First CD project closer…

Morning everyone! Just an update of what’s happening. I am presently putting together my first full length CD which I hope to record in January and then have available spring of 2019. There will also be a CD Release Party for this and I have plans for location and members underway.

Getting ready also for the Holiday season with Cookeilidh as well, with our next show being Saturday and the Victoria Santa Claus parade and Tree Lighting.

Back to the album though, I have been working to flesh out the ideas I’ve already teased out there. I have been doing this little Instagram per day thing for the last while, more of a challenge than anything, and it has been full but honestly, for times sake, I’ll probably slow those down now from daily to a little less (or more depending of what’s going on 😊)

Definite songs for the album in their new form will be She Lives There, Precipice and Secret Star with their rough takes on my Soundcloud

Cheers,

Tom

Morning Page 1

Now, that would be amazing if that was the truth. Ok, maybe not as amazing as some things but living where I do if you have that as the view from your window you are doing pretty well indeed. I took that back when I was making music video ideas and then just ended up playing on the beach. Got to say, this is being done on my landscape phone keyboard and its a little slow like wading through thick soup. Trying to do this the same way as a morning page where you don’t let the so called pen stop moving but I have to stop now and then to let this ridiculous phone accept that I just hit the a in accept. Hot stuff..oh yes and if you are rolling your eyes now just go because this is a morning page, it is just drinking coffee and doing this and it won’t probably get more mind-blowing, unless I’m presently unaware of something. The fan is as usual cooling one side of me. I’m just sitting in bed in grey underwear. I’m not a nudist yet but I am a little like that when everyone’s gone, certainly when it’s hot out. I hate hot weather and on holiday would far rather go north than south. I generally done like my jeans/whatever constitutes jeans as they always have a wallet, belt and more on or around them and as such it’s about as relaxed and comfortable as wearing armor. I do have one silly picture with a “wife beater” (that second word was actually predicted… brilliant). Listening to Low Roar which kind of a thing. It’s like a Tom morning crash course here. Ok…some bits best not said will be left out, but essentially everything vies for the pole position of this 44 year olds “when you first get up”. Coffee first. Don’t freak out, judge or get triggered. It works and tastes good. I pregrind it and keep it as airtight as possible which is not ideal but I don’t want to wake Cece up if she is still sleeping. It’s then coffee, light breakfast and social media until, well usually 8 but I slept in after yesterday being a sleepless mess…anyways after that will be the music which starts with either the bass and headphones or the keyboard down really low. One really cool trick I did a couple years back was I’d have music going from one device and on another I’d have on mute a “flying over Switzerland” video. Just kind of a nice little thing to have humming along next to you while you work. After about 3 hours of practice my goal is either the gym or some other thing. I’m not going any further as that is silly and I didn’t mean to underline just then. There’s no word count on this thing. Morning Pages are supposed to be about 3 pages which for me takes longer than it actually should at about 20-30 min. I know. I blurry eyes. Arm is still sore. Just found out yesterday I have vitamin B12 lack…like a lot and need to get both medicine and shots for that which is what might be causing lots of my health problems. It’s those problems that are the reason for most of the morning schedule but anyways that’s my thing today to get on that. I might wrap this now. I’m technically an hour behind and the moment.

Ok predictive text wants to go..

I mean I don’t know if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any time and I will be there is usually a good day to come in and talk to you soon and have a great day and I..

None of that was real..middle button. Mine’s annoying. It’s like I work for a motor vehicle license place. It’s like I’m Susan Sarandon in the movie. That would be fine, she’s great.

Want to watch stuff on John Cage. He was harsh previously on the avante gaurd (yes it’s spelled wrong..ugh) musician who died when they both were younger (Hard to explain that…and it’s me hitting predictive text middle that hits the underline… surprised I don’t hit the link button)

Anyways let’s do just that.

If you read all of this I’m impressed. Or scared. Or bemused.

Whatever bemused means 😀

Later y’all

I never say that. With me it’s, yeah yeah..

Cheers!

Tom

The Room called OOG

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Hi there!  My name is Cece Sawyer.  I am Tom’s girlfriend and I have a very strange tale to tell.

It all started back when we moved into the little apartment in Victoria, British Columbia a couple years ago.  Tom was always working.  Every single day it was a kiss goodbye before heading out to his office to do writing, heading out to do shows with the band or heading out to clean the big building up in Saanich.  He’d send me little texts now and again to let me know how things were going, and after doing some housework I would keep myself occupied with coming up with ideas or meeting the neighbours.  This would usually happen when I went downstairs to get the mail or do the laundry.

There were two strange things about the building.  One was how the staircase on the front of the building lead to a big empty room with plants.  We live on the top floor so this room is just one floor above us.  I remember when I first went up there.  The room was dark so I actually wondered for a moment if I was intruding on someone else’s space.

“Hello?” I said as I neared the dark room.

It was a bit silly as I found out, turning on the light to reveal a single room on the top of the building, filled with old furniture.  It was like someone had gone to a second hand store and bought everything.  Big leafy green plants were in every corner.  There was an old record player with one of those metal horns that you only see pictures of.  There were old couches that looked like the one my Grandma had in our house on the Beecher Bay Reservation where I was born.

And there were books.  So many books and old copies of National Geographic that I also hadn’t seen since being at Grandma’s house.  She had them in the basement and didn’t want to throw them out because they were Grandpa’s.  I recognized one of the ones that were on the coffee table in the room.  I was from the 1960’s and had a big pull out map of the moon.  There were issues with that classic yellow border about Zimbabwe and Nepal and the first plays in Greece.  I liked reading when Tom was away so at first I would just pop upstairs and go through the books.  Some of them were kept in this one shelf with a glass case and they looked very old, like they had been rescued from a sunken sea chest.  I had to be very careful as I open these books as the binding was very frail and the first couple pages had disappeared.

I did this until months ago when I asked our neighbour about the other room.

Down by the laundry room, and around the corner from the mailboxes was this room or apartment, or at least a door that had no number.  Over the security viewing hole, like an apartment’s door, was the word “OOG.”

To this day I’m not entirely sure why it said that, even with what I know now.  Or I think I have an idea.

Anyways, I noticed after a while that I had never seen anyone ever coming in our out of that door.  I was sure I would bump into someone when I carried our big, round laundry basket downstairs but it never happened.  I feel a little bad about this, but one time I even dared myself to listen closely.  I never had the nerve to knock or go right up to it. 

So, I ended up talking to our neighbour Wayne who had lived next to us on the top floor the whole time.  He’s lived there for just years and he was always going upstairs to take care of the plants. 

“Oh, that’s just storage.  Yeah, no-one actually lives there,” he laughed as he went upstairs with his mail.

So that was that, but don’t worry because it gets way weirder.

It was when I was doing laundry downstairs, in the big white room next to the OOG door.  I had just done the dry cycle and was putting clothes on the long table under the bulletin board.  Everything was going normal as I was taking clothes from the white basket and organizing them when one of the socks fell off the table and went right behind the dryer.  I was annoyed of course, but more relieved it missed the garbage with all the lint in it so I moved that out of the way and went down to reach behind the dryer.  The sock had somehow gone into this little square opening on the back of a dryer which was sort of hard to get to.  After moving the whole dryer a little and squeezing behind there I finally got it and was about to leave when a flash of something got my attention.

It was a key.  Attached to the key was a little brown wooden tag that said, you guessed it, “OOG.”

Now I know what I really should have done.  I should have popped it in the mail slot in the office since it was clearly property of the building and maybe they needed it to get into the storage room.  But maybe they had another key.  Surely they would have noticed if a key went missing.  I sat there kneeling for a bit looking at the little copper colored key and its wooden tag for a moment.  I heard the click of the front door of the building close and some people talking and at that moment the key slipped into my pocket.

I gathered up the rest of my laundry and went upstairs.

With the laundry put away and everything else done, my mind was immediately drawn back to the key.  I seriously tried to not think about it.  That was impossible.  I mean, it couldn’t hurt to look inside the little room.  I mean it was just a storage room and the building manager was only here for an hour in the morning.  It was already the afternoon.  As long as I closed the door behind me, no one would be the wiser.

And that’s exactly what I did, my heart just pounding the whole time until I closed the OOG door from the other side and found the light switch.

It was a storage room, alright.  It wasn’t just boxes but tonnes of stuff that I couldn’t work out what they were for.  The room had been a large bachelor suite on the lower front of the building and light from outside crept through the white curtains into the low light from the overhead, illuminating the dust and the hodge-podge of everything from long water pipes, to sinks to very old appliances.  I walked along the wall just kind of having a look.  I couldn’t see anything that was really that interesting as everything looked a bit old and I didn’t want to actually take anything from the room because that would be stealing.

After all, my rule was I was going to just look.  So, I was just looking.

Then I got to the door.  Not the same door that I had come from but one at the corner by the front window.  It was interesting to me because there was a door in the laundry room, so I naturally supposed this was going to lead back into that.  It was kind of funny as the door wouldn’t really need to be there.  The laundry room was literally around the corner from the front door so why would this flat need a second door just for that?  I opened it and came into a hallway.

That’s right, a hallway.

It was very short and went to another door that was locked from this side.  I have no doubt in my mind now that the second door is the door to the laundry room.  I’ve never gone through that way because that isn’t the interesting bit.  Stepping into the hallway is when it got interesting.

This is when I discovered what I have just come to call The Grotto.

For you see, between the door back into OOG and the door into the white tiles of the laundry room was an intersection of a hallway that sloped sharply down towards a blue painted door that had been left slightly open.  I could not resist this.  I went down and, just like upstairs…

“Hello?”

Nothing.

Going inside was a like a trip back into the nineteen sixties, not that I had ever been there.  What I found below what I thought was the lowest floor of the building was a fully furnished and rather extravagantly laid out apartment.  There was an old fridge that was thankfully empty (in no-one had been down here since the sixties…UGH!), big raised couches that curved around like something out of a magazine, doors of beads, paintings, more books and in one room there was even blankets hanging from the roof.  There was a glass ball in water that when you turned it on would turn about and put out little clouds of white smoke.  There were little eves in the wall that had shot glasses from all over the world and two pistols over the couch with mother of pearl grips.  There was some very expensive looking wine and family photos in the kitchen.  There was this one room that was locked and so help me, I couldn’t open that one.

And the photos!  The place was obviously rented by a very handsome young man back in the day, because he seemed to be in every photo next to famous people from Freddy Mercury to the Dali Lama. 

It took me a moment to realize…someone was still paying for this place.  Someone was paying for it but no-one had been down here in decades.  I looked to see if the television still worked, like the electricity.

It did. 

And this is where things got really crazy.

(To be continued!)

Diner Lights Ep1 Road’s End

Bus Depot on Douglas Street, Victoria, BC 2014

Sam knew something was wrong.  It was the first time they had ever separated, but the reason for it seemed perfectly legit.

“Ok man, can you just go ahead and we’ll meet you there.  We’ve gotta sort shit out with Donna.”

That was the last thing Gav told him at the bus station in Vancouver.  The gig that night didn’t happen because it never would have.  The next one was a fall through as well for reasons of some kind of confusion between Donna and the venue which turned out to have way less money and naturally Gav wasn’t going to go for that.  They could have played anyways but Gav was in a mood.  Donna suggesting busking didn’t help.  Nothing like being stuck in a rainy night in a hotel where everyone pretends the others aren’t there.

The next show would have been some place called Steamers in Victoria.  There was a local funk band called Three Sixty that was going to open.

Sam sat on the wooden bench inside the old bus station, looking stupidly through the houses in a real estate magazine.  It was the only thing you could count on to be free.

There were payphones but he didn’t know if they were on the ferry or even on that last leg that goes through all the farms and small communities in the Saanich Peninsula.

All he could do is wait.  He looked inside his pack of cigarettes.  Not many, but he wasn’t too bad.  He looked around but the place still had those ashtrays on the metal stands so he lit up and blew smoke towards the stained plaster roof.

“Excuse me!”

Sam almost dropped the smoke as he looked up to see a man looking at him from behind the sliding glass window of the bus station’s office.

“Sorry, man…I thought,” he said pointing towards the ashtray.  Some places were becoming non-smoking but then, why would the ashtray still be out?

“No, no you got a phone call buddy.”

Sam butted the dart out and went over to the glass window, the next of his guitar bag hanging over his bag on the end of the long bench.

He picked up the phone.

And got the news.

The band was over.  Donna and Gav had just this huge fight.  Like, huge.  Like cops were involved.  They hoped he could somehow get back to Perry Sound.  After that Sam didn’t really take in what they were saying.  He just felt faint.

“Yeah, that’s fine.  I understand.  No it’s ok.”

Sam gazed off into space while the man in the back occasionally looked at the young man with the mess of dark hair whose face had just gone pale.

“Right.  Bye.”

He put the plastic black phone back on it’s cradle and nodded to the man with the striped white shirt and grey balding hair.

“You ok, there?”

“Oh, uh thanks,” Sam stammered “Yeah.”

Sam went back to his stuff and just sat there.  He picked the cigarette out of the ashtray and struggled to find his lighter.  Then it wouldn’t light.

“Come on!”

Nothing.  It was out.  He tried shaking it.  Sometimes that stuff works.  It didn’t

“Here,” said the older guy holding out a pack of matches.

“Oh, thanks man!” he said quickly getting them and sitting back down again.  He lit up and looked at the matches that said Empress Taxi.

He had some money but only just enough to get back to Ontario.  That’s what he should do,, he thought.   Back to the group home where he was staying. Back to that tiny room in late October with the frozen air coming off Superior.  He looked at the board and the next bus back to the big station across from Science World was coming up.  He would have to buy a ticket soon.  From there he could get a bus to Winnipeg and from there he could get that same route they took months ago, just heading east.

He sat with his smoke and looked out the window where the bus that brought him here was still lurking under the canopy out of the light rain.

 

(Ps I must add, my band is fine lol)

 

Ollie and Emma is now online!!

 

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What makes this webseries different than all the other indie films and romantic comedies?  Is it just because she’s First Nations and he is a white suburban guy like myself? 

Well, there’s that.

But to me as one of the writers on the show, Ollie and Emma is something that needs to happen.  We need to see cultures coming together and making connections.  We need to see First Nations characters played by First Nations actors in day to day life.  And while there is certainly very serious and sobering realities about Native culture that everyone should research, there is also laughter, love and friendship.

My working partnership with Saulteaux comedian Cheri Jacobs is an example of this.  We started work together almost four years ago now on a previous project and the subject of her being of Indigenous heritage never really came up until we started the first initial sketches of Ollie and Emma.  I didn’t inquire before that or think “How do I work with this person?  Do I have to be careful how I talk here?”  It was more like “let’s write something funny!”

Since Ollie and Emma, and with some of the other First Nations projects we started (some more serious in tone, some set in earlier times) I have been asking more, reading more and listening to Elders speak about culture and holy cow…I have been just overwhelmed by the diversity of history, language, complex social structure, traditions and folklore.  It is such a steep learning curve that for anyone to think “I’m going to learn about Native culture”, I like to say it’s a little like saying “I’m going to learn everything there is to know about Europe, Africa or Asia.”  Dude, they’re all huge!  You’re going to need an absurd amount of Red Bull, and even then you won’t get through it in one lifetime! 

So yeah, I’m mostly focused on Coast Salish culture now.  And even then, I have stacks of books to plow through (and being mostly an oral history, books are more of a tip-of-the-iceberg starting place!)…(whew!)

Returning to my point thought, Cheri and I are an example of where we are right now and how we all could one day be, all over the world.  We can all make connections like this.  I grew up on shows like Robotech where the whole world pulled together to make the impossible possible.

But don’t get scared after my little(ish) rant!  Ollie and Emma is fun.  It’s non-political, get’s a bit meta and plays with stereotype.  I am so lucky to have worked with not only such a kickass co-writer/co-producer but also such a hardworking and talented cast and crew and of course our production team of Less Bland Productions and Telus Optik.  I still stand in wonder how they took us on (not that we’re not good, but wow!)

To me, I’m still Jim and Joan Pogson’s kid whose somewhere in the rumpus room, sitting crosslegged somewhere amongst the storage boxes in the old house we had in Langley, BC, reading books and making up random stuff.

Enjoy the show!

Just click the link below!

http://www.ollieandemma.ca

Cheers,

Tom