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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A TRAIN

ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A TRAIN

Once upon a time there was a train
where people could breath and eat with knives and
forks like human beings and we didn’t have the
urge to kill the fat guy on the seat next to us.
      In those days we didn’t have to behave
like farm animals being transported they
know not where, making the sort of sounds
you hear coming from a barn over-packed with  
goats, chickens and cows.. And the grunts of pigs
and the squeals when a foot or a tail was yanked
on stepped upon.
           No. Those were the days of dignified travel.
When we had room. When there was a certain grace
to the dining car.  When passengers could breathe
and have a few thoughts along the way.
          A person might even feel a frisson of
 romance when he heard the lonesome
whistle of the train he was riding on. Bashing through
the deep snows in the winter, watching the pine
forest up  close to the windows, passing by.
 The trip was fun and alive, and tourists liked
it, too.
        No longer.
        Northerners no longer can travel like
normal people. We must skulk
like addicts in small little groups
in the wee small darkest hours past midnight –
to nab a bus which is not packed with people,
a means of travel where we can breathe
again.
A lot of northerners do a lot
of wood chopping. This makes our
shoulders larger than the shoulders
of many southerners.
        As a result you cannot place two
 northern  wood-chopping
males next to each other in two narrow
seats and expect to achieve any kind
of harmony.
         Someone measured my shoulders the
other night (a sordid story I’ll tell you
another time). I am close to three feet across
at the shoulders if I breath in, which I hope
to do when I’m travelling…And I’m not
considered a huge northerner, just a tad ungainly
in that I resemble a gorilla when
I walk.
         So you put me next to
another 240 pound beast from
the Great White North – say Swastika,
Ontario, or Iroquois Falls… well, we get to 
hate each other in thirty minutes.
There simply is not room in bus
transportation to seat two bushmen
together.
        Luckily, people such as we are
tend to bring libation with us – and
so even though there is no room 
to sit down – there is space to lie
down in the aisle – or  you could throw open
the luggage storage shelf above
and lie down there…
        But I have found this makes
the ladies nervous – taking bets
on exactly when the behemoth will
fall and break their mothers’
corning ware all at once and             *** 
once and for all.
Northern women chop wood, too.
And such ladies are quite capable
of knocking a southern liberal out,
if he falls into her lap at an
inopportune time.
      Nope. If the BUS is full
 we’re like BEES in a BOTTLE.
I’d like to know which dingbat
made the decision to remove
trains from the north: the person
who pulled a fast one and turned
northern transportation into a
cruel farce.
      The woman ahead of me
in the bus was making a bit of a
speech to her fellow travellers.
And of course I could hear it 
because I was crammed and
seated in such a way that my nose
was about six inches behind her
left ear.
       She said: “They did it to
punish the north! For not voting
 liberal lately!”
        All the people up front were
talking to her, too, and murmuring agreement. 
         “Whoever did it we owe
him one. We’ll wait…!”she called out rather
 too loudly for what they call ‘polite society’… 
but that didn’t matter.
          We were no longer in polite
society. The bus was stuffed like the
Christmas turkey! I was wondering what
the scene reminded me of… and then I knew.
It reminded me of a bus in a third-world
country.
            In Jamaica, when I was a kid, buses
used to bop along from stop to stop,
careening around blind corners with the
horns blaring. But those buses were fun,
even if you were on the verge of getting killed
every second. Because… you were allowed
to smoke and drink alcohol,  stick
your head out the window and shout to people
in the street. You were even allowed to bring
chickens or a goat on board.
         Also, it was warm, so that helped, too,
if the bus broke down… or if seven or eight of
us had to get out and push the bus the last
hundred feet up a hill. That wasn’t so bad
because of the sunny climate.  
         In Canada, of course, you’d freeze off some
body parts if you attempted this
feat.
         The woman up front was shouting 
again. It was impossible to ignore her. 
          “Yes, we’re going to wait!”
The other passengers were cheering.
          I didn’t hear the whole speech
because the guy to the right of me
was breathing garlic into my nostrils.
However he passed me half a mickey of rye
and said, “Go ahead. Finish it!” And I
did… in two large gulps. So the garlic
no longer mattered to me.         
        The woman was standing now.
I couldn’t really move my head, so I 
had to look right at her ass. Her
butt was big, made her look like the ass
of  a mule in blue jeans.
           But we all have our little problems
so I’m not one to judge.
        “Oh, yes, wait we will!” She
was waving her fist in the air. We’ll
vote the bastards out! We’ll get
payback!  We’ll count the days!”

          There was more cheering,
but I didn’t listen any more.
           My mind had moved on
to other things.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

WILL HE TAKE YOU ON THE ROAD ?





          This is a song about a painful marital breakup. The singer/narrator was locked up
in a half-way house at the time and he had to return by a time deadline. While he was heading up a hill to the house he was sentenced to reside in, he saw his wife down the hill kissing a man under the streetlights. Obviously this had not been their first kiss.
          I sang this emotional song rather well. With very few effects. Just me and a guitar and a bit of echo, and some tender lyrics.

(C)1986 by W.G. Milne and the John Rock Corporation. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

IN THIS HOTEL - lyrics - and comments




I wrote this song when we drove into Mexico one time... Didn't see many road signs... saw a bar, a Hotel with a cantina called "THE CRYSTAL MOON SALOON"...and just  downstairs from this small 3-story  white hotel  is a big patio and bar/ cantina on the sea...  Then this song takes over... Vocals by W.G  Milne, lyrical lead guitar by Peter Rowland. This is one of my favorite songs, period! Even if I did write it, I love Peter's playing on this one.as his solos drift in between the verses (C) 1996-2016 by W.G.Milne. Peter Rowland did most of the musical production in the song.
          
         Now we enter the song musically, with our ears we drift into a different landscape, that place where songs live - in the imagination and the unconscious heart...
                    

                          "And in the cantina
                             Music plays
                        And laughing signorina knows
                                No other place."




"In this hotel
The night is quite interesting
The doorman has lost the keys
I can't get no relief

And I, I've lost the travel map
The driver's drunk
He takes a nap
Under the trees

Ah, the walls are white
Outside... is no light
We can keep"

The song unfolds like a dream... the intervals in which
the lead guitar is soaring, singing, is the music of a dream.

And the spaces between verses are not equal in length....
      The verses, themselves, vary in  length and the number
of the lines... drifting in and out of consciousness, like the sound of the sea just below the cantina.

      The song enters and leaves the mind with the feeling of a dream... or the feel of being on the nod on a very good drug... where the land of sleep and dreams is never far off - the twilight world is here - that lives between sleeping and waking... the dream land, the land of origins, the land of the soul... the land of hot music.







"As I lie here...
Oh, I had such dreams -
Of what you are and what you were to me...
And the music plays... ...
              In the cantina
                       That is like no other place."


"In the dawn the birds are signing
And I hear you gently breathe
In the walls the steeple bells are ringing
Now there's no need to leave"

long instru

"In this hotel, 
whose name I can't recall
I lost the keys, I lost them all
I had with me

I've lost my travel map
My driver's drunk
He takes a nap
Under the trees



And signorina...
Comes to lie with me,
Just as your daughter leaves
Around midnight

In this hotel..."

Instru

"As I lie here
Oh, I have such dreams...
What you are and what you were to me
And the music plays..."

"In the cantina...
That is like no other place..."

Instru    (short vocal wail)

In this hotel
Whose name I can't recall
I lost the keys, I lost it all
I had with me

I've lost my travel map
My driver's drunk, he takes a nap
Under the trees


In the dawn the birds are singing
And I hear you gently breathe
In the walls the steeple bells are ringing
Now there's no need to leave

instru

The night is quite interesting...

The doorman has lost the keys
 Can't get no relief




Oh in the cantina...
Music plays
And laughing signorina
She knows no other place

In this hotel
Whose name I can't recall
I lost the keys
I lost it all
I had with me"

(Vocal drift-wail...refrain, no words)

And signorina
Comes to lie with me
Just as your daughter leaves

As the waves go,
Oh as the waves go..."

(Song slowly rides into the sunset
on the waves of this
soaring lead guitar...)

Song sends up being a beautiful wave and blend
of vocal and lead guitar virtuosity.

You must understand - we hadn't rehearsed this song, not even once... so when a chord change jumped up suddenly, I had to adapt instantly and change the tenure of each word. If we had rehearsed it, we probably wouldn't have done it this well. Sometimes it's best to let the Graces take you blindfolded into the fray.
                                              
I'm gonna pretend I planned the whole performance this way!

(Song cut a bit short).


(C)2000-2017 by W.G. Milne and John Rock Corporation   All rights reserved.



Saturday, June 10, 2017

COLD,COLD,COLD II





I spent a year living in the Caledon Hills in this big, funky house in the middle of a 33 acre field... long dirt driveway, etc. etc. I was working in Bill Davis's law firm in Brampton... Tho once he was Premier he had to disassociate himself from the firm... Did a lot of real estate in those days, but I digress. I spent many long hours by myself in this amazing place with a 2 story stone wall, huge hearth.... Hell, if you swallowed some hallucinogen and started reading Shakespeare in the place beside this tall stone structure --- you thought you were THERE in the play... and you got to  know the characters (people) like neighbours, liked they lived next door and might pop in at any time...Later I got a few actor friends in and we did some of the bard's plays in that amazing atmosphere with the fire blazing   One thing I am certain about... Shakespeare knew Polonius personally; he was not just a character William created.But I digress.
            I wrote some of my best songs there in that atmosphere of drama, solitude, and loneliness. I'd go and sit on a stump in the middle of the field and start to write. I wrote COLD, COLD, COLD there, and also: "HYMN TO PAN DIONYSUS" I also wrote, "NO REST FOR THE INNOCENT", a song I'm still trying to find. None of these songs are short songs. But I make no apologies for this. They are all exceptional songs. I say this in all modesty...Ha! Ha!




At any rate, here's one version of COLD, COLD, COLD, which I like, especially with Peter Rowland's lead guitar work... tho I think the song otta really be produced in 2/4. More on this later.
(C)1990-2017 by W.G. Milne and John Rock Corporation. All rights reserved.




This song isn't just about me dicking
around with my guitar, feeling lonely about a woman I loved who I never saw again... It's a song about the NORTH and CANADA, that's what it is. That's what it's meant to be.
Hope you enjoy it.


Friday, June 9, 2017

A WRITER'S NOTEBOOK - WHEN YOU NEED TO WRITE, WHAT YOU MUST DO TO SURVIVE ....... PSYCHIC SELF-DEFENCE



        When you need to write, there's a very delicate balance of which you must apprise yourself.
                    (The above phrase is correct grammatically,  But it's impossible to use.
I find myself, when I'm writing, deliberately
slipping into bad English - in order to help the flow of the words.
                    And if I'm in character - like in the character of one of the many erroneously  educated crazies at WAIT-A-BIT - then I positively have to use bad English, street English, or (even worse) bush English.  Bush English has a lot of psuedo-French phrases that have done snuck in.)

          If you HAVE TO write, you're in an unfortunate situation you'll never be able to explain to anybody -  especially your girlfriend or wife. Unless she has exceptional understanding. Maybe she's a writer herself, or a bartender... in which case she will sometimes understand.

        People in your immediate environs will try to suck your blood - drain you emotionally and build up your psychological blockages & increase them - to make you weak, so they can suck your dry.

        I am not speaking metaphorically. I am speaking literally. These people want  to Drink Your Blood. You must not let them.
         You simply cannot allow it. You must
say, "NO" to all sorts of things.

         Most people have psychological problems.
And major problems with their families. There is no such thing as a "normal" family. Don't look for that supposed normality in your own family. It won't be there.

            So... dealing with your psychological
disadvantage is bad enough. If you are prone
to clinical depression: if you have this problem,
you cannot take horseshit from anyone.
           If you do, if you're a sensitive soul as writers must be, someone dumping on you will throw you off your game for weeks!  Maybe months!
           And the appropriate question to ask is:
"DO YOU WANT TO KILL ME? DO YOU WANT ME DEAD?"

          If you have a problem with clinical depression,it's difficult enough just to get up and stop gaping out and staring at the wall or your boots for another 12 hours.
            It's difficult enough just to get up and sit in your chair in your place of work - without having to deal with other people's psychological rages and monstrosities.

             You can't do it! No one can do it, and if someone keeps putting you through this kind of low-end deformed shit --- Avoid them at all costs. They are trying to kill you, and they won't stop.
             All you need is one bottom-feeding hateful sub-aquacious  salamander  in your life and you won't write a word for decades. That means you'll likely die as a failure... unless you stand up at 4:00 A.M. some dark morning...
stand up on a cliff-top and HOWL... Howl like the dogs!
           Howl  like your innermost psyche needs to howl --- HOWL as if the hounds of hell are barking at your heels. (Because this is what is happening.) Drive the psyche-sucking bastards away. Lock your door and keep it locked.  Bathe in silence and heal.
            
      Say, "NO!" to all social events. You need the three-headed dog Cerberus to guard your door!  And drive the other monsters away.

            It's a matter of sink or swim, live or die.

            IF YOU HAVE TO WRITE, you're at the mercy of the elements!

            Don't let anybody else diminish your problems and say, "bullshit!" in front of your face. Don't let anyone discount what you are attempting to say... The fact of the matter is he/she knows fuck-all about the impossible difficulties you are dealing with.
           Don't let them say, "Oh, you're just being childish." That's an attempt to manipulate you and make you cough up more blood. This person is not your friend. This person is your enemy masquerading as someone else. You don't need a parasite to drag you down.
            Half the organisms on Earth are parasites. Don't you ever forget this. Forget this at your peril. Just because a person is in your family, it doesn't mean he or she wishes you well.

                The life of a writer is precarious. He's not making any money, often not for decades.
And the straights say to you: "Go out. Get a job. It's easy."
               They don't know how ridiculous this sounds to you -  the writer who needs to write -
especially if you are labouring under some psychological deficiency, which most writers are... hell, most people are.

              A writer is different. He needs his full mind in order to face the vast virgin page. He needs FULL CAPACITY. And sometimes it takes days or weeks to get to full capacity. And these are  frustrating, maddening times. He/she might be half insane at such times... a little psychosis might be creeping in, a little paranoia, also.
             If you put pressure on a writer who needs to write at such times, don't look for a balanced response. The poor bastard is floating on a sea of rage which he has blocked and doesn't feel himself...
               But, trust me, you'll feel it.

               So "he" needs to say, "No."  
"She" needs to say, No!"  You need to say, "No!" When your psychological and financial well-being is at stake. And even more, when your ability to work at full throttle, no restraint
is threatened...

         You have to be cold-blooded about it. You can take no prisoners. You have to rise up out of the depressive undersea world you have been living in - step up out of the tunnel into the sun and repel all boarders.
        And say, "NO!"




          You can't do a thing until you give birth to the book that is burning inside you. You can't think, let alone converse.
               
            The better writer you are, the more problems you will likely have socializing. I wish this weren't true, but it is.

               The people who praise a great writer a century hence - these are the very same people who despised him and offered no help at all when the man was alive. When he was picking through rags on the street.
                  It seems ridiculous, doesn't it? That the person whose life is working in words, that he or she can't say a thing.

                  There's no splaining some things, Lucy.

               If a writer wants help,. he must go to the poorest among us - the most disenfranchised. Only the people who are destitute know what this man is going through, They're going through the same thing themselves... they, themselves, are social pariahs. They know that a man just standing there staring at a wall - that he might have a very good reason for doing so.

           




          I was sitting at a table in the cafeteria of a University Hospital in downtown Toronto. Sitting with me were two psychologists and one psychiatrist. We'd known each other for several years.
              They had just returned from a conference in Arizona. The conference was on the subject called, "FAMILY THERAPY."
              At the end of five days of speeches and discussions, the assembly of doctors was asked to come up with one question that summed up the most central concerns regarding family therapy that they had discussed in the week  just passed.

                 The most central question the assembly of doctors came up with after a whole week of talking is:

"In your own family, WHO WANTS YOU
                DEAD?"



It's not fair, it's not right, but it's true.



(C) 2017 by W.G. Milne



Thursday, June 8, 2017

"WHERE YOU STUMBLE AND FALL, THERE YOU WILL FIND GOLD"

JOSEPH CAMPBELL – WHAT HE KNEW

Perfection isn’t human. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love–and I mean love, not lust–is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person peaks through, say, ‘This is a challenge to my compassion.’ Then make a try, and something might begin to get going.


                         Joseph  Campbell is one of my heroes.

                          Also, he wrote about the hero’s path –

 THE HERO WITH 1000 FACES



THIS short first article is just the beginning of my study of this remarkable, heroic man.

For you,  perhaps his words will be THE CALL.




(C) 2017  by William G. Milne – assembled

PART 1 of 2

PART 2 of 2:

JOSEPH CAMPBELL – WHERE YOU STUMBLE AND FALL, THERE YOU WILL FIND GOLD

Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

***********

You know, when real trouble comes your humanity is awakened. The fundamental human experience is that of compassion.

Joseph Campbell



Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.**********

*

Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called “the love of your fate.” Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment-not discouragement-you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.

Joseph Campbell
******

Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived. Follow the path that is no path, follow your bliss.

************

You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

****************************

You’ve got to say yes to this miracle of life as it is, not on condition that it follow your rules.


We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

****************************

NOTE:

_______________

                      The mystery I find in this man – is that he has been working at the same rock cliff as I have.

And when you pierce the stone with a pick, the sun shines through, and you  are enjoying a new dawn, golden above a calm lake – you are not in the dead end rats’

alley you had been in before.

                     I found myself in a disaster that seemed as if it would never end. My plans and my habitual life had been wrenched away from me. I was in jail,

naked in a dark cell. With no writing material, nothing to read – not even a pencil –

It was a sudden, total shift. There was no choice in the matter. I was arrested; I had been stopped in my tracks.

                 I had no choice but to learn how to look within.


                            What makes me laugh, what makes me delighted with Joseph Campbell is he would see this whole happening as a positive experience, as an opportunity to be cherished. An opportunity to find gold.

And now, many years after the experience, I agree with him. Because that’s the way it was, that is the kind of experience it tuned out to be.





(C) 2017 by William G. Milne/ Walker Ballantine