In the late 60’s & early 70’s there was a rush of brassy, horned up, pop bands: Blood, Sweat & Tears; Chicago – being the prime examples. Muscular sound, jazzy, male dominated, rocking big bands. There were many others who added horns to their line-ups as a result; John Mayall, Paul Butterfield. But real rock was a man’s industry.27desk01Women were vocalists only. All girl bands were novelty items, not considered real rockers. Folk was different Baez, Mitchell blazed a trail for many. Even today women rockers don’t get that respect – most often its a nod of shock that they can rock out at all. It was fine for a band to have a female vocalist: Jefferson Airplane.

A few bands broke that mould. Heart was a commercial success, but had men on board; ditto the amazing Patti Smith. Others floundered on the shores of male dominance. One was Goldy & The Gingerbreads – which leads to Isis. (side note: I didn’t use their name as a title for this blog post for obvious reasons. I resist the temptation to type as Is is though. Don’t want that terrorist attention. So not even #ing it or tagging it Isis.)27desk02Isis was an all-female version of Chicago. The first lp featured the band naked on the cover, in gold body paint. The music is solid, as good as, but not as bombastic as, any of the male fronted groups & they got decent reviews, of the sort: good for women but not as good as etc. There is some wicked guitar work on the first lp, a great Black Sabbath quote. All 3 cds have great moments.27desk03But the band was a semi-critical success but not a commercial success. Novelty wasn’t enough, nor was their unwillingness to back down & kowtow the the male dominated industry. Carol MacDonald, singer, songwriter & guitarist of the band, refused to deny her lesbianism, refused to delete songs about her love for women. By their 3rd lp they were considered too non-commercial successful to record & had lost critical regard as well – damn feminists. I guess there were no Women’s Musical Festivals at that time.

I downloaded all three lps this year & have listened to them several times. The first from 1974 is the most adventurous – they become more commercial with each succeeding one. The musicianship is excellent but they lacked the genius of say, a Laura Nyro, to give them an identity. 27desk04This is part of the sad music history of lgtbq – good, talented people denied respect & success because they wouldn’t back down from who they were. Some were destroyed, others opted out: Janis Ian. If you haven’t heard Isis it’s time you did. You won’t be disappointed.


Confessions of a Dick Pig part 1

Sometime when I have trouble sleeping I hike over Mike’s 24 hour Gym. It’s usually not too full at 2 a.m. and I can take my time with my work out. Tonight was one of those night and as expected there were only a few only die-hards sweating away. One of them was Clive, a name I only knew by over-hearing it one day. I filed it away because Clive was, to my way of thinking, a stunning black man. At less than 5’6” he also had a body that responded perfectly to iron. He also had one of those not-so-pretty faces I loved.

I was at the tail end of my work-out,  bench pressing my maximum and enjoying the feeling of my muscles screaming for me to stop, enjoying the feeling of my sweat on my hairy chest and my balls. That feeling of health. I grimaced and shut my eyes for a last forced rep. When I opened them I was staring up directly into Clive’s basket.

“Here let me help you with that.” He smiled down at me knowing that my eyes were glued to the grey-white flash of his jockstrap up the legs of his baggy shorts. He took the bar and settled on the hooks of the bench. “You shouldn’t do that without a partner.”

“Right, “ I mumbled grabbing my towel and covering my face to keep my eyes from crawling back up to his jock. I sat up as he walked around to face me, confronting me with with his hard abs between his cut off T-shirt and shorts. They were glistening with sweat.

“Care for a coffee?” He asked. “I could give you a couple tips. You’re doing good work here but …”

“Uh … sure. I’d love to.” I cut him off.

“I got a place near here.”

“I gotta shower first.”

“There’s a shower at my place.” Our eyes met as I stood up. Toe-to-toe. “Come on. It’s just around the corner.”

On the way we made small talk. Weather. Work that sort of stuff. As we entered his apartment neither of us knew what to expect other than we were both looking for sex. The room was dim. It needed a window open to stir the air, to move the dust, to move us to each other. He followed, brushing past me as we entered as if to prevent me from finding something he’d left out by mistake.

“Pets?” I asked.

“None. Plants are demanding enough.” He opened a window which let in air but no light.

“Perfect conditions for night.”

“Yes it would seem so.” An awkward silence.

The apartment was a large bachelor with a book case making a wall between the bed and the rest of the room. A casual mix of antiques and moderns, a scattering of magazines. Without turning on the light he went to the CD player.

“I hope you’ll like this. It’s one of my favourites.”

A soft throb filled the room. A electronic babble of rippling water mixed with real voices, occasional guitars. We stood and listened a moment. I moved to the window to look at the view. He stood behind me, close. I could feel the heat of his workout, of our workouts, meeting in the thin space between us. I could feel his body barely touching then touching mine. Did I lean back? Or did he press forward. We were like magnets, drawn to each other without any means of resistance. Not even cold water could have kept us apart. We stood like that, pressing and feeling with our bodies only. The measured beats of our hearts, the slow rhythm of our breathing gradually matching, in sync. Were his eyes closed also.

“Not much of a view.” he murmured, his tongue licking along the outer part of my ear. His warm breath moving the hairs along the back of my neck.

“I don’t want to move.”

