Pink Chair I & II

Within days of George’s 44th birthday on February 9th, 1990, I had been to his McCaul Street loft, which looked east to the buildings lining University Avenue. There, on the top floor’s tiny balcony, we would retreat for some privacy, late at night and suck each other off with his son spying on us… ever he spied on us and it became a definite source of one of our many volatile breakups that George wanted to watch whilst his son and I fucked. I am not about doing anything that I find repugnant. George’s son’s legs are ridiculously bizarre; the space between the knees and ankles inordinately short – he also has too much gum for my liking. Did not matter to me that he was very thick and big; I was not playing. End of discussion. In any event, that winter, after George and I had riotously fucked with his son’s conspicuous silence in the open loft definitely indicating that we were being spied on, I fell asleep whilst George, thoroughly, noisily ploughed right, went to shit and shower, which was always alone and a very lengthy affair. On exiting the bath, as I soundly slept, awaiting my turn to shower, George grabbed his polaroid and took several snaps of me in his sole pink armchair as I remained sheathed in a used full and droopy condom.

By the time that George would present me with the iconic, masterful serigraph, he and I were not then on speaking terms on conclusion of the work. Months earlier, in November 1989, Merlin had passed and as George made it perfectly clear that he did not want to be in a committed relationship, I walked away. He was, of course, pissed but I was not getting the support I felt that I then needed. Truth be told, the relationship with George was ideal, I could no more have given two fucks about his friends anymore than they did me. George was totally controlling – energy body of 9 – and in that way, I was his muse and a great fuck; this left both his family and friends off limit – of course, there was obsession with his son, which meant me fulfilling his fantasy. Not happening. So as I did not play along and began taking lovers of my own, as George wanted to celebrate my life in the event that I, soon after Merlin, perished of AIDS – at that point, I still had not gone out and taken an HIV test; I was simply then too solipsistic to have been any support to Merlin who was then slowly dying of AIDS. So not able to bring himself to name the serigraph after me, it became Pink Chair; of course, for his friends, it was a great dig at me whom they thought of dismissible and an utter non-entity. Of course, I never said more than two words to anyone at that point in my life – that is, if I did not think you worth my time why bother saying fuck all?

For the next three years, George and I saw each other on and off. During that time, I was rapidly self-exploring. Of course, at the core of it all, there was the one ritual that grounded me, each day as I went to bed, I closed my eyes and smiled, knowing that on awaking, I would recall a plethora of dream experiences which before sleep, I could not readily have fathomed. Each morning I woke up, grabbed the tape recorder and began audiocassette recording my dreams. For this reason, as it had been a promise made to Merlin, I had no desire to be in a living relationship. No, I do not want to meet your fucking family, most definitely do not want to be caught dead, wasting a nanosecond of my time, listening to your loser friends and their redundantly specious regurgitated anecdotes – been there… fuck that. With Merlin’s passing, I had found a new groove: go to a few bathhouses, fuck a couple or a couple dozen hungry bottoms, head home by bike and listen to either classical or Jazz and get on with reading, writing and looking forward to travelling to the next art exhibition or Jazz concert and, of course, collecting art.

At one point, George moved out of his McCaul Street loft and with his possessive son remaining at the loft, this opened the way for us to get back together. This, of course, was not without its angst. One evening, I was hellbent on ploughing George to the hounds but he kept on begging off and finally blew up at me and told me to fuck off and, perhaps, he wanted to fuck his brains out with someone else. Are you fucking kidding me? No need to sit about when possessed of that irrational cocktail of obsession, passion, lust and mistrust. With regards his sexual activity, George always lied… I knew this. The first time that he had lied, I noticed the tell-tale sign – his right index finger and middle finger would involuntarily quiver and he would always try to cover it by rubbing his right index against his right nostril. Whenever this occurred, he would always get up and walk away to try and better cover up the physiological quirk. As ever, nothing escaped my eagle-eyed perception.

That night, unable to sleep and more importantly being robbed of valuable dreamtime, I got up and hopped on my bike in the middle of a bitching winter’s dead of night. George, who then lived at 62 Austin Terrace, had me pedal like mad in the biting cold and after locking my bike down the hill, made it up to 62 Austin Terrace, which stood right at the northeast corner of Bathurst Street and Austin Terrace. Truly possessed, I hopped onto the mountain ash tree and began scaling the damn tree as though at 0300 on a cold winter’s night with a street lamp nicely illuminating things, my being a black male, climbing a leaf-bare tree in the Annex, was a perfectly natural thing to be doing, among other illogical considerations. The lights were on in the bedroom; alas, he was not being ploughed by someone who was not me. Of course, George always spoke in his sleep and in one of his little pernicious moves, days earlier as I ploughed him good, he let out someone else’s name whilst pretending to be more asleep and or drunk than he was. Of course, seven years of being the lover of an award-winning director, Merlin, I knew fucking bad acting toute de suite.

There were clothes on the bed that were not George’s but he could not be seen. Undaunted, I scaled and scraped my way down the tree with simian ease, passion-possessed and made it up Bathurst to the rear of the property where I scaled the slippery stone side of the hill and made it atop the garage where for walking across packed, crunching inches of snow, found George being plough on the large draught table in his study. I was beyond livid but wanted and gotten definite proof to slap down his lying when confronted. His response was, of course, feigned indignation at my having had the temerity to spy on him. As with all passionate lovers, that entangled, drama-rife bit of Sargasso was soon traversed to calmer seas. Months later, we got in from dinner, sat down for a drink at his Austin Terrace apartment and laughed and savoured our cognac, after having been out shopping in the early afternoon to choose a new frame for Pink Chair. As ever, George wanting to be plough long and hard, listened to Haydn’s Paris Symphonies – ever, I favoured the London Symphonies. I had just returned to Toronto after amour fou absolu had attempted to steal a dozen pieces from my art collection, among which was Pink Chair.

By March, 1993, I was hanging out in Washington D.C. with Bahamian relations when for walking out on my host, would meet Yuri, the most thoroughly consuming S&M bottom. This, of course, was at a time where all I did was crawl bathhouses partout, ever on the prowl, as finally I had discovered my metier with Merlin’s passing. S&M was the right groove at the right time in my life. So as I crawled predatorily the halls of yet another bathhouse, this one on the edge of a military base in the U. S. capital, I was hotly pursued by Yuri as my swagger and riding boots were just what and more his wildest dreams were in search of. We fucked for several hours, he professed his love and we returned to his place just southwest of Dupont Circle in Foggy Bottom that was the epitome of house proud faggot and way too minimalist for my liking. Alas, we went to his bedroom, which had a bed that was custom-built and made to service his every S&M whim. We were insatiable and it was just right. I looked past his drinking and excessive use of poppers, which second hand ever left me with a splitting headache, he had an actual freezer in which he kept handled bottles of vodka and the salacious bottom with the thick Russian accent was all mine.

Soon he took me to dinner, presented me a ring and demanded that I move to America and his position as lawyer in a queer law firm would allow me to live without the worry of working and the ideal Daddy to come home to. A city full of museums, he had season tickets to Kennedy Center and just a short flight to New York City for more culture and art, it was not very hard to say yes. Soon we went looking at places as I came down every other weekend from Toronto; we dined out and did all the things he had not before. On the off weekend, he had to himself with friends and family, which I made it perfectly clear were a non-negotiable in our relationship.

No sooner than having brought down choice pieces of art and much of my wardrobe as we chatted daily three to five times, I was returned that Sunday evening to no calls or calls going unanswered. Finally, that Thursday evening, he coolly answered the phone and wanted to know what I was bothering him for as, said he, he thought that he had made it clear that it was over between us. Perhaps, I was in denial but now he was with Tyrone who had a big 11.5 inch cock that he just couldn’t get enough of. Putting my master numbers to good use, I morphed and pulled out personalities 33, 47 and 56, all the while not so much as appearing remotely upset. Soon, he was answering the phone whilst being ploughed by Tyrone. Alas, my diamond cutter charm wore him down; we did after all have concerts to attend at Kennedy Center. So fool him, he accepted as Tyrone was going home to Philly for his mama’s 50th birthday – as if I could give two point five fucks.

Returned to Washington, I charmed him though he was wary and mistrustful – his guilt not mine. Finally, he gave in and we had one last S&M session. Tied up, he stood upright in the leather bedding with black bath sheets everywhere to catch his piss as I ploughed his arse, exposed by the thick leather chaps, rough, long and hard. I then slipped beneath the bed and got out the duct tape purchased earlier at Heckenger’s across town – everyone in the neighbourhood knew him and I had no intentions of anyone tipping him off. The hood zipped tight, revealing only his eyes and mouth, I smeared half a dozen strips of the black tape across his lizard-lipped cocksucker mouth and left just enough room for him to comfortably breathe.

As the opera fag neighbours below were in that evening, I turned up the music – Maria Callas CDs on the Denon stereo system – really loudly and pulled his big-boned body from the black leather sheets and hauled him by the harness through the 2100 square foot duplex apartment to the living room, took the strap to him as well he loved it; however, this was not about him, left him slumped and seated on the floor and quietly and meticulously cut my fucking art from the god fugly gaudy gold frames, into which the fucking racist moron had placed my stolen art, 12 pieces in all, including Pink Chair. Having returned my art into the tubes, in which they had months earlier been brought down from Toronto, I called my ride and with lots of time to spare its arrival, I hauled the blasted fool – who to that point had royally pissed off at least half my known 72 personalities, to his large bathroom, where clad in leather from head to toe, I heaved his bulky body – his legs and hands bound as he loved it during play, over the side of the tub, ripped out his butt plug, squatted down, violently ripped off the duct tape, replaced it with my gauntlet sheathed left hand whilst riotously fucking him hard. Hissing into his right ear, still hammering away at his ravaged mangina, ‘you fucking thief… what does that make you. That’s right, you’re a fucking nigger and don’t you ever forget it.’ Slamming the bathroom door shut behind me, my head ached from all the poppers he did. Coolly, I went to the freezer and got the handled bottles of vodka there, where else but America, and slowly undid his suit so that his welted body beneath could really sting from the vodka’s cold, unforgiving bite, after shoving his whimpering body into the tub. When I was done emptying all his vodka on his shivering, enraged body, I straddled his wet body below in the tub and whilst standing on the edge pissed and relieved my bladder which since removing my stolen art from his walls had been straining for release.

From there, I hightailed it to New York City and stayed a few days at Valerie Pringle’s only brother’s West 16th Street walk-up where I grounded anew by going to all my favourite museums by day and crawling the village in riding boots, making further conquests, which usually began whilst gyrating and face-fucking on the tiny dance floor down the mirrored winding stairs at the historic Stonewall Inn. Returned to Toronto with my art, over dinner at a tiny Spanish restaurant off Yonge Street, after we had taken Pink Chair to be framed, raising a glass of red, I winked at George and said of the vanquished amour fou, the best way to piss on a fool’s grave, is to do so before they actually are dead and buried. Dinner was beautiful and with that, we returned to his apartment at 62 Austin Terrace and George was no end of happy, reaching back and holding on to my riding boots, his arse high in the air, as I ploughed and staked my claim to his heart centre as never before.

‘What the fuck are you calling me for?’ On my return to Toronto, I lethally hissed down the phone at the racist boor in Washington D. C.. ‘We have no business together. Obviously, all you can handle, is nothing more than 11 IQ points. Let’s make this perfectly fucking goddamn clear, since your HIV status – that’s right, I have known all along, precludes you making it across the border, you will stay the fuck where you are and get over it. You’re a fucking thief.’ He then violently demanded that I return ‘his’ art and be man enough to bring it back. ‘What the fuck has AIDS and poppers done to your fucking pea brain? Bitch are you fucking nuts? You are dead to me. Shit, I already pissed on you… you are as good as fucking dead! Cutting him off as he launched into his foul, drunken nigger this, nigger that, I boomed down the phone into his gutted soul, ‘Hang it up! Hang it the blasted motherfuck up! Now! Go on, hang up your fucking phone now. You fucking drunken diseased rat. Now! Hang it the blasted motherfuck up now! Hang it up! Finally, the line dropped, collapsing his weak sobbing. A bottom to the core, he never dare dialled my number again.

Also, at 62 Austin Terrace, I announced to George that I had accepted a job offer in Vancouver and would be leaving in mere days. George was devastated as he felt that he was being abandoned for not having been fully engaged in a committed relationship. In the end, not long after I was happily ensconced in Vancouver’s West End, that George visited. We had some of our best sex deep into the musky wholesomeness within the woods of Stanley Park, lorded over by centuries old Sitkas. There in the dead of night, George buried his left cheek in the mud, held on to my riding boots as ever he loved to as I plough and took us both to beyond the edge of ecstasy. George’s first visit to Vancouver – there was a second, was passed going to galleries, having an early dinner, likely on Davie Street, going home for a nap before getting up late at night to go do that most primal of deeds, fucking surrounded by the sublime beauty of nature.

On the eve of Bob Marley’s birthday – a very brightly, crisply cold Friday in 1999, my wife and I emerged in full African garb onto Saint Laurent from Montréal’s palais de justice accompanied by George and my sister, Pandora, both serving as witnesses. That evening at our lovely Cote des Neiges home, the four of us were joined by a lovely Jewish boy from Hampstead. George and I were reunited after too long on the cusp of his 53rd birthday and among other things, we warmly celebrated his upcoming birthday. The evening was beautiful. Five years later, my wife and I relocated back to Toronto as both our fathers experienced health crises. My first visit to George’s Borden Street penthouse was beautiful, the view looked north to one of my favourite high-rises in the city; it is a deco affair at the northwest corner of Spadina & Richmond Street West. I am always reminded of Merlin and New York City where we met and how much he loved the architecture of 1930s New York City. Paris, my wife, and Pandora were invited to dinner in the late afternoon.

George seldom hung art about his homes, and rarely any of his; there was one however which moved me the moment I walked into the room. Who is it, I asked, to which George laughed and said, ‘it’s you, of course. It’s the companion to Pink Chair… it is Pink Chair. Back in 1987 when we first met, George had asked me to sit at his loft on Brock Avenue in the Queen West Queen neighbourhood. As a result of our carnal passion, George experienced a new creative drive; he became more creatively focussed and produced more. George’s attack was dazzling and he created with feverish speed. He was always grateful for that time, he was not yet 41 when we met and for him, it proved the mid-life crisis he needed. It was great, too, because Russell, a lover of his, had slowly been dying of AIDS and I became the anchor that kept him focussed here and now.

I was invigorated by this second Pink Chair, which had been completed in 1992 but which he had never shown me. Finally, George and I met separate of my wife, Paris, who has since transitioned and become Denver, for dinner at his Borden Street penthouse condo. Even though I had become a portly little cock-bottomed, short-breathed eccentric with age, I still wanted to return to being George’s muse and, of course, lover. As ever, we dined on another exquisitely prepared meal, which featured a George staple – asparagus and another sublime sauce with the right accompanying wine. At this dinner, however, George began opening up and told me of a murder at University of Toronto where he taught printmaking; it was a murder, George shared, for which he was a major suspect. For the next couple of hours, I watched George come undone as he talked of how unrelenting the authorities were in surveilling him. At one point, as he slumped in the chair across the table from me, George sprang back to life and said that he wanted to apologise; said George, all the years of hearing me speak of the insidiousness of racism and the effects it had on one’s wellbeing, he had dismissed and for that he wanted to apologise.

George trembled at times and he seemed to age before my eyes. Keenly, I kept a raptor’s gaze fixed on his every move. Never once throughout that dinner did I fail to look out for George’s right index and middle fingers’ movements; they never once quivered. George shared that he was terrified of sleeping because he constantly suffered nightmares of losing everything with his being pinned with the murder, going to and dying in jail. George said that he constantly felt as though his every action was being monitored, analysed to discern whether he was the murderer or not. Getting up, I went and knelt at his side at the dining room table and held him, hugged him. I let him know that I was there for him. Slumping forward, George hugged me and dissolved in tears, we both cried. I cried because I realised that there was no way that George could ever be passionate again; there could be no sleepovers – he talked constantly during sleep.

George and I never met at his condo again. Walking away that evening, I was struck by how neutered and consumed with fear George had become. At one point during dinner, with his back turned whilst cooking dinner, one of my notoriously loud sneezes exploded. Though George had heard that loud explosion countless times before, he responded as though a high speed train had unexpectedly zoomed past. George and I seldom spoke by phone and rarely emailed after that dinner. As a matter of fact, apart from meeting twice to catch a movie, we only saw each other whenever I turned up at Dr. Tsang’s. It was one of these visits – whenever I went to the doctor’s, George happened to have been there, George shared that he had cancer. I was stunned. Over time, George’s stomach became more distended, his look more wounded and what pained me most, was how much he remained as if possessed, thanks to having been a major suspect in the murder of a colleague.

After dinner, as I made to leave and we hugged long and hard, we then looked at Pink Chair, another of his masterpieces, George kissed me and said that whatever happened, it was mine; George wanted the piece to eventually become mine but for now, he was holding on to it because it reminded him of the passion we shared and how intensely I had inspired him to create and drove him, drove each other mad with the passion we shared. Getting down to Borden, I was so immensely drained at George’s despair that I walked with bike a block south to Adelaide, hailed a cab, securely tucked the bike in the trunk and silently wept on the ride home. I got in, lit beeswax candles everywhere, listened to Haydn’s Paris Symphonies, then had an extra hot soak in the tub with rose petals and Epsom salt, smudged my home afterwards with sagebrush, crawled into the pyramid, gathered crystals and upped my frequency whilst collapsing through the labiate folds of sleep’s sweet, welcome embrace. George died a dozen years after my return to living in Toronto from Montréal, and all attempts to acquire Pink Chair have proven unsuccessful. A lover scorned… indeed.

As ever, Life is like a flying dream; if you look down, you’re fucked. Enjoy the ride and fear no one!

_______________________________________________________________________________________

©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved.

Yoko, Meghan & Cécile.

14940666-7154047-image-a-80_1560868032024

One thing that the marriage of the TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex has revealed, is just how hideously racist Britons are. Naturally, as all bigots especially the most invidious racially predatory will have you know, ‘It has nothing to do with race!’ The DailyMail has made an industry of acting as a de facto wing of the EDL in its campaign of destroying the marriage of the Sussexes.

Every single day its gaggle of writers launch another volley of hate to feed their hate-filled multitude of devotees whom they simply abuse in their quest for more advertising revenue. Last week, their legions of bigots were gleeful when not only was the Duchess of Sussex not at Royal Ascot but neither was her husband. Naturally, the rumour was that Her Majesty The Queen had banned the Sussexes from attending Royal Ascot. Of course, last year when Catherine, HRH Duchess of Cambridge was on maternity leave, she did not attend Royal Ascot. Furthermore, not once did her husband attend Royal Ascot. That is the tradition.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Naturally, when these photographs of this year’s Royal Ascot emerged, the plethora of bigoted DailyMail trolls were celebratory of how happy and wholesome everyone looked. Of course, they were commenting on the homogeneity of the group; their was even talk that the RF looked so much happier without the American in their midst.

The following day, it was announced that the Royal Foundation was disbanding. This not only gave cause for wild celebration by the DailyMail trolls but in hindsight, it was speculated that the group looked as happy as they did at Royal Ascot because at that point, the dissolution of the Royal Foundation would have been known to all. This was seen as more proof that HM The Queen did not want Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex around Indeed, clearly, the Sussexes were headed for divorce and it was only a matter of time before there would be an announcement to that effect.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By no means was tabloid culture then what it is today; however, there was no getting around the fact that there was unrelenting animus that was decidedly racist towards Yoko Ono because she was non-white. Of course, at the time as now and is always the case, there was strident denial that there was prejudice involved in the animus towards Yoko Ono. Heaven only knows that Linda Eastman was not a Briton, yet she was not reviled and hated for being an outsider as was Yoko Ono.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So intense was the racial animus towards Yoko Ono that John Lennon had to relocate to New York City to seek peace away from being unrelentingly reviled by Britons, who were nothing more than unmasked Klansfolk; though there were three other wives, Yoko Ono was solely to blame for the demise of the Beatles. Indeed, Britons have John Lennon’s blood on their hands for having racially preyed on this man and his wife to the point where he had to flee and take refuge in a land where guns rule. Paul, Ringo nor George had to flee England because Britons did not approve of their choice of a wife.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Neither Linda Eastman nor Montréalaise Autumn Kelly were subjected to the same animus as Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex for being outsiders marrying much-loved Britons. True, every woman marrying into the BRF experiences blow-back. Sarah Ferguson, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Catherine Middleton and on and on. Truth be told, neither Linda nor Autumn were subjected to similar animus as Yoko or Meghan simply for being Caucasian and therefore, deemed acceptable.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Britons may well succeed with running TRH Duke & Duchess of Sussex out of town as they did John Lennon and Yoko Ono but know this, Tungsten has got powerful players in her corner. For starters, if the Sussexes were exiled, Oprah et al have the power to have her appointed as honorary chairperson of the Academy Awards – some such title of an American-British film society – not the American wing of BAFTA – which would see Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex each year present the award for Best Film at the Academy Awards.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More to the point, when are Americans going to stop kowtowing to Britons because of the latter’s archly over-compensatory inferiority complex, of all things, masquerading as posh, sophisticated, superior and aristocratic. Why should an American actor, after having graduated with distinction from Julliard sit by and watch yet another English actor waltz in and claim the American award for best actor in a film which was not even an American production; this has repeatedly happened in the past. And so like Britons it is; they are the only island dwellers in the English-speaking world who never lose their god-awful accent regardless how long they sojourn abroad. Whether five years or fifty, you can also count on the expat English to maintain their posher-than-though English accent. Some may be readily charmed/fooled by all that posh posturing but it is so much obvious BS.

Glenn Close did not win the Best Actress BAFTA in 2019 that honour went to Briton, Olivia Colman in The Favourite. Ever possessed of this obsequious need to suck up, the Academy and its members voted Olivia Colman Best Actress at an American Awards show when the production was not an American production and Glenn Close was not going to win the Best Actress BAFTA and did not. One thing is clear from her acceptance speech, Olivia Colman is a one-hit wonder and will never win an Oscar again, just as Matthew McConaughey never will; after all, his Best Actor award was by default – so great was the need to deny Chiwetel Ejiofor an Oscar for his masterful performance in 12 Years A Slave.

When Britons prove themselves such ugly racist boors as with Yoko Ono and now Meghan Markle, why indulge, suffer or tolerate these people overlong? Throwing Oscars at them because they talk as though they’ve got a horse’s hoof stuck up their arse, there is nothing much to celebrate when one’s claim to fame is having subjugated 2/3s the world way back when and having enslaved and or brutalised those persons.

Of course, Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex chose not to move next-door to the Cambridges at Kensington Palace. For one, there is every reason to believe that the Cambridges’ marriage currently is nine parts façade and with a numerology attitude of 9, HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, apart from not being the sharpest tool in the box, is also conceited, stubborn, bigoted and intolerant and also is in tight with those pompous-arsed minor royals the Michaels of Kent et famille who with their racist perspective were none-too-shy about showing their true colours, blackamoor and all with Meghan suddenly in their midst and to whom they would have to curtsy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A den of racial predators is no environment in which to bring up black children and that would also include those generational members of Kensington Palace staff, who would think nothing of being openly racist towards Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex and her children, For Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex the minor royal Micheals of Kent are no different to Samantha Grant and Thomas Markle Jr. She endured the racially predatory bullying in childhood, which is precisely why she has absolutely nothing to do with them and with damn good reason. Trust you me, there is not a single black person on this planet who would suffer any such environment. It is not human, not civilised and a goddamn waste of time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Carping on about how much better Cressida Bonas would have been as a wife to HRH Prince Henry of Wales, is a moot point. Who knows, perhaps, Harry was being forced into the relationship so that his older brother could have access to Cressida’s older sister, Isabella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe. Is it any wonder why Sam Branson keeps his wife as far away from the isle of England as possible. Of course, had Harry married Cressida, this newfound media love for Catherine, HRH Duchess of Cambridge would not have eventualised. She would be portrayed, even more so, by the DailyMail as workshy and they would even up the practise of only printing photographs of her when her face is at rest, which is a decidedly hard affair. For being blonde, blue-eyed and with an artisan’s fey beauty, Cressida, had Prince Harry married her in May 2018, would currently be eclipsing Catherine, who is now being seen as a fashion icon. No matter how DailyMail repackage and champion Catherine, she is a relative dud when publicly speaking as Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex has time and again proven. The Duchess of Sussex’s commanding performance at the 2018 British Fashion Awards at Royal Albert Hall truly was a study is grace, poise, elegance and commanding stage presence. You’ve either got it or, as in Catherine’s case, you don’t. Meghan, HRH Duchess of Sussex is quite confidently aware that a mic is Catherine, HRH Duchess of Cambridge’s kryptonite.

