UPCOMING GIGS

  • 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

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)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SANITY SUNSET

I'm thinking of setting up a new blog for my writing, - to save the music-lovers from the ramblings of the writer-me, but for the meantime......


MUSIC:  tomorrow night at the NICE BISTRO in Whitby, Ontario.  A lovely French restaurant, with great food and a jazz night once a month.  I'm it, Wednesday May 17 from 7pm until approximately 9:15.  Julian Yarrow will play keyboard, and I will sing, sing, sing.  French and English standards.  Good times guaranteed!!


AND WRITING:  The post is titled for this little piece. Honestly, I'm such a happy thing most of the time, but who knows for whom the bell tolls and when.... Here's last evening's contribution to great literature:



           Walking at around seven in the evening in early May is perhaps the best. The sun is still up, but it has a bit of that rosy thing starting to happen, giving the shittiest streets a glow that warms you, and the temperature, if a climate-change disaster isn’t hitting your city at that moment, is mild.  Sort of perfect. The birds twitter their evening songs, the rush-hour traffic abates. One can almost still the internal shrieks of rising insanity resulting from the abysmal and disenchanting solitude of one’s life.

            Oh, there are lots of things to do, chores of one sort or another, books one wants to write, music one can compose or perform, people one could help, organizations, studies, travels.....and at the very least one can always make a list of thing to do, even if one never gets to the doing. The problem is, doing things does not make a life, and running from one activity to another, although at times satisfying and certainly providing an occasional sense of accomplishment, or at least a neater home, if not a skill one might add to one’s identity, still does not satisfy the soul in a way to stop the soul’s weeping. 

            Why, soul, are you so demanding and so frustratingly silent, always just sitting there and waiting for one to know automatically when and where to stop, to listen, and to gain by some magic intuition the wisdom that you hold? Why can’t you just speak up, shout even, to indicate the people that will not only point out or accompany one on the path that is the right one, but who may even help to build the path?

            No answer.

            So we walk in the eventide and look at the green grass, and smell it too, which is a delight after the sluggishness of winter and a dreary spring. We look at the new leaves on the trees and the budding flowers and we rejoice; look at the sparky little puppy that a woman takes on one of its many walks; at the trains that roll by on the subway, making long shadows across the field. And we try to convince oneself that hey, this is good, because in fact it is, the whole scene peaceful and correct and uplifting in the same way that simply putting one foot down and then the next one is. But its goodness fails to quell the howling of the empty canyon that is the mind; it fails to ease the churning of the gut, the roiling plasma of the heart, the panicked roller coaster that is each day. 

            One imagines childish rebellions, like eating all the junk food possible, or even some halfways-ok junk like ice cream or chips or cake. And there’s always alcohol, the friend in need; there’s some already in the cupboard at home that could be polished off. But these temptations last no longer than the thoughts; and one tries desperately to imagine flying off to foreign countries and running to some equally imagined romantic interest,  - again, to no avail. Things are really bad when the fantasies fail to arouse any stirrings, physically or mentally. The passing trains produce more of a rumble.

            Meanwhile the grass is green; greener in fact than it has been for a long while, and it has probably grown a quarter of an inch during this fruitless turn around a few blocks. Well, that will give one something to do fairly soon – get that old hand mower out, always good for a healthy swearing session. And perhaps one has worn out the old shoes a bit – necessitating another trip to the ‘payless’ (which translates as ‘useless’) store that sells footwear that lasts one year at best.

            Always look on the bright side.

            And keep on moving. 

            And be grateful that one can walk.

            And look for the light.

            And smell the green green grass of home.

            This imperfect, illusory home.

P.S. One was perhaps not too imaginative when it came to possible creative outlets from the gloom last night.  This morning's news had a story of a Toronto man who went to the transit yards and stole a bus.  Just like that. Created a police chase and everything.  Maybe there was something "abroad in the air". He certainly escaped his ennui.
A la prochaine, dear readers. And keep those rose-colured glasses within reach.
 
 



Thursday, April 27, 2017

LIVING WITH THE SNAKE




            All the old, scary stories from the stupid (man-made) Bible – that so-called ‘sacred’ collection of thoughts – in reality, just the result of wars between power-hungry men, as usual, fighting to see whose version of history will be the one to rule the world.  And amongst the stories, the snake, (the ultimate symbol of the male member?) – slithering its way in and around all our lives and dreams – bringing us to ruin and regret.

            Well, if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

            They always say that our world is created by our thoughts, and that one I do believe, but man, or should I say, woman!, it is hard to maintain one’s vision in the insane and shoving world that is out there.  You have to be a sort of bully, in a nice way, of course, - in the accepted, sly, and clever way of market advertising and politicians, to ensure your success.

            I am capable of wanting, even pushing, my way at times, but in general, I’m much too filled with the self-effacing doubts and strictures that were taught to me. I tend to hide my thoughts and wishes, to avoid their being squashed by others, which too often has been my experience. The loud voices, in particular the mocking ones, can easily defeat me.  Suffice to say, the voices that I heard in my past are internalized to a fairly high level, although I have learned, after much sorrow, to listen more to myself and my own way. But it’s always a battle, and in the end, isolating myself is still the best defence. Remove yourself from competition, from sight even, and no one can smack you down.

            Unfortunately, the isolation has its own ache. Isolation and the obedience to the rules of common sense, which seem to have lost their sway in the general population. Why pay your bills on time? Why try to live within your means? Why read or write or think to improve the world? Why seek knowledge? Why eat or grow healthily, or support that policy? These days seem to encourage goals of having everything all at once and damn the consequences.  Die in debt, declare bankruptcy, fill your body and mind with shit and let everyone else pick up the pieces.

