Pat Blythe – Fluff ‘n stuff…..and music

Hi, my name is Pat Blythe…..just in case you forgot!

Welcome to 2021! It’s been five weeks…..five columns since you’ve heard from me. Such a lot (and that’s putting it mildly) has happened globally, but especially south of our border. Every major news network is on it…..so I’m not. Today’s column will be one of lightness and fluff…..maybe a little fairy dust and little nonsense. I feel we could use some twaddle and trivia.

First off…..this morning’s observation. I’m not sure if the spot on the couch (my office) where I spend so much time has taken on the shape of my butt, or my butt has taken on the shape of the couch. Either way, it’s not looking good! “Couch butt”….there’s a new one to add to our ever expanding lexicon of words. Merriam’s will pick it up shortly I’m sure.

Second…..again another observation. Why does time seem to ramp up speed the more years you pile on? I figure at the rate time is passing, each year will become a mere minute which means each day is a zeptosecond (and yes, that’s a real word) which means I’ll reach the age of 75….like…..tomorrow!!!!

Third…..THE burning question of the day. Why does the first cup of coffee of the day taste so damn good??!!! Subsequent coffees are meh!

Morning coffee…..

Cruising through FB, IG and email and wherever my eyes take me, there are all sorts of innocuous bits and pieces to fill space and the screen on your computer. Considered “items of interest” to the various news organs that publish a great deal of pap, to the general population they keep us somewhat entertained for a brief moment in time. I offer up the following “flotsam and jetsam” of suggestions, recommendations, ideas, and blather for 2021……

Here’s one from The Guardian…..Swap your morning coffee for an afternoon cuppa. Ummmm……NO!!! According to the writer, since our “morning ‘wake-up’ hormone, cortisol, is almost at maximum…..a strong cup of coffee on top of that doesn’t make you more alert – it simply throws a few matches on to an already raging bonfire….” What the hell are they thinking? I need all the matches I can get when I swing my legs out of bed in the morning. In fact, that bonfire is looking pretty good! As for an afternoon cuppa…..cuppa is a reference for a “cup of tea”, not coffee. As much as I love a good cuppa, coffee is my choice of dynamite in the a.m.

Snoozefest…….

Another section of the same Guardian piece goes on to suggest that we should not be using the alarm clock snooze button. Now I don’t know about you, but when I have to get up early for something really important, like getting the garbage to the curb before the truck passes my house, or you’ve offered to drive someone to the airport at some godforsaken hour, I simply don’t sleep. I’m awake well before that damnable alarm goes off, and get my best sleep in that 15 minutes between the first and second slam on the snooze button.

When your alarm goes off, “your heart rate soars as cortisol and adrenaline stream through the body.” Hitting the snooze button puts your body through “the same biological torment” over and over again until you finally drag your tired and sad ass out of bed. The article goes on to say this can, over time, affect your mood as well as your physical health. That may be, but only if you’re using the snooze button every single day. Me…..once in a blue moon so, thanks, but I’ll snooze away. Sometimes it’s the only sleep I’ll get!

Decorating 101…..

I know you’re all on the edge of your seats, quivering in anticipation, ready to learn what the new and innovative home decorating trends will be for 2021. Apparently chintz is back!!!! Comfy cozy, plumped up, floofed up, cushions and couches. The minimalist is a thing of the past. Apparently mid-century modern, once the “design choice du jour”, is no longer according to Vogue. Homey, soothing, calming, loll-about furnishings – something you can sink into, snuggle up and get lost in a good book.

We’re spending more time at home; it’s not just a shit, shower and shave pit stop anymore. It’s now trending towards quality, durable, furniture and décor. Forget IKEA and say hello to your grandma’s chairs, side tables and needlepoint pillows. Out with the beige and blah and in with lots of warm (and bright) colours, and dare I say, a bit of well-placed clutter.  We want an environment that’s reassuring. Think old English sitting room with a big stone fireplace, a hot, steaming cuppa with a welcome scone. Create that image in your home and you’re right in, well…..vogue!

Bamba!

The latest snack craze! Imagine if you will, Cheetos covered in peanut butter. Ya, I had trouble with that one too! My favourite garbage snack is Cheetos Puffs, but definitely not slathered in peanut butter. That’s as bad as bacon and PB. (oh stop!) However, according to Ilana Gordon of The Takeout, “in Israel, no product has quite as much name recognition or commands as much control of the national snack market as Bamba.”  This delectably crunchy snack was introduced in 1964. Sixteen years later, “the snack had become so emblematic of the country’s culture that its mascot—a mawkish cartoon of a diapered peanut-shaped baby—was initially chosen to represent the country in the 2012 London Olympics.” That was later rescinded…..good idea.

Osem Corporation is the company who created and feeds the nation’s Bamba addiction to the tune of 10 million bags per month, making up 25% of Israel’s snack market. If the name sounds like baby talk, there’s a reason behind that. “The company rationalized that the gibberish sounds would inspire children to learn the word early and ask for the product by name…..and they did.” Genius marketing! Bamba is even included in the bags of soldier rations in the Israeli Army. So the next time you’re thinking of experimenting with your taste buds…..Bamba may just be the thing. Me, no thanks.

The trending of Bob Ross…..

Ahhhhh….the joy of painting or The Joy of Painting. Robert Norman Ross, you are trending…..from cosplaying to sending insomniacs into slumber land. Your quiet, soothing demeanor and soft spoken instructions, not to mention your beautiful landscapes, are taking people to their “happy places”. You are indeed the Mr. Rogers of the art world.

 Cosplayers in character as The Joy of Painting TV star Bob Ross at MCM LondonComic Con 2019 at ExCel on October 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo byOllie Millington)

Fondly known as Bob Ross….not be confused with Bob Dobs and promoter of Slack….Ross learned to paint while in the U.S. army. His 20-year stint started as a medical records technician, rising through the ranks to First Sergeant at the clinic at Eilson Air Force Base in Alaska. Having to act tough and mean, “the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to work”, Ross made the lifelong decision not to raise his voice when he left the army. His quick painting technique was adapted and honed on brief breaks during the work day.

Bob Ross doing what he loves

A huge part of today’s pop culture today, Ross has been spoofed in the Family Guy, Deadpool 2, and Smite. YouTube included him in a series with an episode called Bob Ross vs. Pablo Picasso. There’s a board game called Bob Ross: The Art of Chill. Twitch was heavily influential in the reintroduction of Ross to a whole new generation with the launch of a nine-day marathon of The Joy of Painting.  Almost six million viewers tuned in. Ross’s image, phrases and paintings are sold on T-shirts, mugs, socks, coasters…..there’s even Bob Ross a colouring book and a Chia Pet!  Ross died in 1995 of lymphoma. He was only 52.

Creativity……

I remember my mother saying, “only stupid people are bored.” Determined not be stupid, I refused to claim any sense of boredom (even if I was) growing up. I was fortunate that I come from a family of highly creative people. There was always something we could cook up to keep busy or out of mom’s hair. I have musicians, artists and actors on both sides of my family so there really was no excuse. An overactive imagination always helps too!

Most people associate creativity with the arts, but everyone is creative. From survival skills to medical or technological breaththroughs, creativity surrounds us. Look around your home and see all the little things that were fixed or tweaked creatively. We’re not always conventional. According to author Julia Cameron, “creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy – pure creative energy…..we are all creative.”

With all this time we’re spending in our homes, people are teaching themselves new skills, from woodworking and knitting, to photography and painting. More music is being written and there’s more creative experimentation happening with the process of production and distribution. Creativity also spawns fear. We’ve all produced or tried something new only to have it shot down by the most innocuous remark. According to Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, “creativity will always provoke your fear.” We all know we are our own worst critics and our fear will sometimes stop us cold. Acknowledge it and push forward, for without creativity we would have rather backward, and yes, extremely boring world……my mother’s words still ring in my ears. Be like Picasso, make that bull’s head out of a bicycle saddle and handlebars!

Don’t forget the Fluffernutter!!!

The classic PB and marshmallow sandwich! The sandwich is particularly popular in New England, the marshmallow spread having been invented in Massachusetts.  It’s actually been proposed as the official state sandwich! There’s even a festival called “What The Fluff”.

…..not fluff

From the FB page of Tony P & The Pound – “In November 2019, the world suddenly lost Tony Pountney. He was a poet, lover of all creatures great and small, and most of all a great friend. It was his regular habit to post his latest writings to his social media account under the simple announcement of “new one”. Much of his writing was about how he saw the world, how he thought the world saw him, and his feelings about it all.”

(left) Tony Pountney, (right) Jon Nye

“In January of 2020, Jon Nye began to write music to one of those poems. A simple, if not shabby, demo was recorded and passed around to other friends. Within weeks, it reached the ear of producer/engineer Ronnie “Dawg” Robson.”

The poetry of Tony Pountney has now been put to music by a collective of musicians including Scott Thibeault, Alexis Von Kraven and Bryan Fischer. Tony’s legacy will go towards helping Toronto Animal Services, with the sale of each copy of these songs.

Jon Nye and his wonderfully delightful wife Cara are from my hometown of London, and are dear friends of mine. Jon is a bassist who performed with my “daughter” Colleen and me at Dora Keogh a few years ago. This project is close to Jon’s heart and is truly a labour of love.

Search for You – Tony P & The Pound

…..and in closing

Oh there’s more but this enough for now. All the little tidbits I keep discovering I will share in future columns. I’ll let you know when I locate the fairy dust. I know it’s around here somewhere!

Breakdown – Dirty Loops

Richard Flohil posted the 2017 version of this next video a few days ago on FB. Joss Stone is a singer I’ve followed (and loved) for years. Soft-spoken in her lovely, lilting English accent, she is vocal powerhouse of song. Known for her barefooted performances, Stone is has been pouring out her songs for audiences since the age of thirteen. This is one performer I would love to see in concert.

Son of a Preacher Man – Joss Stone (2006)

Son of a Preacher Man – Joss Stone (2017)

The Mahers – Lullaby for the World

Ooh La La – The Faces

Ferry Cross the Mersey – Gerry and The Pacemakers

I’d Love to Change the World – 10 Years After

BL/FF (Fake Friends) – Monowhales (at the ElMo)

World on Fire

Never use the phrase “in my time”. Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life

Stay safe. Stay sane.

Cheers!

=PB=

Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

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! 

2 Responses to “Pat Blythe – Fluff ‘n stuff…..and music”

  1. Marlene Schuler Says:

    Great relaxing read. Thanks for not repeating all the bad stuff that is happening. One can see that anywhere.

  2. Damon Hines Says:

    Welcome back, and looking forward to much more in ’21, Pat …bird thou ever art…lol 8>D

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