Pandemic Piano Purge

Over the past year or so of the lockdown I’ve done my own purging & have observed the purges of others & was struck my frequency of various keyboards: electric organs, peddle organs, & pianos. I guess there is no place to donate them to that will come & pick them up – so they get curbed for the city to deal with.

lawn organ-ment
just a little scratch

these next four are all of the same piano that was dismembered & left to fend for its wounded self on the Danforth

not sure if these are less or more depressing – cute pics but still a keyboard being curbed

Elton John piano starter for your kids

– sweet, eh?

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 By Alexander Scriabin (1871-1915) Russian, I have stand alone double cd sets: Piano Sonatas 1 2, Symphonies 1 2; lp to 4 cds transfers of solo piano music that includes mazurkas, etudes etc. As mp3: symphonic poems: Prométhée, Le Poème du feu; Le Poème de l’extase; Piano Concerto. 

The lp transfer were of a VoxBox 3 lps set. Much of this is influenced by Chopin & delights, if you like Chopin. Romantic, sometimes a bit cloying but never as over-the-top as, say, Liszt. He doesn’t say too far from the various forms & like all Russian composers incorporates fold melodies. They don’t break new ground. The Piano Sonatas – the early ones are traditional but as he ages they become more sonorously challenging when he moves into atonal scales. Dense & brilliant.

Scriabin invented the light show! He was influenced by his synesthesia, and associated colours with various harmonic tones. Some of his orchestral works were meant to be performed with coloured lights proved by a colour organ – which created an effect similar to the aurora borealis. This did give rise to a resurgence of interest in him during the trippy 60’s, 70’s. 

So when I listen to his Symphonies or symphonic poems I try to imagine colours. The liner notes to the cds might have clues but I’d rather let my own slight synesthesia take over. Symphonic tone poems was/is popular form in which the composer creates a mood. Debussy’s La mer is a prime example. They are often impressionist & without really reaching a dramatic climax. Scriabin’s tone poems – Prométhée, Le Poème du feu; Le Poème de l’extase – are more moody than anything else. Relaxing, ethereal & spiritually up lifting. Try them.  

Just a reminder that this story goes back, way back, to the mid-70’s, when I was living in Cape Breton. I have done minimal editing for things like spellings, punctuation & name consistency. As you may gather I was not out at the time but clearly wrestling with the process.

No Fanfare 4

I sat back in the chair & pulled on my other boot. He want angrily back tot he stern & shoved on the record. Soft, blurred guitar hovered in the silence between us.

“I didn’t …” Afraid that I had lost this chance, I wanted to explain what I intended but couldn’t rationalize his feeling of being used inot a scene in which that wasn’t true.

“Oh, shove off. I’m bored with apologies.” He sat at the piano & began playing along with the album.

“Do you want me to leave?” The sting of tears had become an anger; an anger I tried to keep out of my voice. Anger toward myself for not cutting clear enough through my confusions, anger for expecting easy motions, anger with him for turning his back on me. I felt I had to stay; not ‘had to’ but ‘wanted to’. I’d been so involved with my own inner struggles I hadn’t expected to find someone else with them & was willing to open up about them the way I wanted to to be about mine. Jean always claimed to feel she was the closed one but I’m sure she even realized what was troubling me. Perhaps she was more afraid of confronting me with it that I was on telling her.

“Do you want me to leave?” I repeated louder, to make sure he heard me over the music.

The muscle sun his back poised to continue as stopped playing. “Whatdo you think?”

The bitter edge to his voice made me look up as I was unlacing the one boot I had tied. “I think I’d like one more for the road.”

“Why bother?” He bristled, once again picking out the melody of the piece on the stereo.

“Because,” dropping one boot, “I’m” dropping the other “scared. Afraid that if I leave I may no be able to face myself for losing this opportunity. Maybe this is using you. I don’t know. I hope it isn’t.”

Determinedly I went to him, still unsure of how to my words but needing to reach him, unsure of where to put my hands but wanting to touch him. I sat on the bench beside him. Keeping his back to me he straddle dit with the same easy motion of his leg.

I had expected to be coaxed not to coax. Putting my arms around him from behind I pulled him closer, one hand feeling his heartbeat, the other rubbing the tightness of his stomach.

