Moody Blues Rose

By the Moody Blues I have Days of Future Passed reissue, Days of Future Past (stand alone). As mp3 Magnificent Moodies, In Search for the Lost Chord, On The Threshold of a Dream, To Our Children’s Children’s Children, A Question of Balance, Every Good Boy Deserved Favour; as Seventh Sojourn (stand alone). Plus soloish lps: Justin Hayward & John Lodge: Blue Jays; Ray Thomas: From Mighty Oaks.

Yes I was a fan 🙂 but I sort of outgrew them & lost interest after Seventh Sojourn. I did hear the later output but it sounded tired & forced, also enough is enough. There are moments, tracks on all the Moody lps that I love, that bring back memories of l.s.d trips & lying on the floor of my bed room staring up the the glowing stars on my ceiling. Glowing as they were made of ‘glow globs’ a sort of plasticine the absorbed light then glowed in the dark.

I also have memory of driving with my Dad when ‘Nights in White Satin’ came not he radio & I turned it up & he said it sounded like the howling of wet cats. That lp was a powerful influence on me though. The spoken passages became a poetic ideal. The orchestra swept me away. I later found out that the London Festival Orchestra and the group never performed together in studio on the recording. The vocals were sublime. I have two versions, though I can’t tell them apart mind you – but there is a speed timing difference between the studio recorded version & the one that got put on wax.

I couldn’t wait for each new release & felt they were profound as opposed to pretentious studio drug induced  mumbo jumble. One reviewer called one of them psychobabble bubble gum. I disagreed then but, you know, he was sort or right except it was very tasty bubble gum that never lost it favour.

The covers were as trippy as the contents. I loved the cover for Every Good Boy, today I find the Children’s hilarious. Each lps has tracks I love. For My Lady, My Diary, Solitary Man. The Timothy Leary stuff on the Lost Chord is sweet but inane. Seventh Sojourn is my favourite.

I added Magnificent several years ago along with the side projects by various members. The side projects are fine, great covers but not real departures from the basic Moody mellotron sound.

To round out the mp3 collection I added The Savage Rose – a Danish psychedelic rock group, formed in 1967by the Koppel brothers with Annisette vocalist. I found the lp of In The Plain in a remainder rack at Zellars, a year or so later I found Your Daily Gift there as well. The first is dense & closer to what become Goth with Annisette amazing vocals taking some tracks to a different level. A hint jazz, progrock & gloom. Gift is the opposite – bright, cheerful with the delightful Postcard song. Both have meandering instrumentals – check them out of YouTube before you hunt down lps. Wild Child is later lp & less experimental than their earlier work more bluesy. I downloaded it from iTunes just to have something else by them. Enjoyable & a nice break from the Moody Blues too 🙂

No Fanfare

3

Putting his glass on the floor Steve sat beside me. I admired the shift of his thigh muscles as they swung one leg over the bench, straddling it like a horse. I could feel myself blush, embarrassed by this meeting of eyes, excited by the approach of his mouth, then its touch on mine, tongues testing, then meeting. His eyes closed, his left arm caressed my neck, my arm, his body leaning into mine.

I wanted to respond but wasn’t sure which instinct, which urge to follow. I shuddered, confused, enjoying his kiss. I could actually enjoy being kissed by another man. Enjoy it as I did in my fantasy. I had expected, in reality, to be disappointed, to be repulsed, but I wasn’t. Pushing him away I got up clumsily & went to the window. I could feel myself shaking, my knees unsteady, my balls tingling.

“What is it?” He asked. His tone knowing & nearly sympathetic. “Too much of a shock?” He said sarcastically.

“I can’t say. The conflict of what I imagined, with what I expected, with what I actually felt, with what I …” To avoid his eyes I forced myself to stare at the plants on the dusty window sill. “I’m shaken by how ready I was to respond to you. I expected more of a reluctance, on my part. Shit, it’s more than … Damn.” I banged the top of the piano with my fist to fill the quiet with the shudder of its strings. “Yesterday I was a slightly screwed up but normal guy. I was coping with this things, somehow. Today I’m …”

“A fag?” Steve broke in abruptly. “A fairy?” His voice a mixture of derision & amusement. “A fucking gear box fruit? Or are afraid of which one of us will take it up the ass?”

“Christ, maybe.” I shouted, stung by the unexpected harshness of the confrontation.

“Don’t panic, Dave.” He caught me with his eyes, his voice gentled. “Nothing is easy. Besides how different is what you are now from what you’ve always been? A man by any other name is still human.” Picking up his drink he slid on the piano bench, inviting me to sit beside him again. “What can I say? I’m no rapist.”

“Sorry.” I sat heavily in the armchair by the door & pulled on one of my still wet snow boots. “I think it would be better if I left. It was foolish of me …” I glanced up wondering if leaving would be more foolish than staying. If I left now it would be harder the next time to let my emotions direct me even this far. It would hurt more, in the long run, to keep suppressing myself just because I was afraid I couldn’t cope with it. I wanted him, but admitting it didn’t make it any easier to take him. Even knowing he could be taken, knowing he wanted me, didn’t make it easy.

“How about one for the road?” Steve asked, tiredly rubbing his upper lip. “It could be colder than you expect, out there.”

“Are you just after my ass?”

“Are you just after MY ass?” He snarled back.”What the fuck do you think?” He got up & stood in front of me. “If I’d known you were looking for a couple of hours of therapy I would have thought twice. Sure, I’m after your ass … but …”

“Look,” I interrupted, my glaring eyes confronted by the bulge in his corduroys. “I honestly,” I stood rather than remain at that level. “Don’t mean,” he was closer to me than I’d expected, I could feel his warmth, “to mislead you.” I could smell his cologne, see the moisture from his drink on his lips. “This is unfair,” I put a hand on his shoulder, squeezed, “but as you said ‘Nothing is easy’.” My hand slid down his arm till it touched his. “To me this isn’t nothing, so it isn’t easy.” I felt a sting of tears but blinked them back, hoping he wouldn’t realize how vulnerable I was.

“I’m tired of being used.” He shoved my arm away, went to the shelf of albums under the stereo & pulled one out.

“Used! You invited me up!”

“I keep hoping the next one will be different. Will be easier. When they’re easier there’s nothing left in the morning. When they aren’t easy, there’s my heart to worry about. I know this isn’t easy. I fucking well know. I live with frustrations the way everyone does. Being gay doesn’t make them different, they’re still frustrations. Like, how many chicks do you have to go through before you get fed-up with looking for the right one? How many almost-came-to-care-for’s does it take to really hurt you, to make you feel hopeless & desperate enough to try anything that comes along? I don’t care about your confusions.” He was shouting, gesturing at me with the album cover. “Just leave me the fuck alone for Christ sake. Find some other soft-hearted, cock-hungry gay guy to start your voyage of self-discovery.”

Don’t miss next week’s thrillingly clumsy conclusion of No Fanfare

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Monster Monster

Every couple of years I get an urge for contemporary music in different genres. Sometimes, once I have enough I don’t need more 🙂 Imagine enough can be enough. So this mp3 collection that starts with ‘i monster’ is one of those contemporary forays.

I don’t recall where I heard about i monster (British) but I do have their  Neveroddoreven, A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars. This is electronica pop – a more dance version of Underworld. Dense, crisp engineering & quite enjoyable. The pretentious titles are a part of the fun & nod to their sense of humour. In this collection are two by MRF: Elevator Music, Mob Music. Mike Flanagan’s sax grounds these lps full of emotionally appealing adult music. He friended me on FB as a result of one my past music posts that tagged #gaymusic. Worth searching out.

Mark Ronson is radio fodder. I have Uptown Special, & Version – fun, perky, appealing sort of a modern Stevie Wonder that could be music by any of the Jonas brothers. Enjoyable all the same. Black Rivers  is an off shoot of Doves one of my favorite bands. This is multilayered adult rock. Emotionally resonant & sonically satisfying & a nice extension of Doves. If you like Dove you’ll love this – if you don’t know Doves – shame on you 🙂

Hands up – who remembers the B52s? Their Kate Pierson released an lp. few years ago: Guitars & Microphones which captures some of that bouncy retro energy. Her voice is still fine & this is a welcome refresher of those fun days.

Flight Facilities is an Australian electronic duo whose 2014 Down To Earth is a pleasant variation on the electrodance pop. 

Finally on this mp3 collection is another retro memory – of the Bronski Beat. Their lead singer Jimmy Somerville, has released several solo lp.  Homage is a fine homage to old school disco. A voice that hasn’t lost its power & songs that delight as you dance.

Now to a pair of stand-alone cds by Monster Magnet: Powertrip, God Says No – from the turn of the century. These are both over 20 years old! The music is metal muscular masculine. Updated Deep Purple. I love the thick sinuous sound with great slick psychedelic guitar & production values. Their look is so defiantly biker masculine it borders on parody. Looking at the art work on these cds now the kitch imagery almost overpowers the music. But the music is worth listening to regardless. 

This story goes back, way back, to the 1970s when I was living in Cape Breton. I have done minimal editing for things like spellings, punctuation & name consistency. As you may gather I was not out at the time but clearly wrestling with the process. Part 1 was last week.

No Fanfare

2

It had been an easy meeting, almost casual, except we both knew & understood from the initial eye-contact just what was intended. I’d been in the park for about twenty minutes, moodily watching the snow, wonder how I’d waste another night when I spotted him, on the other side of the iced-over fountain, watching me. His navy blue overcoat a sudden solid in the falling snow.

I sauntered towards him, frantically searching for that perfect opening line. None of my fantasy meetings had been in the park, none of them out of doors. They were always in dim, close rooms, over a little wine & a subtle offer. This was real, two strangers on a cold day, overcast, a backdrop of grey buildings, a soundtrack of traffic. It all felt so bare, I would have walked past him, but the green of his eyes held mine, daring me to take another step. I stopped awkwardly, watching my breath cloud the air between us.

“Looking a lot like Christmas.” His first words after the eye contact. “You look like an Everest.” He teased, brushing the snow off my left shoulder.

“Hardly. Being motionless for ten minutes usually gives me that effect.” I shook the other shoulder clear, my heart skipping beats, knowing I that I had been hoping he would see me but once seen, I didn’t have any was of following through except to shrug the snow off my shoulders. “I shouldn’t be as difficult to climb.” I teased back, trusting the metaphor to be verbal confirmation enough of the eye-implied intent.

“Care for a drink?” He asked cautiously, pushing a black curl back under his red stocking cap.

“Where?” I blurted, fleetingly seeing a horror of crowded bars & men in drag.

“My place isn’t far from here. How would that be?”

Kicking the side of fountain with the toe of my boot I tried to avoid further eye contact but couldn’t resist responding to the dare in his green eyes.

“Super,” I accepted. “Lead on Hilary.”

My difficulty with words got worse. I didn’t know which was proper or which was asking for trouble. I wasn’t ready, yet, to follow my instincts. Out of the park & into his apartment we managed to get through names, his was Steve; jobs, he taught piano & played, on & off, in a jazz quartet. Being heavily into the Romantics – Chopin & Debussy – my lack of jazz knowledge didn’t help me much & not knowing much more than his immediate clothing & certain tastes, I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t seem musically narrow minded or sound embarrassingly blunt. No common ground except that we both wanted this drink.

“If the bunch at the bank could see me now.” I shook my head, laughing inwardly at the image I projected to them.

“Now?” Steve baited. “You mean they’ve never see you drink?”

“No. Not that. I mean this situation.”

“With me, you mean?”

“Yeah. With another man, & me being so unsure. I’m usually a very self-confident person. I make decisions, pinch bottoms at the right time. Tease. Flirt with those fussy tellers. Some of them probably envied my girlfriend, Jean. I’m a catch. Yet, here I am.”  I quickly finished my drink.

“Defensive as hell & ready for anther drink?”

“Sure. Why not?” Handing him my glass I sat uneasily the bulky armchair beside the piano. “So how do we begin?” I asked as he left the room. “Do we have another drink & then lunge blindly at one another.” I spoke too fast, hoping to hide my doubts by hurrying the situation. I wanted to stumble over a thousand prying questions but needed the trust that I hoped intimacy would bring,

Impulsively I got up & sat at the piano again. I tried the same prelude, slower this time, trying to get my hands to function as a unit rather than as two random obstacles. It was no use. I settled for my memory if the melody line.

“Never taken lessons?” Steve asked, sliding beside me.

“Some as a kid. I learned the basics, forgot most of them. What you hear is all I recall.” I took my Scotch, more as an excuse to stop playing than to drink.

“What was this talk about blindness?”

