Jacksoul to Jamiroquai

There was a time whenMuchMusic actually showed music videos!! One of the Canada bands that shone was Jacksoul lead by the talented Haydain Neale. I have their ABsolute, sleepless, Resurrected as stand alones. The sound is radio & music video friendly sweet soul with jazz touches. The songs are plaintive, romantic, & smooth to the ear. Neale has/had a very appealing voice. Very John Legend. Sadly he died some years ago.


Next on the shelf are a couple of Mp3 collections that feature Jamiroquai: a funk/acid jazz group lead by singer Jay Kay. On one cd is Emergency on Planet Earth; Travelling Without Moving; A Funk Odyssey; Synkronized; on the other is Rock Dust Light Star, Dynamite. Jay’s voice is very Stevie Wonder. There have been some radio hits, dance floor hits too. Music with an ecological message that you can dance to. The album sound changes over time as they flirt with then embrace old school disco: strings, congas. Sexy, enjoyable & never challenging.


In the first MP3 collection are several indie eps I picked up at local poetry shows. A couple by DanJahRus: 2019, Sunrise. Hip-Hop rap with Dan’s mixing skills equal to his writing. DRP: Clever Title – son of a friend of mine had a sort of metal bar band & recorded some tracks in a basement. Youthful fun.

BC’s CJ Leon: Booty Music for Zombie Swingers; Street Corner Gothic – folk punk sexual anarchy with zombies. good sound quality. Toronto’s: Examples. Rex is a folk punk queer Japanese protest singer. We need more of this. Archie & The Bunkers is an organ based trio full to the brim with sweet, cheese surf music fun. Three Beards: bearded men writing & singing about their feelings.

Also some non-indie powerhouse albums. I became obsessed with the song Lonely Street & found a decent version on Mick Hucknall’s American Soul. Mick was lead singer for Simply Red. This was a come-back attempt with covers. Easy listening pleasant. Bob Dylan’s Tempest. A recent release I picked up more for nostalgia. He still writes well & sings well in a Tom Waits way. The same with Paul Simon’s So Beautiful or So What. Paul Simon never wrote a bad song & his voice is still intact, as is his sense of political irony. Finally: Debbie Gravitte – Defying Gravity – this a great Lp of Broadway songs, some obscure, some well-known. I love her version of that title track, from Wicked.

Stroke of Genius

‘Mambo?’ Ted gave Jim a playful shove. ‘Where did you get that name from?’

‘Just came to me.’ Jim snapped his fingers. ‘A stroke of genius.’

‘Yeah along with ‘dat acc’nt mon’?’

‘Well, those guys had it coming. Snooping around here every night. Had to give them something they could enjoy.’ Jim began to wipe the green make up off his chin. ‘Did you see his face. Boy, looked like he was about to crap his pants.’

‘Yeah, but ‘Mambo.’ Good thing you didn’t give any of the others names.’

‘Good idea. You can be ChaCha. Phil can be Tango.’

‘I don’t feel right about it though. What if they … ’

‘What? Tell on us? I can see them now at the Militia Office. These boys with red and green faces told us they would protect us from evil. That’d go over big around here.’

‘You did pick the red and green. Afraid of the blue and white.’

‘Ted this is for fun. I know enough not to cross the line. That would have been begging for trouble.’

‘Since when did that bother you?’

‘It doesn’t. Fear is an emotion I choose not to fear. But that doesn’t mean I’m an idiot either. Bad enough we used the right markings.’ He continued to rub at the make up around his eyes. ‘Is it all off?’

‘Sort of but I think you rubbed too hard.’

‘You too.’ He gave another playful hip shove that sent Jim sprawling. ‘You think the other guys got home okay.’ Jim stood.

‘Don’t they always.’ 

‘I don’t think …’

‘Then stop thinking. Let me worry about that. We’d have more fun if  you’d stop all that thinking. It’s not as if we are robbing the tourists, just putting a little of local fear into them. Get their imaginations going.’

‘It’s not all imagination and you know it.’

‘Yeah! So. It’s no fun to play in safe places. So this had a little more edge than the rag doll and pins routine. Gives them more for their dollar.’

‘I know. I spooks me. That’s all. Mama Gre’loo says we have to be careful with the forest spirits. This is the Season of Change and all things that start a change now must follow where it leads.’

‘You gotta stop listening to that foolishness. You sound like one of those tourists. You know?’

