Bad, Black & Blind

More black days in the pop collection with a pair of mp3’s cd compilations of lps by Black Sabbath, Bad Company, Blind Faith with stuff by Alice Cooper, Mott the Hoople, John Phillips & just for the hell of it Joey Heatherton.

The Sabbath include the First, Paranoid, Masters of Reality, Vol4,Sabbath bloody Sabbath, Sabotage: Not that I’m a big fan, mind you, and my interest wanes after the first couple of lps. I remember the First with its opening of rain, but I never bought into their gloom. The guitar works often astonishing mind you but seemed to be wasted on the dreary lyrics & posturing. There was a time when all the demonic preGoth stuff was appealing to me but I guess i outgrew it while they didn’t.


I was a bigger fan of Bad Company – less gloomy for one thing – more an elevated bar band than prog rock. I did love Paul Rogers voice and some of tracks, Seagull – still hold me emotionally. They ran out steam after a couple of years though & never really cored any big hits. Mainly because what they offered wasn’t that distinct. In rock it isn’t enough to be good.


Blind Faith – that failed supergroup – what a sweet recoding this is & the extras are rewarding. Clapton isn’t quite God but close enough. As much as I dig Ginger Baker, man, his drum solos take up so much time & never added to the songs enough to make plodding through them worth it.

John Phillips never pulled it together after the Mamas & Papas but this solo recording is excellent, a bit uneven & the extras are great too. Sad what drug did to some talented people. His recording with Keith Richards surfaced a few years go & if you are a completest they’re worth tracking down.


Alice Cooper: Killer, Million Dollar Babies: hey if you can get Sunshine Superman Donovan singing about dead babies you’re doing something right. My fave Cooper songs are here as well: Under my Wheels, No More Mr. Nice Guy. These are fun solid lps by another great moody poseur. (more Alice here:

Mott: All The way to Memphis is a dynamic song, glam rock of the first order that transcends glam. With a bit mor personality than bad Company they never really had a big splash in North America. Joey Heatherton: who knew she recorded anything – sweet and nicely recorded too with some help by the Beach Boys – the perfect balance to Black Sabbath don’t you think.


Memory  (written in 1999)

I remember I was fascinated with typewriters as a child. There was a commercial for cable Internet access that showed some kids looking aghast when shown that the parent of one them used to get the Intent via telephone. After a brief pitch for whatever cable server this ad is for the kids then go up stairs to see, as one of them says, “My Grandpa has a thing upstairs called a typewriter!”

My Dad worked in an office and I would love dropping by after school, or even on week-ends when he some business to clear up. It gave me chance to play with the manual adding machine, running up long columns of figures. But it was the typewriter that really held my attention.

I remember one Christmas getting my first typewriter. A child’s toy that I had to turn a wheel with letters on the edge and then type one letter at a time. Talk about frustrating when I was expecting one like his secretary used that clicked away quickly and endlessly when she used it. No stopping to set each letter. And it never spelled a word wrong either.

When I played with the one in his office I usually got the keys stuck together by trying to use too many at one time. Not that I was actually making sentences. Maybe I was. But I was addicted to the flow of those letters into words on to what ever paper I was allowed to use.

‘The quick brown fox…’ was an exercise my Dad gave me to work with but after two times of that I got bored with it. As I got older he allowed me to do more real things – addressing invoices, envelopes that sort of stuff.

My first real typewriter for home use was some ancient second hand Underwood, which I still have in my basement – could come in handy in case of a power black out. Big, black, heavy with large round keys that take a real pounding to get in action. I guess a good clean and oil would make it move smoother. Ribbons would be eaten to pieces quickly by my heavy handed slugging away with it. No chance carpal tunnel syndrome in those days.

What I really longed for was one of the sleek Royals he had in his office. Smaller, grey, lighter to type with and a red/black ribbon too.

I can remember typing out one of my first poems on the old Underwood. Something that included the image ‘insane unicorn of desire.’ A poem that had been inspired by some TV show in which one of the characters wrote poetry. One of those TV poems had a line like ‘sand pouring out of her empty eye sockets’ and for some reason I was hooked.

I was just entering Junior High. Writing was something only the brainy kids were encouraged to do. I wasn’t one of those and was frequently told to pay attention to those who could really use their imaginations. That is: those that could spell and wrote sweet little pieces of summers at grandma’s. I was scribbling things about dinosaurs fighting each other.

I turned to poetry thanks more to Paul Simon and Bob Dylan than to T.S. Eliot and William Wordsworth. I can remember one of my first and only run ins with a high school English teacher was over some poem about daffodils. Mr. Mould was his name. He said that the poem was about how beauty fades. I saw it as being about hope because flowers will grow again every year. I was told that I should leave the thinking to the brighter kids in the class.

So I was at school writing poetry like crazy in my notebooks and going home to type them out on my Underwood. Piles, stacks of them, some of which I still have somewhere. I still have some of my handwritten note books too.

Then came short stories, 2 novels by the time I was 21. Then came a bad year at university that produced lots of poetry mind you and then into the work force.

Typewriters were the anchor of my daily life. Typewriters and paper. Stacks of scrap paper. I came into piles of discarded order forms, stock sheets, daily cash reports in various colors that I would use for my rough drafts. Carbon paper, who remembers that? Using the same piece till it was like a lace curtain. Correcting proofs. White out.

What a chore that became. One change on a page and the whole page would have to be retyped, allowing the opportunity for yet more typos. I could never get things perfect, done thanks to typos.

I worked up to an electric IBM, rental, to put together material for a workshop I wanted to take. Speed, zoom and it was done but the same old correct-o-type bullshit always slowed me down.

Then a big move from the east coast to Toronto. The result: I stopped writing for several years. I tapped out a few short stories but didn’t feel the drive I once had now that I was experiencing this big city life. I asked for my typewriter to be sent up and I got the Underwood and not the Royal. Such a disappointment.

The the joy of my first Apple, dot matrix printer but hey, spell check that took ages but at least I didn’t have to re-type page after page to make changes. Cut-and-paste became my patron saint.

That got me back into poetry, short stories till a turn in the road took me into theatre. I got to use my Underwood as prop in one show I directed.

When I read the biographies of writers such as Proust, Dickens, Tolstoy I am appalled and awed with the knowledge that their drafts were hand written and mostly by themselves. War and Peace written by hand! My mind boggles. I find it hard enough now to write my signature.loywired



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