Moby Grape

Their 2nd release was the double lp Wow, Grape Jam – which were eventually also released as separate albums. Its gimmick was a track (featuring Arthur Godfrey) recorded to play at a 78 rpm – I rarely heard it then as I was too lazy to change the speed. The other gimmick was the Jam album of live jams with the likes of Mike Bloomfield, to prove their musicianship.

 I can remember getting that first lp from the Columbia Record Club as there was no retail store in Sydney that carried much non-top 40 music. The same for Wow. I really like the art work & the titling for 2nd lp Grape Jam etc. Very clever & trippy. I enjoy that jam music now more than I did then. I replaced those early lps & the two subsequent ones with mp3 downloads. I had never heard Truly Fine Citizen or 20 Granite Creek until I downloaded them. Booth were critically well-regarded but not hit parade material 🙂

The band was plagued by internal conflict & major management issues & that was reflected in the music they produced. They never developed a cohesive sound – having 5 lead singers may have influenced that. The music is rock with some psychedelic touches. Their sound was never distinctive but each lp has great tracks & some unexpectedly pretty moments. Even a few classics: Omaha, Murder In My Heart. 

Truly Fine Citizen, 20 Granite Creek are more cohesive if undistinguished. They move from a rock sound to a more country-rock sound. I have downloaded the re-issues of the first lps which come with lots of bonus tracks. The group apparently is still together with some of the original members. If you are unfamiliar that first lp is an ideal one to start with & it is a classic of the late 60s California sound.

The Wings Of St. Martinia

Last night Hank Grebly did me the great honour & pleasure of taking me to the Maple Valley Rialto Cinema – it is a shame that this fine building is now only opened on weekends for our film going pleasures. 

I can remember a time when it would be busy seven days a week, offering us the finest in Hollywood films and fresh roasted peaches or tasty caramel bark corn.

Every time I enter the Rialto I am taken back to a distant era – the mirror balls in the ceiling reflect the many spot lights around the floor. The zig-zag carpeting & lame seat coverings make me long for simpler times.

The film Hank took me to was “The Wings Of St. Martinia.” Many of you are familiar with the local tales of St. Martinia & the font at St. Sufferer’s. Those are her blood spattered wings holding the baptismal tub in the centre of the nave. Not her actual wings, but representations. Not many angels would have had five sets of wings.

Like the Rialto this film is also a relic of another time. Recently discovered in the vaults at College of Arts and Reconstructionist Designers, we were first treated to a lecture by Rudgar Quartz, the Professor of Cinema Studies there, who gave the history of both the film, St, Martinia and the Rialto itself. A very educational evening, leavened by the delightful film itself.

The story is a simple one of suffering and repentance through suffering. Martinia, born out of wed-lock to the daughter of silver smith and troupe of travelling carnival workers, had to face the disgrace of her family and neighbours all through her life.

She saved her fellow orphans from the rain of comets in 1879 by waking each and every child, and leading them to safety. Sadly she wasn’t able to get back to rescue any of her teachers. She comforted the children, as they heard the screams of the staff, who had been trapped in locked rooms in the upper quarters of the orphanage.

In leading the children through the swamps to safety she also rescued Button, a Labrador retriever and her recent litter of puppies. This is why the suckling Labrador retriever has become the representation for St. Martinia. When they say, she of the many teats, they are referring to Button and not to St Martinia.

A fact that I was not aware of either.

The movie follows her travails in the garment trade, being abducted by pirates and finally her mission to Mongolia where she single handedly brought the word of good to those unhappy and dirty mountain people. Her attempts to show them the joys of body wash brought tears of joy to my eyes.

If you have a chance to, get in to see this delightful movie. Tell them Dolly sent you, and you may get an extra dollop of moose mustard on your red hots. 

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More Than Love

A couple of one-hit-wonders songs from my highschool days have stuck with me. One is Seven and Seven Is by Love. It made me a fan but on the east coast finding their lps other than daCapo was all but impossible. In my collection I now have, as mp3s their First, daCapo, Four Sail, Forever Changes Concert, False Start (w/Hendrix) & Arthur Lee’s solo Vindicator; as stand alones: Forever Changes, Out Here.

Some I did have as lp but upgraded to mp3. daCapo is an amazing work, though Forever Changes is now revered at a modern classic. daCapo features Seven and Seven Is, plus Revelations – a nearly 18 minute track. The other songs are excellent pop too & the sound quality is excellent. They were on Elektra & were quickly eclipsed by The Doors. The record company put their push behind the easier to market Jim Morrison.

Each of Love’s albums is quite different – the first is garage rock pop; daCapo is more pop but with a Rolling Stones vibe; Four Sail has a Neil Young vibe; Forever Changes has a bit of an Astra Weeks feel. The live concert is sweet. Out Here is a cd I found here in Toronto & is good rock, pop. Arthur Lee is fascinating – a black, non-soul musician who had an uphill battle for recognition. Time for a bio pic of Arthur Lee.