‘I know. Come on, let’s get that stuff washed off so we can get home.’


every Tuesday 2019


Stratford Festival – Henry VIII


Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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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Ian and Sylvia

I have more Ian & Sylvia than one might expect. I am a big fan of two of their mid-period recordings: Nashville and Full Circle but am sort of indifferent to their other work. There was a moment when they were to be Canada’s Sonny & Cher but Ian Tyson & Sylvia Fricker were musicians first & never became pop personalities.

They started as a sweet tradition folk duo on albums such as Four Strong Winds 64; Early Morning Rain 65. These consist of songs like Nancy Whisky, The Greenwood Sidie – given good but standard performances elevated by their harmonies. Their success inspired many folk groups in Cape Breton. On Lovin’ Sound 67 – they step into a slightly more pop sound & some original material – even some Dylan covers. They were stepping out of the narrow folk scene.

On Nashville 67 & Full Circle 68 they come into their own as writers & vocalists. I can hear some of these songs without having to listen to them 🙂 Ian’s voice is vulnerable, passionate and emotional on songs like Ballad of the Ugly Man, The Renegade, I Learned From Leah. Sylvia is amazing on Women’s World, London Life.


These two albums, to me, are underrated & forgotten masterpieces. The harmonies are sometimes slightly off-kilter in the best way. The work is labelled country-rock ,like the Byrds Sweetheart of the Rodeo, but they are not as slick, smooth or commercial. If you aren’t familiar with them, Four Strong Winds is a good intro to their early traditional work. Nashville is stunning. Full Circle is nearly as good & so either of them are worth hearing & owning.

The Blessing of Presents

The other event on the week-end that I had the great pleasure in attending was the Blessing of Presents at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral. That Blessing combined with the Lighting of the Trees is a sure sign that the festive season has broken loose upon us full force.

The most reverend Vicar Father Frank started the sacrament with a sermon on the Exulting Power of Wrap – he explained how the wrap of the gift is often more important than the gift it self, and that no matter how lowly a gift may be, it can be elevated by the wrapping.

There’s a lesson I wish I could bring into my own life – on those days when I, yes even I, your willing reporter, feels like the proverbial bed of broken pigs, she finds it hard to even raise her head from the pillow let alone wrap herself in a joyful raiment that would disguise the inner emotionlessness and despair she feels.

The Vicar went on to say that we shouldn’t allow the wrap to keep us from the gift, and that he finds many are so enamoured of that wrap they never get to the true treasure inside. He sort of lost me there, but that didn’t diminish my pleasure at the vast array of beautiful gifts that were brought up, one at a time to receive the sacramental dash of pine needles and moose ashes.

Like the gifts brought on that first Noel, we were brought into the constant and endless circle of presents that was started on that wondrous night.

The ribbon of history reached out and twined its tinselled ends around the hearts & necks of each us, as the children’s stuttering choir of St. Sufferer’s sang several holiday favourites. “Oh Burning Tree,” “The Ribbon and the Manger,”  “The Tinsel and the Camel” – to name just a few.

After the ceremony I was privileged to take a ride through the snowy wood with Hank Grebly in the parade of midnight runners. Skiers, families in sleds and even some on elephants were seen tracking through the wooded glens around our small town. Lanterns aloft and bearing gifts for neighbours. The true savour of the season was felt.

By the time I returned home I was too exhausted to even remove my boots (thanks Hank) and slept as soundly as I have ever slept. Disjointed dreams of a clown’s childhood danced through my head till I woke in the morning. The windows were covered in reddish swirls of frost and the fresh jar of ashes on my mantle sweetened my dreams.


January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico


returning 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

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Herman’s Hidden Cameras

As much as I enjoyed Herman’s Hermits as a teen I wasn’t encouraged to admit it. They were radio-fodder bubble-gum as opposed to real musicians like the Rolling Stone or even the Beatles. They were regarded as sweet, squeaky-clean and a band only girls could enjoy. Music hall songs like ‘Henry the VIII’ didn’t help their image either. I picked up stand-alone cd The Very Best of back in Dec 2006 to reclaim that part of my past.

Sure some of the songs suffer from ‘clean’ but many of them are solid, if not brilliant, pieces of pop music. The band wasn’t terribly original, creative or even were outstanding musicians. But their studio work is impeccable. It helps that Peter Noone’s voice is sweet & appealing. ‘No Milk Today’ is a breathtaking track – the production work is sublime & still amazes. The fact that it was written by Graham Gouldman (10CC) certainly helps. 

