Gordon Lightfoot R.I.P.

May 2, 2023 at 9:58 pm (Arts, Culture, Entertainment, History, Music, music videos, News, Obituaries, Personal essays) ()

One of my favourite singers 🎤 🎶 🎵 of all time Gordon Lightfoot has died at the age of 84.

Robert Mitchum: I’d do anything for love.

Jane Greer: But you won’t do that.

Robert Mitchum: Actually I was thinking more of the Gordon Lightfoot song than Meat Loaf’s.

Jane Greer: Speaking of meatloaf, there seems to be a huge fire 🔥 and lots of smoke coming from the oven.

Robert Mitchum: It appears the meatloaf will be very well done.

Jane Greer: As was Gordon Lightfoot’s song.

Gordon Lightfoot (1938-2023) has died at the age of 84.

He was one of my favourite singers of all time.

And many of his songs would be in my top 100 list of all my favourite songs.

There’s somewhat of a personal connection between Gordon Lightfoot and me although I never met or saw the man in person.

For you see Gordon Lightfoot’s uncle had a farm about 40 miles north of Calgary, Alberta Canada.

And my paternal grandparents’ farm was about 6 miles away from the farm belonging to Gordon Lightfoot’s uncle.

Gordon as a small boy would occasionally come from Ontario and visit his uncle’s farm in Alberta.

On days when his uncle was busy working in the fields, Gordon’s uncle would hire my dad and my paternal uncle to babysit little Gordon.

I remember as a kid when I started dancing to Gordon Lightfoot songs as they came on the radio, my mother would tell me of how my dad and my Uncle Tom used to babysit Gordon as a boy when he came to his uncle’s farm.

“Do you suppose Gordon would remember my dad?” I asked her.

“Chris,” she’d say to me, “Anybody who’s ever met your father even once would never forget him.”

Which I suppose was true.

My mother would tell me stories of how when they were dating, my dad and her had attended a mutual friend’s wedding and my dad made himself memorable at the reception by pouring gravy over his slice of wedding cake.

Or how when they were first married, my mother had bought my dad a footstool for his chair and how when he came home from work and he tripped over it and said “Ooh!” (Like he usually did when he fell or tripped) but never said anything.

And then 20 minutes later he said, “Helena, there seems to be a footstool in front of my chair.”

Or how at the opening of an art show, my mother pointed out the artist (who was a mutual friend) to my dad and said, “There she is!” and my dad answered, “Oh, I didn’t recognize her with all her clothes on.”

What my dad meant was since there was a fierce Alberta snowstorm going on at the time and the artist Jean Richards came into the gallery heavily bundled up with winter parka, scarf 🧣, toque and high winter boots, my dad didn’t recognize her in all those winter clothes.

But that’s not what he said.

So my mother, being the practical joker she was, walked up and told Jean Richards that my dad didn’t recognize her with all her clothes on.

“What?” Jean Richards feigned anger, “He actually said that? Where’s George?” .

So artist Jean Richards walked up to my dad and said in a loud voice that the whole gallery could hear, “I hear you didn’t recognize me with all my clothes on.”

And of course my dad taught in the Alberta Public School System for over 30 years.

His specialty was teaching Science, Math and History although he did teach all subjects at one time or another since he taught all grades from 1 to 12.

And many of his former students who I’ve met over the years say that my dad was their favourite teacher of all their school years.

One student told me that he loved my dad’s Science classes.

“Your dad would say in Chemistry class, now if you stick your finger in this solution here, it will turn green before it falls off and if you stick your finger in this solution over here, it will turn purple before it falls off,” the student recalled.

One of his former teaching colleagues recalled the first time she walked into my dad’s Science room where apparently his replica model volcano 🌋 had successfully exploded and all the students in the class were coughing and choking from the smoke but that my dad was continuing to calmly lecture about the effects of volcanic explosions on the Earth’s climate change in times past.

My dad would also occasionally use Bunsen burners in Science class to make himself coffee.

I remember a friend of mine Daniel (who once worked as a scientist for DARPA) was extremely amused by this story.

My dad as a boy also made himself an actual airplane – a monoplane or biplane of the World War I variety and was going to fly to Germany to bump off Hitler as my dad and Winston Churchill were probably the only two people in the British Empire of the time who realized that Hitler was a threat to the world.

