Stanley Kubrick’s Boxing Connection

Stanley Kubrick filming Killer's Kiss

Stanley Kubrick filming Killer’s Kiss

Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick owes a lot to boxing.

In fact, his first film Day Of The Fight was about a local boxer.

Sarah took some time to explore Kubrick’s deep connection to the boxing world for Fightland.

To read her story, go here.

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Filed under Films, Jock Stuff, Shameless Promotion

Aaron’s Top Albums Of 2008

Portishead's Third

Portishead’s Third

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2008:

10. Sam Roberts Love At The End Of The World

I’ve long maintained that Sam Roberts doesn’t quite get the respect he deserves because of his adoption by the Kee To Bala set, but he does good work. Love At The End Of The World is a little bit more about “songs” than Chemical City‘s wicked cosmic jams, but “Them Kids” and “Detroit ’67” are where it’s at.

9. The Dears Missiles

This version of a radically reconstituted Dears painted with a far less bombastic brush than on previous albums, but there was still enough world-weariness to compliment the rest of their discography.

8. Lykke Li Youth Novels

Going to see Lykke Li live on this tour was an oddly awkward sociological experience. See, the audience for her show was a divided one. The front half, squished towards the stage and separated from the back by a very pronounced barrier was an all-ages crowd of teenage girls. On the opposite side of the barrier, in the licensed area, were me, a smattering of couples, and a bunch of solo old dudes. And, by virtue of my status as a no +1 reviewer, I too was a solo old dude. Which, by extension, meant I looked an old creeper leering after some Scandinavian pop star in a room full of teenage girls.

I wasn’t, though. Because I was — and am — much more interested in Lykke Li’s Bergman-ian worldview than what sort of hot pants she’s wearing. And songs like “The Trumpet In My Head” affect me in ways that have nothing to do with lurid intent.

At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

7. The Moondoggies Don’t Be A Stranger

The Moondoggies are a bit of a mystery to me. I don’t follow them, I don’t read about them and I don’t know much about them beyond the fact they’re from Washington and I think hippie types like them. This is probably for the best. Sometimes the more you know about a band, the less interesting they become.

6. David Vandervelde Waiting For The Sunrise

There’s an unofficial micro genre that exists these days where acts like Midlake and Fleet Foxes try capturing that Laurel Canyon sound from the late ’60s. Vandervelde’s Waiting For The Sunrise might be the best contemporary articulation of that vibe. When you listen to it you just want to throw on a poncho, grab some wine and hang out.

5. Graveyard Graveyard

Being a sucker for doom metal and pretty much everything that sounds like Black Sabbath meant I was already predisposed towards Sweden’s Graveyard. Thing is, Graveyard aren’t just rote Sabbath imitators. Their sinister blues rock feels like its own thing, and Joakim Nilsson’s vocals are more intense than most of what Ozzy’s ever committed to.

4. Cancer Bats Hail Destroyer

What I like about the Cancer Bats is that their improbable posi-hardcore never wavers into dork territory. Instead, it’s more about well-directed rage, which is something I can respect. Also, “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair” rips.

3. D-Sisive The Book

This was D-Sisive’s back-from-the-dead album. Its intensely personal narrative, breadth of pop culture reference and sense of gravitas are things I now see getting bit hard by a legion of next gen graspers. I can see you, copycat bitches.

2. The Last Shadow Puppets The Age Of The Understatement

A grandiose, symphonic rock trip, The Age Of The Understatement felt like a series of lost Bond anthems come to life. I listened to this album endlessly when it came out and I haven’t really heard anything similar sounding since then.

1. Portishead Third

I’ve given out, max, a dozen 5/5 album reviews in all the years I’ve been writing about music and this is one of them. Intense, confounding, unique, sinister… Third is the articulation of some kind of sonic menace, a mad clanking machine that lumbers dangerously around your heels. It’s scary, dangerous and unquestioningly beautiful.

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10 Fight Films That Need Remakes

Raging Bull

Raging Bull

With that blazing new Mad Max trailer melting our heads and word that Jean-Claude Van Damme will be taking part in the remake of his fame-making Kickboxer film, Sarah decided to investigate what other fight films might benefit from a remake.

