All My Mayall

One of my friends on the east coast was a die-hard blues performer/fan. He introduced me to John Mayall. The first Mayall Lp I bought was Bare Wires, then Alone (a solo lp in which he plays everything). At the time I wasn’t what one would call a fan though. Blues was too adult for me. I was more California harmonies or psychedelic pop than serious British blues.

I now have as either stand-alone or mp3: The Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton; A Hard Road; The Blues Alone; Crusade; Bare Wires; Blues From Laurel Canyon; Blues for the Lost Days; Turning Point; Jazz Blues Fusion; 70th Birthday Concert. 

Top-40 was not his aim even though the Blues Breakers did feature, at various points Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor. Although his blues roots ground all his recordings he experimented with where things could go – Hard Road is rock blues; Alone – traditional; Bare Wires added horns for a more soul sound; Turning Point: acoustic & jazzy. After that I didn’t really follow his career. Some of these I had when they were first released, others were added more recently as I filled in blanks in my collection. Clapton fans should have his work with Mayall.

The most recent addition was the 2003 2 cd set: 70th Birthday Concert where he reunites with Eric Clapton, Chris Barber & Mick Taylor along with the then current Bluesbreakers for a great set of old & new material. His voice is in good shape & they all play like wise teenagers 🙂 He’s a survivor & is still performing & recording.

Surveillance

“Did you know Donaldson or Hanson?”

“Not well. They were older bad boys. I mainly hung out with the guys in the chess club. Not exactly a bunch of daredevil trouble makers. You?”

“I didn’t hang out. School and home to do school work. We weren’t encourage to hang out.”

I realized that whatever sort of teenage life Vasili had it was so different from mine that I had no idea what it was like.

“I suppose not. We grew up in a much more liberal climate than you did.”

“Right. Plus you knew who your father was. I had only my sisters & even that was limited by what the state did with us after our father defected. They didn’t directly punish us for what he did, but there were no positive consequences either.”

We were in the kitchen. The organized clutter wasn’t as omnipresent here. 

“I think this was probably where my father spent a lot of his time when he was in the house & not in his shop.”

He opened one of the cabinet doors and there were rows of TVs. Vasili turned on switch and they all flickered to life. Each showed a different part of the house & yard.

“I figure he did this after the those guys assaulted him.”

“Wow! How did you find this?”

“Looking for a coffee mug.” Vasili laughed dryly. “I imagine he sat when I am sitting now and watched these when he wasn’t in the shop. There are vcr tapes going back years.”

“What? He kept surveillance tapes for the last how many years?”

“He reviewed them every day.” He took a book out of the table drawer. “He kept logs of what he saw & kept ones that he might need as evidence. There is only a handful of those.’

“Man he was paranoid as hell.”

“No, paranoia is fantasy. The RCMP actually had their eye on him. Besides after what happened to him he needed real physical evidence to protect himself.”


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Horny

In the late 60’s & early 70’s there was a rush of brassy, horned up, pop bands: Blood, Sweat & Tears; Chicago – being the prime examples. Muscular sound, jazzy, male dominated, rocking big bands. There were many others who added horns to their line-ups as a result; John Mayall, Paul Butterfield. But real rock was a man’s industry.27desk01Women were vocalists only. All girl bands were novelty items, not considered real rockers. Folk was different Baez, Mitchell blazed a trail for many. Even today women rockers don’t get that respect – most often its a nod of shock that they can rock out at all. It was fine for a band to have a female vocalist: Jefferson Airplane.

