Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas in a junkyard

Silent night. Holy night. ................ Got nobody to call. Everybody busy with families, candlelight.Thought I'd call you, Ivan. Another orphan, kind of. You'd be sitting there, probably with some kind of candle guttering somewhere. Yep. You probably got time, time for a call. I am in an industrial parking lot. Got this old cube van oufitted with Acme woodburning stove.I actually put in a stovepipe through a roof vent. Kinda cozy, but, think it through, I am in a junkyard parking lot. Cops coming around now and then checking my address (It was actually a friend's address, and they know not only that I don't live there, the friend is today getting evicted.They won't accept Wexler's junk yard as an address, surely. Hope nobody comes around tonight). Somethinf I was going to ask you. I forget what. Silent night. Holy night. 'Round yon virgin mother and child Holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Window to Juarez

At the age of 76, Joe Brod decided he wanted his life back. Lately he had been having dreams of the future, but it seemed to Joe, that there was no more future, perhaps only an imaginary, crabwise inching into the past. And perhaps the future was really the past. Joe Brod, wakes and prepares breakfast in his condo kitchenette in exurban Newmarket, Ontario. It's early in the morning, but Brod couldn't sleep, partly because he's obsessed with the seemingly mildly retarded beauty he had once made love to, now in hospital with advanced alzheimers. He had visited her, but all she wanted, in her seemingly demented state was fifty dollars for the bootlegger, "fer to get whiskey,"which was hardly possible, as she was in her hospital bed with a catheter and an oxygen inhaler. She was tethered. He had left depressed, feeling once again, that every woman he had tourched seemed to go to hell. Is it because I like the crazy ones? Is it because Im crazy? Hm. What does it matter? The mad seem to live forever. Like you, Joe? You are seventy-six,and after years of whoring,writing and drinking,you are still kind of a kid. That phrase out of the Twenties, "Oh you kid" That damn epoch speaks a lot of pathos, tin roof blues, and oh you kid. He knows Newmarket because Main Street is so much the boulevard of broken dreams, as in the posters,closed storefronts and suddenly burgeoning bars. A Mexican cantina is trying to bring it back to life. People doing the Hat Dance, bums pretending to be high rollers, what with the cheap tequila and inexpensive food. He remembers his Spanish from Mexico, and for a while, just for a while, he makes his crab crawl backwards into time. If he can now not return to Mexico, Mexico is coming to him in exurban Newmarket. Briefly, he has his life back, the senoritas, the American divorcees.The warmth of her. Sweet blow by the hot springs. In the moring, it is over. Back to the hospital, to visit his Kallikak girlfriend, the strange portal back to his past. But did he have to give her an evil bite? Strange chimaeric nature.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It's the bees' knees, oldsters!

Seniors are more than welcome here at Just Brunch restaurant. Special senior days Wednesday and Thursday. Two dollars will get you a hot drink and a muffin or tart (inclusive). Depending on attendance, entertainment will be provided by Ivan (Described by Reg.Coun. John Tayor as "Mr. Arts")-- and Penelope on the piano. Owner Rory might play the spoons! :) It's the bees' knees, oldsters. Wednesdays and Thursdays. To Charleston, to Charleston! LOL

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Poring over old images of a vanished town

After poring over old pictures of my home town in the windows of some boarded-over Main Street stores, I walk -all the way along the old drag, up the hill across Davis drive, to arrive at the old cemetery there. Boot Hill appears a city all to itself, a Newmarket old (and younger with recent arrivals), but they are dead nevertheless, their gravestones and mauseleums sometimes still flashing famous name, like Banting. I get a slight shiver, thinking of old novels, old plays, like Thornton Wilders "Our Town." The moving finger that affects us all, the wise old townies, the fools and knaves, the old Irish navvies who's worked in the now vanished pencil factory and tannery, the fourth-generation of UEL Tories from America who would lookdown on them.No lunks, drunks or punks! I think of my author friend, E.A. Monroe, from Norman, Oklahoma who writes about flashbacks to a vanished childhood... Perhaps like Emily, allowed to levitate from her grave talking to mother, sister and father out of her youth, but they can hear her not. The moving finger, the Egypian tombs, pictographs. Ibises. What will we need for the afterlife? Perhaps it's the Halloween just passed, or the Mexican Day of The Dead whose parades I'd often frequented in the San Miguel sun. Enough to spook you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

