Capital Cities

Capital Cities: Tidal Wave! That’s right I actually have some relatively current pop music in my collection. This is an mp3 collection filed under C for Capital Cities – who are, I suspect, a one hit wonder like Metro Station. The sound is bouncy dance pop with a gay subtext. Infectious fun stuff.pinksnow01

The cd also includes: Haim: summery pop harmonies from California. Night Terrors of 1927: their name is the most interesting things about this band – the sound, to me, is that generic corporate pop that Maroon 5 sleepwalks through. Forgettable.pinksnow02

Jerk Off is fine fun sexy completion of dance music with a more than queer subtext. These New Puritans: austere chamber pop similar to Antony and the Johnsons – pretty and emotive. Something new by a familiar face Boy George: This Is What I Do: his voice is still strong, his lyrics are sharp & the music is solid, if unremarkable. Needless to say there is no queer subtext – the queer is in the actual text.rainbow

A-Minus: Almost & Maybe; Disclosure: Settle – a pair of fun propulsive bands with electronica spines and enjoyable songs – again with some gay sub-texting going on with a dash of ironic self-effacement. Both found via Tumblr video postings.green

Finally to ground the cd with a sense of the past is The Animals Live – check for past posts about this band & Eric Burdon – bluesy rock & a reunion with Alan Price, as Lucky Man gets performed in this set. This is the closest we’ll get to that dream duet of Boy George and Eric Burdon.

sample

more alternative endings for the Adora Balls (see pic above)lost cat story:

Poster 3

‘The poster says there’s a reward?’

‘That’s right. If is the right cat.’

‘How much?’

‘Twenty bucks.’

‘That all?’ I hung up. The reward for doing the right thing just didn’t seem worth the effort.

……….

‘That’s not Scratch.’ the girl said. She was pretty sure for a ten year old. ‘Scratch was fatter.’

‘Scratch has been missing two weeks. He could have lost weight in that time.’ The girl’s father turned the cat over. ‘See there’s the two white spots.’

‘It’s not Scratch. I know it.’

‘There can’t be that many orange tabbies wandering about lost.’ My dream of reuniting a lost cat with its distraught family was rapidly disappearing.

‘Listen. I know my cat, and this isn’t it.’

I wished I could rid myself of stray memories that easily.

……

I backed the car out of the garage. A harsh pained yowl was followed by a soft bump under the left tire. I stopped the car and got out.

The cat was dead. I looked up and down the alley to see if anyone had seen or heard. The alley was empty.

I grabbed a snow shovel from garage wall and gingerly put the cat into a garbage bag. Once again I found myself hiding my actions, found myself trying to cover up the grief I was inadvertently bringing into the lives of people I didn’t even know.

 

16

January 20, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – featuring  Dominic Berry Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9

http://www.queerslam.com

hot

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1504753909765085/

March 12, Saturday: attending:

spec

Toronto-SpecFic-Colloquium

June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC

nufire

http://capturingfire.com/#/page/1

September 1-5: attending FanExpo 2016expo16

https://www.facebook.com/fanexpocanada/?fref=ts

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanobullseye

http://nanowrimo.org/

money

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

cast off cat

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

#Burdon’s Burden

brownlp

Next on the shelf are two massive mp3 collections grouped around Eric Burdon. This started when I blogged about the Animals last year. I discovered that Eric was still recording & had recently released a new lp ’Til Your River Runs Dry – he remains in fine vocal form & it’s worth checking out. It’s on the first cd along with his work with War and Soldedad Blues w Jimmy Witherspoon: post Animals & fun strong stuff. Eric was always eager to try new things & his work with War is solid if unexceptional.brown

On this one I threw in some Sister Rosetta Tharpe: great female r’n’b thumper. Ginger Baker: one his many post Cream Africa projects: clunky but fun. Osibisa, Mandrill: two Santana inspired bands with strong African roots – these are both later career recordings. Eek-a-mouse: Black Cowboy: every collection needs some obscure reggie  The Congas: more of those African rhythms.

greyice

The second collection has Love Is: Eric & the Animals do their double lp of indulgent yet endearing songs. I enjoy their take on Ring Of Fire. River Deep is hilarious though with the echoed Tina Tina at points – was he having it off with her? The Black-Man’s Burdon – how he got away with title is beyond me, more of his work with War. Plus their live tracks & other performers at Monterey Pop. Monterey was where he fell in love with Jimi Hendrix & that changed his musical direction for several years.blackcouch

I counted this off with a slew of Lonnie Donegan: Lonnie was one of those British hitmakers who never crossed the ocean – his influence on British pop is substantial though – his rockabilly recording of House of the Rising Sun, Mule Train & others clearly influenced the Animals, The Stones, the Beatles, The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton.

sample

Journey

When I was turning twenty-three life was a lost treasure that I no map for, futility seemed a nice, kind way of looking at it – why bother – but I was driven at the same time to bother. A Doors song was my theme ‘music is your only friend’ and I believed that – I was a little town queer who felt isolated and threatened.

Lucky I wrote a lot – driven to expresses something. though I never knew exactly what is was I wanted to say – I kept trying to say it. I had some booze buddies, musicians and poets. Smoked a few joints with them and hung out in my family’s basement. I had a room there decorated with Beatles posters, my paintings – more getting the inner out some how.

Drunken, near blackout fits of sex. Oops, what did we do last night sort of stuff. Seeking and just not connecting with anything other than the shame of being what I was with no one to share that with.

I became more eccentric as years went on but the patterns were really set then. The things that I held closest to me music, books, painting all around me. My writing and some friends who were more extensions of my fears & wants than companions.

Got a job at Famous Players thanks to the mother of my best friend Howard. Flo was box-office there & that was to be my position, I quickly became assistant manager & candy boy. Made lots of pop corn.

Gave me a steady income and some sense of being functional. Added at the same time to my sense of not fitting in. I think that was a big thing for me then. wanting to be like the others yet not wanting to be like the others. Wanting acceptance without wanting to conform to some pattern.

The past year hadn’t been that bad or good, aimless and pretending I was looking for some job to steady my Dad’s need to see me working and out of the house.

The folks were never that approving of my writing or painting – like many, they figured that stuff was only good if it made one lots and lots of money. Sex wasn’t discussed at all and I didn’t know how to go about telling them that anyway. It wasn’t till I was ready to leave the Cape many years later that I told them. Not that it was such a shock mind you.

Looking back I really didn’t know how to establish myself as a man, as an adult. Booze was one of those adult things but I felt I had to hide how much I drank & how often. Sad, but true. All those secret nooks and crannies.

Some of which had no real outlet then and there. Little was I to no what the journey of my future was to hold. But I survived wanting to wake up dead, wanting to end the confusion and pain and made it past 23 and even past 24 and finally here I am.

 

 

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo
nano15

http://nanowrimo.org/

November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – The Supermarket., Toronto

hot

money

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy more music – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

couch01

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

Pussycats and The Animals

Thanks to Russ Meyer & Fellini I love big boobs! I have a sense of what breasts can do the creative focus of some men: cameras angled at nipple level as if the big bosom was being looked at on the sly by a twelve year old boy.

legs man crushers

I mention this because I’ve just read Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Cultographies) by Dean DeFino (which owes a lot to Big Bosoms and Square Jaws by Jimmy McDonough). Dean clearly loves cult films and explains their appeal in a readable understandable way. But I only read this to see what he had to say about Tura Satana & her Varla performance.

elephant hung like a trunk

He gets everything pretty much right. He felt the same disappointment I felt when Varla dies at the hands of the banal. He does miss, for me, the fact that Tura’s performance is so real the flatness of the others is hard to miss. A great book for fans, or even non-fans, of Meyers, cult films & kick-ass women.

stags nice pair

At the same time I was reading Animal Tracks (Updated & Expanded) by Sean Egan. A fascinating look at the career & recordings of The Animals. No surprises – the band was used & abused by bad contracts, management & each other. One of them bolted when he got his first royalty money so he wouldn’t have to share it with the band. etc etc.

