Creators, Welcome to Why.

I for one dont have a problem with Bill Maher. I’m also a big fan of Ricky Gervais as my friends have been known to bemoan that I do him. Now what joke am I setting up here?

Anyway, he still never calls.

If a joke is offensive or a song upsets you or someone’s writing made you frustrated, that’s fine. I still believe in a higher power is my point about Bill and Ricky. Just because I dont agree doesn’t mean I can’t laugh. Like one priest my mom knows, he said he like Davinci Code, saying it was fun.

Our job as entertainers, content creators and artists is to get people away from themselves.

People are freaked out as hell right now. Even if you think of yourself as the most level headed there is nothing like seeing those empty shelves for that first time. This is crowd effect. Our species thinks as a unit when the chips are down. Sometimes this can be good and of course it can be bad, but it still is there. I mean, empathy is how we work. As musicians and writers I can tell you we work people’s expectations and things for the most dramatic results.

“People hate this in real life but love it in fiction” Sol Stein on Writing.

Here’s a piece of music I did on the experience of seeing those shelves for the first time. I wrote the lyrics literally on the walk home on a notepad app. It was a bitterly cold day with high wind here in Victoria on the Canadian west coast and my hands were actually cracking from how much I’ve been washing my hands more than usual coupled with work and with performance in my Celtic band during the blur that is St Patrick’s month.

I knew I wanted to keep it simple with two chords back and forth like a heartbeat. I’ve also been glued to the late Mark Hollis’s debut album which probably influenced my choices.

Did the song work? No idea but it takes the viewer away from themselves for a moment.

With my band Cookeilidh I have certainly experienced this. We will play a seniors home and there will be a person singing and tapping her feet, or clapping her hands. Afterwards we will find out that is the first time that person has even spoken in months.

No matter what art form you do this is true. No matter what form of entertainment. We are all these gentlemen…

Or as you may know them…

Interesting being a bassist and seeing the bassist’s “White Star” tie. It immediately makes me think of the prep I’ve done before shows. Instagram girls and adult entertainers I’m bringing you in here too. Now some might say I’ve gone too far or revealed something but screw that. Actors, singers, musicians, painters, dancers, writers, poets, adult performers, filmmakers, artisans, songwriters, producers we are all doing the same thing in our way. We put on the best show we can. Sure, we have our hopes thrown into the ring as well, but without what I’m saying we’re not doing the job.

“There’s a job, there’s a gig here” Billy Joel

“Sometimes a fantasy is all you need…” Just a Fantasy – Billy Joel

“Be the sweetest five minutes you ever had…” Tomorrow We’ll See – Sting

Ariana Grande isn’t so into me our most of us out there but when she sings that against Max Martin’s brilliant production you could almost close you eyes and swear you are in some cool hip club and she is actually hitting on you.

Not that I’ve thought of that.

But especially now when there’s self-quarantining on the horizon or in effect for many of us, the need for escapism is stronger than ever. We need you.

I think of how Sting just about cried when he heard some window cleaner whistling one of his songs. He mentioned this in an interview and I think it was about the Police song “Walking on the Moon”

My music was getting him through the day. It became part of his life that helped him even in a small way

And of course this is just one example. One of the reasons I emulate Ricky Gervais so much is because of my day job which is as a cleaner. While I love music of course it can get a bit background-on-background so years ago I added the complete radio shows and podcasts plus Adam and Joe, a comedy team also from the same XFM radio in London between 2000-2006

And now I’m listening to the Adam and Joe sample… Haven’t heard this specific video so…yeah, I’m wrapping this up and checking my spelling.

Might take a while.

Kind of the point.

Get out there and do your thing.

πŸ˜‰

Cheers,

Tom

You are not a straight line.

Aslan is not a tame lion.This one applies to the divine if you believe in that but you dont have to. I’m not wandering into that. Half because trying to influence a choice on people’s beliefs is pointless up to being thoroughly moot, and part because that’s not my focus.It’s on you.I’m a bassist. It was my first serious instrument to any extent and it’s the breadwinner instrument in most things that I do. It gets me in the door.But i also went to Uvic and switched from music to writing.Record scratch. What?That’s right, the music side of University of Victoria’s Fine Arts program wasn’t working for me, especially with how limited my position in it was, but with the encouragement of a literature professor…writing seemed interesting. I went from this to screenwriting and working in film for a while, all the while playing bass.Songwriting which I slowed at back when I was gearing up to play classical bass reamerged after my filmmaking time came to a close, especially with the International open stage of LiveMe, Instagram and so on.Still playing bass? Yep. Still writing. Well, I think that’s clear. So am I just getting this down between scales and arpeggios on my Fender? Nope.I’m doing something totally crazy I haven’t done in a while. I’m on a bus to hike Mount Quimper which is way out above the Sooke Potholes Park. Why? I saw an image and have wanted to do this for a while and I’m going to record a cover up there.Passing the Luxton Fairgrounds as we speak. I haven’t been out here since I was getting ready to cycle across Canada back in 1994. I hadn’t played bass yet.But you see, it’s ok if you haven’t got the plan yet or if you explore. This is what gives you a richness of life and soul.

Enjoy!

Little clip from the top…

Not me, you. A Canuck’s hope for Bernie Sanders

We listen up here. We can’t not.

Your politics is somewhere between sexier and seemingly simpler than ours. Ours is mostly as boring as hell, which it should be really. Which is the other thing. You guys are huge. If America went wrong, who the hell would stop you. And here’s me in Victoria BC able to see you guys from across the water.

So I listen up here.

I’m actually south of Bellingham Washington as Southern Vancouver Island goes well below the 49th parallel but let’s just say I’m north for simplicities sake.

When I’m not writing or making music I work as a cleaner in buildings with Wifi. So to keep my mind active its NPR, YouTube Premium, Stitcher and Hoopla audio, the latter being audiobooks attached to your library account.

Needless to say I hear lots and I have occasionally wandered over to the “Fox News/Fake News” side only to wander back perplexed with glazed eyes.

But I do, as Tom Walker who plays Jonathan Pie has suggested.

To watch the 2016 interview of this click here but honestly you guys have got to get more of him over there. He’s great.

But it is a good place to start because the left is not flawless. I mean the electoral college should be trashed but that wont be until the party in power does it, which leads me again to this quote by Sir Humphrey Appleby played by the late Nigel Hawthorne in “Yes Minister” (required viewing as well)

But Hilary was not flawless. Can you remember what she ran on? I cant but maybe you can.

Obama seemed like change, and while he certainly looked like change (literally of course) he was practical and wanted to just keep things going. He certainly did some good but massive change? No.

For the last 10 years things have been harder than ever. It is not all roses up here and from hearing through the cracks of NPR and PBS it’s clear you guys are in the same boat. You wanted actual change. You wanted someone who looked like they would aggressively shake things up. Now which 2016 hopeful looked like that?

Even Walker said it, both as Pie and in his interview “She was just a terrible candidate.”

So there you go. Not Hilary. Don’t like Trump. Who’s side am I on?

The future’s.

We need one.

We all do. Little brother (the one with his maple leaf flag) always follows big brother (the one with the stars and stripes flag).

So why do I think Bernie? The first time I heard of him was back in 2015 when I was working on the Ollie and Emma comedy and my whole production team heard about the noDAPL protests at Standing Rock Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

It wasn’t through the news but through First Nations media and creative contacts across the board who said how “the media was sharing nothing”.

Until they did. It started here.

Bernie Sanders and Shailene Woodley brought the truth about this protest camp the size of a city to the Nation.

But he didn’t stop there. I wont hammer YouTube clips but you can look up Bernie at the White House appealing to Obama to stop it.

Oh he did. He paused it. Then Trump got elected and we didn’t even get out of that first January before he unpaused it and the digging continued. Straight through not just sacred land but burial grounds.

Bernie was then sabotaged by Hilary’s campaign (Trumps campaign remembers this but the Dems seem to pretend not to) and he would have been totally justified in walking away.

But that’s not who he is. Bernie has been a fighter long before Standing Rock or event being the Senator from Vermont. The guy’s been arrested.

No he fought harder for Hilary than she seemed to be for herself.

Trump won. Bernie kept going. He started coming up with more ideas for health care, student loans, the list goes on and is where the other candidates get theirs.

Speaking of Standing Rock, take the quote from the North Dakota based show about Native Americans Thunderheart and run with it…

Go to the source.

Bernie is the change guy. He’s relentless. He fights for things that he will never really benefit from. Trump signed for Learjet owners to have tax breaks.

Trump probably owns Learjet (probably sprayed gold too, right?) but does Bernie Sanders have an outstanding student loan?

Now I hear the worries of how he wont get it through or cost. As a Canadian taxes have never been a big issue but I can go to any clinic, show my Medical Services Card (MSP) and it’s just plain free. And Bernie seems like the government pain in their ass that will hound them for you. If climate change is nonsense but he can deal with it at a cost that works for everyone you wont lose. It’s not all about price at the pump, theres more we can do than just that.

You need someone who excites and brings people out with hope for the future.

You can only get that with change.

He’s the change guy. If it doesn’t work you can switch again. Drop the bronzed bumpkin, try for actual change and sure, hold Sanders’ feet to the fire.

He’s more than up for that.

All the best in November friends.

We’re behind you whatever you decide.

Cheers,

Tom

The man who caused the 2016 election and potentially 2020.

Ever read a run on sentence? Like a really bad one? Like a really, really bad one.

Like imagine if you had a twelve year old tabby cat that is rather spry for its age and when you were not looking at about eleven after five the cat went outside and you couldn’t find it and you ran into your neighbors and they said they didn’t see it they did want to ask you if you had seen that really interesting show on television about how their cousin Brian Williams from Albany, New York was going to be part of the US Bobsled team but was actually or at least nearly dropped because he didn’t use the proper sanitary box for his November 5th urine sample and so you decided to go get a beer with them at that new place, you know the one with the red umbrellas that overlooks the Inner Harbour around the corner from where they are still cleaning up the harbour from what use to be a paint factory and everyone is up in arms about because the contractor involved in it which is called Big Beaver Construction that seriously makes everyone laugh anyway…

You get the idea. Hard to remember it was actually about a cat.

That is part of the plan set up by Steven Bannon when he met Donald Trump at a function long before what would be Trump’s second run for office. They were going to do the media equivalent of a run on sentence and now we are all living it.

It’s why when you talk about what “he did” a week ago or what “he tweeted” feels like a different era.

It was planned.

Taken directly from Bannon’s Wikipedia page…

Bannon told journalist Michael Lewis in February 2018, “We got elected on Drain the Swamp, Lock Her Up, Build a Wall. This was pure anger. Anger and fear is what gets people to the polls.” He added, “The Democrats don’t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit

So essentially, for the base he created straight forward simple talking points that they could get behind. For the media he instructed Donald to keep the media hopping with one specific thing after another specific thing, causing everyone to run defense.

Remember the mallet game at any Chunk E Cheese? It’s like that.

On multiple occasions Bannon made reference to The Camp of the Saints which is a novel published in 1973 by author and explorer Jean Raspail. Not only is this book more blatantly racist than Mein Kempf (and becoming frighteningly popular) but it also anti immigration to say the least as it speaks of the western world being swarmed by “Indians” who kill, rape and worse until the last white person is gone.

As such the idea that this former editor of Brietbart Magazine, which Bannon proudly calls alt-right, would be the source of ideas like “the wall” and “fake news” shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The constant stream of one thing after another is a perfect deflection game, on top of the anti Clinton deflection which they knew they would get supporters to then join in on, a strategy that still continues just as voraciously now despite Hillary Clinton being out of political life entirely since December of 2016.

The influence of Steven Bannon on the current administration, despite him being physically gone can not be overstated.

The character of Sir Humphrey Appleby from the BBC comedy series “Yes, Minister” explain it perfectly…

As such the far more effective thing is counter intuitive. I mean, you’re reading from the guy who slammed social media and is now here after more pushed reactions.

Oh yeah, I was counter-tweeting and liking my side this morning too. I’ve had times when I’ve made a point to not engage as it sets me off and kills my own productivity.

Sound familiar? This is it…it’s hard to do anything like that.

We have to, myself included, get to the point when we know that it’s all about getting your reaction. It’s interesting when you read our news or BBC because you start finding about news you never knew about because it isn’t the Pennsylvania Avenue Soap Opera.

So my advice is to make your own point, ignoring completely the Bannon-built apparatus. Make decisions about how you “can do for your country” and go straight there. If you are running (a) holy cow! Thank you for reading and (b) drop the anyone but Trump thing. Tell us what you are going to do. Say what your plan is in your manifesto. It comes down to that one hard as he’ll thing. Ignore Trump.

Just that. Leave Camp of the Saints, Bannon and Brietbart where they belong…

Forgotten.

Cheers,

Tom

Thank you for reading! Please follow me and feel free to surf around my blog! πŸŒ…

Alpha, Beta, Gamma…what to do?

Speak low when you speak love…

Kurt Weill

Do you put more faith in a clear abundance of ego or someone who convinces with facts?

Kurt may have been more introverted or what is called a Beta male. There’s Omega too, as well as an army of others but let’s keep to the two main ones here.

Alpha male. Dominant.

Beta male. Submissive.

Off the top of my head I can add the names Nick Drake, Vincent Van Gogh, and Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins as strongly potential Beta males.

Alpha males are far easier to spot as they naturally feel perfectly ok under the intensity of white hot light. Most actors, politicians, employers, sports figures fit here but… ok…Frank Sinatra, Stephen Colbert and…yes, you guessed it…Donald Trump.

There’s things I’ve heard, read and experienced where the reality of Beta males comes into question. Like shouldn’t they not be like that and step up as it were. I see the point because it is really what it is about Alphas that we naturally like.

An Alpha will look you in the eye and shake your hand (typically) and will sell you something with actual confidence. You feel confident with them. It puts your mind at ease. They are the company breadwinner, the pointman and the guy at the front.

Betas get flustered. They might be extremely intelligent but when asked to produce on the spot it throws the whole game. Betas can’t sell it smoothly and have to work like crazy to play the same game. They are usually at the back and prefer that.Β  Sometimes men are dominant or submissive depending on the situation as well but when someone is not the supremely outgoing/extroverted/Alpha-type as I’m not for the most part, that does tend to be the default setting.

Anyways, here’s the thing…we need both guys.

It’s the ying and yang of how it works. It is ludicrous to try to impose Alpha rules on Betas like Vincent Van Gogh should have really left his ear alone and took up, say, tackle football. The kind of man he was gave us the beauty of his work.

Same with Nick Drake who had a very difficult time due to shyness and depression to perform live. And yet Nick’s beautiful sound still resonates today. Sometimes you want to muscular sound of Van Halen’s Jump and sometimes you want the soft, close sound of Nick Drake’s Riverman

To wrap up this one… here’s Five Leaves Left – Nick Drake (Full Album)

Have a wonderfully exciting, or chill, long weekend.

Your choice.

Cheers!

Tom

Kindness is Magic

It has been now (just 2 days over in fact) five years since this little video was published on YouTube, as a mix of a song of the same name and people all over the world saying Kindness is Magic in different languages.

Click here to see Kindness is Magic

Kindness maybe little things but they make such a difference. When you feel for a moment that you aren’t alone, that we look out for each other, or that things won’t go too far wrong…well, it is magic.

Click the link today. I just want to let it speak for itself. I think we need it.

Cheers,

Tom

I’ll admit it

I had definitely a time back in my twenties when I was much more angry. I don’t know if it was a mix of disillusion with some other stuff going on. I know I wasn’t happy and was perfectly prepared to burn any bridge, do anything.

I wasn’t happy. I was Mr. Confrontation.

I’m not now, and this is what I will admit. Is it bad? Oh, possibly. I don’t come on here or anywhere saying that I have the best answer to all things, I just know what has worked for me.

There is a lot of everything out there to confront and a large portion of that will be not only unavoidable but part of how you make your money. Why seek that out in daily life? It’s rhetorical by the way. Not actually asking.

You should protect what is yours and so on, but I have no interest in creating wackiness where it didn’t need to be. I guess that’s my thing with so much I see going on. Life can be fun and pleasant and a paradise for everyone so why do we have to fight, squabbling over who gets what…where the borders are marked…how unfair it all is.

I know people who were born with so many ticks against them that it’s crazy. In lots of cases it certainly is unfair. But we can be there for people and be empathetic in those cases.

I guess I’ve just seen too much of the no end in sight, escalating side of confrontation to want to be part of it, especially intentionally. In every one of those situations I’ve only ever had the same thought…I’d right now rather be far away, be someone else, be where it’s quiet and this is not.

I mean, so much of the most growth and most beauty in life comes quietly and simply. When studying music, or geography, or history or doing most things of value, you don’t aggressive. If you started an argument in the middle of making love you would ruin it. It’s like putting a hole in her dress at a party. It’s just a path to upset.

It also reminds me of what happened, or where I was after my turbulent twenties. I’ve always called it by the slightly lame title of the Back of Bay Street because, well, it was on Bay Street, in the bottom back of the same house I had first moved to when I first left home. This location was so quiet that I responded to that and that became a great time of study, writing, and even the earliest days of Cookeilidh for me. Only challenge has ever since because it’s so tempting to go back there, which is impossible as you are only 30 once.

But it was perfect. You could sit in stillness and watch the movement of the sun through the room. I had a night light at one end, in the kitchen, and two different colored blankets covering the windows, so from the chair in the bedroom the effect was a magical pink and blue with a white star at the end.

Happiest places I’ve been have always been like that.

You can never run out of things that can upset you for some reason if you really dig far enough. You can be the wealthiest person alive with a flawless everything and still be a miserable person because something will always disappoint. You have to pick your battles but also enjoy just leaving the warfare alone.

“It’s no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”

————————————————————————————–

Thanks for reading! Today’s ambient music for reading is mum – Finally We Are No One (full album) which is the 2017 release (Couldn’t get the symbol over the u) and is just one of many of their great lush works!

Enjoy

Cheers 😊

Tom

Let’s Talk

Just got paid this morning and I’m actually avoiding looking. I wonder how many other people do that.

There’s something wierd about when you just got paid. Bills and things haven’t gone through yet, like an animal released or a bunch of pacmans sent shooting across a field of marbles. It’s like you really could go any direction, like you’re at the crossroads.

I miss that kind of conversation, don’t you? Now some divides have been around for ages, to be fair. I’ve always, always thought of those as stupid. Little kids, with their wide open wisdom, never see that. They go straight in. They play with that other kid, no matter who they are. They don’t decide that they and theirs are from Heaven (or wherever) and anyone from the other side, or who doesn’t agree with every thing they believe, is from somewhere below.

I am really considering getting rid of two social media platforms, which I know won’t help me, but I get frustrated too. This one and Instagram are fun places to connect and be creative. It’s those other two, Twitter and Facebook, where you go on only to wish you hadn’t.

It isn’t sticking your face in the sand. I don’t know how you could because news comes at you from all over, and most of these are not news (and what is gets questioned) so what do you believe?

I made a point of trying to keep both “sides” visible, but this just leads to waking up to anger.

There is too much anger and too little listening. I can only hope that this burns out as it can only keep going for so long. Neither side is discussing anything from what I see. He and her are certainly the most polarizing force we have seen and it has fueled it seems every division we have ever had. It made all the cracks glow. Now the question is can we turn our situation into an actual positive force?

I wish I had an actual answer or the thing that finally brought everyone together like some big party in Zion from Matrix.

Apparently one day we will all rave and be in amazing shape..

Or even to make things calm down, but the thing is, I think it could actually get better if we hold the rigging through the storm. This could break us with the pent up anger that has been there all along. I just saw today that they found writings by Einstein that were not racially good, and I’m not surprised. The most forward thinking explorer of First Nations people here on the west coast was Franz Boas, back hundreds of years ago. He wrote books that are actually in the Friendship Center and they refer to Coast Salish people as “savages”. Let make this clear, he was considered one of the “good guys”.

I always have problems with that phrase straight away. I haven’t always been a good person. I can’t be alone in this. Good and bad guys are for cartoons. I remember a woman talking about living in a mob family, where 90% of the time she was respected and saw nothing but a loving Catholic-Italian family. But, every now and again “business” would be conducted and, as she put it, it was like seeing these iron masks come down.

Another powerful scene involves the most evil man in history, and the one who gets too often used to compare people, Hitler. Where am I going? Well, there is an interesting movie called Downfall and we have all seen that clip of him ripping into his Generals in the bunker office, but there was that other scene with his dogs and his family where he is lucid and acting like any other German older man. And I mean, that’s him. I am of course by no means condoning what he and his did and I am not a denier, but it is interesting to see humanization of that most iconic evil.

My point is that we should not apply Occam’s Razor to how we interact with each other.

Don’t judge me, you could be me in another life, in another set of circumstances” from “Tommorow We’ll See” by Sting.

Going back to before, what’s great is that we are going through all these things that have been buried. It’s crazy because these days at work I listen to comedy shows of the early 2000s and you really would think by how they talk that discrimination was eradicated.

But it wasn’t, was it? And there are so many forms that it has taken.

Ways to divide people into groups.

Maybe one day we’ll stop.

One day.

We’ll learn we can stop and listen.

Reach out.

Talk.

—–

Today’s music was me finally listening to the soundscapes of Sigur Ros, an Icelandic avant-rock band from ReykjavΓ­k.

Here is their album Sigur Ros – Valtari

Cheers,

Tom

😊

Elvis and the Elephants

β€œIf 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. πŸ˜‰

Cheers,

Tom