“What am I suppose to say? I’m no rapist, either.”

Steve put his hands on mine, caressing them.

“You seem to be saying more than I thought you could.”

His caress became a squeeze as he pushed my hands down.

“I still think you haven’t realized just way you have to come to grips with.”

There was a light laugh with ‘grips’ as he pushed my hands down to his bulging crotch. 

“I realize I should know better but if this going to be the start of your voyage, you’d better understand that this is the point of no return.”

He pressed my cupped hands onto him. I felt him become as aroused as I had already become. I recalled my easy appraisal of his corduroy stretching equipment when he stood before not so long ago. Minutes that now seemed a long, distant, embarrassing yet fondly recalled memory. The meeting in the park seemed to stretch further into the past.

“So you’ve never touched another man, eh, Dave? How does it feel?”

He released my hands. Savouring this new anticipation my fingers moved gently over this zipper, timidly down the sorrows of the corduroy that separated them from actual contact with his flesh.

I bit his earlobe & whispered. “It feels alright. Super.”

Turning slowly, he stood to face me, pulling me to my feet, his hands touch me as mine were touching him. 

“Does this conflict with your image of yours?” He chuckled huskily.

We were face-to-face. 

“Yes.” I kissed him quickly. “Did you expect it not?”

I kissed him again, slower. Although I didn’t completely fathom this, I knew I wanted him. Not out of loneliness or love but out of lust. Me a man, wanting this man,I wold have to accept & experience this even if I never fully understood. Understanding wasn’t a solution anyway.

He stepped back, unbuttoning my shirt. “See, there’s no fanfare. No thunder. No hell fire.”

Our eyes met as I began unbuttoning his shirt.

“At least the fear has gone for your eyes.” He said.

“It might be,” flesh touched flesh, tongues again, “but not from here,” I Laughed, patting my heart. “Let’s have that drink.”

Steve was right, there was no fanfare, no earth shaking. Even the sense of relief I’d expected had only been enough to make me laugh. It seemed so foolish. Poor Jean, all the confusions & hurt because of a part of me, an awkward mortalness that I’d let hurt because I was afraid it would hurt me more.

Even if acceptance didn’t make anything easier, it would, I hoped, bring some form of ending, a feeling of completeness. Once I learned the scope of lust maybe I could even cope with love. All I see now is a beginning, a start. At least I see that much. 

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Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), is best known for a short movement in his Romeo & Juliette ballet suite, which I do have but was never that taken by. I have a double cd collection of The 5 Piano Concertos. As well as an 8.8 hr mp3 collection that includes his Complete Piano Sonatas, Complete Symphonies, & the Ballet Suites: The Buffoon, Love For Three Oranges, Waltz Suite, Romeo & Juliette.


At one time I had the Piano Sonatas as a MHS box set & an lp of one of the concertos. I upgraded to the Sonatas mp3 & found a double cd set of the Piano Concertos. I love piano music & Prokofiev straddles the gap between romantic & modern nicely. Not as lushly melodramatic as Tchaikovsky the concertos are excellent, the sonatas are emotional, lyrical but with a more mathematic sense of structure – not as florid as Chopin.

The Symphonies, which I have as mp3, become more modern & sweeping like Shostakovich but not as dissonant. Like many Russian composers Prokofiev makes use of stirring Russian folks songs that us delightful, somewhat patriotic & satisfying. If you are unfamiliar start with the piano concertos.


One thing I enjoy about many of many eastern European composers is the use of their folk melodies to create amazing, emotionally commanding music that even without being from there myself I am filled with a sense of losing & nostalgia. I have found little North American classical music does that to me. Is there an epic, sweeping symphony based on, say, Native American musical themes?


“Apples bin Irish peace.”

“Yes. Go on.”

“I can’t think of anything more.”

Dr. Clarke put down his pen. “I see.”

“Is that a problem?”

“I don’t know. You tell me?”

“I wish I could think of more. Really. Sometimes my mind just goes blank … or so many things flash that I can’t grab them all. Don’t know which ones to say and as I start saying them the others darken. Disappear. Blank. I’m left with a blank.”

“That can happen. Try to relax. Green?”

“Peace. Did I say that already? I’m so afraid of repeating myself that I can’t think of anything to say. Nothing comes to me. I want to go.”

“You can leave anytime. If you want to get well you have to try harder.”

“I don’t see how this helps.”

“It helps me to find patterns of thinking. What does peace mean to you?”

“Peace? I’ve never thought about peace. Really. I guess it means like gardens and butterflies. Quiet. No, maybe some birds singing. Yeah and kittens chasing the butterflies around. Yeah, that’s what peace means to me.’

“That’s a postcard picture of peace but go deeper than a picture.”

“Peace isn’t perfection, is it? that’s what you want to me say isn’t it. Peace is impossible, it only exists in my imagination not in the world out there. There is no peace. Never ever going to be peace. Peace would be boring as fuck anyway. You know that, don’t you? Impossible.”

“Take a breath. That’s not what I mean but peace has a cost. In your picture who mows the lawn? Who plants the flowers? Peace isn’t an abstract thing.”

“I’m never going to get well, am I”

“Ready for the next word?”



Thursday January 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ 

Sunday –  January 26 – 1:30 – feature: The Secret Handshake Gallery, 170A Baldwin (Kensington Market) – 1:30

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre


Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C. 


All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s – sweet, eh?


I fell in love with Liszt, before even knowing who he was, thanks to a cartoon – Woody Woodpecker (I think) in which they were moving a piano down a mountain while Woody played it – the truck went out of control while he was playing & with each turn the keyboard would get more splayed out & the music wold get more frantic. The piece was the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

Over the years I have built up a fair collection: Rhapsodies for Orchestra; Orchestral Works: 7 cds; Hungarian Rhapsodies complete; Spanish/Rumanian Rhapsodies; Opera Transcriptions; Thiollier: Sonata/Mephisto; Beethoven Transcriptions; an Mp3 collection: Peter Katin/ Yudina/Johannsen/ Vazaonyi/ with Beethoven’s Music for Two Piano.

At first I has assumed Liszt only wrote piano music & only those Rhapsodies & of course the Mephisto Waltz. So finding his orchestral works was most welcome though it doesn’t have the over-the-top energy of his piano music. Then I came across his transcriptions of operas & of Beethoven’s symphonies. What better combination is there than Beethoven & Liszt: both over-the-top romantics & in Liszt case, pyrotechnic show-offs.

I had some of these as lps to cds transfers: Peter Katin & Balint Vazsonyl – were favourites of mine that I decided to see if I could replace my originals & found them both on iTunes. The Vazonyl take on the Hungarian Rhapsodies was the first I’d heard & remains my favourite for its attack. In searching these out I came across a set of his work for organ! Sweet, sonorous & more meditative than I had expected Liszt to be.

I never heard his name pronounced when I first discovered him so I would say it as Lizzt – a friend of mine who studied music didn’t know who I was talking about then pointed out that the z is silent. Same with Chop-in 🙂


‘I’m looking for a CD by Los Grasios.’

The clerk typed the name into the computer. ‘Is that l-o-s ?’

‘I think so.’ I had seen their video on TV a few nights before. Grazing from channel to channel, hoping to find something to hold my interest. It was the Latino network. The group was four dark swarthy adult males – a rarity in pop anywhere it seemed to me – and the song full of energy in a language I didn’t understand. I’d scribbled the name down when it flashed on the screen at the end of the video.

‘Nope. Not here. Let’s try l-a-s. Nope. Anything else to go on?’

‘The song was called Fortunata or Fortunatosa. Something like that.’

The clerk tapped that in. ‘Hmmm. Looks like we have lots to choose from now. Was it Fortunate Adam?’


  “Fortunate Encountre?”


  “Fortunate For Me?”


“Fortunate Son? Fortunate Sunrise? Fortunate In Love? Fortunate Sea? Fortunate Moon? I See a Fortune in Your Eyes?’

‘No to all of those.’

‘There are nearly 200 numbers with Fortune something in the title. Should I go through them all?’

‘Would you?’

‘No. I was just joking. Now, you are sure of the name?’

I took out the paper I had dashed the name on and passed to the clerk.

‘Hmm. Let’s try Los Girios. You a fan of Latino music?’

‘Just starting.’

‘Well! Looks like we have a hit. Hijo Afortunado’

I followed her to the far end of store to the South American aisle.

‘Here it is.’ she pulled out a couple of CD’s by the band and looked at them. ‘Looks interesting. Not the usual stuff people want here. If you like these guys you may enjoy Mercedes Sosa.’ She handed me the cds.

‘Yes, this is them. How do you know Sosa is similar?’

‘Just a stab. She sings on one of the cuts with them, and she is huge. Out sells Eglasias.’

November 15: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto

every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. 

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

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Chopin Saved My Life

21-round01There’s a documentary Chopin Saved My Life. Find it. Watch it. It shows up on TVO regularly. I’ve seen it twice. Amazing. At one time I had the nearly complete Chopin on Lp purchased through MHS – nearly, as I didn’t have the volume devoted to his songs – that I bought when I found it after moving to Toronto. It was some 20 lps.

21-round02I love Chopin. Although I liked him years before I could pronounce him 🙂 Some names are typical & I initially called him Chop (as in chop sticks) in – until a friend corrected me. She knew from piano lessons. The other composer’s whose name I guessed wrong at until corrected (also by a music student) was Liszt: who know the z was silent!

The MHS set surprised me with the range of his compositions. I knew he wrote amazing piano music – but he also wrote for cello, flute – not a lot mind you but. His concertos are stunning. Much like Shakespeare one isn’t aware of how much Chopin’s music informs our everyday listening.21-round03

Picking favourites isn’t easy. He is nearly always lushly romantic, sometimes over-the-top – the sonatas are astonishing. But the pieces I go back to most frequently are the Ballades and the Scherzi – the emotional force of these always carries me away. I can get so lost in them I lose track of time. 21-round04

Chopin is also exceptional writing music – the tempo is perfect for typing to keep up with the pianist. When I dream of piano, & I do dream of it, it is me playing Chopin or Liszt or Beethoven on a keyboard that is suspended in the air and my fingers fly along the keys like rippling larks (is that image melodramatic enough?) I can also say that Chopin saved my life.



Bres stepped into the classroom. The rows of vids altered with low benches for the students to sit. A couple of the vids flickered a pale green and one a harsh red. The remainder were blank dead screens devoid of any color at all.

He would take one of the blank vids, replace it with the one his master Ques had repaired. Soon all would be working again and then learning could continue.

Learning! What was there for them to learn. Who was there to teach to? He hunkered down on one of the benches. The screen came to life as he sat. A Br’thr appeared on it.

‘Good morn student Gr’ladd’

‘Sorry Most Honorable Sir but it is Bres.’

The image on the screen broke up and reformed.

‘Good morn student Bres.’

The image spoke in a broken, rapid stutter. Each word was unsure, slurred but Bres could understand it.

‘If you want the lesson for today please enter your ident.’


So much to learn. He got up. from the vid and sat in front of another.

‘Good morn student Bres.’

The same Br’thr staticed onto the screen. A little more yellow around the eyes this time but the voice was clearer.

Bres stood again and the screen faded to grey. He should ask Ques if it was worth their time and effort to repair all of these. There were no students to teach, no one had an ident that he knew of. Perhaps Ques had one  and he could start to learn.

He unplugged two of the vids and carried them down to his cart.

Where would Ques keep an ident? Could he get one at the Gate? Did he really need one?

He raced back up to the classroom and sat.

‘Good morn student Bres.’

‘Good morn Sir.’

‘If you want the lesson for today please enter your ident.’

Bres put his fingers on the keyboard and tapped in a random series. He didn’t know what the symbols represented but there was no harm in trying.

The screen closed and another face appeared.


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

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


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



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

June 2-4: attending: Capturing Fire 2017 –


check out these poets from Capturing Fire 2015:


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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


Isaac Albeniz 


At last I start in on the composers (sort of). First up is Isaac Albeniz – Iberia (plus Suite Espanole, Chant D’Espagne) – Richard Requejo, piano – masterworks by a Spanish romantic impressionist. Some of Albeniz’s compositions are such familiar Spanish melodies many don’t know where they come from – Granada has almost become a cliche, as has Sevilla – even if these titles aren’t familiar, the moment you hear them you’ll go ‘oh that song.’


