P.D.Q. Williamson vs Godzilla

I discovered Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003) the Australian composer thanks to the music in the horror/suspense movie Crescendo. One plot thread was an unfinished concerto the music for which was provided by Williamson. This is how I sometimes discover music. On this mp3 cd compilation I have his Overtures & Complete Piano Concertos. Mid-century romantic with, at times, over-the-top emotionalism. Great stuff.

Peter Schickele (1935) goes back to my life on the east coast. He is a satirist & parody genius. Some of his parodies do require a but of classical knowledge but the absurdity or his quintet that includes bagpipes & lute is easy to grasp. Another piece is the copying of a dozen symphonies strung together – the origins of sampling? here I have Peter Schickele Presents an Evening with P. D. Q. Bach (1807–1742)? (1965); An Hysteric Return: P.D.Q. Bach at Carnegie Hall (1966). As stand-alone I have On Report from Hoople: P. D. Q. Bach On the Air which features the hysterical play-by-play commentary on a performance of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as if it were a baseball game. 

Camerata Hungarica: Music to Entertain the Kings of Hungary 1490-1526 – this is divine renaissance songs & dance music for small ensembles. Mostly shorter works – sometimes energetic, sometimes soothing but all times delightful. If you want an accessible cd of this period this is the one for you.

Finally another movie discovery: Akira Ifukube (1914-2006) a Japanese composer best known for his works on the Godzilla franchise: Works for Guitar & Lute. His classical music is modern, melodic & not at all Godzilla like 🙂 it is, if anything, a contemporary equivalent of Music to Entertain Kings (without scaring them). 

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Recap May 2022

They wouldn’t let me try it on 😦

The TOpoet.ca following blog grew to ! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That Canada tops the list is unusual. That Poland (Witaj Polsko) & Ecuador (Hola lectores en ecuador) are in the top 10 is a surprise. Hello to my fans in Morocco (مرحباً أيها القراء في المغرب)!

Picture Perfect -119 sections, about 169,000 words posted so far with  20,000 approx to be edited then posted. These last sections took a fair amount editing, fresh writing & even some minor side plot development as I inch closer to the final big scenes now that the remains of the abducted children have been found. 

Watched an amazing documentary ‘Firestarter – The Story of Bangarra’ which starts as history of the Australian aboriginal dance company & becomes a powerful mediation on the cost of creativity. The dancing is stunning, the music is incredible & the cost of creativity is heartbreaking. A must see that is streaming on TVO.

Watched Midsommar, bound to be come a season favourite. The depth of research was gratifying & the ritual aspects of the story were spot on & thought totally imaginary felt authentic. When I watch it again I will skip to when they arrive in Sweden as the first act is dreary & quickly drained my sympathy for any of the characters. By the time they got to the commune I was happy with all of them dying. 

The extras on our edition of the DVD were banal though I was surprised that only one, of all the leads was American, as I assumed they all were until I heard their actual accents: Irish, Scottish, & that weird accent that is sort of Manx-African-Aussie. Sadly the soundtrack lp contains none of the Swedish chanting – so I didn’t buy it.

Read an excellent set of short stories: 13 Views of the Suicide Woods by Bracken MacLeod. Eerie, scary, inventive well-written tales that are Twilight Zone extreme with explicit gore & violence. Highly recommended for any horror fans.

May has been a month full of of activity, of breaking routines & getting dirty. Dirty digging in the dirt to get my garden ready for the summer. Some hostas were split & halves replanted else where in the garden. All the perennials returned, some worse for winter wear mind you. Loads of annuals planted – asters, alyssum, begonia, marigolds, snap dragons, impatiens, daisies, pansies, petunias, coleus, plus seeds are sprouting for four kinds of morning glory. It will a colourful garden for sure. 

a side & b side 🙂 bluer than they appear here

Getting back to my roots by adding some Stonehenge Preseli bluestone to my rock/crystal collection. Part of Stonehenge is a ring of standing stones made of bluestone that is only found is & was quarried from Preseli, Wales. I did an esty search & ordered some. 

Coming up in June is a day trip to Stratford to see Hamlet – after the excellent Richard III we saw in May I’m looking forward to this season’s take on Hamlet.

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The Barbarians and Other Critters

This is the last of the five cd retro collection. The Barbarians, out of Cape Cod- one-hit wonder garage band from 1965 Their song ‘Are You A Boy or Are You A Girl’ gets its own Wiki page. The album of the same name is mainly fun covers of things like Mr. Tamborine Man. Uncomplicated rock music full of energy & hope. I remember this song & was one of those guys who was taunted on the street with that very phrase. A question I also asked myself growing up queer with no support or even guidance. I survived & remain a gay cismale. 

The Critters (New Jersey). Younger Girl (1966) – Mr Dieingly Sad. Similar to the Association – sweet soft folk-rock harmonies with some original tune & covers. One-hit wonders your mother would like. Songs of innocent young love. A few covers including nice take on the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Younger Girl. Today Younger Girl sounds a little creepy/pedo to me.

The Cyrkle: Red Rubber Ball 1966 (Pennsylvania) – includes Cloudy, Turn Down Day – similar to The Critters but with more of a rock edge, harmonies not as sweet or soft. I remember them from top 40 radio at the time as their big hit was cowritten by Paul Simon. They toured with the Beatles tanks to sharing Brian Epstine as manager. 

The Leaves (San Fernando Valley): All The Good That’s Happening (1966). A more bluesy version of The Crykle, edging into flower power but still safe too. They show up in the movie The Cool Ones! The Soul Survivors (Philadelphia): When The Whistle Blows I remember their Expressway To Your Heart from 1967 & those expressway sound effects. The the rest of the lp is sweet, soulful sort of funky & fun. My first taste of the Philly sound & the non-flower power world of pop.

For the rest of this compilation we leave the USA for some old country travel. These were all internet discoveries over the last decades – music I never would have heard on the east coast back in the day. Q65, out of the Netherlands, Revolution (1966). A tight bluesy band in the Paul Butterfield mold. Some traditional blues like Bring It On Home & original material too. From Switzerland comes The Shiver: Walpurgis 1969 – Hammond organ, “acid rock” – think Procol Harum not Deep Purple. Progrock originals & some great covers: i.e. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood 

The Twilights (Australia): Once Upon A Twilight (1968) is regarded one of the best Australian pop albums of the era. Who knew? Well recorded, tightly written & performed Aussie pop that doesn’t sound like the BeeGees 🙂 More or less a down under version of The Critters, in fact, with an international push they could have been as big as The Critters.

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Low Roar Faker

Coldplay opened the door for an endless series of introspective, soaring, soft-rock, shoe-gazer uplifting bands from everywhere. The sound is similar in the way the singer is miked & the music is engineered. Sweet, sometimes jangly guitars, touches of synth, burbles of electronica, strings & sensitive yearning lyrics.

From Iceland comes Low Roar. I have the self-titled Low Roar & 0 – I’m not sure if it is O or 0 though. Not that it matters. It is dreamy, shoe-gazer, electro folk. Relaxing. Out of Australia comes Chet Faker: Built On Glass. More of the same musically with perhaps a bit more energy & humour. Which is what one would expect with a name that parodies Chet Baker. I was hoping for some jazz in this Glass but there was none. From the UK comes Bear’s Den with Islands. Blindfold test & I cannot tell one from the other 🙂

Even before the emotive cool of Coldplay there was Brian Ferry. Perhaps more relaxed but a clear inspiration for many of these bands. In this mp3 compilation I have Avonmore. Gentle, soaring & sort of a sequel to his Avalon. No matter what he does it always sound like Roxy Music. No matter what Cold Play does it sounds like Cold Play.

To balance all this gentle pop I added Germany’s Einsturzende Neubauten: Ende neu Kleff. Electronica & homemade instruments this is a punchier version of Kraftwerk. One of their videos had been posted to Tumblr – it was hypnotic, propulsive & right up my ear alley. One lps was enough to satisfy & this is wild music but not too aggressive to listen to.

The same holds true for Underwater Noises. This is a globe hopping compilation of electronica all with some water element in the mix. I may have found this free on the Internet Archives site or perhaps Bandcamp. Finally is the soundtrack from Beasts of the Southern Wild. Evocative, comes rocking with Bayou funk this is a great soundtrack for a great movie.

(a piece from May 2007)

Sense of Absence

you’ve heard of phantom limb syndrome

well, I suffered phantom pubes

when I had them shaved for surgery

I didn’t realize how I relied on them

till they were gone

there was a constant sense of absence

as they grew back

reaching down in the morning

for a comforting little scratch

with no welcoming thatch of hair

for my fingers to work though

 

not that having them shaved

was much of a thing either

before it happened 

I had some worry about being aroused

an erotic shaving panorama

warm sudsy water

frothy white almond lather 

vanilla peppery smell

on the tip of an ultra soft brush

careful caressed on

hone stropped sharp blade

sliding through the soap

to leave me smooth as a baby

flesh tingling

 

it wasn’t a bit like that

a shoulder nudge at 5:30 a.m. 

‘here to shave you’

female was all I could tell

with light hitting my eyes

a spray bottle

like window cleaner

two cool antiseptic squirts

scrape scrape scrape

less than a minute

‘wipe off at the sink’

back in the bed 

a glance down

gone gone

my crowning glory gone

 

it lead me to wonder 

the why of pubic hair

certainly not ornamental

it can’t be one of those hormonal triggers

you know how girls 

flick their hair 

a come hither gesture

that is never done with pubes

not even in private

they don’t offer much

protective cover in case of emergency

they can be hard to get out of 

the teeth of a zipper

or of someone giving you a close inspection

 

phantom pubes

I could feel them

even when they weren’t there 

but at least that’s all that was removed
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