Also on the mp3 collections are (naturally) The Lovin’ Spoonful: Daydream, Singles, Hums. I loved loved this band. The singles are classic radio pop, the lps add a nice mix of jug band & blues to their sound. This is music that makes me happy. Another 60’s classic is Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant. The long title track made his reputation. The other songs are decent folky rock. For Brit balance I added Dave Mason’s Alone Together: British folksy rock from a sometimes member of Traffic.

The 2nd mp3 collection includes Canada’s The Collectors: First, Grass & Wild Strawberries – psychedelic band out of B.C. that still holds up today. I did mention earlier Count Five, so I added Rarities that includes a radio mix of Psychotic Reaction plus loads of other very garage band stuff. You might remember The Fool more for their trippy art work & clothes than for their Psychedelic Folk Essentials – very Incredible Stringband.

Wait there’s more! The obscure but enjoyable Erik: Look Where I Am – mild Moody Blues; Joey Scarbury: America’s Greatest Hero – a one-hit TV theme wonder, nice mild country rock songs. Someone posted a YouTube video of another obscure band: Wool: Wool – fun rock. I get to relive so many radio memories with Lou Christie’s Lightening Strikes: a hits compilation. The Gypsy Cried. Time for a bio pic of Lou Christie.

Finally is Donovan: Shadows of Blue -the most recent of all the music on these compilations. Yes he’s still alive, still recording & making okay music. Not the hippy dippy lyrics or the mystic feel of his early works – more of a comfortable country feel but his voice is recognizable.

Spring Gardening Tips

this is what I thought – he doesn’t care. I know it’s hard to see now why I thought that but that is what I thought – he doesn’t care – maybe it was because I didn’t really care myself. not many did actually but I didn’t want to admit it then. it was important that one appeared to care, right, so I was all about keeping up appearances. he wasn’t. even then it was clear he didn’t care. didn’t give a rat’s ass for anything. not even himself. I felt like my mother who planted a garden every summer regardless of badly it turned out.

my mother was working in the back yard. every spring she planted a garden. she was like that, hope would infuse her once the snow was gone and she would be on her knees digging in the dirt planting things for future generations. things that sort of grew then withered. she never found the right seeds. planting things that needed lots of sun in the darkest part of the the yard. things that liked it dry were always too close to the rain pipe. her intentions were good but her results were always dispiriting. she would sit on the back step smoking cigarette after cigarette as if some sort of tobacco ceremony was all that was needed to get the plants to grow like they did on the packages. I doubt if the cigarette ash was of much help.

the plants didn’t give a rat’s ass for her hopes, intentions, all they wanted the right soil. he wasn’t my right soil.


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Psychedelic Kaleidoscope

This next mp3 collection is a wild psychedelic world-music trip back to the late 60’s with Kaleidoscope’s Side Trips; A Beacon from Mars; Incredible; Bernice. This one of the quintessential west coast hippy bands. The Lp covers are straight out of underground newspapers graphics. The music is folk, country, East Indian & trippy rock. Lyrics reflect the azure groovy afternoons. I wasn’t a fan in the day though as this music never made it as far Cape Breton. All I knew was a couple of three tracks on the amazing Zabriskie Point soundtrack lp. Beacon is a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with them.

Also in this collection is Quill – remember them from Woodstock? No! Neither did I until I saw a documentary. This band opened the show. The sound sync wasn’t fully set so they got filmed but not audio recorded. The music itself is solid rock, a bit trippy but I guess forgettable. The Paper Garden – soft, folksy, trippy guitar, violins & oddly mixed. Sweet with some interested guitar work & the expected flower power lyrics.

The same is true for Nightshadow: The Square Root of Two. More electric guitar based. Flows perfectly with the Kaleidoscope sounds. Jake Holmes: Above Ground Sound – psychedelic folk. Led Zeppelin did a great cover of his Dazed and Confused. Needless to say his original version is somewhat understated. Well worth searching out.

 

The End: Introspection – produced by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones around the time of Satanic Majesties – this echoes some of that sound with layers of vocals, tasty fuzz guitar & ‘meaningful’ lyrics. Finally is The Orient Express – sitar trippy world music. Perhaps one of the first of its type that explores & strives for an authentic sound & succeeds.

Beans

“Look at this.” Alice held the three pale brown beans in the palm of her left hand, the other hand was idly scratching a small gravy spot on her apron.

“Fava?” Jack, one of the sous-chefs, took one and smelled it. “Nope. Maybe pinto? Am I right?”

“Those fuckers. leaving me three beans as a tip.” She squeezed them in her hand. “Fuckers.”

“Table three ready.” A chef shouted.

She shoved the beans into her change pocket, picked up the dishes and took them to table three.

