Monday, January 01, 2007

Train Song


Happy New Year, everybody!
Hope it was as fun as mine, thought as usual, my gallivanting at New Year's leads to strange and baroque company, and oddly, a whole lot blues thrown in. I went to Hamilton, Ontario, of all places to see a guitar blues act at a nightclub, but was told I needed a ticket, and so, retreated to my sister's. She put on a feed, oddly of
ham, home fries and collard greens, touch of the old country and certainly the Old South here.

I had a drink or two at Mary's and that probably explains why I got screwed up on the Hamilton Street Railway and somehow ended up on the Burlingto Train Meet for Toronto.

Here, suddenly, I had companions who kept me merry all the way to Oakville, where I was inexplicably in the presence of a gorgeous black girl who was SO lost that I don't believe she had a brain left. She thought Front Street was in Oakville and in any event she had no more ticket to get to TO. Enter the encyclopedic yodelling brakeman. He would fix her ticket. He would entertain us this New Year's Eve with song, and talk about song, especially the blues. He had exchanged his brakeman hat for a funky Newsboy lid and he looked for all the world like TJ or somebody out of Bonnie and Clyde. All the way to Oakville, I heard the brakeman and the conductor carrying on this incredible conversation about Chess Records, and even a time before when all the blues greats of the Twenties, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Bill Broonzy, T-Bone Walker, Son House--and probably even Blind, Lame and Crippled Horribly, for all I know --were laying the ground work for Cream, The Rolling Stones and parts of Bob Dylan. The two train guys were especially animated about a PBS Crossroads Guitar Festival on TV, which was to be aired later today, hosted by Eric Clapton and featuring the last of the great blues players, especially Buddy Guy and Hubert Sunlin. The brakeman and the conductor had enough encyclopedic material on all popular music since about l9l9 to the present day to fill and entire website. There was even a part, perhaps apocryphal, about Chuck Berry smashing Keith Richands full in the mouth for making computer copies of all his riffs and passing them off as his own.This incredible conversation is going on while the black girl with me is catching up on the stunning cultural contributions blacks have made to America and the world. But still, she was lost.
No matter The Football Drop for the new year came and all four of us, brakeman, conductor, Black Girl Where Did You Sleep at Night (Robert Johnstone?)--shook hands hugged profusely and brought the New Year in right. Who cares who was lost or found. This was the football drop at the GO BOWL. Everybody got to where she or he was going and I was again sent merrily upon my way from Finch to Newmarket.


Is there intelligent life north of Steeles Avenue? Every good time has an asshole at the ending and we picked one up at about Oak Ridges and he began to harangue and belittle everybody until the bus driver asked him to get off the next stop. Thank God. He looked like a serial killer. In other words, I had a pretty good time. Christ, I'm still high. Happy New Year everybody.

20 comments:

ivan said...

Egad.
I've got to stop drinking and blogging.
I may have put a stop-comment in on the current blog by accident.
Just going to see if this note works.

Ivan

EA Monroe said...

Ivan! You and the Baroque. You'll have to write a "longer" story about your evening -- maybe a movie script!

Okay, I know the Eric Clapton Crossroads you mentioned -- we have the DVD. Wonderful.

I'm saving you some black-eyed peas!

And wishing the best of everything for you in 2007! Thanks for putting up with me!

Liz

ivan said...

Ah, you sweet thang!

Ivan

ivan said...

Nice start to your year, Liz.
Love that down home Oklahoma storytellin'.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, what a wonderful story. I wish I had been there. It sounds like my kinda time. Fabulous.

I'm going to check out PBS tonight, if I can stay awake long enough.

Happy New Year,

Josie

ivan said...

Liz and I were wondering what you'd been up to.
Now we know. The world's ten sexiest men, your list and not People Magazine's list?
I'll bet your sitemeter will rock itself off its moorings what with all your woman correspondents.
And you were so sweet to include me, after I complained of not being on the list! Ha.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
Nice blog.
Interesting what Liz might have to say.

Ivan

Josie said...

Ivan, I really was going to add you to the top ten list. But then I thought I had better not. You are one of the funniest, most intelligent people I know.

I had to whittle it down to ten, anyway.

Cheers,
Josie

ivan said...

Josie,
There's something of the angel in you!

EA Monroe said...

The other fab guys don't stand a chance next to our dear Quark #1!

Josie said...

Liz, yes, they pale in comparison, don't they? Hah.

Just popping over to say good morning to everyone. I am back at work today, we are short-staffed, and they are making me work.... sigh.

Cheers,
Josie

ivan said...

Quarks are inseparable.
They come from the sun.

Josie said...

Ivan, you're too funny.

I thought quarks came from waaaaay outer space :-)

Josie

Josie said...

Ivan, this is interesting. I got this from Wikipedia:

Quarks are the only fundamental particles that interact through all four of the fundamental forces. The word was borrowed by Murray Gell-Mann from the book "Finnegans Wake" by James Joyce, where seabirds give "three quarks", akin to three cheers (probably onomatopoetically imitating a seabird call, like "quack" for ducks).

It's that amazing? You learn something every day.

Josie

ivan said...

Josie,
That is astounding!
We three have the teensiest,pi-meson-like grip on old James Joyce!

Quack, quack, quack.

That is not George Orwell's "duckspeak".

This is us.
Quack. Quark Quark.

Poets, we are, on ducktyllic feet.

Ha.

Devon Ellington said...

Doesn't Hamilton have a hockey team? I seem to remember interviewing some of them for the hockey book at one point.

That was QUITE a night.

ivan said...

Hi Devon,
Surprised you even heard of Hamilton.
Probably because the Hamilton Bulldogs, as part of the American Hockey Leaue, play in upstate New York quite a bit.
Strange town, Hamiliton.
We did so want to be like denizens of Greenwich Village back in the coffee house days and we somehow managed to produce a fair crop of musicians--like expatriate Conway Twitty, and Lord Black's Barbara Amiel as top-drawer writer. And Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins, our import from the Deep South.
I must say I envy you a bit, being right there in the Big Apple and writing all those stories.

I gave up a very good job to write three "beautiful novels about Toronto", but I fear the critics entirely missed two of them.

Thanks for the Hamilton enquiry.
Somebody in the Big Apple knows of Hamilton.
Wow.

Ivan

Josie said...

Hey, my cousin George lives in Hamilton. He's waaaaaay cool.

Josie

ivan said...

Uh, Josie, love of my life, how can you be named George and be cool?
--Just being an ass.

Josie said...

Ivan, thats my point... :-)

Josie

ivan said...

Heh heh.