April 15th @ Free Times Café [cancelled]

[show cancelled due to “Bad Weather” – sorry, Dean]

There is no question we are living in wildly innovative times. Self-driving cars are on the horizon – I think is see one now. We have electronic assistants that wait in our home for us to ask them things and then magically and instantly find out the information we want, and turn on and off appliances, and adjust the heat in the house, and play the songs we want to hear and those they think we will want to hear, and relay all this information to their overlords who are compiling massive amounts of data about us that, if we’re lucky, they’re just selling to benign corporate behemoths who use that information to better provide us with things that we never realized we needed, and if we’re not lucky use that information to manipulate us to vote for absurd propositions and ridiculous politicians – but I digress. The self-driving car and the electronic home assistants are pretty neat things, but they are not, for me, the greatest invention of the past 10 years.

And what you might wonder is the greatest invention in the past 10 years? It is… and once you read this I know you will go “He’s right again – how does he do it – he is just such a smart guy and blessed with such wisdom.” OK, maybe not the “blessed with such wisdom” part, and perhaps not the “smart guy” reference, and probably not even the “again” part but you will agree with me once I tell you what the greatest invention of the last 10 years is.

The greatest invention in the past 10 years is…wait for it… the racoon proof green bin with the locking latch on the lid (I was right on that one wasn’t I). Why is the racoon-proof green bin the greatest invention? Because if you asked your smart little home assistant how to stop the racoons from getting into your previously theoretically but not actually racoon-proof green bins that you mounted on the outer wall of your house and secured with two bungee cords and topped with three bricks all of which made putting out the compost and kitchen waste a 20 minute ordeal that ultimately proved futile because in the morning the racoons had found their way in to the bins anyway and scattered all your kitchen waste across your front or back lawn depending on where you put those containers – your perky little assistant would have had no freaking idea – because until the new big racoon-proof green bins were created by top level scientists working at NASA or perhaps the spawn of the geniuses who developed the Avro Arrow there was no answer.

You see, all the algorithms in the world can’t create the things that we really need – like racoon proof green bins – those once in a lifetime inventions require a level of human creativity that artificial intelligence will never be able to match – or not at least until 2020.

At this point you may have started to wonder how does any of this relate to Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, the band whose next show – Sunday April 15 at 8 pm – this little missive is meant to promote. Well, I think it’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Just as there is no way any machine or any cloud computing leviathan could have come up with the racoon-proof green bin neither could it ever have imagined that great music could be created by a 10 person band that features bass, drums, guitars of all sorts, flute, saxophone, tin whistle, fiddle, percussion, the mandolin (also known as God’s perfect little instrument) and also bagpipes. Couldn’t be done.

But we’ve done it. And you can hear the toots of our labours this Sunday at the Free Times Café (College just west of Spadina). To try to take your mind off the fact that it’s still cold out although it’s the middle of April, there will be no cover and there will be lots to choose from on the food and drink menu. In the few days before the gig, why not ask your little electronic home assistant to play one of our tunes for you on YouTube.

Hope to see you there.

Jonathan

P.S. Prior to the racoon-proof green bins that have made all of our lives bearable again, there was only one foolproof way to keep the racoons away but it came with pretty horrific side effects. That solution was to blast bagpipe music at all hours of the day and night. Racoons, having sensitive hearing and finely tuned aesthetic sensibilities would run from the screech of the bagpipes. This however only moved them a mile or two away until they were finally out of earshot of the squealing and squawking. And of course it prevented anyone in the house from getting any work done or getting any sleep and ruined your relationships with your neighbours. So not really a solution at all.