Monday, April 19, 2010

Dreams of Jim lead to better thoughts…

I've decided to compile some of my favourite blogs, stories and posts that are only available online here to keep track of them. They cover the time period between my last year at Ryerson University in Toronto to two years later, as I settled into a new job as an arts writer in Victoria...

From MySpace: 15 Oct 06 Sunday

This afternoon I passed out on my green shag rug and awoke two hours later from a very disturbing dream about my first .. and last .. guitar teacher, Jim.
Jim was a forty-something guy with greasy long hair, pockmarked cheeks and cigarette breath who wore everything in the fabric known as jean.
He was a weekend warrior rock star playing the Coast pub circuit in a cover band called Local Traffic. By day he taught kids guitar at the now defunct Strings and Things in Sechelt.
I was given guitar lessons with Jim from my parents for my tenth birthday, inspired by an obsession with the Tracy Chapman Fast Car record and my mom playing House of the Rising Sun very superbly.
I lasted three lessons.
Jim was a total pig. He burped and farted (I'm pretty sure he was farting, but it was hard to hear) and kept going on and on about how girls never make good guitar players, they don't want to cut their nails, how I won't want to cut my nails and probably quit too, how many great female guitars players have YOU heard of and on and on...
So I quit and that's basically when I became a boy-chasing mall rat. Thanks Jim. Stay out of my head please.
I guess this sprung to mind because of all the superkids I've been talking to lately. You know, those kids I always go on about who are four-feet, barely in the double digits, hardly say a word, yet can rip out your heart with a Mozart concerto or play Shostakovich with more emotion than most adults I know and then sit down for some and pop and chips.
How did they get so good? Not with Jims in their lives. Quite the opposite. The amount of support for kids in music here makes me teary sometimes. As much as I'd like to kibitz with cute rock stars all day .. yeah right .. I love the kids.
And I'm starting to listen to music differently, which is kind of weird. Last night during Nosferatu I recall getting this very eerie feeling and then thinking, "Damn. Oboe, you fucking rock!"
(I'm also reading this awesome book right now called This is Your Brain on Music: The science of a human obsession, in which I've learned classical music is the original punk rock having directly rebelled from the Catholic church's banning of polyphony [more than one musical part playing at a time] and the interval of an augmented fourth because it was too evil)
Anyway, I'm not too sure where this boring stuff is all going other than I'm tired, can't sleep and seem to be consumed by the things I never learned and the things I did learn, but have forgotten and probably won't learn again.
The latter thought was compounded by just reading the letter my dad wrote me before he died, in which he swore me to remember and pass on all the important things he taught me to my own children one day like how to chop wood, fish, plant a garden and drive a stick shift. Oops.
In memory of my dad, Dave, who would have been 53-years-old today here is a poem the author/artist Harvey Chometsky wrote about him at the age of 23, when he had reputation around Prince George as an odd-ball tour guide with an arcane knowledge of the area.

In the Prince George dump there's no scavenging allowed.
The reason they give, says Dave, is sanitation.
He says the trick .. believe me he knows ..
is to go there at lunch,
while the workers are eating.
Go to the dump for lunch.
He says he hates it when bags are soft.
There might be dead babies or anything in them,
but he hasn't come across one yet thank Christ.
Well it's true you know. The soft ones are bad.
What you do is keep away from them
like I did
and still find this poem
those picture frames, diaries, notebooks and a compass
that hangs on my door,
that tells me every morning
which direction I'm going.

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