“Nothing.” I laughed self-consciously. “Something about do we have this drink & lunge blindly at each other.” I shrugged, apologizing for what insensitivity or desperation such a remark might show.

next week part 3 – things get even more awkward 

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The Monkees

I have to admit the first time I heard ‘I’m Not Your Stepping Stone’ I wasn’t impressed, main key because I was a snob who felt only the British groups made real music. The Monkees music was dismissed because they didn’t even play the instruments on their lps & some doubted if they even did their own singing. They were a live action version of the cartoon Archies – in fact both groups shared the same musicians & songwriters. The TV show was madcap fun & more anarchic than, say, Bewitched.

Over a couple mp3 cds I have The Monkees 1st; More of The Monkees; Headquarters; Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones; The Birds,  The Bees & The Monkees; Head, 33.3 Revolutions Per Monkee;  Instant Replay; Changes. Over time they wrote & played on more of their songs, toured, worked with Frank Zappa but never lost the taint of being a package product. Finally they became a nostalgia circuit feature.

Today I love those early lps, full of solid innocent songs that are well-crafted & beautifully produced. I know enough of their history to know the actors were musicians but like many musicians they were boxed in by commercial needs of the industry. The songs would be just as solid by any band. The construction of boy/girl bands is an industry manufacturing process that continues today. Listening to them I hear a sexual innocence in the lyrics & performances. I knew girls who loved the guys in the band & who drummed of kissing & hugging them. I doubt if they dreamed of gang bangs in motel rooms.

Rounding out the cds are Tommy James & The Shondells: Cellophane Symphony; Anthology – some of this is prime radio psychedelics. The unneeded version of Crimson & Clover is wild. Symphony is worth seeking out if you don’t have. Three Dog Night: Harmony – more prime radio music that is well-crafted & my favourite of theirs. Finally Paul Revere and The Raiders: 63-67: The Essential Ride – more golden oldie hits that bring back memories of high-school sock-hops. It was perfect doing homework music.

This story goes back to mid 80’s.

Cooler

part 2

A leather number from behind Dan said. “Gimme a Blue, Carl. Looks like a slow night.”

Carl had already gabbed a Blue before the guy had asked for it. “It’s early, Mike.”

“We met before?” Mike asked.

Before Carl could answer there was a ruckus in the front bar. He couldn’t see around his cooler to find out what it was, until a very drunk man fell into the middle of the dance floor.

“You bunch of fuckers. You bunch of dumb fuck fuckers.” The man was weeping. “None of you gives a shit about anyone but yourselves.”

Carl recognized the man as Jim, the doorman who had been let go just before he started. Something to do with missing money.

Jim got up unsteadily, pulled his jacket off & started swinging it around over his head. “He’s dead & all you ass holy queens want to do is drink & fuck. You don’t care. You don’t even care about yourselves.”

The he that was dead was Wilson, the man whose bar station Carl now had. Let Will wet your willy was the sign that used to be where Carl’s Cooler was now. Jim was in front of Carl, glaring at the new sign.

“God, I loved that man.” He was on his knees crying into his hands.

Those men who weren’t stunned, looked away embarrassed by this unexpected display of reality. 

“Interesting floor show.” Carl heard someone snicker as he passed.

“It wasn’t his heart, you fuck heads!” Jim shouted at no one in particular. “This bar killed him. He died right here. You cunts don’t even have the decency to respect his memory.”

“What did you expect us to do?” Jack asked, firmly pulling Jim to his feet. “Have his cooler sign bronzed? We sent flowers. We closed the day of his funeral. We …”

Jim shoved him away. “Big fucking deal. Flowers. We all owe that man something. All of us. You throw away his sign & people’ll forget him. You can’t forget him, ever. Please don’t forget him.” He grabbed Jack & shook him. “He was a good guy. Not like these other assholes. He cared about people.”

“I know. We all know.” Jack sighed. 

Carl shook his head knowing Jack was bullshitting Jim. When he was hired Jack had told him he was glad to be rid of Will. Will was too fond of organizing bar nights for the local AIDS group, fundraisers, that seemed to attract an uptight bunch, who rarely spent enough to cover the cost of lights for the night. To Jack, Will was a community pain in the ass.

“You don’t give a shit & you all don’t give a flying fuck. You bunch of simpering self-centred cunts. Especially you Jack …”

“Calm down Jim. We’re even …” Jack paused to think “ … setting up a fund in Will’s name for the AIDS hospice. Yeah, that’s it. All the boys are going to chip in one night a week’s tips, too, to keep it growing. Right Carl?”

He turned to Carl for help in getting things back to normal.

“Oh, yeah. Sure.”

“How come no one knows about it? I don’t see nothin’ anywhere.”

“We haven’t had time to get signs. Carl, you were going to look after that, weren’t you?”

Not wanting to get drawn deeper into Jack’s deceit, Carl answered, “They’ll be up before the night is over, Boss.”

“Jeez,” Jim became sheepish, almost apologetic. “Sorry.”

“Come on,” Jack guided him firmly to the front bar. “Have a drink on the house & I’ll get you a cab home.”
Carl put up a Back in 5 sign & went to the supply room. It took him almost twice that long to find pieces of cardboard, finally torn from a beer case, to make a couple of signs that said: 

Will’s Hospice Fund

Once there was a Will

Now there is a way

He taped it to a water carafe & propped the carafe at the end of his counter. He hadn’t known Will at all, but could sense how much he regulars missed him. Will had worked there since Matthew’s first opened nine years ago. Some still half-expected him to to be there when they came to the cooler.

The crowd quickly got over Jim’s reality reminder & business picked up sharply. Carl like it best when there wasn’t much time to think. Just bend, grab, open, make change, thanks, next, repeat, jokes, thanks. It gave him no time for anything except what had to be done. No time to dwell on the past, future or Jack. Just smile, say thanks, & drop his tips into Will’s can. He briefly thought about Dan & wondered if he wanted to be bothered with this whole meeting someone routine.

“Miss a turn on the Yellow Brick Road?” a young guy is a black t-shirt asked.

“That’s right. Now don’t get this on your red shoes, Frank.” He passed the guy a beer.

“How did you know my name? Better yet how did you know what I wanted?”

Carl tapped the side of his nose & winked.

“Well, smell her. A real witch. ” Frank smiled to his companion. “No wonder there’s weird vibes back here.” He went on. “Is it colder back here or is it just me?”

Now that it had been mentioned, Carl realized that he had been feeling chilled, but moving in & out of the cooler made it hard for him to judge how warm the space was.

Don’t miss the thrilling finale next week 🙂

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Death and the Trout

Franz Schubert (1797–1828) – I remember first hearing Schubert’s Death & the Maiden. It was love at first listen. I was sometime in the late 60’s. I had ordered it from Record Club Of Canada, which dealt with inexpensive reissues &, as it turns out, pirated cassettes. It was not the classical music I was accustomed to, that sweet, romantic Mozart stuff. This was strident, rhythmically challenging & almost rock’n’roll. Relentless & emotionally demanding.

In my collection I have a bunch of lp to cds that include Minutes/ Lieder/ Tanze; Lieder; Tanz/ Dances/ Valses; Waltzes/ Lieder; Waltzes/ Quartet/ Tanzes. The piano pieces were transfers of Vox box sets – sadly I didn’t note who played them. The lieder were sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. 

As stand-alones I have Wanderer Fantasy & over paint music; Trout Quintet & other chamber music; 12 German dances & other orchestral work; Complete Symphonies & overtures;  The Last Four Quartets (includes Death & The Maiden); Works for Violin & Piano; Auf den Strom & other vocal pieces.

No, this is not the complete works 🙂 But the bulk of it. The solo piano music is pretty to romantic. He wrote music for over 600 lieder! I only have a small selection of these – which I picked up only because of the Trout Quintet which was based on one of the lieder. I would love to hear a less concert set of the lieder – all version I have heard are too controlled & polished. Museum pieces.

His chamber music is delightful & comes from a time when people would host salons to listen to this music – or families would learn the pieces to play for themselves. The symphonies & melodic, sweeping & satisfying. Some of his work is surprisingly modern: songs for soprano, French horn & piano! 

If you are unfamiliar with Schubert I’d suggest the Trout Quintet to start as it is fun, the string quartets are good springboards to the rest of his work. He wrote an astonishing amount of amazing music & died at the age of 31 – 31! Did he write in his sleep?

This story goes back to mid 80’s. Dot-matrix print helped to date it, plus the subject matter. I was involved in the early days of ACT & some of it reflects the resistance of bar owners to become activists for safe sex. 

Cooler

“This beer isn’t cold.”

“Bitch! Bitch! Bitch!” Carl replied. “Hardly opened & already the queens are bitchin.”

“It tastes kind of weird too.”

“You should know.” Carl, standing on a stool in front of the upright cooler, turned to look down at George. The cooler was about seven feet high, & as wide as two refrigerators.

“Try it, if you’re so smart.”

Carl finished wiping the sign over his station & stepped down, pinning on a Play It Safe button he had found on top of the cooler. He was pleased, having worked at Matthew’s for only about a month, he already had a sign over his station. The pink-on-black sign read:

CARL’S COOLER

cooler than most

“Well,” he sighed stepping down. “What seems to be the problem George.”

George, usually his first sale every night, dropped in on his way home from work to unwind & unload. Carl had gotten used to life stories. He discovered that there was something about his size, a smidge over 5’4”, that made men want to confide in him. He sort felt like everyone’s little brother.

George handed him the beer. “You tell me.”

Carl took a sip & spit it out. “Jez! That’s piss.”

“You should know.” George joked.

Carl had never tasted piss, but the instant he held the bottle the word flashed in his mind. That flash was something he had gotten used to since he started working here, as the names of regulars he had never met, popped into his head, along with their favourite brands.

“Holy fuck.” Carl turned to his well-stocked cooler. “Has Jack been playing games with you babe? We’ll see about this.”

After giving George a fresh beer, he ducked through the entrance way under the bar & went looking for Jack, the manager & resident clown. If there was something funny happening, Jack’d be behind it. Of all the staff, Jack was the only one who rubbed him the wrong way, mainly because Carl wouldn’t rub him any way.

Jack was in his usual haunt, chatting up Barry, that week’s coat-check boy. 

“What’s up frost bite? Let’s not get political!” He ripped the Play It Safe pin off Carl’s t-shirt. “I had enough of that crap with Will, & now that he’s gone we’ll have no more politics, thank you.”

“Staying alive is more than politics.” Barry butted in.

Jack gave him a quick, dismissive glance. “We’re not going to discuss it. As I said, before I was so rudely interrupted.” He dropped the button into an ashtray. “What’s up, ice box?” He smiled pleasantly at Carl.

Carl handed him the bottle. “You tell me.”

Jack sniffed. “Well?”

“Piss. I guess.”

“Huh?”

“Some creep put a bottle of piss in my cooler.”

“You on the rag or what?” Jack replied.

“Full moon tonight.” Barry added cheerfully.

Carl was getting a bit steamed. He really liked working in gay bars, but sometimes these fucking queens got a bit too ditsy to tolerate. Even though this run-in with Jack had lasted less than five minutes, Carl knew he wasn’t going to be able to put up with any more if it.

“Just letting you know, boss,” He squealed to imitate Hervé Villechaize. “Don’t want any trouble on Fantasy Island.”

“Okay. I’ll check with the others. You get back to your cooler.”

Carl’s cooler, facing away from the dance floor, was in one of the darker corners of the bar. Being close to the men’s room it got a lot of traffic. George was waiting for another.

“Find out anything?” George asked.

“Yeah. Ghostbusters are on their way over.”

The first week at Matthew’s had been a bit rough, but once he got into the routine it wasn’t bad. One of the other staff had helped rearranged his cooler one night, so that the most popular stuff was always at hand. He discovered that stepping on the right spot on the floor the cooler would open for him. The beer he was reaching for was always the nearest. Tips were all right, & he did get to meet nearly every available man around. After two months he was comfortable there. Even Jack wasn’t hard to take, in small doses.

Other than the few regular early birds, things were quiet until after eleven. Carl was chatting with Dan, a somewhat intense blond, who didn’t drink but had a rare passion for tiny perfect men.

“Here’s my number.” Dan said encouragingly, giving Carl his number written on a corner torn from a page of the book he was reading. “You won’t regret it & I know I’ll enjoy myself.”

Carl was used to drunks hitting on him, looking for sympathy & to be humoured, but for someone sober to show an interest was unusual. Dan had been telling him about a play he had seen earlier, & Carl, for the first time, realized he was missing a big section of night life by being this part of it.

“I’m just a deep-in-the-sleazy-dark barmaid.” He laughed to Dan.

“You’re still alive, honey, so can’t have been all that sleazy,” Dan replied.

“I guess staying alive is more important to my sexual identity than sex.” Which was true. Despite the more than ample supply of available men, Carl had always been cautious. Even before AIDS, he hadn’t been one for sleeping with anyone just because they wanted him. He liked Dan, & felt his hormones beginning to hum. He folded the number & put it in his wallet.

