George Harrison

I have to confess I was never a huge George Harrison fan. One of my least favourite big hits of the Beatles is  Something & if I never hear it again I’ll be happy. But I admired & respected his outlook on life & his willingness to trade on his fame to help. He also opened the door to music that I may never have discovered.

I had the Wonderwall soundtrack on lp, replaced eventually by mp3. I have never seen the movie though, has anyone? 🙂 It certainly wasn’t pop music. I also had All Things Must Pass on lp. Eventually replaced by mp3. His spiritual leanings weren’t as interesting to me as his reflections of life eon the road as a Beatle – Apple Scruffs. 

But after Pass I took a pass. I heard bits of other things, Bangladesh but never felt drawn to having anything else by him. His guitar work, to me, was good but unexceptional, same for his voice & his lyrics. 

In the past few years I added the New Morning Sessions: his work with Bob Dylan which is of interest as a curiosity; George: another solo lp that I can’t recall a track of. In fact most of his writing, except for Pass, hasn’t drawn me into it. I searched out other stuff via YouTube & found it unexceptional.

I have the 30th Anniversary edition of All Things Must Pass – the bonus material is endless but worth hearing. It is on an mp3 collection along with Shankar & Friends – a nice set of instrumentals & song with Ravi Shanker that sparkles. On this particular is also Paul & Paula: Best of  – Hey! what can I say Harrison needed a historic context 🙂 Here too is the Electric Prunes: Release of an Oath: a rock group infusing music with spiritual searching. The Best of the Troggs: Beatles compatriots. Harrison did collaborations so I found Pay Pack & Follow John Phillips collaboration with Keith Richards! It’s a bit of a mess mind you but fun.

Wait there’s more on this cd: Paul Butterfield Band’s Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin’ – great fun blues work Finally Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert – where Harrison appears uncredited due to some weird contract, record label conflict. An interesting concert that also features Steve Winwood, Pete Townsend & others. Sound quality is good.

Land of the Lost

‘I must say this room has never looked neater.’

‘Thanks.’ Stef wasn’t sure whether this was a compliment or a dig. ‘Every now and then strange things do happen here.’

‘So what brought it on?’

‘Brought what on?” Stef wished her mother would come right out and say things. If she thought Stef was a bad house keeper why not just say it.

‘You know what I mean, dear.’ Her mother smiled and sat at the dining room table. Stef’s ‘office’ was under the window in that room and the dining room table was often an extension of it. It spent much of its time buried under piles of papers, magazines, books and, as much as she hated to admit it, the occasional pizza box.

‘It was time for some tidying up. After all, you’ve told me many many times cluttered house cluttered mind.’

‘Did you find it?’

‘Huh?’

‘I remember the one time your room at home was spotless was the time you had lost … what was it now … some political button a boy had given you.’

‘I did not lose anything.’

‘Just misplaced.’

‘Misfiled. Mother I’d rather say, I misfiled it.’

‘And you never found it.’

‘Not yet, I mean I stopped looking. But …’

‘There there dear. I know you creative types aren’t the best of maids.’

‘You are right there.’ She didn’t want to tell her mother how she had spent the last three days going through nearly every corner of the bungalow looking for the dust cover of the book she was reviewing. Bad enough it even had one but she had put it in a safe place while she lugged the book around on buses, read it in coffee shops. Now she was done.

‘You have no idea how much like you father you are. The same furrow of the brow.’

‘Thanks. I guess.’

‘So how are things. You know when I see the place this neat I worry you aren’t working as much as you should.’

‘Things are good. Better that they were last year.’

‘Getting any work done on your novel?’

‘As much as needs to be done.’ Stef knew she was avoiding that project with all these others. But it was these others that paid the rent, paid the bills, for now.

‘You need to concentrate on one thing at a time. That’s how things get misfiled. Thinking of too much at one time.’

‘Thank you mother. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m homeless.’

