As much as I enjoyed Herman’s Hermits as a teen I wasn’t encouraged to admit it. They were radio-fodder bubble-gum as opposed to real musicians like the Rolling Stone or even the Beatles. They were regarded as sweet, squeaky-clean and a band only girls could enjoy. Music hall songs like ‘Henry the VIII’ didn’t help their image either. I picked up stand-alone cd The Very Best of back in Dec 2006 to reclaim that part of my past.
Sure some of the songs suffer from ‘clean’ but many of them are solid, if not brilliant, pieces of pop music. The band wasn’t terribly original, creative or even were outstanding musicians. But their studio work is impeccable. It helps that Peter Noone’s voice is sweet & appealing. ‘No Milk Today’ is a breathtaking track – the production work is sublime & still amazes. The fact that it was written by Graham Gouldman (10CC) certainly helps.
I picked up stand-alone Highs of the Sixties back in 1994. This is the complete opposite of the Hermits. A compilation of the sort psychedelic, garbage-band music that I could easily admit to enjoying. It includes tracks by Love, Count Five (one of the first latino bands to make it big), The Standells – many one-hit wonders but all fun. I’ve since tracked down collections by some these one-hitters like Blue Cheer, The Seeds, Count Five. I already had an extensive Love collection before I picked this cd up.
But what about the present you might ask? Next on the shelf are these stand-alones by The Hidden Cameras: The Smell of Our Own; Mississauga Goddam; AWoo. This a fun, queer, musically-diverse band that I really enjoy. With songs about water sports ‘Golden Steams,’ politics ‘Ban Marriage,’ love ‘Music is my Boyfriend’ & life ‘Learning the Lie’ performed with energy that invites all listeners into their world. Led by Joel Gibb the band uses standard rock augmented by strings, wind instruments to create an often rollicking, sometimes folky, sweet romantic tapestry of music that often makes an ‘ironic’ counterpoint to the lyrics. Hidden Cameras take sound pictures of the world in a way I like to see it.
It felt good to sleep in. Something I didn’t allow myself to do that often. A warm, snug bed from which I could hear the cold wind outside. As I rolled over to try for another few winks the door to my room opened enough for a head to pop through.
‘Good morning, sleepy head.’ Jim smiled at me.
‘What are you doing here?’ I sat up.
‘What do you think?’ he came into the room.
‘And why aren’t you dressed?’
‘Another dumb question.’ He slipped into the bed beside me. ‘Neither are you.’
Our bodies nestled together comfortably.
‘I got the day off so I figured, why not drop over here and spend some of it with you.’ Jim gently bit my shoulder.
‘Great idea. That spare key was for emergencies.’
‘Yes, well this is an emergency.’
‘So I can feel.’
I rolled over on top of him. Just then my cell buzzed.
‘Don’t get it, or you won’t get it.’ He warned, twisting the ring in my left nipple.
The cell buzzed, and as programmed, the buzz got louder the longer it rang.
‘I have too.’
I reached over and picked it up. ‘Hello.’
‘Steven is that you?”
‘Yep. Just arrived in town.’
‘You should have warned me.’ I covered the receiver, ‘It’s Steven, my agent from New York.’
‘Well, I was hoping to surprise you. I have the new contract. Bidding stopped at 2.5 mil.’
‘2.5 mil!! I’m amazed.’
Jim was biting my stomach under the covers. ‘Stop that for a minute will you.’
‘Sounds like I caught you at a bad time.’
‘Not at all. No wrong time for 2.5 mil.’
‘Free for lunch?’
‘Lunch? Sure. You staying at the same hotel.’
‘Same room is fact.’
‘Okay see you around noon.’
‘Frank wants you for lunch and I want you for breakfast.’ Jim came from under the covers to kiss me.
Just then the door bell rang. I jumped out of bed and pulled on my bathrobe and dashed down the stairs to the front door. A flower delivery man waited.
I signed for a box that opened to reveal two dozen red and white roses.
‘Looks like this is your day?’ Jim looked over my shoulder. ‘Who are they from?’
October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday
November 15: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto
June – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org