Elton John


From Your Song on his self-titled Elton I’ve been a fan of Elton John. At one time I was eager for each new release, but by Caribo I lost interest. He’d become a music machine as opposed to a musician. Such is life. But those first lps (which I had as lps) where played endlessly. I have the live 11-17-70; Tumbleweed Connection; Madman Across The Water; Honky Chateau; Good Bye Yellow Brick Road;  Blue Moves – as mp3s. 


Elton; Tumbleweed Connection; Madman Across The Water; Honky Chateau as stand-alones. All have songs that bring back powerful memories. Lyrics that spoke to me & also spoke about me. ‘Have you ever lived in a cave.’ It took me years to realize how good a singer he was, because he invested those lyrics with a sense that he wrote them himself – whereas he only wrote the music. 


To Be Continued … is a 3 cd best of that I inherited from my father’s cd collection when he passed a way. I was surprised to find he had it (along with Best of CCR). Don’t Shoot The Piano Player, Caribou & Capt Fantastic are on shelf as well. There are great songs on these but my favourites are on the earlier lps. Most recent addition is the soundtrack from Rocketman. A sort of hits collection that is excellent because Taron Egerton can actually sing 🙂

I did have Songs From The West Coast – which I won in a contest via TV Guide – that also included a trip to San Diego to hear Elton live in concert. The trip was more memorable than the songs.

Also mixed in with the mp3 cds are Howard Jones, Billy Joel (see last week for them). Plus John James’s Big Fat Soul, Mothers of Hope – James is a Toronto musical who made a bit of a mark thanks to MuchMusic with sweet danceable music with light hip-hop, & strong soul underpinnings. Dr. John: In The Right Place – great radio-friendly work that proved Dr. John had more than gris-gris chops. Finally the British blues band Taste’s self titled live lp full of raw blistering work. I had this as an lp on the east coast & love hearing it when it comes up in my listening rotation.


‘Pass me the flying pan.’

‘Flying pan?’

‘Sorry. Frying pan. Flying pan was what my Dad used to call it.’

‘Flying pan?’

‘Yeah, he was a bit of joker. When he was sober.’

‘Sounds like it.’ Jim handed Greg the pan. ‘Though I doubt he had something that reflected state of the art.’

The frying pan was stainless something, light and would have looked right on the console of the Star Trek Enterprise.

‘I suppose not. It was one of those heavy, cast iron things. My mother was always afraid to wash it. As if we would somehow wash the taste out of it.’


‘It was ‘seasoned.’ Something built up on the surface that was ….’

‘A layer of germs ready to kill.’

‘None of us ended up dead. The only way the frying pan would kill is if you hit someone over the head with it. Which was something my mother threatened to do to my Dad many a time. Booze beat the shit of him for her though.’

‘So you’ve told me many times.’ Jim got eggs from the fridge. ‘but we are much more civilized, aren’t we?’

‘What do you mean by that?’ Greg cracked the eggs open into a low glass dish.

‘I mean we don’t threaten with objects but with objections.’

‘Very funny.’ Greg chopped onions and mixed them in with the eggs. ‘Garlic?’


‘You sure? You …’

‘Don’t go there. Garlic will be fine. I’ll chop some.’

‘My goodness, I was merely offering to help.’

‘Stranger things have happened. Should I heat the flying pan?’ Jim put a spoon of butter in the the centre of the pan and swirled it around as it melted, to cover the entire surface.

‘He’d make us pancakes. Every other week, or so. He’d wake up around lunch time Sunday and say ‘get out the flying pan.’ We knew it meant pancakes.’

‘You’ve never made us pancakes.’

‘Please. His were crispy brown on one side and blacker than the pan on the other. He figured they weren’t really cooked unless they were part burned. And lumpy. We dreaded those Sundays but were always afraid not to be there. When I was old enough I started to help him, just a little.’ The whisk clicked rapidly on the bowl as Greg mixed and mixed the eggs. ‘Gotta make them light and fluffy.’

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every Tuesday 2019

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


Stratford Festival – The Crucible


The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

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

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The Night Tripper

20-fab01Dr. John’s Gris Gris is one of my favourite lps. I remember first hearing it & being fully pulled into the night tripper eeriness of the call and response echoes on the opening tack. Everything about it worked. The album made a big splash when it was released then he sort of lost footing, in the eyes of the critics anyway. I wish I still has my lps version but the stand alone cd is easier to replay – running just over 33 minutes it way too short & needs to be played two times in a row to appreciate it (much like Coltrane’s A Love Supreme).

20-fab02On an mp3 collection I have Babylon; Remedies – his next two lps that I didn’t heard until quite recently. The swamp cajun feel is there but not as strong as that that first lp. I enjoy then immensely. I threw in a couple of Youngbloods lps into this collection: Earth Music; Elephant Mountain – California music of the same time era – they play a mix of jug-band, blues, pop & even some rather jazzy stuff that is worth tracking down.

20-fab03Tucked away on two other mp3 collections are Dr. John’s Gumbo – his retro rock roots work; & In The Right Place: his ‘commercial’ break through that had sweet radio friendly & less eerie material.

20-fab04The other stand alone is his more recent Tribal – which I think won a grammy for roots music a few years ago. I bought it to hear what he was doing – much like recent work by Jackson Browne – I wanted to reconnect with what my past was doing now. Tribal is solid easy listening adult rock. Pleasant & reassuring – but not exploratory, unlike recent work by Leonard Cohen or Neil Young. Dr John was one of those guys who started out sort of counter-culture as the Night Tripper & quickly became adult middle-of-the-road. But it’s a nice road.



‘How will you know that till you step foot in it.’

‘Jack don’t pull that poor little old me crap. Now don’t forget to pick up the kids after school. You can drop them off at my Mother’s if you think they’ll get in the way of things.’

‘Nah they’ll be fine right here. Jack Jr enjoys a little drink. He’s near old enough now.’

‘Well they are your kids. No use fighting you on that. You do what you want with them.’

‘You bet your life I will.’

‘Don’t forget the Clarke’s across the street have a restraining order against you.’

‘How can I forget. The sign is still on the front lawn. The nerve of them assholes. The gun went of by accident. You believe me don’t you?’

‘The fact that you could hold a gun is a miracle.’

‘Damn rights.’

‘Don’t forget to walk the dog, clean out the kitty litter box, there’s a load of laundry to be hung and if you can find the time, you throw in the colored stuff. There’s no room in the fridge for food so I hope your hot dogs will find it cool enough in the basement.’

‘Of course they will. Now are you coming or going, staying or getting out of my sight.’

‘I’m getting out of your sight as fast as I can.’

‘Good good. I wish you’d stay but …’

‘Let’s not go over that again. I’m out of here as soon as I can get out of here. Have you seen my keys?’

‘Are they under the box of hot-dog buns?’

They lifted the box together.


‘’Maybe I put the cases of lager on top of them. No, on second though, I might have left them by the wine cellar. I wish you would give me my own key to that.’

‘Yeah in a million years. When I give you key to the gun safe.’


‘That’s right I changed the lock on the gun safe yesterday. Not taking any chances.’

‘Your sister’s forgiven me.’

‘Perhaps, but I haven’t. If you’d shot one of our kids you can bet your hide would hung out to dry.’ A smile broke across her face. ‘Now that would be a holiday worth hanging around for.’

‘You don’t mean that do you huggy momma?’

‘Of course not boozy poppa. You know I love you and your  useless hide.’

‘Could you leave pizza money?’

‘Sorry. You are on your own.’

‘What time am I supposed to pick up the kids?’

‘After school.’

‘And what time is that?’

‘Cripes do I have to write everything down for you. Here.’ She pulled a roll of paper out her purse. ‘Here is the full list. Times places phone numbers.’

‘You do think of everything. Now, if I have to get a hold of you?’

‘You’ll just have to suffer. You have three hours before you pick up the kids. While your at it, you could drop Gran off at the Home for the week-end. She needs to get out of the attic sometime.’

‘That is your decision I might remind you.’

‘Whatever.’ She grabbed her overnight bag and headed out to the car, Jack on her heels.

‘Is there anything else you’d like to tell me before you go huggy mama.’

‘Nothing that you don’t already know boozy poppa.’

‘You sure.’ he put his arms around her.

‘More than sure.’ she pushed him away. ‘You know I love you best when you aren’t in front me. Enjoy the holiday.’



on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes



March 4, Saturday, 8 pm: my first local feature in over two years: Glad Day Books



attending: Saturday, March 25: 9 a.m. 2017 TORONTO SPECFIC COLLOQUIUM


April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames


June 9-10-11: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 – flight & hotel booked already



check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already



November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo




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fall gold


The Byrds

I have a nearly complete collection of The Byrds. There bootlegs out there that I’m not interested in. Those chiming  chords of their first hits were impossible to resist. Their look embodied all that ‘hippy’ heady wear to lure teens like me at the time. Long hair, fringed jackets, tie-dye, square toed boots, mutton chops (my thighs miss them). I can remember first hearing Turn Turn Turn on the radio & wanting to be where they were spinning in the California sunshine in a haze of grass smoke.


I have as stand-alones: Mr. Tambourine Man, Turn Turn Turn, Fifth Dimension, Younger Than Yesterday, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Notorious Byrd Brothers, Dr Byrds & Mr Hyde. The first two are full of covers, originals, in that folk-rock sound. With Fifth D they become more experimental, more rock as well. Then with Younger they really take off – this might be my favourite: Renaissance Fair still knocks me out – it also marks where the band begins to fall apart – egos getting bigger, creative conflicts.red02

I’d also read the David Crosby was bi & the song that got him knocked out of the band was Triad – about a threesome. I looked at him with a keener eye – needing some sort of validation or my growing up queer & pretending it was bi to be on the safe side. The Byrds version of Triad shows up as a bonus track.

Notorious is also fine – more experimental with the use of moog, layer of sounds & my 2nd favourite of theirs. Sweetheart is the leap to country – amazing work & major changes in band members & a very influential lp on later groups i.e. The Eagles, Flying Burrito Brothers & even country today.redspots

The Byrds never really revived after Sweetheart – variations of the band continued to record & there are great tracks on Untitled, Easy Rider, Byrdmaniax (love the chrome death masks on the cover of this) & the reunion Farther Along – but these never had that sonic pull of the first handful of lps. The live Filmore 69 is great fun.

The Mp3 collections has: Untitled (the live Lp has a great 8 Miles High) is solid, new songwriters help & Chestnut Mare is classic. Easy Rider, Byrdmaniax – both have moments but could be any band. On this I’ve also added Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, The Hollies – best of’s by radio compatriots. Three Dog Night started as a strong band but turned to commercial mush. Steppenwolf were hard rockers all the way.


The other mp3 collection includes Farther Along/Full Circle  – harmonies without real direction Full Circle is a reunion lp that has moments. I rounded this cd off with some Nils Lofgrin: bouncy, & excellent pop by a hot, short guy; Dr. John: Gumbo: covers of his faves; Roger McGuinn: one of his solo lps that failed to launch a viable solo career. Just for the hell of Zoobombs – a crazed rollercoaster of styles & great fun.

Stand alones: Final Approach: part of the Columbia box set; Uncut’s 8 Miles High: a collection of Byrds covers complied by Uncut magazine & given away with that month’s issue – great covers btw.


this sample is half of an exercise in which I was to write 100 opening lines:

1. I’d like you to meet my sister

2. It was a bark and thorny dike and as the water rose Kaleb prayed it would hold.

3. The ship’s vidscreen suddenly filled with a yellow glow.

4. ‘Which one of us will kill mother?’

5. The car screeched to a halt with Jack’s body protruding past the front bumper.

6. After the rain we were allowed back outside.

7. The window split into several large pieces before losing hold on the frame.

8. Once upon a time there was a crack dealer named Mickey M who found a magic marker in the secret woods.

9. ‘Are you sure this is the place.”

10. For a moment I thought the man who stood in front of me was me.

11. No colony had lasted as long as the Beta Q in this quadrant.

12. Billy couldn’t wait to get to the farm to see how his piglet had grown since last summer.

13. As the last of Jill’s clothes fell to the bedroom floor Kip felt he finally stood on the edge of manhood.

14. A barrage of staccato gun fire from behind stopped Cody in his tracks.

15. The brood mare nuzzled the glistening black form of the colt.

16. The door slammed in Carol’s face.

17. ‘Don’t be late again,’ Mrs. McLean warned Tracy.

18. The view from the top of Kl’da Mountain took their breath away.

19. ‘If I kill them all, there will be more for me.’

20. Although I’d never handled a knife before I felt sure I’d have no problem.

21. As Karen got closer to the slumped figure she saw that it had no head.

22. ‘I’m sorry to bother you at a time like this but I seem to have run out of sugar.’

23. The restaurant was empty.

24. As Tom hit the delete button he a feeling something bad was about to happen and soon.

25. Dear Diary – arrived at Camp Sunkiss today and it wasn’t raining.

26. The ceiling fan moved in slow circles that carved rather than moved the hotel air.

27. The arc of the electric charge leapt the gap to the gasoline.

28. ‘Do you take this man …’ the minister looked to me as my mind screamed ‘No! No! No! He isn’t human.’

29. ‘Have you lived here long?’

30. The Branston estate had been abandoned for several decades.

31. The ring was so small and round and all I had to do was get it off her finger and into my pocket.

32. The peasants stepped back from the car door as it swung open.

33. Marg rarely cried in public.

34. Numa, king of beasts, stretched in the hot jungle sun.

35. The grandfather clock in the front hall chimed ten and there was still no sign of James Cavendish.

36. A caped figure loomed abruptly as John was locking the car door.

37. ‘How many times do I have to tell you to turn that racket down?’ Vlad’s mother shouted up the stairs.

38. ‘The doctor has been delayed.’

39. The two butterflies looped around one another several times before settling on the lilac bush at the foot of the bell tower.

40. The blank canvas mocked Pedro with its very emptiness.

41. Dale watched the movers unload furniture into the house across the street.

42. The phone had rang six separate times already in the past half hour.

43. ‘Be an angel Beth and hand me that?’ Gran pointed painfully to the jewel box on the nightstand.

44. Once the merger was complete Phipps knew his revenge would also be complete.

45. There was nothing familiar in the room Frank found before his eyes.

46.  The sparrow flew from the eaves of one house to the next.

47.  ‘Stop looking at me like that,’ Paul reached inside his jacket, ‘Or I’ll make you stop looking.’

48. A slight breeze moved the lace curtains.

49. ‘Slow down before you …’ Becky’s warning was stopped by a sickening thud.

50. Bev patted the soil on the last of the seeds.soon

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9





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