Segarini: The Sunday Night Struggle, A Story, and a Song

Why, my friends ask me, is your Monday column always late? Every other day of the week, I manage to get these things up and running in the wee hours of the morning, so when you get up, it’s there to read while you enjoy a Pop Tart, cold piece of last night’s pizza or your usual Breakfast Beer. The reason for this is the promptness and professionalism of my fellow writers. They are on time without fail, and having written their blog and in most cases, supplied the pictures that accompany their articles, leave me with little to do except format the piece, do a bit of proof reading, insert the pictures, write the tags, and hit the ‘Publish’ button on the WordPress ‘Post New’ page. So, I repeat, why is my Monday column always late?

First of all, it’s not always late…just most of the time. I have no excuse. I have attempted to start writing Monday’s blog as early as Tuesday during the week, but things seem to come up that thwart me at every turn.

The Kitties

For two balls of fur who collectively weigh less than an Easter Ham, Minnow and Bagel can be as demanding as a handful of ADD addled pre-schoolers.

Bagel has to be monitored constantly. If the litter isn’t to her liking, she will use any soft surface (couch, sweater, shirt, emergency couch blanket, pillow) in the living room to relieve herself, so I have to keep one eye on her at all times. Then there’s her weak stomach/hairball problem, signaled by the saddest little coughs and ‘mao’s I have ever heard, and I have to move quickly to take her off the couch or other soft surface, snatch her up and deposit her on the tile floor before she hacks up an earlier bowl of kibble or something that looks like a soaking wet Tribble or the detritus from a Brazilian Wax.

Minnow, on the other hand, just seems to need an inordinate amount of attention, like a 5 year old girl in her mother’s makeup, clothes, and shoes. Look at me, Daddy…until she gets my attention by either standing up next to me when I’m trying to write, and sinking a claw or three into my arm, or jumping up on the dining room table between the monitor and me and sticking her butt in my face. I have lived with similar women.

Sometimes they work together. This teamwork manifests itself in two ways. One is the telepathic decision to simultaneously start running as fast as they can all over the open-concept area where I work, bouncing off the walls, furniture, TV set, mantle, and kitchen counters like two ricocheting bullets, knocking unsecured bric-a-brac this way and that, fighting with each other during their rounds, and occasionally leaping up on the table and running over the keyboard, wrecking all kinds of havoc from deleting whatever I’m working on, to adding a paragraph of gibberish to the proceedings. To quote Minnow, who sometimes just sits down on the keyboard, “hhhhhhhhhhggklvjjjjg hkjdf” The other way they work together is pretty much CIA inspired psychological terrorism.

They stare.

Not just random staring from somewhere across the room, this staring is calculated to disrupt my train of thought and derail my creative process. They sit down just to the left of my computer chair and look up at me with those big soft kitty eyes. They don’t speak, they don’t move, and with the exception of the odd tail twitch, look not unlike a couple of high end Beanie Babies. They just stare.

And stare.

And stare.

Until, like water-board torture, you start to break, unable to work, unable to look away…and you realize you must bend to their will and meet the demands of the stare, or never be able to work again. At least I have come to understand what this silent treatment is all about; They need noms and sips, or in layman’s terms, a fresh bowl of Chef’s Choice, and for the love of God, change the water in our water bowl, this one has gooey semi-digested kibble, back wash, and a bug in it. I bow before my Kitty Overlords.

The Door and The Phone

We live in a wonderfully ethnic neighborhood of families and homes with well-kept yards. A little off the beaten path, most of the foot traffic around here is either kids going to and from school, or adults going to and from work, except when I am the only person at home, trying to write. Only then is there a different kind of foot traffic…the kind of foot traffic that comes to your door and knocks until you open it. The kind of foot traffic that forces me to put on a pair of pants, get up from in front of the computer, and see what the hell whoever this is wants.

Usually, they want money.

Now if I had any of this ‘money’ they’re always talking about, I would gladly give them some just to get them off the porch. They rarely understand the ‘I’m sorry, but I do not have any money to give you at this time’ sentence that seems so easily understandable to me, but must sound like, “Oh, how interesting, please tell me more about your cause/disease/fundraiser/candy drive/scam!” so they continue with the solicitation speech written on the backs of their clipboards while I get a kink in my neck trying to make sure the kitties don’t make a run for it through the open door.

Then there are the religions. Along with the usual Watchtower crowd, there are a plethora of duly driven subsets of the teachings of this guy or that, who have decided (when I tell them) that being a lapsed-Catholic is not the right organization for me and why don’t I consider the First Mormon/Baptist Church of the Christian Soldiers of Repeat Sinners, or the Sacred Heart Sleeper Cell of Snake Handlers and Yard Sales. I respond as respectfully as I can in the negative, which is apparently Door-to-Door-Religion-Code for, “Pull up a chair and tell me more!” while I contemplate turning the hose on them.

Lately, these two disruptive forces have been joined by a third, the “Means-Well-Green-People.” These folks come bearing gifts to make our home more environmentally friendly. A worthy calling, no doubt, but I will never find the time to fill out the inanely leading, self-serving surveys; (What’s More Important?  A: The environment. B: The Play-Offs. C: Winning the Lottery. D: Starting Fires in your Neighbor’s Garage.)

These people are also incapable of taking a hint, but on the plus side, we now have enough Energy Saving Compact Florescent Light Bulbs, Water Saving Shower and Sink Nozzles, and Electrical Outlet Energy Saving Plug Covers to start a hardware store.

The phone only rings when I’m working, trying to eat, watch a movie or television show, or posting a column. With rare exception, the calls are either auto-dialed deals for time-shares and Florida vacations, newspaper subscriptions, or to inform me that my Rogers bill is overdue, or bored friends at loose ends wanting to know what I’m doing.

Friend: “Hey, what’cha doing?”

Me: “Uh, downloading pictures, editing a column, doing research, eating a sandwich, writing my blog, and when I’m done doing that, watching last week’s episode of ‘Person of Interest’,  which must translate to, “Oh, nothing. Just waiting for someone to call for no reason because as we all know, the people you can’t see in front of you aren’t doing anything at all except waiting for the phone to ring.”

Of course, the phone is also a distraction when you are waiting for someone to get back to you and it doesn’t ring.

My Own Lack of Concentration and Surplus of Self Doubt

Some people have nerves of steel and the concentration abilities of a 10 year old styling Republican Alaska Governor Barbie’s hair.

I do not.

This is why the easily ignored (by others) kitties can throw my whole work ethic into my mental dumpster. The same applies to the door and the phone, which I have seen people ignore with the steely-eyed conviction of a fixed-income dreamer filling out a Pro-Line Sports ticket. I am weak. I must attend to every and all distractions that hover into my sightlines or private space.

The other drawback of my otherwise sterling personality is my fear that I will not engage or entertain you. Oh for my long lost youth, when I didn’t give a shit about anything except my own satisfaction. To blissfully do what I wanted, when I wanted and screw the consequences. I don’t know how (or even when) I became invested in my own peace of mind, but I did, and it has become the driving force behind everything I do.

So I apologize for this, and all the other columns, that show up late. I hope you will forgive me. Regardless whether you do or not, know this; I will continue to get better at being on time with these things, and I think I will accomplish that goal eventually. Thank you for your patience.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish this column, feed the kitties, answer the door, wait for a job-related phone call, make myself something to eat and take my meds…then maybe I can watch last week’s 2 hour second season premiere of Mad Men.

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A Great Story From a Canadian Record Company Pioneer

I have a friend named Bill Gilliland. Bill is a legendary music and record company pioneer whose career is worthy of a book if not a motion picture. First and foremost, Bill was the founder of the early Canadian Record Companies, Arc, and Yorkville, and their subsidiary labels.

Among the earliest of Arc’s LPs were those by the popular Newfoundland singers Harry Hibbs, Gordon Pinsent, Ray Walsh, and John White. Arc also issued singles by several Toronto rock bands of the mid-1960s under its Yorkville label and its other affiliated labels, included the Abbey Tavern Singers, Bill Amesbury, Terry Black, the Brothers-In-Law, the Majestics, Fred McKennaCatherine McKinnon, the Metro Stompers, Anne Murray, Ocean, Billy O’ConnorPat Riccio, Sugar Shoppe, the cast of CBC TV’s ‘Singalong Jubilee,’ Stitch in Tyme, Ritchie Knight & The Mid-Knights, Ronnie Hawkinsthe Travellers, and the Ugly Ducklings. Quite a roster, eh Hosers?

The story Bill told me concerns him and the flamboyant and self-destructive Neil Bogart. Stories are still told of Bogart’s extravagant spending, cocaine-fueled record company offices, and swashbuckling business practices. He went from being a dirt-poor Jewish kid from Brooklyn to become a multimillionaire who helped define 70′s pop culture by launching the careers of such superstars as KISS, Parliament, Donna Summer, and The Village People.  Tragically, Bogart died in 1982 at the early age of 39 from cancer.

Justin Timberlake has signed on to play Bogart in the biopic Spinning Gold.  Timberlake will also co-produce with writer/Neil Bogart’s son Timothy Scott Bogart.

Here’s the story…

Further to Frank Gutch Jr’s March 28 column on “cover records”, Bill told me the following “cover records” story: It begins with Bill Gilliland and his business associate and friend Neil Bogart of Kama Sutra Records and Casablanca Records. “Put Your Hand In The Hand” by Canadian group Ocean was a million-seller single on the Kama Sutra label, and “Virginia” by Canadian singer Bill Amesbury was the very first single released on the Casablanca label. Both singles were produced by Gilliland. During dinner one wine-soaked night in January of 1974, Bogart told Gilliland that prior to becoming an executive in the music business he [Bogart] was a singer. And in 1961, recording under the name Neil Scott, had a single ,”Bobby“, that reached #58 on the Billboard chart. For some reason, probably the wine speaking, Gilliland bet Bogart that he could record a song and do better than #58 on the Billboard chart. Choosing a song he thought would be easy to get radio stations to play, Gilliland , recording under the name Johnny T Angel, did a cover version of Ray Peterson’s 1960 hit single, “Tell Laura I Love Her“, and licensed it to Bell Records, the New York label that had a million-seller hit single with Canadian singer Terry Jacks’ cover version of, “Seasons In The Sun”. On May 7,1974, “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Gilliland, pka Johnny T Angel, entered the CKLW chart at #26, and about four weeks later on June 8th, debuted on the Billboard chart. It peaked at #94, so Gilliland lost his bet with Bogart. ( CKLW is located in Windsor,Ontario and serves the Windsor and Detroit markets. During the 1960’s and early 1970’s, CKLW was one of the most influential radio stations in North America.)

Bogart won the bet! But Gilliland had the last laugh: When “Tell Laura I Love Her” entered the CKLW chart at #26, Anne Murray’s cover version of The Beatles’ ” You Won’t See Me” was #24 thereon. It had entered at #29 two weeks earlier, and Gilliland found it unbelievable that he, pka Johnny T Angel, was on the CKLW chart with Anne Murray. Six years earlier, Gilliland signed Anne Murray to his Canadian indie Arc Records and released her first ever album, “What About Me”. A year later,she left indie Arc for the  “international powerhouse”, Capitol Records. In 1974, on the CKLW chart, Anne Murray’s cover version of “You Won’t See Me” reached #19,and Gilliland, pka Johnny T Angel, reached #16 with his cover version of “Tell Laura I Love Her”. Gilliland derived some satisfaction from beating Anne Murray on the CKLW chart. However, he only reached #94 on the Billboard chart and Anne Murray reached #8. That beating notwithstanding, Bill Gilliland had landed on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart with Anne Murray.

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Tip of the Week

I’ll be writing about some of the artists I heard at CMW this year as soon as time (and space) permits. Here’s one I think deserves your attention.

They’re called The Bloody Five, and I was tipped to them by Downtown Bobby Singh, a man who knows his women, his liquor, and his music. Call me crazy, but I hear Ozzy, The Ramones (The 5 do a killer cover of The Demics’ “New York City”) and Pink Floyd in their music. Catch them live, and dig this track, a scorcher from their not-yet-released CD. Call it NuPunk if you must, a rock and roll sub-genre this band has a definite handle on. Release.

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Segarini’s column appears every Monday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, The Segarini Band, and Cats and Dogs, andnominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late GreatMovies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now sadly gone), and now provides content for radiothatdoesntsuck.com with RadioZombie, The Iceage, and PsychShack. Along with the love of his life, Jade (Pie) Dunlop, (who hosts and writes “I’ve Heard That Song Before” on RTDS), continues to write, make music, and record.

4 Responses to “Segarini: The Sunday Night Struggle, A Story, and a Song”

  1. Bob…check out the cover version by The Bloody Five doing The Demics’ “New York City” on YouTube…they turned it onto an actual punk song a la The Ramones.

  2. …..you write these columns without pants??….yeww
    ps…..as for phone calls, now you know why I only call to ask if you have mix
    (good read)

  3. Catz iz da bestest ~
    ==

  4. yay bloody five reference! such nice guys.

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