…counting down….

Since I am experiencing EXTREME technical difficulties (laptop is pooched beyond repair- or at least beyond any repair I’m willing to pay for at this juncture), I’m resorting to a reblog of last year’s holiday post as my way of expressing my thanks and best wishes to all of you who contribute so much to my life here in this WordPressWorld of ours.

Last year’s ice storm is a thing of memory (although the substantial bill associated with the damage still wants paying), in fact, it’s ’round about 10 degrees Celsius here in my City on the Lake this holiday Eve.

Much has changed since this time last year, and, as soon as I’m up and running- computer-wise- again, I’ll have some reflecting to do on those changes. The good and the very sad.

Until then, all the very best for the holidays (whichever holiday(s) you may/may not be celebrating) and all best wishes for peace, love and grooviness in 2015.

Enjoy the time with loved ones- and the playlist.

xoxo

colemining

I might not like their coffee at all, but this picture really sums up the last couple of days here in TO.

Well.

That was interesting.  We got a bit of ice hereabouts.  And that ice weighed down all the hydro lines and left electrical power just a fading memory to a fair number of folks here in our sleepy little burgh.

The temperature has plummeted and it’s not looking like some peeps are going to get the electricity back before Wednesday.  Generally speaking my little part of the town is all okay.  I have hydro, and the commute to work is such that the streetcar and subway closures didn’t affect me.  Hoping that the situation stays okay- but preparing just in case.

The shopping is all done- so there’s no more running around required, at least.  A little more in the way of food prep for the day itself- and…

View original post 1,357 more words

The thing about Time…

Phew.  That was some crazy Christmas.

There are still homes without power here in TO, but the sun is shining today and the snow/ice seems to be melting into that less-than-lovely slush that is one of the icky aspects of life in the downtown core.  Hopefully the increasing temperature will help the wonderful hydro workers who have been labouring without rest- or time with their own families- to get everyone back into the light and warmth of the season.

I feel like I haven’t stopped to take a breather- although obviously not to the same extent as the tireless light-bringers- but that’s all good.  It’s part of the time of year.  Some quietude should come this weekend- at least to a degree.  And then the celebrations will begin anew as we ring in 2014.

How did that happen?  Sometimes it amazes me how quickly time passes.  I’ve written before about the peculiarity of that particular human construct- driven, as it is, by the sun, moon, stars, seasons, turns of the earth and all that.  But we do value time interestingly- especially at this time of year.

Depending on your personal life circumstances there may often seem to never be enough hours in a day- to get things done, get enough rest, spend time with family and friends.  I’ve also written (extensively/ad nauseum, depending on your perspective) about how we seem to increasingly choose to waste huge chunks of time- on meaningless/mindless television, listening to manufactured cookie-cutter music, arguing about issues that should have been put to rest eons go and that are completely out of keeping with the access we have to the awareness of our globally shared humanity…

Yes.  If you scan back through the posts (over 100- surprising, that) I’ve completed since starting this little piece of the WordPress World last March, you’ll see pretty clearly that I have a few opinions about a couple of things and tend to express those opinions by drawing connections to our communal stories and songs.  I’m not alone in this- I’ve discovered a great many minds that work similarly to mine since I’ve become part of this community, along with those minds that express similar ideas through the media of poetry or short story or pure ranting and rolling with the issues at hand.

I love it.  I love the conversations I have seen started, the dialogues that remain ongoing, the friendships that I’ve developed- as I look for new posts and updates on sticky or joyous situations.  It’s a wonderful World- but one that can certainly become time consumptive.

If I had those extra hours in the day I would certainly spend some of them reading and commenting on more of the blogs I’ve come to love.  But I certainly do make every effort to check in with you all as often as I can.  Pre-colemining I truly had no concept as to just how reciprocal the blogosphere really is.  We read, we support, we send each other in different directions… It’s a fantastic way to learn new things and gain new insights into our fellow humans.

It’s an every day case study of our continually developing mythologies and worldviews.