Of course while my dad may have been an engineering genius for such a young age he hadn’t considered other factors which naturally any 8-year-old wouldn’t.

My Uncle Tom was wisely placed by my dad as the pilot in the front seat of the plane.

And my dad sat at the way back seat of the plane as a navigator.

This proved to be quite handy as when the plane launched from the top of the hill overlooking the valley of my grandparents’ farm, it became rapidly apparent to my dad with his panoramic view at the back of the plane that the closest this plane was going to get to the Third Reich was the middle of the creek that flowed through my grandparents’ farm.

My dad wisely jumped off the back seat as my Uncle Tom could be heard screaming as the plane headed straight towards the creek.

There was a loud splash.

My dad ran to see if his brother was all right.

When my Uncle Tom emerged from the creek with an exceedingly angry look on his face, as my dad told the story afterwards, he (my dad) broke the 4 Minute Mile record years before Roger Bannister did in an effort to get back to the house and my grandmother’s kitchen before my uncle could beat the 💩 out of him.

Thus bearing that in mind, as I got older, it was indeed highly likely that Gordon Lightfoot would have remembered my dad from those summer babysitting days.

Of course I never got the chance to ask Gordon in person.

But…

From the years 2007 to 2011, I used to make myself photo montage music videos at a now defunct on-line filmmaking site called OneTrueMedia.

I would then post the finished videos at YouTube.

I used that site to teach myself filmmaking and film editing skills.

Two of my favourite videos I made during that time were photo montage music videos of my two favourite Gordon Lightfoot songs: Anything For Love. If You Could Read My Mind.

Both I made in the year 2008.

Then in 2010 or 2011, I got a notification from YouTube that those two videos were taken down for song copyright violations.

I was shocked.

If I was trying to make a profit from those videos, yes.

But I was just using those songs as background for my own personal enjoyment.

I was at the Xanga blogging site at the time.

So I wrote a blog post mentioning about my two videos (with Gordon Lightfoot songs) being taken down by YouTube.

I also mentioned in that blog post that my dad had once babysat Gordon Lightfoot when Gordon visited his uncle’s farm.

That blog post got a lot of views and a lot of likes I remember.

About 3 or 4 days later after that blog post, I got a notification from YouTube that those two videos had been restored and put back on line.

I remember thinking, Great.

The very next day after I got that notification, I was doing some research and my research led me to check that day’s online edition of The Toronto Sun or Toronto Star.

I forget which.

Anyhow while I was at that Toronto newspaper site online, I stumbled across a story about Gordon Lightfoot.

Gordon Lightfoot had apparently released a statement the day before that he didn’t mind his songs and his music being used for strictly non-profit entertainment purposes.

Only if someone were trying to profit from them would he be a stickler about royalties.

And I thought…

Coincidence?

… or?

If he did remember my dad, what did my dad do that was so memorable in his mind?

As Gordon himself might put it, “What a tale my thoughts could tell…”

-A personal reflection
written by Christopher
Tuesday May 2nd
2023.

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Haiku About Harry Belafonte RIP

April 25, 2023 at 7:30 pm (Arts, Celebrities, Culture, Entertainment, Film, haiku, History, Music, News, Obituaries, Poetry) ()

King of Calypso
Island 🏝️ in the sun ☀️ then leaves
World and Kingston town

Time to remember
The kind of September
Farewell to December

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The Phantom Within

March 27, 2023 at 9:37 pm (Culture, Entertainment, Film, History, International Intrigue, Literature, love, Music, Musicals, Romance, The Supernatural, theatre, Theatre Arts, Vampire novel) (, , , , )

Christine Daae (center) with the Phantom (left) and Viscount Raoul (right)

In the files of MI6, his code name was Diablos Nocturna.

He sat in a pub in London eating steak and kidney pie 🥧.

A very very very beautiful woman entered the pub for a take out order.

She paid the bill and left with her order.

Diablos Nocturna recognized the woman as Lucy St. Louis the woman who played Christine Daae in the 35th Anniversary West End London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of The Opera.

Lucy St. Louis as Christine Daae in the 35th Anniversary West End London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of The Opera

Diablos Nocturna took a quiet sip of his glass of ale 🍺.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of The Opera was his favourite musical and Lucy St. Louis was his favourite Christine Daae.

There had been great singers/actresses who had played Christine Daae in Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of The Opera over the years- Sarah Brightman, Emmy Rossum, Sierra Boggess.

Yet when he saw Lucy St. Louis as Christine Daae, he had said, “That is Christine.”

He had never understood why.

Then one day he had watched a YouTube video of Lucy St. Louis as Christine Daae singing with the Phantom the title song Phantom of The Opera and in the comments below the video, someone had posted the comment, “Lucy St. Louis sings the role of Christine Daae the way I had always imagined in my mind the way Christine Daae would have sung in Gaston Leroux’s original novel The Phantom of The Opera.”

And that was it.

Not many people had read Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of The Opera but he had.

In fact he had read it when he was 10 years old.

With the impressionability of someone that age.

And it wasn’t the character of The Phantom who had captivated him.

It was the character of Christine Daae.

The character who could have tamed the Phantom if the Phantom had got over his insecurities and allowed her.

For Diablos Nocturna’s entire inner life seemed to have been a battle between the Phantom within and the Viscount Raoul within.

Which one would win?

He did not know the answer.

For he had yet to meet his Christine Daae in life.

Diablos Nocturna finished his meal, paid his bill and walked out alone into the night.

The labyrinth of night.

-A vampire novel chapter
written by Christopher
Monday March 27th
2023.

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Remembering Meat Loaf: Amadeus’ Tribute

January 21, 2022 at 10:28 pm (Culture, Entertainment, History, Music, music videos, Plays, Vampire novel) (, , , , )

Singer Meat Loaf (September 27th 1947 – January 20th 2022) Known for his album Bat Out of Hell and his hit song I’d Do Anything For Love

Amadeus Emanon had just heard the news that one of his music idols Meat Loaf had just died at the age of 74.

He decided to do a tribute in his memory.

Amadeus who was a musician, a singer and an actor contacted some of his friends on social media about it this Friday night.

They went down to St. James’s Park and acted out Amadeus’ improvisationally written play.

The play began with a High Priest (who practiced satanism in private but was a respected ecclesiastical figure in public) who was plotting the death of a man who was a threat to him.

The high priest said to one of his subordinates, “We’ll track him down. We’ll get him through his weakest link. His youngest follower.”

The Apostle John (played by Amadeus) was approached by a girl (played by Angelique Dumont) he once knew.

The girl kissed him and asked him to love her.

As John slowly succumbed to the girl, the girl then made a request.

And Amadeus replied, “I’d do anything for love but I won’t do that.”

Amadeus then began singing the song lyrics,

“And I would do anything for love but I won’t do that…”

He sang the lyrics up until the lines

“Some nights you’re like nothing I’ve ever seen before
or will again…”

Amadeus as the young Apostle John turns away from the girl played by Angelique.

John (Amadeus) then turns to a fellow actor who’s playing Jesus,

“And maybe I’m crazy
Oh it’s crazy and it’s true
I know you can save me
No one else can save me now but you…

That I would do anything for love
I’ll be there till the final act.”

John (Amadeus) bows to Jesus and then turned back to the girl he had known,

“I’d do anything for love but I won’t do that.”

The scene then turns back to the satanic High Priest, “So much for the theory about who I thought was the weakest link…”

The High Priest is then approached by Judas Iscariot who sells out Christ for thirty pieces of silver.

The Apostle Paul had it right when he said, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

-A vampire novel chapter
written by Christopher
Friday January 21st
2022.

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An Intersection of Time

April 10, 2021 at 10:58 pm (Film, Ghost Story, love, Movies, Music, Poetry, Romance, The Supernatural, Vampire novel) (, , , , )

The year was 1929.
The bride was waiting for the wedding to begin.
She looked behind her.
And noticed one of the candles had burnt out.
Was this an omen she wondered?
Was she making the right decision?
Was her life about to become like that burnt out candle?

2021.
Amadeus Emanon was standing on the stage of an empty nightclub.
The nightclub was closed due to Boris Johnson’s lockdown.
But Amadeus felt at his best when performing on a stage.
He may not be able to sing to people in the club.
But he felt he was able to sing to ghosts.
The ghosts of the past.
The ghosts of the present.
And the ghosts of the future.

The ghosts of the present.
People alone and isolated.
And fading away
Under an iron curtain
That had descended all across the globe.

The ghosts of the future
If there was a future
Those whose anguished cries could not reach the present
As the darkness fell
And everything was void
and waiting for that moment
Of the spoken Word,
“Let there be light.”

Ghosts of the past.
In a distant theatre box
Amadeus saw a woman in silhoutte
A bride
Looking back at a burnt out candle
Silent
Apprehensive
As if she was looking at an omen.

Amadeus began to sing
And sang to the woman
To the bride…

Moon River, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style someday
Oh dream maker
You heartbreaker
Where ever you’re going I’m going your way
Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waiting round the bend
My huckleberry friend
Moon River and me.

Amadeus lowered his head
The song was finished
The spot light was fading
And it was as if the singer
Was waiting for the applause

That never came.

The bride listened
She had never heard the song
And probably would not again
Unless on some far off 1961 morning
She had breakfast at Tiffany’s

But the song gave her courage
And inspired her to walk down the aisle
And grasp the hand of her love
Her huckleberry friend
Two drifters off to see the world
Because
there’s such a lot of world to see

The moon came through
Shining through the stained glass window
Depicting the Jordan River
And at this nighttime service
It shone brightly
On the spot
Where the one candle had burnt out

In the far off distance
Amadeus’ voice carried through time,
“Moon River and thee.”

-A poem and vampire novel chapter
written by Christopher
Saturday April 10th
2021.

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Memories of Selena

March 25, 2021 at 9:53 pm (Arts, Culture, History, Music) (, , , , )

Selena Quintanilla

Heathcliff Dionysus Campbell was the CEO of Aulos Music and Recording Ltd. in London.

He had become the CEO of the company after buying it (through a loan given to him by the London-based billionaire ancient Egyptian vampire Set) in 2018.

Previously he had been an Executive Vice-President of the Company.

This past year of the pandemic there had not been much recording going on at his studios on Abbey Road- the Wuthering Heights and Glencoe Hospitality Recording Studios.

As most musicians and singers did their performances via podcast and livestream.

So Heathcliff Dionysus Campbell had used the past year to write his memoirs.

He had run for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination in the U.S. and had come in an extremely extremely extremely distant third behind Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He moved to London England in 2010 to become Executive Vice-President of Aulos Music and Recording Ltd. to fulfill a lifelong dream he had of one day becoming a music producer.

Prior to his Presidential run, he had been an Executive Vice-President of Vidal Sassoon Hair Products.

Today he was busy recalling the year 1994.

He was remembering the day that year a friend of his had invited him to a small recording studio that the friend owned in San Antonio, Texas.

He recalled walking through the door of the recording studio and there sitting on a chair was a woman with one of the loveliest smiles he had ever seen in his life.

Selena Quintanilla

Campbell was disappointed in himself for at that time he had never heard of this young and promising young star bound to become a superstar.

She however sang and recorded a song in his friend’s studio that day.

It was a song in Spanish.

It was so beautiful that Heathcliff Dionysus Campbell resolved someday to learn the language.

Sadly he had never done that either up until this point in his life.

He recalled a year later in 1995 the day that he had heard Selena had been shot and killed by the President of her own fan club.

March 31st 1995.

In less than a week, it would be the 26th anniversary of her tragic death.

A young talent taken from the world too soon.

A lovely smile taken from the world too soon.

-written by Christopher
Thursday March 25th
2021.

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Tiny Tony

December 24, 2020 at 11:58 pm (Christmas, Music, Poetry, Radio, Songs, Theatre Arts) (, )

Everyone sings of Rudolph
And Frosty the Snowman too
And all the other happy folks
That make Christmas dreams come true
But there’s one little fellow
Who’s forgotten every year
He’s Santa’s special barber
Who trims old Santa’s hair

He’s Tiny Tony
He stands upon the chair
He’s such a little shaver
To take care of Santa’s hair
He’s Tiny Tony
Who everyone should meet
Happy Tiny Tony
Keeps Santa looking neat

When Christmas Eve comes here at last
And all the bags are packed
And Santa knows which boys and girls
Have been good or bad
He’ll stop into Tony’s barbershop
And you’ll hear old Santa say,
A little off the side, a little off the top
For tomorrow is Christmas Day

He’s Tiny Tony
He stands upon the chair
He’s such a little shaver
To take care of Santa’s hair
He’s Tiny Tony
Who everyone should meet
Happy Tiny Tony
Keeps Santa looking neat

Santa’s hair is all in place
His beard is neat and trim
And you can see his jolly face
Because Tony keeps it prim
If you ever visit the North Pole
The pole is quite a sight
For it’s just like a barber pole
It’s painted red and white

He’s Tiny Tony
He stands upon the chair
He’s such a little shaver
To take care of Santa’s hair
He’s Tiny Tony
Who everyone should meet
Happy Tiny Tony
Keeps Santa looking neat.

-A song written by
Bob Bradburn
CHQT Radio Producer
and Host
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
1967.

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One Silent Night

December 23, 2020 at 11:58 pm (Christmas, Culture, History, Music, Poetry, Songs) (, , )

It was a quiet night in 1816
When a young Austrian priest
Joseph Mohr
Went for a walk
Around the village of Oberndorf
In Austria

He looked out over a very quiet
snow-laden town
And the stars glistening
In the frosty heavens above

In his mind’s eye
He saw a beautiful young maiden
Wrapping a newborn babe
In a blanket
In a stable
In the back courtyard
Of an old inn
At the edge of a small town

The young maiden sang the sweetest lullaby
To her young son
He did not understand the words to the song
The young maiden sang
But it was the sweetest melody he had ever heard

He went home and wrote words to the melody
He did not know the words the young maiden sang
But he wrote the words of what he himself
Saw that night

A couple of years later
Franz Zaber Gruber
The choir director
Of Saint Nicholas Church
In Oberndorf
Wrote music to accompany
The words that Father Mohr
Had written to accompany
The melody he heard in his mind

And that Christmas Eve in 1818
At Saint Nicholas Church in Oberndorf
Austrian villagers first heard
The song lyrics and melody
To
Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

Silent night, holy night.

-A poem written by Christopher
Wednesday December 23rd 2020
The Night Before
Christmas Eve 2020.

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Renfield Ends His Podcast With A Song

August 23, 2020 at 10:52 pm (Geopolitics and International Relations, International Intrigue, Music, News, Songs, Vampire novel) (, , , , , , , )

British MP Renfield R. Renfield was doing a Sunday night livestream video podcast analyzing geopolitical affairs and current events.

Tonight he decided to end his podcast by singing a song.

He came down to the last item before singing a song,

“Last night my best sources in Istanbul tell me that the Byzantine vampiress Theodora (who in her mortal life had been the Byzantine Empress Theodora the wife of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great) beat the crap out of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for turning a former Orthodox Byzantine Christian monastery into an Islamic mosque.
She couldn’t have beat the entire crap out of him because if she had, there wouldn’t have been much left of him. If she had beat the entire crap out of him, they could have buried him in a cigar box.”

Renfield then broke into a song.

It was a country music song in which Renfield gave a stirring country musical rendition – a combination of the voices of Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers and Marty Robbins rolled into one.

Sang Renfield,

“When the moo cows, when they make milk,
It’s the only milk I do adore,
When the moon shines over the cow shed,
I hope the cows are making plenty more…”

-A vampire novel chapter
written by Christopher
Sunday August 23rd
2020.

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Vera Lynn

June 18, 2020 at 9:20 pm (Culture, Entertainment, History, Music, News, Obituaries, Personal essays) ()

R.I.P. Vera Lynn (March 20th 1917 – June 18th 2020) the British singer who was called England’s Sweetheart and the English Nightingale during World War II for singing such inspirational songs as We’ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover, There’ll Always Be An England, and Lily Marlene.

She died on the 80th Anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s This Was Their Finest Hour speech (that Churchill delivered on June 18th 1940).

80 years later was the day England’s Finest Singer went to her Heavenly Abode.

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