For the rest of her shift all she could think about was how unfair it was. She and Jack went down to Hill Street to Tinker’s for a drink as they often did after working the afternoon shift.

“Like, was my service so bad all they could leave was three beans. Is this some sort of insult. If it is it’s silly. No it’s worse than silly. Rude. Some fuckers don’t think twice. They figure we’re getting paid as much as the food costs.”

“Yeah, something like that.” Jack put his beer bottle on the table. “Better beans than phone numbers though, right. Am I right.”

“Yeah. At least I don’t have to let the beans down gently.” Alice put the three beans on the table & slid them back & forth in the the pools of moisture that dripped off the beer bottles. “At least they like to swim.”

“That’s my third.” Jack handled his empty bottle to the waiter. “My limit for the night. I’ll bean seeing ya. Am I right?”

After a shower at home Alice relaxed in front of the TV, rubbed lotion into her hands, along her tired calves. The beans were on the scattering of five dollar bills & various coins on the coffee table beside her. She separated the coins into denominations. Not such a bad afternoon after all. More tips than she remembered collecting. Better than usual in fact even with the insult of beans. She now had enough to pay the rent, the cable bill. Maybe it was time to get rid of the cable but she couldn’t afford the shut off charges.

She added it up and was happy to see there would be enough a bit extra for her escape fund. Ah the escape to Cuba. Even a week away from here would be good. Sun, sand and nothing else.

Stacking the bills she knocked one of the beans on the floor. It rolled under the sofa.

“Fuck!” She said kneeling on the floor to bend over to get it. She felt for it in the dark under the sofa & pulled it out. There was three one hundred dollar bills stuck to.

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every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

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

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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Jefferson Airplane

Next on the shelf is Jefferson Airplane. I have as stand-alone or in mp3 collections: Takes Off, Surrealistic Pillow, Feed Your Head Live 67-69, Bless Its Pointed Little Head Live 1968, After Bathing At Baxter’s, Crown of Creation, Live at The Filmore East 1968, Volunteers, Blows Against the Empire, Bark, Long John Silver, Red Octopus, 2400 Fulton St, Spitfire, Earth, Reunion.

I can remember the thrill of hearing Grace Slick sing Somebody To Love, then Greasy Heart. I loved the Airplane & the journey of their first releases that went from folks, to counterculture icons – from Surrealistic Pillow to Blows Against the Empire. I couldn’t wait for where each new album would take me. Then they lost focus, thanks to drugs & booze released wildly uneven lps like Bark & Long John Silver. A sort of return to form on Red Octopus, Spitfire, Earth – but lost their edge & became a fine pop group. When corporate rock I lost interest. Members left, new ones joined. Finally an original members reunion 1989 that I do enjoy.

Those early albums are the epitome of late 60’s summer of psychedelic love vibe. Baxter with its amazing engineering, harmonies, guitar work & awesome songs is a classic. Volunteers – ‘up against the walls mother fuckers’ blew my mind. Blows Against The Empire with its scifi underpinning stunned me with where rock could go. 

The live albums are amazing, even when the sound is a little muddy. Feed Your head is a collection of rarities & oddities. 2400 is a nice compilation of hits & some B-sides that never made it to lps, that is worth having. I’m resisting name checking my favorite tracks, even the sloppy lps have good moments (Pretty As You Feel).

 

All have created work outside of Airplane that is worth tracking down. Marty Balin’s Lucky is amazing. Sadly my cassette copy disintegrated & it has yet to be re-released 😦 Don’t know the band?! Shame on you 🙂 Start with any of the hits compilations & After Bathing: some of those cuts are best heard as they are sequenced on the lps. 

Scent

The morning was silent. Cool. I could smell the cold. Some quality the cold gave the air. What ice remained on the streets would crack underfoot like bullets. I wanted to go out, to feel that crack, to hear it echo down the still street, before the noise of life took over. I wanted to make the first noise of the day.

There was that dim blue light hovering on the roof tops, starlight reflected off snow and clouds, early distant sun waiting as the earth turned to face it, as the earth turned my house to face it. 

Too much cloud cover now for a real sunny morning, it would be dim cold and flat. Another day to race the sun to nightfall.

A noise – birds. The flutter and chirp. Bird feeder two houses down brought them out. Twitter twitter – small, harsh, clacking sound and flutter of crisp feathers – flutter feather and fly – tiny nails clicking along the eaves trough of my house, right over my window –

Can birds smell – did seeds have some scent that attracted them – I never figured out how they knew when and were to find those seeds. When that house stopped putting them out in the spring it took a few days before the birds would stop skittering around and even then there would an occasional foray to see if the seeds had returned.

Winter birds, little warm balls of heart racing heat. Was it worth it? To find some nook in a tree somewhere and hope not to freeze into a black fuzzy ice pellet overnight.

