Saturday, December 17, 2005
"Poems Even Your Boyfriend Will Understand" the chapbook has been reviewed by Xtra, which is Canada's # 1 Queer monthy newpaper magazine. A big thank you to Sandra and Gordon who took an interest in independent writers and followed through on their plan to review my chapbook. More action than talk. These are my kind of people.
Arty giftsZINES / Indie stocking
Sandra Alland / Xtra / Thursday, December 08, 2005
There's more than one cool artist in Ottawa. Mackenzie MacBride's Poems Even Your Boyfriend Will Understand: Uniquely Painful Poems And Desperate Accounts is full of soul-searching romantic longing. MacBride manages to undercut the clichéd confessional style of much journalling. I have no patience for love-whining, but this is a page-turner ($5; mackenziemacbride.com).
Monday, November 28, 2005
Falsetto on the CBC
Excerpts from, “The Sunday Edition” # 422 (Nov. 27, 2005) with Micheal Enright and guest Rob Harris aired on CBC Radio FM Dial. (CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Company which is Canada’s Public Broadcaster. Think BBC in Britain and PBS in the USA.)
On the show they discussed Falsetto. I thought this was an interesting topic because a recent review of my music described my voice as "falsetto". (Read the review on the Music page of this site.)
The commentators asserted that the meaning of falsetto was more than just gender and sexual ambiguity. They said falsetto is also an indicator of social class.
“Singers like Sintra didn’t use falsetto. Why not? Because they are mainstream. They are in the center of society. And that sound that falsetto gives us – of dispossession, of outside-ness is not part of their world. So it is only used by people who want to create that sense of outside-ness. It’s maybe instinctive. So to me falsetto is not about gender. It’s about class. Falsetto is a sound that disposed people use to create power through dispossession.”
“It seems dispossession. It’s a way of becoming powerful by being outside the norm. These singers express themselves in an otherworldly sound.”
They delved into the early black groups that used falsetto such as The Ink Spots in the 1930’s, The Ravens and the Cadillacs from the 1950’s and went right up the years to Al Greene, Marvin Gaye and the BeeGee’s in the 1970’s and Price singing “Kiss” off his album “Parade” in the 1980’s.
It was interesting that when they introduced the example of Prince the commentators had to come full circle and say that falsetto was also about ambiguity, effemininity, being sexy and being away from the “center” of society’s gender rules.
All the other examples were just ordinary “dudes”. They looked and acted like men. But sang like women. Then there’s Boy George who looked like a woman but sang like a man. I think the music industry and the general public needs more artists who don’t use either conventional voices or conventional appearances. Artists who don’t try to be “safe” enough for mainstream by giving their public at least a conventional voice or appearance. Artists who break out of both appearance and sound boxes.
I’m glad to hear people talking about flashy, unique, non- conformist singing and pointing out that it can still be commercial, successful and red hot. I’m happy to count myself as one of these artists. Where else would I like to be but on the limits of everything – including singing. I hope you enjoy. I can't do anything else. I've got to be me.
Montreal. November, 2005. There was pushing a grocery basket on wheels full of merchandise from city street #s 1000 to 5500 (that's a long way) - especially when it's up hill and the streets are covered with snow and the shopping cart wheels aint spinning. And you've had one hour of sleep and a 2. 5 hour bus ride that started with the quote, "I'm not even 30 and all of my gradparents are dead. I'm already one generation away from the grave."
Since life is apparently so short it's good I made this hard trip to Montreal. There was no time for heels. There was no time for skirts. There was no time for lunch - unless you count a burnt black tim Horton's sandwich. But I made it. And it was worth it.
I would say that the Montreal arts scene people are some of the most friendly, open and definately sexy that I've seen in a while. Definately my kind of people. Someone told me I had "such beautiful skin" she had to come over and meet me. I was reall touched when a girl told me she'd bought one of my books in Toronto and it inspired her to write a Zine - which she then gave to me. And some of the guys had smiles that -to be honest- could melt butter.
Thanks to everyone who bought one of my Chap Books and/ or took a fridge magnet/ or Glam Rock fashion pin. Send me an email. Let's meet again.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Bills need to be paid. So in November and December, 2005 I'm having to put a lot of time into studying (in vain) my French books and attending evening and weekend French classes.
All for a slim chance of getting a new job - a job that requires more fluency in French. Any imporvment would be so good for me, as my current day job is a really toxic, office, file slinging, grind.
So often the only way out of hell seems to be through the head of a pin.
At least the red "Little Devil" boots are hot.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Glam Rock Revelations, CD
Normally I distribute all the music that arrives in the BP mailbox to my crack team of killer music reviewers. They are genetically modified to possess open ears and bullshit detectors. They can love like no other and hate, berate and express distaste for that which they deem inferior. They know their shit, but sometimes there is music that is beyond even their capabilities. Mackenzie MacBride is just that type of singer a jaded writer might easily dismiss, unable to appreciate her left field rock-opera ditties because they just don't fit any mould we're familiar with. That would be unfortunate because "Glam Rock Revelations" is a revelation. MacBride's synth-folk music and music teacher falsetto are original enough. Add ambiguous sexual politics expressed in smart and funny lyrics and you have something that still doesn't make sense after a dozen listens. That kind of confusion is a rare pleasure, and for now I'm keeping it to myself, but once you've read this, the secret is out. - Terence Dick, Broken Pencil Magazine, Issue 29, 2005.
I know better than a lot of people that one shouldn't quit, or continue being a musician just because of what reviewers say. Still, I sincerely thank Terrence Dick for the perceptiveness and professionalism he displayed when he wrote this review that refused to buy into the whole, "Duh, I've never heard this before! So, I must not like it!" reaction to unique music.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I was in Toronto for the debut of my two new Chap Books, "Poems Even Your Boyfriend Would Understand" and "Tales Of A Half Caste Woman". I'm looking damn good considering I slept on someone's kitchen floor the night before and then showed up to the event 4 hours early after not remembering the time changed back. Angie and I used our "in advance" status to go check out a diner for what Angie called a "dirty breakfast". Otherwise known as a dirt cheap breakfast. Somehow I ended up with chili with chicken in it.
At the zine fair, aside from a few creeps, there was a lot of fun to be had and several hot people I hope to see again. I gave them Elle!She!Her! pins and hoped they would remember me.
All of the first prints of my chap books sold out. I'm going to do a second run of them. Hope you can get your copy soon. If you want one email me. Since each book is approximately $3.00 to print and postage is about $2.00 you're getting a bargain for the price of $6.00 a book. Or $10.00 for both. Canadian currency for Canada. US currency for International.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Elle! She! Her! website is getting its update in September, 2005.
Featuring some new cauterwauling synthed Glam Rock music from Mackenzie MacBride.
Elle! She! Her! pins. Celebrate femme self affirmation. Make a statement. Pins are a great gift.
Red Hot Elle! She! Her! Pins are available for free at:
Downtown Montreal, QC, Canada:
Centre 2110 of Concordia University
2110 Rue Mackay, Montreal Quebec
Information: 514-848-2424 x 7431
Verify the hours of operation before making the trip.
Downtown Ottawa, ON, Canada:
320 Lisgar Street,
Ottawa, ON, Canada
Downtown Toronto, ON, Canada:
Glad Day Bookshop
598A Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON, Canada
Pins may be out of stock from time to time at certain locations. If you can't find yourself a pin at one of these locations please email email@example.com
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Aug. 2005; Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA, USA; A bit of sun. A few song ideas.
Aug., 2005. Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT, USA. "You're A Big Girl Now" - Bob Dylan
Aug., 2005; Punk Rock Yard Sale, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Pin and CD Distribution
June, 2005 Pride, Toronto, ON, Canada. Pinning Elle! She! Her! .com pins on sexy people.
June, 2005. Kayak, Gatineau, QC, Canada. Around the time I was writing, "Do The Impossible".
June, 2005; Birthday, Mont Royal, Montreal, QC, Canada. Back to show Montreal a new me.
April, 2005. Fierte Conference, Montreal, QC, Canada. CD Giveaway.
March, 2005; Cabaret Night, Montreal, QC, Canada. CD Giveaway.
March, 2005; Dusty Owl Poetry Reading Series, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Reading bits and pieces.
More photos to be added when they are found in their hiding spots on the computer.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
and Killer of the Canadian Independent Music Scene
Much Music, or MuchMusic or Much or whatever it calls itself exactly, does not support the Canadian Independent Music scene (CIMS). That’s well known. They play loads of terrible and disposable pop trash generated in the inner cities of America by people who are not trying to be talented but instead are just trying to turn a quick buck. Much Music thus turns a quick buck by playing it. And the youth of Canada grow up thinking terrible hack jobs are art. Worse, it subconsciously gives them the idea that art is made exclusively in the USA and that Canadian art and music is not done, or if it is done it is second rate.
But Much Music does worse than not support the CIMS. It pretends to be supportive of Canadian artists. Instead of being honest that it doesn’t. It gives the false impression that it does offer air play coverage and promotion to Canadian artists. Instead of being honest that it doesn’t. Thus Much Music creates false expectations for artists. And when artists do finally snap out of it and realize that Much Music is not supporting us, it is even harder to get the Canadian government and it’s arts and music initiatives to step in and provide more support to the CIMS. Because Much Music has convinced government that it is supporting Indie Canadian acts. So why would we need more support from government?
So Much Music is even less supportive than “not supportive” of the CIMS because through its pretending to be supportive, it creates the illusion that CIMS doesn’t need additional support. Which costs us support from government arts and music programs.
So Much Music. Just be honest. You are not supporting CIMS. Maybe then we could get on with scrapping away the illusion that the CIMS is supported. Once that illusion is exposed perhaps the Canadian government would realize the CIMS needs more support and programming for development of records and more regulations compelling Much Music to play more CIMS content. Instead of letting it be the stooge to disposable trash pop imports of the USA that pretends to support CIMS.
Case in point. At Toronto Pride 2005, while distributing the “Elle! She Her!” pins to promote my music and my take on femme self affirmation I encountered two post 20 junky VJs employed by Much Music to go through the streets looking snooty, young and disposable. (They do this well.) They also had a short pushy retired VJ turned behind the scenes sergeant directing their dim-witted selves from mindless sound byte to sound byte against the backdrop of Toronto Pride.
I made the mistake of asking the little sergeant woman if she and her VJ would wear my pins. They rudely refused saying that if they wore my pin, they’d have to wear everyone’s. This is such faulty logic. Who’s “everybody?” There was no line up of people behind me trying to stick Canadian Indie Music pins on them. Everybody was at home zoning out in front of the tv watching them being pretentious and creatively defeatist because the Much Music programming had brainwashed the viewers into thinking that they couldn’t or shouldn’t do anything creative in their own country. And if they did do something creative noone would care –especially Much Music. So why bother?
I persisted in a polite way. Asking if they could help in anyway. So the little sergeant decides to employ the strategy that her employer uses on the entire CIMS. Pretend to be supportive to get rid of them. She agreed to take a pin for her VJ. The VJ took the pin unenthusiastically and looked at it like it was a slug. I was told she’d where it “tomorrow.” Then I was banished form the set of mindless sound byte collecting.
So “tommorow” came. It was the Pride Parade day. There the snooty VJs and the little sergeant were. Collecting the sound bytes again. Spraying water guns and inciting the crowds to chant some lame Pride message into their lenses. And guess what. The trashy post 20 junky snooty VJ was not wearing my pin. They’d just pretended to be supportive. What a surprise.
So I stood as close to them as I could with an Elle! Pin in my outstretched hand. The camera man quickly zoomed away. As if the message “Elle! She! Her! .com was suddenly the most evil cult classic script that could ever be put on a pin. In the end I just decided it was too negative to pursue these VJ liars and phonies any further. Especially since getting in their face and calling them on their fuckery would probably have been grounds for the Toronto police to arrest me for being “crazy”. Since the VJ’s are celebrities. Entitled to all the preferential treatment and protection from their own social crimes that being a celebrity brings in this celebrity as god trash pop culture obsessed society in which we live. An obsession further fueled by the perpetrators themselves – Much Music.
So what’s the solution? What would I like to see? I’d like to see Much Music feature CIMS talent, including openly queer and diversity CIMS talent more prominently in it’s programming. And I’d like to see them get rid of those three lying, snide, snooty two –faced VJs. I don’t know their names nor do I want to. But I’ve included a picture of the smug trio. As you can see their real pieces of pop trash that don’t belong on anyone’s tv. Even on the tvs of someone who’s watching Much Music.
The Much Music Post 20 Junkies are in in the distant centre. They are (L to R): One of two snide metro-sexual blonde twin guys, fake trash who pretended she'd wear the pin holding mic, with afro and shades (she sees me and smiles innocently knowing full well she's a liar) and finally the short sergeant in pink tube top who lied to my face about getting Ms. Microphone beside her to wear my pin.
These pins cost money. If you're not going to wear them - don't lie by saying you'll wear pins, take pins from me and then not wear them. Your fakery costs me money.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
After reading a biography on Madonna recently I learned she started with a single. A single song. So I stopped what I was working on and said, "I need a single." I was standing in an office building at the time of this revelation. So I wasn't exactly in a very creativly inspiring environment to begin the project. But I started working away over the weeks. The result is a single called "Do The Impossible". Sure the song is aboout a boy, as these things often go. But the title could very well apply to the larger project of getting any type of buzz started for oneself in the music industry.
While getting to Toronto and introducing myself and my music to people at the annual Pride weekend festivities had seemed like a geographical and emotional "impossibility" I decided that I would do it. It was a last minute decision. Which made the project even harder to realize. Since none of the marketing infastructure was in place.
Throwing some passion, time, creativity and money - ug - at the project I am emerging with a new website called www.ellesheher.com and an Elle! She Her! red hot pin campaign. I'll be distributing the pins at Toronto Pride.
The single won't be fully recorded until July, but I've put up an audio snipet of the Live version in the meantime. After all, perfectionism is for people at my old university music school that sat in locked practice rooms in the basement all day playing music noone ever heard. All in the quest for perfection. What good did it do them? They might as well just opened the door and played for someone's enjoyment.
While I've done countless takes, I know my performances aren't perfect. But if even 1 person likes the music I sent out into the world, then showing my flaws is not only worth it, it's magic.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
It is my birthday this week. Another year older. It is hard to turn another year older. A lot of people don't get to live into their 20's and 30's. Whether they starve to death in Africa or commit suicide in a wave of dispair and lonliness brought on by experiencing homophobia in their small town. Whatever the varied reasons may be, they just don't make it through the years. So I should be grateful I'm still alive. Despite the odds.
But I'm not where I want to be. In terms of sucess. I'm sure a lot of people can relate. I just finished a biography on Madonna. And it is amzing how much she had acomplished creatively and in terms of commercial success by the time she was 30. Sure she had a lot of help in the form of a different musical starevery year, such as Prince, working behind the scenes to prop her up. But she was involved. A grate motivator of herself and others.
So on my birthday it becomes a necessary task to remind myself that for every 1 Madonna who went to NYC and became a star, thousands of others set out with the same dreams of success in the music business and ended up working in restaurants.
For myself, I've realized I can't compare myself to people who are born into conventional social and phyical-body realities and therefore live "mainstream" lives that by definition prevent them from experiencing obstacles many oppressed people face. Obstacles they don't know they don't know they face. Because they've never had to face them. So they are therefore not aware of these obstacles. Or that they aren't facing them.
Obstacles like systemic discrimination, lonliness, isolation, lack of resources and the impending depression and immobilization that all of these ills bring.
If I compare myself to these privlidged folks who havn't had to endure all of these obstacles just to survive, let alone to do anything creative, ofcourse I'm always going to come out looking like the loser. Because it isn't a fair comparison or a "level" playing field" as the cliche says.
Someone who starts out at 0 out of 10 everyday, 0 being a mainstream existance where society is not only not against you, but is for the most part for you and your success, will get from 0 to say 8, 9 or 10 out of 10 in their day's goals quite easily. But someone who is marginalized and oppressed starts out at like, negative (-) 5 out of 10 and then has to start clawing their way up past the obstacles to let's say +3 in any given day. And it's a hard fight to get to that + 3. Much harder, with much more sweat and energy expended, than the mainstreamer who's got to 8, 9 or 10 out of 10.
But anyone, including those of us who start out in the negative numbers every day, who looks at the +3 we got compared to the others' + 8 can easily start to feel down onourselves and our abilities if we don't make that important distinction between where marginalized people start our days on the numbers chart of -10 to + 10 compared to where mainstreamers start.
And forgetting this important distinction does us a further disservice because by getting down on ourselves we are more likely than ever to give up, say "I can't", not try, become depressed or curl up in bed. Then ofcourse we won't even get to the +3.
So I encourage everyone, including myself, to avoid trying to keep up with the Jones' or the Madonnas. Set your goals in terms of challenging yourself, not comparing yourself to others. Comparsions with others only leads to jealousy. Which is toxic to your system.
Recognize where you started on the numbers chart of - 10 to + 10 in your day, week, even life. We didn't all start at 0. If you started out in the negative numbers, or "in the red" as they say, then own that and give yourself permission to start from where you are. This way you'll be celebrating getting to +3 out of 10 in any given day. Instead of beating yourself up, getting discouraged and creating a cycle of negative self-fulfilling prophesy. And I bet by looking at our +3s as successes will only help us get to +4s out of 10 tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I’m always happy when the month of June arrives. In a frigid northern Canadian climate where it is face- scrunchingly cold, dead to greenery and blisteringly winded for 8 months of the year, June marks the 1st of 4 months of the year, that I’ve never had to endure snow stingling my face or wear a winter scarf. All the other months of the year I’ve had to. Yes whether it’s watching a blizzard in Halifax, NS in May or bundling up in mittens in Ottawa, On during the 1st week in October I’ve had to.
So June is a real oasis for the body and soul from the long-lasting icy, clawing grip of winter. I was born in June. Apparently it was so hot the June I was born my mother slept outside under the deck for the 2 weeks prior to my birth. My father recently declared that this heat wave must have been responsible for me being, in his estimation, what he calls “touched in the head”.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Wondering if, "Children Playing" signs can be considered lies if no children can be seen playing. Wondering who still eats ant McDonalds and Burger King. Wondering how batteries work. Wondering how sun screen works. Wondering how thunder and lightning works.
Wonderng how long I will have to sit in an office cubicle by day. Stopped at Zellers today. Can you imagine being in the position of having to work in the basement of a Zellers in the House Hold goods section, wearing a red and black heavy tee shirt that reads "Zellers" and being asked the following question, "Do you have toilet bowl brushes in stands?". It's true that "an honest living is a good living" but I just couldn't do this job. So as much as office administration work does not tanslate into passion, purpose or meaning, at least it doesn't involve toilet bowl brushes.
And I'm thankful for that.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
So many memories today. It started out with waking up from a dream that featured a girl I knew in high school. She was involved in witnessing someone pull a gun and later shoot someone. The setting was a former cold war Nova Scotia bomb bunker turned community college building I attended years after I knew her. Also, interlaced with the dream was a theme of me loosing "expensive" (to me that is) jewelry. This theme came out of recent times when I waxed poetic about a lost pendant that later turned out to be hiding under the sofa I was waxing on.
Over the radio that squawking was about the 60th Anniversary of WW2 ending. I remember where I was when the radio was blathering on about the 50th Anniversary of WW2 ending. I was in the midst of my own war. I'd recently run away from home without any money. I was taken in by a suspect, ogling, old gay priest with HIV who ran around in leopard print underwear. I'm sure I'm one of the few people who still remembers him or thinks about him. Unfortunately for me! The house I stayed in with him was later torn down to make an overpass to the bridge over the harbour between Halifax and Dartmouth Nova Scotia. Despite all these struggles all my mother could think to do was scold me about not putting more importance in the WW2 anniversary when she phoned me that Sunday 10 years ago. (People say I have a good memory Define good I say!)
Later in the day, on a drive out around town I spotted a tiny camping trailer. (Picture a large egg turned on its side with wheels.) My family had taken a trip to PEI in one of these little cans probably pushing 20 years ago. I remember my father snoring and the oppressive heat generated by 4 people being in the tiny fiber glassed egg of a trailer. I remember episodes of excitement such as spotting a great blue heron. Then there was sneaking into the shower room to see if any nude men and their "great blue herons" could be spotted. And finally a bunch some campers offering us all of their condiments, ketchup, relish and all, since they were leaving the camp ground. My parents refused the condiments citing, "Who knows where they've been!" My brother and I were left to wonder where the condiments could have been!- besides the cooler.
On the drive I completed a long desired goal of finding the two little houses I almost bought in 2002. Bedraggled, far from down town, one with slum on either side the other an in descript piece of a generic row house complex. At the time it seemed like a big loss not to have bought these houses. As I drove back downtown I couldn't have been happier with the way these residential matters had gone. I tried to apply this lesson to the broader context of my life. I had a bit of success. Basically, while not everything that happened to me over the years has been the best, and I would have chosen less torturous methods to get to the good stuff in life if I could have, at least the troubles and events have brought about a life that is for the best. I found myself in a moment of contentedness for the way things are. Rare for me, especially on a Sunday evening.
Friday, May 06, 2005
As I mentioned before, "Law and Order" loves to do episodes on transsexuals. This past week the show was at it again. Just like a recent, "Cold Squad" episode the father found out about the son liking a ts girl. Then the son and father went ballistic. I've been through something similar to this type of pain and degradation. I'm thankful I figured out when it was time to walk away. In this episode, the father and son went and killed the girl. Two more people that could have been happy but ended up miserable and dead because of bigotry and people not owning their shit.
Another of my favourite shows, "Third Watch" ended this week. Call it pathetic -but only if you forget to walk a mile in my shoes first- but these characters used to keep me company in the late 90's and early 00's.
The show ending reminded me of another show ending. "Melrose Place" was a real favourite of mine. The day it ended I was sitting in a motel room on the edge of Nova Scotia about to shove off on a ferry boat for the USA to work as tourism worker at the dock of Bar Harbor, Maine. It didn't know what I was getting into. I should tell that story sometime.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Old churches. I've been in an old church tonight. To see a choral concert. I have now been to four of these concerts. Two Christmas and two Spring. I feel so appreciative to be there. To watch someone I love sing.
Each concert seems to mark time. Each stands out. Like it records in my mind an official record of what was going on in my life around the time of the concert. For example, the first Christmas concert was a time when I had just gotten out of the hospital. I didn't know if I was living or dying, laughing or crying. I was basically doing all of it. Starting a new life. With all of the luggage and themes from the old life in tow. Trying to understand the motivations for making new starts even after they've been made. Trying to reconcile and make peace with my expectations new starts that were shattered and didn't come to pass. Lost. Found. Soul deep in love. It was a dramatic, magical and never to be repeated time.
But the church looks the same. And it will look the same 50 years after I'm gone. I think of all the souls that have passed through the doors. What was on their minds? Where did they go in their lives? Are they sitting beside me in the pews, invisible?" Old churches magnify the passage of time to the point that I feel anxious. But at least the magnifying reminds me again that time is precious. To make as many beautiful memories as possible. We will all join the invisible church goers in the pews soon enough. And we want to have some memories to trade with them when we arrive.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Lots of hurrying. Heavy pack backs full of CDs. Getting directions from people who sent me in the completely wrong direction (Dorchester St. is south of St. Catherine's St. not north!), subways, gocking and rain. What could it be? why another trip to Montreal.
I was back in Montreal to promote my CDs at a cool pride conference. I found the people there to be really friendly and receptive. I usually go to these venues feeling like noone cares and it is all going to turn out to be a huge discouragement. But one person at a time I was reminded not to think negative.
I was so inspired to sit amoungst people with such great courage and self respect. We are all on journey's. Some of us are not in the prettiest places right now. But every dark place gets a little brighter sitting with some new friends. Montreal I'll be back!
Monday, April 25, 2005
Crushes for me have led to either:
1. a long enduring pounding red scar of a heart ache or
2. a tender love affiar set against a sun drenched beach.
