UPCOMING GIGS

  • Sept.30,2017 All That Jazz & More, at the Minden Legion
  • Aug. 5, 2017 Private Party, Carnarvon, ON
  • Aug. 4, 2017 Music by the Gull, Minden, ON
  • Aug. 2, 2017 The Nice Bistro, Whitby ON
  • May 17, 2017 The Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON
  • April 29, 2017 Minden Cultural Centre, Minden, ON
  • March 24,2017 The Old Mill Toronto, Home Smith Bar
  • Feb.26,2017 San Pancho Music Fest. Mexico
  • Nov.5, 2016 Radio Hall, CanoeFM, Haliburton, ON
  • Nov. 2, 2016 le Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON
  • Sept. 4, 2016 The Red Umbrella Inn, Minden, ON
  • July 26, 2016, Head Lake Park, Haliburton, ON
  • Jan. 29, 2016, The Home Smith Bar at the Old Mill, Toronto
  • Oct.23, 2015 Gate 403
  • Sept. 9 The Nice Bistro, Whitby, ON
  • August 22, Gate 403, Toronto
  • August 14, Music by the Gull, Minden, ON
  • July 29 Hugh's Room, Toronto
  • June 13, Gate 403,Toronto

Monday, September 18, 2017

SOME LIKE IT BLACK

Got the big sanding and staining job done on the deck so it's all renewed and gorgeous. Here I am relaxing and feeling proud after all the work:

a woman's work is never done....

che bella, si?

no more splinters

MEANWHILE.... as I preserve and cherish the wood here, my former home, originally beautiful, warm cedar logs, has now been blackened - literally - by the new owners.
Who covers lovely, glowing natural wood? And who paints it BLACK!!!?
The Rolling Stones sang "No colour any more, I want to paint it black"
Or it could be the evil witch's house from a Grimm's fable...
It is grim, for sure, - and ghastly - but I will focus on my deck.



The destruction begins....



and continues, as the sun lights up the disappearing beauty


at best it looks like a steel garage door now.
Some pseudo-designer's wet dream, I reckon....

Thursday, September 7, 2017

MINDEN, ONTARIO GIG

Yes, we will be there, at the Minden Legion, a very lovely open room, and we will be playing jazz standards and a few blues tunes - all inviting you to dance and enjoy.  Here's info about the musicians accompanying me, and for those who don't know, Minden is in Haliburton County.

           
             Mike Allen, guitarist. Playing in the GTA for almost 40 years, with artists such as Patti Page, Zamfir, the Nylons, George Olliver, John MacDermott, Bob DeAngelis; also played pops concerts with orchestras in Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, & Windsor, as well as in shows Mamma Mia, All Shook Up, Saturday Night Fever (US tour), & ShowBoat, among others..
           
            Ron Johnston, bassist. Past member of "Kollage", co-winning band of the National Jazz Award for best acoustic group in 2004. Played with Peter Appleyard, Earl Hines, Jodie Drake, Ada Lee, Maxine Sullivan, Doc Cheatham, among others; performed on many TV shows and was in the Oscar-winning film "Chicago".
            I'll be singing and when I'm not, the band will take off with some favourite instrumentals. There will be room to dance! And of course, the bar will be open for business.
            And here's the best part: the cost will not blow your budget: $15. per person, or $25. per couple. Like it says in a well-known Canadian song - "Good Times Guaranteed."
           
            Saturday, September 30, 2017    8-11pm
            The Minden Legion
            Hwy. 35 and County Road 21
            Tickets available at the Legion 705 286 4541 or at Canoe FM 705 457 1009
           


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

PLEASE LET MY SITUATION TOUCH YOUR HEART

That was the 'subject' on some spam/junk mail that I got today. I didn't open it, of course, but I couldn't resist using the line.  It pleads compassion, something the world could use more of, and I would no doubt do well to express it more often too. God knows, I can be as thick-headed as the next person. Maybe I could get a T-shirt with that printed on it; start off every contact with others in that submissive and self-effacing manner; a little bit of Uriah-in-your-eye, instead of the traditional mud.