More light. I could see the ceiling now. Clouds must be thinning as the light has some red in it. The ice blue warmed by some red. Nice. I’d like to get a sweater in that color. Cold Morning Mist. Now there’s a color name. Something with a cracked black line across the mist with a single pair of dirty brown birds snuggled together near the shoulder, over my heart.

Hmm. Good ideas won’t get me to work. Why hasn’t that alarm gone off yet? Bed too cozy to leave anyway. Lift my head enough to see the window, to look out, to see roofs of the world. That’s enough. Those hoar black streets can wait. White frost and salt residue along the curb. One good rain will wash it away. One good rain and spring will spring into summer. Yes, I think I’ll pray for rain today. Lots of rain.

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every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

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

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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The Incredible String Band

 

 

The cover of The Incredible String Band’s The 5000 Spirits (by The Fool) is the epitome of 60’s psychedelic art. Iconic & instantly defining the best of the era. I didn’t have to hear the album to know I would love it. To be honest I was expecting something of the Jefferson Airplane style of psychedelic but instead got almost straight-ahead folk music.

 

A sort of gothic, renaissance sound of dulcimers, lutes, tambours with slightly off-kilter sing-songy  songs full of Yates type lyrics. On my first listen it sounded like something anyone could perform. I loved it. As I listened more it became layered, more complex & emotionally involving. No Sleep Blues, First Girl I Loved … so sweet & with a twinge of humour. Way Back In the 1960’s is a time-capsule of that era. I may still ahi emu regional lp saved because of that album art. It was one of those lps that a actually made it to Cape Breton.

I picked up their First as a stand-alone CD, on sale, at Sam’s way back in 2003 – October Song is sweet; also as stand-alone a double cd set of The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion & The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter – this took some searching as I was replacing my Layers lp with the cd & I found it via eBay in 2003. Hearing 5000 crisp was a delight. Hangman I had never heard – it continues that psychedelic folk mood. Both sound traditional but lyrically combines trippy with almost renaissance folk lyrics.

 

They also had the classic hippy look of long haired, beaded, fringed & farm living commune minstrels. I didn’t really follow them though. Maybe too twee for me then & now a fond memory. There are lots of great folk/pop bands: Fairport Convention, The Pentangle, Kaleidoscope, Donovan – of the time but only The Incredible String Band had such a homespun feel. They were too gentle to become big stars. The band gained, lost members, split up, reunited, continued recording but became & stayed a folk mainstay.

Dream

The dish ran way with the spoon. The spoon had belonged to my grandmother and the loss of it became an insurmountable obstacle to progress. Several important scientific discoveries were put aside as futile gestures without the spoon. Mankind was bereft of the one key, the one object that was vital to intellectual stimulation and financial progress.

My sister wasn’t sure what to to tell me. I had been late, again, coming home from flying school. I had hoped to follow in my father’s footsteps and keep up the family name but the tragic news of the spoon put all that in jeopardy as well.

‘How could such a thing happen.’ I demanded of her.

‘I wish I knew. No one was expecting it. Least of of all I.’

‘And just where were you when this transpired.’

‘Asleep.’

‘Asleep!’ my voice rose. Two windows in the left wing were shattered by my explosive anger. I had to keep it in check and usually did, but occasionally I lost control. This was one of those rare occasions.

‘After losing two nights of sleep worrying over Gabriella, is it little wonder I drifted off. The afternoon was hot, balmy.’

‘You have a knack for making excuses.’ I set about packing my bags. ‘But this time you have gone too far, even for a sister.’

‘Ferdov please, please forgive me. I doubt if I can go on knowing you feel so strongly.’

‘Tell that to the spoon.’

I dashed down the hand-hewed alabaster stairs to the dock and leapt into my motorboat. I had longed to escape this island, this family trap of of the past but had hoped it would be an easy departure and not this sort of emotional break.

‘Wait! Wait!’ my sister stood on the pier waving her apron aimless in the breeze. I would not return. How could I? There was nothing holding me to them now. Now that the spoon had run away with the dish the next part of the prophesy would also come true. If I could somehow keep that in check perhaps there was hope after all.

The two-way radio on the dash sparkled to life. 

‘Reports have come in that the last of the three blind mice has perished in a disastrous fire in the east wing.’

‘God!’ I raised my fist to the sky. ‘This is all your fault. Why have you deserted me now in this moment of trial.’

I stopped the motor of my boat. I needed some silence. Some small dollop of calm before I could face what I knew remained to be faced. If this was to be on my shoulders I would need to be ready. A hand appeared at the side of the pea-green boat and two men pulled themselves aboard, one on either side. ‘So Ferdov this is where you skulk to when you are needed.’

‘Father,’ I was amazed at the beads of water that dripped like topaz diamonds from his thick black beard. It had never shone so in the afternoon sun. ‘I did only what I felt in my bones I had to do.’

His valet, Rudo, grabbed me from behind and yanked hard on my arms, clasping my hands and wrists together tightly.

‘You’re hurting me.’

‘You like that, don’t you?’ Rudo breath rosewater assaulted my senses.

‘On your knees,’ My father punched me in the forehead. I sank to the teak deck of the boat on my knees.

‘This is a fine mess and you are responsible.’

‘I? I’m not the one who fell asleep.’

‘Yes but it was you who fed those silly notions of freedom and adventure to the dish. It was you who convinced him that there was more to life than being convenient conveyer of our food stuffs. You made him question his basic sense of self and now you see the result of your interference.’

‘But Father, I was only repeating what you had told me so many times.’

‘Do not try to cast aspersions on the legends of our family. Never has such a thing happened. I will not allow you to escape punishments.’

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http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Herman’s Hidden Cameras

As much as I enjoyed Herman’s Hermits as a teen I wasn’t encouraged to admit it. They were radio-fodder bubble-gum as opposed to real musicians like the Rolling Stone or even the Beatles. They were regarded as sweet, squeaky-clean and a band only girls could enjoy. Music hall songs like ‘Henry the VIII’ didn’t help their image either. I picked up stand-alone cd The Very Best of back in Dec 2006 to reclaim that part of my past.

Sure some of the songs suffer from ‘clean’ but many of them are solid, if not brilliant, pieces of pop music. The band wasn’t terribly original, creative or even were outstanding musicians. But their studio work is impeccable. It helps that Peter Noone’s voice is sweet & appealing. ‘No Milk Today’ is a breathtaking track – the production work is sublime & still amazes. The fact that it was written by Graham Gouldman (10CC) certainly helps. 

I picked up stand-alone Highs of the Sixties back in 1994. This is the complete opposite of the Hermits. A compilation of the sort psychedelic, garbage-band music that I could easily admit to enjoying. It includes tracks by Love, Count Five (one of the first latino bands to make it big), The Standells – many one-hit wonders but all fun. I’ve since tracked down collections by some these one-hitters like Blue Cheer, The Seeds, Count Five. I already had an extensive Love collection before I picked this cd up.

But what about the present you might ask? Next on the shelf are these stand-alones by The Hidden Cameras: The Smell of Our Own; Mississauga Goddam; AWoo. This a fun, queer, musically-diverse band that I really enjoy. With songs about water sports ‘Golden Steams,’ politics ‘Ban Marriage,’ love ‘Music is my Boyfriend’ & life ‘Learning the Lie’ performed with energy that invites all listeners into their world. Led by Joel Gibb  the band uses standard rock augmented by strings, wind instruments to create an often rollicking, sometimes folky, sweet romantic tapestry of music that often makes an ‘ironic’ counterpoint to the lyrics. Hidden Cameras take sound pictures of the world in a way I like to see it. 

Lucky Day

It felt good to sleep in. Something I didn’t allow myself to do that often. A warm, snug bed from which I could hear the cold wind outside. As I rolled over to try for another few winks the door to my room opened enough for a head to pop through. 

‘Good morning, sleepy head.’ Jim smiled at me.

‘What are you doing here?’ I sat up.

‘What do you think?’ he came into the room.

‘And why aren’t you dressed?’

‘Another dumb question.’ He slipped into the bed beside me. ‘Neither are you.’

Our bodies nestled together comfortably. 

‘I got the day off so I figured, why not drop over here and spend some of it with you.’  Jim gently bit my shoulder.

‘Great idea. That spare key was for emergencies.’

‘Yes, well this is an emergency.’

‘So I can feel.’

I rolled over on top of him. Just then my cell buzzed.

‘Don’t get it, or you won’t get it.’ He warned, twisting the ring in my left nipple.

The cell buzzed, and as programmed, the buzz got louder the longer it rang.

‘I have too.’

I reached over and picked it up. ‘Hello.’

‘Hi Dave.’

‘Steven is that you?”

‘Yep. Just arrived in town.’

‘You should have warned me.’ I covered the receiver, ‘It’s Steven, my agent from New York.’

‘Well, I was hoping to surprise you. I have the new contract. Bidding stopped at 2.5 mil.’

‘2.5 mil!! I’m amazed.’

Jim was biting my stomach under the covers. ‘Stop that for a minute will you.’

‘Sounds like I caught you at a bad time.’

‘Not at all. No wrong time for 2.5 mil.’

‘Free for lunch?’

‘Lunch? Sure. You staying at the same hotel.’

‘Same room is fact.’

‘Okay see you around noon.’

‘Frank wants you for lunch and I want you for breakfast.’ Jim came from under the covers to kiss me.

Just then the door bell rang. I jumped out of bed and pulled on my bathrobe and dashed down the stairs to the front door. A flower delivery man waited.

‘David Bradley?’

‘That’s me.’

‘Sign here.’

I signed for a box that opened to reveal two dozen red and white roses.

‘Looks like this is your day?’ Jim looked over my shoulder. ‘Who are they from?’

‘I haven’t checked yet. But find today’s paper. I should check my lottery numbers.’

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October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

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

every Tuesday


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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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Jimi Hendrix

What can I say about Hendrix? Died too young period. I played the Are You Experienced? lp grey, replaced it twice. He was one of the first pop stars that I fantasized about when I was jacking off (the first was Jim Morrison). He was one of the few stars that all my friends liked. I once knew all the words to Purple Haze. All alone in my little basement room in Cape Breton I cried the day he died. 

In my collection I have as stand alone’s: Are You Experienced?, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Lady Land, Ultimate Experience, BBC Sessions, Isle of Wight 1970, Feeling Good, Sunshine of Your Love. An mp3 collection that includes Axis Outtakes, Rainbow Bridge, Band of Gypsies & tucked away in another mp3 collection Cry of Love. Plus a ‘is it Hendrix or not’ set of jams with member of Traffic. 

Wait there’s more: Hendrix at Woodstock. A dvd of his Monterey Pop break though. Not to mention Gil Evans’ jazz take on Hendrix. Plus biographies by Curtis Knight and one by Charles R. Cross. In a pic file I have a photo of the cast of his cock made by the Plaster Casters. A bough in San Francisco teeshirt of the Axis cover art & a lunch pail of the same.

I’m not going to name check every track or every lp. The Experience studio albums are still state of the art engineering. They are also state of the art psychedelic. Feeling Good, Sunshine of Your Love are weird odds & ends of live stuff that slipped under the radar of his label. Messy at times but fun. One track has a very drunk Jim Morrison bellowing away. 

It’s his Experience studio work I enjoy the most. He seemed to lose direction without the band. The Woodstock release isn’t true to the event, though, as the percussionists & horns playing with him on stage, have been nearly erased from the mix that has been released. But it is still worth having. His sense of fashion still inspires my selection of shirts. 

Craving

‘You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad? I can tell. I can see it in your eyes, in your flesh. The way sweat beads along your upper lip. You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad? I can tell.’

‘Are you talking to me?’ 

‘Yes. Of course who else would I be talking to.’

I glanced around the mall. It was thick with people scouring the stores for that ultimate bargain. 

‘Anyone of them?’

‘Oh no. You heard. It had to be you. You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad. I can tell.’

‘Excuse me?’ Another woman stopped. ‘Are you talking to me?’

‘No. He’s talking to me.’

‘Perhaps I mean both of you.’

‘What’s he going on about?’ the second woman asked me.

‘I don’t know. I heard him babbling like this and stopped. I thought he was a pan handler.’

‘Ladies! I am not a pan handler.’ He stood an inch taller. ‘I am here as a warning, as an oracle to your future.’

‘Oh please. Give me a break.’ I started to leave.

‘No. Wait. You can’t go. You know you can’t go. You both know I’m right. You both want it? Don’t you? You want it bad. I can tell.’

Another shopper stopped. ‘What’s he selling.’

‘The future.’ I told her.

‘Been there, done that.’ She started to walk away.

‘You cannot have been there,’’ he railed at her. ‘No one has seen  the future. No has done it.’

‘Look. I know what I’m talking about. In a moment I will be gone.’ she left.

‘I guess she didn’t want it that bad.’ I wanted to laugh. ‘So get on with it. What’s the spiel. What do we want?’

‘Yeah. Come on,’ the other woman added. ‘I haven’t got all day.’

‘You have a life time ladies. A life time. But you want it? Don’t you? You want it bad I can tell.’

‘We’ve heard that bit. Get on with it or we’ll be gone, too.’

‘No. You can never escape once it had sunk its insidious claws into you. Never escape.’

‘Look,’ The other woman stepped away. ‘I’m escaping now.’ She disappeared into the crowd.

‘What’s with you people these days? No depth. No real sense of value.’

‘You have to give people something of value. I’m sure you mean well. What ever it is you may think. But words aren’t enough.’

‘But don’t you feel it? Deep. In your bones. Feel that something, that need.’

‘The only need I’m beginning to feel is the need to take a …’ I stopped. I couldn’t tell him that. What was coming over me? Telling a stranger I had to go to the bathroom.

‘Ah. So I was right. You want it? Don’t you? You want it bad, I can tell. The ladies room is through the food court.’

‘Thank you.’

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/event/hot-damn-its-a-queer-slam-feat-janice-lee/

http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

https://www.facebook.com/TorontoGratitudeRoundup/

October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

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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Not A Deadhead

To be honest I was never a Grateful Dead fan. I didn’t get their vibe but as I aged it began to appeal to me more. Maybe if I was more of a stoner it would have worked for me. I have their 1st tucked away in an mp3 collection. It’s hard to categorize their sound but it was not pop the way Jefferson Airplane was, or blues like Canned Heat. The 1st holds no nostalgia for me but I’m happy to have it too. 