I'm afraid of crushes. But since fears are just challenges to face something in disguise I'm exploring where crushes can reside along the continuum between these extremes.
I used to be a true romantic in search of a soul mate. These days I'm more emotionally pragmatic. sleep with whoever you want baby! I'm not going to cry about it. (Though I may bite the bed sheets at midnight and rake my fingers down the tiles in the shower. But you'll never see me do it so it doesn't count.")
What does this mean??? It means that I try damn hard to avoid getting crushes on people, fail dismally and proceed to try to repress my feelings by channeling them into Glam Rock and poetry. I sincerely believe that the poems and songs are subtle and obscure. when in fact, they read like honking declarations of my affections to the people who inspired the words. I'm a very "confessional writer". And confessions often egg themselves on.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
KD Lang came onto the Canadian country music screen back in circa. 1987. she came to a small rural town near our home to play the county festival. She got up on stage, a flatbed of an 18 wheeler in the middle of a baseball field, in her trade mark stomping boots, leg warmers and cow embroidered big shirts. My mother took me to the show. I remember my reserved church going mother pushing her way to the front to see this great singer. I covered my little ears from the throbbing pain of the huge outdoor speakers. It was possibly my first experience with Canadian Rock and Roll.
Later, after KD Lang came out as a lesbian my family was in a car winding through some tree lined pot hole riddled, 2 lane artery through the middle of the province listening to my father's Stompin Tom Conners tape. He had a song called "KD Lang the Rany Tang Lady". My parents would play the entire tape until it came to that song. Then they would flip the tape. Refusing to listen to the KD Lang song. Against her for being a lesbian. I remeber feeling like I was sinking into the back of the car seat like it was quik sand. I felt so venerable, scared and alone. Because I knew there was some special quality I shared with KD. I didn't know what it was- and maybe I still don't - but felt a strong connection with her.
Years past, and KD faded into obscurity. basically turned out by country music radio and Canadian popular radio as well. For being one of the "freaks of the music business" that I so miss and long for.
Then, out of nowhere she returned. Through the jealous eyes and steely determination I watch all music awards shows with, I was watching the 2005 Canadian Juno Awards. It was announced KD would sing.
She came out on stage wearing a long, long black dress that was more of an angel's robe. And bare feet. Much older. I hadn't seen her in years. She started to sing. The audience wasn't sure whether it wanted any of her. I could feel the tension. She kept on. What unfolded was nothing short of one of the best, and most historical moments in Canadian music and television. KD began to unravel the most stirring, redition of Bruce Cockburn's song "Halleluiah". She seemed to say "This is me. I have nothing to hide. I have all to give."
I just sat there and wept. I heard myself saying, "I hope anyone who ever did you wrong sees you tonight KD. And everyone who's different that you ever inspired. " Sees her like I saw her- in her most glorious, unassuming, together moment. I cried for myself. She's sort of a battle scar personified for a lot of Canadian freaks who watched her blaze a trail and then have her career torched by bigotry. But she rose again. So eloquently. So wise. So forgiving. "You're much much too kind", she said. Everyone knew they didn't deserve her. I was inspired to keep trying to follow her example to make music on her terms. I think it's only by being your true self that you can ever hope to truly touch another person. KD Lang is proof of that for me. Thank you KD.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
I started swimming again this year. I go to a new pool with sauna and hot tub. There were some kids in the pool. They were using some brightly coloured foam as a raft. It got me thinking. When I was a kid my brother and I had rafts too. But they weren't foam and they weren't in swimming pools. We swam in a cove flanked by sandstone cliffs. In a basin of the Atlantic ocean. Where the green waves and swift current would carry a person out to sea when the tide changed to go out again, taking km after km of 8 meter deep water away within 4 hours.
My mother would use the huge sand stone walls as points to swim between. She'd say, "I'm going to swim to the other side." Then she'd proceed to let out an "EEEEWWW" as she pushed into the cold water and did the butterfly stroke across to the other side.
Once we found a raft that had been carried in on the tide. It was made out the base of a bin of apples. Not the apple bin itself. But a big base that bins sit on in the orchards. It was made of thick and roughly sawed wood. Inside someone had shoved an assortment of buoys.
We were tough kids. We would shinny on and off of that raft sratching and chaffing our stomachs on the wood. Turning blue in the lips and fingers from the cold sea water that engulfed our bodies. The raft vanished one night just as mysteriously as it had appeared. Despite us having done out best to tie it down. A metaphor for people in our lives it now seems.
The huge sandstone cliffs have now eroded away. My mother no longer swims in the cove. Nothing and noone lasts forever. One learns that living close to the sea. Though sometimes it takes leaving the sea and coming 1650 kms inland to really learn the lesson.
Friday, April 08, 2005
I was having a bad day. There was a lot of drudgery. I was almost home. An old man got into the elevator with a large, fluffy pure white cat. He was a real wheezing simpleton. He said, "Look at my friend." I said, "Oh isn't she pretty where did you get her?" "My wife got her." But now my wife is dead. And I'm stuck with the cat.", he wheezed. contrary to what he said, you could tell he was clinging to the cat for dear life. The elevator door closed and they were gone. I moaned. What a sad story. Why does this stuff happen to me?! A reminder I suppose. I tried to have a better day.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Prime Time tv was at it again this week. Another "girl who’s a guy", as they called it, story played out on a detective show called "Cold Case." The plot involved some investigators discovering in 2005 that a girl who disappeared in 1979 was actually a ts. She and her high school student boyfriend had found love in each other despite the odds working against them. Odds in the form of overt societal back lash, not to mention the negative self talk they both had to overcome as a result of years of being mentally hard wired with the prejudices our society.
Unfortunately not everyone around them was nearly as progressive. The boy’s father followed him to the girl’s apartment where he punched the son for dating her and dragged him out of the apartment after forcing him to insult the girl by calling her "him". It was raunchy. By the time the boy got rid of the father, came to his senses, and ran back to his girlfriend’s house ( maybe 3 hours later) he was just in time to hear her blow her head off with a gun. Then in one final act of tsphobia the young guy buries her body on his own so that noone will know he’s been dating a ts.
So many emotions and questions were stirred in me by this story. Obviously fiction. But how many actual stories are there of this type of love affair? I know of at least 3 real life cases. Some have ended just as dramatically. Another still endures. So I can’t cynically conclude these two lovers would have split up two weeks later even without the father’s bigoted interference. As the boy said 26 years later as he was questioned by the investigators, "You only get one chance to find the one".
This touching sentiment even peeked through a crack in my own emotional armour to suggest that a young guy could love a girl in this situation. As opposed to not loving her because she was in this situation. Or only loving her because she was in this situation (treating her like some sort of punching bag for his fetish). But actually loving her. For her. "Seeing her" as he put it.
As for her actions, she killed herself. (Even that statement is an over simplification. Yes she pulled the trigger. But she was also driven to it by being treated like a leper by everyone she loved and left alone like an outcast. With no hope of any better. And the hopelessness is the kicker.) She didn’t stick it out even until the next morning. To call a friend. Refocus her life. Have a time-out or cooling off period. I’m not judging her. I’ve known this kind of despair. Obviously there was more wrong with this girl’s life than her highschool boyfriend running out on her on prom night. This girl was without family, social support, had just lost the one bright spot she had and was likely all hopped up on the emotionally dizzying effects of hormones. It’s a hell of a loaded gun. But I did call a friend who drove me to another friend’s house so I wasn’t alone in the crisis.
Admittedly, this script was specially crafted to exact maximum emotional collateral damage on the viewer. But beyond the "worst case scenario" hype there are two reminders in this story.
1. Love can exist despite the odds. Rather than dismiss this statement as cliche or trite, this story reminded me consider the statement as more of a plausible long shot. Which is an upgrade from viewing the concept of love as a total fantasy.
2. When the worst does happen a person is advised to seek out friends, support and if nothing or noone else is available at the time to go to bed for the night (things always look better in the morning even if those 1st few moments of regaining consciousness and feeling the pain are harsh enough to make a person bite the bed sheets), go for a walk, go out to dinner or even go to a hospital or crisis centre.
