Van McCoy Voyage

This mp3 cd collection is filed under Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony. Sweet Rhythm contains the hit The Hustle – which is a disco icon of the  Philadelphia sound. Strings galore, flute & still a template for dance music that emulates old skool. To be honest I hated it then but now it is sweet nostalgia & more than bmp under a diva’s voice.  Van McCoy died young in 1979 of a heart attack. Sweet Rhythm is easy & sexy.

Peter Brown’s A Fantasy Love Affair is more brilliantly produced dance music. In 1977 his 12″ version of “Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me” reached the million dollar mark making it the first gold 12” single in history. This one brings back memories of my arrival in Toronto in 1979 & my discovery of discos in the gay ghetto. This is hip thrusting music, catchy & fun. Sexual & sexy.

These two were performers I had heard of before I downloaded their lps (with bonus tracks). The rest of there were unknown to be, even though I did know the songs. All were ‘discovered’ by tracks posted in my Tumblr feed. My music collection needed more r’n’b from the 70’s/80’s to round it out. 

I have the hits collection by The Main Ingredient: Everybody Plays the Fool that includes Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely. I loved both these songs but didn’t know who originated them. A sold soul band with strong vocals – reminiscent of groups like the The Four Tops – this is great music. Similar but more on the disco side is B.T. Express: Do It (’Til You’re Satisfied) B. T. stand for Brooklyn Transit. Great club music with a strong sexy edge.

I don’t know what the T stands for in T-Connection. This a band out Nassau, the Bahamas. I have the  Expanded Edition of their self titled album that includes the dance floor monster ‘At Midnight.’ The song brings back memories of getting home after Midnight and reeking go cigarette smoke & sweat. A good memory. Similar to them is Con Funk Shun’s Funk Essentials. As you might guess this a dance funk band – one that I’d never heard of before but am happy to hear now.

The holds true for Blue Magic. I have the remastered release of their first, 1974 lp. More in The Spinners mode of funk.  The longest lasting of many of these groups is Earth Wind & Fire here I have their 1980 Faces. I have several of their other lps scattered through my vast collection. Best known for their ballads this is another smooth, funky with a dash of jazzy band that produced dozens of constant lps.

Finally a San Jose, garage soul band Syndicate of Sound: Little Girl. This a bit of an anomaly here as fun, disco isn’t noted for garage bands the way rock’b’roll is – oddly street-corner doo-wop was never considered as garage band – maybe too much emphasis on vocal harmony 🙂 Anyway this a fun lp, energy with interesting r’n’b under pinning.

Had Enough

Except for the bartender the tavern was deserted. Doug ordered a bottle beer. Took a table that wasn’t too dark. He sat and watched the beads of condensation form and trickle down the side of the bottle. They pooled around the bottom. The pool heavier on one side than the other. The table wasn’t level. He wondered if there would be enough bottle sweat for it to form a stream away from the bottle.

As his eyes adjusted he could see the stains of other bottles left to stand on the table. The lights from the bar reflected and distorted on the wet surface of the bottle.

“You gonna drink that or what?”

“Huh?” Doug looked up.

“You been staring down that bottle for the last ten minutes. Won’t jump up to you mouth, you know, you gotta lite it for the full effect.”

Doug looked up to the voice. It was a young man. Late 20’s, he guessed. Shaved head big smile loose t-shirt and baggy shorts.

“Or would you rather be left alone.”

“I’m just having a beer and a think. Not looking to buy anything else.”

“Do I look like a hustler to you?”

Doug shrugged. He didn’t know what a hustler would look like but figured no one talked to strangers in places like this just to make conversation.

“Besides you look to be doing more thinkin’ than drinkin’.”

“Yeah. Well a think is all I wanted. Here …” Doug slid the beer towards the bald man. “I’ve had enough to think for one day.”

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M M M

Mano Solo: La Marmaille Nue (1993). This is a pleasant stand-alone cd that I picked up in Montreal back in 1994. The music is frisky – a perfect combination of Kurt Weill & Jacques Brel with a dash of the musical Cabaret – sort of what Rufus Wainwright was aiming for 🙂 Songs about love, beer & man’s indifference to man. A great introduction to French music.