As a stand alone I have Anthem of the Sun – the cover is classic psychedelic. The music is fun & shows their jam band experimental sound. A mix of live & studio that slips into delicious acid trippy – in fact I have a great memory of listening to this on LSD back in the day & being amazed. This cd release includes bonus tracks that are great.

On another mp3 collection I have Workingman’s Dead; American Rose. Recent additions, though I did have Rose as lp at one time. These are sweet but depressing recordings. Sort of lifeless with a kind of country/pop flavour to them. Not music that makes me long to hear it or that even holds any memory of my past.

As with many of my mp3 collections I like to mix genres & time eras so there is a some Iggy Pop here which spans his career for 1977 to 2016. An amazing live set: Iggy & Ziggy Cleveland ’77, Post Pop Depression – his most recent release. I watched Velvet Goldmine & checked to see if Iggy & Ziggy had performed together & found this set on iTune. Good sound quality, mostly Iggy’s material. Was he dedicating I Wanna Be Your Dog to Bowie? Post Pop is solid fun.

Next a couple of Tumblr finds. Tomorrow – is a mid60’s British psychedelic band – the music is chockfull of wha-wha, phased echoed passages – very Saucerful of Secrets. Completely different is Sir Stan: The Nitty Gritty’s In Town – r’n’b blues bar music of the first order in the Paul Butterfield style. 

Even more different is Earth, Wind & Fire: Greatest Hits; – some of these bring back disco memories of when I moved to Toronto. Funky, dancing, romantic but rarely adventurous or even raunchy. And to end this particular cd is a collection of even more coming out disco memories: Twelve Inch Classics: Classics from the 70’s which includes Peter Brown’s Crank It Up. Songs which I vaguely recalled & some that never hit the dj’s in Toronto. Some of which were done by ‘groups’ that only existed in the studio for a song or two. 

From the Grateful Dead Keep on Truckin’ to disco down Crank It Up this is a fun mp3 collection.

Scam

What could she do with the girl? It just wasn’t easy being a mother. At least she wasn’t like her brother Sal. Sal took after his Dad. Quick to anger and always on the look out to pull a scam. Judy was more like her. Quiet and pretty. Yes, very pretty. That would get her into trouble one of these days.

‘You seem a little down honey.’

‘Oh it’s nothing mom.’

‘You’re doing okay in your classes aren’t?’

She sat on the edge of the bed. Judy was at her desk with a book opened in front of her.

‘As good as I can.’

‘What’s this? That old skip rope of yours?’

‘Oh yeah. I found it my closet the other day.’

‘I remember how excited you were to get this and then you hardly ever used it.’

Kids were like that. New one second and old the next. No keeping up with them.

‘You sure there isn’t something? Some boy?’

‘Ma no … well, there are these girls … ’

‘You have to try harder to make friends. I know it isn’t easy but if you only made an effort you could do it. You know what I mean.’

‘I guess so Ma. Thanks. I’ll try harder.’ She turned back to her book.

‘You miss Sal don’t you?’

‘A little. Sure is quiet without him around here.’

‘Not that he was around here all that much.’

‘Right.’

‘He may not be back for awhile. You know that don’t you Judy? What he did is serious.’

‘I know Ma. He’s not a kid anymore, right.’

‘Right you are, but you are still a kid. Why don’t to finish that homework later and have some ice cream with me. I got some on the way home. On special at the Market. Strawberry Ripple. Your favourite.’

‘Okay Ma. I’ll be there in a minute.’

‘Don’t be long then. That show you like is coming soon too.’

She stood, reluctant to leave the room. She could tell there was something Judy wasn’t telling her but she could figure out what. Wasn’t drugs or boys. That she could tell easily enough. She could remember what it had been like when she was fourteen. Drunken dad and crying mother. She had made sure her home wasn’t like that. Peace and quiet.

Though Sal hadn’t turned out like she’d hoped she felt sure Judy would. Judy was a good kid. Sweet and patient but just kept too much to herself. What was a mother to do? If only we were mind readers. Yikes, now that is a scary thought.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6


http://www.queerslam.com

every Tuesday

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

September 25, Tuesday – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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#Blondie, #Monkees, Cellophane Symphony

Spread over 2 cds of mp3’s is more Blondie, so much it’ll take two posts to cover it all: On the first is Plastic Letters/Parallel Lines/Eat To The Beat. After their first I couldn’t wait get more, more, more. I loved everything about them from the packaging to the contents. There was an actually musical progression too, a sense of growth & confidence as they tried different styles – they never got stuck in that retro sound, as did the B52’s.

So many great songs as well, No Imagination, One Way Or the Other, Die Young Stay Pretty, Heart of Glass. Dynamic originals & sweet covers. Bonus track on the reissues show their live chops too. Was disco a sell out, was rap? Or was Blondie fearlessly exploring & expanding.

blackcloth

black facecloth

On this cd with them I put some of their roots: Tommy James & The Shondells: Cellophane Symphony – includes their classics: Crystal Blue Persuasion, Crimson & Clover, which till I got this I’d never heard in their original setting. This is a classic psychedelic treat with great engineering, trippy lyrics & a sort of innocence.

bluecloth

wet blue yonder

To round this cd out I added a slew of Monkees: The Monkees, More of The Monkees, Headquarters, Pisces etc, The Birds etc. Most of these clocked in at barely 30 minutes but are chock full of appealing pop. My Stones loving pals at the time shamed me for enjoying such crap so I kept this love in the closet. Great songs by the likes of Boyce & Hart, plus strong originals, make these lps stand above a lot of the other pop stuff of the time – 1910 Fruitgum Company, anyone?

whiteslip

dirty white slip

Sadly they never broke out of their TV product image & were always confined musically by their corporate owners but they did mange to produce some solid work. Even bringing on board the likes of Frank Zappa, Jack Nicholson or touring with Jimi Hendrix (!) didn’t change their image. On par with other product like The Grass Roots or Three Dog Night.

More Blondie in a couple of weeks.

sample

The Last of Snowy

“She’s gone! She’s gone!” Doc threw the cabin door open and deliberately tracked mud on the floor as he stomped to the table.

“Gone!” Five dismayed voices answered in unison.

“It’s all your fault,” Grumpy smacked Dopey.

“Who’s he talking about?” Dopey asked Bashful.

“I guess we weren’t good enough for her,” Bashful wiped a tear away.

“Just when I was getting my allergies under control,”Sneezy sneezed.

“We’ll be fine without her.” Happy encouraged them “But who is going to tell …”

They all looked to the bed where Sleepy snored.

“I knew that the Wicked Witch would get her. I just knew it.” Grumpy picked coagulated egg off a dish.

“It wasn’t her.” Doc raised his voice to scare a stray deer out of the cabin.

“Then who?” Dopey drew a smile on the sooty mirror.

“A prince.” Sneezy exclaimed.

“A what!” Happy wiped Dopey’s smile off the mirror. “You mean the adoration of the seven of us wasn’t enough for her. She seemed so happy.”

“Oh well,” Bashful sat on a pile of dirty clothes, “who’d want to hang out with bunch little losers like us.”

“Shallow bitch,” Grumpy hit the table with the palm of his hand. “We slaved away in that mine for her. Brought her diamonds. All we asked for was a little affection & light house keeping. Was that too much?” He hit the table again.

“Careful,” Sneezy wiped his nose, “You don’t want to wake you know who.”

“I thought that headache stuff was wearing thin,” Doc nodded. “And sleeping for the last seven years did seem a bit extreme.” Happy added, “Though a good sleep never did anyone any harm.”

“Gosh,” Dopey chased a squirrel up the chimney, “maybe he was better looking than us.”

“Who isn’t? Who could blame her?” Bashful agreed.

“I hoped she’d get past these superficial things. What did he look like, this goddamn Prince Charming?” Grumpy began to skin a rabbit for their supper.

“He was about six feet tall.” Doc confided sadly.

“What!” the five of them replied at once.

“Blond hair, clean, good teeth, rides a horse, great body. He must work out at a gym.” Doc continued with increasing sadness.

“Well, so what.” Grumpy pulled off his grimy tunic, “you call this being in bad shape?” He whistled as he flexed his muscles, thick and firm from years of digging and hauling diamonds.

The others pulled their tunics off and did the same.

“Yeah,” Sneezy wiped his nose on the back of his hand, “We’re super buff. We’ve got more real muscle than any wimpy Prince Charming.”

“Maybe that wasn’t the muscle that counted,” Bashful quickly pulled on his tunic and tucked it firmly into his pants.

“Anyone who would trade the love of the seven of us for the company of one handsome, empty-headed, self-centred Prince isn’t worth wasting another breath on.” Grumpy kicked a soggy pile of apple cores out the door.

“It enough to save her from the Wicked Queen. We made her life bright for a while. That should be enough.” Happy smiled. “I feel honoured we had the chance to be a part of her life. Why should we expect any gratitude in return? Her contentment with Prince Charming is gratitude enough for me.”

Sleepy’s snores were all that was heard in the gloomy silence that followed.

soon

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

born

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 –

hdamnfinal

https://www.facebook.com/events/726986450755918/permalink/726987687422461/

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

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(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/

loyclass

register now while there is room at the table

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

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

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

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

noiroc15

 

wettersocks

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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