There are times, furthermore, when I need a little compassion, for those days when I write something like the paragraphs below, which in turn flow from feelings that tend to lower the fun meter of life. Those days which I refuse to ignore, but which I rather take to myself as rich in some hidden wisdom. One hopes, in any case, and one writes. Perhaps other readers may take comfort in knowing that the dark side hits everyone from time to time:

And so days pass, and the knotted stomach weaves a rope that the snake of anxiety will climb up and up, curving from side to side to the seductive strains of hypnotic hidden memories, up and up to the murky darkness of the mind, there to settle in a soft grey fold of tissue and wait. No rush. No limbs. No light necessary. No yes or no.

            What happens in the dark recesses, stays in the dark recesses. It's the unwritten code of the soul, protection of the fragile essence that is each person, guarded by the immortal and muscled security spirit that never sleeps on the job. A holy champion that hopes to return its charge unsullied to the gauzy serenity of the heavens. Don't worry. It's alright. You're alright. Focus on the colours of the inner eye. Love conquers all, - not the ego-serving emotion that the world mistakes for love,-  but the hushed mission performed mutely, obeying timeless laws.

            "My life is good, you old bag". It's a line from a very funny Randy Newman song, a smart-ass reply to a mean and miserable teacher of his child, representing the prevailing and ever-present snobs of the world, ready to claim superiority over your pitiful life and lifestyle. It's a reply to that internalized nasty voice too, the voice that won't let you be, the lie you swallowed at some point. It's a flippant and flawed emulation of the spiritual guardian, but it gives voice to an attitude and fight you have to assume into the woven rope of anxiety that would be your spine.

            Rain falls, drops slither down a piece of tent screening, fabric bent in loose folds that move slightly in a breeze, weeping onto the wooden floor. The morning quiet is unbroken by jays or sirens or weekend do-it-yourself carpenters. Life having a lie-in.
           

            One wonders at the labyrinth that becomes a life; the different paths chosen of free will, that bring us to a certain place where we are left simply standing in emptiness. The people and efforts and victories we have met are all there, strung on ribbons, encased in pretty-coloured glass balls that light up at night. The joys and sorrows and little walks in the park, the laughs, they're not gone, but they are not relevant somehow to the decisions that you know are now necessary. They tinkle in the wind, make a delicate, distracting sound; they can give you comfort. But they cannot lead you in any meaningful way. So you wait. No rush. No limbs. No necessary light. No yes or no.

Angst.






