#Nanowrimo 2017 Playlist

As usual I’ve put together a extensive, very mixed, playlist for working on nano this year. In no particular order here is the over 36 hours of music. King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (Expanded Edition) – I do have this as a standalone but wanted those bonus tracks. Faith, Hope & Charity: Faith, Hope & Charity (Expanded Edition) – one of those obscure disco/r’n’b: sweetly retro & fun; Best of Ruth Crawford Seeger – what,s better than an obscure, American, female, classical composer – mostly solo piano stuff.

Coast Modern Taarabu (6hr): Mpango Mzima – hey, a huge collection of bouncy, almost tribal music from Zanzibar; Superfruit: Future Friends – because some new queer pop music was a must have; Billy Strange: Goldfinger: The Big Sound of Billy Strange, His Guitar and Orchestra – someone posted Billy’s take on the Munsters’ Theme on tumblr & I had to have it. fun stuff in the Sandy Nelson mode. When the Sun Goes Down, Vol. 11: Sacred Roots of the Blues – exactly what it says: rare 20’s/30s recordings of gospel music. Janis Joplin: See See Rider (From the Beginning): a set of Janis – live before she even meet Big Brother: the coffee house days & great to hear. Sid Bass: Moog España, From Another World – these are two lps of crazy moog with big band. España is hilarious.

Hannes Kästner: Bach.Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – bought this as a single track as it was touted as the very best recording ever of the Toccata by anyone. Mount Kimbie: Love What Survives – electronic in the Aphex Twin mode; Future Beat Alliance: FBA21: Collected Works 1996 – 2017 – electronica in the S.U.N. Project mode; Jazznewblood ALIVE (Live at Iklectik/Efg London Jazz Festival 2016): this is a wow collection – someone posted a track on Tumblr & I had to have it. Deepest Blue: Late September, Deepest Blue remixes – I love the single Deepest Blue & wanted the remixes, the lp it comes from is Basement Jaxx lite.

Cher: Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves – a classic everyone should have & now I finally have it. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live/1975-85 (3hr 34min) – hey, I need & can appreciate some testosterone driven music too. Plus I’ve always had a hungry part for Bruce. The Foundations: Build Me Up Buttercup (The Complete Pye Collection) (3hr 10min) – who knew these one-hit-wonders recorded so much & all great soul music; Bela Bartok: Sonatas & Romanian Folk Dances – those Folk dances stir up more than dust on the dance floor. these are propulsive, romantic & great typing speed music. Madonna: Like a Virgin – another classic everyone should have & now I finally have it.

How did a Muttman meet anyone? He saw that unasked question in Sam’s eyes. After his misadventure with the Danish guys he knew his gaydar was totally fucked up. How could he not see that they were … amusing themselves with him.

But that was how he felt when he first met Patrick at that cocktail party. Patrick was at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design as a lecturer for the film department. Mike hadn’t heard the lecture but had been invited to the cocktail party.

How did Patrick know he was queer? He never did find that out. Had Raphael pointed him out? Was it that mysterious thing some gay men had, to recognize it in a stranger.

Patrick picked up that he was queer. Even though he’d been direct Mike didn’t quite believe him. Handsome out-of-town lecturers were only interested in young hairless swim team guys. Yet they were in bed at Patrick’s hotel within the hour. Both a little tipsy but eager and flush with appreciation for each other.

Patrick really wasn’t what one would call a pretty boy either but a good reputation always added to a man’s good looks.. Not that that mattered much to Mike. Flesh was flesh. When the opportunity presented itself he was happy to accept it.

How long had it been before that night with Patrick? Five or six years since he’d touched a man. God, that last time was hell. As bad as Sam’s kindness. That politesse around offering the homely advice to avoid investing one’s own cock.

What was the point of it all? To be queer and find that men didn’t want you? He’d tried women but there was nothing there. Fuck! God why? It just wasn’t fair. He should have moved to be with Patrick that first year when the energy between them was high. Then this wouldn’t be happen. No, but he had his job, a career that he couldn’t leave.

Well, this is the price for that and, now where was he? Having some Eurotrash petty boys lead him on? Having some smug stranger tell him where ugly men could buy sex. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

The sun glinted off a brass sign at eye level.

Musee Lumiere.

The grey brick building was nondescript in the context of the other buildings around it. He knew some of them dated from the 1700’s but this wasn’t one of them. More like Victorian, he decided, judging by the turret in one corner and detailing around the doors and windows. Three stories high with a spiked row around the roof with brass orbs that gleamed in the sun.

Four well worn red sandstone steps led to the imposing front door. Double doors with stained glass panels over carved inserts; stained glass panels on the narrow panels on either side of the door. All the stained glass and the wood carving played on the fleur de lis. He went in.

“Bon jour.” A young woman cheerfully greeted him.


“Welcome, sir.”

Was his accent that bad? He paid the admission fee.

“There is a new installation on the second floor.”

“Thank you.”


Why was there such quiet in these places? The shuffle of shoes on the floor, polite coughing, whispers and pointing. There was museum personnel in each room. They would turn on and off the lamps, ceiling fixtures, wall mounts, if you asked. The first room was made to look like a cave pre-historic humans would have lived in. Once the lights had been lowered, the uneven walls were lit by flickering flames in low stone dishes of animal fat. The smell wasn’t unpleasant at first.

“How did they manage?” someone behind him asked. “That isn’t enough light to do anything.”

Mike stayed for a few moments after the other few people had left. The room was silent. He couldn’t hear street sounds or the creaking of feet on the floor around him. So this is what it was like back in the day. Not like the movies at all where there would enough light from a single flame to illuminate an entire cave.

Each of the subsequent rooms took him through various era. Tallow candles, wax candles, torches. With each the guide would dim the lights so there was only the one light source.

“How many candles would it take to light a room in a medieval castle?” he asked the guide.

“Better yet who would light them all?” S man beside him asked in English. Then he repeated Mike’s and his questions in French.

The guide explained that it sometime took so many candles to light a room some would have to be replaced by the time the last ones were lit.

The man explained this to Mike. He was ebony black. About Mike’s height and hefty. The man spoke French freely with the guides and more than once explained to Mike, in English, what he had just been told.

In each room Mike was taken by how movies had changed history. Until the electric light bulb came into use most corners were in shadow. The light people had wasn’t a constant single glow but would flicker depending on impurities in the oils, depending on air flow. He had a greater respect for writers who worked in candle light. Bad enough to write War and Peace by hand and to have to do it by unsteady light too.

The second floor was devoted to the gas era and gave way to the electric era.

“Movies made gaslit rooms look so bright.” Mike remarked to his companion.

“Of course. How would you see the faces of the their magnificent movie stars.”

The installation on the third floor was the latest in l.e.d and holographic images. The technology left Mike cold. Not practical enough. No one was going to read by this kind of art.

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Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington is/was a jazz grand master. A bold innovator who fought racism, classism & proudly employed known gay creators like Billy Strayhorn. This is the sort of jazz I once hated – too smooth, too swing, & too much my Dad’s music. But I got over that thanks partly to the Time-Life Giants of Jazz series of 3 lps box sets that included one of Ellington which I transferred to 2 cds. I dug his wild early work with voices. I kept finding inexpensive lps of compilations like Monologue, Early Years, Primping For The Prom which also received the lp to cd transfer treatment.

He composed many jazz tone poems, suites of connected pieces that explored Harlem, revival meetings; as well creating classics like Take the A train, Sophisticated Lady. Black Brown Beige (featuring Mahalia Jackson) pushed jazz to a neo-classical area without strings. Amazing.

On a couple of mp3 collections I have two different live sets: Live at Newport; The Great Paris Concert: I had Paris as lp but found a cd release with bonus tracks – yea. On Afro-Eurasian Eclipse & Togo Bravo suite he explores World Music rhythms. His soundtrack for Anatomy of a Murder is wonderful.

Togo Brava is one of my few remaining cassettes – mainly because I have never found it in any other form. At least I think it is Togo Brava – my handwritten label maybe be wrong – I love it though.


Ellington wasn’t afraid to stretch himself with amazing recordings with a couple of jazz revolutionaries. His Ballads with John Coltrane is sublime, resonant, romantic and a must hear. On Money Jungle he tangles with Charlie Mingus & Max Roach & produces, for me, his most radical work. Driving, dissonant & timeless. This is what Bad Plus strives for, & occasionally reaches, but never overtakes.

This is a review is totally fabricated – from artists’ names, instruments, languages & locations. One way I want to create the mythos of Isle St. Nuit is via this indirect third party of inclusions of details about the Isle.

Dans Le Jardin: In The Garden – Telmanna Dix Morlanda – Telmanna’s new cd is a delight from start to finish, especially to those of us who have followed his career for the last several years. Despite his dark Latin looks he has managed to avoid the Americanization that has befallen too many other’s.

His current album which concentrates on the music of Isle St. Nuit follows in the footsteps of his recordings of music from Cuba, Panama and Brazil. He moves with ease from various dialects and complex rhythms. This album is mainly performed in the St Nuit patois which is a mix of French, Spanish and African tribal dialects.

Several of the songs are taken from the Livre Santitina, a collection of ritual songs and dances for the worship of the three snakes. Some are  adaptations of children’s songs.

Telmanna is joined by L’Purle Valdez on three up tempo numbers. She brings her special sasqualla rhythms with her from Panama. Hard to keep still when she tears into a song, any song.

For those of you unfamiliar with this genre Dans Le Jardin makes a good introduction. Lyrics are in English and Nuit Patois, though in some cases not knowing what is being sung might add to your pleasure.

The title song is powerful in its use of native instrumentation – the galida (a three string lute like gourd) players combined with the relentless drumming and percussion will draw the listener very quickly into the thick of a Santitina ceremony. The lyrics call upon the spirits to guide, protect, and if necessary kill all adversaries. The last track, running at nearly forty minutes, ‘Mort de Marie’ tells the story of the death of the Virgin Mary that somehow, and I’m not familiar with this particular St. Nuit legend, allowed for the freedom of the slaves.

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November 1-30

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Fleetwood Mac

By Fleetwood Mac I have on various mp3 collections Mac; English Rose; Chicago Jam; In Chicago; Play On; Penguin; Fleetwood Mac; Tusk; Tango in the Night. As well as stand alones a pair of 2 cd sets: Black Magic Woman; Very best of. So you might say I’m bit of a fan but I started following them long before they became huge.

My first Fleetwood Mac was the lp Play On – it was the cover art that attracted me. The music was an odd mic or rock, blues & an odd strain of jazzy prog rock. Rattlesnake Shake rocked out. It was an lp I always enjoyed because of the range of styles it covered. Then at Radio Shack I found cassette of their early stuff which was more basic British blues & I really enjoyed it. It was a revelation to hear the original Black Magic Woman. A song Santana transformed.

They sort of vanished except for the instrumental Albatross then abruptly resurfaced with that new line up, that new sound & I was fan of their radio-friendly work. I had some of these as Lps at the time & was happy to replace them with mp3. Big Love was great video. The emotional soap of their relationships produced great music – so good it was more compelling, to me, than the emotional soap of their relationships.

Thanks to high speed (as opposed to dialup) I tracked down more of their early releases like English Rose & the legendary In Chicago where they jam with the likes of Willie Dixon. The stand alone’s are nice completions of the early Black Magic Woman era & then one of the resurgence with live takes of their hits. Also tucked on a shelf is Chicken Shack: a solid blues band that included  Christine Perfect before she joined Mac.



John stood in the small chapel. A narrow window let some light fall on the cross half way up the wall. A rough pine bench with a cloth over it was the altar. All was silence

Fort Harwood was empty when they arrived. The surge of expectation and hope they had felt when they had first seen it quickly evaporated.

Silent and empty and cold. It was like a house waiting for someone to move in. A house in which no one had ever lived.

None of the small huts outside the walls of the fort or the barracks inside held any hint of occupancy.

‘Too clean picked for Injuns.’ Pete sucked air through his broken smile. ‘Can’t see a sign of anything. Not a scrap.’

There was wood for fire, water in the well, hay for the horses.

John made sure he’d looked in every room at least once. Opened cupboards, glanced under beds even pried up floor boards that had tramped hollow under foot. Nothing.

He’d kept the chapel for last. Frank had already been through he knew but he had to be here with himself before he’d believe.

He put his Bible on the altar and knelt. He opened the first page and read the names of his family. Mothers, fathers, children, going back several generations. He would call those spirits into this place. This was all he knew to do. Each name was a link in the rosary of his life that he knew would take him into the future so that he would hand this book down to his children to dot eh same.

‘Preacher Boy! Taking to yourself?’

‘No.’ John stood with his family around him. ‘Clyde you could do with a little of this yerself don’t you think.’

Clyde stepped back. ‘Watch you mean? I got no time for God and all that. He hide the people here? He look after them or what? There was a couple of hundred here last fall and where are they?’

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

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Good Grofé Grieg

Next on the classical shelf are a couple of composers that I have strong childhood memories of: Grieg and Grofé. In grade school there was a music teacher who travelled from school to school to open our minds to music notation, singing & classical music. One day she brought a Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite & perhaps played all of it but I know in particular In The Hall of The Mountain King with its loping, running down the mountain rhythm.

The Grofé memory is a TV commercial for Moosehead’s Ten Penny Beer – a cartoon of a moose walking in the desert to a section of On The Trail There’s a saloon, a gun fight & beer. A sly of introducing children to classical music & the joys of beer. Grofé is best known for the Grand Canyon Suite. On a stand-alone of his orchestra suites I have it along with his Mississippi & Niagara Falls Suites. Also I have Tomita’s electronic take on the suite – fun with sound effects.
By Edvard Grieg I have an mp3 collection of his Complete Orchestral Works (over 8 hours). I bought this from iTunes a few years ago when I saw the price 🙂 He has an amazing sense of melody. This is lush, romantic music that includes his many Symphonic Dances, Lyric Pieces, concertos & the complete Perl Gynt. At one time I had a 3 lp box set that included some of these pieces so this was an upgrade from my lps to cd transfer of that. I love all of it & am slowly becoming familiar with it.

I also have a 2cd stand-alone set of his Works for Orchestra. Just the Peer Gynt Suites (as opposed to the whole thing) plus this Piano Concerto which is astonishing. Soaring, uplifting & romanic – if you’ve never heard it you must go to YouTube & hear it. 


There was danger everywhere. John knew that. Even the people who saved your life might want to take it the next day. He held his arms tighter around himself. The ground was hard beneath him. A rock pressed into the small of his back but he was afraid to move to ease that pang.

The pang tied him to reality. He didn’t want to fall asleep, to  drift off into a dream of home and warm soft beds. He had to stay alert so he could escape.

Escape! Where would he go? Into the night? Into the woods around him? No. He had to stay where he was but he had to remain alert. If these guys saw any more weakness in him he dreaded what would happen.

Already they mocked his learning, his Bible, his manhood. What was the point if this was all he had to look forward to in the morning? He’d have to find away to prove to him he wasn’t going to be an object of scorn.

A boot toe nudged his foot.

‘Rise and and rise.’ It was Grint. ‘Gonna make an early start today. Should get to Fort Harwood by night fall.’

John shook his head to wake. He had slept! When had he fallen asleep? He was supposed to stay awake and alert but his body had let him down. Let him fall into the trap of sleep. He could have been killed in the night or worse.

Well he’d show them today. There had to be a way.

‘Come on Preacher Boy read us a little something.’ Clyde sniggered. ‘Words’ll make you a good breakfast.’

‘Mock not the Lord.’ John opened his Bible at random.

‘Let the kid alone. Taint his fault he got sense Clyde.’

There was some hard tack and weak coffee for the start of their day. It trail wrapped around the rolling hills like a stream. The cool of fall had begun the change in the leaves and the red and yellows sprung up like small fires around them.

‘Good air here.’ Frank nodded to a rise ahead of them. ‘Last hill before the Valley.’

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

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School For #sfScandal

Took in Antoni Cimolino’s production of R.B. Sheridan’s School For Scandal, our final Stratford production of the year at the Festival Theatre, on Tuesday. As per usual we left Toronto around 9:15 for to drive leisurely – 401 to Cambridge where we always stop at a Tim Ho’s for a washroom break & a coffee, then a welcome stop at the Shakespeare pie shop  http://www.shakespearepies.net  for meat pies. We would arrive in Stratford by noon for lunch, usually at Features. 

The weather was perfect for the drive. Sunny but not overly warm. Traffic on 401 was fine the first hour then bam! to snail crawl – three lanes of it moving nowhere slowly. Why? We find out when we get the Guelph Line where traffic was reduced to a single lane & detoured along the Line 😦 We had to make a washroom stop along with way at a Country Time. Skipped lunch, didn’t get back to 401 for an hour or so & finally got parked in Stratford at 2:15. Needless to say we missed the curtain going up on the show – the detour was the real scandal. But we didn’t give up on the show. All we missed was the first scene. I can read that if I need to.

Once my racing brain had settled in somewhat I was quickly immersed in the production. The text is essentially nasty one liners & comic retorts. Characters are created with names: i.e. Lord Backbite. The performances were lively, arch, sincere & delicious. Costumes were great, wigs were perfect. It was clear that the cast really enjoyed their roles & the dialogue they were given to perform.

The nature of gossip, truth & alternate facts were very clear & a great comment on our modern day life in which being malicious is often the point – it doesn’t matter who the object of the maliciousness is. Being clever & nasty that is the point. Name calling only counts if the name you are calling is witty enough.

A superb production that I’d recommend except this was the last performance. It almost made the hell drive okay but …. at least the pie shop was open on the way home & I got an amazing maple pecan butter tart to sooth my weariness.

Reviews of the other shows I’ve seen this season at Stratford & Shaw:

‘in the key of green’ Bakkhai http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2r0

A #Changeling For the Better http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2tg

A Bloodless #Dracula http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2uU

Tartuffe: The Dance Remix http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2w6

Me and My Lamp Post http://wp.me/p1RtxU-2xN


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My Talented Friends

With the festive season rapidly approaching it is a good time for me to recommend great gift options produced by many talented friends. Starting with some sweet sounds from SoulFistikato  the head nod. I met SoulF at Valentino Assenza’s Cryptic Chatter back in the day (time for a reunion show Val?). He (& frequent collaborated Dane Swan: whose excellent new book “He Doesn’t Hurt People Anymore” can be found on Amazon) are out of the slam scene. the head nod is a set of sampled, remixed & original instrumentals that are easy on the ear & uplifting to the spirit.

Charlie C Petch’s  Mel Malarkey Odes & Acts is a studio recording of their one-person Cabaret. I say Cabaret in reference to the musical as this is out of that vaudeville tradition – even the instrumental numbers have that Kurt Weill lilt. Charlie is another artist I first encountered at Valentino Assenza’s Cryptic Chatter back in the day (time for a reunion show Val?).

Carolina Brown’s Carolina Brown is a richly textured set of their songs. Compelling guitar work with raw & sometimes playful lyrics. Carolina confronts gender & transphobia directly & connects emotionally to the listener. I’ve heard Carolina several times & have enjoyed the fearless energy they use in creative expression in such a directly honest way that invites rather than challenges. Not that some of music isn’t challenging but it is a challenge one is willing to face.

Kris Gebhard’s Fairy Feather Files is another collection that confronts gender & transphobia directly & connects emotionally to the listener. Spoken-word with gentle marimba interludes that refresh the spirit. Kris presents difficult realizations with a tenderness that lets the listener hear the experience. I first heard Kris at Capturing Fire (produced by Regie Cabico) in Washington DC. Challenging in content at times but done in way affected way that draws you in emotionally.

So much for the audio portion of this post. Andre Prefontaine’s Freshwater Genteel & Saltwater Rage chapbook is full of fun, difficult, angry, not-so-fun but always honest poetry. Their writing is sharp, thoughtful, penetrating & human. I’ve seen Andre perform several times & each time am amazed & inspired. Contract him via Facebook to find out how to buy this book.

Finally Goddess X’s Blk Grl Sick: Tales from the Library Burned. I met X at Capturing Fire a few years ago & was stunned by their writing & their performance. The writing is powerful, raw, honest & clear. I always read poetry out-loud – this allows me to feel the words as opposed to slipping over them with eyes. In reading this book aloud I was caught up in the frustration & fears of being a black trans woman in the USA in way I didn’t expect. This is a fearless, challenging, fierce book.

Maybe these sound too challenging for Christmas gifts? Sure a pair comfy slippers would be nice but challenging someone to see the world around them in a different by giving them chance to leave their comfort zone is infinitely more rewarding. Take up the challenge it could also help change the way you see the world.

The Good Old Days

when I was a boy things were different

we’ve come a long way from those days

when there wasn’t anything to do

till the sun had come up

as there was no light allowed at night

stumbling in the dark

from one strip joint to the other

to listen to dancers in the dark

fleshly moist parts

pressed against your shoulder

the only part of the body

they were allowed contact with in the dark

now that we have light at night

it’s like going to the dentist

antiseptic and numbing

ah yes we all remember

those days when the only music

came from the slap of thighs

when the village women did the wash

as they whacked the dirt out of clothes


we didn’t have the worries we do today

then we worried about

how many smelt or moose

would the men catch

would there be enough

so that even a lad of ten

would have a fiver

to take to unlit strip bars

so the men could afford a soothing drink

to make up for the time it took

to wash the blood out of their hair

while the village women

whacked their clothes on moist rocks

to get the stain of smelt or the stink of moose

out of those rubbed-soft loose-fitting pants

that held the private parts

of the men they loved

those were the days when people loved


we had such pie in those days

small pans

so carefully tended in wood stoves

wood that we children had to find

we had to scour empty condo complexes

break off chair legs or hat racks

so we could be a part of things

so we could prove

we were good for more

than homework and giggling

because we loved to giggle

especially at the women

who spent so much time getting ready

for their shifts at the unlit strip bars

putting on sparkling fish scales

that no one would ever see

and the men hot and hollowed

would stagger home to fall asleep

on piles of wet laundry

licking their lips

waiting for the sun to rise


those were the days

when things were different

unlike now

when different

is just another brand name

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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I love movie soundtracks. I can’t count the number in my collection going as far back as (re-released) Busby Berkley numbers. Who can forget the shower of strings from Psycho? Though as soundtracks became more popular & the use of music in movies often so omnipresent one either stops listening or becomes distracted & longs for silence as opposed to a song that tells us what to feel because the script has failed to do so.

Often the only good thing about a movie is the soundtrack. 54 is one of those soundtracks. I have both volumes as stand alones – bought 2nd hand. The film is about the halcyon days of Studio 54 – the premiere legendary disco back in the day. I remember seeing photos of the celebs there, photos of the sweaty barely dressed waiters & go-go boys, photos of the dance floor crammed with gay men shirtless, some doing fan dances. I sure wanted to be there though I knew I’d never be let in – I didn’t have the abs or the money to fit in.

The film flopped despite a great performance by Mike Meyers. Like Studio 54 the script lacked emotional connections & relied on music & glitter & pretty people to make it work. The music is sensational. Some of it is also the soundtrack to my early years in Toronto. Songs that would keep me sweating not he dance floor – spinning around in my own world. Check out Oogie Inferno – a piece about those days.

I didn’t know many people who get washed over by a wave of almost tearful nostalgia when they hear songs like Dance Dance Dance by Chic, Don’t leave Me This Way by Thelma Huston or Grace Jones’s I Need A Man. I such such clear memories of dancing to these. Time for me to Fly, Robin, Fly.

Still Warm

‘Ah slow down boy. Yer ain’t no preacher, Preacher Boy.’

John glared at the scruffy man who had addressed him. The Bible in John’s hand gave him more strength than he felt.

‘Don’t take no preacher to know what the good book says.’

‘Yeah. Look boy,’ the man pushed his grimy face closer to John’s. ‘No book gonna keep me from ripping your guts out if ya don’t keep yer mouth closed. You unnersan that.’

The man grabbed the Bible from John and tossed it to the ground. ‘We got one God out here and that’s the sky above us. It rains we get wet, it suns and we get dry. Pretty simple. Unless you got a book that’ll tell us when it’ll rain or sun?’

John was at a loss for words. As he stooped to pick up his book he felt a twinge in his left hip where he had been mauled by some animal. These men had found him. Men he thought were a God send but now he wasn’t sure if there weren’t of the Devil himself.

‘Good thing we had that rain when we did or there’d be none to drink.’

John looked around at the four men. Pete was dark, maybe Mexican, and was sometimes called Pedro Pete. Small but stronger than the others. Missing teeth made his crooked smile a joke to the other men.

‘Give us yer fence posts Pete maybe they’ll hold some cattle for us.’ Clyde would say.

Clyde was the one who didn’t brook no book learning. He didn’t want no one telling him anything especially some Preacher Boy. He gave that name to John when he found the Bible in John’s belongings.

Frank was the oldest of them John figured but didn’t have much to say. Just watched and kept them moving along the trail. They hoped to find gold somewhere but didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to do anything.

Grint was the last of them. A plotter. When they had thought John was dead that first time they stumbled across him John had heard Grint going through his belongs, dividing them up between the four of them. It was Frank that had checked to see if the body was still warm. The body – his body – was warm.

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Beyond the 5th Dimension

5th Dimension’s Superhits starts off an mp3 collection that also includes Rare Earth; Ides of March; Sugarloaf; Colosseum; Ten Wheel Drive; and Yellow Balloon. A very mixed blast from my past. Superhits is an all too short completion of 5th Dimension’s radio singles. The strongest of which were their Laura Nyro (genius) covers. But what I remember best is their costumes. Clothes that were so over-the-top the songs became secondary to what they were wearing – so secondary in fact they were never taken seriously as musicians or singers. Slick commercial packages were the thing then (that hasn’t really changed mind you).

Fun aside: for many years I would find The Byrds: 5D – Fifth Dimension filed with the Fifth Dimension’s lps in record stores & sometimes vice versa. I suppose in some ways they were interchangeable: feel good bands in wild costumes. 5th never embraced country the way The Byrds did, though Marlyn McCoo did give it a try as her career faded after Solid Gold.

Rare Earth, perhaps best remembered for ‘I Just Want to Celebrate,’ are still active!! Here I have early lps: Anthology, Get Ready, Fill Your Head, Ecology: a horn driven r’n’b, nearly prog-rock band, they produced solid, elevated bar music that rocks with some memorable tunes. Ides of March: Vehicle – is another horn-driven band sounding like Blood, Sweat & Tears (BST) that managed one bit hit: Vehicle. More of that US jazzy prog-rock with tracks like Symphony for Eleanor (Rigby).

Then there’s Colosseum: with their album Ides of March – not to be confused with the above. Another early 70’s US, jazzy prog-rock, horn band that I only added when I found them while looking for the band Ides of March. A happy discovery mind you. I didn’t realized BST had spawned so many imitators.

Another one hit wonder is Sugarloaf: anyone recall Green-Eyed Lady? A slightly folksier version of Grand Funk Railway – this is fine bar music with solid singing, horns & over-riding masculinity. The reverse is Ten Wheel Drive’s Construction. Lots of horns, jazzy soul but with powerhouse Genya Ravan as lead singer. She was groomed replace Janis Joplin & has the voice to do it but stepped back from the star machine. The band is more jazz than BST, the music more bluesy than pop. I have more of their lps tucked away in other mp3 collections. Genya Ravan is a seminal force for female rockers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genya_Ravan.

