Pat Blythe – On your mark… report……and music (of course)

…..and so it has begun. Music is starting to break out everywhere and many artists are “quietly rushing” to bust through the starting gate. With fewer venues, and so far, slightly smaller audiences, (which is going to mean a slightly lower pay day in the short term). I think the gates are going to get so jammed you won’t be able to slip a blade of grass through (among other things). It’s going to be quality over quantity so I hope all those drumsticks, keyboards and guitars are “sharpened”, tuned and at the ready. There’s been roughly 18 months of “practice” time.

As part of the Horseshoe Hootenanny Livestream series Skye Wallace and Julian Taylor performed before a live audience at the Horseshoe Tavern June 24. Hawksley Workman and The Wolves perform on August 12 at Lee’s Palace and the Birds of Bellwoods performed July 23. Tanika Charles and The Wonderfuls performed at Paisley Village July 31. Tim Bovaconti performed at the Gala Day Beer Garden on Ward’s Island on August 2. Danny Michel performed at the Hillside Festival (on only six hours notice) on Guelph Lake Island in Guelph, Ontario.  Sarah Smith was recently returned to her home town of London, Ontario for a visit, and performed a number of live shows in and around the area.  Brass Transit has begun performing on both sides of the border, most recently at Guildwood GO Station as part of the Beaches International Jazz Festival. Greg Wyard has been performing a Timothy’s Pub, Waring House and Huff Estates.  Blues singer Cheryl Lescom performed at the Belmont Village Bestival July 31. Blues guitarist Frank Consentino performs in Fenelon Falls, August 14, Forever Seger performs in Niagara Falls, N.Y. August 14 and I do believe Samantha Martin has Delta Sugar’s tour booked for a fall European tour…..and the beat goes on.

The Beat Goes On – Sonny & Cher

As we slide into August, with more and more of everything opening up, it’s beginning to feel more like summer. Backyards, parks, patios and driveways are coming alive with the sounds of music. (Bet that gave you an earworm!) As I mentioned in last week’s column, I will be photographing my first outdoor concert in almost two years. I sure hope there’s more “photo ops” before the season ends. Let’s not get stupid folks. We want to keep this going so mask up when necessary and keep those paws clean. Truly….let’s keep live alive!

Furiously Happy

I’m pretty sure somewhere inside the 300+ columns I’ve written, there is something about this book… least a mention. If I haven’t, shame on me. I purchased it at least five years ago and would read a bit, put it down for weeks, read some more, put it down for months, and I suppose the last time I read a chapter or two, I put it aside for years. I’ve just finished it. Furiously Happy is one of the best and most insightful books I’ve read…..maybe ever (possibly).

The author, Jenny Lawson, suffers from debilitating anxiety and depression, excruciatingly painful rheumatoid arthritis, and a long history of schizophrenia and psychosis. She also has one of the most overactive and inventive imaginations I have ever had the pleasure to enter (which is also part of her illnesses). The woman knows better wormholes than I do. The book is hilarious (I snorted laughing throughout the book), insightful, sad, heartbreaking, poignant, ridiculous…..and, if you’re paying attention, an education in mental illness.

The almost terrifying and enormous power of the mind is laid out in all its glory. The control and influence is frightening and fascinating. You see the inner workings of a mentally ill mind, which is particularly important for people who are unable to relate personally to mental illness. The book has been called Mental Health Empathy 101. It gives me (at least) pause, and helps me to better understand all the beautiful people I have come to know and love, who cope with various mental challenges, and more importantly, how the world just wouldn’t be the same without them.

From the chapter, It’s Like Your Pants Are Bragging At Me, “On the upside, yesterday I taped a Ziploc bag to the inside of my skirt so I’d have someplace to store my everything-that-didn’t-fit-in-my-new-bra and it worked really well, so now I’m working on a cape made solely from stapled-together Ziploc bags. It’ll be awesome because I’ll be able to see all the stuff in my Ziploc pockets (unlike my purse, which just eats everything, like a tiny black hole). And it’ll also double as a rain poncho. And, I can put a stiletto knife and a ‘How to Stab People’ pamphlet in it so assholes know not to fuck with me and I don’t even have to pull it out and threaten them. There is no downside to this!”

This is next on my “must read” list >>>

I cannot recommend this book enough. To anyone who suffers from any of what I just described; to those families who don’t understand mental illness and just cannot “go there”; to those of you who care for anyone who is mentally ill; to those who have experienced the suicide of a close friend or family member; and those who simply seek better awareness….. Furiously Happy will open your mind (and your heart) to world of understanding and possibilities. Besides, she’s a really close friend of Brené Brown and who doesn’t love Brené Brown!

The Author Jenny Lawson

From the chapter It’s All About How You Look At It (The Book of Nelda), “When I look at my life I see high-water marks of happiness and see the lower places where I had to convince myself that suicide wasn’t an answer. And in between I see life. I see that the sadness and tragedy in m life made the euphoria and delicious ecstasy that much more sweet. I see that stretching out my soul to feel every inch of horrific depression gave me more room to grow and enjoy the beauty of life that others might not ever appreciate. I see that there is a dust in the air that will eventually settle onto the floor to be swept out the door as a nuisance, but before that, for one brilliant moment I see the dust motes catch sunlight and sparkle and dance like stardust. I see the beginning and the end of all things, I see my life. It is beautifully ugly and tarnished in just the right way. It sparkles with debris. There is wonder and joy in the simplest of things. My mother was right.

It’s all in the way you look at it.”

Easy – Birds of Bellwoods

Nobody Rules You – Danny Michel

Suffering for You – Skye Wallace

”This video symbolizes inner turmoil and a feud with one’s own mental health.” – Skye Wallace

Just A Little Bit – Julian Taylor

This is one of my all time favourite “summer” songs with a message of hope.

Saturday in the Park – Brass Transit

Loving You is Easy – Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

Two Steps (Tour Video) – Tanika Charles and The Wonderfuls

A reminder of what was and what will be once again plus you get to hear Tanika and her wonderful band!

Hunger – Florence + The Machine

Reflecting on the period of his life when he wrote “Help!”, John Lennon reported said, “I was fat and depressed, and I was crying out for help.”

In 2015, Paul McCartney shared his take on the song and Lennon’s mental health: “He didn’t say, ‘I’m now fat and I’m feeling miserable.’ He said, ‘When I was younger, so much younger than today.’ In other words, he blustered his way through. We all felt the same way. But looking back on it, John was always looking for help. He had [a paranoia] that people died when he was around: His father left home when John was 3, the uncle he lived with died later, then his mother died. I think John’s whole life was a cry for help.”

Help – The Beatles

Breathe me – Sia

Pennyroyal Tea – Nirvana (unplugged)

Kurt Cobain said in a 1993 interview with Impact that “Pennyroyal Tea” is about dealing with severe depression and how it feels.

Good Morning Starshine – Oliver

(Just because….it gives me joy!)

Tomorrow – Strawberry Alarm Clock

I remember when I bought this 45. Still have it and it still warms my heart and makes me smile!

DBAWIS will be going on hiatus from August 16 through to September 6. I’ll be back September 7 with summer reflections and what we have to look forward to in the fall. However, the podcasts will continue.

This week’s podcast is John-Angus MacDonald, lead guitarist for The Trews. Insightful, thoughtful… was wonderful to meet and chat. I love the story on how the band got its name! The Trews have a new album coming out this fall.



Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.


“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 also 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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