June 25, 2022

I AM WOMAN - Let the roaring begin

 


I love hearing new songs, finding new tunes, new favourites, new obsessions and ear worms.  One thing leads to another. This week we have a group of young ladies who love the ladies.  They call themselves Hyaenas, and their song is Little Trophy.   It is gorgeous little pop confection with an “Oh-oh” hook.  The lyrics are driven by desire to be desired, but not too much. An exercise in control.  

Hyaenas are Sophie Heppell (guitar, vocals), Jessie Robertson (bass), Jen Foster (drums) and Luvia Petersen (synth).  Jen plays drums in Rong, another favourite.  

Lyrics are by Sophie. 

LITTLE TROPHY

Take me to the forest, I'm knocking on wood
Just because you want to doesn't mean that you should
You think you've got my whole world but nothing gold can stay
Lose your grip and all the stars will fade to grey
I'm going away
I'm not your little trophy
I'm not your prize to be won
All my work for all your fun
Oh, oh, oh no
I'm not your little trophy
I'm not your prize to be won
All my work for all your fun
Oh, oh, oh no
You lured me in with fish hooks - they're ripping my mouth
Jump this ship before it all starts heading south
That was touch and go there - that was a close call
Another venture in exchange for nothing at all
Nothing at all
I'm not your little trophy
I'm not your prize to be won
All my work for all your fun
Oh, oh, oh no
I'm not your little trophy
I'm not your prize to be won
All my work for all your fun
Oh, oh, oh no
I'm not your badge of honour
I'm not your accolade
Not a soul for you to save
Oh, oh, oh no
I'm not your badge of honour
I'm not your accolade
Not a soul for you to save
Oh, oh, oh no
Don't touch don't look give back what you took
Don't look don't touch you take up too much
Don't touch don't look give back what you took
Don't look don't touch you take up too much
I'm not your little trophy
I'm not your prize to be won
All my work for all your fun
Oh, oh, oh no
I'm not your badge of honour
I'm not your accolade
Not a soul for you to save
Oh, oh, oh no
I'm not your badge of honour
I'm not your accolade
Not a soul for you to save
Oh, oh, oh no
I'm not your little trophy
I'm not your prize to be won
All my work for all your fun
Oh, oh, oh no

“Little Trophy is a call-out against the sexual objectification of women,” the all-female Vancouver band explain. “The song was partially inspired by a previous long-distance relationship Sophie had (she was doing all the heavy lifting to make everything happen while the other was sitting back and reaping the benefits (fun trips and getting laid)), and partially inspired by unwanted sexual advances, judgments or discriminations that almost every single woman has experienced.”


Like I said, the song is a celebration of someone taking control of their own love and desire.  

It pairs well with a new song by one of favourites, Metric, All Comes Crashing.   

Metric is all about hooks, little barbs that grab you, and won’t let you go.   Emily Haines is the the enchantress extraordinaire.

ALL COMES CRASHING

Starting over won't be easy, broken, divided

Split tomorrow from today
Knowing what you know just makes it harder to think straight
Starting over after it breaks
Starting over when the story's got an astounding twist
You better turn that page
When push it comes to shove
We do not fall out of love
We double down, we do not fade
For all I know
This might be my last night
If that's how it goes, there's no one
I would rather be lying beside
When it all comes crashing
When it all comes crashing
Starting over won't be easy
Damage be damned
Please say you love me just as I am
Starting over won't be easy
Misunderstand that pattern
Fear is forcing your hand
Knowing what you know just makes it harder to think straight
Starting over after it all breaks
When push it comes to shove
We do not fall out of love
We double down, we do not fade
For all I know
This might be my last night
If that's how it goes, there's no one
I would rather be lying beside
If all we knew
Came crashing down tonight
I'd be with you, and there's no one
I would rather be dying beside
When it all comes crashing
All comes crashing down
When it all comes crashing
All comes crashing down
We'll come crashing down together
Don't expect to live forever
We'll come crashing down together
If it all comes crashing down tonight
We'll come crashing down together
Don't expect to live forever
We'll come crashing down together
When it all comes crashing, crashing, crashing
For all I know
This might be my last night
If that's how it goes, there's no one
I would rather be lying beside
If all we knew
Came crashing down tonight
I'd be with you, and there's no one
I would rather be dying beside
When it all comes crashing
When it all comes crashing
When it all comes crashing
When it all comes crashing

More girl on top, taking the reins of the relationship.  Someone has to know what they are doing here.

Which then leads us to Angel Olsen and her song All The Good Times.  It has a slow boil, layering detail on detail until it finally. At the very end of the song, gets to the title sentiment. 
ALL THE GOOD TIMES
I can't say that I'm sorry
When I don't feel so wrong anymore
I can't tell you I'm trying
When there's nothing left here to try for
And I don't know how it happened
We've both abandoned the reason we used to believe
Was it love that we shared when we easily cared?
Now it's impossible to conceive
I don't know who can see you
If you've ever learned how to let someone in
Well, I've tried to comе find you
But I just don't know where to begin
If you'vе ever been open, there's no way of knowing
With the way that knowing you has been
Was it always so broken? If these thoughts were spoken
Would it bring us together again?
I can't say that I'm sorry
When I don't feel so wrong anymore
I can't tell you I'm trying
When there's nothing left here to try for
Well, I can't be the one to keep holding you back
If there's something you're missing, then go right ahead
I'll be long gone, thanks for the songs
Guess it's time to wake up from the trip we've been on
So long, farewell, this is the end
And I'll always remember you just like a friend
And the way that you said, as heavy as lead
"You've always known how to get straight to my head"
Thanks for the free ride
And all of the good times
Thanks for the free ride
And all of the good times

The end and title is of course 
“You've always known how to get straight to my head"
Thanks for the free ride
And all of the good times
Thanks for the free ride
And all of the good times”

Are we back in Little Trophy land?  When the end finally comes, did it “all come crashing down”?

As a 64 year old male (him/he) in a 43 year relationship, I’m not sure why I am drawn to the joyful angst pop of young lesbians. I admit that there is a crush on Emily Haines, so there is that. 
Then a trolling of my daughter’s playlist ( She has very cool taste in music- completely her own take.  I am sensing some slight influences from her pops, but I give her all the credit. 
She had been listening to a band calledOver The Rhine, a duo of guy and girl, going back a few years.  This song is from 2007, so a blast from the past.

LET’S SPEND THE DAY IN BED

Let's spend the day in bed, yeah, that's what I said
Let's lie down, draw the shades
Ditch the plans we made
Rest your lovely bones and just stay home
Turn off the telephone, picnic on the sheets
Toss the dogs some treats, rub each other?s feet
We're not ashamed of a little lazy love
Till we're through, I'm gonna spend the day in bed with you
let's spend the day in bed on our very own bed spread
A pajama holiday
Catch a black and white matinée
Spoon feed these new daydreams and just stay home
We’ll read Shel Silverstein, 'Where The Sidewalk Ends'
Smile about old friends, try to comprehend
One single day, no work and only play
Kick off your shoes, I'm gonna spend the day in bed with you
Life’s a drag, we’ll get stoned on love
Stoned on love, just stay home
We’ll get stoned on love, stoned on love
We need a groove that's all our own and we?ll get stoned
Just stay home
We’ll get stoned on love, stoned on love
Till we're through, I'm gonna spend the day in bed with you
let's spend the day in bed, forget all that I said
We’ll eat your favorite pie, ice cream on the side
Lie here a la mode and just stay home
Just stay home, just stay home
When life’s a drag, we’ll get stoned on love
Stoned on love, just stay home
We’ll get stoned on love, stoned on love
We need a groove that's all our own and we?ll get stoned
Just stay home
We’ll get stoned on love, stoned on love
When life’s a drag, we’ll get stoned on love
Stoned on love, just stay home
We’ll get stoned on love, stoned on love
We need a groove that's all our own and we’llget stoned
Just stay home
We’ll get stoned on love, stoned on love
Just stay home

So all female voices.  And then the theocratic Supremely Stupid Court, SCOTUS, which sounds like a rash that one gets when playing too much with your scrotum, wipes out 50 year’s of progress, by killing Roe v. Wade.  My mother is rolling in her grave, which is the rolling sea, so all comes crashing.  

“ I am woman hear me roar.”  Let the roaring begin.  

June 6, 2022

Consider the Oyster


The oyster may be the most sublime food.  They are definitely one of most sensual.  More than food, they are passion and metaphor. 

On the outside, we feel sharp, craggy calcium carbonate layers of oyster shell, self created by secreting proteins and minerals from their mantle extracellularly, the oyster constantly growing new layers of shell, their physical presence enlarging as they grow.

This hard and dangerous exterior holds its secrets tightly, as opening an oyster, ah shucks, is an art form itself.  There are specific tools needed, the oyster knife, wielded by the expert shucker, old Shucky, careful, you may want to wear a glove made of metal mesh, otherwise risking cuts from the shell or a slip of the knife. But once the vise-like grip of the muscles, holding its inner secrets intact is broken, a salty brine weeps. 

Inside we feel a shell so smooth and porcelain. You may even find a pearl! And then there is the oyster itself.  Shimmery, moist, so many layers of feminine deliciousness.  This oyster object of desire, slurp worthy, your tongue wants to explore the folds and lips dare I say of the smooth little button of muscle at its centre.

Or you might just want to slurp it dow, drawing it into your receiving mouth, letting it slide down your throat, the oyster and the brine, accented with the tang of lemon or perhaps a bit of vinegar, a splash of hot sauce or a mignonette, which translates roughly into "cute, small, and tasty”. 

I was reading a Substack post today from Alicia Kennedy, about her vegan relationship with the oyster- she makes an exception for this bivalve.  And I wanted to comment on her page with my most memorable experience with oysters, but I was shut down by her Subscriber paywall- no money, no comments welcome.  

So here we are, inside my own non- paywall.  Here, my friends, is my memory of the night of Oysters and Stout where I met the infamous Oysterman, Brent Petkau. 

Brent is a mountain of a man, big beard, big laugh, and a generous knowledge of all things oyster.  He is the Oysterman.  https://vimeo.com/32602676?embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=3637760

It was a special evening of oysters and sampling of Stouts, with Brent supplying the oysters, and the liquor store and my friend Craig Noble supplying the stout and information on how to pair with oysters.  
I think I ate about 25 oysters, most were smallish, and the stouts were delicious, and at the end, I had sort of shocked myself with how many I had consumed.
But it was more than eating lots of oysters, it was an ingestion of knowledge of oysters and stout, most of which is forgotten.

Growing up, I remember some of my family having oysters, normally cooked, breaded and pan fried, how an old brother disparagingly compared the oyster to another bodily fluid, and how that aversion to oysters later became a desire to devour.

Which brings us to the oyster loaf, which is a Mills family tradition of hollowing out a loaf of french bread and adding back in pan fried breaded oysters, bacon, tomato and hopefully something green but I'm not totally sure.   Sort of our Pacific Northwest take on the Po' Boy.  It is then cut into slices, and consumed with much alcohol.   Whether it was the oysters or the alcohol that later lead to laughter then tears, is unclear.   Most likely the alcohol.  



May 24, 2022

Downtown!

 

I remember the first time I saw Active Dog at the Windmill.  I was Transfixed by the mesmerizing Bill Shirt- my birthday brother, one of my favorite front men of the day.  LOVED the camp slam classic Downtown cover, where tongue firmly in cheeks, Active Dog extolled the virtues of exodus.