I picked up stand-alone Highs of the Sixties back in 1994. This is the complete opposite of the Hermits. A compilation of the sort psychedelic, garbage-band music that I could easily admit to enjoying. It includes tracks by Love, Count Five (one of the first latino bands to make it big), The Standells – many one-hit wonders but all fun. I’ve since tracked down collections by some these one-hitters like Blue Cheer, The Seeds, Count Five. I already had an extensive Love collection before I picked this cd up.

But what about the present you might ask? Next on the shelf are these stand-alones by The Hidden Cameras: The Smell of Our Own; Mississauga Goddam; AWoo. This a fun, queer, musically-diverse band that I really enjoy. With songs about water sports ‘Golden Steams,’ politics ‘Ban Marriage,’ love ‘Music is my Boyfriend’ & life ‘Learning the Lie’ performed with energy that invites all listeners into their world. Led by Joel Gibb  the band uses standard rock augmented by strings, wind instruments to create an often rollicking, sometimes folky, sweet romantic tapestry of music that often makes an ‘ironic’ counterpoint to the lyrics. Hidden Cameras take sound pictures of the world in a way I like to see it. 

Lucky Day

It felt good to sleep in. Something I didn’t allow myself to do that often. A warm, snug bed from which I could hear the cold wind outside. As I rolled over to try for another few winks the door to my room opened enough for a head to pop through. 

‘Good morning, sleepy head.’ Jim smiled at me.

‘What are you doing here?’ I sat up.

‘What do you think?’ he came into the room.

‘And why aren’t you dressed?’

‘Another dumb question.’ He slipped into the bed beside me. ‘Neither are you.’

Our bodies nestled together comfortably. 

‘I got the day off so I figured, why not drop over here and spend some of it with you.’  Jim gently bit my shoulder.

‘Great idea. That spare key was for emergencies.’

‘Yes, well this is an emergency.’

‘So I can feel.’

I rolled over on top of him. Just then my cell buzzed.

‘Don’t get it, or you won’t get it.’ He warned, twisting the ring in my left nipple.

The cell buzzed, and as programmed, the buzz got louder the longer it rang.

‘I have too.’

I reached over and picked it up. ‘Hello.’

‘Hi Dave.’

‘Steven is that you?”

‘Yep. Just arrived in town.’

‘You should have warned me.’ I covered the receiver, ‘It’s Steven, my agent from New York.’

‘Well, I was hoping to surprise you. I have the new contract. Bidding stopped at 2.5 mil.’

‘2.5 mil!! I’m amazed.’

Jim was biting my stomach under the covers. ‘Stop that for a minute will you.’

‘Sounds like I caught you at a bad time.’

‘Not at all. No wrong time for 2.5 mil.’

‘Free for lunch?’

‘Lunch? Sure. You staying at the same hotel.’

‘Same room is fact.’

‘Okay see you around noon.’

‘Frank wants you for lunch and I want you for breakfast.’ Jim came from under the covers to kiss me.

Just then the door bell rang. I jumped out of bed and pulled on my bathrobe and dashed down the stairs to the front door. A flower delivery man waited.

‘David Bradley?’

‘That’s me.’

‘Sign here.’

I signed for a box that opened to reveal two dozen red and white roses.

‘Looks like this is your day?’ Jim looked over my shoulder. ‘Who are they from?’

‘I haven’t checked yet. But find today’s paper. I should check my lottery numbers.’


October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

November 15: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto

every Tuesday

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

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I can remember hearing Heart for the first time & thinking how amazing was that this was a Canadian band on top of the American charts; that this woman could sing; that the music didn’t sound Canadian at all; that these weren’t folk singers. The production work on Dreamboat Annie was stunning – though when I first heard the lp I was a little dismayed that it did veer into folksy territory. 

In my collection are Dreamboat Annie, Little Queen as mp3. Tucked into this mp3 collection is the single of their live Stairway to Heaven which is astonishing. Their self titled: Heart as a stand alone (to replace the cassette I had of it.) I did have Dreamboat as lp at one time. I was more a fan of their sound than of the band though. 