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every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

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September or October but to be confirmed – feature – The Art Bar, Free Times Cafe

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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#RubberSoul

Now we come to my Beatles stand-alones: these are the peak of their recordings and it’s hard to pick a favourite but it is easy to see their progression as musicians: Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road, and finally Love.

sole01

All, except for Love, have powerful memories for me – being amazed at the Revolver cover, in love with the Sgt. Pepper art work – if only I still had that moustache insert. Rubber Soul was a hint at what was to come with its subtle studio work, In My Life is one of my favourite Beatles songs. The tripiness of Revolver & the amazing sweep of Sgt. Pepper. It was as if our teen pop music had taken on a whole new dimension of promise and had proven it was more than just kids listening to their transistor radios.

sole02

I’m not sure if I ever saw Mystical Tour. Paul is dead – play this track backwards for a secret message – never did that either – but those songs Baby I’m a Rich Man, Hello-Goodbye. I still have my original lp of this one. Any offers? We’re talking at least five figures here.

sole03

Abbey Road is stunning as well, no one knew at the time this was their last real album. It also contains my least favourite Beatles track – Something – if I never hear it again I’ll be happy. Love is George Martin,s sample happy mash up, put together for a Cirque show in Vegas. Sonically interesting but, to me, sad that this is the fulfillment of that whole new dimension of promise.

 

 

sample

New Beginnings

Anna saw the police car in her rear view mirror. Her hand jerked to shut her purse and sent the contents of it over the seat. The  pint bottle she’d just taken a drink from flipped to the floor and the smell of vodka filled the car.

Shit! I thought vodka has no odour. A mint! she needed a mint! There must be one in here somewhere.

She took her eyes off the road. Nothing. not even a stick of gum. Why wasn’t she prepared? Shit! Good there’s a piece of candy. there. A linty lime life saver that she hoped would be her life saver.

The police car pulled up beside her and signalled her over. She rolled onto the shoulder of the road. She kicked the bottle under the seat.

“Seem to be having a bit of trouble ma’am.” The young police officer said once she unwound her window.

“Oh sorry about that. My purse tipped over.” She waved her hand the the stuff that had spilled out of her purse.

“Why don’t you get out of the car and I’ll help you sort it out.”

“Oh, that won’t be necessary young man. Now that I’m stopped I can do it myself. You just stay there & direct the cars away from me. I was afraid of stopping on such a busy roadway.”

“No, ma’am I do think you better step out of the vehicle.”

“But …” she trust her registration and insurance at him. “You  see everything is in order.”

“Ma’am have you been drinking?”

“I …. I did have a glass of wine with my mother at the nursing home. For New Year’s, you know. That’s not an offence is it.”

Another officer joined them. This one was a female.

“No, ma’am.”

The female officer glared though the passenger window. Anna was sure she would see the bottle. Shit! Why didn’t she put that vodka into the sunny delight bottle she usually used. No she had to brave it with the actual bottle. Damn. Damn.

“Then I don’t see what the problem is. I’ll just put my stuff into my purse.” She pushed the newspaper off the seat hoping it would hide the bottle but as she did she glanced up at the female officer and knew it was too late.

“I’m sorry ma’am.” The female officer opened the driver’s door. “but, we really do have to insist. Here I’ll give you hand.” She undid the seat belt for Anna.

“Please I can do that myself self you fucking fascist pigs.” Oh God! What had she said that? Why had she picked up that pint after promising her mother she was going was going to turn over a new leaf. So much for that damn promise.

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Eight Days A Week

Ending the year with another Beatles mp3 collection. This one includes Hard Day’s Night/For Sale/Help/Past Masters 1/2. And just to round it out Grand Funk Railroad: Greatest Hits. Where to start?

white02 dirty white #1

Seeing Hard Day’s was an amazing rush. The film was impossible to access because of the fame of the Beatles – was it good? The music was amazing – those opening chords of Hard are still electrifying. Time has let me the see movie as a script etc & I love it. Help! less so but it has great songs, sitar & a funny, sharp, satiric script with good acting out of all of them.

white03

dirty white #2

For Sale: Eight Days A Week an under-rated classic by them. Past Masters is an excellent repackaging with their German recordings & b-sides & one-off singles that never appeared on lp. Tucked away in my Lennon collection is their Live 1965 – such screaming & they could play live too.

white01 dirty white #3

Grand Funk Railroad – I was never a big fan but do enjoy this hits collection including their long take on Inside Looking Out.  Steve Miller like – a very American Band that were competent, well produced, but not inventive – unless you count 3D packaging.

soon02

January 3 -Judging – HOT DAMN! It’s a Queer Slam featuring Johnny Trinh

Hot Damn

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January 18 – hosting – Out of the Fire – a fundraiser for Kyle Andrews

k&D2

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sample

Vision

What do I see for 2015 – the news will not change, different names and better coverage but the same events – senseless killing sprees, innocent people shot at their desks, fire bombed in jungles, cults of doom consuming the energies of people.

