Upon turning 70 years old, Dave’s dear sensei (since a teenage Utah community college stint), Larry Harper (among various monikers) curated 70 items of advice (at request of Annie Dandelion).
As such, between licks by Grateful Dead and master potter Marty Kendall, he riffs the list – ranging from practical to mystical to almost comical, many including nudity and space. Oh, also includes his ethereal autoharp songs (rescued from a ca. 1991 Zzyxz Rd cassette).
Float to Istanbul, Muscat and elsewhere, and check in with Cleopatra, Shakespeare, Francis Drake, Shah of Persia, Adam, Cain, Abel, Lawrence, Ataturk, Czars Nicholas and Alexander, Matt Harding, Russia oligarchs, well-fed stray cats, unidentified shortwave broadcasts, Abraham, Norman, Matt Harding, rowers, drummers, a blonde dog and you and me… finding the edges of the globe.
In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).
Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996.
A walk around various car-free day festivals in Vancouver, 2008 with unedited soundstream of drum circles, live bands of various sorts (including several numbers by a Grateful Dead inspired band, a free jazz combo, a protesting singer-songwriter, and a Latin-esque outfit…), plus skateboards, slam poets, and a bassoon quartet playing “hockey night theme” among other tunes.
Puffing along a trail recounting leaving cold, miserable London en route to post-hurricane Florida with flashbacks to working in Rheinplatz grade fields, gathering chestnuts to sell for beer and bread money, strange encampments at Oktoberfest, and hitchhiking to Amsterdam with gaggle of pals. To London by ferry and rapid exit via cheap flight Florida, quickly interjecting in chaotic domestic situations, meals with surly Hare Krishnas, sleeping on unglamorous beaches, and avoiding looting commotion, while plotting forward momentum, which eventually came in form of a dubious drive-away car situation to Dallas… and beyond (in 1992).
Features music by: “Brave Captain” fIREHOSE (recorded live in Ancienne, Belgique, March 12, 1991 – via Archive.org), “Florida” by Blue Rodeo (recorded live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), and “Crazy Fingers” by Grateful Dead (recorded live in Phoenix, AZ, 1993 – via archive.org).
Amidst a thunderstorm at 4AM in Chiang Mai, Dave discusses – with excessive frankness and emotion – various medical conundrums (Fibromyalgia and CFS-ME) and details the physical feelings of “crash mode” as well as the mental strain in dealing with self de-identification and inter-personal relationships, confusion in seeking help, and various alternative treatments. No sympathy or advice requested.
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.
Dave checks in with the words of Chinese literature aficionado Lu Ji with his notes on the writer’s craft after a recent batch of related inspiring events including a Dalai Lama visit, plus Chinese medicinal tea from Dr. Wu and the works of Gary Snyder, then ends with a live track called Helicopters by The Stills.
Continuing from the corner garden in the unnamed park, Dave reads from French symbolist (and hopeless romantic) Charles Baudelaire who continues with Joseph Conrad themes of ships, youth and beauty with a piece called “The Beautiful Ship” before gracefully giving way to a song by The Black Tories.
On a North Van hillside, Dave reads a few choruses from Jack Kerouac’s “San Francisco Blues” and talks about “Ti Jean’s” writing life, including his dexterous style and notable substance – plus expresses affection for Vancouver and the joys of rediscovery.