Lena Nina and Kate

This is a mp3 collection that takes me back to when I moved to Toronto way back in 1978. There were real record stores in those days. Starting with Sam’s. There was also a resurgence of pop out of punk & away from the smoothness of groups like the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac. One was Lena Lovich with her militaristic Russian image. I loved & have Stateless, Flex. Both great restless albums that hold up today. Excellent production & propulsive songs. She has a fine voice too.

Even more propulsive is Nina Hagen. A brilliant, fearless dynamic performer. I remember the thrill the first time I heard her TV Glotzer (not in this collection). Here I have  Fearless, Ekstase, Irgendwo Auf Der Welt. Fearless is her lp with Gorgio Moroder. I love I Love Paul. Her New York New York is astonishing. Ekstase is the German version of her Ecstasy lp. Der Welt is a later work, also in German, that is full of her operatic, funky punk. I’ve seen her live a couple of times too. Once at Larry’s Head Space here in Toronto.

Nina’s work went through many changes as well from the proto-power-pop-funk-punk with brash sexuality she moved into a more spiritual & less musically aggressive sound. Tucked away in other collections I have some of her almost Zen explorations. Check out her album of tangos.

Finally on this cd is Kate Bush’s The Kick Inside, Never Forever & The Dreaming. Sonically stunning music & ethereal songs full of longing, mystic visions & at times fun 🙂 She influenced generations of singer-songwriters (Sarah McLauhgin, Enya). The first became a teenage girl romantic beacon with songs like Withering Heights; the second steps up her pop reach with Babooska, I love ‘Delius.’ Dreaming aurally has comic moments & the rhythm attack breaks the Enya aura.


He was sixteen. Drunk. Not shit-faced drunk though, more like puppet-drunk, mobile but not in full control of his arms and legs. 

The conversation went around the same few phrases ‘What’s been going on with you?’ ‘How you keeping?’ “What’s up?’ and then moping about school, family life.

I’m far from sixteen. Could be his dad. I’m not drunk. I have full control of my arms and legs. I know what I’m saying and am tired of answering the same questions. Don’t want to ask him about school, family life. All that is going on is that he was looking forward to getting drunk again. 

His mother doesn’t mind. I’m not sure if she approves but do know enough not to be too vocal about her disapproval. She know’s what’s up.

His face looms closer to mine. His right hand keeps patting me on the shoulder, on the leg; almost inviting me to do the same. 

I resist. 

He’s only sixteen. I remeber me as sixteen wanting that man-to-man comfort and with no opportunity to get it. Here he had his opportunity and I was afraid of proving it.

“What’s up? What are you thinking.” He asks.

“I was wondering how to expect to get home in this condition.”

Taxi is going to happen. taxi. Got taxi money. Gotta think ahead.” He tapped his temple with the beer bottle. “What’s going on with you?”

“Not much.” I reply. 

“Or I could crash at your place.”

“That’s not going to happen.” I wasn’t sure on the legal ramifications of underage drinking in the company of old queers. At least here we weren’t alone. Lots of people were at the party who know me, know him, know his mother, in fact she might even be here.

“Is your mother here?” This could be my easy out.

“Yeah she and Bill dickhead are around somewhere. She’ll drive me home. Save me taxi money. I’m getting another. Can I get you something?” 

When he pushed himself up from the couch easily, he’s not as drunk as I thought he was. 

“I’m mean to drink.” He laughed.

“Nope, I’m fine for now.” 

One of us had to stay sober.https://www.facebook.com/events/271762040530703/
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The Eurythmics

The Eurythmics were a shock to the pop system. Annie Lennox wielded a stunning strong forceful voice and the songs were equally powerful, even without the amazing videos. The music progressed from synth to more guitar – it was never cast in the typical top 40 sound – such as Madonna. Annie could actually sing for one thing 🙂 But it was adult in sound & in lyric content. The lyrics beam more challenging as the band progressed.

Over two mp3 collections I have Sweet Dreams, Touch, 1984, Be Yourself Tonight, revenge, Savage. Too many hits to name drop. I loved Sweet Dreams with its commanding vocal – she wasn’t longing for but demanding what sweet dreams should be made of. Missionary Man is another of my favourites with the slithering insinuation guitar work. She Likes To Listen was amazing to dance to & the political was delivered with force without being strident. The band as always musical, growing & dealt with emotionally complex relationships issues.

I did listen to some of their solo work but it didn’t really move me as deeply as their work together. Good solid stuff mind you but it didn’t seem to aha the force or edge that propelled the duo work.

To round out the cd’s I added some historical context with a couple of lps by Cilla Black: In the 60’s, Sings a Rainbow- pure delight pop. There is an excellent bio series about Cilla that is worth checking out. Anyone Who Had A Heart is still stunning. A couple of tracks from Julie Driscoll’s Open – a late sixtes singer who was a groundbreaker. Dusty Springfield: In Memphis Deluxe Edition – yet another of those 60’s icons & this is an amazing packing of her most famous sessions – never a powerhouse singer she was an incredible singer but one lost in the rush for commercial success.

Some of Kathi McDonald’s Insane Asylum – a great Canadian singer who didn’t break out of that background singer trap – this as an astounding recording though. Where would Annie be without Nancy Sinatra: These Boots – one doesn’t think of Nancy as an innovator but she was smart enough to work with great song writers & fearlessly embraced then step away from that bubble gum image. A real innovator is Kate Bush: Hounds of Love – is yet another of her sonically amazing recordings – yearning, feminine & adult stuff – a woman who didn’t let the music world dominate what she chose to do with her career. I round things out with Bananarama: Twelve Inches Of, the antithesis of Eurythmics – Bananarama excelled in fun disposable music that made no demands other than shake your booty.

Beneath The Ice

‘When did it start?’

Mike shifted in the chair. The firm back held him, kept him from shifting out of the room, from seeping though the floor.

‘Surely you must remember?’


‘Good. that’s a good start.’

Mike knew that he’d have to watch his words. He didn’t want to be put though what he had been put through at that half -remembered time.

‘It was winter. Cold. Coldest that even my dad remembered. He said there wasn’t a degree on the on thermometer for how cold it got. Anyway. We were playing in the back of someone’s house. A creek ran through the far edge of the field. It isn’t there now though. Houses, rows and rows of houses.

‘Me and my bother Mark were pushing each other around on the sled. Fighting half the time time like we always did. Like kids do. I know now but then I didn’t. Sometime times I hated him so much.

‘There were some other boys there too. Jeff, Kyle kids from up the street. We’d get together and go to this field.’

‘The one that isn’t there now?’

‘Yes that one. This time we started a snow ball fight. Fun. Supposed to be fun. I never liked that kind of competition. Made me scared, you know, but couldn’t back out with my big brother there.

‘We chased them along the bank of the creek. It was near froze over but there were some places where the water lapped though. I lost my footing. I think. Anyway I found myself flat on my back on the creek. Everyone was yelling and some where laughing. I tried to move but I couldn’t. Found out later that I had broken my collar bone. I couldn’t get up.

‘I put pressure on my other arm and the ice gave way and I slipped between these two clumps of ice into the creek water. It wasn’t very deep but I knew I was going to die. The ice danced over my eyes. Light fractured, scintillated -’

‘Scintillated? That’s a big word for a kid.’

‘That’s memory talk. I see it now that dull sparkle of cold water on my eyes. I couldn’t breath, couldn’t move and because the creek was so shallow I couldn’t sink that far either.’

‘And that was the first time?’

‘Sort of. Not right at that moment but when I came to. Three days later. At the hospital all wrapped warm and my neck in this brace because of my collar bone. The nurse mussed my hair. As she did I saw her slip in the hall.

As she left the room I said. ‘Watch out for that wet spot.’

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