“So give me a call. I’d like to see you in the daylight.”

“So would most of the guys here.” 

 part 2 next week

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Modest Mojo Monae

I bought my first Modest Mouse cd on sale at HMV. That was the moon & antartica. I subsequently added Everywhere & his nasty Parlour Tricks, Good News For People Who Love Bad News, We Were Dead Even Before The Ship Sank, No One’s First & You’re Next. All of which I have as stand-alone cds. In a way they are reminiscent of the Byrds with jangly guitars & sweet harmonies. 

Their sound is a mix of emo & indie-rock. Lyrics are wry romantic commentary with a dash of political. Great word play – as the cd titles reflect. Sort of nerdy, sometimes a bit funky & dare I say – often pretty. Songs that show in for sensitive moments in romcoms & crime movies to give them a ‘hip’ echo. I always enjoy these when I hear them but rarely do I get the mood to pull out for listen.

Mojo, which I think is still publishing, is a British pop music magazine that usually had a cd included. Sometime the cd was a collection of recent releases, sometimes it was one they had complied of covers of songs by James Brown, The Who.  This one from 2007 is Sgt. Pepper lp covers by groups such as Simple Rid, Dave Cloud & The Gospel of Power. These the magazine commissioned. I love Sgt. Pepper & the still obscure groups do a great job with these songs & some actually re-invent rather than re-create the originals. 

I kept reading raves about Janelle Monae. I caught a video of one of her songs, then accidentally saw her live on some daytime talk show as I skipping through channels. I like her retro look & was intrigued by the sci-fi subtext of her videos. So I picked up ArchAndroid on sale at HMV & enjoyed it. Then eventually added Dirty Computer. Great production values, interesting songs & a great voice.

A short story discovered in my archives. It goes back to pre-1995 as the original printout is dot matrix 🙂 I’ve done minimal editing. It is based on a real incident.

The Allegory of Love

2

He laughed, stumbling into me.

“So, what’s the promotion mean?” I asked, steadying him with an arm around his shoulder.

“More money, more responsibility.”

“A good worker like you deserves it.”

He turned. “You always say nice things about me.”

I was nonplussed. “Why not? People deserve all the praise they can get. You’re pretty good people as far as I’m concerned.”

“You never let me down,” he want on, quite serious.

“Let you down? I don’t understand.” I resisted adding, ‘I don’t see you enough to let you down.’

“You’re always the same. You treat me kind. So many guys are just … mean for the sake of being mean.”

“I like you, Steve. That’s the way I treat people I like.” I put my other arm around him & kissed the top of his head. “And you I more than like.”

“I’m sure.” He blushed. “Well, I see 1708 still has a light on.” He was squinting up at his apartment window. “I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means.”

“And if it does.”

“Come on,” He pulled out his keys & we went in.

“This is still a gays only building?” I joked.

“I suppose,” he answered flatly.

At his door, he fumbled with the keys, dropping them twice. “Shit shit shit” he cursed under his breath.

“Well, here goes,” I whispered as we went in. I headed for the living room. A glance over my shoulder down the short hall & I saw that Ron’s door was slightly ajar. Next to it was the bathroom & then Steve’s bedroom.

“So far, so good,” I thought as I sat on the sofa in the darkest corner of the room.

Steve went into the kitchen & got a beer. He unbuttoned his shirt & sat next to me. There was a rustling sound from one of the cages behind us.

“Ofeelme is preggers.” Steve explained, sitting up on his knees & gingerly putting on hand into the cage to brush the fur of a swollen hamster. “How you doing little mama?” He whispered gently.

“How’s Hamlet?” I asked. 

“Proud as can be. I separated them because the last time Papa got a bit jealous & ate some of the babies.”

“Gross, Steve. You really know how to turn me on.”

He laughed, lifting Hamlet out of the other cage. “He’s happy to see you. Say Hi to Uncle Bri.” He sat holding the hamster gently in his hand, lightly stroking the fur between its ears. “You always love me, don’ you Hamlet? Food in the same place is all you ask. You know,” he turned to me, “he goes back time & time again to the place where he got food hoping to get fed again”

I kissed Steven the shoulder as he put Hamlet back.

“Let’s go to bed.” He gave me another of his wonderful, sloppy kisses.

I darted past Ron’s room to Steve’s just on the other side of the bathroom. As I pulled off my sweatshirt the dark hall echoed with the slap of barefoot on hardwood. It was suddenly flooded with bright light.

“Steven! How dare you! You know I have to work in the morning, you know.” Ron exploded with an exasperated whine. There was the sound of a smack.

I held my breath as the bare feet came directly to Steve’s room. The sound of that smack reverberated in my mind. The last thing I wanted was some domestic squabble. The door was shoved open hard & I was caught in the intrusive hall light. 

“And how dare … YOU? I told Steve never to bring you into my house.”

He clenched his fist & hit me in the chest. “Get out of here, you trash.”

Not much of a punch,” I thought. The glaring light kept me from being distracted by his hairless naked body.

“Get going, now.” He handed my jacket & shoved me toward the door.

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Jonesing for Joplin

Quincy Jones is a chameleon. His work with others is classic without a sense of his personality over-shadowing theirs. He lets the artist shine & I’ve heard anything he’s been involved with & thought ‘that’s a Quincy Jones production.’ He is not a revolutionary like, say, Phil Spector.

I have a couple of lp to cds of his ‘solo’ work: This Is How I Feel About Jazz, Plays Mancini, Ndeda. The first I found in a remainder bin & it is smooth bop. Ndeda was double set I bought used, that is a compilation of some of his soundtrack music (In The Heat of the Night) & instrumental things like Soul Safari. The Mancini is sweet & they are a perfect match. If nothing else Quincy Jones is a tasteful, elegant producer.

Near Jones is a set of lp to cd transfers of Scott Joplin music performed by Joshua Rifkin, Southland Stingers, Canadian Brass & New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble. Joplin almost became a footnote, his music relegated to music scholars until the movie ‘The Sting’ that made his rags universal & they were resurrected by so many ensembles one lost track & sometimes couldn’t tell who was playing which one. I enjoyed them in small doses 🙂 

Most of the recordings are too respectful, treating them like Chopin Etudes, some are jazzier & some are more in the line of sweet polite salon orchestras. So many artists recorded these I’m surprised there isn’t a Tomita version 🙂 Unlike many early 1900 blues performers there are no historic recording sof Joplin actually playing but there are some player piano rolls he made which are fun & can be found on YouTube.

