Wednesday, May 30, 2007

BoyWonder loves music, or maybe he just loves to torment me? Seventeen years later I have still not been able to figure it out. If there is a good song playing BoyWonder can not restrain himself from drumming at the dinner table, on the stearing wheel, on the door, on a book, to the point where he can drive me into a tailspin with the tapping of Keith Moon, John Bonham and Ringo Starr. But the tapping is nothing compared to his singing. I try for peace when I am with him and I deal with one symptom at a time..

We from the very beginning of our relationship have had a 'no tapping' clause'. A quiet understanding between a couple. The tapping torment has evolved into a 'No tapping face', an expression of bugged out eyes and pierced lips and furrowed brows held by me, and over the years it has become more pronounced, with a sigh and a chin jutting out for good measure. And normally when the no tapping face is shown, the tapping subsides and I am given a few minutes to collect my thoughts.

But tapping seems to be part of my husband's life. I try not to play 'tapping music' over dinner, sometimes the tapping just starts because there is a song in his head, which leads his fingers to start and then full fledged tapping commences, along with fake cymbals and bass drum. My no tapping 'expression' will cause him to stop in 'midtap' or mid cymbal smash. But the energy that has not been expelled through his fingertips, needs to be unleashed elsewhere, so the creative juices then flow to his lips where he will whistle. But some of the notes he can reach can cause a dog to stand at attention and moan for mercy. The whistling will be halted with me sighing and barking a command of 'Pleeeaaaase!?'

This causes him to bounce his leg under the table which causes the ground all around to shake, the crystal the cabinet to vibrate and , the pictures on the mantle come dangerously close to the edge . I have to grab his knee from under the table to restrain it from escalating any further. And sometimes it stops the 'creative flow', and sometimes I have my much wanted and desired peace.

But then, there are other times...

There are times when he will try to refrain, but he will let out a sigh, and begin to eat. But as he eats, if the song is still raging in his head, he may begin to hum, he will hum a tune in which we all know. And then the humming turns into singing... And well, the singing... Ahh, the singing... This is a special wee nuttshell, which I have not cracked open for you.

The thing about BoyWonder's singing is... That he....., Well he, how do I put this?

He 'interprets' music and re writes lyrics to songs...

No song is sacred.

They can be innocent songs which can make Mr. Rogers, Sharon, Lois and Bram and even Raffi smile, but most songs, can go strangely a rye with his twisted, wicked, sense of humour. He can change a song through an accent, or by insinuation, or he can change it by lyrics.

With the accent and intonation of Mike Ditka, (the former coach of the Chicago Bears) he has changed the classic 'Winnie the Pooh' song into a song about 'Winnie da bear, all stuffed with fluff and caaahhhcahh.' He changed the song 'I love you a bushel and a peck' into a song about' Pee and Poo and how 'bout you???' sung in a stiff uppercrust British accent that bares an aweful resemblence to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. His repetoire is endless.

My daughter loves musicals. Or maybe the love was forced onto her by me. She has seen them all. She at the tender age of three had seen Singing in the Rain about half a dozen times, she has watched every Danny Kaye film, Damn Yankees, Oliver, Gigi, My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, American in Paris, West Side Story, Seussical the Musical, she has seen them all.

She can be seen immitating Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain. She will do the footsteps, the hops, the twirls. She can do Danny Kaye's the Vessel in the Pestle, with the exagerated eyebrows and kookie facial expressions.

In Grade Two, her movie of choice, was Fiddler on the Roof. She would walk around my neighbourhood, hunched over like an eighty year old woman with extreme rhuematism walking with a cane/umbrella and using hand gestures she would sing 'Annetevka,'using a thick Yiddish accent.

My daughter when she 'performmes', she does it for herself; not for show; not for an audience, just as her father with his musical prowess is the same... They do it for themselves.They do it for their own amusement. They can not help themselves...

And I am destined to go insane...

But Fiddler on the Roof was my daughter's absolute favourite musical at the time and not beyond Boy Wonder's scope of 'interpretation'. And there were many songs reworked by BoyWonder. But none as much as the 'classic' that is now a legend.

We have a wonderful dog. He is a constant in our lives. He refuses to be away from our family dynamic. Whatever room we are in, our dog is in, a faithful companion to the end.
Our dog is not bashful. Our dog knows no restraint. Our dog has a 'hobby' or so my husband has pointed out; our dog's 'hobby 'is licking his privates at any given time.

So on one particulary, enchanting, evening, full of taps and cymbals Boy Wonder has rewrote the lyrics to 'If I were a Rich Man' , he did this in honour of our dog and his 'hobby of choice'. The melody remains to 'If I Were a Rich Man' but the lyrics have been changed to 'I am Going to Lick my Privates Licky Licky Licky Lick.'

The song was....'catchy'. The song was constant. The song was sung daily; if not hourly.

