Nutini Doin’

This mp3 cd compilation covers styles, countries, & generations. Filed under ’n’ for Paolo Nutini: These Streets/Caustic Love. The name suggests Italy but he hails from Ireland & is described as blue-eyed soul. His singles & lps have repeatedly topped the British charts in the 20teens. So this is also ‘modern’ pop. He has a good voice, writes well, sings well & the music is engineered perfectly. 

Skiffle star Lonnie Donegan goes back to the mid 50’s. I have 100 Original Tracks (all of them are not on this cd) His first big hit Rock Island Line & he had over 30 chart toppers after that. A prime influence on nearly every British group in the 60s including the Beatles, the Stones. The songs are fun, some border on music hall. Skiffle is a sort of rock-a-billy sound. The recordings are now public domaine which why the 100 cost me 5.99. 

Another retro sound, out of the USA, is surf rock as played by The Trashmen: Tube City (the Best Of). Best known for ‘Surfin’ Bird’ this a fun collection if their instrumentals – think a looser version of The Ventures with a sense of humour.

Peter Gabriel’s Security was his US market breakthrough. Up to it he was a sort of cult favourite after leaving Genesis. The sound is vaguely ominous & dark almost Goth. The songs are elegant, gloomy yet uplifting at the same time. I have the German version in another cd compilation. Both are worth having.

Velvet Underground: White Light White Heat bonus tracks. There was an extensive reissue of this a few years ago filled with out-takes, different takes & a set of live recordings. The live sound is okay with an almost endless version of Sister Ray.

The Toys: Complete Studio Recordings 1979-80. The Toys are a short-lived British power pop band about whom I know nothing. The songs are competent & fun.

Scott Matthew: Unlearned – includes ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ done as a tender folk-emo waltz. The video sold me on this take & the lp continues the mood of troubled romances, longing & hopes from a gay male point-of-view. Sweet & romantic – good mood music for a first date.

We’ve been to Ireland, Britain, USA & now our last stop on this mp3 cd is Africa with Michael Olatunji: the Nigerian percussionist. His African Drums includes ‘Shango’ & a rich assortment of traditional Nigerian & other tribal music. He broke into the USA market in the mid50’s & introduced world music to the world. A good starter for anyone exploring African music.

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Tchaikovsky

I was introduced to Tchaikovsky through Fantasia without knowing who I was being introduced to. When I bought my first real stereo: turntable, speakers, receiver – from Radio Shack – the first album I played on it was a recording of his first piano concerto. It was a wow moment. 

Since then my collection of his work has grown from box sets to cassettes & to cd box sets & mp3. buy Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian 1840 –1893) I have as stand-alones: Queen of Spades 3 cd, Nutcracker ballet, 1812 Overtures & other orchestral work, Complete Piano & orchestra 2cd, Complete String Quartets 2cd, Choral Work, Violin Concerto w: Beethoven: Violin Concerto 61.

On 3cds of mp3 I have the Complete Symphonies, Complete Solo Piano Music, Piano Concertos, Orchestral works: Capriccio Italien, Francesca da Rimini, Ballet Suites, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Nutcracker; Violin Concertos. Rounding out the cds are Dvorak: Four-Hand Piano; Prokofiev: The Buffoon ballet; Berloiz: Romeo & Juliet ballet; Stravinsky: Firebird.

Some duplicates but each version is a different interpretation. Melodic, lyrical, some radical at the time, romantic, over-the-top, melodramatic & sometimes saccharin & sentimental – what’s not to like? Some of the music barely contains his personal inner turmoil around his queerness – at time when it was a capital offence – actually in Russia I think it still is.

The ballet suites are a good introduction to his music. The whole ballets can be a bit much without dancers 🙂 The Queen of Spades opera is pleasant enough. His string quartets are sublime. If you want melodrama, melody & heartbreaking romance this is the composer for you.

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Recap September 2021

Stratford safety protocols

Over the past month my TOpoet.ca following blog grew to 465! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. That USA & Canada top the list is no surprise but India is back to third place while Sweden &  Bangladesh remain in the top 10 is a surprise. Hello Zimbabwe! 