The music on this double cd is impressions of regions of Spain – folk melodies are woven into some passages. Many of these pieces have been frequently transcribed for orchestra, solo guitar, & made eventually their way into big band, bop jazz & pop. I even have a crazed moog version of Granada somewhere in my collection.


Impressionistic but also highly emotionally charged, a la Liszt. The sound quality on this set is superb. It is perfect music for writing to – not sure what the bpm is but it lends to keeping the fingers moving along with a super charge of emotional yearning.winter04

Next on the shelf is that ‘sort of’: a transferred from lp to cd collection of MHS stuff that includes & is filed under: J.G. Albrechtsberger: partitia for harp, plus harp music played by Judy Loman. With some harp & flute pieces played by Rampal & Laskine. Plus Ransom Wilson tackling Habanera on flute.


the res too that lis too 100 opening lines:

51. Ruth’s eyes surveyed the room, quickly finding the items that she could carry and that would bring the best price.

52. Brian felt the other man’s eyes on him.

53. Zap, the Happy Microwave, said to the other appliances, ‘Today will be a good day.’

54. The gun kept slipping out of her hand. Blood! So much she didn’t know if it was his or hers.

55. A chill went up Mac’s spine as the door clicked behind him.

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

57. Anna saw the police can in her rear view mirror.

58. ‘I don’t have time for this. I really don’t.’

59. More than anything in the world Helen wanted a Magic Pony,

60. ‘I’d like a job application, please.’ Pete knew if he was going to leave home he’d have to make a start now.

61. David pulled out the top drawer of the dresser. The chain wasn’t there!

62. The fall of night brought with it the danger Mike now felt ready to face.

63. ‘For me?’ Stan looked at the gift his Dad had just handed him.

64. The feel of his fist pounding a face was more satisfying than expected.

65. ‘Tell me you love me.’

66. ‘Divorce!’ Brenda couldn’t believe her ears.

67. Father Qunell had seen the face of evil many times, never had it looked so innocent.

68. From the crest of the hill the herd spread out before them looked like a a dusty carpet.

69. The musty smell told Deb that the cottage hadn’t been aired out in some time.

70. The little plane raced for the end of the runway.

71. Hank held the test-tube up to the light, tapped it with his finger nail and tipped it into the bubbling red liquid in the beaker over the Bunsen burner.

72. ‘Nothing you do surprises me or anyone.’

73. When Don saw so many people lined up at the ATM he walked away in disgust.

74. The radio suddenly went dead.

75. Play ‘Louie Louie’ the drunk roared at the stage for the fifth time since they started their set.

76. ‘I’m getting out of here. You coming or staying?’

77. ‘Did a kid about five foot nothing, in ragged shorts and a blood spattered T-shirt run past here in the past few minutes?’

78. ‘Now this is a bear my Dad killed when he was your age son.’

79. The barren landscape held only yellow dust as far as the eye could see.

80. Stacy swung for the screaming alarm, missed it and fell on to the cold hardwood floor.

81. ‘Mal-fun-ction’ Cadet Bilta jabbed at the key pad by the air lock door as quickly as he could.

82. The edge of the cliff was closer than either of them realized.

83. The soft padding Mitch heard became louder and more solid.

84. Something slithered over her foot in the dark of the movie theatre.

85. ‘Congratulations!’

86. The poster for the circus was in reds and blues that Cindy couldn’t get out of her dreams.

87. There comes a time in everyone’s life when changes must be made.

88. His Mom would be furious.

89. ‘Far be it from me to point this out but, Mr. Palmer, your opinion of Kant will not be the revelation you seem to think it is.’

90. The Shimming Forest rose silent from the depth of the Mirror Pool of Dalgrana.

91. The skeleton had to take two steps before E’fi believed her spell had worked.

92. ‘You expect me to marry that to save your world?’

93. The empty chair was full of memories most of them unhappy.

94. The yard sale was to start in less than an hour and Gail still hadn’t decided what to sell.

95. The spine of the book on the top most shelf gleamed gold.

96. Naked once again Jeff wondered if it was worth the humiliation.

97. Fran had left her slippers in the front porch.

98. The rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.

99. ‘There ain’t mech call for such as dose des days marm.’

100. ‘I call upon the Bliss of Seraph to protect me from all harm.’

101. The smell of food cooking drifted out to the street.soon

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

November 18, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9




Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy more music – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr