Posts Tagged ‘Lady Gaga’

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Summer Time

July 2, 2013

j1School is out and the summer has officially begun!  It’s a holiday today and everyone is out celebrating the Nation’s birthday with cottage trips, lake-side strolls and fireworks, of course. Where does the time go? (Can’t believe I’m starting to use phrases like that.) It’s incredible how you can think you’ve got all the time in the world and then suddenly realize there’s a gig just around the corner or you look through some of your old lyric pads and be shocked when you realize the date was from last year or older.

I was recently thumbing through an old notebook I carried around with me last summer, hoping to pick out any brilliant song ideas that were left cleverly, buried there. (insert snicker here.) And I came across the diary I kept when I traveled to the Azores. It was cool to read it a year later and remember what I experienced. I was still stuck with writer’s block back then and desperately trying to find my groove.  Thank goodness that’s passed – for now! Thought it might be fun to share, since I usually do with my travels.

So here it goes:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A very full first day in Sao Miguel. It’s been thirteen years since I last set foot on this island. I was just a kid. This island once so removed from my familiaritieIMG_0145s, now so removed from my memories of it. This place, this culture that used to stretch out its dirt roads to welcome you now presents its slick asphalt highway to get you from one end of the island to another. The main city now has its own doors (archways) to the city – or doors to the ocean depending on which side of them you are standing on.

7:20am the plane landed and it was a wonderful sight to see my favourite uncle, Nic, awaiting my arrival. Surprisingly a wave of emotion came over me as this is the first time I arrive here alone. It reminds me of the family that used to be here but is no longer as well as the family that didn’t come along this time.

It’s funny how our memories can keep our hopes and expectations frozen in another time – another era. But in reality everyone and everything moves forward. We arrive at uncle’s “garden estate” as I’ve decided to call it. Surprisingly, he no longer lives in my grandmother’s house (which is now his house but he has rented it out.) He now lives in a new property just outside of Ponta Delgada in a smaller township called Lagoa, which means lake.  And I call it his garden estate because it’s probably a full acre – if not more – of floral paradise. The long drive invites you up to the four bedroom homestead which I affectionately call “The Manor“.  All around are flowers and plants to a horticulturalist’s delight. Wild orchids, hydrangeas, hibiscus (the biggest I’ve ever seen), lemon trees, banana trees. A crop garden with rows of kale, garlic, tomatoes, exotic fruits like apple-melons (yet to try). And lastly an animal sanctuary where two geese roam free with their friends the chickens, a rooster, pigeons, rabbits, ducks, three pigs and a proper turkey to rule over them all. It’s like a mini version of Neverland Ranch without all the carnival rides!

Along the drive, when you look south, you are treated to breathtaking views of the Atlantic. On a clear day you can even see the next island over, Santa Maria. The air is fresh and swirls lightly in a welcoming embrace. The hillsides are lush and green. his man-made pIMG_1509ond full of frogs and lily pads bid you an inviting hello.

Home. There is an unspoken, settled feeling that I’ve come back home after so long.

After a neat breakfast and a brief tour, I promptly collapse onto the first bed I see and have a “nap” that will end up taking me seven and a half hours into the other side of heaven. I awake to uncle Nic’s friend AnaBela who is warm and charming despite her regular use of expletives. She instantly puts me at ease with her comedic ways and commentaries on frustrations of her day to day activities. With her, we take a quick trip into the city where new hotels now stand and a whole ocean front scene creating an Ocean Drive ambiance with an infinite row of open air restaurants lining the shore. It’s a new Sao Miguel I am seeing. Much more modern than the horse-back riding culture of when I was a child. The island always seemed to be a century behind the rest of the wIMG_1421orld but it’s clear to see that in the last two decades, the island is all caught up to 2012 with their internet cafes and ipad-toting intellectuals ordering cappuccino and downloading the latest Lady Gaga videos. This baby sister has finally joined the party of its older sibling, the main land.

We arrive back at midnight and proceed to do three hours of catching up, which always include Uncle Nic’s infinitesimal anecdotes that always leave you gaping or exploding with laughter. I’ve missed that. I’ve missed his story-telling, the sense of connection to my past, my grandmother, my family.

So at 3am we finally decide that we’ve got seven more days ahead to continue catching up.  And after biding each other good-night I am off to enjoy and much earned, full night’s slumber. Tomorrow will be another adventure, I am sure.

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Infectious

March 9, 2013

ImageAfter a musical, magic carpet ride and two curtain calls I am still flying high from the fury known as Serena Ryder. Those that know me, know that I have a huge, HUGE girl-crush on her. Every time I walk out of one of her shows I feel like I could float out of the venue. She just keeps getting better. There’s something almost unexplainable about her. Her energy is enrapturing and it’s just so damn magical – for lack of a better word to use to describe the experience. It’s nearly impossible to sit still through her show. At times, I was surprised to notice just how much I was grooving, shaking, tapping, dancing, girating as I was locked on the vision that was Serena.

One of the two highlight of tonight’s show was during her first curtain call when she took to playing the drums. It was so powerful, the whole 800 seat theater had no choice but to get on heir feet as if pulled by a force beyond anything they were aware of to just dance, clap, sing and just be plain happy. I know it sounds like a Hippy Jamboree but she really does have that affect on people. Not only is she an incredible vocalist and invigorating guitar player but she’s also just so bloody like-able.

That brings me to the other highlight of the night which was when she called up a little girl, who was dancing in the front row, up to sing with her while she closed the show. I felt myself being transported into that little girl, Alicia from Burlington, Ontario. What an experience to be watching someone in awe and have them notice you and invite you up to join them. It was so touching and exciting. I can’t stop gushing about it. You’d think she’d asked me to go up there. (I most certainly would not have handled it as gracefully as Alicia did as I’d probably be a bumbling idiot.) But what touched me was that in that moment she may have changed the course of a child’s life right then and there. She’ll always have that memory of making that momentary connection with a star and this may just be what propels her own dream to pursue music. It always begins with one moment.

Infectious. It’s the only way to describe her that says it all. The only way from here is up for Miss Ryder, in my books. I raced home to write this entry before I forgot this elated feeling as we always seem to do in the light of day. And I’ll probably be up late tonight trying to work out some new song ideas  of my own. Inspiration via Serena, of course.

Aaaaaaah. There’s nothing like turning the knob on the door of a new room you never even knew was there. (Lady Gaga reference.)

Thank you and Good Night.

Harmoniously,

Nowhere Girl

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Day 309 – In Praise of the Sound Guy and my Friends

February 21, 2011

No matter how good of a band you are, if the sound engineer working your gig doesn’t know what he’s doing or doesn’t like you, you’re going to have a bad night. If you’re a mediocre band and you piss off the sound guy, you’re going to have a bad night. But! If you are a mediocre band and you have an amazing sound man who also likes you and has your back, he’ll make you sound like a Rock God.

People like the sound engineers get forgotten a lot in the grand scheme of music. Whether it’s in the studio or at a live gig, this man – or woman is the person to keep happy because they can make or break your gig. In our case, on Saturday night, we had the most amazing guy. Now, I’ve actually known him for a while because I always see him at the venue we played at because it’s also one of my neighbourhood’s local watering holes. I’ve always known he was good at what he does but I was reminded of that fact when we actually played. He was wonderful to me and soothed all my insecurity worries. He was on top of everything the whole set and really had our backs. He made sure we sounded amazing despite the fact that I did hit a few wrong chords. I was a little nervous at first.

So the moral here is never to forget anybody who may aid you in your creative endeavours. So the Sound Guy is key. Remember that. Don’t piss him off.