The old saying is " Those who give up never know how close they were to succeeding." It hasn’t been easy. It’s been rock on flesh rough. But I’ve had some reinforcement in the form of positive events coming to pass that suggest to me that by sticking out the rough moments, days and even years, a person can find experiences and moments of real living that are a solace from the despair and the periods of sheer surviving.
So keep working away at that little knot hole of opportunity with progressively larger wooden pegs. Many splinters later it is possible to make the knot hole big enough to crawl through one’s troubles and emerge onto a grassy knoll shining in the sun. New days and new chances await. I’m having a particularly "weak moment day" today. But the tv show - of all things- reminded me to be grateful that I’m still here. And that I’ve got the courage to try and turn disappointments into motivation to look for the next opportunity.
Walking along this morning I saw a poster for a charity that said, "Invest in Hope." In true, "the universe as a language" form this poster was speaking to me with a message that went beyond the meaning intended by the poster makers to touch my own personal reality. Life is a series of little and big "starting overs". So Invest in hope I will. Because it’s a good start.
Monday, April 04, 2005
The Pope. He was a figurehead all Generation Xrs and Yers grew up with. Two of the people I treasure most remember the Pope. One grew up in Ottawa/ Hull and the other in Toronto. Both have memories from like 1984 when the Pope visited both cities in his Pope bubble mobile. Both of these kids got to see this spectacle. Who knew, not themselves, nor the Pope that they would eventually meet each other and meet me. We are all linked together in the most preciously invisible little ways. Collective childhood memories being just one of them.
I often wonder if we'd met our best friends when we were 5 yrs old or 20 years old if we would have been friends with them or whether we would have overlooked or even rejected them and they the same to us. As much as I missed certain people before I ever knew them, I can see now why I didn't know them all these years. Timing. I'm in awe of timing.
Friday, April 01, 2005
I put in my notice that I was ending the lease of my apartment. It was a hard decision. I was there 2.5 years. It's the only place I've ever lived in Ontario. When I found this place it was a God sent. I'd moved 1/2 way across the country, got myself stuck living in a rat hole with blackened carpet, the smell of bleach in the hall and a big prostitute who waited for her rides outside my first floor windows. I didn't know the city. I biked through the rain looking at places. I can still remember the rain soaking all over me and the ink of the apartment listing running right off the page in a smug of pink and purple ink that looked like a rag a clown had just wiped his face with.
Then I lucked into this place. My first and last real luck in a long time. It's not the "ritz". It's an old apartment building from the 60's with putrid pink plaster walls in the corridors garbage shoots that stink up every summer and a huge photo of New York City's "Twin Towers" still hanging in the lobby. But it was home. Way up in the sky. The way I like it. So I can sit in the window and look all around. It's a shoe sized little loft. Bursting with memories. My mind, body and outlook on life have all changed more than a cloud changes its shape as it makes its way across the sky. I've talked to two of the people I will love all my life for the last time over the phone in this apartment. Though I didn't know it was the last time when it happened. We never do.
I had my first real kisses of the decade in here. The best of my life really. Wrote songs in here that I think could live beyond whatever years I've got left on this spinning orb of dirt and ocean. Laughed in here, cried in here, almost even died in here. I've known real love and real anguish here. Real solidarity and real abandonment.
This apartment is apartment #7 for me. And like all of its predecessors, it really is a time capsule for me. I've rearranged the furniture many times. There's a computer desk where the sofa he kissed me on used to be. -
The sofa is a story all to itself. I'd had it since 1995. Its thin cushions were covered in a coarse weave fabric all most like rope in a dizzying shape that was neither gray, nor purple. It opened into a hid a bed. I slept on the hida bed from 1995 to 1998 in a couple of 1 room student dwellings. One of these student dweelings was one of Halifax's only highrises. It looked out over Halifax harbour. The fog would roll in so thick it was like the windows had become another white wall. I slept on the sofa so long, the mattress eventually sagged into a curve But in 2004 I even though that out. I find I'm really transcending my reputation for being someone who "holds onto things", be they items or toxic people or whatever has past its place of positivity in my life, for too long.
I know that it is time. I've outgrown this home. I've been though so may rights of passage since I first turned the key that in a way it is holding me in a time warp of an era that no longer exists.
But the memories are forever etched in my memory. I'm choosing to "Take the good and leave the bad", as my pal Tracy says. In terms of memories I suppose I take this apartment with me. This revelation eases my angst about leaving. It's not this box that holds the memories, it is my head. And more memories are awaiting me to make them.
Monday, March 28, 2005
The more I go on ther more I realize that I don't seek to own anything. To acquire and possess inanimate objects. People have been doing it for ages. The Romans and their empires. Knight's conquering castles. Pioneers racing across the new world to stake a claim to a slap of land. Cars. I Pods. Big screen tvs. Shiny new fridges from the Brick. Right down to the suburbanites in line at Home Depot to pick up the new tile to remodel the bathroom. Remodel the bathroom? For who?
In the past there was a house I wanted to own. It had a great back yard with a cliff at the back. Ivy, little tress and even a waterfall decorated this cliff. It was such an oasis. But I soon realized what a prison the oasis would turn into once the mortgage payments started rolling in. A wise person told me, "A house is really just a shelter poking out of the earth... when you think about it." It was such a great reminder to hear this when the house I wanted was eventually sold to someone else.
We often think there is someone, or some thing, or some house that we can't live without. We must have it. Possess it. Experience it. I've been all caught up in this head space many times. This is the only person for me! The only house! But in time I saw that there were others. And without fail I missed out on these "only ones" only to find there was once better suited to me down the way.
I've found life has taught me time and time again, through a series of sometimes tragic disappointments, that one can, does, will and otherwise should live without all these "must haves". Sure it is alright to have the possessions and personal needs to work and live. Still, for me, to let go of the want to possess needless items has meant a freedom. A freedom to see myself. unearthed from all the hedonistic gadgets and junk tv commercials holler at us to obtain. Free from obligation. Everything I have I own. It's not much. But it's mine. I don't owe anyone anything. So free to pick up anfd go tomorrow if I wanted to or had to. Free to figure out who I really am. To realize I am complete without the excess.
The only commodity that I want to possess these days is as much of my time as I can keep. The time, of course, can not be kept. Theonly useful thing my mother's bigoted minister ever said was"the time's going to go by, might as well do something useful with it." So instead of "keep" then, I'll say as much of my time as I can use. Use to build friendships, love and create.
Friday, March 25, 2005
This week in Dan Savage's "Savage Love" saucy advice from a gay man column he features three advice seekers who have WTS, "Wishful Thinking Syndrome". There is no denying, except maybe by them, that they are dreaming if they think whoever they are fixating on is going to give them whatever it is they want - usually it's sex with the people in this column. The third party reader delights in the smug satisfaction of knowing something the advice seeker doesn't know - that they are caught up in wishful thinking.
But we all do it. Or have done it. Thought wishfully. Let our desires for someone help us construe their platonic behaviours into flirtation with us. Believe that that person will be with us, just as soon as they dump their current lover - which we believe is soon to happen. The list goes on.
I've done it! And I defend myself. Wouldn't it be great if we had the 3rd party insight to our own behaviours possessed by the readers of "Savage Love". But we don't always know that we had WTS until much later. And besides there have been many times - unless you're a real main stream pin up dream- when we've all had so few bright spots in life and so few love prospects that unrequited love was the only bowl we could find to hold all the over flowing love we had to give.
As humans, we all want love. The more I look at why we do things, the more I believe the root motivation is to be loved. Work, buy clothes, make a home, make art. All to be loved.
But I'm reminding myself after reading this week's "Savage Love" that: Rather than give one's over flowing love to some jerk who does not appreciate it, deserve it or respond in kind, it is a much better idea to give yourself that love. Turn ourselves into a closed circuits of love for a while when we don't have, or perceive we don't have, anyone to share love with.
Rather than being someone's ego booster and feeling all nasty and rejected we can be radiating in the confidence and positivity of loving ourselves. Let's get started!
Thursday, March 24, 2005
I ate breakfast with one of the women from last night's show in the B and B where we were both staying. She had put on a 30 minute performance last night. She was a Mohawk who was emphasizing all of the real hell that the colonalization of North America has inflicted on her people with every beat of her drum. She later got in a cage decorated with blue, yellow and red cloth and beat her drum some more while a video of her sewing a big fur pelt played in the background.
After 30 minutes of this, she wasn't a "crowd favourite". And she was well aware of this fact at this morning's breakfast. She passed on a few words of wisdom which I hope to remember:
1. She said that she doesn't make her art for "entertainment", she makes it because she has something to say. And I think she is damn right to think like that.
2. She tells nosey people like the sound guy I mention in my March 20, 2005 post that she is an artist and a human first. Anything to do with her sex, or sexuality is just one facet of who she is.
3. She seeks to influence with her art, not have direct decision making power. She thinks influence is power.
4. "Berdache" - is a disgusting word. It is Pursian for "kept boy". "Kept" meaning prostitute.
5. Work in the world. Do not get stuck in little sandboxes of in-fighting and community politics. Use that energy to get out there and see the entire beach of sand.
6. Art has become a commodity - eg. the person who wants the painting because it matches their sofa. It's all about "bums is seats". To transcend this, just keep doing your own art. Maybe the world will catch up.
7. The worst thing that can happen to a young artist is to have a big hit right at the beginning and have a bunch of money thrown at them. It is better to toil away for some years and then have the world discover you later.
8. Don't wait for others' permission to do your art. Or it will never happen.
9. Figure out why you are doing your art.
10. A person has to be healthy in themselves to truely be able to pursue anything.
11. Just set out. Begin. With passion. And following opportunites as they present themselves.
12. Compared to racial issues, the sexual revolution and the discussion of queerness in all its forms has happened in a relatively short time - even if it did seem a long way away in 1994.
13. Being an asshole is a far bigger impediment to a person's career in the arts then any queerness that society's main stream suburbanites would associate with them.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
I decided I would go to Montreal to the Transit Cabaret that was being organized by my frend Trish Salah. Actually, I waffled and did not decide through every step in the process right up to and including buying my bus ticket.
Along the way I looked for sights to encourage myself. I saw some young guys trying to stop people on the street to get them to donate to Greenpeace. I thought to myself, "How much easier is giving my CDs away than this? Lots!" I saw the girls working in the local organic market, who gock at me like they think they know something about me, scratching their dreadlocks and selling their tofu loafs - going nowhere. I didn't want to be like that.
But there was alot to discourage me. The jerks selling the bus tickets smirked at me and some guys at the diner gocked at me. And the bus was late. But I did get on. I rode to Montreal as this ignoant, pompous civil servant yapped on his cell phone beside me all the way.
I got very lost trying to find the venue. As I was heading up a big hill on rue Jeanne Mance sweating in my coat despite the cold with two boxes of CDs on my back I got to wondering if my father was right all those years ago to yell "Why do you always have to swim up stream (be different)." Ofcourse the answer is "Because I am."
I did find the theatre. the show was just beginning. I was distressed to concluded I'd missed my chance to give out my CDs in the lobby before the show. I decided to try to make my own luck by asking the MC if she'd announce that I had CDs for after the show. But in my efforts to get back stage I managed to go through the wrong curtain and emerge right onto the stage in the middle of an act. "Wrong exit!"
I did manage to get the MC to announce I had CDs. There was a slight misunderstandign though. She said I wanted people to sign a petetition for me to be a star. How Diva is that! In fact I just wanted people to join my "email updates" list. (There's yet to be an email update.)
So after the show I was able to meet up with many hip. open and positive energy exuding people and give them CDs. The only blooper was that a picture of the female anatomy that I had from my gynecologist fell out of the CD box onto the floor in front of someone. All I could think to say was, "That won't work!"
I always regret that I couldn't speak to each person more. So many of them looked like they could have been great friends. I hope to go back to Montreal and see all these cabaret cuties again sometime!
When I finally got to bed at 2 am I was so glad that I didn't let the snickering bus ticket sellers make me quit and go home without going to Montreal and sharing my music.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
The many flaws of the "American Idol" tv series are as obvious to me as its annoying theme song. There's the promoting of karaoke stars who can't play instruments, read music or spell chord progression let alone than actually use one. Rather than promoting actual young bands who are struggling to get their music out to people now that commercial radio is completing it's quest to implode on itself with generic, derivative songs and acts. There's the fact that the "winner" of this competition has increasingly gone on to a lack luster recording career of putting their voice on a prefabricated ballad and then faded into obscurity after their one hit. There's the fact that Simon Cowell and the judges of "Canadian Ido" as well) show visible distain and uncomfortably for the young fags that prance in to the auditions and turn them away whether they can sing or not.
One of the few redeemable qualities of the show is Paula Abdul. Her own career had no staying power and it fizzled after her 1992 single "Rush Rush". But her music will always be important to me. Back in 1989 I had a tiny cassestte deck with built in speakers. I sat in my little windowless bedroom in the basement in the country and recorded myself singing along with "Strait Up Now Tell Me" at least 40 times. Trying to get the perfect take. My parents would stomp on the floor overhead to try and get me to quiet down. But the diva in me sang on.
This past week I ended up being lulled into gocking at an "American Idol" used as the filler between about 20 commercials. The theme was "#! Billboard Hits" Well before I knew it I was faced with another blast from my own musical past. One of the karaoke stars went out on stage and let rip her rendition of Heart's 1987 song "Alone". And I'll give her this : I was regretful that I didn't get her performance recorded on tape. And that's a good sign. My want to have her performance on tape rated right up there with my want to have on tape other stellar performances like Areasmilth's 2002 American Music Awards performance which featured Steven Tyler in this slinky white pant suit and high heeled boots and Tiny Tim on Ed Sullivan sing "Tip Toe Through The Tulips".
For me "Alone" is the anthem of my youthful musical aspirations and my patterns of painful high school unrequited love stories. I don't know how I first heard this song because I didn't own any Heart tapes. But somehow I ended up with the sheet music.
I had my "$ by the hour" singing teacher make a crappy synth background mix of the song and I entered it in the 1992 high school variety show. I was dressed in a pair of tight 'stove pipe cut" black Levi's and a big Le Chateau belt made of jangly metal hoops and links. I took to the stage and the country boys immediately started yelling obscenities at me. The music started. The tape was cued wrong. The song was already 1/4 over. (Looking back this was probably a blessing.) I found my place in the song and sang. I thought I did really well. Still, it was a very traumatic experience.
Only a true artist would persevere in the face of that kind of abuse and rejection. Simon Cowell's comments that this contestant or that "sounds like you're on a cruise ship" are tame compared to what a lot of eccentric artists have been told. "American Idol" is proof that main stream radio, video, tv and live venue access has almost completed the inialation of freaks from the music business by marginalizing them out of the main stream's consciousness.
The result is the eccentric musician gets confronted with the Neanderthal human thought process," What's that? Never heard of that before. Must be bad. Don't like it." The result is the freakier artists can't make any money. So their output dwindles and their participation in the music business fades into nothingness as we are forced into office cubicles to pay our rent working as secretaries. Simon Cowell keeps saying he's looking for an original artist. If he actually knows what "original " is, and if he does, if he is sincere that that is in fact what he's really looking for- both of which are big ifs - I wonder if he realizes that it's his show that is contributing to the reason why so few original musical acts can be found anymore. Tiny Tim where are you now?
Monday, March 21, 2005
Walking into the office tower I heard U2's "Still Havn't Found What I'm Looking For" playing on the radio. It was rough. It was Monday morning. Last night's audience was a bunch of literary snobs who were at the event simply to "hear their own voice". Not for my Glam Rock. So I was definately relating to the words of this song.
The elevator opened and two office hens emerged. The both sang "I still havn't found what I'm looking for..." in unison as they walked in slow motion passed me. I wondered if i was in some sort of dark music video. Then I realized I was. The title was called, "Life As I Know It".
Sunday, March 20, 2005
I'm not terribly optimistic. Just determined. So it is a wonder that I always think the best of people. I'm always surprised when people turn out to be snakes.
