M-Miscellaneous

Les Mersey’s is a PQ pop group who thrived thanks to CanCon regulations about both the amount of radio airtime that had to be devoted to Canadian music & in Quebec how much of the time had to be in French. I have several stand-alone cds of the amazing series ‘Les Groupes des Années 60.’ The 25 Chansons include originals, a few sung in English but mostly French versions of English hits such as their take on The Rolling Stones – Stupid Girl, Fille Stupide. These are a delight.

I started to collect these when I visited Montreal in the mid-90’s. It was a vain attempt to improve my French but, well, that didn’t happen – c’est la vie. But it did help open my eyes to the insidious influence of US pop music & the sometimes hilarious ways it was adapted by other cultures. If you like this wonky cultural appropriation search out Cambodian pop for the 60s. 

Next M is Metro Station best known for their insanely addictive summer hit Shake It. Catchy & fun the album is solid, though nothing quite has the zip of Shake It. All the tracks would make nice movie/TV moments though. The band disappeared after this hit, as far as I know, though Wiki tells me they are still active. The subway in Montreal is known as Le Metro so there is a connection with Les Mercy’s.

The last of this M miscellany is MGMT. I have stand-alones of Oracular Spectacular & Congratulations. I picked up them first as at the result of reading about it in Entertainment Weekly. I may have also seen the video for Electric Feel – which is a great slinky summer hit. The lps are described as psychedelic rock – but, well, they aren’t Umma Gumma trippy. Enjoyable as they are, two cds were enough for my collection.

Maybe He Was Dead

So far there were no TV crews hovering around what was going on. Jan stayed within listening distance but tried not to seem too nosey. A few people were taking pictures with cell phones but they were being warned off by the police. TTC was always sensitive about what went on. She had to figure how to confirm what her sister had told her.

Manonotti was one of the more outspoken voices on city council when it came to almost anything, he never dodged the limelight. His latest mission had been to side with the cyclist union for more dedicated bike lanes. He felt that giving more money to public transit didn’t have to mean just the subway and that if there were more attention payed to alternate forms of transport the city would be better off.

As a result he was frequently at logger-heads with both the TTC and merchants. Merchants who felt more bike lanes meant less parking for paying customers who now had no where to park their cars. Manonotti was outspoken and blunt. Now, maybe, he was dead.

Jan had met him a few times. Interviewed him once when he his crusade was to halt the health spas that were popping up along the Danforth in long empty store fronts. The spas were covers for rub and tug operations where the massage was sexual and not medicinal. 

But when he saw that transportation was getting more press hw switched his focus to what would get him the greatest face time. He had hopes of parleying all this into a run for the mayor. He felt it was time the city had someone born and bred in Toronto at the helm and not some corporate clone.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 



La La La

The La’s were part of the new wave English wave from the 80’s. Similar to The Stone Roses, their style is a folksy rock with pleasant vocals & good song writing. One track was used by some clothing company which kept them in the public eye for awhile. Sweet music. Reminds me of The Byrds, early Jefferson Airplane.

 

Less sweet & definitely rock is Quebec’s Eric LaPointe. I have stand-alones Obsession, Invitez Les Vautours & as mp3: Le ciel de mes combats. I used to watch French Kiss on MuchMusic & his first couple of videos were hot – him shirtless, waist deep in water – mmm. His music is aggressive almost metal blues rock. His voice is emotive, at some quite raw & harsh.

 

Another French group is Laymen Twaist. I have stand-alone of Funkadelique. A continental French band that is the total tonal opposite of LaPointe. This cd is bouncy, funky, psychedelic & fun. The engineering is astonishing & when it comes up in my play rotation I usually play it twice & it always gets my hips moving. Definitely worth seeking out to broaden your musical horizons.

 

Next up is John Layton’s Femmes Fatales – which is not in French 🙂 John is a Toronto folk singer/composer. I meet him at the Renaissance Cafe when I was doing the open stage circuit. Sweet, amusing, wry & romantic. The songs are gentle without being cloying. His voice is engaging & the engineering is clean.

Lookie Here

Hello my name is Lookie as in ‘lookie here.’ Cute eh?I thought so. I got to pick that name. I don’t tell this to everyone, but i need to talk. I’m not even sure you can hear me. I doubt if you can see me. I know when someone can see me. That’s one of my gifts. That and the fact that I’m not real. I’m Davey’s invisible friend. You know Davey. Yeah, too bad about him. Getting caught by the cops and all that. There wasn’t much I could do about that. I tried to warn him but he wasn’t seeing me anymore. He was too old for that sort thing. the awkward age when they they know it all and don’t even believe what they can see.