Then there’s Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Music For The People (1991) a great introduction to music by guys who looked good in underwear. Was he decent rapper? Who knows. The album itself is brilliantly produced. The borrow of Good Vibrations featuring Loretta Holloway – works because the original is a dynamic & Marky rides that piano wave. The same for his re-imagining of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side. What ever happened to the Funky Bunch? I guess they didn’t want movie careers.

More M with Gay Marvine: Secret Fixes Mixes; It’s Bath House Etiquette! A couple of very queer dance collections remixed by Marvine. He has an ear for old school disco & I love his tracks. These are part of a 7.3 hr mp3 cd collection that also includes – Boots: Aquaria – electro dance;  Disclosure: Caracal (Deluxe) – more fun electro dance; Ab Soto: Mr. Soto electro dance with a latino funky beat & great queer, sex-postive lyrics; Julio Bashmore: Knockin’ Boots – guess what: gas positive elctro dance music;  Manila Luzon: Eternal Queen – one of the many dance diva drag queen discovered by Drag Race. Higher energy & I love ‘Bitch I’m A Bottom’ 

Finally on this collection is the retro-classic Joe Bataan: Anthology – more of that high energy stuff with a real latino grounding & less electronic. Bataan reaches back to the early days of disco. Yet he fits in perfectly with the more recent work by Ab Soto.


“We thought he had just left us. Abandoned us for decadent western living. That’s what the authorities told us. That our Dad couldn’t cope with his responsibilities to the State. He didn’t love us enough to come home. They showed us letters from him that said that. Our mother didn’t recognize the handwriting. We sent Christmas cards but now I doubt if he ever got our letters or cards to him. Once he had defected that was it.”

“But he did care for you. I remember he was so proud to have sons, and was so sad that he couldn’t be there with you.”

“Then why did he leave us there. We never really understood then. Going though his papers here I find that he spent a lot of time trying to get them to let us join him here but they blocked him at every turn. Your government didn’t help. I doubt they even tried.

“Not my area, as they say. There’s a point were everything is classified, so who knows what the truth is. Could have been some bureaucrat didn’t trust him and that was that.”

Vasili nodded. “Yes we have learned how much was suppressed over the years. It helps a bit now but then we thought it was all his fault. Particularly when our mother died. We had no one. We expected him to show up at the funeral. I don’t know if he knew she had passed away.”

“Things have changed. I hope.”

“Not that it is much better here in the long run. Do you know anything about that time he was assaulted.”

“Not much, just that it happened.”

“He ultimately died from his injuries from that assault. In his papers there’s a letter from the country prosecutor stating that they don’t press charges because the men involved would claim he had sexually interfered with them.”

“What!”

‘It went on to say that even if this wasn’t true, such an allegation would be difficult to disprove and did he want to have this taint on his public reputation. He could be deported.”

My Dad’s remarks about Mr. Razov now made sense to me.

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Madonna


In my modest Madonna collection I have, as mp3: Like A Virgin, The Immaculate Collection, Music & as a stand-alone Confessions From The Dance Floor. So it is clear I’m not a fan – fans have everything, fanatics have everything plus the remixes, the outtakes, the concerts, the artfully torn t-shirt & the aluminum Sex.

Is she musically creative? Does it matter when you have such great collaborators, producers, costume designers, stylists & video directors? She admits she is a product, package & a boss lady. To me she was more a provocateur than a visionary. Like Mae West she used sexuality to establish her self, unlike Mae Madonna didn’t rely on a single persona to keep her career moving.

I love some of her songs, hate some of them – Vogue was one I hated & would leave a club (when I went to clubs) when it was played – I just knew we would get the 45 minute remix. Same with Papa Don’t Preach. Some I couldn’t resist: Lucky Star, Like A Prayer.

She sampled, borrowed, adopted, adapted freely from most pop genres with varying degrees of success. Her electronica didn’t work for but her retro disco, Dancefloor, cd was great. The Immaculate Collection of her hits is probably enough nostalgia for anyone; Material Girl is solid pop & in its way, is a landmark album of promotion power. I did have her ‘Sex’ but lacked

the sexy spunk of Mae West. 

