Elvis and the Elephants

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

Full disclosure, I heard about this last night on a recent Ted Talk on NPR on the subject of becoming wise and you couldn’t not love the story of Elvis, the Elephant.

Sorry, the man himself wasn’t there but couldn’t resist that picture. Anyways..

The great thing about this story of this animal who got it’s name due to a disability that caused her to walk with Elvis’s leg motion, was how the other elephants would help it along and walk at this animals speed to not leave her behind.

The metaphor can’t be missed. It’s not that a single person can’t have joy or fun alone but, just like the herd, we are social animals too. Imagine if we walked at the speed of our slowest member.

One of the challenges I think is right now before you, and is the reason that you can read this right now. You see hundreds of years ago you were either royalty or you weren’t. If you weren’t you worked for the kings, in the fields or what have you. You didn’t know a better life and didn’t need to. It was like living vicariously through the King. If everything was good at the castle we were doing great! Way to go us!

But now we all want to be king. From Tony Robbins to Top Gun we got hammered with you could be number one, live like a rock star, blah blah, and well, how can that work for everyone?

Sorry for those who were expecting my usual creativity blog thing, I will go back to that too and it’s still me, but this is one of my strongest beliefs, held when I’ve done well and not.

You can’t have joy over here while they are not allowed it over there and they know about it to it’s finest detail and expect nothing to go wrong. From across the planet between governments to between family members, making life the heaven that Freddie Mercury sang about isn’t just “nice” or “cute” or “utopian” it’s better business.

I genuinely believe that you do not get away with anything. It’s like starting your work week at the office by cursing your coworkers up and down in the first hour.

What’s that week gonna be like then? Not a great plan, huh?

Same in the rest of world. You can treat someone horribly and be a dick, but from that you set waves in motion that have an effect. As a member of the world, this effect effects you. It can’t not. Maybe in a small way.

Reminds me of working at coffee shops. I’d see some…er…”individual” get harsh with an employee while that employee was trying to finish their order.

What would happen every single time? The employee would be thrown off there game more than ever, drop coffees, screw up horribly and things would slow right down for that same individual. It’s like yelling at a down hill skier. *Smack!* *🌲*. If the person treated the other with respect, both people would have had a better transaction.

Then add this problem of disparity to the present social media obsession that makes tv-generation of the 80s look like nothing, and…well, I think it’s the reason some older guy like me wants to bring it up.

I don’t, for my meager part, want to eventually leave this world like this without at minimum saying something. It isn’t just ideal, cute or nice if we work together for everyone’s benefit.

It’s how we stay together. We can’t be divided like this.

And now with everyone saying there side is from above and there side is from below, it reminds me too much of a holy war. Those never end good.

Is all lost?

No. But it comes down to you and I, members of the herd. We don’t need a political figure in a suit to tell us to let Elvis catch up. We can just stop.

———

Todays musical special is an absolute classic favorite of mine

Lazy Calm by the Cocteau Twins

Kind of works with my idea of everyone chilling out lol. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Aww, should have picked that. My bad. 😉

Cheers,

Tom

Quiet Thunder of the Creative Soul

It is so easy to believe that talent is reserved for a special few, ordained with a cosmic birthmark, and that this world the creative is theirs alone.

Not only is this wrong but that the world of creative thought does not belong to the world of the arts alone.

Marketing is said to be a modern art form (and I don’t mean the artist who supplied the company with those nice stock images), and that like every form it has to creatively adapt to a changing world. The “our brand is whiter than the competition…look!” days ended ages ago.

When you walk into any business from a cafe to a car dealership, sure you’re taken with an attractive product, but the way things work, or what makes this place different stands them apart. (Positive attitude helps in these cases of course, but even that comes from a form of ingenuity)

From my time in pitching ideas to producers, other writers and networks, it is the idea, the creative twist that is key.

I remember listening to a favorite musical artist and for a large portion of the album it was just the band jamming. Now it sounded good, but there was not much spectacular about it. It was a band jamming through chords with a guitarist going for it. I’m being probably harsh here but I remember hanging out in a record label head office in downtown Victoria ages ago and watching how the owner would give a new CD a few seconds to get his interest. If nothing stood out, out it went. Like me, and most listeners, he knew a good guitarist can play that way, a drummer and bass can set a groove, but if all this and the song doesn’t go somewhere special, it’s just nice packaging. What’s in the package?