After Dreamboat I didn’t follow them. I can remember hearing Dreamboat one night in Halifax while I was visiting a good friend attending Dalhousie, I was sitting in at table in the Grad house – where he worked as bartender, sipping a Rusty Nail, writing a poem & Magic Man was playing. Also I lost interest because I found their non-rock stuff to be too wistful for some reason.

Then thanks to MTV they an amazing coming back in the mid80’s with tier self titled lp. Songs like These Dreams, Never are brilliantly engineered & performed. When I downloaded the mp3 of Dreamboat Anne I also added Little Queen – which I had never heard. I liked it a lot. Ann Wilson has an amazing voice, sister Nancy plays guitar & can rival the likes of Jimmy Page. They make me proud to be a Canadian even though Heart is considered an American band 🙂


‘I just don’t understand it. Just two week’s ago he offered to lend the money and now when I take him up on that offer he’s all … you know … complaining that he’s not made of money. Worse, he says I’m just a fuck up, a forty-three year old woman who will never get her life together.’ Her tears stopped her.

‘Brother’s can be like that.’ I didn’t know what else to say. Marg and I had been friends for several years and the last year had been one of struggle. A relationship ending, finding and losing a job, finding and losing an apartment. The constant struggle and sense of falling behind was wearing on her.

‘Then he went on to say I was just a lazy slob who’d never amount to anything. He isn’t right is he? I’m not that bad, am I?’

‘No, Marg, you aren’t. Let’s face it, men have a different take on these things. I supposed he’d only think you were a success if you were married with kids.’

‘Yeah `right.’

‘Face it, something remain so entrenched, even the most forward thinking of us can suddenly get caught by traditional values we didn’t even suspect we held. Sounds like he’s one of those. It’s not as if his own relationship history is that glowing.’

‘That’s for sure but still that doesn’t give him the right to treat me like crap. I told him how hard I’ve been looking, bugging the temp agency. Everything. I’m not lazy.’

‘No more than the next one of us.’

I knew though that she felt her lack of accomplishment more painfully thanks to her brother’s unexpected diatribe.

‘Should I take the money? He said he’d lend it too me and would get it put in my bank account if I sent the number to him.’

‘Do it. At least you’ll have something,’

‘Yeah if it shows up.’

‘It’s never easy to ask and sometimes that’s the cost of asking.’ I didn’t want to tell her beggars can’t be choosers, as she wasn’t really a beggar, just someone in need at the moment. Things would turn around if she could hold on. I just needed to assure she could hold on.

‘It’s difficult stuff Marg. No one wants to ask for help. No one wants to hear what you’ve heard. I don’t blame you for being stressed by it. Not a bit.’

‘It’s as if he hasn’t listened to a thing I’ve told him over the past year. I haven’t kept anything from him and yet he still thinks I’m too proud, lazy and not trying hard enough.’

‘Hard enough to suit him perhaps. But I know you are trying. I see how difficult it is. Let’s face it he may never understand that. You have enough to do without having to please him.’

‘You saying I hinting I should forgive him?’

‘Nah, not worth the trouble. Living well is the best revenge. Take the money and let the door shut.’



every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up


September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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

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

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Psychegalic Quebec France Belgium

On two mp3 collections I have gathered over 12 hours of French pop that spans generations, genres & continents. At one time CanCon in Quebec limited the quantity of English music on the radio which during the 60’s & 70’s, resulted in cover versions by PQ groups. I love this music & here I have Quebecois Girl Groups; Les Aristos:Le Top 30; Les Hou-Lops: Le Top 30. Not all are cover versions but much of it is.

The CanCon also resulted is fine home-grown talent such as Eric Lepointe: Le ceil de mes combats (more about Eric when I get to ‘l’); Les B.B. – solid pop that slips from Steve Miller like rock to blues to sweet ballads; Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Entre la jeunesse et le sagesse – iconic music by these Canadian icons; Richard Seguin: Journée d’Amérique – an amazing & emotionally powerful singer with a deep history inPQ folk/rock/blues.

From Europe comes Collectors Items From Belgium – a collection of 60’s surf instrumentals music by various combos. Serge Gainsbourg: l’histoire de Melody Nelson – Serge is a latter day Brel but unlike Brel never made much of an impression in North America. Plastic Bertand: Plastiquez vos baffles – I love Bertand – he’s adapted his sound from punk, to new wave, to disco & here he channels the Beach Boys! I had this as a cassette & was happy to replace it with mp3. It’s a treat. Psychegalic – I love the title of this compilation of various bands heavily influenced by 60’s psychedelic. It include some tracks by Les 5 Gentlemen: Plus Grands Succes – that I enjoyed so I traced down their hits collection.