Finally Yellow Balloon: as light as their name. Association/Beach Boys harmonies & a solid, over-looked treat. This ended up here thanks to going Up Up & Away in my yellow balloon. The group is notable for featuring Don Grady of My Three Sons fame.

The Night’s Wash

Was that weeping?

John pulled his thin blankets tighter around him. One thing the horse was good for was to keep him warm. It was colder now than it had been. A shred of smoke hung over his fire.

A sound had brushed his ear and pulled him awake. He rolled carefully onto his back. No sound, just the wind, leaves rustled.

He could smell something though. Something not horse. Something … he heard the sound again. A bit of  whimper. Not human.

He pulled his legs up close to him. His eyes squinted into the dark but made out nothing. Just the few trees, stars above.

The smell. What was that smell?

A wet touched his ear. He bolted to his feet and fell back over his saddle bag, his feet tangled in rope.

‘Oh Lord no. Not like this.’

His scream echoed and faded. He caught his breath. On his back. Looking up at the sky.

Movements. Something moved around him now. Heavy. Plodding. What should he do. Curl up into a ball? Play dead?

It was real. Finally real. Not a dime novel about facing down a bear but a real bear. It was a bear. It had to be.

Wet on his cheek. His forehead. More wet.


It was rain. A crack of lightening lit the clearing around him.


He could feel his heart as it slowed down.

What did he have to catch the rain in? Something. His cup and dish wouldn’t hold much. Could he fill the canteen. He’d left the spare with the horse. Empty.

Would there be enough rain to wash. Could he wash here in the night.

He peeled of his dusty cloths and hung them on branches. Chilled to the bone he rubbed a piece of cloth around his shoulders and down. Cold and clean. It felt good. The midnight rain would cleanse him. Purify him.

He couldn’t see through the rain.

God was good. This was good. The good new land would take him and care for him. He knew it would.

The paw struck him on the buttock and sent him into the brush.


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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

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Paul Desmond 

I remember first time I heard Brubeck’s Take Five  – it was Paul Desmond’s sex that drew me in, not Brubeck’s piano. Inventive without being dissonant Desmond is master musician. Seeing his name on an Lp is enough to guarantee good music. I heard Ten Five as a TV show intro, I think, or maybe on the radio & loved it. I picked up an lp of Brubeck’s hits.

He left Brubeck & launched a highly-successful solo career than spans decades. He’s explored duets, solos, groups – done covers of pop – his Paul Simon tribute lp is amazing. Over 2 mp3 collections I have, on the first: Two of a Mind – with Gerry Mulligan – his replacement in Brubeck’s group; Skylark; Pure; East Of The Sun; Bridge Over Troubled Water; alive set – Take the A Train with Brubeck; to round things out is Zoot Sims’ In A Sentimental Mood – another amazing sax play with less dry sound.

On the other is The P.D. Quartet Live: a double lp set with a fantastic Manha De Carnival; Duets: reunion with Brubeck: Koto Song is amazing. This cd is rounded out with with Brubeck’s Blues Roots featuring Mulligan – strong solid & less populist than Brubeck’s earlier work. Some very modern Russell Gunn: Mood Swings: I love this guy. A trumpet player in the Davis mold he does sweet & challenge work her. St Germain’s Tourist is a fine remix that gives jazz a dance club feel & everyone should own this amazing collection.

A couple of stand-alones: Feeling Blue: late night romantic & sweet; Bossa Antigua – Desmond explores latin rhythms frequently & this a set of nothing but Bossa & he gives it a relaxed compelling treatment.



John nudged the soft stomach of the horse with his foot. The horse’s head lifted slightly and the eye blinked open.

‘So yer on yer last legs! Ya useless nag.’

John felt no affection or sorrow for the horse. After three weeks on the trail the only bond between them had been the loose ropes that held the saddle or pulled the bit when John wanted to stop.

Flecks of foam drooled out of the horse’s mouth. John didn’t even want to waste a bullet to put the beast out its misery. He felt it was the horse’s fault, slipping like that on the bank of the dry river. A slip that broke a leg and now the beast lay useless.

John cursed himself. He shouldn’t have let that guy talk him into this old dun mare when he had his eye on a younger pie-bald. But the price was right at the time. Things he had to be careful of – money and bullets. He knew enough not to waste either of those commodities on anything.

When the horse had slipped and broken its leg he didn’t realize what had happened till he’d tried to get it back on its feet.