A short story discovered in my archives. It goes back to pre-1995 as the original printout is dot matrix 🙂 I’ve done minimal editing. It is based on a real incident. 

The Allegory of Love

1

“Not again!” I reluctantly pushed Steve’s roaming hand away. “Don’t start something you’re not going to finish.”

He squinted up at me, uncertain & a bit drunk.

I leaned in to speak directly into his ear. “Just because I don’t like being used doesn’t mean ‘stop so soon’.”

“Used?” He took a deep swallow of his beer. “What do you mean?” He stepped back & bumped into a man in leather.

The bar’s music was so loud I couldn’t hear myself. “Call me. I can’t talk here.”

Steve nodded & disappeared into the crowd. 

Thank God I thought, breathing a sigh of relief & dismay. I do like Steve, but too much to continue with pointless flirtation.

I suspected that time a couple of weeks ago was our last encounter. It had been under the same circumstance. Me feeling the lure of the full moon & Steve feeling the lull of enough brew. We’ve had fun many times before & I always look forward to what I called ‘rubbing our two sticks together.’ 

Steve shared an apartment with Ron. When I met them both several years ago at a mutual friend’s birthday party. I was instantly attracted Steve. They were introduced to me as friends not as boyfriends. Ron was a bitch, or so it seemed. Ron & I got into clawing at each other for some reason. Something we’re all too good at, I suppose.

I ran into Steve a few nights later & came on to him like the proverbial ton on brick. It was a meltdown in the sack & has been nearly every time we got our sticks together. Usually at my place but sometimes at his, if Ron wasn’t in. Over the years sex was so good, & Steve comparable enough, I would have set up housekeeping with him, except there was that Ron in the ointment. 

Steve never described them as being lovers, but Ron seemed to run more of Steve’s life than anyone should run anyone’s. But who am I to judge?

I was open with Steve about my affection for him. He wasn’t displeased, but I could sense that emotions frightened him. Staying with Ron seemed to be his way of keeping scary feelings at bay. For lat couple of month I felt their relationship was about to change, but our last encounter made me see things differently.

I’d arrived at the bar later than usual & was making my first foray into the smokey land of men, when Steve reached out of a dark corner. He grabbed me by the belt & pulled me in for one of those long, sloppy kisses that turn me to jelly.

“Good to see ya, Brian.”

“It’s been awhile.” I laughed. I knew he was a bit looped; he usually was to be so bold.

“Watcha’ been up to? The photo biz still keep you in focus?” He teased, running his free hand over my stomach.

“Things are developing well enough. And you? Getting anywhere in men’s wear?”

“Got a promotion.” He said proudly.

“Things must be going well.” I gently bit his ear.

“We’re opening a new branch since I took over.”

“Great! Soon you’ll be Queen of the Reduced to Queers.”

He giggled. “I really like you. You make me laugh.”

“You make me …” I squeezed his bunds.

“Same here.” He returned the squeeze, while draining his beer. “I’ll be right back.”

He darted off for another beer. As I watched him merge into the crowd, I wondered if this was going to lead to one of our meltdowns. Short, stocky & hairy, he was the perfect teddy bear for me to curl around tonight.

Back with a beer, he hugged me affectionately. “You know my little wang goes ‘boink’ whenever I see you.”

“That’s nothing to complain about.”

“How am I in the sack?”

Feeling a little insecure tonight?’I thought, as I replied. “You’re great. I keep coming back, don’t I”

“You treat me so …” he took a swallow of beer.

“Tender?” I offered.

“Yeah! Like you cared.”

“Why shouldn’t I? You deserve it. Just one thing.”

“What?”

“Often we’re too rushed. I want to savour what I enjoy. I hate to eat & run when the food is so good.”

“Thanks.” He pulled me in for another fly-popping kiss. “Let’s go.” He said pulling on his jacket.

“The coast is clear tonight?”

“Ah, who gives a fuck? It’s my home as much as his.”

“You’re sure? You know I …”

“You coming?”

“Sure.” I felt a slight misgiving. “What the hell. We can go to my place, if you’d rather.” I suggested as we walked along. “You really don’t a nose-bleed going that far north.”

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Moby Grape

Their 2nd release was the double lp Wow, Grape Jam – which were eventually also released as separate albums. Its gimmick was a track (featuring Arthur Godfrey) recorded to play at a 78 rpm – I rarely heard it then as I was too lazy to change the speed. The other gimmick was the Jam album of live jams with the likes of Mike Bloomfield, to prove their musicianship.

 I can remember getting that first lp from the Columbia Record Club as there was no retail store in Sydney that carried much non-top 40 music. The same for Wow. I really like the art work & the titling for 2nd lp Grape Jam etc. Very clever & trippy. I enjoy that jam music now more than I did then. I replaced those early lps & the two subsequent ones with mp3 downloads. I had never heard Truly Fine Citizen or 20 Granite Creek until I downloaded them. Booth were critically well-regarded but not hit parade material 🙂

The band was plagued by internal conflict & major management issues & that was reflected in the music they produced. They never developed a cohesive sound – having 5 lead singers may have influenced that. The music is rock with some psychedelic touches. Their sound was never distinctive but each lp has great tracks & some unexpectedly pretty moments. Even a few classics: Omaha, Murder In My Heart. 

Truly Fine Citizen, 20 Granite Creek are more cohesive if undistinguished. They move from a rock sound to a more country-rock sound. I have downloaded the re-issues of the first lps which come with lots of bonus tracks. The group apparently is still together with some of the original members. If you are unfamiliar that first lp is an ideal one to start with & it is a classic of the late 60s California sound.

The Wings Of St. Martinia

Last night Hank Grebly did me the great honour & pleasure of taking me to the Maple Valley Rialto Cinema – it is a shame that this fine building is now only opened on weekends for our film going pleasures. 

I can remember a time when it would be busy seven days a week, offering us the finest in Hollywood films and fresh roasted peaches or tasty caramel bark corn.

Every time I enter the Rialto I am taken back to a distant era – the mirror balls in the ceiling reflect the many spot lights around the floor. The zig-zag carpeting & lame seat coverings make me long for simpler times.

The film Hank took me to was “The Wings Of St. Martinia.” Many of you are familiar with the local tales of St. Martinia & the font at St. Sufferer’s. Those are her blood spattered wings holding the baptismal tub in the centre of the nave. Not her actual wings, but representations. Not many angels would have had five sets of wings.

Like the Rialto this film is also a relic of another time. Recently discovered in the vaults at College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers, we were first treated to a lecture by Rudgar Quartz, the Professor of Cinema Studies there, who gave the history of both the film, St, Martinia and the Rialto itself. A very educational evening, leavened by the delightful film itself.

The story is a simple one of suffering and repentance through suffering. Martinia, born out of wed-lock to the daughter of silver smith and troupe of travelling carnival workers, had to face the disgrace of her family and neighbours all through her life.

She saved her fellow orphans from the rain of comets in 1879 by waking each and every child, and leading them to safety. Sadly she wasn’t able to get back to rescue any of her teachers. She comforted the children, as they heard the screams of the staff, who had been trapped in locked rooms in the upper quarters of the orphanage.

In leading the children through the swamps to safety she also rescued Button, a Labrador retriever and her recent litter of puppies. This is why the suckling Labrador retriever has become the representation for St. Martinia. When they say, she of the many teats, they are referring to Button and not to St Martinia.

A fact that I was not aware of either.

The movie follows her travails in the garment trade, being abducted by pirates and finally her mission to Mongolia where she single handedly brought the word of good to those unhappy and dirty mountain people. Her attempts to show them the joys of body wash brought tears of joy to my eyes.

If you have a chance to, get in to see this delightful movie. Tell them Dolly sent you, and you may get an extra dollop of moose mustard on your red hots. 

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Joni and Ancestors

 On an mp3 collection I have by Joni Mitchell: Live at Club 47 – 68, Clouds, Ladies on the Canyon, Blue, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira. as well as: Mimi & Richard Farina: celebrations for a grey day; Malvina Reynolds: Sings The Truth (Little Boxes): Melanie: Candles in the Rain. As Joni stand alones: For The Roses, Court and Spark, hits 1. Plus Herbie Hancock’s jazz homage – The Joni Letters.

I enjoy Joni Mitchell but I am not a huge fan. I certainly respect her as an artist & love her willingness to follow her musical muses regardless of commercial appeal. But if I never hear ‘Both Sides Now’ again I’ll be fine 🙂 As I look over the rack listings for the lps I have my favourite remains ‘Songs To Aging Children Come’ which, as I age, becomes even more pertinent.

I never really followed her career’s ups & downs, or her private life so I hear her songs without that baggage. There are cuts on each of these lps I love, some lps that I can’t name a track from. I find that one of the lps suffer from a mix that buries her voice in such way that it is lost, to my ears. Tracks slip into one another – if there were no silence between them I wouldn’t know when one ended & another began.

Unlike similar female artists, such as Laura Nyro, she survived in the  male-dominated & dictated music industry. She didn’t get buried for forging her own path or for not selling zillions of singles. 

On this mp3 collection I put her into context with other California folkies. Mimi & Richard Farina: celebrations for a grey day – this is sweet, folk-rock with a tinge of jazz, bluegrass. Richard’s early death turned him into a legend. 

Malvina Reynolds: Sings The Truth. Best known for the hit Little Boxes (the precursor in a way to Big Yellow Taxi) this is protest music in a fun 60s way. Almost traditional folk this a lost treasure full of sharp social commentary. The New Restaurant is timeless, as is Little Boxes – some things never change. 

Melanie: Candles in the Rain. Melanie owes a lot to all the above. She managed some top ten hits then sort of faded away.  Lay Down owes much to the Edwin Hawkins Singers for its success. ‘Look What They’ve Done To My Song’ is a classic but in her case it’s also come ‘’Look What They’ve Done To My Career’ when her label dropped her for refusing to produce lps on demand.

The Grinding

Festive readers, I am pleased to bring you a wrap up of the week-end’s events.  The highlight of which has to be the annual Lighting of the Trees. Held in several locations in the hills about Crab Apple Corners the horizon is illuminated by the first official rite of the season.

I choose to attend the ceremony at Hijil’s Farm – they had obtained two of the remaining stand of ancient red wood sycamores and had them flown in for the occasion. Trees so large they needed two helicopters to carry each of them.

The first flame was applied to them by our local Miss Pig Driver, Tanis-Lotus Flatly. The trees did us the great honour of being slow to ignite, but once they had been engulfed in flames the look of joy in the faces of the children was worth the wait.

Once these two trees were in flames, burning torches were taken to the sites where other trees were ready for the ceremony. The Great Maple at McCracken’s of Daw Hill was the next to be torched and quickly one could see similar fires all across the country side. Hijil’s Farm perched atop Green Bluffs gave us a splendid view of the various tributes to the season.

Once the first two trees had been burnt to cinders our parish Vicar Father Frank did The Grinding and was quickly joined by the other men who were of age, to participate in this ritual.

I was thrilled to be offered by my one and only Hank Grebly the fruits of his grinding. A jar filled with these delicate ashes and moose fat can sit proudly on any mantle piece. There will be enough here to guarantee me a year of fertility and good weather. After all, it only takes a pinch a day, tossed into the wind to catch the eye of the spirits for protection.

The carolling at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral was once again a thrill, especially now that the bells have almost been tuned. The climax of each verse is a ringing of these bells that echoes though our happy valley and shimmers through the fragrant smoke produced by the Lighting of the Trees.

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Scarlatti vs Schafer

By Domenico Scarlatti (1685 – 1757) (son of Alessandro Scarlatti), a late master of the Italian Baroque, I have  2 cds of his harpsichord sonatas – that are lp to cd transfers from MHS recordings. Rounded out with John Addison (1920-1998) soundtrack to Tom Jones. 

I enjoy harpsichord but in small doses. This was a 2 lp set that I would listen to one side then a week later listen to another side. The music is,. as far as I know, excellent but I could only stand so much of that tinkling at a time 🙂 A little bit an go a long way though I did like this enough to do the transfer. I doubt that IU would recognize any of these sonatas if I heard them on the radio – unlike, say, Chopin which I can ‘spot’ instantly.

I am a great soundtrack lover. John Addison’s soundtrack to Tom Jones is driven by solo harpsichord, so it seems only natural to include it here. The playing, as expected, is more modern but it conveys the style of the time nicely, too. I’ve seen the film but when I listen to this lp I have no associations to any scenes in the movie. 

