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


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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I have a 40 cd boxset of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Masterworks – I did replaced the one that had some of his organ works with a downloaded complete organ works. Even at 40 cds this is a sampling of his output. He died at 38! He either burned out like a lightbulb or exploded like a supernova.

I did have a some lps, then cd’s of his work before I  picked up this set. I knew the hits, as it were, but that was all. Like many composers he was reduced to a few concert warhorses & of course the Wedding March. The box set includes complete: symphonies, piano concertos, violin concertos, chamber music, choral works, lieder, some oratorios & more. 

I bought it at HMV for about $70. The sound quality is good, though the recoding levels change from cd to cd. some are louder than others. The musicianship is excellent including the likes of Kurt Masur, Dietrich Fischer-Dieshaku. So it was a solid investment in my classical collection.

Mendelssohn is a romantic composer in the Beethoven sense – rich, playful, emotive works for piano, orchestra that sweep me away, though he rarely becomes as over-the-top as, say, Liszt or Chopin. It is delightful music that doesn’t call attention to technique.


Much of it was new to me and his choral music lead to my greater enjoyment of that form. He also incorporates choir & solo voices into some of his symphonies. I added the organ music for the melodic work & also to have an organ version of the wedding march, which to me is rather funereal & spooky. ‘Here comes the deceased, all dressed in pine”


‘Did you know Greg well?’ Jane asked the sullen man beside her.

‘Met him a few times in the neighbourhood. You know at the annual street sale. Sometimes I’d stop to chat while he was working on the front bed of his?’

‘Front bed?’

They had both stepped out of the funeral home chapel to smoke.

‘Garden. A little patch of tulips & crocus. He kept pretty much to himself. Did you know him?’

‘Same as you. I have the house cross the back laneway from his. We’d wave sometimes when he was mowing the back lawn but that was it.’

‘So you live in this neighbourhood, too?’

‘Yes. I have seen you at the corner store a few times.’


‘Well, sad though isn’t it?’

‘It happens.’

‘Makes you wonder though, just how well you know people. Like he’s lived here nearly 15 years and I didn’t even know his name.’


‘Yours is?’

‘Jane Brown. That’s my husband over there.’

‘Right. Good looking man.’

‘Thanks. And yours?’

‘My husband isn’t quite that real. Single life.’

‘I mean your name?’

‘Ah, right. David Peters. I’m at 46 Amber and you?’

‘52 Green.’

‘Amber is that one street away. We’re nearly neighbours too.’


‘Small world, yet it seems too far at the same time. A few hundred yards. Sorry I never got to know Greg better. Not many other gays in this area, you know.’

‘Haven’t given it much thought.’

‘I suppose not.’

‘You knew Greg was … gay?’

‘Not that we ever talked about it but that rainbow flag, single white male living alone except for the occasional male visitor. It adds up.’

‘Rainbow flag?’

‘Yeah, in the back yard. I think he had one in the front too. That one would go up around gay pride.’

‘Oh, that’s what that was all about. The changing banners, I just thought there were decorations not signals.’

‘See, you’re learning more about him already.’

‘So you are … gay too?’

‘Yep. Not much point is pretending otherwise.’

‘Strange that you’d live so far from the heart of town … you know … where I understand most of that goes on.’

‘I like it out here. Quieter, feels safer even if it isn’t.’

‘Isn’t safer?’

‘Oh yeah. Didn’t you hear about the swarming at the school a block over. Pretty nasty stuff. Glad I’m not closer to the school than I am. But yeah, this is pretty much like the neighbourhood I grew up in. Nice houses with families.’

‘Doesn’t keep death away from the door though does it.’

‘Not many places do Jane. Not many places do.’

every Tuesday 2019

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s – sweet,eh?

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Fambrough, First House and Jazz Psychedelia

Some jazz is defined by the record label. One knew what to expect from Riverside, World Pacific, Blue Note, ECM or CTI. Each presented different niches of jazz. Though sometimes there would a slight step into one another territory.

I have a stand-alones two Charles Fambrough: The Charmer; The Proper Angle both on CTI (Creed Taylor) – I bought is at a dollar store for a dollar each. I late found out that CTI went out business & thus their stock was sold off & some of it ended up in dollar stores as opposed to record stores. I also picked up some Larry Coryell as a result of this sell off. I later saw the Fambrough at full price at HMV.

Anyway the music itself is solid acoustic jazz & so has a timelessness about it. Fambrough plays bass well. His sidemen change from cd to cd but he’s working with top-of-the-line performers. Not overly challenging but definitely not easy listening either. Tasteful & good beginner listening jazz.

I have this stand-alone by a British group I’d never heard of before: First House: Erendira on ECM – there was time I’d buy anything on ECM. The label specialized in chamber jazz – slightly experimental work by the likes Keith Jarrett, Jackie DeJohnette & many many others. All of which I loved & still enjoy a lot. So I wasn’t really taking a chance on First House. The music is progressive jazz with a few dissident moments making a bit more challenging that a lot fo EMV releases. I picked up 2nd hand & am happy whenever it comes up my play rotation.

Finally some lp to cd transfer of a pair of World Pacific lps that I bought on the east coast as delete at Zeller’s or Woolco.  Eddie Fisher Quintet: The First Cup; Wilbert Longmire: Revolution. Both of these guitarists blend jazz, soul, blues, funk and a touch of psychedelia in originals & cover versions of late 60’s hits. Longmire does a sweet version of the Beatles’ Revolution. Both verge on instrumental but their guitar playing elevates them beyond lounge. Think Wes Montgomery but funkier.


With a sweep of her hand windows around her shattered into tiny fragments. Not shards, not cracking, creaking but crumbling into a coarse ground glass like diamonds. She turned several times, fingers open wide, arm muscles bulging, the veins standing out along  her wrist and the back of her hand.

‘You see!’ she stopped as suddenly as she had started. ‘To resist is futile.’

‘To capitulate is equally as futile.’

‘Then you leave me no alternative.’

She clapped her hands together. With each clap the sound became deeper. Blood spurted from ears and noses to mix the with the ground glass.

‘I have only just begun.’ She walked a few steps to the front of the embankment. The water in the stream began to ripple faster. ‘You have no way to resist. Why not capitulate. No harm can come of it.’

‘This is harm enough. Cease or be ceased.’ A fist raised up to her. Frail and pale. The veins blue and thin under the skin. The fingers slowly opened. One by one. Each with a small creak. In the palm was a pink stone.

‘Ho ho.’ She reached out to it. ‘You have The Pink. You think that can help you.’

The stone leapt into the air before her. She reached out and crushed it.

‘You see! You all see! You have no defence against me. You have wasted your strength on useless resistance. It is hardly worth my effort now to conquer.’

She rubbed the palm of her hand against her cloak. It stung where The Pink had been crushed. Where she rubbed left a thin blood print.

‘It will not even be worth my while to monitor your obedience.’ Her breath became short.

‘What?’ She moved unsteadily toward the stream.

She stopped and spread open her palms. ‘Oh you fools! Fools. You attempt this little ploy.’

She spat on the red boundary of the crushed Pink. It became blue. The small shards of the pink danced out of her skin. her breathe became normal. She laughed.

‘Such a foe. Such a puny foe.’

Her laughter rocked through the very soil, buildings crumbled, became dust as her body floated into the air.


every Tuesday

June 8-9 – Capturing Fire 2018 – Washington D.C. (flight & hotel already booked) 

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

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

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Black Days

Some black days on the pop shelf starting with stand alone’s by: Jully Black: Revival (Nov.07); Black Box: dreamland (Dec.94) Black Grape: It’s Great When You’re Straight … Yeah (Jan.95)& Stupid Stupid Stupid (Nv.98).


don’t look over here

Jully I picked up at HMV for, like, $4.99 – a Toronto soul/pop singer with dance smarts this is a fun, well produced CD. A strong voice and good songwriting skills too. Still on the scene, as they say. Good work but, to me, nothing outstanding either.


don’t look down

Black Box: a dynamic dance ‘group’ – mixed up in a studio it’s hard to call it a group but, man, I loved some of these tracks back in the day. Loretta Holloway does the diva duties here & sends the ‘hits’ through the roof. I can’t keep still when I heard Ride on Time – the non-hits are great. Engineering is stunning. Loretta is amazing.


don’t look up

Black Grape: funky, sample happy, herbal positive, fun and compelling – a dash of rap, danceable too. I picked this up at the 2nd hand store that was once around the corner from me – I’d read a review of ‘It’s Great’ & within a week I came across it 2nd hand. They only released two cds. More of the same on the second – funny, political & you can dance to it.



“Bearing false witness will not bring us any positive results.” Br’thr Singa explained patiently to Br’thr Brin.