Money made and lost on the stock market, more lost than made made, dives and dips that will send more people screaming in front of TV cameras with opinions but no solutions.

Bad movies about teenagers with no sense of value that will get rave reviews. Music that no one understands, not even the people who make it. Books of pointless dissections of lives, past recriminations of parents for being human and not gods when bringing up those children, with the microphones hidden in their heads, tape recorders for brains that will spew out entire dinner conversations to reveal just how human parents are.

TV shows about people losing their way in big cities where they don’t even speak the language. Sad American tourists blindfolded and taken by air to unknown destinations and just let free – no money, no guides, just that damn camera crew trailing behind their every step.

The American legal system with tear right down the middle with a nation more divided than ever. Greater civic unrest for minorities who are actually majorities. Whites will wake up to the fact that there are more Asians and blacks than anglos in the the land of the free and those people will demand to be free once and for all from the oppression of financial expectations, religious intolerance and body shame. They will raise slowly but surely before anyone realizes what is going on and the tide of change will not be controlled by any national guard or petty sex scandal.

Water will slowly disappear. People will wake up and find there isn’t enough to go around, not enough water, not enough power. Waste will become a crime. No watering of lawns, recycling of bath water, all controlled to eke out each last drop, but still there will not be enough for some. Only the rich will have lawns, the rest of us will have wild flowers (yeah).

The hungry will get more hungry, the homeless will increase as people lose the longing for home.

The nature of family will continue to change. The Rockwell image will be replaced with the reality of today. Nostalgia will no longer rule and the those who wish we were back to yesterday will be sent there once and for all, leaving the rest of here to enjoy progress and appreciate and flexible future. For without flex there is no future.

The war between the sexes will continue as men stay stuck till they find the gal still stuck in that past. Men will marry each other, women will marry each other and God will smile while churches that perform such services will be burnt to the ground by worshippers of nostalgia.

2015 will be a year of great spiritual shifts in all who flex and one of deep fear and distrust to those who refuse to open to the future.

The future cannot be halted and it is my fault.

coldchair.JPG

my legs are cold

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Please Please Me

For my 200th blog post of the year it seems fitting that I finally get to The Beatles. This may take three or four posts to get through. Like many kids of the 60’s The Beatles were my first real music crush. On one mp3 collection I have: Please Please Me; With The Beatles; Yellow Submarine; The White Album along with George Harrison’s Wonder Wall and Danger Mouse: The Grey Album. Which covers the start, late & finish of their career. I’m get to the other lps in a few weeks.

tree03 can you see the forest

What struck me about their first couple of lps was the amount of US music covers they did. R’n’b, soul & some rock. There is a crisp fresh quality to the sound itself, sweet almost innocent. The early hits here are so simple, direct and tender. I remember being allowed to see them on Ed Sullivan & the audience screamed so much you couldn’t hear them singing “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

When we jump to the White Album the sound is more complex, the emotional content more adult & worldly. Fine moments but it sounds as if it was harder for them to even be there (which in fact it was.)

tree02 little tree I once knew

Yellow is the original lp with the George Martin suite on side two. Just hearing it brings back lots of Peter Max memories. Is there a pop group today who would dare do something on the scale of Yellow Submarine? Wonder Wall – Harrison’s sound track for a movie I’ve never seen has lots of sitar, raga-esque mixed with honky tonk and scraps of other genres. If it weren’t Harrison it would be totally forgotten.

tree01

stumped again

Danger Mouse’s Grey Album (quickly suppressed for copyright reasons) is dense with samples music from White Album with Mouse rapping over them. I love the samples & the notion of it but for me recognizing those snippets drowns his lyrics.

sample

Christmas Hamper

The gun kept slipping out of her hand. Blood! So much she didn’t know if it was his or hers. Jill pulled herself closer to the wall behind the laundry hamper. For once she was glad of its size. Extra large for her extra dirty family. She breathed a prayer that she’d get to wash those clothes again.