After all that busy baroque figure work it is a bit of a relief to come to R. Murray Schafer (1933), he is from a totally different time era & music philosophy. I’m including him here because he is next on the shelf 🙂 I have this sand-alone 1997 CBC live recording of Wolf Music. It is conceptual music meant to be heard live for best effect. The ‘concert’ would be heard walking through a forest while the musicians placed in various location would be playing. The music is evocative, soothing & it does hold up without the forest. I’d love to experience this but it is live music for the financially elite not common folks like myself.

Arts und Krafts

Kind readers one thing that I neglected to mention in my wee report yesterday was the Christmas Arts und Krafts display at St. Sufferer’s Cathedral’s Fun Fair. Like many of you I have seen my share of knitted booties for rifle stocks and candle holders made out of moose dung but there were some very fine pieces from the near by College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers of Palmixalitato County.

I am well aware of the rivalry that has been going on between the students in that county and our own but remember we did trounce them the last three years in the Provincial Open Court Peach Pit Curling Play Off. So we can afford to allow them to excel at something and excel they did at the Fun Fair.

There were many charming crystallized bones pieces from the Anatomy of Design classes there. I was particularly taken by the crystallized moose bone reproductions of the Departments of the Cross that one Leslie Ann Marie Betty McDellon had created. 

I can’t imagine what sort of skill it takes to do such fine work but I can certainty respect the work that it took. 

Also many were charmed by the spiderwood furniture Gregh O’Treple has wrought there. A sturdy eight legged rocking chair with a fine webbed seat and back was very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. He hopes to follow in the family footsteps and may be opening his own furniture and restraints shoppe right here in Crab Apple Corners. He will surely be missed in Palmixalitato County. But their misery is always our gain.

Another feature of the Fun Fair that cannot be neglected was the food pavilion. Over 20,000 were seated at one time for a fine feeding of Trish Creamly’s delicious sprung bark toffee pie. Trish you have out done yourself this year. Just save that recipe for my wedding reception. I know if you keep your hands on the crust you’ll keep them off my man – just kidding folks.

The children at the Fun Fair were also treated to a production by the local Armature Theatre Guild. They performed tragic scenes from various plays. The beheading of John the Baptist brought the crowd to their feet and kudos must go to Hank Grebly who did a fine job in the title role 

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A Miller’s Divine Tale Part 2

The next two Steve Miller’s induces: Circle Of Love, Abracadabra, Italian X Rays, Living in the 20th Century, Wide River, Young Hearts, Live 1983, Anthology, The Joker, Fly Like An Eagle, Born 2B Blue. Plus: Quicksilver Messenger Service: Maiden of the Cancer Moon; Rubáiyát: Elektra Compilation; Daniel Lanois: Acadie; Divine: Unforgettable Hits.

With Abracadabra, The Joker, & Fly Like An Eagle the band hit its stride. These were big sellers & deservedly so. But as music trends changed the group fell out of hit parade favour. Their sound didn’t change much – though Italian X Rays shows the influence of Graham Parker. The Steve Miller Band were ‘adult’ pop not teeny-bopper fodder. As good as any of their contemporaries they never disappoint even if they never surprise 🙂 

 Quicksilver Messenger Service: Maiden of the Cancer Moon – this a a great double lp live set around the time of Happy Trails. Extended solos & trippy guitar work. This allows you to experience why they became legendary but also why they never became hit-parade material. Like Miller this is adult rock. Also it’s great to hear them before they got a bit lost as they searched for a consistent music focus.

Rubáiyát is Elektra Records 1990 40th anniversary collection of covers by the then present-day Elektra artists of songs from its catalogue. So you get things like the Cure covering The Doors ‘Hello, I Love You’ (you were expecting them to cover ‘The End’?) All the covers are restrained, no radical make overs. The original packaging was in keeping with the anniversary extensive  liner notes, deluxe ruby red cassette in a presentation box.

Daniel Lanois’s Acadie is a gentle almost humble album that is, as the title suggests, a pop meditation on his Québecois heritage. Folksy, warm & satisfying. It reminds me of The Band more than of U2 🙂 He’s best known as a producer & at one time having him as your producer was a guarantee of a grammie nomination.

All these guys produce great music but also reflect their time. Songs to ‘girls’ not ‘women.’ Paeans to lost heterosexual loves, drugs & political statements. So to counter balance all that I’ve included Divine’s Greatest Hit. Songs done with high energy, enthusiasm, humour & sexual innuendo. Can Divine sing? Who knows? Who cares? This music for fun that is well produced & you can dance to it till you shoot your shot. 

The Polishing of the Magi

The Armature Theatre Guild has been forced to cancel this years presentation of “The Polishing of the Magi” – I understand this will come as a disappointment to many of you – especially those of you whose children had been fortunate enough to be chosen to play the parts of the shepherds, lambs, sacrifices, dervishes and of course, the ultra blessed couple themselves.

Rehearsals had been going better than ever, according to Hank Grebly. It was the first time someone other than a member of the McGinch clan had been given the opportunity to direct the production and Hank was making the most of this opportunity.

But alas, as things often do, it all went to the apple press in a hand cart when it was clear that the McGinch’s weren’t willing to allow things to progress smoothly. Not that this comes as much of a surprise either, mind you. We all pay for our indulgence of this family and its anti-social actions. 

But not to give up all hope, as it seems Hank and some of the cast will be presenting a childless clown version of the same story. It may not have the same impact, but the show must go on. We will be spared the often bitter competition over whose baby gets to play the pivotal role of the fulcrum of all religions. That alone almost makes up for not having a full scale production, doesn’t it?

On a lighter note the Visitor’s Mall will be hosting their annual Midnight Madness sale, for those us who have time and need for yet more shopping. As the Mall says ‘Shopping is in the true spirit of the season, and if we don’t spend we just aren’t pious.’

I pray their prayers are answered.

Please note that the left-handicraft fair slated for the Pumpkin County Area has been cancelled. It was to be a fund raiser for the production of the “Polishing of the Magi” & seeing as that has been cancelled, there seemed little reason to have the craft fair. 

Those who had planned to pick up some of Sylvia’s Jams and Moose Tarts can find a display of them at Bea Petratica’s Bridalle Shoppe and at Meg’s Cafe. Get there early as these delicious treats don’t last long.

Sylvia has introduced two new jams this year that I, for one, can’t wait to try. The Orange & Maple Ashes with Nutmage and Quince with Ginger & Bark. I have no idea what bark she has used,  but I’m sure it will be a savoury deflight to perk up those you who are disappointed by the cancellation of the “Polishing of the Magi.”

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