Writing and Music Are But Two

“It’s interesting how we can connect so deeply with friends so different from ourselves. In fact, perhaps it’s these differences ultimately bonding us the most. The opportunity to expand our horizons.”
Brownell Landrum

When one is curious, doors open to worlds that would have remained unknown. This is not a bad thing for those who are content in their own little rented space and have no desire to expand their horizons. I am not one such person. As a matter of fact, I am far removed from that type of person. As a matter of more fact, I am easily bored by those contented persons. I know, this is not a nice thing to say. I choose to surround myself, either physically or virtually, with people who have something to teach me – even if they have no clue that they do.

I never considered myself a writer.  Sure, I kept a diary on and off over the years. Then a diary became a journal, also kept on and off (I can’t tell you how many “theme journals” are lined up with but a few pages scribbled upon).  Still, I would never have used that term until quite recently.  After certain new writer friends told me to stop.  I’m not fighing it any more. I am a writer.

Like my diary/journal days, I started and stopped a few times. I’ve used Blogger, https://dalesdelectables.blogspot.com/ and Tumblr (discovering to my shock as I searched for my account that I had not one but two different blogs here!) https://dalesstuff.tumblr.com/ and https://dalesdelectables.tumblr.com/.

How I ended up in the blogosphere is beyond me. I cannot say how I discovered Blogger, Tumblr or even WordPress. Yet here I am.  I think I truly became a blogger/writer here at WP on August 12, 2013, when I wrote my first post.  Preparing for this post, I got lost in the dark hole that is the internet only this time it was my own stuff!

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

My curiosity with writing led me to “meet” unbelievable numbers of talented writers of all genres. Writers who don’t realise how much they challenge me to do better, to try new things. Things like different styles of poetry: haiku, double etheree, cleave, etc. Heck, I didn’t know there WERE styles of poetry beyond the twelve-syllable rhyming doohickies (OK, I jest, I know this one is an Alexandrine).  Trying to find my voice in short stories, keeping my personality involved. How cool is it that in these new writer friends, I have been asked to beta read their works?

“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

I landed on my post I’m Inspired which truly sums up what makes me tick.  I am a Life Enthusiast who is always on the quest to move forward and learn.

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Speaking of song, I am no musician but I love music.  My curiosity has led me to go see bands I’ve never heard of in all sorts of genres. I won’t lie – there is stuff I really can’t get into like Hardcore Punk or Black Metal. I just sit there in a daze wondering when my hell will end. But that’s me. If you love it, then by all means, ignore me!  Thanks to friends, I have discovered wonderful music like Manu Katché or the band we saw last Friday called Snarky Puppy. To think when my friend Dany suggested it, I thought it was something like black metal – well, wouldn’t you with a name like that?  How wrong I was. A funky, jazzy, world music, rock mélange of music that I would have missed out on, had I been the sort to not want to go outside of her box.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
Victor hugo

 

I have promised myself to go to an opera. At least once in my life. I know I am being influenced by the movies but if Ronny can bring Loretta to the Metropolitain Opera House (Moonstruck) Edward can bring Vivian to the San Francisco Opera House (Pretty Woman) and both those women  be moved to tears, maybe I can, too!

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #118 – Song

Been away for a few days so lots of catching up to do 😉  This word could have gone in so many directions but they say to stick with the first one that pops into your head, so that’s what I “done did”! 

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. Thank yuu, Sammi!

Word Prompt

Song

Challenge

Have you ever associated a song to a person?

“Hard to Handle” will always be Patti’s. I see her, sitting in her dining room, head resting on her hand, elbow on the back of her chair while she sings along.

“Free Fallin'” will always be Brenda’s coz she and Mick sang that one when they were feelin’ no pain.

“Crystal Ball” is my cousin Sonya’s because we would belt it out dancing down the main drag in Lac-des-Plages when we were sixteen.

I recently found out that this last song was my song, assigned by my friend Tina! How cool is that?

Patti and Brenda

 

 

When Things Go Your Way

There are days and then, there are DAYS! Now, I know what you are thinking…when one puts it that way, that means that things turned dark or bad.

Nope. Not this time. No way, no how! About six months ago, I bought a ticket to go see Francis Cabrel, a French singer I’ve loved for ages. Tonight was the night I was going to the concert! (Tuesday, the 11th of June).