A few bands broke that mould. Heart was a commercial success, but had men on board; ditto the amazing Patti Smith. Others floundered on the shores of male dominance. One was Goldy & The Gingerbreads – which leads to Isis. (side note: I didn’t use their name as a title for this blog post for obvious reasons. I resist the temptation to type as Is is though. Don’t want that terrorist attention. So not even #ing it or tagging it Isis.)27desk02Isis was an all-female version of Chicago. The first lp featured the band naked on the cover, in gold body paint. The music is solid, as good as, but not as bombastic as, any of the male fronted groups & they got decent reviews, of the sort: good for women but not as good as etc. There is some wicked guitar work on the first lp, a great Black Sabbath quote. All 3 cds have great moments.27desk03But the band was a semi-critical success but not a commercial success. Novelty wasn’t enough, nor was their unwillingness to back down & kowtow the the male dominated industry. Carol MacDonald, singer, songwriter & guitarist of the band, refused to deny her lesbianism, refused to delete songs about her love for women. By their 3rd lp they were considered too non-commercial successful to record & had lost critical regard as well – damn feminists. I guess there were no Women’s Musical Festivals at that time.

I downloaded all three lps this year & have listened to them several times. The first from 1974 is the most adventurous – they become more commercial with each succeeding one. The musicianship is excellent but they lacked the genius of say, a Laura Nyro, to give them an identity. 27desk04This is part of the sad music history of lgtbq – good, talented people denied respect & success because they wouldn’t back down from who they were. Some were destroyed, others opted out: Janis Ian. If you haven’t heard Isis it’s time you did. You won’t be disappointed.

sample

Confessions of a Dick Pig part 1

Sometime when I have trouble sleeping I hike over Mike’s 24 hour Gym. It’s usually not too full at 2 a.m. and I can take my time with my work out. Tonight was one of those night and as expected there were only a few only die-hards sweating away. One of them was Clive, a name I only knew by over-hearing it one day. I filed it away because Clive was, to my way of thinking, a stunning black man. At less than 5’6” he also had a body that responded perfectly to iron. He also had one of those not-so-pretty faces I loved.

I was at the tail end of my work-out,  bench pressing my maximum and enjoying the feeling of my muscles screaming for me to stop, enjoying the feeling of my sweat on my hairy chest and my balls. That feeling of health. I grimaced and shut my eyes for a last forced rep. When I opened them I was staring up directly into Clive’s basket.

“Here let me help you with that.” He smiled down at me knowing that my eyes were glued to the grey-white flash of his jockstrap up the legs of his baggy shorts. He took the bar and settled on the hooks of the bench. “You shouldn’t do that without a partner.”

“Right, “ I mumbled grabbing my towel and covering my face to keep my eyes from crawling back up to his jock. I sat up as he walked around to face me, confronting me with with his hard abs between his cut off T-shirt and shorts. They were glistening with sweat.

“Care for a coffee?” He asked. “I could give you a couple tips. You’re doing good work here but …”

“Uh … sure. I’d love to.” I cut him off.

“I got a place near here.”

“I gotta shower first.”

“There’s a shower at my place.” Our eyes met as I stood up. Toe-to-toe. “Come on. It’s just around the corner.”

On the way we made small talk. Weather. Work that sort of stuff. As we entered his apartment neither of us knew what to expect other than we were both looking for sex. The room was dim. It needed a window open to stir the air, to move the dust, to move us to each other. He followed, brushing past me as we entered as if to prevent me from finding something he’d left out by mistake.

“Pets?” I asked.

“None. Plants are demanding enough.” He opened a window which let in air but no light.

“Perfect conditions for night.”

“Yes it would seem so.” An awkward silence.

The apartment was a large bachelor with a book case making a wall between the bed and the rest of the room. A casual mix of antiques and moderns, a scattering of magazines. Without turning on the light he went to the CD player.

“I hope you’ll like this. It’s one of my favourites.”

A soft throb filled the room. A electronic babble of rippling water mixed with real voices, occasional guitars. We stood and listened a moment. I moved to the window to look at the view. He stood behind me, close. I could feel the heat of his workout, of our workouts, meeting in the thin space between us. I could feel his body barely touching then touching mine. Did I lean back? Or did he press forward. We were like magnets, drawn to each other without any means of resistance. Not even cold water could have kept us apart. We stood like that, pressing and feeling with our bodies only. The measured beats of our hearts, the slow rhythm of our breathing gradually matching, in sync. Were his eyes closed also.

“Not much of a view.” he murmured, his tongue licking along the outer part of my ear. His warm breath moving the hairs along the back of my neck.

