where "home" really is. Check out the lyrics, because they're brilliant and at times hard to decipher.

Given also that many of the lyrics are about traversing space, one could postulate that Peart means "home" in the biblical sense as in heaven. Now that I think about it, however, I kind of doubt it, because he does not fancy himself a religious man. So perhaps it is a tongue-in-cheek lash at religion? Who knows? If anyone feels like looking at the lyrics and discussing, read 'em up and post comments, I'd be interested to find out what people think.

It could also be about growing up and how our dreams are huge and we want to conquer the stars with our "roadmap of Jupiter," but we begin to realize that we can only hang on to that teenager invincibility for so long. Whoa.

Also, I cannot forget the playing in this tune. It rocks hard and show Rush moving back to their power trio roots. There's more guitar and quite a bit less synth. It's an up tempo tune that holds great profundity. Please to the ears and the mind. Plus, when they play it live, the lasers synch up with the guitar riff in the opening. Just awesome. Check it out:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

PR Blog- Facebook and Twitter

'Twould seem I am at a loss of words for speaking on the merits of Facebook and Twitter. I do have the Twitter account because I have to, but I doubt I use it to its full potential. I have never had Facebook and if in my work I don't have to, I never will have it. However, with my sister and mom on it, I am starting to see why people use it. That is to say, I'm starting to see why people use it for its intended purpose rather than sometimes literally baring it all or posting "hilarious" photos of themselves piss-hammered and yakking. Yummy.

From what I can gauge, people use Twitter for quick comments, funny quips, and business announcements, among other things. I use it, for one, because I have to, and for another, to read the funny things that some people have to say. For instance, Seth MacFarlane Tweets some pretty hilarious stuff sometimes, and the made-up character known as the "Goddamn Batman," is priceless (based off of All-Star Batman and Robin, where Batman is kind of a douchebag, but hilariously so). I doubt I'd ever use it to meet girls or Tweet personal stuff, because it really is a public forum.

I sometimes find myself wanting to Tweet to celebrities and gush about how great they may be, but don't because everybody can read it and I'll look like teenage girl. It's actually rather interesting how that wall is broken down by Twitter. I can Tweet to any celebrity I follow. Whether or not they see the message is neither here nor there, but it somehow takes some of the glamour and ooh-la-la of celebrity in general. It really humanizes them (funny how I say humanize when Twitter is such an inorganic form of communication.. Somewhat paradoxical indeed).

Perhaps I am slightly jaded in that all I've ever seen Facebook used for is creeping on people, and a blatant overstatement of how people are doing. "So and so is busy on a Friday night." Who gives a shit? Well apparently a lot of people, much to my chagrin. Also much to my chagrin, Facebook has its "proper uses." My mother uses it to connect with family in Ireland and across Canada. My sister uses it to keep in touch with people from high school (which I think is crap, because if you want to keep in touch with anybody from high school, you stay in actual touch with them, you don't feign "give-a-shit").

What I keep hearing is that Facebook is used for personal things, and Twitter is used for more public stuff, which I can totally understand. People can personalize their Facebook pages, and people see what they want them to see. Twitter, on the other hand, you can personalize, but people see their own personalized pages, not your. Twitter is somewhat like an online forum as well; it's like one, big-ass, never-ending conversation, whereas Facebook is a back and forth, an online "tag," if you will.

Either way, each has its merit and its "proper" use. "Proper," being their intended purposes, i.e. communication and "keeping in touch," and not broadcasting drunken amusement, diarrhea-style. As PR tools, I think social media like Facebook and Twitter are a PR guy or gal's best friends nowadays. One person can literally communicate something to a potential audience of millions. Just remember, with great power, comes great responsibility. The best part of Facebook and Twitter is that captive audience. When I'm going through my Twitter timeline, even if there's stuff I don't care to read, I still skim it. I would imagine Facebook would be the same. Facebook is great because of the action principle. It's online and to get people on your band wagon, it often takes just a click. In other words, again, a potential following of millions thanks to the push of a button. Anybody else miss the good ol' days of carrier pigeons and when people actually wrote letters?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Creative Writing Blog

Yet another off-topic blog. Here we go.