Another important group of people: your friends, fans and anybody who takes the time to encourage you, show up at a show or just plain believe in you. I was reminded of how blessed I am to have the amount of friends I do that constantly pull me up to see my own potential. They believe when I’ve lost faith. They carry my passion for me when I’m too tired to think I can ever go on. I realized something when I was playing the gig on Saturday, that I have an obligation to my friends to step up and believe more in myself. It’s not fair that it seems they believe in me more than I do. It’s my responsibility to carry on their belief and to show them that I respect what they know and what they love. And it seems that they know they like what I’ve been doing musically. And it seems that they love me enough – if not more – to show me their love by taking the time to cheer me on in my creative euphoria. I’m a lucky, spoiled brat.

Gaga and her fans

This is why someone like Lady Gaga is so adored by her fans. She’s aware and truly touched by their faith in her. She feels the love they shower her with and she showers it right back at them. In the end, isn’t that the only thing we can take with us anywhere – the love we feel inside? It’s the one thing you can carry with you anywhere in this world and beyond and that is love. It really is the greatest treasure of all.

So to all my beautiful, friends I’d like to say with all my heart that I am humbled by your affection for me. I am so thankful for having you in my life and I vow to strive from here forward to live up to the belief you have in me because I respect and value your opinions and I value you. I love you. Thank you for walking along side me on this journey of mine.

Much love,

Nowhere Girl

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Day 243 – Fleetwood and Blackpool

January 1, 2011

December 17th

Left the castle and Scotland behind this morning on our way to Blackpool. Back into England. I am sitting at The Mount Pub in Fleetwood where my travel mate spent much of her childhood between England and Canada. The coastline which was once so vibrant with industry and tourism is now desolate and a little sad. The fisheries collapsed about ten years ago and the town just hasn’t been able to bounce back. This pub is where generations of her family have spent many an evening enjoying a pint, a story and a laugh. That’s the thing about the UK. Everything is steeped in history and tradition. Coming from the Western Hemisphere that is still quite so young, you feel like you’ve stepped back into another era. Not quite sure which one as I hear them playing Lady Gaga faintly in the background but you know that you’re definitely ‘not in Kansas anymore.”

Later

Nowhere Girl

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Day 196 – Rocky Horror Rocks

October 31, 2010

So it is, of course, tradition to air The Rocky Horror Picture Show several times over the course of the week leading up to Halloween, which happens to be tonight. A movie like this truly stands the test of time. Through the use of artistry, fashion, music and simply going against the grain of what’s deemed proper and acceptable, Rocky hits the spot to unleashing your inhibitions and embracing the freedom of just being. It inspires musicians and visual artists alike and there’s really nothing else like it out there to this day. Although, I must admit, Lady Gaga is giving us a good run at it.

What I wish I could understand about Halloween now that I’m an adult is why has it turned into an excuse for women to dress up as whores? My apologies for just blurting it out there like that. I mean, I am all for women’s lib and feminism all the way but whatever happened to dressing up like a Zombie or a Ghoul? Why is the first thing girls are going for is a slutty French Maid, a whorish Pirate or a half-dressed, Lolita in a nurse’s uniform? This weekend I saw more female butt cheeks and breasts hanging out of costumes then I care to mention.

Don’t get me wrong. I love sexy women. I love sexy guys. But I find self-confidence sexy. That’s what turns me on. When I see people who are trying way too hard to get noticed in a negative way like that, it turns me off because those are really insecure people and hey, I’m insecure enough as it is. The last thing I want to do is hang with someone who is only going to exacerbate my own insecurities. Guy or girl. It doesn’t matter. I like to hang out with people who are genuinely confident in themselves but aren’t conceited. It inspires me to emulate that. Not to mention, it puts you at ease to be around someone like that. You’re simply enjoying each other’s company.

Again, I digress. I get easily distracted by nonsense like that. So what was the point of today’s entry? Rocky Horror has the perfect balance of good, old fashion fun, art and music – even if it is quite risqué. Isn’t that what Rock ‘n Roll has always been about? Pushing boundaries and making you think.

Astounding 😉

Nowhere Girl

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Day 169 – The Contradiction of Cool

October 5, 2010

Can you think of a song that, when you initially heard it on the radio and thought, “How the heck did this get to air on the radio? It totally sucks!” And the next thing you know you’re humming it all the time? What initially sucked is suddenly cool. You keep hearing it over and over on the radio and see it spammed everywhere on the net. It must be hip.

Glasses were considered unattractive at one time and we even went so far as to invent small lenses that we insert into our eyes in order to avoid having to put on glasses. But now, the more noticeable the frames, the better! Glasses are cool.

The power of persuasion has strength beyond our comprehension. If one sees enough images of something then it is assumed that is what is deemed acceptable or celebrated. Just like hearing the same eight songs spewed over the air waves over and over again until even its initial detesters are singing its praises! So here’s the thing. What really is cool? How do you go about writing a cool or hip song? What is the formula? What is the sure-fire hit?

If you look at physical image, many would say that James Dean was a cool guy. Men like Johnny Depp and LL Cool J are also listed up there as cool dudes. What is it about them that’s cool? Well, they all have an air of carelessness. What do I mean by that? They don’t seem too concerned with much.

James Dean

Johnny Depp

Their expressions are always that of unphased calmness – some even, toughness or mean-ness. You don’t ever seem to see a cool guy smile. Smiling, I suppose, would involve showing an emotion and that would show vulnerability which is not cool. Their clothing is usually a little disheveled. It is important to display lack of interest in trying too hard to look good. Although, the funny thing is, today’s hipsters undoubtedly spend hours in the mirror going for that just right disheveled look. I find that kind of funny. Anyway! So. It seems rebels are cool. They are different. Being different is cool, yet, when we see something considered cool, the masses are right on top of imitating it.

LL Cool J

The whole issue of Facebook is a great example. It’s the latest thing to be pumped out there. Even I, who resisted it as long as I could to join such a fad, have also succumbed to the everybody’s-on-it spell. But if everyone’s on it, how cool can it be? It’s not different or rebellious so what’s so hip about it?

Do you see the contradiction here? What the hell are we all chasing for acceptance? That’s what cool is, I guess. Be accepted. But are we chasing it by trying to be different or by trying to imitate what is different which in turn no longer makes it different?

Jennifer Aniston

The Jennifer Aniston hair cut was all the rage in the 90’s. It was kind of different. And then every girl across North America (just about) just had to get that haircut. Was it still cool, once everyone and their dog was sporting it? Interesting question.

So when it comes down to songwriting and hit songs. What’s truly a hit? There are many out there that claim to formulas based on hooks and catchy phrases and sing-a-long lines but wouldn’t the same success be achieved by buying your way onto the airwaves and having your song played over and over again, twenty times per day, every day for a year? Lord knows we’ve been brainwashed with enough Nickelback and Lady Gaga songs to convert any one of us to be their biggest fans. (Although, I must admit, I do like Lady Gaga’s songwriting.) My point is that what is cool and what is a hit song really is a crap shoot. It’s not about what is deemed cool by definition. It’s about what is deemed cool by continual exposure and eventual brainwashing. (Using that term lightly.)

So my final thought, or question is this. Do any of the rest of us pauper musicians, who don;t have the cash to buy our way onto the air waves really have a hope in hell to achieve any kind of acknowledgement through our work? Or should we continue to search for satisfaction through the simple joy of engaging in the art itself? As an artist, perhaps that’s real question one should ask themselves……………….

Ciao for now.

Nowhere Girl

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Day 137- Confessions of a Dressing Room Dancer

September 3, 2010

I can’t hide it any longer. I’ve tried to be cool but I just can’t help it. When the right tune hits the airwaves – or when I’m just in the mood – oh, who are we kidding here? It’s all the time, every time! Am I freak? A weirdo? Perhaps a creative genius that keeps her tremendous talent under wraps.

Yeah, I know. I am a little bit off the rocker. But in my defense that’s what makes me fun!

So here’s my confession: When I go shopping for clothes and I’m trying something on……… I like to dance in front of the mirror. There! I said it! Don’t you dare laugh! Especially all of you aspiring actors/models out there. I know you do it too! In fact, I know of a group of friends in a certain tribute band that I would bet cold, hard cash that at least two of them do it. You know who you are so …… don’t judge.

Heather Locklear

It’s my guilty pleasure. I was out today, doing a little window shopping, trying to come up with ideas on what to wear for an upcoming gig I have for a city Community Centre Opening. Yeah, yeah, not exactly the ACC but nevertheless, you still gotta be rock ‘n roll. A gig is a gig. So there I am trying this and that on and I think it was Bryan Adam‘s Summer of ’69 that came on or was it Bang a Gong by T.Rex? Can’t remember. In any case, it begins with the poses. You stand, you stare straight ahead. You turn to the left and check out the view from behind while giving yourself a smoldering Heather Locklear look over your shoulder. You know the look. From the days of the original Melrose Place. Or was that Dynasty? Anyhow, you do this for a few minutes. Pose, turn, pose, twirl just like the opening credits of the original 90210. Of course, I am mentioning the original because I now realize that I remember when the original series of these shows first came out. Yike!

Then, from the 90210 posing and twirling, movements will merge into little dance moves like from the Friends opening sequence when they are busting out moves like the swim and the twist. Okay, those moves might be exaggerating it a bit. But then! Then it comes back around to the rock star moves. That’s when you take your air microphone and you mouth the words to what’s playing over the intercom flipping your hair over your eye for dramatic effect. The over sized shirt gets shifted a little over one shoulder and suddenly you’re Joan Jett and you’re checking to make sure your air guitar sits well in front of your new outfit.

Joan Jett

Yes, admittedly. It’s all true. Now because, on a musicians salary – which there really is no such thing but I digress – I am not exactly rocking the D & G shops, so the dressing room where I was at has this little sign on the back of the door. My eye happened to catch it as I did one of my Lady Gaga moves. “Change rooms under camera surveillance. Theft will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” At that moment, I had a flash of some control room somewhere, like a scene out of those movies where night watchmen have 20 cameras and he’s watching who’s having sex in the elevator. Only it’s not just him watching. He calls the other four or five night guys on duty and they are sitting there with their coffee and donuts and having a good time looking on. So I’m thinking somebody might be having a good chuckle at all my rock star moves. In fact, the whole staff is probably not even on the floor anymore! They’ve left their registers and clothing racks and are jammed in the back room to get a glimpse of the loser dancing like she’s Paula Abdul in her Straight Up video.

And I’m back. I quietly turn to the mirror like I’m seriously surveying the

Paula Abdul

situation the same way I do when I’m walking down the street and trip on a non-existent rock on the ground. I look around to see where the culprit rock is but keep walking like it wasn’t me that can’t figure out how to work my own legs. As I emerge from the dressing room, I almost expect to find the whole store staring at me and laughing that slow-motion, distorted laugh you would only find on episodes of Friends. I make my entrance into the main area. Nobody bats an eye. They are all still digging through whatever piles of last year’s trend that I left them looking through when I entered the change rooms. Phew. If anyone was watching me, they had enough mercy to not run out and point and fall down in hysterics.

So I put on my best Cool Chic air and saunter to the front of the store and walk right out the door as if there wasn’t anything in this store that could possibly have interested me. Too bad for you cause I’ll be famous one day and you’ll wish that I had found at least one thing that I liked so you could tell your friends that Nowhere Girl actually shopped there!

Yeah right! I ran out there like a bat out of hell! I can just imagine the size O Audrina- wanna-be’s snickering behind the register counters. Okay, maybe I am l little bit of a loser. But come on! If you have done the dressing room dance, don’t leave me out to dry. Let me know that I’m not alone in my illusions of coolness! I know there are more of you out there!

Oh, well. In any case, hopefully it was a good laugh for you on a gloomy Friday afternoon.

On to my next adventure!

Nowhere Girl