 

Gambit 

I heard later than two guys were arrested for the beating. Jim Donaldson and Victor Hanson. Both almost twenty, so not guys we knew at all. My father called them trouble makers and wasn’t surprised they were the ones behind this. Seems they heard Mr. Razov had money hidden his house and broke in to get it and when he caught them they beat the crap out of him and left him for dead in his own house. Some kids have no respect for anything these days. My dad liked to ride that one whenever he had a chance to remind me to watch my step and show proper respect.

Midterm exams were coming up, so we all sort of forget about Mr Mr. Razov. He did recover from the beating but walked with a weird shy turn of the head whenever we guys saw him in the street. He never did come back to tutor the chess club. I don’t even know what happened to the guys who beat him up. 

Fifteen years later and I’m visiting my folks for a few weeks in the summer. University out of the way and I have a decent job in the movie biz. Lightning and that sort of thing. Pays well when it pays. I’d just broken off with Kevin. He was sweet but we both saw it wasn’t working out. So a few weeks out of all that was appealing to me.

Sitting at the table in the kitchen that had changed every time I saw it – new cupboards one year, new appliances another – it was not the repository of any childhood memories. My favorite cereal bowl wa along gone. This summer they were having the pluming redone to install a dish washer and so there’d be new counters et al. 

My Mom brought me a cup of tea. “I suppose you heard Mr. Mr. Razov finally passed away. Poor man. He was never the same after that time. You remember him?”

“When did he die?”

“Just last week. Service early next week. They’re waiting till his family could be here.”

I vaguely recalled that when he deflected he’d left behind some family. 

“Wife?” I asked.

“Nope. A son. It’s all in the newspapers out in the front porch.”

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

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Keep On Dancin’

This mp3 collection is a disco memory trip starting with Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real (Expanded Edition). She had a couple of hits in the early 80’s: Star Love & Got To Be Real – that burned up the dance floor & take me back to my early years in Toronto. This expanded edition includes the full length dj dance mixes.

Another group that burned up the dance floor Sister Sledge: We are Family – their anthem that became a an lgbtq anthem too, along with Lost in Music, He’s The Greatest Dancer. These are the things that disco celebrated: community & dance. So it wasn’t considered ‘real’ deep music. I’m glad I’m shallow to enjoy it 🙂 Best of Disco is a fun collection of covers, remixes of song by Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor etc. High BPM for high energy & great for typing to 🙂 Mixes done just for this collection so they are different from the lp versions. Songs one never knew they had recorded.

Carrie Lucas: Greatest Hits – Carrie had one hit I remember ‘I Gotta Keep Dancin’. But this is a nice collection all the same of well-produced material. As is Roger: The Many Facets of Roger. I never heard of this guy until someone posted his 10 min version of I Heard It Through the Grapevine on Tumblr – I can’t resist listenable obscurity. Nice voice, nice production but, let’s face it, very few men could compete with those female disco divas.

Dynasty: The Best Of. I love best of’s by groups I never heard of & whose hits I’ve never heard either. Another Tumblr find this is a solid disco soul band in the Instant Funk, Gary’s Gang mode but never had a real catchy dance-floor hit. Here too are a couple of 12” classics by Bohannon – he’s one of the legendary disco performers/producers who infused many from Talking Heads to Lady Gaga. Keep on Dancin’ 

Text Me

My cell pinged – text message ‘lv u’ I smiled. Kept on my way. The message was from B. I was in the elevator going down from his place. I thought it was sweet. He couldn’t wait five minutes to get in touch with me.

My cell pinged again. Another text message ‘c u ltr.’

I wasn’t a text maniac. I didn’t know what to text back so I sent a smily face. Hoped none of the other people on the elevator had noticed. They hadn’t. They were all too busy texting to pay attention to me. 

My cell pinged as I was stepping off the elevator. I didn’t want to check while I was walking. I found that sort of thing slowed me down. 

It pinged again and again,

I ignored it until I was in line at the coffee shop. They were all from B so I erased them all. sweet nothings.

I usually sent one reply to his ten messages.

There was yet another ping as I left the coffeeshop.

As I checked it I bumped into someone. It was B. He turned away from me embarrassed.

“Hey. You can talk to me face to face.’

“Uh, yeah.” He was thumbing something into his cell. 

Mine pinged. ‘nc 2 rn in2 u.’