“I know that,” Brin replied, “but if I tell the truth you will suffer the consequence of trying to help me.”

“I did that of my own accord.”

The wind gently teased the ripe seed pods of the falfa.

“Listen,” Brin said. “Does that sound bear false witness or true to the the readiness of our crops?”

“It bears no witness. If it didn’t blow we would know the pods were nearly ready.”

“Exactly yet it blows doesn’t it.”

“I don’t follow your reasoning.” Singa leaned against the stone wall and slowly sank to the ground.

“Simple,” Brin sat next to him, put his arm around Singa to pull them closer. “Your act was like that of the breeze. Does the breeze intend to alert us to the ripeness of the pods?”

“The breeze has no consciousness to speak of.”

“So if it damaged the falfa would we punish the wind? How conscious were you of the consequence of your actions? How would have known that they would have had such a result.”

“Now you are just trying to make me feel better.” Singa kissed Brin quickly on the brow before pushing himself back to his feet. “No. I’ll have to face this myself.”

“You cannot prove that I wasn’t there with you.” Brin followed Singa as he walked along the stone wall.

“Is your mind shadow secure enough to make the El’rs believe you.”

“They will believe what they see. I can make them see me with you when they look for the truth in my thoughts. I’ll just hold the shadow of us together.”

“You can do that? You have that much power?”

“I’ve tested it a few times by making El’r  Ft’hr see that I hadn’t done my chores when if fact I had. The physical evidence of the work done merely added to his confusion when he went to punish me.”

“Funny way of  testing them. I would have expected you not to do the chore and have them think you had.”

“So would he.”

“Have you used this on others?’

‘No. No others are required to test my mind.” Brin pulled at the tufts of grass at the edge of the stone wall.

“But bearing such false witness on my behalf won’t spare me the punishment that is due me.”

“Perhaps I can make them think they have already punished you. Punished us.’

“No I can’t let you take such a risk for me.’ Singa’s eyes flashed at Brin.

Brin stepped back as he felt the power hidden there.

“I see I’m not the only who has been building their thought shadows.”


March 7 – Saturday – attending – 2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium – Round Venue, 152A Augusta Ave., Toronto


March 26 – Thursday 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam – Supermarket – 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto


April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.


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


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

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville


Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto


September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo


October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice


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no caged birds here

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

#CanCon Success Stories

One of the things that CanCon & MuchMusic managed to do was ‘create’ one-hit Canadian wonders. When I watched MM it was more like radio with pictures than real entertainment. One of those wonders was ‘barlow’ (Sept03). I honestly have no recollection of his video but I did enjoy the pop sensibility of this well produced cd. Walk Away was a summer of 2003 ‘hit’ – a folky rock song of positivity & survival.


fill’er up

He has a Cory Hart look – sweet meterosexuality. A pleasant voice. The songs are socially uplifting, amusing at times and easy on the ear, as his is innocuous pop voice. I bought his CD on sale at HMV. He is still around, his web page is active & he recently did a show along with Burton Cummings.


don’t tripod that with me

On the shelf he is followed by another Canadian flash-in-the-pan – bass is base: Memories of the SoulShack Survivors (Jan00). As the title implies this is a soul/funk band – recorded in Mississauga. They had bigger chart presence than barlow, I think. Very popular locally, the hit here is Funkmobile – another fun summer song.

reflection streetcar reflection

The cd, which I bought at a CD Cat (now gone) on Yonge, is a sort of concept piece, with spoken recollections scattered between the various songs. The music is funky soul with some jazz & dance flavor. Another band that can thank MuchMusic for their profile. The band split by the end of the 90’s but members are still recording. But as I rarely listen to the radio or watch MuchMusic anymore so I can’t tell you much more about them. A great CD though.



Ruth’s eyes surveyed the room, quickly finding the items that she could carry and that would bring the best price. She had some reservations about Kim’s winter coat though. She knew Kim wouldn’t need it for the next few weeks and last winter it had been so mild it had only been worn a few times. New it cost nearly one fifty so it should be good for at least twenty bucks. That’s all she really needed.

If she had that twenty bucks then everything would be alright. She’d get her fix for the day and things would be alright.

She grabbed puffy green and pale yellow parka. It was so light how could to keep anyone warm anyway. Maybe she’d be better off with the VCR. They hardly watched videos anymore so it was just collecting dust. But there were too many wires in the back to worry about and she needed to get her fix fast. Now. The longer she looked around the room the greater the pain became. Her eyes watered and her heart began to race.

