A Progression of Beautiful Mornings

It’s been a while and I’ve collected quite a few, so here, all at once, is a collection of mornings at the train station, from about mid-January to the very beginning of April. It all starts out quite dark, gloomy and melodramatic, as January ought to be – it is, after all, the depth of cruel winter, and the freezing grip of the season is unrelenting…

January. ©rq, all rights reserved.

February. ©rq, all rights reserved.

Beginning of March. ©rq, all rights reserved.

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Mystical Worlds

No, this will not be another black hole post, although if you haven’t seen it yet, quickly:

First ever direct image of a black hole! The supermassive black hole in the galaxy M87 — 6.5 billion times as massive as the Sun! The image is better than I expected!

As tweeted by Katie Mack (@AstroKatie).

Instead, I found some art! Some spooky art that speaks to me, because despite the darkness, they don’t leave me feeling sad – there’s a loneliness that I enjoy because it has strength and conviction. Anyway, may I introduce you to Dawid Planeta – Artist Illustrates His Battle With Depression as a Mystical World of Spirit Animals, via My Modern Met:

A small figure appears throughout the poignant series, perhaps representing Planeta himself. He’s seen wandering through the fog-filled labyrinth, bravely facing the ominous jungle animals who feature glowing eyes that illuminate the darkness. They seem to be guiding him through the deep jungle, “to find his inner strength, find the light and come back with it.” And, Planeta explains, “When he knows who he is, he goes there again, this time without fear. He goes there because it’s a part of who he is. It’s a part of human nature you can’t ignore. You need to know all parts of life, dark and bright.”

Despite the difficulty of dealing with depression, Planeta managed to channel his feelings into creativity. “Depression—it’s not easy to deal with, but when you try, you can stop thinking about it as a weakness and turn it into something brilliant,” he says. “That’s what I aim to accomplish with my art. Things I’m trying to depict are dark, mysterious and frightening, but if you look closely, you will find excitement, passion and joy. Just open your mind and see.”

One example before the cut, for more keep reading:

by Dawid Planeta

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A Long 2018

To finish off the year, I’d like to share a song that probably all of you have heard at least once before (if not many times), in the spirit of Giliell’s Soundtrack of Your Life series (see episodes here, here, here and here) and voyager’s original soundtrack post.

The Counting Crows have been among my favourite bands since grade 7 or so, and while I don’t listen to them nearly as often as I used to, I find I see their lyrics and angst in all kinds of different ways, depending on life stages and life events. Many of their songs have followed me through darker times, but have also given me pleasure during happier times.

While they have several songs I can listen to again and again, one of my all-time favourites is A Long December, although this year I have to disagree with the sentiment that ‘maybe this year will be better than the last’. In a global sense, that is – personal life will continue on in various ways, and professional aspects currently are tending towards some serious development. But! We shall see. In any case, I find the relevance of the sentiment – a not-particularly-celebratory feeling at the turning of the year – to be pretty much universal during all the new years I’ve had since mid-high school.

Also, here’s a happy crayfish who just received five worms before being released back into the pond (back in October). May all your 2019s be so fortunate.

©rq, all rights reserved.

Soundtrack to your life: 4

Yesterday we talked about songs not actually suitable for weddings but played there.

When I got married, we carefully chose our song.

It’s one of the most wonderful tunes I know, soft, with lyrics that are evocative, holding the promise of a future. The information leaflet of the civil registration office said “you can bring music on a CD and hand it to the clerk”. It didn’t say “make sure there’s only that one song on the CD, because our clerk is completely unable to play a specific track, despite it being 2007.” So the lady who conducted the ceremony simply put in the CD and pressed play so instead of getting married to  “Fields of Gold” (track #5) I got married to track #1:

 

I almost fell of the chair trying to suppress laughter, because holy shit, I was getting married to the lines “I send an SOS to the world, I hope that someone finds my message in a bottle”.  “Fields of Gold” is forever the song I didn’t get married to, but not in the sense all other songs carry that label.

 

But, it could have been worse. Because I wanted to play Queen “Don’t stop me now” at the end.

Track #1 on that CD?

Mama, just killed a maaaaaaaan!

Soundtrack to your life: 2

Going out into the world.

Lets move to 1997. I’m nominally an adult and for the first time I travel “alone”, i.e. without my parents or teachers. To make it even more exciting, it’s literally the first time I travel by plane and leave Europe to participate in a festival in Cuba. As you can imagine this was an extremely exciting occasion and it gets 2 songs.

1: Ricky Martin: María

María was censored or banned in many Latin American countries, because it was thought to promote drugs. With lyrics claiming that she’s “white as the day” “the hot cold” “like poison” and that you would want her ” even if you were going to die” that idea isn’t exactly far fetched.

Anyway, it sounded up and down the streets of Havana and Pinar del Río and I fell in love with Cuba, and the Spanish language. Thanks, Ricky.

The second one is Meredith Brooks: Bitch

For some reason, the plane had a 45 minutes playlist for a 10 hours flight and one of the songs was this one. To me, it’s still an anthem. Back then I was of course progressive and pro women, but I was also 18 and had that “women can be everything” idea many young women have before reality hits them. But Meredith said it, I’m a Bitch and that’s ok and if you can’t take it that’s your problem.

The Soundtrack to My Life

Blue Rodeo at the Sanderson Center, November 23/18, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Last night a friend and I went to see Blue Rodeo at the Sanderson Center in Brantford and it was fabulous. The band has 2 lead singers who both write their own songs and they both have different styles so their music is broad. They’ve done everything from hard rock to bossa nova to ballads and big band sounds. They’ve been together since high school and became Blue Rodeo in 1984. That was the year I discovered them and in the 34 years since they’ve stayed my favourite band. They truly are the soundtrack to my life. They’re all consummate musicians and showmen and their live shows are always good. I think they sound better live than on disc. They’re in Canada’s Music Hall of fame and they’ve been inducted into The Order of Canada and their sound is Canadian.

I had a bit of trouble with the vibrations and volume making today a double gravity kind of day, but it was so worth it. Once a year I willingly sign up for this bad day and I’ll keep doing so as long as Blue Rodeo keeps touring. If you don’t know this band you should check them out. This video isn’t from last night’s concert, but they played this song and it’s one of my faves. My actual fave list is 72 songs long… 34 years = a lot of music. Sorry about the bad picture. I only had my camera phone and I’m hopeless using it.

I Answer Crip Dyke’s Question

A while ago, Crip Dyke had a question. I answer it here: the performance.

It’s potentially a limited-time offer (up to 7 days!), also it might be a country-limited offer, but it’s worth a shot. I recommend not trying to figure out the story-line, because even die-hard fans of the epic poem had a tough time figuring it out (due to the lack of actual stage action – it was more concert than theatre). It’s two hours of odd and epic music, but skip the first 7 minutes, it’s a boring intro of people talking. See if you can guess my three favourite manly soloists (all the female vocalists were awesome, but my especial favourite is the one who shows up in the silver dress).

I’m standing pretty much in the middle of the choir behind the stage, third row from the bottom. I don’t clap when everyone else is clapping (for anyone who makes it that far).

I add a few photos of the light-show as viewed from behind the stage during rehearsal.

©rq, all rights reserved.

©rq, all rights reserved.

©rq, all rights reserved.

©rq, all rights reserved.

©rq, all rights reserved.

I Had Plans

They didn’t include a break, but as it happens, ’tis the season.

Last y’all heard of me, I was becoming a star, and I expected to be back on track by now – turns out, two post-1am nights plus a workday plus a day of rogaining followed by a day of children’s tae kwondo tournaments isn’t exactly a recipe for recovery (after 22km and a record* 48 points in 4 hours on Saturday, I hope you believe me I was practically dead on my feet come Sunday, but parental duties meant I got to sit in a gym for most of the day, keeping a little person’s nerves calm)… and then there was the work trip to Vilnius, and then the centennial celebrations plus my mum’s birthday this weekend. That’s a long list of excuses, but there you have it, at my age, excuses is all you have. I’ll be back on track with a couple of more Macedonia posts (have to finish with those before the next trip comes up, and that, as it turns out, has come up a lot faster than expected, by request of the project leaders and I have two kinds of thoughts about that), I have at least one more post from Austria, and then a few randomly selected picture essays from the summer and early autumn.

In the meantime, please accept my apologies, some rather boring photos from the show (I am in the circle of light) and this lovely song by The Stars, which quite often reflects my ideas about life, planning, and my own expectations. I can write a script and set the scene as much as I want, but life provides its own twists and turns and cliffhanger endings. In other words, I am fine, and I apologize for not keeping up with the rest of you, especially with my forest raking. ‘Intermittent’ is my middle name.

  • A record for my team and I, since we’re not hardcore and we don’t run, we maintain a fast walk, preferably between 5  and 6 km per the hour, take breaks in picturesque locations, and collect as many points as we can. Previous high-scoring events have topped off at 43 or so.

Spotlight Fever

It’s what they call stage fright here. What’s comforting is that I’ll be among a thousand other singers and no one will hear which notes I miss.

In other words, yes, it’s performance day. Here’s a fragment as performed during the Song and Dance Festival, this same soloist is performing the main role tonight. Not as good as the other guy, but he’ll do. The rest of the cast is also quite stellar; I’ll share my impressions after.

(Less comfortingly, I will not have the anonymity of these thousands of singers. But I think one among a thousand is okay, too.)

 

A small child plays in the crossroads,

Beneath the cart wheels, beneath the hooves,

Beneath the iron footprints.

 

A small child plays in the crossroads

Like time, sand runs through his fingers – 

It is our freedom, it is our life.

 

Call me louder, child,

Call me, I still hear – 

I still have a voice and words.

Call me, child!

 

Call me louder, child,

Call me, I still hear – 

I still have a voice and words.

But call me louder!

 

A small child plays in the crossroads

Like time, sand runs through his fingers – 

It is our freedom, it is our life.