Madame: Eldorado – is a power pop group in the U2 mold. More about them when I get to ‘m’. Finally in a the tradition Claude Nougaro: Collection Prestige. I caught a video for his Paris Man & loved it. More easy listening than rock & he’s fond of Latin rhythms & Louis Armstrong type jazz. All great fun & if you want to explore music outside of English pop all of these are great starters.

Red Yellow Green

Tom panned the camera slowly up and down the unconscious form on the bed. Frank had insisted that they record as many details as they could before the boy came to.

There was band of  white feathers tied around one of the boy’s leg. On his upper arm was another band of feathers, only these were black. There was also a band of yellow and green beads wrapped around his cock and balls. The paint smeared on his torso was powdery yet none of it flaked off onto the bedding.

‘Turn him over.’ Tom whispered. He stepped back to refocus the camera.

Frank gingerly put his hands on the prone form. The flesh was warm, damp. Dry paint came off on his hands.

‘How?’ he held his hands up. ‘On me but not on the sheets?’

Tom shrugged. ‘Turn him over.’

The boy’s body rolled over easily. His back was streaked with the same red, yellow and green with a large, black zig zag circle at the base of his spine.

‘Tattoo?’ Tom asked as he brought the lens closer to the marking. He brushed it with one finger. The paint smeared, stained his finger, as the paint had done to Frank’s hand.

‘Roll him back.’

Tom put down the camera and went to the bathroom to wash his hands. Frank joined him.

‘Sleeping beauty was here to protect us?’

The colors wouldn’t come off in the hot water; wouldn’t come off when they dried their hands on a towel.

They returned to the bed. The teen remained motionless. Breathing lightly with his arms stretched stiffly at his side.

‘What should we do?’

‘Let try  – what was the name he told us to call him, Tango?’


‘Right. Mambo. Mambo.’ Frank gently shook the boy by the shoulder. ‘Mambo we need you help. We need your protection.’

The form on the bed shook violently. A jet of urine spurted out of him. Yellow and it stank.

‘PU. God. What do these kids drink anyway?’

Mambo’s eyes opened wide. His fingers stretched till the bones cracked and his body levitated off the bed.




HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam


June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) capfireslam.org 

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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Concrete Constantines


A good friend of mine picked up the first Concrete Blond lp back in the day. I enjoyed it enough to make a cassette copy of it. It had so many great songs: Your Haunted Head – Johnette Napolitano has an emotionally resonant voice. The sound was mid-80’s Goth but not gloomy. Similar to Sousix and the Banshees.11jul02 I didn’t follow the band, I was more a Blondie fan, but the songs stuck with me. I replaced that tape with a download & it’s in an MP3 collection of Talking Heads stuff.  I also have a stand alone “Recollection” of their hits. As I was never a radio of even MTV fan I don’t know if these are hits or not, but it had a slew of previously unreleased tracks.


Next to them is the sort of local, out of Guelph, the Constantines. I have stand alone’s Shine a Light; Tournament of Hearts; Kensington Heights. I discovered them thanks to the Globe, which at one time covered local rock. They are a solid, semi-hard rock band. Sensitive lyrics, good playing, but to be honest I can’t name a song on these cds. I enjoy them when I hear them but don’t feel the need to hear them again until they come up in my playing rotation. Some bands always demand I hear them soon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The songs are about love, loss – heteronormative without slipping into e.m.o or m.o.r – adult rock as opposed to pop rock. Critics liked them but they weren’t a big commercial success. I don’t even know if the band is still together as they haven’t released anything since 2008. sample


‘I’m not sure what you mean?’

‘I mean you are spending less time with me and more time with them. Not that I didn’t encourage it because it was important for you to have friends of your own but now there seems to be less for me.’

‘Encourage me?’

‘Yeah. I didn’t want to see your become such a part of my life that you didn’t have one of your own.’

‘And now you don’t like the life I’ve started to find. That’s what this really is isn’t it. You don’t approve of the friends I’ve made.’

‘I don’t know the friends you made but what you’ve told me about them hasn’t sounded that positive.’

‘Such as?’

