Music of Masculinity

pull up a chair

I recently did a couple of posts in my music series about The Rolling Stones. It started me thinking about the role music played in my teenage year. How what I listened defined what I believed was masculine. In all footage I’ve seen of The Beatles there is nothing but screaming, swooning girls – no boys. In fact pop rock music fell into those two camps – most of it was in the girls camp. The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits were for girls, The Rolling Stones, The Who were for boys. Donovan: fem; Bob Dylan: masc. Boys who like music too much were suspect – girls could sing along – boys couldn’t – lol. 

The Stones ‘Satisfaction’ was clearly about getting laid, The Beatles “I want to Hold Your Hand’ was clearly about holding hands period. Hand holding was safe for girls. The Stones were never innocent & many of their songs were clearly misogynistic i.e. ’Under My Thumb’ or were calls to violence ‘Street Fighting Man’ – these were the proper role models for real boys – real boys wanted more than holding hands. They wanted action, or revenge. Never mind the fact that by the time they recorded ‘Street Fighting Man’ they were millionaires not revolutionaries.

So how did this resonate in my life at the time? The sneering misogyny & objectification of girls (rarely were they women until they got to the Honky Tonk) was masculinity defined. I felt I would never be masculine enough, aggressive enough, daring enough to live in the reality of their songs. They sold a myth that I saw as reality – much like the Hollywood fantasy that the love of the right person would give you reason to live.

I don’t even think I found the Stones sexually attractive – even then there were rumours that Mick was a bit bi – I had a buddy who said he’d have sex with Jagger but, to be honest, I found Jagger to be too lizard like for me. Speaking of lizards I my first pop jo sex fantasy was the Lizard King, Jim Morrison, then Foxy Jimi Hendrix, but I digress.

I’ve blogged about growing up with out any real role models in a culture that had distorted sense of gender that I ended up with my own distorted sense of masculinity. Pop music of the time merely echoed that that distortion – real men were Born to Be Wild whereas faggots like me could only dream about it.




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The Rolling Stones 2

After the death of Brian Jones the Stones moved in a slightly different direction as they adjusted to a new guitarist. Then when this hit the 80’s they seemed to get lost & their lps became more aimless – shall we say, uninspired attempts to remain relevant.

As either stand-alone or mp3 I have Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile on Main Street (1972), French EPs, Goats Head Soup (1973), It’s Only R’n’R (1974), Black & Blue (1976) Some Girls (1978) Deluxe Edition, Emotional Rescue (1980), London Singles Collection (2002), Blue & Lonesome (2016).

Bleed & Fingers are well focused & have some of the best writing of their career. Richard’s guitar work is often amazing & I find myself going back to these lps with great pleasure. The set of French EP’s – as you might guess, were released in Europe & each had 3 songs on them – the mixes are different from the lps versions. They ended with the release of Exiles. The London Singles Collection – 3 cds that ends with Sympathy for the Devil. The singles were mixed for radio & the sonics are different & in some cases totally different from the lps versions (Honky Tony Women) – some were never on lp (We Love You/Dandelion) well worth having, whereas the French EP’s are for fanatics lol. Blue & Lonesome  (2016) is their last new release – they return to their roots with a fine set of blues. 

Rounding out the mp3 collection are The Troggs: Trogglodynamite (1967) best known for Wild Thing The Trigs never made it big in the USA but were relatively popular in Britain. Solid bar band stuff. The Rumour was Graham Parkers backup band for many years I did some recording with out him: Max (1977) is an excellent set that shows the band didn’t need him. 

The Beach Boys: Smiley Smile (1967) – more a cult favourite & the studio sessions that nearly destroyed the band. Sweet & sonically dense. Wolf Call! is a fun compilation of various rock-a-billy songs. Rock-a-billy being another of the prime influences on British rock. As are The Esquires: Very Best of  (2012) with funky songs like Get On Up, this is the sort of funky sound the Stones tried to achieve but failed. 

Secos & Molhados is an innovative Brazilian glam-rock band that defies real definition. YouTube videos are wild, the music is tight, rocky, experimental & fun. I have A Volta do Gato Preto (1988). Finally U2’s Songs of Innocence (2014). not one of my favourite bands but they were forcing this lp free on anyone, even those who didn’t want it I opted take it lol. Solid rock but unexceptional.