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

LCD Underworld Legend

LCD Soundsystem produces almost hypnotic, multilayered pop-electronica. I have cds of the first double, Sound of Silver, 45:33, & This Is Happening. I could play all the cds in a row & not really be able to tell one from the other – which is a good thing. Consistently listenable music though that is great for typing to, also fine sex throb. Much like jazz song titles are arbitrary in relation to the music (much like the relationship to my photos to actual content of a blog post.)

LCD owes a lot to the British dance/electronica duo  Underworld. I first heard Underworld on a CMJ completion cd – it was the track River of Dub – a deep bass throb with voice deep in the mix & I loved loved it. Finding the cd was another story though but I finally did. I have as stand-alone’s dubnobass, Dirty Mix, everything everything, Beaucoup Fish, a Hundred Days Off, Oblivion With Bells, barking, as mp3 Barbra, & a fun spoken-word ep with Iggy Pop.

 

 

Both LCD & Underworld make excellent moody writing music. Some tracks by both have shown up in movie soundtracks for tension or romantic interludes.

 

Back to L (& also great for romantic interludes) is John Legend. I have stand-alones: Get Lifted, once again, Evolver, Wake Up! (with the Roots). Sweet smooth soul music that almost drifts into easy listening. The albums flow nicely into one another. Some with disco flavours, others with hip-hop vibe. Legend has an old school vibe that, despite being so heteronormative, is so gentle one doesn’t mind. Plus he is easy on the eye 🙂

Report to the Electoral Steering Committee 

We wanted to sway the people. We want to convince them that they aren’t powerless voices. We have to get them out to the polls in the next election or they will lose the right to vote. That is one of the planks of the leading party – why give people the right to vote if they don’t want to use it. ‘Use or lose it’ is their slogan. All the people have to do is use it. It doesn’t matter which party they vote for as long as they voted. If we can get voter response up from the paltry 6% it was in the last election perhaps change can happen.

But the people didn’t care. They saw the election as being  less interesting than sports scores. Politicians were just self-protecting business men and the people were powerless to do do anything. Some brfied that no matter how loud they voiced their opinions no one was listening anyway. No one cared. Not even them. 

House after house we ran into the same apathy and hopelessness. The people were happy as long as they had food shelter and entertainment. Politics wasn’t entertaining enough. The drab tired supposed scandals of secret deals, slush fund theft bored them. They didn’t care about the sexual peccadillos of high ranking officials or how they used their power to cover up criminal activity, dunken car accidents. The people had seen it all on YouTube once and even there it wasn’t as compelling as movie star break downs in the washrooms of local designer outlet direct to the public malls. Now that got them going. Why couldn’t we get that star to run for office. That could hold some interest, maybe.

We must persist. It can’t be a lost cause. 

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January

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Gaga Plus

As an almost card-carrying queer I do have some music bought solely to maintain my queer status, which is why I have Kylie Minogue’s Fever on the shelf. The music is well produced dance music. Nothing with real personality & good as background sex music. One cd was enough for me. She is quite popular though & her live shows get raves.

Near by on the shelf is another card-carrying queer qualifier: Lady Gaga. I have stand-alones The Fame; Monster; The Remixes. Tucked away on various mp3 collections is Born This Way; Joanne. This is dance music of a different order (than Kylie) – stunning production & engineering, astonishing videos & politically challenging (something dance music isn’t supposed to be.) Plus I have her excellent duets with Tony Bennet. Also the soundtrack from ‘A Star is Born.’

Much like Madonna, Lady Gaga’s persona is very fluid always with a strong awareness of audience. Each collection has standout tracks, plus cds of remixes to spread the magic. Like many she gets more respect when she sticks to the dance music. Her more personal & more subdued Joanne was not as warmly received by the market. Then came the Academy Award. Lady Gaga can sing as she proved with Tony Bennett.

Joanne leads a mp3 collection that includes some old school dance by LTD: Hits, Classics (Boogie Wonderland); Bizarre Inc.: Energique (I’m Gonna Get You).  I remember these two groups from my disco days. I’m not sure if Bizarre Inc. was nothing more than a studio production. Some prog-soul by The Undisputed Truth: The Best of, Face To Face. This is in the Sly Stone vein of soul but more experimental – they do an amazing Ball of Confusion.