‘Horse,’ he’d said. ‘git up. Tis no time for restin’ here.’

But the horse had whinnied in pain and limped only a few steps before collapsing once again. It had taken him the better part of the day to get his saddle bags out from under it.

He prodded the horse once more and walked up to the higher bank. Dust everywhere. He felt he hadn’t been clean for weeks and now this. A horse he hadn’t even bothered to name. The dealer called her something but John hadn’t bothered to recall.

He looked at the pile of things he had to carry. Food, blankets, his Bible. How much of this stuff would he have to do without now?

He recalled the various pieces of furniture he had already passed on this trail. Wardrobes, kitchen chairs, stuff discarded to lighten the load of the wagons. He’d never catch up to those wagons now.

‘I won’t need that saddle.’ But he was reluctant to leave it despite the dead weight of it. It was a good saddle. Perfect for him but he knew it would get heavier with each foot step.

‘Pity to leave ya like this.’

He started along the bank. With luck he might make some distance before dusk. Every step took him closer to what? He’d know that when he got there.

#Toronto #music #photography #Jazz #review #amwriting #spokenword #nanowrimo #Brubeck #sax #Ontario

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

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Over the Fields I Go

Next in ‘f’ is an mp3 collection that sprawls over styles, genres, years & countries. Filed under ‘f’ thanks to a couple of lps by Lee Fields & The Expressions: My World, Faithful Man: this is modern, muscular, retro R&B in the Wilson Pickett, Lou Rawls style. Dynamic horns, aggressive yet romantic hyper-masculine, heteronormative music. I love it. I think I heard a track on So You Think You Can Dance? (SYTYCD) & searched it out.

The same is true for Sam Smith – I have his In The Lonely Hours (Delux Versions), Nirvana. A male Adele his work is emotional, romantic & in some ways the opposite of Lee Fields – Smith is an out gay man & his romance is gentle but thanks to market pressure not directly about male-on-male. Full of unnamed longing for an un-gendered love object.

A live set, En Obras by Almendra an Argentinian rock band. An ep by The Sherlocks: First Bite of The Apple – that I heard about via Tumblr. Well-Strung – is a singing, gay-male, string quartet who do covers of things like Rolling in The Deep. All handsome guys as talented as they are hot. The band name is a take on well hung – which they also live up to.

Another  SYTYCD discovery was David J. Roch: Skin & Bones (Bonus Track Version) – another of those aching voices full of longing, emotional need & arching melodies that allow for the dancers’ reach deep into the dark striving to grasp the unreachable. Malo: Celebracion: a collection of singles from a nearly forgotten 70’s latino band that sprung up in the shadow of Santana – more rootsy & funky than Santana. More about them when we get to ‘m.’

Wait there’s even more on this over 8 hour mp3 collection: Jungle – modern dance music that I read about in Entertainment Weekly a year or so ago & I wasn’t disappointed. Diverting & a nice balance to the emotional overwrought Smith & Roch. Finally a fine set of remixes & originals out of Royksopp: Late Night Tales.


The squeak of sneakers echoed around the gymnasium.

Squeak plod plod squeak thump thump plod plod squeak squeak.

The two teams moved back and forth across the basketball court.

Squeak plod plod squeak thump thump plod plod squeak squeak.

Caliban threw the ball to Lear. It fell short and bounced up to hit him in the face. I didn’t know if I should laugh or be alarmed.

The ball bounced from his face to his still moving foot which sent it arcing into rafters. For the first time I looked up, way up, to the roof of the auditorium. The ball was lost in the dark past the lighting grid.

‘Good one Lear.’

‘Yeah this isn’t soccer ya know.’

‘Bet yer balls never flew that high.’

The other team teased as they waited for the ball to return. There was a dull hollow bump as it hit somewhere in the gloom above us. A few flakes of disturbed dust floated down but no ball.

‘Don’t tell me you’ve re-written the laws of gravity. Not so hard for you to do, is it.’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Caliban stood chest to chest with Frastine captain of the other team.

‘You two are, shall we say, already unnatural.’

‘Oh yeah!’


Lear pulled them apart. ‘Grow up! Both of you.’

The ball thumped to the ground. It was covered with random bite marks.

‘Oh so that’s it.’ Frastine wiped the ball clean. ‘You got the Vermets up there on your side. Trust you two to start calling on the little forces.’

‘Trust you not to.’ Caliban started to walk away.

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘It means let’s get this game back on track.’ Lear took the ball and turned it around in his hands before he gave it a few test dribbles. ‘Seems to have bounce enough. Here we’ll give you guys the advantage.’

He threw the ball to Frastine.

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


November 1-30

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice cream in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr