So I’ve been up at 5 a.m. for the last month for the contract I’ve been working. After work today I busted moves home to grab my axe, take it to my pal Tim Jones at Long & McQuade, to check out the intonation. Postered the store for the Taste of the Danforth gig. Bought geetar strings. Rented some pedals from my Brother From Another Mother Michael Puntis, which upon getting them home and testing them out were not at all necessary. Had dinner with my dear fams. Played with the wee Birdness before her bedtime. Booked a new gig. Touched base with Marty Stelnick, who will be joining me on stage for the TOTD performance, to rap about the set. Went down to check out the Punti’s home reno progress and hang for a bit. Home to help ADub with her website. Played some guitar. It’s 9:46 p.m. on a Friday in July. I’m knackered. I am going to bed now.
Rehearsals for the Taste of the Danforth gig are coming together. Bringing an electric geetar player on board for the show. Excited to hear some of the recorded arrangements brought to life in real time.
Stoked to let you all know that I’ve been invited to play the main stage at this year’s Taste of of the Danforth. Saturday, August 8. High noon.
Please join me.
Wow. What a crazy year. I’ve mentioned my health stuff, which is thankfully on the mend. Apart from the that, I’ve been putting myself out there, both musically and in search of a new day gig that doesn’t involve the thankless insanity of food service production. On both fronts, I’ve experienced more rejection than ever before. Some folks say that the more one is rejected, the thicker one’s skin tends to get. Not with me, and I’m glad for that. I want to remain vulnerable and open. For all the rejection that I’ve received in these last months, I’ve had some experiences that go far deeper and are far more rewarding than the denials. My family is wonderful, Ava is thriving and an amazing companion. ADub is doing wonderful things in her vocation of all things Doulariffic. My music is happening. I recently shared a new tune with some people in the community who were the subject matter of the tune and they were moved to tears. This is the stuff. It makes me feel kind of foolish when I weigh this kind of connection with the narcissistic elements that myself and every other artist I know are prone to, and how unimportant, though understandable, these elements are. Personal evolution is not always easy. I am grateful for my community and my yoga practice, both of which have been crucial in assisting my growth. And, of course, for the great gift of music. I always, as many of us do, thought my life would look very different at this point in the show. It’s great to be waking to the fullness of what is, rather than lamenting what is not.
Life is on a slowburn and it’s getting brighter all the time. May we all find ourselves closer to the good stuff…
Banner day yesterday. On Thursday night a complete guitar arrangement with melodic structure came tumbling out almost fully formed. Writers out there will appreciate this confluence of awesome. Sat down at the local yesterday morning, composed lyrics. Went to the park, wrote the words for another, the home for grub and a third set of ink laid down for a third tune. Went to bed with that sense of rewarded exhaustion only a honest day’s work provides.
Amazing experience yesterday at the opening of the Ryerson Farmer’s Market, though it didn’t start out so. I woke to grey skies and grumbled most of the way there on the 505. It was cold. I’ve been riddled with sinus stuff for a few months now, which has hindered my freedom to really let loose vocally. And I found my comparing mind tearing me apart, as, just prior to leaving for the gig, I saw an old friend’s post on facebook, which told of his departure for exotic climes to begin his summer tour schedule as a successful sound engineer. “How can it be,” the cunning voice asked “that Chris has done so well, flying here and there and making these pro acts sound beautiful, getting paid for his expertise and, though no doubt working his butt off, is having a blast plying his passion, while here I am, playing another Farmer’s Market, knowing, most likely, that I’ll be largely ignored and won’t make enough cash to help make ends meet?”
I texted my lovely wife, to bemoan the fact that I wasn’t feeling like I could get it up for the show. She responded by saying that as soon as I opened my yapper to sing, all would be well. She was right. Sort of.
With the sinus ailment, it was hard to get through the performance. A few songs in, my head and throat were on fire, in all the wrong ways. I kept on keepin’ on. By the third set, I was finally there. Flying with the tunes. People were feeling it.
One old cat in a wheelchair came right up to me mid-song and asked me if I was Gordon Lightfoot’s son. Keith, over at the Sugar Mamma donuts truck walked over and put a bag of his wares in my open case. Anna and Geoff at the coffee truck beside me made me one of the tastiest cortados I’ve yet sampled. A chap studying for his Fine Arts degree approached me to set up a shoot of me performing in a few weeks. The community vibration was positive.
Someone I know in the music industry once told me that making a great record is no longer enough to succeed in “the biz,” that the music itself is no longer enough. With the new paradigm, I understand what she meant, though in yesterday’s case, the music was everything. Street level, honest connection though song. Music has always been a great healer and teacher, to myself and many others. It’s been my means to understand myself, our common lines and how we roll together here on the blue dot.
We never know what might happen if we remain open and breathe through our challenges. My experience yesterday is such an awesome example of this. What started out as pure crustiness, ended up a wonderful thing.
Here’s to music. Here’s to community. Here’s to real time connection.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve yet to post a follow up to my first piece from Tales From The Happy Monkey, though I’ve not been idle. The reason for the delay is due to putting together the strongest collection of work to submit to this year’s CBC Poetry Prize.
I am pleased to present the first piece from my collection of poetics, Tales From The Happy Monkey. I welcome your dialogue and hope that the work connects with you and that you’ll join me as the series unfolds.
I Am Not Given
Jesus, when did this room get so small?
The walls have crept
My shoulders rub on either side
The man on the hill
Screaming into the night
I thought a stranger
With unending valleys
Cut down and across
I see is me
The scream is here
On my tongue
In my heart
Should I open my mouth to let it out?
It might not stop
The muted given unending voice
Will you try to reform
The ragged lines
Into soft shapes
Of what you call beautiful
At this meeting of roads
Where the wreckage spills it’s terror
Onto gawking passersby
I am not given to your mirth
But the truth that murmurs
Inside you by day
Wailing + ripping
When sleep won’t come
I am not given to your ease
I hear your voices
Pooled in the air
Telling tales of things
Lost + forgotten
I’ve come to remind you.