Too add some modern I have Solange: A Seat at the Table – which is also experimental soul/pop – the lp title should tip you off there is some political underpinnings 🙂  Frank Ocean is a rapper/soul singer who came out & I figured I should have at least something by him – Blonde: well produced but vocals get buried & after several listening I can’t name a song. Finally another by an out singer: Jordan Smith’s Something Beautiful – he has one of those angelic, slightly hurt voices that makes everything sound wistful & emotionally compelling.

from Isle de Nuit

“What do you mean – you’re leaving?”

“Jacques there’s nothing more I can do. The Montreal police don’t need me for their investigation. I have a job in Halifax to get back to. I can’t afford to be here.”

“Don’t you need to know what happened to Xavier?”

“Yeah sure but we’ve done what we can, right. Who to question? Xavier made sure his trail was cold before he left. He must have known that all along. He had it planned so he could make this clean get away. I hope it was worth what this must have cost him.” Mark picked up his suitcase. Not much heavier than when he had arrived. He’d decided not to bring much of the film crap with him. He’d been tempted to get rid of the tee he’d been wearing when he met V but after a few washing it wouldn’t hold any memory. 

“I’ll keep in touch.’ He reached out to shake hands with Jacques. 

Jacques pulled him into a bear hug. He squirmed remembering what had happened between them at the hotel the other day. At a glance he could tell that Jacques was remembering it too.

“I didn’t mind.”’ Jacques half smiled.

“I know.’ He avoided Jacques’ kiss. “But this isn’t what I need. Another long distance relationship.”

Jacques sighed. “I know.”

“Maybe under other circumstances.”

“Right! When you aren’t still pining for the invisible man. Now that’s truly a long distance relationship.”

“I will keep in touch though. If you ever want to come to Halifax I have a spare room you can use.”

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January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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

#Juniah to #Junior

dj Juniah’s D.A.N.C.E. Pride 2008 was a freedown -as you might guess it’s a dj mix set of dance music, as such I can’t name a track he uses though I did recognize a few of them. Dance music! Yes I do like me some high-energy dance music. Great for writing too & also for making out. Not all music has to be emotionally demanding, politically forthright or sonically challenging.

 

 

It is part of an mp3 collection that includes Gino Soccio: Greatest hits. Soccio success was in late 70’s early 80’s disco. I enjoyed the easy danceability of his studio work & have more of his work tucked divot other mp3 collections. Here too is the Afro Celt Sound System’s Capture (1995-2010) – compilation from various lps. I heard a track on So You Think You Can Dance? & loved it. As the band name suggests they mash up African & Celtic rhythms in a way that actually works. Also here is Stereo MC’s Double Bubble. I found their song ‘Connected’ irresistible (& have as a stand alone that cd) Bubble is more of the same & has a similar sound to AfroCelt – danceable world music & fun with a bit of a socio-political edge.

 

 

 

On the shelf next to Juniah is Junior Senior – a Danish pop duo. I have as stand-alones their ‘d-d-don’t stop the beat’ & ‘Hey Hey My My Yo Yo’. This is super fun summer music. Sweet, gay subtext, a bit of rap, a touch of hip-hop & all infused with crisp energy & lots of hand-clap propulsion. I love these guys. All the above are worth hunting down if you need, as I do, some fresh, fun, funky music.

Daily Special

the cafe wasn’t too crowded – there was a table with two seats – maybe should take that – leave the larger tables for people with friends – don’t want to waste valuable space on myself after all – besides someone might want to sit with me – strangers – or be afraid to sit with me because they thought I was expecting friends – once that happened – longing looks but afraid to sit with me even though the cafe was full – I felt so responsible – so afraid that people wouldn’t sit in those empty chairs – was it something about me that pushed them away – I wouldn’t have minded but wasn’t able to invite them – to say join me – I could tell they wouldn’t have anyway – I wasn’t the type they wanted someone else to think was their friend or even an acquaintance – so since then I’ve taken a small table – let people take the extra chair if they wanted it – easier to sit on my own than worry about – well what ever it is one worries about when a stranger sits at a table with you – I see that happen a lot though – but never to me – do I frighten people – am I so uninviting that they’d rather not sit with me – not that I blame them – I am drab – better not to draw too much attention to myself – never liked those show-off people with their flashy comic book character t-shirts – with too much jewellery, piercings, tattoos all those things that said hey look at me look at me – who do they think they are anyway – too many of those noise makers around making it  hard for ordinary guys like me to get noticed at all – better to be sort of nondescript than be one of those self consumed assholes with loads of similar people to laugh out loud with when they sit at their tables with each other, pulling spare chairs from tables like mine, not even bothering to say why don’t you join us, after all I’ve been here before, many times some even nod to me, the waitress knows my name, I think, – but those crafted husks haven’t got the time for the likes of me – not that I blame them – better not to have to perform all the time the way they do with those hey I’m so cool poses as they drape their arms around each other at their table, as they block the view of the stage, as they get up and their friends hoot and cheer to whatever drivel they spew, you won’t catch me up there –

