Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Toronto visit

Earlier in the month I was in Toronto, originally for the wedding of my friends Jen and Vic, and then the funeral of my father was added on to the weekend's events.

I met Jen and Vic separately when they lived here in Ottawa, as Jen was a volunteer with re-Cycles and Vic was a member of HPVOoO. They later met when I introduced them at a party at my place. So because of this (and the fact that I'm just a swell guy) they asked to be MC for the event, and I agreed, as long as I could wear an appropriate MC jacket! They agreed, so here it is:

(I'm talking with crazybikerchick Tanya. Photo by Brian Martin. More here.)

I bought that jacket about ten years ago while on a gig in Toronto, so taking it to the wedding was sort of like returning it Home. Or something... I was at a store on Queen St. and there it was, sticking out of the rack amongst the usual black, brown, (and occasionally plaid) items. It cost $25 - do you think I overpaid? ;) It certainly is a bit of a freak show, but like my odd chopper bike it's just the right thing for a certain mood.

Anyhoo, I was staying at Tanya's place, and we traveled around by folding bikes, since she has both a Raleigh Twenty and an Auto Mini. Quite coincidentally, my folders page on my website documents these same little bikes (though not these specific ones), and in fact I think I have about the only site on the Net that has any info on the Auto Mini (Google it and you'll see).

A bunch of HPVOoOers also made the wedding trip, with Richard and I taking the Greyhound bus together. Once arriving downtown we took the streetcar east to T.'s place, where I grabbed her Mini and R. got her beater bike (she had commuted to work on her Twenty). R. and I then headed west again to Urbane Cycles for a visit, and R.'s accommodations were conveniently nearby. I had not forgotten how much fun it can be negotiating streetcar tracks!

Then we met with Tanya after her work and cycled to Jen and Vic's BBQ party. Then later headed back east to T.'s, dropping Richard off along the way. By the time we got back I had cycled long enough (party was at Dundas West, her place is east of the DVP) on a small-frame folding bike!

The wedding was the next day, and we arrived on the little beasts:

Yes, two tall people on short bikes (I'm 6'3", she's 5'11").

I also got a great shot of Tanya on her Twenty, which captures a great sunny summer look (though the day was overcast and rainy):

The wedding was really nice, taking place in an old one-room schoolhouse (the oldest and only remaining Free school in Toronto). Everything went well, though it seemed that almost everyone had to take pictures during the ceremony, which was rather distracting. It made it seem like a bit of a paparazzi event! During the after-dinner party we could not get Vic to demonstrate any Lithuanian folk dancing, but we did at least get him (and others) into The Jacket (see the above link to Brian's photos).

The next day I rode the Mini again to get to family brunch downtown, riding on the roads, but then took the Martin Goodman Trail on the way back, which was rather nice. For the Monday funeral I was on the TTC to meet up with family, then after dinner TTC'd back to the Greyhound station and then home.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

drumming and fitness

An interesting find:

Clem Burke Drumming Project - "Clem Burke, drummer with the band Blondie, has been taking part in research study for the past eight years, which will reveal the physical demands of drumming during live stage performances."

And a BBC story on this as well.

This study reminds me of how much energy put out during the shows I did with the Trevor Finlay Band for nine years, and of course in my rock n' roll days back in Toronto and Montreal. I recall doing five to six shows a week when on the road and losing weight and trying to keep hydrated. One of my reasons for quitting touring was that I just did not want to expend that much energy each day, and at that volume! But even playing with the jazz quartet nowadays means constant motion with both arms and feet, so while I don't have as much upper body movement as before I'm still putting out a fair bit of energy. It's just that doing so is a lot easier on my ears now.

Catching up

Has it really been a month since my last post? Well, just been busy, with some personal stuff on top of the usual music and bike mix.

My fabulous high school music teacher, Wally Atwood, who was so helpful in encouraging my music, passed away in June at the age of 78. Then, my father died on July 9. I'll have separate posts later on both of them.

The IJO played a great set on the final full day of the Ottawa Jazz Festival on June 30th. It rained on and off but the crowd stayed on (and even grew, awaiting the headliner Gladys Knight) while we played the music of Stan Kenton. I could not hear the sax section or even my fellow rhythm mates very well , but thankfully everyone was miced up and I could get a feed through a nearby monitor. It was interesting hearing both the trumpets very well acoustically, then the trombones a bit less so, from right in front of me, then have the saxes and others coming at me from my right side. But hey, at least I could hear everyone...

My Sunday Brunch gig with the quartet continues at the Metropolitan Restaurant, as does the Thursday gig there with Steve and Tom as "The Orbiters". The Orbiters have now picked up a Wednesday evening gig at the Foundation Restaurant in the Market, where we play on the patio if the weather's nice and inside if not.

Also, for the next bunch of Tuesdays I'm playing in Gatineau at the Restaurant Fiorentina on Blvd. St. Joseph. This is with a quartet comprising of myself, Mike Mullin on sax, Dave Arthur on bass and vocals, and Ian Clyne on keys and vocals. This too is a patio gig and dependent on nice weather.