Isis Of March

Next on the shelf is an mp3 collection of Isis. I’ve blogged about Isis before so check that out. I recently watched Some Like It Hot, which includes an all-female swing band. No matter how musically inventive or competent such bands were they were always considered novelty acts not serious swing bands. Such was the case of Isis. The market wasn’t open to an all-female version of Chicago. Women in rock were usually limited to vocals,  not playing instruments, other than piano or acoustic guitar, themselves:-)

Also in this compilation are two releases by Lowell Fulsom: Drifting Blues, In A Heavy Bag. This is solid r&b. There were a couple of tracks by him on the Rojak Story compilation. I liked his old school soul sound & his voice, so downloads a couple of his solo releases. His cover of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ takes a road the Beatles would never have taken 🙂

Here as well is Otis Blackwell’s These Are My Songs. Never heard of him? You’ve probably heard some of his songs though, which include Great Balls of Fire, Don’t Be Cruel, All Shook Up & more. His take on his songs is refreshing. I always love to hear songwriters doing their work. I also never knew that these big hits where the work of the same writer.

For some reason I added Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play: The Château d’Hérouville Sessions to this mp3 collection – a classic lp I wanted to replace with better quality sound. The original lp was two sides with no track breaks. Here it has seamless track breaks & no need to turn it over half way through. The Château d’Hérouville Sessions includes other takes of some of Passion Play songs plus earlier versions of songs such as Skating Away. The sound quality is excellent even if A Passion Play is a bit overwrought 🙂

To round out this cd I added: Arthur Brown & Vincent Crane: Faster Than The Speed of Light. Crazy World world is the best known work by these two – Crane was keyboards on that lp. Neither followed it with another big hit but they reunited in 1980 for this release. Fun & surprisingly prog-rock with an Emerson, Lake & Palmer vibe without being as self-serious. Brown’s vocals are playful & the production values & engineering is excellent. Too bad it vanished almost as soon as it was released. Worth seeking out.

Snake Skine

“Priestess and the Snake Skine” by Davina K’ltra – set in the rich fertile islands of the Caribbean the third novel of Davina K’ltra continues her fascination with things dark and lurking. 

One almost expects characters from the previous books to walk in the door at each turn of the plot. It is almost as if she had merely changed the names with the help of word search, the plots are so similar and yet one keeps reading with pleasure.

As in her previous two novels – “Snake Skine Sisters” and “Sinner in Snake Skine “- an innocent person, often of indeterminate gender, finds themselves drawn to the world and power of a vodou like cult.

In each the innocent victim is unaware till the final moment that there is no turning back now that the door has been opened. There is no one to turn to when the very people thought to be protectors turn out to be Sirens, lures. There is no safety anywhere.

Even, as in this novel, when the innocent makes an escape off the island and back to the shores of the good old USA there is no real escape. Everyone, it seems, is connected with this nefarious cult.

The major departure in “Priestess and the Snake Skine” is the gender of the innocent. In the previous two novels it has probably been female. This time it seems to be male. A young Police Academy graduate celebrates his graduation with a two week jaunt in the Caribbean Islands before he is to take up his post in Detroit. Kaleb Jones comes from a middle class black family and has proven himself to be an open minded young man. Boxing champion for his class and built to be a prime example of the best America has to offer.

We meet his family first and enjoy the last weeks of his police training. A deceptive start for K’ltra, who seems to be trying to expand the horizons of her novels by opening them to new locations. Too bad the action once it does get started is so cookie cutter.

Perhaps though it is the predictability of this fatal action that allows the reader comfort to follow it. The ritual scenes are fevered and fast, the blood flows and even when it becomes human we are ready, almost wanting to participate ourselves so we can slip into our own dangerous skine.

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http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Don Messer’s Jubilee

 

It all started with someone posting a link to a video of Fred McKenna playing some songs. What he was playing was not that interesting but it opened up a memories of my Sydney childhood in Cape Breton. When my father relocated us in Sydney it was a one TV channel town (almost as bad as a one horse town) and that channel was CJCB – which is still on the air but is now part of CTV.

 

CJCB was essentially community TV with some shows imported from Halifax. One of which was Don Messer’s Jubilee out of Halifax. Jubilee  (click Jubilee for link to video). To be honest I hated this show. I wanted real music i.e. radio top ten stuff. I don’t even recall if my parents enjoy the show but the minute it came on I dismayed. I must have watched it though because I remember the names of the singers – Marg Osburne & Charlie Chamberlain – who looked like a pair geriatrics. She was in her mid-30’s, he was in his 60’s. Fred McKenna was a frequent guest.

I also remember the Bupta Dancer who, thanks to Wikipedia, I now know were the Buchta Dancers – they did square dance crap. It was decades before I could tolerate the sound of country fiddle. But hearing Fred McKenna made me consider how this music influenced me, if at all. I did find one collection iTunes & downloaded all 32 minutes of it. Sweet but with almost no emotional resonance. The show’s intro music “Goin’ to the Barndance Tonight” isn’t included 😦

Part of why Jubilee didn’t impress me was that none of the singers or dancers had a shred of sex appeal. Black & white TV didn’t help much. Bulky boxy conservative clothes made the square dancers & singers seem even more square. The show lacked glamour or sparkle. I have vague memories of watching Liberace with my mother & being impressed by his glittery style. Jubilee had no visual style.

The music is pleasant, folky, sometimes Celtic with strong fiddle playing by Don Messer. The songs are uncomplicated folk, sea shanty & religious. Only one of the ones I’ve downloaded has much of an emotional resonance for me ‘Farewell To Nova Scotia.’ A farewell I’ve never regretted.

See Me?

people think they know me

they see me in my writing

they don’t see fiction

the fact that each confessed event

is reality 

my reality

one that they can identify with 

as my actually experience

in fact the closer I capture 

something of their emotional life 

the more they are sure

I have to have experienced it

they don’t want to believe

that each piece is a mask

not a piece of me

they see my photos 

read bits of life that I process for display

and add it up into picture of me

they approach me with that 

ah-ha

I see by your web page 

that you are …

 

they don’t realize I am 

as big a liar as they are

I may not talk in internet inches

but I don’t reveal anything out of turn either

that would be too painful 

so like so many other’s 

I adopt a mask of playful indifference

ironic poses to amuse

what they don’t see 

I’m not going to hint it

 

trust me

no one has the entire picture

many don’t even have a glimpse

not that have hidden depth

there may be surprises

tucked away in many closets

I don’t see that something to confess

shoes shirts all get displayed

and even those things 

that I explain aren’t me

the endless lists of almost lovers

sweet boyhood sexual discoveries

the bitter relationship breakups

all those fictions 

I can make so real 

are things that happen to people

but not always to me

I’m too shallow for most of that 

safe in that distance

the pose that many writers seems to strike

knowing full well

that no one questions it

the fiction

is seen as a valid side of the writer

even if I deny the experience

it must be a part of who I am

of who you perceive me to be

the need to wear this disguise

reveals who I am

 

the mask one selects 

is a reflection of the person

Romeo Harlequin Godzilla

one after the other put on 

taken off

my face the mirror of yours

so what you see as me

isn’t me at all

but the you I squeeze into 

when I sit down at the keyboard

to see though what I think is your mask

losing sense of self to that image

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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In This Irrepressible Shirt

I discovered The Irrepressibles thanks to Tumblr – one of my feeds posted the video for In This Shirt. Visually mesmerizing & musically compelling is searched & I found that track on their Mirror Mirror lp.  I have that as well as Nude, Nude:Landscapes, In This Shirt remixes, on this mp3 collection. The tracks flow into one another sweetly if glacially.

The sound is very Antony & The Johnsons. Chamber pop – strings with some drum tracks & an angelic, heartbreak voice singing on top of it all. Lyrics are usually haunting love or self-self-discovery songs. Words are carefully chosen, not picked to belt out. I enjoy chamber pop. Usually slow and romantic. I first encountered it on Donovan’s Sunshine Superman lp way back in the 60’s.

Also on this mp3 compilation are soundtracks from American Horror Story’s first couple of seasons. That credit music is eerie & evocative. It doesn’t wear out its welcome or go on too long, like the series itself tends to 🙂 To add some sonic variety I have  Basement Jaxx: Junto (Special Edition). A great electronic band that has expanded its sound over the years. This is a great addition to their catalogue even though it seems the genre itself had faded away they will not vanish.

Here also is a track from Ibizia Chillout – a 70 min DJ mix of other tracks on the release – something that happens now with many such completions one or two of the tracks is a non-stop dj mix of all the tracks on the lp. Dance music is great for writing.

 

Because The Irrepressibles  are so relaxing I added Tranquility: Voices of Deep Calm – a collection of Russian choral music designed to lead you to tranquility. Finally Childhood’s Lacuna (Bonus Track Version). Their sound is Modest Mouse with major reverb & echo. I heard a track on So You Think You Can Dance & quite liked it. I couldn’t now tell you which track that was though 🙂 Childhood, like Jaxx, is a nice counter balance to the airy sounds of The Irrepressibles. 

Dish of Dreams

‘I asked for Diet Pepsi.’ The dish knew this was bound to happen.

‘I’m sure the lemon pie will be better for you.’ The spoon stepped back from the swimming pool. This was going too far. ‘And if you don’t like it you can take a flying leap over the ….’

‘Don’t say it!’ The dish walked over to the operating table. ‘We have more important issues at hand now.’ The dish began to wash up for surgery.

‘If you think I’m going to glove you,  you have another thing coming.’

