RPM Challenge 2009


Record an album in 28 days, just because you can. That’s 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February.

Don’t wait for inspiration—taking action puts you in a position to get inspired. You’ll stumble across ideas you would have never come up with otherwise, and maybe only because you were trying to meet a day’s quota of songwriting. Show up and get something done, and invest in yourself and each other.

For those about to rock…

After a bumper crop of local RPM albums from 2008, this year is shaping up to be bigger and better. Elling Lien contacted some of last year’s successful RPM participants to ask for some their survival tips.

People in your neighbourhood

2009 may just go down as the the Year of the Neighbourhood here in St. John’s. We’re only a month in and already three different neighbourhoods are coming together to support smart urban planning—with an emphasis on keeping the sore-thumb buildings out and a sense of community in.

Queen Victoria Wing

Before the creation of the Victoria and Alexander wards in the Victoria Wing, only men had been admitted. Newfoundland women, spearheaded by the Cowan Mission, raised funds for the construction. Some of the province’s first female doctors worked there, and the wing also housed our first operating theatre.

The game plan

From basements and bedrooms to make-shift recording studios across the Rock (and North America for that matter) people are tuning up for this year’s RPM Challenge. 28 days, 10 songs or 35 minutes: it’s doable, and pure gonzo originality often makes for some compelling listening material. Here’s what some participants said about their plans and intentions for the 28-day undertaking.


“My mom actually gave me the idea for this outfit. This is a corset from a bridesmaid’s dress, and I thought, oh well, I’ll never wear that again, but she suggested I just belt it. So I paired it with a pencil skirt because, of course, a pencil skirt goes awesome with everything. But I think what really gets everyone’s attention is the gloves: just add them to any outfit and it looks gorgeous.”

Field Notes

“It’s a black comedy in a way, because it’s ultimately about physical and sexual abuse in her own family. But the character is driven to comic heights and has comedic monologues about her life. A lot of that is an attempt to escape from her past,” says director Andy Jones.

A bit of a blur

One particular shot of a CP train, snaking its way through the B.C. interior, took him hours to get. Driving around he noticed the S-curve in the track.

“I parked my car, and waited for hours,” he says. “I knew trains had to go through there.”

Pop-up horror

Well, I guess us Canadians can rest easy because they finally produced a follow-up to My Bloody Valentine. Yes, no more sleepless nights about the Cape Breton-shot slasher flick that featured a young Cynthia Dale amongst its cast of disposables.

Hey, wait a minute. None of you gave a rat’s ass about a sequel to or remake of My Bloody Valentine. What was I thinking?


“I think everybody’s got a little touch of creativity in them,” says Jamie McCabe, owner of Clay Café “So we want to try and bring it out.”

Mocha ricotta for two

So last week when I realized, partway through assembling ingredients for a cauliflower casserole, that I had failed to pick up a tub of ricotta cheese during the big grocery run, I said, “shag it, I’m not going back there,” and decided that I’d make my own ricotta, or some ricotta-like substitute, or die trying. How hard could it be?

Tropic Thunder

With influences ranging from Apocalypse Now to Hot Shots! Part Deux, Ben Stiller (Director, co-writer and star of Tropic Thunder) has managed to assemble an onslaught of career performances so mesmerizing, it would make Scorsese blush.

DIY: Drum kit

Assembling a homemade drum set may seem like a big deal, but it’s actually pretty easy. C’mon… it’s not like you’re making a set of stairs or anything. Really, the hardest part is going to be explaining to the neighbours what the ‘cursed racket’ is all about. All it will take is an afternoon, and a few items that you have kicking around.

Free Will Astrology

“According to some historians, Barack Obama won’t be the first American president with African ancestry. As many as six previous presidents may have had black ancestors, with Warren Harding and Dwight Eisenhower being the most likely. None of the others claimed their heritage, however, choosing instead to pass as pure white.”

Savage Love

Sex and love columnist Dan Savage on the true meaning of “saddlebacking”.