David Bowie and Prince – in the same year?

One of my first thoughts after getting past yesterday’s shock at hearing the news that Prince had died was, “David Bowie and Prince – in the same year?” I was thinking of their creative, inventive musical genius and their use of the media tools they had to work with and how they pushed through the previous understanding of how those tools could be used to present music and performance as art.

So I smiled this morning when I saw both of their names in a headline in The Washington Post…but this piece was about something else that is an important part of their personae and legacies. And particularly so in this moment in which sexuality is very much in the news.

“Mourning Prince and David Bowie, who showed there’s no one right way to be a man” – Alyssa Rosenberg in The Washington Post

The Girls

Mitch Newmore's Journal

My Friday night gig with Jen & The Generics is at the Black Hole in Cedar Point.

I guess if Cedar Point was big enough, it would have a rock club and a strip joint. But since it’s not, it has The Black Hole, strip joint by day, rock club by night.

“The girls” is how everybody refers to the performers. Except me. I can’t refer to a woman as a girl. Even if everybody else is.

I don’t call them “the strippers” either. I don’t know why, really, I just don’t. Around the club, I refer to them as “the dancers.” Sometimes to a customer, I might say “the ladies,” though I don’t have much opportunity to talk to the customers.

It doesn’t bother me to hear the customers or bartenders or others calling them, “the girls,” ’cause that’s the usual way in their line of work. The dancers…

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Canada Votes

Mitch Newmore's Journal

Sunday night I worked the overnight shift at the bakery in Cedar Point. I usually sleep all day Monday but this was Election Day. Had to set my alarm for three p.m. so I’d have enough time to wake up, go vote, and then drive up to Richmond to my brother’s.

The line to vote at the school was long, it extended outside to the street. I was glad I made the extra time. I would have done the advance polls but I’ve been working so much, it never worked out.

That’s why Mondays are good for me, even though I sleep all day. At least I know I’m going to be off. I need that. It’s rare that I’ll get a gig on a Monday night. I’ll take it if I do but if they came in all the time, I’d turn most of them down.

I do play…

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Welcome to Cedar Point

Mitch Newmore's Journal

Man, it’s been crazy, like a whirlwind.

My grands are closing up their cottage the last weekend of October, so I had to look for a new place. Thursday was moving day, sort of. My lease started yesterday. I’m all moved in, slept here last night.

I rented a house on a nice street, right in Cedar Point. Can’t afford it by myself — it’s a three-bedroom house — so I had to advertise for two roommates. I put an ad in the paper and on a website too. I got a few calls but only one person came to look at the place. But she took both rooms!

Her name is Oshi. She’s very nice. She’s from Japan, a photographer. She’s going to use one bedroom as a darkroom.

The house is owned by a college professor. She’s on a sabbatical, spending a year in Asia, took her whole…

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Gigs

Mitch Newmore's Journal

My regular gigs right now…

I play lead guitar in Jen and The Generics, a four-piece rock and pop group led by Jen Sphere, who I’ve known since school. She calls herself Jen Atmosphere on stage. It’s mostly covers but a few originals. Jen sings lead and plays drums. She also plays trumpet, sometimes she plays trumpet and drums at the same time! We do Wednesday nights at Gummo’s in Surrey and Friday nights at The Black Hole in Cedar Point.

I play tenor sax in Benny Bright’s Band of Blue. It’s a rocking blues group, five-piece rhythm section and three horns. Benny plays piano and sings. His specialty is those loud, slow, raunchy numbers. He’s been doing Thursday nights at Helen Choy’s Supper Club in Burnaby for years. I’ve been on that gig the last three years. Benny always makes it fun and he treats his band well. He…

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Les Paul played his ass off, Django too

Mitch Newmore's Journal

Sometimes I think: There are musicians and there are people who play instruments.

I don’t like to be harsh about it but it seems like, somebody – an adult I’m talking about now, not a teenager – playing guitar in a rock band or a country band, who doesn’t play – or even like – any other kind of music and who never heard of Charlie Christian or Andres Segovia, is not really a musician. They’re just somebody playing a guitar.

Really, how can you play guitar and not know who those guys are? Or Django. Shoot.

I’d say the same about a classical guitarist who doesn’t know who Eric Clapton is.

Thing is, there are no classical guitarists who don’t know who Eric Clapton is.

It’s not that classical guitarists are better people, it’s just that they’re all good musicians. I don’t mean inherently or anything, it’s a practical…

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How I Met Patty

Mitch Newmore's Journal

Ed. note: Patty Preston is Mitch’s girlfriend of nearly two years.

I was playing a gig up in Chilliwack a couple years ago. That’s about an hour’s drive from White Rock if there’s no delay. That’s as far as I’ll drive for a job because of the price of fuel, it’s only worth it to go so far. This gig paid really well though.

It was a pickup band. That’s just what it sounds like, a band put together just for this date. The keyboard player, Bobby Harris, called me at the last minute. I used to play in a band with Bobby a few years ago. The gig belonged to the guitar player on this date, he’s the one who hired Bobby and the others. But he had to bail out that morning when his wife went into labour. So he gave the gig to Bobby, who called a…

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My name is Mitch

Introducing a new character and a new story blog…

Mitch Newmore's Journal

Hello. I never kept a journal before. Been thinking about it for awhile. Don’t know why. We’ll see how it goes.

Music is what I’m all about. I play music for a living, trying to anyway. Guitar and sax mostly. “Are you in a band?” That’s what people always ask me. Yeah, I’m in like seven bands. A couple of them actually have regular gigs.

I’m 27. Single, sort of. I’m from British Columbia. If you know B.C., I’m from the Lower Mainland. If you don’t know it, I’m from Vancouver. I was born in Richmond and I grew up there. Right now I’m living south of White Rock, not far from Cedar Point.

I didn’t finish college. I got a gig with a touring band in my second year so I dropped out.

It was a great gig, The Dick Parisi Dance Orchestra. We played swing tunes from the…

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Danko On Craft

Journey To The Center Of The Metaverse

First let me say that my typist and I had a bit of a row over who was going to write this piece and whose blog it would appear on. As I begin to type, I’m not sure which one of us won the argument.

There have been times in my virtual life when I’ve had no home. I’ve always had a pub and often had an office, usually both, but not always a home. There have been other times when I’ve had multiple homes. I go with what suits my needs and desires of the time.

One of the most enjoyable periods of my virtual existence was when The Steamlands were thriving in Second Life. At one point, I had six offices, three pubs and five homes scattered about Winterfell, Caledon, New Babbage, Austral, New Toulouse and Steelhead.

I was thinking of those days the other night…

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