‘You don’t glove me anymore?’ The dish turned to the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘How did you deal with such things when they happened to you.’

‘You are asking the wrong person,’ the Bride of Frankenstein shrieked.

Several ducks fell out of the air at her shriek.

‘Oh wonderful. Fresh duck for supper.’ The games keeper scrambled over the sand dunes to get the gamy birds as they lay dead, still on the shimmering sunset shore.

‘Hey! You!’ a shout came from the bluffs, ‘Those are the King’s fowl. To touch them is treason.’

‘Since when, you useless old fart catcher?’ The games keeper scooped up the dead ducks and put them in his evening bag. It matched his shoes and hat. The perfect ensemble for evening dining.

‘Where did you get those bullets?’ The dish had to know. ‘They are just perfect with those gloves.’

‘Thank you. I didn’t think anyone would notice.’

‘It’s always these little details that make occasions like this so special, Don’t you think?’

‘I think you asked for Diet Pepsi and here it is it.’

Diet Pepsi walked through the swinging doors. The band stopped and all heads turned. At Pepsi’s side was the Queen of Sheba.

‘Some people have all the nerve. Imagine showing up here with her after all that’s happened.’ The spoon muttered.

‘Oh,’ the Queen of Sheba clappered her tiny hands, ‘it’s so good to get out of the kitchen for change. I’ve been baking tarts all day and just longed to get out. I’m so happy Diet Pepsi had a free evening.’

‘Yes, my schedule has been very busy.’ At that moment Diet Pepsi caught sight of the Bride of Frankenstein. ‘Perhaps, though, we might consider some other environs. You know who is here.’

‘Don’t let her get into your hair.’ The waiter joked as he led them to a corner table that overlooked the stage. ‘Can I get you drinks before the first act.’

‘I haven’t been to the ballet in years. What wine goes with Swan Lake?’

‘Perhaps a dry white would suit you.’

‘I trust your discretion.’ Diet Pepsi tipped the waiter handsomely. ‘Is that Godot over there?’

‘Why, yes. I’m his waiter as well.’

‘How lucky we are,’ the Queen of Sheba looked around. She allowed the rigatoni straps on her shimmering gown to inch over her iridescent white shoulders.

‘Madam!’ A cry came from across the pond, ‘The reflection of the sun off your bare shoulders is pornographic.’

‘Why thank you!’ she replied.

She glanced over and to her dismay a troop of twenty-one boy scouts had dropped their khaki hiking shorts to display a salute of proud, stone-hard erections.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Mompou and Revueltas

I find music in unexpected places. A few years ago I watched the excellent Spanish movie Cría Cuervos (Ana Torrent and Geraldine Chaplin). In it Chaplin is a pianist & she plays an etude over and over. The credits listed Frederico Mompou as the composer. I did a search & easily found the etude in a collection of his complete piano works, played by the composer himself. I also found the pop song by Jeanette that is featured in the film.

Mompou’s piano music is charming, playful, at times a little sentimental. Some reminds me of Gershwin’s etudes, a touch of Satie. There is, as one would expect, a distinct Spanish flavour to much of it with pieces that are variations on folksongs, dances, Chopin. I was happy to discover classical world music.

To this mp3 collection I added some work by Mexican modern composer Silvestre Revueltas – Music de Feria: a set of his string quartets & Troka: various orchestra compositions. I came across ‘Feria’ as 2nd hand cd at a store that was once around the corner from me on the Danforth. I enjoy string quartets & this intrigued me. Troka is a download when I wanted more of his work.

 

Both collections reflect rather than replicate his Mexican heritage. Energetic in some pieces, mellow in others. Clearly modern but not atonal. Rich harmonies, sweet melodies, & appealing. It is refreshing to find, in both cases, Latino composers who aren’t mariachi homages. There is an amazing range of excellent classical music outside of standard repertoire – these are two great composers to widen your horizons.

Plotless Outline

When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.

Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. Though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – art getting the inner out some how.

Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night, sort of stuff. Seeking and not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.

I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me: music, books, paintings all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.

Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, it quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.

Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then, wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.

The year before I got the job hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.

The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them I was queer. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.

Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.

Most of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to know what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Psychedelic Butterfly

I have a stand alone CD of Iron Butterfly’s In-a-Gadda-Vida – & in a wild psychedelic mp3 compilation, their Evolution best of, Live at the Galaxy Club 1967. Iron Butterfly is a one-hit wonder who rode that hit to fame, recorded a some other lps & influenced & still influence, countless bands. The big hit comes in a couple of edits – the long version features a drum solo! that sets a standard & forced many bands to include at least one long song with a long drum solo.

 

Their material other than the big hit is solid rock with ponderous lyrics, decent singing, good guitar & organ playing. They were ‘serious’ pop musicians. The live is a bootleg I stumbled across – the sound balance is off & the volume fluctuates & as a result I was disappointed. The hits are relics.

 

On the mp3 collection is another one-one-hit wonder with two lps by Strawberry Alarm Clock: Incense & Peppermints; Wake Up It’s Tomorrow. More organ driven radio fun. Hippy love lyrics, nicely engineered & with unexpected jazzy touches. I had the 1st lp at one time & didn’t know there was another until I did a bit of a search. Their music in Beyond The Valley of The Dolls is great fun too.

On it are two lps by The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band: Part One; Part Two. I had the lp of Part One at one time. Part Two is more of the same. This is a sonic step down from Alarm & miles away from Butterfly. Sweet, interesting as relic uneventful though Part One does include a cover of the Mothers of Invention’s I Am A Rock. 

Out of Britain comes Deep Purple’s The Book of Taliesyn. Butterfly is a clear influence on Deep Purple with its thick, sometimes turgid sound. More interesting vocally than Butterfly & with, of course those fairy tale lyrics & ‘adventurous’ cover songs Before Deep Purple became heavy metal. 

Truly experimental is a band called United States of America. This is a lost classic with progressive lyrics, explorative use of electronics, loopy arraignments, stunning engineering & decades ahead of its time. Find it, you won’t be sorry. Another lost classic is The Association’s Birthday. The psychedelic cover art alone is worth tracking down but the songs are gorgeous, the vocals are stunning, the lyrics are a bit greeting card at times but thanks to the engineering  this is a brilliant feel-good album, trippy, that is also worth hunting down.

Feel That?

‘Can you feel that?’ Dr Fell tapped along my spine. Gentle at first and then harder. I knew it was harder by the sound

‘No.’

‘How about this?’

I wasn’t sure what he was doing.

‘Nothing.’

‘Not even a tickle.’

‘No, nothing.’

He showed me a pin. ‘I was sticking you with this.’ He jabbed it in the back of my hand and I jumped. ‘At least there’s some feeling there.’

‘I’ll say,’ I shook my hand as if I should shake the pain off it like a drop of water.

‘How long have you noticed this.’

‘A week or so. Maybe longer. It’s not as if I touch much with my back. The bed, my shirt.’

‘It is serious you know. You can feel here.’ he stroked my neck. ‘But from here down to here,’ next I felt his hand at the crack of my butt. ‘You feel nothing. No reaction to any stimulus.’

‘Almost.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Try something wet.’

‘Wet?’

‘Yes. I know I can feel water on it when I shower. At least I can tell temperature of water. Hot or cold.’

‘Hum. So you feel this.’ Something cold pressed my back. 

‘Yes. Cool. But that’s all I can tell. I don’t know what part of the back you are touching or even the shape or size of what you are touching me with.’

‘How does it feel when there is nothing?’

‘Like …’ I tried to sense the flesh but couldn’t. ‘It’s like an empty space.’

‘No numb along the edges.’

‘No. Just nothing.’

‘We’ll need to do tests. Neurological damage of some sort. You haven’t fallen recently.’

‘No.’

‘Changed your sleeping pattern. I mean how you sleep on the bed.’

‘Not that I’m aware of.’

‘No trouble sleeping?’

‘Not really. Sleep like a log most nights. Mornings are a bit odd these days.’

‘How so?’

‘I can’t feel the bed at my back, so I wake like I’m floating in some sort of warm pool. Very odd. To sense the sheets with my feet but then the rest of me doesn’t seem attached to the earth anymore.’

‘Any problems getting out of  the bed.’

‘I have to roll over to my side to feel my way up. I suppose I can get used it. It’s not as if my head is going to fall off. Is it Doc?’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Whispering Grass

This is one of my clear childhood memories, while I was an only child – listening to The Ink Spots on our record player with my Dad while he got breakfast for us on Sunday mornings. He would sing along with Java Jive – though I don’t think I ever saw him have a cup of coffee. My mother was a tea drinker.

At the time I had no idea was coffee was but I always loved that song. I loved The Ink Spots, those harmonies and easy rhythm of the song. I can picture the cover of that album with the four of them in tuxes singing around a microphone while staring at the camera.

The other song I remember clearly was Whispering Grass – by Fred Fisher and his daughter Doris Fisher – with its very surreal lyrics about blabbering trees. I am pretty sure those lyrics became a part of my poetic influence at that early age. I recent did a search for other recordings of Whispering Grass, so I now have some great versions of those blabbering trees, including one by Dorothy Carless (https://wp.me/p1RtxU-1zn).

I have a stand-alone cd Greatest Hits collection which brings me sweet memory when I play it. Their simple accompaniment of upright base, drums, guitar also influenced my jazz leanings as well. I’ve always enjoy the dry, deep sound of what I thought was an acoustic upright base but was sometimes a plucked cello. Hearing the Spots now I also can hear how repetitive their song structure was – it could almost be the same basic track with different lyrics on top. Mellow, smooth, romantic. Now I also understand where the name comes from – ‘black as ink’ becomes The Ink Spots.

