Disappearing, invisibility, loneliness, depression, anxiety, being lost, trying to not be found, trying to find white space to invigorate… Sometimes these weave together, other times (perhaps) each remain exclusive.
Gord Downie, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski and me all try to figure out the nuance in different ways atop Turkish street music, trains from Kerala and Moncton, and various ephemeral music snippets.
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.
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.
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.
Taking a Remembrance Day respite to enjoy a conscious discussion with ‘Trigger’ at Vancouver’s New Amsterdam Cafe, Dave O listens to the consequences and conditions of space, in tangible and gestalt senses, and reviews the paradigm shifts of Vancouver’s downtown Eastside ‘four corners’ – once one of the grandest intersections in the British Empire.
Later, he wanders and reads Walt Whitman (When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d) and Gord Downie (from Coke Machine Glow) to bring it ’round home for this part #7 of the White Poppies for Remembrance series.
Along with Mr. Lenker of Steamboat Island and his guitar, large hounds and varied livestock, Dave reads poems “Refined, Not Created” and “Aye Carpathia,” while Bill sings about the “Man with a Rebel Soul” – followed by reading of “This and That” with guitar improvisation… from deep in the woodshop studio.
Dave reads a smattering from Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac and original verse written in Germany in 1992, joined by Trauben the hitchhiking acupuncturist (who toils to understand a Welsh miner’s lantern), the lads chat about flowing chi, Cascade mountain lookouts the author as a young writer while attempting to communicate with racoons – possibly bearing gifts.
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.