I’ve been Davy‘s invisible friend since he was three. He didn’t know me then though, he was too young to understand I guess. I never really understood how this friendship thing was supposed to work. I’d hang around his bed as he fell asleep hoping I could slip inot his dreams to plant the seed, as it were.  Sometimes he’d open his eyes and I swear he could see me but part me of knew he couldn’t. We invisibles don’t have form unless we feel seen. You know what I mean?

Not that Davey was in denial. How can you deny something you don’t know about, right. So I kept hovering around him. Following him to daycare. Standing by his nap rug. Playing tag with the kids there that did see me. Hoping and praying for the day he would sense he wasn’t alone. Which was hard because he was hardly ever along anyway. Those daycare kids were always around for him to hang out with. I had tried to be an invisible friend to one of them but he was one of a pair twins. So he didn’t need anyone. 

Davey was an only child so I knew he had greater need of me. But he practically the third twin. What’s an invisible supposed to do? I knew there was no rush for me to get a real friend but it had been many years since I had one. Can’t say how many. Time doesn’t have much meaning for me. When you only exist when someone sees you time doesn’t move. 

Davey didn’t see me till he nearly 11. That’s pretty old, by then kids have an idea of what is real and what is make believe. Not that I’m make believe but I can’t reveal much of me to anyone except my seer. If you know what I mean. The fact that you hear me at all means that you are open to someone who isn’t really real. But you can’t see me. Can you? No, if you could, I’d know.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

January
Thurs  January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30https://www.facebook.com/events/498405247456842/

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

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

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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

Haley to Hardy

 I have as a stand-alone Bill Haley and His Comets:  From The Original Master Tapes – This is total nostalgia not memory. I was a radio addict growing up & occasionally his hits would show up on program as a golden oldie. Then they were too rock-a-billy for me as opposed to rock-and-roll. My idea fo rock was the Beatles. By the time I picked up this Cd in 1999 I was familiar enough with the songs. But listening to them doesn’t bringing back any real moments the way a lot of music can for me.

Next under H is Françoise Hardy. I had Le premier bonheur as lp – which I bought in Montreal in the mid-90s at La marche (I think that’s what it was called) which was a huge 2nd hand lp, cassette, book store. When I visited I would spend hours flipping through the endless bins of lps. My hands would be black from the flipping. I was attempting to learn French via music.

Le premier bonheur was one of her first release. She started her career in the 60’s career. Her whispery voice clearly inspired Feist. Françoise was a huge European star, sold as the equivalent of Dusty Springfield. The songs on the early lps are a sweet French version of gentle rock & folk-rock & I love them.

Now I have Le premier bonheur, and Comment Te Dire tucked onto various mp3 collections. Also as mp3 I have Vingt Ans, Vingt Titres: which as you might guess is a best off that covers her from the start. As stand-alones I have two other collections: La Collection: which covers her early career; also Les Plus Belle Chansons: which covers her later work. 

As she aged she took more control of her material. She dropped the little girl voice, moved away from the folk-rock & became a chanteuse. Adult pop, jazz & even blue. I consider her one of the prime influencers of many female vocalists today who might even realize what an influence she has been. Try her early work for a sense of innocence that is quite delightful.

Simple Santa

Blake glanced around the mall – looked from one side to the other as he walked from one entrance to the the other. It was early in  the day and not too busy. He could smell the food court coffee. He had  enough time for that.

The bank would open soon. The jewellery store clerk was getting things put into the front display window. Normal. For now.

He continued out the exit and to the truck.

‘Well how does it look?’ Frank asked him.

‘Same as it did the last two morning.’

‘No one notice you or anything?’

‘Oh yeah, the security guy asked me what I was up to.’

‘Oh shit!’

‘Look, I’m joking. Here.’

He handed Frank a muffin and coffee. ‘Had to buy something to throw off suspicion.’

‘How much longer.’

They both looked a their watches. ‘Ten minutes,’

‘You sure you want to go through with this?’

‘Yes. You?’

‘Don’t have much choice do we.’

‘You got the costumes?’

‘Right here.’

Frank opened the garment bags. Rich velvet red Santa suits, full white beards. He handed a beard to Black.

‘Feels like the real thing.’

‘I should hope so at this price.’

The two men changed into their Santa suits.

‘Look good.’

‘You too.’

‘Nervous?’

‘A little. I’m sure glad we checked out the mall a few times though.’

‘It’s always good to know what we’re in for.’

‘If only everything was this simple.’

‘Wait till we’re done and we’ll see just simple it all is.’

‘You ready?’

‘Yep.’

They walked to the store. Each headed for a different entrance.

‘Hey Mommy. It’s Santa.’

‘Ho ho ho,’ Blake replied. ‘Have you been a good little girl?’

‘Oh yes. Haven’t I Mom.’

Mom smiled. ‘Depends on what you call good.’

‘Can I sit on his lap now.’

‘Ho ho. Not yet little one. You’ll have to wait till I get to the North Pole booth. There’ll be lots of time then.’