            It’s obvious the snake has done its work in me.  Today I’m not too capable of rising above the mess. The snake has entered me and left its poison and now it curls its way to my organs and blood, and sucks my life, which after all is my mind’s vision of a sweeter and more joyful existence. It sucks it and mangles it into an evil substance which infects my soul and saddens me so that I lose my vision completely. So that I resent the seeming happiness and carefree irresponsibility of others; the togetherness of families that a society focused on material gluttony and wastefulness encourages.

           

            “Here I sit a-sewing, in my little housie; nobody comes to see me, except my little mousie”.

           

            Nobody sews anymore either. Nobody repairs. Nobody wants things that last, or have history, or natural beauty. Nobody wants things that last. Here, in the dark of that old nursery rhyme above that we used to sing, I sometimes sit and think nobody cares. About anything.

            Or perhaps that’s just me. Today.

            I must remember, after all, - (Scarlett), - tomorrow is another day.

           

            “So rise, Sally, rise; and shut both your eyes;

            And point to the east; and point to the west;
            And point to the very one that you love best."

Creativity comes in many guises, including negativity.  I'm sure the next post will be jolly, and filled with pretty pictures.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I WANT TO BE HAPPY

Some of the time, I simply am not..  but i don't consider that a problem.  Why should i be happy all the time?  Why should anyone?  It's not normal.  Life has ups and downs, don't you know, and seasons, and changes, all that.  Here's a poem I wrote the other day, in a down moment:
The metre fails. The melody, absented, goes unheard.
What should be, went somewhere, and words are
Stumbling clods of thought.
Stumbling blocks that fizzle into dirt, making mole-hills out of
Mountains, tick-tocking their way down the dark side.
Rocks that tip and settle like a bad throw of the dice;
The bet is swept; you thought it hidden, but everyone knew,
Except you.
If shapes could hold, be fast, and stop, so senses, shrivelling
In lightest air, might know an instant’s knowing....
But on and on we are carried by the dull haul of dreams,
To waken, and hear

Nothing.

the tickling, cold jacuzzi
And then, some happy moments ensued.  Some pictures:
at the rehearsal; garden
a rooftop sunset pic i took

me, sam peeking past drums, and carlos

steve goldberg, trumpet and me, pointer

beautiful statues in the garden; this and one below



the ocean visible past the garden

just so tickled


and now I will attempt to put up the video of us rehearsing "I Want to be Happy"  or maybe another day...it's taking too long.



Monday, February 20, 2017

IT'S JUST THE CHAMPAGNE TALKING

There’s some nice window-rattling and rib-shaking bass pounding going on right now, thanks to the upstairs neighbour. Oh, no offence to them, it’s sort of de rigueur practice around here to blast your way across the airwaves at any time of day or night. Why just listen to music? Why not force it on everyone within a forty mile radius? And why be restricted to just one song? How much better if you can have five or six conflicting melodies, or in the case of the shit that’s currently playing, conflicting bass, dinning. I’m in another land, where the culture, as it’s been described to me, and using the term very loosely, is like this. This is an expression of something, so I’ve been told, and I must be respectful of their different take on things. Mmmmm. I’m in their country, after all.
Yes, I am. What crap. Crap is crap. And it is impossible to think, or talk above the noise. It’s also impossible to walk down the street in peace. It’s like being constantly assaulted. And I am beginning to resent it very much. I even resent the animals, the dogs lying like dead things in the middle of the streets, the garbage that is strewn around, the dust, the moronic roosters. I mean, I like nature, but birds make a lovely sound, and these creatures are simply stupid, and obnoxiously repetitive. It’s got to affect your outlook on life.
So obviously, I don’t belong. And I shouldn’t complain. Respect, after all. And my own sanity, which requires that I leave, and find something more closely resembling intelligence. Where would that be, I wonder, what with the world in the state it is. I despair of finding a place or people, and minds that I can enjoy. But having despaired, I must say that I just had a lovely glass of champagne with my neighbour and a friend of hers, and that was a relief, except that we had to scream over the attendant “music” of the surrounding area.

Is it just me? Am I somehow throwing myself into situations and contacts that will never satisfy me? Is it some old and repressed idea of myself that insists that I be unhappy, and never find the ground I want; never grow the way I should? Do I believe, under all the freedom and learning that I’ve had, that I don’t deserve better? Well, screw that. Or give me another drink.  Or find me a job.  Or get me a gig.  Or let one of my songs go viral.  Or, or....shet ma mouth

what i need to clear my mind

my despairing self

my champagne-sharing and saviour/neighbour kathy

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I WOOF I WAS A WRITER

I’m writing a book. I wish. To just settle in, with my four hours of daily discipline, then walking and ruminating through remaining times of meals, and exercises, and visits with like minds. Crafting exquisite phrases, ferreting forgotten but sublime roots of language that bloom and thrill, as satisfying as an astounding and controlled physical feat, or a simple, nourishing meal taken from the plentiful earth.

I wish, but I cannot. The writers that have preceded me have eyes that see beyond my lenses, and words, knowledge, and experience that make me seem like a dog, romping on the beach diving into waves time and again, changing nothing. My brain can offer nothing to bequeath to hungry readers. I only marvel at what others produce, and prance in the freedom of the joyful dog.

But if I can't be a writer, at least I can sing a little bit.  I will be performing at the San Pancho Music Festival in Mexico next Sunday, Feb. 26, and then on March 24 at the Old Mill, Toronto. Here's an advance picture of meself on the SP stage, (more to follow after the event), and then some pics of the lovely apartment that I inhabit here: