Marshall McLuhan - the English professor turned Guru for the Age of Media - was born 100 years ago today in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. No one could have imagined that a fusion of I.A. Richards, Ezra Pound, myth, and TV, would spark the cool (or is that hot?) vision of McLuhan, a man so hip Woody Allen had to summon him up for perhaps his funniest film moment. Media had been supplanted by Internet - but in a world where 19-year-olds hack into the CIA and Facebook drives the Arab Spring - the dizzying blurring boundaries of global communication are ever-more relevant.
If one adds Glenn Gould as the second greatest Canadian, it will become immediately apparent that the native genius of this vast land is to explore visionary ways of communicating across distances, in practice and theory. Ten years ago, Tom Walsh, composer-conductor-musician, and I, working as the electronic duo Swifty Lazarus, worked on an album, September 2001, in Budapest, Hungary, that would try to enact the ideas of McLuhan, Gould, and Orson Welles, in-studio. The result was The Envelope, Please, released in 2002 on the Wired on Words label.