A Young Man’s Game.

Inspired by some of the photographs of Brian Griffin on “The Worker”

I never know if I’ve ever got poetry. I like to try. The greats seem so effortless like one of the Marsalis Brothers on horns.

Did it in university to mix feelings. Still, I say do it anyways.

Go with your gut.

That’s all this is.

Tom

the Quiet City reminder

Just a reminder to be here Thursday for the Halloween bonus of a free first chapter of the Quiet City.

It’s gonna be spoooky!

👻

Like, follow and have a look around the blog for more information!

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!!

Sincerely,

Tom Pogson

The Lie that tells a truth – a Quiet City blog

Fact : The place of Emmett Till’s death is now on its third physical sign, a teflon coated, bulletproof marker that weighs in at over 500 lbs.

Lie : Atticus Fitch and To Kill a Mockingbird really happened exactly like that with those specific names.

Now, by no means am I comparing my story to Harper Lee’s justifiably Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece, or my subject matter as powerful as how one speaks to the injustice and still present anger, but I literally just saw the article about the new sign (Washington Post Article ) and it is the broadest and most blatent example of this.

Such things show the function of fiction. Through a story you can bring people in and let them fully experience truth at a gut level. To Kill a Mockingbird caused a visceral reaction in 1960. So did Philadelphia when that movie came out in 1993.

For me the story of The Quiet City speaks to both the magic and the extremes of my hometown, which is really like many places but packed between a Malahat and a Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.

In one block in Victoria are the vvery poorest and most extremely wealthy. Working in our service industry for decades in a world class tourist destination I have long compared it to a theater stage. There is a glorious performance up front, but backstage the paint is peeling and the coffee machine needs replacing. Even more so now as working people can’t survive on one job and the need for “low income housing” keeps exploding, as well as animosity to people who have properties here from out of town.

Whitechapel all over again, and here comes my ripper.

There’s also the enjoyment of the books creation. Outside of my own political and editorial sides, to come anywhere near creating this work I had to dig into every story, many of which just unfolded more secrets and stories about our city such as the network of tunnels…

and like this image, Victoria’s story is one of a vibrant mix of cultures as in the early days we were more the destination than Vancouver. As such this new furthest flug city of the commonwealth attracted everyone, from First Nations to across the Pacific, from Europe to every other corner of the

Inner harbour 1910

…world to create their own chapters.

What is still interesting is due to the natural barriers of water and mountain rock, our mix of stories is crammed together so within a few miles it is as though every possiblity is played out. And of course there’s poor dear Agnes Bing, who perished on September 29th 1899.

I had the idea for the Ripper coming here only to find out that this lady who co-owned a bakery with her husband John was tragically killed in that same way trying to cross the then Johnson Street bridge late at night. Songhees people were blamed but we never learned the truth. Like with the Ripper crime scene investigation was in its infancy.

So is The Quiet City true? No. The settings are as accurate as I could make them, and certain people such as Rattenbury, Carr and the Vital Statistics agency in the West building are absolutely fact. My story is silly but the rest comes from a love, pride and fascination with #yyj

Ok, speaking of, time for some story to happen.

As a bonus Halloween treat I will be posting the first chapter of The Quiet City so you can finally dig into something.

Stay tuned, like and definitely follow so you can read it as so as it drops!

Thank you for reading!

Cheers,

Tom Pogson

“The Quiet City”, Behind the Scenes of a novel

Having done many years of work in bands and filmmaking projects, I love the idea of sharing the journey of a project. The art is how it’s jumbled together and smoothed into a work, but this is the slow moving factory. With something like this, set in actual history with fiction trying to run through it, it’s going to be huge. You have to return to your own notes regularly to keep it connected. You are connecting dots well outside of the storyline.

The scope of the full timeline starts in the 1880s and ends as recent as tomorrow. That’s a big factory floor.

Telegraph Bay, 1900

This was one of the reasons that The Quiet City had an earlier start approximately seven years back. At the time I was working as a cleaner and going to Uvic writing full time. One of the inspirations was being in some of those buildings like the Dunsmuir’s summer home that became the Fort Rodd Hill administration building. I also lived about a ten minute walk from this…

I wanted to include some of my favorite things about early Victoria such as the Victoria and Sidney Railway, the streetcars now gone with only slight remnants of their existence remaining as well as the birth of my own corner of town…Cook Street Village.

With about ten places to get coffee in two and a half blocks, Cook Street is a popular chill out part of Greater Victoria but before about 1909 it was a marshy dairy pasture to quote painter and writer Emily Carr. Incidentally Emily doesn’t make a personal appearance but she gets involved in the story along with a person who deserves a movie of his own…Francis Mawson Rattenbury.

Anyways with these in mind the story was set in partly 1910 which set me off to every place that I could go, besides online to see and hear what it was like back then here…

Fort Street near Douglas. Yeah, I’m in the new Tim’s.

The image pictured about is at the Heritage Room of the Greater Victoria Public Library where I spent most time, but also the archives near the Museum where part of the story now takes place along with Victoria Archives, Saanich Archives and Sidney as well as the Royal BC Museum.

Back years ago I actually stopped to work on something else as I wanted this to have more time to actually focus on it. I want to make the details as accurate as possible as the stranger fiction needs a firm support. Not only that but it is fun to get the details. I was so excited by the Betty Bell’s book “This Fair land, Saanich” which goes into life in the Saanich Peninsula in fine detail as she lived there. That photo of myself reading is in the local history room (aforementioned Heritage Room) where so many treasures are hidden.

Even just wandering around Victoria can get your imagination going, whether it’s trying to find the hidden tunnels under the city or looking at houses in Fairfield.

There have been lots of little parts of the story that have been either created or effected by the research outside of just the setting which was of course very different and more languid than today’s pace.

Fitting in this perfectly was the often late Victoria and Sidney Railway that was that way due to its often late ferry connection, the Iroquois that could take you from the Pier in Sidney to Nanaimo.

Sadly this boat met its end a little ways after 1911 which didn’t help business for the Victoria and Sidney either, a train so underpowered that when it climbed northbound through Royal Oak towards Elk Lake, passengers could jump off, grab a beer from the nearby pub and hop back on without missing a beat.

But of course history was about more than just locations. There’s details on current events, fashion, and what it was like to live back then.

Above is a modern Government Street, but back then this wasn’t just the actual main drag, but actually the oldest street in Western Canada. If you wanted it, it was here with government offices on the west side of the road (your Post Office) and your green grocers, stores and pubs on the east side. The Brown Jug was a particularly famous one on the corner of Government and Fort, now a jewelry store.

And of course, the aforementioned world of paranormal and my very evil special guest, Jack the Ripper.

The legend and mystery of Jack and the canonical five victims has also been a major part of the story, so it naturally lead to going over any books and videos I could get my hands on. My take on the Ripper is very different from what’s been before and specific to this story so, without giving too much away I had to research some other things to compliment this.

Anyways that’s about it for now.

Thank you for reading and please follow so you can catch the next entry on the creation of this historical thriller. And definitely check out the writer page here at tompogson.com to see my other work, along with my music projects such as Cookeilidh.

Cheers!

Tom Pogson

Introducing “The Quiet City”

One day the world’s greatest killer came to town
Things would have to change.
When you’re Jack the Ripper in 1910 Victoria, British Columbia, you can easily stand out.

Such is the book project that I have been working on now solidly since spring of 2019, with the original idea for its historical fiction originating almost ten years back. It will be my first major project since being a writer on the Telus Optik webseries Ollie and Emma.

The Quiet City initially began as just a murder mystery set where my Mom use to work in the Vital Statistics offices of the Victoria Legislative Buildings West Annex. It was also first inspired by living in the heart of town and working as a cleaner in a variety of heritage buildings all over the Capitol Region. Was also a University of Victoria writing student at the time and been also playing with the idea of screenwriting at the time.

It didn’t hurt that my Grandfather, my Dad and now myself have an absolute love of going over what use to be where. My grandfather, Roy Pogson, was pretty much the head of BC Hydro on Vancouver Island and my Dad Jim was a service planner so not only did I get to see lots of new developing subdivisions as kid but I early on about the trains and streetcars that served Greater Victoria.

I don’t know exactly when I started humoring the idea of bringing in the more supernatural elements and Jack but once I did the floodgates just opened.

Not only was the rumor of Jack the Ripper in Victoria an actual theory based on a tragic and horrible murder of a 44 year old baker named Agnes Bing on the night of September 22, 1899, but the more I dug into strange things about Victoria the more it gave back.

It is Victoria’s paradox of being both this “more English than the English” (it’s background is actually Native, Scottish, French Canadian…the only Brit was Richard Blanshard who bailed instantly and died on the way home…anyways…) small town but it is also the second most active Satanic community in the world after Geneva with a thriving Wiccan community. We have secret tunnels, a Forbidden City, Michelle Remembers and above it all its a city that markets itself as quaint when it can be as quietly rough and tough as the worst of them. And it’s beautiful. And if was the other side of the world from the heart of the Commonwealth with Government Street as the oldest street in Western Canada. I love Victoria but it is a fascinating city of various types and contradictions all stuffed into the same community from the Malahat to the Ferries. It’s creative as hell, the center of seven First Nation bands, it’s the capital and a Naval base and a cruise ship destination.

Oh yeah and when it comes to spirits, legends and lore it continues to unfold.

For ghost activity, we are pretty much Woodstock.

This is the key reason why I’ve taken so long at this book of historical fiction which aims to be in both 1910 and present day. Being that I knew I would be taking huge liberties with actual history I have been spending just months on research as well on the more natural writerly challenge of characterization. Both of these have influenced the plot and continue to as I build the tracks in front of my train. Obviously some facts change but my job one is to be able to drop you the reader back into the sight, the sound and the pace of our city just after the turn of the century.

My goal is to have this out by summer of 2020 with some teasers and things before hand.

There is some social media for The Quiet City already which has more details…

http://facebook.com/thequietcitynovel

http://instagram.com/thequietcitynovel

http://twitter.com/thequietcity1

I will be updating here regularly as well as on those platforms so please follow and check back! Also check my “Writer” page for more about my other work!

I can’t wait to share more if this adventure with you!

Cheers,

Tom Pogson

Thank you for taking the time to read and support independent artists!

🙂

Wrap on Recording The Goldblacks

Why even do a solo CD?

Well first, these two weeks was a whole lot more than just recording. Last night marked not only my last night on vacation which I used for recording my first solo effort, but it was also my first day back on stage with Cookeilidh after almost the same two weeks.

But recording this now was for a mix of reasons. After ages of collaborative things I wanted to prove (mostly to myself) that I could be creative without someone to lean on. I was inspired by the project Low Roar which was essentially started as Ryan Karazija by himself in his kitchen in Reykjavik with a guitar and a laptop. (He’s since gone full time and has way more production going on).

I also had been working with the keyboard and for some reason got into this Instagram habit of a post per day, primarily a song. Some were covers like “Up Where We Belong” but some weren’t and they gave rise to songs like Reason, which this little teaser clip comes from…

I also had a few songs from the past and just this desire to create things that don’t necessarily fit in a Celtic band. It is fun to lead the charge, but of course it’s more demanding so I knew I wanted to give myself some actual time off to do it. I certainly learned a lot over both this recording process and the time building towards it. I’ve decided to give the whole thing some time so I can work out what to do with the project in post. I am busy with Cookeilidh and that’s still moving forward so how do I incorporate this new thing in? Anyways I will be releasing singles before the now May 1st release, starting with She Lives There and Reason.

The process hasn’t always been easy, which is one of the reasons I’m very proud of it, whatever it does. I’ve found myself listening to it regularly, like when I was in Vancouver filming parts of the She Lives There music video. There are parts I’m really proud of, even if they are less straight single material like Precipice, Missed Connections and parts of Secret Star.

Can’t wait to share more of this with you!

Thanks for checking me out!

🙂

Tom

Not all who wander are lost

One of the best things I have discovered is literally one of the absolute simplest, walking.

It’s strolling in the city or hiking in the woodland but it’s really that same thing. It’s the way you discover the world around you the way nature meant us to.

It is a great simple way to burn calories as well, with a brisk walk bringing your heart rate close to a target rate. If you don’t feel like jogging or don’t have the equipment for cycling or cross country skiing it’s always there. It is low impact and it is great for battling anxiety, bloating/nausea (it works like a mother burping you essentially) and of course you can mix it’s exercise qualities with doing actual errands. What barbell can pull that off?

There is also the creative element. There’s always more streets to go down and places to explore (don’t venture into people’s property…they don’t like that…I know, right?) and this is always great for being inspirational. I have definitely worked out ideas in walks and there’s also that liminality quotient of bringing you out of your comfort zone and into the experience of the world.

Locally you will get to know your way around which is great and one of my favorite things is combining that with a pair of headphones. Any of the music that I’ve been recommending on this blog would be awesome, as would your favorites, but for today’s…

Here’s a classic Tom fav from a classic album…

Today’s track is Depeche Mode – Freestate

Open your mind – Freedom’s a state

😊

Tom

The Room of Oog part 2

So it’s been a while so I’ll do a quick recap…My name’s Cece, I’m Tom’s girlfriend and on the first floor of the building is something really crazy. It’s a room that actually says “Oog” on it’s door. Seriously. Look.

I saw it for ages and then one day, while doing laundry (right next door) I found a key behind a machine that said “Oog”, put two and two together and ended up on the other side of the door. It went from boring as it was a storage thing to very interesting as it lead to another unlocked door, a hallway and this suite that’s actually under the building. The suite looks like somewhere Austin Powers would have lived with a slight purple tinge, lava lamps and autographed photos on every wall.

Seriously, it’s like a thrift floor exploded in here. Where I left last time, I was sitting on a white leather sofa and Bengal tiger rug, near the old TV and a floating white crystal ball.

The TV looks like it was from 1963 but on the table, no kidding was a big and even a little heavy remote control. I aimed it at the TV and hit power. On it’s antique TV stand I watched it spring to life on what looked like a program guide.

Some were in English but lots weren’t with a little flag next to the number, and there were just hundreds of them. I flipped through them, down and down and down until I just gave up and hit one, admittedly that wasn’t English but I didn’t recognize any shows anyways. I just wanted to see if it worked I guess. I still felt like the owner was gonna interrupt me, but seriously, besides the power being on and the weird crystal ball in the coffee table spinning slowly and undulating white steam, it looked empty for years. Oh yeah and the place was spotless for what it was. Only clued into that recently.

What I saw looked like a sitcom. It was three mid twenties girls and three mid twenties boys who were getting ready for an evening. The language from the tv was strange, but then from the crystal ball I heard it.

“Come on Petro, you should pick one too,” said a tall fellow to his two friends as they walked around what looked like a video store and corner store rolled into one.

“I don’t watch videos. Who rents videos? Do we even have a DVD player?”

“I can use my laptop and a cable-thing. Seriously, this is like the most popular vintage store in Odessa and Nadiya wanted to do this.”

“Oh…so this is about Nadiya,” chimed in the third curly haired guy.

There was a ripple of laughter on a laugh track.

“Vanda…what?”

“You know. Nadiya… Videos,. I’m with you Anton ” Vanda smiled.

“That’s great Vanda. Guys it’s my first dateish thing. And I need a video that is cool, but doesn’t lead to no conversation. So…ok, here…Eat Pray Love.”

“No, too obvious, how about…the shades of grey thing” said Petro.

“Obvious and possibly awkward,” Vanda.

“That’s his style,” Petro quipped.

“Hey!”

Then it was over to girls, where they were getting food and back at the apartment…

“Wonder how the boys are doing?” Said who I learned was Liliya.

“I told them maybe 7 pm here. So it should be a while yet,” said Nadiya.

This went on for sometime, like a show does and it got pretty good until finally we got to a scene where Nadiya and Anton were on the balcony and it was just driving me crazy. Anton was sure that Nadiya actually like someone totally different, not even at the party and Nadiya thought he was trying to let her down easy but neither was sure because they knew that the other was a nice person and it’s so easy to mistake that for thinking the other was cute.

And after years of Ross and Rachel I just couldn’t take it…

“Oh, you like each other! Just kiss you weirdos!”

I hadn’t even noticed that when I began with the “Oh” the white smoke from the ball had filled the room. I was no longer sitting on a white leather couch with a Bengal tiger rug. No I was on a porch in Odessa, Ukraine. Not even a sound stage like I was in their filming the show. Nope, this chick was in the logic of the show “Forth Floor”, standing in front of Anton and Nadiya, who both looked at me stunned.

“Hello? Are you a friend of Alina’s?” asked Nadiya.

“No, you must be Vanda’s girlfriend. He said you were from…well…where are you from?”

“I’m Native, but…not to here…anyways…it doesn’t matter..” I gave up on asking them how I got there. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t know either “You guys do like each other. And you should totally kiss. I just realized I’m probably speaking Ukrainian right now. That’s so crazy. I’m gonna leave you both to it. But definitely kiss, definitely…”. I walked off the porch, past four other stunned people who I just smiled and waved to and then out the door.

I went down the hall and turned the corner and that’s when things went Misty.

I was staring at the vintage TV again, white smoke dissapating into the coffee table around the crystal ball. I looked up to see that Anton and Nadiya had just kissed.

I sat there with my mouth open.

Well that was interesting.

To be continued.