I was in a bar for a gig. The sound guy came up to me and put his arm around me. He said he had a confession/ question/ comment. He said he'd been attracted to me when I first started doing shows at this bar. But he emphasized that he was only attracted to me in this environment. Whatever that was supposed to mean.
He asked me a bunch of personal questions. I wouldn't give him anything to nibble on. He didn't legitimately want to know. He was just nosey. I've long since told people who are
"just curious" piss off. People who legitimately want information on a particuliar subject or group of people can do a google search. Getting in someone's face and asking people to explain themselves is lazy reasearch. Worse - it's invasive, nosey, and low class.
I asked him what he was looking for. He said, "Basically anyone who would have me. I've got two categories.: 1. People I want to do. And 2. Mom."
Thursday, March 17, 2005
A French teacher/ painter I've been talking to speaks about the need for an artist to have the right environment to work in. Create an aquarium to work in. An oasis. Homeless people don't create many works of art sitting in their cardboard boxes or as they surf from sofa to sofa. I know this first hand myself from the 90's.
He also pointed out, "Who says an artist should be poor!" He said he would have been more responsible about holding down a day job if he could do the past 20 years again. He cited his lack of $ to fix his broken glasses as an example.
He also said something very profound - which I told myself I'd remember - but have forgotten! It's almost as tortuous as if I'd forgotten a great song lyric or melody. I think the basic message was that a person has to be true to themselves and their art and keep going even in the face of rejection and discouragment.
I think it was a metaphor. In it's place I will substitute this revelation:
"A bee has to visit a lot of flowers to get just a bit of honey. The same is true in creating art"
Monday, March 07, 2005
I woke up dreaming about the Micheal Jackson trial. The closing arguments were to have Micheal put on the stand, wrapped in loads and loads of bright yellow tissue paper, and sit there sobbing. It was not an effective closing argument.
I could have written song ideas so happily all day long while watching the snow. The snow flakes were dancing by my windows so joyously. Holding hands with each other to form a giant white bed sheet against the sky.
Instead I had to go to work. I always get annoyed when I hear people on the bus say that they HAVE to go to work. Because truthfully noone HAS to do anything. It's their choice. Tell that to my AMEX bill.
Joyous snow flakes become more correctly described as a blizzard the moment one has to leave their window and go outside. At times like this I remind myself that I'm glad to have a job. At least I didn't have to go out into the storm just to go to the job search centre! I've been in that position many times. Too many times.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
I dreamed that I was staying in a hotel which was like a crappy mass produced apartment building upstairs. But had an ornate carpeted, expansive entrance and lounge with a front desk all in wood with an old man who'd been running the place in the Queen's fashion for years. I was with some other people. (I think I was there with some older gay men - in real life I've just watched a movie with a bunch of gay men called "Connie and Carla" - a long story.)
It was over in England and I was there for a concert. But there was a huge controversy about the participation of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Controversy in that they had gotten super bad since the year before.
The next theme was that Prince William and Harry were there as well. I really wanted to meet Prince William very much. On the way up an elevator the door opened and I got to see him and say hi. But he was saying hi just as the door shut. So I was left to wonder if he had really seen my face.
I then went out on the street where a homeless man convinced me to go back to his elaborate box by drawing me in with promises that he would show me how to shine my shoes really well. In the box he showed me a bunch of Le Chateau clothes he had aquired but they were not in my size. He then tried getting sexual with me. I asked him how old he was. He said 19. But I thought he looked older.
When I tried to leave I discovered that he had taken possession of all of my boxes of possessions (Bop magazines and New Kids Dolls and you name it). he refused to give me the boxes. They spilled all over his box. I got out of the box and went home to Ottawa, which by this point was just around the corner. As I left the box I saw he was much older. Like 45.
I later saw him near Parliment Hill. He chased me on his bike saying that he had my stuff and had a claim on me. He did not catch me. But he had the stuff to the end.
I had gotten all tangled up with a bum. And missed my chance to try and chill out with Prince William.
Friday, March 04, 2005
My big success so far this weeknd is that I bought 2 aquatic plants for my triangle shaped aquarium. I had said no aquarium until I cleaned out my apartment. But slowly I've thrown out a lot of papers and even a sofa. So I earned these plants! Ironically perhaps, I am not interested in possessing anything. But I am interested in a cozy living situation. Which does require some aquisition. Still thinking about all this.
In the pet store I saw a small fish in a tank. It's nose was pointing strait down. In the bottom of the tank was a semmingly gentle fish. I read the tank sticker. It named this bigger fish as "aggressive". I'll say. The reason the little fish was pointing strait down was because it was missing it's back half. No tail. or half a body either. But it was still breathing. I've been this fish so many times! Poor thing. If only people would come with warning labels like "Aggressive". "Neurotic". "Delusional in their determination that they are not treating others like shit, when in fact they are". "All talk and no action." "Classsic abusers." I've met them all. Sometimes all in one monster.
When someone shows you who they are or tells you who they are - BELIEVE THEM. Don't make excuses for them or tell them they are just being eveil or vengful today. Believe them. This is how I've kept my little gills breathing in the absence of warning labels. I think I've even grown a new tail too.
I also bought a frame for a pix of myself with Jann Arden taken in Halifax's Sam the Record Man store in Nov. 1995! I put that up to inspire me.
Monday, February 28, 2005
I went to home (?) and threw out 14 garbage bags of artifacts from my many "previous lives". It was emotional. I still kept too much. Basically everything I kept could cause me problems. But true to form, I hung on to my time bombs. But I did live all the years I lived. And I think it is important to have some record of it. Most people from those eras have drifted away. The only person I can rely on to be my memory for these formative times is myself.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
It's Sunday morning. I've just (tried to) run home. It was very cold. I had a heavy pack. So the running was hard work. Plus my hair froze. As usual. It's all quite romantic really. In some sense that I'm just trsuting is there rather than identifying completely.
My dream last night was:
I was walking to an Island. This is a small island just off the landmass surrounding the ocean. The ocean beside which I lived beside for 20 years. Every day I would walkdown the beach after the tide went out and climb upthe sandstone sides of the island. I'd perch there and observe the beaches and surronding low mountainsof the area. The big saddness of this island is that it, like everything else I suppose, is eroding away. It once featured huge arches jutting off the sides like half rainbows or the arms of an octypus. But just as the tide currents carve these arches, the currents eventually pull them down. So this is sad, as I said. My beach was known, or rather un-known I suppose forbeing deserted of people. KM after KM of noone. But me. In this dream the place had become overrun with people. Loads and loads of them. Lots of blue clothing contrasting the red sand beaches. I wouldnever walk on the beach when there were other people. As it was by refuge from the world. And I didn't want it tainted in that way. (I suppose this could also beseen as agoraphobic. Either way- I give myself permission.)
So there were all these people. But I did do my walk. When I came to the island I showed visible signs ofcontempt for the people around. Shaking my head etc. a black man tho was there accused me of being aracist. This theme went on for some time. Later, it turned out that in fact deep inside the the islandthere was a minister living. He had a great wooden office with lots of old books and even a window with asalty breeze coming in. I remember thinking how muchI wanted this office. I ended up debating ith him fora long time about why he was there and racism.
Recently I heard an island is not an island unless ithas 3 trees. But Patti's island will always be anisland to me.I think I'm going back there next weekend. I have visions of going to the local Walmart that has recently crusaded itself into the local area. Getting some large rubberstorage totes. And cleaning out whatever clothing, memories, New Kids dolls I have left behind there.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Last Night I dreamed my big boss insisted I cut holes in the bottom of my Roots pack back. holes in the bottom especially. And the pockets. Then I had to sew plastic Hartman's grocery bags over the holes. I remember thinking "When I bought this pack back it was so new and trustworrthy. I would never have imagined I'd cut holes in it for anyone."