We all escaped our suburban hells and went downtown

Where all the lights are bright

Downtown 

Everyone’s waiting for you. 

My heartfelt thanks to Bill Shirt (Scherk)  - Patron saint of the suburban rats.


Out on the Frontier by Los Popularos    (I can’t make out all the words, but these jump out:)

Out on the frontier

Machines are screaming in my ear

I’ve come to lend a hand 

To save this wretched land

It’s easy being happy these days

Life’s like that

Everyday the scene is the same

As we work we look up 

Nothings clear

A message comes and but you can’t hear

The hopes alive

A promise dies

And you smile 


If this link works, you can hear 


https://soundcloud.com/bill-scherk/out-on-the-frontier-los-popularos?utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing


May 23, 2022

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

 

All the young girls love Alice.

Old men too. 

Even old men named Alice. 

Last night I went down a rabbit hole, a genealogical rabbit hole.  I know friends who have researched their history and families and genealogy, and I have always had a vague interest in learning more about my family. 

My family, my direct family, i.e. Mother, Father, siblings, always seemed to NOT want to know about family.  We rarely discussed relatives, except to hear my parents speak of brother or sisters who they did not get along with, or infrequent remembrances of their upbringing, stories about my grandparents, cousins.  It’s not that we didn’t talk about them, we just didn’t really talk about them much.

As a child I was not allowed to go to funerals, as funerals were not for children, so said my Mother.

She would sometimes speak of her father, who died four years before I was born.  He was a customs agent, which was handy as they lived close to the US - Canada border in White Rock.  Years later, I would move to White Rock with my wife and daughter, living in my wife’s father’s white house, buying half the house from his ex-wife, and taking care of my father-in-law who was dying of cancer.  

When my Mother was a child, the Peace Arch was built, with the names of the school children in White Rock  and Blaine inscribed inside the arch.  My Mother’s name is in there.  I have always wanted to stop and see this, but in my 64 years, so far I have yet to stop and actually get out of the car.  

Her father had been in the War, First World War I assume, and he lost an eye, so he had a wooden eye, which he would sometimes take out at the dinner table to charm or scare the children.  These are the stories I grew up with. 

My Nana Pete, who’s real name was Helena, why they called her Pete I am not sure, lived with us for  a time.  She was a tall and regal woman, not unlike the Queen, I imagined. Before she came to live with us, we would visit her in her apartment in New Westminster, in the Royal Towers. She would serve us canned strawberries on cottage cheese, and crab or shrimp sandwiches on white bread, and would bring out from her freezer her lemon loaf, which had the densest crumb, and a sweet lemony glaze.  

I was speaking with my second oldest brother the other day, and his wife came on the phone, and she asked a few questions about our family, as she had been doing research into her family.  

When my parents were alive, they gave each of their children a photo album, which had a family tree. 

This was the first real acknowledgement of our genealogy.  There are names but not so many dates, but probably enough to begin a search, if one was so inclined.  My sister- in- law was curious why the tree was a bare as it was of details.


I said, did you know our grandfather on my Dad’s side had a a first wife, before our Grandma Bea?  She died about a year after they were married, around the time of the Spanish Flu. This comment raised more questions about my Grandpa Russ, and his life and brothers and sisters, how his parents died when he was a teenager, and he had to work to support his family as a teenager.  I remember stories of him being called up in the army, and asked to fire upon striking workers, and he refused as one of the striking workers was his brother, and how he was then kicked out of the army.  Since my father was born on Vancouver Island, my assumption is that this incident was probably the Cumberland strike.  

So here I was on Sunday night, just before I went to bed, looking up my grandparents on the internet. 

I found my Grandpa Russ and his headstone, along with my Grandma Bea.  I found my Grandfather Joseph, and my Nana and noted he was buried in Victoria.  Most of these accounts did not mention my own parents, just the grandparents. 

And here is the rabbit hole part…my great-grandparents including my Great grandfather Joseph, same name as his son.  

I have deleted last names here. 

Joseph was born in Royston, Hertfordshire, in 1795. He studied at St. Peter’s College, Cambridge, and upon leaving University became a student at the Middle Temple, London, where he began his legal studies.


He started his career providing legal advice throughout Norfolk, but was soon forced to retire due to fatigue and ill health. He then established a stationary practice at Palace Court, London, but resigned following a dispute with the court.

He was a descendant of a Huguenot family. Huguenots were French Protestants persecuted by their Catholic government in the 16th and 17th centuries. Most, like his ancestors, were forced to flee France. As such, in 1827, He published The Laws affecting Protestant Dissenters. The book was very well received.


It was around this time that He addressed a letter to Lord Dacre, MP for Hertfordshire, regarding the freedom of slaves. While The Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, passed by Parliament in 1807, banned trading slaves it did not ban the act of slavery itself. His letter was published and met with general approval, receiving praise in a speech made by the Prime Minister, George Canning, in Parliament.


The publication of this letter, importantly, led to him meeting Zachary Macaulay, a leading figure in the campaign against slavery. Macaulay was the founder and editor of a monthly publication called The Anti-Slavery Reporter and helped establish The Society for the Mitigation and Gradual Abolition of Slavery in 1823. This became the Anti-Slavery Society in 1839 and still operates today as Anti-Slavery International. It is the oldest international human rights organisation in the world. Meeting Macaulay was his first step into the anti-slavery movement.


In 1827, He joined the Anti-Slavery Society in London and for many years devoted his time and attention to obtaining freedom for slaves throughout the British Empire. He wrote or edited most of the Society’s publications and papers, sat on numerous committees and later became their official legal advisor.


The Slave Emancipation Act was passed in 1833. This legally gave all slaves across the British Colonies their freedom, but it was not immediate or automatic. Instead, there was an interim period of apprenticeships, during which time enslaved people were made to work as unpaid apprentices for their masters. The apprentice was entitled to maintenance and food allowances or, if food was not provided, to sufficient land and time to grow their own.


However, it soon became apparent that the Act was violated and open to exploitation. In fact, claims were made that the treatment and working conditions of apprentices were even worse than those of slaves. He was at the centre of the legal battle to address this and was tasked with collecting and analysing evidence from all sides. He wrote a report called Negro Apprenticeship in the British Colonies.


The subject of black apprenticeship caused strong conflict of public opinion but the Anti-Slavery Society thought the system worked badly and should be abolished. He visited Macaulay to consult his views on what steps should be taken. Macaulay advised Him to take the matter ‘professionally and perseveringly’.


From that time until the final abolition of slavery, He dedicated his life to the subject, collecting and examining documents in an effort to prove the existence of violations of the law. His findings were presented to the House of Commons in 1835 and a Committee was established by Parliament to investigate. He was appointed as a representative of the Society, as was Sir John Jeremie who, unlike Him, had a thorough knowledge of the practical workings of slavery in the colonies. Together they provided sufficient proof of both legal and practical abuses. The investigation was conclusive and Parliament was forced to abolish apprenticeships in 1838, three years before the date set by the Emancipation Act.


After this final liberation of slaves in the British Colonies, he turned his attention to supporting efforts to end slavery internationally. He joined The Society for the Extinction of the Slave Trade and for the Civilisation of Africa, founded by Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton. Prince Albert was its president. This was the first time royal approval had been given to the anti-slavery cause. He was responsible for writing the proceedings of the Society’s first public meeting in 1840.


By 1841, the Society had organised the Niger Expedition to establish farms, encourage legitimate trade and commerce, and set up Christian missions in Africa. The expedition ended in disaster; the farms failed, many lives were lost from disease and the Society disbanded.


He maintained good friendships with leading members of the Anti-Slavery Society and took an active role in preparing for a second expedition, the civilisation of Central Africa. Following the Niger Expedition, most were unwilling to show support for another. He was one of the few who strongly recommended it and he supplemented the Government grant for shipbuilding, contributed to the expenses of the Society and volunteered to prepare the report. The second expedition was considered a success and its example, aided by subsequent expeditions, was actively applied in various parts of the African continent.


Despite his best efforts, He was not without fault. In his quest to abolish slavery and bring peace to Africa, he believed, like most of western society at the time, that the only complete cure was the introduction of Christianity into Africa. He said in a speech to the Society that ‘the substitution of our pure and holy faith for the false religion, idolatry and superstitions of Africa is, in [the Society’s] firm conviction, the true ultimate remedy for the calamities that afflict [Africa].’ Unfortunately, the Society’s missions led to the eradication of many ancient African beliefs and a forced teaching and acceptance of Christianity.


Since the initial aim of the Anti-Slavery Society had now been obtained they began the examination of colonial law, with a view to prevent further oppression. For this, He was appointed the senior official. He published a pamphlet about the principles on which future free men of the colonies should be governed. These ideas were received with praise by the House of Lords and, with some alterations, successfully passed. Despite opposition in the Commons, which blocked some of its stricter regulations, the Slave Trade Act of 1839 added a lot of security against the inhumane trafficking of slaves.


Following the success of the anti-slavery cause, He was advised to retire from professional life on medical grounds. In 1845, he accompanied members of his family to Italy and from there went on to Egypt and Syria, visiting many of the iconic landmarks in the East. He wrote about his trip in Recollections of Travels in Italy and the East, published in 1850. It was on his return from this tour that He brought to England the water from the River Jordan which, at Queen Victoria’s request, was used at the baptism of her daughter, Princess Helena.


His other interests included antiquities and he contributed various research papers and reports to the Royal Society of Antiquaries and the Archeological Institute. He returned to Royston, taking permanent residence in his hometown again, and made investigations of Royston’s heritage.


In 1852, He made a careful examination of Royston Cave, assisted by his friend, Edward Nunn, who was the curator of Royston Museum at the time. They also partially excavated it. His report was initially presented to the Royal Society of Antiquaries and was later published in his book The Origin and Use of The Royston Cave, for which He is now most famously remembered.


In his book, He concluded that Royston Cave was a Roman construction, built towards the beginning of Christianity, and, at a later period, was used as a Roman tomb. He suggested that most of the carvings and decorations were made later, perhaps around the time of the Crusades, and that it was then converted into a private chapel to which a hermitage was probably attached.


He was subsequently elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London for his historical and archaeological research.


As a character, He never tended to engage in politics directly and generally preferred to maintain a low profile, only entering debate on subjects he felt strongly about. He often refused payment for his work, rarely signed his name to publications and refused two positions offered to him by the Government in recognition of his services to the liberation of slaves. In fact, it was not until the mid 1900s, when his papers were presented to the National Library of Jamaica, that his anti-slavery efforts became known.


With the exception of visits to Europe, He continued to live in Royston until his death. Although he suffered with his physical health, he remained mentally active. After a short battle with bronchitis, He died at The Banyers House on Melbourn Street on 6 June 1866, at the age of 71. He is buried in his family vault at Royston Parish Church.

A rabbit hole is defined as a metaphor for something that transports someone into a wonderfully (or troublingly) surreal state or situation.


As a metaphor for our online behavior, the rabbit hole has an advantage those other fictional portals lack: it conveys a sense of time spent in transit. In the original story, Alice falls for quite a while — long enough to scout out the environment, grab some food off a passing shelf, speculate erroneously about other parts of the world, drift into a reverie about cats, and nearly fall asleep. Sounds like us on the Internet, all right. In the current use of “rabbit hole,” we are no longer necessarily bound for a wonderland. We’re just in a long attentional free fall, with no clear destination and all manner of strange things flashing past.  

Kathryn Schulz the New Yorker