I would imagine that the relationship between a writer and the publication is somewhat like that of an expectant mother and the child growing inside her. Five bucks says everybody uses this analogy. Perhaps I should use the caterpillar-cocoon-butterfly analogy? Whatever analogy I use, think of it as a metamorphosis.

Like an expectant mother's journey to giving birth, I'd imagine the publication process is fraught with excitation and apprehension. The only difference is, a doctor isn't going to tell you, part way through, to start over and "re-write." But, I would the process involves the writer becoming impregnated this idea and they become attached to said idea and want to take it to term, so to speak. Throughout this gestation of sorts, there are ups and downs, call backs and a lack of call backs, perhaps writers even feel sick in the morning due to stress. Who knows?

As the deadline draws near, stress is heavy on the writer like that on the mother, who is probably big as a house and pissed off like a rodeo bull (with all due respect, ladies). All the stress on the mother's body makes her tired and irritable and she simply cannot wait to pop the damn thing out. I could see it being the same way for a writer with their publication. I think there would come a time where a writer would cussing away waiting for the pain and tension to be over so that their beautiful, bouncing baby book can come to light.

I would also imagine the results of publication are somewhat the same between expectant mother and writer: When that bundle of joy finally sees light, be it baby or book, there is jubilation and excitement and joy and all that good stuff because something you spent so long making and worked so hard for is now here. However, for writers, I think, in some small way, their book, making it to the point but not getting published, would feel like a stillbirth. It obviously wouldn't be as tragic, but you get the drift.

And after the piece is published, parenthood begins with all the worries and woes: Will it sell? Will people like it? Will it win awards? Will I have to go through all that again?

Thus, I would either go through traditional publishing or simply upload my piece to Amazon simply to avoid all of the now unnecessary tribulations involved with getting something published. To hell with it, so long as my work gets out there, let Amazon have the damn thing for free. I don't want to deal with the cramps, morning sickness, sore feet, and constantly having to pee.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's time I was king now, not just one more pawn

"Fly by night away from here. Change my life again." For personal reasons, this song is rather apt at the moment and it's a great song about changing one's life and outlook. It's a great song for students who have no idea what's going on and are slowly realizing they need to start their lives. The bridge talks about how one makes the decision to get the ball rolling, but become, as Neil puts it, "apprehensive."

This is definitely a thinkin's person's tune, which is all about the lyrics. It rings true throughout adolescence and into adulthood. This is an interesting tune for the band to put on its sophomore album as well. Peart had just joined the band and had penned an album of lyrical wonders like "By-Tor and the Snowdog." The band was heading off in a new direction, leaving their Zeppelin and The Who influenced roots for a more conceptual, complicated take on music. The band truly became Rush when Peart joined, and "Fly by Night," is a classic tune that rocks like any other.  Essentially, the message is, take control of your life, because "the change isn't coming and I just can't pretend." That is to say, make your own change and live life the way you choose. Take heed, faithful readers (because I know there's so many) "life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not," so make it yours.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Drinkin' by the lighthouse, smokin' by the pier

Most people, if not everyone has that special place, often outdoors, that they like to escape to over the summer to make those lovely memories that will last and last, warm fuzzies, blah, blah, blah. "Lakeside Park," off of "Caress of Steel," is THE summer tune for just that kind of feeling. While I may have sounded cynical a moment ago, "Lakeside Park," does indeed help to create that warm summer night ambience that is sounding pretty damn good about this time of year.

I do believe this is the only tune I've heard off "Caress of Steel," on the radio, and it is definitely the most listener friendly, but check out the album if you like the tune; it's quite a trip. Definitely at least check out "Lakeside Park." It's a beautiful piece of music that is Rush at about as "easy-listening" as they get.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

There's trouble in them thar woods!

In an arboreal twist, Peart writes an Orwellian tale of oppression and hierarchical apathy, as well as the destruction of society under the guise of equality, that is an ear pleaser as much as it is a brain teaser. Oh snap, take that Eminem, I can rhyme words too. I apologize to Rush for even mentioning Eminem in a blog about them, because of course they're reading.