Friday, February 11, 2005
I was in some sort of space age prision. Not a big one. Just a little room. Like a submarine. Outside was perilios. I was with two other people. One was a short, petite girl I knew. I can't say who it was now. In order to get out of this prision (monsters were our captors) we had to look at a glowing map of the world. You pressed countries and they lit up. We knew we had to focus on europe so we got this shape shifting map to just show Europe. Then there was an escape through some haunted forests ( like the Smurfs) to rescue someone. In a car. On the way back a monster jumped on the car and broke through the window. The petite girl killed the monster. But lost her arms in the defense.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
You know my life was a rough patch str8 through for about 25 years. In the recent past I've had a few bright spots and have been able to pull out of the troubled eras enough to clean up my place and even finish those records. But as a result of the 1/4 century plus of hardship, ironically I go to therapy every 2 weeks just to try to cope with the fear that i could be forced back into my old life by calamity.
So it's bitter sweet. Life has been better but I've had a "Chicken Little The Sky Is Falling" thought process chizeled into my psychie. As a response, rather than waiting for society to remove it's ills, I'm trying to look at ways at diverifying my life. Diversifying so that no one person or loss could send me completely back to my old life of being an internet addicted, shut in who's held in that state of being by being shunned by most Matime/ Ottawa social scenes I ebbed my way through. Getting out there with my music is one of these diversification methods.
Monday, February 07, 2005
My dream last night was of trying to convince a series of bank tellers to let me use my bank card. The story began when I tried to use my bank card. I was told i could not. I had to fill out a form. So I left with the form. I filled it out. Brought it back. it was the wrong form. Several of these exchanges occured. Each trip back to the bank got longer and longer. At one point I went in with all the forms and papers intent on laying them out for this guy at the bank. To explain the lunacy of it. But, just like real life, my papers where in a mess, despiter me having gone through much effort to organize them. then I took out my bank card and it had fallen apart. Woke Up.
Woke up to this:Today, for me I'm going through a lot of jealousy over young chicks in Ottawa's music scene who have "gotten their shit together" and are pulling ahead of me despite being a) younger and b) not as talented. All because they don't face the social barriers I do to connectng w. other musicans and finding audiences. Nor do they have the emotional barriers that come from a lifetime of facing these social barriers.
So cry me a river. What am I going to do about it? I paced around here imagining telling a bunch of them off. Then imagined myself holding my mythical Grammy award high. After that non productivity, I guess I'm on to some more composition and guitar practicing.
That and remembering to not judge myself by the same standards of success and timelines as demonstrated by main stream ez streeter girls. Avoid that trap. I'm a succes to still be in this game.
I mean reality check: these chicks were born whole. They didn't spend 27 years of their life sorting out the basics.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
I can't stand television. The Boob tube. The Idiot box. Mind Rot. The Can. Whatever we call it, it's a big waste of time. I'm really proud of my brother who recently threw his tv in the dumpster. He's happier, can think more clearly and has even started being creative. He's continuing on with his creative writing! The worst part of tv is the commercials. Whenever the ads are on I insist that they be put on "mute". (I even have "remote" to do this muting. The remote still startles me when I see it on the coffee table as it is just one of those things that I'll always think of as "something other people own.") it's not that I don't mind some commercials or all commercials some of the time. I literally can not tolerate them.
There's a lot of terrible ads on tv. But these two are the most offensive ones I've seen in the last few months:
The McDonalds commercial that is advertising turkey sandwiches. There's a farmer with his birds. (This is supposed to entice me?) And there's a smiling baby in a carriage. The baby gets poked in the tummy. Or is this just the Pilsberry Dough Boy who gets poked in the tummy.) I feel sad for this baby. he's being exploited. he didn't choose to be there. His parents did. He didn't have a say. And all too often it is the parents who take home the money. To all the bar assed baby showing diaper commercials I say: Stop th exploitation of babies!
The Worst Ad on TV:
The Tampex Tampon commercial. There's a bunch of giggling bimbos. The kind that inspire hard ons in19 year old guys living in their parents homes and wearing dirty white tube socks. And thereby these girls get instant credibility with all bimbos everywhere. They are on a desert island. So these spell out Tampex on the beach and a plane drops them off loads and loads of tampons! Forget the water, food and survival equipment. As long as they've got tampons to shove up their twats these bimbos are saved. And that's not the most ridiculous part of the add. Anyone who's ever visited Halifax Nova Scotia, where they flush millions of liters of raw sewage into the harbour every day, and walked along Point Pleasant Park has seen the hundreds of tampons that cover the beaches and rocks. We humans are not fit to inherit this earth. Bunch of pigs.
The alternative to tampons is to go to your local womyn's store and get a "keeper". It's a rubber cup about the size and shape of your thumb. it's better for your body, cheaper and reusable.
With all of the SUV driving to Cost Co, the cities that won't pay for decent recycling programs - like Ottawa, Ontario - the capital city of Canada, and yes the tampons being flushed in the Atlantic ocean by the residents of Halifax I have to wonder. What are we thinking?
The earth is an outpost. A sanctuary in an otherwise barren universe. Earth is the only planet in the galaxy that has an atmosphere that can sustain life. If we wreck it beyond repair (this is already happening, just ask the polar bears who can't find a decent ice berg to stand on anymore) then we can't take mother Earth back to the "Used Planet Lot" after we've traded in the SUV at the "Used Car Lot".
The alternative to SUV's is car pooling, biking, public transit, hybrid cars and dare I suggest walking. The alternative to the mass produced wastefully produced, distributed and consumed paradime is buying at least some organic products at local shops and even visiting a farm once and a while.
(It's taken me 5 weeks to make the time to write this down. How long will it take the world to take some of what I've said to heart?)
Friday, January 21, 2005
My thoughts right now are of pushing past the notion, and possibly the reality that I have no thoughts right now. It's just rush rush rush. Running through frozen Canadian streets and abusivly early hours to try and catch a last bus to work. A work that is devoid of creativity, where using my intelligence is discouraged, and making autonomous decisions is forbidden. Micro managing, nit picking, and back stabbing are in abundance. Meetings featuring catch phrases like " we need to think outside the box", "let's get on the train" and my personal favourite "we need to decide on deliverables" run together into a blur. A blur that is the back bone of the "all talk and no action" office culture. Sitting in the grey carpetted cubicle walls glowing from the floresent lights overhead.
And the guilt I have over pointing out all that is wrong with work. Coming from a have not part of the world. And being one of the most marginalized and have nots of the have nots. Having worked in drafty dim barns sifting through tables of dirt to pack strawberry plants for $2.12 an hour. And having no work at all many times. Should I not be glad for the glowing cubicle walls. At least it is inside. a chair. A window. This is why it's call "the golden hand cuffs". To cooshy to leave. But devoid of stimulation and more tragically devoid of soul.
Rushing. Standing with the human "herd" that has descended out of the office tower like a bunch of rats jumping out of a sinking wooden priate ship. Cramming onto the buses with the smile devoid faces that conceal thoughts of refinancing morages for houses in the burbs behind glazed over eyes.
Rushing into grocery stores. To pick up the usual stables and receive the usal gocks from the cashiers who have nothing running through their heads except a roll of receipts and nothing in their hands but plastic grocery bags.
Rushing home to make meals and try to beat back the encroaching kitchen stains and teetering tower of recycling.
Rushing. To do it all over again.
And for what? Some days I don't even remember the day before.
Well for survival. For one. That's what.
But the "rat race" does often leave me wondering if have a thought of my own these days. Other than the quote tattoed across the fingers of a guy who I was recently introduced to "Who's next?" Or the thought of how to block out the thought that life may have become that dreaded word "routine".
A lot of artist's websites feature rabblings about their inner contemplations and poinant descriptions of their most stirring emotions. I've identified that I've felt some pressure to keep up with that.
But I think in 2005 I'm going to refrain from these philosopical debates. Not force myself into being one of these artists who feels duty bound to point out those little observations about life that are so simple that they've been overlooked, and thus when pointed out are supposedly insightful.
I'm going to back away from patronizing dogma (preachyness) that many artists are displaying that is evidence that they think they are somehow enlightened to the point that they have something to teach the rest of us. "There there dear. Let me explain life to you."
It's all so obtuse.
This year I'm going to stop censoring, and editing my self. Moreover I'm not going to "package" my thoughts into neat little lessons of the week. I'm just going to write what think. If it's mess. Great.