Monthly Archives: January 2020

It’s not me crying, it’s you.

Foster OTRI cry at the joy and jubilation of others, I cry on the feel-good Canadian Tire ads (remember the one about the bike in the back of the pick up?) and I cry when great music makes me feel exuberant and joyful.

Recently I watched David Foster: Off the Record and man did that open my emotional pores.

There’s a lot of music that stirs me, watching the David Foster special was an extreme version of a musical stirring.  But really doesn’t everyone want to feel that exhilaration?  Shouldn’t everyone feel it?  I mean it’s a BIG feel good feeling.

With David Foster the cause to show emotion came at different moments, different causes – but there is one common thread, it was an exceptional moment, a musical or personal moment.

The magic is watching Foster know what he wants, work towards it and then we get to hear the results, it’s breathtaking.  It’s not just about having talent, but about knowing people and having the instinct to know what can be great.  Foster is a musical Rainmaker.

Foster is responsible for getting some of the most memorable performances, not just of new voices but some of the greatest there are.  The special had many moments and I cold have talked about them all, but here are four.

StreisandMoment number 1: One of my favourite Lps is “Broadway” by Barbra Streisand and on that collection is a David Foster produced track ‘Someday’.  Foster falls into producing the track because of a studio mic that is turned on during a break in recording.  Streisand hears Foster purposely tinkling on the piano, loves what she hears, and it seems that David Foster has his big break.

Moment number 2: Foster takes a young famous singer from Quebec and turned her into a Dion Unisonworld icon.  Driving in the rain, 100 miles to Montreal Foster hears the voice of the future – Celine Dion.  It’s a partnership that started in 1990 and lives on today.  Listening to Foster and Dion talk about their history and their work together it’s clear they made of the same fabric of drive talent and humility.  It’s no surprise the success they have together.

 

Moment number 3: When great talents collide, you can only expect greatness.  For the movie the HoustonBodyguard which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner the search for a song to be the staple of the film.  Deciding on came from Costner who suggested the song to Foster, after hearing Linda Ronstadt sing it.  The surprise of the song was that the version Costner heard missed the last verse – Foster only heard about this when he called Dolly Parton who wrote the song about another great Porter Wagoner. In this moment, of “I will always love you”, these 6 degrees of separation come together for an unforgettable moment in music.

Moment number 4: When you have perfect pitch, you can spot a ‘voice’ even from aDion Groban cassette tape.  But let’s be honest, sometimes it takes a bit of luck to push the talent a head a few steps. Hired off a cassette tape by David Foster, Groban filled in for Andrea Bocelli to rehearse with Celine Dion for the 1999 Grammy Awards.  But this moment was not just about Foster, it was also about Dion who is shown taking the then 17-year-old Groban under her wing during the rehearsals.  The video shot by Groban’s parents have Dion tenderly working with the young singer as the world icon pays forward her success to Fosters next big thing.

Add these moments, along with so many more from the career of David Foster together and there you have it a rush of emotional exhilaration.  These are amazing moments to remember and they can come at any time.  When you have one, take hold of it and ride as long as you can.  Those moments that I’ve had and the songs I’ve heard become special and stay with me forever.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

REPOST: Vinyl Spin: Elton John “Live from Moscow”

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NOTE: This post was originally written in April 2019 in honour of Record Store Day. The 2 LP/CD set has been released globally January 24, 2020.  In honour of that event I’m resharing this Red Heart Blue Sign piece.

In 1978 Elton John released a solo Lp, A Single Man, it marked a few departures for him musically.  It was the first where Bernie Taupin did not have a writing credit on the Lp.  He also didn’t record with the band that had accompanied him on his two previous studio albums Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves. Elton toured to support the album, but unlike previous tours, the tour in ’79 was a man and his piano.  Elton was accompanied only by percussionist Ray Cooper. The tour that year had only one stop in Canada, the old O’Keefe centre (now the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts) in Toronto.  These shows were not unlike shows recorded Elton 20 years later in Madison Square Gardens.  These shows were made available solely to Fan Club members (of which I was) on two CDs in 2000 and 2001.

The tour included a historic eight shows in the old USSR, four in Leningrad and four in Moscow.  The concerts were one of the first by a western musicians allowed into the country and would open the flood gates for everyone else.

For Record Store Day this year, the BBC recordings of his last concert in Russia in 1979 were released on vinyl as a double Lp.  This 2 disc set was my first purchase after buying a new Turntable and it fills me with joy to hear the needle softly set itself down on side one track one with every album I play now.

Disc one Side one opens with Elton solo on the piano with open refrain of “Daniel” and cautiously welcoming applause, as the song plays I find I have tears in my eyes to hear the warmth of vinyl again; it’s a welcoming feeling to my youth.  Sticking with older materal Elton seques to his self professed favourite composition, “Skyline Pigeon”.  Take me to the pilot leads into Rocket Man a song that turns epic in this live performance.

Flipping to Side two it begins with “Don’t Let the Sun go down on me”, “Goodbye yellow brick road” and “Candle in the wind” all songs the audience well recognizes.  It seems as listening to the Lp that the the soviets in attendence are settling in and are not so wary of this pop superstar.  Elton’s love of Motown is widely known, the side ends with Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it through the grapevine” but sadly, IMHO, he over extends this taking away from the performance.  As I listened to it, I wonder how many in the audince felt as I did – is this almost over?

Over to Disc 2 Side 1 and Elton is joined by percussionist Ray Cooper.  Cooper has been playing with Elton since the 1971 Lp Madman across the water.  Besides Davey Johnstone and Nigel Olsson no one has played more with Elton.  The second disc opens with a combined “Funeral for a friend/Tonight”, songs that appear on Eltons only two disc studio albums.  Touching on 9 of his 11 previous studio Lps in this concert he brings a bit of Captain Fantastic with “Better off dead” before breaking into a full arena sized concert version of Bennie and the Jets with a room full of Russians yelling “BENNIE” on queue.

One last flip to Side 4, with “Sorry seems to be the hardest word” and “Crazy water” from Blue Moves, the audience is clearly in his hands, Elton sets up the end of the show with a a series of song combinations guaranteed to get Russian boots moving.  Elton works his magic with “Saturday night’s alright for fight” and “Crocodile Rock” with his “Pinball Wizard” and he was the first to end a western pop concert in the USSR with the Beatles “Get Back” and “Back in the USSR”. Judging the by the reaction to the song you might think he played official state anthem, but while the USSR was still in tact as it was in 1979, it was  most certainly the unofficial  emotional anthem.

Elton John Live from Moscow is a gift to his fans from a performer who is in the middle of his “farewell yellow brick road” tour.  For me it took me back to being 19, Elton John’s Greatest Hits was my first vinyl Lp I purchased and “Sleeping with the Past” in 1989 was his my last before going into full CD mode.  Live from Moscow brings me back to being a fan of Elton John and to vinyl. From the warmth and depth of the sound of the recording to the packaging of vinyl.  It is a return to good days and good music.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter@robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

You didn’t lose – you won!

In 2015 there were 1,792 candidates, only 338 went to Ottawa. There are no official numbers for the federal election in 2019, but we can assume there are more in the last election because there were 4 parties that ran a full slate of 338 candidates last fall.   I can safely say that over 2000 people ran for a party or independently last election.

Based on my estimate, there are now 1,662 Candidates of Record (CoR), each of them will keep that title until the next election. Most of the CoR come from registered parties and for these people, congratulations, you are now a Candidate of Record. With that title comes responsibility.

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This week CBC Toronto posted a tweet in response to former GTA Conservative candidate Bobby Singh jumping into the Conservative Leadership race.  In the tweet the CBC called Singh a failed Conservative candidate. I ran twice, unsuccessfully in the 2011 and 2014 provincial elections, the elections were amazing experiences.  In the eyes of @CBCToronto I am a two-time failure.  Do I feel like that?  No, far from it!

In the 8 years between the 2011 and 2018 election where I was the CoR I attended party conferences, worked locally and continued to have great conversations with not only the winning MPP, but other candidates and voters in the riding.

As the CoR it’s important that you maintain ‘election’ mode as you finish up your responsibility as the candidate.  That includes financials of the campaign; making sure all invoices are paid and that your CFO completes and the files of your campaign return to Elections Canada.  It’s important that you follow up and watch this closely to protect your reputation as a candidate and that of the riding association.  The more you and your team do, the less the party has to get involved.

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British PM Boris Johnson with his local riding opponents in the recent UK Election, all of which are now Candidates of Record

As CoR there are a few responsibilities you have, especially if you plan to seek the nomination and run in the next election.  As the CoR the local riding association will need your help to keep the association active.  This includes fundraising, being active on the association Board of Directors.  If you want to ensure you have a better shot at being the candidate the next time around, you should bring some of your campaign team onto the Board.  Having friends there will be helpful to continue the work you were doing as the candidate.

The next election may come sooner rather than later; it would be a benefit for you to keep your campaign team engaged between elections.   Staying involved locally also helps as you will need signatures for your nomination, keeping supporters engaged is a plus for the association, the party and YOU.  Showing that you have continued to build your support in the riding will be noticed by the party regional organizers (RO).

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Finally, as in the situation of the Conservative Party of Canada, you will be asked for your opinion about a leadership race, the declared and presumed candidates that has come from election results. The CoR may also be asked for their thoughts to the local media.  If you are asked, you might want to notify the RO.  There will come a time in the leadership race that you’ll be courted and asked to support and publicly endorse a candidate.

If you consider all that you gain as the candidate NOT going to Ottawa, it will still be an honour to represent your local supporters and to continue to work for the party causes.  It may not be the win you were fighting for, but I can say, as a two-time CoR, it’s still enjoyable and beneficial and will continue to fulfill your desire for public service.

I have kept friendships many of the people I met through my two campaigns, it’s my hope for you that you will also have joy of knowing so many people through the amazing experience you just finished,

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My year in pages – Part II

Part 2 of my year of the books I’ve read covers July to December.  In this list of books, I have chosen “Trudeau”, “The King’s War”, “A Gentleman in Moscow” and Stephen Harper’s “Right Here Right Now” to be my reading list while I was in Barrie for the federal election for 8 weeks.  While I read the first three as planned, I finally read Harper’s book in December.   I also did not complete the books in the 8 weeks as I planned, but I did read them all just a later than planned.

Here are my July to December books.

Trudeau: The education of a Prime Minister by John Ivison (2019)

This was like rereading the headlines for the past 4 years, but with a view from the right.  As I anticipated it reaffirmed everything I know and feel about Trudeau.  After reading Ivison, it feels like I should be reading Promise and Peril: Justin Trudeau in Power by Aaron Wherry just to see if I come out on the middle of this time in Canadian history.

The King’s War by Peter Conradi and Mark Logue (2019)

The follow-up to The King’s Speech, to which the Oscar winning movie was based. The King’s War follows George VI and Lionel Logue after the war and into peace time.  If you liked the movie, you’ll enjoy this book.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (2016)

A great story!  After you have finished it you’ll want to read it again – right away to catch what you missed the first time that lends to the eventual ending.

The making of the October Crisis: Canada’s long nightmare of terrorism at the hands of the FLQ by D’Arcy Jenish (2018)

A couple of years back I read a book about the legacy of French Canadians have and their contributions to what Canada is today.  Beside Legacy” Canada has an history that needs to be told, sometimes it is an ugly history and we should not hide from it.   The making of the October Crisis is a thorough account of the beginnings of the quiet revolution in Quebec to the explosive climax of it in 1970.  Jenish starts us with the 1960’s Quebec, the roots both political and social that lead to the dissatisfaction of Quebecers.

The groups and individuals who fueled the crisis are explored in detail and provides background to where Quebec is today and helps to understand political cycles in there that include the resurgence of the Bloc of Quebecois in the 2019 federal election.

This book is an important book, it’s a book all Canadians should read, but baby boomers will have flashbacks of the events while reading this.  It’s a weird feeling as you may have lived through this era of our history, it will trigger memories. More importantly it triggers the idea that we cannot allow the same conditions to flourish again.

Right Here Right Now by Stephen J. Harper (2018)

If people could past their dislike for former Prime Minister Harper and read this for this is, an account of the collective good conservative policies generate, history will be much kinder to Harper when political adversaries look back at his tenure as PM.  RHRN is Harper not shooting arrows at his adversaries but shooting arrows at the policies they brought forward.

It is written clearly and not so that you need a PHD to understand it.  His look at polices that have national and global impact on the economy, immigration, nationalism and trade are straightforward and make sense.

Harper’s view of Donald Trump is not at all flattering, but he also recognizes that the reasons for the election of Trump goes back years through policies brought in by previous White House administrations.  Trump is merely the person that recognized and capitalized on the anger of the American worker, it doesn’t make him a better President than say Hillary Clinton would have been.  It’s a lesson that should not be overlooked here in Canada.

Many Moons: A Songwriter’s Memoir by Dayna Manning (2019)

My reading steer me to where I lived and what I’ve done.  Manning hails from Stratford Ontario where I spent 5 years working at CJCS-AM.  I thoroughly enjoyed Dayna’s journey as a musician and a songwriter.  I feel that I should be looking to purchase music she’s released, or at least the songs she has profiled here.

As you may have noticed, my reads leaned heavily towards non-fiction last year, something I would like to change in the next 12 months.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My year in Pages – Part I

I made a promise to read more, at least an hour a day.  I was able to keep this promise most days, so it was not a complete failure.  I always, with the exception of the weeks I was busy on the election, had a book on the coffee table that I had was in the process of reading.

The result of that promise was that I read 15 books, more than double the 7 books I read in 2018. I’ve written about some of the books I have read, and where I have, I’ll include the links for the complete review.  In the order I read the books, here is is my 2019 in pages.  Part I consists of books I read from January to June.

Takedown: The attempted political assassination of Patrick Brown by Patrick Brown (2018)

I knew the players; I saw it unfold on TV and in the news.  It was a sad thing that happened to a man that likely would have become the premier of Ontario.  There are many loose ends to this made in Ontario political thriller that have yet to be heard.

Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple (2017)

The most interesting political book I read all year and is a timely read considering how challenging being the Chief of Staff for Donald Trump could be.  This book is about leadership, good leadership and bad leadership and how there should always be at least one person who is there to steer Presidents, Prime Ministers and Political leaders.  Whipple profiles White House administrations going back to Gerald Ford. The gatekeepers is an intriguing read that puts a few of history’s most crucial moments in a new perspective for the reader. https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/the-gatekeepers

Shakey by Neil Young (2002)

I had a false start on reading this in 2018, I had to put it away a for a few months before I could start over and really enjoy this.  Is there anything Neil can’t do? Reading this almost 20 year after it was published, everything he has accomplished was on his terms. I think about everything that was NOT in this book.  I might have to find a recent memoir to catch up on Neil. https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/neil-and-randy-the-winnipeggers

How the Scots Invented Canada by Ken McGoogan (2010)

I borrowed this after seeing it in the office of a Senator.  I’ll leave it at that, you can read the review here: https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/dont-tell-the-irish-the-scots-invented-canada

The Girl in the Spider Web by David Lagercrantz (2015)

This sat in my shelf for a couple of years before I opened it up, my inspiration as wo have read it before I watched not one, but two movies based on the book.  The Swedish film version was heads better that the English version that featured Claire Hoy (The Crown) as Lisbeth. The book however was fabulous and generated much more page turning excitement than either of the movies did.  Lagercrantz does the Stieg Larsson’s franchise well with this.

Open Look by Jay Triano (2018)

I was intrigued by One Look based solely on the success that the Toronto Raptors were having last season.  Like any good sports book, it really isn’t about the sport.  It’s about how a person gets into the sport and how the sport teaches how to overcome adversity, but it still has a lot about basketball in it. https://redheartbluesign.wordpress.com/2019/04/30/hoop-dreams-open-look-by-jay-triano

Tales beyond the Tap by Randy Bachman (2015)

I paired this book up with Neil Young’s Shakey in a post about the two famous Winnipeggers. There is a dogged determination in everything that Bachman has tackled and succeeded at.  He should go down as one of Canada’s greatest musical mentors.

The Effective Citizen: How to make politicians work for you by Graham Steele (2017)

We became aware of this book in Halifax during the Conservative Party of Canada convention in 2018.  I have written more about this book in a previous post, but the synopsis is this:  If you want to get involved in the democratic process in Canada and any level of government you must be smart and methodical about it.  This book is a lesson for politicians and their staff who disregard the voice of the voter AND it’s a “how to book” on working with local representatives, Ministers, Shadow Ministers and their staff.  This book along with “Gatekeepers” were the most informative books I read in all pf 2018.

Independence Day by Ben Coes (2015)

Good fun paging turning fiction.  It has spies, espionage, and lots of international deceitful action that gets fixed by the end of the book.

Part 2 will be posted next week, thanks for reading Part 1.

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Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net