The break up of the original Animals was ‘creative conflict’ due the fact half were boozers & the other half acid heads. Eric, as the later lps clearly show, was of the acid head persuasion. They didn’t do a lot of original material till after the break up. A great book, detailed and fair minded. I might argue with some of Sean’s opinions but mine are filtered through the lens of nostalgia. He’s clearly not a fan of Eric’s ‘spoken word’.

socks socks knocked off

Both are books I’d highly recommend even if you aren’t a fan of Meyer or The Animals as they give a great look at the cultural times & are written by writers who enjoy their subjects & aren’t afraid to let that show or allow their love keep them from being rational. Both are the sort of books I would have written given the opportunity.

soon02

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

 

samples

Mommy’s Boy

 

look

if I’d known

that your mother recently died

I probably wouldn’t

have made that silly remark

about dying parents

waiting till their money ran out

before kicking off

it was unfeeling of me to say that

death doesn’t cut apron strings

 

I wouldn’t have been so callow

if I had known you were

on the point of acting out with me

 

I didn’t mean to imply

that your kind of love

was shallow

or that you didn’t love your mother

as much as anyone

usually loves their mother

or that I was not feeling your sorrow

or your frustration

but if I had known

you needed a grief fuck

I’m sure it would have made a difference

I know there’s no way

to make it up to you

and you wish I’d just shut up

and stop going about it

because each word

only reminds you of your sense of loss

of those final moments

in the hospital room

 

and when I said

you should just get over it

I wasn’t talking

about you personally

it was one of those remarks

not directed at anyone

but you were still so raw

so in need of sexual comfort

you felt it aimed right at you

and I don’t know how

to shut myself up either

because I really do feel terrible about it

and I wouldn’t treat you like that

 

honestly

if you want more than a shoulder to cry on

you can cry all over me

we can go back to my place

I know how hard loss can be

even if unwittingly made light of it

in a thoughtless cruel way

I can prove it to you

though my place is a bit of a mess

it won’t take us long to clean it up

it’ll give you something to do

to take your mind off your loss

laundry change the sheets pick up some groceries

that sort of thing

it’ll be fun

no I don’t mean fun

or we could back to your place

your mother always kept it spotless

the fridge was always full

like I’m not going to be put off

I’m willing to put up with that

if I see I’m getting what I want

which is to see you feeling less isolated

really

I don’t think its a good idea for you to be alone

we could snuggle up and watch a movie

whatever you want

just so long as you don’t hold it against me

what I said

earlier about even when mommy dies

a mommy’s boy is never free

glove01

Look out! Varla’s gloves are off

Lucas in the Sky With Diamonds

The Animals long with the The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who were at the forefront of the British invasion. Needless to say my music collection has nearly complete discographies of all these groups. Each of which spoke to me in different ways.

bballs01 broken ball

I think the Beatles were the first boy band – sold on cuteness then they showed their musical chops; The Stones sold danger; The Who pushed novelty songs into art. But the Animals were never neatly packaged. Reading a group bio ‘Animals Tracks’ – the usual member conflicts, financial ‘abuse’ by managers etc. No surprises there. More about this book next Friday.

bballs02chilly balls

As a queer teen songs like ‘Out of This Place’, ‘Misunderstood’ captured something of my self that songs from the others didn’t. There was no ‘Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Hot Son;’ ‘Lucas in the Sky With Diamonds.’ Also, perhaps even more interestingly, to me, now is the difference in the image the lead singers projected into my teen sex psyche.

I can’t imagine John Lennon, or Mick Jagger getting into a fist fight with anyone. But, man, I can see Eric Burdon jumping into the fray. The Beatles had cute sexuality; The Stones a sort of sleazy but ultimately, to me, androgynous sexuality (Mick pranced more than danced); where as Eric has the look & stance of a real man.

bballs03 blue balls

His great voice, working class accent and stage presence were masculine and sometimes sullen. A short guy he bragged that he was as tall lying down as he was standing up & I recall a few pictures of him in his well packed jeans that made my mouth water. He reminds me now of guys I’d drink with who’d moan about their girlfriends, kiddies but drop their drawers for you in the back of their vans.

 

samples

Passage of Surrender

 

I

 

We undress

my words are the same

not romantic

not sensitive

more a noise

than a communication

 

I undo his buttons

Wanting to rip open

But merely fondle

One

by

One

Touching the flesh beneath

With my fingers

My tongue

 

between buttons

more talk

politics, weather

anything to know more

 

He undoes my buttons

Biting

His teeth sinking

Stops the empty flow of words

My hands fumble his buckle

I can barely bite back

His shoulder his ear

 

II

 

The first rage passes

It steps aside for explorations

Gradually we lose touch

With everything but touch

We lose names

We lose identity

We lose politics

We become bodies

Cocks ass teeth breasts skin bones

Pressing

A momentary total

Inhalation of one another

To the heart of the rage

To the rage of the heart

 

III

 

I will not let him dress

Till he stands in moonlight

While the shadows

Whisper

Over his stomach

Between his legs

He slowly kneels before me

The moon is covered by clouds

As my mouth is covered by his

 

IV

 

I always want more

More than there is

I am satiated but not satisfied

I want

His buttons in a jar

His rage

his lust

his fears

his desire

His rain drenched fists

Midnight pounding at my door

But I do have this memory

To alter to obliterate

With other buttons

Other biting teeth

 

V

 

I almost want an end

a grand finale

But my heart cannot beat

Without

the fear

Without

the rage

joylost my blues balls

On The Animals’ Twain

Almost at the end of my extensive Animals collection – The Twain Shall Meet. Twain is one of those recordings in the wake of Sgt. Pepper – the Stones did “Satanic Majesties” – groups scrambling to show off mystical leanings along with sound engineering. The Animals didn’t have George Martin at the helm and it showed.

mirror broken reflections

This was one of my favourite Animals recordings, with its sometimes cheesy lyrics ‘orange & red beams’ and the forced philosophical depth garnered from the Maharishi. Sky Pilot is a staggering anti-war song even with it weird wash of effects – bagpipes, machine guns.

redcoat plum tuckered out

Side one opens with Monterey – about the pop festival & flower power pervades the rest of the side. Spinal Tap skewers this stuff mercilessly. Side two is a sort of suite of three longish cuts that flow seamlessly into each other and fades out in a haze of patchouli incense. Eric became disenchanted with the Maharishi by the time he recorded Year of The Guru.

My music pals at the time hated this Lp, felt it was a shallow sell out no better than something the Monkees would have recorded but it stuck to me. My Cd is a reissue by One Way Records – no bonus material plus they get the name of one of the cuts wrong – Orange & Red Beams becomes Orange & Red Beans.

plates picnic sans basket

The other Animals Cds on the shelf are hits collection: Best Of: (before LSD( & Greatest Hits, (after LSD). More about Eric in another post, because as I’ve written about about the band I’m understanding what appealed to me and why they still do. That’ll be my Friday post.

 

samples

Waltz

 

Lazy grey waltz

Show me the steps

Glide across the floor

A feather

In the fiddler’s sleeve.

 

Shadow creased vision

Hushed distance of recall

Layers webs flickering

Smokey images crumbling

Wondering

How did I ever get this away

So far, far away

From the hoedown moon?

 

A sorrow tugs at my sleeve

Timid but persistence,

When the river flows

It’s easy top wash it away;

The sun dried me so quick

Here it is back again

A tear to keep me in check,

Wondering

Why did I turn around

When I heard night

Sweep the webs away

Again

Against my will to know

That it was time to rosin up the bow.

 

2

 

Languid hazel waltz

Watch my steps

Skip over the lawn

A thorn

In the fiddler’s shoe.

 

My life is the mist

Hovering around the moon

Cutting golden across the floor

Through the open windows

Of the haystack ballrooms

Where here comes that waltz

Again

Slow and close, almost in tears

Slightly futile, music echoes

You are far away and I dance alone

Again,

Out into a starless night.

 

Smooth white waltz

Follow my steps

Carefree through harvest fields

A gleam

In the fiddler’s eye.

myseat

my Loyalist seat

Animals of Change

There’s a tattered book on the cover of Winds of Change to indicate that Eric Burdon & The Animals are moving in a more literary direction, I guess. This is a transitional album as Eric tries to push beyond the blues, r’n’b, format into new territory. He was probably hearing the progressive work being done by the Yardbirds, Cream, Jimi Hendrix & the Moody Blues.

caddilac snow bound caddy 

I remember borrowing this from someone when it was first released. The fold out cover, reading the text on the front and thinking ‘heavy, man.’ The inside cover was a more of the same with some fuzzy b/w pictures of the new band. I was expecting something special and was let down. Just what I hoped for I can’t recall – San Francisco Nights was on the radio & nothing else on the lp sounded like it. The music goes from this radio friendly stuff to adult r’n’r.

There’s an excellent booklet in the cd re-release, and some bonus tracks too. All originals except for a great cover of the Stones Paint It Black. Eric is stretching as a writer & singer with spoken word here & there, the moody The Black Plague. The ‘hit’ San Franciscan Nights works but, to me, is a bit soft.

plant snow bound plant

Man – Woman & Motel Hell are two dynamic, aggressive tracks with a real sense of experimental thought. The trumpet work is perfect, uncredited but I think I read some where it was Hugh Masekela (contract reasons kept his name off the lp). The Hendrix influenced ‘Yes I’m Experience’ lacks the explosiveness of Jimi but if a good effort.

church snow bound church

The Animals don’t quite shake off the solid bar band blues basics even as they try to transition into the psychedelic sixties, which is a good thing. That doesn’t happen until there next lp – Never the Twain – more about that next week.

coming

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

bw

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

boat

set sail for Loyalist

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

 

samples

Submerged

my folks

had this Reader’s Digest

box set of famous composers

or was it the Longines Symphonette

up to ten lps

each side devoted to a different composer

Brahms Beethoven Debussy

that I remember

the box had Monet’s water lilies

on the cover

 each slip case a different pastel shade

all orchestrated by

Eugene Ormandy

and played by The Boston Pops

I have to be honest

most of them bored me

except for Debussy

today I know he was an impressionist

like Monet the painter

then I had no notion of those connections

I don’t even recall all the pieces

on his one lp side of

or who was on the other

but it started with Gardens in the Rain

and ended with In a Submerged Cathedral

Cathedral submerged my Beatles mind

every time I heard it

a more complex trip

than anything psychedelic could manage

with a choir

bells undulating harps

watery wavering violins

that drowned me in longing

for another era

for another place

where a boy’s dreams of poetry were possible

not discouraged

because his spelling wasn’t good enough

for him to be a writer

that box set had disappeared

which is odd

because my folks were budding hoarders

keeping the bulk of my books

Tom Swift Jr. Hardy Boys

lots of their original lps

were stashed away

I’ve gone through that stuff

with my sister

who inherited the house

the contents

tossed lots

recycled some

reclaimed some

I was hoping to find that box set

so I could hear that Debussy once more

bought other versions

I’ve searched on line too

record stores with no luck

looking to get back to that

boy in the submerged cathedral

one more time

river03 this way to the cathedral

We’re All Animals

Next on the pop shelf is another of of my mp3 collections – 102 songs in 6 hr 6 min of the Animals (8 lps) with a dash of Joe Cocker (Little Help) and pinch of Grand Funk (Inside Looking Out). Most early lps: The Animals, The Animals on Tour (US), Animal Tracks (UK), Animalism (UK), Animalization, Eric is Here, The Animals With Sonny Boy Williamson and one later career: Every One Of Us.