Both in the outside world that is my Toronto and here in the WP World, there’s been a whole lot of talk about time lately- some of it in the form of discussions of everyone’s favourite Time Lord, Doctor Who.  I’m a sporadic fan, I admit (in that I will always watch it given the opportunity, but of late I have made few opportunities to do so), but I am endlessly fascinated by the story and the development of the mythology and the character changes- written into the mythology and therefore absolutely integral to the whole thing.  And it’s funny.  And about goodness.  And perseverance.  And fighting the good fight.

The Doctor and I are very often on the same page- ideologically and eccentricity-wise- and I see in him, and in the resurgence of his popularity, a reason for optimism.  The show is smart (in this it is not alone- there is some other, great programming out there these days) and quirky and focused simultaneously on the past, present and future- emphasizing the fact that the three are inextricably linked and vital to one another.  In an era in which we seem determined to either forget or rewrite our history, I love this element of the stories.

Time runs- keeps on running- and is something that needs to be appreciated rather than squandered and then forgotten about.  Like so much in this commercial, material world, it has become at once precious and easily tossed away.

Weird how we do that.  Say we NEED something so desperately- whether it’s extra time, a piece of designer clothing, a new television/cell phone/laptop- and then toss it aside without a thought when it’s delivered into our hands.  Whenever something better, or easier, comes along.

In my last post I included a brief Shuffle Daemon holiday song selection- brief, partly because the post was getting long (even for me- which is saying something) and partly because I was pressed for time.  One of the residual effects of this time crunch is that things can be forgotten, left off, or out.

If you’re a regular visitor hereabouts a) I thank you sincerely, and b) you’ve probably recognized that my musical tastes don’t run to the female singer variety- very often at least.  I’m not entirely sure why this is- there ARE some fabulous female musicians out there- those of singular voice (Annie Lennox, for one- love her greatly) and/or musical and creative versatility.  But for some reason I have always gravitated to the dudes and their songs.  My friends think it’s weird, but they’ve pretty much accepted that none of my party playlists are going to have all that many ladies singing the blues for our edification and enjoyment.

Another exception to this not-rule (it’s more a habit of a lifetime) appears on my annual Christmas playlist.  She, along with the late Kirsty MacColl- who so memorably spars with Shane MacGowan in The Fairytale of New York– are pretty much the only ladies who back up my holiday comings and goings with some seasonal wisdom.

Like Midge’s Dear God, this one used to get a whole lot of airplay on MuchMusic (back in the days when it was the Nation’s MUSIC Station and played something other than SNL marathons) on Christmas day.

In addition to the fact that the video features angelic children singing, well angelically, We Belong is a song about holding on to important things- and not squandering time, or love, or relationships in general.  As such, it is perfectly matched with the time of year and all the sentiments and reflection of the season.

Don’t want to leave you, really
I’ve invested too much time
To give you up that easy
To the doubts that complicate your mind…

 Father Time is an off-shoot representation of the Titan Chronos, described, in Greek mythology, as the father of that king of the Olympians, Zeus.  He personified time, and, with his three heads and equally serpentine consort, Ananke, circled the primal world egg and separated it from the ordered universe.  He became amalgamated with another Titan, Cronus/Kronus, who overthrew his father, Uranus, by castrating him with the sickle or scythe created by Gaia, Mother Earth, for the purpose.

While the Greeks saw Kronus as a force of disorder and chaos, the Romans associated him with Saturn- their god of peace and plenty- and dedicated their festival, Saturnalia, in his honour.  He became the god of calendars, seasons and harvest and the two- Chronos and Kronus- eventually became one: Father Time.

Saturnalia was celebrated in December (roughly the 17th-23rd in the Julian calendar), and, during Rome’s Golden Age, featured feasts and parties to anticipate and celebrate the renewal of light, the coming of the new year and the overturning of social norms and expectations, for a time.  It was a celebration of the social egalitarianism that marked the era, and many of its customs (including gingerbread men, caroling and gift giving) influenced early Christian celebrations of their own holiday- Christmas.  Eventually, as a way of mass converting the Romans under their (now) political dominance, the early Christian church integrated Saturnalia into its annual marking of the birth of its deity.

As I think about the year gone by and the one just around the corner, one of the promises I will make- to myself and to those who I am fortunate enough to have share their lives with me- is to be more conscious of time– not in an obsessive ‘I’m going to be late’ kind of way-  but with an awareness that it is a precious- and limited- commodity.

Whether you chose to celebrate the return of the light, the birth of a saviour, the miracle of the lamp, or just the turning of another year, it bears remembering that, for us mere mortals at least, time keeps on ticking by.  Invested time should not be wasted without efforts to recover the reasons why the investment was deemed worthwhile, once upon a time.  This holds true of relationships and all endeavours which we undertake in order to play out our life stories in the best ways possible.

Welcoming the New Year with the hope and expectation of the wonder it will bring while sending off the old with acknowledgment and a maintenance of all those things that retain importance and vitality.  That’s the way I plan to begin the adventures of 2014.  Hoping the same goes for all of you.

…counting down….

I might not like their coffee at all, but this picture really sums up the last couple of days here in TO.

Well.

That was interesting.  We got a bit of ice hereabouts.  And that ice weighed down all the hydro lines and left electrical power just a fading memory to a fair number of folks here in our sleepy little burgh.

The temperature has plummeted and it’s not looking like some peeps are going to get the electricity back before Wednesday.  Generally speaking my little part of the town is all okay.  I have hydro, and the commute to work is such that the streetcar and subway closures didn’t affect me.  Hoping that the situation stays okay- but preparing just in case.

The shopping is all done- so there’s no more running around required, at least.  A little more in the way of food prep for the day itself- and for some parties in the days following, but I’m basically feeling like I have a pretty solid handle on things.

Does that mean I’ve captured some of the spirit that has been so elusive this year?  Hmmm.  Not sure I can go that far.  But I think I’m getting there.

Despite an incredible night of Skydiggers fun and games on Friday (GREAT show) and some solid face-time and catching up accomplished with part of my extended fam/friends, I’m still not sure I’m feeling all that holiday-motivated.

One of my dearest buds- a good Irish/French Canadian Roman Catholic lad- is always asking me (seriously dude, it’s been something like 25 years- you really don’t know by now?) how I prefer to address the ‘greetings of the season’.  There has been a whole lot of nonsense about ‘wars on Christmas’ and that sort of rot on the ‘news’ channels of late, but I, personally, am in a very comfortable place with regards to my non-belief in the deity driving the holiday but my FIRM belief in the goodness of humanity.  And that does tend to get a good, solid airing at this time of the year.

I tell him (over and over) that any variation of Merry/Happy Christmas is fine by me- and not something that offends in the slightest.  I do celebrate the holiday- after a fashion.  I certainly celebrate the STORY behind the holiday- probably more ‘devoutly’ (for lack of a better word) than some of those who make claims of belief.  The story of Jesus- and the Nativity- is one of the greatest and most enduring of all our many and varied myths.  It chokes me up with its beauty- especially the Adoration of the Magi (an ecumenical touch that very much speaks to me- and you know I love the Zoroastrians), and it has had such an impact on our history and culture… what’s not to love?

Do I have to believe in the divinity of Jesus- or of the details of the story- to appreciate it?  I’d argue that I do not.  The same way I do not have to subscribe to the entirety of the belief system behind the story of Hanukkah to find grace and hope in that miraculous triumph of light over darkness.  Especially at this time of year- and in with Toronto’s current state of emergency (or non-emergency, according to the ‘mayor)- when any and all light in the darkness is welcome and appreciated.

The story of Christmas- in all its variations and off-shoots- permeates our culture.  The music, the subsequent stories- of giving, of love, of acceptance- it represents, to me, one of the many flavours of the strength of our humanity, and the love and hope we cling to as we share our time with those closest to us. Traditional Christmas carols can make me a little teary.  Especially Good King Wenceslas with its wonderful message and example…

This time of year is also always one of pretty heavy introspection.  That’s the pagan in me, I guess.  The longer nights, the turning of the year.  There’s just a whole lot of looking back happening, and a little bit of looking forward that seems to go along with that.  Such thoughts seem to be of weightier import this year, since I’m in a state of flux at the moment- next directions and contributions to the betterment of those things that I’ve been complaining of for the past year (and more) are still being ruminated upon- with no easy solutions found, thus far.  I’m getting close to a game plan- so we’ll see how that pans out, once the city is actually up and running again.