They set a vocal standard that lead to do-wop but they were never do-wop. Their sound was not revolutionary or challenging nor particularly black but their harmonies have influenced countless groups & I can hear them in The Temptations, Men2Boys. For some these songs are the 40’s, early 50’s romantic memories – the sound of simpler, supposedly better, times. 

Even The Best Of Families

‘Did you hear about your cousin Josephine?’

‘No!’

‘Well, she left that guy from the circus.’

‘Circus?’

‘You know, the trapeze artist. That’s a stretch – artist. He couldn’t draw a line in the sawdust, if you know what I mean? Anyway, she’s left him for some banker.’

‘Good for her. Didn’t your brother end up with some banker, as well?’

‘No. Dave settled down with a dentist. Imagine. Some people have all the luck.’

‘Dentist! Well good to have that in the family isn’t it?’

‘It didn’t last though, Dave’s now with some man who owns a construction company. Roofing, that sort of thing.’

‘Can’t complain about that.’

‘Well, you know who can complain though, is Dad’s second wife, Sally – remember Sally?’

‘Who could forget Sally. Those macaws ruined the furniture in less than two weeks. Who knew birds shit so much?’

‘Anyway, Sal has found out that her first husband has died and left her nothing.’

‘What did she expect?’

‘Some people expect the world. I heard this from your half-sister Jewel.’

‘Oh, how is that bitch anyway.’

‘I don’t know why you and Jewel never got along. She is really very sweet.’

‘So is arsenic until you swallow it.’

‘My my. Bitterness becomes you.’

‘So what about Jewel. How’s she doing?’

‘She was looking fine. Just got out of a 28 day rehab program and seems to back on her own two feet for a change.’

‘Instead of on her back, you mean?’

‘Ha ha.’

‘I ran into your ex the other day too.’

‘Which one?’

‘Chuck.’

‘Chuck. That was years ago. He was my first. Actually I don’t think we ever got married. You know. Just as well, he didn’t have much to offer, if you know what I mean?’

‘He certainly kept you happy.’

‘Honey we were only 12, so what do you expect?’

‘Right.’

‘So how is he.’

‘He’s doing well. Sold the steak house and has moved along to a chain of motels.’

‘Motels? Do tell.’

‘Along three inter-state highways. He hopes to be rich one of these day. You should have stuck with him.’

‘Twelve-year olds aren’t noted for their ability to see the future potential of many things.’

‘Right. Did you see that TV special of Greg’s last night.

‘Which Greg? Your step-son or my son-in-law.’

‘Neither. He’s Dave’s son.’

‘But I thought Dave was with that guy is construction.’

‘He did test the waters before once or twice. Greg was the result. Named him after our grandfather.’

‘So how is this Greg doing.’

‘He did win that Academy Award two years ago.’

‘He’s been in more treatment centres than June though.’

‘They must have paid off. He was looking good and has a new picture coming out next month.’

‘Good thing we have such a busy family. Isn’t it.’

‘I suppose. Give us a little something to talk about. Speaking of which, did you know that Cyril’s mother has left them. Run off.’

‘Not with a Fuller Brush Man?’

‘Ha ha. No found out about the other woman, she did.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Glass

I can’t say that I’m a Philip Glass fan but I do have several works by him scattered though my collection: Koyaanisqatsi; Mishima as MP3 (along with works by w: Shivkumar Sharma: Call of the Valley; Sanjay Mishra: Blue Incantation; Abhijit Banerjee: Phases; Ravi Shankar: Chants of India; The Art of the Hurdy-Gurdy); as a stand-alone Hydrogen Jukebox; mp3 of his Piano Music; and The Book Of Longing: a collaboration with Leonard Cohen. 

Like many I first heard of him thanks to his soundtrack for Koyaanisqatsi – sweeping strings & choral work that doesn’t need visuals to be effective. Propulsive music that sold millions of soundtrack lps. Unlike, say, Bernard Hermann, he was more than a soundtrack composer he was a ‘serious’ modern composer. Mishima is energetic & shows a greater range of textures.

I find Hydrogen Jukebox (Ginsberg) and The Book Of Longing (Cohen) to be more liturgical than contemporary. As much as I enjoy Jukebox it fails to grasp the energy of Ginsberg’s use of language and becomes turgid and repetitive. His work with Cohen has more life but again moves like molasses. Both are more Gregorian than contemporary. The solo piano music is delightful & more emotionally engaging.

To round out the mp3 collection I added works by Shivkumar Sharma: Call of the Valley; Sanjay Mishra: Blue Incantation; Abhijit Banerjee: Phases; Ravi Shankar: Chants of India; The Art of the Hurdy-Gurdy. Mostly world music, nearly classical in its way, out of India. Some edging into new age & some very traditional. The Hurdy-Gurdy is an lp to mp3 transfer of an MHS lp I found 2nd hand. I plunked here for fun.

 

Theoretical Talk

‘Are there any more questions?’

Dyna surveyed the class. The rows of seats rose in tiers around her. She felt small in the centre of the semi-circular room. Her slide projected behind her seemed so massive. She was happy to see that most of the faces she encountered were still awake. A hand fluttered in the tenth row.

‘Yes. Casey Stelle, isn’t it?’ 

Dyna liked to demonstrate her ability to remember names.

‘Yes. I wanted to know if … well … how could such a crime go undetected for so long.’

‘Casey, you have to put it into its proper cultural context. At that time people didn’t talk about such things. It was a closely guarded secret.’

‘Yes,’ another hand shot up. ‘but it had such a deep resonance at the time. How could it go undetected.’

‘Jeff, that isn’t so strange. The fact that it wasn’t talked about doesn’t mean it was undetected. People knew of it, but out of shame or other cultural conditioning didn’t deal with. They didn’t ignore it but at the same time they turned their back on the events. Went on as if it hadn’t happened.’

She stepped from the podium and looked over the students once more. Books were being closed and backpacks being back-packed. As sure a sign as any that this part of the class had come to an end. As usual a few students descend to talk to her. She turned off the projector was was glad to have the gloom of the room return. The brightness of the slides made her feel on display.

The first to reach her was Jeff.

‘Miss Dark. I didn’t want to get into this in front of the class. Not enough time left anyway as it turns out, but I still don’t quite buy your theory.’

‘It’s not for sale Jeff. I merely presented one of several approaches to the circumstances. After all, wife beating once wasn’t a crime. Women who complained about it were shunned for being unfaithful to their husbands. Today that has reversed Women who don’t complain get shunned.’

‘But this case isn’t at that scale.’

‘Now it’s me who doesn’t buy your theory.’

‘You could at least hear it out.’

‘Okay Jeff I’m listening.’

Their eyes locked. Jeff’s face reddened. Dyna knew she had this power to silence and wasn’t unwilling to use it now.

‘Another time.’ Jeff glared back at her and started up the stairs to exit the classroom. He tripped on the first one and fell.

‘Serves him right.’ Dyna thought with a small laugh.

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every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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The Incredible String Band

 

 

The cover of The Incredible String Band’s The 5000 Spirits (by The Fool) is the epitome of 60’s psychedelic art. Iconic & instantly defining the best of the era. I didn’t have to hear the album to know I would love it. To be honest I was expecting something of the Jefferson Airplane style of psychedelic but instead got almost straight-ahead folk music.

 

A sort of gothic, renaissance sound of dulcimers, lutes, tambours with slightly off-kilter sing-songy  songs full of Yates type lyrics. On my first listen it sounded like something anyone could perform. I loved it. As I listened more it became layered, more complex & emotionally involving. No Sleep Blues, First Girl I Loved … so sweet & with a twinge of humour. Way Back In the 1960’s is a time-capsule of that era. I may still ahi emu regional lp saved because of that album art. It was one of those lps that a actually made it to Cape Breton.

I picked up their First as a stand-alone CD, on sale, at Sam’s way back in 2003 – October Song is sweet; also as stand-alone a double cd set of The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion & The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – this took some searching as I was replacing my Layers lp with the cd & I found it via eBay in 2003. Hearing 5000 crisp was a delight. Hangman I had never heard – it continues that psychedelic folk mood. Both sound traditional but lyrically combines trippy with almost renaissance folk lyrics.

 

They also had the classic hippy look of long haired, beaded, fringed & farm living commune minstrels. I didn’t really follow them though. Maybe too twee for me then & now a fond memory. There are lots of great folk/pop bands: Fairport Convention, The Pentangle, Kaleidoscope, Donovan – of the time but only The Incredible String Band had such a homespun feel. They were too gentle to become big stars. The band gained, lost members, split up, reunited, continued recording but became & stayed a folk mainstay.

Dream

The dish ran way with the spoon. The spoon had belonged to my grandmother and the loss of it became an insurmountable obstacle to progress. Several important scientific discoveries were put aside as futile gestures without the spoon. Mankind was bereft of the one key, the one object that was vital to intellectual stimulation and financial progress.

My sister wasn’t sure what to to tell me. I had been late, again, coming home from flying school. I had hoped to follow in my father’s footsteps and keep up the family name but the tragic news of the spoon put all that in jeopardy as well.

‘How could such a thing happen.’ I demanded of her.

‘I wish I knew. No one was expecting it. Least of of all I.’

‘And just where were you when this transpired.’

‘Asleep.’

‘Asleep!’ my voice rose. Two windows in the left wing were shattered by my explosive anger. I had to keep it in check and usually did, but occasionally I lost control. This was one of those rare occasions.

‘After losing two nights of sleep worrying over Gabriella, is it little wonder I drifted off. The afternoon was hot, balmy.’

‘You have a knack for making excuses.’ I set about packing my bags. ‘But this time you have gone too far, even for a sister.’

‘Ferdov please, please forgive me. I doubt if I can go on knowing you feel so strongly.’

‘Tell that to the spoon.’

I dashed down the hand-hewed alabaster stairs to the dock and leapt into my motorboat. I had longed to escape this island, this family trap of of the past but had hoped it would be an easy departure and not this sort of emotional break.

‘Wait! Wait!’ my sister stood on the pier waving her apron aimless in the breeze. I would not return. How could I? There was nothing holding me to them now. Now that the spoon had run away with the dish the next part of the prophesy would also come true. If I could somehow keep that in check perhaps there was hope after all.

The two-way radio on the dash sparkled to life. 

‘Reports have come in that the last of the three blind mice has perished in a disastrous fire in the east wing.’

‘God!’ I raised my fist to the sky. ‘This is all your fault. Why have you deserted me now in this moment of trial.’

I stopped the motor of my boat. I needed some silence. Some small dollop of calm before I could face what I knew remained to be faced. If this was to be on my shoulders I would need to be ready. A hand appeared at the side of the pea-green boat and two men pulled themselves aboard, one on either side. ‘So Ferdov this is where you skulk to when you are needed.’

‘Father,’ I was amazed at the beads of water that dripped like topaz diamonds from his thick black beard. It had never shone so in the afternoon sun. ‘I did only what I felt in my bones I had to do.’

His valet, Rudo, grabbed me from behind and yanked hard on my arms, clasping my hands and wrists together tightly.

‘You’re hurting me.’

‘You like that, don’t you?’ Rudo breath rosewater assaulted my senses.

‘On your knees,’ My father punched me in the forehead. I sank to the teak deck of the boat on my knees.

‘This is a fine mess and you are responsible.’

‘I? I’m not the one who fell asleep.’

‘Yes but it was you who fed those silly notions of freedom and adventure to the dish. It was you who convinced him that there was more to life than being convenient conveyer of our food stuffs. You made him question his basic sense of self and now you see the result of your interference.’

‘But Father, I was only repeating what you had told me so many times.’

‘Do not try to cast aspersions on the legends of our family. Never has such a thing happened. I will not allow you to escape punishments.’

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every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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If 

I bought a cassette of If I at the Radio Shack in the Zeller’s Mall (now the Sydney Shopping Centre) when I was living in Cape Breton. In fact that is where I bought my first stereo system. They had a rack of discontinued, discounted cassettes from which I bought music that never showed up at the local record shop. We’re talking early 70’s.

 

This British band has a great jazz sound – a British Blood, Sweat & Tears. I loved that cassette. Each track is sweet & still contemporary – it could be released this week & sound fresh. Dockland is brilliantly moody. The horn work is superb, as are the lyrics, the singing.

I kept my eye out for more by them for decades. Nothing else by them reached Cape Breton. None of my music buddies ever heard of them. They got reviewed by the US rock press: ie Rolling Stone. As far I know they never had a hit song. When I upgraded from cassette to CD this was one cassette I wanted to replace before the tension was shot but I could find nothing. It was as if they disappeared. Then in I found a 2008 CD compilation ‘What Did I Say About The Box Jack’ of tracks from heir first albums. I was happy to hear those songs I knew & some that I had never heard. The booklet was excellent too.

When I finally upgraded my internet to high speed I did a search & downloaded mp3 version of their first two lps & a live concert from 1972. If you are unfamiliar with If, that first lp is worth tracking down. Or if it’s still around the 2008 compilation.

Care

‘You’re nothing but trouble.’ Drak resisted the temptation to hit. He knew hitting would get some response but would also slow things down. And things were going badly enough as it was. ‘You hear me? Trouble.’

‘Yes,’ Steve stepped back. ‘Sorry. I’m …’

‘I know what you are trying to do.’ Drak lost control and the back of his hand smacked Steve across the cheek before he could stop himself. Struck Steve twice more and was stopped on the third blow by a hand that clenched his wrist. Hurt it.

‘Enough of this. There’s too much at stake for you two to be playing at enemy with each other.’

‘Sorry Sis Care’

‘Sorry Sis Care.’

The two men were ashamed.

‘But he …’

‘Drak,’ Sis Care stood firmly before them. ‘I don’t want explanations or excuses. I want action. Not infighting. You know that.’

‘Yes.’ Drak answered.

‘You both understand that?’

‘Yes,’ Steven muttered.

‘Drak, you understand that don’t you?’ Her face was inches from his interface.

‘Yes, Sis Care. It’s just that …’

‘I said, no explanations and no excuses. This one is the last one.’ She tapped the laser pistol at her side. ‘I don’t need much to make me use this. You both know that.’

