Pat Blythe – Friends, Frolic, Food and Fun
Sunday, October 4 there was a gathering of 27 people in my backyard, on my back deck and in my kitchen (much to Peter Kashur’s chagrin). A belated birthday BBQ for Bob Segarini with some of his DBAWIS writers, and a sort of “welcome home/back” to friend, Greg Simpson, who really doesn’t get “back east” too often after returning to B.C. almost five years ago to live near his family. This gave him the opportunity to get together with people he doesn’t often get to spend time with.
It was indeed a celebration of friendship with good conversation (and as somebody mentioned) no music or cameras. New friends and connections made and for some, picking up longstanding ties that have been carried through the ups and d owns and ins and outs of the past 40-odd years or so.
Chef du jour was Peter Kashur who designed the menu, managed the two sous chefs (Betty and Veronica) and who admittedly, utterly demolished any feng shui that was remaining in my kitchen. Having said that, kitchens are made to be used, although next time I’m putting newspaper on the floor and hiring Molly Maid for the cleanup. Son Thom was in charge of figuring out a new kind of can opener and was assigned to open four of the six Guinness for the tandoori chicken to sit on. After knocking all four cans of Guinness off the counter (that was me) earlier, Thom, in his concentration over figuring out the opener, overlooked this tiny detail. Needless to say, the first can he opens explodes in the kitchen, creating the perfect arc from one side to the other, hitting the cupboards (inside and out), the ceiling, the floor, the wall….it was EVERYWHERE! I am still finding spots. All we could do was stand there staring in awe and amazement. It was right out of a frickin’ movie. Cut! It would have been impossible as a do-over. Tension released, back to mad panic. Guest are arriving momentarily and I feel like someone plugged me in and pressed the “don’t stop til you drop” switch. Chopping, cutting, grinding, scraping…every single cutting board I own was used and my sisters can attest to the number of cutting boards I harbour (it’s a standing joke for them). As for bowls, even the cereal bowls were used for mixing.
Now, I have a very well-stocked kitchen as my husband Chris also loved to cook. I’m still discovering utensils and geegaws he purchased, some of which I have no clue what they’re used for. I even have a spurtle (look that one up) and each year contestants in Scotland can compete for the Golden Spurtle Award.
Every type of cooking or prep item Kashur asked for, I had. Even the requested mortise and pestle, which, believe or not, Chris pinched from his science lab in high school. We had enough food to feed one medium size army. Ribs, tandoori chicken, German potato salad, Indian ghee rice, veggies and fruit trays, spinach salad, cheese trays and the appropriate accoutrements, Segarini’s famous deviled eggs, Veronica’s (aka Roxanne) rock ‘n roll chicken wings, snacks, peach pie, apple/blueberry crumble….I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Many of you went home with “doggie bags” and my fridge is still full. I have two coolers full of beer on ice….two days later….and I don’t drink beer.
We had four barbeques going in the backyard for the chickens and the ribs. Chef Kashur put Michael Tomasek in charge of barbequing the tandoori chickens with Thom filling in on the back end. I’m sure Michael wasn’t expecting to work for his dinner. A huge thank you to you sir. I have no idea who finished off the ribs on the Q. Between cutting up and arranging cheeses, pouring drinks, tailing Kashur around with the cleanup cloth, getting munchies out, setting tables and whatever else I did….I managed to squeeze in a single G&T. Thank you to Jain McMillian for my very special, imported bottle of Bombay Sapphire. This will be lovingly enjoyed….sparingly.
What an absolutely fantastic day and I thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for making this a most marvelous way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We will do it again….next year.
….and now a little food for the soul (or the feet)
Headline — “Science Has Determined the Most Feel Good Songs”. Science has determined this. I had to read on. Apparently cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Jacob Jolij of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands has determined the top ten songs that are “scientifically best at making you feel good.” Although Jolij has established the “key elements to an extraordinary feel-good song (FGI) are positive lyrics (L) a high tempo of 150 beats per minutes (BPM), and placing it in the third major key (K)“ the analysis wasn’t as easy as crunching numbers. A “feel good song” is rather tricky to define. “Music appreciation is highly personal and strongly depends on social context, and personal associations. In that respect, the idea of a “feel good formula” is a bit odd — factoring in all these personal aspects is next to impossible, in particular if you want to come up with a quantitative feel good formula. Basically, what you need are song features that you can express in numbers.”
Commissioned by British electronics brand Alba, they asked Jolij if he could find a general pattern to the songs respondents had reported on in a survey regarding everything from musical tastes to the sounds they listen to, to feel happier. If he found a pattern, could he come up with a formula? He did.
Most of the feel good songs were either about positive events or make no sense at all. So how did the playlist get created? “We simply took the most often mentioned song per decade…they fit the ‘formula’ reasonably well.” The formula was applied to 126 songs and feedback from music listeners was also taken into account. “A feel good song is very personal,” Dr Jolij says. “Music is intimately linked with memory and emotion, and these associations strongly determine whether a song will put you in a good mood or not. However, there are some key criteria for composers to consider when creating feel good songs – namely lyrical theme, musical key, and tempo. Combine these three ingredients together and you have the formula for the perfect ‘feel-good’ song.”
The number one song is from my favourite band and my number one life “anthem”. Frank Gutch, number two is for you. Number three, everybody’s favourite California band. Take a listen, one of them will put a smile on your face.
- Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
2. Dancing Queen – Abba
3. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
4. Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
5. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
6. I’m A Believer – The Monkees
7. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
8. Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
9. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
10. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves
Jolij also discovered the most feel-good songs are from the 80s. Apparently the past 25 years weren’t exactly up to snuff.
Wikipedia, Tech Insider, Pajiba, Q107, MusicFeeds. YouTube
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 husbandChristopher 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!