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.
In 2009, i made an very off-the-cuff audition show for Vancouver’s then-new, now-defunct “The Shore 104” radio station with the idea create a rather eclectic music and story-telling show.
The “show” was recorded live in one take, no takebacks (though i shoulda/coulda) with John Bollwitt engineering at his West End apartment. Later added an intro bit which kinda got messed up but anyhow,… the project went nowhere as the station struggled out the gates and soon fired most on-air folks and changed format blah blah blah. As such, getting it off the harddrive and into your ears so you can laugh at my cheesiness and rock out to the setlist.
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.
Blurb: After inspiring thousands of minds as a University creative writing and philosophy professor, US Army veteran Larry Harper now spends even more time paddling forgotten box canyons, soaking in hot springs and hugging friends and strangers alike.
[curated & produced by pal/student Dave uncleweed Olson]
From time to time, I visit various classes associated with B.C.’s Simon Fraser University’s fine publishing program under the stewardship of Suzanne Norman. This time around, the class was something about personal publicity and brand building. As such, I share anecdotes gleaned from Hootsuite and dozens of other personal social and community projects from over the years of activism, media outreach and marketing.
My pal Wm. Lenker wrote this song but hadn’t recorded for this album – i liked it so much that one cold January evening, I showed up at his house on Steamboat Island Road at the end of the Puget Sound and *demanded* that we go into the woodshop and record for my entertainment.
He kindly obliged and laid down various tracks, with guitar, vocals and banjo. I recorded and mixed down the rapidly recorded takes to suit my own old-timey taste, complete with heartfeltness, loquaciousness and longing – background noise of fire and beers included.
Billiam does all the instruments and most of the singing (little bit of my ghost vocals) and i’m on the hook for the recording, producing and mixing.
While in a cabin in Jamaica, i recorded a sort of spoken word song made from loops, samples and layered tracks of sorta-singing and spieling about the changes in my city and the importance and interestingness of observation. Available in poetry only version as well.
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