“Frozen Fall”

(backyard bird bath)

by Richard Davies

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Looking Back (part 348)

Another major turning point was buying a Scrabble game in grade 12 (1966-67), which I played with my closest friends Hugh and Dave. (I still play it once a year minimum.)

An awakening interest that year in words and language along with the gr. 12 English books–Hamlet, Hardy’s Return of the Native, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The overlapping worlds of language and literature opening up suddenly, memorably, and powerfully. The freedom of thought and expression simultaneously blossoming hugely.

At the same time I took to the boards more prominently in a play The Red Velvet Goat and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, opening the doors to public performance and all the years of performing that followed. (I even played the butler in The Importance of Being Earnest and sang Simon and Garfunkle songs with my friend Chris at MTC.) There seemed to be no limits with language, literature, and performing all opening up to me in 1967, the year of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the year I met the love of my life Karen Reade (still my better half 51 years later).

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And so I set out today

resuming a worthy writing project–doing a Foreward–for a local poet-friend, who needs one for his forthcoming collected poems.

Like other editing and writing jobs I’ve done for other Stroll of Poets members, this one is a continuing story of my long-time editing and writing skills put to use yet again in bringing important people, works, and information to the attention of others and Alberta and poetry readers, in particular.

We each of us have our talents and preferred activities and choices that inform, inspire, and elevate our lives. I will just add that, if one cannot critically think or make distinctions in one’s reading or respond sensitively to words, then one cannot perform such a service to and for others. I remain a happy language dinosaur and poetic thinker, a rareity in our dumbed-down, distracted time.

My mind remains a flame; very much in line with Leonard Cohen’s posthumously released book of poetry just released–The Flame, which is a fine elegiac summing up of a great poet’s career and wisdom. A notable legacy to the world of modern poetry and an unexpected breath of fresh muse-air.

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These dark daze it is more important than ever to

remain an individual following your own bliss in a focused natural way. That and looking out for those closest to one–family and closest friends.

It’s also important not to lose sight of using common sense, having perspective, and ignoring that which is mass stupidity and care-less-ness, especially as reflected in and by the media. These are major distractions that threaten to engulf ordinary folk and make people ‘lose it’ and become more susceptible to The Machine currently bulldozing the autonomy and uniqueness of individuals.

One has to learn to say ‘No’ more often as the technological world is repeatedly at the door threatening to make people even more stupid , dependent, and irresponsible than ever.

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It must be the weekend in E-City as

Someone turns out the lights again and folks endure yet another day dark and deep as a dungeon. Wrist-slitting stuff for sure for anyone on the edge or under major stress.

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The world’s weather is

the biggest news story of the year. It has changed everything and negatively impacted millions of lives, places, countries, and economies.

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The Western World bottoms out

after Kanye West meets with Trump to issue clear, uplifting values and moral directions to Trump. The Great New Age of Irrationality is firmly on America (Screwball Central) and the West in general.

The sleazes are firmly in power and command major media attention daily. A woman who enjoys getting peed on goes to the White House and actually gets someone freed from jail. A certified nutcase follows up with mad ramblings off the map as the POTUS sits there taking instruction and guidance from a black man who figures American slaves of the past chose their enslavement.

America, for sure, is well beyond any common sense or any sense of moral distinctions and judgements. And because the dead old American Dream, the rest of the world is forced to accept absolute chaos, the nonchalant threat of world war, and economic disaster for the world. All this as an accidental president humors lunatics like West and Kim on the world stage as a massive ego trip. All this as Nature wreaks its revenge on continuing gross abuse by its stupid, irresponsible human stewards.

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A Tribute to The Beatles–A Classical Mystery Tour

What a sold-out show last evening! Likely the Winspear’s top concert of the year.
ESO paired up with 4 veteran musical impersonators:

–Benjamin Chadwick, as Paul McCartney, brought in on a 36-hr. basis to replace scheduled ‘Paul’–Tony Kishman. He nailed key McCartney bass lines played on a vintage Hohner bass and gave definitive vocals on “I Saw Her Standing There”and “Got to Get You iinto My Life”, leaving the audience wondering if Kishman would have been significantly better.

–Jim Owen as a credible ‘John’, especially on “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “A Day in the Life”. He moved easily between keyboards and rhythm guitars.

–Tony Teeley doing note-perfect vocals and lead guitar solos as ‘George’. The fact that he was in the Beatlemania musical and film as ‘George’ speaks for itself.

–Chris Camilleri as ‘Ringo’ reproduced all the famous Starr drum patterns in the 28 hits these guys capably trotted out from one of the great song catalogues of all time in pop music. He was even mediocre enough to deliver two shaky Starr vocals, though I must add that “Good Night” was one of the Beatles’ most underrated beautiful arrangements.

Bob Bernhardt was his usual excellent, witty self and masterfully conducted the arrangements for strings, horns, and percussion. The trumpet player deserves kudos for nailing the solo in “Penny Lane” while the horns were solid in “Got to Get You into My Life”. The orchestra even filled in nicely with handclaps on “I Saw Her Standing There” at one point.

The 28 songs included:
“Got to Get You into My Life’
“Golden Slumbers”
“I Saw Her Standing There”
“Live and Let Die” (the orchestra’s biggest challenge which was well-done)
“Long and Winding Road” (loved those ascending strings)
“Penny Lane”
“Yesterday”  (with an excellent string quartet)
“Hey Jude”
“Lady Madonna” (with a nice sax solo)
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (complete with original orchestra laughs)
“She’s Leaving Home”
“When I’m Sixty-four”
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”
“Come Together”
“Strawberry Fields Forever” (with mellotron)
“Twist and Shout”
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”
“Dear Prudence”
“Give Peace a Chance”
‘John and Paul’: “A Hard Day’s Night”
“A Day in the Life”
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (reprise)
“The End”/”Carry That Weight” (with a great guitar solo with George playing both trade-off parts!)
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (arguably the best song of the evening)
“Good Night”
“With a Little Help from My Friends”

What a wonderful evening with a greatly enhanced program and substitution at the last moment for ‘Paul’. Although they delivered on 14 songs from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the White Album, the other 15 songs were equally interesting Beatles’ classics.  A Classical Mystery Tour is the best of The Beatles imitators out there and they are a must-see with a good symphony orchestra. Two thumbs way up!

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Quote of the Day

“I’m the most bullied person in the world.”
–Melania Trump

translation: Poor, poor pitiful me. I have it so–o-o hard. People should feel sorry for me. I’ve been hard done by. Nobody knows how much I’ve suffered.”

Interesting to hear from a woman who sold out long ago to her husband, who is a slave to his whims, and who chose to marry and stay married to this promiscuous tomcat.

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A View of Work from 90 years Ago

This comes from Aldous Huxley’s great book Point Counter Point. Mark Rampion (inspired by D.H. Lawrence) is talking to Philip, the main character.

“The root of the evil’s in the individual psychology; so it’s there, in the individual psychology, that you’d have to begin. The first step would be to make people live dualistically, in two compartments. In one compartment as industrialized works, in the other as human beings. As idiots and machines for eight hours out of every twenty-four and real human beings for the rest.’
“Don’ they do that already?”
“Of course, they don’t. They live as idiots and machines all the time, at work and in their leisure. Like idiots and machines, but imagining they’re living like civilized humans, even like gods. The first thing to do is to make them admit that they are idiots and machines during working hours. ‘Our civilization being what it is’–this is what you’ll have to say to them–‘you’ve got to spend eight hours out of every twenty-four as a mixture between an imbecile and a sewing machine. It’s very disagreeable I know. It’s humiliating and disgusting. But there you are. You’ve got to do it; otherwise the whole fabric of our world will fall to bits and we’ll all starve. Do the job, then, idiotically and mechanically, and spend your leisure hours in being a real complete man or woman, as the case may be. Don’t mix the two lives together; keep the bulkheads watertight between them. The genuine human life in your leisure hours is the real thing. The other’s just a dirty job that’s got to be done. And never forget that it is dirty and, except in so far as it keeps you fed and society intact, utterly unimportant, utterly irrelevant to the real human life…..Your work’s just a nasty, dirty job, made unfortunately unnecessary by the folly of your ancestors. They piled up a mountain of garbage and you’ve got to go on digging it away, for fear it might stink you to death, dig for dear life, while cursing the memory of the maniacs who made all the dirty work for you to do. But don’t try to cheer yourself up by pretending the nasty mechanical job is a noble one. It isn’t; and the only result of saying and believing it is will be to lower your humanity to the level of the dirty work. If you believe in business as service and the sanctity of labor, you’ll merely turn yourself into a mechanical idiot for twenty-four hours out of the twenty-four. Admit it’s dirty, hold your nose, and do it for eight hours, and then concentrate on being a real human being in your leisure. A real complete human being. The industrialists who purvey standardized ready-made amusements to the masses are doing their best to make you as much of a mechanical imbecile in your leisure as in your hours of work. But don’t let them. Make the effort of being human.’ That’s what you’ve got to say to people; that’s the lesson you’ve got to teach the young. You’ve got to persuade everybody that all this grand industrial civilization is just a bad smell and that the real, ‘significant’ life can only be lived apart from it. It’ll be a very long time before decent living and industrial smell can be reconciled. Perhaps, indeed, they’re irreconcilable. It remains to be seen. In the meantime, at any rate, we must shovel the garbage and bear the smell stoically, and in the intervals try to lead the real human life.”

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