Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chocolate Microphone


So I am going to bake a PZM into a cheescake.

I want to do things with microphones that aren’t necessarily how people instruct you to use them. I like to play. Maybe put the mic in a plastic bag, put it in a container of water, then record with it. Maybe move the mic while recording, like someone hold it in their hand and wave the mic at the same time it is being used to record. Maybe put the mic in the next room while recording the lead vocal.

The computer instruments are amazing today. Zillions of parameters to recreate this room sound or that microphone character. So it is like when photography emerged and painters had to ask themselves what they could do now that things could be so perfectly documented by the camera. What could we painters do then that the photo couldn’t? More abstraction and invention that’s what.

The World Might Fall Apart If We Let You p.

mondragonWent to the bank (credit union actually) and while waiting had to pee. Have used the bathroom there many times. Asked the teller if I could use it, it’s upstairs behind where the tellers stand,  always seemed polite to ask previously so I did but this particular teller paused uncomfortably said she had to ask management. She left her customer and walked over to the office of the manager (the same guy I got my mortgage with) returned from seeing him and said nope. What the fuck? I walked over to him

“Hi I just want to use the bathroom before doing the banking I came in to do”

He said “Oh not for you!” (meaning “not for you” did I instruct the teller to say no).

They so ruined my bragging rights over using the credit union over the ordinary commercial banks. Though I know commercial banks wouldn’t even discuss whether I could use the bathroom. What bullshit the business of not letting someone use the can whether or not they are a customer.

Best example of doing it right – Mondragon restaurant, grocery & anarchist bookstore in Winnipeg. They do everything right. When I was performing at the Winnipeg Fringe, upstairs from Mondragon, I watched how they let street people and customers use their bathrooms and feel at ease. Note to self: Consider living in Winnipeg for non-classist pee access.


You Don’t Play The Piano Very Good,

When I was a teenager I knew a woman named Beryl Cohen, she had been to the Winnipeg Folk Festival but I never had. Winnipeg was famous for a few things and in the 70s the Folk Festival was the top of the mountain, maybe that’s why I didn’t go.


Like when I moved to Toronto and Keith Jarrett was actually going to play in the city I was living in, was going to breath air as the air I would be breathing (at the same time relatively) but I didn’t go to the concert because suddenly I felt like I had that Peggy Lee epiphany.

The upstairs activity room at the YMHA on Hargrave at noon had a bunch of young Kuropatwa’s buzzing around doing something or other when Beryl Cohen turned to me  “Bobby you’ve never been to the Folk Fest? Really? You should play it. You really should. You should make Mitch a cassette.”

Mitch = Mitch Podolak. He ran the festival at 222 Osbourne. I made a cassette of blues, boogie and a version by ear of Blue Rondo a La Turk. In the morning I went into the office, a secretary asked me what I wanted and I explained myself. Then she said leave the cassette with her and come back at 2pm.

I came back at 2 and there was a businessman sitting in the waiting area. He wore a suit and had a briefcase. I think the finger tapping meant he had a sale on his mind. Mitch opened the door to his office and the suit stood up with an outreached hand, Mitch automatically shook his hand and started to lead him into his office and then noticed I was in the waiting room too.  “Waitasec. Come here.” He said and motioned to the business guy to return to his chair while whisking me into his office.

“Sit down” he said pointing at the extra chair as he took his own seat.

He pointed at the cassette and seemed annoyed.                                                                            “This is you?” he asked.

“Yes it’s me.”

“You don’t play piano very good…You Fucking Play The Piano Man! You live here?.. in Winnipeg?”


He hired me to play a piano workshop along with Lori Conger of the Parachute Club and Adrienne Torf who accompanied Holy Near.

Lori and Adrienne asked me after where I came from and why I lived in Winnipeg. One of them said “You could do what I do.”

Really? I could tour the world playing piano in a band? No way.