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every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

Tuesday 24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

https://www.facebook.com/events/504067323723768/

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

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

Hot Chip

Next on my shelf I have these stand-alones by Hot Chip:  Coming On Strong, Warning, Made In The Dark, Bugged Out/Bugged In, One Life Stand. Yes I am fan, though I can’t tell you anything about the band itself. At one time being a fan meant knowing what the lead singer’s favourite colour was – now I can’t tell you who the lead singer of Hot Chip is. Yes that information is on the cd covers (I guess) but I can’t be bothered finding out. Not that this is faceless music but the face isn’t that important – at least not the way it is for stars like Madonna.

Hot Chip is part of the techno-dance genre and at the same time is quite emo. Similar to LCD Soundsystem; The Postal Service – I find them easy to absorb but never uninteresting. Lyrics revolve around relationships, life’s ups & downs – in a sometimes sardonic & other times very vulnerable. Vocals are sweet, sometimes a bit detached, emotional yet rarely overly emotional. They don’t rely on manipulative bombast to sell their songs. Overall bubbly fun.

The engineering as amazing. The vocals are mixed as part of the music, as opposed to sailing on top the music. In fact they are sometime mixed under. The sound of the voice is as if it as right there in the room, sometimes double tracked for harmony, but never treated with reverb, voice coder etc. Direct & ‘innocent’ from the heart.

Bugged Out is a double cd of remixes of their own material & other bands – old & new. It’s a dj set of nonstop fun. I came across a rave review of their first cd somewhere & was intrigued enough to go out & buy it – now-a-days I’d hop over to youtube to listen to a few tracks before buying. I was hooked by their electro sound that is bubbly, sometimes slips into a real disco groove and sounds contemporary at the same time. Check them out on youtube & then down load everything 🙂

Broke

Liz fumbled with the green garbage bag. She was trying to get it over the cardboard box. The box was covered with red, white & silver paper, some tissue some foil. The bag wasn’t quite large enough for the box.

‘Having a problem?’

‘You can say that again.’ Liz wanted to cry. She’d worked all weekend with her Mom making this post box for her class’s Valentine’s Day Party and now she’d never get it to school without damage.

‘Maybe a larger bag.’

‘Daddy, this is the biggest bag.’

‘Okay. Let’s see.’ Her dad took the plastic bag & shook it out. It opened to twice the size she had opened it to. The box fit easily.

‘Some of these hearts have been torn.’

Around the top edge several of the hearts had been ripped in half and then taped almost back together.

‘Mom says sometimes a heart has to be broke in two before love can find a way in.’

‘She said that?’

‘Oh yeah. Funny thing, but I guess she’s right. Was your heart ever broken Dad?’

‘When I was your age perhaps, but not since then. You want me to give you a lift to the school. I have time.’

‘Oh would you? That’d be great. I was afraid to carry this on the bus.’

He helped her on with her coat and carried the box down to the car. He would have to speak to Trish. What a thing to tell a girl, at any age, that you have to break a heart to earn love. These week-end visitations had been going along so well till this. What else had she been telling Liz? 

He had promised himself not to pry into what went on between mother and daughter. The less he interfered the easier this would be for Liz. The last thing she needed was to think her no-longer-living-together parents where fighting over her.

They got into the car.

‘Didn’t Mommy break your heart when she … you when …’

He didn’t want to tell Liz how relieved he had been when Trish had left, how happy he had been when the divorce papers were signed, settled. They hadn’t even fought over visitation with Liz. It all went smoothly, as if it was all part of how things were meant to go. 

Should he tell Liz he was only too glad to be rid of the shrill, insecure mess her mother became after a few years of marriage. He wanted a child but not to marry one.

