Pat Blythe – Blathering….mom….music

Here we go again. It is me or are Wednesdays getting closer and closer together? Reclining on the couch chaise (my office) with my nose buried in the laptop my eyes are turning square and the days are blending together. It’s a gorgeous morning with the promise of a sunnier, more seasonal week ahead. Ontario is opening up…..sort of. Folks are flocking to parks, beaches, and parks….we’ll see how this goes. I just wish people would stop griping, some of them quite vociferously and angrily about the “crowds”. Nobody has any idea who lives with whom, who’s been forced to live with whom, who is “bubbling” with whom….too many judgement calls, way too many assumptions, accusations and downright bitching…..none of it constructive. Social media is rife with it.

I’d also like to add that two metres is 6.5 feet if my days in math class are correct. Let’s at least use the proper math!

We all want to be outside. As long as folks are not hacking up a lung all over the place, wrapping everyone in their arms, smooching everything in sight, talking or singing six inches from your face, I’m pretty sure you’ll be okay. There’s far more danger in enclosed spaces than there is outside communing with Mother Nature. Take precautions, wear a mask if you’re so inclined, if you’re sick for heaven’s sake stay home, steer clear of potentially crowded spots on weekends, carry your wipes/sanitizer with you, shop early, don’t ride The Better Way and check your self-righteous piss-offed-ness at the park entrance please.

Perspective is everything……

Three different camera angles and two different lenses produced vastly different photographs of a supposedly crowded beach in Kitsilano a week or so ago. EVERY picture does tell a story….just make sure it’s the whole story and not one of convenience just to sell a few papers or grab a few eyeballs. Extremely misleading! It’s far too easy to get folks riled up these days. Comments are getting nasty, more hate-filled and downright shameful.

Kitsilano Beach 200mm

So what’s the scoop? Landscape architect Jeff Cutler decided to prove a point. The photo above was taken with a 200mm lens. Pretty crowded looking beach no? A 200mm or 300mm lens compresses the background, bringing everyone closer together. The photo below was taken with a 35mm lens, a much wider angle. It shows people are actually further apart. The aerial view says it all. Maybe not so crowded after all? The majority are distancing rather well. Research it folks. Perspective is everything.

Kitsilano Beach 35mm

Kitsilano Beach – aerial drone shot. Looks like pretty good distancing

A teeny tiny note on gloves…..

Unless you’re prepared to remove and chuck your gloves every time you touch something don’t bother with them. All you’re doing is passing germs around. Washing your hands regularly does more to protect you than wearing gloves. If you ever had the luxury of an overnight stay in the hospital you’ll notice medical personnel don a new pair of gloves when they enter a hospital room (or for every new patient they come in contact with) and toss them when they leave. There’s a reason for that……. I don’t make this shit up. Check the links below.

Yikes!! I can just hear the snap……

There are three million people residing in Toronto, six million in the GTA. If you have a better plan of how to co-ordinate the release of all these bodies on a warm, sunny day after being cooped up for two months with the animals, a blaring TV and screaming kids, then cough up your solution. My past bosses would always say, “if you come to me with a problem, come to me with a solution to the problem.” Yes, there are idiots and assholes, thoughtless jerks and those who insist on letting their dogs run free in areas that are clearly signed, every three feet, that this is a no-no. There will always be bad apples. What’s changed?

Time with mom…..

After isolating for almost eight weeks I decided to head to London and surprise my mom for Mother’s Day. So glad I did. Spent a week with her hanging out, playing dice, walking through Springbank Park, sitting outside A&W chowing down on a hamburger and onion rings, enjoying a coffee in the sun on a park bench down by the river, ordering in dinner, catching up with Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune… was a lovely visit. Shopping entailed me lining up followed by much whizzing through the store with list in hand. Mom sat patiently in the vehicle waiting. I must confess I was also on my computer quite a bit…..I’ve had an inordinate amount of writing assignments from all over the world. Some of them requiring quite a bit of research. Mom’s good with her Sudoko and crosswords…..but still. It was a lovely Mother’s Week. I’ll go again in June.

Mom at her 90th birthday November 2019

One thing about driving the highways…’s actually enjoyable! Traffic is down to a dull roar so leaving the autopilot on 125 for most of the drive had me back in Toronto in 1.5 hours. There are some pluses to this “please stay home” thing.

Missing the nightlife……

The bands that populated the now closed clubs, bars and concert halls of Toronto have not gone far. They’re still around….waiting to bust out. For over five years now I have been following many of them. Accidental discoveries, introductions, recommendations….I’ve watched, written about and photographed so many, even as they morphed into other bands, adding, deleting, changing personnel or names.

A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker”

The launch of the summer music season started with CMW, at least for me. The city hosted thousands of musicians that flooded the city, coming in from all over the world. Every club and sidewalk, from mid-afternoon to the wee, wee hours of the morning was filled with music. I’d traverse the streets of Toronto going from venue to venue, hearing and capturing as many of those artists as I could. I’d walk through my front door at 4am (sometimes 5am), transfer all the photos I took that night onto my computer, climb up the stairs and flop into bed only to get up a few hours later to start all over again. This pattern would be repeated for four days. I loved it and I bloody well miss it!

So now I hunt them down through FB, YouTube, Instagram and sometimes I receive an email or two with clips and videos of newly released music. I’m loving the music but somehow it’s just not the same. Nothing beats traipsing around concert halls, trying to find the best angle without becoming part of the act on stage or creeping along the walls in the dark, staying in the shadows. It’s called stealth mode. The live music just thunders and vibrates through my body as every cell absorbs the sounds. I aim my lens and pray that whomever I’m focusing on doesn’t suddenly disappear behind another musician. It’s a camera game I love and my trigger finger is getting mighty itchy.

Then there’s wading through the crowds at the smaller clubs with one arm reaching skyward, holding the camera up in the air so it doesn’t get damaged (also so I don’t crack a cranium or two with the big lens). Tight shots, crowd shots, crazy face shots, dancing shots, mosh pit shots…, I miss you guys!

The following song, Angels, was posted by Julian Taylor (who has a brief cameo) last night. It’s a very fun, uplifting song, fabulous voices and everyone was having a good time recording this. I love it!

“Angels” is a true collaboration by the Canadian music community. 

It’s a call to action, and a loving thank you message– a “give back” to Canadian healthcare workers. It’s also intended to be a leg up for Canadian musicians whose lives and/or health have been affected by COVID-19.  100% of proceeds will go to the Canada Helps COVID-19 Fund and The Unison Benevolent Fund for Musicians. Please donate today if you can, and look for the single on all digital platforms in the coming days. Click here to donate.

Angels –

Made of Sound – DeeDee7

I See Gold – The Good Lovelies

The We Five – You Were On My Mind

Wait for the World – Jaren Cerf

Give Me Some Hope – Secret Broadcast (street piano session)

Courage My Love – Sugar Hiccup

Rock You – Dirty Loops

Maps – Vintage 1970s Soul Maroon 5 cover ft. Morgan James

Oh….and taxes filed!


Photo of A Girl With A Camera “The Picture Taker” ©2017 Colleen Thornton

Photo of Mom at her 90th birthday and photo montages © 2019 Pat Blythe A Girl With A Camera


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-button7“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto. Together for 34 years, Pat little-red-headed-dancing-girlalso worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

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