Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Inductee: Nardwuar the Human Serviette

Courtesy Nardwuar the Human Serviette.
Courtesy Nardwuar the Human Serviette.

Reason for Induction:
For services to indie rock, and the ability to really wear a hat.

Citation:
Courtney Love, Paul Martin and Ernest Angley finally have something in common besides mediocre fashion sense: all have been accosted by Nardwuar the Human Serviette, Vancouver-based radio host, journalist, VJ and guardian of alt-rock ephemera. Less officially, some may know him as that maniac with the tam and the undulating squeal for a voice.

A Nardwuar interview could be considered just another form of guerilla journalism — Michael Moore, who calls Nardwuar “a national treasure,” is restrained in comparison — but really, it’s more like a big, sloppy hug from a relative with some kind of advanced ADD. Note to the accosted: best not to fight it. Expect your answers to be cut off by a wobbling microphone. Expect a showering of meticulously researched information. Expect silly questions. (To Mikhail Gorbachev: “Of all the political leaders [you have] encountered, who has the largest pants?”)

Nardwuar got his start in the 1980s as a DJ at the University of British Columbia’s CITR radio and on community television, spreading the cult of the Cramps and uncorking his teen-girl enthusiasm for bands old and new. His moniker is self-created, as he explains on his lovingly tended website: “‘Nardwuar’ equals a dumb stupid name, like Sting. ‘Human’ equals Human Fly, from the Cramps song. And ‘Serviette’ equals something you can't get in the States – down there they call them napkins."

What to make of this strange creature? He’s knowledgeable – as one member of the Strokes said, bewildered: “How did you hear that I met [Lou Reed] at the movie theatre, man? I never told that to anybody!” – and egalitarian. He brings the boundless enthusiasm he has for music (he’s in a fairly lousy punk-pop band called Evaporators) to subjects other than music, and does it without fear. The only time he’s looked nervous was when, in 1997, he asked Jean Chretien about the APEC protests, eliciting the now infamous “For me, pepper, I put it on my plate” quote. Nardwuar doesn’t suffer fools, but he’s almost never insulting, even when being ridiculed by the likes of thick-necked punk Henry Rollins. He is unflappable, asexual, kind of repulsive, sort of huggable. When he had a brain aneurysm in 1999, the mainstream media reported from his hospital bed (he’s fine) as if he really were some sort of weird national treasure.

Though Nardwuar is now a staple on MuchMusic, he still haunts the less-travelled corridors of the media, writing for smallish Chart magazine and continuing to host a show on CITR. Much doesn’t seem to know what to do with a host who doesn’t look like a candidate for The Bachelor, so they package him as cute and have him play pranks. (On last year’s campaign trail, he bugged all three party leaders to do a game called “the hip flip.” Martin did, Layton might have and Harper refused.) But Nardwuar is best when he gets to show how much he cares about music — by charming a big star back to earth, or giving an eager non-star his first taste of attention. He has done more to promote the kind of Canadian music that doesn’t get promoted by corporate radio than almost anyone else in this country, but he doesn’t see our cultural product as separate from the rest of the world’s, or as an obligation. With Nardwuar, no record labels control the questions, nothing is off limits and no one is minding the store. Pop culture is fun, he reminds us, and it’s even more fun when the fans run the show. Doo doodle doo doo... doo doo!

Katrina Onstad writes about the arts for CBC.ca.

CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external sites - links will open in new window.

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

New Officers surround Charlotte, N.C., protesters reacting to fatal police shooting
A group of around 100 demonstrators have gathered across the street from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., to protest the shooting death last week of a black man by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer.
Russian actions in Aleppo 'barbarism,' not counter-terrorism, says U.S. ambassador at UN
Russia's actions in Syria amount to "barbarism," not counter-terrorism as Moscow insists, Samantha Powers, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said on Sunday.
Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez dies in boating crash
The Miami Marlins have confirmed that star pitcher Jose Fernandez has died following a boating crash off Miami beach early Sunday.
more »

Canada »

Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks dead after nightclub shooting
Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks is dead after an early morning shooting incident outside of a night club in southwest Calgary, the team has confirmed.
Updated Royal visit: Prince William and Kate touch down in Vancouver video
The royal tour of British Columbia continued today as Prince William and Kate arrived by float plane just before 11 a.m. for a public appearance at Jack Poole Plaza.
Exclusive Canada's prison visitation system 'high-tech, low-touch,' says correctional investigator
Inmate grievances about family visits to federal prisons are increasing, according to Canada's correctional investigator.
more »

Politics »

Analysis Canada showing Haiti some tough love
Canadian officials say Haiti has abused the goodwill of international donors by failing to respect the results of an election they paid for. And Canada is warning the island nation not to expect help to continue if things don't change.
Canadian taken hostage in Libya
Ottawa has confirmed that a Canadian is among three people taken hostage in Libya earlier this week.
Liberals face rumblings of East Coast discontent a year after electoral sweep
Less than a year after the federal Liberals won all 32 seats in Atlantic Canada, some East Coasters are feeling taken for granted.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Martin rock Global Citizen fest
Rihanna ran through her pop and R&B hits, Eddie Vedder partnered with Chris Martin and Kendrick Lamar was enthusiastic and energetic during his hour-long set at the Global Citizen Festival in New York.
Bill Nunn, Do the Right Thing and Sister Act actor, dead at 63
Bill Nunn, a veteran character actor whose credits ranged from the Spider-Man movie franchise to such Spike Lee films as Do the Right Thing and He Got Game, has died.
Arrest made after Pippa Middleton's account hacked
London police say they have arrested a 35-year-old man suspected of hacking the iCloud account of Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, and stealing 3,000 photographs.
more »

Technology & Science »

Fuel cells set to power up the drone industry video
Drones have been used for years by military organizations for intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance and striking targets. But their widespread use in commercial applications is only just starting to take off thanks to key advances in drone technology.
How to protect yourself after the Yahoo email hack, whether you use Yahoo or not
If you have a Yahoo email address, or ever had one in the past, you could be affected by a massive hack of half a billion accounts. Here's what you can do to protect yourself.
Elephant ivory trade under scrutiny at upcoming wildlife conference
The fate of the elephant hangs in the balance this weekend as the international body that regulates trade in endangered species gathers in South Africa.
more »

Money »

Analysis Waiting for OPEC: changing circumstances and new possibilities — maybe
An informal gathering of OPEC this week is widely expected to produce no substantive changes. So why are oil markets paying so much attention?
Analysis Our uncomfortable ride with central bankers who can't take us home again: Neil Macdonald
The world's central banks responded to the Great Recession by printing money. Lots of it. The practice drove down interest rates to nearly zero, robbed savers of return on their investments and rewarded those who live beyond their means. Things were supposed to return to normal eventually. Well, don't count on it.
Bad news, brunch fans: The Marketplace consumer cheat sheet
Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Live World Cup of Hockey: Sweden vs. Europe video
Watch live now as Sweden meets Team Europe for the right to play in the World Cup of Hockey final.
Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez dies in boating crash
The Miami Marlins have confirmed that star pitcher Jose Fernandez has died following a boating crash off Miami beach early Sunday.
Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks dead after nightclub shooting
Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks is dead after an early morning shooting incident outside of a night club in southwest Calgary, the team has confirmed.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »