Category Archives: Life

I read and hear a trend here

 

I just finished reading Philip Norman`s biography of Paul McCartney “A Life”, and as I always do during and after reading a musical biography I am drawn to listen to more of that artists’ music. In the case of McCartney my interest is towards his later music more importantly “Flaming Pie”, “Driving Rain” and “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”. The earlier music is very much part of my growing up and early adult years. I hadn’t paid enough attention to those three CD’s and now I have the opportunity to do so. Luckily I have had the almost complete McCartney discography – so no new purchases required.

The most difficult part of the read was working through the Heather Mills era and how different Paul seemed when compared to the years with not only Linda but earlier with Jane Asher. Do some relationships just bring out a totally different person in people? By the time I reached the last page, I got what I expected and enjoyed every page.

35 years ago I read Phillip Norman’s account about The Beatles entitled “Shout! The Beatles in their Generation”. I have few recollections about that book, and thankfully the author in his notes says he did not rely on his research in that book to write McCartney’s life book. The obvious next read is the same author’s Lennon account “John Lennon: The Life” if only to ensure the facts are same between the two books. But that will not take place for a few books as I have Robbie Robertson’s and Bruce Springsteen’s books up next on the read list.

My adventure in a musician’s life ends with the same result, more music to be bought and listened to as an enhanced experience to the words my brain has taken in. In the case of some biographies it can be more expensive than others. I have taken to the pages of Neil Young and Led Zeppelin books, but a case to demonstrate this is Joni Mitchell. After reading “The Creative Odyssey of…” purchasing the early catalogue was a necessity. I had only been listening to the later work of hers, 1988’s “Chalk mark in a Rainstorm” to 1995’s Grammy Award winning “Turbulent Indigo”, I had no personal listening experience to her early work (other than when I worked in Radio from 1982-1990). Listening to “Ladies of the Canyon”, “Blue” and “Court and Spark” helped to appreciate what I already knew of her music.

The two books that brought the largest surprise to me were Keith Richards “Life” and Elvis Costello’s “Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink”. In both these books I was astounded to hear about the musicianship that each had. I had previous been a staunch Beatles over the Rolling Stones person but with his book, Keith Richards won me over (but not totally) to the Rolling Stones side. In fact his 2015 Lp “Crosseyed Heart” remains a favourite of mine.

Unlike my Keith Richards/Rolling Stones experience, I have been listening to Costello for a very long time, likely due to my prime music year being late 70’s onward. I knew that Elvis Costello was a good musician, but how good I had no idea. The book explores a musical background that he shares with his father and mother and provides an insight to the British Punk and New Wave music in the 70’s and 80’s. His song writing prowess is incredible and the range in which he can produce blows me away. Even the manner in which he interviews other musicians is extremely impressive. His run as host of “Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…” showed an intellect and interest in hearing about other musicians. The show was produced by Costello with Elton John and David Furnish and sadly only ran for 2 seasons. The show remains available to purchase and features some wonderful musical performances with his guests.

Beyond Robertson and Springsteen the next pick up might have to be Norman’s “Sir Elton: The Definitive Biography” of Elton John. As a lifelong fan and owner of most of his discography, I might not learn more about his music but I’m willing to see if I will and search out a disc I just have to have. After all I should not rely of the Lp “Captain Fantastic and Brown Dirt Cowboy” as my only biographical reference to Elton John.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

Hopes, Aspirations & Dreams of 2017

2017

Photo: northernstar.info

2017, it is finally here, though many would have been happy to see 2017 arrive in October of last year. To begin the year here is a list of my hopes, aspirations and dreams for the coming 12 months.

I have been waiting a few years now for new music from Michelle Branch, though rumoured for sometime, she recently tweeted out that we could expect something new in 2017. She is listed in Entertainment Weekly’s list of anticipated music for 2017. Also, I can’t wait for the follow up disc by Ryan Adams after his version of Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ last year (which I loved as much as TS’s). His new Lp ‘Prisoner’ comes out early 2017.

I am also keenly interested in sophomore releases from Lorde, Haim and The Chainsmokers in this, a year where Taylor Swift isn’t scheduled to drop any new music. I am holding out hope that the new John Mayer disc will sparkle. Here is what EW complied for music we just can’t wait to listen to, http://ew.com/music/2016/12/22/most-anticipated-albums-2017/?xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter

The Grey Cup comes to Ottawa in November, wouldn’t it be sweet to see the Ottawa Redblacks make three straight Cup appearances and repeat as champs?