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The Rolling Stones 1

There was always this argument: who is better The Beatles or the Stones? These were the only two bands pitted this way – there was never an argument: who is better Herman’s Hermits or The Yardbirds? I doubt if The Beatles or The Stones really cared – who was selling most was probably, their concern, if they had any at all. Looking back now I see The Stones had a darker & more sexual sound. The Beatles were lighter & more playful. One would never mistake one for the other.

On shelf as stand-alone or mp3 I have England’s Newest Hit Makers (1964), 12 x 5 (1964), Out of Our Heads (1965), December’s Children (1965), Aftermath (1966), got LIVE if you want it! (1966), Between the Buttons (1967), Satanic Majesties Request (1967), Beggar’s Banquet (1968), Ya-Ya’s Out (1970). 

The other argument was: which is the best Stones lp before 1970? Their material progressed from lp to lp as they went from covers to original songs. I find it impossible to pick a favorite lp – even  favorite song – my favorite moment, however, is Keith’s guitar break in Sympathy For The Devil. Buttons was perhaps their most radio friendly & I did love it. The reviled Majesties is excellent but certainly not Satanic nor as compelling as Banquet.

Rounding out one of the mp3 cds I added: John Mayall with Eric Clapton (1966), A Hard Road (1967), Jazz Blues Fusion (1978) – Mayall is a traditional blues player who was very influential but never really tried for radio top ten. Clapton went on to bigger fame & the Stones replaced the deceased Brian Jones with Mick Taylor – who was one of Mayall’s lead guitarists.

How could I resist Marianne Faithful’s Best (1987) – a sweet collection of her sweet nearly folksy early work. If you only know her later work (Broken English) you will stunned by the purity of her voice. Finally is the soundtrack from Performance (1970): A film starring Mick Jagger as a reclusive rock star caught up in gangsters. Great music & let’s face it Jagger was never reclusive.

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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.


“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.

every Tuesday 2019


15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible


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


The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA


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


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 andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C. 

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

Faithfull Nightfly

Next on the pop shelf is Donald Fagan’s The Nightfly – this is a sublime, too short, solo effort by half of Steely Dan. It has the same jazzy, easy sultry sound & great songs. Adult pop of the highest degree.

Next is the amazing Marianne Faithfull. I remembered her mainly for the chocolate bar story from her days with the Rolling Stones. Pretty & with, then, a clear if emotionally empty, voice. She recorded a fair bit but everyone felt she as coat-tailing the Stones. I have a nice anthology of her Early material. As Tears Go By is tender. Lacking creative input she did tolerable cover material & some original stuff. Folksy safe. Then she disappeared for decades – wrote an amazing biography & resurface.

Her return was the full-throttle, gutsy, remorseless Broken English. It remains a masterpiece & touch stone for so many female singers who followed: Alanis Morissette, Courtney Love – none of whom match the power of this recording. The first shock is her voice – gone is the sweet soprano. Years of addiction, booze, sex resulted in a raspy assault that amazes with its emotional direct force. Lyrically fierce & scary – this is a work that if you haven’t heard it by now – find it.

She’s recorded extensively over the decades: I also have: Blazing Away a great live set from 1990 & she is mesmerizing. There is also a concert video of this performance worth searching out. 20th Century Blues: amazing live cabaret from 1997 with covers of Weill/Brecht; Strange Weather: almost as good as Broken English but a little more laid back. This is stunning music by a survivor.

Prettier Boys

Mike looked at Jack. The tiny table in the coffee shop became wide, wider and wider the longer they sat there.

‘Mike. We both knew this might happen.’


‘This distance thing was good but we both knew it wouldn’t last, couldn’t last forever. You know what I mean? I wanted someone nearer, close, someone I could see without having to book a flight, a hotel. You have to understand that. Don’t you?’

‘Yes.’ Mike wasn’t sure what to do. He knew had to resist the temptation to seize on any little opening to pull Jack back to him. Over had to be over. He knew that and hated it.

‘I’ll be here for the Film Festival. You have your gold pass?’

‘Yes. The press package you always arrange for me.’

‘No need to be bitter about things. At least I didn’t hide you away like some would have.’

‘I … I think I’ll go now. I have things to do.’

‘To do? Such as?’

‘Figure out what to do with the rest of my fucking life.’ Mike stood and left the cafe.

So this is how it ends. Not even decent background music.