Wednesday, August 16, 2017

AH GETS WEARY

Yesterday I had a Shiatsu treatment, which consisted of pressure applied to points on my body, plus some acupuncture needles. It took a while, but I finally began to respond, relax, and feel the waves in my brain change. I also always experience "sight" of a spot of deep purple, even though my eyes are closed, and this is the result that signifies a return to a balanced state. In my mind, and also in my body, I believe.
          The bad part is having to suffer the return trip home amidst the smelly and noisy environment and people, but I got there eventually, where my only thought was to sit awhile in the afternoon sun and warmth and try to recall that peace that I had felt. The only spot I could find was in my front garden, where it's never occurred to me to sit before, because there is a deck in my front of the house. But the deck was in shade, so I dragged a chair to the place where the big oak trees did not cast their shadows and I sat with my book.
          One of my neighbours came by and said she wished she had a camera because it made a pretty picture. So I got my camera and had her take the shot so I could see what she saw, and I have to agree: it does look a little idyllic, myself there amongst the echinachea  and the Queen Anne’s lace and the other summer foliage. It belies my real state of mind.
          I had spent the day very depressed about the events that are occurring in the United States of Insanity. The rise of the right, and the hate-filled white supremacists who have now killed an innocent person who was protesting their vile creeds. I was saddened and depressed, and that increased with all the news reports that say these ignorant groups are on the rise, and with them, the likelihood of more violence.
          I try to calm myself; to focus not only on the intelligent and caring people, but also on the things in the world that are good. Otherwise, I begin to react to the anger and hate that these people incite and I do no one, including myself, any good.
          It's harder when I then see the president of that very divided country open his mouth and give vent to the attitudes that are really his; when he does not read a script that has been written for him. When his own mind becomes apparent, revealing his shocking lack of humanity and ability to lead.
          It got worse when a friend phoned and we began arguing about the issue in Charlottesville, in the U.S., and the reaction of the person named Trump. How we argue is interesting, if it wasn't so upsetting.  What my friend does is difficult to capture, because he's intelligent and quick and has a lot of facts in his head, which even if they're right, and they are not always, they are delivered in a forceful manner, and not rational, to my mind.
What seems so obvious to me about the forces of the right gets lost in what he says, and although he does not agree with them, still, his comments seem to blame the other side, just for wanting things (like removing a statue that celebrates a person dedicated to maintaining slavery in the U.S. south), - he says that their actions cause the reaction that leads to the violence. This is a very spurious way of arguing, confusing the issue and ignoring the fact that the people on the right are hate-filled, intolerant, prejudiced, and simply wrong in their beliefs; and one of them murdered someone.
The argument has been diverted so that we've now lost sight of the original complaint, which was what the president had said in response to the event, claiming that there were two sides, both violent, and ignoring the facts that the supremacists and neo-nazis and immigrant-haters arrive in military outfits, with guns, purposely planning to stir up some violence. When I go back to that, and how he seems to be defending the president, he says that's because the media is always against him and criticizing him. He's defending him from the media. I have to say the media is just trying to report what the president says and does; they're not the cause of the problem; the man himself is. The conclusion does not make sense.  The media is not the bad guy, nor is Black Lives Matter.  The man in charge is, with his hate-filled diatribes during his political  campaigning. And now these horrifying groups think they have a legitimate basis for their garbage.
          It's very difficult, simply being aware of this crisis in our world, but it becomes worse when I hear my friend, whom I do care about, saying the things he does. He gets angry and defensive about his own beliefs, which, if I have got them wrong, then I have to say it's because of how he presents his thoughts and beliefs.  They come across as prejudices against people who are being wronged in the first place. He seems to make the speaking out against wrongs the reason for causing the conflict. Well, the speaking out may anger the corrupt or dishonest doers of injustices, but erroneous laws or practices are never righted by silence. Or silenced by the right, when 'right' has been appropriated to mean an assumption of power or superiority over others. The conflict that results grows directly out of the abuse.
          I go to bed, preparing for a night of no sleep, in response to the stress. I try to, once again, calm myself, try to reclaim some of the faith that I need to have in people, and a sense of wholeness and healing.
          I had gone out for a walk earlier to see the sunset, before the newscast and the subsequent argument, and had been so sad and drained of energy thinking about the way things are going in this world. I watched the beautiful orange ball go down, and returning home, all I could think was that I needed so desperately to be up on the land I used to own in the country. To hear the sounds of nature, to breathe some real air, to feel the earth and whatever it is that emanates from it and which I feel when I'm there. Magnetism? Energy? I don't know, but I felt something connecting to me from the earth there, and I don't feel it in the city. I don't feel it anywhere; there isn't a chance or a place to be alone with, or listen to, the universe. I've lost something. I sold the land to survive, like many people are forced to do with their souls, and that makes me want to weep.
          I hope the country that became one of the greatest in the world doesn't lose what it built up for so long, the hope that the country itself was built on. It's in danger of throwing it all away.
                    

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

FOUR STRONG WINDS

Sang last Wednesday to a full house at the lovely NICE Bistro in Whitby. It's such a treat to have the owners, who are great, the audience that is appreciative, the magical accompaniment of Mike Allen on guitar, and the food, of course, French cuisine done to perfection and gobbled by me.
Here's a photo:



Then on Friday, we were supposed to play in Minden at the Music by the Gull (River), but the gods had another idea, which was to send a tornado ripping through Ontario and targetting Haliburton County.  It never happened for us, but I believe there were more than four strong winds, and Huntsville got hit badly. Our gig, unfortunately, was cancelled. 
I stayed home and lounged, getting very relaxed on the sofa:

 
 
 
The next day, the sun shone again, here and there, and we played at a wedding party for a sweet couple who had got married in Australia and were back for the family celebration. A great time was had by all:
 
Ian Pay, Zoe, John Deehan

 

 
 
Keep September 30 open for a great night of jazz standards, and lots of other music that you will love and be able to dance to.  We'll be at the Minden Legion in Haliburton, and it will be a fine finish to the summer (boo hoo), but we will usher in autumn in style:
 
