Saturday, July 13, 2013

"Twenty feet from stardom"

Bliss. Bliss bliss bliss. Several friends have phoned wanting to visit or do things, but on this gloriously perfect summer weekend, I'm busy. Go away.

First - it's extremely quiet. Where's the whine of the Indy? I don't know. Maybe they've moved it further from downtown? I can't hear a thing right now except my neighbour cutting his grass and the birds at the feeder. And the wind in the willows. And second, the weather - after what we've been through, torrential rain, muggy heat - today is ideal, warm, breezy, soft. A gift.

I went to the market this morning and have one word for you: cherries. Cherries are the thing right now. And then I peddled home, had another cup of coffee, and started work. Sat and sat, on the deck, getting up periodically to deadhead the peonies (the two blooms, poor thing), to water, to check on the veggies, to watch the poor transplanted rose wither. But mostly, I sat and fiddled with my opus, this memoir which is blooming into life as the summer does.

At least, I hope it is. Maybe it's alive only for me. But I hope not.

Mid-afternoon, I didn't want to stop  - so quiet, heaven, the deck, the book, the sweet air. But I wanted to see "Twenty minutes from stardom" at the Bloor Hot Docs cinema, and it's only playing a few more times. So dragged myself away for a vigorous cycle across town on a hot, perfect afternoon.

Another favourite treat - going to the Bloor Cinema to see a documentary, surrounded by crazy kindred spirits also there on a gorgeous afternoon. It's a beautiful film, moving, powerful, highly recommended - about the women (and men, but mostly women) who came from the call and response tradition of the black churches, many of them daughters of preachers, and who for decades were the back-up singers for rock and roll. Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fisher - we've heard them countless times but don't know who they are. After seeing this film, you'll never forget them. It's a film about having a God-given gift and loving to use it, even if stardom eludes you and you never make it big. They have glorious voices, like Aretha's, have sung with the greats, and are not famous. Something missing - luck, ego, selfish drive. But still they sing. So, a meditation on what is success and what is talent.

Sting speaks about paying your dues and having the spiritual heft to deal with the music business, and I thought of young Canadian Bieber, falling apart publicly, no surprise. Not much spiritual heft there.

I cycled home singing at the top of my lungs, "da doo ron ron ron da doo ron on." I've always wanted to be a backup singer. And now I know something about the life - tough, very tough. I wish that I'd made making music more central to my life when I was young. One of my greatest regrets. However.

And now, home, the birds, the garden, a glass of rosé, a whole evening to work. And also, to listen to Randy Bachman and sing a bit of backup.

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