His mind raced with what he wanted to say. Sure Jack easy for you to say get on with life when you have a life to get on with. You have looks. I’m always going to be one of those squat hairy little men that no one wants. One of the ones who become invisible in any crowd. The ones who never stand out and who only get to look worse as they get older. Ugly and … and what .. repulsive. Never the right look.

Even when I had youth I didn’t have that right look. No chicken hawks ever showed interest in me. Shit and now this. Sorry if I hurt your feelings but get the fuck put of my life you squat little troll. Why couldn’t you be honest Jack. You wanted a prettier boy to be seen with. Face it and get over it. I just wasn’t worth moving for, wasn’t worth inviting to live with. I would have. You knew that didn’t you. I would have happily picked up my life on the east coast and moved to be nearer to you, to be the one within reach, but no you felt the distance was a good thing. Yeah good thing that you didn’t get seen with me by your pretty friends in Toronto.

Okay to be seen with me in other places, other cities where you could always pretend I was some movie type and not the man whose dick you sucked.

Chapbooks available:


kiss3on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already


September: TBA

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018

check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

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

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Cherish Is The Word

The Association was one of those 60’s bands no one admitted to liking but which had several massive hits. They were a rock variation on the New Christie Minstrels. A choir that played rock instruments. Thick, lush, sometime overly sweet harmonies, sweeping arrangements & politics that offended no one, even when they sang about hippie culture.

couch cold couch

I was fan but never let on – The Rolling Stones were cool, The Association were too commercial & therefore very unhip. I have Greatest Hits!; plus on a mp3 collection: … along comes/ Birthday/ The ‘Stonehenge.’ The hits are here in context. The studio work on these is astonishing, trippy & best heard in a car with four speakers. Cherish always brings back memories. ‘Stonehenge‘ is my name for the lp with their name in a stone letter circle a la Stonehenge.

They slip out of radio pop & into vaudeville, music hall, barber shop & even country at times. Not a band that’ll ever be remembered for the depth of their lyrics & one who knew that the studio engineer was one of their best friends. Also Hawaiian Larry Ramos was one of few visible non-white, non-black popsters I was aware of at the times.

snow snow person deconstructed

Also on the mp3 cd are: The Box Tops: The Collection/ Best of – those hits hold up, wicked sitar & a fine cover of Whiter Shade Of Pale;  PF Sloan: Songs of Our Times – hey, here’s folk rock protest from Cali by a name lots of heard by a musician very few have heard (he wrote, amongst others: Eve of Destruction, Secret Agent Man)

drawers the clip board makes it officially cold

John Fred & His Playboy Band: Agnes English/Permanently Stated – I found the vinyl of Agnes years ago & have treasured it – Judy in Disguise – solid late 60‘s pop/soul with great horns; The Sonics: here are – some thrashy surf music; The Charlatans UK: Some Friendly – bit more modern, if the late 90’s are modern 🙂 fun British dance music with tasty organ work. I cassette a played to bits then replaced thanks to iTunes.

soon02 August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada


October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Welcome to Lake Pinebow


sample I thought this old piece about a spat over air conditioning would be perfect for this hot, hazy days.



‘Keep that window closed.’

‘It’s suffocating in here. Trish.’

I knew this would happen when I opened one of the small windows.

Trish had a thing about air. She hated it.

‘Do you realize how much it costs to air condition this place? Do you.’

‘Twelve cents?’

‘I’m serious, you asshole. When you open a window you seriously compromise the ability of the a/c unit to do its job. It stops functioning at top efficiency.’

‘Then turn it off. If we open the windows here and  the ones over there, we will have a cross current that will circulate fresh air in and keep us cool at the same time.’

‘AIR! AIR! From outside? Are you our of your mind? Do you know how polluted that air is?’

‘No more than this a/c crap you think is so good for us. How many of us have come down with colds this past month?’

‘Better colds than … than … than … I don’t know what that air does but it isn’t pretty. So shut that window right now.’

‘And if I don’t?’

‘I’ll put you down on the report as being uncooperative, of being counter productive to the good of the project and get you bounced.’

‘Good! Do that. I’d rather be bounced out of this hole anyway. If I knew it was that simple I would have opened that window sooner.’ I walked over the another of the small windows and popped it open. Then to another.

Sounds from outside could be heard. Walking. The low mutter of voices.

‘Close …. those …. windows ….. now.’ Trish said each word slowly. ‘I will not repeat myself.’

‘No.’ I breathed the air that had come into the room. The icy chill of the a/c air was tempered by the warmth of real air. ‘It might do you a little good to enjoy reality.’