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November 1 -30

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every Tuesday


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

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Harper Hartman

I first heard Ben Harper on a CMJ (College Music Journal) compilation cd. I like the sample & eventually found the cd Cruel World – I think the song was Mama’s Got A New Girlfriend – a cheerful song about having two moms. I have it as a stand-alone as well as Burn To Shine, & there will be a light.

Harper is adult pop with some folksy, bluesy, even soul undertones. He plays a wicked slide guitar. His voice is appealing & emotional without striving to over-emote. ‘be a light’ features the Blind Boys of Alabama & is uplifting, spiritual without being overly religious. As much as I enjoy his cds I found that three was enough. I’ve heard others but, to be honest, I couldn’t tell one from the other.

A quick word about CMJ. I was a loyal follower of this monthly magazine & loved the compilation cds that introduced me to endless music. They were as eclectic as my collection with sample tracks from jazz, electronic, dance music, blues, pop, punk, rap, world music all on the same cd. The frustrating thing was that often what I really liked was unavailable in Canada.

Near Harper is an lp to cd transfer of Dan Hartman’s Instant Replay, with some tracks from a disco compilation Hot Nights & City Lights. ‘Replay’ was one of the few disco lps that was more than a hit song. Each track had energy & I always love hearing it when it comes up in my play rotation. I remember being compelled to dance to that title song when ever a dj played it, the same was true for Countdown. Hot Nights is a nicely mixed set of classic disco songs such as Boogie Oogie Oogie; Love Is In The Air – all of which make me feel like a teenager coming out 🙂

Pagan

‘Just smell the pine.’ Chris took a deep breath. He nodded to Peter to do the same thing.

‘Yeah. Pine.’ Peter breathed out. He didn’t really smell anything like pine. ‘Not very strong though.’

‘What do you mean?’ Chris pushed aside a branch and held it so Peter could pass. ‘Can’t mistake that smell. Or were you expecting Pinesol?’

‘Yeah. Something like that.’ Peter felt himself redden. In this cold it wouldn’t be noticeable.

‘Something like reality.’ Chris’s laugh echoed through the trees. ‘This is real. This is the goddamned outdoors.’ He stooped and pulled up a clump of snow, dirt. ‘This is the land. Not some high-def image. The soil. Something we don’t get enough of in the city. ’

‘I have enough dirt in my back yard.’

‘Yeah, right.’ Chris scoffed.  ‘All that chemical fertilizer and weed control doesn’t leave much of nature in that soil.’

‘Enough for … ’

‘There it is.’ 

They stopped. Peter saw the tree. Tall. Green. Biggest pine he had ever seen.

‘She is a beauty.’ Peter said.

‘She! Hell, that’s a he tree if I’ve ever seen one.’

‘I’m not going to argue that with you. So we going just gawk or chop.’

‘Neither.’ Chris took off his back pack.

‘I thought we were going to get real trees this year. None of that tree farm shit for us.’

‘Right you are but by real I meant we’d get real ourselves. Here … ’ He handed Peter two red candles. ‘Put one over there and the other directly opposite it. Stick close to the edge of the fir.’

‘You crazy or what.’

‘Trust me.’

‘Okay.’

Chris trod a path around the tree that criss-crossed at several points. In each another candle was placed and lit. A slight wind came up.

‘Next …’ Chris handed him a beer and opened one for himself. ‘repeat after to me … We drink to the spirit of the fir.’

‘We drink to the spirit of the fir.’

‘Now take a swallow and spit it out.’

Peter did.

‘Turn around and do the same thing again.’

Peter did. At first he felt foolish. He glanced around to make sure no one was watching. He closed his eyes and when he opened them the light had changed.

‘You see the difference?’ Chris asked.

‘Yeah? What is this? Some sort of pagan ritual.’

‘Could be. Just intent. Something my Dad showed me once. He said he had to pass it along to someone. Now I’m passing it along to you. We have to revere the land a little. Acknowledge the spirit.’

Peter took a deep breath. He could smell the pine. ‘I smell it.’

‘What?’

‘The pine! The pine! I can really smell it! I smell the earth too.’

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October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

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

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

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That 80s Haircut 100

This mp3 cd filed under Haircut 100 is a time capsule of the 80’s. Much of it music made popular by MuchMusic when it played music videos, some of it comes from gay disco where I heard many of these songs for the first time.