When all else fails, try stand-up comedy

This blog being dormant for a while, I will have to attempt, like my old musical friends who called themselves the Mumbleducks (former duct installers all)--something like stand-up comedy. Take tragic instance out of your life and turn it into comedy. Like being born into a potato field (true story) where is seems your first cousin was kinda sweet. Or hitting on the same woman for the third time that night, and being told,"Hey,don't you think you're spreading yourself kinda thin?" Charlie Sheen manque', that's what one is. Told by a prospective pick-up, "Sorry. I don't have 'father' issues." Kinda tough, dating as a slightly (slightly?) older guy. Cover the balding head, wear an ear stud. Get a small tattoo. "Any more assholes like you in Newmarket?" Sit there at the bar, waiting for the ladies to make the first move. Hours later, in the mirror, you is a skeleton. Dating is tough for the slightly older guy. Until you finally learn, you don't have to do nothin'. Just sit there at the bar, looking all f*cked up. This is deadly. Even Lizzy the Lezzy will come right over. "Oh, you poor man!" Takes a long time to become a cad. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Discovering the Higgs Field at 76

I have always had a paranoia about  cosmologists, usually  shaped a bit rotund, like the planet.
Sometimes they are a bit more athletic, like de Grasse Tyson, but in most cases, something like old blues players, "Blind, Lane and Crippled Horribly."
It is my belief that cosmologist through the ages, have always been tyrants or politicians,
(Like possibly mistaken Aristotle, "The sun goes around the earth, therefore I should rule..?"

...Certainly the position of the Roman Catholic Church for a millenilum or two.

I had entertained such thoughts until I met Cosmo.

Cosmo, who in appearance, was a little like Deepak Chopra, finally set me straight.
Synchronicity. Yes. Nothing is absolutely so.
Cosmo, perhaps like Dante, suggested to me the only way out of a major problem--was down,
Was he drunk across the hastily wiped table at the English pub?

"The only way out is down.

I was poised at my dumpster, looking for not-yet-stale dated meat.

In the wind, a hlundred dollar bill few by.
Which I plucked forth.
Corollary: Fuck it up completely, and only then will the truth be supplied."





Thursday, August 28, 2014

Writing, just for therapy, on the fly, or, rather on the wobbly walk

Not so steady on my feet these days, I nevertheless  had a drink in a lady's apartment, and after a quarter bottle of rye, went out to the balcony-- and promptly lay flat unable to move.
My lady panicked and dialled 911.
Crap, here we go again. Ambulance, hospital EEGs, outfitted with the usual patient "Borg"
gear.

I didn't want to go through that again, especially in a smoke free hospital (aren't they all smoke free,
the goody-two- shoes medicos?) When they were finished with the EEG "You've got an irregular hearbeat") I picked  a moment while they walked away with the EGG and printout--left my gurney--and made a run for home and freedom.

Over my shoulder, I almost yelled an explanation: "F*ck this noise."

Fugitive.
They called my home the next day to ascertain I was home. It was likely that my heart was okay, but my walking, even before drinking, wasn't so hot.

Trardest thou an antiseptic smoke-free hospital for the comfort of your own home where people could at least monitor you? No. Strike a blow for freedom. Pull all that crap from you chest and arms an flock off.

I wouldn't recommend this escape to anyone, but it seems in the short run...victory!  Lol.



Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Create your own song now."

1966.
Summertime, and the publishing was easy.
What other college could have people going around asking, begging,
 to have something printed by you. Yes, you.
That was back in the day,when you were, you thought, at already   twenty-something, that you were brilliant.At least your peers told you you were.
You'd made your mark in the student paper, now they were after you for the literary magazine and the yearbook.
And you did deliver.
Success, at least locally.
Now at the bars, a "Wine-stoned Cowboy."
 
Not the same thing forty yours later, with a cant, when brilliant and broke just doesn't cut it any more.
 
That old song:
 Nobody wants you when you're down and out.
Three million words in print, and one can't even get a bank loan. And the leprechaun in your head, so recently played by the CasinoRama floka, , yelps, "Ya wanna go, Ya wanna go?"
Ya, I wanna go, but these days, I can hardly walk.
But there must be some optimism left.
I can still try to scribble.
 
"Scribble, scribble scrible, eh Jones?"
 
The line out the song, "On Broadway:"
 
"And I you don't think  you'll get that far
But I can play this here guitar
"And I won't quit till I'm a star
On Broadway"
 
Well, the Broadway days are gone.
Radio. TV. The recording.
 
