Friday, June 08, 2018

"Bad morals are still morals"?

The U.S. Supreme Court has recently added a strange new precedent to the law books. A professed Christian man who makes and sells wedding cakes with people's messages on them has been backed in the 'right' to discriminate on the basis that his writing a message on a wedding cake for a gay couple goes against his 'principles', as if writing on a cake were a legal personal document of some kind! Anyone else could come into his open to the public bakery and buy a wedding cake with a message of their liking iced upon it, but like the black kids who used to have to go to the back window of a deep south diner, to 'those' people he won't sell what he has advertised and will sell to everyone else. It's his freedom. A strange freedom, a silly freedom, but should it be made a legal precedent of any kind?

Well, we certainly don't want to force anybody to sell a cake that would violate their deeply held personal and spiritual principles! No, much better some people innocently go into a public business expecting to buy a cake like anyone else only to be judged immoral in some way and singled out for exclusion... in the land of the free. But I have a principle of my own that so far has stood the test of time and fluctuating subjective moral judgement... it is people before things. People, or a flag? Hint: choose the people. But, you say a cake maker is a person. Indeed, he may otherwise be a very nice and reasonable, well meaning, good book reading Christian. Except the gay would-be customers are just wanting a cake, they are 'doing' nothing wrong, they are just being people like anyone else buying a cake, a cake that says something like "Congratulations on your marriage Bill + Steve" (and would Belinda + Stephanie be as morally wrong to this baker?). The would-be cake seller, though offering alternative cakes, is actually 'doing' something, well, I've never heard of this before... of cakes and writing on them being the personal reflective statement of the baker/seller. Huh? In the U.S. of A., the big deal making dynamo of modern history? Since when? That ones not in the Bible, the Qur-an, the Upanishads, or any of the Buddhist meditations I breathed carefully through as a teenager.

Perhaps we should think of it as the U.S. of Amnesia as it wasn't that long ago since Mr. Sammy Davis Jr. was told the freight elevator in a hotel was just as good. So those gay people getting married are 'free' to go to another baker. Don't question why somebody who will only decorate cakes for some people but not others goes into the retail bakery business in the first place, we wouldn't want him to have to question himself, we'll get the top court to protect him in his one man extreme but mostly silly worldview about other people's marriages.

Then there's always the rubes who will say, hey, why do 'those' gay people have to marry and force their marriage on others? There are gay people who don't marry. They are probably trying to trick some poor devout Christian fellow into endorsing their union against 'his' will. Uh, yeah, because it is all about him, not cake, not people being able to go into a shop open to the public like anyone else and get the same thing offered for sale as anyone else. Some Christians seem to think their religion invented and gets to define marriages, but big news flash from the greater perspective here... there were people pairing off in monogamous couples of all kinds long before the earliest dated writing that went on to be collected into the Christian Bible. Yes, shocking I know, but Adam and Eve, or really a couple pretty similar to them way back when, did not even have books of any kind. They lived thousands and thousands of years before wedding cakes were invented, and they were married to each other. Bill + Steve, and Belinda + Stephanie are married, like an Atheist couple, or an Inuit couple, or a handicapped couple, or a multi-racial couple, or any two consenting people over the age of consent are... married. And there is nothing wrong with that. You are not married to an Inuit but it can actually be perfectly okay that someone is you know! Nobody is married to cows, or furniture, surely we really don't need to question to the point of silly extremes do we? Silly extremes like cakes normally for sale suddenly being personal statements of deep spiritualism. Polygamy may one day be legalized who knows, but at present given a history of abuse to vulnerable women and unable to consent children (and driving out excess males for someone else to take responsibility for), we haven't gone there yet and it's not legally accepted. If they wanted a cake with eight names on it however, how many people would tell them their money's no good?

You don't see 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' signs often these days, but even so... 1. The sign would appear at an entrance, in advance of any interaction. 2. Nobody is infringed by putting clothing on, and if there were some real reason they would be they could ask for accommodation. 3. It isn't a restriction based on a grouping of race or gender/expression/marital status. 4. Other patrons may have their experience effected by someone not wearing the basics of clothing of the community and should be considered.

I was so very proud of my country, Canada, when along with Holland we simply recognized different people's marriages as what they are; marriages. That and the U.S. moon landing are things I mark as positive progress for we human beings. I don't see anything extreme or wrong in gay people wanting to marry. They are doing nothing against anybody else. So why does a top court say they 'did' something to a baker who in not doing something was actually 'doing' something different than he was doing for every other customer? Already a U.S. hardware shop is hanging a sign about not selling to gay people. And does it really come into the equation if they are unpleasant in some way? Looking for trouble or 'uppity'? Devout Hindus are 'allowed' as it were to open a McDonalds type hamburger place in the west, it's a 'free' country, but the reality is that they would tell everyone they can't serve a beef hamburger and probably go out of business. It doesn't matter if they are 'uppity' or not, or of a high or low caste, we couldn't possibly 'force' them 'not' to open one. We can't 'force' bakeries not to open for business in a community to the public to sell cakes equally, but if they don't the existing laws against discrimination of people based on a grouping should apply, and if damages can be shown some form of restitution, not doubt very small as we're talking about a wedding cake, ought to potentially be on the table as with any other discrimination case. Yet supposedly what we can't do is simply and realistically say that maybe if cakes are such a strangely spiritually fraught business for them that, like a person allergic to bee stings, they should go into some less complicated endeavor. No, we'll all have to risk being subjected to sudden judgement and exclusion based on some group we are inherently a part of, lucky you if you don't happen to be part of many disapproved of groupings.

My gosh, to not turn us all into pretzels of twisted logic, because guess what, twisted logic is 'still logic'... to say, put things like cakes second to actual living breathing people in front of us... now that could lead to a Jewish person having to make a cake with swastikas festooned all over it... yes, all over it, this could really happen! Not. Well, not if you are a rational adult person of at least a little real world experience, and some of us have experienced actual discrimination too painfully often. Some of us have family histories with people murdered by populist strong men and Orwellian double-talk people's states who promise much and then seem to never leave quietly after wreaking havoc on many, but not all, in the name of a flag or high 'principle'. You thought this was just a guy doesn't want to sell a cake, big deal, so why should he? He doesn't 'have to', that would be far too mundane or rational a thing to do, but being open to equal trade is a foundation of western democracy, and also the freedom to seek damages when through no fault of your own you have been treated unequally. Take a bite on that!

Bad morals being 'still morals' is a science fiction genre writer's conceit. One of those things that can be an entertaining basis behind a story but brought into a three dimensional reality akin to a driver-less car being tested that turns out to be 'unsafe at any speed'. Obviously people are entitled to say something is personally not for them of course, or in the case of someone allergic to bee stings have that basic gravitational reality 'forced' upon them if they try to take up bee keeping. So who is making a cake maker marry another man? As for the big ineffable spirit man in the sky who nobody has ever been able to prove the existence of... well if there is a creator, and I do keep an open mind, 'he' seems to really like variety. Haven't you noticed? There are some who spend entire lifetimes studying that variety and learning, a wise person knows something about how much they still don't know, and possibly even what they can't know. I can't know what it's like to be a man in love with another man, not first-hand, so why wouldn't you take the word of those who say they do know from personal experience? Do we tell someone who hears a sound we can't that this sound doesn't exist simply because we can't hear it? Perhaps God is that sound for other people and is whispering or imparting instructions to judge and discriminate through collections of translated old writings from various times and places, but that seems a more negative possibility than two people marrying, people who we at least know from other writings existed long ago in a place called Sparta when there was no Christianity.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It's all fun and games...

...until some planet loses it's sun!

I originally bought them with dimes from returned bottles out of a spinner rack at a corner-shop. The first 'super' comics to grab my interest since Supergirl (Kurt Schaffenberger version), and Shazam! (which also had Schaffenberger art) earlier... the 'Uncanny' X-Men! I was just in time for Phoenix to meet up with some British television inspired villains (looking like Peter Wynegarde and backed by a Hellfire Club straight out of the Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg Avengers) and become rather a bit twisted (a Peter Cushing lookalike named Hammer was to be found in the Iron Man comics of the same time). Dark Phoenix was pretty trippy stuff to be reading at the age of twelve, but what really got me reading was that they introduced a mutant girl around my age! The characters were actually fairly 'real' looking, and even wore interesting clothing some of the time. Wow. I wondered what made them want to change (usually without any comment or verbal agreement) into the gaudy spandex, but you know, you just accept these things as somehow necessary in a comic book. If not for that though I reasoned, this could be decent science fiction ala John Wyndham, Theodore Sturgeon or A.E. Van Vogt.

Anyway, I wanted to post something, so thought I'd blather on like a newly forged fan and gush about the Chris Claremont & John Byrne X-Men comics I've been buying/re-buying. Someone slipped my bf a copy of X-Men: The Hidden Years #1 at some point in the years past and it sat there until I glommed onto it and eventually sought out all the ones that came after it. I guess it was inevitable I'd want to follow up with what I could afford of the '70s issues I loved so much. The art had a lot of expression, preserved by star inker Terry Austin, the women in particular had presence and humanity (and a subtle sexuality in contrast to a lot of the ridiculous stuff that others would plaster about the super-universes before long).

And then of course Phoenix had to die. That sun she lustily scarfed down had an inhabited planet of billions... oops! Even at 12 I knew phoenixes rise from their ashes (plus they would've told me in the Dark Shadows re-runs), and so she has come back over and over. The best come-back though was finding out original X-Woman Jean Grey wasn't actually Phoenix after all. Thank you Kurt Busiek (apparently), and again John Byrne. But by then I had really reached the end of following comics (Supergirl's dead body gracing various covers played a part in that; it seemed like everyone had been getting rid of super females in particular since Phoenix had been put on trial and taking the ultimate fifth). It was good to know poor Jean Grey hadn't died after all, and her humanity even in copied form had actually saved all of creation! Yay! Now Supergirl has been on tv for three seasons too, so it's easier than ever for me to 'get my cape on'. I missed this bit of colourful fantasy in my life after all.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Not much to say.

Still clinging to the planet. Remember EDWARD BEAR!
Artwork by Paul Weldon of Edward Bear.





























Sunday, April 10, 2016

Beatleg

A friend bought this bootleg Beatles record and I really like the cover so have scanned it in. I wonder who the Mrs. Newton is/was? Very Appley name. This would make a nice t-shirt or wall hanging for someone more of a Beatlenik than I am... a small contribution to the continuing story of Bugalow Bill in cyberspace...





It's a 'J', 'R', 'P' and 'G'.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tommy doesn't know what day it is.

    A preview of a new production of The Who's Tommy, October 29th at the Lucky Bar in Victoria, had some genuine high points. With main event vocalists rehearsing during the sound check, expectations would be high. Real power with some solid players backing. Sooke is in for a huge treat I think!

     Erik was part of the pre-Tommy set with various guests which was fun as intended. He contributed to a solid Substitute and Can't Explain which I really dug. I'm A Boy was also irresistible. Very cool to see the former lead Laundronaut in action finally! I apologize for not naming names; everyone added something noticeably unique and cool, and it was a good crowd genuinely grooving on the sounds and sights.

    There would be some last wrinkles, but with as complex a project as Tommy, even without the pre-show, inevitable. A lot of people having to work together in ways they might never have before. As a Shindig with a cover feature on The Who said it not too long ago, for many of us our interest ends with the birth of Tommy. I'm jaded, I admit it. Maybe unfairly this high-concept art rock whatisit stuff gets knee-jerk lumped in with the silver capes and recreations of the
meaning of stonehenge. Hearing the material performed live does give me new respect however, and I'm sure the actual show by these Sooke Harbour Players will be f-ing kick-ass stomping great where it should be!


    It's not like I'm not aware of Simon Simopath, Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, Odyssey And Oracle and S.F. Sorrow. I have respect for what Peter Townshend was attempting with Lifehouse and ultimately Tommy, but like Sgt. Pepper's I'm always likely to be the contararian seeing the bare spots on the tapestry rather than in awe of the overall design. I'm about the singles rather than the albums with very few exceptions (Revolver, Village Green Preservation Society, Then Play On). I want the peak moments and impatient to get to them, the context gets wasted on me usually.

    Do yourself a huge favour (if you can) November 6, 7, 13 ,14, 20 & 21st (7:00pm), 15th (2:00pm) at Edward Milne Theater in Sooke. Tickets at door, or Sooke Shopper's Drug Mart, The Stick or online at Eventbrite.ca

Friday, August 28, 2015

Toronto-centric rewriting of Canada's rock history.

    You might want to get this new Backbeat book "The History Of Canadian Rock 'N' Roll" by Bob Mersereau. After all it covers such worthy groups as Toronto's Ugly Ducklings and Paupers, and Ottawa's Esquires and Staccatos. Unfortunately the framework of the 'story' being told is pretty much a latter day fabrication. Rather than Toronto playing an actual anti-Rock anti-Canadian music stance (eventually necessitating actual laws forcing Canadian radio chains headquartered in Toronto to play a percentage of home-grown recordings after a decade plus long foot dragging), it all starts you see with white doo-wop groups in Ontario covering black U.S. groups in a sometimes exaggeratedly chipper manner and 'creating' hits with borrowed song, and then Paul Anka partly based in New Jersey with his originals like Puppy Love and Put Your Head On My Shoulder. I'm sorry but as popular as these white doo-wop and crooner pop tunes may have been at the time they are not Rock & Roll to me. It's almost hilarious to see only at the tail end of Chapter 3, subtitled 'The Whole Country Joins In,' what was happening in Vancouver with Les Vogt & The Prowlers, The Stripes, The Nocturnals, or Aragon Records get mentioned at all (oh, sorry, the last three never do), and the date 1956, at least that is given, might stick out in contrast to the entire preceding chapters for any reader paying attention.

    Let me fill you in. Toronto media may have supported a few local clean cut white almost piss-takes of doo-wop (Crew Cuts, Four Lads), but it wasn't until maybe 1959 when any actual sound of Rock & Roll made it to their Canadian owned radio and tv (probably Ronnie Hawkins). The Chum chain in particular was known for throwing Canadian rock singles into trash cans in front of their producers into the early 1960s! The story of Rock & Roll in Canada belongs entirely to some key stations in Vancouver (especially via DJ Red Robinson), Winnipeg, Ottawa and Montreal and as many smaller ones in other places. Toronto groups like The Consuls never got their record played by the big Toronto stations. Even Windsor Ontario's CKLW radio/tv behemoth was a very late convert. And outside of Toronto groups? Why it just wasn't possible anything worth hearing could come from there... at least until Winnipeg's The Guess Who started charting in the U.S. in 1969.

    It took a feisty Australian, Ritchie Yorke, to write a real history of a real Rock music scene in Canada with "Axes, Chops & Hot Licks" way back in 1971! He also helped bring about the Canadian content regulations to address the very real anti-Canada and anti-Rock arrogance of the powers that be in Toronto. Imagine Canadian airwaves having to be forced to play the music of it's own audience! It was taken as an extreme outrage by the suits at the top of course, they knew a hit only could come from New York or maybe Los Angeles. People like Yorke, Walt Grealis, Duff Roman and Bernie Finkelstein fought Toronto for years with minimal resources and deserve more than footnote status in any book purporting to survey such a history. There might in fact have been no Rock 'N' Roll history to write past 1971 had the big TO maintained it's grip more viciously. Canadian rock groups of the 1950s and 1960s deserved far better treatment than they actually got from big town bullies in Toronto, and that should be the main story of at least the first three chapters of this current book. Yorkville musicians and clubs in particular had almost everyone against them in 'Toronto the good'. People who had top leave that scene under constant siege went on to make it in spite and in exile so latter day Toronto-centrists could bask in the reflected glow of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Steppenwolf, David Clayton-Thomas, glows they mightily worked to have snuffed out back in the actual pre-revision day.

    Backbeat has published some excellent music history books in the past, unfortunately this is one of the lesser and more flawed entries in their catalog due to severe omissions and some common basic ignorance. It's Toronto that comes in at the tail-end of the story of the early years of Rock in Canada, well, except as chief nemesis of the actual and historic producers and supporters of Canadian Rock music. If we're going to give prime time to super scrubbed up doo-wop cover groups and crooners then maybe there could have been more on the Maritime folk music scene too, but for a book titled Rock 'N' Roll the lion's share should really have gone to actual Rock groups of which les Vogt & the Prowlers on stage in Vancouver were an example of in 1955!!! The Bear Family label in Germany knew this in 2003 with two CD collections of Les Vogt & The Prowlers and Real Gone Aragon (on the Canadian label established in 1946, while eastern label Quality records was content to simply license U.S. recordings). The Vancouver Record Collectors Association and Michael Willmore knew before that, issuing four great albums of historic Canadian Rock sides sans any cultural grants. Too bad those in eastern offices missed so much of the reality when it happened all over the country.

    Further in there is also way too much about Leonard Cohen and Diana Krall for something labelled Rock History.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Green & Perfect

Here's a collection of 'clippings' originally posted to a Fleetwood Mac fan site about two of my favorite artists; Peter Green and Christine McVie (nee Perfect). It seems about time I gathered these back pages together in one place, hope you find them of interest.

Here's the group with a newly added Danny Kirwan (looking very much like Tom Kirby of Michigan's Tonto & The Renegades we thought)...


Fleetwood Mac in 1968

But before that, the even earlier years (from Rave Magazine)...



Player Of The Month for November 1966 in Beat Instrumental...



Launched!



A good review...



More coverage soon followed...









And meanwhile here is Christine getting noticed with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack group...







Peter Green began a monthly column in Beat Instrumental with the September 1968 issue (here are the first four)...









Meanwhile back at the ranch...



Front page news (courtesy Richard Morton Jack) and easier to read text below that...





Pete gets personal...