Pandemic Piano Purge

Over the past year or so of the lockdown I’ve done my own purging & have observed the purges of others & was struck my frequency of various keyboards: electric organs, peddle organs, & pianos. I guess there is no place to donate them to that will come & pick them up – so they get curbed for the city to deal with.

lawn organ-ment
just a little scratch

these next four are all of the same piano that was dismembered & left to fend for its wounded self on the Danforth

not sure if these are less or more depressing – cute pics but still a keyboard being curbed

Elton John piano starter for your kids

– sweet, eh?

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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
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? 


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. 

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


Humpty Grinch in the Box


I bought the Humpty Dumpty way back in the 80’s for Humpty Dumpty potato chips. I had to sent four bar codes. I can’t remember if $ was involved too. I blame the effect of the salt on the potato chips for my memory lapse. There was a time when I loved potato chips but eventually they were too salty or soaked with flavoured chemicals & that compulsion was removed.



Anyway I love this little stuffed toy. The details are mostly glued on though so it is clearly not meant to be played with. It quickly became a part of my festive decor & now its perched atop of a mirror on the landing on my stairs.


Another stuffed decoration is the Grinch which I picked up at Shoppers (or maybe Howie’s before it became Shoppers) at Danforth/Coxwell, sometime in the 90’s. I’ve added a few details over the years 🙂 the stocking he’s stealing showed up one Christmas, stuffed with gifts, a few years later. The reindeer I picked dup at a yard sale & it was the perfect size for the stocking. handcuffs! Well, what can I say. He did the crime & is ready to do his time every year when he comes out of the trunk.


Finally is this tree ornament that I picked up at a Jack in the Box takeout San Diego in December 2000. I had won a trip for two there to see Elton John in concert performing Songs From The West Coast. The trip included airfare, hotel & thickets to the concert. I took a friend. The hotel was miles from anything though so we did public transit one day & had Jack for supper that night. They were selling these ornaments. 


As you can see not all my Christmas decor has bitter-sweet emotional memories for me.

Top Ten Things I Love About The Grinch

10 – he looks good in green and red

9 – he’s not afraid of heights

8 – he makes a plan and sticks to it

7 – he likes winter sports – sledding

6 – he’s willing to admit when he’s wrong

5 – he can sew

4- he leaves your house cleaner than it was when he arrived

3 – he knows how to use a whip

2 – he has a wicked grin

1 – his dog loves him

Plus one

It wasn’t only his heart that grew three times larger

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Elton John

With Elton we are dealing with a pop star who is now fully out but the process for him was not easy – but once he had attained sufficient success he felt he had nothing to lose by coming clean. In my collection I have on mp3 CDs Elton (Your Song)/11-17-70/Honky Chateau/Don’t Shoot The Piano Player/ Yellow Brick Road. Stand alone’s: Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across The Water, To Be Continued … 3 cds.13desk01I remember buying the Your Song lp with its orange & red spiral Uni label. Studying the pictures of the band, being amazed at the songs themselves – somehow imparting Elton with the sensitivity of the lyrics, when in fact he was merely the singer & the writer of the music. It was Bernie Taupin who wanted to be your song, but Elton’s singing made the melodramatic words seem grounded & possible. The band was smoking too.13desk02So emotionally intense was the connection between words & music I was sure there was more between Elton & Bernie but they we brought together thanks to an ad by a music company looking for talent. It wasn’t until much later in the collaboration they would even meet to work on fitting words to music.

I played the next couple of lps grey – Madman Across the Water, Honky Chateau – just another song about teenage suicide. I was loved his persona development. Bowie may have changed in looks but Elton took it to a different more gaudy level & the music was always more ‘populist’ than Bowie. Elton never wandered into experimental explorations he saved his explorations for eye glasses 🙂 He was a more interesting version of Neil Diamond.13desk03As he became totally out I lost interest in his music – good but lacked the rock propulsion & freshness as he become more & more middle-of-the-gay-road. Adult pop. I did see him in concert in San Diego in the early 2000 & thought he really should do a jazz album. No singing just pounding away at the piano.

But he’s made queer totally non-threatening, which is a good thing, even if he has established this hetero-norm lifestyle – adopted children & all that. He’s the good queer thanks to the $ he’s put into his own pockets & that of promoters around the world.13desk04The last lp of his I bought was Rock of the Westies. Yellow Brick is sprawling & to be honest, Candle in the Wind is a road block of sweetness for me but the rest of it is good. To Be Continued is a 3 cd best of that my Dad had in his collection that I inherited. To round out the mp3 cds there is some great (non-queer) stuff by Billy Joel (he & Elton did tour together) Dr. John, John James, & for contrast Derek & The Dominos – even a sample of a great British blues band The Taste.



‘Mark I really didn’t want to help in the first place.’ Dave stepped away from me.

‘Why didn’t you say so?’ I followed him.

‘Because I knew you were counting on me to to help.’

‘True but you still could have said no.’

‘And have you charging around not knowing what you are doing and fuming at me for not helping.’

‘Dave that wouldn’t have happened.’

‘I wouldn’t be so sure about that. You are so much like …’ he stopped.

‘Like who Dave? Like who?’ I knew he was alluding to his first lover, Greg, who had become an abusive manipulating drunk before killing himself. ‘I am Mark. Remember? I’m not anyone else.’

‘Sorry but …’

‘You can say No to me without my going off on some drunken tear and not showing up for days.’

‘I know that but it’s hard to let go of some things. I grew up with it.’

‘So you never hesitate tell me, and I remind you that I am not Greg and I am not your father. I thought you would like to help that’s all. If you didn’t want to that would have been fine. Mental telepathy doesn’t work.’


‘I can’t read your mind. It’s getting so I’m not sure if it is safe to ask you anything. You seem to think one thing then but say another and when you do that we both suffer.’

‘Pardon me for making you unhappy.’

‘Seeing you help with that ‘poor me’ attitude isn’t pleasant. I can’t make you speak your mind and if you want to keep this up you’ll be the one to suffer the most.’

I didn’t know if I wanted to leave things unfinished or get the job done with Dave’s grudging help. ‘I could finish this myself.’

‘Now that I’ve started I might as well finish. It seems I can’t even help right anymore.’

‘Don’t let it get you down. There are some things you do better than anyone else.’

‘Another trait of my Dad’s. He was shit in the kitchen but boy could he barbecue.’soon

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

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:


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh?

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Gary Burton

I’ve had Gary Burton in my jazz collection for decades but didn’t discover he was gay until recently – he’d officially come out in 1994! Not that his music itself says ‘I’m queer’ – the way pop can but to have a major jazz icon out is pretty amazing.


the empty frame

In my collection I have Country Roads/ Turn of the Century/ Crystal Silence/ Reunion/ Matchbook and probably more as he played as sideman with other icons: Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Ralph Towner (& many, many others.) Jarrett & Corea being two of my favourites – both of whom I also had the hots for.


after taste of the Danforth

In the late 60’s he was promoted as rock star – the lps have tripy lettering, he appears in leather fringe jackets – the group does covers of Bob Dylan etc. This is when he caught my ear. A fusion pioneer but much closer to traditional jazz than, say, the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

He’s recorded some stunning work with Chick Corea and also Ralph Towner – chamber jazz of great calmness, sweetness and spiritual longing that I’d recommend to anyone. Crystal Silence with Corea is an amazing lp, as is Matchbook with Towner.


transit reflections

Jazz isn’t noted for being overly phobic but the rep of most major players is very hetero. Burton has written about his closeted years, the fears of what being out might do to his career.  So he waited until he was firmly intrenched before being public. Another story of how the closet effected creativity. Another musical figure who might have provided me a role model when I had none.

Not that his reputation needs a boost, but I’d love to hear him work some of modern out pop groups like The Irrepessibles or even an icon like Elton John.


Unrelated Kitchen Scenes

‘Dad that has been there since we moved in five years ago.’

Jim looked down at his father. His father was down on one knee rubbing a small black streak in the tile of the kitchen floor.

‘Then it’s time to start cleaning up around here.’ His Dad’s face gleamed red with the exertion of bending over. ‘Never could …’

‘It’s no use.’ Jim resisted the urge to haul his Dad to his feet. ‘We’ve tired everything. Next step is to replace the tile.’

Steadying himself on the counter top Jim’s Dad pushed himself up right. ‘You got some varisol?’

‘Tried that Dad. Please. just go in the living room and …’

‘What about that Dim Sum stuff on TV. Cleans anything.’

‘Have you cleaned behind your ears?’ Jim knew the only way to get around this was a joke.

‘What …’ his Dad half reached behind his ear and stopped. A grin broke out. ‘Sorry. I guess I want everything to go well. You know how your mother is about stuff being just right.’

‘Dad I know how you are about it and that is more that enough.’

‘Nice job. So far.’

‘We’ve been doing what we can.’

‘Too bad about …’

‘It takes time. You should know that by now Dad. Besides there’s no rush to make this a perfect house.’


‘It’s big.’

‘I suppose it is.’

‘After that space-saver kitchen I’ve been using for the past seven years this is like moving into an stadium’ Pam took a few steps from the fridge to the sink. ‘There’s actual distance between things. Before I could turn around from the fridge and be right at the sink. Now movement. Now steps.’

‘Yes. think of the weight you’ll lose with all that moving around.’



Tim pushed the chair over to the counter. He climbed up & could reach the cabinet over the sink.

‘Just what are you up to young man?’

‘Nothing,’ he turned to face his mother and as he did he slipped off the chair to land with hard bump on the floor.

‘How many times do I have to tell you to keep out of trouble.’

‘I wasn’t getting into trouble I was just getting a glass of water.’ He stood up rubbing his bum.


6 cups Royal Cremeshire w/ matching saucers. Hand painted in the Sandy Rose pattern number 145. Small crack on one saucer otherwise in good to excellent condition.

9 soup bowls Royal Cremeshire. Hand painted in the Sandy Rose pattern number 145. Chipping around rim of one with signs of use in all. in fair to good condition.

11 dinner plates Royal Cremeshire. Hand painted in the Sandy Rose pattern number 145. Two with major cracks, one repaired badly, one broken in half. Remaining in excellent condition

5 Egg Coddlers Royal Darby. Hand painted in the Broken Wing pattern number 158. Sterling silver screw tops. All need washing, caked with egg & stained with milk and pepper. As is poor condition.

14 Elephant base salad bowls Royal Darby. Hand painted in the Cranky Bride pattern number 973. Found stacked under sink. Some water damage in top bowl. Large oversized nearly 15 Inches across. Red stains on rim of bottom bowl.

3 sugar bowls Royal Dalton w/ matching tongs. Hand painted in the Bitter Lemon pattern number 432. Covered in ants, some with jam instead of sugar and one with no bottom. Bitter Lemon is the rarest of the patters having been produced only in 1856.


‘Burger. Fries.’ Slurred the drive-through speaker.

‘Repeat please.’ Britt leaned closer to hear more clearly.

‘Burger. Fries.’

‘Burger. Fries.’ she called back for confirmation.

‘No! Burger. Fries. Jesus …’

Britt turned to call the order to the kitchen behind her. The thick steam of onion washed over her and she felt queasy. It’s just a job she reminded herself.

‘Britt can you give Ranji a hand with the Big’Uns. He’s getting behind.’ the supervisor snapped at her.

‘Yes sir.’ She hated going into the muggy stainless steel kitchen. After fifty years of marriage and four kids she felt she’d had enough of cooking yet here she was still slogging still.

Last year’s queer music blogs:

June 2 Billy Strayhorn

June 9 ‘Hangin’ On The Telephone’

June 16 Tea Room Tramps

June 23 Ned Rorem


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The Quiet Life?

David Hockney, in a recent interview , says too many gay men are opting to be boring. He’s dismayed at the heteronormative standards married same-sex couples are pushing on the queer world as the ethically superior way of being acceptable. He feels acceptability is betrayal of something. I recently watched the HBO Normal Heart & one of the initial resistances to educating about condoms etc. was this sense to be queer was to have sex with men (makes some sense to me).


sprinkler/ski boots/chair

Hockney is a well-established artist & has little to lose by affronting the assimilationists – plus he has a new exhibit opening so what better way to generate more press for it – sounding a little cynical am I? In fact I kind of agree with Hockney as regards the move to gay conformity. Talking about HIV meds is as tedious, in the long run, as hearing all about those darling adoptive children.


nice ass

I think what strikes about this little tempest – much like the dust up between Elton John & some fashion house over ‘designer children’ – is the smug superiority each side holds for their opinions. Can’t we just get along? Let me tell you lots of heteros are equally as ‘dull’. It might be human nature not a lifestyle choice.


fear of a black toque

Then again I’m not sure what ‘dull’ means – how bored might I be with a lengthy discussion of colour technique that Hockney might find enthralling. Which is more compelling: gay guys wondering what bondage gear to wear to the black ball or sharing info on good day-care? I also have to admit that I live a fairly routine life that, to me, is far from dull but to some people the idea of sitting for two hours at a poetry reading holds no appeal – what can be more boring that poetry, right?


in going through my archive for possible pieces to take to DC, I came across this which I forgotten I’d written – one out of a series of my imagined life growing up in the circus –

I Still Dream of Wee Willie

Wee Willie

stomped the ground in his pen

agitated   bellowing

I dashed to see what was going on

my mother reached to hold me back

I eluded her easily


Wee Willie

reared on his hind legs

that was all the glimpse I got

before my mother’s shawl

covered my head

the rose pattern shawl

was the one she used

to cover her crystal ball

the future was to be veiled at all times

so she told her customers

only the hand of spirit

and $10 could move it


in that glimpse I saw

what she was afraid I’d see

not my future

but Wee Willie

pawing the air

with lumbering legs

as he teetered toward Daisy Blue

I pushed the shawl away

I had to see if they were fighting


I saw for the first time

Wee Willie


his elephant cock in gory glory

it was huge   enormous

bigger even than that of Herculo

the muscle man


Wee Willie

clambered onto the back of Daisy Blue

she was docile  big ears flickered

as she moved her head side to side

his humungous cock got bigger  harder

his weight upon her back

I fainted


I came to in our trailer

my shoulders ached

under the weight of my dreams


June 3-5 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC



September 2-4 – attending – Fan Expo 2016


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Long John Baldry

Long John Baldry: mp3: Long John’s Blues; Looking At Long John; Let The Heartaches Begin; It Ain’t Easy; Baldry’s Out. Long John was one of those legendary British singers I would hear mentioned or thanked or featured on lps but he never had a North American hit & so never broke into the market here.

blanket blanket of blues, reds and greens

A few years ago I did a bit of a search & found some of this early lps. Much to my surprise & delight one of them is 1979‘s Baldry’s Out! Turns out he’s was one of those not so secret queers all those years who finally made the move to be open about it. He was called Long John because of his height 🙂


orange you glad

He has a great voice, great songs & great musicians on these recordings. They span from too over produced to fine soul-blues & rock. Elton John wrote ‘Someone Saved my Life Tonight’ about Long John helping him to deal with fame & sexuality.

redhead the ice princess has fallen

Rounding out the mp3 collection is some Bobby “Blue” Bland: Two Steps From The Blues; & BB King: Together for the First Time Live; Reflections in Blue. stand alone: The Millennium Collection. Bland is not bland & is a perfect musical compliment to Baldry. Soulful blues with an gospel/r’n’b edge, great production work at all times & a superb, emotionally resonant voice too. “I Pity the Fool” stands the test of time.


October 10-12 – attending – Gratitude Roundup


October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow


November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 –




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

“It’s the missing virus, isn’t it?” Greg was appalled that someone would use it as a threat over such a minor incident.

“Well, aren’t you the smart one. What did you think it was? A box of chocolates.”

“Paul  — “

“I said stop looking at me like that or I will put an end to life as we know it.’

Greg closed his eyes. “Is this any better.”

“Now you are just mocking me.”

“I am not mocking you. Please but I — I can’t go on like this.”

“Like what? Looking at me as if I was dirt. As if I wasn’t here. As if I was nothing. The way you look at at everyone. Someone has to put a stop to you and I’m the one to do it.”

“Yes Paul. I can see that you are upset but catapulting the world into the death throes of that virus certainly isn’t in proportion.”

“Ha. What do you know about proportion? How much credit have you taken for this particular strain.”

“Almost none.”

“None! Ha! Then why is it called Greg’s Pokemonitis. Why? Hmmm. Mewtwo got your tongue.”

“Paul I didn’t name it.”

‘”hat’s not all you didn’t do. You didn’t set foot in the Lab once while we were working on this, did you? Speak up. I can’t hear you.”

“No, I didn’t step into the Lab once. We can change the name. We can name it after you. How would that be?’

“Stop squirming you worm. It’s too late and you know it.”

Paul toyed with the test tube. The glowing yellow fluid rolled around the inside as if trying to reach the top. He held it up to the light.

“Such a pretty color, don’t you think?”

Greg reached up for it but Paul pulled it back.

“Oh, very brave now, aren’t you.”

“Doesn’t take bravery to want to live.”

“No more than it takes to steal from others. To claim for yours the hard work of others and then … on top of that …”  Paul’s voice dropped to a whispered sob, “to steal their very loved ones out from under them at the same time.”

“So that’s what all this about is it? That damned Pikachu? You’re just upset because …”

“Damn rights I’m upset. I’ve spent years with that one lab rat and now she only wants you to feed her. Well, no more. You’ve stolen the last affection you are going to steal.”

Paul held the test tube high in the air.

“Don’t! I’m sorry. I didn’t think …”

“Of course not. If you could think you would be down there in the Lab and not up here posing for photographers.”

mirror melt