**Industry Insider!!**

Ok, it’s not that amazing. A pitch document to get the ball started on a show, is basically one page with a “logline” or “elevator pitch” at the top that does it in one sentance. The latter being the notion that if you were in, let’s say NBC and some top cat got on with you (and you were super confident too) you could explain your cool idea before he got to his floor.

You got three minutes. Go.

As you can see from that, how fancy you write, or jam over a B flat diminished chord, or can brew a coffee or whatever it is isn’t going to help.

It’s having that idea that sets you from the pack. One favorite show from back in the day was Early Edition. It was back in the nineties (I know, it was a simpler time 😉)

All about the cat, bout the cat.

I remember thinking you could almost see the one page and the logline.

It’s about a guy who gets tomorrow’s newspaper today.

Just that. Like Lord of the Rings with the one ring, that idea is the little motor that just keeps purring ( badum pum pish!) and everything around it just gives it packaging.

Speaking of bands, Stewart Copeland said that with the Police

It became clear that Andy and I were just nice packaging for Sting’s songs.

So just because you just have an idea but never did this or that on the technical level, you are not out of the running. Those technical things you can get around. You can get creative with that too, creative with creativity. You can even hire out for someone who can help you find that sound. They will want to get it for you as they want to be hired back.

It just takes one idea to rock the world.

Bring your thunder.

Got up a bit late today so I admit I reverted to an old working music classic (also good for driving, resting, though if you’re tired while driving this wouldn’t work lol)

R. Carlos Nakai – Canyon Trilogy

If you haven’t heard this CD, it’s become something of a classic. Recorded in the Grand Canyon, it is Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai, playing alone and creating beautiful ambient spaces with the canyon’s natural reverb and delay.

My parent’s discovered it in Tofino BC on Canada’s Pacific Coast and it always takes them back to that favorite place amongst the ocean and wind swept forests.

Enjoy!

Cheers 🙂

Tom

Embrace your bored face

Two things, couldn’t resist. And two, how olds that PC because…to say it in a contemporary sense… 😍 But the real point of this actually stems from some audio I was listening at work to yesterday, and I’ll post a link to that.

We have an entire generation coming up with no or little concept of being bored, special thanks to the thing I’m typing on and you may be reading from.

The irony of this piece is not lost on me.

But it is really worth considering how much of your time is spent, device in hand. Back in the 80s we were concerned about the “tv generation” but this clearly blows that out of the water. This TV comes with you, rewards you with activity and suggests you get more interactive for more rewards.

The apps are designed by companies that vie for your attention, so of course you are being manipulated from the moment you turn one of the main apps on.

I know only too well how hard it is to go the full Network, though it is tempting…

Not from the movie Network, but totally worth it…

One great challenge just to step up is try the first and last hour of your day being offline. I mean, I do this amongst a host of other sm so there is definitely a mix of thoughts which is funny and at the same kind, a little reminiscent for anyone who either smoked or quit. It makes you feel like you “Always had that then, and you can of course quit when you want.”. As if I wasn’t a writer or musician before all this. But it makes you feel as if you will be missing out.

Anyways have a listen to this Ted Radio Hour from NPR. Yes, again, I’m suggesting an online source through probably an app.

Anyway, think of how you can go wandering without bringing your precious with you.

Oh yeah…I said it. Anyways, here’s Guy Ross…

Listen to : Attention Please on NPR

Cheers,

Tom

Can You Relate?

“You make yourself happy by making the other person happy” Alec Calendar

When it comes to quotes, I certainly know there are more famous ones, but I like that for it’s ramifications when you spin it out.

This works in any relationship from the macro of a couple to as large as between sides. I don’t believe you get away with letting waves of anger out. It troubles you and even if you’re in the right it’s a mess. I’ve been on both sides of the counter when someone starts blasting some employee for not being flawless. What’s interesting about this is that it only ever has the opposite desired effect. You more horrible energy you inject into the situation, the more impossible it gets to the point that you know the employee could not spell their own name, or the word “the”.

I have two self created quotes, which means that I believe them, made them and am pretty sure that I am right about it.

1) Nothing is simple

2) For every attack is a defense.

I don’t know how amazing these are or even if they are completely mine (don’t actually care about that bit, I more want to get the old man point across)

With the first, things are more complex that we may may realize. I firmly do not believe that there is bad people over there and good people over in some other direction. That is cartoon world thinking. Everything is far more complex than that. It reminds me of a lady talking about working with the mob. The men where the most soft spoken, polite and friendly she ever met with lines like “hey, don’t use bad language in front of the ladies.”. But as soon as “business” was on the table, then it was like they switched into that role, like an iron mask came down. You cannot see inside someone’s soul, no matter if you believe in Judeo-Christian beliefs or what have you.

“Even the very wise can not see all ends” Gandalf the Grey

My Mom would love this, because I’ve been more recently learning about St. Francis of Assisi who saw everyone from a worm to a king as both equal and a brother or sister, with no judgement. To him (and of course being of his religion) there was only one judge.

Now of course this thinking is way easier said than done. Here in Victoria we have struggles with poverty, homelessness and addiction. It’s very easy to sound like something between Dickens and a 60s song until you have to work in range of an outreach center where the unpredictability of some folks can be unnerving. I grew up in a quiet Canadian suburb in the 80s. I like where I live to be just boring as hell. I think most people would sleep better if their surroundings looked as quiet as Hobbiton on a Sunday evening. But we aren’t mean, nasty or evil for feeling that. That’s because the mess of humanity is not simplistic.

For every attack is a defense. I came up with this about Ollie and Emma, the TV show I cowrote back in the day.

Click here to see the show

It was sort of an idea about bringing people into another culture or an idea, by making them feel welcome and not blaming them for what’s been before.

I genuinely don’t believe anyone has ever been abusive, aggressive or confrontational with another that caused the other to think “oh, I wonder if they are right?”

I genuinely believe that you could have an enemy down under you about to slip into eternity and they won’t think that either. Their last words will simply be damning you.

And I’d say that last one is pretty much the most assertive argument.

I’m not saying you can’t argue. Debate and working things out is a human gift. One of my favorite scenes is between Robin Williams and another professor in Dead Poets Society

where they don’t agree and have a debate on the true value of poetry in academic setting. They finish their debate and are both smiling as they eat next to each other. It’s about the debate, not personal. It’s about being able to discuss something, even passionately without thinking your opponent is somehow evil or suspect. You have more ability to argue effectively if you know why the other person’s view is occurring, not just that it is.

I remember when someone tried to explain to me that my choice of music was “bad” and they made a mix cassette of what I “should” listen to.

On the way home I was so annoyed I threw the tape and broke it.

Years later another friend put a CD in front of me at work and went “You might like that”

That CD became an instant favorite.

One is an attack, the other let me discover truth for myself.

When it came to understanding my girlfriend’s First Nations culture, (not that I now see myself as some expert because I certainly do not, but…) it wasn’t because someone “put it on me”. It was because I was welcomed in by families and it just naturally led me to want to know, to ask the questions and make those distinctions for myself. It’s like when I learn music. If I read it or it’s told to me I might eventually memorize it, but If I learned it by ear and made physical notes, it will be down for months to come.

Have an awesome day.

Cheers,

Tom

😊

PS Title comes from this awesome song by Richard Fahl. I mentioned him in my old Westsound Magazine project and this tune is a smooth acoustic favorite. Click and chill 😉

Can You Really Relate?

Love, Sex and other things blown out of proportion

I know…oh, behave!  But this subject seems to need talking, more and more as things get confused.  In some less-known tribal communities in the present day everyone walks about either nude or mostly nude and the number of sexual assaults or sexual challenges are through the floor non-existent.  These people still “do it” and I can’t imagine it doesn’t still feels good but it is simply a part of life.

If nothing else mankind’s fascination with this subject is the stuff of legend…both love and sex. Both are the subject of songs, poems and while they are connected…love is seen as the softer, magical thing and sex is like it’s darker seedier side that dare not speak it’s name.

Then there’s the recent Incel thing which first makes you laugh until you realize how serious they are and how angry that gets people. It’s the same reason that I think “Friends with benefits” and casual stuff of either side doesn’t work. There is still powerful emotion going on. Indeed with the writing of this I have to steer the ship somewhat carefully as I want to explain that a) it’s all going to be ok and b) no, I don’t discount how you might feel.

I really believe that there is someone for everyone and that even if it takes a while before that 1st time, it will eventually happen. Physically there is no kind of person not attractive to someone, it’s simply that we have put certain looks and body types up as the it girl and it boy. Go back a few hundred years and larger people were it as that, like in African cultures, suggested wealth. One of the challenges is of course the thing both you, dear reader, and I are staring at right now. Now of course I love my ability to make use of devices and technology to put out content and connect but it is still over a synthetic machine. We are social animals in the first place. We are tribal and family centric beings, even though many families have problems so your families may not be of a “traditional” set up (may instead be a group of friends, step parents, something else). As such we need to actually be out with other beings in a physical sense. That is the one thing no app can ever, ever do is recreate the physical presence of other people. It’s been “adult material’s” one failing since Playboy first hit the shelves, it can never recreate the actual size perspective, warmth and so on of (for men with this, in traditional sense) a romantic partner. Hey but if you need that until the real thing comes along, “whatever gets you through the night…”

It’s so funny with sex advice and love advice you see all over magazines and now online as well though. I take the line from a terrific British comedy and recently played with it in a song about how this idea could really make it all work. I’m a sucker for hippy like liberalism, I fully admit (are all hippys liberals? Another discussion for another day I suppose).

Anyways the comedy is called May to December

And the quote from it was “You make yourself happy by making the other person happy.”

Just that.

What’s great about it is that it’s not about what you want, other than seeing her/him smile. Knowing you made his/her day. I think the other thing is then the joy of building something like a family.

I grew up a few friend nerd by the way so if this is you please believe me when I say that you’re not a lost cause. What helped me? Other people. But in order for that to happen, I went to work, started playing that bass I just got in bands (you don’t have to by the way, this is my example), got involved in other stuff. This probably made me less an impossible mess around people. Things weren’t easy. Still aren’t but I like what that one woman said about men she would date…

“Men are like wine. They have to be crushed and go through it a few times before they are something I want to have dinner with.”

She’s a comedian, so calm down…I don’t mean you need to be beat down but experience does come from learning with comes from bad judgement so use this phone to find out what you can do today outside of your four walls and get yer shoes.

Trust me, the friends, love and yes, the sex, will be worth it.

Cheers,

Tom

Unconventional love

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It took me a bit to come up with an unconventional love for today’s prompt after going through the discussion about love a few days back.  Love for people and pets is considered understandable fair game that no one would question you for and so anything outside that box is naturally going to seem strange.  There was the runner up of the characters I create but as someone who is putting them self out there as a writer that seemed a bit cheesy.  But at the same time so does this as a musician.  I can only suppose that cheese is inherant within this subject.  As a barista a love of coffee…same.  As a man love of women…I probably should just leave that one alone.  You get the idea.

So I chose headphones.  It’s not naughty by any stretch of the imagination.   And no, I’ve never walked around listening to naughty noises.  Though I could see the surreal quality of listening to amore secretly while taking public transport to return bottles.  I think it would get old fast and I would probably prefer podcasts or music in its place.

But with that extreme concept aside it does show the reason I enjoy them so much.  Within those speakers you have total freedom to create a world of enjoyment that is tailored to what you want.  It’s a wonderful chance to explore something new while you are already in transit, feel the comfort of something heard before, or stay dialed in with local radio.  I know when I use to do Janitorial my connection to local talk radio made every bit of difference as I didn’t feel quite as disconnected to the rest of the world.  These recent ones are Bluetooth so I can also make phone calls from them, though this isn’t always best as you do get to look a bit strange talking like that, but people can suppose it is Bluetooth.  I have also used my headphones as I mentioned before to “test drive” music I have created, taking it out of the home studio context and setting it against the world outside.  As a cleaner I have also spent loads of time with, well, what use to be books on tape but is now podcasts, downloads and things that end with “this is Audible.”

You can use them before work like audio caffeine to get you going. You can switch to a soft playlist to slow things down again.  Another unconventional love I nearly used was that of public transport actually because when you get a decent spot (which is what failed this title as it is not always possible) you can use headphones to create a insular world of quiet ambience and with another honorable mention, my 300 page notebooks, you can use this world to create while you are already on the go.  I created not only ideas this way but entire characters have come from these moments in the back of a low floor double decker passing Uptown on the way to Craigflower and Tillicum where I use to live.  Longer the ride the better.  With headphones on and my Memo app (yet another) I planned my entire last move while supposedly “stuck” on a BC Ferry returning from Christmas holidays.

If you listen to music this way it actually spurs you to discover more music as you naturally want to expand the range of what you hear.  It is where I discovered Karl Pilkington and the Ricky Gervais Show, headphones on, cleaning my way through a newly renovated office.  I also listened in that same place to Sol Stein on writing, which I can’t praise highly enough.  Between those two gentleman’s work was quite possibly my drive to create comedy because a year later I was on the set of my first film shoot.  That film didn’t work out, but my present project with Cheri Jacobs continues to build towards completion.  It’s called Ollie and Emma and if you haven’t seen that yet, please check us out on one of our social media platforms.

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And Instagram too! 🙂

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Cheri Jacobs and I


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Ollie and Emma - The Series

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