Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Well, Jack and I did venture out yesterday. Twice. About 1 in the afternoon, the sun came out for an hour or so, and the sidewalks got all melty and full of slush. It seemed like a good time to go for a walk, and so we did. It was a delightful walk, too. Sloppy and cold, but not really icy. The sun started to melt the ice off the trees and the wires, but it didn’t shine long enough to raise the temp above zero, and so today, the trees are still frosted. Jack and I went out again after supper, and the sidewalk slush had turned into rough frozen ice. It wasn’t as slippery as I’d thought. The snow that covered the ice helped rough it up, and the soles of my boots were mostly able to find traction. Even Jack managed better with only 1 slip and no falls. Today the world remains frosted with ice and snow, and I love the way things look. There’s so much more light, and it reflects like millions of tiny, shiny diamonds in the glow of streetlights at night and the short glimpses of the sun today. The walking is difficult, but not dangerous. Most people have shovelled, and what ice remains is rough and well trampled. We need to go slow and shuffle a bit, but it’s so pretty outside I don’t mind.

 

Here’s another song for today. I sing this song when I’m on the beach ins the summer looking for sea glass because they shine like diamonds when you find them. Today the whole world is made of diamonds. And of course, we’re all as bright, and beautiful as diamonds ourselves, so let’s all shine a bit today, too.

 

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

We had freezing rain all day yesterday, and it’s left our world coated in ice and a perilous place for walking. Jack and I set out early yesterday morning, just as the ice was starting, because I thought it might be the only window of opportunity for the whole day and I was right, The ice began to coat everything quickly, and a minute or two after leaving the house it was already slick walking. We went once around the big block, very slowly and cautiously. Mostly I walked on the grass, but Jack preferred the sidewalk because the grass was sharp with ice, and he was wearing vaseline boots that don’t have a decent protective tread* like mine. Jack did fine until we reached the places where the sidewalk slopes. Even four-footed Jack struggled once or twice with his balance on the sloped driveways. Poor Bubba found himself sliding sideways toward the street a few times, and in trying to correct himself, he had one or another of his back legs slip out. Then I’d see him freeze and dig his toenails into the ice and look up to me, asking what to do next. I encouraged him to use the grass a few times, but he said it hurt his feet and that made sense, so then I encouraged him to walk on the street, but Jack’s been raised to stay away from the road, and it’s so ingrained that he doesn’t like to do it. By the time we got home, the ice was already building up a thick coating on everything, and we both felt lucky to reach the house upright and undamaged. We didn’t leave the house again for the rest of the day.

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

We may not leave the house today, either. Today, we’re getting snow on top of the ice, making things even slipperier and more dangerous. No one has yet put down any salt, and it’s treacherous out there. Jack says he can use the backyard if he needs the toilet, and I thanked him very much for his consideration. Jack has seen me go Boom!, on the ice a few times in his life, and it always upsets him. When it’s slippery, Jack automatically slows down, and as he walks, he keeps looking over his shoulder to see how I’m doing. He’s such a good boy. Maybe I should try to take him out – just around the small block. What do you think – Should I stay or should I go?

 

  • I tried a set of real dog boots for Jack a few years back, and he wanted no part of them!

 

 

 

 

Slavic Saturday

This post too is a sort-of crossover between Behind the Iron Curtain and Slavic Saturday.

Karel Gott was an important figure of Czech culture. He was a stable star of our music scene for sixty years – my whole life and some more. His parents wanted him to have a respectable working-class job, but he wanted to be an artist – specifically a painter. But by coincidence, he ended up famous not as a painter, but as a singer.

He was exceptional in one way – even during the communist regime, he became very popular in West Germany, to the point that the regime went to quite a long way to actually keep him as a valuable source of revenue. So after he once overstayed his visa, the president himself has pleaded with him to return. He was allowed to come back and he was not punished for flirting with emigration.

However, he has somehow managed to not tarnish his name by any shady collaborations with the regime – too much. Most of his support was by filling concert halls and selling records, and only once did he openly shill, by reading a pre-prepared speech chastising the movement Charter 77.

But his popularity was such that even after the regime fell, it did not suffer. He got involved in the velvet revolution just enough to show he knows where the political wind is blowing, and afterward continued as if nothing happened. There were attempts to dig up dirt on him, and he did indeed do some stupid things when he was young, but nothing could shake his star from the top of Czech musical heaven. He was a bit of a clueless idiot when it came to politics – for example, he thought that Trump is a good politician and that refugee crisis in Europe is a result of some conspiracy – but that could not tarnish his reputation either in a nation of clueless racist idiots, so there’s that.

Nothing could shake him. Nothing but death. He died this week after a prolonged battle with leukemia, at the age of 80.

I did not particularly like him. I do not know why, but his singing has always rubbed me the wrong way. I never found his voice to be pleasant to listen to, with some exceptions. But I have always felt some connection to him, partly because we share the first name and partly because he was simply everywhere.  I have also read his book “Říkám to písní” (I say it with a song) and he seemed like a reasonably nice person then. But his opinions about Trump and his conspiratorial theorizing were just daft babblings of a privileged dude who has no clue. I have mixed feelings now.

He recorded this song in 1966 when he was young and I was not born yet. But it is a song about the inevitable end of his star and his life and for some reason one of those that I like.

Holidays: Friday Feathers

Two marvellous birds from the Zoo

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

 

And as an unrelated bonus:

A video I stumbled across indulging in my love for Peter, Paul and Mary: Puff, the Magic Dragon.

What I love about the performance isn’t so much the artists, but the audience who is singing along, or at least mouthing the words, from the toddler to the grandpa.

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!

La Luna

Rq just posted some wonderful shots of the moon and the skies, and coincidentally, I’ve got some waiting as well.

full moon

©Giliell, all rights reserved, click for full size

full moon.

©Giliell, all rights reserved, click for full size
Of course I could either get the trees in focus, or the moon…

full moon behind trees

©Giliell, all rights reserved, click for full size
The last two are a bit older

full moon

©Giliell, all rights reserved, click for full size

 

 

As for the musical interlude:

Hijo de la Luna

What a very 90s video. For those who don’t speak Spanish: A woman prays to the Moon for help, who wants her firstborn child in return. The child is born pale as the Moon, as the swarthy father kills the woman for feeling betrayed. The Moon now has the child and she makes a cradle when it cries.

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.

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.