“I don’t want to move.”

“Neither do I.”

But his hands did want to move. They slipped under my arms and onto my chest. Pulling me tighter against him. One of them moved up and under my oversized sweatshirt. Roughly stroking my hairy stomach, the other remained firmly planted between my pecs, almost daring me to relax, to let my legs go limp and completely lean on to him. My own arms hung, barely brushing against his quads.

He was breathing into my ear, rubbing his head against the back of mine as if trying to merge our thoughts. I pressed back. I groaned in expectation, anticipation. I pushed his roaming hand down into my sweatpants, onto to my damp cock. Damp with gym sweat now mixed with pre-come. I could feel his own stiffen as it pressed against my ass. I moved my gluts to slightly rub it, to encourage him.

“Not so quick,” I said as he peeled away from me. I let my hand move to cup his balls behind me. I discovered that at some point he had gotten out of his shorts. A quick glance and I saw that they were in a jumble around his calves. I was suddenly touching the hot flesh of his cock. It was his turn to groan, to growl.

capeplate02

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Good Vibrations

California surf music was merely top-ten pop fodder in Cape Breton when I was in high-school. The Beach Boys weren’t taken seriously, unlike the Beatles or the Stones who were the ‘real’ thing. So it wasn’t until California Girls that they caught me & to this day the opening bars of this song can transport me. I never did become a big fan so all I have in my collection are hits & smatterings.

tracksnow which way to the beach

I’ve seen the Brian Wilson bio & the story of his musical life is heart breaking but, to me, doesn’t really add anything more than nostalgia for the Boys music. At one time I did have the 45 of Good Vibrations but parted with that box of now priceless wax before I moved to TO. The electronic work on Vibrations is still unmatched. So subtle many people still don’t know its there.

snowsteps steps to the beach

I have two hits collections: a stand alone: 20 Good Vibrations – that has most of the greats: Fun, Fun, Fun etc. Another cd is of lps transfers from Endless Summer, another hits compilation and Surf’s Up. Up has some stunning work on it Long Promised Roads is epic, as is Feel Flows. Recently I downloaded fresh copies of Smiley Smile & Surf’s Up.

snowcoup little ice coupe

Those early hits are infused with a sunny sense of joy and hope, maybe that’s why they never really sunk into me (or the guys I hung out with then) we were moody deep men, don’t you know. It seemed sort of intellectually weak to admit to enjoying the Beach Boys when you had John Mayall or Bob Dylan telling us the real truth.

sample

Ink on Purpose

Greg couldn’t remember when pain became such a pleasure.

Was it when he was six and had fallen backwards off the porch. His head had hit the ground hard, blood oozed freely and his mother was so attentive, so loving. More than she was ever at any other time. Even his Dad showed more concern, though even then, Greg sensed the difference between concern and affection.

But knowing the when certainly wasn’t going to change the now, the moment, this opportunity to savour the sweet balance between pain and pleasure.

As Greg leaned on the padded chest rest at the tattoo parlour he grimaced with the first few pricks of the needle. After those first few he no longer felt the pain only the slow purpose of Zak who was turning Greg’s bare white back into a swirl of  multicoloured Celtic knots.

‘Hurt?’

‘No more than expected.’

‘Too bad.’

‘Yeah, too bad.’

The process was careful, deliberate and slow. It would take two afternoon sessions of about three hours each for Zak to complete this work of art.

Greg had dreamed of this for many years and when he finally had the money for it he didn’t hesitate. He had considered something small first, to see how it felt, to see if he could bear the pin prick process but didn’t want to numb this initial rush in anyway.

As Zak patiently outlined the first links along his shoulders Greg closed his eyes. Once he had this done he would move on to the next step in his transformation. Piercings. Along one side of the tattoo salon was an array of various metal bolts, tiny arrows, rings and small bar-bells that he could have inserted. He just had to decide where.

He had started his tattoo journey with his back as it would be a safe spot. No one at work would see it unless he wanted them too. It would be his new secret identity, his new sense of purpose, one that would never leave him.

west California sans Girls (or Boys)