About Me
I'm a Canadian PhD student living in Scotland, where I study music, media, and culture at Stirling University.

My Work
Curriculum Vitae
PhD Abstract

Peer-reviewed articles:
The rough guide to critics: musicians discuss the role of the music press (Popular Music 25:2, 2006)

Conference papers:
Comparing the shaming of jazz and rhythm and blues in music criticism (Experience Music Project 2006)

Was Newport 1969 the Altamont of Jazz? The role of music festivals in shaping the jazz-rock fusion debate (Leeds International Jazz Conference 2006)

Down Beat vs. Rolling Stone: the battle for authority in the American music press, 1967-1970 (IASPM Biennial Conference 2005)

Web articles:
Race, Rock and Soul
Sounds Prohibited
Brain Machines

CD reviews:
Proffessor Undressor

Current musical projects:
Zoey Van Goey
Maritime Rock Opera Club

m.t.brennan at gmail.com
Great Canadian Music:
CBC Radio 3


Great Canadian Reading:
The Dominion

Friends With Websites:
Dru Jay
Sylvia Nickerson
Inez Templeton
Inez: the blog
Clark Richards
Tara Wells
Max Liboiron
John Haney
Eva Bartlett
Catherine Brodigan
Adam Behr
Szu-Wei Chen
Pedro Nunes

Musical Friends:
David Myles
Michael John McCarthy
Ben TD
Henry (Peter Mansbridge and the CBCs)
Jo Mango
Jay (Proffessor Undressor)
Jim (Shotgun and Jaybird)
Jon (Rhume)
Matt Johnston
Pat Brennan (The Angelshakes)
Troy Neilson (Brockway Biggs)

By Category:
academiks (3)
aural creativity (15)
books (1)
flicks (8)
inspiration (3)
mad science (4)
media theory (4)
music biz (11)
other (6)
personal (13)
powers that be (7)
travel (4)
visual creativity (9)
words (1)

By Month:
January 2007 (1)
December 2006 (1)
November 2006 (1)
October 2006 (1)
September 2006 (1)
July 2006 (1)
June 2006 (2)
May 2006 (1)
April 2006 (2)
March 2006 (1)
January 2006 (3)
December 2005 (1)
November 2005 (1)
October 2005 (1)
September 2005 (1)
August 2005 (1)
July 2005 (1)
June 2005 (1)
May 2005 (1)
April 2005 (1)
March 2005 (3)
February 2005 (3)
January 2005 (1)
December 2004 (1)
November 2004 (2)
October 2004 (5)
September 2004 (3)
August 2004 (1)
July 2004 (3)
June 2004 (3)
May 2004 (6)
April 2004 (6)
March 2004 (8)
February 2004 (7)
January 2004 (11)
December 2003 (2)

March 28, 2005

Road To Perdition


I live in a village called Bridge of Allan, and if you like renting movies and watching them, let me tell you: don't live in Bridge of Allan. The only place to rent is at the local convenience store, which stocks a meagre selection of the most godawful current releases you can imagine. Anyway, somehow I found Road to Perdition amongst the mix and scooped it up.

Road to Perdition stars Tom Hanks as a hitman for the Irish mafia in Depression-era America. He and his son undergo a tragedy which transforms them both. The movie is mostly about the relationship between fathers and sons, but there are many other issues bubbling underneath, like the theme of work.

Jude Law plays another hitman, who asks questions like "you ever seen a dead body? Terrible thing. But it sure makes you feel alive, don't it?" and "to be paid to do what you love--isn't that the dream?" Neither of these questions is earth-shattering, but for some reason they stood out for me as I watched the film. Nowadays most of us don't have to confront death very often; but if we did, we might try harder to make the most of life while we're alive.

Which leads us to the second question: shouldn't we try, as much as we can, to live working at something we love? Sure, I suppose, but the trouble is, how do we know what we love? It's the minority who can confidently say they were put on earth to do (insert singular life passion here). For everyone else, it can be a very frustrating search. Back in the Depression era, this wasn't as much of an issue, because you would probably be thankful for finding any kind of work. But for an affluent generation like mine, where you've been afforded every opportunity to choose a career that you find personally fulfilling, the pressure is on to eschew mediocrity and discover your niche.

All of this begs the question of whether or not it is, in fact, "the dream" to get paid doing what you love. In fact, if taken to its logical extreme, this goal ends up reducing your life's worth to your career choice. Which is a bit silly, because you might be a much happier person working a low-stress 9-5 gig that allows you to lead a much happier existence; getting paid to do what you love could actually become harmful, as you increasingly guage the value of your life based on how many hours you put into your "dream job," whether that be an assassin-for-hire or, dare I say it, a music scholar. Is this a healthy way to live?

Anyway, Road to Perdition is about lots of other things besides work, but these days I've got work on the brain. Speaking of which, I'd better get back to it.

Posted by matt at March 28, 2005 02:20 PM