On Wednesday I started the day with Toronto's Number One morning man, the great John Oakley, on AM640. Thanks to one of John's sponsors, High Street Fish & Chips, I had a tremendous craving for a meat pie throughout the segment, but I valiantly overcame it to do a little Monday-morning quarterbacking on my pushback against Simon Schama in this month's Munk Debate, and more generally on the subject of sexual violence in the new Europe.
John offered the interesting tidbit that several Munk School students had refused to attend the debate because I was participating in it, and their view was that I shouldn't have been permitted on stage at all. To modify that apocryphal bit of Voltaire, they'll defend the death their right not to have me say a word. There's the epitaph for our civilization: "Nya, nya, can't hear you."
We also discussed Bono's testimony to the US Congress on the best way to beat ISIS:
Bono said comedy should be used to help defang extremists sowing chaos in the Middle East and driving millions of families from their homes.
"When you laugh at them when they are goose-stepping down the street, you take away their power," he told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
It would be nice if it were that easy, wouldn't it? But we are living through an age of utterly feeble, evasive and castrated comedy - what I called after the Paris bloodbath "edginess with no edge", a theme I expanded upon to John. Click below to listen:
I may have to record my first U2 song, "Where The Streets Have No Jokes".
As for the songs I have recorded, John was kind enough to mention my new cat album Feline Groovy: Songs for Swingin' Cats. I'm cool with the four-and-a-half star rating over at iTunes but I'm very touched by all the five-star reviews at Amazon, including this latest one from Brendan Smith, "I Categorically Recommend It":
An album of (mostly) cover songs about cats, by a cat lover and dedicated to his cat is not an item I expected to buy in this life time. What ultimately drew me in were the 30 second snippets provided by Amazon.
After many listens, I can tell you those snippets don't do this album justice. It's a treat not just for cat lovers, but more so for music lovers. Steyn doesn't have an American Idol type sledge hammer of a voice, but he knows just what to do with the instrument he's got.
His renditions are clever, unique, and satisfying. While he may suffer from cat scratch fever, he seems to have caught his strain from Peggy Lee, and not the Motor City Madman.
He's assembled a fantastically talented band that just nails it, and seems to be having a great time in the process.This album exists in the sweet spot where hard work and fun, as well as cleverness and joy overlap, Whatever the theme of Steyn's next disc, I hope he brings these players back for an encore. They and he are utterly delightful.
I thank Mr Smith, and he's quite right about the band, who are some of London's best musicians, whether it's Nick Moss' alto sax on "Year Of The Siamese Cat", Pete Callard's electric guitar "Looney Tunes" theme on "I Tawt I Taw A Puddy Tat", or Andy Findon penny-whistling on our medley of "The 59th Street Bridge Song" and "What's New, Pussycat?".
~If you don't like my singing voice, wait'll you hear my speaking voice. My book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn is somewhat belatedly out in audio format, narrated by yours truly. It's a Top Five bestseller on the political humor hit parade, for whatever that's worth.