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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

BY THE BLUE DANUBE

It was one of the first piano pieces I learned a hundred years ago when I was young. Tonight on the way into Budapest I saw it for real, just before dark. Talking about the Danube river and Strauss's famous waltz. After arriving at my lodgings, a villa built by a Count who was Prime Minister in the early 1900's, I ventured down unknown streets to a main drag, trying in vain to find food. I have realized, as a friend of a few years knew, that I get very cranky when hungry. Didn't have the local currency, which was a problem, (why can't they use euros?) and banks were closed. Would be closed until Monday.
Bad news.
Then good news. I read the public transport sign out of boredom and no place to go, and discovered that I'm old enough to ride for free. Suddenly the city improved a lot.
Then I asked in what looked like a fancy restaurant, and found out they would accept the euro. So hallelujah, I could eat. They even had live music.
Good news that turned to not so good, because they played songs that I sing, and it made me wish I was at the Gate, performing with the trio.
Oh well. The food was good. Walked back and didn't see a soul in the quiet. I miss the people and street life of Rome already. It suited me better, and was warmer too.
............
But hey, now it's a brand new day, and I explored a lot of the city, (although sometimes I feel as if I'm simply walking and eating, and then walking and eating some more, but that's actually quite fine).
And now that I found out how to post pictures, (on my last day in Rome) I'll show you a bit of Budapest, starting with the famous Gellert spa, then the ceiling of the Opera House, then part of an exhibition called "Shoe Magic" at the museum, next my feet taking a rest by a little pond, then the astonishing St. Stephen's Basilica, which can hold 8,000 worshippers, then a lovely bride about to change her life there, next the view from the Matthias church, overlooking the river and rooftops, me in one of the towers, two gorgeous girls on parents' shoulders, and the beginning sunset. I later sang spontaneously alongside a violinist at an outdoor cafe, but that's a video. I'll see if I can post it later.









Friday, October 20, 2017

ARRIVIDERCI ROMA

Will be on the plane soon. Love Rome. So much LIFE!! My last night and dinner, and earlier that day. Do I look Italian in that one?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

LOTSA FUN, EH?

Well, I'll try to recap, with all the high points only: hmmmm, what were they, now?
Seems like I've been here in Rome all my life. Some bells just rang out ave ave ave Maria - so many reminders of my Catholic past...including a young woman I met last night outside the Vatican. She talked a lot about the confessor she sees all the time - sort of like a personal trainer; she makes her confession a lot, while I, sinner, have done away with that old habit. I was drinking my beer, having worn myself out trying to find a museum dedicated to Augustus, then getting to the pope's place too late.
You know, it's just too hard and time-consuming to compose anything on this one-finger tablet. I can type a thousand times faster. So screw this. I'll have to write all my adventures later. Can't post pics, either. These things are useless. Emergency use only.
Arrividerci.

Friday, October 13, 2017

MAMMA MIA!

Sono qua...I'm here, in Italy, trying to see if I can put up pics from a tablet.  Let's go...
Non funziona. She no work.  Che schifo!
Arrividerci.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

BETTER PROSPECTS

     I do my morning exercises in the great outdoors, at least before the winter comes, and as I rolled around on my mat Sunday morning, trying to stretch and tone my body, listening to Joe Turner, Billie Holiday and John Lee Hooker, I watched the leaves of the trees up above me, swaying in the breeze. Billie sang: "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone", which got me to thinking about relationships I have had, particularly as this weekend marks an anniversary (my wedding day to one man, which I called off), and the birthday of another. Both men were Libras, the astrological sign of Balance, and both are not in my life anymore, but I hope that we all have attained some kind of balance; I believe that we do learn from every relationship, even if it doesn't last forever, and I wish them both well, the first and last loves separated by so many years.
         And I, as I wrote many years ago in my diary, go on my way alone. It's hard, and sometimes the hours are long, but it's also, (I guess) what I want. It's the "better prospect" that someone said I was always searching for, although he was not being complimentary; he meant it as an accusation, an infidelity when I was with him. A nasty remark, one born of angry insecurity, I think. In any case, it wasn't true in the sense he meant it. I never seek men; mainly, I suppose, because they have always come to me. I'm grateful for their love and tenderness, but I think I learned early in life that I had a different path. Any relationship is constraining, and men in particular want a woman to be a certain way. I'm not any fixed way, and I don't want to be. I despise the ownership of men.
        Yesterday, in the desperation of one of those long hours of my life, staring into space in my living room, I dragged myself out to hear some music downtown. I sat on a bar stool by myself and stared at musicians instead, a good band which got me bouncing to their tunes. A young woman came in and sat on the stool next to me, and we both watched in respectful silence. I was thinking of the bar that used to be a few doors down, now demolished, where I had gone by myself forty years earlier, and where I began a love affair with the musician who was performing there, and who had come over to my table, seeking company. I silently cheered the woman beside me for going out on her own too; I thought, 'she looks about the age I was then'. When I finally spoke to her later, she was delightful; good-looking and cool, but not in the way that people try to be; she simply had a good sense of herself. She came from a country in Europe that I'm going to visit soon, and we ended up trading emails and phone numbers, and especially, laughing a lot together. She was precisely the age I had been at the old Bourbon Street bar, as I had guessed, and she represented for me, by her attitude and spunk and artistic nature, just the kind of woman that I think women should be. We both went home alone, but much cheered. That's the "better prospect" that I know is out there, and which gives me heart.

ready to fly to Rome on Wednesday

me (rt) and my mom (left). I'm about 8 years old; she might be around 12 or so, not sure.

I recently found this poem that I had copied a long time ago; it was written in 1896 by the English poet Ernest Dowson, and is timely all the time:

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate.
I think they have no portion is us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses,
Out of a misty dream.
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.



Thursday, October 5, 2017

RED ON THE ROAD

           So, the summer ended with heat and sun, which never came when it should have, but then, it seems that nothing ever will again, this being the world it is, and people being as crazed as they are.
            Fortunately, in my little world, which is not newsworthy to anyone but myself and my friends, the summer was still warm, and the season ended with music, which always soothes and excites at the same time, bringing our brains to the state in which I believe they were meant to be, which is to say, peaceful and loving, dare I say, happy. The state eludes us so often.
            I was lucky enough to sing, accompanied by two extraordinary musicians, and to have an audience that appreciated our offerings.  As we say in the biz, "quality, not quantity". And the whole evening was quality. People boogied!
            Got some very nice feedback:
1.A stunning evening of jazz standards and originals at Minden Legion last night. The Jumpin' Jazz Trio led by Zoe Chilco on vocals. A veritable clinic on how its done by Mike Allen on guitar and Ron Johnston on bass, just so good. A big thanks for a fine musical evening
 2.Right on. It was a pleasure to see and hear such accomplished musicians. And Zoe's vocals complemented their playing perfectly. Those who did not attend missed out on some of the greatest Jazz heard in these parts in many a year
3. You looks so great in that fabulous dress designed/made by Laura Trach! Love you both!
4.  Such a great dress. Such a great night.



            Here are some pictures, one of which i have dubbed "queeing the bean", -  a reference to the Muppets' very funny show "The Frog Prince".  You should look it up. The dress I wore (and subsequently bought) was designed by an artist of the area and is going to travel with me next week on my European adventure. I'm calling it "The Red Dress Tour".

Ron Johnston and Mike Allen with moi

Oh, how we danced on the night we were red.....

what can I say?

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)

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