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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Sea Green Nina Hagen

By Great Big Sea I have the stand-alone Up that I picked up back in 1996 after seeing them perform Mari-Mac on TV. An east coast band they bring me back to my r’n’r days. Strong Celtic songs to great Cape Breton fiddle music. High energy and tender moments too. But you know one of these was enough to & still is enough to satisfying my yearning for this sound.

Next to it is Green Green Grass Of Home – another collection of nostalgic song such as This Is Your Land, We’ll Sing In The Sunshine – performed by The Fireside Folksingers choral. No fireside sing-a-long I ever experienced sounded this good 🙂 Its a Reader’s Digest release that I never ever would have bought. It was my in my Dad’s collection & when he passed I sort on inherited it on one my visits home to the east coast. When it comes up in rotation I enjoy hearing it even if some of the songs are banal.

From the opposite end of the spectrum is this sand-alone by Nina Hagen combines two eps: Nunsexmonkrock and TV-Glotzer. This is my sort of sentimentality 🙂 It brings me right abaft to my first years in Toronto. I rocked out on the dance floor whenever African Reggae was played. Nina was such a force of nature no one really knew how to deal with her energy. Too aggressive for mainstream popularity she certainly inspired many female performers – Madonna, Lady Gaga – with her wild fashion.


Her music was cutting edge then & even today these early tracks burst with an energy that hasn’t been matched. I have seen her a few times on stage & the shows were intense & high energy. I have much more of her scattered thought my collections but this is the one started it.


‘We don’t know anymore than I’ve just told you.’

‘As little as that?’


The wail of the ambulance cut through the fog. It pulled away slowly.

Jack looked out the window as the police cruiser’s lights faded into the mist. His wife, Sue, lay on the stretcher. Barely breathing. Her face covered with a clear plastic oxygen mask. A medic held one of her hands.

‘She will pull through?’

‘Sir, I just don’t know.’

He must have seen the look on Jack’s face.

‘But I’m sure she will. I’ve seen people survive worse. much worse.’


Jack wasn’t really listening. The moments before the accident played over and over. He had to talk to keep that replay from starting up again.

‘How about the other car?’

‘Don’t know. Didn’t look too bad though. Hate this fog. Almost as bad as booze for accidents. Worse.’

‘Yeah.’ Jack stroked Sue’s leg gently. It felt so thin and frail under the blanket.

‘Couldn’t see a thing. I was driving slow.’

‘Can’t do much when it gets like this.’

‘I … we should have waited till morning.’

‘Couldn’t be helped.’

Sue moaned under the mask.

‘You’re okay . Your husband is right here.’

Her eyes flickered opened. A thin dribble of blood came from the corner of her mouth.

‘I’m right here honey. You’ll be fine. We’re on our way to the hospital now. You’re in good hands.’

Her eyes closed. Jack leaned against the edge of the stretcher and bent to kiss her.

‘We get this sort of fog a lot this time of year. Comes in quite sudden. Haven’t seen it this thick for some time though. Not a good sign.’‘


‘Yeah the worse the fog the worse it’ll snow in the winter.’

Jack nodded. 

‘Snow’s worse even than fog. Slippery. Makes the roads very slippery.’

‘We were …’ Jack stopped. He didn’t want to  explain. He’d been through it with the patrol man. He rotated his arm. It ached.


‘Yeah, but I’m fine.’

‘No, no. Better check you out while we have a bit of time here. Turn around.’

Jack turned and faced the back window. He couldn’t see beyond the glass. How did the driver see? He felt the medic’s hands as they pressed along his shoulder.


‘It’s alright. Nothing broken. This gash should be looked after.’


‘Guess you didn’t notice. Shock does that. Strange the way it takes away the pain.’

Jack felt something wet dab his shoulder.

‘You’ll need some stitches.’



every Tuesday

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

September or Oct – to be confirmed – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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

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Bland #Blondie ?

In Dave Marsh’s book ‘The Heart of Rock & Soul’ 1001 greatest singles ever made: Bobby Bland gets listed 6 times . I had nothing by him in my collection so I picked up a best of & loved it. I was familiar with Paul Butterfield’s version of I Pity the Fool & Driftin’ Blues so it was great to hear the originals. A great voice, great engineering & excellent songs.


branch blue down

From Bland we go to Blondie’s first album. This 1977 lp was such a moment in my life I’ll deal with the rest of my Blondie collection next week. I was living on the east coast – Sydney. I had been getting gay magazines via mail from Toronto. One of those was Mandate, which had a section about music & there was a review of this Lp there. We had one record store in Sydney, Cape Breton and they had no idea of how to get this album. So on a trip to Halifax I visited a record store there & found it.

The cover picture was very Beatles/Rolling Stones so I was expecting them to live up to that. They did. The music is propulsive pop with an ironic edge. I must have played it twenty times within the the first two days on my friend’s record player. He was bowled over by it too.


bare branch bridge

I can’t pick a favorite track. They brought such a retro sensibility to the table without mocking the source. Man Overboard then Rip Her To Shreds always make me happy. I was already into Talking Heads & Pattie Smith but this was something quite different from either of those groups. It was so good even my blues-loving friends liked it.


brown roots

When I moved to TO a few years later I saw Blondie at the ElMocombo – they were still bubbling under. I loved the music but was a little let down by Harry on stage – I was expecting someone a little more animated. More like say, Nina Hagen, who I’d also seen live around the same time.

If you have never heard this lp: get it. A timeless classic that took girl pop to places that the likes of Katy Perry only dream of reaching.



Jenny had silver stars. She stuck them on the Christmas tree on the front of the card. She stuck them on the inside of the card all around the Merry Christmas Uncle John.

Josh had the crayons. He had drawn the Christmas tree and now wanted to add another present under the tree.

“Uncle John has enough presents,” Jenny pushed him away.

“Nobody get enough presents. Do they Daddy?” Josh asked his father.

“Nobody gets enough stars do they Daddy?” Jenny said loudly to drown Josh out.

“I’m going to make another card then, and put on it all the presents I want to give.” Josh pushed the card aside and folded another piece of paper. “First I’m going to make another tree. Uncle John says no one gets too many cards.” Josh made a face at his sister.

“A card from each of you will be enough,” their Dad laughed.”After all we have to leave room for cards from other people.”

“He still has my Thanksgiving card on the wall by his bed. I know. I saw it.” Jenny pouted.

“When?” Josh asked.

“When we went to see him the last time. You didn’t come. You had a cold and Mom didn’t want you to make the whole world sick.”

“Would not make the whole world sick.”

“Would too. That’s what Mom said. Isn’t it Daddy. Josh makes the whole world sick.” She stuck her tongue out at him. “As sick as he makes me.”

“I think she meant it might make John sick. Some people catch germs easier than others. John is like that.”

“That’s why he is in the hot spices.” Jenny said proudly.

“Hospice. Uncle John is in a hospice.”

“Hospice.” Josh repeated and stuck his tongue out at Jenny.

“All done!” he took his finished card to his dad. “Do you think Uncle John will like it?”

“I’m sure he will.”

“Needs stars. Lots of stars.” Jenny said over her Dad’s arm as he looked at the new card.


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.


May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., 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 https://www.facebook.com/events/965611026782246/


register now while there is room at the table

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




the yard sale went on anyway

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