Yes Kim’s winter coat would do for today. The VCR would be good for another day. But she had to have something else. This wouldn’t be enough. She knew what those guys were like. They would take one look at the coat and just laugh at her. It wasn’t even a real coat just some cheap knock-off. If it was only a Tommy or a anything other than it was. It was just a piece of shit. Like everything else in the room. Shit.

Her life had become this pile of useless cheap objects, none of which she saw would bring her what she needed now. Money. Money.

If she could just this one little fix today she could be okay for the rest of the week. She’d be able to start fresh in the morning. Tomorrow. No, after the week-end. She just needed this one fix to get her

through the next three days then she could start fresh.

Kim would help. Kim was such a good kid. Always home right after school to look after her three brothers. They were the real problem. If she could only get those boys to behave she wouldn’t have to do this. She wouldn’t need anything to help the through the day. Maybe she could find something in their room.

Damn! Locked!

They just didn’t trust anyone. Not even their mother. She knew they had stuff. Lots of it. CD players. She could get some good money for one of them or two of them if they were in there.

The door was solid against her thin shoulder. The door nob stiff unturning. Damn those boys. When they get home she’d give them a piece of her mind. She’d make them sorry they didn’t trust her the way Kim did. Kim’s door opened silently. The room was dark, cool even the in the morning sun. The bed was made and the Beanie Babies lay in a row across her pillow

Beanie Babies!! One still had its tag. The purple whale. What could that be worth?

Oh thank you God.

She shoved into her backpack and rushed out of the apartment.

wp202 fish out of sequins

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#Cosplay Alley @ #FanExpoCanada

Found it – bought it – spotted it – snapped it. The FanExpo story in 8 words. Day two was sweet and satisfying (like good sex but with less washing up). As planned I walked down from St Andrew – a much much pleasanter route that Union Station. Stopped for a grande latte with an extra shot at Starbucks to get me through the rest of the day.

wp203 before the crowds arrived

Loved seeing the stream of cosplayers – lots of archers this year, everywhere, even on the subway. I hit the north end first in my search for Tartan Asia. This year they’ve spit the HorrorExpo to this area to give it more room. A wise decision. There is now a Cosplay Alley – to spare your mom from duct taping a costume for you 🙂 Dr. Who was everywhere, in every race & gender – maybe it is time for a black female Dr Who. At least I’m assuming that all those players in tweedy jackets, white shirts & bow ties are doing the Dr.

wp202 suitable for stir-fry

Picked up a couple of sweet t-shirts. Not sure what I’ll do with the super large Dr. Who bag. Chatted with the ChiZine people, then headed south – took some pics from the bridge way. Made a more exhaustive search for American Vampire and the elusive Tartan Asia. No luck for either. Seems HMV & Suspect were the only two DVD retailers on site. HMV focused on Walking Dead etc. 😦 Looks like Amazon for me. I arrived around 10:30 & by 1 the crowd had doubled in size, so getting around became a challenge. Memo to people with baby carriage – stop ramming me because the group in front me has stopped to take pictures of cosplayers. I’d get out of your way if I could. (But that Chuckie make up on the baby is stunning – oh, it’s not make up. sorry.)

wp201 The Old Rugged Cross meets Dr Van Gogh

Line-ups already for panels was I mildly interested in. That sort of floor camping is great when you’re 25 but I feel a bit past that need. Stopped at the CSIS booth (!) for a few lanyards (are they bugged) then made my way home. More subway chat with people who recognized my Expo bag. Might go back on Sunday for one last session of push and shove & foto ops. more day 2 pictures soon

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 –nano02


The Killer Dappled by Sun the killer flexed his hands warm playful sunshine wrapped around his fingers he squeezed but couldnʼt grasp the light couldnʼt hold it   stop it   control it   harm it the light was safe from him he found comfort that something was safe from him he couldnʼt murder the light there was a limit to his power he was human    he had frailty he looked around shadows light danced on faces chattering mindless anyone of whom he could kill one of whom he would kill soon with hands that basked in the gentle caress of the sun they would find a throat they would take the light out of those eyes of people who were slaves to a system of comfort for comfortʼs sake well heʼd put an end to someoneʼs comfort the killer was a liberator and he would liberate one by one until he was free it would be good to be free free of the need to liberate the need to kill once he had quenched that thirst he would be free to enjoy this life this world this moment in the sun

warbox lunch boxed