This was her first chance to take a breath since the attack had began. It started innocently enough. A group of five nondescript kids outside singing Christmas Carols. They were fund raising throughout the housing complex. Something for the new day care centre.

Jill had already bought the chocolate almonds, the raffle for a trip to Las Vegas. The carol singing was the latest in that series of wallet squeezing.

When they had started singing she was sorry her husband was still out with their three kids. Off to see Grandma Val, the mother-in-law, whose drunken tirades Jill no longer she felt she had to endure even in the name of festive forgiveness.

When the group had finished their first off-kilter Frosty one of them, a girl it turned out, came to the door to see if Jill wanted to hear another. Jill had fished out a ten dollar bill and was about to hand it across when she saw the small luger in the belt of girl’s nylon jogging pants.

“Don’t feel safe?” Jill had asked.

“That’s right ma’am.” A boy stepped up to join the girl only he had his larger gun in in hand. “Now if you don’t mind we’ll come into the safety of your house.”

“What …”

The boy shoved Jill hard back into the house. “Shut the fuck up bitch and you won’t get hurt. We’re making some pre-Christmas pick-ups of our own.”

That’s when Jill closed her hand around the handgun in her purse. She fired without taking it out. The bullet tore through the bag and slammed into the boy’s shoulder. Blood spurted over her, over the wall. The girl yanked out her pistol and fired.

Jill felt a sting in her calf.

“Bad aim sister.” Jill dropped the purse off her gun. She saw that the other carollers had lunged in behind the first two. One had a sawed-off shot-gun.

“Lady,” he growled as he cocked the gun, “if you don’t want to join the decorations on your tree just back off.”

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Jill laughed, “Back off this you little asshole.’

Her one shot hit him directly between the eyes. She turned and dashed up the stairs to the bathroom. Jack kept the automatic behind the hamper. This would certainly be a Christmas to remember.

 tree03 pile’em high

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Dead of Summer

samples

Dead of Summer

 

Donnie Aucoin was twelve

he died swimming

his dad explained Donnie was where

he could swim as much as he wanted

Ellie Buckland

went to the hospital

she was anemic or something

she faded away

the teacher told us

Ellie was now in Strawberry Fields

she was eleven

Frankie Cameron, also eleven

visiting his grandmother in Toronto

was hit by a car

I don’t know where he went

Toronto seemed far enough away

that’s when I first wanted to die

so my parents would say

what a great fun kid I was

that everyone liked me

that I would be missed

no more school

no more homework

my dad wouldn’t get angry at me

for forgetting to take out the garbage

no one could pick on me

in bed on summer nights

smelling lilacs across the street

I’d pretend how wonderful it would be

in that cozy coffin

everyone would come up to my silver coffin

see my head on the gold satin pillow

look at my sweet little face

be sorry for not asking me to Jamie’s party

for making me stay after class

for knocking the hamster cage over

which I didn’t

but I’m not going to rat out who did

and he would feel so sorry

he wasn’t a better friend

when I took the blame

he’d tell Mrs. Butterworth

he had been the one

she would come over to my little coffin

put her warm hand on my cool cheek

tell me how sorry she was

then give me one of the peppermints

she kept in her desk

before I knew it I would be asleep

disappointed when I awoke

alive

to remember

I forgot to take out the garbage

again

tree tree fall

This was written for a Coffehouse Cabaret (remember them) at the Renaissance Cafe. They did regular musical theme nights: Delta Blues, Bob Dylan & others. Musicians were encouraged to do cover versions. I wrote some about or inspired by the theme style or band.

So I have pieces about the Doors, Dylan, Neil Young and more as a result. I’d usually read something by the band – for the Beatles I read In My Life – one of my favourite Beatle lyrics.

pumpkins it’s that time of year again

If you missed it ‘strawberry fields’ is the Beatles reference. Strawberry Fields, which for some I reason I thought was a cemetery, turns out to be a children’s home near where Lennon grew up, either made it logical for this nostalgic look back at kids in my life.