Christmas Eve is generally my night to sit and just feel the feelings of the season.  With a glass of wine- or some rummy eggnog- and the solstice tree all lit up, I take myself back over the past year and use the memories as a starting point for the goals and plans for the one that’s up-coming.  It’s a space of quiet amongst all the hustle and bustle of running to and from friends and family and shopping and cooking/baking.

The past couple of weeks have involved even more rushing about than is even the norm at this time of year, so the respite will be even more welcome- if increasingly plagued by concerns and lack of knowledge just what to do about them.  As usual, I will have some great stories to keep me company- a movie or two (have to re-watch the first installment of The Hobbit in anticipation of seeing Part Two on Boxing Day, and It’s a Wonderful Life is pretty much always on the playlist on the 24th), and I have a novel I’ve been trying to finish for weeks now.  My brain has been running in far too many directions to give it the attention it deserves (Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl, if you’re curious) but I will try again this evening, for a bit, at least.

While I’m reading, there will be, of course, a soundtrack.  It varies little from year to year, and I’ve mentioned some of the songs here before, but this will be the playlist on the Shuffle Daemon that will see me through to the holiday festivities of Wednesday.

This song exemplifies so much of what the season means to me.  Pared down- just those familiar Monkee voices in wonderful harmonies, candlelight and quiet.  It’s comforting in a way I can’t really articulate.  Even if one of them is now missing.

I’m not going to say more about Ray, specifically (but I did link one of the other posts I wrote about him, if you’re interested).  If you’re not a Kinks fan (but seriously, how can you NOT be?), I know you’re probably sick of me going on about him as I have been doing lately.  But this song remains so very culturally relevant that it is tied for my favourite holiday tune.  Remembering those less fortunate.  THAT’S a message that too often gets lost in the iPads and PS-whatevers and stuffstuffstuff (Steve Austin outfits?) that become the focus.

Father Christmas is neck-and-neck with that one there ^^^.  I love the Pogues.  Surprised I haven’t already written about them, actually.  I think Shane MacGowan (who was born on December 25th, interestingly) is one of the great lyricists of the 20th century- despite (or perhaps because of) his seemingly-significant personal demons.  I once saw a copy of a book of his lyrics, called Poguetry, in a music/bookstore at Yonge/Eglinton.  I didn’t buy it, since I was on my way somewhere and didn’t want to carry it around, and I’ve yet to find a copy.  Big regret.  Anyway… the song demonstrates the investment we have in the time of year- and the disappointment of those expectations that sometimes happens.  Or often happens.  But we keep on, and there are memories and new experiences to celebrate.

I wrote about this one before.  Strong, beautiful message.  And it’s Midge.  Co-author of a song that changed the world for a time.

This song.  That changed the world.  I wrote about it before too– and about how Bob and Midge started something incredible with a tune about giving and just being aware of something outside of ourselves.  All year round.

From the sublime to the Canadian… Nav65 and I were talking about this the other day.  A bit of the best of this place I call home.  A bit of funny.  A bit of silly.  A bit of Canada.

Thank you to all of you who have graciously joined me here in this little corner of the WordPress world and demonstrated that community isn’t an anachronism.  My wish for all is that you celebrate, with those you love best (either in realized or remembered festivities) and let go of the hardships of the past year while looking forward to the one to come with hope and the true sense of giving and receiving that the stories of this time of year evoke- once the material trapping are stripped away from the core.

Happy Christmas everyone.  May all your stories be wonderful this season.

Stories with Stuart

Here in Canada we have a wonderful, and distinctively Canadian, thing called the CBC.  Sure, other countries have public radio/television, and they certainly do tell the stories of their nations in myriad ways, but our CBC radio programming holds a very special place in my heart and mind.  (The television programming is also good, but I admit I spend more time with the radio shows than the tv, generally speaking).

Our current federal government is attempting to dismantle this national treasure a little bit at a time.  But the producers and presenters of our unique (though often very different, regionally speaking) way(s) of looking at our country and the world continue charging forward- and looking back- telling our stories and creating little pieces of wonder as they keep on keeping on.

One of these incredible people is Stuart McLean.  His Vinyl Café stories have been a fixture on CBC radio for close on 20 years.  His variety show highlights Canadian singer-songwriters- artists whose work might otherwise not get a whole lot of airtime- and intermingles music, humour and an almost nostalgic sense of Canada and its people- in all our often-messy glory.

Stuart is a rarity these days.  He’s a born storyteller- his distinctive voice and presence make you feel like you’re sharing a drink with a close friend.  Who just happens to have a never ending supply of amazing tales to recount.  Tales about characters that have grown in familiarity to the extent that they become like members of the family.  Relatives that you are pleased you only have to visit a few times a year, perhaps, but continuing sources of hilarity and well-learned life-lessons.

At the heart of the show is Stuart’s primary literary comic foil- Dave, the owner of an independent record store in Toronto, and the trouble he seems endlessly able to attract.  In abundance.

Dave and his family- his long-suffering wife, Morley, children Sam and Stephanie- along with an incredible cast of neighbours and friends, find themselves in some pretty far out situations.  But no matter the extremity of the circumstance, those of us familiar with Dave and his antics easily, and willingly, suspend our disbelief in our awareness that ‘it’s just Dave.  Of course such things can happen to him.’

Every year the great folks behind the Vinyl Café take their Christmas show on the road and make a stop here at home.  A visit with Stuart and his compatriots has become an annual holiday event for me and some of my peeps.  Friday night they rolled into the Sony Centre and, as usual, had us rolling in the aisles.  My face still hurts from all the laughing.

Audience participation is encouraged, and the way that Stuart feeds off the energy of his audience helps guide the shape of his shows.  He allowed as how they were genuinely happy to be home after 24 days of taking the show across the country (and down into a few select towns in the States)- a sentiment he reinforced when a part of his first story- the part about kindergarden children tumbling off of the stage during the school holiday pageant- brought down the house- anticipatorily.  Apparently that part of the tale was met with shocked silence in more PC towns like Vancouver.

Toronto has a slightly more irreverent sense of humour, it would seem (we must.  Look at our mayor.  HE made it into the show, too.  Not in a flattering light- go figure).  We love the old favourites, but one of the best things about attending the Christmas shows live and in person is hearing the new stories, freshly minted, and Stuart gave us two on Friday.

But we also revisited ‘Morley’s Christmas Concert’ and the discombobulated, but completely intact, tumbling children who were left in the dark when Dave’s sound system took out the school’s power grid.  And after Intermission, Stuart had a sit down with us, and together we remembered the highlights from all our favourite holiday stories.  ‘Dave Cooks the Turkey’, of course.  And ‘Dave on the Roof’– about the perils of the Canadian winter and the ways in which our slightly defiantly perverse instincts can get the best of us.  Despite the fact we know better (DO NOT stick your tongue on anything metal- especially while up on the roof repairing the tv antenna.  Really.  Just don’t.)

The musical guests this year were a wonderful trio of ladies called The Good Lovelies, whose harmonies and hauntingly beautiful rendition of Sara Bareilles’ Winter Song very much reflected the quiet and the melancholy of the snow that had covered the city that day.  Yet we were warm, inside, and with friends, so the plaintiveness of the song could be felt at a remove rather than with its full, sad immediacy.

A night with Vinyl Café is always enjoyable on many levels, but one of the things that makes me most appreciate our annual visits is the fact that so many children are present to participate.  In this day and age.  With all the visual and technological interfaces available to them, the fact that there are children who can still appreciate the wonder and the value of a storyteller, coming to them over the radio (or via a podcast), without anything flashing or shaping their images of the characters or the settings other than Stuart’s description alone.

Every year I applaud those parents who have raised children that can be engaged by the sound of his voice, recounting the most recent adventures of a bunch of crazy Canadians (or flashing back to earlier stories), as they use their own imaginations to fill in the blanks- and people the stories with their own variations and appearances.

Storytelling of this sort is both communal and very personal.  I know what Dave and his family look like to me.  They’ve changed- grown older- as I’ve gotten to know them over the years of listening to their life- often in kitchens, as dinner preparations where underway.  Would I recognize them, if I passed them on the street?  About that, I’m not sure.  But I’d know them by their actions- both the silly antics and the wonderful, well-meaning heart that lies at the centre of all their interactions with their friends, family and neighbours.

They have taught me lessons.  They have made me laugh.  And tear up from time to time, too.  Stuart has made them fully realized.

He ended our evening by returning to the stage with his long-time touring musical director, John Sheard.  Together they sang a song. that John wrote, about the holidays- and what they would really like for Christmas.  This wonderful, wonderful tune contained references to Harper’s prorogation of Parliament, the Senate debacle, Rob Ford, Don Cherry, the federal government’s actions re. the CBC… Straight minutes of nothing other but laughter.  Canadian laugher.  FOR us, BY us.  We were still laughing as we headed out into the cold of Front Street.

I have a whole bunch of podcasts of the show to catch up with.  Somehow there aren’t enough hours in the day to do/read/watch/listen to everything that needs to be done/watched/read/listened to- especially at this time of year.  But the next hour I have free (or make the time to have free), I will decide to just sit, and listen, and fully experience Stuart’s incredible gift with story- its creation and its delivery.  The holidays ARE supposed to be about time spent with friends, after all.

Please allow me to introduce you to my friend, Stuart McLean.  I trust you will get along famously.

’tis the season

Trust me, I am reallyreally not one for in ANY way supporting the whole ‘Xmas begins as soon as the Hallowe’en candy is put on sale’ thing.  I think it’s especially shameful when stores and the like start putting up decorations before Remembrance Day.  Don’t like that at all.  Respect for our veterans should not be too much to ask.

It’s only November 22.  I have yet to do anything as my token nod to the season- as far as shopping/decorating/cooking/baking goes.  That will likely start next weekend (a couple of friends always host an American Thanksgiving dinner and I will be bringing dessert)- although, other than the baking (which I do kind of love.  Most of the time) I’m not sure I’m looking forward to the preparations all that much.

Partly because the decorative stuff is all in storage, which necessitates a trip to the storage place to get it all, and then another trip out there to return the empty boxes…

All right.  I’m being lazy.  I get that.  I could make excuses about the residual effects of the move, being behind in the proactive searching for employment, NaNoWriMo (closing in on 40 ooo words- even if the story isn’t even half told), this cold I can’t shake (seriously- week two and counting)… But honestly?  I think that the real reason I’m not feeling a whole lot of the old peace on earth/good will toward fellow humans thing right now has to do with the build up of cynicism and existential despair that current events have instilled down deep in the very core of my being.

But.

Over the last couple of days I’ve seen a bunch of posts suggesting attempts at rediscovering some joy amongst the jaded negativity that seems to be prevalent lately.  My blogging bud, Beth Byrnes, spoke about her attempts to change the course of recent spates of judge-y behaviours, including some seasonally-inspired therapy in the form of light-hearted Hallmark movies.

I had to agree that one of my personal favourite things about this time of year is the annual showings of wonderful feel-good classic films.  It’s a Wonderful Life, the original Miracle on 34th Street (seriously, who is more beautiful than Maureen O’Hara?), the Sound of Music (and I’m NOT talking about some new-fangled live version with some country star- Julie Andrews IS Maria, and Canadian treasure Christopher Plummer IS Georg.  That’s all I have to say about that), and even newer films like Elf (how do you not LOVE Will Farrell in that role?  And Bob Newhart- and Mr. Grant as SANTA?) and Love Actually (fave ensemble cast film in years) really contribute to the overall suspension of Scroogery- even in the face of political skullduggery run rampant and the disasters (natural and otherwise) that seem to be affecting the world with increasing regularity.

This is use of story– and enduring characters- at its most wonderful.  When a time-tested tale can generate viewership- across generations, beliefs and borders of all kinds- and allow a little bit of hope for the realization of goodness to creep into the day-to-day… That’s kind of freakin miraculous.

So today I took my first step on the road to some celebrating of the season.  First annual tradition well on its way?  Check!

I picked up our tickets to the annual Skydiggers Xmas show at the Horseshoe Tavern (which I referenced here, when discussing some of our city’s FANTASTIC live music venues) this evening.  Every December- for years beyond counting- a group of us (the core remains the same but we welcome additions/cast changes dependent on circumstances- including inclement weather or last minute cancellations) have gathered to see these Toronto stalwarts- and whomever else might be floating around and wanting to play a song or two- sing their classic tunes and share a little holiday cheer.

The show feels like a visit with family.  The band has been a fixture in my life since forever it seems (1988, anyway).  I have seen them in any number of venues, in any number of cities (and on subway platforms- ran into Andy on Hallowe’en, actually) over the years, but the Xmas show at the ‘Shoe is a traditional gathering that can’t be missed.  Be assured that there will be more on this topic once the show actually happens.

If you’re going to be in Toronto the weekend of December 20th and 21st, come on over and join us.  Well worth the price of admission.  And I’m sure that Andy (and frequent guest/collaborator, the Member of Parliament for Davenport, Andrew Cash) will have some insightful commentary on our current political scandals, in case you’re looking for more of that sort of thing.  We’ll be set up by the sound dude, drinking 50 (the one time of year THAT happens.  Horrible beer.  But part of the tradition), if you want to come say hello.

I left Soundscapes (my fave record store and source of tickets in town), not only with the tickets that were the focus of the trip, but with a copy of Ray Davies’ new book Americana (finally picked it up- after finding out about it MONTHS ago). DOUBLE SCORE!

Since it is (for now) unseasonably warm, and since I was feeling somewhat energized for the first time in weeks, I decided that a walk was in order.  The winter will arrive in earnest soon enough.

Strolling back along College, then through Kensington and down Spadina, past the venue itself (which waits, like a loyal friend, for our appearance in a few weeks), then through the ED (long before the arrival of all the 905ers) and down toward that giant spire in the sky (lit up in red tonight), I remembered just how much I LOVE this town.

Recent events have cast us in a darker light- and created some of that angst I was talking about.  But Toronto remains a great place to live.  Our downtown core on a Friday evening is alive with people moving about- setting plans for the evening, heading to dinner/after work drinks, picking up groceries (or bubble tea, or a slice of pizza), and doing some early holiday shopping.

I could almost feel the gently falling (hopefully gently falling– 5 years ago it took hours to get home after a couple of feet of white stuff fell on the city while we were inside singing along) snow that will likely set the scene outside on Queen Street in a few weeks, as we begin to really ring in the season, with some of my favourite peeps in the widewide world.

I let the Shuffle Daemon set the playlist, and he (she?  It?) didn’t disappoint.

Forgot how much I love that video.

A steamy Skydiggers song- memories of summer AND of Xmas shows past.

Another song about the heat of summer- and levies and such- but a FANTASTIC tune about walking about kind of aimlessly yet winding up in the same places again and again.

The Daemon seemed determined to evoke warmth (holidays and ice cream and such)- perhaps knowing what’s forecast to arrive this weekend (plummeting temperatures and snow).  I think it’s trying to tell me that summer WILL come ’round again… Gotta love The Beat, regardless of season.

Now THAT’s a weekend-starting song, if I ever heard one.  And love the classic MTV clip at the start.  I DARE you not to smile.

After a long absence, Genesis has been popping up on the SD a lot lately. 

Some bitter-sweetness here.  Michael Hutchence died 16 years ago today.  A definite waste- of talent and promise.  But he left us with songs like this…

With these songs echoing through the headphones, a Skydiggers reunion to look forward to, a great book to read, and a football game (a Canadian football championship) to watch on Sunday (notwithstanding the fact that the hometown Argos were jinxed by the halftime arrival of someone who shall remain nameless.  What the hell.  Oskee Wee Wee or whatever.  Ontario is still there to represent.  Go Ticats.  I suppose), I’m starting the weekend with a happier outlook than has been the norm of late.

I’m thinking that it will be an unplugged weekend (except for the writing I want to get done), so the tv will remain off (suggestions from Genesis notwithstanding) and the news groups will remain unchecked.  The world can carry on without my input for a couple of days.

Bring on the holidays.  I think I just might be ready to face the madness.

Bon weekend!