Most popular posts were Pandemic Poetry Project (https://topoet.ca/2021/09/16/pandemic-poetry-project/); Sunlight & Shadows (https://topoet.ca/2021/09/13/sunlight-and-shadows/). My particular favorite was Tales of Brave Trending (https://topoet.ca/2021/09/19/tales-of-brave-trending/).

My Tumblr is at 350 followers. 226 Twitter followers. Picture Perfect: 86 sections, about 126,000 words posted so far with approx 66,000 remaining to be edited then posted.

A surprisingly great watch has been American Horror Show: Double Feature. All the usual throat slashing & blood drinking but this time combined with a sharp, merciless look at creativity & the sacrifices made to be productive. In this case a drug that unlocks a writer’s, painter’s blocked inner potential. If you are brilliant & blocked you become genius, if you are mediocre & blocked you become a sort of stumbling grey person. Intense performances with Frances Conroy stunning & Macaulay Culkin excellent. 

Finally got around to seeing Parasite – a visually & philosophically stunning film. Figuratively & literally the plot moves through cultural levels to a fugal climax that is breathtaking. The rich house set is an amazing piece of modern architecture – one of those sets like the astounding deco apartments that show up is 30’s movies but only existed in movies. The plot made me think of Dante’s Inferno as it takes us literally through the rings of Hell. 

Also watched Valley of the Dolls, again 🙂 https://topoet.ca/2021/09/26/valley-of-the-bras/ 

nice tongue action

Finished reading Claude McKay’s Home to Harlem (1928). McKay was part of the Harlem Renaissance & wrote several novels & books of poetry but his approach was ‘earthier’ & deemed not elevated enough to cast a favourable light on his race. The novel is a fun, fast slice of the night life, the work life, the love/sex life of the times by someone who lived those times.  His hero has a strong emotional bromance with another male character: Wiki tells us “McKay was bisexual; he pursued relationships with both men and women throughout his life. He never officially “came out” (nor did anyone else in his time) nor explicitly stated his sexual preference.” 

The highlight of the month was a day trip to Stratford to see Three Tall Women. https://topoet.ca/2021/10/01/ah-yes-i-remember-it-well/ 

The Tingler

as a boy

I couldn’t tell the truth

if my life depended on it

mot that I was a compulsive liar

or even lied that often

but under any sort of questioning

I was guilty

regardless of being innocent

Did you do that?

no – which was the truth

Go to your room

Until you are ready to tell the truth.

but

No buts. Now go you lying loser.

<>

to avoid that banishment

I’d have to tell a lie

but I was even a worse liar

thanks to some movie I saw

where some sort of centipede

would materialize

around the spine

when you were scared

lying scared me

as much as telling the truth

I would feel those

million sharp legs 

sinking into my back

my skin would tingle

The Tingler!

that’s what that movie was called

<>

a lie would kill me

it would crush my heart

burst out of my nose

brain spattering everywhere

insect legs would dig out from my eyes

<>

so I was afraid to lie

the punishment for telling the truth

was bad enough

not be be believed

not to be trusted was confusing

it was better to leave the room

let them think what they wanted

because the clearly truth 

made no fucking difference

<>

at that age

they made sure

I knew I was a lying loser

a useless dishonest kid

which I know now was a lie

and that’s the truth

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Stratford September 30 2021

Some photos taken on our day trip to Stratford to see Three Tall Women

endless sky
corn corn corn
leaves turning
autumn colours
Studio Theatre garden
Studio Theatre garden
Stratford town hall steps with orange T-shirts & running shoes
deco street lamp
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Ah yes, I remember it well

Three Tall Women

Actually walking into a theatre for the first time in two years was a big part of the excitement of seeing Edward Albee’s ‘Three Tall Women,” directed by Diana LeBlanc with Martha Henry, Lucy Peacock, Mamie Zwettler & Andrew Iles, in the intimate The Studio Theatre, presented in two parts on the same day – think of it as a 3 hour intermission.

act 1

I wondered what changes there might be in safety protocols in the week before we would go to the show. Not having a smart phone our big fear was that only an e.ticket app would be acceptable – no paper – technology reinforcing class status so that only those with the right data plans could access entertainment. 

Before we arrived I wondered if it would be like boarding at the airport after one had gone through all the pre-boarding. Well, there was no X-ray or luggage screening to deal with but we had to have all our documents in order – what’s the point of a photo i.d. if we’re wearing masks? Anyway there was no trouble getting into the theatre. Getting to our seats was a different matter – the steep incline had many people struggling up the stairs – this venue is definitely not for the mobility challenged. 

act 2

So almost two years to the day we finally saw a performance at the Stratford Festival. As usual the production values were high for Three Tall Women. Good theme music, utilitarian & practical set, costumes that supported characters rather than create them. Strong cast, unfussy direction that let the play speak for itself.

The plot? In Act 1 she remembers, she gets lost in memory, a legal assistant taxes her short-term memory, her person care worker tries to keep her focused. In Act 2 the three are one person – much like the holy trinity – they are faces of her at different points in her life. Andrew Iles does a cameo as the son. The conclusion is well – I’m not sure – the conclusion is very Zen, our happiest moment is when we reach the end. Are we happy that life is over?

I didn’t end up feeling a lot of sympathy for any of the three faces, Zwettler didn’t have enough text to work with, Peakcock’s character was prone to placating – when Henry’s lapses into pro-racist language we are told she doesn’t really mean it (written 199, 2021 people are still doing the same thing – ‘can’t you take a joke?’). Over all, I enjoyed the show but don’t feel the need to see another production.

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Off Guard

Off Guard

the last thing I expected 

was for this to last

beyond the first blush brush of heat

<>

when I found myself

looking for a way out

of a room I didn’t know I’d entered

I was caught off guard

<>

you remained unaware 

as if this sort of thing

happened so often

it didn’t drawn any of your attention

<>

after awhile

I wasn’t all that concerned

with finding a way out

but one to that would take me deeper

At first glance this is yet another poem about obsession hinting at unrequited love ‘you remain unaware.’ Almost a variation on ‘they don’t know I exist.’ I’ve seen this place out in thousands of movies, plays, TV shows & novels. Sometimes played in which they dislike each at first then realize that they are actually in love. Or they break up & then realize they want to ‘take it deeper.’

I’ve experienced some of this ebb & flow of the first blush turning into something more involved but am too pragmatic to mistake that blush, that off guard moment, for something worth a movie. Things last as long as they do & often that isn’t forever. Like a blush, the blood cools & my emotions become temperate.

The poem is also about the nature of … I’m not sure what to call it …. the nature of ‘deeper.’ My recent post about Valley of The Dolls is a clue to how I can become more that a little compulsive about certain things. When I read the Patty Duke had recorded the  songs I had to have that recording. I also have tracked down other versions of the song. I tried to find Tony Scotti lps but without luck. 

When I was watching the complete Peyton Place (514 episodes) I really liked Christopher Connelly & when I read somewhere he had released an lp at the time, I had to have it & ordered the original vinyl from some lp collectables in the States. It didn’t take me any ‘deeper into’ Peyton Place mind you, but what the hell. Ultimately Patty & Chris remain unaware (besides both being dead) but I think they’d be pleased someone is still enjoying them all the same.

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Valley of the Bras

After reading Stephen Rebello’s Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! I was keen to see the movie, again, & had planned watch it on my own on a rainy day but after seeing the excellent ‘Hitch’ which was based on Rebello’s ‘Alfred Hitchcock & the Making of Psycho’ my partner read ‘Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!’ also wanted to see it again. So we dug out the 2 disc ‘Special Edition’ – loaded with great extras. I had reread the novel earlier this year so I was eager to rewatch the film.

Where to start? The movie pales in comparison to the novel & I understand why fans were disappointed in the adaptation that removed 3/4 of the book. The characters are reduced to stick figures – gone is the fact they women live together for a time – in the film there isn’t one scene of the three of them together. Gone is Anne’s friendship with Helen Lawson – in fact Helen is almost excised from the script – Hayward’s performance jump starts the movie whenever she appears.

Don’t get me started the those songs – we get a glimpse of the Lawson’s Broadway show number ‘I’ll Plant My Own Tree’ & it is clear that no one involved in the film every saw, or was involved with a Broadway show. The song is clunky & staged with all the Broadway stage reality of a Busby Berkeley number but absolutely no sparkle. Hayward lip syncs it well enough. No Broadway set designer would ever ever use a mobile that covered the star’s face constantly.

Patty was not pleased to be dubbed & as result released the lp Patty Duke ‘Sings Songs from the Valley of the Dolls.. Yes, I have it thanks to iTunes & it fits perfectly with the music misfire of the movie. It did nothing to enhance her reputation as a singer 🙂 Nor did the film do much to enhance her reputation as an actress. In fact none of the cast’s career potential was increased by the film. Such is the harsh reality of life in the valley of the dolls.

I felt for Barbra Parkins when I saw those beige ‘office’ costumes when they matched the beige every wall she stood in front of. I laughed at the fab cosmetics commercial montage – a product supposed for any woman while she looks like an alien. But as she climbs the ladder to success her costumes do improve even as they remain impractical. 

Patty Duke bravely & brazenly barrels though Neely without taking a breath. Her few scenes with Hayward are rich – Duke noisily claws the scenery, Hayward demolishes it by simply putting on a scarf. Yes, this movie needed more Lawson. Sharon Tate is nearly invisible as her story line is gutted by the screenplay. 

How these actresses where treated by the industry is worse than how the characters they play are treated by the industry. I really think the guys who made Feud should consider this Making of Valleys as their next project. Oh yes my title ‘Valleys of the Bras.’ There is nothing lurid in the film but Parkins, Duke & Tate, at different points in the film, spend an inordinate amount of time emoting in bra & half-slip. 

Ready

it turns into a trade

this is what I want

this is what it’ll cost

is that the price I’m willing to pay

is the sacrifice worth the result

<>

why can’t I have it my way

is that too much to ask

I’m willing to compromise some

but when is enough enough

can I say no 

to losing more of myself 

to gain something I expect to get

by saying yes to

what I want to say no to

<>

can I say yes and no 

at the same time

how will you do

when I say yes I want what you offer

but not with the conditions you offer it with

do I want to give up

the comfort of abstractions

for the sake of superficiality of the concrete

if I’m ready for my close up

do I want to stand in front of the camera

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Nilsson Sparks Perth and the Frogs Beyond

Over a two cd mp3 collection if have Nilsson’s Aerial Pandemonium Ballet (1971) – reworking earlier material – “Without Her”; Nilsson Schmilsson (1971) “Without You” “Gotta Get Up”; Son of Schmilsson (1972) “You’re Breaking My Heart” “Joy”; A Little Touch of Schmilsson In The Night (1973) “Lazy Moon”. You might say I am a fan 🙂

Some of these I had as lp at the time, some were added later. He hit big with Everybody’s Talkin’ used in the film Midnight Cowboy. His songs run from ultra-romantic to hilariously bitter. His vocals on ‘Without You” are heartbreaking in a way Ed Sheeran can only dream about. Things apparently didn’t go well with her though, resulting in “You’re Breaking My Heart” – ‘so fuck you.’ On ‘Little Touch’ he does sublime work on classics while adding little touches of humour to them. A genius who got destroyed by booze, drugs & John Lennon.

‘Sparks’ Maels brothers group overflows with off kilter humour. Here I have Propaganda (1974) “Don’t Leave Me Alone With Her”; Indiscreet (1975) “Hospitality On Parade” “Tits.” Similar to the smart-ass 10 c.c. these guys are witty, musically gifted & relentless. The cover art on these is also amazing.

One of my mid60’s top-ten hit-parade loves was Crispian St. Peters’ ‘The Pied Piper’ the recorder was seductive & the engineering excellent. I may have had the 45 at the time. So a few years ago I tracked down his lps & here have The Pied Piper (1966) & Follow Me (1966). The 2nd has the radio mix  of “Pied Piper.” The earlier version is more sweetly folksy while the 2nd has more of a rock feel. His voice & other material is very Van Morrison Them period.

Alan Price made the Animals hit parade worthy & then departed the band. I have his lp with Georgie Fame and Alan Price: Together (1971); & the must have Oh Lucky Man soundtrack (1973). Fame is a British blues, r’n’b legend who never made it big in America; which is also true for Alan – except for the Lucky Man soundtrack. That lp was a must have thanks to the wild movie it is from. Price appears in the film – not seen it? Find it asap.

Barry McGuire: Anthology. If you are looking for a ‘lost’ Mamas & Papas lp his second is the one to find. Produced by John Philips & with all backing vocals by the M&P it is classic California flower power. The bulk of it is in this Anthology including the still relevant Eve of Destruction (by P.F. Sloan). After his initial pop splash he escaped rock evils into contemporary Christian music.

Another early 70’s must have Canada’s Perth County Conspiracy out of Stratford Ontario. I loved Does Not Exist (1970) & enjoyed Alive (1971). Sweet harmonies for a folk-rock commune when everybody wanted to love down on the farm & in a commune. Love songs, anti-war songs, amazing engineering. Free love overflows from these lps (now mp3s) though it was hetero love so the farms were safe for kids.

Not safe for kids was Jackie Shane: Live (1967) Jackie was a pioneer transgender performer who shook up the Toronto r.n.b scene. Think James Brown in drag (not be confused with Little Richard). Jackie became too popular & ended up deported back to the States. The music is solid soul with a fearless nod to queer lives. I have a collection of Jackie’s studios recording on another mp3 bonanza.

Finally is The Frogs: It’s Only Right & Natural (1989) gay garage band with cellos! Wildly funny, almost deconstructed pop with cellos! A clear influence on The Hidden Cameras. A track was posted on Tumblr & I had to have more. You want a slice of out queer music history this is for you.



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Picture Perfect 84

Picture Perfect 84

“Other thing, which in fact was what lead me here.” Dan stepped back from Janis.

“Yes?” she cradled her hands over her stomach.

“We received several tips regarding a snake man.”

“Snake man?”

“They were about a man who would visit various farms buying baby pigs to feed to snakes.”

“Oh my.” Janis rubbed her hands. “There was always an issuing keeping the snakes fed. The Hippo never suffered from mice or rats while it had the snakes but I suppose they … Wait! Now that you mention it I remember some of the set-up crew would bring fresh …uh … food for the snakes. I never asked where it came from. I supposed it was from local butchers.”

“I see. If you recall anyone in particular us know.”

“Here.” Cameron handed her a business card. “This is a more direct line than that tips line.”

“I’ll do that.” Janis read the card.

<>

“I can drive for awhile.” Dan started to get into the driver’s side.

“Okay.” Cameron strapped his shoulder camera unit in the back seat. “Don’t forget we’re heading back to the Truro.”

“We are? Since when?”

“Got a text from Stephanie to get things back on schedule.”

“We’re not that far behind.” He glanced at the GPS. “It’ll take an hour or so to get there.”

“Don’t hurry on my account.” Cameron gave a little laugh. “What did you make of the good Rev?”

“Interesting lady. I think she was holding something back.”

“Besides that snake on her belly.”

“So that’s what that was.”

“Hard not to see it … rippling under her clothes.” Cameron shuddered. “It’ll fit in nicely though even if it doesn’t lead anywhere.”

“My buddy Timmy was excited about seeing those snakes when the Hippo came to town. All we’d ever seen were glimpses of ring-necks.” Dan thought a moment. “So seeing real live snakes would have been great.”

“Maybe you’ll get your chance if Baxter wants you take in a Nova service.”

“You don’t sound too enthused.”

“I’ll have nightmares tonight. Trust me I almost dropped the camera when that one slithered out from her sleeve. Didn’t it bother you?”

“I found it a bit weird.”

He dropped Cameron off at the crew’s motel & continued on to the Warwick.

In his room he checked his cell phones to see if he had missed any calls or messages while they were talking to Reverend Hadley. The updated shooting list had families to interview in Cape Breton.The Sheldons were new to the list but there was no background information. 

He played back the footage of the interview with Hadley. Cora suicide? Who was Cora? Winston Chamberlain hadn’t mentioned any suicides. He didn’t recall seeing more mentions of Cora in the Museum either, just the side-show banner.

<>

In the morning Warszawa was in the Wickham lobby as Dan came down for the breakfast part of the b’n’b.

“I have the the initial report on the cars.” Warszawa said.

“That was fast.” Dan shook his hand.

“Having me here gives them reason to be quick. They aren’t pleased with any internal investigation. You know how that is.”

“Yeah. Anything in the report.”

“Possible but not confirmable tampering.”

“Big help.”

“Possible is a code word for probable, ‘not confirmable’ means they know it happened but don’t know how it happened. Not enough to take to court.”

“I know how that is.”

“Part of the problem is the fact that the cars are rentals. No way of knowing if this was an unnoticed malfunction that was triggered by the rain storm.”

“The other cars?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Small consolation for Vidro family.”

“None to speak of. Brother in Calgary. That’s it.”

“So, I’m not a suspect?”

“Suspect! More like target. You switched cars at the last minute, right.”

“Yes. But this isn’t news. What do you actually have to tell me?”

“You turned off?”

Dan double -checked his body camera. “Yep. Let’s go up to my room so I can get this stuff off.” 

They went up to his room. 

Dan draped the apparatus carefully on the back of a chair. “Feels good to take that off. I forget that I’m wearing it but I feel so much lighter when I take it off.”

“I want do to this off the book until we have something concrete.”

“I know! This isn’t the first case we’ve worked on.”

“Yeah, but the first one where you’ve been so directly involved.”

“Right.”

“The detachment has a file on Winston Chamberlain.”

“Underage girls?”

“You knew!”

“Not about the file. More than one person has mentioned his predilections.”

“There wasn’t much they could actually do. He was underage himself. They brought him in after the father of one of the girls insisted. Thought he was an adult. Didn’t believe he was only fifteen.”

“I believe that.” he showed Warszawa the picture Teresa had given him. “That’s him there.”

“Hmm. There was more than one complaint mind you. But no one was willing to press charges. He was an oversexed, underaged kid – no law then against that. His parents said they’d see to it that he got treatment for his problem.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. They sent him to Toronto to see some specialist child psychologist. He was gone less than a month. Two of the disappearances happened while he was away. Visiting an aunt.”

“So he has family in Toronto?”

“At the time.”

“He kept out of trouble when he returned from Toronto.” Warszawa said. “At least as far as the RCMP are concerned.”

“I feel he’s holding something back though.”

“That has to do with the missing children?” Warszawa asked.

“A gut reaction. We’ll have to ask Jennifer Devereaux. She’s the seer, I’m the … actually I’m not sure what I am. A photo reader investigator. Does the local detachment have anything on the Nova Convergent Centre?”

“I did a check when you said you were going there. A few complaints. Every time someone gets scared by a garter snake they point at the Nova cult. But other than that they’re pretty quiet for such an odd bunch. Apparently there are several religious communities through out the Maritimes. Catholic retreats, an Ashram or two, Sisters of Isis.”

“What about importing snakes? Aren’t there laws about exotic animals, that sort of thing.”

“No one’s made that specific complaint. You think it’s worth checking out?”

“No harm. I was just wondering. Where did the original Tut snakes come from? You can’t pick them up like … dogs or parrots.”

“Parrots?”

“The Hippo had a parrot show at the time.”

“You think they shipped those children off in trade or something?” Warszawa laughed lightly. “You are starting to sound like Baxter.

“All things considered that may not be so far fetched. If you can smuggle snakes into the country, smuggling a child out would be easy enough.” Dan said. “Anything on Janis Hedley?”

“Picked up for grass a couple of times. She pressed charges against some guy who roughed her up when she worked at the Hippo. She didn’t want to charm his snake and he took it personal.”

“I’ve seen some of the snakes she now handles. Not many men would compare.” Dan said. “And if there is one who does, I don’t want to meet him.”

“Not even to take a peek?” Warszawa laughed.

“Not even.”

“I’m heading back to Toronto tomorrow. Sergeant Coster is the official show liaison, She’ll will be on hand to help should she have to.”

“We’ve got one more real interview to do over in Cape Breton in St. Peter’s. I’ll be spending a few days in New Waterford. I haven’t been back since my Dad moved us to to Toronto.”

“I wish I had it so easy. The I.S. unit is looking into the travel photo cases.”

“Oh!” Dan had forgotten about the case. There’s been developments?”

“Another one murder, last week. In Edmonton. ”

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