‘Yes,’ they replied.

‘Okay. Now we have less than ten minutes before we rejoin Group R. Have you laid all the trip wires?’

‘Three to go but Steve here was …’

‘Drak, cut the crap. Three to go and they take five minutes each to set. We have ten. Get your asses in gear.’

The three of them laid the trrace2 wire filaments along the base of the copter pad and over the catwalk entries. Once all of these optic paths where broken the blast would be set off..

‘Hurry up,’ Sis found herself impatient with Steve. ‘What are you fumbling with there anyway?’

‘Sorry, I get …’ Steve reddened as the ply slipped from his hands.

‘Give it to me.’ She snatched it up. ‘I’ll finish this off.’

As she picked it up Steve stepped on her hand.

‘Not so fast, Sis.’

She had her laser in her hand before he could react. A blast ripped through his arm and sent him sprawling ten feet away from her.

‘What …’ Drak raced over.

‘I guess he wasn’t your fault after all. Okay we’re done here. Let’s go.’

‘What about?’ Drak nodded at Steve.

‘Leave him. He’s not one of ours.’

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http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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Mendelssohn

I have a 40 cd boxset of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Masterworks – I did replaced the one that had some of his organ works with a downloaded complete organ works. Even at 40 cds this is a sampling of his output. He died at 38! He either burned out like a lightbulb or exploded like a supernova.

I did have a some lps, then cd’s of his work before I  picked up this set. I knew the hits, as it were, but that was all. Like many composers he was reduced to a few concert warhorses & of course the Wedding March. The box set includes complete: symphonies, piano concertos, violin concertos, chamber music, choral works, lieder, some oratorios & more. 

I bought it at HMV for about $70. The sound quality is good, though the recoding levels change from cd to cd. some are louder than others. The musicianship is excellent including the likes of Kurt Masur, Dietrich Fischer-Dieshaku. So it was a solid investment in my classical collection.

Mendelssohn is a romantic composer in the Beethoven sense – rich, playful, emotive works for piano, orchestra that sweep me away, though he rarely becomes as over-the-top as, say, Liszt or Chopin. It is delightful music that doesn’t call attention to technique.

 

Much of it was new to me and his choral music lead to my greater enjoyment of that form. He also incorporates choir & solo voices into some of his symphonies. I added the organ music for the melodic work & also to have an organ version of the wedding march, which to me is rather funereal & spooky. ‘Here comes the deceased, all dressed in pine”

Death

‘Did you know Greg well?’ Jane asked the sullen man beside her.

‘Met him a few times in the neighbourhood. You know at the annual street sale. Sometimes I’d stop to chat while he was working on the front bed of his?’

‘Front bed?’

They had both stepped out of the funeral home chapel to smoke.

‘Garden. A little patch of tulips & crocus. He kept pretty much to himself. Did you know him?’

‘Same as you. I have the house cross the back laneway from his. We’d wave sometimes when he was mowing the back lawn but that was it.’

‘So you live in this neighbourhood, too?’

‘Yes. I have seen you at the corner store a few times.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Well, sad though isn’t it?’

‘It happens.’

‘Makes you wonder though, just how well you know people. Like he’s lived here nearly 15 years and I didn’t even know his name.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Yours is?’

‘Jane Brown. That’s my husband over there.’

‘Right. Good looking man.’

‘Thanks. And yours?’

‘My husband isn’t quite that real. Single life.’

‘I mean your name?’

‘Ah, right. David Peters. I’m at 46 Amber and you?’

‘52 Green.’

‘Amber is that one street away. We’re nearly neighbours too.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Small world, yet it seems too far at the same time. A few hundred yards. Sorry I never got to know Greg better. Not many other gays in this area, you know.’

‘Haven’t given it much thought.’

‘I suppose not.’

‘You knew Greg was … gay?’

‘Not that we ever talked about it but that rainbow flag, single white male living alone except for the occasional male visitor. It adds up.’

‘Rainbow flag?’

‘Yeah, in the back yard. I think he had one in the front too. That one would go up around gay pride.’

‘Oh, that’s what that was all about. The changing banners, I just thought there were decorations not signals.’

‘See, you’re learning more about him already.’

‘So you are … gay too?’

‘Yep. Not much point is pretending otherwise.’

‘Strange that you’d live so far from the heart of town … you know … where I understand most of that goes on.’

‘I like it out here. Quieter, feels safer even if it isn’t.’

‘Isn’t safer?’

‘Oh yeah. Didn’t you hear about the swarming at the school a block over. Pretty nasty stuff. Glad I’m not closer to the school than I am. But yeah, this is pretty much like the neighbourhood I grew up in. Nice houses with families.’

‘Doesn’t keep death away from the door though does it.’

‘Not many places do Jane. Not many places do.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet