Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot pop star! Way back in the early 90’s I watched a bio on Bardot & discovered that she had a reasonable pop career in France. Not a great singer by any means but fun. I like this sort of obscure pop stuff (imagine my pleasure on finding Patty Duke’s Valley of the Dolls recordings).

dishes picnic

I did a record store search & bought a cassette called Golden Hits at Sam’s – released many years later as The Bardot Show which I have on an mp3 collection along with Brigitte. These two are sweet – some calypso & light pop. Show has her ‘hits’ & work with Serge Gainsbourg. He never pushes her voice beyond what it can do, a bit of echo seems to be the only manipulation. There is also great wonky sitar work – so 60’s.

construction2 what’s that lurking behind the bushes

I also have a stand alone (bought in Montreal July1993) : La mandrague – with more of sweet stuff. An overview of musical career, including the original Je T’aime with its breathy gasps over a disco beat.

shelf shelf restraint

The French are a great lover of singing actresses & also of this breathy tone that Bardot has. Most recently Asia Argento has release a cd of very Bardot type material – Feist is similar as well, light bouncy songs with a delicate voice.

sample

Press Of Flesh

‘I have to talk to you. Can you  come over right away?’

‘Yes. I have to change my clothes first so it’ll be about twenty minutes before I can get out of here.’

‘Fine. Hurry.’

‘Can’t you give me a clue as to what this is all about?’

‘No. I mean yes but the less time I spend talking to you now, the sooner you will be here.’

‘Okay. Okay. Bye. I love you.’

‘I love you too. Now get over here.’

A quick splash of water, change of socks and I was out the door. Normally I would have changed out of the sweat pants I wore around the house but the urgency in Brad’s voice told me I had best hurry.

The subway platform was crowded with kids from the uniform school near by. Teenagers budding into adults with sturdy bodies. Girls with the second blush of breasts straining white starched shirts and boys with their first spout of hair over their upper lips. Sweet smiles and ugly words to each other.

I never felt safe under these circumstances. As if they paid me any heed at all but memories of my own high school days would creep in. Days when I was taunted and bullied by boys just like these boys.

The train pulled in and all the cars were jammed with people. More high school kids now mixed with adults on lunch hour. I found a pillar to lean against. As the train pulled it out it jolted to a stop and then started gain pushing people into and over each other.

I was jabbed in the back by a knapsack and was in turn pushed into the girl in front of me.

‘Sorry.’ I muttered and I righted myself. She didn’t even turn around. I glanced behind me. A Chinese boy gave me a weak apologetic smile. Not that I expected any thing under the circumstances. If we all apologized for casual bumps there’d be no stop to it.

As I approached my stop I had to push through to get off. People were unwilling to part but I was given extra impetus by someone pushing behind me, also to get off.

I was glad to be free of the press of flesh around me. Not that I mind it because I know it is part and parcel of travel in a big city but I’m always happy to get away from it at the same time.

I stopped to catch my breath when the Chinese boy who had bumped me passed by me and then turned around.

‘You are alright?’

‘Yes.’ I was surprised that he had no accent. I also saw that he wasn’t as young as I had supposed when I first noticed him. ‘Thank you.’

‘Very crowded.’

‘That’s the way of this world at this time of day.’

‘Quite right.’ he smiled broadly.

Where was I going?

icons hor icon-o-graphy Cape Breton

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Tea Room Tramps

More Pride month queer pop. Another mp3 collection: Johnnie Ray: High Drama, Live in London; Justin Paige: Justin; Rough Trade: Avoid Freud, O Tempura; Pink Flamingos: Soundtrack; Pansy Division: More Lovin’ From Our Oven, Total Entertainment; Huggy Bear: Taking the Rough With The Smooch; QBoy: Moxie

chair view from cold mountain

A panorama of history starting with Johnnie Ray: an early 50’s crooner on his way to the top thanks to Cry – nearly huge till he was caught in a washroom with the wrong man & his career was ruined. A sad story that deserves a movie soon. The music is standard & listenable.

Justin Paige – is a Toronto performer I know nothing about. With songs that mention the Parkside, talk about Kay Y Kuties & Tea Room Tramps we are in full out mode here – I bought this Lp in early 80’s & was thrilled with it. A bar-room rocker in Joe Cocker style he was doomed – gays want to dance & not be teased about being a ‘Steam Queen.’ If anyone knows more about Justin get in touch.

lies lies trashed

Rough Trade – icons of the first order – I remember hearing High School Confidential the first time – I played the Lp grey & bought another copy. Carol Pope ruled. She even performed a show with Divine – who appears on the cover the Pink Flamingos soundtrack – a movie I remember fondly.