Anyway, "The Trees," off of "Hemispheres," is a thinkin' man's tune with some beautiful instrumentation and some hard-rockin' goodness that satisfies both my musical appetite and my thirst for thought-provoking music. The song is about the maples, who, believing that "the oaks are just too lofty," and that "they grab up all the light," rebel and "scream oppression." The oaks, however, "can't help their feelings if they like the way they're made, and they wonder why the maples can't be happy in their shade." In other words, Peart is writing about class disputes and how the ones at the bottom want more, more, more (stay out of this Billy Idol) and the ones at the top think that the ones at the bottom have what they need and should be happy.

'Twould seem Mr. Peart sees some apathy in the upper class and a lack of willingness to work with the lower classes, while those damn hippie maples want to overthrow the bourgeois in order to have more light. So really, it's all one big metaphor. The maples wind up forming a union and demanding equal rights, but in the end, man has the say, and in Peart's immortal poetry, "the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw." Once again, a profound lesson is brought force through the medium of music that is as much poetry as the lyrics are.

The musicality of this tune, just like the rest of the album, is unprecedented. The daddies of prog have done their fair share in creating an album such as "Hemispheres," (hemispheres being those of the brain, once again, a real thinkin' man's album). Lifeson's opening guitar work is superb with this lightness that seems to be the beginning of a children's story, while Lee's bass plays a lovely melodic riff underneath (and while he sings, which is astounding to me even still). The distortion kicks in and Peart comes in and the song takes flight with a singability that is rather unique to Rush.

Peart's lyrics are always very full and well-thought-out, and his vocabulary in song is uncommon and profound. Thus, sometimes, Rush is a bit difficult to sing along to unless you know them well enough because it is truly prose. I'll go out on a limb and say that 90% of Rush tunes could stand alone as poems. Granted, they would be done a great injustice to not be accompanied by such gorgeous music. As is often the case, Rush's music speaks along with the lyrics. Hence, all of Rush's instrumentals, such as "La Villa Strangiato," from "Hemispheres, and the grammy-nominated "Leave that Thing Alone," from "Counterparts," still have this underlying poetry that is not vocalized by a singer, but by the complexity and precision that is all three members' mastery of their instruments.

Check out "The Trees," and pay attention to the lyrics. Simply beautiful stuff. This is from their live album, "Exit, Stage Left," and it is simply gorgeous. The fact that Rush can play half the stuff they've made live, with the precision and expertise that they do, is unbelievable and awe-inspiring. At least to me. These guys are true professionals.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In Touch with Some Reality Beyond the Gilded Cage

To mark the beginning of the 30th anniversary year of "Moving Pictures," I believe it's only fitting to talk about a Rush classic off that album as my first on-topic blog of the year.

"Limelight" is a serious Rush favourite. A concert staple over the last few tours, Rush begins their concert with the famous guitar riff. The stage is pitch black, the arena roars, and then a single spotlight appears on Alex Lifeson who sounds the first phrase of the tune. The crowd goes absolutely insane as Lifeson sustains the a chord and Geddy Lee runs out onto the stage. The songs resumes and concert goers are immediately immersed in the effervescent world of Rush.

Limelight is that tune that combines Rush's hard rock capabilities with its technical prowess and profound lyrics. Peart once again shines with his almost cynical look at fame and what it can do to people. According to the tune, living in the limelight is the universal dream. We all just want to be famous. And as Peart paraphrases the bard, "All the world's indeed a stage, and we are merely players." Over the course of his career, Peart has explored the various ways fame can contribute to a loss of self, like in "The Spirit of Radio," where he speaks on the perils of leaving music up to "the man," and the "coldly charting," record companies. So, in the same vein, "Limelight," postulates on the good and bad of fame.

While this song can be taken apart, I've got  to say it's just a damn rockin' tune. It's fun to play along too (a bloody drum workout) and just an uptempo classic with a catchy, ever-identifiable riff. I do believe I've talked about Tom Sawyer already, but over the course of the next few months, I think I'll go through the entirety of "Moving Pictures." I can't believe it's been 30 years! And I've only been alive for 21 of them. This year's tour will definitely be a goody, so if you're at all interested, make sure you check them out when they roll through town.

Check out Limelight, because if you haven't heard it before, you're missing out.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PR Assignment: Pseudo-Event- Publicity Stunt Perhaps a Bit of a Reach?

First, all apologies for the terrible pun, but it works, and also, to hell with it.

Halo: Reach, for those of you who don't know, is a video game on the Xbox platform created by Bungie Entertainment. It is technically the fifth installment in the series, but is a prequel to all. The story is based around the alien invasion of a planet known as Reach and a team of six soldiers who are on a mission to obtain an Artificial Intelligence being that just so happens to be the key to the survival of the human race... Or something like that. Don't annihilate me if that's inaccurate, it's simply what I've gleaned. The content of the game is irrelevant to this post, as I would like to speak about an event that Xbox dreamed up in order to promote the game's release.

On September 13, 2010, a day before Reach's release, England's Xbox team put together a pseudo-event that most likely had video game geeks creaming their tighty-whiteys and fogging up their coke-bottle glasses, and regular video game players who don't make a career out of it saying "holy shit." Halo: Reach has introduced jetpacks, among other armour features, to the game's campaign as well as its online components. So, to promote the game and its new inclusion of the futuristic flying machines, men dressed up as Spartans (the soldiers in the game), fake battle rifles and all, and stood guard in London's Trafalgar Square. As if this wasn't cool enough, that is, to see real, live Spartans, Xbox had a guy fly around Trafalgar Square using a bloody jetpack. The man, dressed as a Spartan, took of in the jetpack, circled Nelson's Column, and landed in position between two other men dressed as Spartan characters.

This event was filmed and became a hit on YouTube with over 170 thousand views. While nothing extravagant like this took place Stateside, I think it may be somewhat necessary for Europe to see something like this because I'm not certain Xbox is as popular in Europe as it is in North America. Granted, the population of North America is much larger than Europe, but I think the promotion of the game was needed more over there. I also like London as a setting. Trafalgar Square is gorgeous and, judging by the video, not too many people showed up, so perhaps promotion is needed in Europe, or at least England, more than I thought.

Though the pseudo-event seems like kind of a dud in the video, I'm sure there was news coverage and the works over there, and with the video being on YouTube, viewers in North America had a chance to be wowed by the stunt. It is somewhat lackluster that the guy only flies around for 30 seconds, but you've got to admit, it's still pretty damn cool. And what a hell of a promotion tool for the game. It's great PR for Xbox because it's something new and very out of the ordinary. I mean, I knew jetpacks existed, but I didn't realize they had them in working order, or for that matter, that small and maneuverable. I mean the control this guy has over the thing is unbelievable, and he nearly lands in perfect position. Kind of makes me wonder how long before Canadian Tire is selling the damn things.

Good on Xbox for showing off its cash for one (I'll assume even a 30 second jetpack flight is pretty damn expensive), and for showing off its forward thinking and innovation. Hey, guys, we're putting jetpacks in the new Halo game, how are we going to promote it? Boom, real-live jetpacks and Spartans. Well shit, Gerry, that's a great idea. And there you go, Gerry gets a sweet holiday bonus and a new car. Brilliant.

I personally enjoy stuff like this because, while I somewhat dislike "publicity stunts"(they're kind of like the annoying drama student in high school who needs to be the damn centre of attention all the damn time), I can get into stuff like this because it's not just a publicity stunt, but a cool event, or should I say pseudo-event, in which a video game has had enough impact on people that the company invests that much time and effort into making these costumes in amazing detail and finding a guy who won't piss himself taking a jetpack ride. It wasn't cheesy at all or gimmicky, it was just plain cool and I think that's what makes a pseudo-event worthwhile. When people can come away from it and go, ok, that was a publicity stunt, but it was also pretty damn cool.

 I won't lie, I watched the video and it got me pumped for the game and I'm not even that big of a video game guy. Good on ya Xbox. I don't hate you. Check it out: