Archive for May, 2020

Air on a G string…

we’re back in the… city. ugh. what a mess, especially in this day in age. but there are magical places out there! we had the good fortune of going to one of them: home sweet home: the Range, backwoods Tehkummah, south east corner of Manitoulin Island. arrived at 2 a.m. Saturday and saw the Milky Way, first time in 9 months.

there is no short version to that drive: it is fully 8 hours from here to there.

but it WAS mega worth it: photo taken on Saturday night.


we broke out of the city on Friday night and it was a chore seeing how the local monkey extras who didn’t make the front line in the movie: Planet of the Apes, were out there on the dreaded 417 at 530 p.m. it truly is a nightmare, driving out of the city, at that hour of the day on that day.

that is the world these days: Friday at around 5 p.m. in a city… anywhere in the world.

once we broke loose and 8 hours later i was standing on the lawn at home. i put some binocs up to my eyes and saw not only the Milky Way, but beyond! New Moon: the skies were i live: no light or noise pollution! and no neighbours! no one around. quiet. above: the night hawk. in the fields far away: the frogs by the thousands. the river out front not far. the air filled with the scent of poplar.

i love it all! as i always do. and of course if you’ll remember: Saturday, May 23rd, was up around 30 C plus!

when it’s 30 C up here in the north country: that calls for some sun worship! worshipping anything else is just a bunch of sick old men!

i wiggled into my own version of, and started the music! i know a lot of folks just can’t do that sort of thing: and so we leave them behind where they belong. i instead: want to open that hot and mighty bottle of expensive ultra RED from overseas, $180 a toast should be worth something down there! HA!

the river was running fast and cold. clear too.

Saturday night at dusk… gosh. what a paradise. i stood on my west deck and watched the stars come out one at a time. a thousand frog songs in the distance. the night hawk up there in the darkness.

a photo of the magic land and the mighty river:

it’s running like that as of this morning: very dangerous! we have to remember it will run along never minding any of us!

funny and peculiar how the world works: this stupid pandemic and the almighty laughing! kooky.

Social Isolation in Ultra Sea Major

And so!  Ten weeks in!  And May Long Weekend to boot!  We are not going anywhere!  Back in the glory days of old, like say last year this time, we’d be back on the range!  Back in Sweet Paradise!

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Photo of said sweet paradise: but this was photographed on one of those glorious early August afternoons: in the time of the crickets.  Ah but the range is a glorious place anytime of the year!

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Summer out there is a true paradise:  and a summer night out there…  Ultra.  (No noise pollution and No light pollution!)(And No neighbours!)(And not a through road leading up to our place!!!)(Wowza!)

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Page from an Art Journal:  unknown book, unknown time.  (Judging from the darkness going on, I must have been listening to Soundgarden:  Fell On Black Days)(Or:  all I had left was the black paint!  (HA!))

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Asking the Power Bird, page from the art journal.  Many thanks to the great Norval Morrisseau for the original idea!

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In the River:  Ophelia.  Art Journal, and yes…  that is quite a story!

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The folks in this town, who drive cars, need a couple of these!  I had me some front row seats to a 4 car pile up on the 417 at Carling on Wednesday afternoon.  I saw the brake lights on so I started slowing down.  The “knuckleheads” in the left lane, driving like they were in the Indy 500, of course weren’t paying attention and BOOM!  I watched it happen and thought:  It’s a lovely afternoon to be stuck in a traffic jam!  While this was going on the others in the left lane, coming up, had their tires squealing and smoking coming off them, I thought I was going to see an 8 car pile up!

So I was stuck there.  Waiting for folks to clear the wreckage and have mercy…  THIS song came over the radio:

Good gosh.  It was back during that first tour with Debajeh, near the end of it, in either late May or early June, I was caught in a traffic jam going from Hamilton back to Toronto and I missed our 8 p.m. downtown.  I told her come heck or high water, I’d be there at the diner dressed in my saucy “black”.  When I did arrive, at 9:30, it was a table for one…

Now this song wasn’t even in the works back in those days, but Ade said it all right there! What a flash!  What a moment, parked in a traffic jam on the 417 on a sunny Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. in this modern day.

I don’t know if I ever told you this, but last November, I was in another diner not far from here, in Ottawa, seated alone, looking out the window, waiting for my order, and THIS came over the house speakers:

Now this song IS old enough and have mercy…  That ride in the Buick, the airport, the never never landing with each passing second…  The all knowing…  The poison I had flowing through my entire everything up around 95%…  The southeast of Asia and its mighty secrets…  tans that are beyond lovely…  our long raven hair hanging down our backs.  Voices in whispers.  Old magic, young people.

Oh my goodness…  (Where is that drink I ordered?!!!)

And so!  Whew.  Lost my where with all with that one…

Ah yes.  And so!  Week 10 going on week 11, in the city, everything closed, but the birds flying anyway.  Sun shining too.  And the art journals, the music (that version of No Smoking, recorded last Saturday was nothing but CRAP!  We’ll have to try it again tomorrow with much steadier hands…  if you get my driftsville…  ), and the paintings in wait:  long weekend in isolation in the city…  We have to do the best we can.

IMG_0724My version of Harry Callahan’s Weed Against the Sky, Detroit”  Page from an art journal.  (Do you know that piece?)

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Bison from Altamira, Art Journal, way back in easier days:  June 14, 2019: when freedom was!

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My version of Keith Haring’s 3 Dancing Men and the UFO, art journal.  The other night in lockdown I thought I’d watch “Fire In the Sky” and dream about the old days but instead got suckered into “Alligator”, from 1980.  What a dumb move that was!

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“Childhood”, art journal.  For more on this horror story visit the twinravens2000 youtube channel…

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“Sweet Seventeen”, art journal.  Well as my old buddy Michael would say:  We’ll get there some day, pop.

One day this lock down is going to end.  One day they’re going to reopen the world and that means the clubs will re open too.  That means we can get dolled up and go out on Friday and Saturday night!

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Me and Marilyn: at the club, where we SHOULD be on a Saturday night…  but not this Saturday night, which begins in a few short hours…

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Me and an Ultra Super Exotic Dancer, at the club on a Saturday night, many moons ago!  What fun!

Let’s start imagining this lock down stuff is going to go away and we can return to having some fun out and about, dusting off our dancing shoes, walking out the door at nine and coming back around noon on Sunday!

Snow on May 9th!

what the flipping flip is up with the snowflakes flying at this time of the year?  yeesh.  its like the whole world has gone bonkers.  this virus crapola has us pinned down 9 weeks now, going on 10, snow is flying, can’t get home, the walls are moving in closer by the minute.

better put the headphones on for this one…

okay so things haven’t gotten quite that artsy around here but if this snow doesn’t stop, i can’t guarantee you any further stories will be true!  but i can guarantee that they will be stories!

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last Sunday morning:  east of Ottawa.  it’s the best we can do for now.  i’d rather be driving the backroads between Tehkummah and Snowville this time of year but we’re a long way from that!

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i haven’t picked up a paint brush in 9 weeks.  holy mackinaw!  out where we are: the spirit just isn’t here, to do what is needed.  and so the stack of canvas, canvas boards, jars of paint, brushes too, sit.  waiting…

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the mighty raven watches but i’m sure doesn’t wonder.  this boy wonders!  when is the all clear going to be given?

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we ran this photo a few weeks ago:  since we have no painting going on we’re switching gears and picking up the guitar.  later today i’m going to give this Garage Band thing a turn.  its the onboard computer home studio and today we’re going to see if we can record the twinravens actual “classic”:  No Smoking.  that song goes back way before there was a twinravens actual!

here are the lyrics:  (i don’t know how to fix the double spacing thing so here it is in one block of text)

no smoking.  no unloading.  of your trash.  on my trash.  in the city: an indian’s day is never done!  if this weren’t the city: there’d be no shoes on my feet.  no ugly sounds in my ears.  no ugly sights in my eyes.  the only ones left: are my brother the raven.  brother raccoon.  andek esban anishnabe…  the three of us shunned (x3).  in a white man’s world.  police aint here to serve and protect.  police are here to racially profile.  guys like me in a white man’s world…

the stupid auto correct always wants to change “esban” to “lesbian”!

so yes those are the mod lyrics to No Smoking.  i wrote and recorded the song at the N’Swakamok Native Friendship Centre back in the summer of 1994, in the youth lounge, using a Fostex 4 track recorder which, ha!, used cassette tapes!  i sat myself down and played track one: acoustic rhythm.  track two and three:  lead guitars.  track four:  vocal.  and in the background, it being the youth lounge over at the FC, you could hear some cats playing billiards and so the pool balls were cracking around in an off timed way which i thought really added to the kookiness of the recording.  we were in the city.  it was a song about urban indio reality.  back then it was true and more so today.  i recently added the bit about the cops.  back then i was innocent and believed in things.  today it is different.

No Smoking, just saying, has only been performed live: 3 times!  (the best reading took place at the Rivoli, Queen St. W., July 1995.)

and so we have an acoustic guitar from the pawn shop, we have this Garage Band program, the flashy microphone, and the afternoon off, with snow flying as i write.  we’ll give it all a spin and see if we can make something of it.  time is noon!  the guitar playing  might wake up my old buddy Jazz, she’s still in the bunk.  her hours have gone strange now that the schools have been closed for 9 weeks and will remain closed for another 3 at the least…  the poor kids.  what a rip off it has been for them.

Jasmine Moon is supposed to be in grade 12, graduation coming up, but will there be a party?  yes these poor kids have been ripped off.

here is some super heavy duty:

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my beautiful daughter.  and a proud father i am.  and the empty nest is looming like never before…  she talks about her own apt. and a room mate and being closer to the post secondary institution…  which leaves this old boy, i guess, free to go.

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who knows.  maybe by next winter i’ll be back to this, back home on the range, back down by the river, back in the old country, far away from the war.

Social Isolation Gabfest No. 3

was blabbering up the joint the other day with a few of the hacks going on about great rock and roll bands and i said one of the greatest bunch of wild men and ultra women were in the rock and roll outfit called:  No Reservations.  i got to telling them the story about NR going to the Northern Lights Folk Festival way back whenever it was, a few summers ago, and how, we arrived at the local indio rez for 1 hour of rehearsal, wrote out a set list and headed off to the gig.

now what we have to remember is the great NR hadn’t played a show in a war whooping 17 years!!!  (that’s not good.)  and the gang in NR hadn’t been in the same room together in 17 years!  but they managed to do this:

that is Jen and Shag going through Red Dog Blues with 2 sessions guys.  i have no idea who the 2 session guys are, never saw them before that and haven’t seen them since!  in a perfect world Mr. S.C. would have been there playing the lead guitar, Danny Boy should be there on the sticks and Crazy Davey H.B. should be on the bass, me on 3rd.  Red Dog Blues was one of those 10 or 12 or 20 minute extravaganzas with the guitars going on full.

in this version of the NR classic you have just 50% of NR going to work on the party standard: Red Dog Blues.

but here is the frigging freakish part of it:  that song hadn’t seen the light of day in 17 years!  Shag and Jen never rehearsed it.  they just went up there and did it while we were giving the rig a test run.  (we were booted off the stage right after this one by festival management!)

you have to admit:  that IS pretty amazing stuff: no rehearsal.  no rest of the band.  50% of the team up there going to work and pulling that off, first time in 17 years…

gosh darn that band should still be on the map.  but like the Incredibles, they are out there somewhere, doing other things…

too bad.

here is the other fun video:

showtime:  first time the gang played a live show in a brutal 17 years…  too bad for us and too bad for the WORLD!

ah well.  it made for a great story.

like this one:

Moon Boy, Acrylic on canvas, 36×48 inches:  Private Collection.

does anyone out there know where this one is?  i’d love to see it again up close.  great story:  it was created for a show at the CUBE Gallery in Ottawa way back when.  it was delivered and never made the opening!  someone bought it before the show opened!  the fresh owners agreed to let it stay in the show and so the last time i saw it was in the gallery.

but a few summers ago i crossed paths with a gal who said she was now the owner.  another friend of mine, one of the indios from the trenches, confirmed that yes, someone was indeed the new owner and the painting was no longer at the address after the CUBE gallery show.  so where is it?

if you’re out there, and reading this, email me please!  i need to see it one more time for a new project i’m working.

many thanks and Miigwetch!