Pansy Division brought a whole new energy to queer pop with their vibrant, fun & out there songs. From ‘I’m Gonna Be A Slut’ they make no bones about being queer guys who like queer guys. Power pop of the first order with humor, emotion & romance.

runners knocked your boots off, eh

Huggy Bear is queer art rock, experimental and fun. QBoy is electonica dance music – high energy, socially aware & beautifully produced, but lacking, shall we say identity – it could be any electronica guy but with a bit more queer content.

samples

Wrong Number

 

I held my hand under the shower head. Warm, close to the hot I enjoyed. I heard a faint burr over the gush of water. Telephone. A sound I couldn’t ignore once I’d heard it , it was the call of the telephone’s demand to be answered. I just hoped it wasn’t Dan ducking out on dinner, again.

“Hello.”

“May ah shpeak to Fazadi?” A confident male voice asked.

Nuts! I hated that. Bad enough the phone would ring while I tried to get ready for my date but it had to be a wrong number.

“I’m sorry you’ve reached the wrong number.” I never did understand why I had to apologize when someone else made the mistake.

“Such is whrong numba?” Came through the receiver followed by a rapid slur of anxious words I didn’t understand.

I repeated slower, “You  have  reached  the  incorrect number. There is no Fraladi at this number.’

‘“I lokshin for Fazadi not Fraladi. Fazadi is there. No?” He sounded less confident.

“No. There is no Fazadi here. You have … what number are you trying to reach.” I could hear my shower. All that hot water down the drain.

“Seize none fie sixe fo fo none.” The man on the other end of the line said rapidly.

I didn’t understand what he said but I didn’t want to confuse him even more or have him feel I was making fun of him by having him repeat the numbers.

“That is not this number. I have to go now.” Why did I feel like directory assistance? I was even using that slightly pleasant tone they used. “Please hang up and try your call again.”

“Wait! Wait sirrah. Pleasche you tell mes right numba?” There was genuine panic in his voice.

“You have the right number but you must have dialed it wrong.” I looked around for something to pull over me, as if my not being nude would help me help him.

‘Dhialled? You men I pooshh boottons.”

“Right. You pushed the wrong buttons. Try again.”

“You heelp me. Pleasche I not shure now if I do right.”

Help? How could I help this man? All I could hear was the crawl of street traffic behind him and my hot water heater empty.

“Try the operator. Just push zero and someone will help you. Good bye.”

I hung up before he could reply, got into the shower where I ignored phone as it started to ring again.

Nuts! Cold water.

loyalist myseat red rocket at Loyalist

Billy Strayhorn

I’m jumping the jazz queue for this month; with Pride coming at the end of June I thought I would look at some gay music icons. In jazz there are fewer than one would expect, other than divas like Bessie Smith.

bury what’s been hid

On my shelf is ‘Lush Life’ a collection of Billy Strayhorn performances – solo, combo & with Ellington. He was an out gay man all his adult life – David Hajdu’s biography, also called ‘Lush Life’ goes into great detail about Billy’s career, accomplishments & his out life. Read it.

He was Ellington’s arranger, composer & co-composer for too many songs to list. It’s like seeing how much Cole Porter wrote. Amazing. Take the ‘A’ Train & Satan Doll – two of the better known.

reflection Danforth reflections

But he rarely took the spotlight. It’s not clear why not in the biography – perhaps being queer in private life was fine but being so & on stage at the same time wasn’t possible. He developed drinking and drug problems – standard for the frustrated.

The music is polished, full bodied and varied. He sings a few songs on this CD and has a good jazz voice – a bit like Chet Baker. His piano playing is superb. His lyrics are pointed, sometimes sad, and reflect his frustrations.

glass not even half full

Lush Life being a prime example: it starts: ‘I used to visit all the very gay places/Those come what may places’ and ends ‘Romance is mush/ Stifling those who strive./ I’ll live a lush life in some small dive/ And there I’ll be while I rot with the rest/ of those whose lives are lonely, too.’ Alcoholism killed him.

samples

hush

 

a song

melody

notes float

hover in the air

a voice

perhaps a voice

I don’t listen that closely sometimes

nor do I care

listening is transport

to another place and time

without movement

without language

 

a song

voices merge   separate

violins twine cautious   then fully

power throb of choke hold that slackens

tightens

another note

another coin hovers

a flute

oboes

they join with the violins

the deep brass of coronets

also joins

a race

run around a melody

stomp it

hide it

suddenly

speak it

plain simple

a single plucked

string

reverberates with melody

 

hush

 

not too long

as I sit   listen

my heart beats in the hush

rapid with expectation

the large rush

several all whole

hundreds

how large is that orchestra

how can it fit in my little speaker

how can it be contained by my ears

 

another listening

another day

another hour to sit

guitars pile metallic gratings around me

drums scatter around my eyes

move so quickly

the ears can barely follow them

to sort them out from the rapid flame guitar

cannot separate them from the voice

the soft gentle silky voice

the rough gravel voice

the several voices

all voice

in all songs

do the same thing

they merge   submerge

dance around destroy displace

replace enhance melody

the linger flicker of notes

take the strings of the heart

the voice of the heart

that flow follow through

a tease becomes sooth anger

dance

caress

slabs of guitar

scour the air

weld the steel of strings

to the windows

fill the corner

as full as full can be

stir memory

promising so much more

then over

 

silence

 

hushed again

waiting for something to follow

sit in the comfortable chair

hear the melody

written before I was born

recorded before I was born

words before I could speak

a sound that speaks to me

to people I will never meet

people with better things to do

people who hear but don’t listen

people who deny this moment

this sound

this joy

 

another song wait

it doesn’t exist till I hear it

till it merges with my life

with my moments of

being the one to hear

the one to command

to relax   slip

into where it will take me

 

I give the music permission

to move me

touch me

take me

where no human can or will

I surrender to what I don’t understand

why that melody reaches out to me

why that guitar

why that voice

why that violin

why those chords

no tongue can describe

tree02 winter sky

WPMY14

 

We’re All Animals

Next on the pop shelf is another of of my mp3 collections – 102 songs in 6 hr 6 min of the Animals (8 lps) with a dash of Joe Cocker (Little Help) and pinch of Grand Funk (Inside Looking Out). Most early lps: The Animals, The Animals on Tour (US), Animal Tracks (UK), Animalism (UK), Animalization, Eric is Here, The Animals With Sonny Boy Williamson and one later career: Every One Of Us.

bread casting bread on the bushes

The Animals are one of those British bands that never garnered the reputation of groups like The Kinks or Pink Floyd. Sure they had some monumental early hits, Rising Sun, Misunderstood, Away From This Place – but never seemed to transcend being more than a better than average bar band. Eric Burdon has a great bluesy voice but their material too often fell in good blues, r’n’b & rock.

soul sole under ice

Alan Price is a fine keyboard player, and never forget that their bass player Chas Chandler created the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Animals had a fascinating personal & direction change when Eric did LSD (more about those lp’s soon). Everyone One of Us is one those post-LSD recordings with White Houses & Year of The Guru leading them back to their blues roots.

Cocker’s Little Help From My Friends was a smash hit. His gravel voice was irresistible, the arraignments tight and the band even tighter. More blues than pop – Cocker did travel into pop in later years.

dogs the dogs of winter

byw Eric Burdon is still alive, performing & recording & released a fine cd last year ’Til Your River Runs Dry. The voice is intact. Listening to it was like meeting a old friend you haven’t seen in decades.

drunkpants

April 21, Monday – featuring – Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club – 7:30 – doors and open mic sign up, 8:00 – start – 54 The Esplanade, Toronto https://www.facebook.com/events/1379693865637955/

amflyerjpg copy

April 27, Sunday – attending – Julie Czerndea Workshop http://chiseries.ticketleap.com/chiseriesworkshop-julie-czerneda/ 

judy Julie Czerndea

June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words

bw

June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/

nomarching Loyalist control issues

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com

samples

New New New

 

I don’t know how this happened

honestly

but at some point

certain things lost their

importance

their purpose in the scheme of life

in the daily need

to get through what was to be gotten through

so there would be another day

and in that grind

some things

lost their importance

what can I say

I’m certainly not going to apologize

for that fact

but there it is it

I’m proud to say

this shirt has lasted several years

soon to been on the antiques road show

along with my shoes

the overcoat is years old

not looking to bad for wear

not the same buttons

it would be nice

if the buttons matched

but there you are

I found one of them on the street

‘find a button and never come undone’

was one of my mother’s mottos

so I’m always looking buttons

found a lamp tossed it out

looks like new   works

so why look a gift horse in the mouth

unless you want to clean its teeth

right

 

I was once like so many

eager for the new sofa

for the new spring line

anxious for the smell of new clothes

now there are more important things

things that make me feel

I’m not part of that use  waste set

not that I wouldn’t like to be

that if i won that big jack pot

if I’d be right back there

buying  adding

new new new

upgrading my stove

new hard drive

I admit it might be nice

not to go through the thrift shop

but at the same time

there’s nothing like finding

what you need

at a price you can’t believe

that never happens at Holt’s now does it

so no

I think

if those ships came in

I wouldn’t change my wardrobe that much

no new watches or expensive shoes

those things

only those who can also afford them

would recognize the price of

nearly said the value of

but they end up

worth the same

when you throw them out

when they lose that glimmer

that glisten

that satisfaction

when I find them at Goodwill

they get a new life

I imagine

it must come as a bit of a shock

for you

to see me wearing

those things you cast off

almost like

finding out I was really your son

and worse yet

I’ll be happy with them for years

while they only lasted a few months

till you were ready to move on

and thanks

 

yeah that takes on a new importance for me

gratitude

for what I have

for making things last

for really getting the most out of them

not just a few appearances

then into a closet because

everyone has seen them

if you get tired of seeing me

in the same old things

tough  get used to it

or start emptying more closets

there must be scads of stuff

you bought & never got around to wearing

sales items you couldn’t resist

that t-shirt you bought on vacation

but can’t bare to look at now

what were you thinking

 

so spring is about sprung

empty your closet

throw out the old

so the new new new can flow in

100_2919 Loyalist willow not weeping for me