Our faithful dog licking himself, gave my husband permission to sing his wee diddy. With whistles, with snaps, with tapping, this song has become a classic in our home.

'IIIIII'm going to lick my privates, licky licky licky lick. All day long, I licky licky lick, even though I am not deeeeeeeead!' would belt my husband.

Now, you can see where this is leading can't you?

One day, I am picking up Scooter from school. She is taking a long time to appear in the yard, so I am forced to rush up to her class to see what is keeping her. There are about twelve staggling kids including Scooter's teacher and a student teacher.

The children are putting their coats on and the teacher is reminding them of a last minute spelling test and it is a lucky day as they will have music class in the morning.

Scooter belts out 'Goodie,I love muuuuusic!!!! Mrs. Kirkpatrick?'

'Yes Scooter?'

And from across the room...

'My Dad loves music too. Do ya wanna hear my DAD's favourite song?'

'Oh, I'd love to' says the poor unsuspecting Mrs. Kirkpatrick as she helps a kid with a rough zipper and the student teacher stops tidying up to listen to my daughter.

May I preface, my daughter did NOT say ' it was a song, her Dad sang ABOUT her dog.'

May I add, I was not close enough to stop her.

And really, I did not have any idea of what was going to come out of her mouth...All of these 'things', BoyWonder thought I could have changed or changed the course as they unfolded.

This was her DAD's favourite song...and all her friends, and teachers were going to hear it.

And with a voice that would make Ethel Merman proud, she belts out her DAD's favourite song. ' 'IIIII 'mmmm going to Lick my privates, licky licky licky liiiiick....'

It was like a train wreck.

These poor women with their mouths wide open.

These poor women.

Heck, poor me...Me, with a husband who licks his privates.

I can feel my faceburn ... I just stood there. I could not move. I certainly could not bolt across the room and gag my daughter A totally captive audience, you could hear a pin drop. A catchy tune, a tune sung with the confidence of someone hearing it daily, if not hourly.

And after my dear Barbra Streisand finished the song, her audience of a few girls but mostly boys were numb. They looked at each other. The teacher cleared her throat and said 'Well then, that was a nice ditty.'

But the boys; the boys realized this was a gift from the gods, or at least from Scooter's dad. And almost in unison, began to sing the tune as they left the classroom, spreading the love of music, and of Scooter's Dad, for the entire school and entire neighbourhood to hear. Music class could be brought to new levels the following day.

Two years later, the song is looked upon as a 'classic'. It has been passed on to younger siblings. It is a song which will always be remembered for my daughter's grade two year.

And a song in which it solidified the legend, the true musical genius of my husband, to the boys in my neighbourhood. And sometimes there just is no living with a genius such as Boy Wonder.

And all I can hope for, is, that Boy Wonder, is a one hit wonder.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

During Robert's performance, some of my friends started on with a dialogue.

Who does he think he is? Dylan?

That has to be the worst Dylan impersonator I have ever heard.

I know Dylan and that is NOT Dylan....

Pendullum, you can not be serious? You think? THAT? THAT guy, up there, is Dylan?

As my friends talked and argued about how the man before them, could not be his Holy Folkness, and each revelling in the better insult, I ignored them. Bullying through dialogue does not make a moment any less so...

Robert played on,I sat mesmerized drinking in this truly unique moment. A moment of hearing a person who was at first Robert to me, a nice guy at a bar, who approached me at a bar, who happened to read some of the same books as me, and had some of the same thoughts and interesting antedotes, and as he sang, in this intimate bar, he strangely became distant. He became a rock and roll icon. He was playing for such a select group of people and yet he started to soar, he transformed, as he played the harmonica to where he became unapproachable in my mind's eye. But maybe he became unapproachable as to where he brought me.

I drank in the moment.

And I had seized the moment and just listened to him instead of them.... I heard the voice in my heart and in my head. And I was at peace in my thoughts, his voice brought me on adventures to New York, to peace ralleys, his voice brought me to Paris and and his voice brought me to Larry Durrell and thoughts of enlightenment and faith in a moment.

Dear Blogger reader, and great friends out in cyberspace, I have told you about my dearest Ingrid, a few months ago, and how she came to me with her diagnosis of Stage Four Cancer.

I have told you how scared she was.

I told you, how sad I was. I have told you of my tears. I have told you of my broken heart.

And all of you were so very very kind to me. You poured out heartfelt condolences, you poured out support and you poured out faith, to me, and in me, to be of help to my ailing friend. You tried to support and lift me up, so I could help my friend. You all were being such angels out there in the world. Faceless angels, with gentle whispers, of encouragement and prayers sent through the air.

And I would be wrong to say that I had faith in my heart. On particulary tough days with myself, I would go back to your comments from months ago. And through my tears, they, those kind comments, of love and support, would strangely, help me along the way, bring me comfort and give me glimmers of hope, for the future. But it could be a future that may be without Ingrid.

I would be wrong to say that I was like the woman who first met Dylan, who had faith in the course.

I would be wrong to say that I did not question, everything, and the universe, when I heard of what the diagnosis was.

I could only hear 'Stage Four.' I could only hear how it was in her bones and travelling up her spine. I would look at my girlfriend, travel back in time through ole pictures and letters, moments shared, looking for strength and faith in the outcome The past was definite, the past was concrete. But I could not give my heart hope for a future to be shared with her. And I could not really live through another cancer moment.

I have been jaded.

I have been scarred.

And the past was comforting to me, as the future seemed so bleak.

And I have lost so many good friends to cancer. I have lost so much that I did not think my heart could take another. I hardened my heart of the possibility of losing her. Losing her before the loss, before she, my dear Ingrid, really took to the stage.

I had lost faith in the battle.

I had lost a faith in the unbelievable. And this is a truly horrible thing to lose.

But today; today, could be the day, when faith could be restored.

I went with my dearest Ingrid, for her last radiation treatment. Her cancer is in remission. I have been told of the STAT of the cancer having a 40 percent chance of returning, but for the time, I will relish in that 60 per cent that says it will not. I will take the 60 per cent. It has been a real leap of faith.

My heart has been given a moment.

My soul has been given the unimaginable.

My girlfriend is now on the stage. I had just been too blind with my own pain to see her shining up there.

And I am truly drinking the moment in.

I have been given the gift of Ingrid. I have been given the gift of having my friend for more memories together, more secrets of the soul, more giggles, more hugs and more love of the past, while embracing the future.

We have time.

And I have a restored faith and validation for her being with me for a little while longer.

And maybe, this course, this time, has restored a bit of my faith. Maybe it has been given to me as a gift through the universe. As really how else can I look at it? It is such a gift that has been granted, to me, to her family, to her friends, to her children and to all who are blessed to know her. But most importantly, it is a gift to my dearest Ingrid, a gift, so utterly deserved. And she is, and has seized the day, the moment and her life back. Does not matter what the stage looks like and how big the crowd.

And may I add? The day after Robert played, on the front page of every newspaper in my city the headlines read 'Bob Dylan Plays for 50 people... Once in a Lifetime Concert...' And even though I had already 'known' it was Dylan, the validation was certainly great to read.

But it does have me thinking of back then to now...

And as I listen to my new Dylan CD while writing this,maybe I should pull out my ole copy of the Razor's Edge. And revisit, my adventure with Larry Durrell. It would be interesting to see him again after twenty years.

Maybe sometimes we need to go back before we can move forward.

Maybe sometimes we need blind faith in times when answers are not forthcoming.

Maybe sometimes we need validation for all the ne'er sayers .

Maybe sometimes we must take the leap into the abyss of uncertainty when there is truly no drop net to catch us when we fall.

But I know in my heart, what I will always need; maybe what we all need; is a bit of love, to see us through.

And through love, it gives us the validation of our hopes and fears, through its fierce, passionate, faithful, embrace, so that we may continue to see true stars, in ourselves and of each other .

Thursday, May 03, 2007

So, A Guy Walks into a bar...........

BoyWonder received a new cd in the mail today and it brought me back twenty years.

I was twenty years of age and was to meet up with some friends at a local bar after my shift.The bar was connveniently located in the centre of the city , near the subway and streetcar lines, allowing for all to arrive with the least amount of effort. This bar was the type of place which hosted live entertainment. It was a run down joint which always smelled of stale beer and cigarettes. The live entertainment could be found not only on the stage but with the true objectional type of crowd the 'entertainment' could draw in. Part of the 'fun', could also be found in the notion of dodging the next thrown chair or missing the weave of a drunkard as he passes with a tray full of beers. But the majority of my pals wanted to meet there out of convenience, as it was indeed the devil we knew and if anything we would be 'entertained'.

Most patrons opt for the bench along the wall, as the seats left in the aisles are precarious at best. Sitting in the aisles, you face the possibility of ashes being dropped on your head, from people standing above you or just the inconvenience of being jostled by the crowds racing to the dance floor in case a particularly good song is being played by the band. And as the night wears, it becomes a case of Russian Roulette as someone in the aisle seat is bound to wear a tray of beer as copious amounts of beers are consumed with gusto as the music blares. For certainty you are not going to this bar to talk, you are there to listen to music or you are there to dance, or you are there to drink. In hindsight, I think the bar staff should have handed out rain ponchos for all the poor souls who found themselves on the aisle seats. Rain ponchos and combat helmets would probably be welcomed by first time aisle patrons.

I had arrived early to meet my friends, and the lights were on bright, showing all its warts and blemishes of the establishment. There were scuff marks on the walls, from fights, from hours, days or years past. The black stage was dimly lit, the wobbly tables,with match books underneath trying to set balance to tables which were long past their balancing prime. The tables with endless cigarette burns on the black veneer, along with carved initials, and various choice announcements enscribed with carving knives or cigarette butt burns from patrons past to present day patrons . All of the tables are caked in a film of beer and ash which can never be removed from a waitresses well-soiled rag. The floor was well worn industrial'grey' carpet covering, which ended abruptly at the front, as people preferred to dance on slippery, cracked, painted, marblesk floors.

The stage was raised from the 'dance floor'. It was carpeted as well. It was small and black with a black curtain. There were lights set up in front with various blue and red filters pointing towards the two mics which were set up. There were drums which were set back which were lit from the sides and dim light was coming from the drum itself. It was evident that a small band was playing tonight.

Upon sussing up the pit, and realizing that there would be no problem acquiring a bench seat, as there was a 'No Name' band coming in to play, I opted to sit at the bar and wait for my friends to join me. I found a 'stable' stool and lugged it to the corner of the bar.

The bartender, who was a friend of mine from school, was rushing around, trying to get everything prepped for the night. He called out my name as I sat down. He was harried, and let me know he was just off to change two kegs. He would be back 'in a flash'.

It was a Thursday night, as by most bar standards,the busiest night of the week and the bartender from the night before had left my friend out on the lurch by not completing the closing tasks from the previous night. I knew from the list of things to be completed, that I would not be entertained by my bartender friend.

Equipped with the knowledge of how long it takes to change a keg, from working in a bar myself, I pulled out my book from my knapsack. This was a book which held me so close for the past few days. A book which drew me into a whole new world of characters, I had felt become good friends with, or at least I had fallen in love with one of them. I was head over heels in love with an imaginary character in a book. What had my life become?

I was a bit sad, as I was just a few short chapters away from the end of my book. I was sad, as I would be leaving Larry Darrell.

As each page was read, each word dissolved into memory, and as I drew to the end of the book, it was also bringing me to the end of my voyage.

'Ahh, The Razor's Edge' came a voice.

I look up. "Yeah'

There at the other side of the bar was the lone patron. He had a mop of dark, brown hair, in a black button down shirt and was still wearing his jean jacket. He smiled.

'It's a good read.' he added.

And I nodded. And I told him that I was sad it was ending. My book that is...

Now, dear Blogger, do not get the wrong idea. This man was not trying to pick me up.I know the difference between 'bar talk' and 'let's get into your pants type of talk.' He was just shooting the breeze. And since I did not really want to end my 'relationship' with Larry just yet, and the fact that this person seemed to have read my coveted book, I decided to chat.

And this man was willing to listen, to a young woman go on, at nauseum, about her love of Larry. We talked and we even laughed. We philosophised about philosophy. And then he walked over and joined me.

The bartender, arrived back a minute later and took our drink order. We introduced ourselves to each other and just chatted. It was a fun spur of the moment, grasp a conversation from the air type of moment.

We just talked about what we both had read. And what we had planned to read. It was a fun conversation. We knew there would be an end, as the promise of our friends joining us, certainly would have the great divide of raucous activity between us.

My friends arrived first and scolded me for not grabbing a good seat. They came en mass and proceeded to scope out the best tables and draw them together for our large group. I shrugged my shoulders and said goodbye to Robert as his friends joined him soon after mine. And as bar life happens, groups arrive en mass and a once quiet atmosphere, that seemed so stagnant becomes littered with sound and bodies. The smoke fills a room and the lights are dimmed so that you can not truly see across the room gives a sense intimacy with a group of seventy people. And somehow, through the people, through the sound of clinking of glasses, and the conversation of friends, a building gives off a feeling of a soul and life.

And like what happens in movies, in corny B films, where you say aloud 'As, If! 'Robert took to the stage.

My friends turned to me and said 'Isn't that the guy you just were talking to?

Well, what's his band called?
Well, we didn't talk about that... I, I didn't know he was playing.

Robert started to sing. He started to look, very familiar. He started to sound very familiar. He did not look like the book nerd at the bar. He was so truly comfortable on the stage,filled with a smokey haze, in this wee room with a soul. And with each song it sent tingles down my spine. He was someone I have known forever and yet had not known him at the bar. He was a faceless voice behind a radio. I had not truly heard his voice until now. I heard it over the clinking of the glasses, I heard it over the sound of people ordering their drinks. And right there, is where he was at home. In this wreck of a bar, commanding all to listen, to listen to his ballads, to hear his message through the most commonest of voices.

I sat riveted in the darkened bar with the blue light on the No Name band.
And my heart truly skipped a beat, as how could it not?

How could my heart remain so calm? How could my heart remain calm, when Bob Dylan had just bought me a drink and helped me truly understand the enlightenment of Larry Darrell.