She wrote a list of them for Fightland.

To read what films she thinks might warrant a redo go here.

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Filed under Films, Jock Stuff, Shameless Promotion

Meligrove Band’s Many Musical Connections

Meligrove Band

Meligrove Band

The Meligrove Band have long been an act I’ve been quite fond of. Their Planets Conspire album a few years back was amazing and their live shows are solid, high energy affair.

They’ve just put out a zesty new album called Bones Of Things, which I used as an excuse to interview the band about how integral they’ve been to the Canadian indie rock community.

To see what I mean, head over to Huffington Post Music Canada by clicking here.

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The Official 2014 Risky Fuel Holiday Gift Guide

The 2014 Risky Fuel gift guide

The 2014 Risky Fuel gift guide

Something changed deep inside of me when Blake Lively launched her lifestyle brand, Preserve, this past summer.

Instead of ignoring – or, perhaps, idly mocking – the whole experiment as I’d done with Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP and other out of touch brands run by hopelessly beautiful and privileged blonde stars, I became oddly jealous. It wasn’t fair that Blake Lively, star of Gossip Girl and the Traveling Pants movies, could have a lifestyle brand when I, writer of some articles that some people maybe read sometimes, did not.

Since then, I’ve occasionally threatened to turn Risky Fuel into a lifestyle blog, telling Aaron that I was going to start rhapsodically writing about the importance of owning Rod Stewart hot pants and Cancer Bats t-shirts with the sleeves cut off (and the brilliance of wearing both items at once).

With the holiday gift guide season upon us, and with Aaron arguably already dipping Team Risky Fuel’s toe into the lifestyle blogging world with a post about furniture, now seems as good a time as any to do this.

Here is Risky Fuel’s first (maybe) annual Gift Guide, full of stuff that you should buy for your loved ones/me.

For Stinky People (And People Who Like To Engage In Activities That Cause Stink)

Apera Duffel Pack


Apera duffel bag

I discovered Apera Bags at the Las Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon’s expo this year and was immediately impressed with the amount of thought and detail that had gone into the design and construction of their various gym bags. Each one is outfitted with a logically-placed series of compartments that will allow you to actually find your shit when you’re looking for it, and contains a number of ventilated areas and wipeable surfaces that will keep your shit from smelling like it’s been languishing in the festering hell hole that is your average gym bag. As someone who’s spent a fair amount of time working in fitness and training in martial arts, I can assure you that anyone who tries to make fitness accessories smell less is doing the lord’s work.

Las Vegas Rock n Roll Half Marathon Entrance Fee

No, really! This is fun. I swear.

No, really! This is fun. I swear.

If a loved one expresses some interest in this race and/or a trip to Las Vegas, paying for their entrance fee is a great way to say “I love you and I would love for you to experience all of the magic of standing in the middle of a totally shut off Las Vegas Blvd, watching Doors tribute acts, and getting free chocolate milk… and running 13.1 miles.”

Or maybe it’s the best way for your subconscious to say “I enjoy your company and want to guilt you into coming with me even though you’re ambivalent at best about this running thing.”

Either way, I did this for my dear friend Rachel last year and I’m sure she’ll forgive me eventually.

The Entire Knixwear Line



Knixwear is a Canadian female-run company that actually bothers to think about things like periods, crotch sweat, and wonky pelvic floors and makes comfortable, attractive underwear that addresses these issues. Their athletic line, which is moisture-wicking, anti-odor, absorbent, and leak resistant, is particularly brilliant. As a former Spinning instructor who has heard (and experienced) a number of athletic undergarment-related horror stories, I cannot overestimate the importance of these things.

All of the Things From The Perth Soap Co.

Perth Soap Company

Perth Soap Company

I was predisposed to liking The Perth Soap Co. because it’s manufactured in a plant in Perth, Ontario that’s been making soap for over a hundred years and, as someone who comes from a post-industrial wasteland of a hometown, I loved the idea of a plant of any kind adapting to the times and continuing to thrive in a changing marketplace. Then I was given a couple of “Cleansing Bars,” in the parlance of Perth, to sample and I turned into a full-blown fanatic. The bars smell wonderful. They make my whole bathroom smell wonderful after I’ve used one. And they make me stink less. This is quite an accomplishment.