John Deehan, Ron Johnston, Zoe, Mike Allen

I will be posting details of the work, over many years, of these musicians on a later blog.  They are all fabulous. So stay tuned.
 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

SUSPENDING BELIEF







I was so mad, eh?  I mean....what the blankety-blank goes on when you can't even walk down the street? when you can't trust anything? - not the ground you walk on, not even the feet that carry you. When you can't simply "put all your troubles in your old kit bag, and smile smile smile" while you amble along - or hurry along - whatever. The point is: you can't relax for one little second, lest the gods, or fate, or some stupid little pointy-toed shoe that you never usually wear, catches on a broken bit of sidewalk sticking up above what should have been a flat, smooth surface.  Thanks, Toronto, for not keeping your public walkways in good repair. But why am I wasting my time, lowering myself (literally, as you will see) to sarcasm and insincere thanks? There are real thanks due somewhere, to someone, or something. To heaven?


Perhaps. It was a miracle, after all. An ordinary, out-of-the-ordinary miracle on Victoria Park, near Danforth and the infamous Shoppers' World.


            OK, so I tripped, and began to fall, but only began, moving in a series of stop-action, slow-motion stills, going from sudden lurch forward to half-bend, arms-thrown-out-in-front, to overall wobble-with-one-arm-circling-back, to the miracle: to myself caught in the timeless battle between heaven and earth, - body splayed in a prone position, and hanging there, as if by strings from above, like a Gulliverian suspension bridge, just THIS close to the ground. And then the strings suddenly cut, gravity sucking me down in victory, and my body jerked forward once again, upper limbs flailing out of the airplane position; plane bound in free-fall for the ground, but then once again swooped up and seemingly cradled by an invisible etheric force, and my body, delayed from the inevitable crash, is guided and lifted to a standing position, sputtering with evil curses, but upright.


            Oh, I swore long and loud, and a-plenty. A frightening, bone-threatening, ungainly and embarrassing acrobatic act performed publicly will unleash anger and a streak of blue that you never knew you had in you. You tremble and stomp at the same time; you feel betrayed but fiercely determined, and finally you walk away, seething, searching for the idiot with a cell phone that might have preserved the shame. But as I walked, I couldn't help thinking back on the incident, trying to reconstruct the few minutes that the almost-fall had actually taken. I couldn't, but I had to admit that something strange had occurred, that by all physical laws, I should have been smashed onto the concrete, with the fracture clinic awaiting my arrival. But something weird had changed the natural course of events. Was it my own mind, screaming NO!!! and willing myself into a resistance that literally pulled me back? Or was it an intervention from unknown spirits - souls who have known me perhaps, maybe even loved me, but who were now gone from this life, watching from the world beyond? Did someone reach down and grab me, holding me until my poor brain could scramble to receive my own propriocentric transmissions, correct my motor functions, and finally restore my balance? I will never know. However, after the anger and the thinking, I was humbled; shocked and awed for sure, but then simply the witness to my own amazing experience, an unbelieving believer in the unexplained. I walk, therefore I talk: Gracias a la vida.  (Maybe it was just the greens I've been taking lately - a super-Popeye response, you know?)



Thursday, July 13, 2017

WRITING FOR A LIVING

It's barely finished - the rough draft, that is, but oh, mama is so proud of her new baby.  I have written before, - 'way back in the early days, and before all the music got a serious effort - but recently I decided to write the book (It might only be a novelette) that had been simmering for a while. It's done, except for the chapter on Hungary, which will be completed after I visit there in the fall.
And now it's in the 'ask your friends to read it' stage, the author relegated to the waiting room in the grand edifice of public opinion.
Will I lose my friends?  Will I hear the oh-so-dispiriting "it was very nice" comment.  Kill me first, please.
What to do now is the question.  I have thought of publishing companies, of course, and quickly brought myself back to reality, and the unlikelyhood of that.  You never know, but just to cover my covers, I have also thought of self-publishing, as that option is available for any old hack.  Then there's the podcast, which seems a good fit, since I have included musical choices for each chapter, and would like people to hear what I did in my head.
We will see.

My beautiful, inspiring laneway (until one year ago)