String Survey


I started writing a string quartet in April, now there’s 4 of of them bugging me to complete them and set them free.

I haven’t a clue how long they should be and there’s a bunch of string techniques I am also clueless about. If you care to listen and give me feedback I would appreciate it.

These are in the order I wrote them.

Bow Down To Her On Sunday



I went to Winnipeg a couple months ago to help my mother sift through things she wanted to get rid of, accumulated paraphernalia, she wanted to pair down. Among the things she discarded were paintings and sketches. When I realized this I thought about preserving it since I love a lot of her work but when I got to the room I found she already destroyed much of what she wanted removed; ripped in half.

She also made a pile of work she was keeping many of which I never saw before and they were awesome. I realized she has stuff she’s attached to and stuff she isn’t and so do I. I don’t want anyone to hear songs that I haven’t finished or read lyrics I didn’t like that were in notebooks.

Salt’ n Pepa kind of summed up this point better than me 20 years ago

So I took her pile of ripped up paintings to the garbage dump which leads me to Shostakovich.

Can you imagine?! If you go to his wikipedia-

In 2004, the musicologist Olga Digonskaya discovered a trove of Shostakovich manuscripts at the Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture, Moscow. In a cardboard file were some “300 pages of musical sketches, pieces and scores” in the hand of Shostakovich. “A composer friend bribed Shostakovich’s housemaid to regularly deliver the contents of Shostakovich’s office waste bin to him, instead of taking it to the garbage. Some of those cast-offs eventually found their way into the Glinka. … The Glinka archive ‘contained a huge number of pieces and compositions which were completely unknown or could be traced quite indirectly,’ Digonskaya said.”


Due to a composer “friend”? What an asshole. Let’s take a moment to listen to one of the kings  of string quartets.

Richard Carstens

I liked Richard Carstens and wanted to know him better because Dave and Fred Robinson, who were the John Coltranes of punk rock (to me) told me how talented his writing was. He was their favourite.

He died over a year ago and when I found out that there was a memorial happening at the Horseshoe it seemed a meaningful thing to attend. Right off the top Al Miller was on stage playing guitar and he looked great which was a encouraging since the only other news I knew about him was a benefit for his health in 2011.

Watching the first three guitarists was like an action adventure movie starting with Al Miller followed by Dallas Goode – the poster boy for holding a guitar below ones’ kneecaps as though that’s comfortable and then Fred Robinson on the stage floor conjuring the collective mystical healing power of music or youth or maybe just remaining alive with purpose. Fred was a new plot point turning the night, for me, into a story about dying early. The night itself was sort of like walking into a twilight zone episode seeing a collection of people from 25 years ago.

Someone said Richard had a daughter who spoke at the top of the evening, too bad I missed her but you couldn’t miss the prominent banner on stage with quote attributed to Richard “I’m gonna be a rock and roller”. To my mind that didn’t really fit the reputation Fred and Dave bestowed on him and having known him a bit I think he would say he had better ideas to enlarge.

Note to self: stipulate in my will nobody puts up a banner that reads I’m Gonna Be A Blogger. But some weeks later I ran into Richard’s close friend Dave who was in that unreal band of the day No Mind and he explained I’m Gonna Be A Rock and Roller was a significant song Richard wrote so I get it.


Watching Nora (Daisy and the super jeans?) give it her all was another moment where the memorial touched on greatness.


I had so much excitement for everyone I recognized in that production – Gord Cummings, Ian Blurton and especially drummer Leslie Becker.

Most fun moment was asking Mark Critchley if the guy on stage by the drum kit was Paul Newman – it was.