In the lead up to the annual Jazz Festival here in town, I decided to seek a bit of inspiration and take in a couple of documentaries. Both proved rather satisfying. On a temperate Wednesday midday in June, I made it to the Bell TIFF Lightbox building, to which I had never been before to indulge.
Relaxed in my comfortable seat whilst waiting interminably through too many ads, I focussed on the latest book on my KOBO being enjoyed to the hilt. Just then the lights began going down and I was about to be wowed by Grace Jones in all her fabulousness.
Without doubt, Grace is a force of galactic dimensions and thoroughly absorbed and entertained was I. There was no getting around the fact that she felt like family in her West Indian realness of essence. Of course, she also happens to be a cadre mate of both mine and Merlin’s.
Jones, Grace 19/5/1948 Spanish Town, Jamaica
Michael: This fragment is a seventh-level mature warrior – first life thereat. Grace is in the power mode with a goal of dominance. A sceptic, she is in the moving part of intellectual centre.
Grace’s primary chief feature is arrogance and the secondary greed, is fixated on accomplishment.
Grace’s body type is Mars/Saturn.
The fragment Grace is second-cast in third cadence; she is a member of greater cadence two. Grace’s entity is five, cadre one, greater cadre 7, pod 414 – yet another cadre mate of Merlin’s and Arvin’s.
Grace’s essence twin is a warrior and her task companion a sage.
Grace’s three primary needs are: power, freedom and adventure.
There are 10 past-life associations with Arvin and 16 with Merlin.
The weekend prior, I decided to drop everything and go catch the André Leon-Talley documentary. I knew that it had been playing, Juan-Felipe de Castro — a most exhaustingly funny sage… no, they are not all funny — had raved about it and insisted that I go. In any event, there was I, playing femme au foyer with my Swiffer and came across the coffee table gem: ALT 365+ and immediately took a shower, booked a ticket, opted for some Tom Ford Black Orchid eau de parfum instead of patchouli, hopped on my bike with my Dorothy Grant messenger bag and my snazzy Wellingtons.
I got to King West and John Streets, opted to lock up my trusty bike on John Street and dashed across John for the 40 storey plus condo. There are too many of these damn hideous things and more people jump from them than one would care to have to admit. That aside, I made my way inside, for the first time — I never do TIFF — and was wowed by the place; seriously, though, what’s with having to climb stairs when your bladder is about to give out?
Comfy, the beautifully interiored salon’s lights went down and thus began the pleasurable and immensely enlightening adventure that is, The Gospel According to André. Great it was to see the grand dame, Diana Vreeland. Of course, I was reminded of the summer of 1983 when working in the garment district, running errands for milliner, Frederick Jones; these were all persons whom he knew and with whom I became briefly acquainted for tagging along with him to some mid-afternoon or mid-morning meeting after which we would be off to buy fabric. Frederick had actually taught me how to block hats, which gladly I did as he feverishly worked away in his West 43rd Street Studio/home.
Talley, André-Leon 16/10/1949
Michael: This fragment is a fifth-level mature atisan – third life thereat. André is in the passion mode with a goal of acceptance. An indealist, he is in the emotional part of intellectual centre.
André’s primary chief feature is greed fixated on satisfaction and the secondary, arrogrance.
André’s body type is Jupiter/Venus.
The fragment André is fifth-cast in the first cadence; he is a member of greater cadence three. André’s entity is six, cadre one, greater cadre 6, pod 414.
André’s essence twin is an artisan and the task companion a sage who is known to him.
André’s three primary needs are: expression, expansion and communion.
There are 14 past-life associations with Arvin and 10 with Merlin.
Last Saturday feeling deathly exhausted and suffering from allergies — my sneeze is phenomenally loud — I debated whether or not to make the Liona Boyd concert at Church of the Redeemer, on Bloor Street West at Avenue Road.
Slipping inside the pyramid, I grabbed a clutch of crystals, intently focussed on ridding myself of this allergic morass and dosed off for a spell. When I came to, sneezed louder than normally I would then found myself nose-blowing and ejecting a pond of phlegm. At that, I felt grounded, focussed and as though I had never been in the throes of allergies. I took a cold shower, in my perpetually freezing apartment, the AC is always on at 61° — I cannot abide heat… to say nothing of summer.
With unassigned seating, I went and sat at the edge of the last pew in the stage left transept. No sooner than having taken a seat that the smell of the persons to my right precluded remaining where I was; they, frankly, smelt like burnt flesh which also had a melange that was not dissimilar to the loud smell of a long-haired dog when wet. Who knows what Canis Major world from whence their hybridised alien stock originates but I always find the smell of such persons off-putting.
Thus, I opted to stand for the performance’s duration and a gloriously magical interlude it proved. This was billed as a celebration of Yorkville in its 1960s heyday. After the youth choir had opened, out walked Liona Boyd in a flowing white and blue gown, looking positively ethereal.
This performance for me was just as bucolic as when passing late afternoons in childhood high up my favourite fruit tree in St. Kitts and being swept along by air currents as the branch on which I would be perched, rocked and swayed, taking me higher as I blissed out to the magic of Beatles’ tunes from the neighbour’s radio; naturally, no such ungodly music was ever allowed in our household. Great fun it was to hear Liona’s recollections of Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, John Denver and others. For the first time, after her anecdote about working in a London, England studio where also John Denver was working, Jet Plane proved a most poignant moment in the concert.
There was a hush after we all sang along to the John Denver tune, with Liona on vocals and guitar, that moment was simply rapturous. This performance was just as intimate as if we were merely a few persons in a backyard, hanging out by candlelight after a fine meal, good wine and having a sing-along whilst some august soul strummed on guitar. A truly soul-stirring adage, the evening proved. I was only too happy to grab my autographed copies of her memoirs — which I have yet to devour. One had a true sense of communion when singing along and afterwards when briefly chatting whilst she signed both memoirs. I really didn’t need the overleaves to have validated the connection; quite remarkably she felt solid which is how all soul connections register… at least for me they do.
Boyd, Liona 11/7/1949 London, England
Michael: This fragment is a mid-cycle mature sage – second life thereat. Liona is in the perseveration mode with a goal of growth. A pragmatist, she is in the moving part of intellectual centre.
Liona’s primary chief feature is impatience and the secondary, self-deprecation.
Liona’s body type is Lunar/Mercury.
The fragment Liona is fourth-cast in fourth cadence; she is a member of greater cadence three. Liona’s entity is six, cadre one, greater cadre 7, pod 414 – Liona is an entity mate of both Merlin’s and Arvin’s.
Liona’s essence twin is a sage and the task companion an artisan who is known to her.
Liona’s three primary needs are: freedom, adventure and power.
There are 18 past-life associations with Arvn and 12 with Merlin.
Naturally, no trip to the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall would be complete without crossover from the hall to the old majestic red-bricked building that faces onto Bloor Street West and pay a visit to the Bella Bartok statue. Vibrationally, I don’t know why, but I am always reminded of Leonard Cohen when looking at this statue.
Settled in comfortably and it was time to be wowed by Savion Glover and boy did the old shamanic griot deliver! Never had 1.5 hours of dancing been so phenomenal. This was sheer uneclipsed beauty of spirit. Whilst I sat there waiting for the house lights to go down, I poured through photos to include in my Instagram account.
Just then, I came across the account of someone met days earlier whom I had added to Instagram but who has yet to follow in kind. Naturally, this lost soul claimed to be impressed that I knew of crystals and had a pyramid but like too many Canadians, he was really big on letting me know that he was too busy to check his Instagram account. To look at it, it is the most flaky, crowd-following, lost soul bullshit imaginable. Of course, this clown is too busy dropping whatever to even know that there is a Jazz festival afoot and likely would dismiss it as not evolved enough.
After having been wowed by Savion’s sheer genius, I stumbled out onto Bloor Street West lightheaded both from the performance and the fact that I was quite frankly hungry. There had been no water in my building all day; not able to cook, I sped to the performance by bike and soon realised that I was more famished than I reckoned. Throwing caution to the wind, I poured into the revamped McDonald’s across from the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) — wouldn’t like to be a homeowner in the swank new condo only to have the smell of French fries night and day permeating your tony Yorkville digs?
After having repeated my order three times to the vapid-looking but shade-throwing Southeast Asian server, I finally spoke up 15 minutes later, demanding to know what was taking so long. As the order got to me, I was so bored of having to look at stupid, overbred fools, I took the food said my best “fuck you/thank you” and departed the store. When finally, I opened up, glad to be able to dig into my two McChicken sandwiches, the above is the sight with which I was presented. Inside the clear top of the container, which would normally hold eggs, pancakes or other breakfast fare, were two greasy, deep-fried patties that for all the hell I could have cared might have been dog as it certainly was not chicken. Not in the mood to row with anyone just then, I ubered some Jerk chicken and some coconut water.
Almost an hour after initially I had ordered food to address my hunger along came my order. Sure enough another overbred fool presented with the most god-awful malodorous bouquet of smegma, dirty arse, armpits, curry and bad breath that suggested that he had at least half a dozen cavities. Right about then, I was one none-too-thrilled and hungry motherfucker. So repulsed was I that I simply tossed the food in the fridge and had one of the coconut waters. How unaware must one be that you are going to have the fuck-all temerity to serve the public and smelling as unhygienic as is humanly possible?
Another day and another church for sinner man moi to grace. The Jazz festival this year was missing its usual verve as the concerts would usually be hosted by on-air hosts from Toronto’s JazzFM. Since a couple of months earlier, the absence of Garvia Bailey from the airwaves on her morning show and I began counting down the days to her return from holiday. Of course, this being Canada, I always worried when Garvia was away from her show as being Black in this country means that job security is as rare as pussy at a bathhouse.
Never before had Garvia been missing from the airwaves this long; heck, I had even called the station one Friday to ask when she would return and was told that she would be back on Monday. That Monday rolled around and Mark Wigmore, who had previously worked at the city’s Gay radio station, was still hosting and now there was no more mention of Garvia Bailey. Now I was beginning to get more than a little bit pissed off. Was she ill? Had she quit? Had she been fired? At least, Garvia was still there on her twitter account. Then one day, I looked at the JazzFM website on-air host page and Garvia’s name was gone. Wow, I would really have to start rethinking my support.
Then the unfathomable unfolded as I opened the day’s Globe and Mail newspaper to read that five on-air persons had been fired and there had been a string of sexual harassment allegations against Ross Porter. Brazenly, he was still on-air and the station, which relies on listener support, had the gall to keep Ross on-air. Regardless, there is nothing more odious than having to suffer someone who has been the focus of sexual allegations, true or not; it is just immensely disquieting.
So there was I to see Cecile McLorin Salvant weave her indelible magic. I sat in the back pew in the balcony which afforded a commanding view of the stage and in particular the very engaging drummer. Cecile was in superb form. Next to me sat a couple, who clearly did not care to be there; one had to buy tickets in blocks of three concerts — at least for that venue. Naturally, the night before conflicted with the Savion Glover concert at Koerner Hall. The third concert would be the day following and as life is about making the most discriminating of choices, I had positively no fuck all intentions of time-wasting seeing another fraudulent arsed Canadian ape black culture and turn Jazz singer because, let’s face it, there is no such thing as a viable pop music career in Canada especially if you don’t stand a chance in hell of crossing over to the America market. Besides, from my years of crawling the halls of the CBC when Merlin worked there, being the product of the moneyed classes and being able to buy a career does not a Jazz singer make. Besides, ain’t nobody gots time for chit the day after Cecile’s held court and wove her magic.
So as I bobbed and weaved, enjoying the soulful groove that is Jazz — black high art — the Indo-Canadian couple next to me could not have been more disinterested. She, seated closer to me, kept her hands clasped at her cross-legged knee. He on the other hand kept on slamming his back into the pew as protest for my enjoying myself. I think she might have clapped once or twice. What really struck me as the couple next to me engaged in the usual passive-aggressive BS that one fully expects to manifest partout from tout le monde , is that as JazzFM restructures and returns with new on-air hosts, it’ll doubtless be persons of their ilk who will be the chosen replacement hosts; god only knows, the landscape has been deftly rid of all semblance of blackness in the television medium of late. A true mystery to me how Canadians can so blithely whistle Dixie whilst purporting to be enamoured and passionate about Jazz, all the while slowly but irretrievably excluding blacks — whatever did we black have to do with Jazz; surely, we must be mad if we so much as entertained the notion that we could have done something so phenomenal as having invented the art form and that there is anything remotely ‘black’ about Jazz. Indeed, the Canadian way… That aside, I really missed having the on-air hosts from JazzFM being part of the hosting lineups during the annual Jazz Festival which was exquisitely memorable.
Until next year, as the full moon in Capricorn climbed high in the sky above Yorkville, I say, sweet dreams and as ever thanks so much for your ongoing support.
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