“Neither do I.”

But his hands did want to move. They slipped under my arms and onto my chest. Pulling me tighter against him. One of them moved up and under my oversized sweatshirt. Roughly stroking my hairy stomach, the other remained firmly planted between my pecs, almost daring me to relax, to let my legs go limp and completely lean on to him. My own arms hung, barely brushing against his quads.

He was breathing into my ear, rubbing his head against the back of mine as if trying to merge our thoughts. I pressed back. I groaned in expectation, anticipation. I pushed his roaming hand down into my sweatpants, onto to my damp cock. Damp with gym sweat now mixed with pre-come. I could feel his own stiffen as it pressed against my ass. I moved my gluts to slightly rub it, to encourage him.

“Not so quick,” I said as he peeled away from me. I let my hand move to cup his balls behind me. I discovered that at some point he had gotten out of his shorts. A quick glance and I saw that they were in a jumble around his calves. I was suddenly touching the hot flesh of his cock. It was his turn to groan, to growl.


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#Chicago #Revolution

I remember how revolutionary the band Chicago was when it first hit the airwaves. A double album to top it off, with that exciting (but now seemingly endless) Free Form Guitar noodle. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is quickly became a joke meme as opposed to the deeply probing philosophic lyric it intended to be.

8furniture01I did love that first album – the actual crowd chant ‘the whole world is watching’ from give it a real sense of political activism & counter culture cache. The horns were energizing, the singing was masculine & the covers song were fun. Nearly every band covered I’m A Man.8furniture02Chicago I is loose & adventurous in ways Blood, Sweat & Tears (the other horn band of the time) never was. Chicago II is quite different. Slicker & artier: with a Ballet suite & the 4 movement piece. They shift to a more m.o.r pop sound. People who dug that first lp were disappointed in this one. I loved it though. Fancy Colours is a great, happy song with sweet wah-wah work.8furniture03I have these first 2 as stand alone’s. Both searched  out in early 2000’s when I was rebuilding my past via CD. I later sought out Chicago III – the last of their double albums. It’s part of an mp3 collection along with work by Traffic, CSNY. III become less horn & more guitar. No long suites of songs but solid writing but by this point they weren’t breaking new ground & some tracks felt more like fillers so they could squeeze out yet another double lp.8furniture04At one time I had their live box set – five lps, or was it six, of nearly note for note reproductions of their studio work. It seemed to go on forever & I finally gave it away. They needed to develop beyond their initial sound to really hold my interest. Rather becoming adventerous they became banal. Finding new ways of printing the Chicago logo on their covers wasn’t enough. But those first 2 recordings are fine.



‘Far be it from me to point this out but, Mr. Palmer, your opinion of Kant will not be the revelation you seem to think it is.’

‘Have it your way, Mr. Green, but the way to a man’s intellect will always be through the bottle and no other way.’

‘Indeed, Mr. P indeed. Shall I pour or shall you?’

‘Why bother pouring at all, my friend.’ Mr. Palmer tipped the bottle and took two eye stinging gulps from it. He wiped it and passed over to Mr Green.

‘Ah, yes, nothing like sweet simplicity.’

‘Yes, the more simple one keeps one’s exterior world the easier it is to support the complex philosophic structures that our intellects need.’

The sun broke through the leafy canopy of the tree over the bench the two men sat on. Both shaded their eyes at the same time.

‘Now as I was saying. Kant may have missed the point but he was certainly moving in the right direction. That being isn’t necessarily the result of events but of actions.’

‘Tut tut Mr. P I doubt if that was Kant’s intention in any way shape or form. He was more inclined to feel, and in this I have to concur, that being is just as often the result of events outside the individual consciousness as it is to be from else where. May I?’

‘Of course.’ Mr. Palmer handed the bottle back to Mr. Green. Both drank deep with great satisfaction.

‘You seem content to elide over Sartre and Nietzsche.’

‘Those useless faggots.’

‘Ha ha.’

‘Ha ha.’

‘But isn’t that also the result of forces outside their individuation.’

‘Now your are getting Freudian on me.’

‘No! But sometimes a drink is just a drink.’ He emptied the bottle. ‘I do hope there is another.’

‘Ask and ye shall receive.’ Mr. Green pulled another bottle of  amber liquid from inside his dingy overcoat. ‘One must always be prepared for what it takes to hew new paths in the road of thought.’

‘No matter who the casualty might  be.’

‘Right ho. Now join me in a libation before we fix our bayonets for the next attack.’

‘Thank you. Don’t mind if I do.’ Mr. Palmer drank deep. A shudder ran through his arms and hands. ‘Not our usual intoxicant?’

‘Sadly no. The outside forces have seen fit to provide only this.’

‘Ah, welfare cut you back again?’

‘No the old lady wanted money for the kids.’

‘Too bad you hadn’t considered that when you plunged into the flesh my friend.’

‘What’s a man to do.’

‘Sublimate. Channel that fierce energy into the intellect. It is falling into the flesh that has been the downfall of all.’

‘Yes but isn’t that the innate urge God has instilled in all of us?’

‘God! Why man I thought we rationalized God out of the equation yesterday?’

‘So we did. So where does that leave us.’

‘Fucked if I care. Pass me the goddamn bottle.’


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