bread casting bread on the bushes

The Animals are one of those British bands that never garnered the reputation of groups like The Kinks or Pink Floyd. Sure they had some monumental early hits, Rising Sun, Misunderstood, Away From This Place – but never seemed to transcend being more than a better than average bar band. Eric Burdon has a great bluesy voice but their material too often fell in good blues, r’n’b & rock.

soul sole under ice

Alan Price is a fine keyboard player, and never forget that their bass player Chas Chandler created the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Animals had a fascinating personal & direction change when Eric did LSD (more about those lp’s soon). Everyone One of Us is one those post-LSD recordings with White Houses & Year of The Guru leading them back to their blues roots.

Cocker’s Little Help From My Friends was a smash hit. His gravel voice was irresistible, the arraignments tight and the band even tighter. More blues than pop – Cocker did travel into pop in later years.

dogs the dogs of winter

byw Eric Burdon is still alive, performing & recording & released a fine cd last year ’Til Your River Runs Dry. The voice is intact. Listening to it was like meeting a old friend you haven’t seen in decades.

drunkpants

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/ 

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

bw

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

nomarching Loyalist control issues

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

New New New

 

I don’t know how this happened

honestly

but at some point

certain things lost their

importance

their purpose in the scheme of life

in the daily need

to get through what was to be gotten through

so there would be another day

and in that grind

some things

lost their importance

what can I say

I’m certainly not going to apologize

for that fact

but there it is it

I’m proud to say

this shirt has lasted several years

soon to been on the antiques road show

along with my shoes

the overcoat is years old

not looking to bad for wear

not the same buttons

it would be nice

if the buttons matched

but there you are

I found one of them on the street

‘find a button and never come undone’

was one of my mother’s mottos

so I’m always looking buttons

found a lamp tossed it out

looks like new   works

so why look a gift horse in the mouth

unless you want to clean its teeth

right

 

I was once like so many

eager for the new sofa

for the new spring line

anxious for the smell of new clothes

now there are more important things

things that make me feel

I’m not part of that use  waste set

not that I wouldn’t like to be

that if i won that big jack pot

if I’d be right back there

buying  adding

new new new

upgrading my stove

new hard drive

I admit it might be nice

not to go through the thrift shop

but at the same time

there’s nothing like finding

what you need

at a price you can’t believe

that never happens at Holt’s now does it

so no

I think

if those ships came in

I wouldn’t change my wardrobe that much

no new watches or expensive shoes

those things

only those who can also afford them

would recognize the price of

nearly said the value of

but they end up

worth the same

when you throw them out

when they lose that glimmer

that glisten

that satisfaction

when I find them at Goodwill

they get a new life

I imagine

it must come as a bit of a shock

for you

to see me wearing

those things you cast off

almost like

finding out I was really your son

and worse yet

I’ll be happy with them for years

while they only lasted a few months

till you were ready to move on

and thanks

 

yeah that takes on a new importance for me

gratitude

for what I have

for making things last

for really getting the most out of them

not just a few appearances

then into a closet because

everyone has seen them

if you get tired of seeing me

in the same old things

tough  get used to it

or start emptying more closets

there must be scads of stuff

you bought & never got around to wearing

sales items you couldn’t resist

that t-shirt you bought on vacation

but can’t bare to look at now

what were you thinking

 

so spring is about sprung

empty your closet

throw out the old

so the new new new can flow in

100_2919 Loyalist willow not weeping for me