Pat Blythe: Scrapbooking and Squirreling (or vice versa)
Saturday…..I’m running around the house, back and forth, up and down the stairs, front yard and back yard, dodging in and out of the various rooms. I start one job that segues into another into another into another… It’s one of those days.
An apt description of my brain function…if you’ve seen the movie Up, you’ll understand when I say I’m “squirreling” all over the place. (check out the movie preview below at one minute and 23 seconds) These days “squirreling” is my life.
Up – Pixar
As I sit here trying to compose Wednesday’s column I find myself, for the first time, unsure of what I want to write about. Not that I don’t have a thousand and one ideas, not a single one is clicking at the moment. I have songs playing in my head, words pouring out of my mouth in silence and thoughts pinging from one corner of my cranium to the other. It’s been an incredibly busy three months and August is showing no signs of a slowdown. Writing, taking pictures, traveling, more writing, designing, configuring, project managing, networking, more writing, more pictures, bands, bars, clubs, festivals….and the list goes on. …and for every moment of every day….for every phrase and every saying….for every feeling and every mood….there is a song. Even when I cook the turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas….there is a song. This canticle that comes to mind every time I mix the herbs.
Sarborough Fair – Simon and Garfunkel (live)
It’s now Sunday afternoon…..with a million projects in the works and some about to start and others that just “keep on keeping on”. Renos are in and England is out (at least for now). The British pound is at all time high and overseas is just a tad out of reach at the moment. My second floor is about to undergo a complete facelift (she’s been sagging and creaking for years) which means the couch and dust will become my two BFFs. The basement has also been “excavated”, and by that I mean Chris’s office, workroom and storage room have been completely dismantled and bathroom gutted. Thom (my youngest) is now working on cleaning up and measuring for the new bathroom and his new bedroom. Focus is on the bathroom which we will all need when the upstairs construction begins. My backyard is looking swell as the new sod begins to show signs of life (although the racoons and I are battling it out) and the new flagstone walkway is completed. A humongous thank you to my eldest, Aarron who toiled away in some of the hottest weather this summer. There is still a lot of work to do — gardens needs to be mulched, the moss seed purchased and salted along the new stone pathway, the container garden to arrange and the pots filled, ready for fall blooms — but all that can now be attacked in much smaller chunks. A small storage shed will be constructed to accommodate the unused bikes, change of tires, the lawnmower and other sundry items.
In October, my new back garden is about to get christened with its very first barbeque. Yes it’s fall….but better late than never. Next year’s project, the big brick BBQ gets built. Oh yes, almost forgot, there is still the 40 years of my husband’s photography to sort and archive, and my drum lessons………… Now I understand why my friend Frank goes fishing. So bear with me as I “ping” although I will attempt to keep some semblance of coherence as I write this piece. (see first paragraph)
If I Had A Hammer – Peter, Paul and Mary
….and then my vehicle gets broad-sided. People really need to pay more attention to where they’re going. There are simply not enough hours in the week to deal with all this crap. Weekends appear to be a thing of the past as each day blurs into another, hopping from minute-to-minutes, hour-to-hour, working basically seven-days-a-week. Don’t get me wrong, I love being busy, it’s the pinging and “squirreling” that drives me batty. “Focus!” The word is not in my vocabulary. (….and back to the first paragraph)
I’m Going Slightly Mad – Queen
The scrapbook part….I’ve attended a number of events, musical and otherwise, since my return from Vancouver. Dined, danced and snapped at the Toronto Blues Society’s 30th anniversary celebration at the Palais Royale in Toronto, headed to Tranzac with Roxanne, attended the annual Patio Panic soiree at my friend Mary Ann’s home, started working on a piece for a music tour next year and more events (both music and work-related) coming up. …and in between all this, I have my “real” work that pays the bills and keeps me fed and watered. I have lists all over the place, lists of lists, places to go, people to see…. So, from the top.
Pat at the Palais….
The day after my return from my magical musical tour of Vancouver Island I headed to the Palais Royale to attend the celebratory dinner, dance and musical performances commemorating the 30 anniversary of the Toronto Blues Society. Theme — The Music of Ray Charles.
Cocktails were served on the back patio, with everyone enjoying an exquisite Thursday evening overlooking Lake Ontario. You really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect night. I met husband and wife Anne and Rick Randell along with Ann’s brother Michael Sloski who was the drummer for Genius + Soul, the evening’s main attraction. I strolled around, camera in hand taking pictures of the crowd and Jack de Keyzer who was entertaining everyone from the upper balcony. Greg Godovitz whizzed by me….actually the facial recognition didn’t click in until it was too late. My husband knew him and I know I’ve got some contacts sheets with Greg’s mug on them somewhere in that vast array of Rubbermaid containers in my basement. Dinner was called and I was assigned to Table 12. Under each program/menu were CDs of various blues artists, either a compilation or solo act. Every seat was given a different CD. The dinner was sold out so I’m guessing about 200 people inside plus the lineup outside for the “show only” portion. Food was deelish, ending with the best flourless chocolate torte that has ever passed these lips. Rich and oh so yummy. The evening’s performance was….I don’t know….absolutely, fantastic!!!! Featuring John Mays, Quisha Wint, Selena Evangeline, Cheryl Lescom, Duane Blackburn, Brooke Blackburn, Jessie O’Brien, the aforementioned Michael Sloski, Lance Anderson, Al Lerman, Matt Weidinger and the Maylettes — (Selena, Cheryl and Quisha). This was one of the best events I have attended this year. I congratulate all those individuals who volunteered their time to put this celebration together. Give yourselves a huge round of applause.
A celebration of the blues in pictures….
Entertainment on the balcony – Jack de Keyzer on guitar
L-R – Anne and Rick Randell, Kate Lilley, Michael Sloski
Duane and Brooke Blackburn
Pat Trippin’ at the Tranzac….
I’ve waited a long time for this…. Last Friday Rox called me at the last minute to see if I wanted to break away from my craziness and head down to Tranzac. It’s kind of become “our spot” on Friday nights when we manage to eke out the time to get together. From 5-7pm we can unwind, relax, sing (I hum, Rox sings) and listen to a great, honest, organic, jam session guided by our host Annette Shaffer. We then saunter off for a light, relaxing dinner or some more music. However, this Friday was special. According to the murmurings, it was whispered the Bob Segarini was going to perform with Peter Kashur on guitar. Possibly only whisperings, but one had to check it out. I hadn’t seen either of them on any kind of stage for over 30 years. The rumor-mongers were right! …. and whether Bob agrees with me or not, he belongs on stage and in front of an audience. He hasn’t lost it, not one iota. He was born for it. His sense of timing is impeccable and his humour, well let’s just say he could give George Carlin a run for his money in the frankness department.
Segarini always manages to make you laugh. He gets right to the point. Rox was talked into singing backup and what a splendid idea that was. She and Bob blend so well and harmonize beautifully. They connect and synch on stage like they’ve been performing together for years. Peter being his typical, casual, laid-back self sublimely plays his guitar in the background — very laissez faire. Annette gamely added her harmonies and the whole set is bliss. I grabbed the camera and just starting clicking. Four songs and 200 frames later. Such fun and such a pleasure. It was, for me, truly magical.
(My apologies to Roxanne as she is a little out of focus. The camera was on Bob but I love this moment in time.)
….and then it was over. The evening ended far too soon. However, for shits and giggles, Rox decided to go for a ride on Pete’s scooter. Now Peter “drives” it like a crazy person. (How do I know? I went for a ride too.) Off down the alleyway they shoot. I blinked and they had disappeared. It was all in good fun and I managed to fire off a few shots on the incoming renegades. What a superb way to end another brilliant summer day. Lots of laughs, hugs and kisses, then we all parted company with Betty and Veronica heading east to Di Giorgio’s, my local Italian restaurant, where beer was quaffed and good food, along with great conversation went together swimmingly. I just love days like this.
Thank you kind sir….
Pat at the Patio Panic….
A few of the attendees. L-R – Rosie Levine, Rhonda Ross, Susan Rosenberg, Jane Harbury, our hostess Mary Ann Farrell, Maie Pauts, Sarah Norris and Ann Brodie in the centre
Lazing on a Saturday afternoon….Mix 25+ women, lashings of bubbly, an endless supply of wine, some wacky “tabacky”, a veritable cornucopia of food choices, laughter, story-telling, general banter and a simply amazing sunny Saturday and you have Patio Panic. It’s an annual event hosted by my good friend, Mary Ann Farrell. It’s become a summer tradition. I think there would be serious withdrawal symptoms if a year was missed. Everyone looks forward to it and hopes it isn’t booked on a date they’ll be away or otherwise engaged. Patio Panic will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year and we’ll be doing something special. Mary Ann has been hosting from the beginning. This is her baby. There are also several Patio Panic veterans that have been attending since its inception, a quarter century ago. (now doesn’t that make you feel old…) Once a year, everyone gathers to reconnect, or make new connections, and we let it all hang out (literally and metaphorically….did I mention it’s been a quarter century). All of these wonderful women are experts in their various fields in the arts and entertainment business. All that fun, talent and expertise chillin’ in the backyard…..drinking, eating, smoking, eating, smoking, eating, drinking, and of course exchanging words. Everyone had a fantastic time and we all, every one of us, thank you Mary Ann from the bottom of our hearts.
All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun – Sheryl Crow
Pat with Pat and Ambers Dragon….
This Time….It’s about love and happiness, memories and the remembering.
This Time….about special places, special times, caring and sharing, pain and loss, letting go and living again. There have been thousands of songs written and recorded commemorating all of these feelings and emotions. The really good ones stand out. This Time stands out!
On a personal level, it touches me deeply. The music carries you forward, even makes you want to dance. The words pull at your heartstrings. I first heard the song through the back end of a cell phone call from Pat Kelly during NXNE. I was instantly head-over-heels then….with no video. I’ve been haunting Kelly ever since for the final release date.
Finally, August 11, 2015, 11:11pm has arrived. Pat Kelly has put his heart and soul into This Time, first written in 2005. I am listening to it for the third or maybe fourth time as I write. Amber Durette‘s voice is perfect for the melody and the message. It completes the song. When I asked Kelly for some background, this is what he wrote, “Originally i wrote the song on my way home in my car after playing an open jam at the Renaissance Cafe (now gone). I saw a beautiful woman walk through the door, i never spoke to her and watched as she walked out. I then mused in the car the questions we all ask ourselves when looking for that person. Do they know my favourite song….etc. it was originally called ‘does she know’. I then changed it to ‘does he know’, but when we were laying down the new demo with amber, she began to sing what became the intro and the style changed from beatlesque to motownesque. After playing the track to ralph murphy he suggested the drums come in on the first verse and just keep it rocking. The demo was half ballad then into full band.”
Pat Kelly at the grand piano
There are two versions of the song — full band and simply piano and voice, the latter used during the closing credits. I especially love that performance. It’s effortless and beautiful.
This Time – Ambers Dragon
“I’ll be just fine…..this time.”
All photos by Pat Blythe except Ambers Dragon, Pat Kelly, Tranzac signage, and the exterior of the Palais Royale
YouTube, Pat Kelly, Wikipedia, personal experiences, my mind, Google
Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.
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In “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who shot much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts, Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local GTA music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!