The names are real enough but composites of names I remember – some of the deaths are real but often I had no names to put with them – like the boy who got killed by a car. I did have a teacher named Butterworth though. Not sure if she kept anything in her desk.

bike crushed 0 speed bike

I did attended a summer funeral too – but for the mother of a boy I knew. The death fantasy may have sprung from her open coffin but it was one I entertained from time to time. Right down how much people would be sorry they’d been so mean to me. I did often forget to take out the garbage too – yet another of my constant disappointments for my Dad.

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October 10-12 – attending – Gratitude Roundup http://www.torontogratitude.org

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October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow https://www.facebook.com/events/1651892755035275/

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November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 – http://nanowrimo.org

nano

 

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Lucas in the Sky With Diamonds

The Animals long with the The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who were at the forefront of the British invasion. Needless to say my music collection has nearly complete discographies of all these groups. Each of which spoke to me in different ways.

bballs01 broken ball

I think the Beatles were the first boy band – sold on cuteness then they showed their musical chops; The Stones sold danger; The Who pushed novelty songs into art. But the Animals were never neatly packaged. Reading a group bio ‘Animals Tracks’ – the usual member conflicts, financial ‘abuse’ by managers etc. No surprises there. More about this book next Friday.

bballs02chilly balls

As a queer teen songs like ‘Out of This Place’, ‘Misunderstood’ captured something of my self that songs from the others didn’t. There was no ‘Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Hot Son;’ ‘Lucas in the Sky With Diamonds.’ Also, perhaps even more interestingly, to me, now is the difference in the image the lead singers projected into my teen sex psyche.

I can’t imagine John Lennon, or Mick Jagger getting into a fist fight with anyone. But, man, I can see Eric Burdon jumping into the fray. The Beatles had cute sexuality; The Stones a sort of sleazy but ultimately, to me, androgynous sexuality (Mick pranced more than danced); where as Eric has the look & stance of a real man.

bballs03 blue balls

His great voice, working class accent and stage presence were masculine and sometimes sullen. A short guy he bragged that he was as tall lying down as he was standing up & I recall a few pictures of him in his well packed jeans that made my mouth water. He reminds me now of guys I’d drink with who’d moan about their girlfriends, kiddies but drop their drawers for you in the back of their vans.

 

samples

Passage of Surrender

 

I

 

We undress

my words are the same

not romantic

not sensitive

more a noise

than a communication

 

I undo his buttons

Wanting to rip open

But merely fondle

One

by

One

Touching the flesh beneath

With my fingers

My tongue

 

between buttons

more talk

politics, weather

anything to know more

 

He undoes my buttons

Biting

His teeth sinking

Stops the empty flow of words

My hands fumble his buckle

I can barely bite back

His shoulder his ear

 

II

 

The first rage passes

It steps aside for explorations

Gradually we lose touch

With everything but touch

We lose names

We lose identity

We lose politics

We become bodies

Cocks ass teeth breasts skin bones

Pressing

A momentary total

Inhalation of one another

To the heart of the rage

To the rage of the heart

 

III

 

I will not let him dress

Till he stands in moonlight

While the shadows

Whisper

Over his stomach

Between his legs

He slowly kneels before me

The moon is covered by clouds

As my mouth is covered by his

 

IV

 

I always want more

More than there is

I am satiated but not satisfied

I want

His buttons in a jar

His rage

his lust

his fears

his desire

His rain drenched fists

Midnight pounding at my door

But I do have this memory

To alter to obliterate

With other buttons

Other biting teeth

 

V

 

I almost want an end

a grand finale

But my heart cannot beat

Without

the fear

Without

the rage

joylost my blues balls

Guess Who’s #Gay?