I go out into the street hunting for butts and booze.
 
At the stoplight somebody suddenly call out to you.
 
"Hey, I saw you on television."
 
"Forty years ago?"
 
"Yes, forty years ago."
 
Well, I can't quit now.
 
That was some lodestar.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I am today like the Brazil World Cup soccer team: No future, but what  a past!
 
My best friend, possibly sensing this turned me  down on a loan, saying you just can't beg for dollar bills out of the the ether. You gotta show me you're serious before I get involved.
Jaysus. A simple yes or no would have done it.
No need for epistemology and another page of proof.
Proof of what? That I had turned asshole?
But I was an asshole in need. No need for the lecture,
Durn  those I'm-all-right -Jack attitudes.
 
Easy to say when some woman has taken off with your rent money and all you have is the memory of  rather badly executed sex. And one has collected a trustee in bankruptsy.
In a word, a best friend has told one to f-off.
I'm sure this has happened to a reader before. Ya never know. "I'm all right Jack, he seems to say while chewing on a chicken drumstick while you're there hanging around the dumpster.
Well, what the hell. We had career choices. He played it straight, while I chose to play the grand genius sweepstakes. I did not win. At least not yet. And time is getting on. I am 76.
 
There is this secret vanity. Four novels and two kids. Other friends tell me that ain't bad.
 
...But the critics missed it, and it seems, so did my "I'm-all-right, Jack" friend.
 
                      -30-

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The writer as Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice

I don't like writing on the fly, especially when one's lights seem caught in a stock: Family anxieties, angry landlord, little food, no cigarettes. Whee, isn't life grand?
 
But you have to write. Like Kafka might say, a writer who doesn't write is a dangerous entity.
So with frayed coattails, an edge of a nervous breakdown here I go:
 
"Life is evil," says Arthur Schopenhauer, "ecause when you solve one problem another immediately crops up."
 
As a fiction writer, I get very leery of writing about reality, because it is stronger ane more fascinating than any fiction, and if you face it, it might just zap you. It is metaphysics, and any nuber of wizards from the past may have been zapped, like Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer's Apprentice.
 
So here I am. Poor almost evicted. Along with a woman who seems in almost worse shape. I like to think that it is better to be smart and sensitive than stupid and sensitive...At leastsmart, you can almost think your way out during the tornado.
So right now during this rare Ontario tornado, I am in this cellar, still out of bread and cigarettes--Mickey Mouse in his bunker, daring not at all to face the dancing brooms.
 
##

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sometimes on the world-wide web, I come across  poem that makes my own writing look like clumsy scrawls.

Here is the poem by Daved Emaku Kalu


If I choose to go to Lagos

May 7, 2014 at 4:25am


I will have no place to stay
But if I go to my father’s people
There is a house that was red dust before my mother planted a smile
Of sunflowers around it
Even so it will be that kind of stay where I will not drink and put my cup down
Always aware of the proximity of my father’s presence
Used to the city I’ll be looking over my shoulder each time
The old doors creak when my ancestors go past
In that house where even the wind will challenge everything I do
And everyone wonder why I selfishly travel to the moon
Floating between clouds, fondling the stars
Instead of filling the tank behind the house with water from the well
If I go to Abuja in my sister’s house the air my food
My sleep my dreams
Will be saturated by Jesus
And the faces and names of the people she’s unpinned
From the devil’s thorny fence
My sister believes as soon as someone recites I give you my life, Jesus
They’ve turned from a wolf into a sheep
But I have seen the clumpy verdigris
Around the things her converts do not say
A fox showing now and then behind the dewy eyes they peer out of
If I remain where I am if I remain where I’ve been
Then I’ll keep being nowhere (like the hole in a doughnut)
Standing before the gallows of this crossroads, for once
I am grateful to be unencumbered by love
To be beholden to nothing or anyone but that which I do without obtruding on anything or
Anyone though the manner in which I rise to occasions would amaze everyone
As I rise now to the possibility of a devil’s alternative
Turning as from a mine field from the tired creak of the cranked pulley
The water slowly rising in the algae-rimmed bucket
In the mossy well
Of my father’s house

If I go there I will hear his voice saying 29 Regent Street,
Could I have a taxi please?
And I’m not strong enough for that now
With him buried out there in front

Friday, April 18, 2014

Giving death the slip

I am in hospital. something really  wrong with my innards.
I seem to be in n internal medicine ward and they have just moved somebody in next door.
He is a slightly greing  fiftyish man, not yet really old, wheeled in by what seems to be an entourage of family and friends.
 