‘Lending them money, getting locked out of your apartment, getting so drunk you fall down and almost break a foot. Stuff like that makes me worry, you know.’

‘Don’t worry about me I can take care of myself.’

‘Honey you have no choice but to look after yourself. But the next time you have a bad cold and you can’t get to the store who are you going to call? Me or the friends you partied with till you had such a bad cold?’

‘Good. I won’t call anyone the next time I’m sick. I’ll just suffer it out alone is that what you want.’

‘Is that what you want?’

‘I don’t know what I want anymore. Things were good between us for a long time. Longer than either of us expected and now things are changing. I didn’t want to do this to you – to pull away – to make you feel like you were being cut out – but you wouldn’t fit in with my crowd.’

‘Sad, but true. There are those of us who choose not to be potheads and plot the downloading of the latest songs.’

‘See you always cut up stuff that I do.’

‘Sorry, but it is hard to say the right so I don’t worry about saying the wrong thing anymore.’

‘Pot head?’

‘You denying it?’

‘I don’t smoke up that much.’

‘It is frequency not quantity. I can see its effects on you when you complain about work and not being appreciated there.’

‘I’m not appreciated there.’

‘Whatever. It just feel its pointless for me to even try. I have to let you discover what you have to learn in life. To shield you isn’t doing you any favors. Warning you will only delay what you have to learn.’

‘Oh, I see, so now you are dumping me because I have a dark future?’

‘Not at all. I’m not going anywhere. You know that. You are the one on a journey to discover balance and faith.’

‘And you have those things?’

‘If I didn’t have some of both I wouldn’t still be here, I wouldn’t be telling you what I’m telling you.’

‘Thanks. Thanks a lot.’

‘It’s not as if either of have a choice in what happens but we can chose not to blame each other for the facts of life. Agreed?’soon


cover170x170-1on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Deliciously iTunes

August 12 – Friday – Justify My Love:




September 1-4: attending FanExpo 2016 (I’ve already registered)



November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo




June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –



check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg


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it fell from the sky


Surfin’ Ragtime Noise

John Arpin: Ragtime on Broadway; The Art of Noise: Best of Of; Atomic 7: … Gowns By Edith Head. Three separate cd’s that stand together on my jazz shelf as a shining example of the weird unrelated things I enjoy. None has enough emotional resonance for a separate post but I did commit to writing a little something about every cd on my shelves. Also you see that my definition of ‘jazz’ isn’t too narrow as it include things more on the instrumental side.


sinking in snow

The Arpin was a Christmas gift in 2001. As the title says Arpin does fun ragtime versions of music from Gershwin to Berlin to Hamlish. Songs from A Chorus Line to Mame to Little Johnny Jones & of course from Ragtime. I enjoy it when I hear it but I’m not drawn back to it.

The Art Of Noise – one of Trevor Horn’s early projects – has a place in my history – I remember that little girl with a chainsaw in Close To The Edit – the sputter Max Headroom in Paranoimia – from the early days of Much Music. I picked this up back in ’96, at the 2nd hand record shop that used to be a five minute walk from my house.


ice wine

I also remember dancing to Kiss at a gay club & thinking that’s Tom Jones! He was one of my mother’s favorites (another Welsh man) and the irony was sweet, then sweaty. I was never a big fan then but nostalgia is hard to resist. Trevor Horn had great success as a producer with ABC, Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

dolls01 more to follow

Now for some CanCon – Atomic 7 are a surf instrumental band, a touch of rock-a-billy runs though their fun frisky work. I read a review in Broken Pencil &  ordered this via mail from Mint Records in Vancouver back in 2003. Retro in sound & fulfills my need for a Canadian version of the Ventures. Great song titles too: Seven Stranded Castanets anyone?


November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 – nano02http://nanowrimo.org

December 14 – special guest spot – Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noirnoirxmas



Getting Ahead

A chill went up Mac’s spine as the door clicked behind him. At that instant he didn’t feel prepared to take this chance, yet he knew there was no escape, no time to turn back and all he could do was move forward.

‘Sit down.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘How long have you been with the firm, Mr. Geddis?’

‘Almost three years now, sir. I started as a Junior Sales Associate at the outlet in Frantown Mall.’

‘Yes I see that here. You liked that did you?’

‘Yes, sir. But I knew that one has to work hard and not stay where they feel comfortable.’

The more he spoke the less nervous Mac felt.

