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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Emotional Accessibility

On a recent podcast Cripples in da Club, Andrew Gurza talks about physical & emotional accessibility issues that he hits, repeatedly, when planning to go to any of the queer dance spots. His being directed the a sketchy laneway entrance as the accessibility portal, rather than easy front door entrance, made me think of the decades in which most gay men preferred the secrecy the dark laneway entrance offered.28-greencouch-02

There were some gay bars in TO that could only be entered through the back door (I’m not going to make jokes about gay men & rear entrances). At this time of year (Halloween) it was the only way to get to some bars without your costume being egged or harassed by offended guardians of public morals. Now Church street is blocked off to allow for fun fun fun when in heels & wigs for Halloween.

I recall those squeezed tight nights at the Barn – circulation around the dance floor was impossible once the place was packed. Rubbing against guys wasn’t unpleasant but there was alway someone who told you to get the fuck out of their face. Washrooms? Forget it. The floors were too slippery to risk. I dread the notion of trying get around with any mobility device. 28-greencouch-01

 

On top of which there was, at one time, license issues in bars with more than one story – drinks bought one level couldn’t legally be taken to another as the stairs weren’t included in the license.

Those stairs were often so narrow, or crowded your shoulder pads would be in the way. I was always grateful not be a drunk trying to get up or down those stairs. There was usually no place to put your drink down if you wanted to dance. Luckily everyone adored getting beer slopped on them or picking up their drink, if they had a spot to put it down, to find cigarettes put out in it (laws have changed that).

I’ve never found a club emotional inviting – staff was attentive if you had the right drugs or good tips. Guys drunk, stoned or looking to be drunk, stoned are never emotionally accessible & often not even sexually available until they are too blasted to enjoy it anyway. 28-greentank-03

The only time I’ve been told to leave a club was when I wasn’t drinking enough – I had a soft drink I was sipping & when it wasn’t gone after an hour the waiter asked if I was ready for another & when I said no; he said, if you don’t order I’ll have to ask you leave. I left. He walked me to the coat check to make sure this unwanted, sober guy left their fine establishment. At another club I was informed that if I didn’t order alcohol (as opposed to a soft drink) I’d have to pay a $20 cover charge. I left.

I gave up on clubs as a way to socialize, to meet guys (hot or otherwise) – these are money making enterprises & the bottom line is their prime concern. Pay the rent comes first, even before pay the staff 😉 I did go out to dance not to get lucky. Even that lost its appeal to me. I didn’t like getting home late at night, smelling of booze & cigarette smoke.28-greenwall-04I empathize with Andrew’s gripes with the club scene & I suspect this is true around the world. Thanks to www meeting guys has become easier – the same ones who were jerks in bars are still jerks on line – but at least on line they aren’t going to slop beer on me.

 

samp03

Support Hoes

just because I’m not with you

doesn’t mean I against you

I’m not taking sides

I’m not standing in your way

my indifference

can’t be built on

don’t let that deter you

you can build

you can move forward

you don’t need my permission or support

I’m not a viper in your breast

 

that’s me on the sidewalk

the white entitled cismale

who doesn’t even have to count

on those factors

as long as others take them

into consideration

I don’t have to do anything to re-enforce

those inherent historic qualities

they are merely there

 

don’t allow your judgements

of what is merely there

keep you from anything

I’m not you

not with you

not against you

no one needs my acknowledgement

my sympathy

any actions of direct support

to make changes

that need to be made

I don’t have the power

the strength

the moral commitment

to either cause or resist

 

I’ll stand back

keep out of your way

and when you are done

I’ll buy a coffee

soon02

 

14257567_1162384753819933_3271661288579707843_o
on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nano_odwv0rd0j91s3yvqto2_540

http://nanowrimo.org/

December – Thursday Dec 1st – Toronto, 8 pm, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St.divine

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

6DC0301

Early 2017:

my first local feature in over a year: location date TBA

it came in

April season 3 FINALS – Friday April 15th Buddies in Bad Times – early show – 7pm startgames

http://www.queerslam.com/season-3-dates.html

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –

newcap

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx5KD1eDccdjdTdQ28kZRNg

money

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

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