I pick up from their conversation as he is helped into bed, that his name is Sam and from the paddock talk, a horsebreeder throughout our region and even the United States.
Immediately to  his left  pleasant brunette seems to be almost tucking him in. I take it is his wife. I pick up that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
The unfairness of it all. The successful business--the other people around him treat him with great respect, almost love.
He was/is somebody.
First bleeding ulcers. And the the godawful diagnosis. Cancer of the bowel.
Right in the middle of his success, the livery business, which today has to be  high end, the loving wife the loyal partners.
They all talk shop for a while, the four of them, and eventually the three men leave, but not the wife. It is getting late, past visiting hours, but she is not leaving.
I see her lift his blanket to lie down beside him. Apparently she will try an all-nighter, keep him company of the staff will not ask her to leave.
I listened to their talk for most of the night. The nurse had been in but no one was asked to leave. She left in the morning with a loving kiss and hug. Sam had been a lucky man.
The money, the ribbons the prizes. But the creeping sickness. The first time he had  just had the bleeding ulcers and ending up in a V.A. hospital. Ex-marine. Gulf War. Back home in one piece, to recover and succeed. And eventually here, Joker's Hill, East Gwillumbury, to be  told that he has cancer.
The unfairness of it all. Right in the middle of your sucess, two Big Ones in the bank, international notoriery, and then bowel cancer. Real bad. He still has the slight American drawl.
Sam the man, felled by something viral and stupid.
I make a dusting-myself-off gesture.
I am neither smart or successful. And I have this persistent bleeding ulcer. The doctor had said  it doesn't feel like cancer.
But poor Sam Hill.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My tapeworm left me this morning. Now I have to walk alone


My tapeworm left me this morning.

Now I'll have to walk alone.

The parting was far from amicable, downright traumatic, as the silvery nematode undulated somewhat gracefully this way and that in his bowl, the squarish head, light sensor on each side, seeming to say, "All right, wise guy, it was bad
enough not getting any mustard on that last dog, but now you';ve really pissed me off."

I knew something was wrong for weeks. The little bastard liked to roam around a lot at night, and sometimes he'd forget the way home and end up sleeping on my scrotum. Then, before I could say, "gotcha, you little bastard", he'd disapear faster than you can say "Tally ho! The Fox!."

The fox hunt went on for quite some time until, as an old Air Force guy, I thought of Agent Orange and where it could be gotten. Sure enough, down at Camp Petawawa, I saw some denuded trees (along with at least one denuded Warrant Officer). I plucked forth the nearest branch, rotten apple and all. I can't believe I ate the whole thing.

That was the night before I gave the eviction notice to my
tapeworm. He ignored it to his peril.

There he is, splashing around in his bowl. Aggressive bastard, really. Didn't realize tapeworms were fully equipped with scuba gear. They are aquatic. And they like to roam around at night sometimes. Creepy, what?

"This is hurting me more than you. Parasites are supposed to clean out the intestines. Too much bowel cancer around."

"Fuck off," said the tapeworm.

##

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It was surely an ice age. But today, it's spring

It's spring.

The aspens are bright and silver.

The month just passed seems certainly to have been an ice age, whose remnants still linger, there under the hemlocks, the pines, the tamaracks along the Holland River where I walk on the Tom Taylor Trail.

I am walking just behind a  group led by bicyclist  called Fish, from the other cyclists who keep calling out to him. He is eighty and can pass for sixty, younger even, for though his face is parchment, his fine legs are ageless as he easily rounds the corner of the bikepath and turns his helmeted head to urge the rest of of his troupe  on.

They seem  an eclectic crew.
They have slowed a bit, and I am almost caught up to them.
The effort of biking had freed them, it seems,  from pedalling against another load, a pushcart full of pain that many of us had been  walking and now pedalling against, often back-pedalling against the awful weight of it all. It seems to me today that  everybody in the group is pushing or carrying something.

Baggage from another marriage, the great sprawling novel that would not come to life, the smoky air of Seventies barrooms, the first adrenalin rush of a heroin injection.

There is the real hope of a steamer on the horizon--that we shall be rescued from this Raft of the Medusa by a jovial, somehow Germanic sea captain.
Yet one must be chary of such a notion.

Recovery is miraculous and dramatic. It may come this spring or it may not. The local Indians will tell you it is all on the whim of the Creator.
In the meantime the Indians will tell you to stay away from waterfalls, great confluences of water. And large lakes, like Simcoe, for there is an ogepoge in each one, each with its own monster.

The  cyclists ride side-by side. Then uncouple to ride alongside somebody else. 
What has brought us all  to this bikepath, along this river, along these aspens, along these tamaracks that seem to the greenhorn like so many reddened, discarded Christmas trees--but they are not, for these conifers will regain their needles and will again be bright green and bushy. Hopefully like us.
The cyclists have now paused, and  I am talking to a woman already in capri pants and white adidas.

Like me this spring, she is a little whimsical and vulnerable and kind of shy. But she had been pedalling  in there pedalling for all she's worth, like and out-of-luck teenager pushing a baby carriage, which, back home, is probably the case. She is trusting to God and good people.

The people are still good, but this is a dark age and the liberal sentiment says one thing and does another. They have stolen a large portion of the welfare money. Stolen. Yes. Mafia Miltie. Don't kid yourself. Fiddling with welfare funds is the first sign of Tony Soprano getting a cut. Meanwhile, our cyclist, whose name might by Rosie Quackenbush, puts on a brave and pretty face, gulps air and pedals on.

I move on to still nother  another party of cyclists.

An entire family. Father a little bulgy with the Speedo. Helmetted mother in ski pants and a yellow top. Little ginger-haired daughter in shorts and sandals doughtily holding up the rear.

We are all , moving, now past the tree, past the bird, past the little piles of discarded green potter's clay and other small bits of rubbish along the Holland, where they have just refurbished some condos. Yet the river may yet regain the flats!

The nearness of water and bright greenery here and there have given us hope for another, better season.

Ahead of us all now, there is the ringing of Fish's bell. He has seen something on the path, which turns out to be a snapping turtle the size of a Humvee wheel. It moves slowly, methodically out of the way, its fast, avian beginnings completely evolutioned-out over the billions of years, leaving just a mechanical crawl and a beak, which, like a construction backhoe, seems to droop a little before snapping up something. It takes the turtle a long time to get off the asphalt path.

Fish rings the bell again. We can go on.

He rings now, I suppose for spring.

And I suppose like the turtle we have just passed,

We get this sense of knowing.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Treating writing as a business



I'm gonna write this real fast, because the computer in my head   is full of little viruses,  quirks, and family anxieties making it hard to focus on the tough discipline of writing..
My intention had been to discuss what happens to a writer when he or she achieves the lifelong goal of getting something into print, between covers with your name on it.

According to one author, almost nothing.
Enjoy the rush and go on to the next book.
...And make money.
Writing is a business, and it should be treated like a business.

Well, yippie shit. I had been in that business for about forty years

I remember doing my writing on the vinyl-covered kitchen table, hating every moment of it--but it was the only thing I could do half-right and at the end of the night, I'd have a magazine piece worth $750 oldfashioned dollars, and if I screwed it up they would still give me a thousand dollar "kill
fee, with the pretense that they would eventually bring my work forward--BF, they called it, but you knew too damn well that it would be marked NG for "no good" and they would never publish it.

Landlady says,"What kind of an asshole gets $750 for getting a story rejected?"
Well, in the anals of history...

But those were the days of being a salaried freelancer and when you'd been a name, and editors were jumping all over each other to steal you from John Bassett, my publisher at the time.
Those days are gone. There is a new crew now, computer literate, smart, and treating their writing like a busines--which, in my opinion, it is not.

It is a muscle, a reflex, somewhat like sex. Use it or lose it.
Migod, I think I have just screwed this blog.  :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

We understand Hubble. Therefore we should rule?

For the past thirty years, I have been haunted not so much by the "preacher man" Elmer Gantrys of the world, but, oddly the physicists. There are times I think physicists comprise an arcane religion.
They point to the heavens and all the new   Hubble images, going "oohh-ahh, like the late Carl Sagan" at configurantions billions and billions of light years old. One questions their very existence. To be extreme, one would echo the French writer Celine, who says outright that because of time and distances, "the universe is phoney."
 
Scientist-kings have been around for a long time, certainly with the pyramids, mauus, Stonehenge and the like. You could add the pyramids of central America, where high priests certainly knew a thing or two about heart surgery if not calendars.
Basically it's "we can predict the seasons, we know the movements of the planets...Therefore we should rule?"
 
A whimsical current song, "Ruler" seems to somehow end my conundrum.
 
And we'll never be royals (royals)
It don't run in our blood
That kind of lux just ain't for us, we crave a different kind of buzz
Let me be your ruler (ruler)
You can call me queen bee
And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule
Let me live that fantasy


Read more: Lorde - Royals Lyrics | MetroLyrics
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

And we'll never be royals (royals)
It don't run in our blood
That kind of lux just ain't for us, we crave a different kind of buzz
Let me be your ruler (ruler)
You can call me queen bee
And baby I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule, I'll rule
Let me live that fantasy


Read more: Lorde - Royals Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Friday, January 31, 2014

Getting my chops from the master. An interview,(though dated) with Gordon Lightfoot.

"Turn around
Go back down
Back the way you came
Can't you see that flash of fire
Ten times brighter than the day
And behold a mighty city
Rich in treasure, wide if fame
O Lord,the pride of man
Broken in the dust again."
 
Well, after hearing this on radio and almost crashing my car, I just had to meet the man who wrote this.
He was still readily available, at old Steele's Tavern on Yonge Street, Toronto. Heh. Try for a personal interview with Gordon now!
 
A frustrated songwriter-turned journalist,I just had to write like Lightfoot. He would have to show me.
It was still the sixties. He was still then available. I got him to talk over break.(But not before showing me how to de-tune my guitar for that haunting song, "The Way I Feel...Is like a robin." Migod! Getting my chops from the master! Then he talked about songwriting.
The title, then the chord progression, that’s an obvious one.  Then get the melody to marry in with the chord progression. I do that by listening to the harmonics and sitting with the guitar. The chords, the melody, and third comes the lyrics.
You can start with a title if you want, or go fishing for words in a magazine, like People magazine or something, you’ll see an ad with some fancy language to it. I’ve done that, honestly, I’ve even gone into a paint store and picked up the titles of paint samples. Honestly.
You can bounce around from pillar to post trying to figure out how to do these things, but once you get into one of them — a song — you just let the imagination do the work. I’ve done that many times, just let it fall the way it may.
Sometimes [songwriting] takes a short while, sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes you’ll have one kickin’ around for seven or eight years and you’ll dig it out and it works. Usually it’s been sitting in the dust closet somewhere.
Forty years later, I am still trying to write songs. Now I write blogs.
Ultimate fate? End up on Facebook?
Aw what the hell. Nowadas my god is on facebook too. :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rockin' and Rollin past forty.

A push-me-pull you kind of guy, one of my writing jobs was covering rock'n'roll in Toronto in the late sixties and seventies.
Wow, what a switch from trying to be the Nicholas Gogol of Newmarket.
Get out  your guitar and now we're going to sing the blues?
I guess to some extent I was always sort of the white Russian  guy  who dug bluegrass, and in fact one of my favourite movies had been "Bering Strait", where this Russian bluegrass group,  tried to make it in Nashville. You can imagine.
But I was hooked on country and rock and roll since a kid in  Hamilton, so the transfer from straight writing to rock column wasn't that difficult.
But wow, the Toronto rock scene in the late sixties and seventies:
Groups:
Major Hooples Boarding House
Robbie Lane and the Disciples.
The Band ("Virgil Cane is My Name.") And Robbie Robertson.
Blood, Sweat and Tears
... many many others for whom Canadian content rules allowed local Ontario bands to make it big.
 
Well, there I was with my three-piece suit, covering a Brower-Walker rock event...and it seemed to all that I was so square.
But at the Toronto Sunday Sun they gave me a rock column.
I was to use the pen name of John Pope, and once I started to write about rock (after consultation with entrepreneursRitchie Yorke and Richard Flohill,  I as n my way.
To my surprise my column sort of rocked and I was soon in the middle of Toronto's rock scene, interviewing the likes of Gordon Lightfoot, Whiskey Howl, Tokyo.
(I must say that today, listening to old tapes, they're all about as old as me, with only Gordie carrying on and on--and good for him!). Today, everybody seems to have grown old, like me, but they have those wonderful memories. And me too, of them.
Ah, it was great to have been a rock critic.
Except that my subjects all today have royaties.
 
And I am close to hearing old blues tapes and living in a tree...Well, that's blues ain't it?