At $10 a pop, the bars aren’t cheap, but they’re fairly large (170g) and, in my personal experience, last forever. As far as I can tell, the cost per wash isn’t significantly higher than what you’d pay for an OK-smelling glycerin soap. And a Perth bar, particularly a Moroccan Spice one, will de-stinkify you for so much longer.

For Jewelry Fans Whose Interest In Tiffany’s Does Not Extend Beyond Truman Capote Novellas

Toronto Custom Order Bracelet

Toronto bracelet

Toronto bracelet

 Aaron gave me one of L.A. Jones’s whimsical Toronto-themed charm bracelets for Christmas two years ago and it’s easily one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. You can customize your bracelet from a selection of Toronto-centric beads that include the CBC, Sam The Record Man, Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Eaton’s, The Bay, Porter, and more. My piece has Fran’s and Mars Diner beads next to each other, because those two institutions are at least 78 per cent of what I love about the city.

Missy Industry Einstein Necklace


Einstein necklace

Montreal’s Missy Industry has been making gothic and industrial influenced jewelry since 2003 and it’s all uniformly brilliant, from the Snake Bite ring to the Spine earrings to the Serpent necklace. My personal favourite, as a giant nerd who once boasted the nomme de guerre Sarah Bellum, though, is the Einstein, a handmade sterling silver brain on an 18-inch chain. Rachel gave this to me for Christmas last year and it’s easily earned more compliments than any other thing I’ve ever worn.

I, of course, reciprocated by making her run 13.1 miles. Which is probably further proof that I’m the type of person who should have a brain necklace as opposed to, say, a heart one.

Winky Slap Band Watches

UnknownWinky Slap Band watches

Winky Slap Band watches

Las Vegas casinos are designed to rob you of your senses and rational thought and do dumb things that you’ll probably regret later. I came out of my gambling experience on my last Vegas trip with a fairly intact bank roll, but I do have one regret: I was so sleep deprived by the time I made it to the Winky store at downtown’s Container Park that I could not put the following thought together: “I need a new watch. I really like this stuff. It’s aesthetically pleasing and functional. The slap band watch strap appeals to my ’90s nostalgia without being a garish and uninspired recreation of the old trend. Winky seems like a lovely human. I should buy a watch.” So I walked out of the store without a watch, ate a bunch of $3 meatballs at Pizza Rock and bought multiple pairs of Las Vegas-themed leggings. I don’t regret the meatballs or leggings, but I do wish that I’d added a watch to my bounty that day. There’s even a digital version, which is great for those of us who can’t read an analog clock to save their lives.

Luckily, shipping to Canada is only $7.95, so I can rectify this mistake long before I return to Vegas for the 2015 half marathon. Which Rachel won’t be running.

A Dimitri Gagnon Morris Commission

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 7.45.23 PM

My friend and occasional MMA t-shirt art expert won’t be officially kicking off his jewelry line until 2015, but you can contact him to commission one of his stunning designs in the mean time.

For People Who Like Good Art, Activism, And Being On The Right Side of History

Seal Cuffs

Tagaq approved seal cuffs

Tagaq approved seal cuffs

If you want to look as cool as the Polaris Music Prize-winning throat singer and dream interview subject Tanya Tagaq, well… you can’t. No one’s as cool as Tanya Tagaq. But you can be as cool as any non-Tagaq person can be in a pair of seal fur cuffs just like the ones she wore during her mesmerizing performance at the Polaris Music Prize Gala. As Exclaim pointed out in their gift guide, you can buy the cuffs, made by Cheryl Fennell, in grey, black, cranberry, or arctic blue at SnowFly.

If you know anyone who still doesn’t have her epic Animism album, you should definitely give them a copy of that as well.

A Tribe Called Red Nation II Nation Hoodie

A Tribe Called Red hoodie

A Tribe Called Red hoodie

There are few things that the Risky Fuel household love more than the music of A Tribe Called Red and hoodies (or at least few things I love more – Aaron once tried to impose a hoodie moratorium on the household and I will never let him forget it). Here you can mix these two brilliant things in one perfect made-in-Mexico and printed-in-Canada hoodie.

I suggest accessorizing with a copy of Nation II Nation and a Caucasians t-shirt, as seen on DJ NDN.

Rhymes For Young Ghouls Poster

Rhymes For Young Ghouls

Rhymes For Young Ghouls

Jeff Barnaby’s debut feature length film Rhymes For Young Ghouls was one of the best offerings at TIFF in 2013 and is one of the most exciting and important films that Canada has ever produced. Aaron and I are both a little obsessed with it. This beautiful poster is worthy of film it promotes, and would make a great film for anyone with any taste.

Handmade Louis Riel Cowichan Sweater

Louis Riel sweater

Louis Riel sweater

The various “Keep It Riel” t-shirts and whatnots that I’ve seen floating around the internet and various independent stores in Toronto are cute, but if you really want to sartorially celebrate Métis pride, you’ve got to go with this incredible handmade sweater by Laura Kapp.

For Metalheads

Screaming For Vengeance Leggings

Screaming For Vengeance leggings

Screaming For Vengeance leggings

Looking at handmade metal-themed products on Etsy is one of my most beloved methods of procrastination, and Hell Couture consistently impresses me/sings a siren song to my wallet their mix of metal leggings and repurposed t-shirts. I believe that this pair would look particularly good upon my person.

DIO > OZZY Letterpress Print

Dio forever

Dio forever

And this is the second greatest metal related thing that I’ve ever seen on Etsy. If you know someone who doesn’t want this beautifully designed heap of indisputable truth on their wall, you should probably stop talking to them. If you know someone who doesn’t agree, you should burn them as the heretics they are.

Screaming For Vengeance Tapestry Blanket

Screaming For Vengeance blanket

Screaming For Vengeance blanket

Up until I visited Judas Priest’s North American online store a couple of months ago, it had never occurred to me that one of the greatest metal bands of all time would produce any linen-related merchandise whatsoever. But now that I’ve sent this beautifully woven throw, I realize that I’ve never wanted anything more in life. I imagine that other Priest obsessives will feel the same.

Metalhead DVD



Metalhead was another TIFF 2013 highlight for me. The Icelandic film about a young woman who turns to metal for solace after the brutal death of her brother is remarkable because it manages to understand both heavy metal culture and the workings of the human mind and heart with perfect clarity and enthusiasm. The film’s director and producer are currently raising funds for the film’s DVD and BluRay release. For a pledge of €20 (currently about $29 Canadian), you can get yourself a DVD copy of this brilliant movie. For €75 ($107), you can also get a poster and a personalized message from the director, Ragnar Bragason, and the lead actress, Thora Bjorg Helga. I had the pleasure of interviewing both of them at TIFF, and I can guarantee a message from the pair is worth at least twice that much.


Filed under Art, Culture, Films

I Bought A Kallax Shelf For My LPs And The World Didn’t End

Ikea's red Kallax shelving unit.

Ikea’s red Kallax shelving unit. Not quite in place yet…

Back in February pre-fab furniture maker Ikea set off a giant record collector nerd panic when they announced they were discontinuing their Expedit shelving units. This hit close to home as we’ve got a few Expedits in our apartment to store our books, CDs ‘n’ junk and they’re basically the best, most cost-sensible way to store stuff like this.

A pile of my records have still been stored in some old milk crates and fruit boxes, though. It was time to upgrade to actual adult shelving units and to do so I’d have to buy the Expedit replacement, the looked-upon-with-great-suspicion Kallax shelving system.

So I did. I got a very suave red unit ($89 Canadian).

And I’m happy to report that after having assembled the Kallax and transferring the LPs… the world did NOT end. In fact, the unit actually looks kinda sharp.

Ikea's red Kallax shelving unit.

Ikea’s red Kallax shelving unit.

A stuffed Kallax.

A stuffed Kallax.


Filed under Music

Michelle ‘The Karate Hottie’ Waterson Partially Fueled By Turtle Power

Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson

Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson

Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson, the Invicta atomweight champion, will be defending her title tonight at the Invicta 10 live event.

Sarah spoke to her about her opponent and Ninja Turtles in advance of her bout for Fightland.

To read the story go here.

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