I worked a short shift, from 10 am till 3:30 pm, setting up the golf club for the mega benefit evening that night for a hospital foundation. I can’t say I was sad to miss out serving 400 people all-you-can-eat lobster. I had surprisingly little traffic on my way home – it’s been awful lately – and had more than enough time to go home and get ready, catch up on emails, read a few posts, etc., before heading into Montreal. What a surprise to find one from “Billeterie” (Ticketmaster) – time stamp 4:19 pm. In French, it stated:

We are taking the time to write you to advise you that the ticket you have in the “Mezzanine Loge” is slightly behind the stage which will not offer you an optimal view of the show.

In accordance with the show’s production company, we exchange your ticket for a loge on the “Corbeil” level (a lower level) which offers a better view of the stage. Also we are reimbursing you the sum of $100 on the credit card used to pay for the ticket.

The new ticket is attached.

They included the following images:

Wha??? Come ON! Who does that happen to? I won’t lie. I half-imagined myself arriving at the Maison Symphonique and being greeted with: “You lucky winner! You get to come back stage and meet Francis Cabrel!”.

Dreamer.

I wondered what traffic into town would be like and decided to leave just before 6:00 pm, even though the show started at 8:00. I figured I’d park, walk around and find a place to grab a bite before.

Turns out, traffic was nil. Which was great. As I drove along de Maisonneuve Street, I noticed a nice mural/graffiti art. I had more than an hour to kill so, after I parked the car, I took a stroll, on the lookout for my mural. I love Montreal in the summer. Both the Gay Village and the Ville Marie burroughs block off Ste-Catherine Street so it becomes pedestrian only. Place des Arts (PdA) just so happens to be in the Ville Marie one. As I headed east, some colour grabbed my attention to the right. It was a long mural along Berger Street, which looks more like an alley than a street. This particular graffiti was colourful in more than one way! I channelled my inner Resa and clicked away! IT was so large, I could not capture the whole thing.

I have just realised as I was going through my pictures that they deserve their own post. So what I shall do for now, is show you the one that got me to take my walk in the first place and save the others for tomorrow! I just wish I could crop out that car but hey… c’est la vie. I felt it was worth the walk-back to capture anyway.

By the time I walked back to the PdA area, it was 7-ish and I figured I should grab a bite to eat and checked in at Sesame. I asked the waitress if she thought service would be quick and she assured me it would. Better than a burger or a hot dog so I chose to sit outside on the terrasse (terrace for the non-Quebecers) and watch the folks walking by. I ordered a chili-lime chicken poke bowl, deciding to forgo the wine (and have one at the Symphony House. By 7:20, I still had not received my meal. The waitress came out, all apologetic, saying there had been a problem in the orders and mine was coming right up. Not five minutes later, it arrived. I usually take my time and use the chopsticks. Not this time. Gobble and out of there by 7:35. I suppose I could have taken more my time as the show was at 8:00 but whatevs. It looks kinda drab but was very tasty.

Place des Arts has six halls and one amphitheatre: the ‘newest’ member of the family and second largest of the halls is the Maison Symphonique, home of the MSO (Montreal Symphony Orchestra); Salle Wilfred-Pelletier, the largest one, where I have seen more than one production; Théâtre Maisonneuve, a favourite venue for ballets and such, Théâtre Jean-Duceppe, where many plays are held, and two others that I have not had a chance to visit, thus far.

The Maison Symphonique is a place of beauty and was my second time attending. First time being with my friend Alison from Louisiana which she came to Montreal to visit.

Funky sculptures in the waiting area.

And a few views of the inside.

I sat down in my comfy chair (not affixed to the floor) and chatted up my neighbours. It appears we all got the same email and found ourselves with these spectacular seats.

The stage was right there! They were real sticklers for non picture taking that I could only snap a few quick-quick-like…

I leave you with one of my favourites of his, “Je l’aime à mourir” and have included a translation of the lyrics. They sound so much better in French! I chose a live version because he did get the audience to sing, though not quite like this 😉

Celebrating a Friend, Dancing with Leonard and Random Act of Kindness

This thing we have has been going on for a few years now.  I’m still in awe at how life’s cards get shuffled and played.  Julie has made a regular appearance on this here blog and today I feel like adding just how much I appreciate our friendship.  It’s funny.  We went to high school together but were never in the same class (she, with the brainiacs; me, with the troublemakers), didn’t do sports together or hang out together but were friendly without being friends per se.  A few years ago, I found out we were in the same kindergarten class!  Not that either of us remembers the other from then.

We had high school reunions and saw each other at those but I feel it was especially after the 150th anniversary of our school (September 11, 2005) that we really started to connect.  She, at the age of 40, had recently become a widow with two young boys, ages 2 and 3. Her story was so tragic.  Her husband was hit by a car in downtown Montreal.  It’s ironic to say now, but I couldn’t imagine what she was going through, then.

Julie and Martyne, Liette and me

Back in high school, Julie and Martyne were good friends, Martyne and Liette were, and still are, best friends and Liette and I were good friends and participants in sports – handball, basketball, volleyball.  Somehow, Julie and I have since become great friends.  I love her to bits.

After this particular get-together, we met for lunch and realised we had a lot in common.  Vive Facebook for keeping us connected.

I was shocked when she showed up at Mick’s funeral because we still weren’t where we are today.  But, having been through what I was going through, she felt compelled to come.  I can still see her walking towards me with her beautiful, warm smile and remember it taking me a few extra seconds to register who she was.  That whole unexpected/out-of-context thing.  From this point on, things changed.  We now had another thing in common. In the past couple of years we have become more than just “cultural chicks”.  (I think we just use those events as excuses to get-together because often times, the best part of our afternoon or evening is the connection we have by sharing stuff.)

Speaking of which.  This time Julie is the one who snagged a couple of tix for a show without knowing who would accompany her (yeah, right!)  Those tickets were for Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM), Dance Me, music of Leonard Cohen.  After holding on to those tickets for one year, the night finally arrived.  We met upstairs from where I was supposed to park.  How in-synch are we?  Neither had her coat.  We both assumed we would eat at one of the restaurants in Complexe Desjardins (where I parked), which we did.  One of the many great things about Montreal is the possibility of making our way underground from one venue to another.  After a shared plate of calamari, our salads of ahi tuna and a glass of wine, we made our way back to Place des Arts.  What fantastic seats we had!  Row F, seats 1 and 2.

No zoom – pretty darn close

Of course, we had to do our usual “us” shot 😉

What. A. Show.  Especially since the last three ballets we saw were less than stellar.   BJM gets criticized for having no soul or emotion while being very energetic and athletic.  I beg to differ.  Obviously, the music was sublime.  The costumes were sobre, pantsuits in blacks and greys, long beige shirts and one in a burgundy dress.  Discussions were had with Leonard himself when the dance company secured the rights to use his songs and he requested they keep his personal life out of things and just focus on the music.  I think they did so brilliantly.  As in most dance creations, there are always little parts that make me wonder where the hell they got that idea from but that in the end, I care not because it is breathtaking to watch.

“Dance Me to the End of Love” had particularly frenetic movements that worked well.

At one point, one of the cast members sat on her knees, a guitarist stood behind her and she sang the sweetest rendition of “So Long Marianne”, not a dancer in sight.  So beautiful.

“Lover, Lover, Lover” was rather humourous.  One male dancing with one after another woman until he falls in exhaustion.  His fellow men come and help him as he regains his strength.

And what can I say of “Suzanne”?  It was sultry and evocative.  I was totaly entranced and was surprised to find myself with tears in my eyes.  I was a good girl and filmed nothing so all I can do is show you a snippet…   Just know that once he picked her up, her feet did not touch the ground until the end of the song.  Insane.

The did not only use Cohen’s older music.  They used three songs from his last album “You want it Darker” including “Steer Your Way” and “String Reprise Treaty” as well as the title song.

Of course they did Hallelujah… This time sung by a male singer, with the same woman offering her sweet soprano for the Hallelujas…and the dancers slowly appeared.  Just sublime.

The set, the lighting effects, the dancers, the music.  Brilliant.  Honestly, one hour and twenty minutes of non-stop bliss.  For this show, we never doubted we got our money’s worth.   It has been playing for a couple of years now, touring all over, and if it comes to your neck of the woods, I would not hesitate to recommend it.

We made our way to the exits, still wrapped in the music and the movement, the chatter around us adding to the buzz. Julie insisted we must make a pitt stop.  We made our ways to the ladies’, sure the line-up would be atrocious, but it turned out not too bad.  And suddenly I got the most intense burn that went from my back to my chest, up to my throat.  This was a whole ‘nother level of heartburn.  Julie could see in my face that all was not well and concern immediately transformed her face.  “Are you okay?”

“Holy shit this is painful,” I grimace.  “Why, oh, why do I not carry ‘Tums’ in my purse?”  I am taking deep breaths, hoping the pain will subside but it is not working.  I scare the shit out of Julie when I say, “You know, women are more likely to feel major heartburn when they are having a heart attack.”  Of course I don’t really think I’m having a heart attack but… I bend over in pain then stand upright, trying in vain to will this agony away.

The lady in front of us in the line-up turned to me and said “I do.  I have some.”  She took a bottle out out of her purse and tapped out two tablets into my hand and then a grey capsule also came out. “Take this as well.  It is charcoal.”  And I know, from my grandmother’s preference for treathing anything naturally, that this is not a bad thing to take.

My gratitude to this generous stranger cannot be suitably expressed.  I gratefully accept her gift, dry-swallowing the charcoal capsule then crunching the two tablets and continue breathing.  By the time a stall liberates for me, I am feeling better.  The pain subsides ever more as Jules and I make our way to the exits.

In the lobby, there is a sculpture that fascinates me every time I go to this particular hall.  I cannot believe I had not photographed it before.  And what did I do this time?  Yes, I did.  BUT, I forgot to get the name of the artist and no amount of Googling at this late hour is helping.  I guess I’ll just have to return and get that info.

We went our separate ways and once settled into my car found that I felt pretty normal.  Got home and shortly thereafter received a text:  “Are you feeling any better Cara? You had me worried there.”

I responded that I had me worried there!

Got another text checking up on me this morning.

 

Belt It Out Serena!

I really enjoy getting to know Canadian singers and songwriters.  I didn’t always appreciate it.  Probably because I listened to radio stations like Q92 or MIX96 which play(ed) the latest hits over and over ad nauseum, or CHOM that were stuck in their old “Classic Rock” genres.  You know the type of typical radio station?  Led Zeppelin seem to have only four songs, Aerosmith as well, AC/DC has two and Kiss has one.  Ugh.  As for new stuff?  Fuggedaboutit.  You never heard anything new.  Of course Classic Rock does imply they play the “classic” stuff.  But again, they would only play the same few songs from the same old groups.  Hey, I love me a dose of “For Those About To Rock” once in a while, just not necessarily once or twice a day.

Now, I’m not saying things are still the same over there.  I have occasionally tuned in and been surprised to hear a Serena Ryder song.  So, I’m thinking they are realising that we do have some really good Canadian rockers that are not old enough to be classics.  Yet.  As for Canadian content?  Maybe a little bit of Bryan Adams or Rush or Sam Roberts Band because they are actually known south of the border…

What doesn’t help is that here in Quebec, the English rock or folk hardly gets played at all.  Except on my now favourite CBC Music.   So I can actually watch the Junos (Canadian version of Music Awards) and know who is being nominated!

I digress.  I know, I know… I often do!  Back to my originally scheduled programming!  I bought my two Serena Ryder tickets ages, nay, eons ago, without knowing who would join me. Put up a Facebook message and one friend, Tony, agreed to join me.

We met at the Burgundy Lion Pub which is right next door to my now-favourite venue, The Corona Theatre, for a burger and a steak.  It was early so we got a table… right beside the courtyard.  I dunno man, I know we Quebecers will stretch out our eating outside as long as we can but heaters or no heaters, it was bloody cold.  And they kept opening the door – first to turn on said heaters, again for the fools to attempt to sit out there, and finally for those said fools to come back in once they realised how foolish they were being to find a spot inside!

The Corona is a first-come, first-served theatre so I didn’t want to go in last minute.  I figured there would be a line-up starting around 6:30-7:00 so we made sure to leave the pub by 7, latest.  Turns out, they were letting everyone in because of the rain.  Cool. Walk in.  Damn.  It’s a standing concert.  I am too old for that shit…  Kinda wished I was up in the balcony but that section was closed off.  Guess they didn’t sell that many tickets after all.

I had no idea there was an opening act for Serena Ryder.  What a wonderful surprise she turned out to be!  Jordane (Labrie), with her guitarist Clément Desjardins, blew me away.  The girl’s got a set of pipes on her!  Her first album comes out mid-January.

And, for a reason I cannot fathom, I did NOT capture any of Jordane’s original French songs but took two little snippets of her singing in English.

During their train trip across Canada, Clément’s guitar got badly damaged and he acquired the banjo from a pawn shop.  He was quite pleased with himself for learning how to play it 😉

And then Jordane had to sing that song that she had been listening to since she was a young girl… Patsy Cline’s Crazy:

A lovely twenty-minute set, I must say.  To hear her sing in French, just click here.

A short break and in came Serena by herself with nothing but her guitar.  She interacts with the audience and of course, she was right there so we felt we were in her inner circle.  She sang a few songs alone on the stage before her band of two came in… a guitarist and drummer (which, unfortunately I cannot remember their names and have given up with the Internets).

A little “Weak in the Knees”…

The Corona is such a great venue.  Would be fabulous if there were seats, but hey… I sat for Andy Kim’s Christmas special and I sat up on the balcony for George Ezra.  Now I can say I’ve had the full experience!  Numb toes and all (you realise after a certain amount of time that the floor is on a slight slant…)

Of course, I shall leave you with a few snippets…  “Oh What I Wouldn’t Do” and “A Little Bit Red”

I was most pleased to have been able to see Serena live in such a perfect venue.

 

 

Why I Love CBC Radio 2 – Tom Allen

It took the death of another icon, Montserrat Caballé, to remind me I had this post in my “drafts folder”…

When did I write the “intro“?  25 July, 2017!  Sheesh.  Won’t bother chastising myself.  That said, I have not so much made a resolution as made a promise to myself to finish what I started.  An issue I have.  We Aries are fabulous at starting things, but finishing them?  Not so much.  And I know, I know, I am generalising because there are plenty out there who do finish what they start…

Without further ado, my main reason for loving CBC Radio 2 is the fabulous Tom Allen –  not the English comedian Tom Allen, who was born after I graduated high school (which I discovered while Googling) – but the Canadian broadcaster/musician/writer/storyteller/et al, Tom Allen, who was born just a few years before moi.  😉  I originally got to “know” him when he was hosted the morning classical program called “Music and Company”, way back in 1998, and which he continued to host until 2008, when the program changed to “Radio 2 Morning” for about a year.

Things moved and shifted big time at CBC Radio 2, morning people got moved to afternoon, afternoon people go moved to week-ends and I thought, that’s it, I won’t be tuning in…  Nope, nope and nope.  I found there were many things to enjoy.  Tom Allen was no longer the morning guy, but we could still catch him now on Shift, a perfect programme for him (probably designed by him 😉 where he shifts from classical to contemporary rock without you even noticing…

I mentioned in my intro post how much I enjoyed Tom’s stories and, in Googling him to find recordings and whatnot to share with you, (and having to sift between the other guy’s stuff), was reminded of so many other things.

Seriously, I had always enjoyed classical music but he has brought an extra oomph to it with his stories.  Here are three to entertain you…

 

I once tweeted to him, following some comparison between musicians like Metallica and Chopin, (not really, I can’t remember who he was comparing but it was just as far-fetched), that he was the Alton Brown of Music.  Cool thing?  He tweeted me back with a “That’s good, right?”  And I responded with a “He is to cooking what you are to music…”  The man is a seemingly endless fount of musical information.  From classical to heavy metal.  He blows me away pretty much every day.

He is a musician, a storyteller, an author, a producer, a musical host… oodles of talents that I shall have to explore further.

Thank you, Tom, for making classical music so very approachable and fun.  I love to tune in from 1 till 3:30 pm… It ain’t long enough, but I’ll take what I can get!!

Oh hell… one more 😉

 

Woodstock – Fare Thee Well – You Rocked Us

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Last one in my little Woodstock series… Time to wrap it up and move on to the next adventure… Since I didn’t really share any pictures of the official town of Woodstock, I thought I would here as a fare thee well…

Thursday morning came way too soon.  The end of our little getaway-from-reality-and-live-in-the-moment escape was almost over.

We – okay, I – made one last breakfast using whatever leftovers from our little grocery expeditions:  smoked turkey, peppers, cheese, bread, and made a variation of a high-end grilled cheese.  B, of course, had a couple extra crêpes as well.  Any leftovers were going home with him and since I had made a ridiculous quantity, he was sure to have himself another breakfast back home; and, if his daughter was lucky, she might have some too!  (I did learn later that he did share…the pancakes but not the garden vodka!)

We had to pack up and be out of the Airbnb by 11 am so, after breakfast and a shower, we packed up and loaded our cars.  Then, loathe to part so soon, we took one last drive into the town proper, parked the car and strolled, while we chatted and I snapped pics.  We marvelled at how easy our three days had been.  We had become friends on line and our three days together just solidified that friendship.  We had found our beat and went with it.  A suggestion here, an idea there and we were in total cahoots. So very glad I can never say I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The town really does have a nice artsy vibe to it and shows how it has been, not just a hippie town (though, of course, it still is) but a town that welcomes artists of all kinds.  They still hold various festivals to this day.

You have the requisite head shops because, you know, Woodstock!

And there are lovely homes and buildings of all sorts.

As well as really funky joints and places to sit.

Though this sign explained the reason for the sad state of the flag, it was the car that drew me.  I had the feeling the car has been there as long as the flag has in memory of 9/11.

One last one before I go…  A lovely stream goes through part of the town, so I had to capture it.

There was still much to see but no more time to do so.  B drove us back to my car, we hugged and kissed and went our separate ways, basking in the memories we created.

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”
Jimi Hendrix

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3