Finless porpoises and weeks of Canadian music

Today I once again had nothing to talk about, so I turned to Facebook and asked some of my friends for suggestions. The two suggestions I got are hinted at in the title, and I swear to god I’m going to connect them both, however shaky you might find the connection.

So let’s start with finless porpoises. They’re a species of porpoise that live largely in the Yangtze river in China. They’re actually pretty adorable little things, check ’em out.

Can you feel your heart melting? I kind of can.

Can you feel your heart melting? I kind of can.

They are pretty resourceful creatures, making do with food in the form of shrimp and fish, and, depending on the area, cuttlefish, squid and even octopuses. But sadly, these creatures are on the list of vulnerable species. There’s no clear number on how many are left, but it looks like there are less than 1,000 left in the Yangtze river.

This is largely due to sand dredging, which is a big source of income for people living near the river, but the practice has been the culprit for massive habitat loss.

And they’re of course not the only endangered species that are in trouble due to development. Last night I went to an event in support of the Stop the Ring of Fire campaign. The world’s last untouched boreal forest is under threat thanks to huge development in the area. The area in question is about the size of Lake Ontario, so it’s pretty damn huge. They’re looking for signatures for a petition, so please do sign if you feel so inclined.

The show itself started with an exhibition by fire spinners, and then a few bands played. I heard some lovely a cappella harmonies from Tall Grass, and then I saw a nearly hour-long set by Triple Gangers. I actually felt really tired after their set because so much of the music they make is perfect for swaying along, at the very least, if not full-on dancing. In fact, this was my first show I attended since Canadian Music Week.

Speaking of the event, it was suggested to me that I should write my thoughts on the event and weigh the pros and cons of being asked to play.

In short, CMW can be a bit frustrating at times because of the general lawlessness from venue to venue. Some were very strict about wristbands and lineups (I’m looking at you, Dakota Tavern) and some were not. But the main problem is that there’s just way too much going on, and with little guarantee that one will be able to successfully venue hop. It leaves bands that, in my opinion, deserve attention with little, because there’s always a “big-ticket” event to go to. The “too much choice” problem really popped up on Thursday of CMW, when PS I Love You couldn’t even manage to pack the Great Hall. Wildlife did, eventually, but I couldn’t believe that the other band couldn’t.

I’m not a musician, but I do know the huge problem for bands who are asked to play (or apply to play). Apparently they have to pay some kind of fee, and they have to choose between being given $100 or taking artist wristbands that allow them entry to any show without cover. Most bands elect for the latter, but there’s the problem. Bands aren’t being paid most of the time. So how are they making money when they come from the coasts of Canada, or god forbid, from another country? They probably aren’t.

I suppose the idea is for bands to try and network, but the networking seems to be done more often by industry people. I mean god, you should have seen what the Mariott looked like during those six days. It was a zoo.

If the band is from Toronto or close by, it’s not such a bad deal, but if you’re a little-known folk singer-songwriter from Flin Flon, you’re probably not going to get as much spotlight as, say, Chvrches or something.

So there we go, I linked finless porpoises and CMW.

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