Still on sports, here’s dreaming that the Ottawa Senators can go deep in the playoffs in 2017 just as the Redblacks did the past two years, the Ottawa Champions did (and won) last summer and the Ottawa Fury FC accomplished in 2015.

After going 4-1 in By-election wins since Patrick Brown became leader of Ontario PC Party, he will the opportunity to increase that to five wins now that former Liberal Minister David Orazietti resigned as MPP for Sault Ste Marie on December 31st. Whether there will be other provincial by-elections is yet to be seen as others in the Liberal government weigh their options leading up to the 2018 Ontario General Elections.

There will finally be one Conservative standing the in party’s leadership race come May, hopefully the party will stand behind whoever he or she may be after the convention. I still have no clue of who will replace Rona Ambrose in the House of Commons as the Leader of the Opposition. The NDP race becomes more interesting now that calendars have flipped from 2016 to 2017, we might shortly have the first declared candidate for Mulcair’s chair.

Finally, I aspire that we can all get along while having our differences. I hope days of populist chants and unresearched claims and inaccurate accusations will be left behind. We all should be better informed and read past the click bait headlines on social media. This is the only way we can have healthy debates about the issues our leaders face in coming 12 months.

Maybe just maybe I will finally get around to posting a vlog.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

Surprises of 2016

joey

2016, the year that is about to pass gave us a few surprises, though the surprises that came in the form of the deaths of many great entertainers and leaders provided the saddest of surprises.   For the year that was to be of #SunnyWays, there were many dark days.

February 3, 1959 was the day “that the music died”, 2016 is becoming the year that took the best of music from us, starting with David Bowie in January, two thirds of Emerson (March), Lake (December) & Palmer and closing out (hopefully) with George Michael on Christmas Day. CNN provided a look back http://www.edition.cnn.com/2016/12/26/entertainment/musician-deaths-2016-year-music-died/index.html.

The Rolling Stones #BlueandLonesome Lp is the best thing they have put out in many years.

David Bowie produced a masterpiece even while knowing he was dying.

Some Toronto sports teams were good! The Raptors, Blue Jays and Toronto FC challenged for league titles.

Ontario by-election results in Scarborough-Rouge River (expected the worse) and Ottawa Vanier (expected better).

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was SO GOOD (No surprise there).

That I was back in Ottawa after 10 months in Queens Park and that I would be busier with one file to monitor and advise on than I was with 7 in Toronto.

The Tragically Hip delivered one of their best yet on vinyl  – and on stage they delivered a show for a Nation.

Henry Burris, the Ottawa Redblacks AND becoming #GreyCup104 Champions.

The collapse of the leadership of Thomas Mulcair at the NDP Conventions and that the assumed frontrunners for the party leadership have stepped aside and decided not to run.

There are still 14, FOURTEEN, contenders for the Leadership of Conservative Party of Canada.

It was a banner year for books about musicians with biographies about Springsteen, McCartney, Robertson, Collins and Wilson all marking pages.

Kathleen Wynne is still here.

Hilary Rodham Clinton.

Donald J Trump.

What surprised you in 2016?

Finally, thank you for reading #RedheartBlueSign in 2016. With 45 posts, 1000 visitors and over 1300 views it was a good year. I look forward to continuing that in 2017 – with you along with me. Thank You!

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net.

132: Hope, the ultimate pay-it-forward (better than coffee)

hopeI have a friend who likes to debate with me (and anyone else who dares try to talk to him about it) about hope,  believing in a higher spirit/God and its benefits. He says he does not deal with the positive or negative, but in facts – they will drive what he believes. My argument to him is what do we have without hope? What reason do we have to get out of bed each morning? Like many, I have my share of mornings where bed was the safest place to be, to stay, so no one could hurt me. I could pull the covers up and cry if I wanted or just close my eyes and see what the world looked or felt like when I opened them again.

I agree that on the surface, some of the facts we see each day present a pretty gloomy picture. To that I would say, scratch the surface, go a few layers down and then tell me what you see, are there people, organizations and actions happening that demonstrate a brighter side that will come – but in time. What drives those people, organizations and actions? Can all these come together without a higher calling that calls us to act? Does it really matter where our individual sense of hope comes from? If we have hope – then we act on it. Acting on our belief in hope is like paying it forward. It’s not unlike having the person in front of you in the drive thru lane pay for your coffee.

For the days where I wonder where my hope has gone, I always remember where it came from. For my friend, religion was a bad experience; I thankfully had the opposite experience. As a kid you don’t always want to church but we went, I never recall a Sunday thinking ‘wow, there’s a couple of hours I’ll never get back.’

I don’t know how my brothers and sister felt about the bible readings after dinner on Sundays – but I was never bored with them. My church upbringing lead me to be coming a Youth Leader at Summer camp and in Church both home in Mississauga and in Ottawa many years later. It for a while almost led me to down the path of becoming a Minister. For whatever reason that never happened, but there was never any regret for doing any of those things.  Those days gave me hope, they still do.

My friend often quotes Sir Winston Churchill as being the only world leader that saw the menace of Adolf Hitler as he reflects on his considerations of world affairs today. I dare say that while Churchill saw things others didn’t or ignored – he had hope. As hopeless as he feels our conversations about religion being a source of hope and good are, I hold out for the day where there might be a hint of consideration that I might have a wee tiny slice of credibility in my argument.

Hope is the invisible and ultimate pay it forward moment for a better day that makes tomorrow a reason for getting out of bed.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. You can also see me on www.redheartbluelife.wordpress.com for what I see, hear and read.

I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

119: Donald Fagen, The Professor of Cool

Whether it’s the clean sound or the precision musicianship, Steely Dan and Donald Fagan in his solo work have been favourites of mine since “Aja” was released 1977. Today I am sharing a blog post and a vlog celebrating the work of Donald Fagen and Steely Dan…enjoy!

The first is from the Immortal Jukebox, a blog I have shared with you in the past.

the-nightfly

https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2016/09/25/donald-fagen-the-nightfly-walking-between-raindrops/

The second is post from Nerdwriter1 about Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues from the aforementioned Aja. He deconstructs “Deacon Blues”, helping to make sense of the coolness of Steely Dan.

aja

https://youtu.be/vSDD8rgUiNc

I hope you enjoy these tow posts about a musician really like listening to. Please take a look at some of the other work these two have produced.

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 at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

#116 Repost: A Different Take on Reaching Millennials

Millennials

I was introduced to this post last week and I have passed it on to a few people that I thought would find it very interesting, because it is.

I am the father of two Millennials, and perhaps as a father I can reach them – but what about others? It is the misunderstood generation, just as my generation, the so called X Generation of those born in the 60’s and 70’s were misunderstood. I think the world has worked out OK with Generation Y (those born in the 80’s and early 90’s) but now we are faced with the Millennials, the next generation that we need to rely on to shape our world for the next 25 years.

Carey Nieuwhof has penned a brilliant piece that at first is aimed at the church community – but when you look at the base of it, everyone – even Millennials themselves – can learn about this generation by reading his blog post.

I leave it here for you to read and enjoy and hope it sheds a light to you about this generation who should not be misunderstood if only because the world they wish to live in was partly set up by the Baby Boomer, X and the Y Generations before them.

http://careynieuwhof.com/2016/06/different-take-reaching-millennials/?utm_content=bufferd1d28&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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 at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

rhbs108: What? It’s August? Already?

july to august

 

…and just like that, it is August…

I realized that it’s the start of August today, July is gone.

There are times when it is best to keep it simple. July was that time, making sure there was time at the end of the day to chill and make sure everyone is alright and leaving the other stuff for another day – or in my case another month.

It is not like I planned not to post, it’s just what happened. But now that it has happened I need, make that want, to get back up and continue sharing with you. I had made some noise a while back about sharing posts of other bloggers and in my post “More than a Coat of Paint” (June 2016), some promises where made about follow up pieces talking about the Ontario government and what we have had to endure for the past few years under the “leadership” of Kathleen Wynne. I will get those up and, as well will share the content of some bloggers from around the world and here in Canada.

I have been planning something new for you called “Pint of View”, it came out of a discussion with a friend and former co-worker of mine who sadly passed away a couple of months ago. I had talked about her and mused about the future in the post from February “Between a Blog and Hard Place”.  Laurel came up with the title and through a continued online chat, a format and was born for a short video blog – a vlog.  The idea is that each post will be no more than between 3 and 5 minutes long and would be topic I would share over a pint, as I would with a friend at a bar, on my balcony or even while driving my car. As I get prepared to launch it,  I am getting set with trial runs and editing to make sure it looks and sounds good – something to be proud of. I hope that it will be live soon and up available on You Tube.

For today, August 1st, I say bah-bye to July and cheers to a new month, it will be a productive, fun and worthwhile effort for me, and I hope you will agree and find it just as enjoyable.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.