‘It will not.’ Trish clutched a handkerchief over her mouth and nose. ‘You want us all to die? Don’t you? Is that it? IS that IT?’

‘It’s just air. Look, not all of us like that a/c air. We don’t mind a little of the real thing.’

‘Close … ‘ Trish coughed and couldn’t stop. Her face flushed red and she sank to the floor. ‘Please … ‘

‘Don’t be so melodramatic.’ I opened the remaining windows. As air from outside came in the a/c unit hummed louder to adjust to the rise in temperature.

‘How do you turn this off?’ I nudged Trish with my toe. She was gasping. ‘The a/c I mean.’

Her eyes bulged as her distended tongue rolled around across her lips. ‘Please…’

‘Oh if you are going to such a suck about it.’ I began to shut the windows. ‘We’ve had enough of real air.’

 sqcold squared 

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.



Passage of Surrender




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




Touching the flesh beneath

With my fingers

My tongue


between buttons

more talk

politics, weather

anything to know more


He undoes my buttons


His teeth sinking

Stops the empty flow of words

My hands fumble his buckle

I can barely bite back

His shoulder his ear




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


A momentary total

Inhalation of one another

To the heart of the rage

To the rage of the heart




I will not let him dress

Till he stands in moonlight

While the shadows


Over his stomach

Between his legs

He slowly kneels before me

The moon is covered by clouds

As my mouth is covered by his




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




I almost want an end

a grand finale

But my heart cannot beat


the fear


the rage

joylost my blues balls

Noir One Year On

Lizzie’s Cabaret Noir celebrated it’s one year in style – a packed house was treated to massive talent & wild raffle prizes. Doing the front-of-house I was glad to see many generous people dropping more than a fiver in the pwyc.

glove (g)love in the leaves

The show kicked off with a slate of dynamic usual faces starting with Nelson Sobral (soon to replace all of the Rolling Stones), Brenda Clews with a saucy piece, Cate & Dee with a great a cappella duet, Jeff Cottrill telling us why Halle Berry is better than you, me (because I did the first open stage a year ago). closing with Matt Gerber: aka Mr. Furious.

hockeydiscarded dreams

Feature Philip Cairns with Peter Lynch performed a short new play, What Ida Said, written by Philip with David Bateman A sharp comic piece that played with the slippery gender roles, aging, insest & conformity. ‘I don’t remember about sex? What is it?’ Peter was the perfect foil with his dry offhand delivery against Philip’s more emotionally sloppy character. After the short play Philip did a great job on Dory Previn’s Mr. Whisper, then Peter did a monologue as, I think, Tony of the Soprano’s mother.

blanket bundle of dirt

After the break more things where raffled off – I restrained myself from buying tickets as I have enough ‘things’ already :-). Next feature was the sensational The Rando Bando. I manned the iPod for their music & managed to get my cues right. The songs were sharp, sexy, bawdy, funny lyrics to well known (at least to me) melodies. You Don’t Know Me – became the stalkers lament: ‘You don’t see me – I’m watching from the heating duct’  The set had great flow that took us from from saucy to flat out vulgar. Loved it.

pink2 pink parking

By the time they were done it was 10 pm, and time for me to head home (I like to be abed by 11 most nights) so I missed Arlene Paculan’s set – maybe another time Arlene. A great show & a great night.

great Noir photo set:


June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont

100_0495 writing blocks broken at Loyalist

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada

pineoct at The Central


Laid Plans

so things didn’t go as planned

no one took into account

the end of the world

getting in the way of important things

why did it have to come to an end

before our plans could come to fruition

all those hopes and dreams

dashed turned into a dusty waste of time

time that could have been spent relaxing

enjoying the flow of things

we squandered those precious moments

on worries constructing news ways

of controlling to suit our wants

now all for nothing

the world has come to an end

almost laughing in our faces

as the tremor shook us up from its core

rending the sky

while we were busy getting our way

making things safe secure perfect

if only we had at least time to get naked

enjoy one last fuck   one last embrace

but the end came sudden fast relentless remorseless

crushing without pleasure

leaving this desolation in its wake

where there was once a planet there is debris

debris without even a residue

of karmic happiness left in the air

because we were so busy

we didn’t have time to leave a warm glow behind

didn’t even have sense enough to enjoy

the end of the world

saxophone daydream saxophone daydream of trombone love