It starts out with Haircut 100’s Pelican West – this falls under ‘new romance’ category fo sweet pop that wasn’t goth, punk or even power pop. Well produced but this British band fizzled after this release. One that hung on for a while is Thompson Twins. Here I have Into The Gap. Also ‘new romance’ they had a stronger ‘music you can dance to’ element and some of these track are so catchy they were dismissed as not being ‘serious’ music.

Less dismissed was Tears For Fears: The Hurting [UK Bonus Tracks]. They took themselves seriously enough with emotionally complex songs. Resonant, beautifully recorded & performed. Tears bridged the gap between goth & pop excellently. These Bonus tracks are remixes & extended versions of their sometime overwrought hits like Pale Shelter. 

Another Brit who had trouble getting ‘respect’ is the very sexy Billy Idol: Vital Idol – an MTV star for sure, but his hits are polished if not that radical. He bridged the gap between punk, pop & disco. Steve Steven’s guitar work on Flesh For Fantasy is astonishing. When his bad boy image was seen as only an image his star dimmed.

This cd also includes Dead or Alive: The Best Of: a rougher version of Boy George & less ‘spiritual’ as well. Singer Pete Burns propelled this group to several hits that crowded dance floors the way I liked it. Best include extended mixes & remixes of the songs.

As a change of pace I included  Trip Shakespeare: Across The Universe. I remember coming across the cassette & really loved their middle mid-60’s sound. Off kilter love songs. Finally for a real change of pace is Lenny Kravitz’s Let Love Rule. Very hot to watch, great to listen to and another side of the 80’s pop explosion. 

Visit

‘Can you be a bit more precise?’

‘Nope.’

‘You are coming?’

‘Oh yes, that much is for sure.’

‘But you don’t know when.’

‘No. Not yet. I should know tomorrow or the day after at the latest.’

‘It will be this month or at least this year?’

‘Now don’t get like that. I said we’ll be there before Christmas. That much you can count on.’

‘Perhaps we’d better call the whole thing off then.’

‘What!! After all the trouble I’ve gone through to get some time off.’

‘That doesn’t do me much good at this end, now does it. In time for Christmas – that could be the 18th or Christmas eve. What am I supposed to do? Keep on tip toes till you show your face?’

‘You’re right, it is too much trouble for you. We’ll stay at a hotel.’

‘Sure, if you can find one that’ll take reservations for no specific days of arrival and departure.’

‘What’s gotten into you? If you don’t want us to come, just say so and we’ll stay here. At least we know we’ll be around when I get the time off.’

‘Good. Be like that. Why is it such a big problem to get a straight answer out of you about anything.’

‘Must run in the family.’

‘Does not.’

‘Does too.’

‘So are you coming or not.’

‘Do you want us to come or what?’

‘Sure I do. We haven’t seen you for years now. How long has it been?’

‘Not since the wedding.’

‘That long.’

‘What a fiasco that was. No one knew what church it was in. They forgot to put that on the invitations and didn’t notice it either.’

‘Reception. it was the reception that no one could find.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes.’

‘Whatever. It was so funny. Half of us ended up at some IODE rec centre and rest went to a nearby bar.’

‘Right and no one showed up at the reception expect for me and the bride and the groom.’

‘You did get pictures though. No else did.’

‘No one else was there.’

‘So you still have that camera.’

‘Digital video now. Right to the hard drive.’

‘I see.’

‘So you’ll let me know in a few days when you’ll be here and how long you’ll be here?’

‘Why is all that so important? I never got this need of yours to know, to control.’

‘I never got this need of yours not to know. Meeting someone around 8 doesn’t mean showing up at 9:10 & expecting them to be waiting for you.’

‘You still smarting over that. I suppose you have photos too?’

‘No but somethings stick in the mind.’

‘I can’t wait to see you though. I’ve missed you so much.’

‘Same here. You know if you want a drive from the airport knowing when you’ll be there would be helpful.’

‘I can take a taxi.’

‘And if I happen to be out when you arrive? Then what? I could be gone myself for a couple of days. That’s why I want to know.’

‘What! You’ve got somewhere to go?’

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every Tuesday

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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train to where

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