‘Yes, I can from your employment profile you have been eager and persistent.’

‘Thank you sir. Be prepared and inventive is my motto.’

‘When your manager at the Mall met an untimely end you certainly didn’t hesitate.’

‘Someone had to step in to the breach sir. It was a chance I was ready to take.’

‘Sales went up by 50%.’

‘The staff was most cooperative.’

‘Modesty too. Don’t see much of that these days.’

‘Thank you.’

‘Didn’t keep you from becoming district coordinator though did it.’

‘What can I say sir? A good man never denies his worth. I saw the job posted in the employee newsletter and just sent in my application. That is how things are done, aren’t they.’

‘Quite right. Too bad Miss Griffs, the other applicant, passed away quite unexpectedly.’

‘Road conditions are very hazardous that time of year. We were all shocked.’

‘She was driving through your neck of the county, wasn’t she?’

‘Was she? I didn’t know.’

‘Yes. She was scouting locations in Pumpkin Corners.’

‘Such a pretty place. I think an outlet there would be a fine idea.’

‘We’ll it wasn’t and …’

‘Sorry Sir. I forgot about that debacle. Now if I had been allowed to participate things might have turned out differently there.’

‘Differently? You think you could have avoided the largest sink hole in the state?’

‘No but there are other — what I mean is — if you don’t mind me saying so sir — certain spiritual values were ignored and consequences had to paid.’

doll01 escaped doll

#CanCon Success Stories

One of the things that CanCon & MuchMusic managed to do was ‘create’ one-hit Canadian wonders. When I watched MM it was more like radio with pictures than real entertainment. One of those wonders was ‘barlow’ (Sept03). I honestly have no recollection of his video but I did enjoy the pop sensibility of this well produced cd. Walk Away was a summer of 2003 ‘hit’ – a folky rock song of positivity & survival.


fill’er up

He has a Cory Hart look – sweet meterosexuality. A pleasant voice. The songs are socially uplifting, amusing at times and easy on the ear, as his is innocuous pop voice. I bought his CD on sale at HMV. He is still around, his web page is active & he recently did a show along with Burton Cummings.


don’t tripod that with me

On the shelf he is followed by another Canadian flash-in-the-pan – bass is base: Memories of the SoulShack Survivors (Jan00). As the title implies this is a soul/funk band – recorded in Mississauga. They had bigger chart presence than barlow, I think. Very popular locally, the hit here is Funkmobile – another fun summer song.

reflection streetcar reflection

The cd, which I bought at a CD Cat (now gone) on Yonge, is a sort of concept piece, with spoken recollections scattered between the various songs. The music is funky soul with some jazz & dance flavor. Another band that can thank MuchMusic for their profile. The band split by the end of the 90’s but members are still recording. But as I rarely listen to the radio or watch MuchMusic anymore so I can’t tell you much more about them. A great CD though.



Ruth’s eyes surveyed the room, quickly finding the items that she could carry and that would bring the best price. She had some reservations about Kim’s winter coat though. She knew Kim wouldn’t need it for the next few weeks and last winter it had been so mild it had only been worn a few times. New it cost nearly one fifty so it should be good for at least twenty bucks. That’s all she really needed.

If she had that twenty bucks then everything would be alright. She’d get her fix for the day and things would be alright.

She grabbed puffy green and pale yellow parka. It was so light how could to keep anyone warm anyway. Maybe she’d be better off with the VCR. They hardly watched videos anymore so it was just collecting dust. But there were too many wires in the back to worry about and she needed to get her fix fast. Now. The longer she looked around the room the greater the pain became. Her eyes watered and her heart began to race.

Yes Kim’s winter coat would do for today. The VCR would be good for another day. But she had to have something else. This wouldn’t be enough. She knew what those guys were like. They would take one look at the coat and just laugh at her. It wasn’t even a real coat just some cheap knock-off. If it was only a Tommy or a anything other than it was. It was just a piece of shit. Like everything else in the room. Shit.

Her life had become this pile of useless cheap objects, none of which she saw would bring her what she needed now. Money. Money.

If she could just this one little fix today she could be okay for the rest of the week. She’d be able to start fresh in the morning. Tomorrow. No, after the week-end. She just needed this one fix to get her

through the next three days then she could start fresh.

Kim would help. Kim was such a good kid. Always home right after school to look after her three brothers. They were the real problem. If she could only get those boys to behave she wouldn’t have to do this. She wouldn’t need anything to help the through the day. Maybe she could find something in their room.

Damn! Locked!

They just didn’t trust anyone. Not even their mother. She knew they had stuff. Lots of it. CD players. She could get some good money for one of them or two of them if they were in there.

The door was solid against her thin shoulder. The door nob stiff unturning. Damn those boys. When they get home she’d give them a piece of her mind. She’d make them sorry they didn’t trust her the way Kim did. Kim’s door opened silently. The room was dark, cool even the in the morning sun. The bed was made and the Beanie Babies lay in a row across her pillow

Beanie Babies!! One still had its tag. The purple whale. What could that be worth?

Oh thank you God.

She shoved into her backpack and rushed out of the apartment.

wp202 fish out of sequins

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


Les B.B.

Next up in my pop collectionare are two recordings by Les B.B.: BB, Snob. They are a late 80‘s PQ equivalent to Glass Tiger. Another of those bands helped by CanCon rules for radio & MuchMusic video play. In fact Quebec’s airplay rules were much stricter, as only a small percent of English was allowed on the air waves, thus their musicians got a greater opportunity to develop without competing with US rockers. There was a huge cover-song industry in the 60’s, 70’s of bands doing French versions of US hits. Les Aristos, anyone? More about those cover bands as I work though the shelves.

clubs duex

I used to visit Montreal regularly for a 12 Step conference in the 90’s, & began to collect this music there – starting with Lps, then cassettes & finally cd’s. Supposedly to improve my French. As I result I have a large French collection from Les Aristos to Brel to Piaf to Eric LaPointe.

diamonds diamants

There were two excellent spots in Montreal for a music lover. Le Marche (I think) that was acres of bins of used Lps, then cassettes, then CDs. I would spent hours flipping through those bins. There was also Archambault’s – with its vast stockpile of new music. I discovered there that Brigitte Bardot was, in the 60’s, a major pop force in France. More about her as I work though the shelves.

two carddeux encore

The BB’s have a standard issue sound for the time. That synth horn sound, propulsive drumming, harmonies, tender lyrics. A range of styles from radio friendly, a touch of blues, not much of that tiddly-tid folk that some PG bands get. Sweet & inoffensive.


Winner The backyard was covered with snow. A path from the back door to the composter had been used a few times but otherwise the snow was undisturbed. Not even the foot prints of birds or squirrels could be seen in it. A light rain had fallen before temperature dropped and so the snow had a shell. As Mike stepped on the shell he imagined he was crushing the skulls of those who had fallen under his heel – those he had conquered – white brain stuff escaped in small spurts as he tromped down hard. Crack crush crack crunch. “Take that.” He muttered. “Take that and that.” He jumped from where he stood over a low rise in the snow. Only he didn’t crack the surface when he landed. His feet slipped and he fell with a sullen thud on the snow. One elbow hit harder than the other. It stung. “Ouch.” He stomped with the heels of his boots as hard as he could. “I’ll teach you to toy with the Mighty Morpho.” The snow was at its lowest where he had landed and was more like a thick slab of ice than snow. His kicks didn’t dent it. Carefully he got to his feet and looked around to see if there were any laughing faces in anyone of the windows in the nearby houses. There was none. “Stay in your homes. You will be safe. I will protect you against the Ice Blizzard Wizard.” He took off one glove and fumbled in his parka pocket and pulled out the three Morpho cards he had. SeakZ2, Graphoka and Shelbab. “I call on the power of Shelbab to dispel the evil of Ice Blizzard Wizard.” He put the card on one corner and spun it on the ice. “We’ll see who the winner is today. Once and for all. I challenge you to this battle against the Mighty Morpho. Be prepared to face thy doom.” The card spun a few times and tipped to its back. The face of Shelbab flat and unchanged as the cold tried to hold it to the ice. Mike peeled the card away. “See you have no power here. I will be ruler of all I can see. All.” Mike stepped over to a thicker area and once again crushed the skulls of the defeated underfoot. Crack crush crack crunch. His boots like pistons merciless and through in stomping all resistance form those who would dare resist. “This is my planet now. I am glad to report to all we have been once again victorious.” He went back to the house to bring the glad tiding to his mother and perhaps get something in return. Cookies and a dvd to while away the rest of the long afternoon. cone

pinebow pine cone of silence