The DailyMail and its gang of racist boors can vent and gloat all they want but if HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex were to have married a conservative Muslim and converted, for fear of ending up with their fetid skull on the small of their back, every one of their cowardly racist boors would know to keep their damn mouths shut. Of one thing they are certain, fucking with blacks will earn you no serious repercussions. The DailyMail‘s hacks have proven that England is the isle of the original hooded klansfolk; they are just a little bit more evolved to the point where their hoods have become invisible but no less ugly are they. In the end, who could give a fuck; the boors of the isle of England most certainly did not invent Jazz and speaking of which…

thumbnail_20190627_194733.jpg

After having pored through this year’s TD Toronto Jazz Festival lineup, I knew that there was only one show that I cared to attend. The Diana Ross show at the Sony Centre though tempting, however, the centre is just too cavernous a space. Jazz needs the warmth and intimacy of a smaller venue. Besides, I knew damn well that coming the day after the Pride parade, there would be queens aplenty in the audience. Most of them would be expecting the usual Diana Ross show; however, this was going to be a Jazz show.

As ever, I did not attend Pride parade, never have. Back in 1986, Merlin and I hauled arse to a dinner party in the Annex where an artistic director associate of his, held court. Frankly, neither men liked each other but for professional reasons one endured much. Among the group of 8 souls was a redhead interior decorator from New York City who was the most vile dirty-arsed bigot conceivable. Naturally, with yours truly present, he just had to wax overlong about what a scourge on human civilisation blacks the world over were.

Merlin stealthily reached across my plate and removed my steak knife from the plate and placed it to his left as I sat on his right. Finally, when we got home by cab as Merlin sought to shift my mood by playing some Miles Davis, I went and retrieved a pair of scissors and demonstrated to him on returning to the living room, “That’s it, I am cancelling my membership in Gay society. God only knows it is not as if these blasted, motherfucking lisping, bottom-feeding people invented Jazz.” For me what really settled it, was the redhead boor’s decree, “Sorry dear but there is no black in the rainbow.”

Of course, a couple of years back the Black Lives Matter delegation, which had been invited to march in the Gay Pride parade, were booed, heckled and pelted with unopened water bottles. That very day on my way home, I was also attached and it was much fuelled by the general anger at having had the Black Lives Matter contingent in the parade. To this day, the pride community are still mad at the Police and had banned them from participating in the parade, all because they allowed the Black Lives Matter group into the parade. Even though the group had been invited, they were treated by spectators as though they did something as irresponsible as simply showed up and high-jacked the parade.

thumbnail_20190627_200012.jpg

The above photograph was the look for the opening act, one of those regrettable experiences, which alas the Canada Council foists on one, god only knows why. Banal and as sexually intriguing as a live webcam set up on a couple of koala bears in repose, some things just have to be endured to get one through to the real deal. As my date, an ageing Jewish actor/writer with the most wicked sense of humour is always great company, we sat in the back row, all to ourselves, in fits of delicious giggles – we were poring through online photographs of Céline Dion parading in haute couture in Paris in the lead up to Paris Fashion Week; when asked what I thought of her whacky, over-the-top, beyond desperate behaviour, I flatly put in, “it ought damn well to be kept leashed and staked out back.”

Next, it was my turn to come undone when no sooner than having slipped in the breath mint that he whispered, “those are the new mint-flavoured super laxatives, I was telling you about.” How soul-gnawing is emulative institutional Jazz whose practitioners know nothing either of blacks or black culture? Hell, even after the bass solo, there was no applause from the house.

thumbnail_20190627_222912

Finally, like a lover with the most foul breath but whose girthsome jousting simply won’t be denied – then the malodorous rogue leaves and you shudder in disgust and return to breathing like a human rather than a goddamn humpback whale – the opening act vacated the stage and when the stagehands were done, only the grand piano was left. Out then walked Cécile McLorin Salvant with a puckish accompanist and it was readily obvious that there is an indelible soul connection between the two, which speaks to intimacy most rare and also more than a dozen past-life connections. Even Cécile’s body had changed, she looked more lived in, she was getting good loving and it showed.

Before proceeding, let me just state that this was the most phenomenal and best Jazz concert that I have ever attended. From Hoagy Carmichael, to Barbara Streisand, to Bessie Smith, every song was her own and every song was a master class in musicianship and phrasing. Then two things happened that blew me even further away; firstly, she sang, Midnight Sun. This is a song that for me as long as I live, will always evoke the most pleasurable memories of living at John Hirsch and Brian Trottier’s Moore Park Home at 187 Hudson Drive in the summer of 1990 after Merlin had passed and I reinvented self and took the time to travel. Until this concert, no one had ever done a better version of Midnight Sun than Sarah Vaughan, whose version daily played at that lovely Moore Park home.

Secondly, Cécile paused and asked if anyone in the audience was French, to which there was a boisterous response and then she asked to sing a song in French. By the time she was done, I was reduced to tears, even my usual jaded friend was blown away. At the conclusion the house went wild and I was reminded of those years living in Montréal and attending all those summer festivals across the province.

Let’s see Canadian, Diana Krall sing en Français in this supposed bilingual country and I am not talking any of that tawdry attempt at French musicianship as with the likes of Emilie-Claire Barlow et al. Unlike those frauds who suffocated the blackness out of Jazz in the 90s and beyond, Cécile is the real McCoy. The primary musical instrument in human civilisation is the voice and when it comes to Jazz, not only is it a language that is the extension of the griot tradition, nothing sounds like, feels like, moves you like the instrument that is the black voice; there simply aren’t any comparisons. This is the voice, the instrument, when on walking through your door can revivify and empower you like no other instrument can and most especially so after having experienced racial animus for the 14th millionth and fifty-seventh time in this lifetime.

During the course of the show, her accompanist did something that I had never before witnessed, Sullivan Fortner got from the piano stool to reach inside and pluck on the strings, making for all intents the most beautiful mbira imaginable. Sullivan proved himself the perfect accompanist to Cécile and it was clear by the end of the concert that these two lovely, magical and gifted souls have thankfully found each other and how we are better for them being in the world. The love and harmony they share, was as rich and smooth as the warmest honey satiating the palate. Even the encores were concerts onto themselves. If there is anything that can be said to be good, to have come from Roy Hargrove’s passing, is that it created the opportunity for both Sullivan and Cécile to form a most productive collaboration.

As we left Koerner Hall, both of us giddy with joy for having been richly inspired, there was a guy outside the theatre, hawking the program for Jazz FM. Brusquely, I declined taking one, I soon explained that I had no desire to be associated with the Jazz radio when they went and hired someone whom Merlin dismissed back in his early on-air days as VJ at MuchMusic as a smug bigoted asshole. Indeed, an ageing leopard does not his spots lose. Just for writing a few hit songs and having made a few million dollars changes nothing. As Merlin always said, “a man changes clothes and nothing else.”

Though last year, there were three good concerts during the Jazz Festival; this year, one only needed to have attended one concert and boy am I richly inspired for having done so. On parting, we both agreed that it really was an awesome concert; more than that, we admitted that it was high time that we saw Rocketman before it goes to video.

_________________________________________________________________

For your ongoing support, I am ever grateful. Buy my glorious books, the incomparable series with Michael overleaves appendices; truly, they are human civilisation’s first dream memoirs.

_________________________________________________________________

©2013-2022 Arvin da Brgha. All Rights Reserved,