‘And a photo. I really have to have a photo. Can’t we get one now?’

‘Mommy doesn’t have a camera dear.’ The mother tugged the little girl away.

‘There’s one inside. Don’t worry.’

‘Okay Santa and I have been a really good girl. Really. Don’t listen to my Mom.’

‘I never do.’

Blake went to the Santa booth near the entrance. Frank had one at the other end of the Mall. Chances were that the same kids wouldn’t see there were two of them. If they did, a little suffering was always good for the soul.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

C’est toi et Jacques Brel

I first heard Dany Brilliant on MuchMusic’s French Kiss – a weekly half-hour show devoted to French pop music. The song was C’est toi – a brash, infectious French Sinatra & I love it. I also have his ‘Histoire D’un Amour’ cd tucked into one of the Brel mp3 cds & both are well worth having.

blueglory

morning glory blue

My alphabetical brings me to Jacques Brel next. I happened upon his complete recordings for a reasonable price & so I have over 20 cds condensed into 4 mp3 collections (& some scatted through another cds). Plus a stand alone double of his hits. Not that I ever set out for this massive collection but I sure do enjoy it & there’s always some Brel on my iPod.

It all started in the late 90’s when I picked up an lp of his Man of La Mancha, next came that 2 cd set. He was a huge European & world star. Too many hits to name check – but one of the things that stunned me on hearing them was the use of the theremin in many of them – electronica mixed with his big band sound is sweet.

The collection includes live concerts, a tribute album, his recording in Flemish & all the studio work & live performances. What isn’t here is the ‘Alive & Well’ – which I doubt he was alive to see. Many of the songs follow a similar arrangement: starting easy & getting faster & more emotional, over-the-top like a wild merry-go-round.

bluetree

blue fields

Mixed into this for variety & relief are recordings by Edith Piaf (a very best of), Adamo (various eps: he was, at first, a mop top pop start), Mireille Mathieu (Tangos – she is amazing), Charles Aznavour (a hits collection), Maurice Larcange (what French collection would be complete without some accordion cafe music), Francois Hardy (sweet breathy & a surveyor if the 60’s pop push – Feist owes everything to Hardy), Sacha Distel (fine jazz guitarist & sweet singer & one-time boy friend of Bardot), Juliette Greco (actress & sultry, sort of scary, singer, the Greco lp was huge in the 50’s, early 60’s with her deadpan beatnik look), Herve Vilard (some eps of sweet latin flavoured pop).

whitehorseno more rides on old blue

All of this would fall under adult contemporary today. The influence of US pop is subtle. By pop I don’t mean rock’n’roll either, though there is a bit of doo wop in some of it , more of the Bobby Vinton easy listening. I do have a healthy slab of French rock & garage pop though & we’ll eventually get to that as I progress though the alphabet.

sample

Yellow Dust

The barren landscape held only yellow dust as far as the eye could see. Nothing remained on the ground of the two domed cities, the people, or the landing sky bay that once hovered overhead.

‘What sort of violence could have done this?’ Dale asked.

‘Gosh I don’t rightly know Cadet Dale,’ Griff, Dale’s robot sidekick answered. As he answered his optic sensors rotated in several slow circles.

‘Looks like something just pulverised them.’

‘Right enough Cadet Dale. My sensors are picking up trace elements of the various minerals that had built the structures here. Would you like a quantitative list of them.’

‘No, that’s fine.’ Dale still found Griff’s personality difficult to understand. The bot had been given some ‘familiarity’ programs but also maintained its strict analytic core.

‘Yes.’

‘Bring us to the co-ordinates the the Prime Dome.’

Dale’s craft moved silent over the still surface of the planet. The sensor scope that played across the surface beneath them revealed nothing. More flatness. Not even a hint of foundations. Only the trace elements of what had once been there and as those readings sped by it was clear that even those traces where declining.

‘Griff those trace elements are being absorbed by something. Can you tell what it is.’

‘Be happy to try Cadet Dale. Might take me a moment or two so …’ Griff’s auto voice slowed and stilled. His lights dimmed and nearly went out.

‘Oh crap. Just what I need now for the bot to shut down. Main Line what is the problem with Griff.’

‘Griff is thinking.’ The electronic voice of the ship’s computer purred. ‘There is more data here than he was equipped to deal with swiftly.’

‘More data? How can that be?’

‘He has to adjust for each decline in readings. The declines are so swift he’ll never catch up.’

‘How long will Griff be thinking?’

‘That is not a question I can answer.’

‘Estimate?”

‘That is not a question I can answer. I must alert you to the fact the the left hull is being eroded. ‘

‘Eroded?’

‘Yes. It will soon be too weak to keep out the atmosphere. I am taking the ship out of danger now.’

‘Wait.’

soon

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nano02

http://nanowrimo.org/

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

horses