Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006
First reflecting on Funiculars, Dave then reads works by poet friends from far-flung points including: Sohaib Ahmed recounting escaped love and lights, Adam Burningham examining towns atop streams, Amber Case on a languid roadtrip, and Robert Scales appreciating a sunrise and oblivion – plus music by guitarist Matt Harding and a rainstorm, crickets and cicadas from a porch.
Returning to Japan for the first time since working as a mushroom farmer in the Tottori-ken mountains decades previous, Dave rambles on about the circumstance – then and now – while wandering near his pal’s goat farm. Riffs include: arriving in the snow and getting settled, bailing on job, hitch-hiking around islands, falling in love(ish), eating okonomiyaki, soaking in hot springs and living simultaneously in the future and past. Also persimmons and goats, pigs, cows et al.
What becomes of the seemingly ephemeral creations we leave behind? Especially in the analog-days?
Consider these in the context of missing cassette tapes made by a now departed poet/activist/scholar Foster and guitar-ing Mikael, who recorded spontaneous youthful riffs in parent’s basement in Utah. In this postcard, Mikael Lewis sings “Wildflower (for Foster)” written by Dave in a clinic in Nepal, then adds some more verses, spiels and a poem called “Occasionally Free” – with lightning, rainstorm and crickets chiming along.
Changing routes to think about the neighbourhoods – this Postcard is about rolling transit, everyplace and anywhere. Evidence comes in a transit route inspired spoken-word song and a smattering of poems including: odes to drivers, forgotten literary neighbourhoods, angry passengers, observed newspapers around Vancouver… plus a bit of Clayton the busker in the Seabus tunnel playing The Replacements’ “Skyway.”
Amongst Nepal’s western Himalaya mountains comes poems about donkey trains hauling supplies, buffalos giving milk, porters hauling excess for misguided dreamers, monks with timeless chants, sunrise over mighty peaks, prayer wheels alongside trails to evoke the feeling of clambering along ancient stone paths shared with goats and farmers growing rice, lentils and children taking cold morning baths and reincarnation in the Buddhas we all might become.
Life in hotels, wandering alone and often blue and then the death of friends all converge in a series of poems including a song by Mikael Lewis about waiting for love in a Victorian hotel. Then, from the streets of Rome with a cappuccino comes a series about departed Rod H. Ash, including “Time Traveller” plus poetic riffs name-checking Charles Bukowski, Audrey Hepburn, Pete Best, the Fitzgeralds, Vatican’s Swiss guard and the post office by the Sistine Chapel and desert campfires.
When I was growing up, Dad often spoke of his Chevy Malibu SS – his favourite car.So, while on his death bed, I asked him to tell the story. He speaks about acquiring the vehicle, the budget, the deal, the financing terms and oh, also about the car and how he enjoyed having a reliable and cool vehicle as a young married man creating a life, after growing up poor in Regina, Saskatchewan, then heading off to BYU in Utah. The story is interrupted by a nurse bringing lunch and news. He died 10 days later.
In tumultuous and confusing times, optimism and activism are the powerful antidotes for cynicism and fear. Two Bills share songs to assist in making this point.
First B/William Lenker plays a spontaneous Squatters in Zion from his Steamboat Island woodshop, then Dave spiels about courageous – and sadly deceased Olympian – Rachel Corrie, followed by Billy Bragg vehemently spieling on stage before a rollicking snippet of his Great Leap Forward from Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre.
From an olden church and (otherwise vacant) cenotaph at Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, Dave O – acknowledging an extended medical and death related hiatus – discusses the local history of colonization by Portuguese explorers, Dutch traders, then British Raj in the context of the colonization leading to exploitation, conscription and war with no meaning to local populace. Plus the meaning of reparations and the conflict of peaceful resistance – evidenced my Mahatma Gandhi beach a stone’s throw away – contrasted with continued wars throughout the world, shadowed by disposable tourism, economic and racial caste systems.
Recorded Nov. 11, 2016, Released 11:11 Nov. 11, 2017
Also of note: Vasco da Gama’s bones, black knee-high socks, French generational losses, siege of Leningrad, Churchill’s mishaps, lost human potential of engineers, poets and lovers, MacArthur’s folly, Australia’s vulnerability, the emergence of regions over nation-states, Brexit for British Columbia + Cascadia, Catalonia and Scottish successions, work of raising a child, trappings of hubris, death by disease and guns, aggressive use of intelligence, forethought and diplomacy, and unfiltered view of sacrifice and life.
Cover art photo: By Dave Olson at Fort Cochin, taken by Lomo Sardine can camera with expired B&W film.