Now that it’s been confirmed that Liberace was in fact gay I wonder if the Daily Mirror can claim back the money it lost when he sued them for libel? When I recently wrote about Mishima as an artistic role model one of things about his life was there seemed no doubt that he enjoyed men sexually. It was no secret, though some viewed it as a tragic flaw, as opposed to a creative gift.

dropped at the curb

I’ve also blogged about the lack of positive gay (or even bi) role models I had growing up. Those who were alive & out were Paul Lynde snarkers. Exaggerated & clownish. A few pop stars were fashionably bi but I don’t ever remember seeing, say Bowie, in the company of male companion – always fashion models.

That has changed in some ways but those changes are too late for me, as it were. I stumble over forgotten gay icons like Johnny Ray, Raymond Burr, Billy Strayhorn or Troy Donahue – as adult, not as a teen boy needing to know he isn’t the only one in the world.

kicked to the curb

Reading Keith Richard’s Life I was stunned to read that Billy Preston, was an openly gay man and dealing with that fact while working with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones. I would never have guessed Billy was gay.

I wonder if market forces kept him, as far as I can find, mum about his sexuality? He wasn’t, say a Jim Morrison, who had an image to protect. Being out certainly did no harm to Long John Baldry – but perhaps Billy didn’t the think the US pop market was ready for a hot black gay bear.

escape from the curb

I remember when he surfaced with the Beatles, even bought an Lp of his then, but wasn’t that impressed with him musically. Since reading about him in Life I have bought a collection of his hits. Solid, pleasant but unexceptional stuff. But now I listen between the lines – the person he is missing isn’t a woman after all. Plus his album ‘The Wildest Organ In Town’ takes on a whole new meaning. Here’s a great live show.

His Wiki bio ends with ‘Preston was an openly gay man but did not speak publicly about his sexuality.’ Even his obituaries omitted that information. I wonder how open he was. Now there’s a life story I’d love to see on the screen.

samples

Boyfriend

I’m so excited

I have a new boy friend

he’s barely fifteen

🙂

years younger than me

did that pause catch you off guard

were you sure I was going to say

he was only fifteen years old

was it hard enough to think of a man

having a boyfriend at all

then add to it the shudder that it was

an innocent emotionally underdeveloped

fifteen year old child

though I can remember me at fifteen

jacking off to visions of rock star cock

Jimi Hendrix    Bruce Springsteen

that I wished there in my bed

telling you too much

get used to it

I’ve heard enough straight poets go on

sparing no intimate details

about blissful raspberry nipples

moist peach fuzzed mounds

so I’ll talk about man on man

even if it makes some of you restless

a bit bored     a bit threatened

girl on girl

would make you more comfortable

I usually try to make the nestling

of men’s bodies into each other

sound sort of sweet and tender

pulling myself away

from the gasp   grasp of sweat    pubic hair

so I’m excited

about my new boyfriend

though I hate boyfriend

boy carries that too young taint

man friend isn’t close

lover is more complex than it is

bed buddy     yeah I like that

I have a new bed buddy

he’s nearly fifteen

years younger than me

keep on dancing

#Killdozer vs #ArcadeFire

spoon battery
spoon battery

Recently someone asked me what I was listening to on my iPod. I hesitated to answer because whatever it was they would jump to conclusions about me based on the music I was listening to – if I said The Beatles – I was living the past; if I said Lady Gaga – I was a real fag; if I said Coltrane – I was elitist pretentious; if I said – Chopin – I was was beyond comprehension.

pull yourself together
pull yourself together

There are some musicians or composers, who are always on my iPod. I think I have at least 10 days of listening without repeat on tap at any given time. Once a play list gets heard it gets replaced. Each play list, in general, is a mix of pop, jazz, classical.

spoon battery
spoon battery

Nearly always on one play list or the other is: The Beatles, The Stones, Van Morrison, Jacques Brel, Sinatra, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Chopin, Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Mozart. Frequently: The Animals, Procol Harum, Lou Reed, McCoy Tyner, Gabor Szabo, Bach, Dvorak. There’s one play list of Latino/French,/World Music music that often includes Otto, Osibisa, Santana, Boyo Boys, Piaf, Pizzicato Five.

When I was asked what I was listening, I replied: “Guess.” Because what they thought I was listening would tell me what they thought of me. They said Arcade Fire (am I a hipster?) when the truth was Killdozer.

sad plant
sad plant