New Site, But We’re Not Done Yet!

Posted on - 28 September, 2011 by - Add Comments
Fun in the control room with Jeff Olson

Fun in the Control Room

We have the new site “Designed” – but as you’ll probably notice it’s not finished yet!

Have a look around, but if you don’t find what your looking for right now, don’t hesitate to Email Us.

Remember, you can find us on Twitter and Facebook too.

If you want to reach us the old fashion way, just call us at 780-994-1092.

If you have a moment – comment and tell us what you did all summer, and what you’re doing this fall!

Thanks – Jeff.

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A Conversation with Elaine Cust, Part 2

Posted on - 30 July, 2011 by - 2 Comments

On His Own Two Feet – The Life of Harold Granger, is a biography written by Elaine Cust and narrated here at Phonetic Sound by Dawn Curran.  This is a delightful audio book about an “ordinary man who has lived an extraordinary life”.

This book is about the small miracles that happen in everyday life. When Harold Granger was sixteen, polio changed his life, forcing him to relearn how to walk. From being imprisoned in an iron lung, he fought his way back to being able to stand on his own two feet.

A self-taught mechanic, inventor, innovator, businessman, and long-time lover of the Edsel, in 1952, Harold applied his mechanical know-how to building a very successful bus line.

 

From a single route, Harold’s Bus Lines expanded as the demand required, providing daily transportation of thousands of school children who attended Camilla School in Riviere Qui Barre.

The book follows Harold’s life as he grows up, faces the challenges of polio, builds his business, marries and raises a family, chronicling the ordinary events that make up his extraordinary life.

Elaine Cust, now a retired teacher in Red Deer, spent her early years in Riviere Qui Barre, living just down the road from the Grangers and babysitting their family when Harold’s wife, Audrey, started driving her own bus route.

I have had the privileged of interviewing Elaine.  The following is part 2 of our conversation.

 

Part 2:
D: What message did you desire to communicate through your book?

E: I think the message is really expressed in the dedication. I think that in many
ways there are lots of people who are extraordinary in the way they live their
ordinary lives… in order to be a person to be admired you don’t need to be the first
one to step on the moon or to be a rock star in front of millions. You just need to do
the best with what life puts before you.

D: How much of the book is true?
E: Virtually all of the book is true. The areas that I extrapolated a little are in the first
chapter where he is born. All the story details I made up but all the essential truths
are there. Except that I don’t know if Clara Loyer could see into the future. But I
wanted to put in a sense of foreshadowing, that his life was not going to be an easy
life. I wanted to, very early in the book, to give the reader a sense of his spirit. That’s
one place where I embellished the facts…

Then there is the spot in the book where it tells about lightning striking the church
steeple. I don’t know that Harold was one of the men who climbed to the top to put
out the fire. That is possibly not true. What I wanted to do there was to give him a
chance to look around, both literally and metaphorically…

I don’t know the name of the cleaning woman who helped him sit up…and similarly
the nurse who I called Ms. Running Footsteps was a composite of the nurses who
worked with him. I couldn’t put every one of them in…So I made up a character
that I hoped embodied the qualities of the nursing staff that would have been really
helpful to him…

D: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
E: If I could have done it all over again I would work more on the last half of the
book. I feel that the story is more in pieces there and doesn’t hang together as well
as earlier parts of the book.

What I’ve learned is that a writer will always want to go back and fix something…
The hindsight of seeing it out there for a year or so now enables me to look at it and
say, “Oh, I wish I could have done this or I wish I would have done it that way.” But it
is the way it is.

D: What are some of your current projects?
E: At the moment I am working at researching the history of my family. I would like
to write about that. I have two daughters and three grandchildren. I think that it’s
really important for people to know their family story. I think that we come from
our families in many, many ways so if you know some of the history of your family it
gives you a better understanding of who you are.

I don’t think it’s enough to know for example that our family came from Ireland

on my dad’s side or from France on my mom’s side. It’s important to have a sense
of the story of our families. So what I want to do is to do the research to find out
specifically where my families came from on both sides. To know what life was like
for them in Ireland and in France. How they traveled and came to Alberta and to
where they settled and to write it as a story.

My plan is to research the bare bones – like names, dates, places – and then write a
story. I will find out what it was like to live in Ireland in the 1800′s in the area where
my dad’s family came from. Using the names of my great grandfather and such, I will
make a story that I hope will show my children and grandchildren where they came
from.

D: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
E: My mom was really instrumental in fostering in all of us a love for reading… I
learned quite early the value of a story, of reading. From there, I think it was a very
easy step to think about doing my own writing. Writing is something I have always
loved. Putting a story down on paper has always fascinated me…

D: What was the hardest part of writing?
E: The hardest part, believe it or not, was putting it out there for people to read. I
really enjoyed writing. Sitting down here at my home by myself; just putting it down
on paper; that to me is straight enjoyment…

But when it gets to a point… where I have to share it with a much wider audience…
it gets a little bit difficult. I’m putting out there what I’ve done. People will like or
dislike it, approve or disprove. Once I put it into a book, I had to let go of it. In a
sense it doesn’t belong to me anymore.

Copies of the book are available for $25. Audio book is $45.

To order copies of the audio book , contact Dawn Curran at

dawncurran@shaw.ca : Phone 780-458-6245

For more information about the book, go to Write Now at www.writenow.ca

E-mail: info@writenow.ca

Phone: 403-343-6971

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20 Things You Should Know about Music Online

Posted on - 30 July, 2011 by - 4 Comments

Thing 1: Don’t believe the hype

There’s a great deal of discussion about music online in the mainstream press, and there are a couple of predominant threads to that coverage. Mostly, it’s not true.

It pays to be able to separate fact from fiction and hype from reality when it comes to the online music environment. Especially when your livelihood depends on it. Here are the two most important things to watch out for:

1) Technological determinism
There is a popular idea, particularly in the mainstream press, that technology drives history. According to this idea, changes to technology alter the rules that govern the ways in which we operate our lives, our businesses and our leisure. Usually this manifests itself around talk of either ‘progress’ or ‘decline’: a brave new world of opportunity, or a loss of an older, more natural way of operating.

In the case of online music, we see these things very clearly: MySpace ‘gave us’ the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen. Home-spun web streaming led to the Sandi Thom success story. Technological determinism says that the new internet environment allowed for the traditional gatekeepers to be circumvented, and that a groundswell of public support grew up as a result of the sheer power of a great artist connected directly to the masses.

There is also the story about how the internet is ‘killing’ the record industry. Downloading, and the practice of burning CDs is single-handedly responsible for the impending demise of the major labels, causing the decline of high street retail and is undermining traditional, ‘natural’ models of music distribution and consumption — and consequently preventing rights holders from receiving their deserved reward for their part in the creative process.

Nonsense.

In fact, technology does not ’cause’ these things. Technology changes and we choose our response. We have agency and can negotiate these shifts in media, as long as we understand them as they happen.

2) People tend to lie
Well, maybe ‘lie’ is too strong a word, but if you’re reading about music online, chances are you’re reading PR and marketing. Don’t be fooled — conservatively around 70% of what makes it to the media starts its life as a press release. Probably that figure is higher in reality.

Assuming that what you read began as a press release allows you to look for bias, spin and partiality. This should not be a new skill for you, but it seems that most people forget it when it comes to things they think they don’t quite understand — and technology is one of those areas.

So… if, for instance, you read that bands are making it big on MySpace, the first thing that should pop into your head is the question ‘who stands to gain if I think that’s true?’. Then you remember that what sells a band is a great story. The more that story is about them being genuinely great, rather than simply marketed, the more successful that sell becomes. You might even recall that the guy who owns Fox News is also the guy who owns MySpace.

So when you hear that Sandi Thom was signed to Sony because 100,000 people were tuning in to her nightly live webstream from her flat in London, you first remember that you only heard that story AFTER she had signed to Sony. The first thing you think of is the press release, and you wonder who might have sent that press release, bringing all those photographers to the ‘signing’.

Then you recall that bandwidth costs money, and that there are technical limitations on upstream internet bandwidth from home connections. If Sandi Thom had that many listeners / viewers without corporate support, she was pretty much running her own ISP, with outgoings in the thousands of pounds, and no income of which to speak.

Finally, you begin to realise that Sandi Thom had a publicist early on — and, most likely, was already signed to Sony when she started.

The groundswell of unsolicited support thing is a great story, and has the same impact as that story that everyone seemed to buy into about Norah Jones being a word-of-mouth phenomenon — when actually, there were billboards, tv ads and radio airplay all over the place.

In short:
The moral of the story here is that hype prevents us from understanding what’s really going on, and to what extent. If we don’t understand those processes, then navigating them ourselves becomes problematic.

If you want to make any headway in the music business in this day and age, you cannot be relying upon a magical MySpace success story, and nor can you fear the dangers of a hostile environment littered with thieves and ‘lost sales’.

Better to distrust the stories about online success and calamity, and simply view the new technologies as a range of tools that you can adopt, and a series of changes to the business environment to which you can adapt.

[used courtesy of Andrew Dubber]

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